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News Around Illinois – July 6, 2020

The latest news around the state, for July 6, 2020.

13 Illinois ‘Bomb Squad’ Gang Members Sentenced To Prison

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Thirteen members of a Peoria street gang known as the “Bomb Squad” have been sentenced to prison terms for a racketeering conspiracy that included murder, attempted murder, arson and drug trafficking. Federal prosecutors said one defendant was sentenced to life in prison, plus 10 years. Judge James Shadid sentenced the other defendants to prison terms ranging from 12 to 40 years over two weeks last month. A jury convicted the defendants in December after a seven-week trial and three days of deliberations. Prosecutors said gang members had standing orders to shoot rivals on sight, and they would later boast about their actions on social media. They said the group committed four murders, over 20 shootings and two residential arsons. – Associated Press

Illinois Expands Hours At Emissions Testing Sites

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Vehicle emissions testing sites in Illinois are expanding their hours in July and August. The 12 facilities will open earlier and remain open later on three days of the week through the end of August. Saturday hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Hours on Mondays and Tuesdays are 7:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. The changes take effect on Monday. Hours on other days of the week have not changed. – Associated Press

700 Nurses At Joliet Hospital Go On Strike Over Pay, Safety

JOLIET, ILL. (AP) — More than 700 nurses at Amita Health St. Joseph Medical Center Joliet went on strike Saturday morning after negotiations between the hospital and the nurses union failed to result in a contract. The strike comes after Amita Health, which has 19 hospitals in Illinois, issued a statement that said it would bring in other licensed nurses during a strike, prepare to have ambulances bypass the hospital if necessary and cancel non-urgent surgeries. One of the main sticking points in the negotiations is the union’s contention that the nursing staffing levels are too low to keep the nurses safe. But in his statement to the Tribune, Amita Health spokesman Tim Nelson said hospital negotiators had presented the union with an offer Friday that the system believes addressed many of the concerns raised by the nurses. – Associated Press

IDPH Reports Lowest Daily Death Count In One Day Since March

As of Saturday, Illinois’ average daily COVID-19 case numbers have increased by 29% since three weeks ago. But the numbers remain much lower than the state’s peak in May, and daily deaths are down. On Sunday, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported six deaths, the lowest number of deaths in a single day since March. Illinois also reported 2,369 new cases over the July 4th weekend, as well as 33 total deaths. There are now more than 147,251 total cases in Illinois, and more than 7,020 total deaths. – Lecia Bushak – Illinois Newsroom

Pritzker Kicks In $51.5 Million More For Taxes Initiative

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is contributing an additional $51.5 million to a ballot initiative committee backing his constitutional amendment that would dump the state’s flat-rate income tax structure in favor of one that takes a bigger bite from the wealthy. The contribution to Vote Yes for Fairness, a committee headed by the governor’s former deputy campaign manager, was reported late Friday in a filing with the State Board of Elections. It comes about six months after Pritzker wrote a check to the committee for $5 million. The only other individual contribution reported to date was $250, according to the Chicago Tribune. – Associated Press

Illinois Opening More Centers To Support Small Businesses

CHICAGO (AP) — Seven new state-run centers will open this summer to support Illinois small businesses. The Small Business Development Centers set to launch in July or already opened are in Chicago, Elgin and Joliet. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development said the $11.5 million effort brings the total of centers statewide to 42. Business owners can get one-on-one confidential advice and assistance at the centers on many topics including education, training and business planning. The centers also have helped small businesses seek financial assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, which forced many to close or dramatically change day-to-day operations. – Associated Press

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Jose Zepeda

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