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Protest Calls for Fresh Look into 2015 Police Shooting in Zion

Coronavirus Thursday Update
Vander Tuuk 6-26-20

(Chicago, IL) Increased Coronavirus testing has led to another increase in confirmed cases, but things are still headed in the right direction overall. Nearly 32-thousand tests were processed Thursday leading to 894 new confirmed cases. The state also announced 41 new deaths (6,810), including 2 in Lake County (411). The 7-day rolling positive infection rate did tick up one-tenth of a percentage point for the 2nd straight day, as 5 of the last 7 days saw lower than normal testing, leading to higher daily rates. The overall positive infection rate, and Lake County’s rate have continued their steady decline…with the state rate below 10% (9.5) and the County rate down over 5% (12.6) since June 1st. Hospitalizations and ICU use by Covid patients ticked up slightly, but are lower than at this point last week, and well below the April 28th highs.

Pritzker Touts Illinois Reopening as Other States Backtrack
Associated Press 6-26-20

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) Illinois residents may go to work, exercise at the gym, dine with family at a restaurant and see a movie at the theater starting today, as the state moves further into resuming some semblance of normal living during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that the state is progressing in re-opening its economy, while some other states backtrack a bit. While maintaining current safety protocol…bars and restaurants that were shut down in mid-March, may return to indoor service. Fitness centers, movie theaters, schools and day-care centers may re-open and people may return to workplaces. The Governor says if there is a surge in new cases, the state will be moved back to Phase 3.

Illinois Unemployment Figures Remain High
Vander Tuuk 6-26-20

(Springfield, IL) Illinois unemployment numbers remain high, despite some people heading back to work over the past month. The U.S. Department of Labor showed that over 705-thousand residents remained on unemployment insurance last week. Despite that number being down overall, the state still say 46,005 new claims for jobless benefits last week, which grew from the previous week. Illinois’ unemployment system continues to be hampered by problems which stretch back to the beginning of the pandemic…something Governor JB Pritzker says, he is still trying to fix.

Zion Murder Victim Identified
Vander Tuuk 6-26-20

(Zion, IL) A Zion man murdered early this week has been identified. Lake County Coroner’s officials say 44-year-old Robert Norris of Zion was found shot several times on Sunday night in the area of 28th Street and Galilee Avenue. He was pronounced dead the following day at Vista East Hospital, and those gunshot wounds were the official cause of his death. No arrests have been made at this point. Zion Police and the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force continue to investigate.

Protest for Justus Howell, State’s Attorney Again Rejects Call for New Look
Vander Tuuk 6-26-20

(Waukegan, IL) A protest outside of the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has once again called for a new look at a 5-year-old police shooting, and once again, the call was rejected. 17-year-old Justus Howell was shot by a Zion Police officer, after reportedly stealing a gun from an 18-year-old in April of 2015. An attorney for Howell’s family wants a grand jury to take another look into the case, something Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim has rejected. Nerheim released a statement just before the protest saying the officer was justified in the shooting, and cleared not only by his office, but as the result of several independent investigations. He also pointed out that a civil suit filed by the family was rejected in 2018. The State’s Attorney also released a document detailing the investigation on the office’s Facebook page.

Wisconsin Woman Arrested in Fox Lake Scam
Vander Tuuk 6-26-20

(Fox Lake, IL) A Wisconsin woman has been arrested on charges stemming from an investigation that started last October in Fox Lake. Michele Kirk of Twin Lakes, Wisconsin is facing two counts of theft and three counts of money laundering in connection from her time as property manager of the Vacation Village Home Owner’s Association in Fox Lake. Prosecutors say the actions of the 50-year-old ended up costing some 1-million-dollars. Kirk is currently jailed on a 250-thousand-dollar bond.

2 Brothers Change Minds, Will Cooperate in Smollett Case
Associated Press 6-26-20

CHICAGO (AP) Two brothers who threatened to stop cooperating with prosecutors in the case against actor Jussie Smollett have changed their minds. In a statement issued Thursday, an attorney representing Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, said that two are ready to testify, after a gun that went missing after police found it in their home had been found. Smollett is charged with lying to police about an alleged homophobic “attack” that authorities say the actor staged with the brothers to gain publicity for his career. The actor has maintained his innocence.

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