Pritzker urges child vaccination as changes to Health Care Right of Conscience Act emerge

Funds flow again for local projects

Spread the love

Were briefly frozen after Madigan indictment

By Tim Hadac

Three public works projects affecting the Clearing and Grafield Ridge area appear to be back on track now that Governor JB Pritzker has given the green light to their state funding.

img PRITZKER 10191 tbjucg

Governor JB Pritzker

Funding had been jeopardized briefly by a request from 10 state representatives (none from the Southwest Side), who in a March 7 letter to the governor implied the projects might somehow be inappropriate because they had been pushed by former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-22nd), who was indicted on 22 counts of corruption on March 2.

Madigan’s indictment, they wrote, calls into question “the legitimacy of these projects and whether they inured to the benefit of the community and the taxpayers or whether they were advanced at the behest of Madigan on behalf of or to benefit his private law clients or other politically-connected individuals or entities.

“According to a January 2022 report published in the Sun-Times, the 2019 Rebuild Illinois capital package contained $144M of projects directly tied to former Speaker Madigan,” the 10 legislators continued. “Records show that among other projects, Madigan secured $98M to address train brake noise outside three hotels near Midway Airport owned by two brothers, who were clients of Madigan’s property tax business. According to the Better Government Association, the brothers said they never requested the funding.

“The report also identified three additional projects tied to Madigan, totaling $6M for a control tower at Lewis University Airport in Romeoville, $31M for The Academy for Global Citizenship, a charter school near Madigan’s former House district, and $9M for John Hancock College Prep, a Chicago public high school in Madigan’s former district. According to the BGA, the Academy received tens of millions more than it requested, and no funding was requested for John Hancock by CPS.”

Two days after they sent the letter, however, the legislators basically said “Never mind” and asked the governor to move forward with the project. They hinted they had been pressed by members of the General Assembly’s Latino Caucus to back off.

Some of those members include Southwest Side Reps. Aaron Ortiz (D-1st), Edgar Gonzalez Jr. (D-21st) and Madigan’s successor, Angelica “Angie” Guerrero-Cuellar (D-22nd), as well as Senators Antonio “Tony” Munoz (D-1st) and Celina Villanueva (D-11th). What specific role any of them may or may not have had in defending the funding remains unclear.

Southwest Siders contacted by the Greater Southwest News-Herald should mixed reaction.

“Who are [the 10 legislators] to question funding for projects in this part of city?” asked Ruben Jimenez. “What about state-funded projects in their districts? Why can’t they be reviewed? Are you telling me politics played no role in getting their pet projects funded? Give me a break.”

The initial request to freeze the state funding was “nothing more than virtue signaling, an empty gesture,” added Ken Micek. “I know it’s open season on Mike Madigan right now and some politicians want to kick him when he’s down, as they probably have for years, but why do it at the expense of funding for our community?”

Joseph Devlin looked at the dollar amounts and shook his head.

“I think some of this is excessive, especially when you consider all the things that aren’t funded,” he said. “Look at the condition of some of our state roads, especially Cicero Avenue. Why can’t some of those funds be used to reconstruct Cicero north and south of the airport? Why are some needs fully funded while others starve for attention?”

In response to a question, 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn said the $9 million was earmarked to pay for third-story construction at the new Hancock High School, 5437 W. 64th Place.

Plans originally called for a two-story building, but Quinn said a “teacher-driven” process resulted in a strong request for a third story—which after consulting with Department of Aviation officials—was approved.

“As I see it, construction of the new Hancock is an issue of fairness for the Southwest Side,” Quinn told the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound. “It makes no sense for the best and brightest kids around here to have to take multiple buses and trains to go to top [CPS] schools like Whitney Young or Jones College Prep. Our kids are just as bright and just as deserving as kids in other parts of the city, and I make no apologies for my continued advocacy for getting the best possible educational resources right here in the neighborhood.”

In response to a request for comment about the $31 million and what exactly it will be used for, Academy for Global Citizenship officials referred the matter to their paid public elations consultant, who said in an email, “The Academy for Global Citizenship is extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with our community to cultivate equitable access to education, wellness, sustainability and economic vitality to drive meaningful, multi-generational impact. We are currently working on a groundbreaking for the near future, but don’t have an exact date at this time.”

Local News

Evergreen Park native Abbey Murphy is enjoying success at the collegiate and international levels as a member of the Minnesota and U.S.women's hockey teams. Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota Department of Athletics

Hockey gold-medalist Abbey Murphy among college athletes to strike NIL deal with White Sox

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Four college athletes who attended area high schools have been named CHISOX Athletes for 2024, an NIL initiative created by the Chicago White Sox. Notre Dame offensive lineman Pat Coogan (Marist), Minnesota hockey forward Abbey Murphy (Mother McAuley) and Illinois soccer player Yulexi Diaz (Solorio) are among the athletes…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound April 3, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Reavis’ Alyssa Juarez dribbles the soccer ball down the field during a game against Stagg on March 28. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Girls Soccer | Stagg, Reavis looking for more

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent The final match of March for both Reavis and Stagg ended in a 0-0 draw on March 28 in Burbank. The Rams (2-4-1 entering this week) are led by third-year head coach Konrad Dziedzic. This season’s team captains include seniors Alaina Hernandez and Olivia Smcyz. “The captains play a…

balls

Sports Bits | Aaliyah Flores named St. Laurence hoops MVP

Spread the love

Spread the love• Shepard alum John Economos was named to the National Hellenistic Hall of Fame. Economos was a Regional News-Reporter Boys Basketball Player of the Year in 1995. • Marist boys basketball coach Brian Hynes was named District 3 Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year. • St. Laurence freshman Aaliyah Flores was…

Baseball in a mitt with a black bat low angle selective focus view on a baseball field

College Baseball | Saint Xavier and St. Francis combine for 68 hits, 11 HRs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent In a showdown between two of the top teams in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, St. Francis (Illinois) won a strange and windy doubleheader over Saint Xavier, 21-4 and 30-14, on March 26 in Chicago. Yes, those were baseball scores. The teams combined for 68 hits and 11 home…

A rendering of the new Brother Rice baseball field. Construction is expected to take place this summer. Brother Rice photo

Brother Rice baseball field to get major upgrade

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Brother Rice is getting an upgrade to its baseball field. The project has been in the planning stages for years, but the Covid-19 pandemic and projects around the school have put it to the back burner. But the school announced last week that the project will commence this summer.…

The Vikings’ Matthew Carrano loads up at the plate. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Baseball | St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus gets 500th career win

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom Staff Reports St. Laurence defeated Naperville North on March 30 to give longtime Vikings coach Pete Lotus his 500th career victory. The Vikings beat the Huskies, 3-0, in Burbank. Two days earlier, Joe Olsen and Enrique Villanueva combined to allow just one run on four hits over five innings, and senior Matthew…

Soccer ball in motion over grass

Pro Soccer Brief | Fire II draw with Philly

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Chicago Fire II played its first home MLS NEXT Pro game of the season and tied the Philadelphia Union, 1-1, on March 27 at SeatGeek Stadium. Harold Osorio scored his first goal of the season and goalie Patrick Los was busy making eight saves.

Chicago Red Stars standout Mallory Swanson and goalie Alyssa Naher will play for the U.S. women's team against Japan in the SheBelieves Cup. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars’ Swanson and Naeher heading to SheBelieves Cup

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Two Chicago Red Stars are heading to the SheBelieves Cup with the U.S. women’s team. Forward Malloey Swanson and goalie Alyssa Naeher will be among the players representing the U.S. in a game against Japan on April 6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Stars’ Nadia Gomes will be…

Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Swanson reacts after scoring a game-tying goal against Orlando on March 29. IMAGN photo

Swanson scores in Red Stars’ draw with Pride

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent After missing most of the 2023 NWSL season due to surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon, Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Swanson knew she would have to ease into things in 2024. First-year coach Lorne Donaldson was expecting Swanson would return to form five or six games in.…

Neighbors

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

By ALEX ABBEDUTO HANNAH MEISEL & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to create a new state agency to oversee Illinois’ various early childhood programs moved forward on Friday after the state Senate’s unanimous approval. It was one of 244 bills that cleared the Senate this week. Early childhood…

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ largest cannabis business association is pushing to ban the sale of delta-8 THC, an increasingly popular psychoactive substance that’s popped up in corner stores across the country in recent years. New legislation filed in Springfield this week revives an ongoing debate over delta-8 and other…

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com Lead pipes in public water systems and drinking fixtures have been banned in new construction since 1986, when Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, but they are still in use across the U.S. and in Illinois.  The presence of lead pipes has persisted due in part to…

Illinois Senate advances changes to state’s biometric privacy law after business groups split

Illinois Senate advances changes to state’s biometric privacy law after business groups split

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – It’s been more than a year since the Illinois Supreme Court “respectfully suggest(ed)” state lawmakers clarify a law that’s led to several multi-million-dollar settlements with tech companies over the collection of Illinoisans’ biometric data. On Thursday, a bipartisan majority in the Illinois Senate did just that,…

Giannoulias calls for disclosure of lobbyist contracts

Giannoulias calls for disclosure of lobbyist contracts

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – For decades, lobbyists in the Illinois Statehouse have been required to report how much they spend wining, dining and entertaining lawmakers. Currently, though, there is no law requiring lobbyists to disclose how much they are paid by corporations, industry groups or other special interest organizations.. That…

Komatsu mining truck named 2024 ‘coolest thing made in Illinois’

Komatsu mining truck named 2024 ‘coolest thing made in Illinois’

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – A mining truck manufactured by Komatsu was crowned the winner of the 2024 “Makers Madness” contest, earning the title of “the coolest thing made in Illinois” at the Governor’s Mansion Wednesday.  The truck was one of more than 200 entries in the 5th annual contest hosted…

Regulators weigh future of gas industry in Illinois, while clamping down on Chicago utility

Regulators weigh future of gas industry in Illinois, while clamping down on Chicago utility

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com CHICAGO – Natural gas is fueling a fight between consumer advocates, a powerful utility company and the state. Amid competing advertising campaigns, accusations of mismanagement and state decarbonization efforts, the Illinois Commerce Commission is starting a process that will shape how the state regulates the increasingly controversial industry. …

Capitol Briefs: State allocates additional $14M for grocery startups

Capitol Briefs: State allocates additional $14M for grocery startups

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillnois.com Grocery startups can now apply for funding allocated in last year’s $20 million Illinois Grocery Initiative aimed at preventing and eliminating food deserts in Illinois. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which is administering the grants, is currently accepting applications in the second round…

Pritzker names Sen. Ann Gillespie new head of state insurance oversight agency

Pritzker names Sen. Ann Gillespie new head of state insurance oversight agency

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday announced a change in leadership at the agency in charge of regulating the state’s insurance industry. State Sen. Ann Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights, will take over as acting director of the Illinois Department of Insurance starting April 15, replacing Dana Popish Severinghaus,…

Capitol Briefs: State allocates additional $14M for grocery startups; announces first awardees

Capitol Briefs: State allocates additional $14M for grocery startups; announces first awardees

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillnois.com Grocery startups can now apply for funding allocated in last year’s $20 million Illinois Grocery Initiative aimed at preventing and eliminating food deserts in Illinois. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which is administering the grants, is currently accepting applications in the second round…