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The Times Weekly launches new website

If you haven’t seen The Times Weekly’s website (www.thetimesweekly.com), now is the time. The Times Weekly Media Company this week launched a new website and it is sure to be a hit with those who prefer to get their local news online.

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Plainfield District 202 Administration to present new re-opening plan

Previous plan failed by 3-3 board vote

Administrators for Plainfield School District 202 will be back before the school board tonight to propose a revamped re-opening for the new school year plan in hopes of getting it approved.

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Everyone counts in 2020 Census

The 2020 Census is underway in Will County and thus far more than 70 percent of households have completed it, according to county officials. Will County District 5 Board Member Meta Mueller (D-Aurora) is heading up the effort for the county to ensure as many households as possible are counted. She said she is happy the self response rate is currently 72.2 percent. “That means 72 percent of households have responded so far,” Mueller said. “In comparison to the national self response rate of 59.6 percent, we are doing quite well. I think the option to complete census online has made a big difference during this crisis.”

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Kiwanis Club of Shorewood Beautiful Baby Contest

Who can resist a beautiful baby? Area families have until July 6 to enter their baby’s photo in the Kiwanis Club of Shorewood Crossroads Festival Beautiful Baby Contest.

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Mayors weigh in on proposed extension of stay-at-home order

As COVID-19 cases in Will County continue to rise daily, Gov. J.B. Pritzker late last week an-nounced he will be extending the stay-at-home order through May 30th once the current order ex-pires on April 30. An online poll by The Times Weekly revealed that 56.52 percent agreed with Pritzker’s plan to extend the order. Area mayors, also agree with Pritzker’s plan to extend the order. However, there are some concerns about its impact on the local economy. On Tuesday, the Will County Health Department reported a total of 2,267 confirmed COVID cases, an increase of 87 over the previous day. Deaths from the virus in Will County in-creased by nine over Monday to a total of 145 and deaths in Illinois from the virus increased by 144 to 2,125. That’s the highest one-day increase in the number of deaths from the virus in Illinois since the start of the pandemic, officials said. The total number of confirmed cases reported in Illi-nois also continued to rise, increasing to 48,102 on Tuesday, an increase of 2,219 over Monday’s total of 45,883, according to the IDPH.

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Two online petitions out there to let the people judge Joliet mayor’s actions

One petition seeks support for Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk and the other seeks his resignation. Both are online at change.org. Both are related to an altercation O'Dekirk had with a protestor on Jefferson Street Sunday night.

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Helping others key to doing business for Joliet burger place

Restaurants, especially fine dining establishments, have struggled to keep their doors open during the pandemic. If you’re not offering curbside pick-up or delivery service, you’re hanging on by a thread at best and might not even be able to reopen whenever the stay-at-home orders in Illinois are lifted. Fast food establishments seem to be faring better during the crisis as dine-in was never a big part of their business model anyway. MOOYAH Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, 2611 W. Jefferson St., has actually seen an increase in sales of 6.4 percent, according to owner Rob Sterioti. “The pandemic has forced the entire industry to think on our feet faster than we ever have before, because life in COVID-19 seems to be changing every day,” Sterioti said. “Initially, it was a fairly simple adjustment to a lower sales volume. Then as we learned more, it wasn’t just about operating a clean restaurant and serving great-tasting, safe food to our guests; we started thinking about how we can keep our team safe in the working environment.” Once the shelter-in-place order was issued and MOOYAH lost the use of its dining room, Sterioto said he went into survival mode. “We were already doing food delivery and online ordering, so we put our effort toward amplifying those programs. The MOOYAH corporate team came up with the idea offering the sale of specialty items such as our housemade potato chips and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

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Hundreds of Patch employees laid off in ‘reorganization’ by new owner

Hundreds of employees from Patch, the online news organization with numerous sites in communities throughout Will County and beyond, were laid off in a reported “reorganization” by the company’s new owner, Hale Global, according to published reports.

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Filling out 2020 Census crucial to families and community

Households across the country are receiving important U.S. Census Bureau reminders with important detailed information about how to respond to the 2020 Census. The plan is to include everyone you expect to live in your home on April 1. Heads of households can respond online in one of 13 languages and find assistance in many more, according to the census bureau’s website 2020census.gov. People can respond online, by phone or by mail. Accurate census numbers are essential in determining many important things that impact all citizens, which of course includes all residents of Will County. Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year. The results determine how many seats in Congress each state gets.

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District 202 staff prepares schools for in-person learning

Plainfield School District 202 administrators plan to update the Board of Education on Monday on plans for returning to in-person learning. Information will be shared publicly at the Board meeting and posted online after the meeting.

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RomeoFest kicks off Thursday in Romeoville

Live music, carnival rides, fireworks and plenty of food vendors are some of the highlights for this year’s RomeoFest, scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 4, on the recreation department’s and village hall’s grounds at 900 and 1050 W. Romeo Road.

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Local communities take action during crisis

Mayors and local officials are taking steps to keep residents informed and up to date on the latest information in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, in an effort to minimize its impact. Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk on Monday declared a local state of emergency that will make available city funds to coordinate expanded services for seniors and other immune compromised residents, enable the city to waive late fees on past city accounts as well as implement a moratorium on water disconnections. O’Dekirk’s action comes on the heels of President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s announcement ordering all bars and restaurants to be closed for dine-in to minimize the spread of the virus.

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First weekend of Phase 4 Restore Illinois Plan and some still apprehensive

The move to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan on Friday meant the reopening of gyms and restaurants for dining in as well as gatherings o 50 or few people, among other allowances. The move to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan on Friday meant the reopening of gyms and restaurants for dining in as well as gatherings o 50 or few people, among other allowances.

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Homer Township Public Library expansion and renovation nears completion

The Homer Township Public Library recently completed an expansion project that added new quite reading rooms, more public computers and other amenities.

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Surge in March Will County unemployment claims

New unemployment figures for Will County and Joliet for the month of March reveal a gloomy picture as massive layoffs continue as a result of the fallout from the economic decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Will County’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, slightly higher than Cook County’s rate of 5.1 percent, according to just released figures from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The monthly rates always end on the 20th of any given month. The rate is substantially higher than February’s figure of 3.8 percent (13,594 claims). The 5.6 percent figure for Will County translates to a total number of unemployment filing claims of 20,049. Joliet’s increase was even higher at 7.4 percent, a more than 2 percent jump over February’s 5.1 percent. And, things are predicted to get worse before getting better. “April will be much higher,” said John Greuling, President and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development. Areas hardest hit as a result of the crisis include retail, restaurants, theaters (including the Rialto), sports, gaming (casinos and video poker machines), outdoor events, personal services (salons and health clubs) health care that includes treatments, elective surgeries and non-COVID-19 services that were halted under the Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order and small businesses in every sector, according to Greuling. Of course, all this has a ripple effect.

Food assistance now available for families in Will County

Governor Pat Quinn says the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will offer immediate food assistance in 33 counties impacted by flooding that began Monday, June 17.

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Affordable Care Act enrollment starts Tuesday

More revealed about the new law during library program

While in Washington democrats prepare to launch it and republicans threaten to defund it, a group from Chicago on Sunday outlined the Affordable Care Act for residents who attended a program at the Joliet Public Library.

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Will County Clerk prepares for general election

Clerk lays out options for voters should shelter orders be in place

While it would seem the November election is still a ways off, in reality it’s just over five months away. With the country in the midst of a pandemic and no one really knowing how much back to normal things will be come Election Day, clerks offices around the country are preparing for different scenarios. The Will County Clerk’s Office is no exception and has been taking the necessary steps to ensure voters will have an opportunity to cast their ballots in a safe manner come November.

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A celebration of trees

Early Arbor Day celebration held at Wesmere School in Plainfield

They did skits about the importance of recycling and caring for the environment, learned how to properly plant a tree and they all went home with a small sapling to plant in their yards.

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Joliet becomes a microcosm of nation

Peaceful rallies, vandalism, looting and clashes with police collide in City of Champions

What began as a weekend to enjoy the reopening of businesses and outdoor dining as Will County and the rest of the state moved into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois Plan soon turned into chaos as peaceful protests ended in vandalism, looting and clashes with police in Joliet and numerous other cities across the nation. A number of retailers as well as restaurants and bars with outdoor seating throughout Will County and Illinois opened their doors to customers on Friday for the first time since the stay-at-home orders were put in place in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The abundance of warm weather and people eager to get out and enjoy after a required Stay at Home order only meant good news. Throughout the region, many took advantage of the weather, stores, restaurants and bars reopening and headed out for some shopping and dining.