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News Around Illinois – November 27, 2019

State Crop Sustainability Goal Is Centuries Away

PEORIA – Illinois is still two centuries away from hitting towards its goal of planting enough cover crops to make a significant dent in nutrient pollution in waterways. That’s according to a coalition of environmental groups responding to the state’s recently-released biennial Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy report.  Nutrient runoff from farms can promote blue algae growth. That depletes oxygen levels in the water and harms the ecosystem. The state currently has about 710,000 acres of cover crops planted each winter to reduce runoff. The goal is to have 19 million acres planted by 2035. – Tim Shelley, WCBU 

School Bus Driver Charged, Accused Of Drinking Beer On Route

AURORA — A 44-year-old bus driver in suburban Chicago has been arrested after authorities say she drank beer while taking more than 30 elementary students to school. Michelle Passley of North Aurora was charged Monday with misdemeanor endangering the life and health of a child. Aurora police say bus video appears to show the driver drinking from a brown paper bag on Nov. 15 along a morning route about 40 miles west of Chicago. The bus company told police that a store clerk called the school district after selling beer to a woman who drove off in a school bus. The company says it then reviewed bus camera footage. Passley has been fired. Police say she was arrested Monday and faces a Dec. 27 court hearing. – Associated Press

City Council Approves Chicago Mayor’s $11.6B Budget Plan

CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council has passed Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $11.6 billion budget plan by a 39-11 vote. Lightfoot’s office says Tuesday the budget is balanced and will close an $838 million shortfall without a “significant” increase in new property taxes. Lightfoot says in a release that a review of city expenditures identified “structural solutions to balance the budget.” The budget also increases funding for affordable housing, mental health, anti-violence and homeless prevention efforts by more than $30 million over last year. – Associated Press

State To Crackdown On Illegal Parking In Handicapped Spaces

SPRINGFIELD — State officials are reminding holiday shoppers in Illinois not to park in handicapped-accessible spaces. WLS-TV reports Tuesday that a state-wide wide crackdown on illegal parking will start Friday at shopping malls and shopping centers. It will continue through the holiday season. The television station reports that fines for parking in such spaces can be up to $350. Secretary of State Jesse White warns that “if you don’t belong here, don’t park here.” – Associated Press



Picture of Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director at Illinois Public Media. He oversees daily newscasts and online stories. He also manages The 21st Show, a live, weekday talk show that airs on 7 NPR stations throughout Illinois. He is the executive producer of IPM's annual environmental TV special "State of Change." And he is the co-creator of Illinois Soul, IPM's Black-focused audio service that launched in February 2024. Before arriving at IPM in 2019, he served as News Director at WKAR in East Lansing and spent 17 years as a TV news producer and manager at KXAS, the NBC-owned station in Dallas/Fort Worth. Reginald is the recipient of three Edward R. Murrow regional awards, seven regional Emmy awards, and multiple honors from the National Association of Black Journalists. Born in Vietnam, Reginald grew up in Colorado and is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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