News Around Illinois - January 22, 2020

 
Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

Today's headlines come from WSIU, WCBU, and the Associated Press. Find news from across Illinois 24/7 at illinoisnewsroom.org.

Pritzker Says SIU-Carbondale Project Is Sample Of Hi Ed Improvements

CARBONDALE - Illinois Governor JB Pritzker visited the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus Tuesday to highlight the state's capital program funding for higher education. Pritzker touted over eight million dollars in funding to start planning the renovation and expansion of the campus’ Communications Building, built in 1964.  Planned improvements include state-of-the-art media labs and a combined broadcast-print newsroom.. The governor noted that he signed the bipartisan budget that contained tens of millions of additional funding for this and other higher education projects. The money comes as welcome relief for SIU, one of several state universities that have seen their enrollment numbers shrink in recent years. Enrollment at SIU’s flagship Carbondale campus fell to 11,695 last fall, down 8.75% from the year before. - Brad Palmer, WSIU

Campaign Begins To Make Starved Rock State Park More Accessible

OGLESBY - Starved Rock State Park lacks a single trail accessible to people with physical disabilities. The "For the Love of Starved Rock" campaign aims to change that. Amy Trimble is the president of Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center. She says the new trail will start at the parking lot and wind behind the lodge's cabins. A group called the Starved Rock Walkers is spearheading the accessible trail project. The group also hopes to raise money to repair a bridge over Tonti Canyon and address erosion issues at LaSalle Canyon so trails can reopen. - Tim Shelley, WCBU News

Illinois: Error Registered A Possible 545 Noncitizen Voters

CHICAGO — Officials say a computer error in Illinois' new automatic voter registration system may have led to 545 non-U.S. citizens being registered to vote, 16 of whom cast ballots. The Illinois secretary of state's office has acknowledged the mistake, saying it was an isolated incident. Officials are working to confirm how many people were mistakenly registered and canceling improper registrations. A group of Republican lawmakers has called for an immediate hearing into the issue, calling it a “serious breach'' of voter protections. Illinois made automatic voter registration law in 2017, but it wasn't fully in swing until last year.  - Associated Press

Illinois Healthcare Company Closes Briefly To Meet State Law

WAUKEGAN — An Illinois healthcare manufacturing company has temporarily closed because it couldn't meet new state standards for ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing chemical. The Lake County News-Sun reports that Medline Industries in Waukegan is in the process of completing $10 million in upgrades designed to bring the plant into compliance with the state law. The facility closed about a month ago. Medline spokesman Jesse Greenberg says the company expects to start full operations in a few weeks once the equipment is tested. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is funding testing, which is required for at least 30 days after Medline finishes installing its new equipment. - Associated Press

Police Officer Charged With DUI After Fatal Crash

JOLIET — A suburban Chicago police officer faces a drunken driving charge after she was involved in a traffic collision in which an officer from another department riding with her was killed. Illinois State Police say Joliet Police Officer Erin Zilka was driving in Will County on Interstate 55 early Sunday when her vehicle slammed into a truck that had been involved in a crash a short time earlier. Berwyn Police Officer Charles Schauer, a passenger in Zilka's vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. Joliet Police, where Zilka has been an officer for 12 years, says it has launched an internal investigation. - Associated Press

Story source: Illinois Newsroom