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Local
Officer Bailey 'continues to fight' for life

BRADLEY — Bradley police officer Tyler Bailey remains in what was described as “stable, but in very critical condition” in a Chicago area hospital, Bradley Deputy Chief Craig Anderson said Wednesday.

During a 35-minute late morning press conference in the Bradley Village Board room, Anderson said Bailey underwent extensive surgery on Dec. 30, hours after he and Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic were shot while responding to a barking dog complaint late Dec. 29 at the Comfort Inn in Bradley.

Darius D. Sullivan, 25, of Bourbonnais, and Xandria Harris, 26, of Bradley, are facing charges of murder and attempted murder in the incident.

In a statement from the Bailey family read by Anderson during the press conference, the family expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support.

Anderson said there is no question that without the surgery, Bailey would likely have not survived.

Without surgical intervention, “Tyler would not have survived the remainder of the day,” Anderson read.

The procedure, he said, is credited at this point for “greatly enhancing” his chances for survival to this critical injury.

Bailey is “far from out of the woods,” Anderson said. “He is stable, but in very critical condition. He is progressing in a positive manner in hope of recovery.

“... Since the surgery, Tyler has continued to fight for his life. He’s progressing in a positive manner toward what we hope someday will be recovery,” the deputy chief read. “It will be a long and difficult battle for Tyler.”

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said the focus of law enforcement is to ensure the perpetrators of this crime face justice.

“It feels too often like we are living in a cynical, self-centered, self-absorbed, selfish time. But every day, officers leave home and their families to protect us because they are selfless,” Kelly said.

Kelly said prayers for Rittmanic and Bailey will continue and that justice will be sought.

“Officer Bailey was viciously attacked because he was doing his job. Sgt. Rittmanic was executed because she was doing her job. These alleged acts are cowardly acts of evil,” Kelly said.

He noted the public rightfully wants justice, freedom and safety. But, he noted, those things come through law enforcement.

“There is no safety, there is no freedom, no justice without the law. But there is no law without law enforcement,” he said, adding that there is no law enforcement without people like Sgt. Rittmanic and Officer Bailey.

Regarding the Bradley Police Department, Anderson said the officers will continue to push forward in part due to the support and strength they have witnessed from the entire community.

“We’re strong,” he said. “We will recover from this. We will never forget it. There are monsters and evil that walk amongst us, but heroes as well and we need to take comfort in that.”


Local
KCC again offers free course to vaccinated students

KANKAKEE — Kankakee Community College is again offering an incentive to vaccinated students.

A free class in the spring 2022 semester will be available to any student that can present a valid COVID-19 vaccination card, as long as they didn’t receive the same incentive offered last fall.

When previously offered, KCC President Michael Boyd said the free course offer is a “pretty substantial incentive” to encourage everyone who is eligible to receive a vaccination to do so.

“We certainly understand it is a personal choice, but we really want to share with students our understanding that vaccinations have an impact, and we are happy to provide that incentive,” he said previously.

The free class is offered as a tuition credit at the time of registration and has a maximum value of $495. The offer applies only to tuition and basic fees of $165 per credit hour. Additional fees (including lab fees, out-of-district fees and others) are not included. The college will not give any cash back, and it is offered to people who come in-person only.

There is a limit of one free class per student. Any student who received the free class in fall 2021 is no longer eligible.

To redeem, the student must show their own original COVID-19 vaccination card and KCC student ID card at KCC’s payment counter. Electronic copies and duplicates are not accepted.

Students who have already registered and paid can follow the procedures above to receive a refund check.

The free class for vaccinated individuals is available only for KCC students enrolled in a credit class or developmental education class for the Spring 2022 semester. Dual credit, non-credit continuing education, adult education and English as a Second Language classes are excluded. Employees and their dependents are also excluded.

The offer expires on May 1.

The college is paying for the incentive using funds from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

For more information about the free class incentive, contact the college’s Accounting Office at accountingoffice@kcc.edu or call 815-802-8140.


Illinois
Surge of COVID-19 cases stresses Illinois health care

As omicron surges across the state, Gov. JB Pritzker is warning that hospitalizations are about as high as they were last winter before vaccines were widely available.

About 85 percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state are unvaccinated.

“It is frustrating and tragic that two years into the pandemic, with multiple widely available and free, life-saving vaccines, that we are once again in this horrible position,” Pritzker said during a news conference in Chicago.

The Illinois Public Health Department reported 6,294 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, the most since the pandemic began.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, IDPH director, said an average of 550 people are being admitted to hospitals each day.

With hospital beds for other emergencies “frighteningly limited,” Pritzker joined the Illinois Health and Hospital Association in urging health care providers to postpone non-emergency surgeries and procedures as needed to accommodate the influx of COVID-19 cases.

“This surge is testing our health resources yet again,” said A.J. Wilhelmi, the association’s CEO and president.

Though hospitals have become accustomed to managing bed capacity and the needs of COVID-19 patients over the course of the pandemic, Wilhelmi said the best way for people to provide relief for health care workers and facilities is to get vaccinated and boosted.

More than 19 million vaccines have been administered with about 60 percent of Illinois residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Pritzker fears the rise in COVID-cases will continue to increase as the virus incubates in those who were exposed during the holidays. He urged individuals to get tested as soon as possible.

Pritzker also announced that starting this week, free community-based testing sites will expand operations to six days a week. There is a full list of site locations and times on IDPH’s website.


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