Reick Reports

From State Rep. Steve Reick:

Legislative Update: 

This past week, the Illinois House met Tuesday through Thursday in Springfield. We began considering bills before the entire House and there were 39 bills that passed the House and now move to the Senate. I also participated in several committee hearings to consider amendments or to hear subject matter testimony. 

The Adoption & Child Welfare Committee held another subject matter hearing on DCFS training on Tuesday. I will give you a closer look at that hearing in today’s hot topic of the week. 

As we begin voting on bills on the House floor, please let me know if there are bills that concern you or proposals that you would like for me to support as a co-sponsor. 

You can find a list of the current bills I have introduced here.

Hot Topic of the Week: 

Adoption & Child Welfare Committee Hearing: DCFS Training

Last week, in our effort to learn about the current practices at the Department of Child and Family Services and find ways to improve our child welfare system, the Adoption & Child Welfare committee held another subject matter hearing to learn specifically about training at DCFS . 

The agency outlined the training requirements and the training that they provide for their employees and contractors with the agency. DCFS also spoke at length about their plans to enhance its virtual trainings. The agency sees this move towards virtual trainings as a way to better prepare employees and to be more agile in the trainings they can offer. 

One topic that received attention during the hearing was the recent closure of a simulation training facility at the University of Illinois Springfield after the university chose to not renew the contract with DCFS to host the training facility. The backstory on UIS’ decision is that the University wanted to expand the program to include other matters such as medical exams and court procedure, but DCFS refused. However, after refusing the agreement with UIS, DCFS turned around and did that very thing with its new simulation lab in Chicago. The end result is that downstate DCFS employees are left without a training facility convenient to where they work until a new downstate facility opens sometime next year. 

The agency took some time to answer questions, and as members we are waiting on follow-up from some of the questions they were unable to answer in person. Frankly, I’m losing patience with the Agency’s inability to come before our committee with straight answers to simple questions. 

Future of Illinois Pension Funds 

In light of the recent failures of two banks in the United States, questions should be raised about the future of our pension funds in Illinois. My warnings that Illinois’ pension funds are one deep recession away from insolvency were covered in a story this week from The Center Square. I’ve included a portion of that article below or you can read the entire story and watch the video here.

Scope of Illinois pension funds’ impact from recent bank turmoil unclear

Illinois State Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, said while recent U.S. bank problems may ‘hit’ pensions, what happens in Europe could be the ‘real canary in the coal mine…When the Saudis pull their funding from Credit Suisse, how many other European banks have got similar arrangements with these oil nations, and if they pull their funding for whatever reason, we’re going to have a European bank crisis and that’s going to translate over to here,’ Reick told The Center Square. ‘That is the bigger problem’…

“Reick said Illinois is ‘walking on eggshells’ with unfunded liabilities around $140 billion for state funds. Something drastic needs to be done, he said, like Congress expanding bankruptcy for states. That would allow an override of the Illinois Constitution’s pension protection clause, Reick said.

“‘There are only three ways we’re going to fix our pension problems, it’s going to be revenue increase, benefit cuts or a complete collapse of the system,’ Reick said.

“If nothing is done except bringing in more tax dollars, Reick said the state won’t be able to continue providing essential services as nearly a quarter of every tax dollar collected goes to pension costs.

“Reick said there has to be a ‘grand bargain’ to address Illinois’ unfunded pension liabilities, which are among the worst in the nation. He suggests before the bottom drops out, there needs to be a combination of benefit reductions and revenue increases.”

Personnel & Pensions Committee

Along with serving as the Minority Spokesperson on the Adoption & Child Welfare Committee, I also serve as the Minority Spokesperson on the Personnel & Pensions Committee. This past Thursday, the Personnel & Pensions committee held a subject matter hearing on several bills that propose new benefit increases for Tier 2 employees. Some of these proposals

  • lower the age of retirement,
  • increase benefits for fewer years served, or
  • move employees to an alternative and more expensive formula for taxpayers.

While these are topics that do merit attention, I believe that this must be a part of a broader conversation and changes to our pension system should not be done on a piecemeal basis. We cannot afford to fix the problems created when Tier 2 was created in 2011 by providing pension sweeteners on a case-by-case basis.

Revenue Committee

Additionally, I serve on the Revenue Committee which held a subject matter hearing last Thursday primarily focusing on the property tax assessment system in Cook County and proposed changes to that system. Illinois consistently has some of the highest property taxes in the nation, and as we heard in committee, Chicago has the second highest commercial property tax rate in the nation. There must be changes, As we look at changes to the property tax code in Illinois, we know there must be thorough vetting of any proposal. We also heard testimony on other proposed bills that would impact our state revenue including tax credits and exemptions. 

The Week Ahead: 

  • This week, the Illinois House is scheduled for legislative session Tuesday, March 21st through Friday, March 24th.
  • Friday is scheduled to be the deadline to pass House bills to the Senate. This means there will likely be hundreds of votes next week, so please reach out if there are any bills you are particularly supportive of or opposed to. 

Sun-Times Features Kid-Friendly Drag Queen Lake in the Hills’ Bakery’s Finanacial Problem

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Part of thr press release from the Uprising Bakery quoted in the March 17, 3023, Chicago Sun-Times:

“Closing our doors is the direct result of the horrific attacks, endless harassment, and unrelenting negative misinformation about our establishment in the last 8 months.

“From an award-winning bakery that donates to local organizations and supports diversity and inclusion, we have been rebranded by misinformation as ‘gay only’ and ‘pedophiles.’ Local customers no longer come here because of the perceived threat that tarnished our good name and the fears of their license plates are photographed, and they are harassed.”

Extraordinary Analysis of the Role of Tony Fauci’s “Ethicist” Wife in Covid Pandamic

Adam Andrzejewski’s Open the Books has published what I believe will be the definitive analysis on the interlocking roles of Tony Fauci’s Covid actions and his wife’s justification of her husband’s actions.

He calls them “the administrative state’s pandemic dream team.”

The House of Fauci: How Dr. Christine Grady, aka Mrs. Fauci, Used Her NIH Position To Backstop Her Husband’s Pandemic Public Health Directives

It’s the Washington, D.C. power couple that cost taxpayers nearly $1 million per year.

While Dr. Anthony Fauci gave the nation its pandemic public policy prescriptions, his wife, Dr. Christine Grady, the Chief Bioethicist at Fauci’s employer, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided the moral framework.

The Fauci’s are important to the center-left, because they represent the pinnacle moment of the administrative state – top-down public policy run by an elite group of government scientists.

Conversely, to the center-right, the Fauci’s represent “the fatal conceit of the elites.” As Noble Laureate economist Friedrich Hyak theorized, the elites are no match for billions of free people acting in their own best interests.


While Tony Fauci was the top paid federal bureaucrat and out-earned the U.S. President at $480,654 per year, Christine Grady, as the chief bioethicist at NIH out-earned the U.S. Vice President ($243,749). When adding 35-percent in benefits, the couple cost taxpayers an estimated nearly $1 million per year.

CHART: Tracking the Fauci household net worth which increased from $7.6 million to $12.6 million between the start of 2020 and the end of 2021. Source: lawsuit production from NIH on Fauci’s financial disclosures.

It’s difficult to know where Anthony Fauci ends and Christine Grady begins. Here’s how Tony Fauci described Grady’s influence on his public policy decisions:

“I’ve benefited greatly from this partnership of overlapping interest and common interest. So, a lot of the things that I do with regard to the development of vaccines, the development of therapies, being involved with outbreaks and pandemics, have ethical overtones to them. I can say that I am very blessed to be living with someone who is very likely, most people think, one of the most outstanding ethicists in the world. To have her in the house — you know, as a consultant on ethical issues—is pretty advantageous.”

So, the Fauci’s lived a conflict of interest at the breakfast table, the office, and back home around the dinner table. However, NIH has never acknowledged this.

In fact, NIH forced our organization to file two federal lawsuits with the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch as our lawyers to finally bring transparency to the Fauci/Grady job descriptions, conflict of interest documents, financial and ethics disclosures, contracts, and other documents.

Then, NIH slow-walked thousands of pages of production. Yet, no nepotism waivers were produced, no acknowledgement of conflicting interests, and no records documenting violations of federal ethics policy.

Pledge your support


Slide developed by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and presented by Dr. Christine Grady during her NIH presentation COVID Vaccines: Approaches to Vaccine Trial Design November 4 2020. Many of the prescriptions on this slide showed little efficacy in after-action studies. Source: FOIA

While Grady’s work during the pandemic was described as “invaluable” by then-NIH director Francis Collins, the general public knows little about her day-to-day responsibilities. 

An open records request for Grady’s job description reveals she, too, is meant to use her position to influence policy.

Screenshot from Christine Grady’s job description, received. Source: FOIA

Advocating Lockdowns

Dr. Fauci knew that his “draconian policies” on social isolation and economic lockdowns would have “collateral negative consequences,” and admitted Christine Grady was a driving force behind his hardline approach.

In a November 2021 interview with the couple, Fauci said that he gained strength from his wife’s support saying, “background and her experience in really core ethical principles [helped] me to really feel much more comfortable in what I was saying.”

In the interview, Christine Grady described how she mind-mapped national policy with her husband:

“But we’ve had conversations about the sort of consequences of telling people to stay home and what it would do for the economy. And there were a lot of people in those days that, and still who said, it’s ruining the economy. It’s much more important to just keep things going and not worry about transmitting virus…I said, that one of the messages should be, how many lives are you willing to sacrifice? And that message would be pretty stark and pretty brutal, but that’s really what the trade-off was…And so we’ve had that kind of conversation over dinner more than once, actually.”

Fauci replied that these conversations “sharpened [his] resolve” to move forward with lockdown policies.

Social isolation was one of the individual sacrifices Grady and Fauci thought were necessary to make on behalf of “public health.”

Vaccine Development & Public Safety

Like her husband, Grady exclusively focused her attention and remarks on vaccine development rather than other potential ways to treat and combat the spread of COVID-19.

One major paper she co-authored in 2020 advocated for vaccines to be distributed under emergency use authorization (EUA), which is how the federal government ultimately proceeded.

In this paper, Grady’s advocacy for vaccines came with a troubling acknowledgement:

 “even with mandated safety monitoring after EUA distribution, it would be difficult or impossible to ascertain vaccine-induced adverse events.”

However, during most of her public presentations, she asserted that vaccines were developed in a fast, but “safe and rigorous” manner. Just one of many examples can be found here.

By November 2021, she said the risk of unknown long-term effects were “not zero” but that “there is a balance between benefiting the public health now versus waiting for all the information we might get.”

Despite these admissions, Grady often said she was “disturbed” by vaccine hesitancy, implying that safety concerns were somehow unreasonable.

Pledge your support

Vaccine Mandates

Grady’s stance on vaccine mandates changed radically throughout the pandemic.

In June 2020, a presentation she gave suggested “immunity passports” could cause “discrimination without much overall gain.” A passport system would allow businesses to limit or deny access to those who remained unvaccinated.

Six months later, in January 2021, Grady said, “I do believe that healthcare providers, like everyone else, should have the choice” whether to take the vaccine or not.

But by early October 2021, Grady had decided the choice facing health care workers was a drastically different one: whether to get the vaccine or lose their jobs.

Later that month, she also flipped her position on vaccine passports. What once was a potential source of discrimination was recast as a way to access “social benefits” like restaurants and movie theaters.

It’s a disturbing way to describe Americans free association of movement.   

Grady went on to co-author a March 2022 report approving of social ostracization for the vaccine-hesitant and encouraging employers to pressure their workers:

“While some employers might understandably feel hesitant to pressure employees to get vaccinated, our analysis suggests that it is often ethically acceptable to inform, encourage, strongly encourage, incentivize, and subtly pressure unvaccinated people to benefit them, the organization, and other employees.”

In fewer than two years, Grady had completely altered her assessment of vaccine mandates and widespread restrictions on the behavior of unvaccinated Americans. Gone were concerns about discrimination and freedom of choice.

As Dr. Fauci pushed and pressured the public to get vaccinated for the sake of their neighbors and family members, Grady began considering it ethical to fire workers who did not comply.

Likewise, it became a “social benefit” to get a vaccine passport that would allow people to avoid government restrictions on their free movements.

Screenshot of Tweet – Dr. Fauci and Dr. Grady maskless at the Washington National baseball game in summer 2020 after Fauci threw out the first pitch.

Mask Mandates

While her husband advocated masking and double masking—even when “fully vaccinated”—Dr. Grady consistently backed his position.

In July 2020, during an InStyle interview, Grady answered questions about masking:

Interviewer: Let me ask you, Chris, as a bioethicist, what do you make of this moment we’re in, when even a mask has become more of a divisive issue?

Grady: Well, I would say that masks shouldn’t be divisive. It’s a relatively easy way to protect one’s self and others. And so for public health reasons, I think everybody should do it. From an ethical perspective there is always this tension between what you ask people to do that feels like a restriction of their liberty and what is required for public health. And in this case, it seems like a slam dunk. It’s not restricting liberty much, and it’s very helpful for public health.

Grady was consistent and in November 2021 spoke to the ethical balancing test of public safety versus individual freedom and never viewed mask wearing to be much of an infringement on individual rights:

“There’s a classic tension between public health, and individual interests and freedoms. Where there seems to be this conflict to the things that we do to protect the public health, and to protect the population for the common good. Sometimes they are perceived to be, and sometimes they do in small ways, infringe on people’s freedoms. There are principles of public health ethics that help you sort out the kinds of interventions that we should use: Things that are effective, that are proportional, where the benefits outweigh the risks that are necessary, that are least infringement possible, that are transparent, that we can publicly justify.

…What’s striking to me is that, the kinds of burdens that we’ve asked people to undertake, like putting on a mask, don’t really infringe on one’s freedoms very much. They’re low burden and they have an effect. They do protect the person who’s wearing the mask, as well as the people that are around them.”

A recent credible study on mask wearing during the pandemic argued there is no clear impact of masking on Covid-19 infection rates.

Patients Dying in Isolation

During the pandemic, Grady revealed a default preference for government control over individual rights and responsibilities. Grady was an early proponent of one of the most heinous pandemic polices: patients dying in isolation.

For example, while uncritically accepting dying in isolation as a fact of the pandemic, Grady’s primary solution was to expand funding for health care workers to have access to therapy and other resources to heal from their “moral distress.”

As early as April 2020 Grady said:  

“Because of visiting policies and fear of contagion sometimes when somebody is really sick their family cannot visit them, they can’t see them…the stress and the sadness and the isolation on families is and is going to be great.” 

In a November 2020 NIH presentation she called these “lonely” deaths “understandable:”  

“It’s a lonely kind of death, many institutions, understandably have visitor policies which either restrict the number of visitors to one or zero so sometimes people are dying without having their family nearby and that puts an additional burden on the healthcare staff.” 

In one co-authored paper urging healthcare workers to “temper these potentially dehumanizing scenarios with imaginative solutions that do not sacrifice compassion and equal respect on the altars of safety and efficiency.” 

She interrogates the tension between individual freedom and community safety in a book published April 26, 2022, as a co-author proposing a radical “solidarity model” for ethics in healthcare, stating that rather than emphasizing a respect for individuals to make decisions in their own interest:  

“We should recognize that there are times when solidarity takes precedence over individual liberties, and broadening our concept of “respect for persons” means uniting as a profession to protect all those who expect to receive care from nurses in whatever healthcare setting they find themselves.” 

She co-edited a section in the same book arguing this extends to dying in insolation: 

“The solidarity model may apply to restricted family visitation, which generated moral distress for nurses, particularly when patients died without loved ones present…” 

Pledge your support


As demonstrated by her own words, Grady’s record evinces an understanding of ethics that begs fundamental moral questions, regularly subordinates individuals beneath an amorphous “public health,” and relies on subtle but unacknowledged shifts to retain an alleged moral high ground.

While some of her observations early in the pandemic did show an interest in providing nuance to policymaking—questioning the usefulness of immunity passports and highlighting issues with long-term vaccine effects under a EUA rollout—this quickly gave way to conformity to broader political zeitgeist, painting pushback as ignorant, uncaring, and simply wrong.

By 2021 her public statements never suggested a limit to sacrifices the individual should ethically make on behalf of “public health,” from masking, to taking vaccines, to foregoing family gatherings even at the point of one’s own death.

Both Fauci and Grady made clear that they wish for ethicists like Grady to have more power and more influence over political decision-making.

As Grady remains the chief NIH bioethicist, Americans should ponder: does Grady’s philosophy advance what is “fair” and “just” in public health policy? What does her continued leadership mean for the future of American policy.

Taxpayers compensate Grady generously, and they’re owed full transparency about her role, responsibilities and influence – during the pandemic and into the future.

Note: We reached out to Dr. Christine Grady and NIH for comment. While acknowledging our requests, no statement or comment was received before publication.



Grafton Township Republicans Feature School Board Candidates in RedTail Meet and Greet

Grafton Township Republicans hosted a candidate meet and greet at RedTail.

Mike Shorten, Orville Brettman, Kelly Eagan, Addam Krucek & Jacqueline Garretson Abene; Courtney Hand and Kerri Johnson talking to voters.

The following candidates were present:

  • Kerri Johnson for D47 School Board
  • Courtney Hand for D47 School Board
  • Kathy Goerges for D155 School Board
  • Kirk Donald for MCC Trustee
Kathy Goerges speaking with voters.
Kathy Goerges (green jacket) talking to voters on left. Courtney Hand (red top) speaking with voters on right. Kerri Johnson in back. 

Catalina Lauf Hosting Marengo Meet and Greet for Huntley School Board Candidates She Is Endorsing

Last night on the Mark Vargas show, the McHenry County Citizens for Lower Taxes PAC slate announced their Friday night event being hosted by Catalina Lauf in Marengo.

Source: Laura Murray for D158 School Board Facebook page, updated Catalina Lauf pic from John Lopez.

Lauf donated $15,000 from her congressional campaign fund to McHenry County Citizens for Lower Taxes, which is supporting the candidates.

The four candidates are

  • Andrew Bittman
  • Gina Galligar
  • Michael Thompson and
  • Laura Murray.

Conservative Group Offers Election Endorsements

Previously, McHenry County Blog published recommendations from McHenry County Democrats.

Today, a conservative group, We the People, McHenry County, offers endorsements:

We the People… say in a democracy decisions are made by a majority of the people. Unfortunately, this is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of the people who make their voices heard and who vote, a distinguishable difference.

Why Vote – Last Consolidated Election less than 10% of McHenry County Voters Participated

Vote to help your children and grandchildren.

Vote for responsible management of your property tax dollars.

I strongly support Independent Don Kuontz for the Crystal Lake City Council. He is a retired engineer with a mind for numbers. He eviserated the lastest Tax Increment Financing proposal. Read this article about his reasoning powers and see if you don’t agree. The Council voted 6-0 for the new TIF district, which will raise local property taxes for twenty-three years. He is the only candidate who has shown he can stand up to the Mayor.

Election Judge Shortage

FROM: Sharon Repplinger | Election Judge Coordinator. McHenry County Clerk’s Office

We have had 96-yes, 96 judges cancelled since Monday, March 13th for working the April Election.

We need judges at the following locations- Please EMAIL me if you are willing to work for this election. Thank you.

  • Crystal Lake- Ridgefield Pres. Church (8505 Church St. Crystal Lake)-  1 DEM judge
  • Fox River Grove Fire Dept. (411 Algonquin Rd- Fox River Grove)- 2 DEM and 2 REP
  • Holiday Hills Vill. Hall (1304 Sunset Dr., Holiday Hills)- 1 DEM
  • Island Lake- St.Johns Luther. Church (405 W State Rd, Island Lake)- 2 REP
  • McHenry- McHenry City Hall (333 Green St., McHenry)- 1 REP
  • McHenry- VFW Clubhouse (3002 W Rte 120, McHenry)- 1 DEM
  • Marengo-Union Library (19714 E Grant Hwy, Marengo)- 1 Rep and 1 DEM
  • Marengo Park Distr. (825 Indian Oak Trl, Marengo)-  1 REP
  • Marengo- The Orchard Evangelical Free Church (20911 Ratfield Rd., Marengo)- 2 REP
  • Richmond- Nippersink Library (5418 Hill Rd., Richmond)- 2 REP (OR) 1 REP
  • Ringwood- Vill. Of Ringwood (6000 Barnard Mill Rd., Ringwood)- 1 DEM
  • Wonder Lake- Christ the King Church School (5006 E Wonder Lake Rd., Wonder Lake)- 1 REP and 1 DEM (OR) 2 REP
  • Wonder Lake- Greenwood Twp Mun. Building (5211 Miller Rd.)- 1 REP
  • Wonder Lake- Highland Shores Comm Building (9015 Woody Trl)- 1 DEM
  • Wonder Lake- Wonder Lake Comm. Building (4444 Thompson Rd.)- 1 REP (OR) 1 DEM

Call 815-334-4242.

Teachers Union Spends on Facebook to Elect Its Favorites

From the Illinois Education Association comes these endorsements:

Illinois Education Association Facebook ad for Diustrict 300 candidates.

And, here’s the endorsement press release:

District 300 Educators Announce Recommended School Board Candidates

ALGONQUIN – A coalition of local educator unions known as the District 300 Educators (D300 Educators) is recommending Stephen J. Fiorentino, Randi Gauthier, Olutola “Tola” Makinde and Nancy Zettler.

D300 Educators is made up of the District 300 Education Support Association (DESA), District 300 Educational Services Personnel Association (DESPA) and Local Education Association District 300 (LEAD300) unions that represent 2,407 teachers, nurses, social workers, psychologists, coaches, interventionists, paraeducators, clerical, custodial, maintenance, building and grounds and all other educational support staff working in  Community Unit District 300, educating the 19,951 students who attend more than two dozen schools in the district.

D300 Educators are already mobilized and working on both get-out-the-vote efforts and advocating for their recommended candidates.

The following statement is attributable to the D300 Educators Spokesperson Mike Williamson:

“We firmly believe Stephen Fiorentino, Randi Gauthier, Olutola “Tola” Makinde and Nancy Zettler will support our students and communities and that they will continue to build on the incredible work we’ve been doing together in District 300. For the past several years, all three D300 Educator locals have worked hard to build a collaborative relationship with the administration and the school board. We believe these individuals will continue to work with us to foster good working relationships and to protect public education.

“This is a critical time for public education. Throughout Illinois and across the country, candidates are attempting to use politics to pit communities, parents and educators against each other. District 300 is no exception. The vitriol, disinformation and fear mongering are an attempt to divide us. It’s a distraction from what’s really important: our students and their education.

“It is imperative that we elect candidates who believe in public education, who are student focused, and who recognize that our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.

“Two of these candidates are incumbent school board members who have proven track records of advocating for our students and our members.

“The other two candidates are tireless community advocates who have already worked with us to make District 300 a strong school district for all students.”

The D300 Educators completed an extensive vetting process to get to know each candidate, including reviewing questionnaires and interviews, voting unanimously to recommend Fiorentino, Gauthier, Makinde and Zettler. To learn more about D300 Educators’ recommended candidates visit the D300 Educators website.

Early Voting Times and Locations

From McHenry County:

Early Voting for April 4 Election Expands in McHenry County

WOODSTOCK, Ill. – Ten additional early voting locations will open across McHenry County starting
Monday, March 20 for the April 4 consolidated election.

People registered to vote in McHenry County will have 11 sites to cast their ballots early, regardless of
where in the county they live.

A complete list of locations, and their dates and hours of operation, can be found below:

Early voting will be available until 7 p.m. Monday, April 3 at six of the locations.

People wishing to vote in person on Election Day must do so at their assigned voting precinct; they can also vote at the County Clerk’s Office, which is a universal polling site. Click here or call 815-334-4242 to find your voting location.

People who wish to vote by mail still have time to obtain an application by visiting the County Clerk’s Office, or by clicking here to download and print one.

The County Clerk must receive your application by March 30 – please allow seven days for delivery.

Vote-by-mail ballots can be mailed in, delivered in person, or dropped off at any time at the secure ballot drop box in front of the County Administration Building.

Four additional early voting locations have indoor drop boxes that are accessible during voting

State law gives voters the right to enroll in a permanent vote-by-mail program, meaning they can automatically receive mail-in ballots for elections until they choose not to, or become ineligible to vote
in McHenry County.

You can click here to sign up.

Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked no later than April 4 and received no later than April 18 to be

Voters who fill out a vote-by-mail ballot and then change their mind and decide to vote in person can do so by simply bringing their vote-by-mail ballot with them to the polls and surrendering it to the Election Judge.

If you’re not registered to vote, or you changed your address since the last election, you can register in person while you vote at the polls.

Air Purifiers to Go to Schools Outside of Chicago

From the JB Pritzker Adminstratio:

IDPH Launches $30 Million Program to Distribute Air Purifiers in Illinois Schools

CHICAGO – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today that the state is launching a $29.6 million program to distribute more than 60,000 HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) purifiers to Illinois schools to help reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

IDPH is coordinating the program with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

The program is funded by the CDC through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and is targeted for school districts that serve lower income communities and counties that have elevated air pollution counts.

IDPH estimates almost 3,000 schools will be eligible for the program, covering 68 percent of school districts in the state.

It will cover schools throughout the state, including Cook County, with the exception of Chicago, which has received a separate federal grant.

“There is nothing more important to me than keeping Illinoisans safe and healthy—especially when it comes to our youth,” said Governor JB Pritzker. 

“We know that our children need to stay healthy and study in classrooms that are well-ventilated in order to thrive and succeed.

“Thanks to this $30 million investment, schoolchildren will experience cleaner air—preventing illness and absenteeism, while improving our children’s ability to think and learn.”

“I have devoted much of my career to protecting and promoting the health of children,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra, who is a pediatrician.

“Data over these last three years have shown us the critical importance of good ventilation to keep children and adults safe from respiratory illnesses. These HEPA air purifiers are a significant investment in our children, and I am very excited that the State of Illinois can make this impact. They will keep kids healthy and in school, ensuring more opportunities for learning and success for years to come.”

“Every Illinois student deserves a safe, healthy learning environment regardless of zip code or income level,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders.

“Improving classroom ventilation with air purifiers is a proven method we can use to reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, the flu, and RSV, and, at the same time, reduce absences related to illness.

“A child’s health and attendance is inextricably tied to their ability to learn, and I’m pleased the State is making this vital investment.”

IDPH is launching an enrollment process in coordination with ISBE through which schools can submit orders for portable HEPA air purifiers.

The administrators of eligible school districts will be contacted directly with information about how many purifiers that their districts are eligible to receive.

The portable air purifiers will be delivered to school districts in the coming months.

Schools will generally be eligible for one small air filter unit for each 20 students in a school, with a limited number of larger units for districts with more than 1,000 students.

Questions from school administrators should be directed to the IDPH Air Purifier Project Inbox at

Studies show that cleaner air can reduce absentee rates, and improve students’ abilities to think, learn, read and solve math problems.

Last year IDPH issued ventilation guidance to educate the community on the impact of ventilation systems and to provide information about low cost and DIY interventions for ventilation upgrades.

Russians Revive Greek Communists’ Children Stealing Tactic During Civil War

A really good book I recently read is “Eleni” by Nicholas Gage, a former New York Times reporter.

Ukrainian officials estimate that at least 16.000 children have been forcibly deported. NBC TV headline.

It’s about Gage’s search for information about his mother, who was killed by the Communists in the Geeek Civil War.

The most disturbing part of the book was of the Communists marching children over the mountains to Yugoslavia, where they were put in camps until relocated to other Communist countries.

Suhead from the Chicago Tribune.

We’re talking after the Second World War before 1950.

Now comes the Russian government into the Ukraine taking children to Russia.

With the Russia birth rate so low, one can understand the logic, if not the morality.

History repeating itself.

Democrats Swimming in Money – Part 4

We now move to McHenry County Democratic Party Central Committee financial activity for October, November and December in 2022.

$19,805 was contributed, $16,073.32 was spent, leaving $64,537.94 in the bank at the end of December.

Most of the money came from San Francisco’s Tides Advocacy.

  • $15,000 from Tides Advocacy of San Francisco
  • $750 was from Jeannie Ridings, a former Democratic Party candidate for Judge
  • $800 from Bill Foster for Congress
  • $250 from Citizens for Mary Mahady
  • Sheet Metal Workers 265 PAC of Carol Stream
  • $2,255 was donated in amounts under $150.01
  • $10 in-kind was provided

Expenditures follow:

  • $4,306.80 to Springfield’s ABCompuprint for a end of October mailing
  • $259.85 to Comcast for internret
  • about $180 for electricity to ComEd
  • $1,705,40 to Forest Printing of Forest Park for two printing jobs
  • $2,266.51 to Crystal Lake’s Hickory Hall for a December event
  • about $132 to MailChimp of Atlanta, GA, for Email srv
  • $2,100 for rent to Maria Manriguez of Woodstock
  • $190.65 to Nationbuilder of LA, CA, for website
  • $559.56 in unitemized spending

Deadly Prison Guard Beatdown Results in Twenty-Year Sentence

From the U.S. Attorney in Central Illinois:

Illinois Prison Guard Sentenced to 20 Years of Imprisonment Following Conviction for Civil Rights Deprivation Resulting in Bodily Injury and Death and Obstruction Charges

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Alex Banta, 31, a former correctional officer at the Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mt. Sterling, Ill., was sentenced today to an aggregate 20 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for civil rights deprivation resulting in bodily injury and death and obstruction of justice in connection with the death of Larry Earvin, an inmate at the facility,

At the sentencing hearing in front of Senior U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough, the government summarized the evidence from Banta’s 2022 trial.

Location of Illinois prisons.

During the trial, the government presented evidence that Banta and co-defendants Todd Sheffler, 54, who was a lieutenant at the correctional center, and Willie Hedden, 43, who was a sergeant, participated in the May 17, 2018, assault of Earvin, 65, during their forcible escort of Earvin from the residential housing unit of the prison to the segregation housing unit while he was restrained and handcuffed behind his back and while he posed no physical threat to the defendants or other correctional officers.

The assault resulted in serious bodily injury to Earvin, including multiple broken ribs, a punctured mesentery, and other serious internal injuries, and resulted in Earvin’s death in June 2018.

After the assault, all three defendants falsified incident reports that they filed with prison officials and lied to the Illinois State Police by denying any knowledge of or participation in the assault.

Also at the sentencing, the government stated that Banta had inflicted the most serious blows leading to Earvin’s death, including jumping in the air and landing on Earvin with both knees.

Banta’s co-defendant, Hedden, testified about a prior incident in which Banta assaulted an inmate.

And the government also presented statements and testimony from three of Earvin’s family members: his son, brother, and aunt.

Banta’s sentence consisted of concurrent 15-year terms of imprisonment on two of the five counts of the indictment: conspiracy to deprive civil rights and deprivation of civil rights under color of law resulting in bodily injury and death.

He also received five-year terms of imprisonment on the remaining three counts – conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct; obstruction – falsification of a document; and obstruction – misleading conduct – to run concurrent to each other and consecutive to the fifteen-year terms.

A federal grand jury had previously returned an indictment against Sheffler, of Mendon, Illinois; Hedden, of Mt. Sterling, Illinois; and Banta, of Quincy, Illinois, in December 2019.

At the April 2022 trial, Banta was convicted of all five charges in the indictment.

The jury in that joint trial was unable to reach verdicts as to Sheffler, resulting in a retrial in August 2022 at which he was convicted of the same charges.

Judge Myerscough ordered that both Banta and Sheffler be detained pending their sentencings.

Hedden pleaded guilty in March 2022 to both civil rights charges and to conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct.

Sheffler’s sentencing is scheduled for March 20, 2023, at 10 a.m., and Hedden’s sentencing is set for March 22, 2023, at 10 a.m. Both are set to take place at the federal courthouse in Springfield, Illinois.

“We hope that the convictions of Todd Sheffler, Alex Banta, and Willie Hedden and today’s sentence for Alex Banta provide a measure of justice for Larry Earvin and his family,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris.

“We also hope it serves as a warning to all those who would abuse governmental power that they will be held accountable under the law.

“Although the vicious and brutal beating of Mr. Earvin cost him his life, and that is a loss that can never be remedied, all of those persons whom the evidence established violated Mr. Earvin’s constitutional rights and caused his death (Sheffler, Hedden, and Banta) have been and are being held accountable.

“Our prosecution of this case demonstrates our continued commitment to equal justice under the law and to protecting society’s vulnerable, including those in our prisons.”

Harris added that his office also wanted to express its appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Springfield Office, and highlighted the complete cooperation of the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), for their thorough and professional investigation of this most important civil rights matter.

Harris also especially recognized and thanked the efforts of FBI Special Agents Angela Bray and Price McCarty for their tireless efforts, without which a just outcome in this matter would not have been possible.

In addition, Harris noted the important testimony of IDOC witnesses who initially participated in the cover up of these offenses, but ultimately came forward and told the truth about the events surrounding Mr. Earvin’s death. Holding the defendants accountable for their murder of Mr. Earvin would not have been possible without their testimony.

Finally, Harris noted that the actions of a few here had unfairly tarnished the reputations of the men and women in law enforcement who honorably serve their communities with professionalism on a daily basis.

“While the conduct of Alex Banta is not characteristic of the vast majority of those working in law enforcement, it unfortunately undermines the efforts of officers who serve with integrity and who bear the responsibility to respect and defend the rights of those under their watch,” said FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. “Banta’s actions tarnished the reputation and badge worn proudly by the many hard-working and upstanding officers who abide by their oath. The FBI is unyielding in our commitment to zealously protect the rights of all Americans and to hold accountable anyone charged with safeguarding those rights.”

“ISP thoroughly investigates civil rights violations to hold those who break the law accountable,” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly.  “This type of conduct is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”

The statutory penalties for each of the civil rights resulting in death charges are up to life imprisonment. The statutory penalties for each of the obstruction of justice charges are up to 20 years of imprisonment.

The case was the result of a joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, the FBI-Springfield Field Office, and the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation, with the cooperation of the Illinois Department of Corrections. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy A. Bass and Eugene L. Miller represent the government in the prosecution.