Family members plead for improved prison conditions amid spike in COVID-19 cases

The relatives of several Illinois prisoners shared their concerns about how COVID-19 is affecting their loved ones. As of Jan. 11, 9,318 prisoners and 3,625 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, said Alan Mills, executive director of Uptown People’s Law Clinic. That number would be far lower if the Illinois Department of Corrections had started universal testing sooner, Mills said.

Two Austin businesses receive grants

Two Austin businesses received small business grants to help them keep their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic. Mary Shyrese Home Day Care, 5418 W. Jackson Blvd., and Raze Up Grooming, 520 S. Laramie Ave., both secured small business grants from LISC Chicago, which received funding from the Verizon Foundation. LISC is now accepting applications for its Rebuild Distressed Communities grant program. An informational webinar will be held later this week.

Overdose deaths hit record levels in Cook County in 2020

Faith leaders on the West Side are being encouraged to get trained on how to stop someone from having an overdose. At the monthly meeting of the 15th Police District’s faith-based leaders, attendees also were urged to complete training offered by the Chicago chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Police say teen’s murder is solved, but family believes others were involved

Four years after her son’s murder, Sharita Galloway is still fighting for Chicago Police to solve his case. She said the person CPD identified as her son’s killer didn’t commit the crime, but detectives won’t listen to her. Victim advocates say it’s a problem for more than just Elijah Sims’ mother that police don’t communicate with family members, and that gives the impression they aren’t interested in solving cases.