Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

Pages

Statehouse
3:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Feds' Immigrant Numbers For Illinois May Not Tell Whole Story

Boys in a holding area at a Border Protection center in Nogales, Ariz. Generally, minors are put into deportation proceedings and given a "Notice To Appear" in immigration court, but they have permission to stay in the country while the U.S. decides their fate.
Credit NPR.

Federal officials say 305 unaccompanied children caught at the U.S.-Mexico border were placed with Illinois sponsors this year, but officials say hundreds more could be at shelters.  

The country faces a sharp rise in unaccompanied minors. They're placed at government shelters and then released to sponsors as they go through deportation proceedings. Often, sponsors are family members.  
The Chicago-based Heartland Alliance contracts with the federal government for area shelters and legal services. The group doesn't make shelter locations public for safety reasons.  

Read more
Regional
5:39 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Man Robbed By Fake Police On I-55

Credit wikimedia commons

Illinois State Police say a driver was robbed on Interstate 55 near Litchfield by men who impersonated police officers.  

According to the Belleville News-Democrat the man told police he was pulled over around 10 p.m. Tuesday by a sports utility vehicle with a flashing red light on its dashboard.  

The man said that when he stopped, three men wearing ski masks held him at gunpoint as they robbed him of more than $5,000 in cash. The robbers then tied him up with duct tape and left him in his car along the highway.  

Read more
Regional
7:18 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Court OKs FutureGen Financing Plan

Site of FutureGen plant in Meredosia.
Credit WUIS

A court says state regulators can force Illinois electricity customers to help pay for the $1.6-billion FutureGen project.

The 2-1 decision Tuesday by the Illinois Appellate Court OKs a state plan to charge an estimated $1 to $1.40 a month to help pay for the long-delayed project.  

Ken Humphreys is CEO of the FutureGen Alliance. The group of coal companies is working with the U.S. Department of Energy on the project. Humphreys says the court decision will keep the project moving.  

Read more
Statehouse
6:53 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Fire Closes State Building Today

Credit wandtv.com

The Illinois Secretary of State's office has closed its Howlett Building in Springfield for the day because of a small fire.

Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker says the fire happened about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday in a mechanical room at the building, which is part of the Illinois State Capitol complex.  

He says firefighters quickly put out the blaze but the air conditioning in the building isn't working and crews need to work on mechanical issues.  

Druker says the agency hopes to reopen the office building on Wednesday.  

Read more
Regional
3:39 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

25 Years Since Chicago Bound Flight Crashed In Iowa

It has been 25 years since the passengers on United Flight 232 braced themselves for impact and prepared to die.  

Back in 1989, the jetliner carrying nearly 300 people from Denver to Chicago lost all hydraulic power after the rear engine exploded. It crash-landed in Sioux City, Iowa, cartwheeling down the runway in flames and breaking apart in a cornfield.  

Read more
Statehouse
3:25 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Prosecutors Say Blagojevich Attorneys Misread Ruling

Prosecutors responding to a new argument in Rod Blagojevich's appeal say the former governor's lawyers have misrepresented a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case.  

Blagojevich's lawyers say an April ruling by the high court found that soliciting contributions is corruption only when a politician makes explicit promises to take official action for a donation.  

Read more
Regional
7:23 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Illinois Among The Highest Risk For Earthquakes

Credit State of Illinois

Illinois and Missouri are on the list of states with the highest risk for earthquakes.

A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about one-third of the United States and lowers it for one-tenth of the nation.  

The U.S. Geological Survey updated Thursday its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor.  

Read more
Harvest Desk
4:47 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Decatur Vies For Ag Research Center

Credit Richland Community College

Decatur is among the finalists for a national agriculture research center.  

The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports Thursday (http://bit.ly/1yyldBp ) that the National Corn Growers Association wants to create a facility to support and develop farming research.  

Richard Vierling is head of the Corn Growers research and development team. He said Thursday that Fargo, North Dakota, is the other city in the running for the National Agriculture Genotyping Center.  
The facility would translate scientific discoveries into production improvement.  

Read more
Election 2014
2:50 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Rauner Proposes Tax Changes

Bruce Rauner
Credit WUIS

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner has presented a plan he says will help grow Illinois' economy and create jobs.

The Winnetka businessman spoke today at a family-owned manufacturing company in Schaumburg. 

Rauner wants to eliminate the income tax increase Democrats approved in 2011, phasing the rate back to 3 percent from 5 percent. He also says he would freeze property taxes and impose a sales tax on services such as charter flights, travel agencies and sewer service.  

Rauner says Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has been ``a failure on job creation.''  

Read more
Statehouse
7:16 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Quinn Signs Law Designed To Add Accountability To Grants

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation overhauling the state's grant oversight and accountability process.  

Quinn's office said Wednesday that he has signed the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act. The governor says it will give Illinois a comprehensive set of uniform rules for grant applications and make those who receive grants more accountable to taxpayers.

The signing comes on the same day as legislative hearings are to begin on a controversial Quinn program.

Read more
Election 2014
5:11 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Governor Campaigns Rip Each Other's Records

Paul Vallas
Credit PBS

The candidates for Illinois governor are hammering each other's records on business and caring for the developmentally disabled.
 
Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Paul Vallas blasted
Republican Bruce Rauner Monday after a published news report said a
long-term care company once tied to Rauner faced lawsuits and disciplinary
action over the mistreatment of residents, fatalities and ``deplorable'' living
conditions.
 
Vallas suggests Rauner profited from substandard care and should be questioned

Read more
Politics
4:57 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Services Set For Fmr. Congressman Ken Gray

Ken Gray

Services are scheduled for next weekend for late former U.S. Rep. Ken Gray of southern Illinois.
 
 Gray was 89-years-old when he died Saturday at a Herrin hospital after a long
illness.
 
 The Democrat represented Illinois in Congress for a dozen terms and was known
for his colorful style. His ability to bring $7 billion in federal funding to
his economically depressed district earned him the nickname the ``Prince of
Pork.''
 
 Parker-Reedy Funeral Home in West Frankfort says Gray's services will be at 4

Read more
Education Desk
1:45 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

State Pays Schools On Time

Credit flickr/alkruse24

Illinois has broken its streak of late grant payments to schools for the first time since 2007.
 
 State Superintendent Christopher Koch praised the news in a letter to school officials dated July 1.  But Koch warned them not to bank on the same thing
happening next year.
 
 Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's office says timely payments for specialized grants and programs in 2014 are due to an influx of $1.3 billion in revenues the
state hadn't originally budgeted for.  
 
 Next year's $35.7 billion state budget signed by Gov. Pat Quinn banks on

Read more
Health Desk
7:17 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Illinois Hospital Fees To Pay For Error Reports

Credit acphospitalist.org

A new annual licensing fee for hospitals that's taking effect in Illinois will finally fund a system for reporting medical errors that was established by state law back in 2005.

 Crain's Chicago Business reports the new fee will raise about $1.7 million annually. The fee was part of legislation signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last week.  

The fee of $55 per hospital bed will fund a system for hospitals to report mistakes such as performing surgery on the wrong body part. The idea is to improve patient safety by analyzing how errors occur.  

Read more
Regional
8:23 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Roof Repairs Underway At Executive Mansion

Credit City of Springfield

Workers are patching eight leaks in the roof at the nearly 160-year-old Executive Mansion in Springfield.
 
A spokesman for Gov. Pat Quinn tells The (Springfield) State Journal-Register
(http://bit.ly/1naGY6E ) for a Tuesday story that inspectors found the leaks.
Work started shortly after the governor approved emergency roof repairs on June
30. Officials expect work to be done in a few weeks.
 
The amount of money spent on the repairs won't exceed $40,000 and will cover

Read more
Election 2014
3:08 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Voters In Bad Mood Shaping Gov's Race

Credit data.illinois.gov

The people of Illinois are feeling particularly gloomy about their state, with its high unemployment, billions of dollars in debt and decades-long battles against corruption.  

The bad mood surfaces in public-opinion polls that startle even the pollsters. And now it's shaping one of the nation's most competitive governor's races.  

Read more
Regional
2:58 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

High Water Closes Two Mississippi River Bridges

US 54 at Champ Clark Bridge closed due to Mississippi River flooding.
Credit MODOT

Two Mississippi River bridges are closed due to flooding, and with more storms in the forecast, there is growing concern that conditions could worsen in parts of Missouri and Illinois.  

The Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana, Missouri, closed yesterday. The next nearest bridge is in Hannibal, Missouri, 35 miles to the north.  
The Quincy Memorial Bridge in Quincy, Illinois, shut down this morning. The impact there isn't as severe because Quincy has two bridges, and the other is not threatened.

Read more
Election 2014
2:44 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Democrats Hold Fundraising Edge

Credit flickr/Daniel Borman

Illinois Democrats are outpacing their Republican counterparts in fundraising so far in the 2014 election cycle.  

Crain's Chicago Business reports that Democrats have almost twice as much cash on hand as Illinois Republicans with $26.9 million. Democrats control the governor's mansion and the state Legislature. Crain's examined the finances of candidates for statewide office, state party organizations and county organizations.  
 Republican businessman Bruce Rauner trails Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn by about $1.5 million in cash on hand in the Illinois governor's race.

Read more
Labor
10:13 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Unions Gain Members In Public Sector

Credit wuis

Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past
half-century.
 
A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity _ at the federal, state or local levels.
 
Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector workforce last year. That's according to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 

Read more
Congress
1:13 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Editor Of Dixon Memoir Remembers The Late Senator

  Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon of Illinois has died.

Read more
Regional
5:07 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Beason Murder Site Burned Down

Firefighters have burned down the home where five members of a central Illinois family were beaten to death in 2009.  

Ten members of the Beason Fire Department on Thursday set the small, white, one-story house where Rick and Ruth Gee and three of their children were killed ablaze. Beason is about 30 miles south of Bloomington.  

Beason fire Chief Jim Hubrich told The Pantagraph in Bloomington that the Gee family asked him for help demolishing the house. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency signed off on the plan.  

Read more
Statehouse
5:01 am
Fri July 4, 2014

AP: Quinn Halts Political Hiring

Credit flickr/tripp

Gov. Pat Quinn has ordered a moratorium on political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation and is requiring executive-level staff in every state agency to undergo training about proper hiring practices.  

The Chicago Democrat's actions come amid questions about whether state jobs were improperly filled based on clout rather than qualifications.  

The Associated Press obtained copies of memos sent Thursday by Quinn's attorney to IDOT leadership and the heads of all agencies, boards and commissions.  

Read more
Education Desk
7:47 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Lower School Age Among New Laws

Credit flickr/Robert.S. Donovan

Illinois children are required to attend school at a younger age and young adults seeking driver's licenses must complete training under several new laws effective this week.  

Children must enter kindergarten by the time they are 6 years old under one new law. The previous requirement was 7 years old. State officials say that might mean higher costs for some schools.  

Another new law requires students to learn CPR and how to operate machines used for emergency heart problems.  

Read more
Statehouse
5:44 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Fmr. U.S. Attorney Named Acting Legislative Inspector General

J. William Roberts
Credit IWU.EDU

A former U.S. attorney and legal counsel to former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar has been named acting legislative inspector general.
 
The Legislative Ethics Commission announced in a statement received Tuesday
that J. William Roberts of Springfield took over in an acting capacity on
Tuesday.
 
In addition to his tenure as counsel to Edgar and U.S. attorney for the central
district of Illinois, he also was Sangamon County State's Attorney.
 
Roberts takes over for Tom Homer, a former Democratic lawmaker and appellate

Read more
Statehouse
12:32 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Judge Nixes Term Limit, Remap Initiatives

Credit flickr/Brian Turner

A Cook County judge has ruled that signature-driven ballot measures calling for legislative term limits and a new political redistricting process can't appear on the November ballot.
 
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva says in a Friday ruling the measures don't meet constitutional requirements to make the ballot.
 
The ruling is a setback for groups advocating the measures, including one led by Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner.  He's made term limits
a cornerstone of his campaign to unseat Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
 

Read more
Election 2014
8:16 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Rauner's Daughter School Admission Under Scrutiny

Credit BruceRauner.com

The issue of how Republican Bruce Rauner's daughter got into an elite Chicago public high school has resurfaced in the Illinois governor's race.

Rauner has maintained that he didn't use his money or influence to get a daughter into Walter Payton College Prep in 2008. Initially, she was rejected despite having top grades. Rauner has said his family appealed through a principals' discretionary process.  

Read more
Regional
8:04 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Illinois Town Considers Privatizing Fire Dept.

Credit flickr/Terence S. Jones

One of a number of Illinois towns struggling with increasing pension costs wants to save money by shifting control of its fire department to a private company.  

North Riverside officials pitched the proposal at a hearing before state regulators in Chicago on Thursday. Mayor Hubert Hermanek says the move could save $700,000 annually.  

Illinois Municipal League officials say other cities could try similar solutions when the state begins to enforce increasing pension payments in 2016.  

Read more
Statehouse
12:43 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Gov. Quinn Won't Testify On Neighborhood Recovery Initiative

Gov. Pat Quinn says he has no intentions of testifying before a legislative commission about the scandal-laden anti-violence program he started
in 2010.
 
The Chicago Democrat hasn't been subpoenaed or invited less informally. But seven former officials with his administration have been compelled to appear
before the Legislative Audit Commission next month. They're expected to address problems with management and spending under Quinn's $55 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.
 

Read more
Health Desk
5:46 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Governor Signs Measure Letting Psychologists Prescribe

Credit flickr/Ajay Suresh

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed off on a measure that allows psychologists in Illinois to prescribe medication to patients.  

The governor signed the legislation Wednesday in Chicago. It was sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park and Rep. John Bradley of Marion, both Democrats.  
Psychologists have to receive specific training for prescription-writing privileges and be required to work with a coordinating physician.  

Read more
Statehouse
4:46 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

GOP Lawmaker Wants Quinn To Testify

Sen. Matt Murphy
Credit ilga.gov

A Republican lawmaker wants Gov. Pat Quinn to testify before a legislative commission over a scandal-plagued anti-violence program.  

State Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine is a frequent critic of Quinn. He claimed Wednesday that Quinn is ``hiding'' as an audit commission probes the Chicago Democrat's approximately $55 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.  

Read more

Pages