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In last-minute reversal, former Sen. Sam McCann pleads guilty to corruption charges

In last-minute reversal, former Sen. Sam McCann pleads guilty to corruption charges

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com This is a breaking news story and will be updated. As federal prosecutors were preparing to rest their case Thursday in the corruption trial of former Republican state Sen. Sam McCann, the one-time gubernatorial candidate had a change of heart. His attorney announced McCann would reverse his position…

Customers pay for utilities' lawyers and corporate donations. Advocates want to change that.

Customers pay for utilities’ lawyers and corporate donations. Advocates want to change that.

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com Illinoisans pay tens of millions of dollars each year to utilities to cover costs they accrue for lawyers, belonging to trade groups, making charitable contributions and purchasing advertisements meant to boost utilities’ public image.  Consumer advocates are pushing for a change to state law that would bar utilities…

Transportation workers rally for new contract amid negotiations with state

Transportation workers rally for new contract amid negotiations with state

By ALEX ABBEDUTO   Capitol News Illinois  abbeduto@capitolnewsillinois.com  Groups of Illinois Department of Transportation workers represented by local Teamsters unions rallied at facilities in Collinsville and Springfield Wednesday after recently passing a strike authorization and filing complaints against the state.  Teamsters Local 916 President JP Fyans said negotiations have been ongoing since before the contract expired…

In day 2 of trial, prosecutor’s detail former lawmaker’s alleged RV rental scheme

In day 2 of trial, prosecutor’s detail former lawmaker’s alleged RV rental scheme

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com This story will be updated with further details from the trial. Former Republican State Sen. Sam McCann was back in federal court on Wednesday for day two of his trial for alleged misuse of campaign funds. Prosecutors delved into McCann’s alleged scheme to rent out a motor home…

Feds accuse ex-lawmaker of ‘greed, fraud and arrogance’ in misusing campaign funds

Feds accuse ex-lawmaker of ‘greed, fraud and arrogance’ in misusing campaign funds

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Bass pulled no punches in describing former Republican state Sen. Sam McCann on the first day of his federal corruption trial on Tuesday. “This case is about greed, fraud and arrogance,” Bass said. “Greed for a lifestyle far beyond his means…fraud in…

Ex-Madigan aide sentenced to 30 months in prison for obstruction of justice attempt, perjury

Ex-Madigan aide sentenced to 30 months in prison for obstruction of justice attempt, perjury

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com CHICAGO – For most of his adult working life, Tim Mapes only had one boss: former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. And for the more than 25 years he served as Madigan’s chief of staff, Mapes was known for his extreme loyalty to the powerful speaker. His office…

Gun rights groups ask SCOTUS to review Illinois’ assault weapons ban

Gun rights groups ask SCOTUS to review Illinois’ assault weapons ban

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – In a long-expected move, national gun rights organizations are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Illinois’ ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. In separate petitions filed Monday, the Colorado-based National Association for Gun Rights and the Nevada-based Firearms Policy Coalition asked the nation’s…

McCann trial delayed another day as he cancels plan to represent himself

McCann trial delayed another day as he cancels plan to represent himself

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The federal corruption trial of former Republican state Sen. Sam McCann was delayed again on Monday, but this time for only one day to allow a court-appointed standby attorney time to take over his defense. McCann’s trial has been delayed numerous times since his February 2021…

Former lawmaker taken into custody amid delays to his corruption trial after sudden hospitalization

Former lawmaker taken into custody amid delays to his corruption trial after sudden hospitalization

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Former Republican State Sen. Sam McCann, a onetime third-party candidate for governor, was taken into custody Friday morning ahead of his federal corruption trial on charges he misused campaign funds. The arrest caps a bizarre week that was supposed to have seen his corruption trial begin…

Misdeeds by Carlinville funeral home director spur legislative proposals

Misdeeds by Carlinville funeral home director spur legislative proposals

By BETH HUNDSDORFER   Capitol News Illinois  bhundsdorfer@capitolnewsillinois.com  The wrong cremains were buried in a national cemetery. Bodies cremated under the wrong name. The wrong ashes returned to families from coast to coast.  An investigation into the mishandling of human remains has affected at least 80 families so far and continues to ripple out from…

Capitol Briefs: IDOT workers authorize strike; attorney general warns of AI election scams

Capitol Briefs: IDOT workers authorize strike; attorney general warns of AI election scams

By ANDREW ADAMS & JENNIFER FULLER  Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Several Teamsters unions representing thousands of state highway workers have authorized strikes as contract negotiations between them and the state’s Department of Transportation continue.  The eight local unions that authorized strikes are spread throughout Illinois and represent around 3,800 employees, including drivers, highway maintainers and…

In crisis, she went to an Illinois facility. Two years later, she still isn’t able to leave

In crisis, she went to an Illinois facility. Two years later, she still isn’t able to leave

By MOLLY PARKER  & BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois mparker@capitolnewsillinois.com bhundsdorfer@capitolnewsillinois.com This article was produced for ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network in partnership with Capitol News Illinois.  Kaleigh Rogers was in crisis when she checked into a state-run institution on Illinois’ northern border two years ago. Rogers, who has cerebral palsy, had a mental health breakdown during…

Capitol Briefs: Tax credits for children, manufacturers among new legislative proposals

Capitol Briefs: Tax credits for children, manufacturers among new legislative proposals

By ANDREW ADAMS  COLE LONGCOR & ALEX ABBEDUTO Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com After failing to pass a child tax credit last year, advocates returned to Springfield Wednesday to propose a scaled back version of the policy which they say would still reduce child poverty and spur economic growth.  The proposal, contained in House Bill 4917…

Trump’s Illinois ballot challenge to move forward

Trump’s Illinois ballot challenge to move forward

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – A Cook County judge ruled Wednesday that a case seeking to bar former President Donald Trump from the March 19 Republican primary ballot in Illinois will move forward independently of a similar case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Following a brief hearing conducted by videoconference,…

Capitol Briefs: Lawmakers introduce police reform measures, advocates look to end tipped wage

Capitol Briefs: Lawmakers introduce police reform measures, advocates look to end tipped wage

By ANDREW ADAMS & ALEX ABBEDUTO Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com CHICAGO — Families of gun violence victims are asking the state legislature to reform how police handle unsolved murder investigations through legislation introduced this week. House Bill 4753, sponsored by Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, would establish a procedure for families to request a review of…

Day in court postponed for former lawmaker who checked into hospital on eve of corruption trial

Day in court postponed for former lawmaker who checked into hospital on eve of corruption trial

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – On what was supposed to be the third morning of a weeklong corruption trial of former State Sen. Sam McCann, the onetime third-party candidate for governor instead videoconferenced into U.S. District Judge Colleen Lawless’ courtroom from his hospital bed.  McCann, who checked himself into Missouri Baptist…

Indicted former lawmaker’s corruption trial up in the air after hospitalization forces delay

Indicted former lawmaker’s corruption trial up in the air after hospitalization forces delay

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Sporting a 5 o’clock shadow and a slight grimace, former Republican State Sen. Sam McCann held his phone very close to his face as he videoconferenced into a federal courtroom from his hospital bed in St. Louis late Tuesday afternoon. McCann’s sudden hospitalization has muddied the…

State Supreme Court denies state lawmaker’s bid to vacate gun ban ruling

State Supreme Court denies state lawmaker’s bid to vacate gun ban ruling

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com The Illinois Supreme Court has again denied a request from a Republican lawmaker seeking to repeal the state’s assault weapons ban.  Gov. JB Pritzker signed the ban on the sale, possession and manufacture of a long list of firearms, high-capacity magazines and certain accessories in January 2023. State…

Former GOP lawmaker’s trial again delayed amid last-minute hospitalization

Former GOP lawmaker’s trial again delayed amid last-minute hospitalization

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Instead of laying out his defense in his long-awaited federal corruption trial on Monday morning, former State Sen. Sam McCann was hospitalized in Missouri after a weekend of feeling unwell, according to his wife and a standby attorney. McCann had been granted an extension of his…

Former GOP lawmaker’s trial again delayed amid last-minute hospitalization

Former GOP lawmaker’s trial again delayed amid last-minute hospitalization

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Instead of laying out his defense in his long-awaited federal corruption trial on Monday morning, former State Sen. Sam McCann was hospitalized in Missouri after a weekend of feeling unwell, according to his wife and a standby attorney. McCann had been granted an extension of his…

Capitol Briefs: State gets ‘average’ lung cancer grade, announces opioid settlements, manufacturing grants

Capitol Briefs: State gets ‘average’ lung cancer grade, announces opioid settlements, manufacturing grants

By COLE LONGCOR & JENNIFER FULLER Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com The American Lung Association’s 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report shows Illinois has “a lot of work to do” to ensure individuals at high risk for lung cancer are properly screened and treated. The report graded Illinois as “average” in nearly all categories such as…

Capitol Briefs: Sparta facility inks trapshooting contest extension; IDPH encourages heart health

Capitol Briefs: Sparta facility inks trapshooting contest extension; IDPH encourages heart health

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS news@capitolnewsillinois.com  The Amateur Trapshooting Association has signed a multi-year contract with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, keeping its Grand American competition in Sparta until at least 2036. The Grand American brings thousands of competitors to the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Randolph County and pumps tens of millions of…

Group challenging Trump’s ballot access in Cook County court hopes for quick decision

Group challenging Trump’s ballot access in Cook County court hopes for quick decision

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – A national voting rights organization is asking a Cook County judge to overturn a ruling from the Illinois State Board of Elections and block former President Donald Trump from being listed on the March 19 Republican primary ballot. Lawyers for the group Free Speech for People…

Copays take effect for immigrant health programs as cost estimates continue to decline

Copays take effect for immigrant health programs as cost estimates continue to decline

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Cost estimates for a pair of state-funded health care programs serving certain low-income noncitizens have declined by tens of millions of dollars in recent months as the state rolled out new copay and co-insurance requirements this week. The Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant…

Local News

Steve Palmer, chairman of the Brew Moon Festival; Susanna Decker of Community Support Services; and McCook Mayor Terrance Carr pose with the oversized check donated from the festival. (Photos by Steve Metsch) 

Brew Moon raises $33,000 for two charitable organizations

By Steve Metsch Two local charitable organizations will benefit from the 12th annual Brew Moon Beer & Band Festival held in October at the MAX in McCook. The Kelli Joy O’Laughlin Memorial Foundation, based in Indian Head Park, and Community Support Services, based in Brookfield, each received $16,500. Checks were presented to representatives of each…

Mario DePasquale

Ex-McCook police chief sentenced to 27 months in extortion plot

By Bob Bong Mario DePasquale, the former police chief of McCook, was sentenced last week to more than two years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to conspiring with the village’s former mayor to extort two businessmen out of tens of thousands of dollars. DePasquale, 50, was sentenced February 21 to 27 months…

stealing Mail

Palos Heights police bust mail theft ring

3 arrested for allegedly stealing mail in Palos Heights, Palos Park By Jeff Vorva The good news is that lost mail involving residents of Palos Park and Palos Heights has been found. The bad news is that it may be a while before they get that mail back. Three people were arrested for their alleged…

Shepard High School junior, Anastasia Kladis, has raised nearly $2,000 for Special Olympics Illinois and hopes to keep the amount growing before she takes the plunge at Shepard High School on March 7. (Supplied photos)

Shepard student to take the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

By Kelly White One Shepard High School student has been excelling in raising funds for this year’s Polar Plunge. Anastasia Kladis, a junior from Palos Heights, has raised nearly $2,000 for Special Olympics Illinois and hopes to keep the amount growing before she takes the plunge at school on March 7. “I have made a…

Hon. Koula Fornier

Fournier resigns from TTO to become judge

From staff reports The Lyons Township Trustees of Schools is accepting applications for a vacancy on their board, after Trustee Koula A. Fournier resigned earlier this month after being sworn-in as a Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court. Fournier was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the Maloney vacancy of the 4th…

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Cheesie’s coming to Garfield Ridge

. Popular ‘pub & grub’ coming to Archer/Nashville .  By Tim Hadac A business strip in need of a shot of adrenaline is about get a bit of zing next month. Cheesie’s Pub & Grub, a well known favorite on the North Side, is bringing its casual dining fun to the vacant Lindy’s/Gertie’s building at…

Nancy Diaz, area coach of operations for Panda Express, cuts the ribbon at the new Oak Lawn restaurant on Feb. 15. Joining her for the ceremony were (far left) Oak Lawn Trustee Paul Mallo (3rd) and Mayor Terry Vorderer. Xin Qin, the regional director of operations for the new Panda Express, is at far right. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn welcomes second Panda Express restaurant

By Joe Boyle A large crowd of customers began lining up outside the new Panda Express in Oak Lawn the morning of Feb. 15 and were not disappointed when they entered the restaurant. A major draw to the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony was that the first 88 customers to enter the restaurant would receive…

evergreen park logo

Evergreen Park officer arrests armed driver after traffic stop

By Joe Boyle What appeared to be a routine traffic stop resulted in the arrest of an armed man in Evergreen Park. At Monday’s Evergreen Park Village Board meeting, Police Chief Michael Saunders requested that Officer Adrian Ortiz receive a commendation for making an arrest of a suspect who may have been a danger to…

Ruby, Palos Hills mascot, visits the local McDonald's. (Supplied photo)

Palos Hills to start posting job openings

By Nuha Abdessalam The Palos Hills Economic Development Department will start making job postings accessible for locals to scope out the job scene. Mayor Gerald Bennett and aldermen highlighted the city’s flourishing local business climate during the city council meeting on Feb. 15. Ald. Donna O’Connell said the city’s Economic Development Department will be able…

Oak Lawn Library patrons were able to talk to local authors at the library's second annual RomCon. (Photos by Kelly White)

Love is in the air at RomCon 2024

By Kelly White Love made an appearance at the local library this past weekend. Back by popular demand again this year, the Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., Oak Lawn, held RomCon 2024, celebrating the romance genre on February 17. “RomCon is a time for fellow romance readers to get together to meet romance…

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