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News Around Illinois – May 11, 2020

News Around Illinois Cover

Illinois COVID-19 Cases Surpass 77,000, With More Than 3,400 Deaths

CHICAGO — State officials reported 1,656 new COVID-19 cases in Illinois on Sunday, the lowest number reported in 24 hours in 19 days. 57 additional deaths were reported, the lowest number since May 4. The Illinois Department of Public Health says the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state has reached 77,741, out of 129,984 tests conducted. The total number of deaths in the state related to the coronavirus is 3,406.

In Champaign County, three new cases of COVID-19 were reported, for a total of 266. None of the new cases were in the Rantoul zip code, home of the Rantoul Foods meat processing plant, where dozens of workers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Macon County reported four new COVID-19 cases, for a total of 145. Coles County reported three new cases for a total of 29. — Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Pritzker Defends Extended Order, Faces Salon Owner Lawsuit

CHICAGO — Illinois’ governor is defending his stay-at-home order and plans to reopen, saying the state residents will have to change the way things are done until the coronavirus is “eradicated.” Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker spoke Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” His comments come after some Republican lawmakers have said his order has been an overreach. Pritzker also faces a lawsuit from a southern Illinois salon owner who claims Pritzker violated her constitutional rights in forcing her business to close. Pritzker has extended his order until the end of the month. He recently released a five-phase plan to reopen.  – Associated Press

Ex-Comptroller Seeks Release From Prison Over Virus Concerns

DIXON — The former Dixon comptroller convicted of stealing nearly $54 million from the northern Illinois city is seeking release from federal prison over fears of contracting COVID-19. Rita Crundwell used money stolen from the city to fund her nationally renowned horse-breeding operation and luxurious tastes. She was sentenced in 2013 to nearly 20 years in prison after being convicted of wire fraud. The 67-year-old woman’s release date is Oct. 29, 2029. She says she has multiple health problems and has been a model minimum-security prisoner. The judge says she can seek compassionate release if she’s exhausted all administrative avenues. – Associated Press

Illinois Man Uses Upcycled Tires To Create Unique Sculptures

CARY — A Cary native is taking used tires and other up-cycled objects to create unconventional sculptures. Tani Ojeda, who works full-time as a chemical operator for Ringwood-based Huntsman, says the idea was sparked about a year ago and he’s been commissioned to make animal creations that include frogs, swans, a duck and an oversize crocodile. Ojeda previously used other car parts to make things like coffee tables and nightstands but says they didn’t sell well. Barrington resident Jennifer Myers, who bought his first black swan tire sculpture, lauded Ojeda’s creativity and says his scultpures represent a certain amount of kitsch fun. – Associated Press

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