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News Around Illinois – July 3, 2020

The latest news around the state, for July 3, 2020.

Illinois Seeking New Poet Laureate, State’s First Since 2017

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is looking for a new poet laureate. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has launched a search committee to fill the post, which has been vacant since 2017. He said Illinois has been home to talented poets including Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks and Sandra Cisneros, and he wants to hear from “the next generation of great writers. – Associated Press

Police Chief Shot In Reagan Assassination Attempt Retiring

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Chicago police chief who was wounded in the assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan is retiring after nearly half a century in law enforcement. Tim McCarthy, who has served as Orland Park’s police chief for 26 years, is retiring Aug. 1. McCarthy, 71, said he wants to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren. – Associated Press

COVID-19 Cases Are On The Rise In Some Parts Of Illinois. This Worries Experts.

Illinois’ declining number of positive COVID-19 cases has started flattening over the past week in some areas of the state, while other areas are starting to see a slight uptick, according to two epidemiologists in Chicago. The number of new positive cases in Illinois has increased for three days in a row, with 869 new confirmed cases reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health Thursday, which is higher than the 7-day rolling average of 778 new cases. But the state’s seven day case positivity rate has remained flat, between 2 and 3% over the past month, compared to 14% in mid-May. – Kate McGee – WBEZ

Lincoln Association Unveils Plans To Reconstruct Original Lincoln Cottage

The Abraham Lincoln Association has launched a $400,000 campaign to acquire vacant land to construct an accurate replica of Lincoln’s original cottage – before the home was expanded. The budget includes $250,000 for construction, and $70,000 dollars for land acquisition. The remaining funds will be used for site cleanup, signs, and landscaping. The replica will be of the 1.5 story, six room cottage the Lincoln family lived in from 1844 through 1856. It was then reconstructed into a spacious two story, 12-room home, of what visitor’s know of today. Michael Burlingame, the distinguished chair in Lincoln studies tat the University of Illinois Springfield, said visitors will get an idea of what living conditions were like for the family the first 12 years they lived in Springfield. – Olivia Mitchell – WUIS

ISU To Offer More Flexibility On Telework, Instruction To De-Densify Campus At Reopening

Illinois State University’s administration will release a new round of reopening guidance next week related to work-from-home and instruction that could help to de-densify campus when students return in August, a spokesperson said Thursday. That new guidance comes as nearly 400 concerned faculty, staff, students, and community members have signed a letter to ISU President Larry Dietz, arguing that the university’s COVID-19 planning has come up short in many key ways. Academic Senate chair Susan Kalter, who signed the letter, has called an all-faculty meeting for July 16 via Zoom to discuss “serious matters” related to the reopening. – Ryan Denham – WNIJ

Law Aims to Give Students With Epilepsy Better Care In Illinois’ Schools

The Seizure Smart School Act, is a new law in Illinois that requires schools to train employees and care aides on how to handle students with epilepsy, and how to administer their medications. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which the brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the country. State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) said all schools should be equipped to help students in epilepsy-related situations. – Olivia Mitchell – WUIS

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