Illinois Public Media News
It's been almost a year since the H1N1 flu strain appeared in the U-S --- but health officials are still urging the public to get vaccinated. The Illinois Department of Public Health has launched a new campaign urging people to get vaccinated, if they haven't done so already.
Julie Pryde of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District says less than a third of county residents have been vaccinated for H1N1, or swine flu. She wants more people vaccinated to protect against a possible resurgence of the virus this spring or fall.
"If you do not have a shot for H1N1, you are not protected", says Pryde. "And we are expecting H1N1 to come back. Right now, it really heating up in the southeast and the south. And there are starting to be more and more cases, which indicates to us that it's going to sweep across the country somewhat like it did in the fall."
Pryde says that outside of some flu-like illnesses reported at hospital emergency rooms, there don't seem to be any signs of H1N1 in Champaign County right now. But the Illinois Department of Public Health says 18 new cases were reported around the state last week, including one death.
In contrast, Pryde says the seasonal flu strain seen this past winter seems to have run its course in Champaign County.
The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is offering free H1N1 flu vaccinations, without an appointment. They're available weekdays from 8 to 4 at the agency's headquarters on West Kenyon Road in Champaign. Pryde reminds parents that children will need two shots, spaced a month apart.
A Cook County judge has lifted a temporary restraining order on a never-enforced Illinois law requiring that a girl's guardians be notified before she has an abortion, but that doesn't mean the law goes into effect right away.
Judge Daniel Riley on Monday also approved a stay, or grace period, to let appeals be worked through in the case.
The law requires doctors to notify the guardians of a girl 17 or younger 48 hours before the girl gets an abortion.
Earlier this month, Riley heard arguments from the Illinois attorney general's office and the American Civil Liberties Union on the 1995 Parental Notice of Abortion Act.
ACLU of Illinois Executive Director Colleen Connell says the group is exploring legal options, including filing an appeal.
Fight in Lincoln's Challenge Dining Hall May Lead to Expulsions
30 to 50 cadets at Rantoul's Lincoln's Challenge program could face expulsion over a fight in the academy's dining hall Sunday night.
The FBI in Illinois says weekend raids in Ohio and Indiana are part of an ongoing investigation led by the FBI in Michigan.
Raids were conducted in all three states and at least three people were arrested, two in Ohio and one in Illinois.
Federal warrants were sealed, but one federal law enforcement official says some of those arrested face gun charges. That official also says they're pursuing other suspects.
A militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one of the raids was a Christian militia group.
George Ponce, who works at a pizzeria next door to a home raided in Hammond, Ind., said he and a few co-workers stepped outside for a break Saturday night and saw a swarm of law enforcement officers.
Ponce said officers yelled "get back inside'' and told them the house was being swept for bombs. He estimates agents took more than two dozen guns from the house.
A Chicago man accused of terrorism is scheduled to be in court Monday, but some of the public proceeding may be held in private.
Prosecuctors say the case against Tahawwur Rana includes classified information.
Information the government would like to use against him, but information the government would not like to trot out in a public courtroom.
That's why much of Monday's s hearing may be closed.
The judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys will likely discuss how they'll handle evidence that falls under the "Classified Information Procedures Act," or CIPA.
The act allows prosecutors to protect certain information by using only partial evidence, a part of a recording or a document.
Prosecutors would present the evidence to the judge who then decides how much of it can be seen by defense attorneys.
Rana has been charged with supporting another Chicagoan - David Headley - as he helped plan the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed more than a hundred and sixty people.
Sheila Simon has won the Democratic nomination for Illinois lieutenant governor.
Simon had the backing of Gov. Pat Quinn, who praised her public service and also said it was important to have a downstate resident on the Democratic ticket.
The Democratic State Central Committee chose Simon Saturday to fill a vacancy created when the original nominee dropped out amid a scandal over his legal problems.
She defeated Rep. Art Turner, who had finished second in the February primary election.
Turner is black and some Democratic leaders had predicted that rejecting him would sour black voters on the Democratic ticket.
Meanwhile, Republican lieutenant governor nominee Jason Plummer is welcoming Simon to the race
Plummer said Saturday that he hopes for a thoughtful campaign that sticks to the issues -- especially Simon's support for raising income taxes.
The 27-year-old candidate says the Democratic State Central Committee's decision to choose Simon over Turner was an example of arrogance.
Plummer says Gov. Pat Quinn hand-picked his running mate and ignored the voters.
Illinois Democratic Party leaders meet Saturday morning in Springfield to pick a nominee for lieutenant governor.
Governor Pat Quinn announced on Friday he wanted Sheila Simon to fill the ballot spot left vacant by Scott Lee Cohen, who won the primary and then withdrew.
Simon is the daughter of the late U-S Senator Paul Simon, himself a one-term lieutenant governor.
Quinn doesn't get a vote when party officials pick the nominee...but he hopes they listen to his preference.
"There's no sure thing in life, okay?", says Quinn. "You're not sure until they vote"
And some powerful members of the Democratic State Central Committee say they will not be supporting Simon - instead voting for state Representative Art Turner, who finished second in the primary.
Turner's supporters say there could be a voter backlash if he doesn't end up the nominee, but Quinn says the longtime lawmaker has no claim to the nomination.
"The way primaries work is, the one who finishes first is the winner", sayd Quinn. "Everyone else goes home, you know? When it's over it's over."
It's ALL expected to be over on Saturday, when the 19 men and 19 women on the committee cast their votes.
Portraits of Illinois' former governors hang in the state capitol. But House lawmakers want to make sure a likeness of the state's last governor, Rod Blagojevich, doesn't join them, at taxpayers' expense.
Previous Illinois governors have gotten in trouble with the law ... including Otto Kerner and George Ryan. Portraits of both men still hang in the Capitol. But Rod Blagojevich is the only Illinois Governor to have been impeached and removed from office.
Republican Representative Bill Black of Danville says that distinction is why he doesn't want the state to foot the bill for a painting of Blaogjevich ... which Black estimates could cost up to $25,000.
"I don't think it unreasonable to say you forfeit your right to have the taxpayers memorialize your time as Governor", said Black. "You've given up that right when you were impeached and convicted by the Illinois Senate."
Black says if a private group or the family wants to pay for a portrait ... that's O-K.
While Black's measure passed ... 23 representatives voted "no", including Onarga Republican Shane Cultra
Representative Jack Franks, a Woodstock Democrat, ultimately voted for the measure. But he says you can't just erase history.
"Sometimes its been shameful", said Franks, chuckling, "but it's our history."
If it becomes law, the measure will apply to any Governor thrown out of office.
The House also approved a measure requiring public officials convicted of corruption to forfeit and return to the state any profits of their crimes. That measure passed 107-0.
Gov. Pat Quinn is set to announce that the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon is his pick for a running mate.
A person familiar with Quinn's selection process tells The Associated Press that Quinn wants Sheila Simon to fill the lieutenant governor spot. The person didn't want to pre-empt Quinn's announcement at a Friday afternoon news conference and would speak only on condition of anonymity.
While Simon might be Quinn's choice, the Democratic Party State Central Committee has the final say. They'll meet Saturday in Springfield to make the official pick.
Simon is a law professor at Southern Illinois University and a former member of the Carbondale City Council.
Democrats get to pick Quinn's running mate because primary winner Scott Lee Cohen quit amid questions about his past. Simon is on a list of finalists they'll choose from.
Unemployment in Illinois rose slightly from January to February.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate for February was 11.4 percent. That compares to 11.3 percent in January. There were 900 fewer jobs in Illinois in February.
Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Maureen O'Donnell says she's encouraged that the job loss pace is slowing in the state. She says a few more months of data are needed before it's possible to assess the path of recovery.
Illinois' jobless rate is at its highest level since July 1983. Since the recession began in December 2007, the nation has lost 8.4 million jobs and Illinois has lost 403,600 jobs.
The national unemployment rate in February was 9.7 percent.
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