Census: Suburbs are getting older, more diverse

The suburbs have an older, more diverse population than in 2010, a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau says.

The report released Thursday showed the number of retirement-aged residents increased dramatically.

Cook County saw a 13.3 percent increase in residents over age 65, but in the collar counties the growth was much steeper.

The over-65 population rose 24.6 percent in DuPage County, 34.2 percent in Kane County, 24.5 percent in Lake County, 28.5 percent in McHenry County and 31.4 percent in Will County.

The number of Hispanic residents, the fastest-growing group, rose 5.6 percent in Cook County, 8.7 percent in DuPage County, 6.5 percent in Kane County, 7.3 percent in Lake County, 11.4 percent in McHenry County and 10.5 percent in Will County since the decade began.

The total population in the suburbs is relatively flat. Kane County shows the largest population increase with 3 percent growth to 1.06 million residents.

<h3 class="leadin">National trends

Census officials say those trends fit in with the nation as a whole. Baby boomers, the generation born between 1945 and 1964 that reflects a massive increase in births after World War II, are getting older, and the increasing age of the collar counties corresponds with a trend of younger couples staying in Chicago instead of moving out to the suburbs when they've started families.

Nationwide, the country's Hispanic population grew by 2 percent to 57.5 million.

Read the full report at

<h3 class="leadin">Third time's a charm for Mercy

Nearly 15 years after its first bid, Mercy Health System's request to build a 13-bed “micro” hospital in Crystal Lake was approved in a 6-1 vote by a state board Tuesday.

Board members voting for the new hospital said the $79.5 million facility, to be built at Three Oaks Road and Route 31, would not duplicate other services in the area because of its small size.

The health system's initial proposal became ensnared in a kickback scheme involving former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and campaign fundraiser Stuart Levine. Levine was the chairman of the review board who had said he could get the Crystal Lake project done after an expected campaign contribution from the hospital system. Mercy was not implicated in the scandal that ultimately sent the former Democratic governor - and Levine - to prison.

<h3 class="leadin">Aging voting equipment

Illinois' voting equipment is aging and state and local and state election officials could use more security training, Steve Sandvoss, executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections, told the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday.

Sandvoss, in an opening statement as he testified about Illinois' voter registration records being hacked, suggested federal funding on both fronts.

“The Help America Vote Act established requirements for voting equipment, but, while initial funding was made available, additional funding has not been appropriated,” Sandvoss' statement said.

The hacking, intelligence officials believe, was done by Russian officials, and the voter information of about 90,000 Illinois residents was stolen.

Election officials said hackers accessed the state's system for several weeks last summer before anyone noticed suspicious activity. Information stolen includes voters' names, addresses and birthdays, and in some cases, driver's license information and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.

<h3 class="leadin">'Not that long ago'

An anti-Nazi rally outside the municipal building in Skokie, May 1977. Daily Herald file photo, 1977

St. Charles resident and reader Bill Barr spotted some familiar faces in photos featured in this column Monday about protests of a neo-Nazi group's 1977 efforts to stage a demonstration in heavily Jewish Skokie. “It doesn't seem that long ago,” said Barr, who recognized some of the fellow protesters. “I had just graduated from high school.”

He recalls attending one of the demonstrations in the village and talking to officials from the Zionist Organization of America shortly after they'd learned neo-Nazi organizer Frank Collin's parents had been concentration camp survivors.

“I just remember how weird it was listening to this guy describe what they had found out about him,” Barr said. “Some TV guy tried to interview the parents but they refused. ... It was weird, though, because you could see the mezuza on the door.”

<h3 class="leadin">Conservative split?

“At this point, as a conservative Republican stuck in Illinois, I have no reason to vote for @BruceRauner,” conservative radio host and former Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh tweeted. Walsh's comments followed a Wall Street Journal article that called the Republican governor from Winnetka “Governor Junk” for his role in the state's two-year budget standoff, which threatens to cause Illinois to be knocked down to junk bond status.

<h3 class="leadin">Moving on

David Pasch, communications director for U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton, is leaving to take a position at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His replacement hasn't yet been named.

Lester: Wheaton Cold War bunker to be razed

Lester: Senators accuse Arlington Heights group of spreading faulty climate change info

Skokie natives recall 1977 neo-Nazi march

Illinois’ Davis was in batter’s box when congressional shooting happened

Cullerton: No stopgap budget will pass Senate

Competitive eaters in training down watermelon in Libertyville

Rauner skips fundraiser that draws protesters in Rosemont

Illinois official to testify about Russian election hacking

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