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News Around Illinois – June 11, 2020

News Around Illinois Cover

State Grants To Help Child Care Centers Reopen

As Illinois begins to re-open, and people go back to work, they’ll need safe and reliable child care. That was the message Wednesday from Gov. JB Pritzker when he announced a sizeable portion of federal CARES Act funds will go to child care providers. At Skip-a-long Child Development Services in Moline, he said he and the General Assembly had agreed to spend $270 million from COVID relief funds to help closed centers reopen, and help those that had managed to stay open to expand and accept more children. In addition to re-opening safely, the governor hopes the federal money will help hold down the cost of child care. Providers can help decide how to distribute the money by filling out an online survey on the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies website. – Herb Trix – WVIK

Heavy Rains, High Winds Lash Illinois, Indiana, Michigan

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Strong wind gusts and heavy rains from remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal flooded roads and knocked out power Wednesday to thousands of customers across Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Utilities in the three states reported more than 20,000 homes and businesses without power as of late morning. The weather service issued a gale warning through Wednesday evening on Lake Michigan because of the possibility of strong winds creating waves of 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3.1 meters). Scattered severe thunderstorms were possible Wednesday in Michigan, forecasters said. – Associated Press

Pritzker Signs $43B Illinois Budget Reliant on Federal Grant

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed state budget heavily reliant on federal assistance because of revenue lost to COVID-19 restrictions on commercial and social interaction. But even short of revenue, Democrats who control the General Assembly sent the Democratic governor a $42.9 billion spending plan, 7.5% larger than the current year’s outlay. It takes effect July 1. The legislation relies on billions of dollars in hoped-for federal assistance and allows borrowing up to $5 billion from a federal COVID-19 relief fund. Republicans wanted spending cuts, but Democrats said balancing the budget with cuts would be too drastic. – Associated Press

ISU’s ‘New Normal’ Takes Shape With Reopening Plan

Illinois State University will welcome students back to campus in August but could push many larger classes online and finish face-to-face instruction before fall break, according to a preliminary reopening plan released Wednesday. The plan calls for a “blended” approach for fall instruction, with some classes on campus and others online, or a little of both. Residence halls and dining centers would be open, albeit with new precautions, like limited dorm guests and more spread out seating. Everyone on campus would be expected to wear face coverings. The report answers some—but not all—questions about what life will look like at ISU when classes resume Aug. 17. Much of the plan is framed as “recommendations,” implying they may not happen as-is. – Ryan Denham – WGLT

Aldermen Debate CARES Act Money As Lightfoot Launches City Relief Plan

Chicago households left out of the COVID-19 federal stimulus package may now be eligible for $1,000 from a new private fund Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday. The news came on the same day City Council members debated how to distribute more than $1.1 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act. Chicago is also now grappling with a $700 million budget shortfall for 2020, according to the mayor’s office. Applications to the $5 million “Chicago Resiliency Fund” will open on June 22. The program is being funded by private donations and will be administered by The Resurrection Project and Open Society Foundations. – Becky Vevea – WBEZ

As Hospitals Get Busier, Need For Blood Donations Rises

The shortage of blood donations due to the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming more troublesome, as patient traffic at area hospitals revs back up. The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center—which provides blood products to hospitals in Peoria, Canton, Bloomington, and Galesburg, among other areas—is calling for those who are healthy and able to consider donating. Katie Middleton is a clinical laboratory scientist at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center — one of MVRBC’s partners. She said the need for donations became more urgent as hospitals resumed admitting patients for procedures. That’s on top of the need generated by COVID-19 patients and the spike in trauma patients the hospital typically sees in the summer. – Dana Vollmer, WCBU

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