(SPRINGFIELD) Governor Bruce Rauner renewed his call for economic and structural reforms during his final budget address of his first term in Springfield yesterday while also proposing that pension and health care costs be shifted to local governments. In the speech before the joint session of the General Assembly, the Governor said the reforms are reflected in what he called his balanced budget proposal for fiscal 2019. The Governor also proposed a 4% cut to Medicaid expenses, an increase in Pre-K through 12 education spending, and several service cuts compared to a tax increase. The Governor’s budget address was met by positive words from fellow Republicans, by not so positive words from Democratic lawmakers in Illinois.
(CHICAGO) The Illinois Department of Human Services is reporting that one patient at the Chester Mental Health Center has tested positive for Legionnaires’ Disease. The unidentified patient is being treated and is currently is stable condition. The IDHS is now working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to determine the potential source of the bacteria as environmental engineers will be on the grounds today and tomorrow to gather data and begin collecting water samples. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention reports a rise in the number of cases of Legionnaires’ Disease over the past 15 years, with some 6,000 cases reported nationwide in 2015. While the Legionella bacteria occurs naturally in the environment, common water sources include decorative fountains, hot tubs, shower areas, and cooling towers. Approximately 300 cases are reported each year in Illinois although the disease cannot be transmitted from person to person.
(OLNEY) The Illinois State Water Survey has released its January weather overview report for last month. The statewide air temperature averaged 24.1 degrees in January, 2.3 degrees below the long term average. The southwestern crop reporting district (CRD) had the month’s highest temperatures, averaging 28.4 degrees, while the lowest regional temperature was 20.6 degrees reported in the state’s northwestern district. The state’s precipitation averaged 1.24 inches last month, 0.83 inches below the long term average. The southwestern district had the highest average of precipitation with 2.21 inches while the eastern district had the lowest average at 0.93 inches. The state’s water surface levels at the end of January were below full pool or target levels at 17 of the 25 reporting reservoirs in Illinois. Lake Shelbyville and Carlyle Lake were each above the winter target level, however Rend Lake was considerably lower at the spillway level.