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.

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Arts
6:00 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Chicago Chosen As Home Of George Lucas Museum

George Lucas
Credit wikimedia/Joi Ito

``Star Wars'' creator George Lucas has selected Chicago to build his museum of art and movie memorabilia.  

Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, confirmed the decision. McCaffrey did not have any immediate details about the much-anticipated decision by the filmmaker. But the choice is a major victory for Emanuel and the nation's third-largest city, which was competing with San Francisco for the museum.  

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Statehouse
3:36 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Anti-Violence Program Director, Others Subpoenaed

Credit WUIS/Brian Mackey

Illinois legislators have voted to subpoena seven former state officials to answer questions about a troubled 2010 anti-violence program started by Gov. Pat Quinn.  

A subcommittee of the Legislative Audit Commission voted Monday. They were initially considering just one person for subpoena, but Democrats on the committee said they'd decided to hear from everyone at once. The matter requires a signature from a co-chairman, state Rep. Frank Mautino, a Democrat who wasn't at the meeting.  

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Statehouse
9:20 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Lottery Contractor Likely Short Of Target

Credit Illinois Lottery

Illinois' lottery contractor will likely be $200 million short of the money it promised the state this year when the fiscal year ends next week.
 
Northstar Lottery Group has never reached the profits it signed onto when it
took over in 2011.
 
The contract says falling short of goals by 10 percent two years in a row is
reason to end the partnership, and this year would be the second consecutive
year it hasn't made its goal.
 
Northstar CEO Tim Simonson says that his company has achieved higher profits

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Regional
9:25 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Special Prosecutor Appointed In Pike Co. Case

Pike Co. Sheriff's Office
Credit pikecoil.org

A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the
case of Pike County's sheriff, who is accused of misconduct.
 
The Quincy Herald-Whig reports (http://bit.ly/1l6HtOo ) that Ed Parkinson with
the Illinois State's Attorney Appellate Prosecutor's Office has been assigned to
Sheriff Paul Petty's case. Petty is due in court for a hearing on Friday.
 
An Adams County judge ruled earlier this month that having the Pike County
State's Attorney's office prosecute the case was a conflict of interest.
 

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Statehouse
7:44 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Power Outage Caused Secretary Of State Computers To Go Down Thursday

Credit cyberdriveillinois

The Illinois Secretary of State office's main computer briefly stopped working, halting transactions for about three hours.

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Education Desk
5:01 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Chancellor Wise Says New U Of I Med School Should Be Small

Phyllis Wise
Credit news.illinois.edu

University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise says that a new medical school being proposed in Urbana-Champaign should be small and what she called complementary.  

Wise spoke to a group of faculty in Urbana Wednesday about the idea.  
According to The News-Gazette she said a lot of work still needs to be done on the proposal. But she said if done right the school could be an important addition to the area and the state.  

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Business
4:57 am
Fri June 20, 2014

New Law Aimed At Used Tire Sites

Credit flickr/vagawi

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed new legislation meant to improve oversight of used-tire storage and processing sites that can pose major environmental hazards.  

Thursday's signing comes one year after a massive fire broke out at a tire-recycling facility in central Illinois.  
The June fire at J&R Used Tire Service in Hoopeston engulfed tens of thousands of tires and took weeks to extinguish. Many homes in neighboring communities had to be evacuated. The cleanup also took several weeks.  

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Statehouse
5:16 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Term Limit, Political Map Lawsuit Unfolds In Court

The near-70,000 page term limit petition is wheeled onto a semi truck in April.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The decision of whether two November ballot measures dealing with term limits and redistricting are constitutional is in the hands of a Cook
County judge.
 
Oral arguments were Wednesday in a lawsuit attempting to keep both measures off
the ballot.
 
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva says she'll issue a written decision by noon on June 27.
 
Mikva has said she wants to expedite a ruling because it will affect the November election. Ballots are certified in August.
 

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Regional
9:13 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Mother Jones Monument In Central Illinois To Be Restored

Credit Mother Jones Museum

An Illinois monument to famed labor crusader Mother Jones in the graveyard where she's buried is getting a makeover, thanks to donors from 17 states.  

The (Alton) Telegraph  reports the restoration of the 22-foot granite obelisk was announced Tuesday in the union-owned Mount Olive cemetery where Mary Harris Jones is buried.  

A symbolic check for $61,000 was presented during the ceremony, representing donations ranging in size from $5 to $5,000 from 107 union organizations.  

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Patronage
1:40 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Judge Lifts Federal Oversight On Chicago Hiring

Chicago City Hall
Credit flickr/MKFeeney

A U.S. district judge has agreed to lift federal oversight of whether Chicago hiring practices are corrupted by political favoritism.  

Monday's historic ruling means the court accepts that the nation's third-largest city now has mechanisms in place to stamp out illegal patronage.  

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Regional
6:54 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Decatur Zoo Gets Grant To Build Bird Exhibit

Scovill Zoo, Decatur.
Credit Decatur Park District

The Scovill Zoo in Decatur is getting nearly a half-million dollars in state grants to build a walk-through bird exhibit.   The money is part of a state grant program that will give out $20 million dollars in capital funds for facility improvements and added exhibits at museums operated by local governments and cities.

Scovill is also getting the funding for a crowned-crane exhibit, pavilion, ADA walkway and a generator.

Major attractions receiving money include the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Adler Planetarium.

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Regional
7:44 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Pike County Gets A New Prosecutor

Pike County Sheriff's Department
Credit pikecountyil.org

Pike County has a new state's attorney to replace the former top prosecutor who accused the county sheriff of misconduct.  

The Quincy Herald-Whig reports  that the Pike County Board held a special meeting Thursday night to accept former Pike County State's Attorney Carrie Boyd's resignation. Board members also named Matt Goetten as her replacement to serve through Nov. 30. That's when voters will elect someone to serve the remaining two years of Boyd's term.  

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Statehouse
12:47 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Illinois Lawmaker Convicted Of Bribery

Rep. Derrick Smith found guilty
Credit Peoria Public Radio

A federal jury in Chicago has convicted Illinois state Rep. Derrick Smith of bribery for taking $7,000 from a purported day care operator.

Jurors returned with their verdict Tuesday after deliberating about four hours over two days.  

At trial, prosecutors played secret recordings of the 50-year-old Chicago Democrat allegedly accepting 70 $100 bills in exchange for a letter supporting a state grant. But it was all part of an FBI sting.  

The recordings of Smith were made by a campaign worker-turned-informant.  

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Statehouse
5:53 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Governor Approves Supplemental Budget For Current Year

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation allowing the state to spend an additional $1.8 billion in the current budget year.  

The measure passed the Legislature before the General Assembly adjourned for the spring last month.  It adds to the $35.4 billion 2014 budget lawmakers approved last May.  

Rep. Greg Harris is a Chicago Democrat and a House budget negotiator. He says the state had higher-than-projected revenue, thanks to an improved economy that generated more sales and income tax than was anticipated.  

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Health Desk
4:57 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

St. John's Hospital To Lay Off 43 Managers

Credit St. John's Hospital

St. John's Hospital in Springfield has announced it will lay off 43 managers over the next few months.  

President and Chief Executive Charles Lucore  says cutting management costs will help preserve the quality of patient care.  

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register quotes him as saying the decision was driven by financial pressures from the Affordable Care Act as well as the lower reimbursements.  

The 43 positions represent about 1 percent of the hospital's workforce.  

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Arts
7:17 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Jazz Trio Wins Award For Springfield Recording

Credit Credit http://werticocainandgray.wordpress.com

A Chicago-based jazz trio has earned an award for an album recorded live during a performance at a Springfield theater.  

The trio of Paul Wertico, David Cain and Larry Gray recorded their album ``Sound Portraits'' last summer at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. It won top honors for a live performance at the annual Independent Music Awards given out on Tuesday.  

Wertico is a seven-time Grammy Award winner who teaches jazz studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He says the performance was 100 percent improvised and came ``spontaneously from the heart.''  

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Election 2014
5:16 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Rauner Says He Won't Push To Repeal Same Sex Marriage Law

Bruce Rauner
Credit WUIS

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner says Illinois voters should have decided whether same-sex marriage should be legal in the state. But now that it's the law he won't advocate changing it.  
Illinois' law allowing same-sex marriage took effect Sunday. Gay rights groups say Rauner has opposed efforts for the law and has previously vowed to work against them. 

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Statehouse
6:56 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Legislative Recap: What Lawmakers Did & Didn't Do

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Illinois Legislature adjourned its spring session having passed a new state budget and other key measures, but leaving some business undone. Here's a look at what passed and what didn't:  
     BILLS SENT TO GOV. PAT QUINN:  
Budget: A roughly $35.7 billion budget for 2015 keeps funding flat for schools and most state agencies. Majority Democrats acknowledged the budget is ``incomplete'' because it postpones tough votes about whether to slash spending or find new revenue until after November's election.  

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Statehouse
6:37 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Quinn: Lawmakers "Didn't Get The Job Done" On Budget

Gov. Pat Quinn
Credit WUIS/Brian Mackey

Gov. Pat Quinn says the budget that lawmakers approved ``didn't get the job done.''  

The Chicago Democrat wanted to extend the state's income tax increase to avoid budget cuts, including layoffs. However, lawmakers sent him a spending plan on Friday that Democrats acknowledge puts off tough decisions about whether to slash spending or find new sources of revenue.  

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Statehouse
6:17 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Audit: $12.3M Illinois Medicaid Benefits Paid For Dead

Credit wuis

An Illinois audit is providing details about the $12.3 million that the state's Medicaid program paid for medical care for people who were dead.  
Auditor General William Holland released the report Thursday. The Associated Press first reported on the overpayments last month.  

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Statehouse
5:22 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

"Soda Tax" Defeated At Statehouse

Credit flickr/DCJohn

An Illinois House committee has rejected a proposed tax on sweetened drinks that supporters say would help fight obesity.  

The House Revenue and Finance Committee defeated the so-called ``soda tax'' Tuesday. It would have added a tax of 1 cent per ounce to any sweetened beverage.  

Rep. Robyn Gabel is an Evanston Democrat. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Gabel told legislators the tax would give people an incentive to choose a healthier drink. It also would generate an estimated $600 million in annual revenue.  

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Statehouse
2:03 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Illinois General Assembly Moving Forward With New Budget

Credit wikimedia commons

The Illinois Legislature is moving forward with a scaled-back budget lawmakers say will lead to layoffs and further delays in paying the state's bills.
 
The House is expected to vote Tuesday on the approximately $35 billion spending
plan.
Lawmakers drafted the plan after House Speaker Michael Madigan announced his
chamber had given up on extending a temporary income tax increase. That will
result in a roughly $1.8 billion revenue drop next year.
 
Democratic Sen. Dan Kotowski says the new budget plan ensures education

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Statehouse
8:14 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Illinois House Democrats Regroup, Craft Budget Without Higher Tax

Credit WUIS

Illinois House Democrats have given up on extending a temporary income tax increase and have begun working on a scaled-back state spending plan.
 
Speaker Michael Madigan said Monday that House working groups would begin work
on a ``middle-of-the-road'' budget that's in line with a revenue estimate of about $34 billion.
 
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn wants to make permanent the income-tax increase that's set to roll back in January. It's costing the typical Illinois taxpayer about $1,100 more this year.
 

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Statehouse
1:50 pm
Sat May 24, 2014

Lawmaker's Stepson Shot And Killed In Peoria

The stepson of a state lawmaker from Peoria has been shot dead.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/1t6ts30 ) that 22-year-old Derrick Booth Jr. was pronounced dead early Saturday at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

He was the stepson of Democratic Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth and the son of Manual Academy basketball coach Derrick Booth Sr.

The newspaper reports that the victim was found on the porch of a home with a gunshot wound to the chest.

It was the second homicide in the city this year.

Statehouse
3:09 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Illinois Lawmakers Adjourn For The Weekend

Credit WUIS

The Illinois Legislature has adjourned until Monday.  
The Senate wrapped up early Friday afternoon, shortly after the House completed its work for the week.  
Legislators in both chambers are scheduled to return to the Capitol on Monday for the final week of the spring session.  

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Statehouse
10:52 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Judge Denies Lawmaker's Request To Delay Trial

Credit ilga.gov

A federal judge won't postpone an Illinois lawmaker's bribery
trial so he can finish out the legislative session in Springfield.

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Regional
6:18 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Pike County Sheriff Enters NOT Guilty Plea

Pike County Courthouse
Credit Pike County

The Pike County sheriff has pleaded not guilty to a felony misconduct charge after prosecutors say he botched the 2012 death investigation of a woman who overdosed on heroin.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty's attorney filed a motion Monday to dismiss the case or appoint a special state's attorney.

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Statehouse
3:17 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Rauner Blasts House Democrats On Budget Process

Bruce Rauner
Credit WUIS

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is criticizing House Democrats for adopting budget measures without an approved plan to pay for them.  

Rauner talked to reporters in Northbrook Monday as Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn was set to meet with lawmakers in Springfield. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Rauner calls this year's budget process ``playing political games'' and ``showing a lack of leadership''  
 Last week, the House approved budget measures contingent on an income tax increase extension. It rolls back in January, creating a $1.8 billion hole.  

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Regional
8:41 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Pike County Sheriff Charged With Misconduct

Pike County Courhouse
Credit Creative Commons

The Pike County sheriff is facing a felony misconduct charge for a 2012 death investigation of a woman who overdosed on heroin.  

Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty is also the county's coroner. He was charged after prosecutors say he didn't follow procedures for embalming the body of 47-year-old Shanda Lopez.  

Two other men were charged in connection with Lopez's death, including one who's accused of drug-induced homicide.

Authorities say Petty didn't draw blood for a toxicology screening before Lopez's body was embalmed.  

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Statehouse
1:45 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

AP: IDOT Hires Had Political Clout

Dozens of state jobs involved in a dispute over whether they should be free of politics were filled by Gov. Pat Quinn's administration with candidates who were politically connected or gave campaign money to the governor's party.  
That's according to an Associated Press review of state documents.  

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