Illinois is a state of the United States and the 21st state admitted to the Union. Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest and the fifth most populous in the nation. Its balance of the metropolis of Chicago and its suburbs in the northeast, as well as rural areas, small industrial cities, and the coal mines of the south give it a highly diverse economic base. Its central location, connecting the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River via the Illinois River, made it a transportation hub for 150 years.
About 2,000 Native American hunters and a small number of French villagers inhabited the area at the time of the American Revolution. American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s; they achieved statehood in 1818. Yankees arrived a little later and dominated the north, founding the future city of Chicago in the 1830s. The coming of the railroads in the 1850s made highly profitable the rich prairie farmlands in central Illinois, attracting large numbers of immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Northern Illinois provided major support for Illinoisans Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. By 1900, factories were being rapidly built in the northern cities, along with coal mines in central and southern areas. This industrialization attracted large numbers of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, and also led to the state's material contribution as a major arsenal in both world wars. In addition to immigrants from Europe, large numbers of blacks left the cotton fields of the South to come to Chicago, where they developed a renowned jazz culture.
Interstate 355 is an interstate highway and tollway in the western and southwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.. Like other tollways in the northeastern portion of the state, I-355 is maintained by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (abbreviated ISTHA, but commonly referred to as the "tollway authority"). I-355 runs from Interstate 80 in New Lenox north to Interstate 290 in Itasca, The highway is six lanes wide for its entire length.
The tollway authority opened I-355 as the North–South Tollway in 1989 to ease congestion on Illinois Route 53 (IL 53), a parallel two-lane state highway in central DuPage County. Initially, I-355 ran from I-55 north to I-290. The new highway helped cut travel times for commuters traveling north and south in the county. According to commercial real estate developers at the time, the new tollway also opened the western suburbs of Chicago to commercial and industrial development.
On November 11, 2007, the tollway authority opened a southern extension of I-355 from I-55 to I-80, a distance of 12.5 miles (20.1 km); on its opening, the tollway authority changed the name of the tollway to "Veterans Memorial Tollway". The tollway authority laid the route of the new extension through Will County and a small portion of Cook County, one of the fastest-growing regions in Illinois. The tollway authority expects the extension to cut travel times in the region by 20 percent. (Read more...)
Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States and the 33rd Governor of California. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 as well as 1976, but won both the nomination and election in 1980. As president, Reagan implemented new political initiatives as well as economic policies, advocating a laissez-faire philosophy, but the extent to which these ideas were implemented is debatable. The policies, dubbed "Reaganomics," included substantial tax cuts implemented in 1981. After surviving an assassination attempt and ordering controversial military actions in Grenada, he was re-elected in a landslide victory in 1984. Reagan's second term was marked by the ending of the Cold War, as well as a number of administration scandals, notably the Iran–Contra affair. The president ordered a massive military buildup in an arms race with the Soviet Union, foregoing the previous strategy of détente. He publicly portrayed the USSR as an "Evil Empire" and supported anti-Communist movements worldwide. (Read more...)
- July 4–6, 2014: Nine are killed in a wave of violent crime in Chicago over the Independence Day weekend.
- June 24, 2014: Star Wars creator George Lucas announces that the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum will be built at a site in Burnham Park on Chicago's lakefront.
- June 10, 2014: Governor Pat Quinn signs a law banning plastic microbeads in consumer products manufactured and sold in Illinois.
- June 1, 2014: The Chicago Blackhawks are eliminated from the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, losing 5-4 to the Los Angeles Kings in overtime of their seventh game.
- June 1, 2014: Same-sex marriage in Illinois becomes legal throughout the state as the 2013 law goes into effect.
- May 31, 2014: The 98th Illinois General Assembly adjourns for the last time before elections this year, having passed a budget that neither raises taxes nor cuts spending.
- May 28, 2014: The Centers for Disease Control reverse the earlier diagnosis of MERS in an Illinois man.
- May 27, 2014: Speaker Michael Madigan says his party will no longer seek to extend the 2011 hike in state income tax rates.
- May 21, 2014: More than 1,000 workers protest for higher wages outside the McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook.
- May 19, 2014: An Illinois man tests positive for Middle East respiratory syndrome, the third identified case of MERS in the United States.
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