Parents arched past the Geneva District 304 Coultrap Educational Services Center. on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Several parents were there in response to the school board's approval of a learning plan that changed the hybrid schedule to make Fridays all remote learning for all students.
Civil unrest broke out across the country and in Northern Illinois in early summer after video surfaced of a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man living in Minneapolis, for eight minutes. Floyd's death sparked massive outrage across the country, as marchers took to the streets for demonstrations. While most of the protests were peaceful, some took a violent turn. A police car was set on fire in Aurora, while several businesses were damaged. In DeKalb, looters damaged local businesses on Annie Glidden Road and Hillcrest Drive.
Peaceful demonstrations were held in just about every county in Northern Illinois, with protestors calling for an end to police brutality. In Kane County, protestors in Geneva marched down Route 38 after bringing their message to the intersection of Third and State streets. Protests were also held in St. Charles, Batavia and Elburn.
In Kendall County, hundreds of people attended peaceful protests in Oswego, Yorkville and Plano. In Plano, protesters were met by a small group of counter-protesters, but the event went on without incident. The rioting in Chicago and Aurora prompted concerned downtown Oswego business owners to board up their stores along Main Street for several days. The boards came off the building as concerns over the prospects of local rioting eased.
By Geoff Stellfox, Matthew Apgar, Sandy Bressner, Mark Busch - firstname.lastname@example.org, Scott Anderson, Alex T. Paschal and Michael Krabbenhoeft
The Nov. 3 General Election had one of the highest voter turnouts in U.S. history. Several communities in Northern Illinois also saw record turnout, leaving many races too close to call. Kane County not only saw a record turnout, but the highest number of early and mail-in votes.
The McHenry County Clerk's Office reported 237,640 registered voters -- an increase of 19,462 over 2016 -- and 165,512 ballots cast for a voter turnout rate of 70%, matching the 2008 peak.
Voter turnout in Kendall County was 76%--the highest since the 1992 presidential election. The Biden-Harris presidential ticket carried the county with 51% of the vote to 45% for Trump-Pence.
By geoff stellfox, Matthew Apgar, Sandy Bressner, Mark Busch - email@example.com, Scott Anderson, Alex T. Paschal and Michael Krabbenhoeft
Plans remain in place for Exelon Generation to close the Byron Nuclear Plant as well as its Dresden plant in Morris, Illinois in Sept. 2021.
Exelon announced its intentions on Aug. 27. The Byron plant has around 700 regular employees. It was licensed to operate for another 20 years. The decision to close it has been “in the works for some time,” according to the Aug. 27 press release.
The two plants face revenue shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars because of declining energy prices and market rules that “allow fossil fuel plants to underbid clean resources.”
“Although we know in our heads that shutting down the uneconomic Illinois plants is necessary to preserve even more jobs elsewhere, our hearts ache today for the thousands of talented women and men that have served Illinois families for more than a generation and will lose their jobs because of poorly conceived energy policies,” Christopher Crane, president and CEO of Exelon said. “But we are only about a year away from shutdown and we need to give our people, the host communities, and regulators time to prepare.”
Exelon has not ruled out keeping the plants open if things change with policymakers. Since the announcement, groups have mobilized to lobby for the plants to remain open.
The Byron Station Response Committee is spearheaded by Byron School District Superintendent Buster Barton, whose district received just over $19.1 million taxes from the plant last year.
The Byron plant pays one of the highest property tax bills in the United States annually. In 2019, the plant’s main real estate tax bill was $34.9 million.
“It just goes to show you how much our community cares about our school district and how important the power plant is to our funding,” Barton said. “We think this committee will help identify and mobilize groups that can spread our message that the power plant should be kept open.”
By Alex T. Paschal, Michael Krabbenhoeft and Jeff Helfrich