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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Business
6:02 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Auto Insurance On The Rise

Illinois drivers should get ready to pay more for insurance.  
Crain's Chicago Business reports (http://bit.ly/1ggCmGt ) major insurers in Illinois are raising rates.  
Northbrook-based Allstate says in a regulatory filing that rates for customers will climb between 2.5 and 3.5 percent later this month.  
Esurance rates are rising about 3.2 percent in late January, while Geico expects to boost prices by 2 to 3 percent in March.  

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Statehouse
5:56 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Quinn Backs Corrections Director

Director Godinez
Credit WBEZ

Gov. Pat Quinn is supporting his prisons director after a Republican challenger called for the director to be fired.  
 Sen. Kirk Dillard is a GOP candidate for governor. He said Wednesday that Democrat Quinn should fire S.A. ``Tony'' Godinez  for hiring a man with arrests and apparent one-time gang ties.  

Dillard says it's ``outrageous'' that ex-gang members are ``running the prisons.''  
Xadrian McCraven  was an $111,000-a-year senior policy adviser to the Department of Corrections' parole chief before he was fired Friday.  

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Statehouse
7:46 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Quinn's Running Mate Remains in Connecticut Until March 1

Paul Vallas
Credit pbs

Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate will continue working in Connecticut until March 1, just before Illinois' primary election.   The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/19SJTfX ) Paul Vallas will keep working as superintendent of Bridgeport public schools.  

Vallas submitted his resignation to Bridgeport officials on Dec. 31 and is required to give a 60-day notice.  
Illinois' primary election will be held March 18.  

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Statehouse
3:37 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

11,000 Apply For Concealed Carry Permits So Far

The online application system to apply for permits was officially launched in Illinois on Sunday. On Monday, Illinois State Police said they had received 4,525 applications for concealed carry permits were received within 24 hours. The other 6,500 applications came from firearms instructors who the state let apply early for permits to help test the functionality of the online application system.  

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Around the Nation
6:08 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Boeing Machinists Approve Contract To Secure 777X Work

Boeing workers cry after learning that the Boeing machinists union voted to accept the company's latest contract offer to keep the assembly of the Boeing 777X airplane in Washington state.
Ted S. Warren AP

The stakes were high and the vote was close as Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane for the Puget Sound region.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Boeing hailed Friday's vote, which proponents said solidifies the aerospace giant's presence in the Seattle area.

"Tonight, Washington state secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world," Inslee declared.

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Music News
9:52 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Phil Everly Of The Everly Brothers Dies At 74

The Everly Brothers, Phil, left, and Phil, perform in 1964.
AP

Phil Everly, who with his brother Don formed an influential harmony duo that touched the hearts and sparked the imaginations of rock 'n' roll singers for decades, including the Beatles and Bob Dylan, died Friday. He was 74.

Everly died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at a Burbank hospital, said his son Jason Everly.

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Lincoln
3:13 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Author Of Mystery Lincoln Letter Identified

Credit ALPLM

It's been more than 25 years since workers renovating Abraham Lincoln's home found a letter fragment in a mouse's nest inside a wall.  
But researchers think they've finally identified the author of the mystery letter as newspaper editor Andrew Johnston.  

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Regional
6:30 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Wolves Could Be Slowly Moving Back Into Illinois

Credit fws.gov

A modest but perceptible uptick in the number of wolves roaming in from Wisconsin has forced Illinois to begin considering the possibility that permanent wolf populations could take hold.  

Illinois' wolves were hunted to extinction 150 years ago. But since a first confirmed sighting in 2002, wolf sightings have gone from rare to regular. There have been at least five the last three years.  
Nearly all are thought to have come from Wisconsin, which has more than 800 wolves.  

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Statehouse
2:23 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Law Limits Use Of Disabled Parking Placards

A state law taking effect yesterday limits the use of free on-street parking by the disabled.  
Now, only motorists whose impairments prevent them from being able to pay a meter can park for free in those spots.  

Before, anyone with a disability parking placard could do so.  
Now, motorists will have to get statements from doctors affirming they cannot feed parking meters, for example, because they use wheelchairs or cannot walk more than 20 feet.  

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Statehouse
2:10 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

State Retirees Sue Over Pension Law

A group of retired state employees has filed a lawsuit challenging a new Illinois plan to eliminate the state's $100 billion public pension shortfall.  

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Lincoln
10:58 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Attendance Up At Lincoln Presidential Museum

Credit presidentlincoln.illinois.gov

Officials at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
and Museum say attendance was up more than 7 percent in 2013, thanks in part to the popularity of Steven Spielberg's film ``Lincoln.''
 
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/Km7rhf ) nearly 314,000 people visited the museum through November. That's about 10,000 more visitors than in all of 2012. Attendance is on pace to be the highest since 2010.
 
In 2009 _ the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth _ more than 600,000 people
visited the Springfield museum.
 

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Statehouse
10:55 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Justices Get Campaign Money From Groups Involved In Pension Battle

Credit flickr/RandyvonLiski

A published report says groups with ties to the pension-reform law adopted last month have contributed close to $3 million to Illinois Supreme Court justices who might decide its fate.  

The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1aqJQ5n ) that six of seven justices have taken money in the past 13 years from labor unions, business groups and a political committee controlled by Chicago Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.  
Retired teachers have sued to stop the pension-reform plan that cuts retiree benefits to reduce a $100 billion debt.  

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Regional
6:39 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Thousands Of Tornado Victims Apply For Federal Help

Credit wikimedia commons

Illinois officials say more than 2,000 people in counties declared federal disaster areas after tornadoes struck in November applied for federal assistance.  
Gov. Pat Quinn visited the central Illinois community of Washington on Tuesday.
 
His office says more than $1.6 million in federal grants and more than $5.6 million in low-interest loans have been approved.  
Washington was hit hard by one of the roughly two dozen tornadoes that struck on Nov. 17. Seven people died and thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed.  

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Education
1:44 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

John Wood Community College To Get Worker Training Money

Credit John Wood Community College

Two Illinois colleges will share in a $29 million federal grant to retrain unemployed workers for high-skill jobs in transportation, distribution and logistics.  
Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey will lead a consortium of nine colleges in eight Mississippi River states with the goal of placing people in jobs and boosting economic development.  

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Statehouse
2:09 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

State Spending To Be Part Of Tax Returns

Credit Illinois Department of Revenue

State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says Illinois residents will get a breakdown of state spending in income tax returns received in 2014. 

Topinka announced the initiative on Monday. She says her office will also make the information available online.   In a statement, Topinka says there shouldn't be a mystery when it comes to public dollars in the state.  

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Lincoln
5:16 am
Fri December 27, 2013

"Lincoln" Movie Exhibit Opens Next Month

Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln

Costumes, furniture and other props used in Steven Spielberg's 2012 film ``Lincoln'' will go on display in Springfield next month.  

The items will be featured in an exhibit that opens Jan. 17 at Union Station, across the street from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports the exhibition is called: ``Lincoln: History to Hollywood.''  

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Business
5:13 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Suit Filed In Chicago Over Target Security Breach

Credit flickr

At least one Illinois resident has joined those suing Target after the retail giant disclosed hackers stole millions of customer accounts.  

Chicago-area woman Chandra McPherson is the named plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Chicago. Similar lawsuits have been filed in other states.  

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Arts
2:14 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Illinois Poet Laureate Puts Own Stamp On Job

Kevin Stein

Kevin Stein has a daunting task: following two Pulitzer Prize winners as the poet laureate of Illinois.  

Ten years into the job, the Bradley University professor is putting his own signature on the unpaid position that's considered crucial to widening appreciation for the art form. He's created a state poetry website and donates his own money to buy poetry books for libraries across the state. He also offers advice to young poets.  

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Statehouse
6:16 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Quinn Won't Commit To Term Limits

Credit wikimedia

Gov. Pat Quinn is a longtime advocate for term limits, but has yet to commit to one himself.  
The Chicago Democrat tells The Associated Press in a year-end interview that he won't presume a win in his 2014 re-election bid and is taking it one term at a time.  

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Statehouse
6:03 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Governor Quinn Grants More Clemency Requests

Thirty-eight people have been granted clemency by Gov. Pat Quinn for crimes that date back decades.  
The Democratic governor announced yesterday that he also denied another 129 petitions for clemency.  
Crimes committed by those who were pardoned include theft, possession of a controlled substance, burglary and forgery, and solicitation of prostitutes.  

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Regional
5:57 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Amusement Ride Malfunction Injures Seven

Credit flickr

Seven people were treated and released from a northern Illinois hospital after receiving minor injuries when an indoor amusement park ride malfunctioned.   Joseph Hook is acting general manager at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Utica.  

He says the people _ a mix of children and adults _ reported aches and pains on Christmas Eve after an unspecified malfunction of a tea cup ride in the hotel's indoor amusement park.  
The amusement park that's about 80 miles southwest of Chicago has about 10 rides.  

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pension
6:39 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Illinois Pensions Don't Sell Assets In 2013

Credit SRS

Officials say sufficient state funding the last two years means key state-employee pension funds didn't have to sell assets to meet payments.  
 The State Retirement Systems covers pensions for ex-state employees, judges and lawmakers. A report Thursday by Auditor General William Holland says SRS withdrew $30 million in the 2013 fiscal year _ down from nearly $250 million the year before.  
 William Atwood heads the Illinois State Board of Investment, which manages the SRS portfolios.  
 He says the large withdrawal in 2012 was because of state underfunding in 2011.  

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Politics
10:21 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Former Gov. George Ryan Attends Mandela Event

former Gov. George Ryan
Credit WBEZ

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan says Nelson Mandela was instrumental in his 2003 decision to empty death row.  

Ryan addressed attendees gathered Sunday at the Chicago church of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, who hosted a "people's tribute'' to the late South African leader.  

Ryan, a Republican, was released from prison earlier this year after serving more than five years on corruption charges. His roughly five-minute speech was one of his first public appearances since his release.  

Ryan and Mandela met in 2000 on a trade mission to South Africa.  

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Statehouse
4:25 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Patti Blagojevich Attends Husband's Appeal Hearing

The wife of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has said she hopes her husband will win his freedom and that he could return home to rejoin her and their two school-aged daughters.  
Patti Blagojevich spoke Friday to reporters after attending a Chicago hearing to hear oral arguments in her husband's appeal of his corruption conviction. 

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Regional
1:17 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Investigation Into Why Clinton Nuclear Plant Shut Down

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it has sent a team of specialists to a central Illinois nuclear plant to try to determine why a transformer failed and caused the plant to shut down.  
Officials say the incident happened Sunday night at the Clinton Nuclear Plant about 20 miles southeast of Bloomington.  

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Regional
10:04 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Hope Institute Says It Has Plan To Fix Issues

Credit hopeschool.org

A Springfield facility that houses children and young adults with developmental disabilities says it has drawn up a plan to correct problems identified by state investigators.  

Illinois child welfare officials and Springfield police have been investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at Hope Institute for Children and Families since November. No details have been made public.  

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Business
9:43 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Lawmaker Wants Boeing Plant For Decatur

Rep. Bill Mitchell
Credit RepMitchell.com

An Illinois lawmaker says he wants Boeing Co. to build a new manufacturing plant in Decatur.  
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/18GfBqF ) Forsyth Republican Rep. Bill Mitchell is hoping the Chicago-based aerospace company will build its new factory in the central Illinois community.  

Boeing is looking for a location to build its new 400-seat 777X jetliner.  
Boeing is looking at a $7 billion to $10 billion plant that would start with 3,250 workers in 2018 and grow to 8,500 by 2024.  

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Statehouse
10:20 am
Thu December 12, 2013

State Wards Won't Be Moved From So. Ill. Developmental Center

Credit wsiu

A judge's ruling means 23 wards of the state will not be moved for now from a facility for the developmentally disabled in southern Illinois.
 
A federal lawsuit is seeking to block the state's closure of the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.
 
Gov. Pat Quinn ordered Murray and other facilities closed last year as part of an effort to save the state money. The suit has delayed the transfer of more
than 200 residents of Murray to smaller facilities. Plaintiffs argue they won't get the care they need elsewhere.
 

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Regional
10:06 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Arrests Made For Alleged Looting Of Tornado Damaged Home

Credit wikimedia commons

Three Peoria men are in custody after investigators say they were looting a tornado-damaged home in the central Illinois community of Washington.

The Pekin Daily Times reports (http://bit.ly/18WoXnT ) the trio was arrested Tuesday. They're set to appear in court on Thursday.  
All three are from Peoria and being held on felony looting charges.  

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Higher Education
4:57 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Film Has Clues About Alma Mater's Real Color

Credit wikimedia

An 8-mm color film shot in the 1940's is offering some clues about the original color of a bronze statue that is a beloved landmark at the University of Illinois.  

The 84-year-old Alma Mater statue of a robed woman flanked by figures celebrating ``Learning'' and ``Labor'' is being restored. A heavy buildup of blue-green patina has disguised its original color for decades.  

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