BLOOMINGTON — Heritage Operations Group, which manages senior care facilities across Illinois, will be laying off nearly 70 employees in Bloomington this spring while the company is in the process of selling several facilities.
Benjamin Hart, president and CEO of the Bloomington-based company, said Tuesday that Heritage is “divesting” from 23 senior care facilities in multiple counties, from Chicago to St. Louis.
With the sales of those senior care facilities, 69 employees, who have helped to provide corporate support from Heritage’s downtown office, will be laid off starting April 30.
“We’ll have fewer facilities that we’ll be managing, and so we don’t need the same number of workforce to support them,” Hart told The Pantagraph. “We are downsizing in our size and our scope. … It’s simply a corporate restructuring of our strategy and mission moving forward.”
Heritage reported the “mass layoff” to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity last month, citing the sale of part of the business as the cause. The positions will be permanently eliminated, Hart said, adding that the on-site staff of those 23 facilities are not expected to be affected.
Layoffs of the affected workers will continue until all 23 of the facilities’ sales are final, estimated in the DCEO report to be June 1.
Hart did not provide exact locations for the facilities being sold, but he said they are “primarily outside McLean County” and are expected to continue operating under the new owner with “little disruption to the residents” of those facilities. He declined to identify the new owner.
Heritage Operations currently owns and manages 44 facilities in Illinois, five of which are located in McLean County.
This layoff will reduce the corporate staff size by roughly 54% — from about 129 employees to 60, according to the current total provided by the Heritage president.
Despite the reduction in staff size, Heritage plans to remain in the downtown Bloomington office, Hart said.
This morning's top headlines: Tuesday, March 14
President Joe Biden has announced fresh measures meant to curb gun violence, detailing the changes from the scene of a mass shooting in California that left 11 dead. Tuesday’s action does not change U.S. government policy. Rather, it directs federal agencies to ensure compliance with existing laws and procedures — a typical feature of executive orders issued by presidents when they confront the limits of their own power to act without cooperation from Congress. The president said he’d signed the executive order aimed at increasing background checks to buy guns, promoting more secure firearms storage and ensuring U.S. law enforcement agencies get more out of a bipartisan gun control law enacted last summer.
Depositors withdrew savings, and investors broadly sold off bank shares as the federal government raced to reassure Americans that the banking system is secure following two bank failures. President Joe Biden insisted Monday that the system is safe after the second- and third-largest bank failures in the nation’s history happened in the span of 48 hours. In response to the crisis, regulators guaranteed all deposits at the two banks. They also created a program that effectively thew a lifeline to other banks to shield them from a run on deposits.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been released from the hospital after treatment for a concussion and will continue to recover in an inpatient rehabilitation facility. McConnell’s office says his doctors discovered over the weekend that he had also suffered a “minor rib fracture” after he tripped and fell at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Washington last Wednesday evening. The Senate returns to Washington Tuesday evening after the weekend off and will be in session for the rest of March.
Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has testified before a Manhattan grand jury investigating hush money payments he arranged and made on the former president’s behalf. Cohen arrived at the courthouse accompanied by his lawyer shortly in advance of his closed-door testimony. He spent about three hours inside answering questions. His closed-door appearance before the grand jury comes as the Manhattan district attorney’s office closes in on a decision on whether to seek charges against Trump. The former president denies having affairs with the women. Trump's lawyer has characterized the payments as extortion.
China will reopen its borders to tourists and resume issuing all visas Wednesday as it tries to revive tourism and its economy following a three-year halt during the COVID-19 pandemic. China is one of the last major countries to reopen its borders to tourists. In February, China had declared a “decisive victory” over COVID-19. The move announced Tuesday would “further facilitate the exchange of Chinese and foreign personnel,” according to the notice. China had stuck to a harsh “zero-COVID” strategy involving sudden lockdowns and daily COVID-19 testing to try to stop the virus before abandoning most aspects of the policy in December amid growing opposition.
Hundreds of Israeli writers, artists and intellectuals have called on Germany and Britain to cancel upcoming visits by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The call came in a letter released on Tuesday. They say Netanyahu's plan to overhaul Israel’s judicial system has put the country on a destructive course. Netanyahu’s coalition, a collection of ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties, has barreled ahead with legislation that aims to weaken Israel’s Supreme Court and give them control over the appointment of the nation’s judges. Critics say the plan will destroy Israel’s fragile system of checks and balances and is an attempt by Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption charges, to escape justice.
A split among jurors means there will be no death penalty for an Islamic extremist who maniacally raced a truck along a popular New York City bike path, killing eight people and maiming others. Sayfullo Saipov was convicted in January in the October 2017 attack that killed five Argentine tourists, two Americans and a Belgian woman. Without a unanimous jury decision on the death penalty Monday, Saipov will get an automatic sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. Saipov drove a truck down the busy riverside path running over cyclists before crashing into a school bus. Saipov is an Uzbekistan citizen but lived in New Jersey. He sympathized with the Islamic State group.
Crews rushed to repair a levee break on a storm-swollen river in California’s central coast as yet another atmospheric river arrived with the potential to further inundate the state’s swamped farmland and agricultural communities. Officials say the length of the levee rupture on the Pajaro River grew to 400 feet Monday, complicating efforts to plug the breach. More than 8,500 people were evacuated when the levee failed late Friday. It flooded farmland and agricultural communities on the central coast, about 70 miles south of San Francisco. Monterey County officials also warn that the Salinas River could cause significant flooding of roadways and agricultural land, cutting off the Monterey Peninsula.
Mexican officials say at least seven of eight people killed when two boats capsized in shallow but turbulent surf off the San Diego coast were Mexican migrants. The Mexican consulate in San Diego said Monday that preliminary identification was based on records migrants carried when bodies were recovered. The nationality of the eighth person was unknown. The Coast Guard suspended its search for remains on Sunday. Survivors may have escaped on land, including a passenger who called 911. Authorities do not know that passenger's whereabouts.
A pioneer for women’s and family rights in Congress, former Colorado Rep. Pat Schroeder, has died at the age of 82. Schroeder’s former press secretary says Schroeder suffered a stroke recently and died Monday night at a hospital in Florida, the state where she had been residing. Schroeder was the first woman elected to Congress from Colorado, and she went on to serve 12 terms. She became one of the most influential Democrats for two decades but never chaired a major committee. Schroeder was best known for getting a family leave bill passed, providing job protection for care of a newborn, sick child or parent. Schroeder was born in Portland, Oregon.
Jimmy Garoppolo is headed to Las Vegas for a new start with the Raiders. Sam Darnold is heading West to replace Garoppolo on the San Francisco 49ers' roster. Mike White, Case Keenum and Jarrett Stidham have new teams, too. And Deshaun Watson is staying in Cleveland, but with a restructured deal with the Browns. Quarterbacks took front and center on Monday as the NFL free agency began with teams allowed to negotiate — and agree to deals — with unrestricted free agents.
Joe Pepitone, an All-Star and Gold Glove first baseman on the 1960s New York Yankees who gained renown for his flamboyant personality, hairpieces and penchant for nightlife, has died at age 82. Born in Brooklyn, Pepitone helped the Yankees to their second straight World Series title, a team led by Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Elston Howard. Pepitone gained attention for his off-the-field conduct. In a time when most players were staid and conformist, Pepitone was thought to be the first to bring a hair dryer into the clubhouse.