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WEATHER ALERT: Hurricane Beryl’s to bring heavy rainfall and potential flooding to Illinois

Central Illinois Headlines – March 29, 2024

Should Illinois count mail-in ballots after an election? A court may decide

A federal appeals court is considering whether Illinois’ rule allowing mail-in ballots to be counted up to two weeks after an election violates federal law. Capitol News Illinois reports Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL12) originally filed the suit challenging that rule before the 2022 election. A lower court threw out the case, and Bost appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard the case Thursday.

An attorney for the State Board of Elections argued that Illinois’ law is in line with both federal law and history, since even during the Civil War, soldiers voted remotely, and their ballots were counted weeks after Election Day. – Capitol News Illinois

Lead poisoning is taking a toll on the health of American bald eagles

Nearly half the eagles in a 2022 study tested positive for lead. Tamara Yarger is the founder of Hog Capitol Wildlife Rescue and Rehab in Kewanee. She says the impacts are heartbreaking. “Their functions shut down their digestive system. It can affect their retinas. It can do neurological damage. There’s so much we have to fight,” said Yarger.

Lead ammunition and fishing sinkers are two of the primary culprits. Yarger says eagles are opportunistic eaters and they often ingest lead while feeding from deer gut piles left by hunters. She says using lead free ammo and disposing of the remains of deer killed by lead bullets are ways hunters can protect the eagles. Illinois is working to bolster the number of caseworkers and other employees in the Department of Children and Family Services, through hiring events across the state. – WGLT News

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is hiring

Capitol News Illinois reports the events provide on-the-spot hiring opportunities in an agency that’s struggled with recruiting and retaining qualified staff in the past. DCFS leaders say the conditional employment – subject to background checks – allows the agency to get caseworkers and others into the job quickly, so that they can address caseloads and other issues. Governor JB Pritzker included staffing increases at DCFS as a goal in his State of the State Address earlier this year. More than 300 potential employees attended a recent hiring event in the Metro East, and nearly half were offered conditional employment. More hiring events are planned throughout Illinois in the coming months. – Capitol News Ilinois


Picture of Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director at Illinois Public Media. He oversees daily newscasts and online stories. He also manages The 21st Show, a live, weekday talk show that airs on 7 NPR stations throughout Illinois. He is the executive producer of IPM's annual environmental TV special "State of Change." And he is the co-creator of Illinois Soul, IPM's Black-focused audio service that launched in February 2024. Before arriving at IPM in 2019, he served as News Director at WKAR in East Lansing and spent 17 years as a TV news producer and manager at KXAS, the NBC-owned station in Dallas/Fort Worth. Reginald is the recipient of three Edward R. Murrow regional awards, seven regional Emmy awards, and multiple honors from the National Association of Black Journalists. Born in Vietnam, Reginald grew up in Colorado and is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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