“It’s that time of year again when white-tailed fawns begin popping up in and around our preserves. While out on our trails, you may encounter a fawn lying low to the ground, commonly in an area of tall grass or brush; or, in this case, in the middle of a trail.

Right after they are born, fawns aren’t quite strong enough to keep up with the activity level of their mother, so while mom forages and develops milk for her young, the fawn stays put. To escape predation, newborn fawns exhibit what is called “hider” behavior and can spend up to 95 percent of their infancy hiding in solitaire. Lone fawns are not abandoned and do not require help from humans.

If you find yourself fawning over fawns, just remember that while these baby animals are undeniably adorable, any unnecessary disturbance can induce capture myopathy and/or immense stress that can be detrimental, if not deadly, to wild animals. Please remember to keep pets on a leash at all times unless posted otherwise and maintain an appropriate viewing distance.

If you encounter an injured animal in one of our preserves that appears to need medical attention, please call our Main Office at 630-232-5980. Thank you!”


JB Smart

High property taxes, the state tax on gasoline and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s handling of COVID-19 are all factors in the state’s lack of job growth, according to an analyst.

report by Wirepoints looks at Illinois’ overall economic performance since Pritzker took office in 2019. The report shows 70,000 fewer jobs in that time frame and that its real GDP growth was 3.2% from 2019 to 2022, which ranked 10th worse in the country.

Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski told The Center Square that many factors have contributed to the lack of growth in jobs.

“We will never have the most jobs as long as we have the highest property taxes in the country. We will never have more jobs as long as we have the second-highest gas taxes in the country. We will never have more jobs if we have the biggest pension debt in the country, and we will never have more jobs if our home values continue shrinking relative to the rest of the country,” Dabrowski said. “We have so many things that are wrong in Illinois.”

In March 2020, Pritzker issued his first stay-at-home order in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. That resulted in many businesses having to close their doors. Overall, Illinois had some of the strictest executive orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dabrowski said the governor’s handling of the pandemic has hindered growth.

“Governor Pritzker had one of the most draconian, strict responses to the pandemic in the country,” Dabrowski said. “That really hurt jobs, and it really hurt entrepreneurs. He tried to pick and choose who should stay open and who couldn’t.”

More here.


More than 687,000 current and former Illinois residents who filed claims for a cut of Google’s $100 million biometric privacy class-action settlement can expect to see payouts of about $95 each.

Any person who appeared in a photograph in Google Photos between May 1, 2015, and April 25, 2022, while they were an Illinois resident was eligible to submit a claim for a piece of the settlement. The deadline to file a claim was last September.

In a May 31 court filing, attorneys for the class said payouts would be around $95 per person. At a hearing Friday, Cook County Circuit Judge Anna Loftus said the process of verifying claims filed in the case had been completed to her satisfaction and that the class had been identified in its entirety.

The Google settlement is one of a number of high-profile settlements in recent years over alleged violations of Illinois’ strict biometric privacy law; other companies that have been caught in the law’s crosshairs include Facebook and Snapchat parent Snap Inc. The law prohibits companies from collecting or saving biometric information without prior consent.

The Google case centered around the company’s face grouping tool, which sorts faces in the Google Photos app by similarity.

“We’re pleased to resolve this matter relating to specific laws in Illinois, and we remain committed to building easy-to-use controls for our users,” Google spokesperson José Castañeda said in a statement.

Google did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which it reached more than a year ago. At the time, attorneys for class members estimated that payouts could be as high as $200 to $400 per person.

More here.


Illinois lawmakers passed 566 bills through both chambers of the General Assembly in the recently concluded legislative session – all but one of them in May.

It sets the table for an approximate three-month bill-signing season for Gov. JB Pritzker. That’s because the state’s constitution gives legislative leaders 30 days from a bill’s passage to send it to the governor, who then has 60 days to sign or veto it.

If the governor takes no action in that time frame, the bill would become law automatically. Historically, the legislature has sent bills to the governor in batches, allowing his staff ample time to review the proposals.

Below are some of the bills that Pritzker will consider signing in the coming months.

Noncitizen licenses: A measure backed by Democratic Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias would allow residents of Illinois to obtain a standard driver’s license, rather than the “temporary visitor driver’s license” that is currently allowed under law.

Noncitizen law enforcementHouse Bill 3751 provides that noncitizens can become law enforcement officers in Illinois if they’re authorized by federal law to work in the country or if action on their immigration status has been deferred under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process.

License plate readers: Another measure backed by Giannoulias would prohibit any “user” of an automated license plate reader from sharing data collected by the device with out-of-state law enforcement officers who are investigating activities related to abortion care or someone’s immigration status.

Native American repatriationHouse Bill 3413 would streamline the process through which Illinois returns Native American remains and materials to their communities.

Probation drug testing: Senate Bill 1886 would limit the circumstances under which a judge could order a person to refrain from cannabis and alcohol use and submit to testing while on probation. A judge could still mandate testing if the person is under 21 or was sentenced for an offense that included use of an “intoxicating compound.”

Child influencersSenate Bill 1782 aims to protect “child influencers” who are under the age of 16 and featured in at least 30 percent of money-making internet videos, or vlogs, published by a family member in a 30-day period.

For an expanded description of these and more click here.

220 Admin

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the District Administration Center, 515 W. Main Street. Topics on their agenda include:

  • Consideration to Approve BHS Athletic Program Donation Agreement
  • Consideration to Approve Strategic Plan, and
  • Consideration to Approve BSEO Job Reclassification

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. The meeting will be livestreamed on the district YouTube channel.


A polling station on Staten Island in 2022.Anna Watts for The New York Times

Young and active

In the 2018 elections — the midterms of Donald Trump’s presidency — turnout among younger voters surged. Almost twice as many people in their late 20s and early 30s voted that year as had done so in the midterms four years earlier. And they strongly backed Democratic candidates, helping the party retake control of Congress.
At the time, it was not clear whether the newfound political engagement of younger adults would last beyond Trump’s presidency. So far, though, it has — and it’s emerging as one of the biggest stories in American politics and a major advantage for the Democratic Party.
After each election, the data analysts at Catalist, a progressive research company, publish a post-mortem report based on months of analysis of election returns, voter files and other sources. A central theme of the latest report, covering the 2022 midterms, was that “Gen Z and millennial voters had exceptional levels of turnout,” as Catalist’s experts wrote. In the 14 states with heavily contested elections last year, turnout among younger voters rose even higher than it was in 2018.
This chart, by my colleague Ashley Wu, offers a nice way to see the trends:
Source: Catalist | By The New York Times
Since 2014, turnout among people born before 1950 has declined, mostly because more have died or been unable to get to the polls. (Experts refer to this dynamic euphemistically as “exiting the electorate.”) Turnout among middle-aged people rose, and turnout among young voters rose even more sharply.
Older Americans still vote at higher rates than younger Americans, but the gap has narrowed substantially over the past two decades.

Fear, not love

Why? Many younger voters have become more politically active because they fear for the country’s future. Those on the left — who are a majority of younger voters — worry about climate change, abortion access, the extremism of the Republican Party and more. Those on the right worry about secularization, political correctness, illegal immigration and more.
“What seems to be driving younger voters to the polls isn’t love, but anger,” Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report has written.
Source: Catalist | By The New York Times
Contrary to conventional wisdom, younger voters throughout U.S. history have not automatically been liberal. In 1984, Americans under 30 strongly backed Ronald Reagan’s re-election. In 2000, they split almost evenly between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
It’s true that people often become somewhat more conservative as they age (and millennials are following this pattern, as my colleague Nate Cohn explained). But the more significant factor is that generations tend to have distinct ideologies. People are shaped by the political zeitgeist during their adolescence, as research by Yair Ghitza, Andrew Gelman and Jonathan Auerbach has shown.
Americans who came of age during the Depression and New Deal, for example, leaned Democratic for their entire lives. Those who grew up during the Reagan era (many of whom are part of Generation X) lean to the right. In recent decades, major news events, including the Iraq war, the financial crisis, Barack Obama’s presidency and the chaos of Trump’s presidency, appear to have created a progressive generation.
For four straight national elections dating back to 2014, Democrats have won at least 60 percent of the vote among 18- to 29-year-olds. It’s longest such run of success since at least the 1970s, when Catalist’s data begins.
The pattern offers reason for Democratic optimism. Millennials and Generation Z are growing parts of the electorate, while older, more conservative generations are gradually exiting the electorate. Even in the short term, the age dynamics matter: A Republican will have a slightly harder time winning the presidency in 2024 than in 2020. In the long term, Republicans will struggle to win national elections unless they can appeal to more Americans born since 1980.

Still a contest

With all this said, a coming period of Democratic dominance is not guaranteed. The party has other weaknesses that could eventually alienate more millennial and Gen Z voters.
Another theme of the Catalist report is that working-class voters across races have recently drifted toward the Republican Party. Many of these less affluent voters seem bothered by the increasing social liberalism of the Democratic Party. Many younger voters are also not sure which party offers more promising economic policies.
These concerns help explain why Florida and Texas have remained solidly Republican, to the disappointment of Democrats. The chart below compares the Democratic Party’s performance by class and race in the past two midterm elections when a Democrat was in the White House.
Source: Catalist | Asian includes Pacific Islanders. | By The New York Times
I realize that the combination of trends is complex. The Democratic lean of Americans under 40, combined with their recent increase in voter turnout, has become a huge advantage for the party. Yet not all these voters are committed Democrats. Many identify as independents and are more conservative than the highly educated, affluent officials who dominate the Democratic Party and progressive groups.
In the competitive world of American politics, Democrats are in a stronger position than Republicans among younger voters, but the contest is not over.

Source: The New York Times

Indoor shot of handsome stressful overworked man covers face with palm, has displeased expression, dressed in casual clothes, poses against white background with copy space for your promotional textHave mercy if this list is woefully incomplete. The recently concluded session of the Illinois General Assembly sent a blizzard of some 560 bills to Gov. JB Pritzker for signature, so we certainly don’t know what all is in them (and most lawmakers don’t, either.)

Below, however, are some of the more foolish bills that caught our attention. Keep in mind that each will require Pritzker’s signature before becoming law.

What’s clear from the session is that progressives were unrestrained, passing laws supposedly providing government answers to whatever they see in the world that they don’t like. Take just the output of lawmakers from my area, for example, who are all progressives. Rep. Robin Gabel sponsored 65 bills and resolutions, 44 of which passed. Sen. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz sponsored 92, 61 of which passed. But Rep. Laura Fine beat them both – 203 of which 92 passed. That’s according to a compilation by the Daily Northwestern.

We’d like to hear from you if you know of others we missed:

Converting deserts to oases – at taxpayer expense. Don’t have a decent grocery store near your home? SB 0850 directs the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity to establish the “Grocery Initiative” to study “food deserts” in Illinois and give grants to grocery stores in those areas. This bill is a nice illustration of the statist mentality prevailing in the General Assembly. Illinois, being mostly rural or empty, is covered with deserts of all kinds – areas lacking a nearby pharmacy, dentist, car mechanic, public transit, healthcare specialists and countless other goods and services. Is it now the taxpayers’ obligation to assure that these are conveniently in reach for everybody?

Unknown cost of unfunded kindergarten mandate means unknown property tax increase. House Bill 2396 will require school districts around the state to provide full-day kindergarten by the 2027-2028 school year. Nice idea, provided the schools don’t extend their political indoctrination down to that level. But the bigger problem is the legislature didn’t bother to tell taxpayers or anybody else how much that will cost local school districts. Why bother when they can just impose another unfunded mandate? The Illinois Principal’s Association opposed the bill because of those unknown, unfunded costs.

Another mandate on schools – to enforce antiracism and anti-harassment. SB 0090 will make school districts liable for a civil rights violation if they “fail to take appropriate corrective action to stop harassment” or fail to comply with reporting requirements imposed by the bill. Along with the onerous reporting requirements, the bill lays out lengthy details on required anti-harassment and anti-racism training. The state will be required to produce a model training program.

Find more here.

Grocery Up

After an election cycle freeze on the state’s taxes for groceries and gasoline, the two taxes, among others, are set to increase beginning July 1.

Next month, the state’s gas tax will increase by 6.2 cents to a total tax of 45.4 cents, the second increase since Jan. 1. The state’s tax on groceries will also go back into effect after Gov. J.B. Pritzker put a hold on the tax during last year’s election cycle.

Bryce Hill of the Illinois Policy Institute said the gas tax has continued to increase since Pritzker has been in office.

“Previously, it used to be 19 cents in 2018,” Hill told The Center Square. “Beginning in July of 2019, he doubled that to 38 cents, and then he also indexed the gas tax to inflation, meaning that it automatically increases every year.”

Certain local municipalities can also set their tax on gas, which means some areas of the state will be paying even more on top of the already increased state tax.

“At the local level, on top of the gas tax, you have the ability for localities to tax gasoline, which many do,” Hill said.

Read more here.


Illinois may soon require all public school districts to front the costs of a full-day kindergarten program starting in 2027. There is no designated financial support from the state. Opponents said it’s not about a lack of desire or need, but the lack of funding.

A bill on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk could mandate every public school in Illinois to provide full-day kindergarten by 2027, despite offering no funding assistance or estimates on the costs to taxpayers.

House Bill 2396 would require school districts around the state to provide full-day kindergarten to families with children ages 4 to 6 by the 2027-2028 school year. The bill also creates a task force to estimate the costs to local taxpayers of implementing the mandate and to track enrollment.

Illinois previously only required schools to offer a half-day kindergarten program. A Chalkbeat analysis of Illinois State Board of Education data shows over 700 of the state’s 852 school districts already reported full-day kindergarten enrollments.

School districts that don’t already provide full-day kindergarten may need to raise local taxes to cover the costs of the new program. Those include building new classrooms and hiring more teachers, said Illinois Principals Association Government and Public Relations Director Alison Maley.

Maley said without money in the bill to help local school districts implement the mandate, it comes down to whether local taxpayers can afford it.

“It’s not for a lack of desire, it’s a lack of space, lack of resources, lack of staffing,” Maley said.

Read more here.

Spong Moth

Say hello to a male spongy moth, aka Lymantria dispar, with its remarkable bat-like antennae. – Getty Images

As a caterpillar, the invasive spongy moth consumes as much leaf tissue as it can, as fast as it can, threatening the lives of whole forests across the upper Midwest.

But Illinois continues to stand on the front lines when it comes to slowing the westward spread of this insect with a voracious appetite.

To protect our trees and contain the insect’s migration, county forest preserve districts are working with the Illinois Department of Agriculture to treat various natural areas in the greater Chicago region, including in Aurora, Lemont and Naperville.

Historically known as the “gypsy moth,” spongy moth caterpillars have a feeding period that lasts seven to 10 weeks through the spring and summer. A single spongy moth caterpillar can eat 11 square feet of vegetation during its lifetime, and its host plants include more than 300 tree and shrub species.

With the ability to completely strip trees bare year after year, spongy moths have the potential to severely affect trees and forests. But since an Illinois county was quarantined first — Lake County in 2000 — two types of prevention treatments have proved successful at holding the line, or least slowing it down.

The yearly treatments involve low-flying helicopters or yellow agricultural planes that release either a pesticide or a mating disruption agent.

Spraying of the insecticide, known as BTK or Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, took place last month in areas in Aurora, Galena, Lemont and West Chicago. BTK solely affects caterpillars and is not toxic to people, animals or other insects. The insecticide has been used in the greater Chicago area since 1980.

While that means BTK kills all caterpillars and not just spongy moths, studies show the agent does not have long-lasting effects on native species, said Scott Schirmer, a plant regulatory official with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“We’re basically dumping a bucket of water on the spongy moth campfire. That area is going to be eliminated of spongy moths, but there’s going to be all the natives in the surrounding area that can basically backfill into that hole relatively quickly,” Shirmer said. “Studies show that the natives will repopulate or recolonize an area that’s been treated with BTK in a matter of a couple of years.”

Read more here.

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