News Local/State

News Around Illinois - January 20, 2020


Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

Today's headlines come from NPR Illinois and the Associated Press. Get news updates from across the state 24/7 at

Dems Elect Harmon To Serve As President of Illinois Senate

SPRINGFIELD - There is a new president of the Illinois Senate: Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, won the support of his colleagues during a special meeting Sunday afternoon. Harmon won after a contentious fight. His main opponent was state Sen. Kim Lightford, a Democrat from Maywood who would have been the first woman — and the first African-American woman — to hold the top position in the Illinois House or Senate. But after two months of campaigning and a five-hour, closed-door meeting among Democrats, Harmon emerged the winner. After losing the contest in the caucus meeting, Lightford formally nominated Harmon for president on the Senate floor. She will continue in her role as Senate majority leader — the number two position. - Brian Mackey, NPR Illinois

U Of I and SIU Partner To Bring Higher Education To Springfield

SPRINGFIELD - Two universities with local ties are collaborating to bring a new higher education presence to downtown Springfield. On Thursday, the University of Illinois Springfield and Southern Illinois University publicly announced their partnership to create an innovation space in close proximity to the Capitol Building. UIS's Bruce Sommer  presented the plan at a dinner sponsored by the civic group Downtown Springfield Inc. He says he hopes the project is more than just one building — but rather an entire district devoted to education, commercialization of technology, and business incubation. Sommer says the exact location and scope of the project have yet to be decided. One plan, from the Springfield-Sangamon Growth Alliance, would encompass four city blocks adjacent to the Statehouse. - Mike Smith, NPR Illinois

U Of I Professor Wins Fellowship For Study Of Violin In UK

URBANA — A University of Illinois music professor has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Musicology professor Christina Bashford was awarded one of 188 humanities grants across the nation receiving $30.9 million. She will use the grant on a book project about the impact of the violin on Great Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. U of I Chancellor Robert J. Jones noted that the fellowship is one of the nation's more competitive humanities programs. The NEH awards an average of 79 grants a year out of 1,100 applications received. - Associated Press

DNA Tests Confirm Coyote Captured In Chicago Attacked Boy

CHICAGO — Animal control officials in Chicago say DNA tests confirm a coyote recently captured in the city is the same animal that attacked a 6-year-old boy. Chicago Animal Care and Control released a state Sunday saying that the animal had been shot in the chest with a BB gun, which could have caused its aggressive behavior. The animal is expected to remain at a local wildlife rehabilitation center. It was captured after being chased by Chicago police and animal control officers for several blocks. Animal control officials say another coyote was spotted in the same part of the city but eluded capture. - Associated Press

Jet Slides On Illinois Airport's Taxiway In Wintry Weather

MOLINE — Officials in western Illinois say a mix of icy conditions and high winds contributed to a jet sliding along a taxiway. No injuries were reported when a Delta jet carrying 50 passengers slid Saturday afternoon at Moline's Quad City International Airport. The jet was bound for Detroit. Airport spokeswoman Ashleigh Johnston says the airport closed Friday just before 3 p.m. and reopened Saturday after 10 a.m.  Johnston says crews were working to keep runways and taxiways clear of ice and snow, when temperatures dropped and created icy conditions. Wind gusts at the airports were measured at 51 mph. - Associated Press

Illinois Approves Coal Company's Mine Water Pumping Proposal

CARBONDALE — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources approved the first of three permits for a coal company's plan to discharge waste water from a mine into the Big Muddy River. The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale reports that Williamson Energy LLC's Pond Creek Mine pipeline would dump millions of gallons of mine wastewater into the river. The department made a final decision in December on Williamson Energy’s application through its Office of Mines and Minerals. The company still needs authorization from the state's Environmental Protection Agency, which is awaiting its application fee. Critics say they will continue efforts to halt the pipeline. - Associated Press