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The coronavirus disease can lead to physical problems. But emotional ones as well. On this episode, we hear from those who have contracted COVID-19 and what they've experienced.

Learning more about Emmett Till, from his cousin who grew up around him.

And beer that tastes like southern Illinois.  That and more on this week's Statewide.

Christine Herman/Illinois Newsroom

URBANA – About a thousand students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have tested positive for COVID-19 since twice-a-week coronavirus testing became mandatory for all students on Aug. 16.

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Illinois had about 4,000 unfilled school jobs open last fall, and that shortage is expected to be greater this year because of the pandemic. 

The information comes from a survey of school superintendents conducted in 2019. School staff in that count include teachers and paraprofessionals, such as aides,  and administrators. Data for a new survey will be collected in September said Mark Klaisner, the President of the Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents.

Illinois unemployment offices have been closed to public access since the stay at home order was put in effect earlier this year. 

But Governor J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday there was another safety reason for keeping the doors locked.

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

Members of the Illinois General Assembly’s Black Caucus Tuesday released a four-pronged agenda that they say will dominate this fall’s legislative session. 

The group of lawmakers wants several areas addressed: criminal justice reform, which includes violence prevention and  police accountability; education and workforce development; economic opportunity and equal access; and health care and human services.

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat,  said the time to address racism at the federal level, and in Illinois, with legislation is now.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

A rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations landed Sangamon County on the list of counties at a warning level, according to Illinois Department of Public Health. Morgan, Cass, Pike and Greene are on the list as well.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, rising COVID-19 positivity rates prompted Governor J.B. Pritzker to once again shut down indoor service for restaurants and bars in Will and Kankakee counties, and warned that the same might soon happen for the Metro East counties.  Local governments are becoming more worried about declining tax revenues due to the pandemic.  And energy company Exelon announced that it may have to close two of its nuclear plants.  

Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois and Kelsey Landis of the Belleville News-Democrat join the panel.

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Most Illinois school kids will start the school year with remote learning.  That’s according to an Illinois State Board of Education survey of administrators.

On this week's Statewide, a Black police officer talks about his feelings of having to do his job amid recent protests over racial justice. 

Students are moving back to college campuses, but are facing a lot of new rules designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.   And we bring you a report from the portion of Chicago with the highest rate of coronavirus deaths.  

Those stories and more on this episode.

Economic Policy Institute/University of Illinois

For this week's Statewide,  we interviewed Elizabeth Powers, an economist with the Institute of Government and Public Policy at the University of Illinois and Heidi Shierholz, an economist and policy director at the Washington, D.C,-based Economic Policy Institute. Powers  was a member of former President George H.W. administration, while Shierholz served in former President Barack Obama's administration. They discussed the impact of COVID-19 on women in the workforce.

frowning piggy bank
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Nearly 200 cities told the Illinois Municipal League that they expect to bring in less money from taxes on shopping, gaming, gas and other sources due to the coronavirus pandemic. The responses come from a survey conducted between June and July.

Beginning Wednesday, restaurant and bar patrons must wear a mask when interacting with servers and bartenders in an effort to stem the recent spread of COVID-19.

ACLU of Illinois

A group of transgender women has asked for an independent monitor of the Illinois Department of Corrections because the agency has not improved those inmates’ care as ordered by a judge last year.

Illinois was among the states helping re-nominate President Trump Monday as the Republican National Convention began in Charlotte, N.C.    

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The cancellation of the Illinois State Fair means nonprofits, who count on annual parking revenue during the ten day event, are missing out.

The Springfield Animal Protective League, adjacent to the fairgrounds, estimates a loss of as much as $30-thousand. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week saw the virtual Democratic National Convention, the decision to remove some controversial statues from the State Capitol grounds, and the death of former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson.

The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson joins the panel this week.

More schools are planning to start fall classes remotely.  We'll find out what might be different from the spring when there was an abrupt shift to online learning.

The college experience this year won't be what many students expected. We'll talk with some incoming freshmen. 

And we remember former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson. 

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

The site of a deadly race riot in Springfield has been added to the national African American Civil Rights Network.  Only 30 locations have received recognition. 

Christine Herman/Illinois Newsroom

CHAMPAIGN – A saliva-based COVID-19 test created by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA emergency use authorization was granted to the U of I’s test on the basis that it performs at least as well as a recently approved saliva-testing protocol developed at Yale University, setting a precedent that could allow other labs to follow suit. 

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Statues of two former Illinois leaders with ties to slavery will be removed from outside the state capitol building in Springfield.

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Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun had the honor of casting Illinois’ votes during the traditional roll call Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, helping nominate Joe Biden for president.   

The state has placed tighter rules on a portion of southwest Illinois after seeing more community spread of the coronavirus disease.  But Gov. J.B. Pritzker admits it might not be enough to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

Nabih Elhajj

A Springfield man is mourning after a massive explosion at a port warehouse in Beirut, Lebanon injured thousands and killed about 200 people, including his mother, Zeina. Maureen McKinney talked recently with Nabih Elhajj,  executive director of the education nonprofit, I-VenturED.  His mother  died of her injuries the day following the early August  blast. Elhajj is also an adjunct business instructor at University of Illinois Springfield and an NPR Illinois community advisory board member.

University of Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois Springfield is requiring weekly screening of COVID-19 for students, faculty and staff who regularly go to campus. The university is offering a saliva test developed by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, named SHIELD Testing.

The longest serving governor in Illinois history died Friday.  James R. Thompson was 84  Known as Big Jim for his stature (he stood 6'6"), he had a personality to match.  

Charlie Wheeler was already a veteran of the statehouse press corps when Thompson took office in 1977.  He would continue to cover Illinois government through Thompson's fourteen year tenure.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Chicago’s election agency plans to allow voters to drop off their mail-in ballots at all early voting sites starting in mid-October. In Champaign County, the county clerk plans to have up to six drop boxes for voters to put their ballots in through Election Day.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, the Illinois General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved Governor Pritzker's intent to fine business owners who don't enforce the state's COVID-19 mitigation orders.  Also, state Senator Terry Link has been charged with tax fraud.

Amanda Vinicky of WTTW's Chicago Tonight joins the panel.

The Springfield School District 186 board reconsidered Thursday night its decision of how to start the school year. In an emergency meeting, the board voted 5-2 for nearly all students to begin online just over a week after they voted to move forward with a plan that offered both in-person and online options.

This week on Statewide, many small colleges and universities were struggling before COVID-19.  Will the pandemic deal a final blow to more institutions?  

We also hear about the rise of home schooling.  And we look back to a time of lawlessness in southern Illinois, when prohibition era gangs went to war with each other and the Ku Klux Klan. 

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When Prohibition became law 100 years ago, it led to bootlegging and gang warfare throughout Illinois. Its effect in Chicago is well-known, but its impact on Southern Illinois was equally devastating. 

In the 1920s, among Southern Illinois’ hundreds of moonshine stills, hills  and hamlets were gangsters whose lawlessness rivaled Chicago’s. However, few people outside of those bottomlands know their names today. 

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