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News Around Illinois May 15, 2020

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Champaign, Urbana Libraries Launch Curbside Service

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA – Public libraries in Champaign and Urbana will begin offering books and other items for curbside pickup beginning Friday, May 15. Patrons can use the websites and apps of the Champaign Public Library and Urbana Free Library to look up and reserve items. Once they’re notified that items are ready, they can phone the library to arrange a pick-up time. At the appointed time, patrons can drive up to the library, (the front entrance of the Champaign library and the Elm St. entrance of the Urbana library) and call to let them know they’ve arrived. A library staff member will bring out their items. The two libraries have posted specific hours seven days a week for curbside pickup. No hours are set at the Champaign Public Library’s Douglass Branch, but curbside pickup is available by appointment. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Peoria Area Still Adhering To Statewide Reopening Plan, For Now

PEORIA – Peoria officials declined to take any new questions on the Restore Heart of Illinois phased reopening plan at the regularly scheduled COVID-19 press conference Thursday. Reading from a prepared statement, Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said local officials are still awaiting feedback from the governor’s office. “This plan was submitted to the governor’s office and the Illinois Department of Public Health last week and is still under review,” she said. “Our region, along with the rest of the state, continues to operate under phase two of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan.” Salons, barbershops, offices, and most retail stores remain closed under phase two. – Tim Shelley, WCBU

McLean County Leaders Balk At Flouting Pritzker

MCLEAN COUNTY – Small-town officials in McLean County said they were all on board with the proposed Heart of Illinois multicounty regional reopening plan right up until a Peoria area official said they would go ahead even without approval from Gov. JB Pritzker. Then Pritzker raised the possibility that communities could forfeit aid from FEMA if they reopen without approval. “We did not like the statement he made that he was going to buck the governor regardless of whether he said yay or nay. That basically made us step back and take another look and say do we really want to endorse this plan?” said Downs Village Mayor Mike James. The McLean County Mayor’s Association met Wednesday night and has taken a more calibrated approach. James says the association will issue a public letter supporting the elements of the plan. – Eric Stock and Charlie Schlenker, WGLT

Union County Sees a COVID-19 Outbreak

JONESBORO -One southern Illinois county has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases in the past week. Union County’s total number of cases has nearly doubled since May 7. On the 7th, the county had 57 cases. In just the past week, the county has recorded 51 cases…including 38 on Wednesday. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports there have been 40 cases in outbreaks at local long-term care facilities…35 at Integrity of Anna and the other five at Integrity of Cobden. The county’s lone death came from the Anna facility. The Southern Seven Health Department reports several Union County residents who have tested positive are tied to outbreaks at workplaces outside of the southern seven region. – Brad Palmer, WSIU

Police Shooting of Rock Island Man Justified

ROCK ISLAND – Two Rock Island police officers were justified in shooting an armed man last month. That was the announcement Thursday afternoon from State’s Attorney Dora Villarreal, after reviewing the investigation by the Rock Island County Integrity Task Force. On April 25th, Officers Steven Mumma and Tyler Evans encountered Kelvin Shaw of Rock Island after responding to a report of an armed man holding two women against their will. Villarreal says body camera footage shows Shaw pointed his gun at the officers as he tried to escape – they fired a total of five shots, and three of them hit Shaw. He died three days later. And she concluded, “based on the totality of the circumstances and the specific facts outlined above, both officers discharging their duty weapons was reasonable and justified.” – Herb Trix, WVIK

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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.