Former Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey is taking his fight to save a building belonging to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford to the very top. On Friday, he mailed a letter to the Pope asking him to stop the diocese from demolishing its vacant chancery. Morrissey pointed to the city’s former Post Office, now repurposed as Rockford Park District headquarters, as an example of the possibilities if the diocese relents. But he says so far the diocese has refused to engage – and that goes against the Pope’s own message to bishops at a recent conference. “Pope Francis gave specific guidance supporting preservation, partnership and dialogue with local civil authorities, as opposed to demolition and unilateral decision making,” Morrissey said. The diocese says the Beaux Arts structure is in deep disrepair and wants to raze it. It's part of three buildings on the site that the diocese wants to re-purpose. Morrissey hopes intervention from the Vatican will bring the diocese to the table.
Hear the story here. A recent report finds mainly women are in poverty in Illinois and improving their financial status would boost the overall economy in the state. The report from the research arm of theHeartland Alliance concluded that improving wages and other conditions for women would be particularly helpful to women of color. Katie Buitrago of the Heartland Alliance said women are over half the population in Illinois and that the poverty rate for families headed bywomenis double that for families headed by single men. “Gender pay equity is not only an issue for women's human rights, but it deeply impacts families that depend on them, as well, and the economy. Ending the wage gap in Illinois would boost the economy by over $20 billion , and it would benefit over one million children,” she said. Wage equity is only slowly improving. The report saysIfmorechangesaren’t made, women will not see equal pay until the year twenty-sixty-five Black women are the demographic group that
Frustrated by the large number of Central Americans who've been crossing the border from Mexico, President Trump has threatened to take dramatic action. "If they don't stop 'em, we're closing the border," Trump warned Friday . "They'll close it. And we'll keep it closed for a long time." This is not the first time Trump has sounded that warning. And so far he has not followed through. Halting cross-border traffic with one of the nation's biggest trading partners could do serious damage to the U.S. economy, including industries located far from Mexico. Retailers in San Diego got a small taste of that last November, when members of a migrant caravan charged the border and U.S. officials closed one border crossing in response. While that shutdown lasted only a few hours, it came on what should have been one of the busiest shopping days of the year. And the fallout was severe, costing local merchants an estimated $5.3 million in lost sales . "I easily, easily lost between $3,500 to $4,500
When India blew apart one of its satellites orbiting Earth last week, it created hundreds of pieces of orbital debris — and some of those pieces are large enough and high enough to pose a potential threat to the International Space Station, NASA says. "That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris in an apogee that goes above the International Space Station," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, referring to the debris' highest point in orbit. "And that kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human space flight that we need to see happen." In calculating the Indian test's potential impact last week, he said NASA determined that the risk of small debris hitting the space station was increased by 44 percent over a period of 10 days. "It's unacceptable, and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is," Bridenstine said, discussing space debris and India's anti-satellite test at a town hall event Monday. YouTube As he spoke about
Prince Harry's number one fan in Australia has died at the age of 99. From the moment they met in 2015, Daphne Dunne and Harry were fast friends – and media darlings. Harry, who served 10 years in the British army, first saw Dunne in line outside the Sydney Opera House. He was drawn to the medals pinned to her coat and stopped to chat, The Daily Telegraph reports . The medals came from her late first husband, Albert Chowne, who died in World War II – and she told Harry about working as a corporal in the Australian Women's Army Service during the war. Dunne and the royal met twice more after that, both times she waited for him in a crowded line. He would stop and crouch beside her, and she would put her hand on his face or kiss his cheek. Their encounters made their way onto news websites across the Commonwealth, Good Morning America in the U.S. and even the front page of the Daily Mirror (after which Dunne wrote on Instagram, "Too much excitement for me. I need a nap.") But for Harry
For many people in Venezuela suffering from shortages of food and medicine, a lifeline runs from Miami through companies like VKE Cargo. It's a storefront and a small warehouse located in Doral, a Miami suburb. Oscar Saker was there with his sister recently, helping carry several bags of food and supplies they're sending to Venezuela. Among the items were cereal, toilet paper, tomato sauce, rice and pasta. "She's shipping [to] her family," Saker says, "Basics — nothing fancy, nothing expensive, nothing extraordinary." They send the packages every month. But getting food and other supplies to family, he says, has gotten more expensive and more difficult. An estimated 200,000 Venezuelans live in South Florida. For years now, many have been sending packages with food and medicine to family and friends back home. But, as conditions have deteriorated in Venezuela, fewer shippers are sending packages there. In Doral, a city that's adjacent to Miami's airport, there used to be well over a
A forest fire in southwestern China that killed more than two dozen firefighters has been contained, local authorities said. The fire broke out on Saturday evening local time in a remote area of the country's Sichuan province and killed 30 people in total, according to the state news agency Xinhua . The blaze took place at over 12,000 feet. The agency reported that the fire in Muli County, in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, had been contained by Tuesday afternoon local time, though some areas continued to burn. Footage from Chinese media shows billowing grey clouds moving over tree-covered mountains. The fire burned across 15 hectares, or about 37 acres, according to Xinhua, as complex terrain – including a thick layer of forest and limited access to water — hindered efforts to put out the fire. In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a helicopter leaves to fight a forest fire in China's Sichuan Province. Xinhua News Agency / AP State media reported that 27 of those
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened new investigations into fires in five Hyundai and its affiliate Kia vehicle models, following reports of thousands of fires and more than 100 injuries and one death. The federal auto safety regulator announced on Monday that it had launched the two investigations into nearly 3 million vehicles in response to a petition from the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group. The probes come on the heels of several years of recalls for both companies over fire risks. The cars included in the scope of the new investigations by the NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigations are Hyundai's 2011-2014 Sonata and Santa Fe, Kia's 2011-2014 Optima and Sorento, and Kia's 2010-2015 Soul. Altogether, the agency and the pair of South Korea-based vehicle manufacturers have received 3,125 reports of fires that were not sparked by a collision, according to the NHTSA. The agency's documents also show one recorded fatality. According to the
Hospitals and nursing homes in California and Illinois are testing a surprisingly simple strategy to stop the dangerous, antibiotic-resistant superbugs that kill thousands of people each year: washing patients with a special soap. The efforts — funded with roughly $8 million from the federal government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — are taking place at 50 facilities in those two states. This novel collaboration recognizes that superbugs don't remain isolated in one hospital or nursing home but move quickly through a community, said Dr. John Jernigan , who directs the CDC's office on health care-acquired infection research. "No health care facility is an island," Jernigan says. "We all are in this complicated network." At least 2 million people in the U.S. become infected with some type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and about 23,000 die from those infections, according to the CDC. People in hospitals are vulnerable to these bugs, and people in nursing homes
No matter who wins Tuesday's election for mayor of Chicago, the United States' third-largest city will be led by an African-American woman for the first time. The historic race pits Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle against Lori Lightfoot, a lawyer and former head of a police oversight board who also would become the city's first openly gay mayor. The free-for-all campaign has represented a sharp contrast to almost every past election in a city that has been synonymous with Democratic machine politics and bossism for nearly a century. In the first-round election in February , Lightfoot, 56, and Preckwinkle, 72, were the top two vote-getters among 14 candidates. Lightfoot led the crowded field with 17.5 percent of the vote, while Preckwinkle received about 16 percent, qualifying them for Tuesday's runoff election. The wide-open succession battle began with a surprise retirement announcement last year from two-term Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a prolific fundraiser and former White
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit AILSA CHANG, HOST: Former Vice President Joe Biden has not yet announced whether he will be running for president. But he is already facing controversy. A former Democratic assemblywoman in Nevada, Lucy Flores, recounted a 2014 encounter she calls inappropriate and embarrassing. She alleges Biden grabbed her shoulders, smelled her hair and planted a kiss on her head. In a statement, Biden says he's offered countless, quote, "expressions of affection." But he believes he has never acted inappropriately. NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben has been following all of this and joins us now. Hey, Danielle. DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa. CHANG: So these allegations from Flores, they're quite nuanced, right? Can you just... KURTZLEBEN: Right. CHANG: ...Lay out exactly what she is alleging against Biden? KURTZLEBEN: Right. So like you sort of got at in that intro, in 2014, she was a candidate for - to be the lieutenant governor of Nevada. She was a
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: The 2020 census count will have reached every U.S. household exactly a year from today. The results will determine how political power and federal funding are distributed around the country over the next decade. The Census Bureau has plenty of hurdles to clear before it can carry out the count. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang sat down with the bureau's director for his first news interview since taking on that role earlier this year. HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: Steven Dillingham's job is to make sure the U.S. government meets its constitutional mandate to count every person living in the country. And looming over him is an issue he can't control; the citizenship question the Trump administration wants to ask - is this person a citizen of the United States? Dillingham was nominated by President Trump to lead the Census Bureau. Did you have any conversations with President Trump during your confirmation process? STEVEN DILLINGHAM: I did not.