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Van Pelt celebrates the renaming of Douglas Park

Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020 04:43 PM

douglas park 072320CHICAGO – After years of being challenged by West Side youth, the Chicago Park District Board voted Wednesday to rename Douglas Park after famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass. State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is celebrating the victory in her district.

“I’m glad the city is finally taking this step, after years of pleas to rid the park of Stephen Douglas’ name,” Van Pelt said. “Though there’s still massive issues in front of us, these victories are also significant, and I hope other cities will reconsider the monuments and park names across the state.”

Students from the Village Leadership Academy in North Lawndale first asked the board to rename the park back in 2017, and have not let up since, creating petitions and receiving support letters from local officials.

Most recently, students held a teach-in at the park to further invigorate their campaign and educate their community on Stephen Douglas and Frederick and Anna Murray Douglass.

“The voices of our youth are so important,” Van Pelt said. “It brings a smile to my face knowing the difference they’ve made this week. I implore them to keep educating, and keep raising their voices against injustice.”

The board voted unanimously to rename the park, giving residents 45 days to weigh in on the decision. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has confirmed that this decision is a part of a larger plan “to address our racial history and past, to take account and inventory of what exists in the city and sister agencies to memorialize our past but also account for what’s missing.”  

Manar announces $509 million in infrastructure improvements coming to his district

Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020 04:25 PM

pavement 072320BUNKER HILL – Central Illinois communities will see more than $509 million in funding for road and bridge projects over the next six years as part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s latest Multi-Year Plan under Rebuild Illinois, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) announced Tuesday.

“Transportation infrastructure is indispensable to a strong economic future, and the unprecedented health crisis we’re facing makes the timing of the Rebuild Illinois plan all the more significant,” Manar said. “The plan will help our economy rebound by creating thousands of jobs for families set back by COVID-19, while supporting the work and safety of professional truck drivers who are the unsung heroes of our fight against COVID-19.”

Over $509 million in funding will support 172 projects between 2021 and 2026. Of the 172 projects, 37 will begin within the next year. Manar worked in collaboration with county and municipal leaders in his district to identify locations where infrastructure improvements were most needed.

The Multi-Year Plan will invest $21.3 billion statewide over the next six years to improve 3,356 miles of road and 8.4 million square feet of bridge deck.

Passed in 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker’s historic and bipartisan Rebuild Illinois plan is the largest capital program in state history. In its first year, the program improved 1,706 miles of roadway, and repaired or reconstructed 128 bridges across Illinois.

Manar led negotiation efforts on the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois plan on behalf of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus.

Projects included in the program were selected based on objective criteria, such as pavement conditions, traffic volumes and crash history.

Notable projects taking place in Manar’s district in the next 12 months are listed by county below:

Macon

  • 5.94 miles of road rehabilitation on Old Route 36 from Interstate 72 to 0.2 miles west of Harristown Boulevard, and on U.S. 51 from I-72 to 0.3 miles south of Cantrell Road
  • 2.7 miles of pavement rehabilitation on U.S. 51 from I-72 to Illinois 121 in Decatur
  • 0.74 miles of pavement rehabilitation on Illinois 121 and 22nd Street in Decatur from 0.1 mile south of Kile Street to the Garfield Avenue underpass in Decatur
  • 5.95 miles of pavement reconstruction on I-72 from 4.4 miles west to .3 miles west of the Piatt County line

 

Christian County

  • 5.5 miles of pavement improvements on U.S. Route 51 from the Shelby County line to one mile north of Assumption

 

Madison

  • 6.77 miles of pavement rehabilitation on Illinois 159 from the Macoupin County line to 0.3 miles north of Illinois 140

 

Montgomery

  • 13.11 miles of pavement preservation on the Nokomis Blacktop from Illinois 127 to 0.2 miles east of E. 20th Road

 

Sangamon

  • Development of the Springfield-Sangamon County Transportation Center

 

Macoupin

  • 1.24 miles of road reconstruction along County Highway 14 and Brighton Bunker Hill Road from Fosterburg Road to Shipman Cutoff Road

Glowiak Hilton urges residents to report unemployment fraud

Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020 04:03 PM

UI fraud 072320WESTERN SPRINGS – With rising cases of attempted unemployment fraud, State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) warned residents to contact the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) if they receive benefit cards they did not apply for.

“Scammers are taking advantage of this crisis and trying to line their pockets with money meant to help working families,” Glowiak Hilton said. “If you receive an unemployment benefit card in the mail and did not apply, do not activate it and please report it to IDES.”

Last week residents across the state reported receiving KeyBank debit cards and unemployment letters in the mail even though they did not apply. IDES says that individuals who received these mailings may be victims of identity theft or fraud. The target of this fraud is suspected to be the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Ambiguous guidelines for the program and hasty development may have left the program vulnerable to scammers.

Individuals who received these cards in the mail should not activate the debit card under any circumstances and should instead immediately contact IDES at 800-814-0513 to report identity theft. Victims of fraud should also review their credit reports for possible suspicious activity.

Murphy highlights local schools selected to receive grants supporting future educators

Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020 03:55 PM

young teacher 072320DES PLAINES – To encourage more young people to enter the education field, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is proud to announce nine local schools will receive Education Career Pathways Grants from the Illinois State Board of Education.

“Teachers are among the most important members of our workforce—a great teacher can make all the difference in a child’s life,” said Murphy. “The grants will help our schools recruit a diverse, well-trained and passionate team of educators to lead their classrooms.”

The Northwest Education Council for Student Success has been awarded $249,000, which will be distributed to nine high schools in the Northwest Suburbs to assist these schools in developing Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to prepare students for careers in education.

CTE programs help students develop technical and employability skills while strengthening their core academic abilities to enable them to pursue higher education opportunities and succeed in the workforce. Students in CTE programs also have the opportunity to earn dual credit or credentials and certifications from partner institutions prior to high school graduation.

The programs will place a special focus on recruiting underrepresented students into education careers to help meet the high demand for teachers of color across Illinois.

“Students succeed when they can relate to their teachers,” said Murphy. “Investing in our local teacher pipelines encourages Illinois students to return to the communities where they grew up and give back to the next generation.”

Nearly $2 million in total funding has been awarded to 11 Education for Employment Systems statewide to recruit and support future educators at 62 high schools and vocational centers across the state. For a full list of grant recipients or to learn more about career and college readiness programs in Illinois, visit www.ISBE.net/CTE.

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