FILE - Illinois State Capitol

The dome of the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

Illinois preparing for 80 percent COVID-19 vaccination rate as soon as vaccine available

Local public health officials are being tasked with preparing for a COVID-19 vaccine, for whenever that’s available.

The goal of the Illinois Department of Public Health has is to vaccinate 80 percent of the population with two-dose vaccines.

But they warn demand for the vaccine could taper off as it did with H1N1 years ago.

Some outbreaks went unreported, according to report

State and federal prisons, some schools and a naval base outbreak are among many COVID-19 outbreaks a newly published report says went underreported.

Using data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found other unreported outbreaks were at places like meat processing plants.

Group wants to create 'New Illinois' as 51st state

The chairman of the New Illinois movement says they don’t want to divorce from Chicago, they want to divorce from Illinois.

The group plans to announce its independence Saturday in Hancock County. G.H. Merritt, the chairman of the group, said their goal is to get 101 counties, excluding Cook, to move the constitutional process forward to create the 51st state.

The legislatures of those affected and the U.S. Congress must approve such a move.

Progressive tax group funded by Pritzker pays more than $10,000 to promote fake tweet

Supporters of changing the state’s flat income tax are using a fake Twitter account posing as an opponent to promote the progressive tax.

The Vote Yes For Fairness group which is heavily funded by Gov. J.B. Pritzker shared a screenshot on Facebook Oct. 9 of a tweet from @Liz_Uihlein critical of the amendment.

Uihlein’s publicist said it was a fake account. Pritzker gave Vote Yes for Fairness $56.5 million so far this year.

Illinois may consider lowering the compulsory school age to 5

The Illinois Board of Education wants to lower the compulsory school attendance age in Illinois from six to five.

The board said children from lower-income families who don’t have the opportunity to go to preschool and kindergarten arrive at first grade at a disadvantage that they may never overcome.

Under current regulations, the compulsory school ages for children in Illinois are age six to 17.

Sour Patch Kids most popular candy in Illinois, CandyStore.com says

The most popular candy in Illinois is Sour Patch Kids. That’s according to CandyStore.com, which reviewed the total sales of candy by the pound.

Illinoisans bought 175,900 pounds of the sweet and sour gummy treats. Kit Kat, which was last year’s winner, came in second (at 140,000 pounds) Starburst finished third (at 122,000 pounds).

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

Regional Editor

Brett Rowland has worked as a reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He most recently served as news editor of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He previously held the same position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb.