Fair tax or tax hike? Voters set to decide what could be Illinois' biggest taxation shift in decades
CHICAGO — Before Illinois voters consider any candidate on the Nov. 3 ballot — the presidential contenders, a member of Congress, a state lawmaker or a local judge — they will be asked to cast a simple yes or no vote on what could become the biggest change in state taxation in decades.The question at the top of the ballot is whether the Illinois Constitution should be amended to replace a mandated flat-rate income tax with a graduated-rate tax structure that increases the levy as income rises.More than any candidate being voted on, the proposed graduated-rate tax amendment represents what coul...
Wanted: Poll workers able to brave the pandemic
WASHINGTON — Dave and Diane Schell, a retired social studies teacher and a retired human resources professional from South Windsor, Connecticut, left their careers in 2015, and have worked the polls at their local precinct every election since. But not this November.The Schells — he’s a Republican, she’s a Democrat — are 68 and 65, respectively, and worried about contracting the coronavirus. They did work the polls during the Connecticut primary in March, at the beginning of the pandemic, but this fall “we decided to follow the (health) recommendations and stay home,” Diane Schell said in a ph...
In a career born in her own grief, violence recovery specialist works at a Chicago hospital in a city under siege
CHICAGO — Christine Goggins was just about to check in with the family of a gunshot victim, a new case that had been handed off from the previous shift, when the high-pitched beep of her pager sounded in her office at the University of Chicago’s medical campus.A middle-age man who had been assaulted and suffered severe head trauma was five minutes out from the hospital.Goggins, 30, headed across three buildings, nearly a city block, to the emergency department at the U. of C. Medical Center. She found the man in too much pain to talk. The medical team was getting him stabilized and starting IV...
Momentum for basic income builds as pandemic drags on
WASHINGTON — When the idyllic upstate city of Hudson, New York, launches its basic-income pilot program in late September, it will become one of the smallest U.S. cities to embrace a policy once seen as far-fetched or radical.“Basic-income” programs — designed to dole out direct cash payments to large swaths of people, no strings attached — were, until earlier this year, largely the realm of Washington, D.C., policy wonks and West Coast futurists.But amid the pandemic and a global recession, both basic income and a basket of related policies have gained unprecedented momentum, surfacing everyw...
Shoddy masks — some made from socks — leave Central Florida jail inmates exposed to COVID-19, attorneys say
ORLANDO, Fla. — As COVID-19 continues to spread through Central Florida’s jails, sickening hundreds of inmates and corrections staff, the facilities have failed to adequately shield inmates from the virus, critics say.Attorneys who have visited clients at the Orange, Osceola and Seminole county jails say inmates have been given masks that are poorly made or not designed for prolonged use. At Osceola’s jail, inmates were issued masks made from tube socks.Attorneys and advocates also say mask-wearing is loosely enforced at those jails by staff, some of whom flout the regulations themselves. Many...
Ruffed Grouse Society project would improve Minnesota's degrading hunter walking trails
MINNEAPOLIS — Nonmotorized hunter walking trails would receive overdue upgrades as part of a new initiative proposed by the Ruffed Grouse Society.The $300,000 program — part of a much larger package of outdoors projects recommended for funding this year with state lottery proceeds — is designed to address what the conservation group has described as a “generally degraded system.”Fixing up 120 existing trailheads with signage, gates, parking and other infrastructure improvements would better -serve upland hunters, birders and hikers, according to the proposal. Grouse season opens Sept. 19 this ...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Bill Gates Sr., civic figure and father of Microsoft co-founder, dies at 94
SEATTLE — William Gates Sr., the father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has died at 94, the family said Tuesday.Gates was a prominent Seattle attorney and the founding partner of one of the region’s best-known law firms. But it was his son’s fortune in the tech field that made the name “Bill Gates” known the world over. And it launched an entirely different path for the elder Gates when he was nearly 70.That’s when he became one of the guiding forces behind the William H. Gates Foundation — later renamed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, after his son and daughter-in-law. It is one of t...
The Seattle Times
295,000 guns may have been sold without background checks during pandemic, report says
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nearly 300,000 gun sales may have been allowed to proceed without complete background checks during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, a report found.The report from advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety is based on Federal Bureau of Investigation data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. It shows that as more Americans bought guns during the pandemic, more background checks were delayed and more guns could have been sold without them.Between March and July, 294,683 gun sales could have gone through without background checks, it says.Background ch...
The Charlotte Observer
Experts worry QAnon conspiracies are overshadowing fight against child trafficking
SAN DIEGO — Rallying in the center of Santee’s busy shopping district on a recent Saturday, men, women and children waved signs condemning the sexual exploitation of children.“Standing 4 children” read one, and “End human trafficking” another. They received honks of support as drivers passed by.There were other signs, though, that raised fears among some child-victim advocates that their long-standing efforts to fight trafficking are being hijacked and radically politicized by backers of conspiracy theories.The Santee rally included hand-lettered support for “WWG1 WGA,” an abbreviated version ...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
COVID-19 is crushing papers, worsening hunger for accurate info
David Erickson got the call directly from the publisher of the Missoulian, the Montana newspaper where he works as a reporter writing about business and housing. You might as well hear it first so you can break the news, the publisher told him earlier in August. The newspaper building, on the riverfront in a highly coveted part of downtown Missoula, was going up for sale for $8.5 million.Erickson and his colleagues had been working from home during the pandemic, but they hoped to return to their newsroom once it was over. The potential loss of the physical building, owned by Lee Enterprises, f...