News Local/State

News Around Illinois - February 10, 2020


Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

OSF Healthcare Touts Emergency Care App

URBANA - OSF Healthcare is encouraging people to install an app on their phone that will alert them when people nearby are in need of life-saving CPR. The PulsePoint app launched a couple years ago in Peoria and Champaign counties and recently expanded to Vermilion county. The American Heart Association says the survival rate for people experiencing cardiac arrest is less than 12 percent but CPR can double or triple the chances of survival. OSF Healthcare reports that since PulsePoint launched in Champaign county in 2017, more than 7000 people have subscribed to the app. Formal CPR training is encouraged but not required. - Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Stepping Down

SPRINGFIELD - University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch has announced she is retiring this summer after 9 years at the school.  Her tenure has been marked by challenges, such as falling enrollment.  The total number of students is just under 4,300 and the lowest in nearly two decades. She has also faced criticism from faculty, who say they’ve been kept out of decision-making. But there have also been successes, including the construction of the first student union on the campus and the addition of several new academic programs. Koch says she wants to spend more time with her family. The university’s president has promised a transparent leadership transition. - Sean Crawford, NPR Illinois

Economist: 2020 Uncertain For Soybean Farmers

DEKALB - Illinois soybean farmers continue to face uncertainty selling their product to China.  The recent coronavirus epidemic has lowered demand, but it isn’t the only factor. University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs says there was already anxiety about China’s demand with the ongoing trade war. “There’s an expectation that China’s going to buy more soybeans to meet their commitments in the phase one trade deal, and maybe later than a lot of people expected, which means we’re pushing the price rally deeper into 2020 than we would like to see," said Hubbs. The “phase one” trade deal was signed in January, and includes commitments that China will buy more agricultural products. But until demand rises, Hubbs says Illinois farmers will have difficulty selling their products to China at more profitable prices. - Chase Cavanaugh, WNIJ News

Illinois Extends Medical Marijuana Sales Hours Amid Pressure

CHICAGO — Illinois officials are allowing medical marijuana businesses to stay open later. The change announced Friday follows complaints that people seeking those products have been at a disadvantage since a new state law allowing recreational sales took effect this year. The department also reminded retailers that they must prioritize medical cannabis patients during product shortages, according to a separate statement released last week.  Marijuana product shortages have been widespread in Illinois in recent months. The state law broadly permitting adults to purchase and use marijuana products took effect Jan. 1. - Associated Press

SIU Edwardsville Gets Record Number Of Fall Applications

EDWARDSVILLE — An increase in the number of applicants to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has officials feeling hopeful about enrollment for the coming fall semester. Admissions officials at the school say freshman applications for fall of this year totaled 10,860, beating a previous record from 2015. The Alton Telegraph reports that the number of total applications is up 21% compared to last year. Admissions officials say they will now focus on keeping in touch with applying students as they decide where to attend college. - Associated Press

Man Hopes Thrift-Store Urn Filled With Ashes Finds Real Home 

PEORIA — A thrift-store find in Illinois has prompted its buyer to find the person to whom it rightfully belongs _ and might not know it's even gone. The Journal Star of Peoria reports bargain-hunting Robert Ray spotted what was labeled “figurine” in a Peoria Goodwill store. Upon closer inspection, he recognized it was actually an urn, with ashes still inside. Ray said he bought the $2.99 jar, decorated with a military-style flag and eagle, with the intention of finding the owner. He bought it in late December, a day or two after it arrived in the store. Goodwill officials say they don't know the source of the donation. Ray hopes someone realizes it was mistakenly donated and contacts the newspaper. - Associated Press