Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 | Illinois

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COVID-19 hospitalizations decline

There’s a downward trend statewide in the hospitalizations for COVID-19.

Data presented on the Illinois Department of Public Health website shows the peak of this wave was Sept. 7 with statewide 565 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds.

The latest report shows 519 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds on Sept. 15.

That’s about one-sixth of the 3,000 total available ICU beds with 508 vacant.

Legislative maps challenge continues

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund has filed a reply supporting Illinois Republicans in their challenge of the Democrats’ legislative maps.

The filing says the plaintiff’s allegation of malapportionment isn’t moot.

They’re supporting a motion for summary judgment against the maps.

Democrats have said they’re within their rights to enact maps. Republicans say it’s beyond the deadline and a bipartisan commission must take up the issue.

Last Sears store in Illinois closes

The last Sears store in Illinois will be closing its doors.

Transformco, the company that owns what is left of the retail chain, announced it will close the Sears store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg on Nov. 14.

Founded in 1892, Sears was the largest retailer in the country in the 1980s.

After years of declining sales, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2018.

Report finds Illinois holds 30% of pension obligation bond debt in nation

A new report shows Illinois holds 30% of the nation’s pension obligation bond debt.

The Illinois Policy Institute found the state has borrowed a total of $17.2 billion since 2003, but repayment cost is now $31 billion.

And while Illinois received its first credit upgrade in 20 years, the use of the pension bonds puts Illinois at risk to slip back toward junk status by using a tool that has historically been shown to be unsuccessful.

Unemployment rate dips in Illinois

Illinois’ unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percent in August from the month before.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the rate is now 7%. That’s still nearly 2 percentage points higher than the national average of 5.2%.

Illinois regularly lags the nation in economic recovery.

Aviation program expands in Illinois

The largest aviation maintenance training program in the country will call Illinois home.

The Aviation Institute of Maintenance has opened a 137,000-square-foot facility in Chicago, the largest in the country.

They converted an old warehouse with a large hangar, 17 classrooms, a lab and offices to support students.

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Caleb Alexander

Caleb Alexander

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