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217 Today — Oct. 23, 2020

Friday, October 23, 2020

Today’s headlines: 

  • A national political watcher is now rating Illinois’ 13th Congressional District as a toss-up. Dave Wasserman, U.S. House Editor for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, says incumbent Republican Rodney Davis was slightly favored, but the unpopularity of President Donald Trump in the district is giving Democrat Betsy Londrigan an edge.

  • If elected, Vice President Joe Biden plans to dramatically increase federal spending on public K-12 and higher education. But a campaign representative says his first priority is making sure schools can safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Housing Authority of Champaign is now a designated EnVision Center – meaning it can receive federal assistance for its programs, including low-income housing and job training. It’s the only center of its kind in Illinois, outside of the Chicago area.

  • Illinois health officials reported more than 4,900 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 yesterday, the highest single-day case count since the pandemic began.

In today’s deeper dive, about a third of all Illinois counties are at a warning level for COVID-19. Among them is Macon County in central Illinois. We hear from Macon County Public Health Administrator Brandi Binkley.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today contributed by Tim Shelley, Lee Gaines, Dana Cronin, and Christine Herman.

Thursday October 22, 2020

Today’s headlines: 

  • Illinois has developed its plan for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. As Sean Crawford reports, there are a lot of unknowns.

  • Researchers at SIU are taking part in an effort to help further understand the novel coronavirus by sequencing its genome.

  • The University of Illinois published the third version of its Illinois Climate Action Plan, or iCAP, this week, and it’s officially been signed by Chancellor Robert Jones. The sustainability plan includes steps for the Urbana-Champaign campus to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

  • Officials in Vermilion County reported two more deaths from COVID-19 Wednesday, a man and woman, both in their 70s. Eleven people have died from the disease in Vermilion County. Officials there reported 37 new cases yesterday.

  • In Macon County, officials reported one additional death from COVID-19 yesterday, the 52nd in that county.

In today’s deeper dive, handling the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a mental health challenge for many people. Experts anticipate this winter will be even worse.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today contributed by Sean Crawford, Steph Whiteside, Lecia Bushak, and Darian Benson.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Today’s headlines: 

  • Two more regions of Illinois will be put under Coronavirus mitigations by the state as COVID-19 continues its resurgence this month.

  • Six Champaign County Jail inmates recently tested positive for COVID-19. But Sheriff Dustin Heuerman says the larger jail population was not put at risk.

  • Champaign County authorities say they have identified the woman whose skeletal remains were found in a farm field in 1995. Now, they’re asking people who knew her to come forward with any information they have.

  • Macon County reported 74 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and three deaths — two men, in their 70s and 80s, and a woman in her 80s.Vermilion County reported 21 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. Coles County reported ten new cases.

In today’s deeper dive, Northern Illinois University is expanding COVID-19 testing efforts into what some might consider unexpected places: wastewater.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today contributed by Hannah Meisel, Jim Meadows and Peter Medlin.

Tuesday October 20, 2020

Today’s headlines: 

  • Governor JB Pritzker is again defending his administration’s handling of a deluge of unemployment claims as the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic drag on.

  • After more than three days of COVID-19 positivity rates above eight percent, Governor Pritzker has ordered southern Illinois back to Phase Three of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan starting Thursday.

  • A derecho windstorm in August knocked over cornstalks across much of Iowa and parts of Illinois. We learn how that has affected harvest.

  • The University of Illinois academic senate has approved a revised spring schedule that would cancel spring break and delay the start of the semester by one week.

In today’s deeper dive, with more territory than some states, Illinois’ 15th District covers a large section of southeast and south-central Illinois. Illinois Newsroom’s Jim Meadows talked to some of the 15th District’s residents as they prepare to elect a new representative.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today contributed by Hannah Meisel, Kevin Boucher, Amy Mayer, and Jim Meadows.

Monday October 19, 2020

Today’s headlines:

  • Starting Monday, voters in Champaign County can cast their ballots in person and early, at twelve different locations.

  • Ameren and five other energy companies recently announced plans to build out a “vast network” of public vehicle charging stations across the Midwest.

  • Thousands of Women’s Marches took place across the country over the weekend. Illinois Newsroom’s Dana Cronin reports from one in Champaign.

  • Monticello High School will move to fully remote learning this week, after three students tested positive for COVID-19.

In today’s deeper dive, we’ll learn about memorial funds honoring a local musician who died earlier this year. Nick Rudd was a stalwart on the Champaign-Urbana music scene for decades.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today was contributed by Jim Meadows, Ryan Denham, and Dana Cronin.

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Jose Zepeda

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