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By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS
SPRINGFIELD – Capitol News Illinois, Lee Enterprises and ProPublica are winners of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for their investigative series into a culture of abuse and cover-ups at a state-run center for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The series, entitled “Culture of Cruelty,” unearthed a yearslong pattern of patient abuse and cover-up culture that existed to hide horrific abuse and neglect at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in southern Illinois.
“Our domestic print winners pierced a veil of secrecy surrounding a state-run facility in Illinois,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof said during a virtual award ceremony Wednesday. “The journalists faced numerous obstacles while chasing the story. But once the secrets began to unravel, they found their award-winning entry.”
State officials cited the investigative findings in their announcement of a plan to relocate about half of the facility’s residents.
On Wednesday, the news outlets were announced as winners of the RFK Human Rights Award in the domestic print category. The outlets’ reporters – Beth Hundsdorfer of Capitol News Illinois and Molly Parker of Lee Enterprises and ProPublica – have published 11 stories on the topic thus far and they continue to report on the topic.
The nationwide award includes submissions from the country’s most prominent news outlets. Previous winners include outlets such as the New York Times, Associated Press and Washington Post.
It’s an award given annually to news stories that provide insights into the “causes, conditions, and remedies of human rights violations and injustice, and critical analysis of relevant policies, programs, individual actions, and private endeavors that foster positive change.”
In 2007 while at the Belleville News Democrat, Hundsdorfer and her former reporting partner, George Pawlaczyk, received the award for an investigative series into the deaths of 53 children who were under the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
She and Parker began investigating Choate in 2022, eventually teaming up to pool the newsrooms’ resources. The investigation involved dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests, thousands of pages of documents, extensive interviews with sources, database building and other reporting efforts.
It continues as the state executes its plan of repurposing the facility and relocating about half of its residents to other settings.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that distributes coverage of state government to hundreds of newspapers and broadcast outlets daily. It launched in January 2019 and Hundsdorfer joined the reporting team in fall 2021.
“It’s an honor to have our outlet’s name associated with such a prestigious award, but it’s sobering to think what Beth and Molly have unearthed had gone on for so long,” Capitol News Illinois Bureau Chief Jerry Nowicki said. “Today, we’re grateful for their hard work on this topic and their continuing efforts to shed light on what’s gone on at Choate.”
Lee Enterprises is one of the nation’s largest newspaper chains and ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that partners with local reporting outlets to fund investigative and longform journalism projects.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of print and broadcast outlets statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(773) 968-5777 | Mobile
The Lighthouse Church of All Nations
4501 W. 127th Street
Alsip, IL 60803
Pastoral transition in Chicago's largest
**Press invited Sunday, March 26, 2023, at 6 p.m. CST for a
special celebration service**
Having just celebrated 45 years of serving the Chicagoland area, The Lighthouse Church of All Nations is embarking on a new journey. Founded by the Rev. Dr. Dan Willis in 1977, the church grew from 16 people to 6,000 members and is well-respected throughout the world for its integrity, love and commitment to helping others. This nondenominational ministry is home to 72 different nationalities and ministers to more than 700 children and youth every weekend.
The Rev. Dr. Dan Willis, affectionately known as, “Pastor Dan”, has led as senior pastor for these past 45 years and is excited to announce his elevation to bishop. The new senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church of All Nations is the Rev. Garland Mays, Jr. Pastor Garland and his wife, Pastor Farida, have been members and ministers for many years, leading as youth pastors for nearly 15 years. Parents of three sons, they realize the importance of strong families and the role communities of faith play.
This change does not mean “retirement” for Bishop Dan though! His new role allows him to mentor and oversee The Lighthouse while also elevating his opportunities for television ministry, writing, speaking and teaching.
This transition will be celebrated at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 26,in the Main Sanctuary of The Lighthouse Church, 4501 W. 127th Street in Alsip. Free and open to the public, we encourage everyone to join us for this special night.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Katy Brumm Pederson
Project Runway Winner, TV Celebrity and Internationally renowned designer, Jonathan Kayne will be in Litchfield this weekend raising funds for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital and styling prom at My Formals
About Johnathan Kayne: As a successful fashion designer and business owner, Kayne was selected to compete on Project Runway. This experience, his charming personality, and eye for glamorous style propelled Kayne to his own celebrity status. Kayne starred on the TLC special Gown Crazy, and also appeared on E!, ABC, NBC, Bravo, and The Style Network.
In addition to his dress line, Johnathan serves as a fashion expert for Country Weekly, Zuus Country, and NStyle Country. Dubbed as a “genius designer” by Heidi Klum and “a designer who knows how to make clothes and fit a woman’s body” by Michael Kors, his designs have appeared on the world’s biggest stars and most prestigious red carpets. A few of his celebrity clients include Jennifer Lopez, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Elle King, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Kelly Pickler, Tanya Tucker, Britney Spears, Lee Brice, and Rascal Flatts.
Meet Johnathan Kayne at MyFormals this Saturday and Sunday. A donation will be made to St Jude’s for every Johnathan Kayne dress sold.
Johnathan Kayne will be giving fashion tips, showing special pieces from the 2023 Prom & Pageant line and helping girls choose the perfect prom dress for them. Let a design expert help you get the right prom dress for you to make memories.
When: March 4th & 5th
Where: My Formals
1200 N Old Rte 66, Litchfield, IL 62056
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Digital Public Relations Specialist
Ten $1,000 scholarships now open to Midwest high school seniors
High school seniors from Illinois and five other Midwest states have a chance to earn the scholarships
WEST DES MOINES, IOWA — High school seniors from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin now have a chance to receive one of 10 college scholarships worth $1,000. Registration is open now through April 28, 2023. Parents are also now able to register their student.
High school seniors or their parents may register for the ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Midwest. ISL Education Lending will award $1,000 scholarships to 10 students whose names are randomly drawn after the registration period. There are no financial need, grade point average or class rank requirements. The ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship can be used at any eligible institution in the United States.
Registered participants also receive emails highlighting financial literacy tips, such as the importance of early career and college planning and ways to reduce student loan indebtedness.
“Student loan debt is a huge concern for new college students,” said Steve McCullough, president and CEO of ISL Education Lending. “As a nonprofit, we provide tools and resources to help high school seniors plan so they can reduce the amount of debt they need to take on while achieving their education goals. Students sign up for a chance at a $1,000 scholarship, and we take that opportunity to share information with them about our free resources.”
The ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship is open to legal U.S. citizens who are seniors at a high school in one of the qualifying states during the 2022–2023 school year and who intend to attend college, either virtually or physically, in fall 2023. It is a no-purchase-required program, and full rules and details are available at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Midwest.
Additional Resources Available
In addition to offering student loans, ISL Education Lending has other resources for families planning for college and for students who intend to pursue advanced degrees. The Parent Handbook consists of valuable tips to help families of students in sixth through 12th grades prepare for success in college and other postsecondary options. Parents of students in eighth through 12th grades can also sign up to receive twice-monthly emailed tips on academic, college and career planning through the Student Planning Pointers for Parents program. The College Funding Forecaster helps families understand the total cost of four years of college based on a freshman-year financial aid offer. Information about these resources is available at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/SmartBorrowing.
# # #
About ISL Education Lending
Established in 1979 as Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation, a private, nonprofit organization, ISL Education Lending helps students and families obtain the resources necessary to succeed in postsecondary education. ISL has helped nearly 400,000 students pay for college, offering student loans and other products under the name ISL Education Lending. The organization, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, also provides an array of borrower benefits, financial literacy tools and community reinvestment programs, including support for free college planning services for students and their families. For more information, visit www.IowaStudentLoan.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stephanie Benson, program chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Illinois Reading Council
http://illinoisreads.org and www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IllinoisReads #Illinoisreads
Illinois Reading Council's
2023 Illinois Reads Book Selection
featured at the
IRC Conference on March 9-10, 2023
The Illinois Reading Council (IRC) has just released the list of ILLINOIS READS books for 2023. ILLINOIS READS is a statewide program that promotes reading for all Illinois citizens. The program promotes six books in six different age categories by authors and illustrators who have ties to Illinois. The books range from read-to books for infants to books for adult readers. Bookmarks and posters highlighting the ILLINOIS READS books will be available in early 2023. Order early as supplies are limited!
The 2023 ILLINOIS READS Program will also be featured at the annual IRC Conference in Springfield on March 9-10, 2023. Conference registration is now open for educators, librarians, and others interested in promoting literacy. More information is available at the Illinois Reading Council website.
The ILLINOIS READS book selections for 2023 are:
Ages Birth – 4 Years
Would You Come Too? by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Diana Sudyka
This is Music: Drums by Rekha S. Rajan
Chicago, Baby! by Feather Flores, illustrated by Kelly Leigh Miller
ABC Animals! by Stephen F. Majsak
I’ll Be Your Polar Bear by Justin Roberts
Molly on the Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington
Pighearted by Alex Perry
A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga
Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley
Three Strike Summer by Skyler Schrempp
A Man Called Horse: John Horse and the Black Seminole Underground Railroad by Glennette Tilley Turner
Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried to Commit the Perfect Crime by Candace Fleming
As Fast As Her: Dream Big, Break Barriers, Achieve Success by Kendall Coyne
Strike the Zither by Joan He
The Wolves Are Watching by Natalie Lund
Darling by K. Ancrum
The Most Haunted House in America by Jarrett Dapier
Stella Keeps the Sun Up by Clothilde Ewing
Elephant’s Big Solo by Sarah Kurpiel
The Meaning of Pride by Rosiee Thor and illustrated by Sam Kirk
Tortoise and Hare: A Fairy Tale to Help You Find Balance by Susan Verde and illustrated by Jay Fleck
Yetis are the Worst! by Alex Willan
Courage by Barbara Binns
The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali
Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall Tumble by Celia C. Pérez
ReThink the Internet: How to Make the Digital World a Lot Less Sucky by Trisha Prabhu
Underground Fire: Hope, Sacrifice, and Courage in the Cherry Mine Disaster by Sally M. Walker
The Upstairs House: A Novel by Julia Fine
Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America by Cody Keenan
Eat, Drink, and Be Murray: A Feast of Family Fun and Favorites by Andy Murray
Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel by Shelby Van Pelt
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
Last Summer on State Street: A Novel by Toya Wolfe
ILLINOIS READS is sponsored by the Illinois Reading Council, a nonprofit organization with close to 2,000 members across the State of Illinois. The mission of the Illinois Reading Council is to provide support and leadership to all who promote and teach lifelong literacy. Book lists from 2013 to 2022 may be found on the ILLINOIS READS website. More information is also available at www.IllinoisReads.org and www.IllinoisReadingCouncil.org.
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