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Authorities are locking down all federal prisons as the country braces for potential violence leading into Wednesday's swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden.

The lockdown was announced early Saturday morning. A statement from the Bureau of Prisons does not specify the length of the lockdown but says the agency was securing all of its facilities as a precautionary measure brought on by "current events occurring around the country."

U.S. Capitol Police say they arrested the driver of a truck who presented unauthorized inauguration credentials at a security checkpoint near the Capitol and was in possession of a loaded handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Police said Wesley Allen Beeler was arrested shortly after 6:30 p.m. Friday night after stopping at a checkpoint.

Authorities said one officer noticed several firearms-related decals on Beeler's truck, including one that said, "If they come for your guns Give 'Em your bullets first."

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President-elect Joe Biden has compared the challenges he faces coming into office to those faced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he became president in 1932. And like FDR, Biden wants to meet the moment with bold action and an ambitious legislative agenda that includes most urgently passage of his proposed $1.9 trillion pandemic economic relief package.

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Capitol News Illinois

Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch made history Wednesday, Jan. 13, by becoming the first Black person elected speaker of the Illinois House, succeeding Rep. Michael Madigan, who leaves the job after serving for 36 of the past 38 years.

The House came into session Wednesday afternoon to begin the 102nd General Assembly just moments after it adjourned a rare lame duck session that ended the 101st biennial session.

Welcome to Climate UpdateClimate Update is a monthly radio essay dedicated to exploring the impact of climate on our world.  The program is produced by the students in the Environmental Club at Unity Point School in Carbondale, Illinois.

Climate Update airs the second Friday of the month on WSIU Radio.

When the SIU football season kicks off next month, season-ticket holders, students and player families will be able to attend the games at Saluki Stadium. 

Seating capacity for the four games will be limited to approximately 15 percent, based upon a plan approved by the campus Emergency Operations Center.

Safety measures will include socially-distanced, assigned seating. Tailgating will not be permitted, and fans will be required to wear a mask or facial covering inside the stadium.

The Egyptian Health Department says all of its COVID-19 vaccination appointments are full at this time.

Officials ask residents of Saline, White and Gallatin counties to monitor the Harrisburg Medical Center Facebook page for further announcements as more vaccine becomes available.

Phase 1B Of COVID Vaccination Begins In Southern Illinois

Jan 15, 2021
Images
OSF HealthCare

Some local health departments have has moved into phase 1B of CO VID-19 vaccine distribution.

Phase 1B includes frontline essential workers and people over the age of 65. Jackson County Health Department Administrator Bart Hagston said all COVID-19 vaccines for the county are currently being distributed through the health department.

“Right now in Jackson County, we are utilizing the doses that are being sent to us to vaccinate individuals at a mass vaccination clinic that we are holding at the Banterra center,” Hagston said.

New COVID Variant Discovered By SIU Lab

Jan 15, 2021

An SIU research project has identified a new variant of the novel coronavirus.

Keith Gagnon is an associate professor of biochemistry at SIU. His lab has been doing genomic sequencing of the novel coronavirus and has identified a new variant that is spreading in the US, known as 20C-US.

The variant is widespread in the US, Gagnon said, but had not been previously studied.

“It was completely unnoticed, uncharacterized, sort of right in our backyard, it just grew and basically took over the virus variant population and nobody even knew,” Gagnon said.

COVID-19 Update: New Guidance on Indoor Dining, Vaccination plan, New Virus Strain, Sports

Jan 15, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker announced revisions to his COVID-19 mitigation tiers Friday that would allow earlier indoor dining, but no regions have thus far met the requirements.

He also announced that the whole state would move to Phase 1B of vaccination efforts as of Jan. 25, while some counties might already individually have entered that phase. As well, a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus has been confirmed to be spreading in Illinois.

Pritzker Activates National Guard as FBI Warns of State Capitol Protests

Jan 15, 2021
Construction
Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock

Gov. JB Pritzker has activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard amid FBI warnings of potential armed protests at the 50 U.S. state capitols in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Crews could also be seen Friday placing plywood over the windows of the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield.

Biden Outlines His COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

Jan 15, 2021
Whitehouse Image
NPR | Annette Elizabeth Allen

President-elect Joe Biden is outlining his COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in Wilmington, Del. Biden has been critical of the current administration's effort and is seeking to speed up the process. The announcement comes a day after Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Watch his remarks live. This event to begin at 2:40 CST

WSIU News Morning Update (1/15/2021)

Jan 15, 2021

Dan Klefstad and Leah Lerner report this morning's news for January 15th.

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