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U.S. Supreme Court Wraps Up Sessionposted June 30th, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court released the last of its decisions for the current session. Monday the court upheld the use of a controversial capital punishment drug and a voter registration system in Arkansas and Arizona. Justices rejected E.P.A. rules to control mercury emissions from coal fired power plants. The ruling last week on marriage equality, still has advocates and court critics talking. Harold Krent is the Dean of the Chicago Kent College of Law. He tells WDCB News the same-sex marriage decision could have an unintended consequence. Krent says if you read the majority decision, there is very little that would distinguish the right it identifies from one of plural marriage. He says given the increasing role of Muslims and continued role of Mormons in U.S. society, he could see a time in the next 25 years when plural marriage might gets its day in court. Krent says criticism of the Supreme Court is nothing new, but he says calls to change the system for appointing justices is just political bluster. He says the court has become more moderate, but the system isn’t broken.
This June Is One For The Record Bookposted June 30th, 2015
This month has been great for your garden, not so much for a picnic. Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel says the rainfall total for June not only set a new record, it smashed the old record. June of 1902 was the previous high water mark, with a statewide average of just over 8 inches. By last Saturday Illinois already had 8.9 inches, and Angel says with more rain falling that number will be higher. He tells WDCB News this month’s record reflects a much larger pattern. Angel says Illinois has seen across the board, very wet conditions over the past two or three decades. He says that's pretty consistent with what expert thought would happen because of climate change. Angel says warming the atmosphere accelerates the hyrologic cycle as well. He says the increased rainfall across the state has already affected the state’s largest industry, agriculture. Farms are now spending more on systems to quickly drain standing water, and that raises concern about fertilizer run-off.
Chicago Author Will Run With the Bulls ... Againposted June 29th, 2015
Chicago author Bill Hillmann received international attention last summer after a video of him getting gored by a bull went viral. Despite the experience, Hillmann is returning to Pamplona next week to run with the bulls again. The Little Village resident hopes to clear up some widely held misconceptions in his new book, “Mozos: A Decade Running With the Bulls of Spain”. Hillmann tells WDCB News nobody should run with the bull unless they’re aware of the true dangers. “Mozos: A Decade Running With the Bulls of Spain” will officially be released later this week.
Government Shutdown Seems More Likelyposted June 29th, 2015
State lawmakers didn’t meet Friday, or over the weekend and they don’t plan to be in session today. The lack of action comes despite the fact that there is no budget in place for the fiscal year that begins on Wednesday. Governor Rauner vetoed most of the spending plan Democrats in the General Assembly passed because it spends more than the state expects to collect. Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky tells WDCB News at this point it appears a state government shutdown is inevitable. She says the sense is it takes a massive catastrophe or crisis to get lawmakers to take difficult votes or to get voters interested enough to push legislators to make a decision. The lack of a budget won’t have an immediate effect on state government services. Vinicky says the first state payroll doesn’t go out until July 15th and state employees are expected to keep working after the start of the fiscal year, for now.
Illinois Coalition Calling For Budget Compromiseposted June 26th, 2015
The Responsible Budget Coalition is calling on Governor Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers to do their jobs. The group is made up of 200 Illinois organizations concerned with state budget issues. The Coalition’s Emily Miller says the governor and lawmakers are holding the state’s most vulnerable residents hostage by not adopting a fair budget. She tells WDCB News there is still some reason for optimism, the fiscal year hasn’t ended yet. Miller says education and human services have already been cut drastically over the past few years. The Responsible Budget Coalition favors a budget that maintains service levels by increasing revenues through expanding sales taxes or increasing personal or business income taxes.
DuPage FPD Hosts First Ever 'Bio Blitz'posted June 26th, 2015
Field biologists from around the country will fan out over four DuPage Forest Preserve properties Friday and Saturday. They plan to inventory as many plant, animal, fish, and insect species as possible during a 24-hour period. DuPage Forest Preserve District naturalist Carl Strang says this is the first ever ‘Bio-Blitz’ in the county. He tells WDCB News the event could have some unexpected results. Strang says it wouldn't be surprising to pick up a few new state records during the event, and you never know when researchers might turn up a new species. He says there haven't been many intensive surveys have been done in northeast Illinois. The DuPage Forest Preserve District’s holding the ‘Bio-Blitz’ as part of its yearlong centennial celebration. As part of the event, the district’s also holding a ‘Nature Fest’ Saturday at St. James Farm so people can see the researchers in action.
DuPage Assists Coal City Recovery Effortsposted June 25th, 2015
Coal City residents are continuing recovery and repair efforts after an EF-3 tornado ripped through the small town on Monday night. Wednesday, members of DuPage County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management made the 56-mile trip to Coal City to assist those recovery efforts. DuPage Emergency Management coordinator John Nebl spent the day assessing damage. He tells WDCB News the lone bright spot was watching the way stakeholders from across the region came together to help a community in need. A massive volunteer effort is scheduled to take place in Coal City on Friday. Village officials asked that volunteers wanting to help wait until Friday. Nebl says right now the focus is still on damage assessment.
Tech Week Events Bring Together Start-Ups and Investorsposted June 25th, 2015
When you think of the center of the tech-universe, the San Francisco Bay area probably comes to mind. Events this week in Chicago are designed to show entrepreneurs the city is a good option for start-ups. Katy Lynch is the CEO for ‘Tech Week Chicago,' the event brings together investors, engineers, and people who have an idea for the next great thing. Lynch tells WDCB News everything from fashion to entertainment and education are part of tech-week, She says historically when people have thought about 'Tech Week' they've thought about it being a conference that caters to engineers and developers. She says the goal has been to make this 'Tech Week' as diverse as possible and open to as many people as possible. Lynch says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been a great advocate for growing the tech sector in Chicago. Events culminate Thursday and Friday with a technology conference and expo at the Merchandise Mart.
Judge William Bauer A Balanced Lifeposted June 24th, 2015
Officially, the building commonly referred to as the DuPage County States Attorney building is the William J. Bauer Courthouse annex. Now the lobby has a display to recognize Bauer's many accomplishments. The 89 year old Elmhurst resident was DuPage County State’s Attorney, a DuPage County Judge, a U.S. Attorney, and is currently a U.S. Judge in Chicago. County leaders dedicated the exhibit to Bauer's life and career Tuesday. The judge told them he’ll continue to work to make the county proud. Bauer says he got more help from the people of DuPage County than he ever gave. He says he got more back than he delivered, but Bauer says he will keep trying to repay the people of the county, working at it every day. DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, former County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, and several members of the legal community were on hand for the dedication ceremony. Bauer thanked them all.
Tax Foundation Looks at Illinois Taxesposted June 24th, 2015
As Illinois lawmakers and the Governor debate a budget for next year, the Washington DC-based Tax Foundation is weighing in with a new report analyzing the state’s taxes and how their impact on the economy. Tax Foundation policy analyst Jared Walczak says the report highlights some lesser-known tax problems that are embedded in the state’s tax code. But he tells WDCB News tax reform is only part of much larger change that’s needed to fix Illinois’ budget problems. Walczak says many of Illinois’ problems are unique compared to other states. He says just the sheer number of taxing bodies in the state is much higher than any other state and it contributes to a bloated tax system that confuses many residents. There are almost 6,000 taxing bodies in Illinois.