by Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

August 15, 2021

SPRINGFIELD — Governor Pritzker signed House Bill 219 into law on Friday to foster safe and inclusive classrooms. The bill seeks to end the use of physical restraints to discipline students in public schools.  The legislation, which has received widespread bipartisan support, aims to eliminate solitary confinement and other restrictive interventions within three years, while also expanding school-based training and accountability for these practices.

According to Pritzker “Our students deserve a safe and quality education, no matter their zip code, background, or learning ability . . . The use of dangerous, physically restrictive discipline on our students runs entirely counter to that mission. It is appalling and entirely unacceptable – and it must be brought to an end in Illinois. This legislation ensures that our schools are meeting the needs of all students as we uphold our obligation to educate and protect all of Illinois’ children.”

The bill prohibits prone restraint, a type of behavioral intervention in which pressure is applied to hold an individual’s face down.  To allow for a gradual phase-out, prone restraint may be permitted only as an emergency measure until the end of the 2021-22 school year.

The use of medical and chemical restraint is also prohibited by the bill.

The legislation requires that timeouts, isolated timeouts, and other forms of physical restraint be used only if a student’s behavior poses an immediate danger to the individual student or others, and that the school staff member using the invention tactic be trained in its safe application.

To ensure long-term change, the measure will impose stricter staff training requirements as well as increased accountability, transparency, and reporting requirements for these practices in the future.

The bill directs the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop a plan by 2024 to significantly reduce the use of such practices. ISBE will also establish, subject to appropriations, a grant program for school districts to implement culturally sensitive, trauma-informed interventions, and restorative practices within a multi-tiered support system.  Priority grant funding for staff training is available to school districts that develop plans more quickly.


by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times

August 6, 2021

Alphonse Capone, alleged gambling racketeer

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs are one step closer to hosting legal sports betting at Wrigley Field after the Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved a proposed two-story sportsbook adjacent to the historic ballpark on Thursday.

The glass-walled sportsbook, which would be a collaboration with DraftKings, would be located at Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue, at the southeast corner of Wrigley Field which was built in 1914.  Following the ballpark’s designation in 2004 as a National Historic Landmark last year, it still requires approval from the City Council, the Illinois Gaming Board, and the National Park Service.

According to Cubs spokesman Julian Green, the addition of a sportsbook at Wrigley Field is critical to attracting more fans.

The Wrigley Field sportsbook is permitted by the 2019 Illinois Sports Wagering Act, but it still requires City Council approval on a proposed ordinance allowing Chicago sports venues to obtain sports wagering licenses, as well as approval from the state gaming board.

Wrigleyville Ald. Tom Tunney expressed concerns about potential logistical issues related to trash pickup at the Chicago landmarks hearing, but did not have a problem with the proposed sportsbook from a historical preservation standpoint.

A proposal to allow sportsbooks at Chicago sports venues was introduced to City Council last month.  Ald. Walter Burnett who sponsored the bill, said Thursday that a revised version of the proposed ordinance is being worked on and that approval may take some time.

The mafia economy under the Illinois Sports Wagering Act authorized the state’s ten casinos, three horse tracks, and seven largest sports facilities to obtain a sports gaming license for a fee of no more than $10 million.

The Illinois Gaming Board opened applications for three online-only licenses worth $20 million each on Thursday, as authorized by the sports wagering act.  The board will accept applications for the online-only licenses until December 3 and will announce the three successful bidders within 90 days.

Last September, the Cubs announced a partnership with DraftKings.  Has anyone questioned or raised an eyebrow about a Major League Baseball team’s involvement in gambling?  Does anyone remember the 1919 “Black” Sox scandal or the ousting of Pete Rose?  We already have a Cannabis in Wrigley, what is next Wrigley Field Brothels?  Welcome to the Illinois Mafia Economy.


by J. J. Quincannon, The Chicago Times

August 1, 2021

CHAMPAIGN, IL — According to authorities, an Illinois man is facing murder charges after a teen boy who lived around the corner was discovered beaten to death in a roadside ditch on Friday.

Steven Butler III, a 14-year-old from Champaign, Ill., went missing on Thursday evening after his father reported him missing.  The teen had left home around 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the nonprofit Missing Person Awareness Network.  According to police, the father reported him missing about two and a half hours later.  Police searched the neighborhood and conducted other investigations in an attempt to locate Steven but were unsuccessful.  A pair of bicyclists discovered a body about 1.4 miles away around 7 a.m. Friday, according to police.  It was determined to be Steven’s by investigators.

Daryl Vandyke, 55, was identified as a person of interest by police with the assistance of the local sheriff’s department and taken into custody by 11 a.m.  Before obtaining a warrant for the murder charge, police arrested him on an outstanding warrant in Douglas County, according to a statement from the Champaign Police Department.  After arresting him, police stated that they discovered “a potential crime scene” and obtained a search warrant for a private residence, where they recovered additional evidence.  According to the statement, the evidence led to first-degree murder charges.

Vandyke knew Steven’s father, according to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, who spoke to the News-Gazette, an area newspaper.  She also stated that the apparent cause of death was blunt force trauma and that an autopsy was scheduled for Monday.  Vandyke has a criminal record dating back to 1986, according to Champaign County jail records, including an allegation of sexual abuse and more than a dozen drug-related charges.

Vandyke is being held on a $2 million bond.


by Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

July 30, 2021

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Jesse White, Secretary of State of Illinois, announced new actions Friday aimed at reducing wait times and heavy volume at DMV facilities across the state.

The two-pronged strategy will increase the number of appointment-only driver service facilities and expand remote license renewal.  Customers will be required to make an appointment at the following Chicago facilities beginning in September:

  • Chicago North, 5401 N. Elston Ave.
  • Chicago South, 9901 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
  • Chicago West, 5301 W. Lexington St.

Beginning September 7, some metro Chicago facilities will also be appointment only.

Schaumburg, Bridgeview, Lombard, Des Plaines, Waukegan, Naperville, Aurora, Plano, and Joliet are among them.

Driver’s license and ID card holders will be required to renew online, by phone, or by mail from September to February 2022.  According to the Secretary of State’s office, 1 million fewer people will visit facilities in person.

“During the pandemic, my office has continued to serve the public, including face-to-face transactions, in a safe and responsible manner.  During this time, we also significantly expanded our online services.  This next step will enable a greater number of people to renew their driver’s licenses or ID cards without having to visit a Driver Services facility.” White said in a statement.


by The Chicago Times Staff

July 27, 2021

DOLTON, IL — Officials said a woman died after Dolton police shot into her car as she dragged one officer and struck another at a restaurant drive-thru early Tuesday.  According to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, the woman was identified as Alexis C. Wilson, 19, of Homewood. 

Dolton police were called to Baba’s Famous Steak & Lemonade restaurant at Oak and Sibley Boulevard around 1 a.m. Tuesday for a woman with a gun who was upset, according to Dolton Dolton police.  Officers told the woman and a man inside the car to get out, according to Howard.  The man agreed, but the woman did not.

As one of the officers attempted to remove her from the vehicle, the woman sped away and dragged the officer, who was hanging halfway out the window, according to Dolton police.

According to Howard, another officer then fired three shots into the car.  The woman ran over the officer and crashed into a squad car and continued driving one block and crashed into an unoccupied bicycle shop on Sibley.

According to Dolton police, the woman died at the scene.  It is unclear whether she died as a result of gunshot wounds or the crash.  Her identity has not been revealed.

The two police officers were taken to a hospital and were in critical condition.  The use of deadly force is being investigated by the Illinois State Police.


by Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

July 20, 2021

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that if the Illinois National Guard is not reimbursed for providing security to the United States Capitol following the Jan. 6 attack, it will have to cut training and take time off.

Following the Jan 6 Capitol building breach by protestors, hundreds of members of the Illinois Guard were deployed to Washington, D.C. to pick up the slack in security after the failure of Federally run Capitol police to do their job.

Pritzker stated that if the United States Senate does not consider reimbursement legislation soon, the state Guard will have to reduce exercises and weekend training and implement service member furloughs.

“Even as the events of Jan. 6 were still unfolding, heroes from across the nation fearlessly mobilized in defense of their country, and every day that our debts to them go unpaid is an insult to their service.” Pritzker said in a statement.

After the Capitol attack, 25,000 Guard members from across the country provided security.  Many Guard members were forced by Congress to sleep in parking garages with little rations.

Some remained until the end of May to assist local law enforcement.