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News Around Illinois – April 27, 2020

News Around Illinois Cover

Number of Virus Deaths Climbs To Nearly 2,000 In Illinois

CHICAGO – The death toll of the coronavirus crisis inched closer to the 2,000 mark in Illinois, as state officials say that the virus had taken 59 more lives.  Sunday’s announcement puts the number of people in Illinois killed by the virus at 1,933 and the 2,126 new COVID-19 cases in Illinois puts the state total at 43,903. The health department also says that there have been confirmed virus cases in 96 of the state’s 102 counties. At a news conference, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned people thinking of violating statewide social distancing requirements that they risk arrest if they do so. – Associated Press

Central Illinois COVID-19 Cases Continue To Grow

URBANA – Champaign County reported two new confirmed cases over the weekend, bringing the county’s total to 105, and five deaths. In Macon County, three new cases were confirmed over the weekend, bringing the total there to 107, and 11 deaths. Most of the cases are among residents and staff of Fair Havens Senior Living in Decatur. Even so, Macon County health officials encourage the public to maintain social distancing and to not have a false sense of security. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Judge Eases Ballot Requirements For 3rd Party Candidates

CHICAGO — A judge has relaxed signature requirements for third-party candidates after a lawsuit claimed Illinois’ stay-at-home order impeded the petition process needed to get on the November ballot. The Green and Libertarian parties sued earlier this month in federal court. Under Illinois’ election rules, candidates not from established parties have to collect signatures from March 24 until June 22 for the general election. They also need more required signatures. The order issued Thursday guarantees Green and Libertarian candidates spots on the ballot while other candidates won’t have to gather as many signatures and will get more time to do so. – Associated Press

Supreme Court Allows Possible Coal Ash Lawsuits To Proceed

SPRINGFIELD – Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Water Act applies to pollution that seeps into protected waters through groundwater contamination. The ruling will allow local environmental groups to sue companies that leak coal ash waste, a byproduct of coal burning, into groundwater. Illinois has grappled with coal ash ponds contaminating groundwater for decades, says Andrew Rehn with Prairie Rivers Network. “Every single one of these coal ash ponds are located right next to rivers or lakes,” said Rehn. “One way or the other, I think this ruling will give us a way to use the Clean Water Act to actually protect waters.” Illinois has some of the highest coal ash pond contamination levels in the country, according to a 2018 report. – Lecia Bushak, Illinois Newsroom



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Proposed Urbana City Council ward maps are available for review

The Urbana City Council is expected to review three proposed ward boundary maps at its June 3rd Committee of the Whole meeting. Meanwhile, the proposed maps are posted at the city’s website  for public review and comment. A link on the website’s front page takes users to information on ward redistricting. The map that wins council approval will replace Urbana’s current ward map.