PI Original Aricka Flowers Sunday March 6th, 2016, 2:05am

The PI Week In Review

The week that was in Illinois and national news and politics (February 29, 2016 - March 5, 2016).

Chicago and Cook County News:

The Chicago Public Schools announced plans Monday to send pink slips to 62 district employees, including 17 teachers, citing the ongoing state budget impasse as the cause for the cuts.

Chicagoans were apparently anxious to cast their ballots early this presidential primary, with voters taking advantage of early voting in record numbers on Monday.

Violent crime is running rampant in the city of Chicago, with the number of homicides and shootings doubling in the first two months of the year compared to the same time period in 2015.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Maureen Ward Kirby dismissed a challenge of Canadian-born Ted Cruz's listing on Illinois ballots in the March 15 primary.

The Chicago Public Schools announced the issuance of three furlough days for employees during the remainder of the school year.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) endorsed Kim Foxx in the race for Cook County State's Attorney.

Chicago State University officials announced that they will be able to fund their staff through the month of April.

The Chicago Public Schools district and Chicago Teachers Union appear to be headed for a "showdown" on April 1, according to CTU President Karen Lewis.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump plans to campaign in Chicago next Friday, just ahead of the March 15 primary election. And Chicagoans are pushing back against the GOP frontrunner's plans.

Illinois News:

Illinois State's Attorney Lisa Madigan pressed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to restore the benefits of student veterans who have been defrauded by "deceptive for-profit schools."

In a letter to the editor, Progress Illinois reader Alexis Stein offered her take on the impact agribusiness is having on the public's drinking water in light of the crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner tapped former House leader Tom Cross to oversee the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's 13th Ward Democratic Organization put its support behind Chicago Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) over long-time incumbent U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

A flurry of endorsements came down Monday as early voting began in Illinois and the candidates gear up for the March 15 primary.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's $925 million estimate for state revenue this year is unlikely to come to fruition, according to a legislative commission.

An experimental program headed to Illinois aims to foster better relationships between African-American fathers and their young sons. Specifically, the Fathers and Sons Project is focused on 8- to 12-year-old boys who are not living in the same home as their dads.

The Illinois House passed legislation Thursday that would create an elected school board in Chicago.

More Illinoisans are set to be laid off as a result of the ongoing state budget battle. This time, its staffers at John A. Logan College in southern Illinois.

National News:

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump received his first endorsement by a U.S. senator, receiving a nod from Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions on Sunday.

Congress is considering a bill that an Illinois consumer watchdog group says could prevent legitimate complaints about Internet access from being investigated.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called out the CEO of Abbott Laboratories Monday over about reports that the company plans to cut 180 local jobs and send them overseas.

As the nation gears up for Super Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reeled in two key endorsements over the weekend and a third on Monday.

We offered a rundown on the Super Tuesday election results in our election night live blog.

U.S. workers have seen their share of corporate income for compensation drop from 82 percent to 75 percent since 2000, shows a recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

Progress Illinois offered a look at the findings of a Center for American Progress study showing that "economic mobility and union membership go hand in hand."

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts blocked attempts to place a hold on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) air pollution rules for power plants.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is being called to the carpet over his recent silence on the hotly contested Republican presidential race -- namely his take on the polarizing frontrunner, Donald Trump.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent in February.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took two of the three states in his party's Super Saturday races. Meanwhile, Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz each took two of the four states that were in play over the weekend.

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