Memorial Health System

Eager For A COVID-19 Shot? Keep An Eye On Sangamon Health Department’s Website, Facebook Page

Sangamon County seniors over 65 and essential workers eager to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should keep an eye on the county health department’s website and Facebook page . The Sangamon County Department of Public Health will announce new availability of appointments for the shots on those channels in the coming days and weeks, as well as inform local news outlets, according to county spokesperson Jeff Wilhite.

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Pritzker Unfreezing Regions From Highest COVID Mitigations Doesn’t Mean Indoor Dining's Return — Yet

Update Friday, Jan 15: Twelve hours after this story was published, Gov. JB Pritzker announced he is revising Tier I mitigations to allow for indoor dining. However, no regions currently meet Tier I metrics. This story has been updated to reflect the changes and avoid confusion. Update Saturday, Jan. 16: Region 5 became Illinois' first region to qualify for Tier I mitigations on Saturday. Additional information has been added to the post. Governor JB Pritzker on Friday will unfreeze all of Illinois’ 11 regions from the so-called Tier III Coronavirus mitigations he implemented statewide in November as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic raged.

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CV - Gemma Long Supporting Local Small Business

Gemma Long is the CEO of Gem PR & Media . This company specializes in public relations, digital, and social media consultancy. The company is based in Springfield but has clients across the United States and Europe. Gemma and husband Chris Long credit "community over competition" as a mantra they live by. A large part of their business is to foster relationships and collaboration with local business owners. Gemma talks about small businesses in Springfield, embarking on a new venture, and more with Community Voices' Bea Bonner.

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Illinois Restaurant Association Again Calls On Pritzker To Reopen Indoor Dining

Certain regions in Illinois will be allowed to transition to less restrictive COVID-19 measures beginning Friday. But that doesn’t mean restaurants and bars will be allowed to resume indoor service, despite another public call for reopening from the restaurant industry Thursday.

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Federal Prisons On Lockdown Because Of 'Current Events'

44 minutes ago

Authorities are locking down all federal prisons as the country braces for potential violence leading into Wednesday's swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden.

The lockdown was announced early Saturday morning. A statement from the Bureau of Prisons does not specify the length of the lockdown but says the agency was securing all of its facilities as a precautionary measure brought on by "current events occurring around the country."

President Trump plans to leave the White House and Washington on Inauguration Day with a departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, a senior administration official said on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement is not yet official.

Trump — who has not congratulated President-elect Joe Biden for winning the election, nor conceded that his loss was legitimate — is the first president in modern history to skip the swearing-in of his successor.

U.S. Capitol Police say they arrested the driver of a truck who presented unauthorized inauguration credentials at a security checkpoint near the Capitol and was in possession of a loaded handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Police said Wesley Allen Beeler was arrested shortly after 6:30 p.m. Friday night after stopping at a checkpoint.

Authorities said one officer noticed several firearms-related decals on Beeler's truck, including one that said, "If they come for your guns Give 'Em your bullets first."

For all that feels unstable in the world right now, artists have kept making art — describing life and helping us make sense of things, each in their own way. Jazmine Sullivan, the Grammy nominee behind R&B hits like "Bust Your Windows" and "Need U Bad," has taken the past few years to herself, away from the spotlight, but she returns now with her first album since 2015, Heaux Tales.

NPR's Michel Martin discusses the challenges confronting the Biden administration on policing with civil rights attorney Arthur Ago and Ramsey County, Minn., prosecutor John Choi.

In Uganda, a presidential election campaign was marred by violence against protesters and the opposition.

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Gregory Koger, a political science professor at the University of Miami, about the challenge President-elect Biden faces passing legislation in a split Senate.

Millions of Americans either hesitate or don't want to get a COVID-19 vaccine. A recent measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest offers lessons in convincing people to say "yes" to vaccination.

Washington, D.C., Metro Police officers recall a harrowing scene at the Capitol last week as they provided backup. They say rioters sprayed them with chemicals, beat them and even threatened to kill.

Michel Martin speaks with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel about the threat of armed protests and extremist violence in her state ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

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Biden Administration Will Rename 'Operation Warp Speed,' Citing Trump 'Failures'

The White House push to vaccinate against the coronavirus will have a new name and new leadership under the Biden administration. The " Operation Warp Speed " name will be retired, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Friday . She said there was an "urgent need to address the failures of the Trump team approach to vaccine distribution." Psaki did not say what the new name will be. Psaki added that many of the same civil servants will be involved in the response, but the...

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Analysis & commentary on the events that made news this past week in Illinois state government & politics.

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Arts & Life

We've invited singer songwriter Phoebe Bridgers to play a game about feeble bridges: three questions about bridges that have fallen over, collapsed or otherwise done a bad job of spanning things.

Click the audio link above to find out how she does.

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Education Desk

An education advocacy group says Illinois schools should plan to make up time lost to the Coronavirus pandemic, perhaps by extending the school day or year.

That’s one recommendation in a recent report from Advance Illinois. Another way to help fill in the gaps could be offering extensive tutoring, according to the report.

The organization in the fall conducted focus groups with 120 students, parents and caregivers to learn about their experiences during the pandemic.

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Equity & Justice

Office of state Rep. Sonya Harper

State Rep. Sonya Harper was among the most vocal critics of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s attempt to distribute cannabis dispensary licenses through a lottery.

The scoring put minority applicants at a disadvantage, said Harper, a Chicago Democrat who is the new chairwoman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. 

Now, Harper says she likes efforts by the administration to slow down and rethink the process. The caucus wants to see changes in the cannabis tax act that would include the creation of a social equity commission.

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Illinois Economy

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Illinois has awarded the first round of emergency funding to small businesses to help them during the pandemic.  

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Statehouse

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This week, Illinois lawmakers wrapped up the work of the 101st General Assembly.  And there is  a new House Speaker - Chris Welch - after Michael Madigan lost the support of his caucus after nearly four decades in power.

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax joins the panel.

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Politics

For more than a year and a half, President-elect Joe Biden campaigned promising to undo several Trump administration policies on Day 1 of his presidency, and now his team is filling in the details of that and more as he prepares to take office.

Biden's incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, on Saturday laid out in a memo the executive orders the new president will issue on Jan. 20 and in the early days of the new administration.

Next week's swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden will see the biggest security presence of any inauguration in U.S. history. For days, thousands of National Guard troops have been pouring into the capital, and by Wednesday's ceremony, up to 25,000 troops will be in place to guard against security threats.

The Republican Party After Trump

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How Biden Is Preparing For His Inauguration

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Sylvain Sylvain, New York Dolls Guitarist, Dies At 69

New York Dolls co-founder and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain died on January 13 at the age of 69. "As most of you know, Sylvain battled cancer for the past two and 1/2 years," wrote his wife, Wanda O'Kelley Mizrahi, in a statement posted on his Facebook profile on Thursday. "Though he fought it valiantly, yesterday he passed away from this disease. While we grieve his loss, we know that he is finally at peace and out of pain. Please crank up his music, light a candle, say a prayer and let's send...

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