Posted July 25, 2014

News for July 25, 2014

LOCAL
Local Unemployment Jumps From Last Month, Still Down From Last Year

Unemployment declined in all 18 counties in South Central Illinois when compared to one year ago.  The data is not seasonally adjusted. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state is at 7.1 percent, down from 7.5 percent in May.  The nation’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is again at 6.3.  Seasonal employment gains occurred in Construction and Recreation. Employment advances also were reported in Sales, Healthcare, and Transportation this spring. Many job openings were also reported in Office and Administrative Support, Food Services, and Production occupations. Advertisements for employment included jobs in Business and Finance, Construction, Buildings and Grounds Maintenance and Farming. Jefferson County posted a 7.0% for June 2014, up from 6.8% for May 2014, but down from 9.1% in June 2013.  Marion County held steady at 9% for the second month in a row, and Washington County from 5.3% to 5.2%, over the past month. Hamilton County posted at 6.1% unemployment for June, Wayne County was at 7.1% and Clinton County posted at 5.8%.

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Rend Lake Conservancy Appoints Collins To Board

After some minor confusion regarding residency requirements, Jefferson County Board Chairman Robert White has selected Ernie Collins of Mt Vernon and lives in McClellan Township to serve on the Rend Lake Conservancy District Board effective 7/1/14.  He replaces David Stewart who has served one 5 year term which expires on 6/30/2014.  It is in accordance with Illinois Compiled Statutes that requires the consent of the Franklin County Board Chairman since the district is NOT wholly contained in ONE county.  Jefferson and Franklin County Board Chairmen have two appointments to this particular board.  One appointee has to live outside of the municipalities within the district with a population of 5,000 or more which qualifies that municipality for one appointment and one can be “at large” that could include a resident within the municipality.   Currently there are three municipalities in the district: Benton, West Frankfort and Mount Vernon.  There are a total of six townships in Jefferson County that are included in the Rend Lake Conservancy District:  Shiloh, McClellan, Dodds, Elk Prairie, Spring Garden and Mount Vernon.  Collins is well known in the community for various reasons.  He is a retired Master Sergeant from the Illinois State Police after 28 years of distinguished service. 

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Police Looking For BB Gun Vandals In Edwardsville

(Edwardsville, IL) -- Police are asking people in Edwardsville to keep an eye out for BB gun vandals. Several businesses and cars have had their windows shot out in the past couple of weeks. The shooters seem to strike at night. Police don't have any suspects at this point but they're asking anyone with information to come forward.

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Carbondale Opens New Fire Department

(Carbondale, IL)  --  Carbondale firefighters are moving into their new digs this week, even though it faces several state building code violations.  The Attorney General's Office says the building is not up to code for handicapped accessibility.  The city of Carbondale will send a letter to the state next week to talk about what can be done about the remaining violations.  The old station, on Oakland Street, still has some leftover equipment and should be completely phased out in a few weeks.

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Gang Wars Cause Uptick In Metro-East Violence

(Madison, IL) -- Ongoing gang wars are apparently causing a spike in crime in the Metro-East. Police say they're seeing an uptick in violence in Madison, Washington Park, Alorton, East St. Louis, and Brooklyn. Five people were shot and one was killed outside a couple clubs over the weekend. Police are calling the crimes senseless, noting that people are being killed or injured just because they're wearing the wrong colors. Officials are hoping to have a meeting with gang leaders to come up with a plan to end the violence.

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Two Southern Illinois Banks Merging

(Marion, IL) -- Two banks in southern Illinois are planning to merge in a few months. Area banking centers in Cave in Rock, Elizabethtown, Golconda, and Roisclare will become a part of the Banterra Bank system on October 4th. Current Area Bank customers will be allowed to use Banterra products and services once the merger goes through.

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Man Accused Of Tying Up Wife And Attempted Arson

(Belleville, IL)  --  A Belleville, Illinois man is accused of tying up his wife and trying to set their home on fire.  Police say 33-year-old Robert Jones tied up his wife with extension cords and clothes and held a knife to her throat.  He is also said to have doused their home in lighter fluid.  The wife was able to escape and get help.  Jones was taken into custody after turning himself in.  He has been charged with attempted aggravated arson, aggravated restraint, and domestic battery.

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Police Arrest Men Accused Of Running Grease Operation

(O'Fallon, IL)  --  Police in O'Fallon, Illinois have arrested three men believed to have been involved in a grease operation. "The St. Louis Post Dispatch" reports authorities arrested 32-year-old Bo Lin of Fairview Heights, 25-year-old Tuo Li of Chicago and 30-year-old Kentvy Wong of Flushing, New York.  The three men were found in a barn that contained ten-thousand-gallons of grease believed to have been stolen from St. Louis area restaurants.  Police say the men could have been selling the grease to rendering and bio-diesel plants for money.

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Williamson County Man Sentenced On Federal Firearm Offense

On July 24, 2014, Sherman L. Allen, Jr., a/k/a “Larue,” 29, of Marion, Illinois, was sentenced on a federal firearm offense, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced Thursday.  Allen, who had previously pled guilty to an indictment charging Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years on supervised release, and fined $200. Evidence at the plea and sentencing hearings established that, on July 29, 2013, agents executed a search warrant at a Marion residence where Allen had been residing. Agents located a Lorcin .25 caliber pistol, which Allen admitted was his. Agents also located evidence of drug distribution, including digital scales and drug packaging materials. Because Allen had previously been convicted of a felony, he is prohibited from possessing firearms. The investigation was conducted by the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The Illinois State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team and Williamson County State’s Attorney’s Office also assisted in the investigation. The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

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STATE
Quinn: Rauner ad shows 'pattern of dishonesty'

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has blasted a new commercial by his Republican opponent in which headlines from news stories appear doctored. Speaking to reporters at a Thursday campaign event in Chicago, the Democrat called the alterations "clearly wrong." Bruce Rauner's 30-second commercial called "Headlines" overlays what appear to be newspaper headlines over images of Quinn. The headlines criticize Quinn's record on jobs, schools and a troubled anti-violence program. But a review of the ad reveals several cases where the purported headlines don't match the headlines media outlets actually used. Citing the ad, Quinn told reporters Thursday his challenger has displayed "a pattern of dishonesty" during the closely contested race. Rauner's campaign says the phrases in the commercial were simply condensed because of time and space constraints.

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NJ Gov. Christie to campaign for Rauner in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be in Chicago to support Bruce Rauner's campaign for Illinois governor. Christie and Rauner are scheduled to visit a Chicago-area business Friday afternoon. Christie will headline an evening fundraiser for Rauner at a Chicago hotel. Christie is chairman of the Republican Governors Association. The group sees Rauner's race against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn as one of its top two opportunities to pick up a governorship in November. It has donated $1.5 million to Rauner's campaign. Christie has recently heightened his public profile in the wake of allegations of a political payback scandal. He's seen as a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate. His visit won't be without its detractors. Groups supporting gay marriage and other causes say they plan to protest outside the fundraiser.

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Feds release data on states getting immigrant kids

CHICAGO (AP) — New federal data show Illinois received 305 unaccompanied children caught at the U.S. border this year. The Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families released a state-by-state list on Thursday showing the total released to sponsors from January 1 to July 7. Texas received the most children with 4,280. The other leading states are New York, Florida and California. The U.S. has been grappling with a surge in the number of unaccompanied children arriving on the border from Central America fleeing violence. Many believe they'll be allowed to stay in the U.S. Children are placed in government shelters and then released to sponsors while they go through deportation proceedings. In many cases, the sponsors are the children's parents, other relatives, or a family friend.

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Ex-Illinois gov: Namesake building 'a scrap heap'

CHICAGO (AP) — The condition of the James R. Thompson Center, a state office building in Chicago, is getting some grief from former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson. The former governor tells Crain's Chicago Business the building that bears his name "looks like a scrap heap." He's wondering what message it sends about state government when visitors see the lack of maintenance. He notes the carpeting, which is patched with duct tape, looks like it's the original 1985 floor covering. The building, designed by architect Helmut Jahn, has been controversial from the start. Crain's reports that lately there have been complaints about leaky ceilings, discolored walls and rusted metal panels. Illinois Department of Central Management Services operates the building. A spokeswoman says some work is scheduled for the fall.

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Group Calls On State To Jumpstart Fracking

(Springfield, IL) -- Business and labor leaders in Illinois are calling on state officials to jumpstart the fracking process. Mark Denzler, with the Illinois Manufacturer's Association, says oil companies are starting to pull out because the state has stalled for more than a year on getting the rules in place. He says that could cost the state thousands of jobs. The state's Department of Natural Resources is still putting the final touches on the rules that will govern the fracking industry. There's talk that the rules won't be approved until after the November election.

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New Rules Proposed For Crude Oil Trains

(Springfield, IL) -- Rail shipments of crude oil across Illinois would be affected by new rules proposed today by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. He wants new speed restrictions on trains with more than 20 oil tank cars and an assessment of the risk those trains pose as they travel through cities and towns. As many as 40 trains carrying oil from the Bakken fracking operations pass through the Chicago metro area each week.

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Illinois farmers benefit from manure share program

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Illinois gardeners and livestock owners have formed mutually beneficial relationships through a free online manure exchange program. The (Decatur) Herald and Review reports The Illinois Manure Share introduce farmers who have an abundance of livestock manure to those who need it. Manure is an organic material that allows famers to fertilize their crops in a more environmental way. The general population also benefits from the exchange because less chemicals end up in the water supply. The Illinois Manure Share website is offered through the University of Illinois Extension. It was developed in Chicago to relieve horse owners of the large amount of feces their animals produce.

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NATIONAL
Central American leaders convening at White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is inviting Central American leaders to the White House today to discuss the influx of young immigrants from their countries to the U.S. He's hoping to show presidential action even as Congress remains deeply split over proposals to stem the crisis on the border. Obama will host presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Central American leaders met a day earlier with lawmakers who are considering Obama's requests for emergency funds and additional authority to send unaccompanied children back home more quickly. Those lawmakers appear unlikely to resolve their differences before leaving Washington late next week for an annual recess. More than 57,000 minors have arrived since October, mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

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Man says he shot burglar who said she was pregnant

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Police in Long Beach, California are deciding whether to arrest an 80-year-old man who shot a fleeing suspected burglar in the back, killing her. Homeowner Tom Greer told KNBC-TV that he shot 28-year-old Andrea Miller twice in the back after she told him, "Don't shoot me, I'm pregnant." A second burglary suspect has been arrested for suspicion of residential burglary and murder, for allegedly being involved in a felony that led to a death.

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Cause sought for gunfight between patient, doctor

DARBY, Pa. (AP) — Authorities in Darby, Pennsylvania are investigating why a patient fatally shot a caseworker who had accompanied him to a psychiatric crisis center. Authorities say Richard Plotts shot the caseworker, and then his psychiatrist pulled out his own gun and shot Plotts, wounding him. Investigators say Plotts may have had issues with the doctor over his treatment plan.

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Exoneration hearing set for convicted rapist

DALLAS (AP) — Prosecutors in North Dallas will ask a judge today to exonerate a Texas man who served 12 years in prison for the rape of a 16-year-old girl in 1990. DNE testing has identified another man as the attacker. Michael Phillips says he pleaded guilty because his attorney feared that a jury would not side with a black man accused in the rape of a white girl. Phillips, now 57, has sickle cell anemia, is in a wheelchair and lives in a nursing home.

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Calif. dolls were meant to spread cheer, not chill

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in Orange County, California say the person who left porcelain dolls on the doorsteps of several families wanted to spread cheer, not to creep them out. The sheriff's department says the dolls were dressed in nightgowns and lace dresses and were left at about eight homes in a San Clemente neighborhood this week. The families were worried because they felt each doll resembled a young girl living in the house. Authorities say they investigated and determined the intent had been goodwill.

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Boehner Clashes With White House Over Border Crisis

(Washington, DC)  --  President Obama will discuss the southwest border crisis with Central American leaders today.  Obama will host a White House meeting with the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.  Tens of thousands of migrants from those three countries have poured over the U.S. border in recent months and many are unaccompanied children.  Meanwhile, Republican House Speaker John Boehner [[ BAY-nur ]] is accusing the White House of seeking billions of dollars without having a good plan to solve the southwest border crisis.  Boehner says the White House does not appear to be committed to reversing a 2008 law which slows down deportations of Central American migrant children. 

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Search Continues For Babar Suleman

(Plainfield, IN)  --  The search continues for an Indiana man who was flying with his teenage son as the boy tried to set a new world record with his flight around the world.  Family members say "time is of the essence" in the search for Babar Suleman and are asking that all resources be mobilized.  The body of 17-year-old Haris Suleman was found shortly after his plane went down Tuesday night off the coast of America Samoa, but there was no sign of his father. 

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US agency probes Hyundai Sonata air bag problem

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. safety regulators are investigating whether an electrical problem can knock out the air bags on some older Hyundai Sonatas. The probe announced Friday covers about 394,000 midsize cars from the 2006 through 2008 model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received 83 complaints about the problem. The agency says a sensor inside the seat belt buckle might fail. This can cause the air bags to malfunction or not inflate if there's a crash. The problem also can affect the mechanism that tightens the seat belts before a crash. The problem can happen in either the driver or passenger buckles. In most cases the air bag warning light came on. Investigations can lead to recalls but none has been issued so far in this case.

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Judge asked to reconsider mob beating sentences

DETROIT (AP) — Prosecutors are returning to court to ask a judge to reconsider the sentences for two men who participated in a mob attack on a Detroit-area motorist in April. Latrez Cummings got six months in jail, and James Davis was sentenced to a year in jail. Prosecutors say the punishments are too light and don't reflect the severity of the beating of Steve Utash. Judge James Callahan will hear arguments Friday in Wayne County court. Utash, a suburban tree trimmer, was in a coma for days after being beaten in Detroit in April. He got out of his pickup truck to help a 10-year-old boy who had darted in front of his vehicle. Utash still is recovering. Five people pleaded guilty to assault. Attempted murder charges were dropped.

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Michigan dog owner may be charged in fatal attack

METAMORA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The owner of two dogs that fatally mauled a jogger along a rural Michigan road could be charged. Authorities in Lapeer County say 46-year-old Craig Sytsma of Livonia was attacked Wednesday by the cane corsos in Metamora Township, about 45 miles northwest of Detroit. Authorities say he died of his injuries at a hospital. In Michigan, a person may face involuntary manslaughter or other charges in such an attack. The county prosecutor's office is expected to review the case. The dogs, previously identified as bull mastiffs, are quarantined at the county animal shelter. Detective Jason Parks says the dogs were brought in by the 45-year-old owner. Authorities will seek to have the dogs destroyed. Oxford resident April Smith tells the Detroit Free Press one of the dogs attacked her in 2012.

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PETA Offers To Pay Overdue Water Bills For Vegan Converts

(Detroit, MI)  --  A PETA member says the group will pay overdue water bills for nearly a dozen Detroit families who are willing to go vegan for a month.  The offer comes in the wake of thousands of Detroiters facing water shutoffs due to non-payment.  Anyone interested in participating in PETA's program needs to send a copy of their most recent overdue water bill and their pledge to go vegan for one month to the organization's main office by August 1st.

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Conservative Watchdogs Say "Fifty Shades" Trailer "Glamorizes" Sexual Violence

(Undated)  --  It turns out not everyone is intrigued by the new "Fifty Shades of Grey" trailer.  The highly-anticipated film's first preview was unveiled on Thursday, and the non-profit organization Morality in Media responded by accusing the clip of deceiving the public by glamorizing and legitimatizing violence against women.  "Fifty Shades of Grey," which is based on the 2011 erotic novel by E.L. James, is set to hit theaters next Valentine's Day.

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Israeli aircraft strike Gaza homes

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Security Cabinet meets today to consider international cease-fire proposals. A senior official with the Palestine Liberation Organization says one plan calls for a five-day humanitarian truce during which Israel and Hamas would negotiate new border arrangements for blockaded Gaza. Meanwhile, the Israeli military says it's struck 45 locations in Gaza today, 30 of those locations were homes. A leader of the militant Islamic Jihad was killed. Palestinian officials say Israeli ground troops and Hamas gunmen fought intense battles in the north and center of the territory.

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Officials: 3 Palestinians killed in West Bank

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian hospital officials say three Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, which has become increasingly restive because of a war between Israel and Hamas militants next door in the Gaza Strip. Mazen al-Hammouz, director of Rafidiyeh Hospital in the city of Nablus, says two men, ages 21 and 22, were shot and killed in the northern village of Hawara on Friday. The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately clear. The emergency room at Hebron hospital in the southern West Bank says a 47-year-old was shot and killed in the nearby village of Beit Omar. Witnesses say Israeli troops had clashed with Palestinian protesters in the village. The Israeli military and police said they are looking into the report.

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Deal still elusive for Gaza cease-fire

CAIRO (AP) — Turbulent negotiations to broker a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip are continuing against the backdrop of fresh Israeli attacks on Palestinian militants. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to try to nail down a deal to bring a week-long pause in the fighting and begin as soon as this weekend. It's part of a plan to phase in a lasting cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas militant group in the three-week war. Two diplomats close to the negotiations said a deal had not yet been reached but spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be named. Kerry, Ban and Shukri were expected to brief the media later Friday.

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Black box from Air Algerie flight is found

PARIS (AP) — One of the black boxes from the Air Algerie flight that crashed in northern Mali is in the hands of French troops today and officials aren't ruling out any possible cause. They say bad weather is the more likely culprit. The crash killed at least 116 people. Nearly half of the passengers aboard the flight were French.

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SPORTS
THURSDAY’S RESULTS


MLB

San Diego 13, Chicago Cubs 3
Chicago White Sox 5, Minnesota 2

Frontier League

Southern Illinois 4, Washington 2
Evansville 11, Gateway 3

FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE

MLB

St. Louis at Chicago Cubs 3:05 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 2:09 p.m.)
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota 7:10 p.m.

Frontier League

Washington at Southern Illinois
Evansville at Gateway

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE

MLB

St. Louis at Chicago Cubs 3:05 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 2:09 p.m.)
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota 6:10 p.m.

Frontier League

Washington at Southern Illinois
Evansville at Gateway

SUNDAY’S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago White Sox at Minnesota 1:10 p.m.
St. Louis at Chicago Cubs 1:20 p.m.(94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 12:24 p.m.)

Frontier League

Florence at Southern Illinois
Washington at Evansville
Frontier at Gateway

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IHSA Responds To BGA FOIA Lawsuit

(Springfield, IL)  --  The IHSA is defending its right to keep its records on sponsorship deals, vendors, and pension spending under wraps.  The Better Government Association has filed suit against the agency.  They want a judge to force the IHSA to turn the records over, especially since lawmakers are trying to get more details about how the agency is conducting business.  But the IHSA has released a letter from the Attorney General's office, dated in October 2010, which clearly indicates that they are a private entity and are not subject to FOIA laws. 

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U of I boosts arena budget, gives Groce a raise

CHICAGO (AP) — University of Illinois trustees have boosted the size of the budget for the State Farm Center renovation and given basketball coach John Groce (GROHS) a raise and contract extension. Trustees meeting in Chicago on Thursday agreed to increase the budget for the arena work from $165 million to $169.5 million. The extra money is intended to cover additional costs related to a new scoreboard, video boards and other items. Work on the arena has started and is expected to be finished in late 2016. Groce's annual pay was increased by $100,000 a year to $1.7 million. The coach's contract was extended by a year through 2018-19.Groce has coached two seasons at Illinois and his teams have made the NCAA Tournament and the National Invitation Tournament.

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Rams Training Camp Gets Underway

(Earth City, MO)  --  Training camp officially begins today for the St. Louis Rams.  The team will hold its first full squad practice this afternoon at the Rams Park Training Center in Earth City, Missouri.  Jeff Fisher is entering his third season as Head Coach.  The Rams are looking for their first winning season since 2003. 

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White Sox place Putnam on DL

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Chicago White Sox have placed right-hander Zach Putnam on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. The White Sox made the move Thursday before starting a series against the Minnesota Twins. The 27-year-old Putnam is one of several pitchers to take a crack at the closer role for the White Sox this season after Addison Reed was traded before the year started. Putnam is 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA and three saves in 42 appearances this season. The White Sox recalled right-hander Andre Rienzo to take Putnam's place on the roster. Rienzo went 4-5 with a 5.87 ERA in 14 appearances, 11 of them starts, before being sent down to Triple-A Charlotte. He went 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA with Charlotte.

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News for July 24, 2014

LOCAL
West Nile Virus Reported In Southern Illinois

(Carbondale, IL)  --   The West Nile virus has been found in Southern Illinois.  Officials say two batches of mosquitoes and a crow tested positive for the virus last week in Carbondale.  People are being urged to wear insect repellent with DEET when they go out and eliminate areas of standing water, to help reduce their risks of getting infected.   Nearly 120 people in Illinois were infected with West Nile last year; eleven of them died.

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Police Search Continues For Kidnapping Suspect

(Eldorado, IL)  --  Eldorado police are on the lookout for a man suspected of abducting a local woman.  Cops say the offender is 23-year-old Sonny Pilgrim.  He's accused of kidnapping a 19-year-old woman at knifepoint on Wednesday night.  Pilgrim was last seen driving a stolen gray Chevy Equinox headed for Marion.

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Feds Help Anna Fire Department Buy New Vehicle

(Anna, IL)  --  The feds are helping the fire department in Anna get a new set of wheels.  FEMA pitched in nearly 800-thousand-dollars toward the new fire truck.  The idea is to increase the level of preparedness and strengthen the department's ability to respond in emergency situations. 

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Illinois State Police Announce Roadside Safety Check to be Conducted

Duquoin, IL – The Illinois State Police (ISP), District 13, will conduct a Roadside Safety Check (RSC) in Williamson County during August 2014, according to Interim Captain Brad Lacey. The ISP has zero tolerance for impaired driving in Illinois.  Officers working this detail will be watchful for drivers who are operating vehicles in an unsafe manner, driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, transporting open alcoholic beverages, or Driving Under the Influence (DUI).   Alcohol and drug impairment is a significant factor in nearly 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in Illinois.  RSCs are designed to keep our roads safe by taking dangerous DUI offenders off the road.  This project is funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety.

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Jefferson County Final Multiplier Announced

SPRINGFIELD, IL, - Jefferson County has been issued a final property assessment equalization factor of 1.0287, according to Brian Hamer, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue. The property assessment equalization factor, often called the "multiplier", is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties, as required by law.  This equalization is particularly important because some of the state's 6,600 local taxing districts overlap into two or more counties (e.g. school districts, junior college districts, fire protection districts).  If there were no equalization among counties, substantial inequities among taxpayers with comparable properties would result. Under a law passed in 1975, property in Illinois should be assessed at one-third (1/3) of its market value.  Farm property is assessed differently, with farm homesites and dwellings subject to regular assessing and equalization procedures, but with farmland assessed at one-third of its agriculture economic value.  Farmland is not subject to the state equalization factor. Assessments in Jefferson County are at 32.40 percent of market value, based on sales of properties in 2010, 2011, and 2012. The equalization factor currently being assigned is for 2013 taxes, payable in 2014.  Last year's equalization factor for the county was 1.0000. The final assessment equalization factor was issued after a public hearing on the tentative factor.  The tentative factor issued in April 2014 was 1.0287.

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Carterville Beach May Reopen As Day Use Area

(Carterville, IL)  --  A one-time recreational area in Williamson County could become a spot for daytime activities like volleyball and a kids park.  There has been talk of reopening the old Carterville Beach as a day use area.  The beach has been shut down for more than 15 years.  The Carterville City Council has agreed to help and local officials plan to draw up a letter of commitment to get the proposal moving.

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Illinois American Water expanding corporate office

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A water utility is expanding its corporate office in southwestern Illinois. Illinois American Water says the $1.4 million project at its Belleville location includes a 5,200-square-foot building that will provide more office and storage space. The Belleville News-Democrat reports construction is expected to be completed this fall. The investor-owned utility provides water and wastewater treatment services for 1.2 million people in 127 communities. It also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.

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Johnston City Man Pleads Guilty On Battery Charge

A Johnston City man pled guilty Tuesday involving a battery case that happened between September and October of last year in Williamson County.  Jimmy Dean, with the Williamson County State's Attorney's office says 40-year-old Bryan Jones was slated to go to trial and four  jurors had been selected, but after the lunch break, Jones decided to  plead guilty to aggravated domestic battery. He will be sentenced by Williamson County Judge John Speroni Sept. 4 at 1:15 p.m.

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Marion County Fair Begins Sunday

The Marion County Fair will take place next week. Events start Sunday, July 27th and run through Sunday, August 13rd. The exhibit building will open at noon on the 27th, with the motocross competition kicking off at 6 p.m. The Little Egypt Shows Carnival will be open the first day and run through August 2nd. Ground entertainment for the week will include musical performances by Patoka natives Drew Baldridge on Thursday night and Jamie Nattier on Friday. Monday is kids' day at the fair. The ITPA tractor pull highlights Monday night, and Tuesday night's highlight is the Marion County fair queen and little miss pageant. On Wednesday, visitors can enjoy the C-BAR rodeo, and on Friday night come out to enjoy the Marion County demolition derby.  The NTPA Grand National tractor pull closes out Saturday night, with pro-stock, super-stock diesel and superstock open categories.

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STATE
Quinn Signs Bill To Fight Flooding

(Springfield, IL) -- Governor Quinn has signed a bill aimed at reducing flooding around the state and protecting drinking water. The bill makes local storm water management and green infrastructure projects eligible for state financial assistance. The bill was proposed in the wake of the record rainfall and severe flooding last year that affected communities around the state. It takes effect immediately.

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Insurers owe more than $8M in refunds in Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — The federal government says more than 108,000 Illinois health insurance customers will benefit from more than $8 million in refunds because of a provision of the nation's health care law. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the figures Thursday. The law requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on medical care and quality improvement or return the difference to consumers and employers. The money won't necessarily be a check in the mail. Employers can apply rebates in a way that benefits workers or take a discount on future premiums. Individual policyholders owed a rebate will either get a check, a reimbursement to their credit card account or see a reduction in future premiums.

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Rauner Wants Quinn To Veto Uber Restrictions

(Chicago, IL)  --  Bruce Rauner wants Governor Quinn to veto a bill that puts tighter regulations on ride-sharing companies, like Uber.  He says the companies offer an innovative approach to job growth.  Lawmakers went after the companies earlier this year, claiming the drivers should be required to get background checks and show proof of insurance.  Rauner doesn't disagree with those concepts, but he doesn't like the bill that's on Quinn's desk.   Critics argue Rauner is against the bill because he has stock in one of Uber's investors. 

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Lawmaker: Ill. concealed carry law 'complicated'

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A lawmaker who helped push through a bill that allows Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons is suggesting the law is too hard on gun owners from other states. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that state Rep. Brandon Phelps says the law is "too complicated" when it comes to out-of-state gun owners. The law requires people who have permits from other states to get an Illinois permit as well. The Harrisburg Democrat says Illinois should recognize permits of other states the way states like Wisconsin and Michigan recognize the Illinois permits. He says Illinois should follow the lead of many other states that have reciprocity agreements that allow gun owners with permits from other states to carry the weapons in the states they are visiting.

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Illinois patients to docs: 'What about marijuana?'

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois doctors, nursing homes, hospitals and hospice organizations are ramping up for their role as gatekeepers in the state's new medical marijuana program. Doctors are gauging whether marijuana's benefits outweigh its potential for abuse. Nursing homes are deciding whether residents will be able to keep it in their rooms. One hospital briefly considered applying for a marijuana dispensary permit. And hospice organizations are searching for guidance on marijuana for dying patients. Medical professionals find themselves at the center of a quickly changing legal landscape with minimal scientific research to back the claims of marijuana fans. Dr. Martha Twaddle of the Barrington-based hospice organization JourneyCare says families are already asking: "What about marijuana?" She says she tells them there isn't yet enough evidence that benefits offset the risks.

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Standard & Poor's gives Illinois negative outlook

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has changed its outlook on Illinois' credit rating for the worse. The agency Wednesday revised its outlook from "developing" to "negative" on Illinois' A-minus rating. S&P says the state's $35.7 billion budget isn't structurally balanced. It also cites an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that found the state can't force retirees to pay for part of their health care. The case is seen as a possible indicator of how the court will rule on a challenge to the statewide pension overhaul approved last year. S&P says if the pension overhaul is found unconstitutional it could have a "profound and negative effect on Illinois' budgetary performance and liquidity." Gov. Pat Quinn's budget office says the move is a "predictable result" from the Legislature passing an "incomplete budget."

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Last Chance To Purchase Discounted Mega Passes For The 2014 Illinois State Fair

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - This is the last week to purchase a carnival Mega Pass at the discounted price of $65, the Illinois State Fair announced today.  Beginning Monday, July 28, the price of the pass, which is good for unlimited number of Carnival Midway and Adventure Village rides during all eleven days of the Illinois State Fair, will increase to $75."The Mega Pass is a fantastic deal for fairgoers," State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick said.  "It allows visitors of all ages to experience the thrill of our rides at the Illinois State Fair as many times as they would like."The Mega Pass Office, which is located in the Emmerson Building on Main Street, will be open Wednesday, July 23, through Friday, July 25, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, July 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for last-minute sales at the discounted price.  The office accepts cash and credit cards, but not personal checks.  The Mega Pass does not include admission to the Illinois State Fair or rides on the Tram, Giant Slide or Sky Glide. Admission Booklets, however, are available for purchase in the Mega Pass Office. Each booklet contains ten admission passes to the fair and is a great addition to any Mega Pass purchase. An adult booklet costs $45. The children and senior citizen booklet costs $20. For more information, visit the Illinois State Fair website at illinoisstatefair.info or call the Mega Pass Office at (217) 782-0775. The 2014 Illinois State Fair runs Aug. 7 through Aug. 17.

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Online system to offer pheasant hunting permits

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State officials say permits for controlled pheasant hunting in Illinois will soon be available. In a Wednesday news release, state officials say 16 of 20 pheasant hunting sites are operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The others are operated in a private-public partnership. The state's reservation system for online permits opens Aug. 4. That's for 15 of the state-operated sites. The agency's director is Marc Miller. He says it's time for pheasant hunters to start planning. The daily permit fee for the controlled pheasant program is $30 for resident hunters and $35 for nonresident hunters.

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NATIONAL
Arizona governor wants review of execution process

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says she's ordering a full review of the state's execution process, after it took nearly two hours for condemned inmate Joseph Wood to die by lethal injection yesterday. Wood's attorneys say their client was "gasping and snorting for more than an hour" once the lethal injection was underway. Critics are calling it the third botched lethal injection this year. An execution in Oklahoma and another one in Ohio also encountered problems. But family members of Wood's victims say they have no problems with the way the execution was carried out. The brother-in-law of one victim says, "Why didn't we give him Drano?"

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NYC police investigate another apparent chokehold

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department is conducting an internal investigation after a video surfaced of another officer using an apparent chokehold on a suspect during an arrest. Police say the July 14 incident happened at a subway station in East Harlem. They say 22-year-old Ronald Johns was arrested on a fare-evading charge after walking through an emergency gate without paying. It happened three days before another man, Eric Garner, died in police custody after an officer apparently placed him in a chokehold. That officer has been placed on modified assignment. Garner's funeral was held Wednesday. Police say Johns also was charged with resisting arrest and criminal trespass. The cellphone video shows a police officer with an arm around the suspect's neck as he struggles to arrest him. Chokeholds are banned under NYPD policy.

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Outrage At Funeral For NYC Man Who Died In Police Custody

(New York, NY)  --  Preachers and public officials are expressing outrage over the death of a New York City man who died in police custody after being put in a chokehold.  At Wednesday night's funeral for Eric Garner, the Reverend Al Sharpton called for the prosecution of the police officer caught on video gripping Garner by the neck while the 43-year-old man pleaded that he could not breathe.  Mayor Bill de Blasio and police commissioner Bill Bratton have promised changes in the way officers are trained.

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Ford profit up 6 percent in second quarter

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co.'s second quarter net income rose 6 percent to $1.3 billion as the company saw record profits in North America and made money in Europe for the first time in three years. The profit, of 32 cents per share, was up from 30 cents per share in the April-June period a year ago. Excluding separation costs and other one-time payments, Ford earned 40 cents per share. That beat analysts' forecast of 36 cents, according to FactSet. Ford's revenue fell 1 percent to $37.4 billion, ahead of analysts' expectation of $36.2 billion. Ford reported its highest-ever pretax profit of $2.4 billion in North America. In Europe, the company made $14 million, while in Asia Ford's profit jumped 22 percent to $159 million. Ford lost $295 million in South America.

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FAA Lifts Ban On Flights In And Out Of Tel Aviv

(Washington, DC)  --  The FAA is now allowing U.S. airlines to fly into and out of Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport.  The FAA ordered the restrictions two days ago after rocket fire from Hamas militants hit close to the Tel Aviv airport.  Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted the original order, calling the restrictions a mistake.  Texas Senator Ted Cruz questions why the FAA singled out Israel with the ban on flights, while other regions are also unsafe.  

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Washington State Wildfire Now 52% Contained

(Undated)  -- Washington state's biggest wildfire ever is now more than 50-percent contained.  Fire bosses say rainy weather slowed the Carlton complex fire on Wednesday.  The fire has destroyed more than 150 homes and scorched more than a quarter of a million acres in a scenic area about 200 miles northeast of Seattle. 

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Tweet Gets Family Booted Off Plane

(Undated)  --  A Minneapolis man says a harmless tweet about a rude gate agent got him and his kids kicked off a plane.  Duff Watson says he and his two children were pulled off a Southwest flight Sunday in Denver after he tweeted about a gate agent who refused to give him and his children priority boarding.  Watson says the agent told him he was a safety threat and forced him to delete a tweet that contained her name before he and his kids were allowed back on the plane.  

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Tornado Hits Virginia Campground, Multiple Injuries Reported

(Cape Charles, VA)  --  Several people are injured after a tornado touched down today in a Virginia campground.  A member of the Eastville Volunteer Fire Department says children are among the injured.  The twister overturned campers at the campground near Cape Charles, which sits on the Chesapeake Bay.  The National Weather Service says the area where the twister hit was under a tornado warning at the time.

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Ryan proposes streamlining anti-poverty programs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressman Paul Ryan is out with a new plan to merge anti-poverty programs into a single grant program for states that he says would give more flexibility to distribute federal help for the poor. Eleven programs would be merged, including food stamps, cash welfare, housing subsidies and heating aid for the poor, among others. Ryan was the 2012 vice presidential nominee and is a respected voice within his party. The Wisconsin Republican says the new "Opportunity Grant" plan would impose work requirements on aid recipients and require states that participate to set up at least two service providers. He says that would encourage partnerships with locally-based nonprofits and community groups that may better know the needs of their communities.

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Mother, daughter die after Philly food truck blast

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Authorities say a mother and daughter have died of injuries they suffered when a food truck exploded in Philadelphia earlier this month. The city medical examiner's office confirmed Thursday that 17-year-old Jaylin Steffany Landaverry Galdanez died Tuesday and 42-year-old Olga Galdanez died Sunday. The mother owned the truck. Spokesman Jeff Moran says both deaths were due to the aftereffects of burns from the July 1 explosion of the La Parrillada Chapina truck in the Feltonville neighborhood of north Philadelphia. Eleven other people were taken to hospitals, three in critical condition, after the explosion, which investigators said they believed was caused by a propane tank leak ignited by cooking grills. Friends of Jaylin Galdanez and her classmates at Little Flower High School gathered Wednesday night for a prayer service and candlelight vigil at the scene.

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INTERNATIONAL
Missing Plane Crashed

(Undated)  --  Authorities say the Air Algerie flight that lost contact over Africa has crashed with more than 100 people on board.  The plane left from the city of Ouagadougou en route to Algiers, but reportedly changed course to avoid bad weather and dropped from radar soon afterward.  The passenger list is said to include about 50 French citizens.  France sent out two fighter jets to search the intended flight path shortly after the plane dropped off radar and they've reported located the wreckage on the ground in Mali.

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Weather blamed for deadly crash in Taiwan

XIXI, Taiwan (AP) — An airline in Taiwan says stormy weather that trailed behind a typhoon was the likely cause of yesterday's plane crash that killed 48 people. Disaster crews today have been digging through the rubble of the plane's cabin and parts of the eight stone houses that were destroyed in the crash. Ten people on the plane and five on the ground survived with injuries. The crash took place as the plane tried to land on one of the islands in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China. The crash came hours after Typhoon Matmo passed over Taiwan. About 200 flights at Taiwanese airports had been canceled earlier in the day because of rain and high winds. A spokesman for Taiwan's air regulator noted the bad weather but said an investigation is still underway.

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More victims leave for Ukraine; identification work begins

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Twenty-five forensic experts and dozens of support staff are now working to identify the remains of victims from the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down over eastern Ukraine last week. The work began in the Netherlands late yesterday, after the remains of 40 victims arrived from Ukraine. Two more military aircraft with additional remains left Ukraine today. All 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed, and most were Dutch citizens. Meanwhile, Australia has sent 50 police to London in anticipation of deploying them to eastern Ukraine to secure the crash site that's in pro-Russian territory.

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Gaza fighting rages amid cease-fire bid

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza health officials say the death toll from an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in the northern Gaza Strip has risen to at least 15. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra says the 15 were among hundreds of people seeking shelter in the school in Beit Hanoun from heavy fighting in the area. At least 150 people were injured. Thursday's strike is the fourth time a U.N. facility has been hit in fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas. But it's the first time casualties have been reported. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that more than 2,000 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza since July 8, and the Israeli military has uncovered more than 30 tunnels.

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Iraq: Kurdish politician Massoum named president

BAGHDAD (AP) — Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum has been named the new president of Iraq following a parliamentary vote. Massoum, 76, is one of the founders of current President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party. He is considered a soft-spoken moderate, known for keeping good relations with Sunni and Shiite Arab politicians. The vote for president -- a largely ceremonial post -- was delayed for a day when the Kurdish bloc requested more time to select a candidate. They named Massoum as their pick late Wednesday. Under an unofficial agreement dating back to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, Iraq's presidency is held by a Kurd while the prime minister is Shiite and the parliamentary speaker is Sunni.

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SPORTS
WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Kansas City 2, Chicago White Sox 1
Tampa Bay 3, St. Louis 0
San Diego 8, Chicago Cubs 3

Frontier League

Windy City 6, Evansville 1
Gateway 8, Southern Illinois 4

THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

San Diego at Chicago Cubs, 7:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.

Frontier League

Evansville at Gateway
Washington at Southern Illinois

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U of I trustees consider increasing arena budget

CHICAGO (AP) — When University of Illinois trustees meet in Chicago they will consider adding $4.5 million to the budget for the renovation of the State Farm Center in Champaign. Trustees also will consider a raise for head basketball coach John Groce at the Thursday meeting. The agenda for the trustees' meeting includes the potential increase in the basketball arena's renovation budget from $165 million to $169.5 million. The agenda indicates the extra money is needed for a new scoreboard, video boards, a marquee and other items. Work on the arena has started and is expected to be finished in late 2016. The raise for Groce would increase his pay to by $100,000 a year to $1.7 million. His contract would also be extended by a year through 2018-19.

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Viciedo out of lineup with left hamstring injury

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo was removed from the starting lineup just before Wednesday's game against the Kansas City Royals because of tightness in his lower left hamstring. Viciedo had started 89 of the White Sox's past 92 games. He is 3 for 20 since the All-Star break. Moises Sierra will take Viciedo's spot in the lineup and bat ninth. Since being added to the White Sox lineup on May 4, Sierra has made 25 starts in right field. He was 1 for 4 in the White Sox's 7-1 loss on Tuesday night.

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Cardinals activate Siegrist from DL

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have activated lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist from the 15-day disabled list and optioned rookie lefty Nick Greenwood to Triple-A Memphis. Siegrist had been on the DL for two months with a left forearm strain. In five rehab appearances with Double-A Springfield, he allowed no runs in 4 2-3 innings. In his most recent outing Monday, he worked 1 1-3 scoreless innings. As a rookie last year, Siegrist set a franchise record for a reliever with a 0.45 ERA. This season, he was 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 23 games with 27 strikeouts in 20 innings. Greenwood was 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA in nine games and worked two perfect innings Tuesday.

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Road show prepared Rams' Robinson for camp

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Greg Robinson didn't stay put the month after the St. Louis Rams had minicamps in mid-June. Wherever he was, the second overall pick of the draft was getting prepared for training camp. The 6-foot-5, 332-pound Robinson was a key component in Auburn's national runner-up season at left tackle and figures to be immediate help at guard for the Rams (7-9). After OTAs ended in mid-June, Robinson worked out a bit at home in Thibodaux, La. He spent time at Bo Jackson's Nike camp at the University of Oregon, worked out with a trainer in Miami and learned from former Redskins Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams in Houston. All of the stops were beneficial he said on Wednesday. Rams rookies worked out indoors for a second consecutive day, saving the team's outdoor fields for the first full-squad workout on Friday afternoon.

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Bears bring high expectations to camp

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery understands expectations are soaring. He's not backing away from them, either. The Bears are aiming high, hoping to return to the playoffs after missing out for the sixth time in seven years, going into their third training camp under Emery. Practices start Friday. Emery said Wednesday the goal remains a championship." He said the Bears are "very accountable as an organization to make the necessary adjustments to stay on path toward our goal." That will hinge largely on how a rebuilt defense that now includes five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen comes together. The Bears couldn't stop anyone last season, and it added up to an 8-8 record and a spot in front of the TV when the postseason started.

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News for July 23, 2014

LOCAL
Murray Center Parents Gear Up For Appeal

(Centralia, IL) -- Governor Quinn has the green light to shut down the Murray Developmental Center, but the parents of those who live there aren't ready to give up. Rita Winkeler says many of the other residents won't survive in any other setting. Winkeler is with the Murray Parent's Association, which has been fighting to keep the residents in their homes. Many of the parents and other opponents of the closure plan say if the residents don't die when they're moved, they'll end up in jail or in psychiatric wards where they won't get the care they need. Winkeler says they're planning to appeal the ruling.

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Scott AFB Ranked Best Place To Be Stationed


(Scott AFB, IL) -- Scott Air Force Base is one of the best places for airmen to be stationed. A ranking by "Air Force Times" looked at 68 bases and weighed factors like housing costs, health care, sales taxes, and local schools. Scott tied with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for the top spot on the list. Scott was also singled out for hosting St. Louis Rams scrimmages the past two years.

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Illinois college breaks ground on mining facility

HARRISBURG, Ill. (AP) — A Saline County community college has broken ground on a simulated mine facility that will be used for education and competitions. Southeastern Illinois College received $220,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development to build the 12,000-square-foot facility. More than 1,000 miners go through the college's training programs each year. Rescue teams will use the center to practice responding to emergency situations. An Illinois Eastern Community Colleges dean tells The Southern Illinoisan the facility will make the college eligible to host a national mining competition that attracts dozens of mining teams. The community college district and Southeastern Illinois College each contributed $15,000 to the project. The newspaper reports the college's facility will be one of two in the state.

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Group seeks to put replica village at Fort Massac

METROPOLIS, Ill. (AP) — A replica 18th-century fort in southern Illinois will be getting a neighbor. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports the nonprofit Friends of Fort Massac has raised money to build an 1802 pioneer village replicating an original one at the fort location near Metropolis. The group has bought more than eight acres near the Fort Massac replica that once was the site of a village. Development plans include razing an abandoned coat hanger plant on the land. The property purchase and demolition is being funded through a $550,000 Illinois Department of Transportation grant and $116,000 from the Illinois Office of Tourism. Friends of Fort Massac's president, Mike Korte, says the group will raise additional money to build the village that will include a blacksmith shop, general store, school house and church.

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West Frankfort Council Tables Mobile Home Debate Until Public Hearing Is Held

The West Frankfort City Council on Tuesday night took no action on changing the city's ordinance regarding mobile homes. The city gave the planning commission the task of updating the current mobile home ordinance which dates back to 1969. The body's first task was to eliminate in the ordinance anything to do with trailer parks. The city no longer has jurisdiction over trailer parks. That now belongs to the state health department. The second task was to modify the size of a mobile home to a minimum width of 20 feet and a minimum length of 40 feet. Mobile homes have not been banned in the city. Officials say none of these changes will affect current mobile homes. They have been grandfathered in. The city council will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes on Tuesday, August 5 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. Once the public has a say in this matter, then the council will vote on the proposed changes at a future meeting.

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Christopher Police Look Into Burglary

Police in Christopher are investigating a weekend burglary at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Chief Bill Southerd says sometime Sunday night into Monday morning, someone broke in and allegedly did damage to several pieces of equipment including poker machines, an ATM and jukebox. The chief says several thousands of dollars worth of damage was done. The break-in was discovered by a hall employee around 9:30 Monday morning. Police are looking into a few leads in the case. If you have any information that can help, call the Christopher Police Department's dispatch center at 724-2432.

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IDOT To Close Rail Crossing In Sesser For Repairs

IDOT says Route 154/East Franklin Street in Sesser will be closed on August 4 at 7 a.m.so the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railroad can make repairs to the crossing at that location. It will remain closed until August 6. That's when repairs are set to be finished. Traffic will not be allowed through this work zone, so you will need to follow  the marked detour to get to your destination.

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Salem Authorities Investigate Burglary

According to the Salem Police, they are investigating a weekend burglary at Bradley's Cycles on South Broadway. Reports indicate a four wheel ATV and a cash register were stolen from inside the business. A window to the business was broken to gain entry.  The break-in reportedly occurred sometime after the business closed on Saturday and when an employee went to the business on Monday and discovered the burglary.

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STATE
Fire-damaged Illinois state building set to reopen

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Springfield state office building damaged by a small fire appears ready to be back in business after a one-day closure. Secretary of State's Office spokesman Dave Druker says the Howlett Building was closed to business Tuesday after a fire occurred about 1:15 a.m. that day in a mechanical room. The building is part of the Illinois State Capitol complex. Druker says firefighters quickly put out the blaze, but the air conditioning in the building wasn't working and crews needed to work on mechanical issues. The building houses between 750 and 1,000 employees of the secretary of state's office and is frequently visited by members of the public. Among the services, motorists can purchase license plates and vehicle stickers there. Druker says the building was expected to reopen Wednesday.

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Rockford man charged in second killing

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A man already accused of killing a high school friend now is charged in a second northern Illinois killing. Prosecutors in Illinois' Lee County on Tuesday filed 12 murder counts against 36-year-old Terence Doddy of Rockford in the July 1 death of 44-year-old Tonya Bargman. Other charges include robbery, concealment of a homicidal death, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle and credit card. Doddy is accused of asphyxiating Bargman at a rest stop at Paw Paw along Interstate 39 before stealing the Monticello woman's car. Doddy already was charged in Winnebago County in the June 30 killing of 37-year-old Todd Hansmeier. Doddy was arrested July 4 after a chase near Beloit, Wisconsin. Doddy has pleaded not guilty in Winnebago County and is to be arraigned Wednesday in Lee County.

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Lawyers: Factor court decision into pensions case


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Lawyers representing state retiree groups say they aim to use a recent Supreme Court decision on health care benefits as a way to expedite their case challenging Illinois' pension legislation. Attorneys told Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz on Tuesday they'd be filing a motion asking him to factor the July 3 ruling into the state's argument defending the pension legislation. The court's ruling reversed a lower court decision that effectively allowed the state to require retirees to pay for part of their health care. The groups challenging the pension law say the same issue is central to their case. They say the law violates the state constitution which says public employee benefits cannot be "diminished or impaired." The state says it has expanded authority during times of crisis.

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AT&T Springfield center closing, ending 188 jobs

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — AT&T Inc. plans to close a call center in Springfield and cut 188 jobs starting next month. According to The State Journal-Register, the job cuts will begin Aug. 3. Details about the layoffs come from a notice the company filed with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Illinois law requires that a company laying off 50 or more people notify the state. Dallas, Texas-based AT&T had already said earlier this summer that the call center's work would be consolidated at other locations in Illinois. The call center opened in 2001.

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Illinois insurance subsidies in place for now

CHICAGO (AP) — Officials say Illinois health insurance customers shouldn't feel any immediate effect of a federal appeals court panel's ruling as a confusing legal battle continues over President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Contradictory rulings were issued Tuesday by two federal appeals court panels. One said the federal government couldn't offer financial assistance to people in states like Illinois that use the federally run insurance market. The other court ruled the opposite. About 168,000 Illinois residents qualified for financial subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. The White House says policyholders will keep getting that help as the administration sorts out the legal implications. Get Covered Illinois executive director Jennifer Koehler says the subsidies remain in effect. She says the state is monitoring the court decisions.

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Rule changes coming in 2014-15 deer hunting season

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is announcing a number of changes for the upcoming deer hunting season. Department Director Marc Miller says 20 counties will be removed from the late-winter season and the number of firearm permits available in some counties will also be reduced. The changes followed recommendations from department biologists. The biologists reviewed deer hunting harvest numbers, deer-vehicle accident data, looked at disease reports and surveyed Illinois deer hunters. Miller says the changes reflect the department's commitment to managing the state's deer population "to provide recreational opportunity while being mindful of public safety and the rights of property owners."

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NATIONAL
Opening statements set in porch shooting trial

DETROIT (AP) — After two days of jury selection, opening statements are set for today in the trial of a Detroit-area man who opened his front door and shot an unarmed woman, killing her. Theodore Wafer, an airport employee with no criminal record, is charged with second-degree murder. Wafer says he heard pounding at the door and fired his shotgun in self-defense in the death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride last November. McBride was drunk and had crashed her car a half-mile away, 3 ½ hours before the shooting. Prospective jurors were asked their views on race. The victim was black, while Wafer is white.

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AP source: Thieves got into 1K StubHub accounts

NEW YORK (AP) — A law enforcement official and online marketplace StubHub say cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 customers' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events. The official tells The Associated Press that arrests are expected in a case that sprawls across international borders. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is expected to hold a news conference Wednesday with English and Canadian officials. San Francisco-based StubHub says the thieves got account-holders' login and password information from data breaches at other websites or from malware on the customers' computers. The company says it detected the unauthorized transactions last year and gave refunds.

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Women business owners face gender gap, report says

NEW YORK (AP) — Women who own small business are still far behind their male counterparts when it comes to getting loans and government contracts. That's the finding of a congressional report by Democratic staffers of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. The report says that while businesses owned by women account for 30 percent of small companies, they receive only 4.4 percent of the total dollars in conventional small-business loans. And while Congress in 1994 set a government-wide goal of awarding 5 percent of federal contract dollars to small businesses owned by women, it hasn't met that goal. The closest it has come is 4 percent, in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2012. The small business committee plans a hearing today on ways to address the challenges facing women owners.

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Federal judge to rule on Colorado gay marriage ban

DENVER (AP) — A federal judge in Denver is expected to rule today on whether Colorado's same-sex marriage ban should be overturned immediately, or if the issue should be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore has been considering a lawsuit by six gay couples who want an injunction declaring Colorado's ban unconstitutional.

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Donald Trump to break ground for new DC hotel

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump hopes to bring his signature brand of glitz to the nation's capital with a new luxury hotel in the city's third-tallest building. Trump plans to break ground today on a $200 million hotel that will transform the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol. The 115-year-old building includes a 315-foot observation tower that offers panoramic views of downtown Washington. It was under-utilized in recent years, housing small vendors that catered mostly to tourists. The new Trump International Hotel is expected to open in 2016. It will feature 270 guest rooms and two presidential suites of more than 3,000 square feet. Trump's daughter Ivanka and sons Donald Jr. and Eric were scheduled to join him for the groundbreaking.

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Two Federal Courts Make Opposite Rulings On Healthcare Subsidies

(Washington, DC)  --  The ongoing fight over the healthcare reform law remains unclear.  Two federal appeals courts issued opposite rulings Tuesday on health insurance subsidies.  One ruling in Washington, DC rejected insurance subsidies for coverage on federally-run health insurance exchanges.  Later, a court in Richmond, Virginia upheld all the subsidies.  The issue is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Montana Supreme Court Suspends Judge Over Rape Comments, Light Sentence

(Helena, MT)  --  A Montana judge who sparked nationwide outrage is now suspended for handing down a light sentence and his comments in a rape case.  The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended district court judge Todd Baugh of Billings for 31 days.  The high court also censured Baugh for his comments and an illegal sentence in a teacher's rape case. 

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House GOP: Send National Guard, speed removals

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans want to send National Guard personnel to the nation's southern border to speed removal of unaccompanied young migrants. The recommendations Wednesday from a working group established by House Speaker John Boehner put the House on a collision course with the Democrat-controlled Senate. A Senate bill would spend $2.7 billion to address the border crisis but doesn't include any of the policy changes embraced by the House GOP. Congresswoman Kay Granger, who led Boehner's working group, says that amending current law to allow speedier return of the Central American youths can be done while ensuring proper protections of the unaccompanied minors. Democrats say it would put the kids at risk by sending them back to brutal gangs.

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DHS Reviewing Perry Order Over National Guard

(Washington, DC)  --  The Department of Homeland Security is going over Texas Governor Rick Perry's decision to send a thousand troops to the Mexican border.  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told reporters yesterday the review is being done to look at all "appropriate and lawful options."  He also says the Border Patrol will fully cooperate with the National Guard.  Perry announced Monday he was sending the troops to support state troopers fighting human and drug trafficking.

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White Flags Removed From Brooklyn Bridge As Probe Continues

(New York, NY)  --  Two white flags have been removed from the Brooklyn Bridge as authorities investigate how they got there.  Sometime before dawn Tuesday someone substituted the white flags for the two American flags that normally fly over the famous span linking Brooklyn and Manhattan.  Security footage from the 24-hour surveillance cameras that monitor the bridge is being reviewed but there were no reports of suspicious activity overnight.  

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3 NYC students get recording contract approval

NEW YORK (AP) — Three middle school students in a heavy metal band have gotten permission from a Manhattan judge to sign a multi-year recording contract with Sony. The Daily News says the court's approval Tuesday allows Unlocking the Truth to record its first single Wednesday for The Cherry Group, a division of Sony. The Brooklyn boys had to get court approval because they're minors. The judge approved the deal after questioning their parents. He wanted to make sure they understand the contract and have set up trust accounts for the boys. Justice Carol Edmead then posed for pictures with 13-year-old guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 13-year-old bassist Alec Atkins and 12-year-old drummer Jarad Dawkins. The band has performed across the country, including at the Coachella festival in California and opening for Guns N' Roses.

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INTERNATIONAL
Lufthansa cancels another day of Tel Aviv flights

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's largest airline, Lufthansa, says it is cancelling all flights to Tel Aviv for at least another 24 hours because of ongoing safety concerns. Lufthansa said Wednesday that the decision applies also to its subsidiaries Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines. In all, 20 flights from Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels are being cancelled. The airline on Tuesday suspended flights for 36 hours through the end of Wednesday. It said it extended the cancelations into Thursday because "at the current time there is no sufficiently reliable new information that would justify a resumption of air operations." The European Aviation Safety Agency on Tuesday strongly recommended that airlines not fly to Tel Aviv after a Hamas rocket exploded near the Ben Gurion airport.

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Malaysia jet victims' bodies arrive in Netherlands

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military transport planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 have landed in the southern city of Eindhoven. Six days after the Boeing 777 was shot down over the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, the first bodies finally arrived Wednesday in the Netherlands, the country that bore the heaviest toll in the crash that killed all 298 passengers and crew. A Dutch Hercules C-130 that Dutch government spokesman Lodewijk Hekking says is carrying 16 coffins was closely followed by an Australian C-17 Globemaster plane carrying 24 coffins.

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British examine flight recorders from downed plane

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — British investigators have begun examining the flight recorders from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane. Dutch officials, meanwhile, say they've taken charge of the investigation, and they're pleading for complete access to the wreckage in eastern Ukraine, in an area controlled by pro-Russia rebels. Independent military analysts say the shrapnel impacts that are visible in photos of the wreckage indicate that a missile from a system like the S-A-11 brought down the plane.

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2 Ukrainian military fighter jets shot down

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Two Ukrainian military fighter jets have been shot down in the east. Ukraine's Defense Ministry says the Sukhoi-25 fighters were shot down today over an area called Savur Mogila. A spokesman says the planes may have been carrying up to two crew members each.

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Diplomatic efforts continue

JERUSALEM (AP) — United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon says, "There's still work to be done" in negotiations to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas militants, but Secretary of State John Kerry says progress is being made. The two have been meeting in Jerusalem today, in hopes that an agreement will lead to an end to more than two weeks of bloodshed. More than 630 Palestinians have been killed and about 30 Israelis.

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Report: Plane crashes in Taiwan, killing 51 people

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's Central News Agency says a plane has crashed in a failed emergency landing, killing 51 people. The news agency cited the head of the fire department in the Taiwanese county of Penghu as saying that seven people were also injured in the crash. The report cites the Civil Aviation Administration as saying the flight crashed Wednesday with 54 passengers and four flight crew and was operated by a Taiwanese airline, TransAsia Airways. The report says the plane likely crashed when an attempt to make an emergency landing in the city of Magong.

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SPORTS
TUESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago Cubs 6, San Diego 0
Kansas City 7, Chicago White Sox 1
Tampa Bay 7, St. Louis 2

Frontier League

Evansville 15, Windy City 5
Southern Illinois 6, Gateway 0

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Kansas City at Chicago White Sox, 1:10 p.m.
Tampa Bay at St. Louis, 6:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 5:19 p.m.)
San Diego at Chicago Cubs, 7:05 p.m.

Frontier League

Evansville at Windy City
Gateway at Southern Illinois

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Cubs designate Barney, activate Bonifacio

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs took another step toward the future, designating second baseman Darwin Barney for assignment. Second baseman Emilio Bonifacio was activated from the disabled list Tuesday to take Barney's place on the roster. Bonifacio had been out since June 13 because of strained right oblique. The 28-year-old Barney won a Gold Glove in the 2012, when his 141 consecutive games without an error tied a major league record. But he regressed noticeably at the plate and, with the recent promotion of Arismendy Alcantara and other infield prospects on the way, he no longer fit the master plan. In other moves, pitcher Kyle Hendricks was recalled from Iowa and pitcher Zac Rosscup was optioned to the Triple-A club. Hendricks was the scheduled starter for the game against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.

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Bulls sign forward McDermott, guard Brooks

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say they have signed Doug McDermott, their first-round draft pick and last season's college player of the year. Terms of the deal involving the 6-foot-8 forward from Creighton weren't released. The Bulls acquired 22-year-old McDermott after Denver drafted him with the 11th overall pick, then quickly traded him to Chicago. As a Creighton senior last season, McDermott averaged a nation-leading 26.7 points, becoming one of eight players in NCAA history to score more than 3,000 career points. The Bulls also announced Tuesday's signing of free-agent guard Aaron Brooks. The 6-foot, six-year NBA veteran last season averaged 9 points while splitting time with Denver and Houston. Terms were not disclosed.

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News for July 22, 2014

LOCAL
Mt. Vernon City Council Met Monday

Mt. Vernon City Council met Monday evening.  Among items on the agenda, the Council approved a low bid from Jack's Asphalt of $27,057 for the EMC parking lot resurfacing and additions, a low bid of $97,800 from Kenneth Place Excavating for demolition of 13 residential structures, and accepted bids from Jack's Asphalt and Beelman Trucking for street maintenance materials.  Also, the City Attorney gave a first reading on an ordinance regarding discontinuance of existing prohibition relative to the sale of alcoholic liquor within the area of 4700 West Broadway and approved resolutions approving a letter of understanding between the City of Mt. Vernon and Roger Brooks International regarding community assessment and contract approval for professional services with Peckham, Guyton, Albers, & Viets for services relating to an application to re-establish the Mt. Vernon-Jefferson County Enterprise Zone. 

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Judge: Illinois can close developmental center

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the state of Illinois has the authority to close a southern Illinois center for people with developmental disabilities. The Belleville News-Democrat reports U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Aspen's 55-page ruling is a setback for parents of children served by the Warren Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. The parents sought a preliminary injunction to block the closure of the center serving 250 residents. But Aspen concluded the plaintiffs didn't prove they would suffer irreparable harm by the closure. Rita Winkeler heads the Murray Parent Association and says she'll consult with the group's attorney about a possible appeal. A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services says the ruling will help the state move from an "outdated system" of caring for the developmentally disabled.

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Man gets 65 years prison in dismemberment killing


EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — One of two men accused of killing a southwestern Illinois woman and dismembering her body has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 65 years in prison. A Madison County judge sentenced 29-year-old Patrick Chase of Alton to 45 years on a first-degree murder charge and 20 years on a charge of dismembering a human body. Chase pleaded guilty to both counts moments earlier. Authorities charged Chase and 32-year-old Brandon Chittum of Collinsville in the death of 30-year-old Courtney Coats of Alton. She had been missing for nearly a month before her body was found last December near an Illinois River bridge in Greene County. Prosecutors say Chase and Coats were lovers and apartment mates when the killing happened during an argument. Chittum has pleaded not guilty and awaits trail.

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Former Fairfield Teacher Remanded To U.S. Marshals

Former Fairfield Community High School math teacher and coach Timothy Going has been remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals service following an appearance Monday morning in U.S. district court in East St. Louis. Going faces federal charges of being in possession of child pornography and unlawful videotaping of underage girls. In court Monday morning, Going – through his attorney Valery Strawn, waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Two alleged victims in the case submitted statements to the court as part of Monday’s hearing.  One submitted a written statement – the other made a verbal statement to the judge on the issue of Going being detained. In the federal case, Going is accused of placing a motion-activated camera in a motel room at the Super-8 in Fairview Heights for the purpose of videotaping a Fairfield High School female athlete. Going is no longer a FCHS teacher.  He submitted his resignation at a special meeting of the board last week and is no longer an employee of the district. His bond on the two pending state cases amounts to $500,000. He is being held without bond on the federal charges.

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West Frankfort Explosion Victim Dies

The man who lived in that house that exploded a couple of weeks ago in  West Frankfort has died.  Twenty year old Casey Hester died Saturday  at a St. Louis hospital. He had been in a medically induced coma.  Hester suffered severe burns to most of his body from the explosion  that happened July 6 and was airlifted to St. Louis for treatment.  Officials ruled out that natutal gas caused the explosion. Hester told  police he was using some sort of accelerant inside the house when it  blew up. City leaders tore the house down following the incident for  safety reasons. Funeral arrangements are not known at this time.  Family members say they are planning a memorial service at a later date.

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Marion Looks For New Fire Chief

City leaders in Marion will be looking for a new fire chief. That?s  because current Chief Jack Reed recently announced his retirement from  the fire department. His last day will be August 22. But Reed won?t be  retired for very long. He is slated to become the Marion Park  District?s director on September 1. Reed, who has been with the fire  department for 34 years, told the Southern Illinoisan he is looking  forward to working for the park district and believes his  administrative skills from the fire department and his previous  experience in construction and lawn care will be a benefit. Some of  Reed?s immediate goals to achieve once he takes over as parks director  include improving park conditions and programs.

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Carlyle Announces Library Grand Opening

(Carlyle IL) – The Board of Trustees and Library Director of the Case-Halstead Public Library Monday announced the date and schedule for the Grand Opening Ceremony and Open House to mark the opening of the new library building. Welcoming remarks will be presented at 10 AM on Saturday, August 16, 2014 and will be followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Following the official opening ceremonies, which will include the placement of a time capsule to be opened in 2039, an Open House tour of the new facilities will last until 2 PM. A special family program will begin at 1 PM in the Maddux Community Room. Library Director Christi Gerrish has issued an open invitation to the public to be a part of this special day. The new building is located in the same block as the original library, on property donated to the City of Carlyle for that purpose in 1938 by Eckstein Case. The building project was made possible by an Illinois State Library grant and by the Flora Ethel Maddux Trust.

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Police: No Serial Rapist In Marion

(Marion, IL)  --  City leaders want to set the record straight that there is no serial rapist in Marion.  Cops say there have been rumors that there is a suspect who is preying on woman and sexually assaulting them.  Chief Dawn Tondini confirms that there has only been one sexual assault this month and the first of its kind this year.  She adds that people should still be cautious.

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World's Largest Catsup Bottle Up For Sale?

(Collinsville, IL)  --  The World's Largest Catsup Bottle could be on the market. KTVI reports a For Sale sign went up in Collinsville Illinois for the water tower shaped like a Brook's Catsup bottle. The sale includes the factory located underneath the tower.  The owners want to sell both structures for a price of five-hundred-thousand-dollars.  

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STATE
Illinois postpones river bridge closure until 2015

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Commuters between St. Louis and southwestern Illinois are getting a break. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the Illinois Department of Transportation has delayed until next summer its planned closure of the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge linking St. Louis to Illinois' East St. Louis. Fix-ups to the Mississippi River span were to begin next month, forcing its closure for two to three months. But the transportation department says a bid for the work came in "considerably higher" than anticipated, and the project will be revised and rebid later this year. Illinois officials estimate that some 12,700 vehicles cross the bridge each day.

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Rauner continues push for Illinois term limits

CHICAGO (AP) — Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner says he's continuing his efforts to impose term limits on Illinois legislators. Rauner spoke Monday in Chicago and has made term limits a major piece of his campaign against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. He says "voters deserve a voice." Rauner is leading a committee that gathered signatures to put a measure on the November ballot. It would limit legislators to eight years in office. But a lawyer for top Democratic lawmakers sued, and a Cook County judge ruled last month the initiative didn't meet constitutional requirements to be on the ballot. Last week the Illinois Supreme Court said it wouldn't hear a direct appeal. Rauner says they're asking the state's appellate court to hear the case on an expedited basis.

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State Board seeks volunteers for bilingual council

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Board of Education is looking for seven new members to serve on its advisory council for bilingual education. The council was established more than 40 years ago by state law. It recently contributed to recommendations for teacher standards, qualifications and evaluations. Officials say that developing recommendations and advice for the state board concerning English learners is a key point of the council's focus. The new members would serve three-year terms and be expected to attend four meetings per year, and participate in additional gatherings and special projects. Bilingual program directors, superintendents, parents, university faculty and members of community organizations have served as council members. Candidates must apply to the state board by July 28. The new terms begin in September.

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USDA: Illinois corn, soybean crops faring well

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Illinois' corn crop is maturing faster than normal and faring well. The USDA says in its weekly crop-status update that 81 percent of the state's corn is rated as either good or excellent. Eighty-two percent of the crop is silking, 12 percentage points better than the average of the previous five years. Roughly three-quarters of Illinois' soybean crop is considered good or excellent. Sixty-nine percent of the soybeans in the field are now blooming, ahead of the five-year average of 55 percent. Some 95 percent of the state's wheat harvest is now complete, in line with the average pace of the previous five years.

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Report: More Illinois children living in poverty

CHICAGO (AP) — A new report says the number of Illinois children living in areas of high poverty has increased by about a third since 2000. The annual survey released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation estimates 347,000 Illinois children live in areas of concentrated poverty. That means more than 1 in 10 children live in neighborhoods where the poverty rate is 30 percent or higher. This year's Kids Count survey also found some encouraging news about Illinois. There's been a long-term decline in births to teenage mothers. Other health and education indicators are hopeful. And Illinois improved on 11 out of 16 measures. The report says Illinois ranks 20th among states for overall child well-being. The state's child poverty rate in 2012 was 21 percent, compared to 16 percent in 2005.

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State warns against crossing closed bridge

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky transportation officials are warning people not to try to cross the U.S. 45 bridge between Paducah and Brookport, Illinois and saying anyone who does may be cited for trespassing. The bridge has been closed since July 8 to allow for construction of an underpass to connect two sections of the Greenway Trail in Paducah. Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd told The Paducah Sun anyone walking, hiking, biking, or involved in other unauthorized activity on the bridge while it is closed can be issued a citation by law enforcement. Local police will monitor activity at the bridge and issue citations if necessary. The Brookport bridge is scheduled to reopen around July 28, following the completion of the Greenway Trail project.

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NATIONAL
VA nominee McDonald goes before Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's choice to lead the beleaguered Veterans Affairs Department goes before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee today as Congress considers a bill to help the next VA leader do his job. VA nominee Robert McDonald appears headed to easy confirmation. The path for the veterans' bill is decidedly rockier. The Senate approved a bill last month authorizing $35 billion through 2016 to build new clinics, hire doctors and make it easier for veterans who can't get prompt appointments with VA doctors to get outside care. The House passed a similar bill. Since then, however, lawmakers have balked at the price tag. The Senate committee's chairman, Bernie Sanders, called negotiations with the House "very tough," but said he hopes Congress can agree before adjourning in August.

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Better weather to aid in Washington wildfire fight

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A huge wildfire covering 379 square miles in Washington state is only 2 percent contained, but fire officials say things are improving. Cooler temperatures and reduced winds are helping firefighters battle the blaze in Okanogan County, which fire officials estimate has burned about 150 homes.

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Montana judge to be censured over rape comments

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court today will publicly reprimand a judge who gave a lenient sentence to a former teacher for raping a 14-year-old student. District Judge G. Todd Baugh of Billings gave Stacey Rambold just 30 days in prison after he suggested the victim also shared responsibility for the 2007 rape. The girl committed suicide before the case went to trial. Baugh is scheduled to appear before the court in Helena, where one of the justices will read a censure statement prepared in advance.

------------------------------

CFO: Sterling can't pay debt without Clippers sale

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers is set to testify today at the Los Angeles trial to determine whether the sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can go through. CEO Richard Parsons will be called as a witness to support Shelly Sterling's bid to sell the team. Her estranged husband, Donald Sterling, is resisting the sale. Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life after making racist recorded statements.

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Obama heads off to raise money on the West Coast

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is embarking on a mission that has regularly proved a winner for him — raising money for his fellow Democrats. On Tuesday, Obama is starting a three-day West Coast trip, during which he is scheduled to attend fundraising events in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles less than four months ahead of midterm elections that could change Washington's balance of power. The trip comes as Obama is dealing with a series of high-profile tests of his presidency, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East to the Southern border. But on the fundraising trail Obama remains a potent draw among the Democratic Party's wealthy donors, who pay up to $32,400 to be in intimate settings with the president.

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White House:  Number Of Children Crossing Border Is Down

(Washington, DC)  --  White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the number of unaccompanied children coming across the southwest border is dropping.  In his daily briefing, Earnest cited a daily average this month of about 150.  The average in June was more than 350.  Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry is confirming that National Guard troops are going to the border.  Perry said yesterday that a thousand troops will help state troopers as they try to make sure drug and human traffickers are caught.  

-------------------

De Blasio Supports Police Commissioner Bratton In Chokehold Death

(New York, NY)  --  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he has "absolute faith" in Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's judgement, despite calls for his resignation following accusations of police brutality.  A group called "New Yorkers Against Bratton" claims Eric Garner's death last week is not an isolated incident, but an example of a culture of violence within the NYPD.  Many people say Garner was the victim of an illegal police chokehold.  

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US job-training review emphasizes data, employers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A six-month review of federal job-training programs concludes that the government needs to better engage U.S. employers, improve the use of data, and boost apprenticeship programs so workers can earn while they train. The White House is releasing the results of a report developed under the leadership of Vice President Joe Biden. The report says the government is working to tailor training and grants to better match jobs that are in demand. The government is also adding employment outcome measures to all federal programs. The report also stresses the need for regional partnerships and for programs that provide stepping stones for a seamless transition from one level of education to the next. Obama on Tuesday will also sign bipartisan legislation aimed at improving business engagement and accountability in federally-funded programs.

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Md. parents allegedly locked up autistic twin sons

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police in Maryland say a couple kept their autistic, 22-year-old twin sons locked in a basement room at night for years with no furniture and only a tiny window for light. Court records show John and Janice Land are free on bond after they were charged Friday with two counts each of vulnerable adult abuse and false imprisonment. Charging documents say Montgomery County police went to the home to serve an unrelated search warrant Thursday and noticed a strong smell of urine. John Land allegedly told police his sons were non-verbal and sometimes ran away. Authorities say he told investigators they began locking them in from 10 p.m. to 4:45 a.m. about six years ago. No phone number is listed for the couple's home and no defense attorney is listed in online court records.

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Library honors Billy Joel with US pop music prize

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Library of Congress is honoring Billy Joel with its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Librarian James Billington said Tuesday the singer-songwriter, whose hits include "Piano Man" and "Uptown Girl," will receive the prize in Washington in November. The Gershwin Prize honors a living artist's lifetime achievement in music. Previous recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, and Carole King. Joel is among the world's most popular recording artists. He has said his piano-driven compositions spring from personal experiences, and that he strives to write songs that capture and transcend those moments. With a career spanning 50 years in the entertainment industry, Joel is the sixth top-selling artist of all time.

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INTERNATIONAL
Dutch PM: 1st victims should be home Wednesday

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch prime minister says his government aims to have the first bodies of victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 back in the Netherlands on Wednesday. Mark Rutte said Tuesday that a plane is ready to bring the first remains back from the Ukrainian government-controlled town of Kharkiv, where they arrived early Tuesday in a refrigerated train. He said that, "it is our aim — and at the moment our expectation — that sometime tomorrow the first plane carrying victims will leave for Eindhoven." Rutte said that the identification of some bodies will be quick. But he has warned grieving families of victims of Thursday's crash that killed 298 people that the identification of some others could take "weeks or even months."

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Putin: Russia will facilitate plane investigation

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin says Russia will do "everything in its power" to facilitate an investigation into the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crash, but accused Kiev and the West of escalating the conflict in the region. During a meeting with Russia's Security Council on Tuesday, Putin said Russia was willing to put pressure on the rebels, but that "that was not enough" to resolve the situation. He condemned Kiev for continuing to shell parts of the region, asserting that international observers on the scene could "barely stick their heads out" because of safety concerns. Putin also lashed out at the West, accusing NATO of bolstering its forces across eastern Europe. The Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine Thursday, killing all 298 people on board.

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Kerry: Cease-fire isn't enough

CAIRO (AP) — The immediate goal is a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas -- but Secretary of State John Kerry says, "Just reaching a cease-fire is clearly not enough." After meeting with Egypt's president today in Cairo, Kerry said there has to be a "serious" discussion of the "underlying issues." Egypt has proposed a cease-fire plan that is backed by the U.S. and Israel, but it's been rejected by Hamas. Meanwhile, an Israeli defense official says an Israeli soldier is missing after a deadly battle in the Gaza Strip. The official says it's not known whether the soldier is dead or alive. In the past, Israel has paid a heavy price in lopsided prisoner swaps to retrieve captured soldiers or remains held by its enemies.

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Parents of abducted girls, escapees meet president

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — President Goodluck Jonathan is meeting with many parents of the 219 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls and some classmates who managed to escape from Islamic extremists. Today's meeting comes after some had refused to meet Nigeria's leader last week. For months the parents have been asking to see the president and he finally agreed to a request from Pakistani girls-education activist Malala Yousafzai. Jonathan blamed activists of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign for politicizing the abductions and influencing the parents. The parents said they needed time to decide who would attend. A spokesman said there were 177 people in the delegation meeting Jonathan and an AP reporter counted 51 of the 57 girls who escaped in the early days after the April 15 abduction. The failure to rescue the girls is an international embarrassment.

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China's typhoon toll rises to 46 dead, 25 missing

BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese government says the death toll from the strongest typhoon to slam into the country's south has risen to 46, with 25 other people still missing. The Civil Affairs Ministry said Tuesday that Typhoon Rammasun triggered floods, hail showers and mudslides since Friday. The storm destroyed tens of thousands of homes, damaged roads and ports and cut electricity and water supplies in southern Chinese cities. The typhoon earlier last week caused power outages and 94 deaths in the Philippines. It also was blamed for at least 11 deaths in Vietnam over the weekend. A second storm, Typhoon Matmo, was approaching Taiwan and forecast to make landfall Wednesday morning.

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SPORTS
MONDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago White Sox 3, Kansas City 1

Frontier League

Southern Illinois 4, Gateway 1
Evansville 2, Windy City 0

TUESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

San Diego at Chicago Cubs, 7:05 p.m.
Kansas City at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.
Tampa Bay at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Gateway at Southern Illinois
Evansville at Windy City

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White Sox pitching coach out with vertigo

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper missed Monday night's game against the Kansas City Royals. Manager Robin Ventura says it is possible Cooper, who also missed Sunday's game before he knew he had vertigo, might miss a few more days. Ventura says Cooper is "not feeling too good." Bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen filled in for Cooper on Sunday and was expected to do the same Monday. Cooper, 58, has been the White Sox's pitching coach since July 2002. He also missed 13 games over two separate stints last year with diverticulitis.

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Bulls re-sign Kirk Hinrich to 2-year deal

UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Bulls have re-signed guard Kirk Hinrich to a two-year deal. The Bulls announced the move Monday, along with the signing of second-round pick Cameron Bairstow. A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that Hinrich will make $2.7 million next season. The contract includes a player option for the second year. The person requested anonymity because the team does not publicly comment on contract details. Hinrich has spent nine of his 11 seasons with the Bulls. The steady veteran averaged 9.1 points and 3.9 assists in 73 games last season. His presence will help give the Bulls a little bit of insurance should Derrick Rose's knee issues return. Rose is set to play this season after missing most of the last two years.

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News for July 21, 2014

LOCAL
Mt. Vernon City Council Meets This Evening

Mt. Vernon City Council is due to meet this evening at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building at Veteran's Memorial Park.  Among items on the agenda, the Council will hear bid results for the EMC parking lot resurfacing and additions, for demolition of 13 residential structures, and for street maintenance materials.  Also, the City Attorney will give a first reading on an ordinance regarding discontinuance of existing prohibition relative to the sale of alcoholic liquor within the area of 4700 West Broadway and discuss resolutions approving a letter of understanding between the City of Mt. Vernon and Roger Brooks International regarding community assessment and contract approval for professional services with Peckham, Guyton, Albers, & Viets for services relating to an application to re-establish the Mt. Vernon-Jefferson County Enterprise Zone.  The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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City mulls banning new single-wide mobile homes

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois town is mulling whether to bar certain new mobile homes from moving in. West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan tells WSIL-TV that the 8,200-resident Franklin County city is considering whether to ban single-wide trailer homes and to not allow trailer parks. Jordan says some single-wide home owners may be moving to town simply to avoid stricter codes elsewhere, and that such trailer homes can decrease property values of neighboring structures. Charles Hutson doesn't think such a ban is right. As someone on a fixed income, he says his single-wide mobile home in West Frankfort is an inexpensive way to live. West Frankfort now requires people to get permission from neighbors before bringing in a trailer home. The City Council will discuss the proposed ordinance change Tuesday.

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SIU outlines steps to prevent sexual assault

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Students, faculty and staff at Southern Illinois University will undergo more rigorous programs on sexual assault awareness and prevention. That's part of the university's response to federal mandates requiring colleges to address sexual assaults. Benjamin Newman is SIU police chief. He says the department has investigated one sex assault this year. There were four cases last year and six in 2012. Newman says the real number is likely to be higher because some victims don't come forward. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that under the changes, incoming freshman will participate in an online awareness program. Once on campus, student training will focus on how to help a friend who is an assault victim. Faculty will get training on how to respond when a student reports they've been assaulted.

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Perry County employee quits after theft charge

PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An employee of southern Illinois' Perry County has resigned after being charged with felony theft for allegedly stealing gasoline. WSIL-TV reports 64-year-old Paul "Butch" Stern of Sunfield stepped down from his job Thursday with the county assessor's office. WSIL says the local newspaper's publisher, Jeff Egbert, caught Stern on camera pumping gas into his county vehicle July 14 at a Du Quoin convenience store, then filling up containers in his trunk. Egbert then reportedly saw Stern drive back to his property. The criminal complaint accuses Stern of knowingly exerting unauthorized control over government property by intending to deprive the county of gasoline worth up to $500. Stern is free on bond. Stern does not have a listed home telephone number and could not be reached for comment Sunday.

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Coroner: 2 recent deaths drug-related accidents

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — The coroner in southwestern Illinois' Madison County says two recent deaths were accidental drug overdoses. Stephen Nonn says 40-year-old Cleophus Richardson died in May after being found unresponsive in his Wood River home. Nonn says toxicology tests showed Richardson overdosed on heroin. Nonn says Richardson had a history of heroin abuse but reportedly had been off the drug for several years. Nonn also says 42-year-old Stacy Hoffner of Bethalto had a history of heroin abuse and had been in recovery when she died in May. Nonn says Hoffner accessed a relative's pain medication, and testing after her death found fentanyl and morphine in her system. Fentanyl is a narcotic typically administered to people in chronic pain, including end-stage cancer patients. It's considered 80 times more powerful than morphine.

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Luechtefeld and Bost to Host Free Utility Bill Savings Clinic in Mt. Vernon

Okawville, Ill. – State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) and State Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) are hosting a Free Utility Bill Savings Clinic at the Sunshine Center Senior Nutrition Program on Wednesday, August 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. All interested senior citizens in the Mt. Vernon area are invited to attend for information on how to save money on their utility bills. Experts from the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) will meet with individuals to discuss tips for lowering phone bill costs, becoming more energy efficient and saving money.  All attendees should bring their phone, gas, and electric bills for CUB staffers to analyze.  There will be free refreshments, door prizes, and informational brochures. For further information about the event or to RSVP contact Sen. Luechtefeld’s Okawville office at 618-243-9014 or his Carbondale office at 618-529-3866. Interested participants can also call Rep. Bost’s office at 618-457-5787.

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Two Fires On Same Street Being Investigated

(Cahokia, IL)  --  Authorities in a Southwest Illinois town are investigating two fires that happened on the same street.  KMOX reports the two fires occurred early Sunday on West Adams Drive in Cahokia.  Fire Crews were just finishing up the first fire when the second one was reported.  No one was harmed in either incident. Investigators say the second fire was suspicious in nature.

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One Dead In Strip Club Shooting

(Washington Park, IL)  --  A teenager is dead after a shooting outside a Metro-East strip club.  Eighteen-year-old DeLarren Patterson was gunned down early yesterday morning as he left the Main Street club, in Washington Park.  Two others were injured in the shooting.  Police have no suspects. 

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Benton Fishing Team Wins Second Place At Nationals

(Benton, IL)  --   A couple high school students from Benton, Illinois are getting national recognition for their ability to reel 'em in.  Dailus Richardson and Trevor McKinney finished second place in the Bassmaster high school national competition last Friday.  The anglers pulled in six-pounds-five-ounces of fish but missed the top prize by just seven-ounces.  Richardson and McKinney won a combined five-grand for their stellar performance, but they say they're hoping to win it all before they graduate.  They have two more years to shoot for their goal; they'll both be juniors this fall.

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Woman Arrested After Posting Selfie on Social Media

(West Frankfort, IL)  --  It's become quite a fad to snap a picture of yourself and post it onto social media sites, but one selfie landed a West Frankfort woman in the slammer.  Danielle Saxton was apparently wearing a stolen dress in the snapshot that she posted on Facebook earlier this month.  Someone saw the picture and turned Saxton in just hours after the owner of Mortie's Boutique posted a shot of the dress and said someone had taken it.  Police tracked Saxton down and took her in for retail theft, and on an outstanding drug warrant. 

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Southern Illinois Says Goodbye To Former Congressman Gray

Hundreds of Southern Illinoisans were in attendance Saturday for the visitation and funeral of former Illinois Congressman Ken Gray.  Family members wanted the funeral to be a tribute to Gray's life, and there was no shortage of people who wanted to be involved.  Guest speaker and grandson Jamie Hall said the late lawmaker was simply the most uniquely gifted man he ever knew, and was the kind of person that could make a friend of anyone, laughed harder and louder than everyone and was always willing to give his time and talents to help others. Several of Gray's relatives paid their respects during the ceremony, while more than 300 attendees listened to the countless narratives about the former congressman. Ten guest speakers shared their own experiences. Congressman Bill Enyart said Gray put Southern Illinois on the map when national attention was everywhere but here. Combined more than 800 people showed up for the visitation and the funeral. Gray was buried Sunday, in his hometown of West Frankfort.

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Reports Of Another Guard Attack At Shawnee

Another inmate attack on a prison guard has happened at Shawnee Correctional Center in Vienna. According to IDOC spokesman Tom Shaer, the incident happened Thursday and involved an altercation over a makeshift clothesline the inmate had reportedly strung up in his cell. The inmate objected when the clothesline had been discarded, but he was reportedly told his objection would only be heard through the written grievance process, which often takes month to accomplish. The inmate then allegedly attempted to retrieve the clothesline from the trash and the altercation ensued. Both the inmate and officer landed on the floor after the inmate allegedly shoved the guard. Neither the inmate nor the guard, have been identified at this time. The guard was ultimately transported to an area hospital for a minor concussion and an abrasion to his scalp. Johnson County authorities are investigating the incident and will forward their information to the State's Attorney for possible prosecution. This was the second such altercation in three weeks at Shawnee during which a guard was injured by an inmate. Willie Carter, the inmate accused in the earlier altercation, has a history of staff assaults in various IDOC facilities. He has not been charged at this time, but was transferred after the attack to Menard Correctional Center in Chester, where a few days later five staff members were directly attacked by multiple inmates.

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STATE
Quinn OKs cannabis use for kids with epilepsy


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that will allow minors with epilepsy to use medical marijuana. The governor signed the measure Sunday in Chicago. It was sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Iris Martinez of Chicago and Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie. The law adds seizures to the list of treatable conditions in Illinois' medical cannabis program. It allows children with seizures from epilepsy to consume oil from the marijuana plant with a parent's consent. Currently, only Illinois residents 18 years and older may use medical marijuana in the state's four-year pilot program. Parents of children with epilepsy say consuming the oil reduces seizures and doesn't make children feel high. Opponents disagree with further legalizing the drug. The legislation takes effect in January.

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Quinn anti-violence spending didn't pull big votes


CHICAGO (AP) — An analysis shows Gov. Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program, which critics have called a "political slush fund," didn't do him much good in his 2010 campaign. The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1n1euwd) that its study found that in Chicago neighborhoods where the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative's $54 million was spent, voter turnout for Quinn and his running mate Sheila Simon in 2010 was 2 percent higher than it was for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Quinn four years earlier. Turnout improved by 1.9 percent in neighborhoods that didn't get NRI funding. The difference was a bit more in the suburbs. The paper found that voter turnout improved in areas that got NRI money by 3.8 percent compared to a 1.8 percent increase in suburban areas that didn't get any NRI money.

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Rauner Pumps More Personal Cash Into Campaign

(Chicago, IL) -- Republican challenger Bruce Rauner continues to put his money where his mouth his. The multi-millionaire has donated another one-and-a-half-million-dollars to his effort to unseat Governor Pat Quinn. The latest donation means Rauner has now put eight-point-one-million-dollars of his own funds into his campaign. Rauner isn't sitting on his campaign cash; he raised more than eight-million-dollars during the second quarter and spent nearly six-million.

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Federal Prosecutors Counter Blagojevich Appeal

(Chicago, IL) -- Federal prosecutors have responded to former Governor Rod Blagojevich's latest attempt to have his corruption conviction overturned. In a court filing today, prosecutors said the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling cited by Blagojevich is irrelevant to his conviction and was misinterpreted by his lawyers. Blagojevich attorneys had argued that the court said that for a campaign solicitation to be criminal, an explicit quid pro quo has to offered, which they say, Blagojevich never did.

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Ex-Cons Get Second Shot At Finding Work

(Springfield, IL)  --  State officials are going to bat for people with criminal records.  Governor Quinn signed a law yesterday that bans companies from running background checks on applicants until they've been deemed qualified for the job and have been selected for an interview.  Those who support the deal say too many people were being turned away from work, even though they'd paid their debts to society.  Quinn says the law will help people get a fair shot at reaching their potential, plus it'll help keep people from turning to the streets to earn a living. 

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Walk Raises 150-Thousand Dollars For Easter Seals

(Normal, IL)  --  A weekend walk in support of Easter Seals has raised 150-thousand dollars.  About eleven-hundred people took part in the event on Saturday in Normal.  The group supports people with disabilities and special needs.  Easter Seals also helps those suffering with autism and cerebral palsy, which includes medical rehab, camping and other recreation.

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NATIONAL
Train derails in Wis.; injuries unclear

SLINGER, Wis. (AP) — A fire official says two people are injured and several thousand gallons of diesel fuel have spilled after a train derailment in a small Wisconsin village. Slinger Fire Department Chief Rick Hanke says three engines and 10 railcars derailed Sunday, forcing the evacuation of more than 100 nearby homes. He says two people are being treated for injuries that are not life-threatening. Hanke says about 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from an engine. He says hazmat crews have dikes and booms in place. A spokesman for Canadian National Railway Co. says preliminary reports indicate one of the company's trains was headed south and struck cars on another train. Slinger is about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

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Ireland: Mich. man held a suspect in UN slayings

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — U.S. federal agents have arrested a man the Irish government calls a suspect in the abduction, torture and killing of two Irish soldiers serving as United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon 34 years ago. Mahmoud Bazzi's arrest in Dearborn, Michigan last week is for immigration violations, and is not directly connected to the killings in Lebanon. But U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the Department of Homeland Security "is committed to rooting out alleged human rights violators who seek a safe haven in the United States."

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Trial to start in death of unarmed woman on porch

DETROIT (AP) — Jury selection starts today in Detroit in the trial of a 55-year-old man who shot to death a young woman who had been knocking on his door in the wee hours of the morning in November. Prosecutors say Theodore Wafer grabbed his shotgun, opened the front door of his Dearborn Heights home and blasted 19-year-old Renisha McBride in the face. McBride was drunk but unarmed when she had gone to get help after crashing her car. Wafer claims McBride was aggressive and violent and that he acted in self-defense.

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3 teens held in Albuquerque homeless killings

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three teenage boys are being held in detention facilities in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, for allegedly beating to death two homeless men. Police say the men were beaten so badly that their bodies were nearly unrecognizable. Eighteen-year-old Alex Rios has been charged with two counts of murder and related offenses. The other suspects are 16- and 15 years old. A third victim says he got away.

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Poor teens' health may benefit from top schools

CHICAGO (AP) — A study suggests that disadvantaged teens may get more than an academic boost by attending top-notch high schools — their health may also benefit. Risky behavior including binge-drinking, unsafe sex and use of hard drugs was less common among these kids, compared with peers who went to mostly worse schools. The teens were otherwise similar, all from low-income Los Angeles neighborhoods who applied to top public charter schools that admit students by lottery. The researchers compared behavior in almost 1,000 kids in 10th through 12th grade who were picked for the high-performing schools and in those who went elsewhere. Overall, 36 percent of the selected kids engaged in at least one of 11 risky behaviors, compared with 42 percent of the other teens. Results are in today's Pediatrics online.

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Florida town stunned by news of police KKK ties

FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. (AP) — Residents of a small, central Florida town say they're shocked and disgusted by the recent disclosure that two members of its police force are accused of being members of the Ku Klux Klan. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement this week released a report saying Fruitland Park Deputy Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell were Klan members. Borst denies being a member. Borst resigned and Hunnewell was fired last week. A third Fruitland Park officer resigned in 2010 after his Klan ties became public. A researcher with the Southern Poverty Law Center says it's extremely rare nowadays to find police officers who are Klan members. Cases the officers worked on also are under scrutiny. On Friday, prosecutors dismissed three cases — two traffic offenses and a misdemeanor battery.

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Charges mount against California robbery suspect

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors say they're charging a Stockton, California man with triple-murder in the deaths of a woman taken hostage during a bank robbery and police shootout that killed two other robbery suspects. The San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office says the charges being filed today make 19-year-old Jaime Ramos eligible for a death sentence. Prosecutors say charges may include 22 counts of attempted murder of police officers stemming from last week's running gun battle. Police say last Wednesday three armed men entered the bank branch and took three women hostage. Two women survived with injuries, but a 41-year-old mother of two, Misty Holt-Singh, was used as a human shield and died. Ramos is the sole surviving suspect.

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Obama gives protection to gay, transgender workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal workers and contractors who are gay and transgender are getting new protections from President Barack Obama. Obama is signing executive orders that will prohibit employment discrimination against those workers by the federal government and its contracting agencies. Some religious groups and conservatives urged him to provide a broad exemption for religious groups. But Obama declined. Last month, the Supreme Court allowed some religiously oriented businesses to opt out of Obama's requirement that employers provide free birth control. The president planned to take the action in the White House East Room Monday. President Bill Clinton already protected federal employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. But Obama is adding gender identity. Neither group previously had protection under the law in federal contracting. Federal contractors employ one-fifth of the U.S. workforce.

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Obama to bestow Medal of Honor on New Hampshire veteran

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will bestow the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest decoration for battlefield valor, to Ryan Pitts, a former Army staff sergeant who fought off enemy fighters during one of the bloodiest battles of the Afghanistan war despite his own critical injuries. Pitts, from Nashua, N.H., will be awarded the medal during a White House ceremony Monday. Pitts, 28, will become the ninth living recipient of the medal for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The citation says Pitts fought off enemy fighters on July 13, 2008, in Wanat, Afghanistan. Despite losing blood from wounds in both legs and an arm, he continued to fire at about 200 Taliban fighters and guided air strikes that helped repel the attack.

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Bill Clinton won't 'jump the gun' on wife's plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton says he doesn't know if his wife, Hillary, is going to run for president and said "she hasn't asked me yet." In a CNN interview broadcast Monday from Jakarta, Indonesia, Clinton says, "Whatever she does is fine." He called Hillary Rodham Clinton "the ablest public servant I've ever worked with." But he said determining whether to seek the Democratic Party presidential nomination is, quote, "a decision only she can make." Bill Clinton adds, in his words, "I'm not going to try to jump the gun." He says that when his time was through at the White House in early 2001, he told his wife that she had made sacrifices to support his career for 26 years, and that he owed her 26 years in return.

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More studies needed in apparent chokehold death

NEW YORK (AP) — The medical examiner's office says it's still trying to determine what caused the death of a New York City man who appeared to be held in a chokehold as police attempted to arrest him. The office says in a statement that the "cause and manner" of Eric Garner's death are pending further studies. Meanwhile, the fire department has barred four emergency workers from responding to 911 calls. They are employees of the Staten Island hospital where Garner was pronounced dead on Thursday. The medics' restricted duties will remain in effect pending an investigation into their actions. The fire department took the action after a second video surfaced showing some half-dozen officers and emergency workers circling a man who appears to be Garner lying on the sidewalk, handcuffed and unresponsive.

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Verizon launches rewards program with tracking

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon Wireless is launching a nationwide loyalty program this week for its 100-million-plus subscribers. There's a twist, though: To earn points for every dollar spent, subscribers must consent to have their movements tracked so the company can help target ads that match their interests. Verizon is the first wireless carrier to roll out a comprehensive rewards program, and it's expecting big benefits. The program has already been offered for a few months in some states, helping explain Verizon's strong subscriber figures in the second quarter. The company says Smart Rewards is designed as a loyalty program, but the company is also using it to encourage enrollment in Verizon Selects, a separate program that uses subscriber surfing and location data to better target Web ads they see.

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Black-and-white stripes are the new orange

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan sheriff says he's trading his inmates' orange jumpsuits for black-and-white stripes, in part due to pop culture. Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel tells The Saginaw News that all-orange jumpsuits are increasingly viewed as fashionable, especially because they're seen on popular TV shows such as the Netflix smash hit "Orange Is the New Black." Federspiel says "some people think it's cool to look like an inmate of the Saginaw County Jail ... wearing all orange jumpsuits out at the mall or in public." He says inmates sometimes work in public, and he doesn't want there to be any confusion. The jailhouse fashions come relatively cheap. The sheriff says the jumpsuits, which last for about two to three years, cost $11.73 apiece.

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INTERNATIONAL
Gaza official says Israeli shells hit hospital

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Palestinian health official says Israeli tank shells have struck a hospital in the central Gaza Strip, killing four people and wounding 60.The official, Ashraf al-Kidra, says 12 shells hit the Al Aqsa hospital in the town of Deir el-Balah on Monday. He says shells landed in the administration building, the intensive care unit and the surgery department. He says 30 of the 60 wounded are medical staff. Live footage on Hamas' Al Aqsa TV station showed wounded being moved on gurneys into the emergency department. The Israeli military says it's checking the report.

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Kerry heads to Middle East, Gaza death toll past 500

CAIRO (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Cairo today for the highest-level attempt yet to end two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting. More than 500 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have been killed, and the fighting has driven tens of thousands of Gaza residents from their homes. The U.N. Security Council emerged from an emergency session late last night with a proposed resolution much weaker than a proposal from Jordan that called for Israel to pull out of Gaza.

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Dutch tell rebels: Train full of bodies must leave

HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) — Dutch forensic investigators told the armed separatists guarding train cars full of bodies from the downed Malaysia Airlines jet that the train must be allowed to leave within hours. The experts from the Dutch National Forensic Investigations Team — which specializes in victim recovery and identification — also pressed for the train cars parked near the rebel-held town of Torez to be sealed. AP journalists at the site said the smell of decay was overwhelming. Then the experts headed for the crash site itself, 9 miles away, accompanied by monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Dutch prime minister says the "No. 1 priority" is to repatriate the bodies of the 192 Dutch citizens killed. International outrage is growing over how pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine are handling the bodies.

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SPORTS
SATURDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

St. Louis 4, LA Dodgers 2
Chicago White Sox 4, Houston 3
Arizona 9, Chicago Cubs 3

Frontier League

Southern Illinois 5, Evansville 4
Gateway 18, Traverse City 4

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Houston 11, Chicago White Sox 7
Arizona 3, Chicago Cubs 2
L.A. Dodgers 4, St. Louis 3

Frontier League

Evansville 13, Southern Illinois 1
Gateway 7, Traverse City 0

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Kansas City at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Frontier League

Gateway at Southern Illinois
Evansville at Windy City

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McIlroy Wins British Open

Rory  McIlroy captured the British Open championship on Sunday, closing with a 1-under 71 to finish at 17-under par for a two-shot victory. McIlroy began the final round at Royal Liverpool with a six-shot advantage and birdied the first hole  to  make it seven shots,  but he never  pulled away and actually saw his lead trimmed to just two strokes a couple of times by Sergio Garcia, who fired a  6-under  66 on  Sunday to  finish tied  for second  at 15-under with Rickie Fowler, who managed a 5-under 67 in the final round. McIlroy claimed his third major championship, having previously won the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship.

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Wozniacki Wins Istanbul Cup

Caroline  Wozniacki won  a  title  for the  seventh  consecutive  year with  a straight-set  rout of Roberta Vinci in Sunday's final at the Istanbul Cup. The top-seeded Wozniacki needed just 67 minutes in a 6-1, 6-1 victory to claim her 22nd career title and first of 2014. She has won at least one tournament every year since 2008, but Sunday's triumph was just her second in the past two years.  Vinci suffered her second straight loss in a final after a difficult start 2014.  She had six consecutive first-round exits to open the season, as well as another run of four straight opening-round losses before last week's runner-up finish in Bucharest.

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News for July 18, 2014

LOCAL
Effingham welcomes new food products company

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (AP) — Effingham is welcoming a new company to town. Continental Mills officially opened in the central Illinois city on Tuesday. The food product company finalized a deal with Harlan Bakeries late last year and took ownership of the Effingham plant. The Effingham Daily News reports that the Seattle-based company has invested more than $2 million into the facility. Fifteen employees work for Continental Mills in Effingham, including 13 employees who formerly worked for Harlan Bakeries. Mayor Merv Gillenwater says Continental Mills took an underutilized plant and turned it into a modern productive facility.

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Lane Reductions Start Monday on I-57, I-64 in Jefferson County

Mt. Vernon -- The Illinois Department of Transportation would like to alert motorists traveling Interstates 57 and 64 in the Mt. Vernon area of the North I-57/I-64 Interchange Construction Project beginning on July 21.  The contractor will be engaged in patching operations followed by placement of asphalt pavement.  Lane reductions will be utilized to perform this work. Delays are expected.  To avoid these delays, motorists are encouraged to utilize the marked detour routes. Motorists should reduce speed, be alert to equipment and workers, and use extreme caution when traveling through this area.

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Mt. Vernon Authorities Investigating Fires

Authorities in Mt. Vernon are investigating two suspicious fires, with the Red Cross responding to help the victim of one incident. The first happened late Monday night in the 1700 block of South 15th Street.  Kevin Sargent, Assistant Chief of the Mt. Vernon Fire Department, says a mobile home had significant smoke and heat damage. The second fire occurred just after 1 a.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of Forest Avenue. Sargent says a woman at the residence was able to get out safely, but the home, a shed, and nearby vehicles were damaged in the fire. The Red Cross has responded to help the woman with food and clothing needs following the fire. The Mt. Vernon Fire Department is working with the Mt. Vernon Police Department on the investigation. Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call the Police Department at (618) 242-2727 or Jefferson County Crime Stoppers at (618) 242-TIPS.

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State Police, Friends Of Cops, Bike Across Illinois

(Alton, IL)  --  Illinois State Police are biking across the state today.  More than 50-cyclists took off from Alton yesterday morning, headed to Chicago on a 325-mile trek.  They'll make stops in Bloomington and Romeoville before they get to their final destination on Sunday.  The group is raising money to help support the families of those who've died in the line of duty.

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Reminder: Don't Leave Kids In Hot Cars

(Alton, IL) -- We're hearing more and more about kids being left in hot cars but health experts are reminding parents that it can be extremely dangerous, even on an overcast day. They say the glass in your vehicle acts as a greenhouse, warming temperatures in just a matter of minutes. That could lead to serious health problems like heat stroke, seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death. Experts say if you notice a child locked in a hot car, call 9-1-1 and stay there until help arrives.

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Durbin wants air base site named in Dixon's honor

MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) — A building at southwestern Illinois Air Force base will bear the name of late former U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon, if a federal lawmaker from Illinois gets his way. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says the latest defense appropriations bill being considered in Congress includes his directive that the Air Force chief designates a Scott Air Force Base building in Alan Dixon's honor. Dixon died July 6 at age 86. The Democrat's political career spanned more than 40 years. He was in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1993 and chaired a subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee. Durbin heads the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which on Thursday passed the spending bill calling for the building to be named in Dixon's honor. The bill heads to the full committee.

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Cairo to memorialize 2 slain in botched bank heist

CAIRO, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois city where two bank workers were killed during a botched robbery is planning to memorialize the victims. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that two pink granite benches will be placed in Cairo's Halliday Park in memory of slain Anita Joe Grace of Olive Branch and Nita Jo Smith of Wickliffe, Kentucky. The two women were found fatally stabbed in May at Cairo's First National Bank. A third stabbed worker survived. Authorities later arrested 29-year-old James Watts, and he's charged in federal court with attempted armed bank robbery resulting in death. He has pleaded not guilty. The attack's survivor will be honored with a tree and marker in the park.

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STATE
Illinois governor hopefuls spar over jobs, economy


SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn are laying out competing visions for how to create jobs and improve Illinois' economy. Rauner spoke Thursday in Schaumburg. He says Quinn's track record on the economy is "atrocious." The Winnetka businessman wants to lower Illinois' income tax rate, freeze property taxes and impose a sales tax on some services, such as trash collection. He says Quinn's support for increasing income taxes hurts businesses and working people. But Quinn calls Rauner's plan "a dumb idea" that would hurt everyday people. Quinn appeared in Chicago to announce he's expanding a job-training program. He noted Illinois' unemployment rate dropped again in June. Quinn says he helped pull Illinois out of the recession and "it's quite important we keep the momentum."

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Rauner Details Income Tax Rollback, Sales Tax Expansion


(Chicago, IL) -- Republican challenger Bruce Rauner is unveiling a few details of how he'd change the state's tax structure if he's elected governor. Rauner says he would phase out the income tax increase, cutting the rate from five-percent to three-percent over four years. Rauner says he would freeze local property taxes, but would expand the state's sales tax to include some services like attorneys, storage, and janitorial services. Rauner also repeated his latest minimum wage position, a phased-in increase tied to workers compensation and tort reform.

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Construction Jobs Pace June Unemployment Decline

(Springfield, IL) -- Unemployment in Illinois continues to drop, but is still higher than the national average. The June jobless rate fell one-tenth-of-a-point to seven-point-one-percent, continuing a four-month downward trend, but still trailing the national rate of six-point-one-percent. Construction employment increased in June in Illinois, but manufacturing jobs continue to decline. In all, the state added six-thousand jobs in the month of June.

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Unemployment Rate Falls In June

(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois' unemployment rate is down once again. It fell from seven-point-five-percent in May to seven-point-one-percent last month. That's the lowest it's been since October of 2008. The state's unemployment rate has gone down for four months straight now, but it still lags behind the national rate, which is just over six-percent.

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Quinn announces construction job training program

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has announced a new training program to prepare people for construction jobs. Quinn made the announcement at Dawson Technical Institute in Chicago Thursday. The Employ Illinois program is being offered through the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway. Quinn says the program links job seekers with training. It pays $15 an hour to contractors for each program graduate put to work. Projects using the program include the Circle Interchange in Chicago and on Roosevelt Road in Broadview. The announcement came as the state's Department of Employment Security released preliminary numbers showing Illinois' unemployment rate has dropped to 7.1 percent in June — down from 7.5 percent in May.

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New Law Seeks A Bulletproof Vest For Every Cop


(Springfield, IL) -- A law signed this week requires police departments across the state to provide bulletproof vests for their officers. The law also requires the local law enforcement agencies to apply for federal aid to help pay for the equipment upgrade, with the state picking up half of the cost. The law requires a vest for every new recruit unless federal or state funds aren't available, or if departments provide allowances for officers to buy their own vests.

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Decatur a finalist for national ag research center


DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Decatur is among the finalists for a national agriculture research center. The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports Thursday 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. Richland Community College would host the center if Decatur is chosen. That's according to Doug Brauer, the school's vice president of economic development and innovative solutions. Vierling says officials will conduct site visits in August. The facility could open as soon as the first part of next year.

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NATIONAL
Town evacuated ahead of wildfire

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The small town of Pateros, Washington state is being emptied out ahead of a wind-whipped wildfire that has burned at least 35 homes in Okanogan County. Also getting the evacuation notice is a hospital in nearby Brewster. Sheriff Frank Rogers says "there's nobody in Pateros" except a few "stragglers," and he says the fire is burning in the town.

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Sheriff's office: Oklahoma infant found safe

CASHION, Okla. (AP) — Authorities say an infant has been found unharmed after she was abducted in Oklahoma. The Kingfisher County Sheriff's Department says the 5-month-old girl was found "safe and sound" early this morning in Seminole, Texas by local authorities. And it says the Sheriff's Department in Gaines County, Texas will be making a statement later this morning. Authorities in central Oklahoma had said the girl was abducted near Cashion, and that they were searching for two women, who were possibly headed to Salt Lake City. Gaines County officials say no arrests have been made.

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Secrets leaker Manning to begin gender treatments

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. soldier convicted of leaking secrets will begin treatments to change gender. The former Bradley Manning, who now calls herself Chelsea Manning, will get her initial treatment from the military. The Bureau of Prisons had rejected the Army's request to accept Manning's transfer from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to a civilian facility. Defense officials say the Army does not have the medical expertise needed to give Manning the best treatment.

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Police: Human head found on Long Island

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — Police are investigating what appears to be a human head found in a Long Island town where two severed arms were discovered about a week ago. Hempstead police say the head was found at about 5 p.m. Thursday on Boylston Street, close to where the two arms were found dumped on residential lawns. Authorities are trying to determine if the body parts are linked to a partially dismembered body found July 8 in a municipal parking lot in Bay Shore, about 25 miles east of Hempstead. Those remains were found by two people who were walking to the Fire Island ferry terminal about a half-mile away. Homicide detectives in Nassau and Suffolk counties are investigating as they await DNA results on the other body parts.

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FedEx Indicted For Distributing Controlled Substances

(San Francisco, CA)  --  A federal indictment says FedEx has been shipping powerful prescription drugs for illegal online pharmacies.  The grand jury indictment says the cargo company knowingly delivered drugs to dealers and addicts.

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This Weekend Marks Two Years Since Aurora Theater Shooting

(Aurora, CO)  --  The two-year anniversary of the mass shooting inside a Colorado movie theater is quickly approaching.  Sunday marks the date two years ago when James Holmes allegedly walked into a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado and began spraying bullets.  The mass shooting left 12 people dead and dozens injured. 

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Three States Suing Makers Of 5-Hour Energy

(Salem, OR)  --  Washington and Vermont are joining Oregon in suing the makers of 5-Hour Energy drink.  The states accuse the company of making "deceptive and misleading claims."  All three states are asking the courts to stop 5-Hour Energy from making claims that can't be backed up.  Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum's lawsuit says advertisements for the product claim it has a unique blend of ingredients when the only effective ingredient is a concentrated dose of caffeine.

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Slain police officer mourned

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Hundreds of police officers are gathering in New Jersey's second-largest city to bury a police officer who was gunned down in the line of duty. Gov. Chris Christie is among the mourners scheduled to attend Friday's funeral in Jersey City for Officer Melvin Santiago. The 23-year-old rookie was killed Sunday in what authorities have called an ambush. His assailant was killed during a subsequent shootout. The city on Thursday promoted Santiago to the rank of detective and posthumously awarded him the department's medal of honor. Meanwhile, the town of Waldwick also is mourning a police officer. Patrolman Christopher Goodell was killed early Thursday when his unmarked car was struck by a tractor-trailer. The truck driver has been charged with vehicular homicide.

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Officials identify mummified remains in Michigan

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Authorities have confirmed that the mummified remains of a woman found in a suburban Detroit garage in March are those of the woman who lived alone at the home. The Detroit Free Press reports that authorities this week notified Pia Farrenkopf's relatives that she has been positively identified using DNA testing. Oakland County Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Bernardino Pacris says the cause and manner of death cannot be determined. Investigators said in March that they believed the remains were those of Farrenkopf. The self-employed financial trouble-shooter would have turned 50 this year. The remains were found in the rear seat of Farrenkopf's Jeep in her garage in Pontiac. She may have been dead for more than five years. There is no evidence of foul play.

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INTERNATIONAL
Obama: Downed Airliner "Outrage Of Unspeakable Proportions"

(Washington, DC)  --  President Obama called the downing of a Malaysian airliner an "outrage of unspeakable proportions."  Nearly 300 people were killed when the jetliner crashed in eastern Ukraine.  In a statement at the White House, Obama cited evidence that the plane was brought down by a ground-to-air missile.  He said at least one American was aboard the plane.  The President called for a "credible international investigation" of the crash.  He said the eyes of the world are on eastern Ukraine.  Obama again called on Russia to take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions in eastern Ukraine.  He said Russia continues to back violent separatists.  This week, the U.S. imposed another round of economic sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine, including the annexation of Crimea.

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Confusion over whether Malaysia black boxes found

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A pro-Russia rebel leader says no black boxes have been found in the scattered wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down over eastern Ukraine, conflicting with a statement made by an aide to a rebel military leader. Separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai says "no black boxes have been found ... We hope that experts will track them down and create a picture of what has happened." Earlier today, an aide to rebel military leader Igor Girkin said authorities had recovered eight out of 12 recording devices. Meanwhile, a Ukranian official says 181 bodies have been located so far at the crash site. He the bodies will be taken for identification to Kharkiv, a government-controlled city 170 miles north of the crash site.

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Nationalities of most crash victims known

UNDATED (AP) — There's no word on whether there were any Americans on the Malaysia Airlines plane that went down in Ukraine yesterday, killing all 298 people on board. The plane that was headed to the capital of Malaysia had originated in Amsterdam, and most of the passengers were from the Netherlands. There were 189 Dutch on board. Twenty-nine passengers and 15 crew members were Malaysian, and 27 of the passengers were Australian. There were seven other known nationalities, and the nationalities of four people are unconfirmed.

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Putin calls for peace in Ukraine after plane crash

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says all parties in the conflict in eastern Ukraine should lay down the arms and engage in talks as soon as possible after a commercial airliner was shot down. Putin said on Friday in comments carried by Russian news agencies that "peace in Ukraine must prevail as soon as possible" and called for direct talks between Kiev and pro-Russian insurgents. Separatist rebels and Ukrainian government forces have been fighting each other for three months now, killing more than 400 people and displacing tens of thousands.

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France enters peace effort

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — France is getting involved in the search for a way to end the fighting between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip, where the Israelis have now begun a ground operation. France's foreign minister headed today to Egypt, Jordan and Israel as part of a diplomatic push for peace. Meanwhile, Israeli troops are pushing deeper into Gaza to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a ground offensive meant to weaken Hamas rulers. Israel launched the ground operation late Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire into Israel.

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Diplomats: UN emergency meeting on Gaza on Friday

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Diplomats say the U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on the conflict in Gaza on Friday afternoon. Jordan asked for the meeting after Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza on Thursday. The meeting will take place at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) on Friday, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement. Thousands of Israeli soldiers crossed into Gaza on the tenth day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel.

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SPORTS
THURSDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

No Games Scheduled

Frontier League

No Games Scheduled

FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Houston at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.
L.A. Dodgers at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:19 p.m.)
Chicago Cubs at Arizona, 8:40 p.m.

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Evansville
Gateway at Traverse City

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

St. Louis, 3:05 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 2:09 p.m.)
Houston at Chicago White Sox, 6:10 p.m.
Chicago Cubs at Arizona, 7:10 p.m.

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Evansville
Gateway at Traverse City

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Houston at Chicago White Sox, 1:10 p.m.
Chicago Cubs at Arizona, 3:10 p.m.
L.A. Dodgers at St. Louis, 7:00 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:09 p.m.)

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Evansville
Gateway at Traverse City

---------------------------------

AP source: Lakers make winning bid for Boozer

UNDATED (AP) — A person with knowledge of the details says the Los Angeles Lakers have claimed Carlos Boozer after he was waived by the Chicago Bulls via the amnesty clause. According to NBA rules, teams with room under the salary cap had to bid at least $1.4 million, the amount of the minimum salary for veterans next season. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because there was no official announcement, did not say how much the Lakers bid. The amnesty clause allows teams to waive a player without his salary counting for cap and tax purposes. Boozer is due $16.8 million next season in the final season of his contract. He will join a Lakers team that has already signed fellow power forwards Jordan Hill and Ed Davis.

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Arrieta becomes bright spot for sputtering Cubs

CHICAGO (AP) — Each start was remarkably similar. That smooth, efficient motion. The devastating array of pitches. The easy cool that quickly spreads to his teammates, who are so confident when he takes the mound. A year after a disappointing departure from Baltimore, Jake Arrieta is thriving in Chicago. The 6-foot-4 right-hander is unbeaten in his last eight starts after beginning the season on the disabled list due to shoulder tightness, providing a glimmer of hope as the lowly Cubs stumbled to last place in the NL Central at the All-Star break.

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Illini add former Maryland assistant Brattan

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois has hired former Maryland offensive line coach Tom Brattan to fill the same role for the Illini. Brattan replaces A.J. Ricker who left earlier this month to coach the offensive line at Missouri. Illinois head coach Tim Beckman said in a news release Thursday that he was happy to find Brattan in light of the late date of Ricker's departure. Beckman called Brattan a respected coach and recruiter with ties to the Chicago area. Brattan has coached in college for 31 years and worked at Maryland the past 13 seasons. He has also coached at Sanford and Northwestern. He played college football at Delaware and was part of the 1971 Division II national championship team. Brattan is the fourth offensive line coach in Beckman's two-plus years at Illinois.

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Goodell: 2015 NFL draft to be in LA or Chicago

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The NFL draft is leaving New York after 49 years. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that the league has narrowed down the location of the 2015 draft to Los Angeles or Chicago. The event has been held in New York every year since 1965 and has been at Radio City Music Hall since 2006. Goodell said after a panel at the summer TV critics' meeting that 12 cities were interested in hosting the draft, according to the Los Angeles Times. But the league narrowed the finalists to Los Angeles and Chicago after Radio City officials told the NFL that the venue wouldn't be available in April or May. Goodell said a final decision on the location could be made by late summer. He said the league is discussing different concepts for next year's draft because there is high interest and the NFL wants to be responsive to its fans.

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News for July 17, 2014

LOCAL
Man accused in Illinois shooting death arraigned

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A man who escaped custody in Colorado as a defendant in an Illinois killing says he plans to represent himself in court despite a judge saying that's "extremely unwise." The (Alton) Telegraph reports that 37-year-old Turhan Robinson made his first court appearance Tuesday in Madison County. That's where the St. Louis man is charged along with a 30-year-old man from Jennings, Missouri, with first-degree murder, attempted murder and armed robbery. Investigators allege the men shot 43-year-old Kenneth Deal of Venice on May 19 while trying to steal marijuana from him. The attempted murder count relates to a shot fired from the suspects' car at a Madison police officer during an ensuing chase. Robinson later was captured in Las Vegas and briefly escaped in Colorado while being returned to Illinois.

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Former officer gets probation in jail drugs case

WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. (AP) — A former police officer in southwestern Illinois' Washington Park has been sentenced to probation after admitting he brought drugs into the county jail for an inmate. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that 61-year-old Douglass Young pleaded guilty to a charge of official misconduct. A judge also ordered Young to undergo drug treatment and to turn in his gun and badge. Young was accused of taking narcotics and prescription pills into the St. Clair County lockup for a female prisoner. Young had no previous criminal record.

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Metro East Man Taken Into Custody Charged With Murder

On Sunday, July 13th, at approximately 1:48 p.m., the Washington Park Police Department requested Illinois State Police, Zone 6, assistance with the murder investigation of a 20 year-old black male near 1633 N. 50th Street, Washington Park, IL. A preliminary investigation revealed at approximately 1:52amthe victim, Marcus O. Harris, was shot multiple times and died as a result of those injuries. Later that day, Eric M. Hill, 29, of East St. Louis, was identified as a suspect and was taken into custody.  On July 15, 2014, Hill was formally charged with 1st Degree Murder. He is incarcerated at the St. Clair County Jail with a $1,000,000 bond.

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Three In Custody Following Bi-State Chase

(Granite City, IL)  --  Three people are in custody following a bi-state police chase.  St. Louis County Police say the chase began in Bel-Ridge, when the suspects fled a routine traffic stop.  Authorities pursued the car through Berkeley, then onto I-270 and into Illinois.  It ended only when the suspect car crashed in Glen Carbon.  Further details haven't been released.

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Pot Farm Gets Approval In Metro-East

(Marissa, IL)  --  A small town in the Metro-East could soon be home to a medical marijuana farm.  The St. Clair County Zoning Board has given Nature's Care the green light to build on 14-acres near Marissa on Route 13.  The company plans to grow marijuana to make candy, cookies, drinks, pills, and other products for the state's dispensaries.  The plan still needs approval from the county and the state, but company officials hope to be up and running by this time next year.

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West Frankfort man found fit for murder trial


BENTON, Ill. (AP) — A West Frankfort man has been found fit to stand trial in the alleged murder of his wife. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports Wednesday that Franklin County Judge Jerry Crisel ordered John P. Adams to appear for a pre-trial conference Sept. 3 after reviewing a fitness evaluation. The 66-year-old Adams is charged with two counts of murder in the April 1 shooting of his wife, Kendra, who died the next day. Adams initially told police he found his 52-year-old wife — who had a gunshot wound in the back of her head — unresponsive in their residence. But authorities claim Adams later confessed to the shooting. A gun officials say is consistent with the type of injury Kendra Adams suffered was recovered from the house.

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Woman Riding Train Illegally Before Fall


(Round Knob, IL)  --  Police say a woman who fell off a freight train in Massac county was never supposed to be there.  She and two of her male friends had apparently jumped the train Tuesday night.  Police believe they'd been drinking.  The woman is in serious condition and is being treated at a St. Louis area hospital.

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Carbondale OKs deer hunting near city-owned lake

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Bow-hunters will soon be able to hunt deer on a city-owned lake southwest of Carbondale. According to The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale, the City Council voted Tuesday to begin allowing bow-hunting around Cedar Lake. It will start with the archery season that begins Oct. 1. John Wallace is the lake's supervisor. He said four areas will eventually be open for hunting. The first includes about 460 acres. Areas such as the public beach will be off limits. Councilwoman Jane Adams noted that areas where hunting will be allowed will need to be clearly marked with signs. Rich Whitton of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources told council members at a meeting in June that the area around the lake has a heavy deer population.

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Local funeral homes offer pet cremation, burials

ALTON, Ill. (AP) — Funeral homes in the St. Louis suburbs have announced they will begin offering services for pets. The (Alton) Telegraph is reporting that funeral homes in Alton and Bethalto both say they're starting to offer families several options as to how to commemorate their beloved animals. Gent Funeral Home in Alton allows families to have a final viewing in one of the home's viewing rooms before having pets cremated. Bethalto's Elias, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home is setting aside separate burial sections at nearby cemeteries. Ralph Gent Bowles is the president of Gent Funeral Home. He says he's been approached frequently by area families about pet burial services. Because state law prohibits pets from being cremated in the same machines as humans, both homes have secured separate pet cremation machines.

------------------------------

STATE

Lawyers File Another Argument For Blago Appeal

(Chicago, IL) -- Attorneys for former Governor Rod Blagojevich are giving the judge yet another reason why he should be free. They filed paperwork with the court earlier today, claiming Blagojevich never made any clear promises to give up a job or any other offer when he solicited campaign cash from his donors. Therefore, they claim he never engaged in any type of corruption. Blagojevich was sentenced on corruption charges back in 2010 and is serving a 14-year-prison sentence. His attorneys are asking the judge to overturn the conviction.

----------------------------


Quinn in Washington for climate task force


CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn is in Washington, D.C., for another meeting of a federal task force on climate preparedness. The Chicago Democrat's Wednesday schedule includes meetings with the heads of several federal agencies. According to a copy of Quinn's itinerary, those scheduled to attend included leaders of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. President Barack Obama's Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience was formed to advise the administration on how to respond to communities dealing with the impacts of climate change. Quinn has attended similar meetings in Los Angeles.  A Quinn spokeswoman didn't immediately have details on the cost of the trip. Quinn's one-day trip comes the same day a legislative commission is probing his troubled 2010 anti-violence program.


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Witnesses won't testify on anti-violence program


CHICAGO (AP) — Several witnesses subpoenaed by Illinois legislators to testify about Gov. Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program are opting not to appear. The Legislative Audit Commission subpoenaed seven former members of Quinn's administration to testify Wednesday about the now-defunct Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. A state audit concluded the program was poorly managed and misused money. Federal prosecutors are investigating the $55 million program and want lawmakers to hold off on the subpoenas. Republicans want to proceed. Legislators haven't yet voted on whether to call the witnesses. But lawyers for six of the witnesses told legislators Wednesday their clients won't appear. They say it's in deference to federal prosecutors' request. The seventh witness, former Quinn adviser Billy Ocasio, has appeared but tells the commission he's "not ready" to testify.


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Quinn signs new rules for grants as panel probes

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn says Illinois will have the "strongest grant oversight" nationwide after widespread problems were identified with his 2010 anti-violence program. The Chicago Democrat signed legislation Wednesday that applies federal guidelines to how the state awards grants and strengthens grantee rules. However, some opponents of the legislation have said it doesn't go far enough in stopping possible misuse. Quinn's signing of the bill comes as a legislative panel is digging through the details of his Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. They meet Wednesday in Chicago. A state audit found pervasive problems with spending and management earlier this year. Meanwhile, federal and county officials are also investigating the program. Quinn has said that he addressed problems. In a Wednesday statement, he says what happened was "unacceptable."

----------------------------

Jesse White Awards More Than $5.7 Million in Adult Literacy Grants

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White awarded more than $5.7 million in FY15 Adult Literacy Grants to help students develop and enhance their reading, math, writing and language skills. “I am pleased to provide over 100 local literacy providers with funding that will allow adult students to achieve their utmost potential,” White said.  “I will continue to do all I can to ensure that every citizen of this state has access to quality literacy programs.”  Nearly 22,000 students are served by adult literacy programs across the state.  More than 8,500 volunteer tutors provide training for students to obtain skills that put them on the path to lifelong learning.  Adult literacy projects help Illinois adults, who read below the ninth grade level or speak English at a beginner level, to improve their reading, writing, math and English language skills.  The Adult Literacy Program is administered by the Secretary of State’s Illinois State Library Literacy Office and awards grants in three categories: Adult Volunteer Literacy Grants, Penny Severns Family Literacy Grants, and the Workplace Skills Enhancement Project.  People interested in becoming volunteer tutors are encouraged to contact the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 1-800-321-9511. Area recipients of grants include Rend Lake College in Ina, Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, John A. Logan College in Carterville, Harrisburg Public Library District, Frontier Community College in Fairfield, and CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation in Effingham.

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Study: Many Fail To Act After Data Theft

(Chicago, IL)  --  Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Illinoisans need to do a better job to protect their personal information.  A recent study done by the National Consumer League shows that one in three victims of data fraud takes no action to correct it.  Madigan says people really need to read their bank account statements and their credit card statements.  She added that if you bank online make sure you recognize all of the transactions and the amounts are the amounts that you authorize.

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EPA: Illinois has 21 years of landfill capacity

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency says the state's municipal landfills have a combined life expectancy of 21 years. The agency released its annual report on landfill capacity on Wednesday, based on 2013 statistics. It says 42 landfills reported receiving more than 45 million cubic yards of waste and had more than 947 million cubic yards of capacity remaining. The EPA says capacity can fluctuate from year to year, because some landfill cells are filled and others are opened. The report says two facilities have become inactive, one reported zero remaining capacity and one new facility opened. Statistics do not include transfer stations and compost facilities because they don't permanently store waste.

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NATIONAL
WA residents urged to evacuate

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Authorities in Central Washington are urging residents in nearly 900 homes to evacuate as a wildfire tears through timber. There's zero containment of the fire in Chiwaukum Creek, which yesterday was fed by temperatures in the triple digits and strong winds. The wildfire covers nearly 2 square miles and more heat and wind gusts are expected today.

-----------------------------------

Senate panel examining role of GM legal department

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate panel plans to delve deeper into General Motors' delayed recall of millions of its small vehicles. They plan today to ask GM CEO Mary Barra about how she's changing a corporate culture that allowed a defect with ignition switches to remain hidden from the car-buying public for 11 years. And the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection also plans to ask GM General Counsel Michael Millikin what role the company's legal department played in the mishandled recall.

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Pushing for more infrastructure money

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is hitting the road today on a weeklong push for spending on roads, bridges and other public works. Obama will stand in front of the now-closed I-495 bridge at the Port of Wilmington in Delaware to announce a new initiative to boost private-sector investment in the country's aging infrastructure. The I-495 bridge was shut down in June after four of its huge support columns were found to be tilting.

---------------------------------

Justice Dept: Missing emails now part of IRS probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Justice Department investigation into the Internal Revenue Service is expanding to include an inquiry into the disappearance of emails from a former senior IRS official. Deputy Attorney General James Cole is updating Congress today about the department's investigation into whether the agency targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. He also is expected to tell a House committee that investigators are now also looking into emails that went missing from the computer of the former head of the IRS division that deals with tax-exempt organizations, Lois Lerner. Lerner's disclosure last year that IRS agents had improperly scrutinized conservative groups set off a political firestorm that continues to flare this election year. Republican members of Congress have accused the Obama administration of not cooperating with their investigation.

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White House faces broad resistance on border bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is meeting growing resistance from both the left and the right as it pushes a multibillion-dollar emergency spending bill for the border. That raises questions about chances for any action in Congress to address the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing into Texas. Top Obama administration officials held a closed-door briefing for senators late Wednesday, but it appeared to change few minds. Republicans criticized the price tag of the $3.7 billion spending bill, while some Democrats said it wasn't big enough. In the meeting, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson indicated support for changing immigration law to allow kids to be returned more quickly to Central America. But while many Democrats support such a change, Johnson's statement didn't go far enough to satisfy Republicans.

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3 dead after California bank robbery, gunbattle

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — Two robbers and a hostage are dead following a bank robbery in Stockton, California. Police say three men robbed a Bank of the West branch Wednesday afternoon, taking off with three women hostages. During a 45-minute chase, two of the hostages — bank employees with gunshot wounds, were tossed out of the vehicle. When the SUV broke down, a gunfight ensued. Dead are the third hostage, who was a bank customer, and two of the robbers.

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Seattle: 2 boats collide on lake; 1 woman dead

SEATTLE (AP) — One person is dead after two boats collided on Lake Washington in Seattle. Police are investigating whether the operators of both the sailboat and the power boat were operating them while under the influence last night. Emergency officials say three of the seven people on the 21-foot sailboat were thrown into the water. One of them — a woman in her 20s — was killed. Two other people were injured.

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CHP seizes medical records of woman seen punched

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The attorney for a woman seen on video being repeatedly punched by a California Highway Patrol officer says she's outraged that CHP investigators have seized her client's medical records. Marlene Pinnock's lawyer says hospital officials told her about the seizure of the records, which include Pinnock's statements to her doctor and references to her attorney. Attorney Caree Harper says she plans to file a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations.

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Microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs over next year

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft says it will eliminate up to 18,000 jobs over the next year as it works on integrating the Nokia devices business it bought in April. With the Nokia deal, Microsoft's employee headcount rose from about 99,000 last year to 127,000 as of last month. Microsoft Corp. said Thursday that of the up to 18,000 jobs, about 12,500 professional and factory jobs will be cut. It anticipates charges of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion over the next four quarters, which includes $750 million to $800 million for severance and related benefit costs. Microsoft's stock rose slightly in Thursday premarket trading.

------------------------

Judge sets new Dec. 8 trial date for James Holmes

DENVER (AP) — The judge in the Colorado theater shootings has tentatively set a new trial date of Dec. 8. Defendant James Holmes had been scheduled go on trial in October, but the judge ordered a delay because a doctor requested more time to complete Holmes' second sanity evaluation. The new date was announced Wednesday. Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the 2012 attack. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Holmes underwent a sanity evaluation last year. The key findings haven't been released, but the judge ordered a second after concluding the first was flawed. This is Holmes' third trial date. It was previously postponed after prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty and after prosecutors asked for another sanity evaluation.

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Trooper pleads guilty in theft from dying motorist

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut state trooper has pleaded guilty to charges he stole cash and jewelry from a dying accident victim. The Connecticut Post reports 45-year-old Aaron Huntsman entered a guilty plea Wednesday to charges of larceny and tampering with evidence under the Alford Doctrine. That means he does not agree with the state's case, but concedes there is enough evidence to secure his conviction. Prosecutors say Huntsman, a 19-year veteran of the state police, was caught on video from his cruiser's dashboard camera stealing a gold chain and $3,700 from 49-year-old John Scalesse as the motorcyclist lay dying on Sept. 22, 2012. Scalesse was fatally injured when his motorcycle crashed on the Merritt Parkway in Fairfield. Huntsman faces 18 months in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 3.

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Last defendant sentenced to 6 months in mob attack

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has sentenced a 19-year-old man to six months in jail in a mob attack on a Detroit-area motorist who stopped to help a boy whom he struck with his pickup truck. Latrez Cummings returned to court Thursday, a week after Judge James Callahan postponed the sentence so he could learn more about Cummings' school attendance. Cummings is the final defendant to learn his punishment. He and four others pleaded guilty to assaulting Steve Utash, who was in a coma for days after the April 2 attack. The longest sentence has been about 6 ½ years in prison. One man got a year in jail. A teenager whose case was handled in Juvenile Court will be in custody until at least September.

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McEnroe's son charged with drug possession

NEW YORK (AP) — The son of former tennis great John McEnroe and actress Tatum O'Neal has been charged with drug possession. Authorities say Kevin McEnroe and another man were arrested Tuesday night during "a narcotics transaction" in New York's East Village. McEnroe didn't enter a plea at his arraignment Wednesday and was released on his own recognizance. Police say the 27-year-old McEnroe was in possession of cocaine and prescription medication. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. McEnroe's lawyer tells the Wall Street Journal that there was "nothing remarkable" about the amount of drugs found on her client. She declined further comment. Police also arrested Niro Meneses on criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. Information on his lawyer wasn't immediately known.

------------------------------

INTERNATIONAL
Official: Malaysian plane shot down over Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian official says a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down today over a town in the east of the country. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday. Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed that it "has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow."

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Gaza rocket hits Israel as humanitarian lull ends

JERUSALEM (AP) — A five-hour cease-fire between Israel and Hamas has ended. And the Israeli military says a rocket fired from Gaza landed in Israel just as the cease-fire came to an end. The halt in fighting was to allow Gaza residents to stock up on supplies and other necessities. Residents crowded banks, vegetable markets and shops, taking advantage of the break from 10 days of air strikes. The truce was briefly thrown into doubt when Gaza militants fired three mortar shells toward Israel, but it appeared to be an isolated incident.

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Ugandan police abuse homeless kids, says report

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Human Rights Watch says homeless children in Uganda's urban centers face violence including sexual abuse at the hands of police and local officials. The rights group said in a report released Thursday that Ugandan authorities have failed to protect street children from police and other officials who beat and extort money from them. It said homeless children have been arbitrarily detained with adults in police cells after "targeted roundups." Homeless children are ubiquitous on the streets of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where they are known to beg from motorists. Many are young girls, some with babies on their backs. A police spokesman, Patrick Onyango, said the allegations are "totally not true." He said only "violent and wild" children below 18 are arrested and taken to remand homes.

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Japan approves joint missile study, export to US

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has approved the export of a locally-made component for a missile defense system to the U.S. and is launching a joint research with Britain on air-to-air missile technology for fighter jets. The Defense Ministry's decision Thursday marks the first defense technology transfers since Japan eased military export rules in April. The decision reverses Japan's 1967 self-imposed ban on arms exports under its war-renouncing constitution. It comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government wants to give Japan a more assertive defense posture.

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SPORTS
WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

No Games Scheduled

Frontier League

West Division 2, East Division 0 (All Star Game at Sauget, IL)

THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

No Games Scheduled

Frontier League

No Games Scheduled

----------------------------------------

Royals deal with Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Two former area college pitchers were exchanged for each other in a recent MLB trade.  The Kansas City Royals have gotten some relief help, acquiring veteran reliever and SIU-C Alum Jason Frasor from the Texas Rangers for Triple-A right-hander and former South Central grad and SIU-E Alum Spencer Patton. Frasor was 1-1 with a 3.34 earned run appearance in 38 games with Texas. The deal took place just hours before Patton was scheduled to participate in the Triple-A All-Star game.

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Illinois will open season with morning games

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois will open the football season with a pair of morning games. The Big Ten on Wednesday set 11 a.m. kickoff times for the Illini's Aug. 30 opener at home against Youngstown State and the Sept. 6 game against Western Kentucky. That game is in Champaign, too. Both of those games will be televised by the Big Ten Network. So far times have been set for six of Illinois' 12 games. Those include night games Sept. 27 at Nebraska and Nov. 1 at Ohio State. The Illini finished last season 4-8 and 1-7 in the Big Ten.

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Blackhawks celebrate extensions for Toews, Kane

CHICAGO (AP) — Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are looking forward to a bright future with the Chicago Blackhawks. The high-scoring forwards thanked the organization, their teammates, family and friends at a press conference on Wednesday to celebrate their lucrative contract extensions that run through the 2022-23 season. Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz says it's a historic moment for the franchise, and Toews and Kane say they are excited to continue with the only NHL team they have ever known. The eight-year contracts, which were announced last week, are worth $84 million apiece for an average annual value of $10.5 million. Each player has one year left on their five-year extensions from December 2009. Agent Pat Brisson, who represents both players, says they could have commanded as much as $13.8 million per season, but it was important to them to stay together and keep winning.

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News for July 16, 2014

LOCAL
Police seek tips in solving 2006 Carbondale death

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP)--- Police in Carbondale are asking for the public's help in trying to solve the 8-year-old killing of a man. KFVS-TV reports a $6,000 reward is being offered for details leading to an arrest and conviction in the stabbing death of Ryan Livingston. Authorities say that on July 13, 2006, Livingston was walking on a Carbondale sidewalk when two men approached him, perhaps intent on robbing him. Livingston was stabbed twice in the chest and died a short time later at a hospital. Police have said Livingston managed to give investigators a brief description of the assailants, but not enough to produce an arrest.

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Sen. Durbin pays tribute to late congressman

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' senior senator calls the late Congressman Ken Gray an unforgettable "legend" who was beloved by his constituents. Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin paid tribute to Gray on Tuesday on the Senate floor. He recalled his fellow Democrat's rainbow of sport coats, personal helicopter and pink Cadillac. Durbin noted Gray's work "made a real difference in the daily lives of southern Illinoisans." Gray died late Saturday at a hospital in Herrin at age 89 after a long illness. He represented Illinois in Congress for 12 terms and was known for his flamboyant style. His ability to bring $7 billion in federal funding to his district earned him the nickname the "Prince of Pork." Services for Gray are scheduled for next weekend.

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ISP District 12 Announces June Enforcement Activity

Effingham, IL – Illinois State Police District 12 Commander, Captain Kelly Hodge, today announced activity and enforcement figures for the month of June.  Troopers in District 12, which includes Clark, Clay, Crawford, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Lawrence, Marion, and Richland Counties, answered 327 calls for service and initiated 1,787 incidents in the field during the month.  In addition, enforcement figures totaled 921 citations and 826 written warnings, including 382 speeding citations, 9 DUIs, 257 seatbelt citations, 15 child restraint citations, 255 written warnings for speeding, and 21 criminal arrests. Troopers also assisted 231 motorists, conducted 429 Motor Carrier Inspections, and investigated 68 traffic crashes.  District 12 investigated 2 fatal traffic crashes during June. During the month, 674 citations and 343 written warnings were issued for “Fatal Four” violations. These violations are most associated with fatal traffic crashes and include Speeding, DUI, Failure to Wear a Seatbelt, and Distracted Driving.

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Woman killed when truck goes into lake identified

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in southwestern Illinois say a motorist who died when her pickup truck veered into a lake and overturned was a 45-year-old Granite City woman. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 45-year-old Tammy Wall died about 1 p.m. Monday of injuries sustained in the accident at Horseshoe Lake. Wall was pulled from her partially submerged vehicle and flown to a St. Louis hospital where she died. The cause of the crash remains unclear.

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Campo To Retire As Salem Police Chief

The city of Salem will be searching for a new police chief, as its current chief has submitted his notice of retirement. First hired in 2004, Chief Ron Campo submitted his notice of retirement Monday. Campo’s last day on the job will be July 28. During his time as Salem Police Chief, Campo has served with seven city managers, nine city council members and two mayors. He has served the public as a law enforcement officer for 36 years, including a number of years in the Northern Illinois community of Darien. But Campo says the Salem Police Department rises above them all in their dedication and commitment to the city they serve. He says he has been very blessed to have had the opportunity to lead the organization and will miss them greatly. In the closing statements of his retirement letter, Campo gives his strongest recommendation to Sergeant Susan Miller to succeed him as police chief.  Campo says Miller is well known and respected throughout the community and to the police department staff. He says she is up to speed on all departmental issues and would be able to transition into the position without disruption to police operations.

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STATE
Cool Weather In The Region Can Break Records

(Springfield, IL)  --  The National Weather Service experts say records could fall this week as the Midwest is faced with unseasonably cool temperatures.  Highs across the region are expected to be in the low-to-mid 70s through Thursday.  The low temp Tuesday morning in Springfield was 52 degrees, which tied the record low set in 1930.

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Quinn releases roughly 2,000 emails in probe

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn's administration has released thousands of emails to a panel of lawmakers investigating his troubled anti-violence program. Senate Republican spokeswoman Patty Schuh says members of the Legislative Audit Commission received an estimated 2,000 emails linked to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative on Friday and are currently reviewing their contents. Schuh says the emails came at the request of the bipartisan commission. They're expected to be discussed during hearings about the $54.5 million program scheduled Wednesday and Thursday in Chicago. The commission is also expected to discuss a federal request to suspend interviews of those connected to the program for 90 days. That request came after federal subpoenas were issued for emails of top officials involved in the program. Some of those same officials were also subpoenaed by the commission.

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Quinn Has 12-Million Dollars On Hand

(Springfield, IL) -- Governor Quinn is sitting on a stockpile of cash to defend his job. He has 12-million dollars on hand to square off with billionaire GOP candidate Bruce Rauner for the state's top job. Rauner dumped millions of his own money into winning the primary back in March, and there's no reason why he wouldn't do the same to pull out the win in November. Experts say this could be among the most costly governor's races in Illinois history. They estimate the two top candidates will spend close to 100-million dollars by the time it's all over.

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Medical marijuana sponsor gives nod to Gov. Quinn

CHICAGO (AP) — The Skokie Democrat who sponsored Illinois' medical marijuana legislation is praising state officials and Gov. Pat Quinn for moving deliberately on regulations for the program. Rules approved Tuesday mean would-be growers and retailers can soon apply for permits. The first legal marijuana could be sold sometime next year. The sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Lou Lang, says some patients have been anxious about the pace. But Lang thinks it's been reasonable. He credits "an involved governor's office" for getting rules approved in slightly more than six months after the law took effect. Medical cannabis program coordinator Bob Morgan says interested patients should start talking with their doctors about the program. The Illinois State Medical Society is helping its members learn about the law and the medical uses of marijuana.

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Kirk, Durbin encouraged by Obama's VA pick

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' two U.S. senators both say they're encouraged by President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Mark Kirk each met separately with Bob McDonald on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. McDonald was raised in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights and is a former CEO of Procter and Gamble. Kirk is a former naval reservist. He told The Associated Press in a phone interview he asked McDonald to tour VA hospitals in Illinois. Durbin says he and McDonald discussed keeping promises to veterans of Illinois. McDonald's nomination by Obama follows allegations that 40 patients died awaiting care at a Phoenix hospital where employees kept a secret waiting list to cover up delays. The nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.

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Illinois prisons overtime costs top $60M again


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Corrections has paid over $60 million in overtime costs for the second year in a row. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports Monday that officials predicted last spring that overtime costs would drop in the budget year that ended June 30. Authorities are blaming unanticipated retirements by correctional guards and a rise in payroll costs tied to a contract agreement signed 18 months ago. Corrections Spokesman Tom Shaer says hours worked last year dropped 12 percent. Anders Lindall is spokesman for the guards' union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He says Corrections has "too many inmates and not enough staff." The agency has struggled with overtime as its employment rolls has shrunk and inmate population grown.

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Microsoft Buying Illinois Wind Power

(Kankakee, IL) -- Microsoft Corporation will be buying wind-generated electricity from a new Illinois wind farm for the next 20 years. As part of its plan to offset its carbon output, Microsoft is buying power from a 175-megawatt wind farm under construction at the border of Kankakee and Iroquois counties. The farm will feed the grid that powers Microsoft's Chicago area data center and is expected to begin operating next year.

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UI could request 4 percent state-funding increaese

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is seeking about a 4 percent increase in state funding for the 2016 fiscal year. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports Tuesday that the school requested a $68 million increase in operating funds. It would be the first time since 2009 that the state's flagship school received a boost in state funding. The school currently is operating on $1.4 million less than last year. Christophe Pierre is vice president for academic affairs. He told school trustees Monday night that state funding and a state overhaul of its pension system are uncertain. So is federal support for research. But health-care costs are rising and the school is nearing the upper limits on tuition rates. The proposed budget includes $40 million for "competitive compensation" for faculty.

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NATIONAL
White House To Congress: Pass Border Funds

(Washington, DC)  --  The White House is urging Congress to quickly approve a nearly four-billion dollar emergency budget request for border operations.  Presidential spokesman Josh Earnest called it a comprehensive, detailed response to the southwest border crisis.  The White House has warned that money for border operations is being stretched thin while dealing with the surge of Central American migrants.  Some Republicans complain that the emergency budget request is too much.  

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U.S. Officials Assessing Situation In Iraq

(Arlington, VA)  --  American military officials in Iraq are assessing just how effective Iraqi security forces are.  President Obama sent U.S. military advisers to Iraq to analyze the security situation.  Obama has repeatedly said he is not interested in sending U.S. combat forces back into Iraq, but he has not ruled out airstrikes.  Meanwhile, Iraqi forces are abandoning their attempt to retake Tikrit after insurgents turned them back.  A soldier who was in the battle says government troops and Shiite volunteer fighters were forced to retreat under heavy mortar shelling and sniper fire late Tuesday.  

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House Passes Bill Replenishing Depleted Highway Trust Fund

(Washington, DC)  --  A bill to restock the federal Highway Trust Fund is on its way to the Senate.  The House on Tuesday passed the more than ten-billion dollar measure that extends funding for highways and bridge repairs to next spring.  The White House has warned that hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost if the fund runs dry this summer.  Some critics argued that lawmakers should be seeking a longterm solution to the problem of regularly paying for infrastructure renovations. 

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Judge Stays Missouri Execution A Second Time

(St. Louis, MO)  --  A federal appeals court is set to decide today whether to stay a convicted murderer's execution.  Late Tuesday night, a federal judge stayed the Missouri execution of John Middleton for a second time. The stay was issued about an hour before Middleton was scheduled to die.  The state of Missouri appealed the stay to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Middleton was sentenced to death for the 1995 shooting deaths of three people.

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State Water Resources Control Board Votes For Fining Water Wasters

(Sacramento, CA)   -  California officials are laying on hefty fines to make sure people are not wasting water.  Under the plan passed by the board Tuesday night, the fines are expected to go into effect August 1st.  California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger says the state needs to make changes to adjust for California's increased population and resulting strain on the water supplies. 

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McDaniel expected to discuss campaign challenge

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — State Sen. Chris McDaniel says he'll announce today whether he will file a formal challenge of his loss to six-term U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the Mississippi Republican primary runoff. State law specifies that McDaniel's first challenge would be filed with the state Republican Party executive committee. His campaign attorney, Mitch Tyner, has said McDaniel could file a lawsuit in state court about 10 days after filing a challenge with the party. Certified results of the June 24 runoff show Cochran won by 7,667 votes. McDaniel says he believes there might have been thousands of improper votes cast, but he hasn't released documents to support that claim. The Cochran camp says there might have been hundreds of improper votes, but not enough to overturn the election.

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North Texas city rejects partial fracking ban

DENTON, Texas (AP) — The council governing a North Texas city that sits atop a large natural gas reserve has rejected a bid to ban further permitting of hydraulic fracturing. Denton City Council members voted down a petition to outlaw new permits for the drilling practice. That's after more than 100 people spoke late Tuesday into this morning for and against the measure during a public hearing. Fracking involves blasting a mix of water, sand and chemicals deep into underground rock formations to release trapped oil and gas. Industry groups and state regulators warned such a ban could be followed by litigation and a severe hit to Denton's economy. Petition supporters, some who came to tears while addressing the council, said the risks to human health and the environment outweighed the economic benefits.

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Higher gasoline costs raise US producer prices

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising gasoline costs pushed up the prices U.S. companies receive for their goods and services in June, but overall inflation remains tame. The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures the cost of goods and services before they reach the consumer, rose 0.4 percent last month. The increase follows a 0.2 percent decrease in May. Gas costs rose 6.4 percent in June. Steel prices shot up 3 percent. But prices fell for grains, cheese and rental cars. In the past 12 months, producer prices have risen 1.9 percent, roughly in line with the Federal Reserve's inflation target of 2 percent. Retailer and wholesaler profit margins increased 0.2 percent. Excluding the volatile food, energy and profit margin categories, core producer prices were up 0.2 percent in June.

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BMW recalls 1.6M 3-Series cars for air bag problem

DETROIT (AP) — BMW is expanding a recall of its most popular models to fix a growing air bag problem that is hitting much of the auto industry. The German automaker says it will recall 1.6 million 3-Series cars from model years 2000 to 2006 across the world, including 574,000 in the U.S. The company says it's a precaution because other automakers using similar systems have reported problems. Air bag inflators in systems made by Takata Corp. can rupture. If that happens, the bags might not work properly, and shards could fly out and cause injury. BMW says it has no reports of problems in its vehicles. Dealers will replace the passenger-side front air bags. The new recall excludes 42,000 BMWs recalled in May 2013 for the same problem.

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Obama to meet with local leaders on climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama wants local government officials to prepare their communities now for the effects of climate change. Obama is meeting with state and tribal leaders on Wednesday at the White House. The White House says they'll discuss how the federal government can help them be more resilient to climate change. It's the fourth and final meeting of the 26-person task force. Obama is also announcing new federal resources to help communities prepare. Some of the funds will help rural communities dealing with drought and help Native American tribes train their officials to deal with climate change. The funding will also promote development of three-dimensional mapping of the U.S. for use in flood and erosion mitigation.

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Texas woman to be sentenced in ricin letters case

TEXARKANA, Texas (AP) — A Texas woman faces sentencing for sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The sentencing hearing for 36-year-old Shannon Guess Richardson is set for Wednesday in federal court in Texarkana, Texas. Richardson pleaded guilty in December to possessing and producing a biological toxin. Her attorney says that under the plea deal her prison time would be capped at 18 years. Richardson was arrested in June 2013 after authorities said she tried to implicate her estranged husband after he filed for divorce. Prosecutors say Richardson, who had minor acting roles in film and television, mailed three letters from New Boston, outside Texarkana, then went to police and claimed that her husband did it.

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Another delay in Justin Bieber's Fla. DUI case

MIAMI (AP) — There's been another delay for pop star Justin Bieber on Florida charges of driving under the influence and resisting arrest. Prosecutors and Bieber's attorney told a judge at a hearing Wednesday they need three more weeks to determine whether the case goes to trial or is resolved with a plea deal. Another hearing was set Aug. 5 for the 20-year-old singer. Bieber was arrested Jan. 23 in Miami Beach after what police described as an illegal street race between Bieber and a friend. Alcohol breath tests found Bieber's level below the 0.02 limit for underage drivers but urine tests showed the presence of marijuana and an anti-anxiety drug. Bieber was also charged with driving on an expired license. Bieber did not attend the hearing.

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INTERNATIONAL
Israel targets homes of senior Hamas leaders

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel is intensifying its air attacks on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, a day after Hamas rejected a cease-fire plan. Today, the Israeli military targeted the homes of four senior Hamas leaders, and it told tens of thousands of residents to leave Gaza's border areas ahead of more strikes. In nine days of fighting, the Palestinian death toll is above 200.

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Syrian President Assad sworn in for 3rd term

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad has been sworn in for a third term, as the country's civil war continues. Assad took the oath of office from the presidential palace in Damascus, broadcast live today on State TV. Assad was re-elected last month in a landslide victory in a vote dismissed by the opposition and its Western allies as a sham. Voting did not take place in areas engulfed in fighting.

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2 subway employees detained over Moscow derailment

MOSCOW (AP) — Two Moscow subway workers are being questioned following yesterday's rush-hour train derailment that killed 22 people and injured 136 others. Investigators say a new rail switch at the point where the train left the tracks was not properly installed during repairs in May and was attached to the rail only by a single 3-millimeter wire. Authorities say they plan to file charges against the men.

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Egypt sentences 7 to life for sexual assaults

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court has sentenced seven men to life in prison for sexual assaults on women during a number of public rallies in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square. They are the first such heavy sentences against perpetrators of sexual violence following the government's decision to toughen penalties. Sexual violence has been on the rise in Egypt, particularly during public gatherings in the past three years. The charges stemmed from four different incidents of sexual assault, including one during celebrations of the inauguration of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in June. In a nationally televised session Wednesday, the judge sentenced the seven men to life in prison. Three of them received multiple life sentences for taking part in different assaults. Another two men each received two 20-year sentences.

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SPORTS
TUESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

AL All-Stars 5, NL All-Stars 3

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

No Games Scheduled

Frontier League

East vs. West (All Star Game at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Il)

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Bulls use amnesty clause to cut F Boozer

UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Bulls have used the amnesty clause to cut forward Carlos Boozer after four seasons with the team. The Bulls also waived forward Lou Amundson and guards Ronnie Brewer and Mike James on Tuesday. They are clearing salary-cap space to make room for the signing of free-agent center Pau Gasol and the first NBA contract for 2011 draft pick Nikola Mirotic. Boozer came to the Bulls in a sign-and-trade deal with Utah in July 2010. He had one season left on a five-year deal worth roughly $75 million. The amnesty clause allows a team to waive one player during the current labor deal and have 100 percent of his salary taken off the cap and the tax. Boozer is still owed the money.

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Jeter, Trout lead AL over NL 5-3 in All-Star game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Helping send Derek Jeter out a winner in his last All-Star game appearance, Mike Trout drove in two runs with a triple and a double to lead the American League past the National League 5-3 on Tuesday night. Jeter started his 14th and final midsummer gathering of the game's best with a vintage opposite-field double, following an ovation from the Target Field crowd of more than one minute. The Yankees captain went 2 for 2 and was removed to another roar from the fans in the top of the fourth inning. Max Scherzer picked up the victory with a scoreless inning, and Twins closer Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth for the save in front of his home crowd to again give the AL home-field advantage for the World Series. Another hometown favorite, Pat Neshek, took the loss for the NL. Miguel Cabrera homered for the AL.

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House interested in NCAA finances

WASHINGTON (AP) — The NCAA's financial picture has drawn interest on Capitol Hill. Two House members have introduced a bill to require the NCAA, schools, conferences as well as the College Football Playoff to reveal how much money is flowing through college sports. North Carolina Democrat David Price and Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri introduced the bill, saying in a statement it would allow "for the first apples-to-apples comparison" of revenues and spending throughout college sports. The Standardization of Collegiate Oversight of Revenues and Expenditures Act would require the NCAA to make public a standardized financial report for itself and release similar information for schools that already report the data to the NCAA. It also would affect conferences and any entity hosting a postseason competition.

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News for July 15, 2014

LOCAL
Services set for former Illinois congressman Gray

BENTON, Ill. (AP) — 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 p.m. Saturday at the Benton Civic Center. That's where visitation will be from 10 a.m. Saturday until service time.

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FedEx Ground Expands In West Frankfort

In a move expected to boost economic growth in the area, The FedEx Ground distribution facility in West Frankfort will be expanding later this year. The facility, located on Ken Gray Boulevard, will expand to 64,000 square feet allowing it to enhance the speed and service capabilities by one day or more. Officials say the distribution center currently employs about 30 people and expect to hire more with the expansion.

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Illinois Town Wants To Build Medical Marijuana Farm

(Marissa, IL)  --  A small rural town in Southwest Illinois could be the future site of a medical marijuana farm.  A proposal has been sent to the St. Clair County Board that would build a medical cannabis cultivation center in Marissa Illinois.  The facility would supply dispensaries set up as part of a pilot program approved by Governor Pat Quinn last August.  The program was established after Quinn signed a law that lets doctors prescribe marijuana for patients who have chronic diseases like glaucoma.  

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Teen Charged With Murdering Another Teen

(Edwardsville, IL)  --  A 17-year-old boy has been charged in the murder of another teen in Edwardsville Illinois.  Craig D. Miller of Lovejoy is accused of shooting 16-year-old Malik A. Garrett of Venice last Friday.  Authorities say Garrett was found with three gunshot wounds to his chest in the parking lot of Smiley's Market.  He later died at Gateway Regional Medical Center.

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Man accused of shooting 5 in Centreville

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois man is accused of shooting a 7-year-old girl and four other people after an altercation. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County prosecutors have charged 20-year-old Zeric McKinney with five counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. Police say all of the wounded, ages 7 to 28, survived. Authorities say the girl was shot in the buttocks, with the bullet breaking her pelvis. The other victims were wounded in the legs, back, foot and ankle. Police say the victims were gathered July 5 outside an apartment complex when the gunfire took place. An investigator says the shooting happened after an altercation between McKinney and another person that day. Online court records don't show whether McKinney has an attorney. He doesn't have a listed telephone number.

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Woman admits role in Belleville liquor store heist

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois woman faces October sentencing now that she has admitted in federal court her role in a Belleville liquor store robbery a year ago. Twenty-two-year-old Charmonequette Reynolds pleaded guilty to felony counts of conspiracy, interference with commerce by robbery, and use of a firearm during a violent crime. Authorities say Reynolds drove the getaway car for two men involved in the gunpoint robbery of $15,000 from Arena Liquor in Belleville on July 12 of last year. No one was injured. The legal status of the two other suspects was not immediately clear Monday. Reynolds' sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 17.

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Alton Man Dies After Accidentally Shooting Himself

(Alton, IL)  --  An 18-year-old Alton man has died after accidentally shooting himself in the head early Saturday.  Police say Austin Wilcox was playing with a gun that he recently purchased when it went off.  Wilcox was found dead in a chair at his apartment with a single gunshot wound to his head.    

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Madigan Seeks Review For Murray Center Appellate Ruling

Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office is seeking a review of a recent appellate court ruling on the Clinton County case regarding state wards residing at the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.  In April, the Fifth Appellate Court in Mt. Vernon handed down a loss to the AG when the court reaffirmed in its entirety an earlier ruling in Clinton County Court appointing attorney Stewart Freeman as guardian for all state wards of Murray, supporting the Clinton County Court's jurisdiction over 24 probate cases filed in 13 different counties across the state and confirming the individuals who filed the Clinton County case are interested persons justified in filing the cause. In the motion for review, which was filed last week, the AG’s office is challenging all three points ruled on in the original appeal and is seeking to appeal that April ruling. In that ruling, Appellate Judge Judy Cates dismissed the state’s claim that Clinton County has no jurisdiction. She said that to expect each of the OSG wards to go back to their original county and file a petition would simply be wrong. Cates also noted in the appellate court ruling that because of their disabilities, the Murray residents would be unable to bring their case before the courts on their own and so it was indeed proper for people off the street to bring the case before the court. Cates said the functions of a guardian ad litem, such as Freeman, is to act as the eyes and ears of the court and to make recommendations as to what is in the best interests of and what will protect the immediate welfare of the wards. Freeman has recommended transferred wards be returned to Murray. The circuit court had also ordered the state to not transfer any other state wards from the Murray Center without Freeman’s consent. A similar order was issued from the federal court regarding Murray residents who have private guardians. Madigan’s office claims in its latest filing that the traditional role of the guardian ad litem is not to advocate for what the ward wants, but instead to make recommendation to the court as to what is in the ward’s best interests. It says Clinton County’s order runs afoul of the basic understanding of the role of a guardian ad litem in guardianship proceedings, and the appellate court needs to correct that error.

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Mt. Vernon Man Indicted On Meth Charges

A federal grand jury seated in Benton has indicted a 30-year-old Mt. Vernon man on multiple methamphetamine related charges. Robert A. Tate has been indicted on two counts, the first alleges that from February 2013, until on or about June 2014, in Jefferson County, Tate knowingly conspired to manufacture meth. Count 2 alleges that on March 31, 2014, in Jefferson County, Tate knowingly and intentionally distributed meth. If convicted, each count could result in Tate being sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison, fined $1 million and serving at least 3 years parole. The investigation into the case was conducted by the joint narcotics unit of the Mt. Vernon police department and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. The case is being handled by assistant U.S. Attorney George Norwood.

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Air Force says 300 jobs to be cut at Scott

MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) — Nearly 300 jobs are to be cut at Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the Air Force made the announcement Monday as part of a review that aims to cut about 3,500 jobs nationally and save $1.6 billion over five years. The announcement comes just weeks after the Air Force said about 320 new jobs would be located at Scott this summer to staff two cybersecurity squadrons. Scott-based Air Mobility Command spokesman Mark Voorhis says it's still not clear how the cuts will affect the command. He says it's "still being worked out." The cuts will be a combination of civilian and military jobs. 375th Air Mobility Wing spokeswoman Karen Pettit declined comment until receiving more information about the cuts.

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STATE
Senator Durbin Says Migrant Kids Not A Danger

(Chicago, IL)  --  Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says migrant kids are not a danger to people who live in Illinois.  The Chicago lawmaker went on a tour Monday to a shelter that houses the children from a recent group of minors that crossed the U.S. border.  Durbin's statement came shortly after Senator Mark Kirk and some other Republican lawmakers accused some of the kids could be in a gang or at risk of being recruited by gangs.  The shelters are operated by Heartland Alliance, which is a nonprofit group with a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Medical marijuana rules before Illinois committee

CHICAGO (AP) — Not a single marijuana seed has been planted in Illinois' pilot medical cannabis program. But medical marijuana is inching closer to reality and a meeting set for Tuesday will shape the program's future. A legislative rules committee is meeting in Chicago to review — and possibly approve — the proposed regulations for the program. Approval would mean the state could launch the application process for marijuana growers, retailers and patients. The new state law allows 21 marijuana cultivation centers and 60 dispensaries geographically scattered around Illinois. Aspiring marijuana entrepreneurs hope to be growing the plant by later this fall for sale in early 2015 to patients who qualify for a medical marijuana card. The Marijuana Policy Project estimates more than 10,000 qualifying patients could eventually sign up.

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Quinn Says State's Overdue Bills Shrinking

(Springfield, IL) -- Governor Pat Quinn is bragging about winnowing down the state's pile of unpaid bills to three-point-nine-billion dollars, the lowest point since 2010 when it was just under ten-billion dollars. State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says the picture isn't that rosy, though. She says Quinn's not counting Medicaid bills that are waiting to be paid, but not yet past due. Including those bills pushes the backlog to four-point-four-billion dollars.

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Corruption In Illinois Cost 13-Hundred Dollars Per Taxpayer

(Chicago, IL)  --  Political misconduct in Illinois is costing taxpayers quite a bit.  A study in the Public Administration Review publication shows that statewide corruption by elected officials is averaging a price tag of 13-hundred-eight-dollars per person.  The report also found that most official misconduct is connected to huge public works projects, police and corrections, wages and borrowing.

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Ill. governor hopefuls rip each other's records

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois governor candidates are hammering each other's records on business and caring for the developmentally disabled. Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Paul Vallas blasted Republican Bruce Rauner Monday after a published report said a long-term care company once tied to Rauner faced lawsuits and disciplinary action over resident mistreatment, fatalities and "deplorable" living conditions. Vallas suggests Rauner profited from substandard care and should be questioned about his involvement. GOP officials shot back with allegations of neglect at state facilities under Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's tenure. Rauner spoke Tuesday at a business forum hosted by a black pastor. Rauner claims Quinn hasn't delivered for blacks and cites the lack of jobs and educational opportunities. Quinn's campaign disputes that, saying there's been an increase of contracts to minority-owned businesses under Quinn.

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Rauner: Not involved with facilities facing suits


CHICAGO (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is responding to claims that a long-term care company tied to his former private equity firm faced claims of resident mistreatment. The venture capitalist's firm launched American Habilitation Services as a for-profit company in 1996. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports allegations against American Habilitation Services include fatalities and "deplorable" living conditions. Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate Paul Vallas suggested Monday that Rauner profited from substandard care. Rauner tells The Associated Press that it's fair to criticize the company and management team. However, he says he wasn't personally involved. Earlier Monday, the Republican spoke at an economic forum at Chicago State University and blasted Quinn's record. Quinn's office says his appearance had been tentative and the Chicago Democrat wasn't feeling well Monday.

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USDA: Illinois corn, soybean crops faring well

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Illinois' latest crop of corn and soybeans is shaping up. The USDA says in its weekly crop-status update that 81 percent of the state's corn is rated as either good or excellent. That's just slightly better than the condition of Illinois soybeans. The USDA considers three-quarters of that crop to be in good or excellent shape. Some 90 percent of the state's wheat harvest is now complete, in line with the average pace of the previous five years.

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Illinois lawmakers look to ease prison crowding

CHICAGO (AP) — A group of legislators is looking for new ways to address crime in Illinois communities and overcrowding in the state's prisons and jails. The newly formed Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee is set to meet Tuesday in Chicago. The bipartisan committee also will look at how to reduce racial disparities in sentencing and the number of people released from prison who commit new crimes.Rep. Mike Zalewski is a Riverside Democrat. He pushed to create the committee during the recent legislative session. Zalewski tells WUIS radio that for many years, lawmakers' method of dealing with crime was to increase the penalty for it. He says legislators are realizing that may not be the best solution. The committee is expected to issue recommendations by the end of the year.

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NATIONAL
2 Missing in western Pennsylvania house explosion

DARLINGTON, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say two people are unaccounted for after an early morning house explosion in a rural area of western Pennsylvania. Emergency dispatchers in Beaver County say the blast at the South Beaver Township residence was reported at about 4 a.m. Tuesday. South Beaver Township is about 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Officials say fire crews were told to keep their distance because ammunition inside the residence was going off. Police said some debris flew a quarter of a mile away from the home. There was no immediate information about the cause of the blast or the identities of the two people reported missing.

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Proposal would fine California water-wasters

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California regulators are considering fines up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, fountains, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses. The State Water Resources Control Board is meeting today in Sacramento and is expected to vote on the proposed rules late in the day. The rules would prohibit the watering of landscaping to the point that runoff spills onto sidewalks or streets. Hosing down sidewalks, driveways and other hard surfaces would be banned along with washing vehicles without a shut-off nozzle. Violations would be infractions punishable by the fines, although most cities are likely to have a sliding scale that starts with a warning and increases for repeat violations. The board estimates that its proposed restrictions could save enough water to supply more than 3.5 million people a year.

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House to take up highway bill as deadline looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is set to act on a bill that would temporarily patch over a multibillion-dollar pothole in federal highway and transit programs while ducking the issue of how to put the programs on sound financial footing. The bill by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp cobbles together $10.8 billion in pension tax changes, customs fees and money from a fund to repair leaking underground fuel storage tanks to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent through May 2015. A similar bill is pending in the Senate. The Transportation Department says that by the first week in August the fund will no longer have enough money to cover promised aid to states, and the government will begin to stretch out payments.

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Bowe Bergdahl To Get A Desk Job

(San Antonio, TX)  --  After years of being kept in captivity by the Taliban, Bowe Bergdahl is getting a desk job.  The Army sergeant was cleared to return to duty after weeks of counseling.  He's expected to start work at Fort Sam Houston in Texas in the next day or two.  An investigation continues into whether he intended to desert his post in 2009.   There's still controversy about Bergdahl's release by the Taliban in return for prisoners who had been held at Guantanamo Bay. 

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Deportations Of Migrants Begin

(Undated)  --  The government is starting to deport some of the Central American migrants who have flooded over the border in recent months.  Homeland Security agents tell NBC News a flight carrying dozens of the migrants, many of them children, left New Mexico yesterday and arrived in Honduras.  The deportations are expected to continue throughout the week, with more migrants being returned to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. 

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Obama pushing research on cars that talk to cars

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is envisioning a time when cars will be able to talk with other cars or with America's roads. He says such technology could prevent crashes, cut down on traffic and save gasoline. Today Obama will visit a federal highway research center in northern Virginia. The White House says he will highlight partnerships between the Transportation Department, auto-makers and the University of Michigan. The groups are developing and testing vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technology. The trip is part of Obama's push for Congress to shore up funding for highways and transportation. He says that's key to keeping the U.S. competitive. Obama wants a long-term commitment to keep money flowing to states. His administration has warned that the Highway Trust Fund will need help by early August.

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Study: US Alzheimer's rate seems to be dropping

UNDATED (AP) — New studies show that the rate of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias is falling in the United States and some other rich countries. But the total number of cases continues to rise because more people are living to an old age. One study finds that an American over age 60 today has a 44 percent lower chance of developing dementia than a similar-aged person did roughly 30 years ago. Scientists think the trend is due to better education and control health factors such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

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Peace Corps to allow applicants to choose location

WASHINGTON (AP) — People applying to the Peace Corps can now pick where they want to serve. Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet says allowing applicants to pick specific countries to serve in "will help Peace Corps recruit Americans who are not just interested in imagining a better world, but rolling up their sleeves and doing something about it." The time it takes to fill out an application online also has been reduced, from eight hours to about one hour.

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Lawmakers Offer Bipartisan Bill On Border Crisis

(Undated)  --  A Republican and a Democrat from Texas are offering a bipartisan bill to stem the crisis of unaccompanied children at the border.  Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar and Republican Senator John Cornyn are sponsoring the measure that would empower the federal government to speed up immigration hearings for children now held at processing stations in several states.  About 57-thousand unaccompanied migrants younger than 18 have been taken into custody at the southwest border since October.  Most are from Central America.

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US retail sales tick up just 0.2 percent in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales increased slightly in June, a sign that consumers remain cautious despite steady job gains this year. The Commerce Department says retail sales rose just 0.2 percent last month, held back by a sharp drop at building materials and garden supply stores. Sales also fell at restaurants and at auto dealers. The figures suggest that Americans are reluctant to spend freely, which could slow growth in the April-June quarter. Retail sales are closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the economy. There were some good signs: A measure of retail sales that excludes volatile categories such as gasoline rose at a solid 0.7 percent clip. Clothing stores, sporting goods stores and department stores all recorded sales gains.

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Reynolds Nails Down Big Cig Merger

(Undated)  --  Tobacco giant Reynolds American is taking over rival Lorillard in a 27-billion dollar cash-and-stock deal.  Reynolds is the maker of Camel cigarettes and will add Lorillard's flagship brand Newport to its lineup.  In a separate deal, Reynolds agreed to sell off the Kool, Winston, Salem and Blue Cigs brands to Imperial Tobacco Group for seven-point-one-billion dollars. 

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Mayo Clinic Is Top Hospital In U.S.

(Washington, DC)  --  The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota is the nation's top hospital.  The latest rankings from "U.S. News and World Report" put Mayo in the number one spot, followed by Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital, and John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  Cleveland Clinic was named the best hospital to visit for issues related to cardiology or heart surgery. 

--------------------

INTERNATIONAL
Deadly subway train derailment in Moscow

MOSCOW (AP) — At least 20 people are dead and at least 150 have been taken to the hospital following a subway train derailment in Moscow. City Hall officials say about 50 of the injured are in grave condition. Russian emergency officials initially said several cars derailed in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm that caused the train to stop abruptly. But now, investigators say a power surge was not the issue and that they are considering a fault in the train cars or the sinking of the roadbed among the possible causes.

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Israeli military says it's resumed Gaza airstrikes

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military says it has resumed airstrikes on Gaza after Hamas militants violated a de-escalation brokered by Egypt. Military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner says that after holding its fire for six hours Israel has "resumed operational activities." The military says that during the six hours Gaza militants fired about 50 rockets all over Israel. No injuries were reported. The de-escalation period was meant to lead to detailed cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas and end a week of fighting that has killed more than 190 Palestinians and exposed millions of Israelis to rocket fire from Gaza. Israel accepted the Egyptian truce plan, but vowed to hit Gaza hard if Hamas rejected the deal.

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Kerry cites big gaps in nuclear talks with Iran

VIENNA (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says "very real gaps" persist between world powers and Iran over the contours of a nuclear agreement as a Sunday deadline for a deal approaches. Kerry is citing some progress after two days of nuclear talks with Iran and America's European partners in the Austrian capital of Vienna. But he says much work remains. Kerry says he is returning to Washington on Tuesday to consult with President Barack Obama and Congress about the state of negotiations. He says he will also discuss the possibility of extending the talks past the deadline so negotiations can continue.

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Iraqi parliament breaks deadlock to elect speaker

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi lawmakers have broken their deadlock and elected a new speaker of parliament — the first step toward forming a new government. The legislature chose Sunni lawmaker Salim al-Jubouri as the new speaker with 194 votes Tuesday in the 328-seat parliament. It was unclear whether al-Jubouri's election indicated that a larger agreement had been struck among political blocs for the posts of president and prime minister. Under an informal agreement that took hold after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the speaker's chair goes to a Sunni, the presidency to a Kurd and the prime minister's post to a Shiite. Parliament is under pressure to move quickly to fill all three posts and form a new government that can confront the Sunni militants who have overrun much of northern and western Iraq.

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Libya considers calling for international troops

CAIRO (AP) — Libya's interim government says it is considering requesting the international community to send troops to the country after three days of fighting destroyed large parts of the capital's airport. In a statement posted on its official website early Tuesday, the government also urged all rival parties to cease hostilities, saying commanders who violate its orders would face charges of "crimes against humanity." It added that a national committee would supervise the withdrawal of militias from the airport area to outside the city. The government also said that 90 percent of the aircraft at the airport were hit in the shelling, while several buildings, including the customs house, were completely destroyed. The fighting was some of the most intense seen in Tripoli since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled in 2011.

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SPORTS
MONDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Cespedes repeats in Home Run Derby

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes is the first back-to-back champion of the Home Run Derby since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998-99. The Oakland slugger defeated Cincinnati's Todd Frazier 9-1 in the final round of the crowd-pleasing exhibition at Target Field. Cespedes launched one ball in the final that went an estimated 452 feet.

TUESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

All-Star Game at Minneapolis, MN, 7 p.m.

Frontier League

No Games Scheduled-All Star Break

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Bulls make 2 trades to clear salary-cap space

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls have made two trades to clear salary-cap space, setting the stage for the addition of free-agent center Pau Gasol. The Bulls sent forward Anthony Randolph, two second-round draft picks and cash considerations to Orlando for the rights to Milovan Rakovic. Randolph was acquired in a draft-night trade with Denver that gave the Bulls the rights to high-scoring Creighton forward Doug McDermott. Chicago also traded forward Greg Smith to Dallas on Monday for the rights to Tadija Dragicevic. The Bulls signed Smith in April after he was waived by Houston, but he never appeared in a game with Chicago. The pair of moves helps make room for Gasol, who announced over the weekend that he planned to join the Bulls.

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US chooses 19 players for men's basketball roster

UNDATED (AP) — Derrick Rose and four returnees from the 2012 Olympic men's basketball champions are among the 19 players selected for this summer's U.S. national team roster. Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, James Harden and Anthony Davis were the four holdovers announced Monday, along with new additions DeMar DeRozan of Toronto and Chandler Parsons, who is leaving Houston for Dallas. Players will report to training camp in Las Vegas this month, with the roster cut to 12 for the World Cup of Basketball in Spain. Rose is trying to make the team after his NBA season was cut short by another knee operation. The rest of the roster: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, Paul George, Damian Lillard, Gordon Hayward, DeMarcus Cousins, Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried and Kyle Korver.

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Kevin Dineen hired as Blackhawks assistant

CHICAGO (AP) — Kevin Dineen, who coached Canada's women's hockey team to a gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, has returned to the NHL as an assistant with the Chicago Blackhawks. Dineen was head coach of the Florida Panthers for two-plus seasons before being fired last fall. In addition to winning gold in Sochi, the 50-year-old led Canada's under-18 men's team to a bronze medal at the world championship in Finland in April. Dineen was teammates with Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville from 1984 to 1990 when they played for the Hartford Whalers. Dineen replaces Jamie Kompon, who became general manager and coach of the WHL's Portland Winterhawks, filling the void left by Mike Johnston when he took the head job in Pittsburgh.

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Hernandez vs Wainwright in All-Star game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Seattle's Felix Hernandez will start Tuesday night's All-Star game for the American League and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals will open for the National League. Hernandez, the first Venezuelan pitcher to start for the All-Stars, is 11-2 with a 2.12 ERA. He is just the second Seattle pitcher to start an All-Star game following Randy Johnson in 1995 and 1997. NL manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals chose the ace of his own staff. Wainwright is 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA and three complete games in 19 starts. It will be the 11th All-Star start by a Cardinals pitcher.

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Eastern Illinois hires new athletic director

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) — Eastern Illinois University has hired University of Illinois administrator Tom Michael as the Panthers' new athletic director. EIU announced Monday that Michael will take over on Aug. 11 He replaces Barbara Burke who left in April for Tulane University. Michael is the senior associate athletic director at Illinois. He has been a key figure in that school's ongoing renovation of the State Farm Center basketball arena. Michael was also a basketball player at Illinois in the early 1990s. Michael said in a news release that the 18 years he has worked at Illinois have prepared him to take over at EIU. Dan Nadler is EIU's vice president of student affairs. He called Michael a "well-rounded administrator" who will be committed to athletic and academic development at the Charleston school.

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News for July 14, 2014

LOCAL
Mt. Vernon City Council Will Hold Workshop Monday

The Mt. Vernon City Council will hold a workshop meeting on Monday. On the agenda is the second reading of an ordinance amending Article 8, Section 8.1, Fire & Police Commission, allowing for immediate solicitation of internal and external candidates for the position of Police Chief, Fire Chief, Assistant Police Chief, and Assistant Fire Chief and a discussion related to policies regarding 1st and 2nd Reading of Ordinances. The meeting will be held at 3:00 p.m.

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Former US Rep. Ken Gray dies in southern Illinois

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Ken Gray, who represented southern Illinois in Congress and earned the nickname the "Prince of Pork," has died at age 89. Officials with Parker-Reedy Funeral Home in West Frankfort said Sunday that Gray died late Saturday at a hospital in Herrin after a long illness. Gray was elected to Congress in 1954 and served ten terms. He returned to Congress in 1984 to serve two terms. Gray was a colorful figure during his time in Washington and the Democrat was known for bringing about $7 billion in federal projects to his district. Those projects included a prison, an interstate highway, post offices and hospitals. In 2008 a portion of Interstate 57 in southern Illinois was named after Gray, who helped write the Interstate Highway Act of 1956.

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Man Loses License After Hit-And-Run Death

(Breese, IL)  --  A man accused of killing a woman in a hit-and-run won't be on the road anytime soon.  State officials have suspended 25-year-old Johnathan Nast's driver's license, claiming he's a danger to road safety.  Nast allegedly ran over Lana Albert last month in Breese, Illinois.  Police say instead of turning himself in, Nast tried to sell his truck to a scrap yard, hoping to get rid of the evidence.  Nast is free on bond as he waits for his trial to start. 

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S. 34th Street To Close For Reconstruction

The City of Mt. Vernon will be closing South 34th Street between the Aquatic Zoo entrance and Harlan Road on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014.  The closure is due to reconstruction of the roadway.  The closure will be effective until all construction activities south of the Aquatic Zoo are complete. Motorists wishing to access the Cusumano Sports Complex fields or Harlan Road will be detoured to South 28th Street.  Access to the Aquatic Zoo will only be available from the north. Details on the reopening of South 34th Street and when the roadway will be closed north of the Aquatic Zoo will come at a later date.

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Mt. Vernon HS BOE To Hold Special Meeting

Mt. Vernon Township High School Board of Education will hold a special board meeting this evening.  There will be a presentation and discussion on the new high school, McCarthy Construction, and FGM Architects as well as for advertisements of bids for the new high school building project.  The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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Michigan Man Sentenced To Prison For Highland Bank

Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Ramsey Z. Fakhouri, 22, of Troy, Michigan, was sentenced Friday in federal district court in East St. Louis for Bank Robbery. Chief Judge David R. Herndon sentenced Fakhouri to 78 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. The charges relate to the robbery of the Bradford National Bank in Highland, Illinois, on Valentine’s Day this year. The case was investigated by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Highland Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen B. Clark.

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Illinois school's trash is sustainability treasure

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University is preparing to spiff up its campus using tons of trash. The Southern Illinoisan reports a new composting facility will start operation this week. The facility is unique in the Midwest because it uses air circulation to cut normal composting time in half. Air forced into waste bins accelerates the decomposing process. The center is expected to process around 15 tons of waste every two months. Compost will be used in flower beds and gardens around campus. The university's sustainability coordinator says composting will help reduce the school's carbon footprint.

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Man Gets Life Sentence In Friend's Death

(Belleville, IL)  --  An East St. Louis man is being held responsible for his friend's death, even though he didn't actually kill him.  Gregory Muse and Corey Ranson broke into a pawn shop back in 2011.  The shop owner opened fire and shot Ranson to death.  Muse was charged as an accomplice in the killing and was convicted of first-degree-murder.  He was sentenced to life last Friday. 

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Cyber Security Headquarters Coming To Illinois

(Mascoutah, IL)  --  Military crews in Illinois will head up one of the nation's biggest cybersecurity operations.  Officials at Scott Air Force base are doling out 16-million-dollars to rehab a few buildings and turn them into cyber security headquarters.  The idea is to shut down and prevent thousands of cyber-attacks that are forged against the U.S. military and corporations each day.  Airmen at Scott will be in charge of defending both military and civilian networks, and they'll launch attacks on enemy sites when it's necessary. 

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Southern Illinois woman charged in death of father

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois woman is accused of bludgeoning her 82-year-old father to death in his Granite City home. Prosecutors in Madison County charged 54-year-old Diane Kelly with two counts of first-degree murder. Authorities say that Granite City police responding to a report of a body at a home early Thursday found Woodrow Dilday dead with visible head injuries. Coroner Steve Nonn says preliminary autopsy findings suggest Dilday died of blunt-force trauma to the head. Prosecutors say Dilday's wife — Kelly's mother — also was home at the time of the alleged beating death but was not injured. Online court records don't show whether Kelly has an attorney. She does not have a listed home telephone number.

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Police: No injuries when car hits apartment site

SHILOH, Ill. (AP) — Police in the southwestern Illinois community of Shiloh says no one was injured when a car slammed into an apartment building, damaging two of the units. The Belleville News-Democrat reports the car's 27-year-old driver was trying to park on Friday when the vehicle suddenly surged forward and hit the building. Police say the car sustained slight damage. But the apartment building's wall buckled. Police say the driver was not ticketed and that they do not believe alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash. The driver said he would have the car towed to a repair shop to determine why it reportedly sped out of control.

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Illinois man accused of DUI crash that killed wife

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois man is free on bond after being accused of causing his wife's death in a drunken driving crash in January. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County prosecutors have charged 51-year-old Todd Barnett with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. Both are felonies. Authorities allege the Lebanon man was driving a vehicle Jan. 24 when it crashed on Interstate 64 in East St. Louis, killing 54-year-old Julie Barnett. Barnett surrendered himself to O'Fallon police on Thursday night and was freed on $40,000 bond. Online court records don't show whether he has an attorney. He does not have a listed home telephone number.

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Man gets 8 years for convenience store robbery

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois man has been ordered to spend eight years in federal prison for robbing a convenience store last year. Twenty-five-year-old Jahrastafar Jamal Farmer of Fairview Heights also was sentenced this week to three years of post-prison supervised release and must pay more than $200 in restitution. Farmer pleaded guilty to robbery charges. Authorities say that during his robbery last November of the Moto Mart store in Fairview Heights, Farmer ordered an employee and customer to the floor at gunpoint before fleeing with the cash he's now ordered to repay. Prosecutors say text messages found on Farmer's cellphone indicated he was having financial difficulties.

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Man Dies After Motorcycle Hits Building

(Alton, IL)  --  An Alton, Illinois man is dead after the motorcycle he was riding crashed into a building.  Authorities say 44-year-old Bruce Norfleet was going west when he ran off the road and hit a building in the 100-block of East St. Louis Avenue.  Norfleet was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

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STATE
Funeral Monday for ex-US Sen. Dixon

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Funeral services are scheduled for former U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon of Illinois. Among those expected to attend Monday's funeral at Lindenwood University in Bellville are U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and former Gov. Jim Thompson. Dixon's former chief of staff, Gene Callahan, is also expected to attend. Dixon died on July 6 at his home in Fairview Heights. He was 86. The Democrat's career in politics spanned more than 40 years. He was in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1993, serving as the third-ranking Democrat. He also chaired a subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee. A private burial for family and close friends will follow.

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Ill. Treasurer's interns had political connections

CHICAGO (AP) — A published report says Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford's office has offered paid internships to several young people with political connections. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Rutherford's office kept a list of applicants and the name of the person who referred them. Among those who referred interns were House Speaker Michael Madigan and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush. Rutherford himself recommended a 16-year-old member of the wealthy Pritzker family. That person was hired one year after a relative donated $50,000 to Rutherford's campaign fund. Rutherford's office says clout played no role in who got internships. The office had 58 interns in 2013 — the same year Rutherford launched his bid for the Republican nomination for governor. The treasurer's office had eight paid interns in the final year under Rutherford's predecessor.

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Gov. Quinn repeats call for assault-weapons ban


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is once again calling for legislation that would ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The Democrat addressed the issue at a news conference on Sunday. He spoke in the Morgan Park neighborhood — a South Side Chicago community that's been affected by gun violence. Quinn is specifically pushing for the passage of the Illinois Public Safety Act. Under that proposed act, holders of Firearms Owners Identification Cards who now own assault weapons would be able to keep them. But they wouldn't be allowed to transfer or sell them — except to a family member. Quinn says war is "being waged on our streets." And he says it's a war fueled in part by the availability of military-style assault weapons.

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Illinois attorney general to address alleged scams

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois' attorney general plans to announce legal action against what her office says are new student loan debt scams. A statement from Lisa Madigan's office says she'll provide details on Monday about planned lawsuits. The statement provided few details. But it did say one target was a company based in Chicago. Madigan's office has addressed similar issues before. She's alleged misleading practices by some for-profit colleges, including deceptive lending practices.

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New Law Aims To Help Dyslexic Students

(Chicago, IL)  --  A new law aims to help dyslexic students succeed in the classroom.  It recognizes dyslexia as a learning disability and sets up an advisory board aimed at helping teachers and school administrators understand dyslexia.  It also ensures the students have access to special education services.  Governor Quinn says the whole point of the new law is to make sure the students don't fall behind. 

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Former Marine named Illinois veterans director

CHICAGO (AP) — A U.S. Marine veteran who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan has been named acting director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. Rodrigo Garcia has served as assistant director since 2011. He's also been an advocate for student veterans and is national chairman of the Board of Directors for Student Veterans of America. Gov. Pat Quinn announced the appointment Thursday. Garcia replaces Erica Borggren, who is leaving to head the Illinois Department of Transportation. The agency serves Illinois' 744,000 veterans. In a news release, Quinn calls Garcia "battle-tested" as both a Marine and as assistant director of the agency. He's from Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. Garcia studied finance at Northeastern Illinois University. He has post-graduate degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University.

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U of Illinois speeding up search for new president


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is speeding up its search for a new president. The News-Gazette in Champaign reports the presidential search committee wants to name a successor to President Robert Easter before Thanksgiving. Easter is set to retire next June. University officials originally said they wanted to select his replacement by the end of this year. But search committee members said Friday they want a new president in place in time to choose a new chancellor for the university's Chicago campus. University of Illinois-Chicago Chancellor Paula Meares is stepping down in January. The committee also heard from Easter about what they should look for in the next president. He says his successor should have an academic background, experience at a top university, familiarity with Illinois and "substantial global experience."

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NATIONAL
Police: Suspect arrested in death of La. woman

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Louisiana authorities say the three children of a man wanted in the death of a woman found bludgeoned in her bathtub have been found and are safe. Sheriff's deputies in Jefferson Parish say 43-year-old Pedro Alberto Monterroso-Navas, of Metairie, was arrested in a trailer park in Katy, Texas, late last night. He faces a second-degree murder charge. His children were with him. Authorities haven't released the identity of the 25-year-old victim.

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Oregon fire still growing

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — Officials say dozens of people have evacuated ahead of a fast-growing wildfire in southern Oregon that has already destroyed an undetermined number of homes. Officials say they'll have a better idea of the damage from the 4 ½-square mile wildfire when the sun comes up. No injuries have been reported.

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Obama to press for action on transportation funds

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will press Congress this week to keep highway and transit aid flowing to states. The White House says Obama will discuss the issue during remarks Tuesday at a facility in Virginia that tests new technologies for highway transportation. He'll also tout the need to invest in the nation's infrastructure Thursday during a trip to Delaware, where he'll announce an initiative to increase private sector investment. House and Senate committees took steps last week toward shoring up the federal Highway Trust Fund. The administration has warned that by early August the fund will no longer have enough money to cover promised aid to states, and the government will begin to stretch out payments. States have been told to expect a 28 percent reduction in aid on average.

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Archie to be shot saving gay friend in comic book

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Veronica, Betty and Jughead - say so long to Archie. The cartoon character that's entertained people for almost 75 years will die a hero. In Wednesday's installment of "Life with Archie," the freckle-faced icon will take a bullet for his gay best friend Kevin Keller. Keller is a married military veteran and newly elected senator who's pushing for more gun control in Riverdale after his husband was involved in a shooting.

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Sump pump culprit in mysterious odor

SKIPPACK TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — Authorities in suburban Philadelphia are blaming basement sump pumps for an odor that prompted the voluntary evacuation of about 100 homes in Skippack Township. The Montgomery County Department of Public Safety says the county hazardous response team, state Department of Environmental Protection and federal Environmental Protection Agency are working to identify the compound involved. Reports of the noxious smell began shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday in a neighborhood and an emergency shelter was set up at the local elementary school. Some residents went to a hospital as a precaution and were released. Residents are being asked to contact the township to have their homes tested for the presence of the compound before returning home.

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Fla. man accused of leaving boy, 7, in hot car

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Sheriff's officials in Florida say a man faces child neglect charges after leaving his 7-year-old son inside a car while he worked at a Jacksonville furniture store. A woman called authorities Sunday morning when she saw the child before she went into the store where Hamid Ahmad Nike Mohammad Ahmadzada was cleaning. A police report says the car windows were partially open. The boy spoke limited English but told police his father, an Afghan immigrant, was inside the store. It was 88 degrees outside when he was found. The Florida Times-Union reports a translator indicated to authorities that Ahmadzada asked for an attorney The store manager says the child could have waited in an air-conditioned break area.

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VW to build new SUV in Tennessee, add 2,000 jobs

DETROIT (AP) — Volkswagen says it will build a new seven-passenger SUV at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory, adding about 2,000 jobs. The German automaker says it will invest $600 million in the factory and a new research center that will employ about 200 engineers. Production of the new SUV is scheduled to start at the end of 2016. The plant now employs about 1,500 workers and makes only one model, the Passat midsize car. The company says the SUV is part of a plan to increase U.S. sales to 800,000 vehicles by 2018. VW sold just over 407,000 vehicles in the U.S. last year including its Audi, Lamborghini and Bentley brands. The new model is seen as key to reviving Volkswagen's flagging sales in the U.S.

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Fire destroys restaurant owned by terror suspect

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A fire has destroyed a New York restaurant owned by a man charged last month with plotting vengeance attacks against members of the U.S. military and the Muslim community. Local media report that firefighters responded late Sunday night to a report of a fire at the former Mojoes Restaurant in Rochester. Firefighters had to break down the boarded-up door of the building to get inside. Officials say the restaurant's interior was destroyed. In June, the restaurant's 30-year-old owner, Mufid Elfgeeh, was arrested after federal prosecutors said he bought two unregistered guns from an FBI informant. Investigators say he plotted to kill returning U.S. troops for American actions overseas and Shiite Muslims over the civil war in Syria. Elfgeeh, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen, is being held in Monroe County Jail.

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Citigroup settles subprime mortgage case for $7B

WASHINGTON (AP) — Citigroup will pay roughly $7 billion to settle an investigation into risky subprime mortgages, the type that helped fuel the financial crisis. The agreement announced today comes weeks after talks between the two sides broke down, prompting the Justice Department to warn that it would sue one of the nation's biggest banks. The settlement stems from the sale of securities made up of subprime mortgages which fueled the boom and bust that triggered the Great Recession in 2007. Citigroup, among other banks, downplayed the risks of subprime mortgages when packaging them selling them to mutual funds, investment trusts, pensions, as well as other banks and investors. J.P. Morgan is the only other major U.S. bank to settle so far, though Bank of America is reportedly in talks to do so.

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Store accepts a 25-year-old gift certificate

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts pop culture store has honored a 25-year-old gift certificate. Sierra Wales, assistant manager at That's Entertainment in Worcester, says a longtime customer recently brought in the $10 gift certificate bought in 1989. She tells The Republican newspaper that the gift certificate had been sitting in a drawer for years. The customer had been meaning to bring it in for some time and finally remembered over the Fourth of July weekend. She noted that the gift certificate was older than most employees and had actually been bought at the store's old location. The customer used it to buy a graphic novel. The 34-year-old business sells comic books, graphic novels, toys, sports memorabilia, music and other pop culture items. Wales says, "When we say it never expires, we really mean it."

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INTERNATIONAL
Israel charges Palestinian teen's alleged killers

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has charged three Jews with the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager whose death set off days of violent protests in Arab areas of Jerusalem and northern Israel. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the three appeared before a court on Monday. He says the suspects admitted to abducting 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir and setting him on fire. Rosenfeld says they also re-enacted the murder. Abu Khdeir was taken on July 2 near his home in east Jerusalem and his charred body was later found in a forest. Israel's Shin Bet security service says the suspects, whose names were not released, were motivated by revenge after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers. Police are investigating three others for involvement in the killing. They remain under house arrest.

----------------------------

Fierce fighting near rebel-held city in Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Fighting has intensified around the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk as government forces step up efforts to disrupt rebel lines and claim more territory from the faltering insurgency. The Defense Ministry said Monday that government troops had retaken several villages around the rebel-controlled city and reopened a corridor to the airport. A spokeswoman for the Luhansk People's Republic told The Associated Press that separatist fighters destroyed a Ukrainian armed convoy in the village of Heorhiivka, 10 kilometers (6 miles) west of the airport. She says at least three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in that clash. In the last two weeks, the government has halved the territory held by the pro-Russia fighters, who have been forced back into strongholds around the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk.

--------------------------

Activist Malala in Nigeria: 'Bring Back Our Girls'

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai is celebrating her 17th birthday in Nigeria and meeting with the parents of some 219 girls still held by Islamic extremists, and with the dozens that escaped. She says, "My birthday wish this year is Bring Back Our Girls now and alive." The teenager who escaped a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012 is to meet President Goodluck Jonathan later Monday. On Sunday she met in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, with parents of the kidnapped girls and some of the dozens who escaped the abduction before dawn April 15 in northeast Chibok town. The parents and Chibok community have been begging Jonathan to negotiate with Boko Haram extremists demanding that he release scores of detained insurgents in exchange for the girls. Jonathan so far has refused.

---------------------------------

SPORTS
SATURDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

St. Louis 10, Milwaukee 2
Atlanta 11, Chicago Cubs 6
Chicago White Sox 6, Cleveland 2

Frontier League

Southern Illinois 6, Gateway 2
Evansville 6, Lake Erie 1

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Cleveland 3, Chicago White Sox 2
Milwaukee 11, St. Louis 2
Atlanta 10, Chicago Cubs 7

Frontier League

Southern Illinois 10, Gateway 5
Lake Erie 3, Evansville 2

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Home Run Derby in Minneapolis, MN

Frontier League

All-Star Break

-----------------------------

Gasol Leaving Lakers, Joining Bulls

(Undated) -- NBA forward Pau Gasol is heading to the Windy City. The 13-year veteran has agreed to join the Chicago Bulls after spending the last six-plus seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. Gasol posted a message on Twitter revealing his intentions. The 34-year-old Spaniard played 60 games for the Lakers last season, averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds.

--------------------

Ramirez out with stiff back

CLEVELAND (AP) — White Sox All-Star shortstop Alexei Ramirez was out of Sunday's lineup due to a stiff back. Ramirez was removed from Saturday's game in the fourth inning. He said following the game that he expected to play in Tuesday's All-Star game in Minneapolis. Ramirez is batting .282 with eight homers, 41 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 95 games. Shortstop Carlos Sanchez, called up from Triple-A Charlotte, made his major league debut and is batted second. He was added to the roster when right-hander Andre Rienzo was optioned to Charlotte.

--------------------------------

Cards' Wainwright could pitch in All-Star game

MILWAUKEE (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright could pitch in Tuesday's All-Star game despite going seven innings in Saturday's win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Mike Matheny, who will lead the National League, said the right-hander told him before Sunday's game against Milwaukee that he felt good and could go at the All-Star game at Target Field. Wainwright is 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA. Tuesday would be his scheduled day to throw in between starts. Matheny said Wainwright hasn't done much lobbying to pitch. Matheny is making his first appearance as an All-Star manager. He said he expects his players to compete like their "postseason is on the line." The Cardinals were trying to finish a three-game sweep Sunday in Milwaukee.

------------------------

News for July 10, 2014

LOCAL
Effingham Woman Pleads Guilty, Sentenced For Murder

(Effingham, IL)  --  An Effingham woman will serve 25 years behind bars after she pled guilty to second degree murder.  Prosecutors say 58-year-old Christine Barr confessed to the 2011 stabbing death of Joseph Delaney.  The southern Illinois woman also pleaded guilty Monday to concealment of a homicidal death for trying to do away with the victim's body.  A hiker discovered Delaney's body along the Embarras River less than a year later.

---------------------------

Hazmat Spill After Semi Overturns

(West Frankfort, IL)  --  West Frankfort officials are investigating what might have caused a tanker truck to overturn.  The incident happened yesterday afternoon at the intersection of Routes 37 and 149.  The tanker was leaking a highly flammable resin.  The driver was not hurt. The area reopened mid-morning. The chemical never posed a threat to the community, so evacuations were not needed.

------------------

Ill. inmate loses sentence appeal in murder case

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A man serving 20 years in prison for his role in a man's 2007 southwestern Illinois kidnapping and beating death has lost his bid to have his sentence reduced. The (Alton) Telegraph reports a Madison County judge on Tuesday rejected 27-year-old Terry Ballinger's request to lower the prison sentence he received in 2009. Ballinger insisted he was a "young, immature child" when he participated in the death of 41-year-old Ernest Walker of Alton, and that he has tried to reform himself in prison. Ballinger was among four men charged in the beating and slashing death of Walker. Walker's body was found in Wellston, Missouri. Authorities said Walker's throat had been slit and he had been so badly beaten he had to be identified through fingerprints.

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Police shoot, kill Missouri man in Granite City

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) — Police in southwestern Illinois' Granite City say officers have shot and killed a Missouri man who reportedly threatened them with a handgun. Investigators did not immediately identify the 45-year-old man from the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles. Police say the shooting happened when officers were dispatched shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday to a reported disturbance at a convenience store. Authorities say police confronted the man in his car. The officers weren't injured. Illinois State Police are assisting in the investigation.

--------------------------------

Alton Police Confiscate Over 300 Pounds Of Fireworks

(Alton, IL)  --  After a number of injuries were reported, police in Alton, Illinois have confiscated a large amount fireworks.  Several people were injured over the 4th of July holiday including a teenager who lost a thumb.  In response, police confiscated over 300-pounds of fireworks.

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Coal company accuses Ill. rival of double-cross

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One of the biggest U.S. coal-mining companies is accusing an Illinois rival of a double-cross. Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp. clams in a lawsuit that Williamson Energy LLC since 2009 has bought up parcels of southern Illinois land Murray wanted to expand its coal operations. Murray argues Williamson did that using Murray's confidential information shared with Williamson during an ill-fated deal between the two companies. The lawsuit has been filed in southern Illinois' Saline County, where Murray has some of its operations. The lawsuit claims Williamson breached terms of a confidentiality agreement. The suit asks that Williamson be blocked from making similar land purchases and forced to offer Murray mineral rights to the land already bought. Messages left with St. Louis-based Foresight Energy, Williamson Energy's corporate parent, haven't been returned.

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Driver That Killed Family Members in DUI Crash Pleads Guilty In Hamilton County

The driver that was involved in a crash last fall that killed five of his family members in Hamilton County could get up to 20 years in prison. 49-year-old Darrell Delong appeared in a Hamilton County Court Tuesday and pled guilty to one count of aggravated DUI. Delong's sentencing will take place August 19. Officials say he'll be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence. Delong was the only person to survive the crash on November 23 that happened on Anderson School Road. Police reports say he lost control of the SUV he was driving causing the vehicle to leave the road and overturning several times killing his in-laws, a niece and his wife. His stepdaughter survived the crash and was taken to an Evansville hospital, where she died the following day.

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Man gets 10 months in prison for benefits theft

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — An East St. Louis man has been ordered to spend 10 months in federal prison for stealing more than $25,000 in unemployment compensation. Kenneth Loving was sentenced Tuesday in East St. Louis after pleading guilty to a felony count of embezzlement of public funds. He also was ordered to spend three years on post-prison supervised release and to repay $200 a month in restitution. Authorities say Loving stole the funds administered by the Illinois Department of Employment Security while working for Midwest Service Group Inc.

---------------------------------

Former Mt. Vernon Educator Named New City Grade School Superintendent in Centralia

A new Centralia City Grade School Superintendent was named last night at a special meeting. Craig Clark, the current superintendent of Dodds Elementary School in Mt. Vernon, will be the permanent replacement for David Rademacher, who resigned effective June 30th to become superintendent at the Meridian School District in Mounds, Illinois. Retired superintendent Tom Hawkins has been serving as interim superintendent while the board searched for Rademacher’s replacement. School Board President Ron Johnson says that Clark will officially take over the reins from Hawkins sometimes in August, although the exact date has yet to be determined. Clark, a Wayne City native, has been an educator for 19 years, working at several area schools including as a teacher at Summersville School in Mt. Vernon and as principal at Raccoon School. He says he took the job at Centralia after seeing the determination of the school board. Along with his education career, he has produced a DirecTv show and DVD series called “The
Harvesters Guild”.

------------------------------------------------------

Two Centralia Men Held On Sex Charges

Two Centralia men are being held this morning in the Marion County Jail, on charges of criminal sexual assault and unlawful restraint, in connection with an alleged incident last week. Police say 31-year-old Jason E. Starks and 23-year-old Donald D. Nunn sexually assaulted a 17-year-old female on July 3 and held her against her will. It’s anticipated the two men will be arraigned this morning in Marion County Court.

-------------------------------------------

STATE
Topinka: Income tax rollback means '$2B collapse'

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is warning of "a $2 billion collapse" next year when the state's temporary income tax increase begins to roll back. The Republican seeking re-election made stops in Quincy and Jacksonville on Tuesday. Lawmakers approved a temporary income tax hike in 2011. But it's set to decrease from 5 percent to 3.75 percent in January leaving a big budget hole. Gov. Pat Quinn has pushed for extending the increase, but the idea has been unpopular in an election year. Topinka likens the decrease to a "heart attack" to state finances. She says she'd rather see it phased out over two years to give lawmakers time to cut spending. Topinka is facing a November challenge from Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, a Democrat.

-------------------------------------

State sends schools checks on time, for once

CHICAGO (AP) — 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 revenue that may not materialize. All-purpose state aid has been doled out to schools on time by the state in recent years. But grant money for programs including transportation has been lumped into the state's backlog of unpaid bills.

----------------

Report: Rauner firm gave contribution after deal

CHICAGO (AP) — Crain's Chicago Business reports that a company once partially owned by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner started making campaign contributions to Illinois Democrats just after it won a multimillion-dollar Cook County contract. In 2000 the Cook County Board approved a deal with HealthRev Inc. to collect Medicaid bills. County records show HealthRev was paid $8.8 million. HealthRev was owned until 2004 by GTCR LLC, a firm partially owned by Rauner. State records obtained by Crain's show that just after the deal was approved the company made the first of $8,000 in contributions to then-Cook County President John Stroger's campaign and a related account. The company gave $5,000 more to House Speaker Michael Madigan. A Rauner spokesman says Rauner had no knowledge of the contributions.

------------------------

State lags in hiring to oversee 'fracking' accord

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has hired just four of 53 new employees it says it needs to oversee a much praised compromise on regulating hydraulic fracturing. The agency has come under increasing criticism from "fracking" supporters who had hoped that high-volume oil and gas drilling could begin this summer.They say the agency should have finished writing rules to implement the state's year-old fracking law. But the agency doesn't yet have enough experts to issue permits, inspect wells and perform other tasks associated with the anticipated influx of drilling activity.DNR Director Marc Miller says the agency is making good progress, and will meet a Nov. 15 deadline. He says 23 jobs are posted, and the agency should have 15 people on board by the end of July.

---------------

Five Thousand Gay Couples Now Married In Illinois

(Chicago, IL)  --  More than five-thousand same-sex couples in Illinois have taken the trip down the aisle and said "I-do."  That's according to a new survey of all 102 counties, conducted by Equality Illinois.  The stats reveal that more than 32-hundred marriage licenses have been issues since a judge ruled the couples could go ahead and tie the knot.  Nearly 17-hundred civil unions have been converted to marriages. 

-------------------

Adopted Adults To Get Access To Birth Records

(Chicago, IL)  --  Adopted people in Illinois won't have to be in the dark about their biological families much longer.  Governor Pat Quinn signed a law yesterday, allowing adoptees to get their hands on their original birth records. He says the information will be vital when it comes to determining inherited traits and medical histories. 

-------------------

Winter hard on some of Illinois' wheat crop

TOLONO, Ill. (AP) — As Illinois farmers work their way through the winter wheat harvest, many are finding the harsh winter was tough on their crops. Some farmers in parts of central Illinois are saying their production is down. John Little of Tolono south of Champaign tells The News-Gazette he expects his 40 acres of winter wheat to yield a crop that might be near average. He's guessing about 75 bushels an acre. In past years that figure was as high as 90. Little blamed cold and the wet spring that followed. Fred Kolb is a crop sciences professor at the University of Illinois. He says wheat crops were slow coming out of winter. Wheat is a relatively minor crop in much of Illinois.

--------------------------

American Coins Offered In Unclaimed Property Auction

SPRINGFIELD - June 23, 2014 - Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford has announced the next Illinois Treasurer's Online Unclaimed Property Auction featuring a vast array of coins including Liberty coins, a John F. Kennedy commemorative dollar coin covered in 24K gold, Franklin half dollars, Roosevelt dimes, Jefferson wartime nickels, a series of 1982 Lincoln pennies, and bicentennial pennies. Other items include $2 bills, a $1 Virginia Treasury bill, USA stamps, jewelry, silver bars, presidential campaign buttons and silverware. The auction will begin closing at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 11.  All items for sale in this auction have been appraised by an outside vendor, and the sale price of each lot must reach at least 75 percent of the appraised value. Buyers are responsible for purchasing their auction winnings with either a Visa or MasterCard. Other arrangements will be available for purchases over $10,000. Additionally, a 2 percent administrative fee will be assessed, and buyers are required to pay for shipping through the preferred list of shippers. Rutherford also encouraged folks to check to see if they personally may have a claim for any of the items that may be part of the auction. If you would like to participate in the upcoming Illinois Treasurer's Online Unclaimed Property Auction, please visit www.treasurer.il.gov and follow the link to the auction. One must register to become an active bidder. For questions about registration, please contact 217-785-6998.

-------------------------------------

NATIONAL
Deadly Texas rampage

SPRING, Texas (AP) — Investigators in Spring, Texas plan today to charge a man in the shooting deaths of four of his children and two adults in a suburban Houston home. Deputies went to the scene last night after getting a 911 call from the man's 15-year-old daughter, who was also shot and critical wounded. Authorities say she was able to warn deputies that her father was headed to her grandparents' home to kill them. The father, who was upset about his broken marriage, was taken into custody following a three-hour stand-off in his car.

----------------------------------

Obama Speaks On Southwest Border Crisis

(Dallas, TX)  --  President Obama says most of the unaccompanied migrant children crossing the southwest border will not stay in the U.S.  Obama's comments came after a roundtable discussion with Texas Governor Rick Perry and other state and local leaders about the influx of unaccompanied minors across the border.  Senator Ted Cruz says President Obama is causing a humanitarian crisis at the border.  Cruz says Obama's policies have encouraged the flood of undocumented migrants. 

-----------------------

AP Exclusive: Disabled often banned from voting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An advocacy group says thousands of people with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities have been banned from the voting booth by Los Angeles County courts, in violation of federal law. A complaint to be filed today with the U.S. Justice Department by the Disability and Abuse Project says adults with those disabilities, which can include cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, routinely lose the right to vote when challenged in court. The complaint says Los Angeles Superior Court is violating federal voting and disability laws in those cases. It seeks to restore eligibility for adults who have lost the right to vote.

--------------------------------------

Holmes Trial Delayed Again

(Centennial, CO)  --  The trial for the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting suspect is being pushed back again.  The judge has granted a request to delay the results of the second mental evaluation for accused shooter James Holmes.  That report will now be delivered on October 15th, which is the day after jury selection was supposed to start.  Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on charges of killing 12 people and wounding dozens of others nearly two years ago.  The trial has been delayed a number of times.

---------------

Cleanup of ND pipeline spill could last weeks

MANDAREE, N.D. (AP) — Company officials say cleanup efforts are expected to take weeks after a pipeline on North Dakota's Fort Berthold Indian Reservation leaked around 1 million gallons of saltwater. Some of the fluid found its way to a tributary of a lake that provides drinking water to the reservation. Tribal and company officials say the leak near Mandaree has been isolated and drinking water is unaffected. Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall tells The Associated Press that the underground pipeline owned by Aero Pipeline LCC leaked about 24,000 barrels, or about 1 million gallons. The company says the leak started over the weekend and was discovered Tuesday. Aero Pipeline is a subsidiary of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream Partners. Saltwater is a byproduct of oil production that's 10 to 30 times saltier than seawater.

------------------------------------------

Report: Chinese hackers hit US personnel networks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The New York Times is reporting that Chinese hackers broke into the computer networks of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management earlier this year with the intention of accessing the files of tens of thousands of federal employees who had applied for top-secret security clearances. The Times reports that senior U.S. officials say the hackers gained access to some of the agency's databases in March before the threat was detected and blocked. Just how far the hackers penetrated the agency's systems is not yet clear. A Homeland Security Department official confirms to the Times that an attack occurred but says that no loss of personally identifiable information has been identified. The Office of Personnel Management houses personal information for all federal employees.

-----------------------------------------

No one hurt as commuter train, truck collide

SAN DIMAS, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say no one was hurt when a commuter train with about 50 people aboard and a truck collided in San Dimas. The accident happened around 10 p.m. last night at a rail crossing. Metrolink says one of its trains from San Bernardino was involved in the crash. Both Los Angeles County fire and sheriff's officials say there were no injuries to the truck driver or anyone on the train. The Los Angeles Times reports that the train hit the rear end of an empty big rig.

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Authorities: Prostitute gave exec fatal heroin hit

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — An upscale prostitute is accused of shooting up a Silicon Valley executive with heroin and leaving him to die on his yacht. Twenty-six-year-old Alix Tichelman is being held on $1.5 million bail in the death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes, who was found dead on his 50-foot yacht in November. At the time, an obituary described Hayes as a beloved husband and father of five who enjoyed time with his family and on his boat. Police say surveillance footage from the yacht shows everything.

--------------------------------------

US unemployment aid applications fall to 304,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, driving down the level of applications to nearly the lowest in seven years. The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000. That's not far from a reading of 298,000 two months ago, which was the lowest since 2007, before the Great Recession began. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dipped 3,500 to 311,500, the second-lowest level since August 2007. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the low readings indicate that employers are letting go of fewer workers. The figures are the latest sign that the job market is steadily improving. Employers are adding jobs at a healthy clip and the unemployment rate is at a 5 1/2-year low.

------------------------------

Crews work to restore power after Eastern storms

SMITHFIELD, N.Y. (AP) — Utility crews are working to restore power in some Eastern states hit by severe storms earlier in the week, and one rural New York town is picking through the debris from homes battered by a deadly tornado. A total of five people died in Tuesday's strong storms that blew down buildings, trees and utility lines and left hundreds of thousands without power into early Thursday. About 14,000 utility customers across New York were still without power Thursday. In Pennsylvania, where more than 350,000 customers lost power at the peak of the storms, 16,400 were still without electricity almost two days after the storms. In New York, four people were killed in the rural town of Smithfield, between Utica and Syracuse. In Manchester, Maryland, a tree fell at the River Valley Ranch summer camp, killing one child and injuring six others headed to a shelter.

------------------------------

Several unaccounted for after Mass. apartment fire

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — Authorities say several people are unaccounted for after an early morning fire in a Massachusetts apartment building. A spokeswoman for the state Fire Marshal says three to five people are unaccounted for after the fire in the three-story building in Lowell. The three-alarm blaze was reported at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday. Deputy Fire Chief Patrick McCabe says firefighters are going through the building looking for victims, a task made more difficult by heavy damage. He says 48 people lived in the building, which had businesses on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors. Several people had to be rescued from upper floors and taken to the hospital. He didn't have an exact count. Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says the cause remains under investigation.

-----------------------------------

'Game of Thrones' earns a leading 19 Emmy nods

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fantasy saga "Game of Thrones," defying the Emmy Awards' grudging respect for genre fare, emerged as the leader in the nominations announced Thursday with 19 bids, including best drama series. The meth kingpin drama "Breaking Bad" was next in line with 16 bids for its final season, including best drama and best actor nod for star Bryan Cranston. Other top nominees included a pair of ambitious miniseries, "Fargo," with 18 bids, and "American Horror Story: Coven," with 17. The AIDS drama "The Normal Heart" received 16 nominations, including best TV movie.

---------------------------------------

INTERNATIONAL
Kerry: Crisis in Israel, Gaza, needs de-escalation

BEIJING (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. is trying to stem the surging violence in Israel and Gaza in a way that allows the Jewish state to continue defending itself from Hamas rocket fire. Kerry, in Beijing for a summit with Chinese leaders, says it's a "dangerous moment" for the Mideast. Hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza since the killings of three Israeli and one Palestinian teenagers sparked tensions. Dozens of Palestinians have died in Israeli attacks. Kerry says no country can accept such rocket attacks. But he says de-escalating the crisis is ultimately in everyone's interests. Kerry says he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The goal, he says, is to see if there is some way to restore peace.

--------------------------------

Officials: US drone strike in Pakistan kills 6

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — Two Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected American drone strike has killed six militants in a northwestern tribal region where the military has launched an operation against local and foreign militants. The intelligence officials say the strike happened Thursday morning in the town of in Datta Khel in North Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The U.S. drone strikes are a serious source of tension between Washington and Islamabad. The Pakistani government regularly denounces the strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty. The latest strike took place in the same region where the Pakistan army last month launched a much-awaited operation against militants, who use North Waziristan as a base to carry out attacks.

---------------------------

Jihadi fighters on the offensive in northern Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say jihadi fighters using weapons they recently captured in neighboring Iraq are battling to take predominantly Kurdish areas in northern Syria. Kurdish official Nawaf Khalil says members of the Islamic State group are trying to capture an area near the Turkish border to link with their positions east of the country. He and other activists say Thursday's fighting is concentrating in the region of Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab. Mustafa Osso, a Turkey-based Kurdish activist who has wide contacts in northern Syria. says the aim of the offensive is to take the entire Kobani area. Osso says those standing against the Islamic State group are mostly members of the People's Protection Units, the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party.

--------------------------------

Russia to Ukraine: We can monitor border together

MOSCOW (AP) — A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry says Moscow is willing to invite its Ukrainian counterparts to monitor the border together. Pro-Russia rebels have been fighting government troops in eastern Ukraine for more than three months, leaving at least 400 dead. Kiev has accused Moscow of supplying the rebels with weapons and smuggling them across the border. Moscow denies this claim. Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday that Russia could invite Ukrainian border guards to patrol the border together at two border posts. Lukashevich added, however, this would only be possible in case of a cease-fire. The rebels have several Ukrainian border posts under their control and Ukraine has unsuccessfully demanded them back.

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SPORTS
WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Boston 5, Chicago White Sox 4
Cincinnati 4, Chicago Cubs 1
St. Louis 5, Pittsburgh 2

Frontier League

Gateway 7, Rockford 6
Evansville 10, Traverse City 0
Traverse City 4, Evansville 3
Windy City 11, Southern Illinois 3

THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati, 11:35 a.m.
Chicago White Sox at Boston, 3:05 p.m.
Pittsburgh at St. Louis, 6:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 5:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Traverse City at Evansville
Gateway at Rockford
Windy City at Southern Illinois

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Cubs to pitch another Wrigley expansion plan

CHICAGO (AP) — The squabble between the Chicago Cubs and the owners of the rooftop venues that peek over the walls of Wrigley Field is heading back to City Hall. The Cubs will ask the city's landmarks commission Thursday to approve a massive $500 million renovation project that is even more extensive than the project that the same commission and then the City Council approved last year. The Cubs are pushing for five more signs to go with the Jumbotron and another video board in the outfield. Rooftop owners are expected to oppose the proposal. The signs would affect views of the field that the businesses depend on, and potentially violate the revenue-sharing contract the rooftop owners have with the team.

---------------------------

Cubs call up 2B Alcantara while Barney's gone

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Chicago Cubs are giving one of their prospects a chance to spend a couple of days in the majors, promoting second baseman Arismendy Alcantara while infielder Darwin Barney is on paternity leave. Alcantara, 22, was in the starting lineup batting second against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night. He batted .307 with 25 doubles, 11 triples, 10 homers and 41 RBIs for Triple-A Iowa. When Barney returns, Alcantara will go back to the minors. Barney is batting .224 with 10 doubles, one triple, two homers and 16 RBIs in 70 games. As planned, the Cubs called up right-hander Dallas Beeler to make his second major league start in Cincinnati. They optioned left-hander Chris Rusin to Iowa. Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada also was returned to Iowa, a day after his debut.

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Kelly set to return to Cardinals rotation

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly is set to return to the rotation Friday from a hamstring injury that's sidelined him nearly three months. Kelly was injured running to first on April 17. He's 1-1 with an 0.59 ERA in three starts heading into the start in Milwaukee and was 10-5 last year with a 2.69 ERA. The right-hander is one of three starters on the 15-day disabled list. Michael Wacha is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his pitching shoulder sustained in mid-June and lefty Jaime Garcia will undergo season-ending thoracic outlet surgery on Friday in St. Louis to relieve nerve issues that caused numbness and tingling in his shoulder, arm and hand resulting in a loss of feel for his pitches. Lefty Kevin Siegrist was set to begin a minor rehab stint from a forearm strain that landed him on the DL on May 24.

--------------------------------

Cardinals C Molina leaves game with sprained thumb

ST. LOUIS (AP) — All-Star catcher Yadier Molina has been removed from the St. Louis Cardinals' game against Pittsburgh in the third inning with a sprained right thumb. The team said the injury will be re-evaluated Thursday. A trainer attended to Molina on the field Wednesday night after he slid feet first into third base in the second inning. Molina remained in the game and caught the top of the third before he was lifted for pinch-hitter Tony Cruz in the bottom half. Cruz then replaced Molina behind the plate. Molina was voted to his sixth straight NL All-Star team Sunday and is a starter for the fourth time. He doubled in the second inning and was hitting .287 with seven homers and 30 RBIs.

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Blackhawks, Toews, Kane agree to 8-year extensions

CHICAGO (AP) — The Blackhawks have agreed to eight-year contract extensions with captain Jonathan Toews (tayvz) and star forward Patrick Kane. General manager Stan Bowman said all along that the extensions were his biggest offseason priority, and the team announced the megadeals Wednesday. The Blackhawks did not release the value of the deals that keep the two stars in Chicago through the 2022-23 season. Chicago selected Toews with the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft, and grabbed Kane with the No. 1 overall selection the following year. They combined to lead the Blackhawks to Stanley Cup titles in 2010 and 2013. Kane had 29 goals and 40 assists and Toews finished with 28 goals and 40 assists this season. The Blackhawks lost to Los Angeles in the Western Conference finals.

-----------------------------

News for July 9, 2014

LOCAL
SIU names acting Carbondale chancellor

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University has named Paul Sarvela as acting chancellor of its Carbondale campus. The SIU Board of Trustees met on Tuesday selected Sarvela. He is the Carbondale campus' president for academic affairs. SIU System President Randy J. Dunn said in a news release that he believes Sarvela has the leadership skills to unite the campus. He replaces outgoing chancellor Rita Cheng. Cheng has been named president of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. SIU President Randy Dunn says Cheng completed her work on the Carbondale campus last week and is taking vacation leave pending the start of her new job later this month. Cheng had been the Carbondale school's chancellor since 2010. A process for searching for Cheng's permanent successor will be sorted out after an SIU board meeting later this month.

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Coroner: Bicyclist killed in southern Illinois

WEST CITY, Ill. (AP) — A coroner says a bicyclist has been hit and killed by a pickup truck in southern Illinois' West City. Franklin County Coroner Marty Leffler says 59-year-old John Bruegge Jr. of Benton sustained skull fractures in the crash Tuesday morning and was declared dead at a hospital. No charges have been filed against the truck's driver but Leffler and other local authorities continue to investigate.

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Lawmaker Says NRI Emails Missing

(Glen Carbon, IL) -- A Metro-East lawmaker says the investigators looking into Governor Quinn's scandalized anti-violence program may not be getting all of the emails among the principals in the grant operation. Republican Dwight Kay says a forensic computer expert he hired has said there appear to be emails missing from those given to the Auditor General's office about the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Kay says the expert also says administration of the emails is done by Central Management Services, an agency run at the time in question by a Quinn appointee.

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Power Line Falls Onto Metro East Man

(Granite City, IL)  --  A Metro East man is recovering after a power line fell on top of him.  KMOV-TV reports the victim was working at Granite City Steel early Tuesday morning when the accident happened.  Rescuers who arrived at the scene had to remove the downed line before they could take him to the hospital.  The worker is expected to survive.

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Beef Conference Comes To RLC

Cattle farmers from across the area will gather at Rend Lake College in Ina July 18 for the fifth annual Southern Illinois Beef Conference.   It will run from 9 a.m. to 3 pm. The conference is designed to be useful for cow/calf and stocker/backgrounding producers of all knowledge levels. Several topics involving cattle will be discussed at the conference. The keynote speaker will be Dr. James Pettigrew, animal scientist from the University of Illinois. He will address concerns about the FDA decision on antibiotic use and its potential effects on the cattle industry. The registration fee is $15 per person for registrations received by this Friday or pay $20 at the door. You can register online at web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/.  For more information, call 618-659-4917 or email tsteckle@illinois.edu.

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ISP District 19 Announces June Activity and Enforcement

Carmi, IL – Illinois State Police District 19 Commander, Captain Kelly Hodge, announced today activity and enforcement figures for the month of June.  Troopers in District 19, which includes Wabash, Edwards, Wayne, White, Hamilton, Saline, and Gallatin Counties, answered 340 calls for service and initiated 1,212 incidents in the field during the month.  In addition, enforcement figures totaled 551 citations and 982 written warnings, including 170 speeding citations, 8 DUIs, 115 seatbelt citations, 13 child restraint citations, 256 written warnings for speeding, and 22 criminal arrests. Troopers also assisted 58 motorists, conducted 217 Motor Carrier Inspections, and investigated 39 traffic crashes.  There was one fatal traffic crash, resulting in one fatality, investigated by District 19 during June. During the month, 345 citations and 395 written warnings were issued for “Fatal Four” violations.  These violations are most associated with fatal traffic crashes and include Speeding, DUI, Failure to Wear a Seatbelt, and Distracted Driving.

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Scott air base finalist for agency relocation

MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) — Scott Air Force Base in southwestern Illinois is among six finalist sites for a relocation-minded secret government agency that helped coordinate the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The Defense Department says the air base near Mascoutah east of St. Louis joins five other St. Louis sites, all in Missouri, in the competition for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. That employer of some 3,000 people is now located along the Mississippi River in St. Louis. The Defense Department unit also has a site in the St. Louis suburb of Arnold, Missouri. The agency is a combined defense and intelligence agency responsible for collecting, classifying and analyzing human activity and showing that activity in the form of maps, charts and imagery intelligence. The move is not expected for another seven or eight years.

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Fugitive On The Run Turns Himself In

A 22-year-old Marion County fugitive turned himself in Tuesday night, after nearly four months on the run from the law. John Morton, of Kell, had been on the run since March when he allegedly jumped from the vehicle and fled while on his way to turn himself in to the Marion County Jail and begin serving a 25 year prison sentence. Morton reportedly contacted the U.S. Marshal's Service Tuesday night, and arranged to turn himself in, and was later taken into custody behind his father's Kell home without incident. Morton had pleaded guilty in March to a class x felony charge of aggravated battery of a child under the age of 13 resulting in permanent disability, for which he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty to felony distributing a controlled substance, for which he was sentenced to 5 years in prison to be served consecutively to the 20 year sentence. Marion County Resident Judge Mark Stedelin allowed Morton to take two weeks furlough to get his affairs in order before turning himself in to begin serving the 25 year sentence. On the day Morton was to turn himself in, he instead fled. He now also faces a felony escape charge and additional consecutive sentence. The $25,000 bond his late mother had posted to gain his release following the child battery arrest was forfeited last month to the county.

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Franklin County Coroner Investigating Baby Death

The Franklin County Coroner's Office is currently investigating the death of a 15-month-old baby that was found unresponsive Tuesday morning underneath the father in the parent's bed in Orient. Reports say the mother had fed the baby in the early morning hours and fell asleep with the baby in the bed. When she woke up later, the baby was found underneath the father. The baby was taken by ambulance to Franklin Hospital. The coroner's office does not suspect any foul play and is treating this case as an accidental death. An autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon.

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STATE
Same-Sex Marriage Supporter Named To GOP Leadership

(Springfield, IL) -- A Republican lawmaker who voted for same-sex marriage has been named to the GOP caucus leadership team in the Illinois House. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein was one of three Republican lawmakers who voted for the controversial bill that passed the General Assembly last December. Sullivan survived a primary challenge by an opponent who criticized his vote for same-sex marriage.

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Illinois retired workers wait after high court win

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Retired state workers aren't seeing any immediate advantage from an Illinois Supreme Court ruling last week in their favor. The court found that health insurance coverage is a constitutionally protected retirement benefit. Attorney Donald Craven tells the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises the case is "clearly not over yet." The Springfield attorney represents a group of state workers. The high court is sending the case back to Sangamon County Circuit Court where a judge will decide how to rule in light of the opinion. Retirees are challenging a 2012 law allowing the state to collect money from retirees for their state-subsidized health care. Retirees are continuing to see health insurance fees deducted from their pensions. The money is being held in a special account until the case is resolved.

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Crops In Good Condition

(Springfield, IL) -- The latest crop report from the USDA shows that Illinois crops are in good shape. Crop statistician Mark Scheulesener says corn is doing especially well. As for soybeans, 75-percent are in good to excellent condition. Farmers continue to make progress on the winter wheat harvest. Scheulesener says 82-percent of the crop has been harvested. That's ahead of the five-year average of 79-percent, and well ahead of where the harvest was a year ago when it was 65-percent complete.  The wettest June on record has left corn fields across the Midwest, including Illinois, in line for a record crop. Nationally, the corn crop is expected to jump two-point-eight percent to 14-point-three-billion bushels, the most ever, even though fewer acres were planted this year than last. The expected yield has had a negative impact on price, with corn futures dropping 20 percent since the end of April.

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Quinn to sign bill expanding adoptees rights

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he will sign legislation to designed to help adoptees and their birth family members learn more about their history. Quinn says people have the right to know the first chapter of their lives. He says the information can be vital when determining inherited traits and medical history. The law will help adoptees gain access to that information. House Bill 5949 was sponsored by Chicago Democrats, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz and Sen. Iris Martinez. The bill will help people gain information about their biological family history including obtaining original birth records when one of their grandparents was adopted as a child. Department of Children and Family Services Acting Director Bobbie Gregg notes nearly 17,000 children have been adopted in Illinois over the past 10 years.

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Hunter wants to sell big-game slingshot, sues DNR

TUSCOLA, Ill. (AP) — John "Chief A.J." Huffer enjoys stalking big game. And he likes to do it with a modified slingshot he says can fire arrows fast enough to take down deer. But while the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says Huffer's "sling bow" is OK for smaller animals it isn't approved for deer. Huffer sells the device for $85 and wants to make it available for big game. According to The Herald & Review in Decatur, the 76-year-old Tuscola man has filed a federal lawsuit against the DNR. He claims he's being required to meet performance standards that manufacturers of bows do not. He says the DNR claims his slingshot doesn't generate the velocity needed to be a humane hunting weapon. The DNR did not respond to a request for comment.

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Japanese Beetles Return To Central Illinois

(Springfield, IL)  --  Sangamon County farmers say they are concerned about the return of a certain pest that is eating their soybeans.  The Japanese beetles came mostly in the Morgan County area in mid June.  The ravenous insects aren't affecting Sangamon County as much because the cold winter froze the ground, which resulted in the killing of the beetle's larva.  Experts say the best way to do away with the Japanese beetles is to remove them from the plants and put them in soapy water or rubbing alcohol.

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NATIONAL
Deadly Weather Claims Lives

(Undated)  --  Deadly weather is leaving a trail of destruction from the Midwest to the Northeast.  At least four people were killed when a tornado leveled several houses near Syracuse, New York.  Fire officials in Maryland say one child was killed and at least eight others injured after a storm knocked down trees at a summer camp.  Heavy thunderstorms around Philadelphia left more than 230-thousand homes and businesses in the dark.   

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Obama to meet on immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama flies to Texas today for a trip designed mostly for political fundraising. But now his visit will include a meeting on the immigration crisis at the nation's southern border. Also attending in Dallas will be Gov. Rick Perry and religious and local leaders. On Tuesday, Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to address the thousands of unoccupied young migrants who enter the U.S. illegally.

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Government made $100B in improper payments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government says it made about $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them. And congressional investigators say the figure could be higher. The government says tax credits went to families that didn't qualify, unemployment benefits went to people who had jobs and medical payments were made for treatments that might not have been necessary. A House Oversight subcommittee is holding a hearing on the issue this afternoon.

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Official testifies about VA retaliation

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top official at the Veterans Health Administration says he's sorry that VA employees have suffered retaliation after reporting alleged wrongdoing. James Tuchschmidt was one VA official testifying Tuesday night at a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner says her office has blocked several disciplinary actions against VA employees who reported wrongdoing.

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Deadly storms move through East

SMITHFIELD, N.Y. (AP) — Deadly storms have moved through the eastern part of the U.S. Officials in Smithfield in central New York say four people were killed when a storm rolled through Tuesday night, destroying four homes. The Post-Standard reports one home was ripped from its foundation and tossed into another house. In Carroll County, Maryland, a child was killed when a tree fell at a summer camp. Six other kids were injured.

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Convicted ex-New Orleans mayor to be sentenced

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is scheduled to be sentenced today on bribery, money laundering and other charges. Prosecutors are pressing for a stiff sentence. Nagin was convicted in February of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from businessmen who wanted work from the city or Nagin's support for projects — both before and after Hurricane Katrina.

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Sterling testifies in Los Angeles Clippers trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Donald Sterling is expected to resume his testimony today in a Los Angeles trial to determine whether a deal to sell his NBA Clippers can go through, despite his wishes. NBA owners are scheduled to vote on the deal Sterling's estranged wife Shelly reached to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but there's no deal without the judge's OK.

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Colorado's gay marriage fight echoes drama in 1975

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A judge will hold a hearing today in Colorado on whether the Boulder County Clerk can continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. County Clerk Hillary Hall has issued some 100 licenses since a federal appeal court in Denver overturned Utah's gay marriage ban last month. But the ruling was put on hold. Attorney General John Suthers says Colorado's 2006 gay marriage ban remains on the books.

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Udall cancels appearance at fundraiser with Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, who was to appear with President Barack Obama in Denver at a Democratic fundraiser today, says he's too busy with legislative business in Washington to attend. In a statement, Udall said that "due to last-minute votes and legislative activity" he will be unable to make the trip back to Colorado for the event. He said the Senate was scheduled to vote on the confirmation of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as Housing and Urban Development secretary and he also needed to work on his legislation to expand access to public shooting ranges and "secure women's access to contraception." Udall is seeking re-election but is considered one of the Senate's vulnerable Democrats. Obama's unpopularity makes him a political liability, though Udall had been scheduled to appear at the fundraiser, with news cameras prohibited so there would be no photos of the two men together.

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DOJ To Fast-Track Child Deportations

(Washington, DC)  --  The White House is working to fast-track child deportation hearings in hopes of removing tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrants from the United States.  The government is expected to announce today that children will have priority over adults for deportation hearings.  Several states are dealing with a growing humanitarian crisis as children from Central America continue to cross illegally into the U.S. 

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VA Whistleblowers Appear Before House Committee

(Washington, DC)  --  Whistleblowers in the Veterans Affairs scandal are telling lawmakers in Washington how they were retaliated against for exposing problems in the department.  Dr. Katherine Mitchell blew the whistle on shoddy healthcare at the VA hospital in Phoenix and says some nurses retaliated against her by refusing to answer questions or give verbal reports on patients.  Mitchell told the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs that administrators did nothing to stop this behavior and they ignored her requests for additional resources and training.

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High Pay For High Tech Interns

(Undated)  --  Not all interns are working for nothing.  Interns at Twitter are paid almost 68-hundred dollars a month, which works out to 81-thousand a year.  And they aren't even the highest paid.  That distinction goes to interns at the somewhat hush-hush artificial intelligence and data analytics outfit Palantir.  They're paid more than seven-thousand dollars a month, or 84-thousand a year.

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Report: Courtney Love Lands Role On "Sons Of Anarchy"

(Undated)  --  "Sons of Anarchy" is bringing on another rocker.  The cast for the final season of the hit FX biker drama already includes Marilyn Manson, and now TV Line says Courtney Love has also been recruited for a multi-episode arc.  She'll reportedly be playing the "straight-shooting" preschool teacher of star Charlie Hunnam's eldest son. 

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INTERNATIONAL
Israel again hits Hamas targets

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister is warning that the offensive in the Gaza Strip will be long-term -- and he says it will "expand in the coming days." Israel again struck Hamas sites in Gaza today, the second day of a military operation it says it aimed at stopping rocket fire against Israel. The Palestinians say at least 14 people were killed. Israel's military says it struck about 200 Hamas targets today. But militants continued to fire rockets deep into Israeli territory. Israel has mobilized thousands of troops along the Gaza border ahead of a possible ground operation. After a meeting of his Security Cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's army is "ready for all possibilities." As the fighting stepped up, Egypt said it was in contact with both sides to end the violence. Egypt often serves as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. The fighting is the heaviest between Israel and Hamas since an eight-day battle in November of 2012.

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Iraqi leader accuses Kurds of hosting militants

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister has accused the largely autonomous northern Kurdish region of being a haven for the Islamic extremists and other Sunni militants that have overrun much of the country over the past month. Nouri al-Maliki's comments are likely to cause tensions to spike in the central government's already testy relationship with the Kurdish self-rule region. He did not elaborate on his allegations or provide any evidence to back them up. The Kurdish security force known as the peshmerga has clashed repeatedly with the Sunni militants led by the Islamic State extremist group in recent weeks. Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have fled to the Kurdish-controlled areas to escape the militant onslaught.

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France to ban would-be jihadists from going abroad

PARIS (AP) — France plans to ban citizens suspected of links to radical Islamic groups from leaving the country in a new bill aimed at strengthening anti-terrorist legislation. The draft bill unveiled Wednesday would allow authorities to stop French nationals from traveling if they are suspected of having links to a jihadist network. It would also allow investigators to question and charge people with individual terrorist plans, often described as "lone wolves." The government is concerned to prevent attacks by individuals returning from Syria. Around 600 French nationals are in Syria to fight with radical Islamic groups or are planning to go there, according to the Interior Ministry. The plan is to be presented to Parliament in the coming weeks with an aim for a vote by the end of the year.

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Lawyer: Snowden asks to extend stay in Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian lawyer for former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden says his client has applied to extend his stay in Russia. Anatoly Kucherena said in comments quoted Wednesday by Russian news agencies that Snowden has applied to Russia's migration authorities since his one-year permit is expiring at the end of July. Snowden got stranded in a Moscow airport last year on his way from Hong Kong to Cuba, shortly after he revealed the NSA's sprawling program tapping phones across the country. He received asylum in Russia, attracting the ire of the United States.

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SPORTS
TUESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Cincinnati 4, Chicago Cubs 2, 1st game
Cincinnati 6, Chicago Cubs 5, 2nd game
Chicago White Sox 8, Boston 3
St. Louis 5, Pittsburgh 4

Frontier League

Southern Illinois 2, Windy City 0
Rockford 5, Gateway 4

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago White Sox at Boston, 6:10 p.m.
Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati, 6:10 p.m.
Pittsburgh at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Gateway at Rockford
Traverse City at Evansville (2)
Windy City at Evansville

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IHSA Hearing Canceled

(Chicago, IL)  --  A hearing on the Illinois High School Association scheduled for Tuesday was canceled. The General Assembly's Elementary and Secondary Education Committee held a hearing on the organization that oversees high school sports in May. It canceled yesterday's hearing set for Chicago. Some lawmakers have been critical of the IHSA for a lack of transparency. They want to shift the association's responsibilities to the state. The IHSA says it does post financial audits online and they use profits to pay for sports that don't generate much revenue.

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Cardinals' Garcia to undergo thoracic surgery

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia will undergo thoracic outlet surgery Friday to relieve nerve issues in his pitching arm, shoulder and hand. General manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday that Garcia considered the operation his last viable option. The announcement was made on Garcia's 28th birthday. The Cardinals had already ruled Garcia out for the year and were initially surprised by the pitcher's decision to have the procedure instead of exhausting other treatment options. Garcia is having the surgery done by Dr. Robert Thompson of St. Louis. Garcia also consulted with Gregory Pearl, who did the same surgery on former teammate Chris Carpenter. The surgery wasn't a long-term success from a baseball standpoint for Carpenter, who retired at age 38 after pitching just six more games.

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Illinois trustees eye change in Groce's contract

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — University of Illinois trustees are about to consider changes in basketball coach John Groce's contract. The trustees' Governance, Personnel and Ethics Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday and its agenda includes an item to "amend" Groce's contract. The agenda doesn't provide details. And according to The News-Gazette in Champaign, trustees and university officials declined to discuss the potential changes. But Trustee Karen Hasara noted that Groce is "very popular." Groce makes $1.6 million a year and his contract runs through 2018. The university has already given Groce one raise and a contract extension in the just-over two years he's been on the job. His teams have made the NCAA Tournament and National Invitation Tournament in his two seasons.

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News for July 8, 2014

LOCAL
Mt. Vernon City Council Cancelled Monday Meeting

The storms that came through Mt. Vernon on Monday robbed the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building of power, and thus prevented the Mt. Vernon City Council from holding their scheduled meeting Monday night.  It would've been a light agenda for the Council with a presentation of journals from recent workshops and meetings and the appointment of George W. Beck to the Fire & Police Commission the primary items on the docket.  Those items will have to be tabled until the Council meets next.

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Members say farewell to 1921 Mount Vernon church

MOUNT VERNON, Ill. (AP) — Members of one of the oldest churches in southern Illinois' Jefferson County are saying farewell to the nearly century-old building. St. Mary's Catholic Church in Mount Vernon is scheduled be torn down this week. Maintenance costs on the building were growing and a preservation effort stalled. On Sunday, a special Mass was held to say goodbye to the old church, which dates back to 1921. The congregation meets for services now in a new, bigger church, dedicated last year. Statues and artifacts from the old church have been moved to the new one. The lot will become parking and an expansion of the St. Mary's school playground. Bricks and beams from the old church will be see new life in a wedding chapel in the southern Illinois community of Eldorado.

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Belleville student earns perfect ACT score

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — One Belleville high school student has earned a perfect score of 36 on the college preparatory ACT test. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that 17-year-old A.J. DiGiovanni of Althoff Catholic High School got the perfect score. He says it "was definitely a surprise." The test measures English, math, reading, science and other skills. DiGiovanni says he took practice tests online and says they "were much more difficult" than the real ACT test. DiGiovanni will be a senior this coming school year. He's on the math team, in the science club and is a National Honor Society member. He also is varsity captain of the school's scholar bowl team. DiGiovanni says he wants to pursue a career in science, technology or math.

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Ameren Opening Emergency Center To Help With Outages

(Collinsville, IL)  --  The Ameren Illinois Emergency Operations Center is open to help those who lost power during the storms.  The center based in Collinsville will be opened 24 hours a day to help customers restore service.  For a list of outages, visit the company's website. 

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Woman Dies After Daughter Allegedly Falls Asleep Behind Wheel

(Madison County, IL) -- A Benton, Illinois woman is dead after an accident in Madison County, after her daughter allegedly fell asleep behind the wheel. Officials say 44-year-old Diana M. Reginato died in the crash about 2 a.m. today on Illinois Route 4, slightly south of Blue Spruce Lane, in St. Jacob Township. Authorities say her daughter, 25-year-old Nicole M. Reginato of Eldorado, Illinois, fell asleep and the car hit a tree. Nicole was flown to a hospital.

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Man hurt in West Frankfort explosion identified

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) — A man injured in the explosion of a home in southern Illinois has been identified. Relatives of the man injured in the Sunday afternoon explosion in West Frankfort tell the Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale that he is 20-year-old Casey Hester. He is in a St. Louis hospital. Information about his condition was not immediately available. West Frankfort Fire Department Capt. Craig Lemmon says it doesn't appear that a gas leak caused the explosion. Authorities say the home was structurally unsound. Firefighters tore down the home because of heavy damage. No other properties were damaged. Neighbors say they felt the explosion a block away. Tim Murphy was at his home when he "felt the ground shake" and says he "thought it was a sonic boom.'

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State Money Released For November Tornado Damage

(Washington, IL) -- Governor Pat Quinn is allotting more money to help communities recover from tornadoes that struck the state in November. The state is releasing more than eleven-and-a-half-million dollars to help local governments with their recovery efforts. The city of Brookport and Massac County are among a few communities across the state that will be getting a chunk of $11.6 million in state relief to help local governments recover from last November's deadly tornadoes. Brookport will see just over $1.8 million while Massac County will get $31,399. The money is part of a 45-million-dollar relief package put together by the state after Illinois was denied federal disaster aid for local governments. The governor also signed three new laws Monday in Washington and Gifford. One let's current and retired state workers give part of their paycheck to the Red Cross. A second sets a ten-percent limit on compensation for an insurance adjuster representing a consumer in a disaster claim. The third law prevents an immediate tax hike on repaired or rebuilt business property.


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STATE
Suspect in 2 Illinois killings appears in court


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A man suspected in two Illinois homicides who was arrested after a high-speed chase appeared during a court appearance to be injured. Police say they arrested Terence Doddy July 4 after the car he drove crashed into a tree near Beloit, Wis. According to the Rockford Register-Star, Doddy used a wheelchair and had black eyes when he appeared in a Janesville, Wis., courtroom Monday. Details of his injuries were unavailable. Doddy is charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He has not entered a plea. Illinois State Police say the 36-year-old Doddy is a suspect in the late-June killing of 37-year-old co-worker Todd Hansmeier of Rockford and the July 1 death of 44-year-old Tonya Bargman of Monticello at an Interstate 39 rest stop. Illinois authorities plan to extradite Doddy.

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Treasurer fires 3 administrators

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Associated Press has learned Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford fired three top administrators after an investigation by the treasurer's inspector general. Letters from Rutherford's office obtained by the AP indicate Patrick Carlson, George Daglas and Ashvin Lad were dismissed July 2. Each was dismissed for allegedly violating timekeeping policies and falsifying records. The letter to Carlson says he also violated rules against "workplace harassment." The treasurer's office has been under scrutiny since Rutherford's campaign for governor fizzled last winter after an ex-employee sued him for sexual harassment and allegedly forcing the staff member to do political work on government time. The Republican treasurer declined comment. A spokeswoman says the dismissals involve private personnel matters. Efforts to reach Carlson, Daglas and Lad were not immediately successful.

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Oberweis Remains Optimistic About Chances For Senate

(Champaign, IL)  --  GOP nominee for U.S. Senate  Jim Oberweis says he's aware he has a lot of ground to cover in order to beat incumbent Senator Dick Durbin.  The state senator from Sugar Grove spoke Monday in front of the Champaign County Active Seniors Republicans.  Oberweis told the group that a recent poll had him eight points ahead of Durbin.  In spite of that, he says that there is plenty of room for improvements in raising campaign funds.

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Kirk: Proposal would hurt community colleges

CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is criticizing proposed regulations that proponents argue will protect students who attend some colleges from amassing huge debts they can't pay off. The proposed Obama administration rules would penalize career-oriented programs that produce graduates without the training they need to find a job that will allow them to pay off their debts. The administration has long sought to block federal student aid from programs that don't prepare students for "gainful employment." But Kirk says the regulations would unfairly penalize community colleges and other institutions. And the Illinois Republican says they'd inadvertently harm poorer students who have struggled most economically. In a Monday statement, Kirk argues that institutions that would be most affected often offer good options to "traditionally underserved students."

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Ill. housing agency sees record number of buyers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Housing Development Authority reports more than 4,500 home-buyers have reserved over $500 million in mortgage financing. Officials say that's a record in the agency's 30 years of mortgage lending. The agency says it is a success story that comes as experts recognize the importance of first-time home-buyers in pushing economic development. The Housing Development Authority uses unique ways to help. Officials say the agency offers 30-year fixed-rate loans, competitive interest rates and as much as $10,000 in down-payment assistance. A key program is the governor's Welcome Home Illinois. It offers $7,500 in down-payment assistance with an interest rate as low as 3.75 percent for a 30-year mortgage. The agency also offers special programs for veterans or those who choose to buy a vacant property.

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Surveys to gauge economic impact of Illinois fairs

MENDON, Ill. (AP) — The spending habits of hundreds of fairgoers in 15 Illinois counties are being sought this summer in an effort to gauge the economic impact of agricultural fairs.  The Quincy Herald-Whig reports 4-H Club members plan to survey people who attend the Adams County Fair later this month. Those surveys are part of a project carried out by the University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs. Bill Fugate of the fair association says the results will be used to seek continued funding from state lawmakers. The project began in June at the Greene County Fair and continues through early September in DeKalb. Other counties where fair surveys will be conducted are Champaign, Clark, Fayette, Hamilton, Lake, Marshall, Mason, Massac, Mercer, Monroe, Richland and Whiteside.

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NATIONAL
Mom of baby abandoned in subway in custody

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City police have found the mother suspected of abandoning a baby girl at a Manhattan subway station. Police say the 20-year-old woman is being questioned. She was found just after midnight near 72nd Street and Broadway. No charges have yet been filed. Police say the woman pushed the baby's stroller onto the platform when the northbound No. 1 train arrived at the Columbus Circle station. They say she then got back onto the train. Authorities say the baby, who's 6 to 7 months old, was examined at a hospital and shows no signs of trauma. She's now in the care of the Administration for Children's Services.

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Donald Sterling ordered to testify at Clippers sale trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Donald Sterling has been ordered to appear this afternoon at a hearing in his challenge to his estranged wife's $2 billion deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. Sterling skipped yesterday's opening of the case in a Los Angeles courtroom, and instead, the first testimony came from a neurologist who said the 80-year-old has Alzheimer's disease.

--------------------------------

Addressing a humanitarian crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House officials say they still plan to pursue the speed up of the return of migrant children who've been coming to the U.S. illegally and alone. But for now, the White House will ask Congress for more than $2 billion to address the border crisis, including money for immigration judges, detention facilities and legal aid.

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Obama to dine with woman helped by pay raise

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is calling attention to a Colorado woman who got a raise after Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage. Obama will have dinner in Denver today with a woman the White House is identifying only as Alex. White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer says Alex's boss voluntarily raised her pay the day after Obama's January State of the Union address. That's when Obama urged Congress to raise the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour. Pfeiffer says the raise allowed Alex to pay her rent and groceries without concern and says Alex wrote Obama to thank him. Obama has been meeting recently with Americans who personify economic challenges he's trying to address. He begins a three-day trip today to Colorado and Texas.

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Survey: Math, science grads earn top dollar

WASHINGTON (AP) — A survey by the Department of Education suggests it may matter less whether your alma mater is public or private than what you study — math and science in particular earning recent graduates the most money. The survey looked at the class of 2008 four years after they received their hard-earned bachelor's degrees during one of the nation's worst economic recessions. Overall, college grads reported lower unemployment rates compared to the national average at 6.7 percent. College grads from private four-year schools earned about the same as those from public four-year schools, about $50,000 a year. But while a paltry 16 percent of students took home degrees in science, technology, engineering or math, those who did averaged $65,000 a year compared to $49,500 of graduates of other degrees.

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Washington poised to start legal marijuana sales

SEATTLE (AP) — The first retail marijuana stores will be allowed to open for business in Washington state this morning. Lines already are forming in front of the few stores that got last-minute approval to sell. The store openings are expected to be accompanied by celebration, but also high prices and shortages.

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NYPD: Drone came within 800 feet of chopper

NEW YORK (AP) — Police in New York have arrested two people for operating a drone over the George Washington Bridge that came within 800 feet of a police helicopter. They say the Aviation Unit helicopter spotted the small unmanned aircraft near the bridge early this morning. The drone continued to circle the bridge, forcing the chopper to change course to avoid it. The chopper pilot notified the 34th Precinct in Washington Heights after observing the drone land on a parked vehicle. When police arrived, they recovered two drones with remote controls. Police arrested Wilkins Mendoza and Remy Castro, both of Manhattan, on reckless endangerment charges.

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Police: Men grab $2,000 in soap, hygiene items

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (AP) — Police are trying to figure out why three men walked into a CVS pharmacy in Atlanta's northern suburbs and stole $2,000 in soap and other personal care items. Authorities say the men were filmed by surveillance cameras as they carried out the July 1 heist at a store in Sandy Springs, just north of Atlanta. Sandy Springs police Sgt. Ron Momon tells WSB-TV the men walked into the store and casually grabbed the items, then walked out of the store past cashiers.

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Obama to hold border crisis meeting in Texas

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will discuss the crisis at the border with faith leaders and local officials in Texas Wednesday. The meeting comes as Obama faces pressure to visit the border while he's in Texas this week to raise money for Democratic congressional candidates. The White House has resisted the calls largely from Republicans to take a firsthand look at the tens of thousands of children arriving from Central America. Among those calling for Obama to visit the border is Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry. Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett sent Perry a letter inviting him to Wednesday's meeting in Dallas. Obama has called the situation at the border a "humanitarian crisis." The White House has warned that most of the children arriving at the border will not be allowed to stay in the U.S.

---------------------------------

Holder: Threat from Syria endangers Europe, US

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is calling on European nations to deal more aggressively with the threat posed by Westerners who have traveled to Syria to join the fighting there. In a speech before Norwegian diplomats, Holder is encouraging European countries to pass laws that make it illegal to plan an act of terrorism. He also suggests that law enforcement there conduct undercover operations against citizens planning to visit Syria. He says the situation in Syria represents a "global crisis" and that the region is a "cradle of violent extremism." The speech comes amid growing concerns about citizens from the United States and Europe who are traveling to Syria to join the fight against the Syrian government. U.S. officials fear those individuals could easily return home radicalized and apply terrorist training.

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Man dies at South Dakota hot dog eating contest

CUSTER, S.D. (AP) — A Fourth of July hot dog eating contest in South Dakota turned tragic when a contestant choked to death. Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler tells the Rapid City Journal that 47-year-old Walter Eagle Tail, of Custer, died Thursday at a hospital after attempts to save him failed at the scene. The Custer Chamber of Commerce sponsored the contest. The group canceled a pie-eating contest scheduled for Friday. Chamber Executive Director Dave Ressler says the group is "at a loss for words." Speed-eating competitions are popular over the Fourth of July weekend. Eight-time champion Joey "Jaws" Chestnut managed to eat 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes at the annual Coney Island contest on Friday, eight short of the record 69 he swallowed in the 2013 competition.

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Park: Tree Branch Triggered Partial Derailment Of Six Flags Coaster

(Valencia, CA)  --  Officials at California's Six Flags Magic Mountain say their "Ninja" roller coaster will remain closed while they conduct an investigation into a scary accident.  Nearly two-dozen people ended up stranded roughly 30 feet off the ground yesterday when the ride hit a tree branch and partially derailed.  Some of the 22 people who had to be rescued were stuck for nearly three hours.

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Judge Approves Aaron Hernandez Prison Transfer

(Boston, MA)  --  Former New England Patriots tight end and current murder suspect Aaron Hernandez is being allowed to switch jails.  Hernandez will be moved from a Bristol jail to a state jail near Boston.  That'll give him better access to his lawyers as he prepares for two murder trials.  Hernandez is accused of killing semi-pro player Odin Lloyd in one incident and shooting two other men outside a Boston nightclub in the other. 

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INTERNATIONAL
Israel army authorized to mobilize 40,000 troops

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli government has given the military permission to mobilize up to 40,000 additional reservists. Tuesday's decision came hours after Israel launched an offensive aimed at stopping weeks of heavy rocket fire out of Gaza. The Israeli military says it has struck nearly 100 sites in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to suppress rocket attacks against Israel. The violence comes following the abduction and murders of three Israeli teens and a Palestinian teen. The military said there were no immediate plans to call up the reservists, but the order was a contingency if the offensive needs to be expanded. Israeli officials say the open-ended operation could go on for some time.

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Afghan candidate says Obama, Kerry called him

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah says he received calls from President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after he refused to accept the preliminary result of the vote citing fraud. Abdullah told thousands of supporters at a gathering in Kabul Tuesday that Kerry will be flying to the Afghan capital this Friday for meetings to defuse the crisis. State Department officials accompanying Kerry in Beijing declined to comment on his travel plans. He told his supporters the results of the election were fraudulent but asked them to give him a few more days to negotiate. Abdullah says he will never "accept a fraudulent government." Preliminary results announced Monday showed that Ghani had about 4.5 million votes, or 56 percent, while Abdullah had 3.5 million votes, or 44 percent, according to the commission. Turnout was more than 50 percent.

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Homeland Security Chief In Guatemala Over Migrant Kids

(Undated)  --  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is visiting Guatemala today to meet with government officials about the flood of children trying to cross into the U.S.  Johnson will spend the next two days talking about what his office calls the ongoing government response to the influx of adults, families and unaccompanied children across the southwest border.

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Four NATO Servicemen Killed In Afghanistan

(Kabul)  --  The Taliban is claiming responsibility for an attack that left at least four NATO soldiers dead in Afghanistan today.  The troops were investigating an earlier rocket attack when a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up in a small eastern province village near the Bagram military base.  The service members and several civilians were killed.

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SPORTS
MONDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Cincinnati 9, Chicago Cubs 3
Chicago White Sox 4, Boston 0
St. Louis 2, Pittsburgh 0

TUESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati, 12:10 p.m., 1st game
Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati, 6:10 p.m., 2nd game
Chicago White Sox at Boston, 6:10 p.m.
Pittsburgh at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Windy City at Southern Illinois
Gateway at Rockford

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Cardinals pitcher Wacha not cleared to throw yet

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals say an MRI exam on right-hander Michael Wacha's injured shoulder showed progress, but not enough for him to resume throwing. General manager John Mozeliak said Monday that Wacha, the NL championship series MVP last fall, will be evaluated again in two weeks. He said continued treatment along with weight training to strengthen the area around the stress fracture was in the pitcher's best interests. Wacha has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 18. He's 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA for the defending National League champions. Mozeliak said Joe Kelly, on the DL since April 17 with a left hamstring strain, could return to the rotation Friday at Milwaukee.

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Cardinals recall Lyons, option Gonzales

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals recalled left-hander Tyler Lyons from Triple-A Memphis and optioned fellow lefty Marco Gonzales to the minors, a day after he started against the Marlins. The 26-year-old Lyons was 0-3 with a 6.12 ERA in six appearances, including four starts, earlier this season. He went on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain on May 13 and has made three starts since being reinstated on June 19. The 22-year-old Gonzales made three starts for the Cardinals and was 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA, allowing one run in 4 2-3 innings Sunday while walking five. He was a first-round pick last year and is 5-4 with a 1.89 ERA in 13 starts at Class A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield, and is at the Triple-A level for the first time.

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Blackhawks hire Jimmy Waite as goaltending coach

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks have hired Jimmy Waite to coach their goaltenders. The hiring was announced on Monday. Waite replaces the fired Steve Weeks. nA former goalie, Waite appeared in 106 games with the Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes from 1988 to 1999 and played professionally until 2010. He appeared in 58 games for Chicago over parts of eight seasons from 1988 to 1997. Waite spent the past three seasons as the goaltending coach for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He is the younger brother of former Blackhawks goaltending coach Stephane Waite.

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Illini out of home arena for some games in 2015-16

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois now says its arena renovation project will force its basketball teams to play somewhere other than the campus for a few games during the 2015-16 season. Senior Associate Athletic Director Jason Lener tells The News-Gazette in Champaign that the men's team will play one exhibition game and four nonconference games outside of the State Farm Center. The university looking for venues around the state. Lener declined to name possible locations. Sports information director Kent Brown says some women's games will be moved, too. Details haven't been finalized. The university is in the middle of a $160 million overhaul of the State Farm Center. Work is supposed to wrap up in late 2016 but the university had said the arena could host all home games.

--------------------------------

News for July 7, 2014

LOCAL
Mt. Vernon City Council Meets This Evening

Mt. Vernon City Council will continue with what has been a busy few weeks with a meeting tonight at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building at Veterans Park.  A light agenda for the Council includes a presentation of journals from the June 9th City Council Workshop, June 16th Council meeting, and the June 23rd Joint City Council/Fire & Police Commission Workshop meeting as well as the appointment of George W. Beck to the Fire & Police Commission. The meeting is slated for 7 p.m.

---------------------------------

Explosion Destroys West Frankfort Home

(West Frankfort, IL)  --  West Frankfort police are investigating a house explosion that left a victim in serious condition.  The blast happened Sunday afternoon at the home on 808 East Clark Street.  The 20-year-old man that was injured was flown to Saint Louis with burns.  The house was destroyed and had to be demolished.

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Prison On Lockdown After Guards, Employees Attacked

(Chester, IL) -- Prisoners at the Illinois State Prison in Chester are on lockdown after five employees were attacked. Two food supervisors and three guards were sent to the hospital yesterday, some with broken bones. All five have since been released. At least three inmates were involved in the attack in the Menard Correctional Center's kitchen area. A spokesperson says this was not a case of a fight between inmates being broken up by guards but a direct attack on personnel.

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St. Clair County trapping cats, may raze house

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Officials in St. Clair County want to demolish a house near Belleville that's become a neighborhood nuisance — as soon as they can capture dozens of feral cats living there. Building and Zoning Director Anne Markezich tells the Belleville News-Democrat that the elderly homeowner isn't living in the house anymore. Perhaps as many as 28 cats have been left behind. Markezich says the county's animal control department has been trapping the cats. She says authorities may seek a court order to tear down the house. Neighbors complain about the smell and swarms of flies. They're worried about potential health hazards. Next-door neighbor Jason Kelley tells the newspaper it's difficult to go into his own backyard on a hot day because of the stench coming from the property.

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Lawmaker: Study of Illinois institutions biased


BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A lawmaker is dismissing a $400,000 state-funded study of Illinois' treatment of the developmentally disabled because he says a lead researcher is biased. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the study by the University of Illinois at Chicago found overwhelming support for the closure of the Jacksonville Developmental Center by family members of former residents. The state wants to close the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. Okawville Republican Rep. Charlie Meier opposes that closure. He questioned the UIC study because lead researcher Amie Lulinski also sits on the board of Arc of Illinois — which supports closing Murray. Arc announced in June that Lulinksi is joining the organization's national policy team. Tony Paulauski of Arc of Illinois says the research and its findings are solid.

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Public's help sought to identify grave markers


BETHALTO, Ill. (AP) — Police in a southwestern Illinois village are asking for the public's help in returning grave markers, monuments and statues to families of the deceased. The (Alton) Telegraph reports that the cemetery items were recovered after investigators in April arrested two brothers suspected of stealing them. Police say they have only been able to identify family ownership of 11 of the items, and 14 statues remain unidentified. Authorities say the suspects routinely traveled in Madison, Macoupin and Montgomery counties. Anyone whose relative's gravesite is missing a statue or marker is being asked to contact Bethalto police.

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STATE
Dixon remembered for honesty, hard work


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' elected officials are mourning the death of former U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon. Dixon's son says the 86-year-old Democrat died Sunday. Dixon was a popular state officeholder before serving in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1993.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says Dixon was known for his honesty, hard work and commitment to Illinois. He says Dixon was the first statewide Democrat to voluntarily make a full disclosure of his financial holdings and started bipartisan Illinois congressional lunches. House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, says Dixon was a great leader and representative who "put the public's interests first." Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk calls Dixon a "dedicated public servant." Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn says Dixon had a "patriot's determination" in doing what was best for Illinois and beyond.

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Rockford Murder Suspect Terence Doddy in Police Custody

BELOIT, IL -- Illinois State Police (ISP) confirmed today that the nationwide manhunt to locate Terence Doddy, 36, of Rockford, who is a suspect in the murders of Tonya Bargman, 44 of Monticello, and Todd Hansmeier, 37, of Rockford, has ended. Police apprehended Doddy at approximately 11:23 a.m. on July 4, as he appeared to head in the direction of Wisconsin. The sightings began on Wednesday night (July 3) at approximately 8:00 p.m., when Doddy was spotted by an off duty Winnebago County police officer near Machesney Park.  At approximately 11:00 a.m., on July 4, Doddy was spotted in Rockton after an ISP District 16 trooper observed the Gray Nissan matching the description of Tonya Bargman’s vehicle.  ISP Air Operations also observed the area and provided aerial support on sightings and locations.  Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the law enforcement alert (Rock Island County Sheriff’s, Beloit PD, Winnebago County Sheriff’s, & Rockford PD) in an attempt to apprehend Doddy.  Doddy finally lost control of the Nissan and ISP troopers immediately took him into custody with the assistance of Winnebago Sheriff’s and Beloit PD.  No other injuries were reported. Doddy remains in police custody in Wisconsin and a court date and charges are pending.

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Storms hit some Illinois corn fields hard

JOY, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture said this week that most of Illinois' corn crop is in great shape. But some farmers in western and central Illinois suffered extensive damage from storms on Monday. Ryan Mueller farms near Joy in western Illinois. He believes his crop suffered $60,000 to $70,000 worth of damage from winds well in excess of 60 mph. Monday's high winds and heavy rain hit western and central Illinois hard. But agronomist Joe Franks said some corn plants knocked over by the winds could stand back up and be fine. Agronomy consultant Larry Herrman said that by midweek that was starting to happen in some central Illinois fields.

------------------

Quinn signs Illinois boater safety regulations

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has approved several laws aimed at increasing boater safety on a holiday weekend that many Illinois residents are spending on lakes and rivers. The Chicago Democrat signed the three measures Saturday. They require safety courses, set down rules for towing people on water tubes and impose stricter DUI penalties. Beginning in 2016, residents born after Jan. 1, 1998, must hold a state safety license. The rules apply to those operating watercraft with more than 10 horsepower. Additionally, boaters towing a person must display a foot-long orange flag while the rider is in the water. And residents convicted of three boater-related DUI offenses or people operating a watercraft with revoked licenses could have their boats taken away.

-------------------------------

SCID now part of newborn screening in Illinois

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Illinois newborn babies are now being screened for a rare disease called severe combined immunodeficiency. The (Decatur) Herald and Review reported Sunday that Illinois is the 18th state to test for SCID. It is a rare disorder that causes white blood cells to develop improperly. Patients are susceptible to recurring infections and could develop pneumonia, meningitis or other complications. They can be treated with a stem-cell or bone-marrow transplant. Dr. Mohammed A. Khan is a pediatric hospitalist at Decatur Memorial Hospital. He says babies with SCID have ongoing infections which are often fatal by the time SCID is diagnosed. Newborns have blood drawn at least 24 hours after their first feeding and the state Department of Public Health tests the blood for a variety of diseases.

-------------------------

Renewable energy event next week in Normal

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs will host the Illinois Renewable Energy Conference later this week in Normal. The Illinois Biomass Working Group — coordinated by the institute at Western Illinois University — is hosting the conference at the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University. Dozens of speakers will address renewable energy policy, technology and examples of projects around the state. Breakout sessions will include talks on biomass, wind, solar and geothermal energy. The event is open to the public. Registration is required. Officials say it will be of interest to energy companies, policymakers, local government officials, schools and universities, landowners, contractors, environmental groups and more.

---------------------------------

U of Ill. student starts veterans outdoor group

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A University of Illinois student and Iraq War veteran is organizing outdoor activities for fellow veterans, especially those with disabilities. The Champaign News-Gazette reported Saturday that Eric Swenson wants to unite fellow student veterans on the campus. His plans include taking those with disabilities on a pheasant hunt and competing in a softball league. He says it's hard for veterans to adjust to campus life because they're often in classes with younger students. The Army veteran is working with a local club to organize a free hunting trip that'll include a wheel-chair accessible cart. He's formed a team to compete in a softball league this fall. Swenson says the only problem so far is picking colors for a team that includes Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps members.

----------------------------

NATIONAL
Clippers sale hangs in balance as trial begins

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A trial begins in a Los Angeles court today to determine whether a $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers will go ahead. Testimony will focus on whether the estranged wife of team owner Donald Sterling had the authority under terms of a family trust to unilaterally negotiate a deal to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Sterling was banned from the NBA for life after he made racist remarks that were recorded. Sterling's wife Shelly had two doctors examine her 80-year-old husband and they declared him mentally incapacitated and unable to act as an administrator of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers. The judge must find that Shelly Sterling acted in accordance with the trust and that the deal still applies, even though the trust has since been revoked by Donald Sterling.

-------------------------------------

First Marathon Bombing Trial Gets Underway

(Boston, MA)  --  The first trial connected to the Boston Marathon bombing opens today.  Azamat Tazhayakov is one of two friends charged with helping the accused bomber get rid of evidence.  Meanwhile, Dzhokar Tsarnaev is still awaiting trial.  He and his brother are accused of setting off a pair of pressure cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, leaving three people dead and more than 200 injured.   

----------------

US seeks better teachers for high-needs schools

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Education Department is announcing a new initiative to attract quality teachers to the schools that need them most. It comes the same day President Barack Obama is scheduled to have lunch with teachers at the White House to discuss the issue. Education Department data show that black and American Indian students are four times as likely as their white peers to go to a school where more than 20 percent of teachers are in their first year. Latino students are three times as likely. The department says it will ask states to come up with new and comprehensive educator equity plans. It is also investing $4.2 million to start a new technical assistance network to help states and districts create and implement such plans.

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Washington To License Marijuana Stores Today

(Undated)  --  Washington state's first recreational marijuana stores are getting legal today.  The state's Liquor Control Board will email a handful of licenses very early this morning to a group of lucky pot retailers.  The stores that land licenses will open for business first thing Tuesday morning.  Growers and processors will be busy today, packaging weed for delivery on Tuesday.  

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AP-GfK Poll: Most still align with Dems or GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Whether it's the Republicans or the Democrats, American political parties are far from beloved. Yet most people continue to align with one or the other. Those who claim allegiance to the parties say they are driven by a mix of inertia, preference for one side's policies over the other and feeling that one can depart from the party line when necessary. That's according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Despite heated politics, few say they prefer one party out of dislike for the other. But affiliation doesn't always equal admiration: One-quarter of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats say they dislike their own party.

--------------------------------------

Northern California wildfire challenges crews

WINTERS, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire that began Friday in Northern California's Yolo County has burned about 10 square miles and is only 30 percent contained. Fire officials say rugged terrain, shifting winds and hot, dry conditions have made it tough to battle the Monticello Fire, and they say there's still "a potential for extreme growth." Some firefighters battling another wildfire northwest of Lake Berryessa have been sent to fight the Monticello Fire, now that the other blaze is 85 percent contained after burning nearly 7 square miles.

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2 men die in Idaho river trying to save boy, 8

MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (AP) — Authorities say an 8-year-old boy's dad and his uncle are dead after they jumped into Idaho's Snake River to rescue him after he fell in. The Elmore County Sheriff's office says the three were fishing Sunday afternoon in southwest Idaho when the men went in after the boy and were swept away by the current. A 23-year-old man also jumped into the river and was able to rescue the boy. But witnesses told deputies that the two men both disappeared under the surface before anyone could reach them. The department says divers pulled them from the water, but they were pronounced dead. They were identified as 37-year-old Jose Jorge Barroso-Alfaro and 35-year-old Martin Barroso-Alfaro.

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U.S. Lawmaker: Obama One Step Behind On Immigration

(Laredo, TX)  --  At least one House Democrat says President Obama's immigration policy is one step behind.  Henry Cuellar of Texas told CNN's "State of the Union" the administration should have been ready for the surge of immigrants.  Cuellar also said that last month, nearly 50-thousand undocumented immigrants tried crossing into Texas.  Nearly ten-thousand of them were unaccompanied children.  Late last week, Obama asked Congress to approve two-billion dollars' worth of border-control funds.

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2 men sentenced in Detroit attack on motorist

DETROIT (AP) — One man has been sentenced to prison and a second must serve probation for a mob attack on a Detroit-area motorist. Wonzey Saffold and Bruce Wimbush pleaded guilty to assault in exchange for having attempted murder charges dropped. Saffold was sentenced Monday in Wayne County Court to serve six years and four months to 10 years in prison. Wimbush was sentenced to three years' probation. They were among five people who pleaded guilty in the attack. Steve Utash, a tree trimmer from Macomb County, was severely beaten after he got out of his pickup to check on a 10-year-old boy who had darted in front of him in Detroit. Utash spent several days in a coma after the April 2 attack. Two more defendants will be sentenced Thursday.

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Man arrested with knife in shoe at Detroit airport

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say an airline passenger has been arrested in Michigan after being found with a knife concealed inside the bottom lining of one of his shoes. The Transportation Security Administration says the knife was found Sunday morning during security screening at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus. The TSA says airport police responded, took possession of the knife and arrested the passenger. His name wasn't immediately released. The TSA says the knife should have been placed in checked luggage.

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Fireworks shoot into playpen, burn Ohio infant

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — A 4-month-old in a playpen on her Ohio porch was critically injured when a neighbor's fireworks landed on her. A witness told police a 10-year-old neighbor of the Youngstown baby kicked over a lit tubular firework, which shot into the playpen, burning Aubree McCormick. The baby was flown to the burn unit at Akron Children's Hospital following the late Friday night accident. The child's grandmother, Carol McCormick, injured her fingers rescuing the baby. She tells WFMJ-TV in Youngstown the child's entire face is burned. A spokeswoman at Akron Children's Hospital confirmed the hospital was treating the baby Monday, but said her condition wasn't immediately available. Police are investigating.

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INTERNATIONAL
Pope to sex abuse victims: I beg your forgiveness

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has begged forgiveness from the victims of clergy sex abuse in his first meeting with several abuse survivors. The Vatican quoted Francis as expressing "sorrow" in his homily at a private Mass with six victims Monday for the "sins and grave crimes" of clerical sex abuse against them. Added the pope: "I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately" to sex abuse reports.

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Suspects confess to killing Palestinian teen

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli official says three suspects in the vigilante-style killing of a Palestinian teenager have confessed to the crime. The official says the suspects on Monday were re-enacting the killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir for authorities. The 16-year-old Palestinian was abducted near his home last week, and his charred remains were found in a Jerusalem forest. Israel on Sunday announced the arrests of six Jewish males in Abu Khdeir's death. Their identities have not been released, and the official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing. Abu Khdeir's death triggered several days of violent protests in Arab areas of Jerusalem and northern Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Monday he called Abu Khdeir's father to express his condolences.

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Afghan officials: Ahmadzai leads in early results

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's election commission says that former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has the lead in preliminary results from a disputed presidential runoff vote. Ahmadzai's rival Abdullah Abdullah has alleged the vote was marred by massive fraud and says he won't accept any results until an investigation into the allegations is completed. In a news conference, commission chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani said that Ahmadzai took 56.44 percent of the vote, while rival Abdullah Abdullah was behind with 43.56 percent.

------------------------------

63 abducted women and girls escape extremists in Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Dozens of Nigerian girls who were abducted by an Islamic extremist group in Nigeria two weeks ago have managed to escape. But more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted by the same group in April are still missing. Officials say the girls who have escaped from Boko Haram were abducted from three villages in the northeastern state of Borno on June 22. Nigerian security forces and federal government officials had been denying that the abductions even took place. Local government officials in the northeast say 63 women and girls escaped Thursday and Friday while their captors were engaged in battle with Nigerian soldiers.

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Jet disaster averted in Barcelona near-miss

MADRID (AP) — A passenger jetliner preparing to leave Barcelona's El Prat airport taxied across a runway where another was about to land, forcing the arriving plane to abort its landing and climb sharply to avoid a possible disaster. Amateur video footage filmed Saturday showed the Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus 340 crossing the runway just as the aircraft from Russian airline Utair was making its final approach. Spanish airport authority AENA said Monday the Russian plane, which officials described only as a Boeing, circled back and landed safely. None of the passengers on either plane was hurt. AENA said it has opened an investigation into what happened. It had no details on how close the planes were at the time of the incident.

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UK to investigate claims to child abuse cover-up

LONDON (AP) — British officials are promising to investigate whether the government and other institutions in the 1980s and 90s covered up child abuse by politicians and others in positions of power. Home Secretary Theresa May is due to announce details of the inquiry Monday. It follows allegations that abuse claims that were handed to authorities were lost or destroyed to protect wrongdoers. Prime Minister David Cameron said investigators would leave "no stone unturned to find out the truth about what happened." Britain has been wrestling with its collective conscience in the wake of revelations that several well-known figures used their positions to get away with abuse for years. Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris was sentenced to almost six years in prison last week after being convicted of 12 counts of abusing girls.

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SPORTS
SATURDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Miami 6, St. Louis 5
Washington 13, Chicago Cubs 0
Seattle 3, Chicago White Sox 2 (14 innings)

Frontier League

Joliet 5, Evansville 4
Southern Illinois 4, Rockford 3
River City 3, Gateway 1

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Washington 2, Chicago Cubs 1
Chicago White Sox 1, Seattle 0
Miami 8, St. Louis 4

Frontier League

Evansville 7, Joliet 1
Rockford 1, Southern Illinois 0

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB
Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati, 6:10 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Boston, 6:10 p.m.
Pittsburgh at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:19 p.m.)

-------------------------------

IHSA Gears Up For Second Hearing

(Bloomington, IL)  --  IHSA officials are gearing up for another round of questioning from lawmakers about how they run their agency.  But, Executive Director Marty Hickman says they won't get a chance to have any of their witnesses testify. Hickman sat on the hot seat for hours fielding questions at the last hearing back in May, and by the time it wrapped, it still wasn't clear exactly what lawmakers were fishing for.  State reps were originally talking about taking over the agency, and putting all of the high school sporting events under the state's watch.  But they've seemed to back off of that plan.  The next hearing is being held in Chicago tomorrow.  Hickman says they've been told that none of their witnesses will be allowed to speak.

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Cardinals recall Wong, option Robinson to minors

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have activated rookie second baseman Kolten Wong from the 15-day disabled list and he was batting seventh against the Miami Marlins. Wong was 5 for 11 with a home run and three RBIs in three rehab games at Triple-A Memphis. Entering Sunday's game, he was batting .228 with a homer and 16 RBIs this season. Outfielder Shane Robinson was optioned to Memphis. He appeared in eight games since being recalled on June 22 with one start and was batting .140 overall with three RBIs in 31 games.

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Trade costs Samardzija chance for All-Star outing

NEW YORK (AP) — The trade that put Jeff Samardzija on a postseason contender cost him a chance to pitch in his first All-Star game. A day after Samardzija was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to Oakland, he was picked Sunday for the game at Target Field in Minnesota on July 15. Samardzija was selected as an NL All-Star, but Major League Baseball said he is ineligible to play because of the league switch. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, playing his 20th and final season, was selected for his 14th All-Star team and will start for the ninth time. Samardzija made his American League debut Sunday and won, pitching the A's past Toronto 4-2.

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One more All-Star game for Jeter

UNDATED (AP) — Derek Jeter will make one final trip to the All-Star game. The New York Yankees shortstop has been voted to the starting lineup for the July 15 game at Minnesota. Jeter is hitting .273 with 23 RBIs in his 20th and final major league season. Joining Jeter in the American League's starting lineup are Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and Baltimore designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista was the leading vote-getter for the second time in four years and will play alongside Jones and Mike Trout of the Angels. Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson, Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano and Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera fill out the AL infield. Baltimore's Matt Wieters was voted the starting catcher but can't play due to injury. The National League starting lineup includes two Brewers, third baseman Aramis Ramirez and outfielder Carlos Gomez. The rest of the NL starters are Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

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News for July 4, 2014

LOCAL
Charges mount against teacher in videotaping case

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois math teacher already accused of videotaping girls in a high school locker room and motel bathroom now faces federal charges. Federal prosecutors have charged 43-year-old Timothy Going of Fairfield with attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. St. Clair prosecutors charged Going last month with four counts related to the videotaping girls ages 15 to 18 last November in the bathroom of a Super 8 motel in Fairview Heights, near St. Louis. Going already was charged in Wayne County with illegally placing a video camera in the girls' locker room at Fairfield Community High School, where he taught and coached cross country. Going is suspended with pay. Messages left Thursday with his attorney weren't returned.

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Man convicted of New Baden man's murder sentenced

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois man convicted of the 2008 shooting death of a New Baden man has been sentenced to 60 years in prison. Lortez D. Thomas of Washington Park was found guilty in May in the death of 47-year-old Eric Mollet. However, the St. Clair County jury acquitted Thomas of raping two female witnesses. The 35-year-old Thomas maintained his innocence during Thursday's sentencing hearing. He offered condolences to members of Mollet's family, adding he "didn't do this." However, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Jan Fiss dismissed Thomas' comments, calling the murder of Mollet "cold-blooded" and "despicable." Prosecutors say Mollet was shot to death in Thomas' home after becoming involved in a fight with Thomas and two other men. Mollet's body was hidden in a vacant house that was set afire.

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Illinois man admits causing deadly crash into home

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois man faces up to 14 years in prison now that he's admitted in court that he was driving drunk when his sport utility vehicle hit a house, killing a widower inside. The (Alton) Telegraph reports 26-year-old Jacob Fickle of Godfrey pleaded guilty Wednesday in Madison County to a felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol, causing death. Prosecutors dropped four other counts, along with 10 unrelated felony theft charges. Investigators say Fickle caused a disturbance in January 2013 at a Godfrey home and fled in a relative's GMC Yukon after authorities were called. The SUV then crashed into Marlin Bushnell's home, fatally pinning 73-year-old Bushnell under the wreckage. Fickle then ran from the scene before being arrested a short time later outside a tavern.

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Bus Passenger Charged After Assaulting The Driver

(Carterville, IL)  --  A Marion man is being held on 50-thousand-dollars bond after he attacked a bus driver with a pen.  Police charged 56-year-old Arthur Wilkins on Wednesday with aggravated battery.  Detectives say the suspect assaulted a Rides Mass Transit driver while the bus was traveling along Campground Road in Carterville.  The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

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Southwestern Ill. nurse faces drug, neglect counts

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois nurse is being accused of more drug offenses and faces new charges that she neglected disabled patients at a long-term care site. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that 40-year-old Nicole Banuelos of Mascoutah now faces 13 counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and two counts of neglect of a person with a disability. The neglect counts allege that Banuelos failed to feed a patient and didn't give medication to another patient on March 21. Authorities have not said where Banuelos was working at the time. The drug counts allege that Banuelos illegally acquired various prescription medications in March and November. Calls to the office of Banuelos' attorney, Stephanie Santelli Guzy, went unanswered Thursday morning.

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Guilty Plea In SUV Crash That Killed Man Inside Home

(Godfrey, IL) -- A man who drove an SUV into a Godfrey home and killed a man inside could spend up to 14 years in prison. Jacob Fickle admitted to driving under the influence when entering a guilty plea yesterday in Madison County. In January of last year, Fickle missed a turn while driving away from a relative's house down the block. The vehicle hit the home of Marlin Bushnell, pinning him beneath wreckage and killing him.

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Route 51 Near Ashley See Road Construction Next Week

There will be a road closure beginning Monday.  The Illinois Department of Transportation reminds motorists that U.S. Highway 51, near Ashley, will be closed for 3 days, beginning at 8 AM on Monday and should open sometime late Wednesday.  Just like in Nashville earlier this week, Evansville Western Railroad will be rebuilding the railroad crossing.  A marked detour will guide motorists through the area, but try to avoid the area and seek an alternative route.  If you are in the area, watch for workers and other motorists.

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Five Staff Members Attacked At Menard

Five staff members at Menard Correctional Center were attacked by several inmates on Thursday, according to The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.  Ty Peterson, staff representative for AFSCME, said the attack happened at 2:40 p.m. on Thursday, July 3 in the dietary department. According to Petersen, two food supervisors, two correctional officers and one sergeant were all hurt and taken to outside hospitals. Peterson said the injuries are not serious, but some of those injured may have fractured or broken bones. He noted the incident was not the result of an inmate on inmate attack that they were breaking up, but was a direct attack on the employees. The attack comes just days after an inmate at Shawnee Correctional Center in Vienna attacked a guard, leaving him with a broken jaw and more than a dozen stitches. That inmate, who had a history of staff assaults, was transferred after the attack to Menard.

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STATE
Patronage critic dismisses Quinn's IDOT moves

CHICAGO (AP) — A campaigner against political clout in government hiring says he has little confidence in new efforts by Gov. Pat Quinn to clean up how jobs are awarded at Illinois' transportation agency. Michael Shakman responded Thursday to Quinn ordering a moratorium on political hiring at the agency and an outside audit of past hires. Quinn also is requiring staff in every state agency to undergo training about proper hiring practices. The Chicago Democrat's actions come days after the resignation of his transportation secretary amid questions about whether state jobs were improperly filled. Shakman has asked a federal court to appoint an outside monitor for IDOT hiring. He says the history of government agencies fixing their own patronage problems is dismal, and that Quinn promising to fix IDOT's problems isn't reassuring.

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Quinn signs Ill. military support expansion plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has approved an expansion of a program that assists military families in Illinois during conflicts or wars. The Chicago Democrat on Thursday signed the measure to include future military conflicts — not just those arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The 2003 program was designed because military families were taking a salary cut after National Guard members and reservists were deployed. It provides funds to pay for groceries, rent or utility bills. It has doled out about $15.4 million to support almost 29,000 families. An income tax check-off allows residents to donate to the fund. Quinn says Illinois' military members shouldn't have to worry their families are struggling financially back home during service.

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Illinois health officials share picnic safety tips

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois health officials have some food safety tips ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend for those planning to picnic. Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck issued some reminders Wednesday. Among the ideas:
—Temperature is the key to avoiding foodborne illness, so keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
—Wash your hands and keep surfaces clean.
—Make sure all meat and poultry are properly cooked.
—Use a clean plate and utensils when taking food off the grill.
—Refrigerate leftovers within two hours, and if there's any doubt, throw it out.
—Symptoms of food poisoning can begin from 30 minutes to three or more days after eating tainted food. If symptoms are severe or last longer than two days, contact a doctor or health care provider.

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Leave Fireworks To The Pros

(Undated)  --  The state fire marshal is urging people to let the pros light off the fireworks this holiday.  Larry Matkaitis says it's illegal for people to set off most fireworks in Illinois, and even those that are allowed can be very dangerous.  He says things like sparklers can cause serious injuries but the ones that are most dangerous are firecrackers and bottle rockets. And it's not just kids who are being injured, teenagers and adults are among those who suffer most during the holiday. 

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'Drive Sober' campaign returns for July 4th

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois and federal officials are teaming up to enforce safe driving this holiday weekend. The Illinois State Police, Secretary of State Police and more than 320 local law enforcement agencies are joining with the state Department of Transportation to crack down on drunk drivers. The campaign features the theme "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" and "Click It or Ticket" to encourage mandatory safety belt use. Also participating are officials from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The effort is intended to reduce crashes on Illinois roads during a key summer travel time. Provisional IDOT data show 392 people have died in crashes through July 1 compared to 477 during the same time in 2013.

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White Urges Motorists to Celebrate the Fourth of July Holiday Weekend Safely

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White reminded motorists who are celebrating our country’s independence to be sure to drive safely by not drinking and driving this Fourth of July holiday weekend.  “Drunk driving results in death and injury on our roadways every year,” White said.  “Let’s keep the roads safe by making sure our drivers are sober.” In 2013, 33 percent of the fatalities, six out of 18 deaths, were alcohol-related during the 4th of July holiday in Illinois.  In 2012, 50 percent of the fatalities, two out of four deaths, were alcohol-related.  Eighty-six percent of all drivers arrested for DUI that year were first offenders. According to the National Highway Transportation Administration an average of one alcohol-related fatality occurs every 53 minutes. A DUI conviction can cost the driver more than $16,000 in legal fees, court costs and insurance. Secretary of State Police will be conducting DUI patrols during the holiday weekend, said White. White suggests those participating in celebrations involving alcohol take public transportation, a cab, or designate a sober driver.  White also reminds drivers to use safety belts.

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Secretary of State Offices Closed Friday for Independence Day

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that all Driver Services facilities and offices will be closed Friday, July 4, 2014, in observance of Independence Day. Driver Services facilities that are normally open Tuesday through Saturday will reopen for regular business on Saturday, July 5, 2014. All Monday through Friday Driver Services facilities will reopen for regular business on Monday, July 7, 2014. Individuals can visit the Secretary of State’s website, www.cyberdriveillinois.com, to locate the nearest Driver Services facility and the hours of operation. In addition, drivers can use the website to change an address, register to become an organ and tissue donor or renew license plate stickers by mail.

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NATIONAL
Arthur leaves some without electricity

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) — Hurricane Arthur is moving offshore and away from North Carolina's Outer Banks after slashing into the state's barrier islands overnight. Arthur strengthened to a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph last night before passing over the southern end of the Outer Banks. The storm is moving northeast after turning slightly west late yesterday, which increases the threat to mainland communities of flooding, tornadoes and intense winds. Duke Energy says as many as 22,000 customers across the Carolinas may be without power. Arthur is expected to weaken as it travels northward, dumping rain along the East Coast. That's changed the July 4th plans of many communities. Fireworks shows in New Jersey and Maine are postponed until later in the weekend.

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Dust storm hits Phoenix

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix is brushing itself off after the first dust storm of the summer blasted strong and blinding winds that forced the cancellation of holiday plans, knocked out power to thousands and grounded numerous flights. The storm was the first of the yearly monsoon season and brought localized heavy rains.

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Obama on Fourth: Rights, equality fuel US success

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says the U.S. has only succeeded because generations of Americans have fought to expand rights and opportunity to more people. Obama is reflecting on the meaning of the Fourth of July in his weekly radio and Internet address. He says there's no nation on earth that wouldn't trade places with the United States. Obama says the Founding Fathers were united by a belief that all are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He says America's success has been made possible because Americans never took those truths for granted. In the Republican address, Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack says Washington has been denying Americans the chance to seize their economic destiny. He says Republicans are working to restore opportunity.

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California wildfires burn homes, threaten more

JULIAN, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire in San Diego County is 15 percent contained and evacuations have been canceled. But the blaze destroyed two homes and is still a threat to others. The Fourth of July parade and celebration in the historic gold-mining town of Julian had to be called off. A fire in Napa also continues to burn, but away from the famed vineyards.

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Obama to preside over citizenship ceremony

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama makes a pitch for immigration overhaul today when he presides over an Independence Day citizenship ceremony for members of the military who signed up to serve even though they weren't U.S. citizens. Twenty-five active-duty service members will take the oath of allegiance at a White House ceremony. Obama has been blaming House Republicans for delaying action on immigration overhaul.

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Another planned protest in Murrieta

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Protesters in Murrieta, California plan another demonstration today, when a convoy of buses with immigrants in the U.S. illegally is expected to arrive. Flag-waving protesters forced busloads of migrants to leave Murrieta earlier this week, and they had to be processed elsewhere. Thousands of children and families have arrived on the Texas border in recent months fleeing violence and extortion from criminal gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

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McDaniel: Heading to court in contested election

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican who lost a primary runoff election to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran says he plans to challenge the results in court "any day now." Chris McDaniel says he believes there were thousands of irregularities. In an interview with CNN Friday, McDaniel said what matters is that fraud be uncovered where it exists and many Mississippi residents are "very angry" because they think their votes in the June 24 primary were nullified by fraud. McDaniel says his campaign found at least 5,000 irregularities in voting. He says most involved people who apparently voted in the June 3 Democratic primary and the Republican runoff. Mississippi does not register voters by party, but state law bans a person from voting in one party's primary and another party's runoff in the same cycle.

--------------------------------

Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife dies at 82

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The billionaire Mellon banking heir who published the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and funded libertarian and conservative political causes — including a one-time effort to discredit President Bill Clinton — has died. Richard Mellon Scaife was 82. The Tribune-Review newspaper reported that he died at his home early Friday, one day after his birthday. Scaife's death comes less than two months after writing a story in his newspaper announcing he had inoperable cancer. In 2013, Forbes estimated Scaife's wealth at $1.4 billion. Although Scaife vilified Clinton during much of his presidency, Scaife later told Vanity Fair magazine that he had lunch with the former president and "never met such a charismatic man" in his life. Scaife eventually donated $100,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative.

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Donald Sterling Wants L.A. Clippers Trial Moved To Federal Court

(Undated)  --  Donald Sterling's attorneys are trying to delay a trial over the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.  The trial in probate court is scheduled to begin on Monday, but Sterling's legal team filed papers yesterday asking to move it to federal court.  Monday's trial is to decide whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife Shelly had legal authority to sell the NBA team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.  Shelly and Donald Sterling are equal partners in the trust that owns the team.  Shelly Sterling sold the team to Ballmer for two-billion dollars after the NBA banned Donald Sterling for making racist comments, and doctors declared him mentally incapacitated.  

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Gehrig's "Luckiest Man" Speech 75th Anniversary

(Undated)  --  Today is the 75th anniversary of the day Lou Gehrig [[ GEHR-ig ]] broke America's heart.  The New York Yankees first basemen made his final public appearance on July 4th, 1939 with a speech at Yankee Stadium.  Gehrig ended his remarks by telling the thousands in the stadium and millions listening on the radio, "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."  The Hall of Famer died less than two years later.  He was 37 years old.

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INTERNATIONAL
Ukraine: Forces control most of 2 separatist areas

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A top Ukrainian security official says government troops have cleared more than a dozen towns of armed pro-Russia separatists and now control two-thirds of the eastern regions at the center of the insurgency. National security council secretary Andriy Parubiy said Friday that Ukrainian forces are still attacking rebel positions with artillery and planes. He said 17 villages had been secured by government forces since a unilateral cease fire expired Monday. He said Ukrainian forces now control 23 of 36 local regions within Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, two regions along the Russian border that have declared independence from the government in Kiev. The rebels are still fighting back. Rebels shelled the Donetsk airport overnight and an AP reporter said a radar or communications tower there was still burning in the morning.

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Putin tells Obama he wants better relations

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Barack Obama in an Independence Day message that he hopes the countries can improve relations. In a statement on the Kremlin website, Putin says, "regardless of difficulties and disagreements" he hopes that Russia and the U.S. could "successfully develop relations on pragmatic and equal grounds." Relations between Russia and the U.S. have deteriorated as the two countries have struggled to find common ground in Ukraine, where Russia annexed the Black Sea region of Crimea in March and a conflict in the east of the country has claimed over 400 lives. The United States reacted by imposing sanctions on some of Putin's associates, and has threatened to take further action.

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India nurses stranded in Iraq to fly home Saturday

NEW DELHI (AP) — An Indian official says dozens of Indian nurses who have been stranded in northern Iraq are safe and will be flown back to India on Saturday. The chief minister of Kerala state, Oommen Chandy, said Friday that the nurses will return home on a special aircraft arranged by the Indian government. They are expected to arrive in the southern city of Kochi. The 46 nurses had been stranded for more than a week in Tikrit, where militants from the leading Islamic militant group fighting in Iraq have taken over. Chandy gave few other details.

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Police: Mom kills kindergarten teacher in class

PARIS (AP) — Police say the mother of a pupil at a French pre-school has stabbed a teacher to death in front of her class of 5 and 6-year-olds on the last day of the school year. French President Francois Hollande is expressing outrage at what he calls "this abominable drama" and has sent the education minister to the school in Albi in southern France. A police official in Albi says the mother attacked the teacher this morning at the pre-school. Police have not commented on possible motives for the attack.

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Report: German intel worker suspected of US spying

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman says she has been informed of the arrest of a German man who, according to media reports, is an intelligence service employee accused of spying for the U.S. German federal prosecutors said a 31-year-old German man was arrested Wednesday, suspected of spying for foreign intelligence services. They did not identify the suspect or the intelligence services. Der Spiegel magazine and the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Friday, without naming sources, that the man worked for the Federal Intelligence Service and is accused of spying for the U.S. Alleged National Security Agency surveillance, including of Merkel's cellphone, has troubled relations. Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said the chancellor was informed of the case Thursday but wouldn't comment on the country involved. Merkel spoke with President Barack Obama late Thursday.

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SPORTS
THURSDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

St. Louis 7, San Francisco 2

Frontier League

Florence 6, Gateway 1
Evansville 5, Frontier 4
Washington 7, Southern Illinois 1

FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Washington, 10:05 a.m.
Seattle at Chicago White Sox, 6:10 p.m.
Miami at St. Louis, 6:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 5:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Rockford at Southern Illinois
Evansville at Joliet
River City at Gateway

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Washington, 3:05 p.m.
Seattle at Chicago White Sox, 1:10 p.m.
Miami at St. Louis, 1:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 12:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Rockford at Southern Illinois
Evansville at Joliet
River City at Gateway

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Washington, 12:35 p.m.
Seattle at Chicago White Sox, 1:10 p.m.
Miami at St. Louis, 1:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 12:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Rockford at Southern Illinois
Evansville at Joliet

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Wrigley Rooftop Owners Extend Olive Branch

(Chicago, IL) -- There are no do-overs in baseball, but the owners of rooftop clubs surrounding Wrigley Field want the Chicago Cubs to rewind their renovation plans. The rooftop owners say they will not sue the team for violating the agreement allowing them access to their views of the field if the team scales back to just the two new advertising signs originally proposed. The Cubs are now seeking approval for seven outfield signs, many of which would block the sight-lines from the rooftops.

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Kelly To Return After Break

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Joe Kelly will toe the rubber two more times in the minors before returning to the Cardinals rotation.  The righty is expected to return after the All-Star break.  Kelly is expected to throw about 70 pitches in his next minor league start and around 85 in his final outing.  The 26-year-old posted a 0.59 earned run average in three starts before hitting the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

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News for July 3, 2014

LOCAL
SIU postpones naming acting Carbondale chancellor

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University is delaying the naming of a new interim chancellor for its Carbondale campus until next week. The SIU Board of Trustees' executive committee was to decide that matter during a special meeting Wednesday in Carbondale. But that has been rescheduled for next Tuesday, and the only agenda item is to appoint a temporary replacement for Rita Cheng. A process for searching for Cheng's permanent successor will be sorted out after an SIU board meeting later this month.

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Ultra-light plane crashes in southwestern Ill.

PIERRON, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a pilot escaped serious injury when he crashed his ultra-light plane in a southwestern Illinois community's park near where Little League games were being played. Highland police say the single-seat plane went down shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday in Pierron, east of St. Louis. Authorities say the pilot sustained minor injuries and walked away from the wreck. He was treated at a hospital. His name has not yet been released.

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St. Clair County Women Plead Guilty To Theft Of Government Social Security Benefits

Stephen R, Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on July 1, 2014, Tara Star Johndrow, 30, of Belleville, Illinois, and Amber Dawn Adams, 34, of Fayetteville, Illinois, each pled guilty to one count of Theft of Government Funds. Sentencing for Johndrow is scheduled for October 9, 2014, and sentencing for Adams is scheduled for October 17, 2014. Both sentencings will take place in United States District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois.  Adams and Johndrow were indicted separately on April 23, 2014, on charges of Theft of Government Funds, which carry potential penalties of up to 10 years in prison, fines of up to $250,000, and up to 3 years of supervised release to follow any period of incarceration. The indictment against Adams alleges that between March of 2008 and August of 2012, she falsely claimed and received more than $9,000 in Title II – Survivor Benefits that were intended for the benefit of her child, when the child did not live her and she did not support the child during the time frame alleged in the indictment. The indictment against Johndrow alleges that between August of 2010 and August of 2012, she received $14,500 in Supplemental Social Security Payments from the Social Security Administration, when she falsely claimed to the government agency that she did not work during the time frame alleged. The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, and the cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ranley R. Killian.

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Area Communities Set For Fireworks Displays

Many communities around the area will be celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks and celebrations this weekend. Benton will have a July 4th celebration at the Rend Lake Dam and Visitor's Center starting at 4 p.m. with lots of different events going on for you to enjoy. Fireworks will get underway at 9:30 p.m. West Frankfort will do fireworks at dusk Friday at the Frankfort Community Park. If it rains, fireworks will be moved to Saturday. Christopher will shoot off its fireworks at dusk Friday in Dennison Park. Marion will also do fireworks at dusk Friday at the Knights of Columbus Hall. If it rains, it will be held Saturday. Mt. Vernon is set do fireworks Friday at dusk at the airport.

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Belleville Teens Arrested For Allegedly Shooting Deputy's Car Window

(Belleville, IL)  --  Two teenagers in Belleville are in trouble for allegedly shooting at cars with a BB gun, including a deputy's cruiser.  A driver, whose window was blown out by a BB around 3:00 yesterday morning, had pulled over when a St. Clair County Sheriff's deputy stopped to help.  His window was then destroyed and officers combed the area for the suspects.  Neighbors helped officers find the two boys.

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Reward Offered In Bike Trail Assault Investigation

(Edwardsville, IL) -- Investigators are now offering a five-thousand-dollar reward for help in the search for a man who attacked a woman riding her bike in Edwardsville. A week ago, the woman told officers the man called for help while she was riding on a trail near Chancellor Drive, then pulled her to the ground when she got off her bike. She got away with only a few scrapes.

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ESL Coach Facing Drug Charges

(East St. Louis, IL)  --  A Metro East baseball coach is facing serious drug charges.  KSDK-TV reports East St. Louis High School Coach Maurice Scott Jr. was charged Wednesday with possession of a controlled substance.  Authorities say he was caught having less than 15 grams of cocaine.  The investigation into the 52-year-old Scott reportedly began back in March.

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Centralia Man Charged With Aggravated Battery In Domestic Dispute

A 35-year-old Centralia man has been charged in Marion County with battery to a 5-year-old boy and the child's pregnant mother. According to police, Charles Crawford first threw the mother to the ground. She then locked herself in the bathroom to get away from Crawford, but he reportedly was able to break into the bathroom and continue the attack. At that time, she told her 5-year-old son to run to the neighbor's house and call police, but Crawford allegedly threw the boy to the ground, started to choke the child and pinned him to the stairs. Crawford was charged Wednesday with Class 3 Felony aggravated battery to a child under the age of 13, as well as aggravated battery of a pregnant or handicapped person. Bail was set at $25,000, with Crawford ordered to have no contact with the alleged victims if he is released. He remains in the Marion County Jail, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 22.

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Vandalia Man Charged In Heroin Induced Death of Effingham Man

A 32-year-old Vandalia man has been charged in Effingham County Court with Class X Felony homicide in connection with the January overdose death of a 31-year-old Altamont man. Richard D. Marshke was charged with drug induced homicide for allegedly providing Jordan Kull with the heroin on which Kull later overdosed. State's Attorney Bryan Kibler says charges were filed against Marshke after toxicology tests determined Kull died of a heroin overdose. Kibler says additional charges against Marshke are possible. Bail for Marshke has been set at $1 million, with a first appearance in court scheduled for today.

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STATE
Man sought in killing at Illinois rest stop

PAW PAW, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police say they are looking for a man who they believe killed an eastern Illinois woman at a highway rest stop on Interstate 39. Police said in a news release that 44-year-old Tonya D. Bargman of Monticello was found at the Willow Creek rest stop on I-39 in northern Illinois about 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Surveillance video showed a man attacking her as she left a restroom at the rest stop. The rest stop is just outside the small town of Paw Paw and about 40 miles south of Rockford. Monticello is 20 miles west of Champaign. Police believe the attacker may be driving Bargman's gray 2013 Nissan Altima.

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Ill. transportation director, top Quinn aide out

CHICAGO (AP) — A deputy director of the Illinois Department of Transportation has resigned days after the agency's transportation secretary amid questions about hiring. IDOT spokeswoman Paris Ervin confirmed that agency deputy director of finance and administration Mike Woods resigned effective Wednesday. The 32-year-old Woods is a former agency personnel chief. Meanwhile, Gov. Pat Quinn spokesman's Grant Klinzman confirmed that a contract expired this week and is not being renewed for Gary Hannig, the governor's legislative liaison. Hannig, 61, was a longtime member of the Illinois House and IDOT secretary from 2009 to 2011. The resignations come on the heels of Quinn's replacement of IDOT secretary Ann Schneider Monday. IDOT's hiring practices have come under recent scrutiny. Chicago anti-patronage campaigner Michael Shakman wants a federal judge to order an investigation into those activities.

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Lower kindergarten age among new Illinois laws

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — 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. Additionally, those aged 18 to 21 will now have to pass a six-hour driver's education course before receiving a license. The previous law allowed adults to receive licenses without training.

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Peoria VA clinic says it doesn't need waiting list

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The lack of a waiting list for patients at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Peoria put it on a list of VA locations in need of further review.
But local officials tell The Journal Star in Peoria that the clinic doesn't have patients waiting long enough to need the electronic waiting list the VA uses. It is designed to track patients whose waits exceed 90 days. Dr. Dexter Hazlewood is the clinic's chief medical officer. He said the clinic is able to see almost all of its primary care patients within seven days. Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos said during a visit Tuesday that none of the patients she spoke with had complaints about their care.

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George Ryan finishes supervision after prison term

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — Former Gov. George Ryan has finished a year of supervision following his release from home confinement last summer after a prison sentence for corruption convictions. Ryan was released from prison in January 2013 and was confined to his home until last July. At the time his lawyer and friend former Gov. Jim Thompson said that Ryan was subject to another year of supervision and some travel restrictions. That ends this week. Ryan spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times in a story published Wednesday, offering some details of his time in prison and since being released. He says some prison guards "made things a little rough" because they were not happy with his decision as governor to put a moratorium on the death penalty. Ryan, a Republican, was convicted in 2006.

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Kids free meal program continues at Illinois sites

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials are reminding families that a free meal program for children is continuing until August. The program is designed to provide kids with healthy lunches and breakfasts while school is not in session. State Board of Education officials say they expect to serve 4 million meals at local schools, parks and community centers across Illinois this summer. The annual federally funded program has about 2,200 sites. Officials say more than half the sites don't require children to apply or show proof of family income to receive a free meal. State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch says it's important to remember that poverty and hunger don't end when schools close for summer vacation.

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IEA Backs Quinn Over Rauner

(Chicago, IL) -- One of the state's two largest teachers unions, the Illinois Education Association, has voted to endorse Governor Pat Quinn in his reelection bid against Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. The move was expected, given Rauner's frequent criticism of public employees unions, especially teachers unions. The IEA represents teachers outside Chicago and their endorsement will provide Quinn money and campaign ground troops for the campaign.

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IDOT Suspends Non-Emergency Road Work for Independence Day

SPRINGFIELD – With thousands of motorists traveling on state roadways over the Independence Day holiday weekend, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that non-emergency roadwork will be suspended where possible to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow. IDOT is also providing advance notice of lane closures that will be in place for the holiday week to aid motorists’ travel plans and boost safety. Starting at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 3, IDOT will suspend all non-emergency roadwork throughout the holiday period and open up all lanes where possible through midnight Sunday, July 6. Some construction zones will have lane closures in effect, depending on the projects. IDOT is urging motorists to slow down, obey posted speed limits and drive with caution through work zones. Holiday travelers are reminded that work zone speed limits are still in effect wherever they are posted, even where no construction workers are present. In District 7, Interstate 57 southbound at Edgewood has bridge rehabilitation and stage construction with one lane open and concrete barrier in place. Also, Illinois Route 15 east of Fairfield has bridge rehabilitation; stage construction with one lane open with traffic signals and concrete barrier in place. In District 9, Illinois Route 13, on the east edge of Murphysboro has bridge construction. Traffic will be reduced to one lane eastbound and westbound utilizing crossovers. Also, Old US 51, just north of Cedar Creek Road. Road closed for drainage structure replacement.

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NATIONAL
Boston Pops' annual July Fourth show a day early

BOSTON (AP) — The annual Boston Pops Fourth of July concert and fireworks have been moved up to today because of potential heavy rain from Hurricane Arthur. The concert takes place in the Hatch Shell along the Charles River. And the fireworks are set off from barges on the river. Thousands of people usually attend.

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Experts expect robust hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) — The forecast is upbeat for employment data to be released by the Labor Department today. Economists surveyed by FactSet predict employers added 215,000 jobs in June and that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.3 percent. If accurate, June would be the fifth consecutive month of job gains at least that high and indicate more traction for the economic recovery.

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Call for tighter security

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is calling for tighter security measures at foreign airports that have direct flights to the U.S. U.S. intelligence officials are concerned that al-Qaida is trying to develop a new and improved bomb that could go undetected through airport security. But there's no indication that such a bomb has been created or that there's a specific threat to the U.S.

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Northern California wildfire burns at 3,800 acres

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A raging wildfire in rural Northern California has grown to 3,800 acres. Fire officials say the blaze in Pope Valley has damaged two homes and seven other structures and threatens others. More than 1,000 firefighters are battling the wildfire, which they say is moving in the opposite direction of Napa Valley wineries.

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Hearing for dad in Georgia hot SUV child death

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A suburban Atlanta man charged with murder in his 22-month-old son's death in a hot SUV is due in court to discuss his bond today. Justin Ross Harris faces murder and child cruelty charges in the June 18 death of his son, Cooper. Harris has told police he was supposed to drive his son to day care that morning but drove to work without realizing that his son was strapped into a car seat in the back. Search warrants released over the weekend showed Harris told investigators he had done an online search on what temperature could cause a child's death in a vehicle. The warrant doesn't specify when Harris did the searches.

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New Americans celebrating July 4th

NEW YORK (AP) — Bernardo Mas of Venezuela says he'll celebrate this July Fourth "with more passion" now that he's an American citizen. Mas and 149 other people from 46 countries were sworn in as U.S. citizens at a ceremony yesterday at the New York Public Library. The ceremony took place in a room where a copy of the Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson's own hand is on display.

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Target: Attention Shoppers, No Guns Allowed

(Minneapolis, MN)  --  Target wants shoppers to know that no guns are allowed in its stores.  The nation's second biggest retail chain posted a note on its website yesterday "respectfully" requesting guests not to bring firearms into Target stores.  Interim CEO John Mulligan called it a complex issue, noting the decision applies to communities that permit "open carry."  Target says it wants to make sure stores offer family-friendly shopping and a safe environment.

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US employers added robust 288k jobs in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring over the past five months has been the strongest since the late 1990s tech boom as the economy added 288,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent. The Labor Department says those gains follow additions of 217,000 jobs in May and 304,000 in April, figures that were both revised upward. The economy has added more than 200,000 jobs in each of the past five months, a streak it last matched during the 1999-2000 tech boom. It's a sign that the sluggish half-decade recovery from the Great Recession is finally building momentum. Monthly job gains so far this year have averaged 230,833, up from 194,250 in 2013. The unemployment rate dipped last month to its lowest level since September 2008.

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Vacationers leave as Arthur approaches

RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) — Thousands of vacationers and residents are leaving parts of North Carolina's Outer Banks as Hurricane Arthur draws nearer. The hurricane is expected to give that part of the coast a glancing blow tomorrow on Independence Day. It's not expected to make landfall, but it's expected to swipe the coast early tomorrow with winds of up to 85 miles an hour. Forecasters believe it will be off the coast of New England later in the day, eventually making landfall in Canada's maritime provinces as a tropical storm. A National Hurricane Center forecaster says Outer Banks residents and visitors who fail to leave ahead of the hurricane's expected arrival should prepare for possibly getting stuck for several days without food, water or power. Hatteras Island is under a mandatory evacuation order for visitors and residents. Officials are asking an estimated 35,000 people to leave through the only road on and off the island. One couple had loaded up their car and left Hatteras Island at 3:30 a.m. today to beat the expected traffic jam. Nichole Specht and Ryan Witman found the road wide open for their return home to Pennsylvania.

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Subaru recalls 660K vehicles for brake line rust

DETROIT (AP) — Subaru is recalling more than 660,000 cars and SUVs because the brake lines can rust and leak fluid. For about half the vehicles, it's the second recall for the same problem. Affected are 2005 through 2009 Legacy and Outback, the 2008 through 2014 Impreza and the 2009 through 2013 Forester. It affects cars only in 20 states and Washington, D.C., where salt is used to clear roads in the winter. The company says in documents filed with the U.S. government that salty water can splash onto the brake lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector, causing rust. If they leak fluid, it could take longer to stop the car and increase the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the lines if needed and apply anti-corrosion wax.

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Suspect pleads not guilty in children's stabbing

NEW YORK (AP) — A man accused of killing a 6-year-old boy and injuring a 7-year-old girl in a New York City public housing building elevator has pleaded not guilty. Daniel St. Hubert pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murder, attempted murder, assault and weapons possession in connection with the June 1 attack. Prince Joshua Avitto was stabbed to death; his best friend, Mikayla Capers, left the hospital a few weeks ago. The district attorney's office provided a statement Wednesday that St. Hubert made to police officers shortly after he was taken into custody. The New York Times says he said "Satan has powers and controls things," and then added, "I think I need a lawyer." Defense lawyer Edward Friedman says he's considering a psychiatric defense. St. Hubert is due back in court on Aug. 8.

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War hero, Olympian Zamperini dies at 97

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An Olympic distance runner and World War II veteran who survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed, then endured two years in Japanese prison camps, has died. Louis Zamperini was 97. Universal Pictures studio spokesman Michael Moses says Zamperini died Wednesday. Zamperini enlisted in the Army before Pearl Harbor and was a bombardier in World War II. He and his crew were searching for a downed B-24 when their plane crashed into the Pacific, killing eight of the 11 men. Before joining the military, Zamperini was a runner at the University of Southern California. He ran in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, placing eighth in the mile. His story was told in "Unbroken," Laura Hillenbrand's 2010 best-seller, and is the subject of an Angelina Jolie-directed film by the same name being released in December.

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INTERNATIONAL
Officials: Israel moving troops toward Gaza border

JERUSALEM (AP) — Defense officials say Israel has begun sending troop reinforcements to its border with the Gaza Strip amid intensifying rocket barrages. Israel has been debating how to respond to the killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank, which it blames on Hamas. It has arrested hundreds of Hamas members in the West Bank and threatened tough action against the militant group, which controls Gaza. The increase in troops could be in preparation for a wider operation or meant as a defensive action. More than a dozen rockets struck southern Israel early Thursday, hitting two houses and causing damage but not wounding anyone. Israel responded with airstrikes. The defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

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Extremist group takes Syria's key oil field

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have taken control of Syria's largest oil field, near the border with Iraq. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the extremist group captured al-Omar oil field in eastern Deir el-Zour province on Thursday after fighters belonging to a rival group, the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, left without firing a bullet. The al-Omar field has changed hands several times in the course of Syria's three-year conflict. The Nusra Front and several other Islamic factions captured it from forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in November. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has seized a large expanse of territory in Syria and neighboring Iraq, and has declared the establishment of an Islamic state astride the border.

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India's building collapse death toll reaches 60

NEW DELHI (AP) — The death toll in a building collapse in southern India has risen to 60 as hundreds of workers are close to clearing the massive ruins of the 11-story structure. Police Inspector-General Sandeep Rai Rathore says 27 people have been rescued since the weekend from under the enormous heap of broken concrete slabs, twisted iron girders and concrete dust in one of the worst building collapses in India in decades. Rathore says the excavation is likely to be completed on Friday. Police have arrested six construction company officials for alleged criminal negligence and violation of building codes. Authorities are investigating the cause of Saturday's collapse in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state.

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SPORTS
WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago Cubs 16, Boston 9
Chicago White Sox 3, L.A. Angels 2
St. Louis 2, San Francisco 0

Frontier League

Evansville 5, Frontier 4
Washington 2, Southern Illinois 1
Gateway 9, Florence 2

THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

St. Louis at San Francisco, 2:45 p.m. (pregame at 1:49 p.m.)

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Washington
Florence at Gateway
Frontier at Evansville

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Cardinals Offering Four-Dollar Tickets To Pirates, Rays Games

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The St. Louis Cardinals are celebrating the Fourth of July with four-dollar tickets.  The team will be offering ten-thousand of the discounted tickets to each of five different games this month.  The low-priced tickets are for upcoming series with the Pirates and Rays and will go on sale starting tomorrow morning at 10:00.

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One-Hundred-Year-Old Die-Hard Cubs Fan Dies

(Chicago, IL) -- A 100-year-old Cubs fan who helped the team celebrate its own centennial anniversary has died -- less than three weeks after his appearance on the grass at Wrigley Field. Louis Reinhart of Loda in central Illinois was supposed to be part of opening day ceremonies but got to the ball park too late because of traffic. The team invited the retired farmer back to deliver the game ball and pose on the field with members of the team before the June 8th game with Miami. His funeral is today in Loda.

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Cumiskey agrees to 1-year deal with Blackhawks

CHICAGO (AP) — Defenseman Kyle Cumiskey has agreed to a one-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks and is returning to the NHL. The 27-year-old Cumiskey spent the past two years with MODO of the Swedish Hockey League and had four goals and 24 assists last season. He played in 132 games with the Colorado Avalanche from 2006 to 2011, registering nine goals and 26 assists. The Blackhawks announced the move on Wednesday.

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News for July 2, 2014

LOCAL
SIU panel to name new acting Carbondale chancellor

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University appears ready to name a new interim chancellor for its Carbondale campus. The SIU Board of Trustees' executive committee is expected to meet Wednesday in Carbondale, and the only agenda item is to appoint a temporary replacement for Rita Cheng. Cheng has been named president of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. SIU President Randy Dunn says Cheng completed her work on the Carbondale campus Monday and is taking vacation leave pending the start of her new job in two weeks. Cheng has been the Carbondale school's chancellor since 2010. A process for searching for Cheng's permanent successor will be sorted out after an SIU board meeting later this month.

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Jury: $1.2M to Illinois boy killed in bike crash

GOLCONDA, Ill. (AP) — A jury in southern Illinois' Pope County has awarded $1.2 million to the family of a teenager killed in 2007 when the bicycle he was riding hit an ambulance. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports a judge approved the verdict last week in the trial involving 13-year-old Brett McDaniel's death. Authorities have said McDaniel was bicycling near Golconda when he failed to stop at an intersection and hit the side of the Mercy Regional Emergency Medical Service ambulance. The family's attorneys argued that the ambulance was traveling over the speed limit and didn't exercise care to avoid colliding with McDaniel. The ambulance was not carrying a patient and was not on an emergency run. The ambulance service's executive director, Jamey Locke, declined comment Tuesday.

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Rare WWII bomber lands in southern Illinois

MARION, Ill. (AP) — A rare World War II bomber will be housed in Marion for the next month. The Southern Illinoisan reports the Consolidated B-24 Liberator "Diamond Lil" landed Monday afternoon at Williamson County Airport. Mark Bybee is president of the EAA Experimental Aircraft Association chapter in Carbondale. He says the plane is part of the Commemorative Air Force museum. He says it arrived from Ohio and needs maintenance before it flies on to Wisconsin at the end of the month. Bybee says Southern Illinois University aviation students will be able to watch crews perform maintenance on the plane. Korean War veteran Stephen Alley toured the plane. The 82-year-old from Murphysboro says it reminded him of his time with the U.S. Air Force. Tours also will be available July 19.

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Illinois man admits defrauding credit union

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A former southwestern man faces up to 30 years in federal prison now that he has admitted bilking the credit union where he once served as president. Fifty-four-year-old Paul C. Smith of East Alton pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to bank fraud. Authorities say Smith was employed by Laclede Community Credit Union from November 1977 until his resignation in mid-2012. He had been the credit union's president and was treasurer for a credit union trade group. Prosecutors say Smith used his association debit card to get cash advances and make purchases totaling more than $58,000 from 2007 to 2012, then manipulated the bank's computers to conceal those transactions. Smith is expected to be sentenced Sept. 29.

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Husband And Wife Allegedly Rob O'Fallon Bank

(O'Fallon, IL) -- A couple down in O'Fallon is accused of working together to rob a bank. Officials say Steve and Denise Dodson stole about 100-thousand-dollars during a heist at Scott Credit Union on Highway 50 last year. Steve allegedly wore a black mask when he held-up two bank employees. Police say he took the cash and hopped into a getaway car that Denise was allegedly driving. They were indicted yesterday and are being held without bond in federal custody. They're expected to go to trial next month. If convicted, they could spend up to 25-years in prison.

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Former Fairfield Teacher Charged With Sex Crimes

A former Fairfield track coach and teacher charged in both Wayne and St. Clair Counties with video taping young girls has now been indicted in federal court. 43-year-old Timothy C. Going is charged in federal court with attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, for allegedly using and attempting to use a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a video. The indictment alleges that the act took place on or about November 1 or 2, 2013, in St. Clair County. A second count charges going with possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Investigators say the federal charges are based upon images recovered from computer equipment seized from Going's Fairfield home during the execution of a search warrant. Going has been unable to post bond and remains in the Wayne County Jail.

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U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to visit the New Red Cross office in Swansea, IL

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (IL), Red Cross CEO Cindy Erickson, Disaster Program Executive Mary Anderson and Red Cross Volunteers will attend a volunteer reception at 3 p.m. Wednesday, at the new American Red Cross,  Southern Illinois Office  2805 N. Illinois Street in Swansea. They will be celebrating the opening of the new Southern Illinois Red Cross office in Swansea and review the response operation and equipment employed in Brookport following the tornadoes that hit Southern Illinois last November.

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STATE
Oberweis wants 7 debates with Durbin for US Senate

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. (AP) — Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis wants U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to agree to seven debates prior to the November election. Oberweis is a dairy magnate and entrepreneur. He's trying to unseat Durbin, a third-term senator and the Senate's second-ranking Democrat. In a statement Tuesday, Oberweis says voters should get to compare the candidates' records on job creation and other topics. Ron Holmes is a spokesman for Durbin. He says Durbin has debated every challenger he's faced and "looks forward to working out the terms" of this fall's schedule. Oberweis says the seven debates should be held statewide, with major media sponsors. He says at least three should be outside the Chicago area. Oberweis also wants one debate to be co-hosted by a liberal organization and another by a conservative organization.

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Weather Service finds 5 tornadoes struck Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — The National Weather Service is now reporting five tornadoes touched down in Illinois during a storm that dumped heavy rain as it swept across the state. A weather service damage survey confirmed Tuesday modest tornadoes landed late Monday near Earlville, about 80 miles southwest of Chicago, Plainfield in Will County, in rural Kendal County, near Grant Park in Kankakee County and near Morris in Grundy County. The weather service survey found buildings were damaged, and trees and power lines knocked down by the high winds that accompanied the storm. Officials say none of tornadoes were on the ground long. However, there were straight-line winds the weather service estimates reached speeds of 80 to 100 mph. In western and southern Illinois there is a flood warning along the Mississippi River.

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Former US attorney named inspector general

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — 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 court justice who served 10 years following the creation of the post with the 2003 Ethics Act. The legislative inspector general is responsible for investigating complaints and other indications of violations of laws or rules, abuse of authority or other forms of misconduct by lawmakers and their staff members.

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Mom At Center Of SCOTUS Case Says Common Sense Won

(Springfield, IL) -- The Illinois mom at the center of a Supreme Court decision that halts the expansion of government sector unions says she can finally go back to being a mom. Pam Harris says she's glad the high court said SEIU can't force her to pay union dues against her will. Harris says the court looked at Illinois law and realized something was not right. Harris takes care of her developmentally disabled son at home and gets a small government stipend for his care. She says the ruling ensures that money will stay with him, and not go to the union. SEIU officials have said they'll focus on providing care for health care workers in the state who do want to be a part of the union.

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Jesse White Encourages Reflection on 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act of 1964

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White urged people to take a moment to reflect on and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Fifty years ago on July 2, this historic measure outlawed discrimination based on race, creed, gender or national origin.  The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited racial segregation in schools, at work and at public facilities, and ended unfair voting registration practices.  “As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our great nation 238 years ago, let us also remember those heroes who organized, protested and marched so we could live in a society where people, as my former minister the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, ‘will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,’” said White.  White attended Dr. King’s church while a student at Alabama State College. White noted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ushered in widespread legal changes for which activists had fought for years.  It was a monumental step in the direction of racial equality and fairness, White said. “Having been a student at Alabama State College — now Alabama State University — in Montgomery, Ala. in the early 1950s, I experienced some of the inequalities that prompted the civil rights movement,” said White.  “Coming from Chicago to Montgomery brought challenges and frustrations due to the racial climate in the south.  We were prohibited from drinking at certain water fountains and using certain washrooms, weren’t allowed to choose which seat on a bus to sit on and were banned from eating at many restaurants.” White encouraged those who would like to learn more about this important milestone in America’s history to read the feature article on the Civil Rights Movement in the 2013-14 Illinois Blue Book, published by the Secretary of State.  The Illinois Blue Book is available online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com or can be found at local libraries. “As someone who has experienced racism, I know how deeply it can cut and I never want anyone else to experience such pain,” said White.

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GOP attacks Quinn on Transportation chief's ouster

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Republicans are criticizing Gov. Pat Quinn over hiring troubles at his Transportation Department, where the Democrat replaced the agency's leader. Quinn's GOP election challenger, Bruce Rauner, says that the governor "commands a culture of patronage, corruption and cronyism." Quinn's office announced Monday that Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider will step down next week to be replaced by Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren. There was no word on why Schneider is leaving. But news reports and a federal lawsuit have questioned agency hiring which put politically connected people into jobs that should be been protected from political considerations. Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove is the ranking Republican on a House transportation committee. He says the hiring scandal tarnishes Quinn's image as a reformer and Schneider's ouster was inevitable.

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State Trooper Under Fire For Allegedly Driving Recklessly

(Undated) -- An Illinois State Trooper is under fire for allegedly driving recklessly. The trooper pulled a trucker over recently and got an earful when the trucker set him straight on his driving tactics. The trooper initially told the trucker he was going to write a ticket for using his horn illegally, but that was before he realized the driver had been recording the whole incident. The trooper took the driver's information but then let him off, claiming he didn't want to hurt his driving record. He also acknowledged that the trucker was just trying to keep the roads safe. A spokesperson for the State Police is defending the trooper. She says he did nothing wrong and shoots down claims that the trucker changed his tone when he realized he was on camera. A truck driver says he sounded his horn at the state trooper recently because he was driving way too fast. The trooper didn't like being honked at and pulled the truck over, but he got an earful about road safety.  

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State Buys Will County Airfield

(Springfield, IL)  --  The Illinois Department of Transportation has paid 34-million-dollars to buy a private airfield in Will County with plans to build a large commercial airport.  The land purchased is Bult Field near south suburban Monee.  It includes a five-thousand-foot-long runway, airplane hangars, a terminal and farmland.  IDOT officials say they will operate Bult as a general aviation airport until the land is ready for the commercial airport served by airlines.

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June rainfall well above average across Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' state climatologist says June was much wetter than usual across the state and just a little warmer than average. Climatologist Jim Angel said Tuesday the average rainfall for June across Illinois was close to seven inches. That's nearly three inches more than usual and the eighth wettest June on record. Angel works at the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois. The wettest June in recorded Illinois history was in 1902 when nearly eight-and-a-third inches of rain was recorded. Four of the past five Junes have been wetter than average. Angel said the statewide average temperature for last month was close to 73 degrees. That's about one degree above average.

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NATIONAL
NASA finally launches carbon satellite

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — NASA has launched a rocket carrying a NASA satellite that'll study how the environment absorbs carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas caused by the burning of fossil fuels. The launch was canceled yesterday morning because of an equipment failure. And in 2009, a similar satellite plunged into the ocean off Antarctica during launch.

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Benghazi suspect in US federal court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first person to be prosecuted in the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya is scheduled to appear in a federal court in Washington, D.C., today for a detention hearing. The September 11, 2012 assault killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

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Privacy board: NSA's Internet monitoring is legal

WASHINGTON (AP) — An independent privacy and civil liberties board says National Security Agency programs that collect huge volumes of Internet data within the United States pass constitutional muster. A report by the bipartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board also says the programs have "reasonable" safeguards to protect the rights of Americans. But the panel also urges new internal intelligence agency safeguards to further guard against misuse.

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Running out of highway money

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is warning that if Congress doesn't agree quickly on how to pay for federal highway projects, states will begin feeling the pain of cutbacks in just a few weeks. The balance in the federal Highway Trust Fund is dropping and will soon go below $4 billion. That's the cushion officials say is needed for incoming fuel tax revenue to cover outgoing payments to states. By late August, the balance is forecast to reach zero.

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T-Mobile accused of billing bogus calls

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are urging T-Mobile customers to go through their phone bills line by line. They're accusing T-Mobile US of charging customers for premium services, like horoscope texts and quirky ringtones that customers never authorized. The Federal Trade Commission has filed suit against the phone company in a federal court in Seattle.

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Storm eyes Florida coast

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Right now, Tropical Storm Arthur is churning off the Florida coast with 60 mph winds. But forecasters predict it'll be a hurricane by Thursday. The president of Savannah, Georgia's tourism bureau says everyone's keeping one eye on the weather and one eye on this weekend's July 4th events. The storm is about 95 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Protesters Block Buses Carrying Immigrants

(Murrieta, CA)  --  Illegal immigrants who were on buses protesters turned back at a U.S. Border Patrol station near San Diego are now being held at another facility.  About 150 protesters filled a street leading to the facility and blocked the buses' path.  After about 25 minutes, the buses backed up and left and were rerouted to another border patrol station south of San Diego.  Meanwhile, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio says the migrant children crisis is a plan by President Obama to force Congress' hand.  The self-proclaimed "Toughest Sheriff in America" says Obama is trying to push an amnesty bill for illegal immigrants.

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California Wildfire At 2,700 Acres, Still Growing

(Napa County, CA)  --  About 180 families in Northern California can't go home because of a wildfire that keeps getting bigger.  The fire started Tuesday afternoon in Napa County and quickly blew up to more than 27-hundred acres, forcing mandatory evacuations.  The fire has damaged at least five buildings and closed a number of roads in the world-famous wine country north of San Francisco.  More than 300 firefighters have the blaze about 30-percent contained.  

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Schumer Fights To Save America's Export-Import Bank

(New York, NY)  --  Senator Charles Schumer is fighting to save America's Export-Import Bank.  The New York Democrat says doing away with a bank that helps American companies sell their products overseas is a bad idea.  The charter for the 80-year bank is due to expire at the end of September.  Republicans want to close it, calling it a taxpayer-backed slush fund for corporations, but Democrats say it helps U.S. companies compete in Europe and Asia. 

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North Dakota seeks dismissal of gay marriage suit

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — State officials are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging North Dakota's constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage. The state attorney general's office filed the motion Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Fargo. North Dakota Solicitor General Doug Bahr argues in court documents that the U.S. Constitution gives states the rights to define and regulate marriage. Bahr also says the U.S. Constitution doesn't require North Dakota to recognize legal same-sex marriages in other states. Seven couples filed the federal lawsuit last month, making North Dakota the last state with a ban to be sued by gay couples seeking the right to marry in their home state. A second lawsuit challenging North Dakota's ban has since been filed in federal court by a Fargo couple.

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Scientists retract studies about making stem cells

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists who reported in January that they'd found a startlingly simple way to make stem cells have withdrawn that claim, following accusations of falsified data. In two papers published earlier this year in the journal Nature, the researchers reported that they'd been able to transform ordinary mouse cells into versatile stem cells by exposing them to a mildly acidic environment. Scientists hope to harness stem cells to grow replacement tissue for treating a variety of diseases. But not long after, a government-funded institution in Japan accused one of their scientists — a main author of the research — of falsifying data. On Wednesday, Nature released a statement from the scientists. They acknowledged "extensive" errors and said they couldn't say "without a doubt" that their method works.

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Letter written in Maine 83 years ago delivered

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) — A letter written by a Maine school teacher in 1931 to her mother 150 miles away has finally been delivered — 83 years later. Twenty-three-year-old Miriam McMichael sent the nine-page letter from Houlton to Dollena McMichael in Pittsfield. Both women have since died. The letter was lost and only recently found at the Pittsfield post office. Postal worker Michelle Rowell found it and tells the Morning Sentinel she knew it was old because of the 2-cent stamp. The postmaster and town officials tracked down the family, and the letter is now in the hands of 69-year-old Ann MacMichael, of Cornville, Miriam's niece and Dollena's granddaughter. The spelling of the family name has changed. MacMichael says the irony is that the writer apologizes for not writing sooner.

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INTERNATIONAL
Palestinians say Israeli extremists killed teen

JERUSALEM (AP) — The family of a missing Palestinian teenager in east Jerusalem says the boy's body has been identified, and the Palestinian president is accusing Israeli extremists of killing him. Relatives say Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 17, was approached by a car early Wednesday and forced inside before it sped off. A body was later found in a Jerusalem forest, raising fears the boy had been killed as revenge for the recent killings of three Israeli teens in the West Bank. The boy's cousin says relatives have now identified the body as that of the missing teen. However, Israeli police say the body still has not been identified. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused extremist Jewish settlers of "killing and burning a little boy" and demanded Israel "hold the killers accountable." Israeli police clashed with several hundred Palestinians following the reports that the teen had been kidnapped and that a body had been found.

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Iraqi leader: Islamic state is threat to region

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister has warned that an extremist group's declaration of an Islamic state in territory it has seized in Iraq and Syria is a threat to the entire region. Nouri al-Maliki says the announcement this week by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that it has unilaterally established an Islamic state "is a message to all the states in the region that you are inside the red circle now." In his weekly address today, al-Maliki says "no one in Iraq or any neighboring country will be safe from these plans." The Sunni extremist group has overrun huge swaths of northern and western Iraq in recent weeks, linking up with territory already under its control in neighboring Syria.

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Ukraine says guard killed in attack on border post

MOSCOW (AP) — Ukraine's border guards service says a serviceman was killed and eight were wounded when a post on the border with Russia came under heavy mortar attack. In a statement, the service says the attack took place before dawn Wednesday at the Novoazovsk post in the southeastern part of the Donetsk region. Donetsk is one of two eastern regions where Ukrainian forces are fighting pro-Russia separatists. A 10-day unilateral cease-fire by the Ukrainian side expired late Monday after separatists rejected calls to lay down their weapons. Border posts have become key strategic objects, as Ukraine claims the rebels are receiving support and reinforcements from Russia. Ukraine says it retook control of one border post from rebels this week. The guards service said Wednesday the insurgents had mined the post with explosives.

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Benghazi suspect in US federal court

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. prosecutors are expected to argue before a federal judge in Washington today that the first person prosecuted for the deadly attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, should remain in detention. Prosecutors accuse Ahmed Abu Khattala of taking part in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

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UK investigating Facebook over psych experiment

LONDON (AP) — British data protection authorities are investigating revelations that Facebook conducted a psychological experiment on its users. The Information Commissioner's Office said in a statement Wednesday that it wants to learn more about the circumstances of the experiment carried out by two U.S. universities and the social network. The researchers manipulated the news feeds of about 700,000 randomly selected users to study the impact of "emotional contagion," or how emotional states are transferred to others. The commissioner's office is working with authorities in Ireland, headquarters of Facebook's European operations. French authorities are also reviewing the matter. The concern comes amid interest in Europe about beefing up data protection rules. The European Court of Justice last month ruled that Google must respond to user requests seeking to remove links to personal information.

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SPORTS
TUESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago Cubs 2, Boston 1
L.A. Angels 8, Chicago White Sox 4, 1st game
L.A. Angels 7, Chicago White Sox 5, 2nd game
San Francisco 5, St. Louis 0

Frontier League

Gateway 3, Florence 2

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Boston, 6:10 p.m.
L.A. Angels at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.
St. Louis at San Francisco, 9:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 8:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Frontier at Evansville (2)
Southern Illinois at Washington (2)
Florence at Gateway

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Team USA goes down in OT

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Jozy Altidore now has plenty of time to rest his ailing left hamstring. The United States has been eliminated by Belgium 2-1 in overtime in the second round of the World Cup, puncturing the soccer bubble that Americans had enjoyed for a couple of weeks. Following a scoreless 90 minutes of regulation, Belgium scored two quick goals at the start of the 30-minute overtime. Julian Green got one back for the U.S. in the 107th minute of the match. Despite putting on late pressure, the U.S. failed to score the equalizer. U.S. goalie Tim Howard was the reason the Americans even reached overtime, making several tough stops during the scoreless regulation. Howard finished with 16 saves. The U.S. was trying to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002. Belgium next plays Argentina, which beat Switzerland 1-0 in extra time. The lone goal was scored in the 118th minute.

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FCS Preseason Teams Has Local Flavor

Among the seven players returning to The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America first team, Southern Illinois senior tight end MyCole Pruitt and Eastern Illinois senior offensive lineman Collin Seibert return. Other first-team selections on offense included Southern Illinois senior place-kicker Thomas Kinney. The first team on defense also featured Illinois State long snapper Chris Highland.  Eastern Illinois had four selections in all, with WR Adam Drake and TE Jeff LePak making 2nd team offense and RB Shepard Little earning 3rd team offensive honors. 

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Blackhawks sign C Richards to 1-year deal

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks have signed Brad Richards to a one-year deal, bolstering their group of centers with another proven scorer. Richards had 20 goals and 31 assists in 82 games for the New York Rangers last season, and then had 12 points in the playoffs to help his team make it to the Stanley Cup finals. The 34-year-old Richards has 276 goals and 591 assists in 982 career games for Tampa Bay, Dallas and New York. The Blackhawks have been looking for a second-line center behind Jonathan Toews for a couple years, and Richards' resume makes him a favorite to fill that role. The move also allows Chicago to bring prospect Teuvo Teravainen along more slowly. Chicago also announced a one-year deal with center Peter Regin on Tuesday.

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Blues sign Paul Stastny to 4-year deal

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Blues have lured Paul Stastny away from division rival Colorado, signing the veteran center to a four-year, $28 million deal Tuesday. Stastny has spent his entire career with the Avalanche after being picked in the second round of the 2005 draft. He thrived under first-year coach Patrick Roy last season, scoring 25 goals as he helped the Avalanche overtake St. Louis for the Central Division crown and into the postseason for the first time since 2009-10. The 28-year-old Stastny is a St. Louis native. His father, Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, and brother, Yan Stastny, are former Blues players. Paul and Peter Stastny will be the fifth father-son combination to have played for the Blues in franchise history.

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News for July 1, 2014

LOCAL
City Council Holds Special Council Met Monday

The Mt. Vernon City Council held a special Council Meeting Monday at the Rolland W. Lewis Building at Veterans Memorial Park. On the agenda for this meeting, is the first reading of an ordinance amending Article 8, Section 8.1, for Fire & Police Commission, allowing for immediate solicitation of external candidates for the position of police chief, fire chief, assistant police chief, and assistant fire chief. The 2nd reading is tentatively schedule for the Council meeting on July 14. The council also voted 3-2 against a modification to chief and assistant chief hiring and discharge procedures transferring legal authority solely from the board of Fire & Police Commission to the Mayor, City Council, and Office of City Manager. The motion was made to resolve and authorize the board of the Fire & Police Commission to fill the office of the Chief of Police.

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Boy, 4, hit, killed by car in West Frankfort

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) — Police in southern Illinois' West Frankfort have released more information regarding an accident that killed a 4-year-old boy. Authorities say Logan Adams died after the accident about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Police chief Shawn Talluto says Adams was among seven children on the road, and that all of them dispersed to both sides of the street when the car approached. But as the vehicle passed while traveling at 3 miles per hour, Adams went back onto the road and was hit. The speed as well as other facts was downloaded from the vehicle confirming the information initially provided to officers at the scene. The driver has not been publicly identified. This case is currently under investigation.

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Mt. Vernon Man Arrested In Connection With Weekend Arson

A 21-year-old Mt. Vernon man has been arrested in connection with a weekend fire that caused major damage to a business and injured a firefighter. Alec McLaughlin has been charged in Jefferson County Court with three Class X Felony counts of aggravated arson knowing people were present, and three counts arson to real or personal property exceeding $150,000 in damage. Sheriff's reports claim McLaughlin set fire to Rend Lake Boat Storage last Friday Reports indicate McLaughlin ran past the alleged arson victim, and climbed into his car. Authorities say the victim's business suffered serious fire damage during the incident. Fire officials say McLaughlin lit one of her vehicles on fire, which caused the flames to spread.   Jefferson County Fire Chief Robert Beal says the flames spread to a number of other vehicles, with the one set on fire being completely destroyed. Beal sustained first degree burns responding to the fire, an injury that raised McLaughlin's charges to aggravated arson. First responders say that when McLaughlin tried to escape, he drunkenly crashed his car as he fled.  Damage to the storage facility is estimated at $100 thousand. It is unclear why McLaughlin targeted that particular business. McLaughlin remains in custody of the Jefferson County Jail.

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Southern Illinois Accident Leads To Fatalities

Three people have died after an accident on Route 13 in Southern Illinois.  Preliminary investigative details and witness statements indicate that a Pontiac Firebird and a Porsche 911 were west bound on Illinois Route 13 approaching Cambria Road. A Scion SXC was east bound on Illinois Route 13 turning onto Cambria Road north bound. The Firebird struck the Scion and then caught on fire. The driver of the Porsche lost control while attempting to avoid striking the other two vehicles and it slid into the waters of Crab Orchard Lake. Three fatalities are confirmed at press time. One passenger remains in critical condition. The investigation continues, however excessive speed is believed to have contributed to the severity of this crash. Assisting agencies include the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department, Crainville Police Department, Carterville Police Department, John A. Logan Police Department, United States Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement, Carbondale Police Department, Carterville Fire Department, and Illinois State Police. Charges are pending as the investigation continues.

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Father Files Wrongful Death Suit Against School District

(Carterville, IL)  --  The father of a teen who committed suicide last fall is now suing the Carterville school district.  Bradley Lewis says his son, Jordan, was bullied before he shot and killed himself last October.  Lewis filed a lawsuit on Monday against the school district, its superintendent, the high school principal and football coach for negligence and wrongful death.  The suit also includes the Cambria Police Department.  Cops conducted a wellness check on Jordan the day before he killed himself.

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Five Students Get 75-Thousand Dollar Scholarships

(East St. Louis, IL)  --  McDonalds is paying for five students from East St. Louis to go to college.  The restaurant chain has given each 75-thousand-dollars in scholarships and a new laptop.  The students will be headed in different directions in the fall, pursuing careers in business administration, pre-med, food sciences and nutrition.  They say the money will make it easier for them to achieve their dreams.

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Belleville woman accused of stabbing man in head

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois woman has been charged with stabbing her boyfriend in the head during a dispute. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County prosecutors charged 34-year-old Christy McDuffie of Belleville with a felony count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of domestic violence. The unidentified alleged victim survived. Authorities say he has dated McDuffie on and off during the past seven years. Authorities allege McDuffie stabbed and punched the man during a domestic dispute June 24. The cause of the dispute has not been made public. Online court records don't show whether McDuffie has an attorney. She does not have a listed home telephone number.

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STATE
Governor Quinn Cuts State Budget

CHICAGO – Monday, Governor Quinn cut Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2015 state budget, zeroing out $250 million for renovations of the state Capitol. In addition, as part of his ongoing budget review, the Governor directed state agencies to identify additional efficiencies, including selling nearly half of the state’s aircraft. Last week, the Governor announced more than $55 million in efficiencies including reduced parking and reduced leases. Since taking office, Governor Quinn has cut state spending by more than $5.7 billion and Monday’s action continues the Governor's commitment to making state government more efficient and accountable to taxpayers. “While legislators didn't do their job on the budget, I will continue to do mine,” Governor Quinn said. “Reducing the budget and identifying additional efficiencies will help minimize the impact of cuts in vital services and maintain our hard-won fiscal gains. While there's more work to do, we must ensure the state lives within its means.” The Governor’s reductions include vetoing $250 million in appropriations for renovations to the state Capitol building. While ensuring the Capitol building is modern and accessible to all people in Illinois is a priority, the state cannot afford to move forward with additional renovations this year. In 2013, the Governor halted renovations at the Capitol after excessive flourishes and spending by the architect was brought to his attention. Currently the state owns 21 aircraft and spends more than $7 million to operate and maintain the fleet each year. Governor Quinn instructed the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to put nine aircraft – including seven from the Illinois Department of Transportation and two from the Illinois State Police – on the market while maintaining several aircraft to continue state government operations. Last week the Governor directed state agencies to cut 80 paid parking spaces for state employees in downtown garages – more than 30 percent of the total spots reserved. The move will save taxpayers more than $100,000 annually. He also again reduced lease costs for government buildings that will save taxpayers an additional $55 million this year. 

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Supreme Court Hands Win To Home Care Workers

(Washington, D.C)  --  Home care workers in Illinois don't have to join a union or pay union fees if they don't want to.  That's the ruling that came down from the U.S. Supreme Court this morning.  The case of Harris versus Quinn was filed by suburban Chicago mom Pam Harris who gets about 25-grand a year from the state so she can take care of her developmentally disabled son at home instead of putting him in a state facility.  She was forced to join a union and pay fees back in 2009 after Governor Quinn signed an Executive Order requiring home care workers to join a union so they can get Medicaid benefits.  Supreme Court justices say it's a violation of the workers' First Amendment right.

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Court ruling on union fees draws mixed reaction

CHICAGO (AP) — A 57-year-old quadriplegic man in Chicago says he worries the U.S. Supreme Court ruling about union fees may affect the quality of care he receives from home health care workers. Four personal assistants visits Michael Grice at his apartment each week to help him bathe and cook. Among his concerns is continuity of care. The U.S. Supreme Court says public sector unions can't collect fees from home health care workers who object to being affiliated with a union. It's a blow to unions who have boosted their ranks by signing up hundreds of thousands of home health care workers. The lawsuit was brought by a group of home health care workers led by Pamela Harris. She says the ruling means no third party will intrude into care.

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Quinn names new acting secretary of transportation


CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has replaced the head of the Illinois Department of Transportation. Quinn's office announced Monday that Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren has been appointed to the post held by Ann Schneider since 2011. Quinn called Borggren a "proven leader," but made no mention of why Schneider was departing from the agency that's facing numerous problems. His office later confirmed her resignation is effective next week. The state Senate must confirm the appointment. Quinn's hiring activities have come under scrutiny this year. Attorney Michael Shakman of Chicago wants a federal judge to order an investigation into the Democrat's hiring practices. The governor faces a difficult re-election bid against Winnetka Republican Bruce Rauner.

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Quinn to sign same-day registration bill

OAK PARK, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign legislation allowing Illinois voters to register on Election Day, have more time to cast early ballots and no longer be required to bring photo identification to vote early. The Chicago Democrat plans to sign the legislation Tuesday in Oak Park. Democrats pushed the plan on the second-to-last day of the spring session with the idea that it'll improve November turnout. However, Republicans allege it's part of a larger effort to boost Democrats' numbers at the polls. Quinn has dismissed those claims. The new law only applies to the November 2014 election. Bill sponsors say they'll extend it beyond November if things go smoothly. Ten states currently allow same-day voter registration.

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Illinois Concealed Carry Applicants Can Apply By Phone

(Undated)  --  Illinoisans can now apply for a concealed carry permit over the phone.  The State Police have launched a new hotline that allows applicants to call in with their address history for the past ten years, their driver's license or state ID information, FOID card information, and details that prove they've taken the required training course.  That means they'll need to have their training instructor's name and trainer ID number when calling to apply.

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Illinois pushes ahead with Medicaid managed care

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois' top Medicaid official has announced a timetable for moving hundreds of thousands of poor and disabled patients into managed care health plans. Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos said Monday the timetable is aimed at a Jan. 1 deadline for enrolling at least half the state's Medicaid patients in managed care. The goal is to reduce wasteful spending. Hamos says 1.7 million people will get packets in the mail by the end of the year outlining their health plan choices. Those who don't choose a plan will be assigned to one. Patients can switch during the first 90 days. The change affects Medicaid patients in approximately 30 counties in central and southwestern Illinois and in regions near Rockford, Chicago and the Quad Cities.

--------------------------

Archway to be restored where Lincoln buried

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Efforts are underway to restore the original entrance to the Springfield cemetery where Abraham Lincoln is buried. Lincoln's funeral procession ended at Oak Ridge Cemetery about 150 years ago. The State Journal-Register reports that restoration on the entrance will start this summer. About a dozen businesses are donating labor and materials to save money on the project. Officials say the original cost was estimated at $450,000 but donations have brought that figure down to between $50,000 and $100,000. Cemetery officials say they'd like to have the project done by November, about six months before a re-enactment of Lincoln's funeral is planned for next May. So far an old concrete wall has been cut back so a new reproduced archway can fit. Crews also are doing excavating work.

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State wants people to buy Illinois-made products

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois residents are being urged to spend some of their grocery money on products that were made or grown in the state. The Illinois Department of Agriculture on Monday encouraged residents to take its "Buy Illinois Pledge." It asks each household to dedicate $10 of its weekly grocery budget to Illinois products. In a news release, the department says if every household met the challenge, more than $2.4 billion per year would go back into the Illinois economy. Bob Flider is director of the Department of Agriculture. He says consumers may look for logos that state "Illinois Product" or "Illinois: Where Fresh Is" to help identify items produced in the state. The challenge is open to individuals, schools and businesses. For more information, check out www.buyillinoischallenge.com.

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NATIONAL
Obama Plans To Act Alone On Immigration Reform

(Washington, DC)  --  President Obama plans to go it alone on immigration reform.  On Monday Obama criticized inaction in the House and vowed to start taking executive actions on immigration reform.  This comes amid a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border which tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children have crossed over in recent months.  The Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill a year ago but it never gained traction in the Republican-led House. 

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Depression near Florida expected to strengthen

MIAMI (AP) — A tropical depression that's formed off the coast of Florida is expected to strengthen and soon become the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. The depression's maximum sustained winds early today are near 35 mph. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Florida's east coast from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach. The depression is centered about 95 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and is moving west near 2 mph.

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Obama to promote fixing bridges, highways

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will call on Congress today to close tax loopholes and use the money on infrastructure projects. He'll issue his appeal at Washington's Key Bridge, named after Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote the "Star-Spangled Banner." The bridge is getting repairs from the Highway Trust Fund, which expires at the end of the summer if Congress doesn't act.

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NOLA Police Release Video In Bourbon Street Shooting

(New Orleans, LA)  --  New Orleans police are releasing an enhanced video they say shows one of the gunmen responsible for Sunday's early morning shooting on Bourbon Street.  Officials now say ten people were injured when two men exchanged gunfire along the iconic street in the city's French Quarter.  One victim remains in critical condition. 

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Mayor urges residents to fight migrant transfers

MURRIETA, Calif. (AP) — The mayor of Murrieta, California is asking residents to fight a plan to fly migrant families from Texas for processing at a border patrol facility in the city. Mayor Alan Long says border officials have told him that a flight carrying 140 people is expected today. Migrants will be processed at the facility and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Long acknowledges that the migrants will not be released locally and do not have criminal records.

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NASA scrubs launch of global warming satellite

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — The planned launch of a rocket carrying a NASA satellite designed to track global warming has been postponed. NASA says the countdown was stopped at 46 seconds because of a failure in the launch pad water flow. The Delta 2 rocket was supposed to launch early today over Vandenberg Air Force Base. The rocket is the second try for NASA. In 2009, the space agency launched a replica satellite aboard a smaller and cheaper Taurus XL rocket. Minutes after liftoff, the rocket crashed into the ocean off Antarctica. Investigators later determined a piece of rocket hardware protecting the satellite did not separate as planned, preventing the satellite from reaching orbit.

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Justices act in other health law mandate cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has left in place lower court rulings in favor of businesses that object to covering all methods of government-approved contraception. The justices' action Tuesday is a strong indication that their decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the four pregnancy prevention methods and devices that the court considered in its ruling. Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby Inc. and a Pennsylvania furniture maker won their court challenges Monday in which they refused to pay for two emergency contraceptive pills and two intrauterine devices. Tuesday's orders apply to companies owned by Catholics who oppose all contraception. Their cases were awaiting action pending resolution of the Hobby Lobby case.

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Report: Health law sign-ups dogged by data flaws

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's health care fraud watchdog says the Obama administration has been struggling to clear up data discrepancies that could potentially jeopardize coverage for millions under the health overhaul. In a report Tuesday, the inspector general of the Health and Human Services department says the administration was unable to resolve 2.6 million so-called "inconsistencies" out of a total of 2.9 million such problems from October through December, 2013. The report says that most of the problems dealt with citizenship and income information supplied by consumers that conflicted with what the federal government had on record. It's the first independent look at a festering behind-the-scenes issue that could turn into another health law headache for the White House. The report said the government's eligibility system was not fully functional.

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GM sales rise 1 percent despite safety recalls

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says its U.S. sales rose 1 percent in June despite a record-setting string of safety recalls. Sales were led by the Buick Encore small SUV, up 82 percent. The redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe big SUV also had a strong month with sales almost doubling. GM sold more than 267,000 vehicles for the month. GM has recalled nearly 29 million vehicles this year as it reviews years of safety problems. Chrysler's U.S. auto sales jumped 9 percent in June on strong sales of the new Jeep Cherokee SUV and other models. It was Chrysler's strongest June since 2007.

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Conviction of NYC cop in cannibalism case overturned

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has overturned the conviction of an ex-NYPD police officer accused of plotting to kidnap, kill and eat young women. Defense lawyer Julia Gatto says the judge ruled late Monday there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction of Gilberto Valle. Valle was acquitted of kidnapping conspiracy charges. He could have faced life in prison. Valle was convicted in March 2013 and hadn't yet been sentenced. A jury concluded he wasn't just fantasizing when he conversed online with others he had never met about killing and cooking his wife and others in a cannibalism plot. Gatto says the judge's "decision validates what we have said since the beginning: there was no crime." Prosecutors had argued Valle took steps to carry out his plot, including looking up potential targets on a restricted law enforcement database.

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Good Samaritan rescues man from burning SUV

NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (AP) — A state trooper says a Good Samaritan showed "superhuman strength" when he bent the door of a burning SUV to rescue another motorist on a Minnesota freeway. Fifty-two-year-old Bob Renning was driving on Interstate 35W in New Brighton Sunday when he saw a vehicle behind him on fire. Renning tells the Star Tribune he pulled on the SUV's door handle, but it wouldn't open. He saw the driver pounding against the window. Renning gripped the door frame, braced his foot against the door and pulled. The State Patrol says the door bent in half and the glass shattered. State Trooper Zachary Hill who was at the scene soon after says he couldn't have achieved the same even with a crow bar. New Brighton is 10 miles north of Minneapolis.

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Ruling goes against boy in 'the Pop-Tart case'

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A hearing examiner has affirmed the suspension of a Maryland boy who chewed his breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun. The Washington Post reports that hearing examiner Andrew Nussbaum supported a principal's assertion that the suspension was based on a history of problems, not the pastry episode some refer to as "the Pop-Tart case." Nussbaum's 30-page opinion is dated June 26. The incident took place last year when the Anne Arundel County boy was 7 years old. The case happened during a time of increased sensitivity to guns after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The boy's punishment was one of several D.C.-area suspensions involving imaginary or toy guns.

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INTERNATIONAL
Explosion hits market in Nigerian city Maiduguri

BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) — Witnesses say they saw about 50 bodies after a bomb exploded in a market in a northeastern Nigerian city. People at the scene say the explosives were hidden under a load of charcoal in a pickup van. The blame has immediately fallen on the extremist group Boko Haram, which is accused in a series of recent bomb attacks in the country.

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Survivors found days after India building collapse

NEW DELHI (AP) — Police say rescuers have pulled more than a dozen survivors from under the concrete ruins of a collapsed 11-story building three days after it toppled and killed at least 29 people in southern India. Already, 55 people have been rescued from the enormous heap of broken slabs, twisted iron girders and concrete dust where the apartment building was being constructed in a suburb of Chennai, the south-coast capital of Tamil Nadu state. Hundreds of rescue workers are likely to continue searching for survivors for at least another day. They also expected to find more bodies, as rescuers said the foul smell of death had become overpowering on Tuesday.

---------------------------------

Afghan official: election results might be delayed

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan official says the release of preliminary results from a runoff vote in the presidential election might be delayed, a move that would further complicate a process that has been marred by fraud allegations. The spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, Noor Mohammad Noor, said Tuesday that the panel is considering a possible postponement of the announcement because it still needs to audit results from 1,930 polling stations in 30 provinces. According to the official timetable, initial results are due Wednesday and final results are due on July 22, with the inauguration date for the new president scheduled for Aug. 2. Abdullah Abdullah, one of the two candidates vying to replace President Hamid Karzai, has alleged that supporters of his rival Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai engineered massive fraud.

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SPORTS
MONDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago Cubs 2, Boston 0
L.A. Angels at Chicago, ppd., rain

TUESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Boston, 6:10 p.m.
L.A. Angels at Chicago White Sox, 4:10 p.m., 1st game
L.A. Angels at Chicago White Sox, 7:40 p.m., 2nd game
St. Louis at San Francisco, 9:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 8:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Florence at Gateway

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U.S. Faces Belgium Today In Knockout Round

(Salvador, Brazil)  --  The U.S. men's soccer team is set to begin the knockout stage of the World Cup today.  The Americans go up against Belgium in the single-elimination Round of 16 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.  A win would put the Stars and Stripes into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

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NHL Free Agency Starts Today

(Undated)  --  The NBA isn't the only place where rumors will be flying about players switching teams.  NHL free agency begins today at Noon Eastern.  Some of the top targets for teams will include Avalanche forward Paul Stastny and Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen.

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For Bulls, it's time to make pitch

DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — It's time for the Chicago Bulls to make their pitch. Free agency opens Tuesday, and they're expected to get an audience with Carmelo Anthony. Luring the prize of this year's crop out of New York to team with the returning Derrick Rose would vault them right back into contention in the Eastern Conference. Coach Tom Thibodeau says the Bulls "have a lot to offer." He spoke Monday at a news conference to introduce first-round draft pick Doug McDermott of Creighton and second-rounder Cameron Bairstow of New Mexico. The Bulls made the playoffs with 48 wins despite losing Rose to another knee injury early last season, wiping out whatever chance they had at knocking off Miami in the East.

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EIU narrows athletic director field to 3

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) — Eastern Illinois University says it has narrowed to three the field of potential candidates for its athletic director post. One of the three is a former athletic director and another works at the University of Illinois. Rick Hartzell was athletic director at the University of Northern Iowa from 1999 through 2008 and at Bucknell from 1988-99. Since he left Northern Iowa, Hartzell has refereed college basketball and worked outside college sports. Tom Michael is a senior associate athletic director at Illinois. He has been at the school since 1996. The third candidate is Jim Sarra. He is deputy director of athletics at the University of Texas-San Antonio. EIU said in a news release that on-campus interviews are planned July 7-9. Public interviews are expected but haven't been scheduled.

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News for June 30, 2014

LOCAL
City Council Holds Special Council Meeting This Monday

The Mt. Vernon City Council will hold a special Council Meeting Monday at the Rolland W. Lewis Building at Veterans Memorial Park. On the agenda for this meeting, is the first reading of an ordinance amending Article 8, Section 8.1, for Fire & Police Commission, allowing for immediate solicitation of external candidates for the position of police chief, fire chief, assistant police chief, and assistant fire chief, a resolution authorizing notice to the board of Fire and Police Commissioners to begin the process of filling the vacancy in the office of Chief of Police, and a discussion and decision relating to modification of chief and assistant chief hiring and discharge procedures transferring legal authority solely from the board of Fire & Police Commission to the Mayor, City Council, and Office of City Manager. The meeting is schedule for 7 p.m., Monday.

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Jefferson County Fires Believed To Be Arson, May Be Linked

Jefferson County authorities are investigating three fires believed to be the results of arson. Investigators believe a one-car accident near the scene of the last fire, which was reported around 10 a.m. Friday, may have involved the person who set the blaze. According to reports, the last fire was to a large storage building in the 13,000 block of Game Farm Road south of Mt. Vernon, with several vehicles stored inside. Jefferson Rural Firefighters say the roof of the building was on fire as well as one of the cars inside. The car was heavily damaged along with two mobile homes, and an RV. Three other vehicles received smoke and heat damage from the fire. Reports say the car crash occurred on Route 37, about a mile from the Game Farm Road fire. The vehicle's occupant was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon for treatment. Mt. Vernon City Firefighters were called to the two other fires just after midnight Friday morning. The first was a car fire at a residence in the 1,200 block of South 24th. The car's owner woke to a loud pop and found her car on fire. A short time later, firefighters were called to a vacant home owned in the 1,000 block of south 13th in Mt. Vernon, where a very small fire was set in a back room. Mt. Vernon Police were able to put out the fire with an extinguisher before firefighters arrived. The State Fire Marshall's Office, Mt. Vernon City Police and Fire and Jefferson Rural Fire and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office are investigating the incidents.

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Boy, 4, hit, killed by car in West Frankfort

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) — Police in southern Illinois' West Frankfort says a vehicle has struck and killed a 4-year-old boy. Authorities did not immediately release the name of the boy killed in the accident about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Police chief Shawn Talluto says the child was standing in the road when he was hit. There was no immediate word about any arrests or charges involving the driver, who was not identified. Franklin County and Illinois state authorities are assisting in the investigation.

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Morthland College Expands With Student Housing


Morthland College in West Frankfort will break ground sometime this summer on a $3million student housing complex. Enrollment at the school has grown from 11 when it began holding classes in 2011 to around 100 this coming fall. Since the school is expected to grow even more over the next few years, officials said the projected growth made the school attractive for student housing. The three-floor student housing project will offer two, three and four bedroom units. Each bedroom will have its own bathroom. Officials say over 60 beds will be available in the complex. It will also have laundry facilities and a commons area that will feature study rooms, a game room and fitness room. If all goes according to plan, the complex will be open in time for student in the fall of 2015.

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Guard Attacked At Shawnee Correctional Center

(Vienna, IL)  --   A prison guard may need surgery after being attacked by an inmate at Shawnee Correctional Center.  Reports indicate the guard suffered facial injuries and a broken jaw in the Friday morning attack.  The guard had to get a dozen stitches and may need to have surgery for a final fix.  The inmate who attacked the guard has been transferred to Menard, which is a max-security lock-up. 

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Belleville Memorial Hospital Slams Move By St. Elizabeth

(Belleville, IL) -- Belleville's Memorial Hospital says the decision by St. Elizabeth's Hospital to build a new facility and move to O'Fallon will mean reduced access to healthcare for people who are already underserved. St. Elizabeth's plans to close its Belleville hospital when the replacement is built and Memorial spokeswoman Anne Thomure says they see the move as part of St. Elizabeth's "systematic strategy to abandon downtown Belleville." St. Elizabeth president Maryanne Reese says the new hospital is only seven miles away and she says some healthcare services will continue at the Belleville hospital.

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Three Sought In Metro East Murder

(Cahokia, IL)  --  Metro East authorities are now looking for three people in connection with the murder of a Cahokia woman.  The Major Case Squad has been called in to investigate the death of 45-year-old Cassandra Holman, who was fatally shot Friday morning.  Investigators have identified only one of the persons of interest, Antrell Teen of Overland.  Anyone with information in the case is asked to call police.

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Shimkus to visit Marion veterans' hospital

MARION, Ill. (AP) — U.S. Rep. John Shimkus plans to tour a veterans' hospital in southern Illinois. Shimkus' office says the congressman will tour Marion VA Medical Center on Monday. This will be the Collinsville Republican's first visit to the Marion facility since a growing public outcry over patients dying while awaiting VA treatment and mounting evidence workers falsified or omitted appointment schedules to hide frequent, long delays. The congressman's office says Shimkus will talk to the media on Monday afternoon after his visits with staff and patients.

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Texas couple gives $1M to SIU for scholarship fund

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — A Texas couple is paying it forward, having mailed a surprise $1 million check to Southern Illinois University to establish a scholarship fund. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports Marsha and Gary Bertrand of Austin, Texas, sent the gift to the SIU Foundation. Foundation CEO Jim Salmo says he was aware the Bertrands were going to donate, but not a cash gift. He calls the mailing a "wonderful surprise." The donation will be invested, with those returns used for annual scholarships to middle-income undergraduate students from southern Illinois. Marsha Bertrand graduated in 1970 from SIU with a business degree and got a master's degree elsewhere. She said education has been essential in her and her husband's lives, "and neither of us could have accomplished our career goals without it."

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Car taking stricken woman to hospital crashes

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois county coroner says a stricken woman was being rushed to a hospital in a private car when that car crashed into a ditch. Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn says 44-year-old Tiney Marie Hunt of Granite City was pronounced dead after the Thursday accident. Nonn says after Hunt had become unconscious and unresponsive, the unidentified driver tried to drive her to a hospital and was calling 911 when the car veered off the road. Nonn says an autopsy Friday showed preliminarily that Hunt died from an unspecified cardiac event and not because of anything related to the crash. The car's driver was flown to a St. Louis hospital, where her medical status wasn't immediately known. Nonn says a third passenger sustained slight injuries. Granite City police are investigating.

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Du Quoin Residents Named Special Olympics Illinois Family Of The Year

NORMAL, Ill. – The Asbury family of Du Quoin have been named 2014 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Family of the Year. Bill, Jill, Brenna, Emily, Caitlin and Lindsey Asbury were honored at a reception held on June 13 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal. The Outstanding Family Award recognizes a family with a Special Olympics athlete that has made unique and lasting contributions not only benefiting their athletes but also every aspect of the Special Olympics Illinois program. Bill Asbury serves on the Polar Plunge Committee and the Spring Games Planning Committee. Bill Asbury was also named Citizen of the Year in Du Quoin, in 2013. This award was directly attributed to the work he is doing in Southern/Area 15 and the lives he has transformed along the way. Bill and Jill’s youngest daughter, Brenna, is the reason the Asbury family got involved in the Special Olympics. Brenna competes with Special Olympics Illinois in bocce, softball, aquatics, athletics (track and field) and gymnastics. She is also an ambassador for the local program and was featured in a PSA created as part of the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. Brenna also sings “God Bless America” at local events and serves as a sponsor and team host at the Indoor Softball Fundraiser in Du Quoin. In addition, the fundraising efforts of their family have helped the organization raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.

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STATE
Illinois releases 5-year economic blueprint

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The state agency charged with helping Illinois' economy has released a new five-year plan it hopes will help the state add jobs and build on its strengths. Under a law created last year the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is required to send the plan to the General Assembly by Tuesday. The plan is being publicly released Monday. The blueprint calls for some things already proposed like raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. But it also calls for new spending to improve the state's industrial and technological infrastructure. Department spokesman David Roeder says the plan also includes job creation goals for the agency to try to hit. The costs of the plan aren't yet specified. And it will require agreement from state lawmakers and local officials.

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State VA centers grapple with influx of women

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Illinois' Department of Veterans Affairs sites insist they have the resources to tend to the fast-rising ranks of female veterans despite evidence of admitted shortcomings nationally. Across the country, the number of women receiving care at VA has more than doubled since 2000 because of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, adding strain to the system. A recent Associated Press report noted many VA sites across the country have fallen short in the number of staff gynecologists and getting female patients timely visits. In Illinois, VA operations based in Marion, Danville and Chicago's Jesse Brown Medical Center say they treat a combined 8,200 female veterans. That caseload is up over the past five years by 50 percent in Marion and 43 percent at Jesse Brown.

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Fake news releases latest twist in governor's race

CHICAGO (AP) — The latest campaign tactic in a heated race for Illinois governor — fake news releases — has drawn a scolding from the state's highest-ranking Democrat. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Friday a fake press release sent by the Illinois Republican Party marked "a new low." But it was Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign that started the shenanigans. They issued a news release Thursday and Friday purportedly from Republican rival Bruce Rauner's campaign. It said Rauner would "emerge from hiding" to discuss whether he used clout to get his daughter into an exclusive school. The GOP then sent an email that falsely stated Durbin would call on Quinn to testify in the investigation of his troubled anti-violence program. Both sides defended the messages, saying they're drawing attention to important issues.

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Quinn vetoes Illinois legislation limiting FOIA

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has vetoed legislation that would've made it more difficult for members of the public to obtain large numbers of records under the Freedom of Information Act. Quinn vetoed the measure Friday. It was sponsored by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, and passed the Legislature in May. The legislation would have allowed public bodies to charge fees for providing electronic data if FOIA requests involved large amounts of information. It also would have given public entities exemptions from having to make copies of records on their websites. Bill supporters said the measure eliminated "undue burdens." It was opposed by numerous press associations. Quinn says the bill penalized those "seeking to learn more about their government."

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Ill. putting $30M worth of solar into energy mix

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation requiring up to $30 million worth of solar power to be pumped into the energy mix for Illinois electricity customers. The measure was sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Robyn Gabel of Evanston and state Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat. It requires the Illinois Power Agency to purchase solar power to meet a portion of the state's electric power needs. It also establishes a competitive process to purchase energy from existing solar devices and new solar installations. It allows residents with rooftop solar panels to sell excess electricity back to the grid. Quinn says the legislation provides for cleaner, cheaper energy. The Department of Energy has estimated the provision could create thousands of jobs. The law takes effect immediately.

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Closer Look: Ill. legislative watchdog steps down

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Former lawmaker and appellate court justice Tom Homer is ending a decade-long tenure as the Illinois General Assembly's first inspector general. The 67-year-old Homer tells The Associated Press there's been improvement in the ethical environment since a 2003 ethics law created his post. But Homer believes more can be done. He says the inspector general should not need permission from an ethics commission of eight lawmakers to investigate a complaint. He says it should be illegal for legislators to vote on issues that pose a conflict of interest. Homer investigated 163 complaints and turned 11 over to state and federal law enforcement officials — some of which led to criminal convictions. His replacement will be named by a three-fifths vote of both houses of the General Assembly.

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Redistricting reform campaigners acknowledge flaws

CHICAGO (AP) — A group hoping to change the way Illinois draws its political boundaries is acknowledging flaws in its failed campaign while pledging to make another attempt in the next several years. Deborah Harrington is head of Yes for Independent Maps. She says the group will put lessons learned in the campaign to good use. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva ruled Friday that the redistricting measure and another calling for term limits didn't meet constitutional requirements for getting on the November ballot. The Illinois State Board of Elections also questioned the number of valid signatures the redistricting group had collected. Lawyers involved with the effort considered an appeal but decided a fresh attempt stood a better chance. Harrington says redistricting reform efforts in other states, including California, took several tries.

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NATIONAL
Obama picks ex-P&G head to lead Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Today, President Barack Obama plans to nominate his choice to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert McDonald is a former executive with Procter & Gamble, is a West Point grad and served as a captain in the Army. If confirmed by the Senate, McDonald would lead a troubled agency gripped by reports of treatment delays and cover-ups.

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Marine accused of desertion back in US custody

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Marine corporal who was declared a deserter nearly 10 years ago after disappearing in Iraq is to be moved today to his original home base of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was flown to Norfolk, Virginia yesterday from an undisclosed location in the Middle East. A month after disappearing in Iraq in 2004, Hassoun turned up in Beirut, Lebanon, and blamed his disappearance on Islamic extremist kidnappers. He was about to face military proceedings at Camp Lejeune when he disappeared again.

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Family, friends, community to honor 19 Hotshots

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — The city of Prescott is marking the one-year anniversary of the deaths of 19 wildland firefighters with a simple downtown ceremony. The names of the Granite Mountain Hotshots will be read outside the Yavapai County courthouse today before a bell chimes 19 times and a bagpipe band plays "Amazing Grace." Meanwhile, the men's families plan to gather at the Prescott cemetery where many of Hotshots are buried for a private service. Other tributes include a play based on items left at the fence outside the Hotshots' fire station, an exhibit about their time on the fire line and a hike at one of their favorite training spots. The Hotshots were battling the Yarnell Hill Fire when they became trapped in a brush-choked canyon on June 30, 2013.

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Police: 9 shot on Bourbon Street in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police continue searching for two men who exchanged gunfire on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, leaving nine people shot in the crossfire. Two people are in critical condition. Images captured from a surveillance camera above a bar show people running down the street during the 2:45 a.m. Sunday shooting. New Orleans police say six of the nine victims are hospitalized in stable condition. One person's condition isn't known Police Chief Ronal Serpas says the victims were shot "by two cowardly young men trying to hurt each other." New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu pledges a swift response from law enforcement.

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NASA to launch global warming satellite after loss

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NASA is launching a satellite on Tuesday to study the main driver of climate change emitted from smokestacks and tailpipes. Some carbon dioxide is sucked up by trees and oceans, and the rest is lofted into the atmosphere, trapping the sun's heat and warming the planet. Five years ago a NASA satellite to track carbon dioxide plunged into the ocean after liftoff.

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Supreme Court To Issue Decision In Hobby Lobby Contraception Case

(Washington, DC)  --  The Supreme Court will announce its decision this morning in a case involving the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate.  The high court will rule whether private companies like Hobby Lobby can object to covering birth control in employee health plans because of the owners' religious beliefs.  The Supreme Court also is expected to issue a decision that could affect the future of public sector unions.  The high court will decide whether a mother in Illinois will be forced to keep paying union membership dues out of her state Medicare checks, despite her desire to have "nothing to do" with the Service Employees International Union. 

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Man, Girl Killed In Train Accident

(Smyth County, VA)  --  Virginia authorities are investigating the deaths of a man and a seven-year-old girl who were apparently hit by a train Sunday.  The two victims were reportedly fishing on a railroad bridge in southwestern Virginia with an eight-year-old boy, who survived the incident and is hospitalized. 

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Plane Makes Emergency Landing

(Wichita, KS)  --  A United Airlines flight is forced to make an emergency landing in Wichita, Kansas Sunday night for a very unusual reason.  Flight 1463 was going from Chicago to Orange County, California when an emergency slide inflated inside the aircraft.  The plane safely made an emergency landing at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport about 10:30 p.m. 

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Court won't allow Madoff trustee to sue banks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will not let the trustee working to recover money for Bernard Madoff's investors sue major financial institutions for their role in Madoff's massive fraud. The court refused Monday to hear an appeal from trustee Irving Picard, who wants to pursue tens of billions of dollars from UBS AG, HSBC Bank PLC and other institutions. Picard, as trustee for the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, has brought claims in bankruptcy court alleging that the institutions were complicit in Madoff's vast Ponzi scheme because they provided him with financial services while ignoring obvious signs he was a con artist. A federal appeals court ruled that Picard doesn't have legal standing to make claims against the financial institutions that Madoff's burned customers could make themselves.

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New York top court OKs local gas-drilling bans

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's top court has ruled that local officials can approve zoning laws to ban hydraulic fracturing within their borders. The state Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed a lower court ruling that state oil and gas law doesn't trump the authority of local governments to control land use. The two "fracking" cases have been closely watched by drillers hoping to tap into New York's piece of the Marcellus Shale formation and by environmentalists. Drilling opponents say more than 170 towns have passed bans or moratoriums. A statewide moratorium on fracking has been in effect for nearly six years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he won't decide whether to lift the ban until a health impact review begun in 2012 is completed. There's no timetable for the review.

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Woman shot at Pa. gun show doesn't blame vendor

ORANGEVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A woman wounded at a central Pennsylvania gun show during the weekend says she doesn't blame the vendor who shot her accidentally while demonstrating a concealed carry wallet holster. In fact, 25-year-old Krista Gearhart told the (Bloomsburg) Press Enterprise on Sunday that her heart goes out to him for what she calls the "horrible accident." Police in Columbia County say Gearhart was shot in the right thigh on Saturday at the Eagle Arms Gun Show at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. She was treated at Geisinger Medical Center and released. Prosecutors will determine whether criminal charges will be filed. Gearhart says "it's very ironic" to be shot at a gun show. But she says if there's another gun show in Bloomsburg next year, she and her husband will be there.

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Fla. judge involved in fracas returns to bench

VIERA, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida judge accused of punching an assistant public defender outside the courtroom has issued a public apology. The newspaper Florida Today says Brevard County Judge John C. Murphy wrote a letter of apology to the county's residents Sunday. He said his actions on June 2 may have "tarnished the reputation of the entire judiciary." Following the incident with Andrew Weinstock, Murphy took a paid leave of absence and received anger management counseling. He's expected to return to the bench this morning. A court spokeswoman says Murphy will now handle civil cases.

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INTERNATIONAL
Syria: Mortar shells hit northern city, killing 14

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian state media says a barrage of mortar shells has hit government-held areas of the northern city of Idlib, killing 14 people. The state-run SANA news agency said mortars shells fell on several parts of Idlib on Monday, including a residential area and a market. State TV said at least 50 people were wounded in the attacks. The provincial capital has been under the control of President Bashar Assad's troops since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in March 2011. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. State TV said terrorists were responsible, a term the Syrian government uses for rebels trying to overthrow Assad's government.

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Ukraine's president faces decision on cease-fire

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will decide Monday whether to extend his forces' unilateral cease-fire in the conflict with pro-Russian rebels in the country's east. National security spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the decision will come before the cease-fire's expiration at 10 p.m. Poroshenko has already extended it once as he presses for the fulfillment of conditions to move forward with a peace plan to end the conflict that has killed more than 400 people. Those conditions include the return of control points on the border with Russia to Ukrainian control. European leaders have pressed Russia to help de-escalate the situation or face the possibility of additional economic sanctions. Ukraine says rebels continue to attack, and Poroshenko is facing protests in Kiev demanding tougher action against them.

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Thousands rally against greater Japanese arms role

TOKYO (AP) — Thousands of people have protested in Tokyo against an expected decision by Japan's government to allow its military a larger international role. Several thousand people demonstrated outside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office on Monday evening, demanding that his Cabinet scrap a plan to allow the military to help defend other nations by reinterpreting the country's war-renouncing constitution. The Cabinet is expected to announce the decision Tuesday. It is one of the biggest changes in Japan's security policy since World War II. Previously the constitution has been interpreted as allowing the use of arms only for Japan's own self-defense, and critics say the change undermines the charter. Abe says the revision is needed because of China's military expansion and missile and nuclear threats from North Korea.

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Reports: Pistorius not mentally ill during killing

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A panel of mental health experts says Oscar Pistorius was not suffering from a mental illness when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year. The Olympic athlete's murder trial resumed today, after a one-month break during which a psychologist and three psychiatrists assessed whether the double-amputee runner was capable of understanding the wrongfulness of his act when he shot Steenkamp through a closed toilet door. The evaluation came after psychiatrist Dr. Merryll Vorster testified for the defense that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder that could have contributed to the killing in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. Pistorius testified that he opened fire after mistakenly thinking there was an intruder in the toilet. Prosecutors say Pistorius killed Steenkamp after a Valentine's Day argument.

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SPORTS
SATURDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Washington 3, Chicago Cubs 0
Washington 7, Chicago Cubs 2
Chicago White Sox 4, Toronto 3
LA Dodgers 9, St. Louis 1

Frontier League

Gateway 17, Joliet 3
Southern Illinois 7, Traverse City 4
Evansville 9, Schaumburg 8

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago White Sox 4, Toronto 0
L.A. Dodgers 6, St. Louis 0

Frontier League

Traverse City 5, Southern Illinois 4
Schaumburg 10, Evansville 1
Gateway 6, Joliet 1

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Boston, 6:10 p.m.
L.A. Angels at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.

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Anthony Will Start Free Agent Trip In Chicago

According to ESPN, Carmelo Anthony is planning to meet with the Chicago Bulls in Chicago on the opening day of free agency after the NBA's offseason market officially opens Tuesday at 12:01 a.m., according to sources familiar with Anthony's plans. Anthony is in the process of arranging a trip to Chicago to meet with the Bulls, then intends to travel to Texas for Wednesday meetings with both the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks. Sources say Anthony is likely to visit the Rockets first on Wednesday, followed by the Mavericks in the afternoon.

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News for June 27, 2014

LOCAL
Local Unemployment Jumps From Last Month, Still Down From Last Year

Unemployment declined in all 18 counties in South Central Illinois when compared to one year ago. The data is not seasonally adjusted. Students and recent graduates entered the job market in May 2014. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state is at 7.5 percent, up from 7.2 percent in April.  The nation’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is again at 6.3.  Seasonal employment gains occurred in Construction and Recreation. Employment advances also were reported in Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Transportation this spring. Payroll increases continued in Health Care Services and Food Services throughout the area. Numerous employment opportunities in the spring of 2014 were available in Transportation, Sales and Healthcare. Many job openings were also reported in Office and Administrative Support, Food Services, and Production occupations. Advertisements for employment included jobs in Business and Finance, Construction, Buildings and Grounds Maintenance and Farming. Jefferson County posted a 6.8% for May 2014 down from 8% in May 2013, but up from 6.3% in April.  Marion County dropped from 10.2% a year ago to 9% (8.4% in April), and Washington County from 6.1% to 5.3%, over the past year, but up from 5% in April.

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Illinois woman accused of killing cat

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois woman is free on bond after being accused of killing a cat by dropping a frozen jug of water on its head. The (Alton) Telegraph reports that prosecutors in Madison County charged 43-year-old Virginia Puff of Wood River with aggravated cruelty to animals. Police say Puff's live-in boyfriend witnessed the killing Saturday and went next door to call police. Officers who responded found the cat's body. Investigators say the boyfriend told officers that Puff insisted the cat's death was an accident, though interviews suggested otherwise. Police said alcohol may have played a role in the matter. Puff does not have a listed home telephone number. Online court records don't show whether she has an attorney.

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Inmate Tosses Feces, Urine On Guards

(St. Clair County, IL) -- A man who's locked up for murder in St. Clair County has gotten himself in a bit more trouble. Officials say 22-year-old Ronnie Gulley, Jr. threw his own feces and urine at a couple guards a couple weeks ago. They say he planned the attack. He allegedly hung a bed sheet up inside his cell so officers couldn't see him and when they tried to take the sheet down, he tossed the fluids and punched one guard in the face. Gulley is facing four counts of aggravated battery, but the St. Clair County Sheriff says the whole ordeal could've been prevented. He's been pushing to build a new jail that will allow guards to keep a closer eye on inmates. Voters have shot the idea down.

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Driver Arrested For DUI For Fourth Time

(Edwardsville, IL) -- A driver in Madison County is facing DUI charges for the fourth time. Matthew Troeckler was arrested Wednesday after deputies investigated a call of a possible drunk driver who was weaving and crashed into a ditch and a utility pole. They found him walking near the accident on Prairietown Road. Troeckler has three previous DUI convictions dating back to 2006.

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HR Director Convicted Of Embezzling To Support Exotic Dancer

(Belleville, IL) -- A St. Louis man is going to prison for a year for embezzling money from his employer to support an exotic dancer. Kevin Dowell was convicted of wire fraud against FKG Oil Company in Belleville. Reports indicate he faked mileage reports, used company credit cards for personal reasons, and transferred money from FKG accounts to his own personal account.

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Paper Delivery Truck Stolen, Damaged In Southern Illinois

(Carbondale, IL)  --  A paper delivery guy down in southern Illinois got an unexpected surprise during his route the other night.  Someone hopped in his delivery truck and took off while he dropped papers off at a gas station.  Police say Bernard Adams stole the truck and drove all the way to Marion.  He allegedly led cops on a chase back to Carbondale once they spotted him, but not before side swiping two patrol cars and pretty much destroying the truck.

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New Apartment Complex Opens In Herrin

(Herrin, IL)  --  A housing project is now open in Herrin even though there's some question about who will be living there.  Managers for the new Phoenix Apartments held an open house Thursday. They offer supportive housing for vets, people with mental illness and those recovering from substance abuse.  The project has made some neighbors uneasy because ex-cons could live there as well.   No sex offenders or anyone convicted of a violent crime will be allowed to live in the Phoenix Apartments.

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Mt. Vernon Attorney To Lead Southern Illinois Rotary Organization

MT. VERNON -- Mt. Vernon attorney Morris Lane Harvey will be installed as the District Governor leading Rotarians throughout Southern Illinois here Saturday. Harvey, who has been serving as Rotary District 6510 Governor Elect, will be installed at the district’s Foundation Recognition and Change-Over Banquet at Mt. Vernon’s Holiday Inn.  In addition to elevating officers for the coming Rotary year, the event will honor more than 50 Southern Illinois Rotarians for their exceptional giving to The Rotary Foundation, Rotary’s charitable arm.  In addition to Harvey, new officers for District 6510, Thomas Guebert of Carlyle, who becomes District Governor Elect, David Matthews of Herrin, who becomes District Governor Nominee, Mike Nowobilski of O’Fallon, who becomes Immediate Past District Governor and President of the district’s Council of Governors, and Thomas H. Ripperda of Belleville, who becomes District Trainer. The event will begin with cocktails at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and dinner at 7.  Rotary District 6510 is comprised of 48 clubs and some 1,600 members throughout Illinois’ 28 southern-most counties.

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STATE
Quinn Won't Testify At NRI Hearing


(Chicago, IL) -- Republicans are calling on Governor Quinn to testify about what went wrong with his anti-violence program, but that's probably not going to happen. Quinn says he has no intentions of going to speak at the July 16th and 17th hearings. He says he's disappointed that things didn't turn out the way he would've liked with the 55-million-dollar program, but he stands behind his efforts to reduce crime in Chicago. Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative came under fire after an audit revealed he rolled it out too soon, without much planning, and just before an election. Republicans say he pumped the money into areas that usually have low voter turnout, hoping the people in those areas would go to the polls and vote for him.

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Rauner Daughter May Not Have Had Grades For Prep School

(Chicago, IL) -- GOP candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is taking more heat over his daughter's admission into Walter Payton Prep in Chicago. School officials are now saying the girl didn't have the right test scores to be admitted. She was initially turned down for admission because of an illness that caused her to miss some days of school. The billionaire businessman later gave the school 250-thousand-dollars and ironically, his daughter got in. He says the teen was admitted because she's a good kid and was more than qualified to be there, but a new report indicates that may not be the case. Rauner's opponents in the GOP primary attacked him over the issue and accused him of paying to get what he wants. Governor Quinn is also speaking out, saying Rauner needs to just tell the truth about what went down.

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Gay marriage advocates criticize Rauner's stance

CHICAGO (AP) — Gay rights supporters are using the upcoming Chicago Pride Parade to draw attention to Republican Bruce Rauner's statements that he would have vetoed Illinois' same-sex marriage bill. Equality Illinois on Thursday unveiled a two-story banner featuring a photo of the GOP gubernatorial candidate and comments he made about the law. It's hanging along the route for Sunday's parade, which Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov says will draw hundreds of thousands of people. Rauner is trying to unseat Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who championed same-sex marriage and signed it into law last year. Rauner has said voters should have decided whether to allow gay marriage. The Winnetka businessman says now that it's the law he won't advocate repealing it unless voters say in a referendum that they want it changed.

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Illinois Sen. Kirk Dillard to resign in July

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois state senator says he'll resign in July before becoming chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority. Hinsdale Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard was elected to the post Wednesday. He says he needs time to transition into his new position and calls the exit from more than 20 years in the Legislature "bittersweet." He made two unsuccessful Republican primary bids for governor. Dillard — who is also an attorney — says he has already begun work with the RTA. The position officially takes effect Aug. 1. The RTA provides financial oversight for the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace. He says he has a unique perspective in understanding the region's transportation issues. Dillard says he doesn't know who will be appointed to take his seat after he officially resigns.

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Illinois low on list in funding home care

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois ranks near the bottom but has made significant progress 15 years after a landmark Supreme Court ruling on giving the disabled a choice to live outside institutions. The 1999 Olmstead v. L.C. decision says unnecessarily segregating people in mental hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions amounts to discrimination. Advocates for the mentally ill, older people and the disabled cite the ruling in arguing for home- and community-based care. Illinois is ranked behind 38 other states and the District of Columbia in its allotment of Medicaid money to non-institutional care. It earmarked about 42 percent of Medicaid long-term care funding to home and community services in 2012, up from about 18 percent a decade ago, but below the national average.

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Gov. Quinn dismisses Rauner business plan


CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn is brushing off proposals by Republican challenger Bruce Rauner that call for ending some corporate tax breaks and "special deals" he claims are unfair to families. Quinn told reporters Thursday that he's worked on several of the ideas for years. The Chicago Democrat says closing tax loopholes has been a goal. Rauner's plan calls for capping a program that provides tax credits for companies to keep jobs in Illinois. He also says Illinois should end tax breaks for the oil industry and a sales tax exemption for newsprint and ink, among others. The Winnetka businessman has called it his proposal for "corporate welfare reform." Quinn made a dig at the wealthy venture capitalist Thursday, saying it was aptly named because Rauner is a "beneficiary of corporate welfare."

-----------------------

Kennedy: No interest in being U of I president

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — University of Illinois trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy says rumors that he's interested in becoming the next university president are not true. According to The News-Gazette in Champaign, Kennedy wrote an email to fellow trustees after learning of the rumor earlier this month. Kennedy said in the email that he's confident the committee set up to search for a replacement for current President Bob Easter will find a good leader. But Kennedy added, "it won't be me." Easter plans to retire next year. The board of trustees oversees the three university of Illinois campuses. The president is the top executive for those campuses. Trustee Pam Strobel is leading the search committee. She said at a meeting Wednesday that no current trustees have been nominated or expressed interest in being president.

--------------------------------

Schools Face Shortage Of Ag Teachers

(Springfield, IL)  --  State education leaders say that there is a shortage of agriculture teachers in Illinois.  Superintendent of Williamsville-Sherman schools David Root told "WICS-TV" that the demand is there, but the supply isn't.  There are about 25 agriculture education grads in Illinois each year.  Last year there were only eleven and this year there are 12. 

----------------

NATIONAL
NYC jails neglected suicide precautions

NEW YORK (AP) — Documents show that New York City jails failed to take precautions to prevent most of the 11 prison suicides that have happened over the past five years. The documents obtained by The Associated Press show that in one case, an inmate who hanged himself with a bedsheet from an air vent had threatened suicide. One guard had told him to "go ahead and do it" if he had the guts to carry it out.

----------------------------------------

Verdict reached in Hawaii death penalty case

HONOLULU (AP) — A federal jury in Honolulu is expected today to read its sentencing in the trial of an ex-soldier convicted of beating to death his 5-year-old daughter after repeated abuse. Naeem Williams was convicted in April in the first death penalty case to go to trial in the history of Hawaii's statehood. Yesterday, jurors decided between life in prison and the death penalty, but they asked to announce their decision today so that they could get some rest.

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Obama pitching economic priorities in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Barack Obama closes his two-day trip to the Minneapolis area today with a speech on the economy. He'll pitch his ideas to boost the American middle class. The state already has embraced a key component of Obama's economic agenda by moving to raise its minimum wage.

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US seeks resumption of cyber talks with China

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. next month will urge China to resume discussions on cybersecurity suspended after the U.S. charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into U.S. companies to steal trade secrets. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel says the U.S. will push for a resumption of the cyber working group when officials meet at the annual U.S.-China Security and Economic Dialogue in Beijing in July. After the indictments against the five officers were unsealed in May, Beijing pulled the plug on the group, which had been set up a year ago in what Washington viewed as a diplomatic coup. U.S.-China ties have come under growing strain, also because of China's assertive actions in the disputed South and East China seas.

------------------------------

Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier up for vote

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A board is scheduled to decide if it should fund a long-debated suicide barrier for San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors will vote today whether to approve a $76 million package to build a suicide net. An approval would be a major victory for families of suicide victims and other supporters of a suicide net. Critics of the idea argue it will not prevent people from finding other ways to take their lives on the majestic span. Officials say about 1,400 people have plunged to their deaths since the bridge opened in 1937. This total includes a record 46 suicides last year. With the money, a new suicide barrier could be completed by 2018.

--------------------------------

Court appearance for ex-cop suspected in 2 deaths

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former police officer suspected in the deaths of two women found stuffed in suitcases is scheduled to appear in court in Wisconsin this afternoon. Steve M. Zelich will answer to two counts of hiding a corpse. But authorities believe the 52-year-old security guard met his victims online, bound and killed them and kept their bodies for months. The suitcases were found June 5 along a Wisconsin rural highway.

-------------------------------------------

Floods at Denali trap guests, employees

DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE, Alaska (AP) — Officials at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska say guests staying in lodges should be able to leave the park by road sometime today. Flooding and rockfalls prompted the closure of the only road into the park Thursday. Some 100 guests and employees at one lodge had to be airlifted out of the area last night after two raging creeks nearby flooding their building.

-----------------------------

HIV Testing Day

(Undated)  --  Today is National HIV testing day.  People all across the state are urged to get tested and know their status.  Health officials say more than a-million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and almost one in six don't even know they're positive.  Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV.  There are free testing sites all over Illinois. Call 1-800-243-2437 to find a site near you.

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US plans to curb land mines, join global treaty

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says the United States will no longer produce or acquire anti-personnel land mines and plans to join an international treaty banning their use. The National Security Council says the U.S. is "diligently pursuing solutions" to join the Ottawa Convention that bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of the mines. The council says the announcement was made Friday at a conference in Mozambique to review the treaty. The White House statement does not indicate when the U.S. will join the treaty or specify the size of the U.S. stockpile.

-----------------------------

US Mideast envoy quits after attempt at peace deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — US special Mideast envoy Martin Indyk is resigning after nearly a year of unsuccessful efforts to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. That's according to Obama administration officials. They say Indyk will return to his previous job at The Brookings Institution think tank. An announcement is expected later Friday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The State Department declined to comment. Indyk is a former US ambassador to Israel. He was appointed to the envoy post last July when Secretary of State John Kerry announced peace talks would resume with the goal of reaching a settlement within nine months. But negotiations collapsed before the target date amid what Kerry and other officials said were negative steps taken by both sides. The peace process is now in hiatus. It's not immediately clear if Indyk will be replaced. His deputy is Frank Lowenstein. He will assume the envoy position on an interim basis, the officials said.

---------------------------------------------

Missing boy found in own basement back with mom

DETROIT (AP) — Police say a 12-year-old Detroit boy who went missing for a dozen days before turning up in his own basement has been turned over to his mother. Police say Charlie Bothuell V was out of the hospital Thursday after being evaluated. He was found Wednesday in the multiple-unit condo where his father and stepmother live near downtown Detroit. Investigators weren't allowing him to have contact with his father Charlie Bothuell IV and stepmother Monique Dillard-Bothuell as they focus on circumstances surrounding his disappearance and recovery. They haven't responded to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment since he was found. Police also say Dillard-Bothuell was arrested on a probation violation related to a misdemeanor gun charge. Her two children have been placed into Children's Protective Services custody.

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INTERNATIONAL
EU leaders won't hit Russia with new sanctions

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders have decided not to immediately impose new sanctions on Russia for its actions over Ukraine. In a statement Friday, however, the European leaders meeting in Brussels said new sanctions have been prepared so they could be imposed "without delay." The EU leaders gave the Russian government and the rebels in eastern Ukraine until Monday to take steps to improve the situation. Those included agreeing on a mechanism to verify the cease-fire, returning three border checkpoints to Ukraine, releasing all captives and launching "substantial negotiations" on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's peace plan.

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Russia warns Europe over re-selling gas to Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's state-controlled gas company, Gazprom, says it could limit supplies to European customers that intend to re-sell the natural gas on to Ukraine. Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller said Friday that the company is closely monitoring the situation and may curb shipments to European nations that would pump the Russian gas to Ukraine in the so-called reverse supplies, which he has described as a "half-fraudulent scheme." He wouldn't name any specific countries. Gazprom this month cut gas shipments to Ukraine amid a debt and pricing dispute. Supplies to Europe via Ukraine and other pipelines haven't been affected, however. Ukraine has sought to counter the Russian move by trying to negotiate gas supplies from other European countries that buy Russian gas.

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UN: 110,000 fled Ukraine for Russia this year

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency says 110,000 Ukrainians have fled for Russia this year and another 54,000 are internally displaced as Ukraine fights separatist rebels in the east. U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says, based on information from Russian authorities and U.N. sources, that 9,500 of those fleeing to Russia have sought refugee status but many others are afraid to make a formal request for fear of reprisals if they eventually return to Ukraine. Fleming says the number of those internally displaced in Ukraine represents a huge increase over the previous week, coinciding with the deteriorating security situation in the east. She says 12,000 of those displaced within Ukraine are from Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in March, and the rest are from eastern Ukraine.

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Syrian opposition asks for help in 2-front fight

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The head of the Syrian moderate opposition is asking for more foreign aid as his rebels try to back a bloody insurgency even as they continue their so-far unsuccessful effort to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. Syrian opposition leader Ahmad al-Jarba's plea Friday comes as the White House seeks to send $500 billion to the increasingly beleaguered moderate Sunni rebels who are facing two fronts in the protracted civil war. Jarba told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the insurgents' march across the porous border between Syria and Iraq has created confusion across the region, and he said the war against terrorism must be stronger than ever. Kerry said the moderate rebels will be crucial in the cross-border fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

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Sudanese Christian woman inside US embassy

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — The Sudanese Christian woman whose death sentence for apostasy was overturned but who was detained again this week is now at the U.S. embassy for her own "safety." Her lawyer, ElShareef Ali Mohammed, said Friday that after 27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim left a Khartoum police station the night before, where she had been detained along with her two children and husband on charges of forging travel documents, she headed to the embassy for fear of "assault" either by relatives or angry residents. A U.S. official confirms Ibrahim is at the embassy and says diplomats are trying to arrange her departure from Sudan. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to speak to the media.

-----------------------------------

SPORTS
THURSDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Toronto 7, Chicago White Sox 0
Chicago Cubs 5, Washington 3
L.A. Dodgers 1, St. Louis 0

Frontier League

Florence at Evansville (PPD. to August 29)
Gateway 7, Schaumburg 0
Southern Illinois 7, Frontier 0

FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Washington at Chicago Cubs, 3:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Toronto, 6:07 p.m.
St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers, 9:10 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 8:14 p.m.)

Frontier League

Schaumburg at Evansville
Gateway at Joliet
Traverse City at Southern Illinois

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Washington at Chicago Cubs, 12:05 p.m.
Washington at Chicago Cubs, 6:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Toronto, 12:07 p.m.
St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers, 6:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 5:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Schaumburg at Evansville
Gateway at Joliet
Traverse City at Southern Illinois

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago White Sox at Toronto, 12:07 p.m.
St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers, 3:10 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 2:14 p.m.)

Frontier League

Schaumburg at Evansville
Gateway at Joliet
Traverse City at Southern Illinois

------------------------------------

Bulls add to offense by acquiring McDermott, Bairstow

DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bulls, in need of help on offense, acquired the draft rights to Creighton forward Doug McDermott on Thursday night. Now, they can turn their attention to a bigger move. A trade for Kevin Love? How about adding Carmelo Anthony in free agency? Those moves sure would jolt a team that clawed its way to 48 wins despite losing franchise player Derrick Rose to another season-ending knee injury. This is a start, though. The Nuggets took McDermott at No. 11 and promptly dealt him to Chicago for the 16th and 19th picks, a person familiar with the situation said on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. McDermott led the nation in scoring last season, averaging 26.7 points per game. The Bulls also selected New Mexico forward Cameron Bairstow in the second round of the draft on Thursday night. The Bulls took Bairstow with the 49th pick. An Australian, he averaged 20.4 points and 7.4 rebounds as a senior last season.


---------------------------

News for June 26, 2014

LOCAL
West Frankfort Teen Missing

Police are searching for a missing juvenile from West Frankfort.16-year-old Hunter Dawn Arview is a 5-feet, 6-inch, 170-pound white female with a heavy build, straight long brown hair, blue eyes and light-complexion skin. She is three months pregnant.  Arview has been missing from her home since Sunday and was reported missing Tuesday. Anyone with information should contact The Franklin County Sheriff's Department at 618-438-8211, or your local law enforcement agency.

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Ill. man killed in church van wreck in Indiana

MARION, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a man was killed and several other people injured during an Indiana freeway wreck involving a tractor-trailer and southern Illinois church's van. Investigators say 29-year-old Christopher Williams of Marion, Illinois, died at a hospital after the crash Tuesday in Indiana's Posey County. WSIL-TV reports that Williams was a youth minister at Marion's Livingstone Community Church where the other victims were members. The church's pastor, Bryce Parks, tells WSIL that the victims were returning from a mission trip to help a homeless shelter in Evansville, Indiana, when a tire failed on of their vehicles as they traveled on Interstate 64. That van then spun before the tractor-trailer became involved. The medical statuses of the other victims were not immediately known Wednesday.

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Pinckneyville Hit With Higher Property Taxes

(Perry County, IL)  --  Home owners in Perry County will get higher tax bills.  The county tax assessor says homes in Pinckneyville are selling at a higher clip, which is causing higher property taxes.  On average the hike is about 250-dollars more.

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O'Fallon To Get New Hospital

(O'Fallon, IL) -- A new 300-million-dollar hospital is going up in the Metro-East. St. Elizabeth's Hospital will build a new facility with 144 private patient rooms, an ER department, operating rooms, and an intensive care unit. The new building will be located near I-64 and Green Mount Road but there's no word on when the construction will get underway. The O'Fallon hospital will replace the Belleville facility, which is in need of desperate repair. That location will be turned into a health care services building with radiology, labs, and doctor's offices.

---------------------------

Child Porn Arrest Made In Metro East

(Belleville, IL) -- A self-proclaimed photographer from Belleville is facing child pornography charges. Police first got suspicious of Joseph Suggs when they found him shooting photos of two teenage boys at an abandoned building earlier this month. He'd claimed he'd hired them for a magazine shoot. Further investigation turned up hundreds of pornographic images of the two on memory cards. Suggs was arrested Monday.

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Carbondale campus to have interim boss soon

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — The Southern Illinois University system's overseers say an interim chancellor should be on board on the Carbondale campus within weeks. WSIU radio reports that SIU President Randy Dunn says the temporary replacement to Arizona-bound Rita Cheng likely will be named in time for the university board's next scheduled meeting July 24 in Springfield. Dunn and the system's trustees discussed the matter during a special meeting Tuesday in Edwardsville. Cheng has been the Carbondale school's chancellor since 2010. But she's been hired as the new president at Northern Arizona University. SIU President Randy Dunn has said Cheng is to start her new job in Flagstaff in mid-August and, at least for now, scheduled to remain with SIU into next month.

---------------------

Williamson County Man Pleads Guilty To Methamphetamine Conspiracy

On June 25, 2014, John S. Andrews, 30, of Marion, pled guilty to a one-count indictment, charging conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton announced Wednesday.  The offense occurred between August 2012 and December 2012, in Jackson County. Evidence at the plea hearing established that Andrews and others obtained pseudoephedrine together for use in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Andrews, who is currently incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections, is set for sentencing on the federal offense on October 30, 2014. At that time, he faces a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, to be followed by 3 years’ supervised release, and a $1,000,000 fine.  The investigation was conducted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Murphysboro Police Department.  The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

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O'Fallon Police Holding Sexting Seminar

(O'Fallon, IL) -- Sexting can get teens into trouble, but the O'Fallon Police are trying to help prevent that. Tonight at six o'clock at the police department in Illinois, officers will be conducting a seminar about what sexting is and what the legal consequences of it can be. Parents will be given tips on what they can do along with schools and police to cut down on the practice.

------------------------

Man Charged With Stealing Plants From Shrine

(Belleville, IL)  --  A man is facing felony charges for allegedly stealing plants from a Belleville shrine.  Devance Johnson is accused of taking six landscaping plants from Our Lady of the Snows Shrine earlier this month, then coming back a week later for 27 more.  He was allegedly identified from surveillance video.  It's not clear what was done with the stolen plants.

----------------------

Williamson County Man Pleads Guilty To Firearm And Cocaine Offenses

On June 25, 2014, James D. Gunn, 34, of Marion, pled guilty to a two-count indictment, charging unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton announced Wednesday. The offenses occurred on October 31, 2013, in Williamson County. Evidence at the plea hearing established that Gunn sold cocaine to a confidential source working for law enforcement. During an October 31, 2013, search warrant at Gunn’s Marion residence, agents located a Ruger, Super RedHawk, .44 caliber revolver, cocaine, digital scales, drug packaging materials, and U.S. currency. Upon arrest, Gunn admitted to ownership of the firearm and cocaine. At the plea hearing, Gunn’s bond was revoked and he was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, pending an October 30, 2014, sentencing hearing. On the firearm offense, Gunn faces a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years, to be followed by 3 years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. On the cocaine offense, Gunn faces a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, to be followed by 3 years’ supervised release, and a $1,000,000 fine. The investigation was conducted by the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Illinois State Police, and Williamson County States Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

--------------------------------------

Cyber Squadrons Coming To Scott AFB

(Scott Air Force Base, IL)  --  Two new cyber security squadrons are coming to Scott Air Force Base.  U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart made the announcement on Wednesday.  The new units are expected to bring around 320 jobs to the area.  Scott was chosen for the 16-million-dollar investment over six other bases across the country.

----------------

Gateway To Host "Wide-Open Wednesdays"

(Madison, IL)  --  Gateway International Raceway is hosting a series of "Wide-Open Wednesdays."  Track officials say it's an effort to prevent drag racing on public streets.  Every Wednesday through October, the public can use Gateway's track to hold their own races.  Gates open at 5:00, and racing runs from 6:30 until 10 p.m.

-----------------------------

STATE
Quinn program gave money to non-existent nonprofit

CHICAGO (AP) — A published report says Gov. Pat Quinn's scandal-plagued anti-violence initiative directed thousands of dollars to a program for ex-offenders that never existed. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Wednesday that Project Hope, Inc., received $15,770 in state money through the 2010 Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. The newspaper cites state records that show it took three months for state officials to notice the scheme. Quinn's program is already under federal and Cook County probes. It's also been the subject of legislative hearings where former state officials have been subpoenaed to testify. Illinois Republicans planned a Wednesday news conference to address the program. A state audit earlier this year outlined "pervasive" problems with mismanagement and misspending. Quinn's spokesman says the governor has addressed problems and has "zero tolerance" for wrongdoing.

------------------------------------

Quinn signs bill to let psychologists prescribe

CHICAGO (AP) — 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. Bradley says the legislation "increases access to medical care." Quinn says the new law will cut down on the number of appointments patients need to make in order to get their medication. The measure was opposed by the Illinois State Medical Society. The physicians' group says psychologists don't have enough medical training to safely dispense medication.

--------------------------

Rauner proposes ending 'corporate tax welfare'


CHICAGO (AP) — Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner says Illinois should end certain corporate tax breaks he says are unfair to working families. The wealthy Winnetka businessman released his plan for "corporate welfare reform" on Wednesday. It calls for capping a program that provides tax credits for companies to keep jobs in Illinois. Some of those credits — including one for Sears Holding Corp. — allowed companies to later lay off workers. Rauner also says Illinois should end tax breaks for the oil industry and a sales tax exemption for newsprint and ink, among others. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed eliminating some of the same "loopholes," but the Legislature hasn't acted. Quinn also has defended the Sears deal, saying Illinois would have seen greater job losses without it.

------------------------------

State Launches Program To Help Build Better Resumes

(Springfield, IL) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security is offering a new tool to help job seekers build a better resume. The new Resume Builder is good for people who haven't had to put a resume together in a while and will help them highlight important parts of their work history. Anyone can use the resume builder, they don't have to be unemployed to get help. However, the tool is available to the more than 490-thousand people in Illinois who are without work. To access the Resume Builder and search job openings in Illinois, check out IllinoisJobLink.com.

-----------------------

Illinois historic sites planning to reduce hours

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' historic sites aren't expected to close because of budget cuts but are planning to curtail visiting hours after Labor Day. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that Gov. Pat Quinn's office is helping the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to implement the plan. About $1.1 million was cut from the historic sites section of the Historic Preservation Agency's budget. The 19 percent cut for historic sites is part of a $35.7 billion budget approved by lawmakers in May that doesn't allocate enough money to cover expenses and relies on accounting gimmicks. Historic Preservation Agency director Amy Martin says the agency plans to finalize a list of sites with reduced hours by August. Martin says she hopes the agency's budget will be restored by lawmakers after the November election.

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Illinois governor to sign anti-bullying bill

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will sign legislation designed to crack down on bullying. A Quinn spokesman says the bill the governor will sign Thursday will help protect students from bullying both inside and outside the classroom. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Heather Steans, both Chicago Democrats. It requires all public schools to develop and implement an anti-bullying policy. The policy must include a definition of bullying, procedures for the reporting of bullying, parental notification, the investigation of reports of bullying and actions that may be taken to address bullying.

----------------------------

NATIONAL
FAA eyes lower building height limit near airports

WASHINGTON (AP) — Real estate developers and members of Congress concerned about property values may soon be squaring off against airports and airlines over a Federal Aviation Administration proposal on tall buildings. The FAA wants to dramatically reduce the allowable height of buildings near airports, saying encroaching development limits safe flight paths especially in emergencies.

------------------------------

Obama aims to put human face on economic struggles

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is spending today with a Minneapolis mother who wrote to him about her struggles to make ends meet. Obama is trying to put a human face on the economic policies Democrats are championing. The president opens a two-day visit today to Minnesota. He'll hold a town hall meeting, headline a Democratic fundraiser and speak about raising the minimum wage.

------------------------

Oklahoma residents seek answers on quakes

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma residents experiencing an upsurge in earthquakes want know what's causing the temblors, and they're expected to turn out in Edmond, Oklahoma, tonight for a town hall meeting. Oklahoma recorded nearly 150 earthquakes between January and the start of May. Most have been weak, but they've raised suspicions that the shaking might be connected to the oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing.

--------------------------

Crews fight blaze at Stanford Linear Accelerator

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in Menlo Park, California say a smoky fire at the Stanford Linear Accelerator posed no threat to the public. The San Francisco area research center studies particle physics and radiation science. Fire officials say heavy black smoke from the two-mile long accelerator structure affected traffic on nearby Interstate Highway 280 last night. The fire was brought under control in about 45 minutes.

------------------------------

CO Attorney General Says Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Are Invalid

(Boulder, CO)  --  Colorado is facing a new battle over same-sex marriages.  Same-sex licenses are being issued in Boulder, but the state's Attorney General claims they're invalid.  The Boulder County Clerk's Office began issuing the licenses after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that states which ban gay marriage are in violation of the U.S. Constitution. 

-------------------

President Obama Speaks At League Of Conservation Voters Dinner

(Washington, DC)  --  President Obama says more has to be done to conserve the planet for the next generation.  At the League of Conservation Voters Dinner last night in Washington, DC, Obama said all progress is important.  He also took shots at Republicans for refusing to recognize global warming as a problem.

------------------------------

More Than 50 People Treated At Avicii Concert In Boston

(Boston, MA)  --  Swedish DJ Avicii says his thoughts are with more than 50 people treated for dehydration, alcohol, and drug use at his concert in Boston on Wednesday.  According to "The Boston Globe," 36 concert-goers were transported from the gig at TD Garden to local hospitals with minor, non-life-threatening symptoms. 

--------------------------

IKEA Raising Minimum Wage

(Undated)  --  IKEA is raising its minimum wage.  The Swedish home furnishings giant plans to announce today that starting pay at its U.S. stores will go from the current nine dollars and 17 cents an hour to ten-76 an hour on January 1st.  The new pay scale will mean more money for about half the company's American workers.  The company's acting president says the raise will cut down worker turnover and help in recruiting new workers.

----------------------

International Anti-Drug Day Today

(Undated)  --  Today is the United Nations' anti-drug day.  This year, activists in a number of countries are using the day to call for less, not more war on drugs.  They call their campaign "Support. Don't Punish."  As recently as last year, some governments used the occasion to justify harsh crackdowns and public executions.  Demonstrations are planned in more than 80 cities around the world.

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High court limits president's appointments power

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has limited a president's power to make temporary appointments to fill high-level government jobs. The court said Thursday that President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he invoked the Constitution's provision on recess appointments to fill slots on the National Labor Relations Board in 2012. The justices said in their first-ever consideration of the Constitution's recess appointments clause that Congress gets to decide when it is in recess and that there was no recess when Obama acted. The president said he made the appointments in the face of Republican refusal to allow the NLRB to function.

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High court voids 35-foot abortion clinic buffer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has struck down a 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts. The justices were unanimous Thursday that extending a buffer zone 35 feet from clinic entrances violates the First Amendment rights of protesters. Chief Justice John Roberts says authorities have less intrusive ways to deal with problems outside the clinics.

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St. Louis challenges Missouri ban on gay marriage

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis officials have challenged Missouri's constitutional ban on gay marriage by issuing four same-sex marriage licenses in a City Hall ceremony. Four gay couples were married Wednesday in the office of Mayor Francis Slay in a ceremony presided over by a municipal judge. Attorney General Chris Koster went to court Thursday seeking to stop the marriages. St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison denied a temporary restraining order but will consider whether to grant an injunction at a later date. Burlison said St. Louis officials have agreed not to issue more marriage licenses to same-sex couples at this time and would do so in the future only after notifying the court and attorney general's office. State voters approved the constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2004.

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Boulder clerk issues same-sex marriage licenses

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Colorado's Boulder County is issuing more same-sex marriage licenses after a federal appeals court ruled against Utah's gay marriage ban. Colorado's attorney general says the Boulder licenses aren't valid both because the ruling has been placed on hold and because a Colorado state ban remains in place. County clerk Hillary Hall said she'll issue licenses unless a court tells her otherwise. The county issued two marriage licenses to gay couples Wednesday but Hall expects to dole out many more Thursday. Couples were lined up when the office opened its doors. Boulder County was among the first to issue same-sex marriage licenses nearly 40 years ago. Six couples were issued licenses and married in 1975 before the state attorney general intervened.

---------------------------------

GM preparing to recall 33,000 Chevy Cruze compacts

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is preparing to recall about 33,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars because the air bags might not inflate properly in a crash. Spokesman Jim Cain says the cars were built with an incorrect part made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp. But he says the problem is different from another issue with Takata air bags that is affecting much of the auto industry. The recall could come as early as Friday. It affects some 2013 and 2014 Cruzes. GM on Wednesday told dealers to stop selling Cruzes until it figured out the problem. But Cain says the stop-sale order was lifted for most Cruzes later that day. He didn't know if it cost GM any sales. The Cruze is built in Lordstown, Ohio, and is GM's top-selling car.

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INTERNATIONAL
US, Sunni states meet on Mideast insurgent crisis

PARIS (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with America's top Sunni state allies in the Mideast to discuss the growing turmoil spawned by a Sunni Muslim insurgency group. Kerry calls the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant a concern and critical issue for all of the nations represented at Thursday's meeting in Paris. They include Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Kerry also met earlier Thursday with the Sunni former prime minister of Lebanon. Kerry said ISIL's bloody march across northern Iraq and its involvement in Syria's civil war would be a focus of the talks. He predicts the diplomats will also discuss Iran's nuclear program and the stalled peace effort between Israel and Palestine authorities.

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Death toll from Nigerian mall bomb rises to 22

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The National Hospital spokesman says a victim wounded in the bomb blast at a mall in Nigeria's capital died overnight, raising the death toll to at least 22. The government says soldiers shot and killed one suspect as he tried to escape, and police detained a second suspect. Wednesday's explosion in Abuja is the latest in a series of violent attacks blamed on Boko Haram Islamic extremists. Nigerian security forces have not succeeded in curtailing their near-daily attacks. The extremists on Tuesday night overran a military checkpoint in the northeast and killed at least 21 soldiers. They also took some troops hostage, witnesses said. Boko Haram attracted international condemnation for the April mass abductions of more than 200 schoolgirls, and is blamed for this week's kidnappings of another 90 people.

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FIFA bans Suarez for 4 months for biting opponent

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Uruguay striker Luis Suarez has been banned from all socceer activities for four months for biting an opponent at the World Cup. That rules him out of the rest of the tournament and the start of the upcoming Premier League season. The ban also covers Uruguay's next nine international games, which goes beyond the next four months and rules him out of next year's Copa America. The ban is effective immediately, meaning Suarez will miss Uruguay's round-of-16 game against Colombia on Saturday. Suarez bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's 1-0 win in the group stage. Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee, says "such behavior cannot be tolerated on any football pitch and particularly at the World Cup."

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SPORTS
WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

St. Louis 9, Colorado 6
Baltimore 5, Chicago White Sox 4, 12 innings
Cincinnati 4, Chicago Cubs 1

Frontier League

Evansville 5, Florence 1
Evansville 6, Florence 1
Gateway 7, Schaumburg 3
Southern Illinois 7, Frontier 1

THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago White Sox at Toronto, 6:07 p.m.
Washington at Chicago Cubs, 7:05 p.m.
St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers, 9:10 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 8:14 p.m.)

Frontier League

Florence at Evansville
Schaumburg at Gateway
Frontier at Southern Illinois

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SIU Recruit Named National Player Of The Year

(Carbondale, IL) -- A track and field standout who's headed to SIU Carbondale is getting major accolades from Gatorade. Raven Saunders is being named the national player of the year. Saunders stands only five-feet-five-inches tall but managed to win the shot put title at the New Balance National Outdoor Championship this year. She also set a national record at the Taco Bell Classic back in April, with a throw of 56 feet and eight-point-two-five inches. The Charleston, South Carolina native also has a discus state title under her belt.

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Cap removed from settlement

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The NFL has agreed to remove a cap on concussion-related damages to former players after a judge questioned whether a proposed settlement provided enough money to cover retired players. A revised settlement agreement also eliminates a provision that barred anyone who gets concussion damages from the NFL from suing the NCAA or other amateur football leagues. U.S. District Judge Anita Brody had denied preliminary approval of the deal in January that set a $675 million cap on damages, because she worried the money could run out sooner than expected.

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'Melo To Visit Three Teams

(Undated)  --  Carmelo Anthony is expected to meet with three teams once free agency begins on July 1st.  ESPN.com reports 'Melo will visit the Rockets, Mavericks and Bulls.  Anthony decided to opt out of his contract with the Knicks on Monday to test the open market.  He was set to enter the final season of a three-year, 64-million-dollar extension he signed with the Knicks upon being acquired in a trade with Denver in February 2011.

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U.S. Battles Germany For Spot In Knockout Stage

(Recife, Brazil)  --  The United States looks to advance to the knockout stage of the World Cup today.  The Americans can move on with a win or draw against Germany.  The U.S. missed a chance on Sunday to secure a spot in the Round of 16 by giving up a late goal and settling for a 2-2 draw with Portugal in group play.

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News for June 25, 2014

LOCAL
Kentucky man admits role in Illinois bank holdup

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A Kentucky man faces up to two decades in federal prison now that he has admitted in court that he robbed a southern Illinois bank last year. Twenty-eight-year-old Casey Allen Heflin of Boaz, Kentucky, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Benton. Authorities alleged that Heflin used a handgun in robbing the Old National Bank branch in Harrisburg of nearly $4,200 in October of last year. Heflin's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 24. He has been jailed without bond since his March arrest.

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Bike-riding Illinois newspaper carrier dies at 90

CHRISTOPHER, Ill. (AP) — A 90-year-old World War II veteran who rode his antique Schwinn bicycle five days a week to deliver newspapers in his southern Illinois town has died. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that Marvin Teel of Christopher died Saturday. That was two weeks after being admitted to the hospital after he finished delivering his 40 newspapers on his three-mile Benton Evening News route that day. Christopher also was a rural mail carrier for 45 years. Teel told the Southern last year that his five-day-a-week route earned him the title of "World's Oldest Paperboy," given his closest competitor, a 93-year-old California man, delivered the news only once a week. Teel's funeral will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Greenwood United Methodist Church near Mulkeytown.

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Lindenwood University Opening Collinsville Campus

(Collinsville, IL)  --  Students at Lindenwood University-Belleville will have another option for classes this fall in Collinsville.  The school will be leasing space on Eastport Plaza Drive for a satellite campus with seven classrooms, a computer lab, and a science lab.  The school president told the "News-Democrat" the Belleville campus has been completely booked for evening classes in recent years and this will allow more classes. 

------------------------

Senior's Caretaker Sentenced To Seven Years

(Harrisburg, IL)  --  A Harrisburg woman will serve seven years behind bars for stealing the identity of an elderly woman in her care.  Kimberly Ital was sentenced Tuesday in Saline County court.  She was arrested last fall after prosecutors said she stole tens of thousands of dollars from a 72-year-old woman with dementia.  Ital was also ordered to repay more than 52-thousand dollars.

---------------------------------

Summer Energy Assistance Program Offered

BCMW Community Services will begin making appointments for the LIHEAP Summer Energy Assistance Program on July 3, for appointments that will begin July 7 through July 23, as funds remain available. The program targets at risk households, such as those with senior citizens over the age of 60, households with children under the age of 5, households receiving social security disability or SSI, and those with medical conditions. Documentation for a medical condition must be from your physician, on their letterhead, dated within the last 90 days, which states that your medical condition could be aggravated by extreme heat. Eligibility is determined by providing 30-days proof of income and having the electric utility bill in an adult member of the household’s name. Social security cards are required for all household members. Due to limited funding at the time frame for the program, not as many households will be served as through the winter heating program. Please contact the BCMW office in your county after 8 a.m. on July 3rd, if you believe your household meets the previously mentioned requirements.

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SIU board OK's 2 student fee proposals

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — The Southern Illinois University system's governing board has signed off on two fee proposals meant to help the Carbondale campus' sports programs and student newspaper. WSIU radio reports the governing SIU Board of Trustees agreed Tuesday to increase by $9 the student intercollegiate athletic fee. The board also OK'd a new $9-per-semester student fee expected to raise more than $260,000 during fiscal year 2015 for the financially struggling Daily Egyptian newspaper. The newspaper's future turned cloudy in May when the board tabled the proposed fee. The board during its special meeting Tuesday in Edwardsville also approved interim deans. Unclear is what action, If any, the board took to begin mapping out how to replace Carbondale Chancellor Rita Cheng, Northern Arizona University's new president.

----------------------------

Illinois State Police Announce Roadside Safety Check Results

Duquoin, IL – The Illinois State Police (ISP) announced the results of a Roadside Safety
Check (RSC) held during the late evening hours of Friday, June 20th, 2014, and early morning hours of June 21st. The detail was conducted at Illinois Route 13 at Spillway Road in Williamson County by ISP District 13 officers. There were 21 total citations or arrests and 17 total written warnings including 4 registration offenses, 12 driver’s license offenses, 3 occupant restraint offenses, a driving under the influence arrest, and 4 other alcohol/drug arrests. Alcohol is involved in nearly 40 percent of fatal crashes in Illinois. RSCs are designed to remove alcohol-impaired drivers, however, when other violations are observed such as driving with a suspended or revoked license, operating a vehicle without a valid registration or insurance, or safety belt violations, enforcement action may be taken.  This project was funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety.

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Central City Man Pleads To Lesser Charge In Battery Charge

A 26-year-old Central City man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced charge in a Marion County case that had originally charged him with aggravated battery resulting in the permanent disability of his infant son. Jeffrey A. Stoops pleaded guilty Tuesday to reckless conduct resulting in great bodily harm, with the earlier Class X felony charge of aggravated battery being dismissed. Prosecutors had claimed Stoops caused significant brain injury to his infant son by recklessly squeezing the baby and repeatedly throwing him into the air. The infant was hospitalized in St. Louis for a brain bleed when doctors discovered what appeared to be a healing rib and clavicle fracture from earlier injuries.Stoops told police and EMTs that he dropped the baby when he tripped over the dog, but he was late arrested after his landlord reported to law enforcement that Stoops had asked for a ride to Mt. Vernon so he could catch a bus to Tennessee. In February, Stoops was found unfit to stand trial, but less than 3 months after starting treatment, the Department of Human Services found him fit and he was returned to the Marion County Jail to await trial. If convicted of the Class X felony, Stoops would not have been eligible for probation and could have been sentenced up to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. A Class 4 felony conviction, however, is probationable, and is punishable by no more than 3 years in prison. Marion County Resident Judge Mark Stedelin Tuesday ordered a presentencing investigation to be conducted and scheduled an August 5 sentencing date.

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Charges Dismissed For Iuka Man in Stabbing Incident

Marion County Prosecutors decided Tuesday to not pursue charges at this time against a 27-year-old Iuka man they had previously charged with stabbing a Centralia man in the stomach following a dispute over a pair of shoes. Robert Vorce was first arrested in early March, and charged with home invasion causing injury, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm and aggravated battery using a deadly weapon in connection with the March 4 stabbing of 51-year-old Michael Mansker at Mansker's Centralia home. Police reports say Mansker was upset after another member of the Vorce family allegedly stole a new pair of shoes from the box for Mansker's daughter.  Mansker then reportedly called the person and asked her to return to his home. But several hours later, four members of the Vorce family showed up at the Mansker home, and a fight allegedly ensued, with Mansker stabbed several times in the stomach, reportedly by Vorce with a butterfly knife. Mansker had to undergo surgery to stop internal bleeding caused by the stab wounds. In statements to police, the Vorce family said none of them stabbed Mansker and that he must have stabbed himself.

----------------------------------------------------

Metro East Police Investigate Hate Crime

(O'Fallon, IL)  --  A reported hate crime in the Metro East.  Police in O'Fallon say someone spray painted a racial threat on the carport of an area home.  Investigators say they have several leads on potential suspects, but the family who lives in the home say they have no idea who could have targeted them.

---------------------

STATE
Rauner, Schock Claim Hatchet Buried

(Springfield, IL) -- Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner and congressman Aaron Schock have apparently put aside their differences for the sake of party unity. The two men met over the weekend in Peoria and a spokesman said Rauner expects to campaign with Schock and other members of the Republican delegation. Buried for now are allegations that Rauner tried to scare Schock out of a possible run for governor as well as those that an aide to Schock retaliated by working for Kirk Dillard in the GOP primary.

------------------------------

Democrat Blocks Two Subpoenas In NRI Probe

(Springfield, IL) -- The Democratic co-chair of the panel investigating Governor Quinn's controversial anti-violence program is blocking subpoenas for two of the Quinn aides the panel wanted to question. State Representative Frank Mautino says the involvement of Warren Ribley and Andrew Ross in the rollout of the 55-million-dollar Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was too minor to warrant compelling their testimony. Mautino did approve subpoenas for Barbara Shaw, the former head of NRI, as well as four other Quinn aides.

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Oberweis Calls For Special Prosecutor For IRS Investigation

(Springfield, IL) -- The Republican challenging U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says there should be a special prosecutor appointed to investigate whether the IRS targeted conservative political groups. State Senator Jim Oberweis said Monday evening's House committee hearing shows that the IRS has no intention of getting to the bottom of the scandal. Oberweis called that revelation of lost emails "deeply suspicious."

-------------------------------

Ill. treasurer to auction unclaimed coins, jewelry

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' treasurer's office has announced that it will auction almost 9,000 pieces of unclaimed property, including vintage coins, jewelry and presidential campaign buttons. The treasure trove comes from owners who haven't claimed the items from the state for at least five years. The state receives the items from owners of unclaimed security deposit boxes. Other items include a 24-karat gold-covered John F. Kennedy commemorative dollar coin, Jefferson wartime nickels and a $1 Virginia Treasury bill. Treasurer Dan Rutherford — a Chenoa Republican — says the auction will offer something for everyone. All items in the auction have been appraised by an outside vendor. The sale price must reach at least 75 percent of the value. The online auction is July 7 to 11.

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Organic farmers may get reimbursed for credentials

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Organic farmers in Illinois will be reimbursed for part of the cost of their federal certification. The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday it will receive $271,800 from the federal government to reimburse organic growers and handlers who receive or renew certification this year. The reimbursement covers 75 percent of certification costs, up to $750. Agriculture Director Bob Flider says the funds will help growers who want to enter a rapidly growing market for organically grown products. Operators must have current U.S. Department of Agriculture organic certification to get reimbursement. That means they must have received initial certification or have incurred expenses related to renewal between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30. The money comes from the USDA's National Organic Certification Cost-Share.

--------------------------------

Push For New Legislative Boundaries Faces Signature Challenge

The chairman of the Illinois State Board of Elections says the group pushing for a non-political drawing of legislative boundaries will not be able to produce enough signatures in time to get their constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Yes for Independent Maps is trying to validate enough signatures out of an initial sampling to keep its ballot initiative alive. Their proposal would create an independent, mostly non-political commission to draw boundaries for state legislative districts every 10 years. However, the group has had trouble proving it has the 298,000 valid signatures needed to be placed on the ballot. Elections Board Chairman Jesse Smart says nearly 32,000 of the signatures are from people who signed more than once and others that don't make the cut.  “A lot of them you can’t even read at all,” Smart says.  “A lot of them are not from Illinois.  There’s just many, many sloppy (entries) which I’m sorry for.” Smart says the reason there were such wide discrepancies in the number of ballots that examiners were allowing is geography.  Smart says the signatures collected in Central Illinois were largely collected properly and deliberately, those in the Chicago area, done by hired circulators in some cases, were not. Smart says 11,918 people signed the petitions more than once; 90 people signed at least 10 times, one name appears 35 times. The group was given time to show it has enough valid signatures. Smart says he doesn't think they will be able to.  Smart says the board’s motives to halt the group’s initiative are not political.  He says he signed the petition himself.

------------------------------------------

NATIONAL
Too close to call

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel is celebrating in his New York City district, despite the results of Tuesday's primary still being too close to call. The 84-year-old, 22-term lawmaker took to the stage declaring victory. With 99 percent of the vote in, Rangel leads state Sen. Adriano Espaillat by fewer than 2,000 votes, but elections officials have not said how many paper ballots are outstanding.

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Victory for Cochran

WASHINGTON (AP) — The tea party has suffered two major losses in Tuesday's primary voting. In Mississippi, six-term Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran has barely held off tea party challenger Chris McDaniel. Cochran made a last ditch appeal to Democratic-learning black and union voters. In Oklahoma, Rep. James Lankford has outpolled tea party favorite T.W. Shannon for an outright win of the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Tom Coburn.

-----------------------------------

Severe storms in IN

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The National Weather Service says a tornado was one of several storms that struck southwestern Indiana Tuesday, damaging a few homes. Thunderstorms sprang up near Terre Haute and moved northeast toward Indianapolis, becoming more severe along the way. But no injuries have been reported. The twister in Hendricks County had an estimated wind speed of 100 mph.

------------------------------------------------

US weighs lawsuits on alleged insurance kickbacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is considering whether to sue banks and other mortgage servicers to recover its losses from alleged insurance kickbacks that may have cost government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hundreds of millions of dollars. The inspector general says Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lost an estimated $168 million from the fees in 2012 alone.

------------------------------------------

Boehner Threatens Lawsuit

(Washington, DC)  --  House Speaker John Boehner is considering a lawsuit challenging executive actions of the Obama administration.  In a meeting with house Republicans, he reportedly discussed the possibility of filing the lawsuit to curtail the president's power.  A spokesman for Boehner says the president has exceeded his constitutional authority. 

--------------------

Methodist Minister Reinstated

(Lebanon, PA)  --  A Pennsylvania minister who was defrocked for officiating his son's same-sex wedding is back on the job.  Frank Schaefer was reinstated on Tuesday by the United Methodist Church.  Schaefer had his credentials restored and is now entitled to the salary and benefits he lost after his defrocking in December.

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Gas Prices May Hit Six-Year High

(Undated)  --  It doesn't look like gas prices are going down anytime soon.  AAA says drivers can expect to pay the highest price for gasoline in the past six years over the July 4th holiday weekend.  Experts say you can blame it on the escalating conflict in Iraq.  Retail gasoline is averaging three dollars and seventy cents a gallon nationally.  That's up almost two cents from a week ago.

----------------------

AT&T, DirecTV Chiefs Pitch Congress On Merger Plan

(Undated)  --  The CEOs of DirecTV and AT&T say their merger would be good for consumers and would not be a marriage of competitors.  AT&T's Randall Stephenson and DirecTV chief Michael White told congressional committees on Tuesday their proposed 48-and-a-half billion dollar deal is nothing like TimeWarner Cable and Comcast's plan to become one giant cable provider. 

-----------------------

Justices limit cellphone searches after arrests

WASHINGTON (AP) --- A unanimous Supreme Court says police may not generally search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants. The justices say cellphones are powerful devices unlike anything else police may find on someone they arrest. Chief Justice John Roberts says that because the phones contain so much information, police must get a warrant before looking through them.

--------------------------------

Justices rule for broadcasters in fight with Aereo

WASHINGTON (AP) ---- The Supreme Court has ruled that a startup Internet company has to pay broadcasters when it takes television programs from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch them on smartphones and other portable devices. The justices said Wednesday by a 6-3 vote that Aereo Inc. is violating the broadcasters' copyrights by taking the signals for free. The ruling preserves the ability of the television networks to collect huge fees from cable and satellite systems that transmit their programming. Aereo is available in New York, Boston and Atlanta among 11 metropolitan areas and uses thousands of dime-size antennas to capture television signals and transmit them to subscribers who pay as little as $8 a month for the service.

---------------------------------

Court sides with employees in retirement fund case

WASHINGTON (AP) ----- The Supreme Court says a lawsuit can proceed against Fifth Third Bancorp that accused management of irresponsibly investing employee retirement money in the bank's then-failing stock. The unanimous ruling came Wednesday in a case involving a retirement fund that's invested primarily in the bank's stock. Here's the issue: Do those in charge of investing in the fund have the freedom or the duty to direct investment money elsewhere when they have reason to believe the stock price is inflated. The employees say management knew that borrowers were increasingly defaulting on risky, subprime loans, but concealed that information or misled investors. The bank continued to invest in the stock-ownership fund even when the problems came to light and the share price plummeted.

----------------------------

Israeli President Visits The White House Today

(Undated)  --  President Obama welcomes Israeli President Shimon Peres to the White House today.  The two are scheduled to meet at noon, Eastern in what's billed as Peres' final visit to the U.S. as president of the world's only Jewish nation.  While in Washington, Peres is also expected to address Congress.  That will happen on Thursday.

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Teen talks of murderous plans in police interview

WASECA, Minn. (AP) --- A southern Minnesota teenager accused of planning to kill his family and massacre students at his high school told police no one noticed he was mentally ill and that he had tried to hide his illness. In newly released audio recordings of police interviews, the 17-year-old calmly describes his plan to "dispose of" his family, set a fire as a diversion and use explosives and guns to attack his Waseca school. He says he thought it would be "fun" and that he was following his idol, Columbine gunman Eric Harris. The teen is charged in juvenile court. He was arrested in April after authorities said they found him in a storage locker with bomb-making materials. His father says he doesn't believe his son would have actually carried out the attack.

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ABC says Muir replacing Sawyer at 'World News'

NEW YORK (AP) --- ABC says Diane Sawyer is stepping down as its evening news anchor, to be replaced by David Muir. The network said Sawyer will concentrate on interviews and specials. During her tenure, ABC's "World News" was a steady second to Brian Williams at NBC, although the ABC broadcast has made gains among younger viewers. Muir is familiar to "World News" viewers as a substitute for Sawyer and has traveled around the country for his "Made in America" series. ABC said George Stephanopoulos will take on a new role as chief anchor for live news events.

----------------------------------------

INTERNATIONAL
Iraqi PM calls on Iraqi politicians to unite

BAGHDAD (AP) --- Iraq's prime minister is rejecting calls to form an interim government that critics say would let the country's various factions present a unified front amid a growing threat from Sunni militants. U.S. officials have been pressing for the next Iraqi government to be more inclusive, to draw Sunni support away from the militants led by an al-Qaida breakaway group. But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the political process must be allowed to proceed -- and that the formation of a "national salvation" government would amount to a "coup against the constitution." In his weekly address to the nation today, al-Maliki gave only a vague call for "all political forces to reconcile" with the principles of Iraq's constitutional democracy. Al-Maliki's coalition won the most seats in the April 30 vote, 92 of the 328-seat chamber.

-------------------

Russian lawmakers cancel OK for Ukraine force

MOSCOW (AP) --- Russia is hoping to show it's eager to defuse tensions in Ukraine -- and avoid a new round of Western sanctions. The upper house of Russia's parliament today canceled a resolution allowing the use of Russia's military in Ukraine. It's a move that was demanded by President Vladimir Putin. He has said he wants to help support the peace process in Ukraine, which began Friday with a week-long cease-fire. Obama administration officials say additional sanctions against Russia may be delayed because of positive signals from Putin.

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Activists: Syrian air raid in eastern city kills 5

BEIRUT (AP) --- Syrian opposition activists say that government warplanes have struck an eastern city that is a stronghold of an Islamic militant group, killing five civilians. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the jets struck a target near the headquarters of the al-Qaida breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the provincial capital of Raqqa on Wednesday, also wounding dozens of others. Another activist group, the Syria-based Local Coordination Committee also reported Wednesday's airstrike on Raqqa and said it claimed at least five lives. The Islamic State, along with other rebel groups fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, captured Raqqa in March 2013. Recently, the group has become a major fighting force in Iraq.

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SPORTS
TUESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago White Sox 4, Baltimore 2
Chicago Cubs 7, Cincinnati 3
Colorado 10, St. Louis 5

Frontier League

Florence at Evansville (PPD.)
Frontier 3, Southern Illinois 1
Gateway 4, Schaumburg 3

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

St. Louis at Colorado, 2:10 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 1:14 p.m.)
Chicago White Sox at Baltimore, 6:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs, 6:05 p.m.

Frontier League

Florence at Evansville (2)
Schaumburg at Gateway
Frontier at Southern Illinois

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Cardinals RHP Shelby Miller exits with tight back

DENVER (AP) — St. Louis starter Shelby Miller left Tuesday night's game in the third inning with back tightness. Miller arched his back after delivering a pitch to Jorge De La Rosa, clearly in some discomfort. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and the trainer instantly trotted out to check on the right-hander. After a few warmup tosses from Miller, Matheny brought in Nick Greenwood to take over. Miller went 2 2-3 innings, allowing three runs and six hits. He also walked five and struck out two. The Cardinals put starters Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. Wacha has trouble with his right shoulder and Garcia has inflammation in his left shoulder.

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Rams' Michael Sam feels welcome in NFL

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Though he's no ordinary rookie, St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam says he's treated as such so far in the NFL. The league's first openly gay active player and all the NFC rookies were in town Tuesday for a PLAY 60 youth football clinic with Cleveland-area children at the Browns' training complex. It's part of the league's four-day rookie symposium, which includes workshops and topics ranging from player safety and substance abuse to workplace respect. Sam says he's experienced respect not just from his teammates, but from the other rookies he's met. Sam says his experience has been "very positive, it's very fun. I'm excited to be playing for the Rams. I'm excited to be in the NFL."

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Hockey Hall Class of '14 Announced

Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano were announced as members of the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2014. The late Pat Burns will be enshrined as a coach in the builder category along with referee Bill McCreary. The inductees will be honored at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 17.

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NHL Awards Handed Out

The NHL's season awards were handed out in Las Vegas Tuesday.  Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, already a Ted Lindsay Award recipient, was a double honoree when rewarded with the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player.  Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was named the Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goaltender. Chicago Blackhawks blueliner Duncan Keith took home the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman.  Dynamic Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon was voted the winner of the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. Hall-of-Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, rookie bench boss of the Colorado Avalanche, was named the winner of the 2014 Jack Adams Award on Tuesday, given annually to the league's top coach.

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News for June 24, 2014

LOCAL
MVPD, JCSO Announce Results From Safety Checks

The Mt. Vernon Police Department and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office jointly conducted Roadside Safety Checkpoints Friday evening.  Authorities had checkpoints in two locations in the community and issued 7 insurance citations, 2 failure to signal citations, 2 suspended license arrests, a drug equipment citation, and a warrant arrest. Also issued was a field sobriety test which did not result in an arrest or citation. The safety checkpoints were made possible by a grant from the Mission Possible Coalition.

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NWS Reports Tornado Near Fairfield

FAIRFIELD, IL-- The National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky. released a report Monday evening indicating a tornado was spotted in Wayne County. According to the report, law enforcement witnessed a "land spout" southwest of Fairfield. The report said agricultural debris was seen, mainly dirt and plants. No other damage was reported.

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City Council Held Special Workshop Meeting Monday Night

The Mt. Vernon City Council held a Joint City Council/Fire & Police Commission Workshop Meeting Monday night.  A review of the job description for the Police Chief, as well as of Police and Fire Commission Duties, consideration for modification of hiring and discharge policy for the police and for the fire chief and assistant chief were the primary focus of the workshop.  The Council heard concerns from community members, as well as from the Commission. The debate brought to the floor is the exclusion of the Council from the hiring of the posts, whereas the Commission claims no bias in hiring. Council members will table the issue for more discussion before reconvening on the topic for final consideration.

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Ill. man, 81, accused of exposure at restaurant

CASEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An 81-year-old Illinois man already barred from some St. Louis-area libraries because of a sexual misconduct conviction is now accused of exposing himself at a restaurant. The Belleville News-Democrat reports Donald Tinsley of Caseyville is charged in Missouri's St. Louis County with sexual misconduct. Sunset Hills police Lt. Greg Zveitel alleges Tinsley was arrested June 11 after witnesses reported he allegedly exposed his genitals at a St. Louis Bread Co. store. Court records show Tinsley was living in St. Louis in June 2012 when he was charged with sexual misconduct. As part of his sentencing last December after his guilty plea, Tinsley was ordered to continue mental health treatment and was banished from St. Louis County libraries. A message seeking comment was left at a home listing for Tinsley.

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KC President To Retire In 2015

At the Kaskaskia College Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, June 23, The Board approved the retirement of Kaskaskia College President Dr. Jim Underwood effective June 30, 2015.  Upon his retirement, he will have completed 45 years as a community college educator, with the past 14 years as President of Kaskaskia College.  The Board approved naming Dr. Underwood “President Emeritus” upon his retirement. Dr. Underwood has been instrumental in building the image of Kaskaskia over the past 13 years and under his leadership the College established education centers in Vandalia, Salem, Greenville, Trenton and Nashville.  Additionally, the College created an expanded evening program and a Weekend College, as well as expanded on-line course offerings and degrees. Underwood was also influential in the enrollment increase over the past 13 years with 80% unduplicated head count and credit hours generated.  Enrollments have reached 12,500 and credit hours have reached 115,000.  This growth resulted in $2.5 million additional in revenue that has been applied to new programs, new educational sites, new faculty and staff, advances in technology and brought financial stability to the institution. 

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SIU board to revisit student newspaper's finances

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — When Southern Illinois University's governing board meets to address the departure of the Carbondale campus' chancellor, chances are the school's student newspaper will be covering it. That Daily Egyptian newspaper also could learn Tuesday if it'll get some funding to help it stay afloat. The SIU Board of Trustees is to gather Tuesday in Edwardsville to talk about ways to help the troubled student newspaper's finances. The newspaper's future turned cloudy in May when the board declined to approve a student fee to help pay for the daily. Administrators insisted that revenue would help keep it from losing a projected $200,000. The board also is to begin mapping out how to replace Carbondale Chancellor Rita Cheng, who's been hired as Northern Arizona University's president.

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Perry County Man Pleads Guilty To Methamphetamine Conspiracy

On June 19, 2014, a Perry County, Illinois, man pled guilty to an indictment, charging conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced Monday.  Brandon K. Loftis, 38, of Pinckneyville, pled guilty to the one-count indictment charging conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. The offense occurred between 2012 and June 2013 in Perry, Jackson, Randolph, Franklin, and Williamson Counties. Evidence at the plea hearing established that Loftis was involved with others in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Other persons supplied Loftis with pseudoephedrine pills for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine. During an April 10, 2012, search warrant at Loftis’ Mulkeytown residence, agents located meth-making materials. Co-defendants Samantha J. Plumlee, 28, of Buckner, and April Rollinson, 35, of Centralia, have previously pled guilty to their roles in the methamphetamine conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing. Loftis, Plumlee, and Rollinson each face a term in federal prison of up to 20 years, to be followed by 3 years’ supervised release, and a $1,000,000 fine.  The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, Perry County Drug Task Force, Illinois State Police/Southern Illinois Drug Task Force, Murphysboro Police Department, DuQuoin Police Department, Pinckneyville Police Department, Illinois State Police Methamphetamine Response Team, and Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

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Randolph County Man Sentenced  For Methamphetamine Conspiracy

On June 19, 2014, Samuel S. Jacobs, a/k/a “Simple Sam,” 40, of Steeleville, Illinois, was sentenced in United States District Court in Benton on a one-count indictment charging conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, announced Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.  Jacobs, who had previously pled guilty to the methamphetamine offense, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years’ supervised release, and fined $200. The offense occurred between 2010 and November 2012, in Jackson and Randolph Counties. Evidence at the plea and sentencing hearings established that Jacobs supplied pseudoephedrine to others for use in the manufacture of methamphetamine. At sentencing, the district court found that Jacobs was responsible for unlawfully possessing more than 100 grams of pseudoephedrine. Co-defendants Patsy Pelate and Julie Keller were previously sentenced to prison terms of 84 months and 97 months, respectively, for their roles in the methamphetamine conspiracy.  The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, Murphysboro Police Department, and Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

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Man Accused Of Beating Woman, Stealing Vehicle

(East St. Louis, IL) -- An East St. Louis man is in trouble with the law after allegedly beating a woman and taking her car. Police say 26-year old Tony Bogan resisted arrest, forcing authorities to use a Taser on him. The crime is alleged to have taken place in Caseyville early Friday morning. Bogan is being held in St. Clair County Jail.

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STATE
Libertarian Party Wants In On Governor's Race


(Springfield, IL) -- The Libertarian Party is looking to jump into the governor's race. Chad Grimm is hoping to square off against Governor Quinn and GOP candidate Bruce Rauner this fall. He says if he's elected, he'll take immediate steps to help people who are locked up for petty crimes. The candidate for governor believes Illinois should legalize marijuana but he understands it'll take baby steps to get that cleared through the legislature. The Libertarian Party as a whole also wants to focus on bringing down taxes in Illinois. They say that's one of the number one reasons why businesses are running out of the state. The Party turned in nearly 44-thousand signatures to the State Board of Elections. They're expecting Democrats and Republicans to challenge their petitions but Party leaders are confident they'll make it on the ballot.

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Peru Man Running For Governor

(Peru, IL) -- A Peru man is looking to become the state's next governor. Chico Perez is running as a write-in candidate. He's a real estate agent and broker who says that'll play a big role in his platform. Perez is launching a campaign and plans to take the summer to let people know where he stands on the issues. He's claimed allegiance to both the Republican and Democratic parties in the past and thinks he can pull support from voters on both sides. Perez says he's the conservative Christian in the race against Governor Quinn and GOP candidate Bruce Rauner.

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Ill. lawmakers order 7 to testify on anti-violence

CHICAGO (AP) — 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. The subpoenas ask for documents and testimony at a committee hearing next month. The individuals include Quinn's former chief of staff, Jack Lavin, and Barbara Shaw, former director of an agency that was responsible for the $55 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Quinn announced the initiative shortly before the 2010 election.

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Illinois attorneys' fees to increase 12 percent

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The annual registration fee for Illinois attorneys will increase 12 percent beginning in January. The state Supreme Court announced Monday the fee for active attorneys will increase to $382 from $342. The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission will receive $30 of the increase. The Commission on Professionalism — established to foster civility among lawyers — will get $10. A news release from the court says Illinois has the fifth-largest lawyer population with 94,000 licensed attorneys. But officials say even with the fee increase, the state ranks 21st nationally in the amount it charges. Attorneys in practice for less than three years, inactive lawyers and out-of-state professionals eligible to practice in Illinois will pay $121, up from $105. The court is also eliminating the fee exemption for lawyers 75 and older.

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Wheat harvest gets rolling in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — As Illinois latest corn and soybean crops grow taller, the state's harvest of winter wheat is in full swing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports one-fifth of the state's winter wheat crop has been brought in from the fields. That is twice the rate of last year's harvest at this time, but off from the average pace of 31 percent over the previous five years. The USDA says 53 percent of Illinois' corn crop is rated as being in good condition, and another 25 percent is in excellent shape. More than half of the soybean crop is said to be in good shape, while an additional 18 percent is in excellent condition.

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Find Safe Shelter During Storms

(Springfield, IL) -- We've been getting quite a bit of stormy weather across the state over the past week. Now state officials are urging people to be smart when they hear thunder roar. IEMA Spokeswoman Patti Thompson says if you can hear the thunder, you're close enough to get hit by lightning. About 50 people across the nation are killed by lighting each year and at least another thousand are injured.

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Report:  Illinois Is Forth Most Politically Corrupt State

(St. Louis, IL)  --  Illinois is the fourth most politically corrupt state in the nation.  That's according to researchers at Indiana University, who used data from more than 25-thousand convictions of elected officials for violating federal corruption laws.  Mississippi was named the "most corrupt," followed by Louisiana and Tennessee.  Missouri did not make the top ten.

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Pioneer life offered at Lincoln cabin summer camp

LERNA, Ill. (AP) — Children who have completed 3rd through 7th grades may learn this summer what it was like to be an early settler on prairie when they visit the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site's Pioneer Youth Camp. The historic site offers week-long summer camps in June and July for kids interested in learning about life on the Lincoln and nearby Sargent farms in the 19th Century. Period interpretation, hands-on demonstrations, crafts and games all play a part. The fee for each session is $50 and covers appropriate clothing, lunch and supplies. Lincoln Log Cabin is also recruiting new volunteers. They operate the site by serving in a number of positions including receptionists, tour guides, and gardeners. Orientation and training will be offered June 28 and July 12.

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NATIONAL
Primaries in seven states

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Polls are opening this morning in seven states, which are holding primaries. Colorado and Maryland will pick candidates for governor. Republicans in Oklahoma choose a nominee who'll be favored to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Coburn. Utah has legislative primaries, and in South Carolina there is a Republican runoff for lieutenant governor.

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IRS head says no obstruction of Congress in probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the IRS says he's seen no evidence that anyone committed a crime when the agency lost emails that might shed light on the agency's targeting of political groups. But Republicans in Congress aren't buying Monday's testimony from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Today lawmakers will hear from a White House official who once worked for the IRS.

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Investigators eye pilots' actions in Asiana crash

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal accident investigators are meeting today to determine what led to the crash of Asiana Flight 214 while the passenger plane was landing at San Francisco nearly a year ago. The National Transportation Safety Board is also likely to make recommendations on how to prevent similar accidents. Issues raised by the crash include hesitancy by some pilots to abort a landing when things go wrong or to challenge a captain's actions. Other issues include an overreliance on automated aircraft controls that perform functions like maintaining airspeed, and the growing complexity of automated systems, which can confuse pilots. The Boeing 777 came in to the airport too low and too slow, hit a seawall and cartwheeled down the runway. Three of the 307 people onboard were killed; nearly 200 were injured.

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The cost of climate change

NEW YORK (AP) — A new report says climate change will exact enormous costs on U.S. regional economies in the form of lost property, reduced industrial output and higher health expenses. The report is designed to convince businesses to factor in the cost of climate change in their long-term decisions and to push for cutting emissions that are heating the planet. The report was commissioned by the non-partisan Risky Business Project, chaired by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. and former hedge fund manager Thomas F. Steyer.

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Hillary Clinton to announce youth jobs push

DENVER (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton is making an economic pitch for youth employment, announcing a set of partnerships aimed at training and hiring young people. Clinton is announcing a project called "Job One" at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting today to focus on hiring, training and mentoring teens and young adults. The 10 companies involved include The Gap, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and Marriott. The project also aims to recruit small businesses to address youth employment and creates an action network for companies to partner with the Clinton Global Initiative on jobs. The announcement in Denver comes as the potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate has faced criticism from Republicans that her family's wealth and prestige have insulated her from the economic problems facing average Americans.

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Hernandez due in court in 2012 Boston murder case

BOSTON (AP) — Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is scheduled to appear in a Boston court today for a hearing in the 2012 drive-by slayings of two men. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to killing the men prosecutors say accidentally bumped into him in a nightclub. Prosecutors say Hernandez drove around looking for the men and allegedly opened fire on them after pulling alongside their car at a traffic light. He also faces charges in another killing.

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'Like a Rolling Stone' could bring $2M at auction

NEW YORK (AP) — Bob Dylan's song "Like a Rolling Stone" could bring between $1 million and $2 million at auction. Today, Sotheby's is offering a working draft of the finished song.  It's written in pencil on four sheets of hotel letterhead stationery with revisions, additions, notes and doodles: a hat, a bird, an animal with antlers. The stationery comes from the Roger Smith hotel in Washington, D.C. Dylan was only 24 when he recorded the song in 1965.

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US: Looking at all options in immigration surge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says the Obama administration is looking at every possible option to help respond to a flood of immigrants crossing the border illegally in southern Texas. In prepared testimony for a hearing Tuesday before the House Homeland Security Committee, Johnson outlines more than a dozen previously announced administration efforts to help with the growing problem. Since the start of the budget year in October, Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 52,000 immigrant children traveling alone. Most of the young immigrants are from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and are being caught in Rio Grande Valley of Texas. At the same time, the administration is dealing with more than 39,000 adults with children caught at the border.

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IRS head says no obstruction of Congress in probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House official who once worked at the IRS testifies before Congress today about the agency scandal. Republicans say they don't buy the contention by the head of the IRS that he's seen no evidence anyone committed a crime when the agency lost emails that might shed light on the targeting of tea party and other political groups. Testimony today comes from Jennifer O'Connor, who helped the IRS gather documents related to the congressional investigations.

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2 killed, multiple wounded in Miami shooting

MIAMI (AP) — Police say two people are dead and 10 others are wounded following an early morning shooting in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood. The dead include a 20-year-old man and a teenage girl. Police also say a 17-year-old girl was critically wounded in the shooting which happened near an intersection around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Miami police spokeswoman Frederica Burden says investigators are still trying to figure out what happened. The sidewalk was littered with dozens of spent shell casings marked by blue police cones and shattered glass by mid-morning Tuesday. Some relatives standing nearby said they were afraid to talk about the shootings. A Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital spokeswoman said she couldn't release information, including how many people were brought there. She also said the patients had chosen not to release information about their medical conditions.

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US home prices rise at slowest pace in 13 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose in April from a year ago at the slowest pace in 13 months, reflecting a recent drop-off in sales. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 10.8 percent in April from 12 months earlier. That's a healthy gain, but down from 12.4 percent in the previous month and the smallest since March 2013. Annual price gains slowed in 19 of the 20 cities. Only Boston saw price increases accelerate. Home sales have slowed since last summer as higher mortgage rates, rising prices and a limited supply of available homes have priced many would-be buyers out of the market. Sales of existing homes in May were 5 percent lower than 12 months earlier.

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INTERNATIONAL
Kerry says it's up to Iraqis

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says neither President Barack Obama nor the American people want to see a wholesale U.S. intervention in Iraq. He told ABC that there's "an opportunity for Iraq to come up with his own choice." Kerry, wrapping up two days of talks in Iraq, said on CBS that the U.S. "is trying to move this process forward" so that there will be "a structure in Iraq which will give us the greatest capacity for success." He told NBC's "Today" show, "A united Iraq is a stronger Iraq." Kerry is pushing the central government in Baghdad to at least adopt new policies that would give more authority to Iraq's minority Sunnis and Kurds. He has noted bitterness and growing impatience among all of Iraq's major sects and ethnic groups with the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Kerry met today with the president of Iraq's Kurdish region -- whose support is key to solving the country's political crisis. Kurds represent about 20 percent of Iraq's population. The Kurdish leader declared that "we are facing a new reality and a new Iraq."

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UN: At least 1,075 killed in Iraq in June

GENEVA (AP) — United Nations human rights monitors say at least 1,075 people have been killed in Iraq during June, most of them civilians. The U.N. human rights team in Iraq says at least 757 civilians were killed and 599 injured in Nineveh, Diyala and Salah al-Din provinces from June 5-22. A U.N. spokesman in Geneva says the figure "should be viewed very much as a minimum" and includes some verified summary executions and extra-judicial killings of civilians, police, and soldiers who had stopped fighting. He says at least another 318 people were killed and 590 injured during the same time in Baghdad and areas in southern Iraq, many of them from at least six separate vehicle-borne bombs.

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OPEC: Iraq violence not causing oil output drop

BRUSSELS (AP) — The head of OPEC, the group of major oil exporters, says recent crude price increases are to blame on market fears caused by the crisis in Iraq but not on a drop in output. OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badry said Tuesday that Iraq is "still producing as normal," with 95 percent of its capacity in the country's south being unaffected by the violence. The price for a barrel of Brent crude, the key international benchmark, has risen from a stable level of $110 held over the past four years to about $115 following the takeover of some parts of Iraq by Sunni insurgents. Al-Badry says prices are not rising because of supply shortages but because the market is "nervous" and investors are speculating. He adds OPEC still has spare capacity.

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Dozens more reported abducted in northeast Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Security forces are denying that dozens more Nigerians have been abducted by Islamic extremists. Villagers say members of Boko Haram kidnapped 60 girls and women and 31 boys on Saturday. One villager says the abductions happened during an attack in which four villagers were killed. The group is still holding more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped April 15.

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Ukraine accuses Russia of using landmines

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Ukraine has accused Russian troops of planting landmines on its territory during Russia's annexation of the Crimea region earlier this year. Ukraine made the allegation in a report to an international landmine conference being held this week in the southern African nation of Mozambique. The report says Russia set up minefields between the mostly Russian-speaking Crimea and the rest of Ukraine, and also seized 600 anti-personnel landmines stored at a Ukrainian military depot. Ukraine says it was allowed to keep the landmines for training under the international Mine Ban Treaty, which seeks an end to the use of anti-personnel mines. Russia is not a signatory to the treaty.

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SPORTS
MONDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Baltimore 6, Chicago White Sox 4
Cincinnati 6, Chicago Cubs 1
St. Louis 8, Colorado 0

TUESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago White Sox at Baltimore, 6:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs, 7:05 p.m.
St. Louis at Colorado, 7:40 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:44 p.m.)

Frontier League

Schaumburg at Gateway
Frontier at Southern Illinois
Florence at Evansville

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Bears sign safety Adrian Wilson, tight end

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears have signed five-time Pro Bowl selection Adrian Wilson and veteran tight end Jeron Mastrud. The Bears signed Wilson on Monday to compete for the team's strong safety position. The 34-year-old Wilson, who was with the New England Patriots, missed all of last season after a preseason Achilles tendon injury. However, team officials said they were impressed with Wilson's health, athleticism and ball skills during a workout Monday. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Wilson is one of 13 players to have 20 or more interceptions and 20 or more sacks in their career since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Mastrud started 12 of 16 games for the Oakland Raiders last season. The 26-year-old caught six passes last year for 88 yards. Wilson and Mastrud were signed to one-year contracts.

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Blackhawks to open training camp at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks will be back at the University of Notre Dame to open training camp for a second straight season. The Blackhawks announced Sunday that the team will begin training camp at the campus in South Bend on Sept. 19 and stay through Sept. 21 before returning to Chicago. General manager Stan Bowman said the team had received an overwhelming positive response last year at Notre Dame and called the Compton Family Ice Arena there a world-class facility. The team says a complete training camp schedule, including Notre Dame ticket information, will be released later. The Blackhawks missed a chance for a second straight Stanley Cup when they lost 5-4 to the Los Angeles Kings in overtime in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals earlier this month.

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News for June 23, 2014

LOCAL
Mt. Vernon Fire Dept. Continues Hydrant Testing

The Mt. Vernon Fire Department will continue testing fire hydrants this week.  Beginning Tuesday, The areas south of Broadway from 34th Street to 42nd Street, north of Broadway from 27th Street to 34th Street, and the Airport and Summersville Area will be tested.  Residents are cautioned that testing can cause discoloration in the water supply in the area being tested.

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Wayne County Man Dies In Train/Auto Accident

A Wayne County man is dead after his SUV was hit by a train early Saturday morning in Bluford.  According to Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Joe Marks, 35-year-old Shawn Betts, of Wayne City was killed when his Honda Element was struck by a train in Bluford. Marks was called to 1320 West 6th Street in Bluford shortly after 4:15 Saturday morning. Betts was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident is still under investigation.

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Scammers File Taxes Using Southern Illinois Woman's Info

(Franklin County, IL)  --  Scammers seem to be getting bolder these days.  Officials in southern Illinois say someone stole a Franklin County woman's identity then used her information to file taxes, hoping to cash in on a refund.  The thief somehow got a hold of the woman's personal information but there was one vital piece of information missing on the documents - her date of birth.  The IRS called the woman last week to get the information and that's when she discovered she'd been victimized.  The feds say there were nearly 15-hundred cases of identity theft reported last year. 

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Fatal Saline County Crash

(Harrisburg, IL)  --  A Harrisburg woman is dead after a deadly crash.  Illinois state cops say 18-year-old Machaela Sherrod drove off Tulley Road Sunday afternoon and down an embankment and the vehicle rolled over.  She was not wearing a seat belt and was trapped in the car.  The passenger, 22-year-old John Gould of Omaha, was wearing his seat belt and was airlifted to an Evansville hospital.

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SIU board to discuss Carbondale chancellor's post

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — The Southern Illinois University system's governing board is poised to begin mapping out how to fill the void left by the pending departure of the Carbondale campus' chancellor. The SIU Board of Regents has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday at the Edwardsville campus to privately discuss who will replace Rita Cheng, at least in the interim. Cheng has been the Carbondale school's chancellor since 2010. But she's been hired as the new president at Northern Arizona University. SIU President Randy Dunn has said Cheng is to start her new job in Flagstaff in mid-August and, at least for now, scheduled to remain with SIU into next month. Dunn says specifics about the possible breadth or duration of a search for Cheng's permanent successor could become clearer after Tuesday's meeting.

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Plans for college to go smoke-free questioned

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University's Edwardsville campus is to be smoke-free in a year, but some students don't think that's fair. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the campus' student body president, Nasir Almasri of Chicago, doesn't use tobacco products but thinks the state's recent Smoke-Free Campus Act unfairly doesn't take geography into account. He says some smokers at colleges elsewhere may simply walk across a street to get off campus and light up. He says that's not possible at 2,600-acre SIU that's a good distance from the edge of the university's property. Almasri says the student government surveyed its fellow students, held open forums and listened to ideas. He says the feedback is that those who smoke and many who don't agree that smoking areas would be more appropriate.

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Ill. mom admits giving alcohol to son before crash

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwest Illinois mother has pleaded guilty to providing alcohol to her son before he crashed his car and died. According to court documents, 40-year-old Ginger G. Zehner-Denton of Belleville pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor unlawful delivery of alcohol. That's a lesser charge than the class 4 felony she initially faced — unlawful delivery of alcohol resulting in the death of a minor. Stephen Zehner of Belleville died of injuries from a one-car crash early on the morning of Jan. 26, 2013. He was 18. A 16-year-old passenger, Megan Webb, spent three months in a hospital for treatment of her injuries. The police complaint says Zehner-Denton gave her son a six-pack of beer and a pint of whiskey. Zehner-Denton is scheduled to be sentenced July 31.

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Man gets 18 years prison for sex attack of girl

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An East ST. Louis man has been ordered to spend 18 years in prison for kidnapping a 12-year-old girl and sexually attacking her. The Belleville News-Democrat reports 44-year-old Terry Pittman already had been convicted of St. Clair County charges of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated battery of a child. Authorities say Pittman took the victim for a drive in his car in September of last year, put her in a headlock and tried to kiss her. Investigators say he refused to take her home. Pittman's criminal history includes convictions of drug, battery and weapons counts. Pittman must serve 85 percent, or a little more than 15 years, before being eligible for parole. He then must register as a sex offender.

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St. Clair County Ranks Last In Jobs

(Belleville, IL) -- St. Clair County has the distinction of being at the bottom of the list in a federal survey of job growth in large counties. The U.S. Labor Department reports the county lost more than three-percent of its jobs last year, the worst showing among the 334 large counties they track. Illinois labor officials say the completion of the Prairie State power plant in Marissa and the end of those construction jobs contributed to the bad numbers.

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STATE
Rauner Won't Commit To Reopening Prisons

(Springfield, IL) -- There's been a lot of talk about what will happen to shuttered prison facilities across the state. Some groups have been calling on Governor Quinn to find other ways to use the buildings, but so far he hasn't budged much on the pleas. His GOP opponent in the race for governor, Bruce Rauner, won't say if he'll reopen the facilities either. But, he says there has to be a better alternative than pushing inmates into an overcrowded and unsafe system. Rauner says he'll rely on a team of people who are to help him make the best decision about the shuttered facilities.

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Report: Education board chief got $48K to leave

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A state investigator has found the Illinois Board of Higher Education improperly paid a former executive director $48,000 to resign in 2012. The Executive Ethics Commission said Friday that George Reid was entitled to $16,000 of his $193,000 salary when he left after just 18 months on the job. But investigators could not pursue that issue because education board officials refused cooperation in several areas. The commission officially determined Reid wasted taxpayer money by misusing a state-owned car. Reid did not immediately return a message seeking comment left at his Maryland home. Carrie Hightman was chairwoman of the board during Reid's tenure. She told The Associated Press on Friday the agreement saved the state money because Reid threatened to file a lawsuit for race or age discrimination.

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Quinn approves minimum wage ballot question

CHICAGO (AP) — A stroke of Gov. Pat Quinn's pen has put on the November ballot a measure asking voters if Illinois should boost the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2015. Signed by Quinn on Sunday, the question is non-binding. But Quinn and other Democrats say it'll give them support to move the idea through the Legislature. Legislative attempts to raise the minimum wage have failed. Illinois' minimum wage is $8.25, which is $1 higher than the national rate. Quinn is seeking re-election, and increasing the minimum wage has been one of his priorities. The efforts coincide with a national push by Democrats. Republican challenger Bruce Rauner says he'd be open to raising it under the right circumstances. Business groups oppose raising the rate, saying it'll kill jobs.

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Simon to help promote electric vehicles in Ill.


CARTERVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Community colleges throughout Illinois are planning a three-day road trip to help promote electric vehicle charging stations. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon will help kick off the event on Monday at John A. Logan College in Carterville. It will end on Wednesday about 370 miles to north at College of Lake County in Grayslake. The car will stop at 11 community colleges that have electric vehicle charging stations. The Electric Vehicle Road Trip is being organized by the Illinois Green Economy Network, and the goal is to demonstrate how community colleges have helped strengthen the state's electric vehicle infrastructure. Nate Keener is director of sustainability at Lewis and Clark Community College. He says the trip is also meant to show prospective drivers that they can travel long distances in electric vehicles.

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Lottery contractor likely $200M short on profits

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — 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 than the state ever did. He also argues state officials have limited the company's ability to launch new games and marketing campaigns.

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Memorial planned for Illinois senator's daughter

COUNTRYSIDE, Ill. (AP) — Memorial arrangements have been announced for Lisa Radogno, the daughter of Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. Visitation is set for Friday afternoon and evening at Hallowell and James Funeral Home in Countryside. A memorial service will be Saturday morning at the funeral home. The 31-year-old Radogno died unexpectedly Wednesday a month after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Washington, D.C. She had worked as an executive assistant in the Washington office of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. Radogno spokeswoman Patty Schuh says the family "appreciates deeply the kind outpouring of sympathy from family and friends across the country." Instead of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

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New Illinois law taps retired doctors, nurses

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation aimed at bringing doctors and nurses out of retirement to help as volunteers in free medical clinics. The governor signed the legislation in Peoria on Saturday. The law takes effect immediately, allowing 500 retired health professionals to get volunteer licenses at no cost. Quinn says retired professionals want to help those in need and the state should let them. The law waives fees for the first 500 volunteer licenses and then allows for a fee waiver or reduction. Health care professionals may not hold a regular license and a volunteer license at the same time. The law also applies to dentists, physician assistants and optometrists. The Chicago Democrat also signed into law a measure allowing dentists to give flu vaccines under certain circumstances.

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Illinois DNR seeking maps of old underground mines

CHICAGO (AP) — State officials are seeking the public's help to find old maps of long-closed underground coal mines. The maps help determine whether an area is a risk of subsidence — holes or sagging that can damage homes and other buildings, like a southern Illinois school that had to be rebuilt five years ago. But Department of Natural Resources mine experts say they only have about 2,000 maps for more than 4,000 mines that operated in the state over the past 160 years. They want to make digital copies before they deteriorate or are destroyed, and believe many are in private hands. Robert Gibson supervises the emergency section in the DNR's mines and minerals department. He says two-thirds of Illinois was mined for coal, so the risk to structures is widespread.

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NATIONAL
US mayors to vote on climate change resolution

DALLAS (AP) — U.S. mayors gathered in Texas will decide today whether to endorse a call for cities to use nature to fight the effects of climate change. The attendees at the U.S. Conference of Mayors are voting on a resolution to encourage cities to use natural solutions to protect freshwater, the nation's coastlines and air quality and maintain a healthy tree cover. The resolution does not mandate action.

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Md. primary could play a role in O'Malley's future

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — This Maryland primary has importance beyond deciding who the Democratic and Republican nominees will be in the governor's race. It also is significant to Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat considering running for president in 2016. A victory by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in the Democratic primary Tuesday and a win in November would put an ally in place at home for O'Malley. Brown is running against Doug Gansler, attorney general, and Heather Mizeur, a delegate in the Maryland House. Brown would be an O'Malley advocate to fend off Republican attacks on tax increases approved during his administration. Brown also would be positioned to carry on improvements to the state's badly troubled health care exchange website in the next enrollment period, rather than a candidate who has criticized the outcome.

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Obama encouraging family-friendly work policies

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is encouraging more employers to adopt family-friendly policies by hosting a daylong summit today. But the U.S. government doesn't always set the best example. The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn't mandate paid leave for mothers of newborns. But Obama says he'd like to see that change. It's unclear how Obama would fund a national system. Obama has not endorsed legislation that would create one paid by a payroll tax. And he pledged in his 2008 presidential campaign not to raise taxes on families making under $250,000 a year. While some companies offer paid family leave to attract workers, the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act only requires that employers provide unpaid leave for medical and family reasons.

------------------------------------

Few immediate consequences for child immigrants

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of immigrant children fleeing poverty and violence in Central America to cross alone into the United States can live in American cities, attend public schools and possibly work here for years without consequences. An Associated Press investigation finds that the chief reasons are an overburdened, deeply flawed system of immigration courts and a 2002 law intended to protect children's welfare.

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Civil, human rights center set to open in Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) — A new museum highlighting historic and modern struggles for equality will open to the public today in downtown Atlanta. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights will showcase the civil rights movement and modern human rights struggles separately, but also aims to show how they're related. There'll be both permanent and rotating exhibits.

-----------------------------------

Cheney: U.S. Involvement In Iraq Essential To Future Security

(Washington, DC)  --  Former vice-president Dick Cheney says American involvement in Iraq is essential to national security.  Cheney told ABC's "This Week" he's still worried about another 9-11 attack.  That's why he strongly disagrees with President Obama's decision to pull troops from Iraq.  In Egypt earlier today, Secretary of State John Kerry said the Iraqi people are responsible for choosing their leaders. 

----------------------------

Launch Of Commercial Space Shuttle Delayed Again

(Cape Canaveral, FL)  --  The launch of private satellites is on hold until tomorrow.  A technical issue caused SpaceX to abort a third launch attempt yesterday.  The company's been trying since Friday to get six communications satellites into space.  SpaceX also flies cargo capsules to the International Space Station for NASA.

-------------------------

Search For Missing Firefighter Being Scaled Back

(Fillmore, CA)  --  Searchers are scaling back the hunt for a missing California firefighter.  Authorities announced Sunday afternoon they're dialing back efforts to find Michael Herdman after more than seven days of searching rugged terrain northwest of Los Angeles.  He's been missing since June 13th, when he went looking for his dog after it ran away while the firefighter was camping with a friend.

-----------------------

Brothers face sentencing over marathon fund scam

BOSTON (AP) — Brothers convicted of filing a false $2 million claim to the Boston Marathon victims' compensation fund using the name of a long-dead aunt face sentencing today. Twenty-three-year-old Branden Mattier and 28-year-old Domunique Grice were convicted this month of conspiracy to commit larceny and attempt to commit larceny. Mattier also was convicted of identity fraud. Prosecutors say the brothers submitted a claim to The One Fund claiming their aunt lost her legs in the April 15, 2013, bombing. The fund alerted authorities that the claim was suspicious. State police arrested Mattier when he accepted a fake check. Prosecutors say the brothers planned to test drive a new Mercedes-Benz the day they received the check.

------------------------------

Fatal crash halts Amtrak morning service in Boston

MANSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Amtrak has canceled some service to and from Boston after a train struck a vehicle, killing two people. A temporary track closure is affecting service at South Station, Back Bay Station and Route 128 Station on Monday morning. Late Sunday, an Amtrak train heading from Washington, D.C., to Boston hit a vehicle in Mansfield, about 20 miles southwest of Boston. None of the 180 passengers or crew was injured, but Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police say two occupants of the vehicle died. The crash is under investigation. Amtrak says it will take several hours "to remove the damaged rail equipment and to make any needed repairs to railroad property." Delays were also expected on the MBTA's Providence and Stoughton line.

---------------------------------------

Arraignment in Seattle campus shooting

SEATTLE (AP) — The man charged with killing one person and wounding two others in a shooting at Seattle Pacific University is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges of murder, attempted murder and assault. King County prosecutors say they will seek a life sentence for 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra. His lawyer, Ramona Brandes, has said her client has a long history of mental issues. The June 5 shooting killed student Paul Lee of Portland. Ybarra was subdued by a student security monitor, Jon Meis.

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Suspect in priest attacks set for court appearance

PHOENIX (AP) — A homeless ex-convict who police say beat a priest with a metal rod and fatally shot another clergyman in their Phoenix church is set for a court appearance. Gary Michael Moran is held on $1 million bond. He is accused of first-degree murder, burglary, and armed robbery, among other charges. He has not yet entered a plea and is set for court Monday morning. Authorities say Moran broke into the Mother of Mercy Mission rectory on June 11 and attacked the Rev. Joseph Terra with a metal rod. Police say Moran then wrestled a gun away from Terra, who had retrieved the weapon from his bedroom, and fatally shot the Rev. Kenneth Walker. Moran was arrested June 15 after police say his DNA matched forensic evidence collected from the crime scene.

-----------------------------

Feds want lawsuit by Insane Clown Posse dismissed

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by Insane Clown Posse, which objects to a report that describes its fans as a dangerous gang. The government says the rap-metal duo from the Detroit area and its fans have no standing to sue. It also says it's not liable for any problems caused by law enforcement groups that might use information in the 2011 FBI report. A Detroit federal judge holds a hearing today. The lawsuit says the gang designation violates rights of free speech and due process. Joseph Bruce, known as Violent J, and Joseph Utsler, known as Shaggy 2 Dope, say they're losing fans because of the report. They say their fans, known as Juggalos, are like a family, not a gang.

-----------------------------

INTERNATIONAL
Kerry in Iraq to talk about crisis

BAGHDAD (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is urging Iraq's Shiite-led government to give more power to political opponents before a Sunni insurgency seizes more control across the country. Kerry flew into Baghdad today to meet with Iraq's leaders, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The talks are not expected to be friendly. U.S. officials have suggested that al-Maliki step down, which he's shown no sign of doing.

----------------------------------------

Iran signals may accept snap nuclear inspections

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian nuclear official says the country may accept snap inspections of its atomic facilities should Iran and world powers reach a final agreement over Tehran's contentious nuclear program. In 2003, Iran accepted the so-called "additional protocol" of snap inspections for two years, but parliament never ratified it. Iran's atomic energy organization spokesman tells the official IRNA news agency, "The government may accept the additional protocol based on its expediency and progress in the nuclear talks, but Iranian parliament makes the final decision." Iran and world powers — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany — are negotiating to reach a final deal, with the next round convening July 2. The West suspects Iran's nuclear program has a military dimension, a charge Iran denies.

----------------------------------------

Syria hands over last of declared chemical weapons

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The organization charged with overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons program says the last of the country's acknowledged stockpile has been handed over. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons director general Ahmet Uzumcu said Monday the final eight percent of the 1,300-ton stockpile has been loaded onto ships in the Syrian port of Latakia. Uzumcu was speaking at a press conference in The Hague. Syria's government agreed to surrender its arsenal last fall when the U.S. threatened punitive missile strikes after a deadly chemical attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.

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Activists: Israeli air raids kill 10 Syrian troops

BEIRUT (AP) — An activist group says Israeli air raids overnight on Syrian military facilities killed at least 10 government troops. The Israeli military said it hit nine targets early Monday inside Syria. The airstrikes were in response to a cross-border attack the previous day that killed an Israeli teenager. The director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdurrahman, said the nine Israeli strikes hit seven different Syrian military bases. He said the air raids destroyed two tanks, two artillery batteries and the headquarters of Syria's 90th brigade. The Observatory collects its information through a network of activists inside Syria The Syrian government has not commented on the airstrikes. Israel has carried out airstrikes on Syria several times over the past three years.

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SPORTS
SATURDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Minnesota 4, Chicago White Sox 3
St. Louis 4, Philadelphia 1
Pittsburgh 5, Chicago Cubs 3

Frontier League

Southern Illinois 11, Evansville 10
Gateway 5, River City 3
River City at Gateway (Game 2, ppd. to Sunday)

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Minnesota 6, Chicago White Sox 5
St. Louis 5, Philadelphia 3
Pittsburgh 2, Chicago Cubs 1

Frontier League

River City 5, Gateway 0
Gateway 5, River City 2
Evansville 9, Southern Illinois 3

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs, 6:05 p.m.
St. Louis at Colorado, 6:40 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 5:44 p.m.)
Chicago White Sox at Baltimore, 5:05 p.m.

Frontier League

No Games Scheduled

------------------------------------------

Blues Release Schedule

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The Blues have released their 2014-2015 schedule.  There will be a total of 15 weekend home games this season.  Kickoff is October 9th against the New York Rangers at home at the Scottrade Center.  Find the full schedule at blues.nhl.com.

-----------------------

Welington Castillo activated from 15-day DL

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs have activated catcher Welington Castillo from the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. Castillo missed 18 games with inflammation in his left rib cage. He had a two-game rehab stint with Triple-A Iowa. On the season, Castillo is hitting .242 with five home runs and 21 RBIs for the Cubs. Cubs manager Rick Renteria did not have Castillo in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Pirates. To make room for Castillo, the Cubs designated catcher Eli Whiteside for assignment. In eight games, Whiteside was 3 for 25 with two RBIs.

----------------------------

Cardinals put pitchers Wacha, Garcia on DL

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have put starting pitchers Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list. The Cardinals made the moves Sunday after their 5-3 win over Philadelphia. The right-handed Wacha has a stress fracture in his pitching shoulder. He is 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA for the defending NL champions. Garcia has re-aggravated his surgically repaired left shoulder. He is 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA. St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said it was too early to determine when the players will return. He said the team was aware of Garcia's soreness, but the Wacha ailment took him by surprise.

--------------------------------

News for June 20, 2014

LOCAL
SIU mulls options in Carbondale chancellor's post

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University in Carbondale will have to find a new chancellor. Chancellor Rita Cheng was approved Wednesday as the new president of 26,000-student Northern Arizona University and is scheduled to start there in mid-August. Cheng has been chancellor of SIU's 18,000 student Carbondale campus since 2010. SIU's president, Randy Dunn, says he'll be meeting next week with the university's governing board to discuss how to proceed in filling Cheng's post. He expects someone to be appointed interim chancellor while any search for a permanent replacement takes place. Dunn says that at least for now, Cheng will work at SIU into next month.

-------------------------

Scott AFB planes may get runway help from airport

MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) — An Air Force base in southwestern Illinois won't have its runway for a few months because of maintenance work, but that doesn't mean flights at the installation will be grounded. The Belleville News-Democrat reports military aircraft in and out of Scott Air Force Base near Mascoutah may access the runway at the adjacent MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. MidAmerica is owned by St. Clair County. The county's Public Building Commission oversees that airport and on Thursday authorized the military's use of MidAmerica's runway. The airport's director says the Air Force hasn't yet signed the agreement. The Scott runway is expected to be closed through September to improve drainage near it. The Air Force will pay $20,000 per month to use MidAmerica and provide emergency services.

----------------------

City Council Holds Workshop Meeting This Monday

The Mt. Vernon City Council will hold a Joint City Council/Fire & Police Commission Workshop Meeting on Monday June 23, at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building in Mt. Vernon's Veterans Memorial Park.  On the agenda for this meeting, is a review of the job description for the Police Chief, as well as of Police and Fire Commission Duties, consideration for modification of hiring and discharge policy for the police and for the fire chief and assistant chief, and a request for final reallocation of funds for the 2013-2014 budget. The meeting is schedule for 7 p.m.

-------------------------------

Survey Shows Illinoisans Feelings About Taxes

The state’s financial condition is more dire than the public can grasp, according to five years’ worth of public opinion research. Political science professors John S. Jackson and Charles W. Leonard at Southern Illinois University conduct a survey every year, and the results are the same every time: People don’t like taxes – only 9.7 percent this year say more revenue alone is the way to deal with the state’s deficit – but they don’t want to cut spending on elementary and secondary schools (78 percent oppose cuts), universities (56 percent oppose cuts) roads, public safety (56 percent oppose cuts), natural resources (61 percent oppose cuts ) or even help for the poor (64 percent oppose cuts).  The public believe cutting waste is the answer – 52.3 percent believe it is the answer, but the trouble is defining waste. “At my end of the state, the question of closing the Tamms Prison, for example, has been extraordinarily conflict-ridden. Was that waste, having that prison there? Most people down here don’t think so,” Jackson said. Jackson says the public is misled by campaign rhetoric which promises simple solutions, though the surveys show some movement toward an understanding of the state’s problems. The findings are contained in The Simon Review: The Climate of Opinion in Illinois 2010-2014.

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KC Hosting Electric Vehicle Road Trip Stop

Kaskaskia College will have a reception celebrating the Electric Vehicle Road Trip that will be stopping at the College for a reception at about 12:45 PM on Monday.  The reception will feature speakers including Dr. Jim Underwood, president of KC.  Also featured will be Mini-Abe from the Illinois Department of Tourism.  There are 11 Illinois Community Colleges involved with the Illinois Green Economy Network that will engage in an Electric Vehicle Road Trip, to demonstrate the progress of the Illinois Community Colleges strengthening Electric Vehicle, to promote further deployment of EV infrastructure, and to raise awareness about EV technology and the environmental issues that necessitate a move to a more sustainable transportation infrastructure.  Event organizers also hope the event will ease the fears of potential EV consumers.  The EV Road Trip will start at the southernmost community college with an electric vehicle charge station, which is John A. Logan College in Carterville, and will proceed north toward the northernmost “charged” community college over the course of 3 days.  IGEN is a consortium of all 39 Illinois community college districts across the state working to grow the green economy of Illinois. Its mission is to provide a platform for collaboration among all Illinois community colleges and their partners to drive growth of the green economy. 

--------------------------------

Jackson County Couple Face Sex Charges

A Jackson County couple is facing child sex assault charges, following an investigation that spanned a month and involved agencies in multiple states. Robert and Bethany Pleasant, formerly of Murphysboro, were arrested Wednesday night on outstanding Jackson County warrants. 36-year-old Robert Pleasant is charged with two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault. 25-year-old Bethany Pleasant is facing charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under the age of 13 and criminal sexual assault of a victim between the ages of 13 and 17. The charges come after a month-long investigation by the Murphysboro Police Department, DCFS, and the Michigan Child Protective Services Agency into the alleged abuse of three children. The couple is being held in the Jackson County Jail on $1 million bond each. A preliminary hearing is set for July 8.

----------------------------------

STATE
Quinn Launches 69-Million Dollar Clean Water Program

(Springfield, IL)  --  Governor Quinn is pushing for a program designed to upgrade water treatment centers in four DuPage County communities.  The areas that will be affected by the 69-million-dollar project are Wood Dale, Addison, Elmhurst and Bensenville.  The mayor of Bensenville Michael Cassady says that the proposal will create new jobs.  The suburb just broke ground on a 30-million-dollar water treatment plant renovation.

--------------------

$4M in preparedness grants to help responders

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — City and county emergency responders will benefit from $4 million in grants from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Gov. Pat Quinn's administration announced Thursday that the grants will go to 120 accredited local management agencies to support disaster preparedness and response. The Emergency Management Performance Grants are funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The money can be used for day-to-day operations of local agencies. Another $7 million in federal funding will enable the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to provide dozens of training courses, emergency response exercise support and emergency planning assistance to responders across the state.

-------------------------

Illinois homeless programs getting federal money

WASHINGTON (AP) — Several homeless assistance programs around Illinois will be getting more than $4.6 million in federal grant money. In a news release, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the programs will be receiving the grants through the agency's Continuum of Care Program. HUD says the money will ensure more permanent and transitional housing renewal projects will be able to keep operating in the coming year. The 46 programs in Illinois are among nearly 900 local homeless assistance programs throughout the United States that HUD says will share $140 million. Programs from all over the state received grants of various sizes, ranging in size from an $11,500 award for a program in McHenry County to a $997,000 award for a program in Cook County.

-------------------------

Unemployment Down For Third Straight Month

(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois' unemployment rate is down for the third consecutive month in a row. It dipped from seven-point-nine-percent in April to seven-point-five last month. That's the lowest it's been in nearly six years. But there are still more than 492-thousand-people in Illinois who don't have jobs. State officials say that's one reason they'll keep working to improve the jobs outlook.

-------------------------

Kraft Issues Recall On Velveeta Cheese

(Northfield, IL) -- There's a recall on Velveeta cheese. Kraft says the cheese that's being sold in Walmart stores in 12-states across the Midwest doesn't have enough sorbic acid to preserve the product. That means it could spoil sooner than normal or cause food-borne illnesses. The Northfield, Illinois based company says about 260 cases of cheese are included in the recall. It was sent to three Walmart distribution centers and then on to stores in Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

------------------------------

Consumer watchdog warns of tax phone scam in Ill.

CHICAGO (AP) — A consumer watchdog group has warned Chicago and northern Illinois residents of a phone scam where callers pose as IRS officials and trick people into sending them money. The Better Business Bureau on Thursday released a statement about the nationwide phone scam that has led to losses of about $1 million. The group says scammers call taxpayers and threaten them with jail, deportation and a loss of property to force payments. Better Business Bureau president Steve Bernas says scammers have been reported to use a "spoof" number to copy the IRS's real hotline. The group recommends that residents hang up immediately if they receive a scam phone call. The IRS says it never contacts taxpayers by phone or email asking for money but contacts people only by mail.

------------------------

NATIONAL
Iraqi immigrants fear for lives of loved ones

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Many Iraqi immigrants in the United States who risked their lives to escape the country's past wars fear they may never hear from those they left behind now that violence is sweeping their homeland again. The unrest is hitting the close-knit immigrant communities hard. Thousands have attended both Muslim and Christian prayer services in states with large Iraqi immigrant communities ever since Sunni militants seized territory in Iraq more than a week ago. Leaders from the U.S. Iraqi communities, meanwhile, are lobbying Washington to take action. Most do not support sending back American troops but instead favor drone strikes, releasing aid and setting up a safe passage for Iraqis wanting to escape but who face a tougher time fleeing because of unrest in Syria.

-------------------------------------

Safety report on Morgan crash raises new questions

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A report on the fatal accident that also injured Tracy Morgan says the truck driver was speeding before he slammed into Morgan's limousine. The accident on the New Jersey Turnpike June 7 killed comedian James McNair and seriously injured Morgan and two other passengers. The National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report, released Thursday, concludes that Kevin Roper was driving his Wal-Mart truck at 65 mph before the crash. The area's speed limit is 55 mph and traffic was slowed to 45 mph due to construction. The report says Roper had been on the job about 13 1/2 hours at the time of the crash. Federal rules limit drivers to 14 hours of work per day with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel. Wal-Mart didn't comment on Roper's schedule.

---------------------------

New York lawmakers agree on medical marijuana

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York is set to become the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana under an agreement announced by legislative leaders. Shortly after midnight Friday, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said the bill will be voted on later in the day when Republican lawmakers have reviewed the legislation. Skelos, who is from Long Island, says he will be voting on the legislation and believes there are enough votes to pass the bill in the upper chamber. The so-called Compassionate Care Act would legalize certain forms of marijuana for severely ill patients. The legislation does not allow the drug to be sold in plant form or smoked, but it can be administered through a vaporizer or in an oil base. The Democratic-led Assembly is expected to pass the legislation early Friday.

--------------------------------

1942 Oscar to be auctioned in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A 1942 Oscar statuette is being sold an auction in Rhode Island. The Providence Journal reports the statuette will be sold Monday by Briarbrook Auctions in East Greenwich. Art director Joseph C. Wright won the Oscar in 1942 for color art direction on the film "My Gal Sal." The Oscar belongs to Wright's nephew, who lives in Cranston and wishes to remain anonymous. Oscars rarely come onto the market. Since 1950, Oscar winners are required to sign a contract agreeing that if they or their heirs ever want to sell an Oscar, it must first be offered to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for $1. Wright died in California at the age of 92.

------------------

Congress Slashes NSA Funding

(Undated)  --  Congress is hitting the National Security Agency where it hurts.  The House voted Thursday night to strip funding from two of the NSA's most controversial programs.  The funds cutoff would affect domestic surveillance aimed at Americans.  It also would impact the NSA's direction that hardware manufacturers and software developers build backdoors into their products so the agency can access users' communications. 

-------------------

IRS Chief To Face Tough Questions About Missing Emails

(Washington, DC)  --  IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will face tough questions about missing emails in a House hearing today.  The missing emails belonged to former IRS official Lois Lerner, the top figure in the scandal over the targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny.  Yesterday Republican House Speaker John Boehner accused the Obama administration of not lifting a finger to help congressional investigators get to the bottom of the IRS controversy. 

-------------------

U.S. Conference Of Mayors Begins

(Dallas, TX)  --  The nation's mayors are gathering in Dallas today for the start of the four-day U.S. Conference of Mayors.  More than 13-hundred mayors from big cities to small towns will release new data showing economic output and jobs numbers for more than 350 metropolitan areas in the U.S. 

---------------------

NBC Gets Partial Win In Zimmerman Case

(Sanford, FL)  --  A Florida judge is tossing out part of George Zimmerman's lawsuit against NBC.  The former neighborhood watch volunteer is suing the network for libel for the way it edited a 9-1-1 call that he made on the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.  In court Thursday, the judge dismissed one of five claims connected to multiple broadcasts of the 9-1-1 call by the network. 

--------------------

U.S. Presbyterians Approve Same-Sex Marriages

(Undated)  --  The Presbyterian Church is now allowing its ministers to perform same-sex marriages.  The church's General Assembly voted on Thursday to approve the change.  It also approved a change in the church's constitution, defining marriage as between "two people, traditionally a man and a woman."  Before the change, the Presbyterian constitution defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. 

--------------------------------

Big Sioux River crests below previous record

NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (AP) — A swollen river that threatened homes where Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota meet already has crested. The National Weather Service had predicted that the Big Sioux River would hit a record high around midday Friday. But the agency said early Friday that the river crested at Sioux City, Iowa, around midnight a couple of feet below the previous record. The reason for the change wasn't immediately clear. Todd Heitkamp with the weather service in Sioux Falls says the river level should hold steady and eventually recede. Crews built a temporary levee across Interstate 29, which should protect much of the city but closed off the interstate and forced motorists onto detours.

------------------------

At least 5 killed in fiery Montana crash

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A fire engine and another vehicle collided on U.S. Highway 12 in southwestern Montana, causing an explosion and fire that killed at least five people. Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Bob Gleich says the collision happened about 9 p.m. Thursday about 10 miles east of Helena, forcing both vehicles into the ditch. Witnesses said the vehicles immediately caught fire, and Gleich says they melted together in the resulting inferno. Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jay Nelson told KTVH-TV that at least five people were killed. The Gallatin County sheriff's office said Friday that one of the victims was Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel. The names and ages of the others involved haven't been released.

---------------------------------

Crews make good progress in battling Navajo fire

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Firefighters have made significant strides in a wildfire that has consumed more than 21 square miles of forest and grazing land on the Navajo Nation. Fire officials say crews were able to contain 20 percent of the Assayii Lake Fire by Thursday night thanks to less windy weather. Crews took advantage of light winds to mobilize air drops of water and fire retardant. Officials say the fire was also slowed by reduced vegetation. The blaze has destroyed at least five structures and 50 homes are still threatened. Authorities say the human-caused fire has forced some families to evacuate their sheep camps in the Chuska Mountains, just east of the Arizona-New Mexico border. Firefighters say they plan to keep the fire from burning southward by continuing to remove vegetation.

------------------------------

Pilot reports laser strike during takeoff from LAX

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration says a pilot reported visual impairment after a laser struck a plane taking off from Los Angeles International Airport. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor says the laser strike occurred early Wednesday as the aircraft was near Santa Monica at 9,000 feet. There's no immediate word what type of plane it was or where it was headed. Earlier this month, the FBI began offering rewards of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone who threatens aircraft in a laser attack. In 2013 the FAA reported nearly 4,000 laser strikes. In March a 26-year-old man was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being convicted of shining a laser pointer at a Fresno police helicopter and a hospital helicopter.

--------------------------------------

INTERNATIONAL
Cleric warns Americans will be attacked

BAGHDAD (AP) — A Shiite cleric in Iraq is warning that the 300 U.S. military advisers that President Barack Obama plans to send to Iraq will be attacked. The cleric (Nassir al-Saedi) is loyal to the anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose militia fought the Americans in at least two rounds of street warfare during the eight years U.S. troops were in Iraq. Meanwhile, there's more pressure on Iraq's prime minister today -- with a call from the spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiite majority for a new "effective" government. The comments at Friday prayers contained thinly veiled criticism that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is to blame for the continuing offensive by Sunni militants.

------------------------------

Employees of ferry company in court

GWANGJU, South Korea (AP) — The CEO and four employees of the South Korean firm that operated the ferry that sank in April have gone to court today for a hearing on criminal charges. The disaster left more than 300 people dead or missing. The government charges that the ferry was overloaded, had improperly stowed cargo and that the crew received poor safety training. Relatives of the dead screamed at crew members throughout the hearing.

------------------------------

Ebola 'out of control': Doctors Without Borders

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A senior official for Doctors Without Borders says the Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is "totally out of control" and that the medical group is stretched to the limit in its capacity to respond. Bart Janssens, the director of operations for the group in Brussels, said Friday that international organizations and the governments involved need to send in more health experts and increase public education messages about how to stop the spread of the disease. Janssens said the outbreak is far from over and will probably end up as the most deadly on record. According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, Ebola has already been linked to more than 330 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

----------------------------

Czechs condemn euthanasia proposal for children

PRAGUE (AP) — A senior university lecturer and Czech government adviser has been forced to resign for proposing to legalize euthanasia for children born with birth defects. In his recent article published in the Journal of Medical Law and Bioethics, Miroslav Mitloehner argued that "it makes no sense to prolong the life of a baby born as a monster." Mitloehner called disabled children "freaks" and questioned whether they are human beings. He said doctors should be allowed to terminate their life without parents' consent. Vaclav Krasa, the chairman of a major organization of the disabled, called the views unacceptable, comparing them to "Nazi thinking." Officials said Friday Mitloehner was fired from the post of director of the Institute of Social Work at Hradec Kralove University and from the Labor Ministry's scientific council.

---------------------------

SPORTS
THURSDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Minnesota 4, Chicago White Sox 2
Philadelphia 4, St. Louis 1

Frontier League

Southern Illinois 11, Gateway 2
Traverse City 3, Evansville 1

FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Pittsburgh at Chicago Cubs, 3:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.
Philadelphia at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Evansville at Southern Illinois
Gateway at River City

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Pittsburgh at Chicago Cubs, 6:15 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota, 1:10 p.m.
Philadelphia at St. Louis, 3:10 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 2:14 p.m.)

Frontier League

Evansville at Southern Illinois
Gateway at River City

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Pittsburgh at Chicago Cubs, 1:20 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota, 1:10 p.m.
Philadelphia at St. Louis, 1:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 12:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Evansville at Southern Illinois
Gateway at River City

--------------------------------------------

Bears terminate Israel Idonije's contract

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears terminated defensive lineman Israel Idonije's contract Thursday. The Bears also signed undrafted free-agent defensive end Jamil Merrell and linebacker Conor O'Neill, and waived safety Sean Cattouse, quarterback Jerrod Johnson and tight end Fendi Onobun. Idonije played for Detroit last season after nine years with the Bears. In 149 career games, he has 273 tackles, 29 sacks, 40 tackles for losses, six forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, 36 special teams tackles and eight blocked kicks. Merrill played at Rutgers, and O'Neill at Wisconsin.

-----------------------

Rams QB Bradford not worried about knee

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Sam Bradford knows how well he's feeling. The St. Louis Rams quarterback doesn't care what anybody else thinks about his surgically repaired left knee, or a career that's yet to take off. The team concluded workouts on Thursday and Bradford headed for home in Oklahoma City, confident he'll be back as good as ever when training camp begins in late July. Bradford was the first overall pick in 2010 but has yet to be a difference-maker for a franchise that won seven games each of coach Jeff Fisher's first two seasons. He firmly believes the Rams are poised to be a contender. Bradford has been eased back into the mix during OTAs. He's logged long hours at Rams Park since getting hurt in Week 7 last season.

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News for June 19, 2014

LOCAL
MVPD, JCSO To Have Roadside Safety Check

The Mt. Vernon Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office will jointly conduct a roadside safety check this Friday evening at 10 p.m.  Authorities will be checking for alcohol impaired drivers and for other alcohol related offenses.  This safety check is made possible through a grant from the Mission Possible Coalition.

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Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Support Big Muddy Levee Repairs

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn Wednesday signed legislation allowing critical repairs to proceed on the Big Muddy Levee in Jackson County. The county received funds for the project as a result of a referendum approved by voters, but legislative approval was needed to spend those funds on levee repairs. Sponsored by State Senator Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) and State Representative Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), Senate Bill 2721 allows Jackson County to spend up to $1.7 million out of a special fund to help pay for repairs to the Big Muddy Levee. County voters already approved this fund in a referendum 20 years ago. This deteriorating levee protects the 700 residents of Grand Tower, but the Army Corps of Engineers has determined it is ineligible for federal funds. The new law is effective immediately.

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4-year-old girl drowns in southern Illinois

PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A 4-year-old girl has drowned in a friend's swimming pool in the southern Illinois city of Pinckneyville. Authorities say Taylor Louise Laxton of Pinckneyville likely was under water for more than 10 minutes Monday before being found. They described her death as a tragic accident. Police and ambulance crews performed CPR and the girl was transported to a Pinckneyville hospital and later to a St. Louis hospital. Police are investigating.

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Officials investigating Ohio River bridge damage

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — State officials are seeking information about damage done to a western Kentucky bridge that spans the Ohio River. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says the Brookport bridge in Paducah was structurally damaged earlier this week, but officials don't know who did it. Inspectors went to the bridge Wednesday to check on a report that a section of railing had been damaged. They determined that something had hit a portion of the bridge superstructure. District 1 Chief Engineer Mike McGregor says he believes a truck crossed the bridge with an oversized load and struck a support beam. The bridge is along U.S. 45 between Paducah and Brookport, Illinois. Officials have placed a 20-ton vehicle limit on the bridge, meaning no large trucks will be able to cross.

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Cheng Approved For NAU Post

SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng will be leaving Carbondale. Cheng was approved yesterday by the Board of Regents to become the president of Northern Arizona University. Cheng is expected to start in Arizona in mid August and will be working on a three year contract.

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Carbondale Cops Combat Counterfeit Cash

(Carbondale, IL)  --  Counterfeit cash seems to be flowing into Carbondale.  This year alone there have been 21 fake bills uncovered, compared to 34 uncovered by cops all of last year.  Local law enforcement officials held a meeting Wednesday night with locals and business owners to talk about the phony bills being used in the city.  Detective Brandon Weisenberger told "WSIL-TV"  he believes there is a professional operation printing the bills.

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Student expelled for handling pellet gun at school

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois teenager expelled from his high school for displaying a pellet gun on the school's grounds says he disagrees with the punishment. The Belleville News-Democrat reports 18-year-old Vantezz Carter has been banned from attending Belleville West High School for his senior year. Carter was seen handling the pellet gun outside the school last month, forcing a brief lockdown of the campus while Carter and other football players were picking up equipment. The school board expelled him Monday, and Carter calls that "very, very wrong" and extreme even though he admits his actions were inappropriate. He says the gun wasn't his. The district's assistant superintendent, Brian Mentzer, isn't commenting, saying it's a disciplinary action. Carter has been charged with a misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

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Police: 2nd shooting death in same home since 2011

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — East St. Louis police are investigating the second shooting death in three years in the same house. Police Chief Michael Floore says 29-year-old Charles Harper died Tuesday after being repeatedly shot in the single-story rental home where he lived. Another man was wounded. There was no immediate word on any arrests or charges. The killing was the second in the home since January 2011. That's when Christopher Rush was gunned down a day before his 26th birthday and another man was injured. Two men later were convicted of home invasion. Illinois State Police are assisting in the investigation of the latest shooting.

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Child Abuse Up In Southern Illinois

(Carbondale, IL)  --  Child abuse is a growing problem in southern Illinois.  New data from the Department of Children and Family Services reveals that 75-percent of all abuse cases are happening in the southern part of the state.  Officials say they're trying to gauge what's causing the problem so they can find ways to tackle it.

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Area Fun This Weekend

The 59th Annual Rend Lake Days and Sesser Homecoming are under way at Miners Memorial Park in Sesser. The event runs thru Saturday with a parade at 4 o'clock. Entertainment each night, food and a midway are just some of the fun things going on this week for the Sesser Homecoming. Plus the Hamilton County Fair runs this thru this weekend in McLeansboro.

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Centralia Man Found Not Guilty On Sex Charges

A Marion County jury has found a 33-year-old Centralia man not guilty of all charges in a three-day trial in which he was accused of rape and domestic battery. Jamie Merritt was acquitted on both a Class 1 felony criminal sexual assault by force and Class 2 aggravated domestic battery including strangling. Prosecutors had accused Merritt of forcing a female acquaintance to commit a sex act with him last May, and then impeding her breathing by applying pressure to her neck. Centralia police reported Merritt had already left the woman’s home when she called to report the alleged incident. He was later found walking along Wabash Avenue in Wamac and was taken into custody. He told the jury the sex with the woman was consensual and that he had nothing to do with the injuries she claimed he inflicted on her. Merritt has remained in the Marion County Jail since his arrest last May, with bail set at $250,000. He will now be transferred to the Clinton County Jail to face a Class 4 felony charge of possession of a controlled substance that was filed against him last April.

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Bond Forfeited For Kell Man On The Run

Bond for a 23-year-old Kell man has been forfeited to the county Wednesday, after the defendant repeatedly has failed to appear in court – or to begin serving his 25-year prison sentence. John A. Morton had pleaded guilty in March to the 2012 aggravated battery of his infant son, causing permanent brain damage to the child. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison on that charge, and to a consecutive 5-year sentence on a separate and unrelated drug charge. Morton was given one week to get his affairs in order before he had to report to the Marion County Jail for transport to The Department of Corrections where he would begin serving his sentence. Judge Mark Stedelin ordered Morton’s bail held until such time as he turned himself in to authorities. However, on the day he was to turn himself in, Morton reportedly jumped from the vehicle taking him to jail and fled. Despite multiple agencies responding and searching for Morton on multiple occasions, he has yet to be captured. Five days after Morton reportedly fled, his attorney filed a motion for the release of his bond, a motion Stedelin denied. Morton had been freed in the battery case on $25,000 bond that had been posted by his mother, who has since passed away. It was that bond that was forfeited Wednesday. After basic fines and fees, $22,500 was left to forfeiture, leaving a $312 outstanding balance remaining for if or when Morton is ever captured.

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STATE
Ballot Proposal Given More Time To Validate Signature


(Chicago, IL) -- The verdict is still out on whether voters will be given a chance to decide on how legislative districts are drawn. A bi-partisan group turned in more than 500-thousand-signatures to get the measure on the ballot but an initial review didn't meet approval. Michael Kolenc with the Yes For Independent Maps group says the process has been a bit shady. The State Board of Education reluctantly gave the group more time to meet the threshold. Now, they're going through a hearing process which will give the group a chance to provide evidence and show that their signatures are valid. If all goes as planned, voters will decide whether the redistricting process should be taken out of the hands of lawmakers and into the hands of an independent, unbiased group.

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Legislators Have Differing Views Of Redistricting Reform

A few of Illinois’ legislative leaders are offering different degrees of support for redistricting reform. Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says he has felt the effects of re-drawn legislative maps, particularly after the 1990 census. “My house was actually 500 feet away from the district I had represented for 12 years, so we had an opportunity to move,” Cullerton said. But Cullerton feels the last redistricting process, this time under control of Democrats, was fairer. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) does agree that his own party has politicized the process in years past. “I want to make perfectly clear: Republicans did the same thing,” Durkin said. Durkin, unlike Cullerton, does support the proposed constitutional amendment to create an independent panel to draw legislative maps. He points to the state’s 15th Congressional District, which stretches from Collinsville to the southeastern edge of the state, and then north to Vermillion County, as an example of an oddly drawn district.

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Quinn approves plan to fund Illinois Poison Center

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed on to a plan to keep the Illinois Poison Center open after it has seen a number of budget cuts in recent years. The Chicago Democrat on Monday approved the funding plan that was included in legislation to restore some Medicaid cuts made in 2012. The agreement requires an Advocate Health Care hospital in DuPage County to pay $8 million over the next four years to support the center. In exchange, the state will make an additional investment in the hospital to increase its Medicaid funding. The Illinois Poison Center is staffed by experts who give residents advice in poison emergencies. Officials say it receives about 80,000 calls annually — thus helping to decrease unnecessary medical costs.

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State Senator Radogno Daughter Dies

(Springfield, IL)  --  The daughter of Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno has died.  Thirty-one-year-old Lisa Radogno passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday of a "massive pulmonary embolism."   She worked as an executive assistant in the D.C. office of Senator Mark Kirk.  Radogno was single and one of three daughters of the senator and her husband Nunzio. 

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Cook County morgue starts grief counseling program

CHICAGO (AP) — The Cook County medical examiner's office is launching a grief counseling program to help families of homicide victims. The county board of commissioners approved the pilot program Wednesday. The idea is to help people who must identify their loved one's remains. It will be the first time the office has offered such assistance. The program is designed as a partnership between the county and University of Illinois-Chicago's Jane Addams College of Social Work. A second-year graduate student will work with a member of the medical examiner's staff to better prepare families before they are asked to view remains and to refer them to bereavement resources. Medical examiner Dr. Stephen Cina says the program will help families "be better equipped to deal with the unexpected tragedy of a sudden death."

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Several Kids Have Already Drowned In Pools This Year

(Springfield, IL) -- In less than a month since kids have started hitting the swimming pools, at least three are already dead from drowning in Illinois. Bruce Blanshan, with the Nelson Center in Springfield, says that should be a clear reminder for parents and caretakers to stay alert.  More than 200 kids across the nation were killed in swimming accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day last year. According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, seven of those kids were from Illinois.

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NATIONAL
Turmoil in Iraq is pushing up US gasoline prices

NEW YORK (AP) — Violence in Iraq is pushing U.S. gasoline prices higher during a time of year they usually decline. The national average price of $3.67 per gallon is the highest for this time of year since 2008, the year gasoline hit its all-time high. The violence that erupted in Iraq last week hasn't threatened the main oil-producing regions or reduced exports. Still, global markets reacted by sending the price of oil up 5 percent over the past week. So, instead of the usual slow slide in gasoline prices between Memorial Day and July 4, drivers have seen an increase. The national average will likely soon surpass this year's high of $3.70 per gallon, set on April 28, but analysts see little chance of it topping $3.90, as in 2011 and 2012.

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Iraq crisis stirs fears Afghanistan could be next

WASHINGTON (AP) — The deteriorating situation in Iraq is giving Congress pause about President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. Lawmakers fear that the hard-fought gains in Afghanistan could be wiped out by a resurgent Taliban. Senior Obama administration officials insist Afghanistan is not Iraq. They say the population is far more receptive to a continued U.S. presence, and a top American general says Afghans are better fighters. But the officials could offer no assurances that Afghanistan won't devolve into chaos after Americans leave, as Iraq has. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it's up to the people of Afghanistan. The Afghanistan war has lasted more than a decade, cost billions of dollars and killed more than 2,100 members of the U.S. military.

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A divided House GOP prepares to pick new leaders

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are meeting Thursday to fill vacancies in their leadership team in the aftermath of last week's unexpected primary defeat of their No. 2 leader, Virginia congressman Eric Cantor. Right now, California congressman Kevin McCarthy looks likely to win that No. 2 post of majority leader. He's being challenged by a conservative rebel, second-term Idaho congressman Raul Labrador, who says Cantor's defeat shows voters think Congress is out of touch and its leaders must be replaced. But the race to replace McCarthy as the third-ranking Republican — the majority whip — seems unpredictable. The contenders are Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, leader of an organization of House conservatives; Peter Roskam of Illinois, McCarthy's deputy whip; and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, who may attract votes from tea party lawmakers.

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GM CEO On Hot Seat Over Recalls

(Washington, DC)  --  General Motors CEO Mary Barra insists she is acting aggressively to deal with the troubled automaker's faulty ignition switches.  The ignition switch problems are linked to 13 deaths and have prompted millions of recalls.  In a House hearing Wednesday, Barra said she was saddened and concerned about the results of an internal GM report that she ordered. 

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Social Security Office Closures Questioned

(Washington, DC)  --  The Social Security Administration is taking some heat for closing hundreds of its field offices.  On Wednesday the Senate Special Committee On Aging grilled a Social Security official as to why more than 60 offices have been closed over the last four years.  Budget issues have gradually forced the agency to cut back on office hours and mailing benefit statements to prospective retirees.

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Asthma rates drop but experts not breathing easier

NEW YORK (AP) — A new survey suggests asthma in the U.S. may finally be on the decline. But the results are so surprising that health officials are cautious about claiming a downturn. The numbers are from a report released by the centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lead author Jeannine Schiller says she wouldn't say the findings are good news, yet. The findings come from a large national health survey conducted last year. The drop could just be an unexplained statistical blip. Schiller said she's waiting for data from this year before proclaiming asthma is on the decline. For the past few years, about 8.6 percent of Americans have said they have asthma. But in last year's survey, 7.4 percent said they currently had it. That was the lowest mark in a decade, and represents a decline of more than 3 million people. The largest declines were seen in black children and women.

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Obama to speak on Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will speak about the situation in Iraq from the White House Thursday afternoon. His comments will follow a meeting with his national security team where he is expected to discuss U.S. options for responding to the deteriorating situation in Iraq. The administration has been weighing whether to press the Shiite prime minister in Baghdad to step down in a last-ditch effort to prevent disgruntled Sunnis from igniting a civil war. A U.S. official says Obama is expected to announce the deployment of about 100 Green Berets to Iraq to help train and advise the Iraqi forces. The official insisted on anonymity because this person was not authorized to publicly discuss the plan ahead of Obama's announcement.

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High court says whistleblower testimony protected

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says the First Amendment protects public employees from job retaliation when they testify in court about official corruption. The justices ruled unanimously Thursday in favor of Edward Lane, a former Alabama community college official who says he was fired after testifying at the criminal fraud trial of a state lawmaker. Lower courts had ruled against Lane, finding that he was testifying as a college employee, not as a citizen. The Supreme Court said Lane's testimony was constitutionally protected because he was speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern — even if it covered facts learned at work. But the court said the college's former president is immune from damages under laws shielding public officials from lawsuits in their official capacity.

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Cities fight Big Sioux River flooding in 3 states

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Cities in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota are fighting a surging Big Sioux River after heavy rain this week pushed the waterway to record levels in some locations. The river, which converges with the Missouri River near Sioux City, Iowa, runs more than 400 miles across eastern South Dakota and western Iowa. In Akron, Iowa, a levee breached early Wednesday causing minor business district flooding, but a temporary patch is holding. In Sioux City, Iowa, and North Sioux City, South Dakota, officials are building temporary levees including one at an Interstate 29 exit where the interstate will serve as a levee. The river is expected to crest at Sioux City on Friday morning, about a foot above the record set in 1969.

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More guilty pleas in Detroit mob attack on driver

DETROIT (AP) — Three men have pleaded guilty to assault in a mob attack on a motorist who accidentally struck a boy with his pickup truck in Detroit. Prosecutors dropped attempted murder charges as part of the deals entered Thursday in Wayne County court. All five people charged with the beating of Steve Utash now have pleaded guilty to assault. Latrez Cummings, James Davis and Wonzey Saffold say they kicked or punched Utash after he got out of his truck to help the 10-year-old boy whom he accidentally struck with his vehicle in April. The 54-year-old Utash spent several days in a coma and six weeks in hospitals before being released in May. Two others pleaded guilty to assault earlier this week.

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INTERNATIONAL
Government still controls Iraqi refinery

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi government still controls the country's largest oil refinery. That word comes both from a top Iraqi security official and one of the militants fighting to capture the facility. But a witness says the Sunni militants have hung their black banners from watchtowers at the refinery, about 155 miles north of Baghdad. The witness also says militants are manning checkpoints around it. The Iraqi security official says as many as four helicopter gunships have been deployed over the facility since daybreak. One of the militants says had it not been for those gunships, the insurgents would have captured the refinery. The army officer in charge of protecting the refinery told state-run TV that his forces have killed nearly 100 militants since Tuesday. Iraq has asked the U.S. for airstrikes targeting the militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, who have taken large areas of northern Iraq. President Barack Obama hasn't ruled that out, but officials say intelligence agencies haven't been able to identify clear targets on the ground.

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Afghan crisis deepens amid election fraud charges

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's political crisis is showing no signs of easing as presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah says the electoral commission has ignored his demands and he will not resume cooperation with them. Abdullah, who is facing off against Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, escalated his complaints about the conduct of the June 14 runoff vote Thursday despite pleas from the U.N. and the U.S. to respect the process and wait for official results. The fraud allegations have marred what Western officials had hoped would be an important step toward democracy for the troubled country as the U.S. and its allies wind down their 13-year combat mission. Abdullah acknowledges concerns the crisis could further destabilize the country but says the responsibility for that ultimately lies with the Independent Election Commission and its affiliated complaints commission.

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NATO: Russians resume buildup near Ukraine

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rassmussen says Russia has resumed a military buildup near Ukraine, calling it "a very regrettable step backward." Speaking in London Thursday, Rassmussen said: "I can confirm that we now see a new Russian military build-up — at least a few thousand more Russian troops deployed to the Ukrainian border, and we see troop maneuvers in the neighborhood of Ukraine." He added: "If they're deployed to seal the border and stop the flow of weapons and fighters that would be a positive step. But that's not what we're seeing."

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Ukraine open to EU, US firms co-managing pipeline

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's leader suggests bringing in European and U.S. companies to help operate the pipeline that crosses the country, carrying Russian natural gas to Europe. The move is part of an effort to revamp the pipeline, which is among Ukraine's most valuable assets. Analysts say it's also an attempt to defuse potential claims that Ukraine might be siphoning gas from the pipeline. Russia on Monday halted gas supplies to Ukraine after talks over past debts failed. But Russia continues to send gas on to Europe through Ukraine's pipelines. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told parliament Thursday Ukraine intends to set up a company to manage the pipeline. Ukraine would own 51 percent, but is ready to invite Western companies as shareholders for the rest. Ukraine would not sell the pipeline as such.

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SPORTS
WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago Cubs 6, Miami 1
N.Y. Mets 3, St. Louis 2
Chicago White Sox 7, San Francisco 6

Frontier League

Gateway 3, Southern Illinois 2
Evansville 3, Traverse City 2
Evansville 1, Traverse City 0

THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago White Sox at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.
Philadelphia at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:20 p.m.)

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Gateway
Evansville at Traverse City

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Miners To Hold Drive For Children's Home & Aid

Marion, Ill. (June 16, 2014) – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they will host a collection drive for Children’s Home And Aid beginning on Friday, June 20th, when Southern Illinois hosts Evansville at Rent One Park at 7:05 p.m. Children’s Home + Aid is a not-for-profit organization that provides in home counseling and respite services for adoptive families throughout Southern Illinois. Their office is located at 109 Lou Ann Drive in Herrin. Call 618-988-1330 for more information or visit their website at www.childrenshomeandaid.org. In addition, on Friday, June 20th when the Miners take on the Evansville Otters, fans can stop by the Children’s Home + Aid table at section 109 for free giveaways and to register for a chance to win five Holiday World tickets, four Cardinals vs Cubs tickets, and a Miners gift basket which includes 10 tickets and t-shirts for children and adults. Winners will be drawn following the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.

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News for June 18, 2014

LOCAL
Drowning Claims Life of Perry County Child

A Perry County child has died following a drowning incident from Monday in Pinckneyville. The incident happened around 2 Monday afternoon after the victim was pulled from a swimming pool. She died at a St. Louis hospital.

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Franklin County Man Faces Sex Charge

A Franklin County man is facing sex abuse charges following an alleged recent incident.53 year old Terry L. Rose was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse from a Sunday evening incident in rural Orient. The incident reportedly involved an 8 year old girl.

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Illinois prisoner accused in inmate's death

PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An inmate of a southern Illinois prison has been accused of causing the beating death of a fellow inmate. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports 22-year-old former Barry resident Austin Sherfy is charged in Perry County with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery. Authorities allege Sherfy killed Paul Rhoden last September when both were inmates at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center. The criminal complaint alleges Sherfy hit Rhoden on the head, face or neck with either his elbow or fist, causing the victim's death. Sherfy later was transferred to the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center near Chester, southeast of St. Louis. He's now jailed in Perry County, with a hearing scheduled for July 16 on the manslaughter count. Online court records don't show whether he has an attorney.

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3 accused of reporting bogus Ill. home invasion

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Two men and a woman are accused of staging a fake home invasion in southwestern Illinois. Prosecutors in Madison County charged 40-year-old Amanda Lockhart, 30-year-old Michael Johnson and 29-year-old Timothy Tindall with felony disorderly conduct. They're all from Collinsville. Collinsville police say that about 2 a.m. last Friday, authorities from five police agencies responded a report that three men were dragging a woman from home invasion in Collinsville. Police say they arrived and arrested the three suspects, only to learn the matter was a hoax. It's unclear why the alleged home invasion was staged. Online court records don't show whether Lockhart, Johnson or Tindall have attorneys. They don't have listed home telephone numbers. The three are free on bond.

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Appeal of mine permit scheduled for conference

HARRISBURG, Ill. (AP) — Opponents of Peabody Energy's plans for a coal mine near Harrisburg in southern Illinois soon could know whether their appeal of a permit for the project may go forward. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a July 2 pre-hearing conference on the matter. Both the IDNR and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency granted permits earlier this year to allow the new Rocky Branch strip mine, and other permits are pending. But Cottage Township Trustee Judy Kellen and others in the township claim their homes, health and the environment would be damaged by the mine Peabody proposes. The mine would be an extension of an existing mine and come within 300 feet of some homes just south of Illinois 13 near Harrisburg.

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Edwardsville Taking Bids For Firehouse Architect

(Edwardsville, IL)  --  Edwardsville is planning to build two new firehouses, but needs someone to design them.  The city is taking bids from several architects to participate in the 15-million dollar projects.  One will be built a few blocks from the current Main Street station and a second, satellite station will be built near SIU's Edwardsville campus.

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St. Clair Zoning Board Stalls Pot Farm Vote

(Belleville, IL) -- The St. Clair County Zoning Board has decided not to decide just yet about whether to allow a medical marijuana farm to fire up in rural Marissa. There are concerns about runoff from neighboring farm fields contaminating the medical marijuana crop if it's allowed to grow on the 14-acre site along Illinois Route 13. Two residents of Glen Carbon are seeking permission to set up the cultivation center that would sell 15 strains of cannabis to dispensaries under the pilot program that allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for a limited number of illnesses and conditions. The zoning board tabled their vote until July 14th.

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Men Arrested For Alton Home Invasion

(Alton, IL)  --  A pair of suspects are in custody in connection with a Metro East home invasion.  Twenty-two-year-old Otis Harris and 19-year-old Malik Carter face a host of felony charges stemming from this week's incident. Police say they snuck into a home on Union Street, hit the male resident on the head, and sexually assaulted a woman.  The suspects had apparently been at a party at the home earlier in the evening.

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'Woodhenge' summer solstice fete set at Cahokia

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Visitors to the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in the southern Illinois community of Collinsville will get a glimpse at a sacred moment in the lives of Native Americans who lived there a thousand years ago. In a news release, officials at the site say on Sunday the dawn of the summer solstice will be observed at "Woodhenge." Woodhenge is a calendar of posts arranged in a line with sunrise on the longest day of the year — June 21 — the year's shortest day in December and the spring and fall equinoxes, when day and night are the same length. Visitors can stand where Native Americans who once lived in what was the largest city north of Mexico gathered to watch the sun rise above the mound.

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STATE
Panel might subpoena of anti-violence director


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers will decide Monday whether to subpoena a former official in Gov. Pat Quinn's administration to answer questions about the Democrat's anti-violence program. Bloomington Republican Sen. Jason Barickman is co-chairman of the Legislative Audit Commission and a member of the subcommittee that will meet Monday. He says the panel will vote on whether to compel Barbara Shaw to answer questions about the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Shaw is retired director of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, which took on Quinn's $55 million anti-violence program in 2010. Auditor General William Holland earlier this year found the program was so hastily implemented and poorly managed that thousands of dollars can't be accounted for. Shaw's attorney John Theis says if Shaw is subpoenaed, she will respond.

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Sheila Simon Working To Improve Illinois Waterways

(Springfield, IL) -- Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon is taking part in a discussion on how to improve Illinois' waterways and make sure they're in good health. One of the topics includes finding ways to make sure the water doesn't come out of the banks and damage people's property. Simon had a meeting with Ag leaders and environmentalists in Washington, D.C. last week. She says they talked about the possibility of creating one agency to oversee the needs of the rivers. That could mean combining the duties that are now shared between the Army Corp of Engineers and the EPA.

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Quinn, industry urged to speed lock-and-dam fixes

CHICAGO (AP) — Members of Illinois' congressional delegation are urging Gov. Pat Quinn and industry to pursue public-private partnerships to fix the state's aging locks and dams. U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and Reps. Cheri Bustos and Rodney Davis sent Quinn a letter Tuesday urging him to coordinate with industry to take advantage of a new federal program that could speed needed repairs. They say states could bypass the sometimes-slow U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planning, design, and construction process. Communities instead could develop "innovative financing structures" that include private funding and construction. They say members of the agriculture, mining, and shipping industries should be involved in the effort to repair locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, which are used to move millions of tons of goods annually.

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Hearing set on term limits, redistricting lawsuit

CHICAGO (AP) — Oral arguments are expected in a lawsuit trying to keep two ballot measures calling for term limits and changing how Illinois draws its political boundaries off the November ballot. Attorneys are due in court Wednesday before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva. Mikva has said in court that she wants to expedite a ruling because it will affect the November election. Ballots are certified in August. One group led by Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner calls for limiting legislators to two terms, along with other changes. The other group wants an independent commission to take over Illinois' political redistricting process. The group is in the process of verifying signatures with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

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Banners unveiled for Lincoln funeral anniversary

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Banners marking the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's funeral have been unveiled. The banners commemorating the event include a replica of the horse-drawn hearse and are being hung on light posts at the entrance of Oak Ridge Cemetery. The will also line a Springfield thoroughfare leading to the cemetery where Lincoln is entombed. Sixty banners costing about $50 apiece will be hung in advance of next spring's event. The assassinated 16th president's body was carried by train in 1865 from Washington, D.C., to Springfield. A procession with Lincoln's body in a funeral carriage moved through the president's hometown to the cemetery. He was buried May 4. The re-enactment next year will include a replica of the funeral carriage, with 5,000 Civil War re-enactors expected to take part.

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State Parks To Receive Upgrades

(Springfield, IL) -- A popular hunting spot between Cass and Mason County is getting some much needed upgrades. The Sanganois State Park in Chandlerville says they're getting money from the state to help fix up some of the levees in the park. There have been some problems on the Sangamon River Ridge, where water has come out and creeped onto the property. An official says money from the state's Department of Natural Resources will help pay for the upgrades.

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NATIONAL
US aims for trial of Benghazi suspect held on ship

WASHINGTON (AP) — The capture of an alleged leader of the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, gives U.S. officials a rare moment of good news. Now they are preparing to try the captured Libyan in the U.S. court system and pledging to redouble efforts to catch others responsible for the attacks. U.S. officials said Ahmed Abu Khattala was being held on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the Libyan's whereabouts publicly by name. Abu Khattala was headed to the U.S. to face what President Barack Obama called "the full weight of the American justice system." Some Republican lawmakers were quick to voice skepticism about the administration's plans to try Abu Khattala like a civilian.

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Marathon bombing suspect's lawyers due in court

BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are due in court along with federal prosecutors for a status conference. A U.S. District Court judge is expected Wednesday to set a schedule for motions to be filed before Tsarnaev's trial begins in November. Defense attorneys also are expected to formally file a motion to move his trial from Boston. The lawyers have said they plan to seek a change of venue because of intense media coverage. Authorities say Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, planted two pressure cooker bombs near the finish of the 2013 marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges. He could face the death penalty.

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Georgia execution 1st since botched injection

JACKSON, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia inmate convicted of rape and murder has become the first person to be executed in the U.S. since the botched lethal injection of a prisoner in Oklahoma in April. Fifty-nine-year-old Marcus Wellons was executed by injection Tuesday night after last-minute appeals were denied. A corrections spokesman says he was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. The execution seemed to go smoothly with no noticeable complications. From the time he was brought into the room and the tubes with the drugs were administered took about 35 minutes. Wellons was lying still with his eyes shut while the drugs were administered. Wellons was convicted and sentenced to death in 1993 for the 1989 slaying of his 15-year-old neighbor, India Roberts, a high school sophomore from the Atlanta suburbs. Georgia uses one drug — the sedative pentobarbital — for executions.

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GM Chief Will Be Grilled On Capitol Hill Again

(Washington, DC)  --  General Motors CEO Mary Barra returns to Capitol Hill today to update lawmakers on the troubled automaker's faulty ignition switches.  The switch problems have been linked to 13 deaths in North America.  GM has announced it is recalling another three-point-two million vehicles because of the switch problems. 

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Missouri executes inmate for killing 2 women

BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri inmate has been put to death for killing two St. Louis County women in 1996, marking the state's fifth execution this year. John Winfield was executed Wednesday by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. and was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m., a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety said. Winfield took four or five deep breaths as the drug was injected, puffed his cheeks twice and then fell silent, all in a matter of a few seconds. His execution at the state prison in Bonne Terre came shortly after convicted killer Marcus Wellons was put to death in Georgia. Wellons' was the first execution in the nation since a botched execution on April 29 in Oklahoma raised new concerns about lethal injection. Another convicted killer, John Ruthell Henry, is scheduled to die later Wednesday in Florida. Winfield shot his ex-girlfriend, who was the mother of two of his children, in the head, leaving her blind. He shot and killed two of her friends.

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State Dept. Again Defends U.S. Talks With Iran Over Iraq

(Washington, DC)  --  The State Department is again defending U.S. talks with Iran over the crisis in Iraq.  State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki argued that the U.S. and Iran have a shared interest in the stability of Iraq.  Later today President Obama will meet with congressional leaders on the growing crisis in that country.

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Report: Prosecutors In Holmes Case Accused Of Interfering With Defense

(Centennial, CO)  --  The defense in the Aurora theater shooting case is accusing prosecutors of interfering with their investigation.  A new motion filed Tuesday by attorneys for James Holmes claims a prosecutor is contacting victims by email, saying the defense is trying to recruit them to help save the accused shooter's life.

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Obama, congressional leaders to discuss Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is to meet with congressional leaders today at the White House about possible U.S. responses in Iraq. An extremist group leading a Sunni takeover of territory and towns has attacked a major refinery and is threatening to move on Baghdad. Officials say the president is not considering immediate airstrikes. There is said to be a lack of intelligence on possible targets. However, officials say no final decisions have been made and suggest Obama could ultimately approve strikes if strong targets do become available.

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FDNY to increase response to reports of gas leaks

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City Fire Department will now have a much greater role in responding to reports of possible gas leaks. That is according to an order made by Mayor Bill de Blasio in response to the March explosion that leveled two East Harlem buildings and killed eight people. The mandate is included in the centerpiece of a City Hall report obtained by The Associated Press before its release on Wednesday. Previously, residents who smelled gas were often told to call their gas utility or 311, the city's hotline. Now, they are urged to call the 911 emergency line, which triggers a response by the fire department. Any calls to 311 automatically will be directed to 911. Officials believe the change will dramatically improve response time to possible gas leaks.

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Patent And Trademark Office Cancels Redskins Registration

(Undated)  --  The Washington Redskins may be one step closer to a name change.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has decided to cancel the team's trademark registration, calling the Redskins name "disparaging to Native Americans."  The decision stems from a case heard by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, filed on behalf of a group of Native Americans.  The ruling will not force the team to change or stop using its current trademarks, it just means the trademark may no longer be registered.  

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INTERNATIONAL
40 Indian construction workers kidnapped in Iraq

NEW DELHI (AP) — India's Foreign Ministry says 40 Indian citizens working for a Turkish construction company near the Iraqi town of Mosul have been kidnapped. Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin confirmed the kidnapping on Wednesday. He said the government has been unable to contact the workers. There are about 10,000 Indian citizens working and living in Iraq. Akbaruddin said only about 100 are in violent, insecure areas. That includes the construction workers near Mosul as well as 46 Indian nurses working in a hospital in the Iraqi town of Tikrit. Akbaruddin said humanitarian organizations have been in touch with the nurses, who are safe and have been advised to avoid travel by road. India sent a senior diplomat to Baghdad on Wednesday.

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Iraq premier: Militant 'shock' restored unity

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister says his government has regained the initiative after the "shock" defeat of his security forces in the face of a lightning attack by Sunni militants in the country's north. Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite who has been in office since 2006, said in a televised address Wednesday that the loss of a large swath of territory last week has helped Iraq restore its national unity. Al-Maliki said: "But we were able to contain the strike and arrest deterioration. ... We have now started our counteroffensive, regaining the initiative and striking back." Al-Maliki's upbeat assessment came as news broke of government forces regaining parts of a strategic city near the Syrian border that was captured Monday by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

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Car bomb kills at least 14 at illegal World Cup viewing site in Nigeria

DAMATURU, Nigeria (AP) — Police in Nigeria say the explosion that killed at least 14 people at an illegal World Cup viewing site was the result of a car bomb. More than two dozen other people were injured in the blast as soccer fans were watching the Brazil-Mexico match. Police say the viewing sites were banned in the area where the explosion took place, because they have become a target of the armed Islamic group Boko Haram. Security experts have warned that Islamic militants might attack crowds watching the World Cup in public places in Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, as they did in 2010 in Uganda. Witnesses had said a suicide bomber drove a tricycle taxi packed with explosives into the area. But police say the bomb was in a car that was parked and abandoned on the road in front. Meanwhile, security forces have arrested a man described as a "terror kingpin." He was among nearly 500 people detained as suspected terrorists in southeastern Nigeria.

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Front-runner calls for Afghan vote count to stop

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The front-runner in Afghanistan's runoff presidential election has called for vote counting to stop over fraud claims. Abdullah Abdullah made the call Wednesday during a news conference. Abdullah's team has questioned what it has determined is a 1 million vote lead by Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in the early tallies. Abdullah pointed out it is a dramatic increase from the first round that put him in the lead with 45 percent of the vote compared to 31.6 percent for his rival. An initial turnout estimate suggested 7 million vote in Saturday's vote, which would be 60 percent of the 12 million eligible voters and equivalent to the first round of voting on April 5. The first initial results are not due until July 2, then final results on July 22.

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West Africa's Ebola death toll rises to 337

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The World Health Organization says Ebola is continuing to spread in three West African countries and the death toll in the outbreak has risen to more than 330. Health officials have struggled to contain the outbreak, which is believed to have begun in Guinea, where the majority of the cases and deaths have been. It has also touched Sierra Leone and Liberia, where it recently flared again after about two months with no new cases. The U.N. health agency said on its website Wednesday that more than 500 suspected or confirmed cases of the virus have been recorded. It said 337 people have died. Ebola outbreaks are unusual for West Africa and fear of the disease, which has no cure, has hampered efforts to isolate the sick.

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SPORTS
TUESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Miami 6, Chicago Cubs 5
Chicago White Sox 8, San Francisco 2
St. Louis 5, N.Y. Mets 2

Frontier League

Gateway 10, Southern Illinois 7

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Miami, 11:40 a.m.
N.Y. Mets at St. Louis, 12:45 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 11:50 p.m.)
San Francisco at Chicago White Sox, 1:10 p.m.

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Gateway
Evansville at Traverse City (2)

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Illini running back recruit denied admission

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — One member of Illinois' football recruiting class won't be on campus this fall. Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said Tuesday in an email that running back Matt Domer was denied admission to the university. Brown did not provide further details. The 5-11, 190-pound Domer was the only running back in Illinois coach Tim Beckman's 18-player 2014 recruiting class. Domer is from Mount Carmel High School in Hazel Crest, Illinois.

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QB Cutler welcomes a familiar Bears offense

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Jay Cutler insists he is no stronger or bigger than last year, but he's glad the Chicago Bears offense is also unchanged since last year. Cutler and the Bears began a three-day minicamp with the offense hoping to be even more effective in its second year under coach Marc Trestman. Trestman had said Cutler seems bigger and stronger after starting his off-season workouts earlier, but Cutler said he did it only to help overcome lingering effects from last year's ankle and groin injuries and is physically 100 percent now. The Bears hope to keep Cutler healthier, and avoid problems like the ones he had his first four years with the team when he was sacked 148 times.

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Williams putting stamp on Rams defense

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Gregg Williams kept saying how much fun he was having, how happy he was to be coaching in his home state, how great the players have responded. The 91-degree heat that pushed St. Louis Rams players gave their new defensive coordinator even more reason to smile. The 55-year-old Williams is well into his second stint with coach Jeff Fisher and he's been a vocal presence at workouts the last two weeks. Players, especially the rookies, don't want to get him riled. It's tougher to evaluate players when they're not wearing pads. So Williams compensates by making them think on the fly.

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Rams open training camp July 21

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Rams rookies will report for training camp on July 21, and the rest of the team will report three days later. The Rams announced their training camp schedule on Monday. St. Louis hasn't made the playoffs in nearly a decade, but hopes are high for the upcoming season. An open scrimmage during training camp will be at 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 2. The first preseason game is Aug. 8 at home against New Orleans. The regular season opener is also at home, on Sept. 7 against Minnesota.

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McMahon opens up about dementia, suicidal thoughts

CHICAGO (AP) — At his darkest moments a few years ago, when the pain in his head was just about too much to bear, former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon thought about killing himself. If he kept weapons at home, he says, he is "pretty sure I wouldn't be here." McMahon discussed his struggles with early onset dementia and depression Tuesday, issues that he believes were brought on by the beating he absorbed playing football. He is scheduled to be honored Wednesday in Chicago by the Sports Legacy Institute, a Boston University-based group that has been studying the effects of brain trauma in athletes and others. While the suicidal thoughts are a thing of the past, the fight with dementia continues. He is also digging in for a battle with the NFL.

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IHSA accepting bids to host prep basketball finals

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois High School Association is accepting bids from cities that want to host the annual state high school basketball championship tournaments for 2016 through 2020. The IHSA board decided Monday to accept bids for the annual state finals. The IHSA is the governing body for high school sports in the state. The boys' tournament is currently held each March in Peoria. The girls' tournament is played at Illinois State University in Normal. IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said the decision to consider new venues doesn't mean the organization is unhappy with either Peoria or Normal. He praised both and said it's possible that either or both tournaments will stay where they are. The board plans to announce the results of the proposals it receives in March 2015.

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News for June 17, 2014

LOCAL
Man accused of deadly southern Illinois wreck

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- Authorities are asking for the public's help in finding a southwestern Illinois man accused of drunkenly causing the death of a passenger in his car. St. Clair County prosecutors on Friday charged 36-year-old William Wellmon of Granite City with one count each of reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol causing death. Wellmon hasn't been arrested on the charges. Authorities allege Wellmon was driving a pickup truck April 18 near Marissa when it crashed, killing 30-year-old Daniel Pocrnich. Wellmon and another passenger from Marissa survived. Wellmon's bond is set at $250,000. Online court records don't show whether Wellmon has an attorney.

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Man accused in deadly hit-and-run freed on bond

CARLYLE, Ill. (AP) — A Damiansville man accused in connection with a fatal southern Illinois hit-and-run vehicle wreck that killed a pedestrian is free on bond. The Belleville News-Democrat reports 25-year-old Jonathon Nast posted his bond Friday shortly after being charged in Clinton County with failure to report a motor vehicle accident involving death. He's also accused of obstructing justice. Police in Breese say officers responded to reports of a woman walking in and out of traffic early June 8 on old U.S. 50. They found Lana Albert's body a couple hundred yards from a sports bar where the Edwardsville woman had been with friends. Nast does not have a listed home telephone number. And online court records don't show whether he has an attorney.

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Historic Grocery Store Destroyed By Fire

(Belleville, IL)  --  An historic Metro East grocery store has been destroyed by fire.  Flames erupted Monday night at the Main Street Market in Belleville.  Employees reported hearing the sound of breaking glass, prompting them to flee the building.  No customers were inside at the time, and no one was hurt.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Cairo looking for ideas to redevelop, improve

CAIRO, Ill. (AP) — A group of current and former residents of the southern Illinois city of Cairo have begun a process of trying to improve the long-troubled community. The 11 survey takers are looking for ideas to give to city leadership. Mike Farrow is part of the committee driving the effort and a lifelong Cairo resident. He tells The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale that the thriving Cairo he grew up in was a dream town. He says watching unemployment grow and businesses disappear has been like watching a relative die. The survey was created by a New Orleans company, GCR. GCR planner Tyler Antrup says the company was hired to help the city get the most out of its redevelopment money. Antrup said GCR hopes to have a finished plan by December.

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Lt. Governor visits Murphysboro kitchen to spread the word about free summer lunches for kids

MURPHYSBORO – Saying no child should go hungry, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon visited a new site in Murphysboro on Monday that provides free lunches to kids over the summer months. The Illinois Coalition for Community Services administers sites throughout the state that serve up free, hot meals to anybody under the age of 18 during the summer months, when families can’t rely on free or reduced price school lunches.“School is out, but hunger doesn’t take a vacation,” Simon said. “With more of these Summer Food Programs available than ever before in Illinois, we want to let kids know that there’s a hot meal and a safe place to play during the summer.” After the meals, staff members provide educational and recreational activities for kids. Guests in the past have included local fire departments and Sheriff’s officers, nutrition experts, or just people who can help kids get a game of chess or pick-up basketball started. The program is funded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The number of available meal providers has expanded greatly over the past few years in response to a dramatic increase in need. The program had 12 sites statewide in 2011 and will be operating 52 this summer, said Garret Selinger, ICCS project director. Eighteen of those kitchens are opening for the first time in 2014. The new Murphysboro site is operated by a local group, Supporting People In Need, a not-for-profit organization that provides disaster relief and aid to the needy. The Murphysboro kitchen serves lunch from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, with activities until 2 p.m. Some other Summer Food Program sites this summer include Beardstown, Cairo, Carrier Mills, Carthage, Collinsville, Cuba, Elizabethtown, Girard, Havana, Hillsboro, Jacksonville, Jerseyville, Kankakee, Metropolis, Olive Branch, Peoria, Princeton, Riverton, Sandoval, Shawneetown, Springfield, Taylorville and Weldon.  For information on other Summer Food Program kitchens throughout the state, contact the Illinois Coalition for Community Services at 217-522-2378.

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Mayor Proposes More Security Cameras

(Belleville, IL) -- One Illinois Mayor has received more than a dozen threats and letters with suspicious white powder and now he's planning to take action. Belleville's Mark Eckert says they're looking to put up more security cameras at city hall, hoping it'll make people think twice before they act. The Belleville City Council will take a vote on whether or not to install the new cameras tonight. They'll come with a price tag of about 42-hundred-bucks. Mayor Eckert says they decided to put the cameras up after a man from East St. Louis put a letter containing white powder in the drop box at City Hall, back in April. Turns out it was just powdered sugar, not Anthrax or any other harmful substance.

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Bond lowered for woman accused of cancer claims

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois judge has reduced the bond for a woman accused of bilking thousands of dollars in donations from people she duped into believing she had terminal cancer. The Belleville News-Democrat reports St. Clair County Circuit Judge Jan Fiss on Monday lowered Alissa Jackson's bond from $100,000 to $75,000. Jackson remained jailed Monday night. Jackson's attorneys sought a bond at roughly half of that. Prosecutors opposed any change. The 31-year-old Jackson has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of theft by deception. Prosecutors haven't said exactly how much she may have profited by wrongly insisting she had ovarian cancer. If Jackson manages to post bond, Fiss ordered her to have no contact with the alleged victims, get a mental health evaluation and submit to electronic monitoring.

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Simon highlights transit, walking, biking

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon will stress the importance of walking, biking and public transit in opening remarks at a "Complete Streets" training event. The Democrat and candidate for state comptroller will call for investment in bike lanes and sidewalks across southern Illinois. The event will be held Tuesday at the Carbondale Civic Center. The Complete Streets planning policy is a new approach to urban planning that highlights the importance of public and pedestrian transit. Representatives of the Active Transportation Alliance will provide free training to local planning and zoning board members. The project is developed by Smart Growth America. Nine public health agencies in downstate Illinois have signed on to the idea.

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Archaeologists find artifacts at Illinois airport

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (AP) — Archaeologists digging at a southern Illinois airport have uncovered Native American artifacts dating back to 1,000 years ago. Crews with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey discovered five house plots from the Mississippian Era at the Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro. The dig also uncovered a stone ax that is thousands of years older than the plots. It would have been used to cut trees and wood. The Southern Illinoisan reported on Friday that the archaeological excavation was required before the airport could be expanded. Gary Shafer is the airport's manager. He says he knew the area had history, but added that the discoveries ended up being much "denser" than anticipated. Archaeologists say they'll continue working at the area for a few more weeks to search for more artifacts.

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Mt. Vernon City Council Met Monday

Mt. Vernon City Council met Monday evening.  Among items on the agenda, The Council approved a bid of $17,558 for the labor to remodel the restrooms at City Hall and approved the final reallocation of funds for the 2013-2014 budget, and the Council accepted a grant from the Illinois Housing Development Authority's Abandoned Residential Property Municipal Relief Program in the amount of $25,000.  The Council also approved $18 million in development, which includes expansion to the Hucks Store at 10th Street and Veteran's Memorial Drive, development of a new Holiday Inn Express Hotel, the re-development of the current Holiday Inn into a DoubleTree by Hilton, and the agreement to add a Huddle House restaurant to the Hucks truck stop at Exit 95.

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Sexual Assault Trial Continues

A Marion County jury trial is entering its second day, as jurors expected to continue hearing from its opening witness – the alleged victim. 33-year-old Jamie Merritt is charged with Class 1 felony criminal sexual assault by force and Class 2 aggravated domestic battery including strangling. Prosecutors accuse Merritt of forcing a female acquaintance to commit a sex act with him last May, and then impeding her breathing by applying pressure to her neck. Centralia police report Merritt had already left the woman's home when she called to report the alleged incident. He was found walking along Wabash Avenue in Wamac when he was taken into custody. Merritt has remained in custody of the Marion County Jail since his arrest last May, with bail set at $250,000.

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STATE
Rauner: No Conflict Of Interest With Big Donation

(Bloomington, IL) -- Big money is playing a major role in the race for Illinois governor. Republican candidate Bruce Rauner recently cashed in on a two-and-a-half-million-dollar donation from his billionaire friend and hedge-fund mogul Ken Griffin, the largest donation ever in Illinois history. Griffin has also loaned Rauner his jet so he can get around the state to get his name out there. Rauner says Griffin isn't asking for any favors or special deals, he simply wants to see a change big government. Governor Quinn's campaign responded to the big donation by saying, quote, "We believe in government of the many - not government of the money."

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Quinn to sign Illinois Medicaid cuts restoration

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that would restore Medicaid cuts made two years along with other changes. The Chicago Democrat's office signed the bill on Monday at a Chicago hospital. In 2012, funding for adult dental and podiatry services was cut to save money. Republicans have expressed concerns about sustaining services during a difficult budget year. Democratic Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago sponsored the bill. He says the cuts didn't save the state money because people wound up in the emergency room, where care is more expensive. The changes outlined in the legislation take effective over four years. Medicaid is a state and federal program that pays medical expenses for the poor and disabled.

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Illinois investors jump into marijuana business

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Investors around Illinois are jockeying for positions in the marijuana business as they wait for Illinois' new medical marijuana law to kick in. And some of them are politically connected. According to the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises, Sam Borek has reserved at least three-dozen marijuana-related business names. Borek was a college roommate of the lawmaker who sponsored the law. And David Rosen of Chicago has filed paperwork to try to open a medical marijuana business in Nevada. But the fundraiser for Democrats such as Gov. Pat Quinn has registered the business name in Illinois, too. Implementation of the law is still months away. Illinois law will allow 22 marijuana growing centers and 60 dispensaries as part of a four-year pilot program.

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U. of Illinois-Chicago to name possible Obama site

CHICAGO (AP) — The University of Illinois-Chicago plans to announce a third potential site for its bid for the Obama Presidential Library. The university said Sunday that it will announce the potential site at a news conference Monday morning. The university says it will post its complete submission as a potential location for the library on its website. The school on the city's West Side is one of five Chicago locations hoping to become home to the library. The two previous sites are on campus. The third will be west of campus. The University of Chicago, Chicago State University, the Bronzeville neighborhood and a retail and residential development near Lake Michigan are also hoping to become the library's home. New York City and Hawaii are also bidding to host the library.

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Eastern Illinois to begin presidential search

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) — Eastern Illinois University's board of trustees hopes to begin the search for a new school president this fall. The board has named the 18 members of the search committee that will look for candidates to replace President Bill Perry. The committee includes four trustees, three faculty members and Charleston Mayor Larry Rennels. The Mattoon Journal-Gazette reports that the university in Charleston will hold community forums to get input on the decision. Perry has been president of Eastern Illinois University since 2007. Earlier this year he announced plans to retire in 2015.

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Closer Look: Prairie chickens an election issue

NEWTON, Illinois (AP) — A program designed to boost the dwindling Illinois population of the greater prairie chicken has become the source of an election-year row. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner last week joined others who have complained about the cost of using state planes and money to fly chickens from Kansas to Illinois. The birds are abundant in Kansas but endangered in Illinois. But the state Department of Natural Resources points out that the money for the $519,000 program is a combination of federal and state money, and none of it comes from income taxes. It's all from funds dedicated to wildlife and habitat restoration. The three-year program aims to create a viable population of the birds in Illinois. The 91 birds flown from Kansas more than doubled Illinois' population.

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Beekeeper numbers increasing across Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The number of beekeepers in Illinois has been increasing for more than a decade. The Illinois Department of Agriculture's yearly report says there were 700 new beekeepers in 2013. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports the statewide total is more than 2,500 beekeepers operating more than 24,000 colonies. The number of registered beekeepers has increased every year since 2002. Steve Chard is with the agriculture department. He says colony collapse disorder has helped increase awareness of the importance of honey bees and contributed to the increase. Beekeepers started reporting the disorder about a decade ago. Chard says it's too soon to determine if the increase has made up for losses due to the disorder. Union County in southern Illinois has more than 2,000 colonies — the most in the state.

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NATIONAL
Child killed, 19 injured by Nebraska tornadoes

PILGER, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska authorities say dual tornadoes that touched down in a small town about 100 miles northwest of Omaha killed a 5-year-old and injured at least 19 people, some of them critically. It happened in Pilger, a community of about 350. The National Weather Service says the twin twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. A county commissioner says more than half the town was wiped out. Many homes were damaged and the structures that were demolished included the co-op grain bins. A sheriff said a school is beyond repair. The injured had to be taken to three regional hospitals, including a trauma center in Omaha. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman declared a state of emergency. The National Guard is preparing to assist local emergency responders and help with the cleanup. Pilger was evacuated for the night and roads were closed by state police. Some residents were taken to a shelter at a school in a nearby town. A meteorologist with the National Weather Service says it's unusual that dual tornadoes have funnel clouds of roughly the same strength. Severe weather also damaged nearby counties.

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US forces move into Iraq with security mission

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 300 armed American forces are being positioned in and around Iraq to help secure U.S. assets as President Barack Obama nears a decision on options for combating fast-moving Islamic insurgents, including airstrikes or a contingent of special forces. The U.S. and Iran also held an initial discussion on how the longtime foes might cooperate to ease the threat from the al-Qaida-linked militants who have swept through Iraq. The White House ruled out the possibility that Washington and Tehran might coordinate military operations in Iraq. Obama met with his national security team Monday evening to discuss options for stopping the militants. Officials said the president has made no final decisions on how aggressive the U.S. might be in Iraq.

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General: US hikes surveillance on Pakistan border

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan says the U.S. has increased its surveillance over the Afghan-Pakistani border, as Pakistan pounds a militant stronghold with airstrikes. So far officials haven't seen militants fleeing the latest offensive, which began Sunday. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford tells The Associated Press in an interview that the U.S. is not coordinating military operations with Pakistan along the border, but officials have increased the amount of intelligence-sharing with the Afghans. He says the Afghan troops and U.S. forces in that region are ready for any effects of the strikes, including extremists seeking refuge in Afghanistan. The U.S. has long pressed Pakistan to root out Taliban militants who have found safe haven in the lawless tribal region of North Waziristan.

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3 inmates set to die; previous execution botched

ST. LOUIS (AP) — There have been no U.S. executions in the seven weeks since an Oklahoma inmate died of a heart attack after a botched lethal injection. That soon could change, with three scheduled this week in the span of about 24 hours. All three states planning lethal injections this week refuse to say where they get their drugs, or if they are tested. Nine executions nationwide have been stayed or postponed since late April, when Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett's vein collapsed just as the drug began flowing into his arm. Lockett's punishment was halted, but he died of a heart attack. Marcus Wellons is scheduled to die Tuesday night in Georgia, followed six hours later by John Winfield in Missouri. John Ruthell Henry's execution is scheduled for Wednesday night in Florida.

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Obama's day trip highlights economy, courts donors

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is embarking on a two-stop day trip to highlight technological developments and to raise money for the Democratic Party from a newly energized gay community. Obama on Tuesday is traveling to Pittsburgh, where he will visit a workshop designed to give entrepreneurs, inventors and creators the space and the tools to design and build their prototypes. He then will fly to New York City for a gala lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. The fundraiser comes a day after the White House announced plans for Obama to sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Giving increases for some sectors, not for others

NEW YORK (AP) — A new report finds charitable giving to social service and church groups, which tends to depend on middle class donors, is flat while institutions like universities, hospitals and the arts are swimming in cash from their usually wealthy benefactors. The Giving USA report says Americans gave an estimated $335.17 billion to charity in 2013, up 3 percent from 2012 after adjustment for inflation. But a closer look reflects the nation's widening wealth gap. Adjusted for inflation, giving was up 7.4 percent for education, 6.3 percent for the arts and humanities, and 4.5 percent for health organizations. Giving to religious groups declined by 1.6 percent and giving to social service groups rose by only 0.7 percent. During and immediately after the recession, some wealthy donors shifted their giving to social service groups, but now, many are refocusing on higher education, the arts and other sectors.

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Republican lawmaker: US must move quickly

WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Barack Obama considers his options in Iraq, one leading Republican lawmaker says the U.S. must move immediately to "disrupt" the ability of the Iraqi insurgents to "continue their operations." Mike Rogers of Michigan, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, tells CNN that there's still time for the United States to make a difference, but that Washington must move now.

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Second death from Nebraska storms

PILGER, Nebraska (AP) — A second death has been linked to the storm that brought twin tornadoes to a tiny farming town in northeastern Nebraska yesterday. Sheriff's officials had earlier said a 5-year-old girl was killed in the town of Pilger. They now say a motorist also died in a single-vehicle accident near the town as the storm pounded the area. The National Weather Service says the twin twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. Pilger was evacuated for the night and roads were closed by state police. Some residents were taken to a shelter at a school in a nearby town.

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Obama to create world's largest ocean preserve

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is looking to create the largest marine preserve in the world in the Pacific Ocean. The White House says Obama wants to protect a massive stretch of ocean from drilling, fishing and other actions that could threaten wildlife. He's considering expanding protected waters that surround a group of mostly uninhabited islands the U.S. controls near Hawaii and American Samoa. Obama will announce the executive action Tuesday. But the White House says it will listen to public input and is still finalizing the sanctuary's boundaries. Obama also plans to create a program to address prohibited fish and seafood trade. The actions were first reported by The Washington Post. The expansion comes as Obama is seeking ways to protect climate and the environmental despite opposition in Congress.

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Brat makes 1st appearance since beating Cantor

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — In his first public appearance since his primary victory against Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Republican Dave Brat says he will run on a message of promoting "economic prosperity" in the general election. Brat attended a Rotary Club breakfast Tuesday, but organizers said he was not a speaker. The breakfast was closed to reporters. Brat spent much of last week at home, avoiding media attention after his victory in Virginia's 7th District primary. In brief remarks to reporters before the breakfast, Brat said too many Virginians continue to suffer without jobs. He also says the government has failed in attempts to spend Americans' way to prosperity. Brat is an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College. He is set to face off against Democrat Jack Trammell, who also teaches at Randolph-Macon, in November.

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US consumer prices rise 0.4 percent in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices increased in May by the largest amount in more than a year as the cost of food and gasoline showed big gains and airline fares jumped by the largest amount in 15 years. The Labor Department says its consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in May, the biggest one-month jump since a 0.6 percent increase in February 2013. Over the past 12 months, consumer prices are up 2.1 percent. While that was the biggest 12-month price change since October 2012, it still left prices rising at a modest pace near the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target. Excluding volatile food and energy, core inflation was up 0.3 percent in May, the biggest one-month gain since August 2011. Over the past 12 months, core prices are up 2 percent.

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Reynolds expanding e-cigarette nationally

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Reynolds American Inc. plans to begin national distribution of its Vuse brand electronic cigarette next week. The owner of nation's second-biggest tobacco company said Tuesday that retail outlets in all 50 states will be carrying Vuse beginning June 23. More stores will be added throughout the rest of the year. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based company launched Vuse in Colorado last summer as part of an industry-wide push to diversify beyond the traditional cigarette business. It expanded into Utah earlier this year. Reynolds says Vuse quickly became the top-selling brand in both states with high levels of repeat purchase. The company says its rechargeable e-cigarette assembled in the U.S. has technology that monitors and adjusts heat and power to deliver the "perfect puff."

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INTERNATIONAL
Fighting northeast of Baghdad kills 44 detainees

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Sunni extremists who have been overrunning some parts of northern Iraq have battled with pro-government Shiite militiamen in Baqouba (bah-KOO'-bah), about 40 miles northeast of Baghdad. The strike against a prison left 44 detainees dead but there is disagreement about how they died. Three police officers said the Shiite militiamen who rushed to defend the facility killed the detainees, all suspected Sunni militants. But a military spokesman says the prisoners were killed by insurgent mortar rounds.

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Report: Journalist killed in eastern Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian news agencies say a correspondent of a state-owned TV channel has been killed in eastern Ukraine, which is overrun with pro-Russian insurgents. RIA Novosti and Itar-TASS quoted the chief physician of a hospital in Luhansk saying that Igor Kornelyuk had died during surgery. Rossiya 24 channel said earlier that its employee had been wounded in mortar fire while on assignment and was in grave condition. Viktor Denisov, a cameraman who was working with Kornelyuk, said in television broadcast that they were filming Ukrainian refugees fleeing the area north of the regional capital when mortar fire began. Denisov was not immediately next to Kornelyuk at the moment when he was wounded.

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Vitamin A Derivative Could Be Diabetes Treatment Breakthrough

(Montreal, Quebec)  --  Scientists in Canada may have hit on a breakthrough treatment for Type Two diabetes.  It's a derivative of Vitamin A that's been shown to significantly lower blood glucose, resistance to insulin and body weight in lab mice.  The results come at a time when rates of Type One and Type Two diabetes are soaring to epidemic levels both here in the United States and overseas.

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SPORTS
MONDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago Cubs 5, Miami 4, 13 innings
St. Louis 6, N.Y. Mets 2

TUESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Miami, 6:10 p.m.
San Francisco at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.
N.Y. Mets at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 6:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Gateway

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SIU Considers Hiking Athletic Fee

(Carbondale, IL)  --  Southern Illinois University students could soon have to pay more money on athletic fees.  The university is considering raising the cost for the upcoming fall semester.  Right now, SIU students pay more than 17-hundred dollars a year in fees for school.  Of those expenses one of the largest was a 309-dollar athletic fee.  A proposed fee hike would add ten dollars.

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News for June 16, 2014

LOCAL
Suspect In Area Chase Apprehended

On Friday at approximately 9:37 a.m., the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office received a telephone call reporting a 2007 Ford F250 truck stolen from the 16,000 block of East Saddle Club Road.  The suspect, later identified as 22 year old Callie Jean-Luc Buchanan of Mt. Vernon, had left a different truck at the Saddle Club Road scene, which was identified as having been stolen from the Mt. Vernon Police jurisdiction a short time after 3 a.m. the same day.  Later in the afternoon, the stolen truck was spotted leaving the Dollar General Store at 1814 S. 10th Street in Mt. Vernon and travelling westbound on Veteran's Memorial Drive.  Mt. Vernon Police Department officers in the area attempted to stop the vehicle. However, the stop was terminated due to dangerously high speeds driven by Buchanan in the stolen truck.  A Jefferson County Deputy followed Buchanan northbound on I-57, west bound on Dix-Irvington Road, and then northbound on Tank Lane.  Buchanan then drove through a cornfield and a short time later black smoke could be seen coming from the area that Buchanan and the truck had last been seen in a wooded area. Personnel from Mt. Vernon Police Department, Ina Police Department, Illinois State Police, Centralia Police Department, Marion County Sheriff's Office, Centralia Fire Protection District, and Wamac Police Department assisted Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputies in a search of the area and at approximately 4:33 p.m., Buchanan was located and arrested without incident in the 23,000 block of North Gillead Church Lane.  Buchanan is currently being held at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on charges of theft of motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing and alluding, and residential burglary with bond to be set.  Other charges are pending from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Mt. Vernon Police Department. 

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Mt. Vernon City Council Meets Tonight

Mt. Vernon City Council is slated to meet this evening.  Among items on the agenda, The Council will hear bid results for the bathroom remodel at City Hall, The City Manager will present for consideration of preliminary and final plat for Martin & Bayley, Incorporated/Hucks Subdivision at Veteran's Memorial Drive and South 10th Street as well as a request for final reallocation of funds for the 2013-2014 budget, and the City Attorney will read on several resolutions including one accepting a grant from the Illinois Housing Development Authority's Abandoned Residential Property Municipal Relief Program.  The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building at Veteran's Park.

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Franklin County employee accused of theft

BENTON, Ill. (AP) — A three-year employee of Franklin County in southern Illinois is accused of stealing while on the job. Forty-six-year-old Kindra Eickelman of Benton is charged in Franklin County with theft and official misconduct in the court clerk's office. State's Attorney Evan Owens says the Franklin County Sheriff told him Thursday that while resigning, Eickelman admitted to a co-worker she had been stealing at work. It's not immediately clear how much Eickelman is alleged to have stolen. A telephone call Friday to a home listing for Eickelman triggered an automated message that the line was no longer in service. Online court records don't show whether Eickelman has an attorney.

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Man Accused Of Stealing Copper Pipes From Trailers

(Caseyville, IL) -- Police say a man in Caseyville who claimed to be using the bathroom was actually stealing parts of it. Some people in Caseyville came home to find Darryl Scofield parked out front Wednesday afternoon. They block in his vehicle and asked him what he was doing. He told them he was using the bathroom, but they saw copper pipes and fittings from their home in his car. Police say he'd stolen copper from another mobile home as well.

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Scott AFB Welcomes New Cargo Command General

(Scott AFB, IL) -- Scott Air Force Base has a new general in charge of cargo. At a ceremony this morning complete with a military band and a cannon salute, Brigadier General Susan Davidson took command. She is succeeding Major General Thomas Richardson, who's been at the post for more than two years and is retiring. Under Richardson's leadership, the command has moved enough cargo to cover the field at Busch Stadium 400 times.

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Pilot parachutes, plane crashes in S. Illinois


VALMEYER, Ill. (AP) — A pilot parachuted to safety from a damaged airplane before it crashed in a southern Illinois cornfield. The Belleville News Democrat reports that 21-year-old Shawn Kilmartin was behind the controls of the plane on Saturday when it began pitching upward after a skydiver's parachute got caught in the plane's tail. Kilmartin told the newspaper that he radioed his boss at Fly Free Skydiving in Festus, Missouri, to tell him he was struggling to level the plane so it wouldn't stall. When he realized he would not be able to get the Cessna back to the Festus airport, Kilmartin put on a parachute and headed for a remote location. He jumped when the plane was about 1,500 feet above the ground. Nobody was injured. The plane was significantly damaged.

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Southern Illinois Residents Charged With Heroin Conspiracy

On June 3, 2014, Frank R. Johnson, a/k/a “Mo,” 44, of Elkville, and George A. Mayo, 33, of West Frankfort, were charged by indictment with conspiracy to distribute heroin, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced Friday.  The offense occurred between 2012 and January 2014, in Jackson and Franklin Counties. Johnson and Mayo made their initial appearances in federal court on June 10, 2014, and June 12, 2014, respectively. They were both ordered held without bond pending an August 18, 2014, jury trial.  The heroin offense carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a fine of $1,000,000. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Southern Illinois Enforcement and Drug Enforcement Administration. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, West Frankfort Police Department, and Jackson County State’s Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation.  The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

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Herrin Man Charged With Heroin Conspiracy

On June 3, 2014, Adam M. Calvert, 30, of Herrin, was charged by indictment with conspiracy to distribute heroin, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced Friday.  The offense occurred between 2012 and January 2014, in Williamson and Jackson Counties. Calvert made his in his initial appearance in federal court on June 12, 2014. He was ordered held without bond, pending an August 18, 2014, jury trial.  The heroin offense carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a fine of $1,000,000.  Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Southern Illinois Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Williamson County State’s Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation.  The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

----------------------------

Aspiring Chicago singer crowned Miss Illinois

MARION, Ill. (AP) — Marisa Buchheit of Chicago is the new Miss Illinois. According to WSIL-TV, Buchheit was crowned Saturday night at the pageant in Marion in southern Illinois. She is also Miss Chicago for 2014. Buchheit was selected from a field of 31 contestants from around the state. According to her website, she is an aspiring opera singer. Buchheit next will compete at the Miss America pageant in September in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She takes over from 2013 Miss Illinois Brittany Smith of Elmhurst.

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STATE
Hedge fund CEO gives $2.5M to Rauner campaign


CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago hedge fund CEO has made a $2.5 million donation to the campaign of Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner. Records show 45-year-old Citadel CEO Ken Griffin has now given Rauner a total of $3.57 million. Griffin in the past has made campaign contributions to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, and Republican state Sen. Bill Brady. Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at University of Illinois at Springfield, says the Griffin donation is the biggest in an Illinois governor's race in the post-Watergate era. Brooke Anderson, spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign, says Rauner's contributions to his own campaign opened the door under state law for unlimited contributions in the race. She says Rauner and his "billionaire pals" are trying to "take over Illinois."

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Gov. Quinn signs law banning police ticket quotas

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation to immediately ban police ticket quotas. The legislation signed on Sunday says municipalities and police department can't require officers to issue a certain number of citations in a certain period of time. It also says that the number of tickets an officer writes can't be used as part of a performance evaluation. The ban applies to local, county and state police departments. Quinn says police should be able to decide when and where to issue traffic citations. He also says the law will improve safety and working conditions for police officers. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill and state Rep. Jay Hoffman of Swansea, both Democrats. Hoffman says arbitrary quotas undermine public trust.

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Kirk calls on VA official to declare emergency

CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is calling for accelerated access to doctors for veterans facing extreme wait times for treatment within the Veterans Affairs system. The Illinois Republican sent a letter Friday to Sloan Gibson, the acting VA secretary, asking him to use his authority to declare a state of emergency to open up non-agency health care to veterans enduring delays. Kirk appeared in Chicago with retired U.S. Army Pvt. Michael Swan, who says he's been waiting more than a year to see a specialist. A government audit shows more than 57,000 veterans have been waiting at least three months for their first appointments at Veterans Affairs medical centers. The VA lifted a goal of 14 days to get an appointment, after investigators determined workers falsified records to cover up delays.

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Ill. prisons to undergo computer system upgrade

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois prisons will be closed to visitors for one day next week to allow officials to upgrade an outdated and cumbersome computer system. The Southern Illinoisan reports that the Illinois Department of Corrections will begin the process of switching from its 30-year-old mainframe computer on Sunday, June 22. The $2 million change could allow the agency to improve inmate health screening and to better coordinate inmate records with county jails. IDOC spokesman Tom Shaer says it's amazing that the state's prison system is still using the technology first installed in the 1980s. The agency oversees 48,000 prisoners and as many as 500 enter and leave every day. The state computer and Cook County record-keeping system cannot communicate — forcing workers to manually enter prisoner information.

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Ill. museums set to receive $20M for facilities

CHICAGO (AP) — Museums throughout Illinois are expecting millions of dollars in grant money to pay for facility improvements and added exhibits. Gov. Pat Quinn announced Saturday that 47 museums operated by local governments or cities will get $20 million in capital funds. The money comes from a five-year $31 billion capital construction program passed in 2009. The Chicago Democrat says the investment will help museums attract more visitors, boost tourism and create jobs. The projects are part of a public museum grant program with a maximum payout of $750,000. Popular attractions in the Chicago area received grants — including the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Adler Planetarium. In central Illinois, the Scovill Zoo in Decatur received funding for a walk-through bird exhibit.

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Illinois agency starts park improvement project

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has launched an effort that will spend millions of dollars on state park improvements. The agency on Friday began its "State Parks, Great Parks" campaign to start construction on picnic shelters, park restroom facilities and trails. The program uses $20 million in annual revenue from a vehicle registration fee increase of $2 in 2012. Natural Resources Director Marc Miller says the new revenue can only be used for park improvement projects. He says this campaign is the start of an effort to improve the state's parks. The department also announced Friday it has launched a new website. The site allows visitors to more easily find information on state parks and outdoor activities, and reserve a campsite.

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NATIONAL
US embassy in Baghdad to send some personnel out

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is reinforcing security at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq's capital and moving some personnel out of town. The announcement comes as Baghdad is threatened by the advance of an al-Qaida-inspired insurgency. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement that much of the embassy staff will stay in place. But others are being temporarily moved to more stable places in Iraq and to Jordan. She did not say the number of people affected. The embassy has about 5,000 personnel. An al-Qaida splinter group surprised Western intelligence organizations last week and took control of at least two major Iraqi cities.

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Filibuster weakened, Senate OK'ing judges faster

WASHINGTON (AP) — First, Democrats curbed Senate filibusters. Now, they're aggressively pushing President Barack Obama's judicial nominees through the chamber. They're speeding confirmations and shrinking vacant judgeships to their lowest level since days after Obama took office. The Democratic drive comes with the party facing November elections that could turn over Senate control to Republicans. That would make it harder for Obama to win approval for judges during his final two years in office. Since Democrats made it harder for Republicans to use filibusters to derail nominations last November, the Senate has confirmed 54 of Obama's judicial choices. At least three more face votes this week. By contrast, the Senate filled 36 judgeships in the first 11 months of 2013 before the filibuster was weakened. It approved 49 in all of 2012.

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Obama heads back to Washington facing Iraq choice

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama is returning to Washington faced with a choice on Iraq. Obama was wrapping up a four-day weekend in the Palm Springs area Monday. The White House says Obama got several updates on a violent insurgency bringing chaos to Iraq during his getaway with his wife, daughter Malia and friends. Obama told his national security team to come up with options for U.S. assistance to help combat the insurgency. He said he'll be reviewing a wide range of options, but he has ruled out the possibility of sending in American ground troops. Administration officials say other options being weighed include strikes using drones or manned aircraft, as well as boosts in surveillance and intelligence gathering.

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Central California fire remains active

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Federal fire officials are accelerating their attack on a smoky wildfire that's threatening 500 homes in central California. A U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman says crews are racing to control the fast-moving blaze before hotter, drier weather sets in. The fire burning in and around the Sequoia National Forest doubled in size overnight and has come within a mile of a community about 30 miles northeast of Bakersfield. Kern County sheriff's deputies walked the streets of Wofford Heights with bullhorns in the early morning hours and knocked on doors, urging residents to evacuate. The Forest Service says the Shirley Fire has consumed 3.1 square miles of bone-dry trees, grass and chaparral and destroyed at least two structures. The blaze, which broke out Friday night, is 10 percent contained. It was fanned Sunday afternoon by 17- to 20-mph wind gusts at the mountain ridges, The cause is under investigation.

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Beaverton Remembers Teen Killed In Seattle Pacific Shooting

(Beaverton, OR)  --  Hundreds of family members and friends filled a suburban Portland, Oregon church to honor the teenager killed in a shooting at Seattle Pacific University.  People came from as far as Korea to remember Paul Lee at Village Baptist Church in Beaverton on Sunday.  The 19-year-old college freshman was shot to death on the Seattle Pacific campus on June 5th.  Two others were wounded.  The 26-year-old shooting suspect is charged with murder and assault.

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California Passes Record Budget

(Sacramento, CA)  --  California's new budget is the biggest ever.  Lawmakers passed the 108-billion dollar general fund spending spending plan on Sunday just hours before the midnight deadline.  With education on the mind of many lawmakers, nearly 600-million dollars will go to improving community colleges and career oriented education.  

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Justice Department To Sue BofA, Citi Over Mortgage Bonds Sale

(Undated)  --  The Justice Department is about to sue Bank of America and Citi over mortgage-backed securities sold before the economy collapsed.  "Bloomberg News" reports federal prosecutors will file civil lawsuits this week against the banks after settlement talks fell apart.  The banks sold close to a trillion dollars in so-called private label mortgage-backed securities, which are not guaranteed by government agencies. 

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Hernandez due in court to seek dismissal of charge

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Lawyers for former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez are expected to ask a judge to dismiss the murder charge he faces in connection with last June's execution-style killing of Odin Lloyd in North Attleborough. Hernandez is also scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges that he attacked a handcuffed inmate and threatened to kill a guard and his family while at the county jail in Dartmouth, where he has been held since his arrest in the Lloyd slaying. Hernandez's lawyers say the charges should be dismissed because prosecutors have failed to show probable cause that Hernandez killed Lloyd or even took part in the slaying. Two Hernandez associates are also charged in the case. Hernandez is also charged with killing two men in Boston in 2012.

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Starbucks to open college program for baristas

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks is announcing a new program to help its baristas earn an online degree. The company is partnering with Arizona State University to make the program available to 135,000 U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours a week. They will be able to choose from a number of educational programs. During the first two years, students would pay reduced tuition rates after factoring in a scholarship from Starbucks, ASU and other financial aid. For the second two years, the Seattle company will reimburse any money that workers pay out of pocket. That means workers who already have two years of college would be able to finish school at no cost. CEO Howard Schultz will make the announcement Monday in New York with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in attendance.

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Domino's introduces a 'Siri' to take mobile orders

NEW YORK (AP) — Domino's is introducing its own version of Siri. The pizza delivery chain on Monday plans to introduce a function on its mobile app that lets customers place orders by speaking with a computer-generated voice named "Dom." The rollout is part of an ongoing push by Domino's to take business away from rivals and smaller pizza shops by offering more convenient ways to order. The company says the updated app for iPhones and Android devices will deliver a "human-like, conversational" experience, but notes that it will take some time to work out the kinks in the technology. "It is not perfect," Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle said in an interview. "This is the sort of thing, like any other really new technology launch, you're going to learn, you're going to get better."

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Meth lab found at California retirement community

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Fresno, California, police have arrested a 64-year-old man suspected of cooking methamphetamine in his apartment at a retirement community. KFSN-TV reports Robert Short was pulled over as part of a routine traffic stop late Saturday and officers found meth in his car. Investigators then went to Short's apartment in the California League-Fresno Village, where they found a half pound of meth, heroin and materials for a meth lab. Police say the street value of the drugs Short was carrying is close to $1,700. Officers also found scales and baggies in his car for the sale of meth. Short's neighbors at the senior housing facility say despite the tight-knit community there, they didn't know Short, who kept to himself. Short had been on supervised release for previous drug sales.

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Sunni militants capture northern Iraqi town

BAGHDAD (AP) — Local Iraqi officials say heavily-armed Sunni militants flying black jihadist banners are roaming the streets of Tal Afar. The town of 200,000 fell today to fighters from the al-Qaida splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The extremists have already captured chunks of northern Iraq and killed hundreds of Shiites in captured areas. Meanwhile, security has been enhanced at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and some staffers have been moved to relatively safer areas.

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Kerry: US open to talks with Iran over Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is willing to talk with Iran over deteriorating security conditions in Iraq and is not ruling out potential U.S.-Iranian military cooperation in stemming the advance of Sunni extremists. Kerry also says U.S. drone strikes "may well" be an option. In a Monday interview with Yahoo! News, Kerry said Washington is "open to discussions" with Tehran if the Iranians can help end the violence and restore confidence in the Iraqi government. Asked about possible military cooperation with Iran, Kerry said he would "not rule out anything that would be constructive." However, he stressed that any contacts with Iran would move "step-by-step." U.S. officials said earlier there is a possibility that a senior American diplomat may discuss Iraq with an Iranian delegation at nuclear talks in Vienna.

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Pentagon orders amphibious ship to Persian Gulf

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde into the Persian Gulf as concern grows over a militant group's advancement toward Iraq's capital. Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby says the Mesa Verde has already moved into the Gulf, joining the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush and other U.S. naval ships. Kirby says the ships' presence will give President Barack Obama "additional options to protect American citizens and interests in Iraq." The Pentagon says the Mesa Verde carries Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that can be used for crisis response. The State Department is reinforcing security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and evacuating some personnel. The militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, has taken over several cities in northern Iraq.

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Activists: Syrian airstrike kills 20 in Aleppo

BEIRUT (AP) — Two Syrian activist groups say an airstrike in a rebel-held neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo has killed at least 20 people, including children. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Aleppo Media Center say the bombing occurred in the city's Sukkari neighborhood on Monday. Syria's military has been dropping crude barrel bombs over Aleppo's rebel-held areas. The Observatory, which relies on activists on the ground, says the airstrikes have killed nearly 2,000 since January. Aleppo is Syria's largest city. It has been carved up into rebel- and government-controlled areas since opposition fighters launched an offensive in the north in mid-2012.

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SPORTS
SATURDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Kansas City 9, Chicago White Sox 1
Philadelphia 7, Chicago Cubs 4
St. Louis 4, Washington 1

Frontier League

Florence 3, Southern Illinois 2
Rockford 9, Evansville 4
Gateway 2, Lake Erie 1

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago Cubs 3, Philadelphia 0
Kansas City 6, Chicago White Sox 3
St. Louis 5, Washington 2

Frontier League

Florence 4, Southern Illinois 3
Rockford 3, Evansville 1
Gateway 3, Lake Erie 2

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Miami, 5:10 p.m.
N.Y. Mets at St. Louis, 6:10 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 5:14 p.m.)

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Carlos Martinez will start Monday against Mets

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals said reliever Carlos Martinez will make his second career start against the New York Mets on Monday in place of Adam Wainwright. Wainwright will miss the start because of tendinitis in his pitching elbow. He is 9-3 with a 2.15 ERA in 100 1-3 innings this season. He had an injection on Wednesday after an MRI pinpointed the trouble area in the back of his elbow. General manager John Mozeliak said it was like "tennis elbow." Wainwright was a 19-game winner last year and won 20 games in 2010. This season, Martinez is 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA in 30 appearances with no starts. He started one game in 2013. He went 4 2-3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing four runs.

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National Sports News and Notes

— The San Antonio Spurs are NBA champions for the fifth time since 1999 following their third straight convincing win over the Miami Heat as the Spurs ripped Miami 104-87 to win the finals in five games.

— Martin Kaymer is just the seventh player in U.S. Open history to post a wire-to-wire victory. The German closed with a 15-foot par putt for a 1-under 69 and a 9-under total, eight shots ahead of Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler.

— Jimmie Johnson's winless days at Michigan International Speedway are finally over. The six-time series champion has won for the first time in 25 Sprint Cup starts at MIS, outlasting pole winner Kevin Harvick by just over a second. It was Johnson's third victory in four races.

— The Los Angeles Kings are Stanley Cup champions for the second time in three years following a 3-2, double-overtime win over the New York Rangers in Game 5 Friday night.

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News for June 13, 2014

LOCAL
Crime Stoppers Crime of the Week

Jefferson County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for attempted robbery at the K-Mart parking lot on Thursday June 5, 2014 at around 8 p.m.  The subject is a black male approximately 5'10" and weighing about 150 pounds.  He was wearing a black baseball cap, blue t-shirt, and blue jeans.  The incident occurred while the victim was in the vehicle speaking on the cell phone.  The vehicle was parked in the handicapped space in front of the K-Mart main doors facing westbound.  The subject entered the victim's vehicle to commit the crime.  Anyone with information is urged to call the Mt. Vernon Police Department at 242-2131 or Jefferson County Crime Stoppers at 242-TIPS (8477).  If you share information with Crime Stoppers, you do not have to leave your name or telephone number and you will remain anonymous.

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Jury acquits Ill. man in nephew's stabbing death

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois jury has acquitted an East St. Louis man of murder charges linked to the stabbing death of his nephew during a Fourth of July party last year. The Belleville News-Democrat reports the St. Clair County jury deliberated about six hours Wednesday before finding 56-year-old Jimmy Davis not guilty of first-degree murder. Davis had claimed he stabbed 29-year-old Demetric Dowell of East St. Louis in self-defense. Authorities have said Dowell was at Davis' home for a holiday celebration when a fight began. The county's state's attorney, Brendan Kelly, says he respects the jury's hard work and decision. He declined to comment further.

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East St. Louis man convicted of truck hijacking

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — An East St. Louis man already serving time in Illinois prison for shooting a 15-year-old now faces a possible federal term after being convicted of hijacking a United Parcel Service truck. A federal jury in East St. Louis found 22-year-old Anthony Moore guilty Wednesday of armed robbery. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 10. Authorities said Moore hijacked a UPS truck at gunpoint in December 2012 in East St. Louis and forced the driver to move the truck to nearby Washington Park. Moore and two accomplices then stole the vehicle's packages. Moore later shot a 15-year-old acquaintance in the head, believing the juvenile could implicate him in the robbery. A St. Clair County jury last year convicted Moore of attempted murder and he was sentenced to 34 years in state prison.

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Illinois State Police Announce Roadside Safety Check to be Conducted

Duquoin, IL – The Illinois State Police (ISP), District 13, will conduct a Roadside Safety
Check (RSC) in Williamson County during June, according to District 13 / 22 Commander Brad Lacey. The ISP has zero tolerance for impaired driving in Illinois. Officers working this detail will be watchful for drivers who are operating vehicles in an unsafe manner, driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, transporting open alcoholic beverages, or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Alcohol and drug impairment is a significant factor in nearly 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in Illinois. RSCs are designed to keep our roads safe by taking dangerous DUI offenders off the road. This project is funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety.

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No charges against former Illinois county clerk

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois prosecutor says a former county clerk whose alleged harassment of five women produced a combined $665,000 in settlements won't face criminal charges. St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly tells the Belleville News-Democrat that the alleged victims chose not to pursue criminal charges against the county's one-time clerk, Bob Delaney. Kelly says the women's chief concern was to have Delaney removed as their boss. The settlement payouts to the women range from $90,000 to $200,000 and ensure the employees will not sue the county over Delaney's alleged inappropriate behavior. Delaney resigned last June after an employee accused him of discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Delaney has denied wrongdoing. As part of the settlement reached in December, the county denies any wrongdoing.

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S. Illinois company sued over environmental issues

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois maker of copper tubing is being sued for allegedly releasing cancer-causing toxins into the environment for more than decades. The Belleville News-Democrat reports the lawsuits filed last week in St. Clair County represent roughly 100 people who live near the Cerro Flow Products site in Sauget. The plaintiffs allege Cerro has released dioxins and furans into the air by burning contaminated scrap items. The company also is alleged to have released wastewater into nearby Dead Creek since at least 1927. The lawsuits claim the contamination has caused cancer and other life-threatening diseases in nearby residents, and that Cerro knew of the health risks but never warned anyone. Cerro hasn't filed a response to the allegations. Messages seeking comment from the company Thursday weren't immediately returned.

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Carterville Teacher Arrested For Inappropriate Pictures

(Carterville, IL)  --  A Carterville High School teacher is locked up for allegedly taking inappropriate pictures of a 14-year-old.  Officials say Michael Norrington took the pictures "under or through the clothing" of the teenager on June 11th.  He's facing felony charges and if convicted, could spend up to seven years behind bars. 

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STATE
Governor Quinn Down In Polls

(Chicago, IL) -- Bruce Rauner is leading Governor Quinn in the latest poll for the state's top job. A "Reboot Illinois" poll puts Rauner up by ten-percentage points with 47-percent of respondents saying they'd vote for the Republican candidate if the election were today. Quinn has a pretty significant lead in Chicago, but Rauner leads in the collar counties and in southern Illinois. He also holds a commanding lead among both men and women. The election is still five months out, and as we know from the GOP primary, the poll numbers aren't always right. The numbers had Rauner's challengers down by at least 22 points. He ended up winning by about three-percentage points.

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Rauner Unveils Ways To Cut Wasteful Spending

(Chicago, IL) -- Bruce Rauner is unveiling part of his plan to "Bring Back Illinois." The GOP candidate for governor released ten ways to reduce wasteful spending in Springfield, which he says would save the state one-billion-dollars. The plan includes getting rid of the executive shuttle and selling off state planes, cutting the salary and pension for the governor, and cutting the pay for people like the Comptroller, Treasurer, and Attorney General. He says those are just a few of his ideas that will reverse the downward spiral that the state has been in under Governor Quinn. But Quinn is brushing Rauner's plan off, calling it a prank, because it doesn't even fill the financial hole that the income tax rollback will create in January. That hole will be worth about one-point-eight-billion-dollars.

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GOP leaders say Rauner plan has right approach


CHICAGO (AP) — Top Republicans say gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's plan to cut spending in Illinois has the right approach. Among the ideas the businessman challenging Gov. Pat Quinn outlined Thursday were selling state planes and merging the comptroller's and treasurer's offices. Rauner has also said he won't take a salary. The venture capitalist from Winnetka is a multimillionaire. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says Rauner will help draw attention to areas that could use cost-cutting. But Democratic Senate President John Cullerton says that under Rauner's plan only wealthy people could be governor. He adds the suggestions should have come earlier while state lawmakers were putting the state budget together. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says everything would be on the table if Rauner wins office.

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Simon Support Withholding Lawmaker Pay

(Bloomington, IL)  --  Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon says she plans to help lawmakers who don't want a pay hike.  That is her proposal if she's elected comptroller.  She plans to work to get the law changed so legislators could choose the amount to be withheld from each month's pay, instead of writing a check to the comptroller's office.  Simon is running against Judy Baar Topinka in the November general election.

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Suit against Ill. treasurer names Romney campaign

CHICAGO (AP) — An amended lawsuit from a former employee of Illinois' treasurer now names Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign as a defendant. But Thursday's filing in federal court in Chicago doesn't include any specific allegations of wrongdoing by Romney's failed campaign. The suit focuses on Treasurer Dan Rutherford. It accuses him of pressuring workers to do political work for his and Romney's campaigns. The amended complaint also repeats allegations in the original suit. Those include allegations by former employee Edmund Michalowski that Rutherford sexually harassed him. Rutherford has adamantly denied those allegations. The original suit came in the midst of Rutherford's failed bid for the Republican nomination for governor. Rutherford attorney Daniel Fahner declined comment. The docket doesn't include lawyers for the former Romney campaign.

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Illinois health campaign among nation's costliest

CHICAGO (AP) — The campaign to promote President Barack Obama's health care law in his home state of Illinois has been one of the nation's costliest with a $33 million contract for work by high-priced public relations experts. An Associated Press review of hundreds of pages of documents finds more than 90 people billed at least $270 an hour under a contract with few built-in restraints. Illinois got a late start, and executives at the contractor, the PR agency FleishmanHillard, say that meant they needed to flood the assignment with their best people during the first months. Jennifer Koehler, the top government official for Get Covered Illinois, says the state is making sure there are "legitimate justifications for every expense" submitted by the FleishmanHillard.

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NATIONAL
Obama's 1st visit to Indian Country as president

WASHINGTON (AP) --” President Barack Obama is making his first visit to Indian Country as president for an in-person look at the often bleak conditions on tribal lands. The president and first lady are scheduled to visit Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Friday during an annual event known as the Flag Day Celebration. The reservation straddles the border between North Dakota and South Dakota. About 1,000 residents there struggle with a lack of housing, health care and education, among other problems familiar on reservations nationwide. Obama pledged to help improve conditions in Indian Country when he was running for president. The White House says he will recognize that more work needs to be done and outline steps to improve Native American education and economic conditions.

------------------------------

Gearheads, gawkers drawn to 'Vette museum sinkhole

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) --For years, just enough classic car lovers and curious travelers wandered through the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky to keep the doors open. Now, after a massive sinkhole swallowed eight pristine models of vintage muscle, attendance has skyrocketed. And visitors are as eager to peer into the chasm as they are to see the 'Vettes, if not more so. Museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli says the response has been bigger than anyone imagined. In the months since the earth opened up in February, business has shifted into over-drive. Since reopening after a one-day closure, attendance is up nearly 50 percent from the same period a year ago. Sign-ups for museum memberships are rising fast. And the merchandising has started, with sinkhole-related shirts, postcards and prints.

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Hurricane Cristina weakens to Cat 2 storm

MIAMI (AP) - Hurricane Cristina has weakened to a Category 2 storm off Mexico's Pacific coast. The hurricane's maximum sustained winds had decreased early Friday to near 105 mph (165 kph). And the U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cristina is expected to weaken to a tropical storm on Saturday. Cristina is centered about 325 miles (525 kilometers) west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph). In addition to weakening, Cristina's forecast track shows it moving farther away from Mexico's coast.

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Feds Beefing Up Response To Surge Of Migrant Children

(Washington, DC)  --  A number of federal agencies are teaming up to take better care of the flood of migrant children in detention centers in Arizona and Texas.  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says the goal is to quickly move those kids into the hands of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Meantime, Arizona's attorney general is sending a cease-and-desist letter to the federal government, demanding they stop transporting migrants into the state.  Tom Horne is threatening to sue the Obama administration to stop the practice.

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Rare Strawberry Moon Tonight

(Undated)  --  If you're into watching the sky, you may want to keep an eye on the Moon tonight.  It's Friday the 13th and we're getting a rare full Moon.  Some say the full Moon hasn't fallen on a Friday the 13th for nearly 14-years.  The June full Moon is known as the Strawberry Moon because it comes up during strawberry picking season.  It's also called a Honey Moon because of its golden tint.  The full Moon appeared overnight and will still be big and bright by the time it rises in the east later tonight.

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White House:  No U.S. Ground Forces In Iraq 

(Washington, DC)  --  White House spokesman Jay Carney says the U.S. is not planning to send ground forces to Iraq.  President Obama said on Thursday all options are being considered to help Iraq, including possible U.S. airstrikes.  American contractors in Iraq are being relocated as violence from the Islamist insurgency spreads.

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Bergdahl's parents overjoyed son is back in US

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A spokesman for the parents of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl says they are overjoyed their son has returned to the United States.Col. Tim Marsano said in a statement emailed Friday that Bob and Jani Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, don't plan to make any travel plans public and are asking for privacy as they concentrate on their son's reintegration. Bowe Bergdahl had been recovering in Germany after five years as a Taliban captive in Afghanistan. He returned to the United States early Friday to continue his medical treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

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GM recalling Camaros for ignition switch problem

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is recalling more cars for problems with ignition switches. GM is recalling nearly 512,000 Chevrolet Camaro muscle cars from the 2010 to 2014 model years. A driver's knee can bump the key and knock the switch out of the "run" position, causing an engine stall. That knocks out power steering and brakes and could cause drivers to lose control. GM says it knows of three crashes and four minor injuries from the problem. GM says the Camaro switches met its specifications — unlike the switches at the center of a recall of 2.6 million small cars. That problem has caused more than 50 crashes and at least 13 deaths. The Camaro key is concealed in the Fob like a switchblade. GM will replace it with a straight design.

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Police release description of gunman

PHOENIX (AP) — Police have released a brief description of the man suspected of entering a Roman Catholic church in downtown Phoenix, fatally shooting one priest and critically injuring another. Phoenix police said Friday they are looking for a white male between the ages of 40 and 49 years old. Sgt. Steve Martos says investigators obtained the description after interviewing the Rev. Joseph Terra, who is hospitalized in critical condition with unspecified wounds. Martos says police are still unsure if there was only one suspect involved. Terra called 911 on Wednesday night to report a burglary. Responding officers found Terra and the Rev. Kenneth Walker severely injured. Walker later died at a hospital. Police are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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Reynolds High graduates remember slain freshman

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The senior class of Oregon's Reynolds High School in Troutdale held a moment of silence during graduation for freshman Emilio Hoffman, who was shot and killed earlier this week on campus. Seniors had finished classes and weren't on campus when the shooting happened Tuesday. But they shared an emotional moment as Hoffman's older brother walked across the stage Thursday night. School spokeswoman Andrea Watson says he was wearing Emilio's soccer jersey. The Oregonian reports classmates stood and cheered and many made "I love you" signs with their hands. Reynolds is the second-largest high school in Oregon with about 2,700 students. The gunman in Tuesday's attack was found dead in a bathroom.

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NBC's Matt Lauer is sticking with 'Today' show

NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Lauer is sticking with NBC's "Today" show for a few more years. The network said Friday the veteran morning host has agreed to a contract extension for multiple years, although it would not specify how long. Lauer's future with the show, which is second behind ABC's "Good Morning America" in the ratings, was the biggest question hanging over the news division. Terms were not disclosed; Lauer is certainly one of the highest-paid on-air persons in television news. He said he "couldn't be happier" to stay and believes he has the best job in broadcasting. NBC News President Deborah Turness said Lauer is "the best in the business." The contract extension was first reported in The New York Times.

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INTERNATIONAL
US: Iraqi insurgency threatens American interests

LONDON (AP) — The U.S. is citing its years of fighting in Iraq as a reason for considering new military action to battle a growing insurgency there but not in neighboring Syria's civil war. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday also said Iraq has a legitimate government that has asked the U.S. for help as part of a longtime partnership. Kerry was in London speaking at a conference on combating sexual violence in conflict zones. But how to quell the swift and violent insurgency in Iraq was a top topic in a meeting with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Kerry said the Sunni insurgency is a threat not only to Iraq's majority Shiite population but also to U.S. interests and the Mideast. He said the U.S. is laser focused on helping Iraq.

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Shiite cleric calls on Iraqis to defend country

BAGHDAD (AP) — A representative for Iraq's top Shiite cleric has called on Iraqis to defend their country, saying those who are able should join the security forces to battle the militants. Sheik Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie made the comments during Friday prayers. He represents Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shiite spiritual leader in Iraq. Al-Karbalaie says it is "a duty" that citizens defend against "the dangers threatening Iraq." His comments come as militants who seized large swaths of Iraq's Sunni heartland with lightning advances this week pushed into an ethnically mixed province and captured two towns northeast of Baghdad.

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John Kerry joins calls for end to sexual violence

LONDON (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has joined actress Angelina Jolie and Britain's foreign minister in calling for an end to rape and sexual violence in conflict zones. Addressing the closing ceremony of a four-day London summit, Kerry said it is time to "banish sexual violence to the dark ages in the history books." He said the issue was personal to him as a war veteran and father of two daughters. Kerry echoed appeals by Jolie, a United Nations special envoy. She urged those attending Friday to keep lobbying for action against war zone rape, and concluded: "We can and will end impunity." The summit, billed as the largest gathering ever held on the topic, has drawn hundreds of officials, diplomats, activists and survivors of rape in conflict zones.

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SPORTS
THURSDAY’S RESULTS
 
MLB

Pittsburgh 4, Chicago Cubs 0
Detroit 4, Chicago White Sox 0

Frontier League

Evansville 11, Gateway 4
Frontier 4, Southern Illinois 3

FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia 6:05 p.m.
Kansas City at Chicago White Sox 7:10 p.m.
Washington at St. Louis 7:15 p.m. (pregame at 6:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Florence
Rockford at Evansville
Lake Erie at Gateway

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE


MLB

Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia 2:05 p.m.
Kansas City at Chicago White Sox 1:10 p.m.
Washington at St. Louis 6:15 p.m. (pregame at 5:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Florence
Rockford at Evansville
Lake Erie at Gateway

SUNDAY’S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia 12:35 p.m.
Kansas City at Chicago White Sox 1:10 p.m.
Washington at St. Louis 1:15 p.m. (pregame at 12:19 p.m.)

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Florence
Rockford at Evansville
Lake Erie at Gateway

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Cubs CF Bonifacio leaves game with rib injury

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chicago Cubs centerfielder Emilio Bonifacio left Thursday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates due to a rib injury. Bonifacio stumbled out of the batter's box and fell to the ground after hitting a routine grounder to first to start the game. Bonifacio lay still for several minutes before being helped to the dugout by team personnel. Chris Coghlan replaced Bonifacio's spot in the batting order and Junior Lake moved from left field to center. Bonifacio began the day hitting .425 against the Pirates this season.

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Rams sign Robinson, Donald and other 9 draft picks

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams announced they have signed all 11 draft picks, including first-rounders Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald. Working with the rookie salary cap has removed suspense and coach Jeff Fisher has preferred to wait until all picks have agreed to terms before making a group announcement. The deals were announced Tuesday after the team's OTA workout. Robinson, an offensive lineman, was the second overall pick and Donald, a defensive tackle, was taken 13th overall. Also signing were defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, running back Tre Mason, safety Maurice Alexander, cornerback E.J. Gaines, quarterback Garrett Gilbert, offensive tackle Mitchell Van Dyk, safety Christian Bryant and center Demetrius Raney.

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News for June 12. 2014

LOCAL
JCSO Answers 911 Call Regarding Deceased Person

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call reporting a possibly deceased subject at 1323 North 12th Street in Mt. Vernon on Wednesday evening at approximately 7:30 p.m.  Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Jefferson Rural Fire Protection District, and Litton's Ambulance personnel initially responded.  A short time later, Illinois State Police Crime Scene personnel and Jefferson County Coroner responded.  Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Joe Marks pronounced 43 year old Dorothy Renee Gill deceased at her residence.  At this time, foul play is not suspected.  An investigation is ongoing by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

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Mt. Vernon FFA Member Receives State Recognition

An area student received recognition as a Section 21 member of the FFA at the FFA Convention in Springfield, as heard this morning on RFD Illinois.  Courtney Gerstenecker with RFD Radio Network talks with Wyatt Capps, an FFA Chapter member from Mt. Vernon, who won the Chapter 10 President Award.  The 86th annual FFA Convention is wrapping up today in Springfield. 

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Suspect In Custody In Breese Hit And Run

A suspect is in custody in the death of a woman killed in an apparent hit-and-run wreck early Sunday morning in Breese. According to reports, the arrest was made Wednesday night. Authorities say 23-year-old Lana Albert was walking in the middle lane of northbound Old US 50 west of Breese, Ill. around 2:15 a.m. Sunday when she was struck by a vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy later showed she suffered major trauma to her chest and suffered a broken neck. According to police, Albert had been with friends at Big Stix Sports Bar and Grill earlier in the night. Her body was found between 250 and 300 yards from the bar.

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Carbondale Man Sentenced On Heroin Offense

45 year old Michael Burns of Carbondale, Illinois, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for a heroin offense, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced Wednesday.  Burns, who had previously pled guilty to a one-count indictment charging conspiracy to distribute heroin, was sentenced to 188 months in federal prison, 3 years of supervised release following prison, and fined $400. Evidence at the plea and sentencing hearings established that, between August 2012, and August 23, 2013, Burns was involved with others in the distribution of heroin in Carbondale, Jackson County. On multiple occasions between November 2012 and August 2013, Burns sold heroin to confidential sources working for law enforcement. When agents executed a search warrant at Burns’ Carbondale residence, they located heroin, cannabis, drug packaging materials, and a large amount of United States currency. At sentencing, the district court found that Burns was responsible for the distribution of 1.1 kilograms of heroin. Burns was classified as a Career Offender.  The investigation was conducted by the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Illinois State Police Tactical Response Team also assisted during the investigation.

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Ill. woman's blood alcohol content 4 times limit

ALTON, Ill. (AP) — A 27-year-old Southern Illinois woman killed in a crash earlier this year had a blood alcohol content more than four times the legal limit. The Belleville News-Democrat reports tests show Christina Martinez of Fairmont City also had used cocaine. Martinez died following a March 9 crash. Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz says Martinez first crashed into a car in Godfrey Township, injuring the vehicle's driver. Hertz says she then left the scene, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour before crashing again. Hertz says the second, fatal crash was "two or three minutes after that first accident." Steve Nonn is Madison County coroner. He says Martinez's blood-alcohol level was .365 percent. The legal limit in Illinois is .08 percent.

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Coroner: Woman's March death due to heroin


EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An investigation has determined that a 31-year-old southwestern Illinois woman who died three months ago overdosed on heroin. Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn says Laura Wray of Bethalto died March 20 at a hospital about an hour after suffering cardiac arrest at an East Alton home. Nonn says lab testing revealed that Wray also had the prescription anti-anxiety medication Xanax in her system. There's no immediate word on whether the investigation produced any arrests or charges.

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Don't Post Pics To Social Media While On Vacation

(Alton, IL) -- It's peak vacation season and that means people are packing their bags, heading out of town, and posting their entire experience on social media websites. But police say that's not the smartest thing to do. Emily Hejna, with the Alton Police Department, says it gives burglars a clear signal that your home has been left unattended. Hejna also recommends that people take additional steps to protect themselves from being burglarized while they are on vacation. She says people should either stop mail service or have someone pick up their mail, put a few lamps on timers so they kick on automatically each night, and do anything they can to make it look like life at their house is going on as usual.

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Collinsville Kmart To Close

(Collinsville, IL)  --  The Kmart in Collinsville is closing its doors.  Officials tell the "Post Dispatch" the store will go out of business in September.  All 84 workers will reportedly receive severance pay, and can apply for jobs at other Kmart or Sears locations.  The company is closing around 80 stores nationwide.

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West Frankfort Man Charged With Aggravated Battery

A West Frankfort man accused of throwing a flammable substance onto his estranged girlfriend back in 2012 will head to trial later this month. 30 year old Christopher Rollins is charged with aggravated battery that allegedly resulted in severe burns to 23 year old Tessa Leech during an altercation. A bench trial will begin June 26th.

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Teachers Recognized at Governor's Mansion On Wednesday

Nearly 30 top teachers from around Illinois were honored Wednesday at the Governor's Mansion in Springfield, including one from our listening area. Carrie Toth, a teacher at Carlyle High School, received the Paul T. Griffith Illinois Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages Teacher of The Year Award from the Illinois Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages. Toth was one of 29 teachers recognized Wednesday for their performances as educators. The Illinois State Board Of Education as well as the state's top teachers unions hosted today’s luncheon. State board of education officials say teachers were chosen as the "best in their field of expertise" by a number of state and national professional education organizations and other groups and agencies.

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Postal Workers Gain Recognition For Heroism At Superman Celebration

Seven postal workers from Southern Illinois will be recognized today for heroism, and one is from Salem. These are people who did more than deliver the mail, coming to the aid of customers in one way or another. Israel Fontanez helped an 80-year old resident of Salem. The woman had fallen outside her home during the bitter cold and was stuck with a broken hip. Fontanez and another man carried her into her home, called 911 and the woman’s family. Postal service district manager David F. Martin says they think they’re not special, and when he talks to them, they’re very humble about it.  It’s not that they feel that they went above and beyond.  They almost always say they do what anyone else would do, and they just happened to be in the right place, just at the right time, to be able to help. They’ll be recognized today at a ceremony at the opening of the Superman Celebration in Metropolis.

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Superman Festival Kicks Off In Metropolis

(Metropolis, IL)  --  About a-thousand people are paying tribute to Superman at a festival in Metropolis this weekend.  The annual festival starts tonight and runs through Sunday.   Many of the fans will be dressed in Superman gear.  They can take a picture with the big statue in town at 2:00p.m. on Friday and Saturday.  Other events during the weekend include a costume contest, a film festival, and an autograph session with Dean Cain and Billy Dee Williams. 

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STATE
Quinn signs Illinois early education law

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a plan into law that guarantees a higher percentage of state grant money be set aside for early education. The state's $300 million Early Education Block Grant program is geared toward children up to age 5. Quinn signed the legislation Wednesday in Chicago. It says at least 14 percent of the money must be set aside for children up to age 3. That's up from 11 percent. Education officials say the state already spends about 14 percent on home visits and education centers, but now funding can't dip below that level. The law takes effect July 1. Quinn also signed a bill that changes requirements for giving a yearly incentive to teachers who receive a certain certification.

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Rauner Making Major Policy Announcement

(Chicago, IL)  --  Bruce Rauner is expected to make a big policy announcement today.  The Republican candidate for governor has been taking jabs from critics for failing to unveil his version of a state budget.  No word on if that's actually what he plans to do today.  He'll make the announcement at 12:30 this afternoon. 

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Lt. Gov. Simon calls for Mississippi action plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' lieutenant governor is calling for a comprehensive approach to making the Mississippi River more sustainable. Sheila Simon is a Carbondale Democrat. She made the statements Wednesday alongside government and environmental leaders in Washington for the Big River Works forum dedicated to the future of the Mississippi. Simon says the best way to enhance sustainability is to build on existing public-private partnerships and develop a multi-state structure that allows for integration of the river's users. The Big River Works Initiative has been working since 2012 to create a cooperative path forward for Mississippi watershed sustainability. More than 400 participants have attended the leadership forums.

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Illinois State tells students to head abroad

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Over the next five years Illinois State University hopes to double the number of its students who study abroad. Rita Bailey is assistant provost at the university in Normal. She told The Pantagraph in Bloomington that graduates increasingly need to be able to work with a global workforce. She said spending time outside the United States will help those students. Now about 400 Illinois State students head outside the country each year. About 9 percent of each graduating class at Illinois State now has experience studying outside the United States. The university's Office of International Studies and Programs says a semester abroad can cost anywhere from $7,500 to $21,000. The average in-state student spends about $13,200 a semester on the Normal campus.

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NATIONAL
In US, political split outgrows the voting booth

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds that Americans are more divided by ideology and partisanship than at any point in the last 20 years. About 1 in 5 Americans holds across-the-board conservative or liberal views, up from 1 in 10 in 2004. The survey of more than 10,000 adults shows ideological purity is more widespread among the politically engaged than the general public, suggesting the stalemates that have become commonplace in Washington and statehouses around the country are likely to continue. Majorities in both parties hold either uniformly liberal or conservative views. These ideological shifts are accompanied by increasing animosity across party lines, and those on opposite sides of the partisan and ideological divide are now more apt to separate themselves in their personal lives as well.

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Officials look at role of commute in Morgan crash

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Accident investigators are looking into what role a truck driver's commute played in the fatal crash that also injured comedian Tracy Morgan. A spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board says Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper lives in Georgia, but his job is based in Delaware. A criminal complaint alleges Roper hadn't slept for more than 24 hours before the accident. Wal-Mart has not explained what Roper's driving route was. Roper pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of death by auto and assault by auto stemming from the crash early Saturday. The 35-year-old was driving a Wal-Mart truck when he allegedly swerved to avoid slowed traffic and plowed into Morgan's limo. Morgan and two others are in critical but stable condition. Another comedian was killed in the crash.

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Fatal crash backs up GW Bridge traffic

FORT LEE, N.J. (AP) — The morning commute is off to a bad start following a fatal accident that has closed the upper level into New York City on the George Washington Bridge. The Port Authority says that the trucks crashed shortly before 2:30 a.m. Thursday. Fire officials tell WNBC-TV that one person was pronounced dead at the scene and there may be additional people injured. The Port Authority says several emergency crews have responded to the scene. The eastbound lanes on the bridge's upper level remain closed. The span's other lanes are open, but trucks can't use them and drivers should expect delays around the Fort Lee toll plaza. The crash could also cause problems for commuters who ride buses into Manhattan.

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Police: Priests attacked at Phoenix church, 1 dies

PHOENIX (AP) — Police say one priest was shot and killed and another was wounded in an attack at a Catholic church in downtown Phoenix. Sgt. Steve Martos says police received a call about a burglary at the Mother of Mercy Mission near the state Capitol shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday. He says responding officers found two priests badly injured. Martos says one of the priests had been shot and died at the hospital. He says the other priest is hospitalized in critical condition with unspecified injuries. It's not clear if he had been shot. Martos says police found a car they were seeking in connection with the attack. He says the car was empty when it was located about four blocks north of the church. Martos says no arrests have been made.

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Bush bash: Elder ex-president marks 90th birthday

Former President George H.W. Bush is celebrating his 90th birthday in Maine. A family spokesman says a private dinner Thursday evening features a guest list of more than 200 friends and relatives. Bush has spent every summer in Kennebunkport except during World War II, when he was a naval aviator. As president, Bush was known for jogging, tennis and fast-paced golf at the "summer White House." He's now using a wheelchair because of a form of Parkinsonism that has robbed him of control of his legs. Ken Raynor, a golf pro and friend, said he's lost his mobility but "he hasn't lost his heart." Five years ago, Bush celebrated his birthday by jumping from an airplane.

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Cantor Will Step Down As House Majority Leader

(Washington, DC)  --  Eric Cantor is stepping down from his post as House Majority Leader.  The Virginia Republican will serve out his term, but he'll resign as Majority Leader at the end of July.  Cantor lost in stunning primary upset on Tuesday.  In a Capitol briefing Wednesday, Cantor endorsed California's Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Whip, for Majority Leader.  

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Hurricane Cristina strengthens to Cat 4 storm

MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Cristina has rapidly strengthened to a major Category 4 storm off Mexico's Pacific coast. The hurricane's maximum sustained winds increased to near 145 mph (230 kph) Thursday morning. The hurricane reached Category 4 strength just hours after becoming a Category 3 storm. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says some additional strengthening is possible during the day but weakening is expected to begin Thursday night. Cristina is centered about 250 miles (400 kilometers) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and is moving west-northwest near 8 mph (13 kph). There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but forecasters say swells generated by the hurricane are affecting parts of Mexico's southwest coast and could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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California jury's mistake frees burglary defendant

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A defendant in a Central California burglary case walked out of a courtroom a free man after a jury mistakenly signed a not-guilty verdict form. The Fresno Bee reports the flabbergasted judge said Wednesday he had no choice but to order defendant Bobby Lee Pearson to be set free from jail because the not-guilty verdict had been put on the record. After it was too late, jurors told the judge they were hung on the charges against Pearson. But Superior Court Judge W. Kent Hamlin said he couldn't change the form because double jeopardy was already attached. He said it had never happened in more than 100 jury trials he has presided over. Police say Pearson and two co-defendants burglarized an apartment last year. Pearson has previous felony convictions, including several on gun charges.

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INTERNATIONAL
Iraq Sunni militant group vows to march on Baghdad

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi troops are abandoning their posts in the wake of a surge by al-Qaida inspired insurgents rolling through northern Iraq. The militants took control of Tikrit after earlier capturing Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. A spokesman for the group has warned that it will march into Baghdad. A spokesman for the Islamic State of Iran and the Levant says the group has old scores to settle with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. The spokesman also threatened that fighters will take the southern Iraqi Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf, which hold two of the holiest shrines for Shiite Muslims. Iraq's prime minister has asked that a state of emergency be declared.

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Afghans tighten security as Taliban threaten vote

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan police and soldiers are manning checkpoints at almost every intersection, searching vehicles and banning trucks from the streets, tightening security ahead of a weekend presidential election. Insurgents have intensified attacks ahead of Saturday's runoff vote, and the Taliban have issued a new statement warning voters to stay away from the polls. The first round in April passed relatively peacefully, but a recent assassination attempt against one of the two presidential hopefuls left in the race has raised fears. Still, a senior U.N. envoy expressed confidence that Afghan voters will turn out as they did in the first round on April 5. Jan Kubis also called on candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to give electoral authorities time to tally the ballots and resolve any complaints about fraud.

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Officials: US drone strikes kill 13 in NW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani intelligence officials say U.S. drone strikes in northwest Pakistan have killed 13 suspected militants in a pair of attacks in a northwestern tribal district near the Afghan border. Two officials say a pair of American drones dropped three missiles on a militant compound and a vehicle early today in Ghulam Khan town of North Waziristan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to media, killing at least 10 people. There was no immediate information on the identities of those killed. The strike came hours after an earlier strike in North Waziristan killed three militants last night, marking the resumption of the CIA-led program in Pakistan after a nearly six-month hiatus. North Waziristan is home to a mix of local and al-Qaida-linked foreign militant groups.

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Sierra Leone declares Ebola emergency in district

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — The Sierra Leone government has announced a state of emergency in the Kailahun district from the outbreak of the Ebola virus which has claimed 17 lives in this West African nation. According to government figures released Thursday, there are 46 confirmed cases and another 122 suspected ones in the district near the border with Liberia. The statement Wednesday night said all schools will be closed to minimize transmission, while public gatherings including cinemas and night clubs would be prohibited. At least 231 people have died since the outbreak of the fearsome disease, which causes bleeding internally and externally and for which there is no known cure. Guinea, where the outbreak began, has recorded just over 200 deaths. It has also spread to Liberia, which has recorded around a dozen deaths.

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German cave explorer well enough for evacuation

BERLIN (AP) — Rescuers say a 52-year-old German explorer who was injured in a fall deep inside an Alpine cave is well enough for the evacuation process to begin. Researcher Johann Westhauser has been stuck 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) underground since suffering head injuries in a rock fall Sunday inside the Riesending cave system near the town Berchtesgaden in southern Germany. The head of the rescue operation says doctors have given the OK for Westhauser to be stretchered out, a difficult process that will take days because of the narrow shafts and vertical lifting involved. Andreas Wolf said Thursday that some 30 rescuers from Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland are in the cave preparing the evacuation. Westhauser was spelunking with two colleagues when the rock fall happened some 6,000 meters from the entrance.

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SPORTS
WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Pittsburgh 4, Chicago Cubs 2
Tampa Bay 6, St. Louis 3
Chicago White Sox 8, Detroit 2

Frontier League

Gateway 10, Evansville 6
Evansville 4, Gateway 2
Southern Illinois 4, Frontier 3

THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh, 6:05 p.m.
Detroit at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Frontier League

Gateway at Evansville
Frontier at Southern Illinois

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Coaching Staffs Named For MLB All-Star Game

(New York, NY)  --  The coaching staffs for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game have been announced. St. Louis Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny named Atlanta's Fredi Gonzalez and Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle coaches in the National League.  Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has named Ron Gardenhire of the Twins and Cleveland's Terry Francona as his coaches for the American League next month.   The 85th All-Star Game is July 15th at Target Field in Minnesota.

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Cubs sign No. 4 overall draft pick, C Schwarber

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Chicago Cubs have signed Indiana catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber, their first-round draft pick and the No. 4 overall selection. Schwarber is one of three finalists for the 2014 Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top Division I catcher. He hit .358 with 14 home runs and 48 RBIs. The 21-year-old batted .341 with 40 home runs and 149 RBIs in 180 games in three seasons at Indiana. The Cubs announced the move Wednesday before their game against the Pirates. Schwarber will report to the organization's short-season Class-A affiliate in Boise, Idaho. The Cubs' official website reported the contract is worth $3.125 million, well under the $4.6 million slot Major League Baseball set for the selection.

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White Sox sign Olympic speedskater to minor deal

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago White Sox have signed Olympic speedskater Eddy Alvarez to a minor league deal as an infielder. The White Sox announced the move before Wednesday night's game against Detroit. The 24-year-old Alvarez was part of the relay team at the Sochi Olympics that won the silver medal in the 5,000-meter relay. Alvarez was a standout shortstop in high school in Miami. He missed making the Olympic skating team in 2010 and then played for Salt Lake Community College in Utah in 2011, batting .303 with 43 RBIs. Alvarez will soon begin working out in Arizona.

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Cards ace Wainwright in St. Louis for elbow tests

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals are optimistic that the discomfort in ace Adam Wainwright's right elbow is not a serious problem. Wainwright returned to St. Louis on Wednesday for tests. The right-hander became the NL's first nine-game winner on Tuesday night by pitching seven innings in a 1-0 win at Tampa Bay. Before Wednesday night's game against the Rays, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that everything the team had heard so far about Wainwright's elbow "has been positive." Wainwright had elbow ligament replacement surgery in February 2011. Matheny said the discomfort was on the other side of the elbow. He said the ligament was fine, aside from some inflammation. Wainwright has had some elbow discomfort in recent starts, which the team has been monitoring. He is 9-3 with a 2.15 ERA in 14 starts for the NL champions.

--------------------------

Chicago Bulls' Brewer pleads not guilty to DUI

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chicago Bulls forward Ronnie Brewer has pleaded not guilty to a drunken driving charge in Beverly Hills. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says Brewer entered pleas through an attorney Wednesday to misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.08. In fact, prosecutors allege that his blood-alcohol was 0.15 percent or more — nearly twice the legal limit. Brewer was stopped in February near Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. He was charged last month.

----------------------------

St. Louis football stadium running out of money

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The indoor football stadium that the St. Louis Rams call home is running out of money. The St. Louis Post -Dispatch reports that the publicly-funded Edward Jones Dome anticipates needing an extra $40 million to cover maintenance over the next 15 years. The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, which owns the downtown dome, expects to exhaust its $16 million in savings in six years. The dome receives $4 million annually for yearly maintenance for the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the state of Missouri. The stadium's future remains in limbo as lease negotiations between St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the stadium authority drag on. The Rams can break their 30-year lease after the upcoming season, which would be a decade early.

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News for June 11, 2014

LOCAL
Hamilton County Fair Starts Friday

The Hamilton County Fair runs June 13-June 21 in McLeansboro.   Grandstand events include horse races, all speed horse show, youth rodeo, mini and full-sized mud bog, and a rodeo with bull riding. The carnival opens Tuesday, June 17th.  The fair begins with 4-H animal shows this Friday.

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High School Students Will Need CPR Training

(Belleville, IL) -- A new Illinois law requires high school students to have CPR training starting the next school year. Metro-east school districts are discussing how to comply with the new law, which requires them to teach students how to use a defibrillator and how to do CPR. The mandate was signed into law last week by Governor Pat Quinn. Belleville School District 201 superintendent Jeff Dosier says they are going to have to come up with the most efficient way to get this done.
 
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Missouri man killed outside Illinois nightclub

CAIRO, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police say a man shot and killed outside a nightclub in Cairo in far southern Illinois was a Missourian. Investigators say 27-year-old Vernon Haynes of Charleston, Missouri, was shot shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday near the Cavalier Club. They say he died about an hour later at a hospital in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. There was no word Tuesday about any arrests or charges. State police are assisting Cairo police.

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Ill. man accused of trying to set woman on fire

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois man is jailed on $500,000 bond and is accused of trying to kill a woman by throwing gasoline onto her and igniting it. The (Alton) Telegraph reports that 34-year-old Michael Euler of Bethalto is charged in Madison County with attempted first-degree murder. Police say no one was injured, but no other details about the alleged attack or how the woman managed to escape have been released. A spokeswoman for the Madison County State's Attorney says it's unclear why Euler allegedly tried to kill the woman, saying only that "he was agitated." Euler does not have a listed home telephone number, and online court records don't show whether he has an attorney.

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East St. Louis man on trial in stabbing death

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois trial is underway for an East St. Louis man accused of stabbing his nephew to death during a Fourth of July party last year. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that jury selection began Monday in St. Clair County for the trial of 56-year-old Jimmy Davis. Davis has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges linked to the death of 29-year-old Demetric Dowell of East St. Louis. Authorities have said Dowell was at Davis' home for a holiday celebration when a fight began.

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Bank Robber Pleads Not Guilty To Killing Women

(Cairo, IL) -- The man accused of killing two bank employees in Cairo says he's not guilty. James Watts made the plea in court this morning. Prosecutors say he stabbed two women to death back on May 15th, when he tried to rob the First National Bank. He'd had previous dealings with one of the women he killed. She turned him in for forgery in 2009, which landed Watts behind bars for five years. He allegedly killed her just two weeks after being released from Menard Correctional Center.

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Persistent rain causing Mississippi River to rise

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Persistent rainfall has caused the Mississippi River to rise rapidly over the last week. The Belleville News-Democrat reports the river was 16.5 feet on Thursday at St. Louis. By Tuesday it was 23.3 feet and rising. However, it remains well below the 30-foot flood stage. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Mike Petersen says a surge of water from upstream has caused a problem with driftwood and other debris. He says large clumps of trees and garbage can jam up locks and water intakes and make it difficult for barge tows and other boats to maneuver. The National Weather Service forecasts if the St. Louis area doesn't get a large amount of rain the rest of the week, river levels should fall to the 16-foot level in coming days.

--------------------------------

Ex-Agent Charged With Insurance Fraud

(Smithton, IL) -- A former insurance agent is accused of pocketing money from customers instead of buying insurance with it. Tina Ledbetter was charged yesterday with 14 counts of fraud and let out of the St. Clair County Jail on 50-thousand dollars bond. The "Belleville News-Democrat" reports she had been running T&J Insurance in Smithton since 2004, but lost her license last November. At least six people have reported being scammed in 2012 and 2013 and police are looking for more victims.

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Take Steps To Protect Your Identity

(Mt. Vernon, IL)  --  You may want to tighten up the passwords for your online banking accounts and your credit cards.  State officials say identity theft is on the rise.  More than 13-million-people across the nation were victims last year and that's up by more than one million from 2012.  There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself, like changing your passwords every few months, double-checking your bank statements for accuracy, and using some sort of firewall software to protect the information on your computer. 

---------------------

Special Olympics Torch Through Centralia Today

The Special Olympics torch will pass through Centralia today on its way to Bloomington for Friday's opening games ceremony. Five Centralia Police officers and One Central City officer will carry the torch 2.5 miles from Calumet and Elm Streets in Centralia to the Citgo station in Central City. They will start at noon and expect to be done by one.

------------------------------------

Fairfield Teacher Facing Videotaping Charges Faces New Charges In St. Clair County

New charges have been filed against a Fairfield math teacher and track coach already accused of videotaping girls in the school’s locker room.  As Timothy C. Going awaits trial on charges he installed a motion-activated camera in the school's girl's locker room, more allegations of unlawful videotaping of underage girls have surfaced in St. Clair County. Going, 43, now faces three additional felonies and one misdemeanor in St. Clair County for allegedly videotaping two juvenile females in a Fairview Heights hotel bathroom. All of the offenses occurred in November of last year, prosecutors allege. The new allegations against Going surfaced after Illinois State Police began reviewing the video equipment recovered from Going's home in Fairfield after the execution of a search warrant. Earlier this month, a Wayne County Grand Jury returned a two-count indictment against Going, charging him with unauthorized video recording and live video transmission, a Class 3 felony, and a Class 1 felony charge of burglary. The burglary charge alleges that Going entered the Fairfield Community High School after hours to install a recording device in the girl's locker room, and to retrieve the recordings from the camera. Going has been in the Wayne County Jail under $250,000 bond since his arrest last month. The Wayne County case against Going surfaced in early May after a janitor found the motion-sensitive camera in the girl's locker room and alerted authorities. Illinois State Police reviewed the video surveillance at the school, which resulted in Going becoming the prime suspect. Going has been suspended from his job as a teacher pending the outcome of the criminal cases against him.

-------------------------------

STATE
Republican Senator Eyes Run For Governor


(Springfield, IL) -- State Senator Sam McCann is apparently hoping to jump into the governor's race. He's reportedly out walking neighborhoods, hoping to get at least 25-thousand-people to sign petitions so he can get his name on the ballot as an Independent candidate. The signatures need to be turned in by June 23rd. If all goes as planned, McCann would square off against Governor Quinn and Bruce Rauner for the state's top job in November. That could shake things up a bit in the already heated race between Quinn and Rauner, who've been trading blows in recent weeks. McCann is a Republican who could potentially take votes away from Rauner. McCann hasn't released an official statement yet.

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Ill. lawmaker introduces term limits legislation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois lawmaker has introduced a proposal to ask voters in 2015 if term limits should be imposed on leaders in the state Legislature. State Rep. Jack Franks filed legislation on Monday that would put a nonbinding question on the statewide municipal election ballot next April. The Marengo Democrat says that the structure of state government needs to be overhauled. Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan recently became the longest-serving official in his leadership position in the nation. Franks' plan is different from another term limits proposal being pushed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. The GOP candidate's effort would put term limits on all legislators. His constitutional amendment would also shrink the size of the Legislature and give the governor more veto power.

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Ill. corrections department hosts ex-offender fair


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Corrections has hosted a "one-stop" fair to help ex-offenders land on their feet after serving time in prison. The "Summit of Hope" event at the state fairgrounds in Springfield on Tuesday was attended by ex-inmates from the central Illinois area. It offered parolees assistance with such tasks as obtaining a driver's license, applying for jobs or health care. Leonardo White was one of hundreds of ex-offenders who attended. The 30-year-old Springfield resident says he's been out of prison for four months and doesn't have job. White hopes the event will give him a better chance at finding work. Marcus King is the state prison system's outreach administrator. He says about 16,000 ex-offenders attended numerous "Summit of Hope" events statewide last year.

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Top teachers honored by State Board of Education

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Nearly 30 top teachers from around Illinois are being honored at the governor's mansion in Springfield. The Illinois State Board of Education as well as the state's top teachers unions are hosting the luncheon Wednesday. State Board of Education officials say teachers were chosen as the "best in their field of expertise" by a number of state and national professional education organizations and other groups and agencies. The Illinois Art Education Association, for instance, is giving out an award for its pick for best elementary art teacher of the year. The Illinois Farm Bureau is giving an award to its pick for the best agriculture teacher of the year.

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No Macon County Fair this week, festival instead

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — This week will be the first time in nearly 160 years that there won't be a Macon County Fair. Instead the Macon County Fairgrounds Festival opened Tuesday night. The event is focusing on music, racing and a carnival instead of classic agricultural events. The Herald and Review reports that's because of outstanding debts and unpaid premiums from last year's fair. The Decatur newspaper reports that festival organizers hope to earn a profit this year and make the organization solvent. Macon County Fair Board Treasurer Teresa Wilson says organizers "still want to have a county fair that is more agricultural focused." But she says the county needs "to get through this year first."

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NATIONAL
Tea party rejoicing at Cantor's defeat

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican tea party forces are rejoicing and the party establishment is somber or altogether silent in the wake of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary defeat at the hands of political neophyte David Brat. House Speaker John Boehner praised Cantor as "a good friend and a great leader" in a statement that steered clear of the issue that Brat put at the center of his campaign — immigration — and has divided the party for years. The Republican Party chairman and another top official kept their silence Tuesday night after Cantor's shocking loss at the hands of an underfunded challenger who warned the seven-term incumbent would line up for amnesty for immigrants in the country illegally. Cantor himself conceded defeat, telling downcast supporters, quote, "Obviously we came up short."

-----------------------------

Hagel testifies Wednesday on Taliban prisoner swap

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will face angry lawmakers Wednesday as he becomes the first Obama administration official to testify publicly about the controversial prisoner swap with the Taliban. Hagel is scheduled to appear before the House Armed Services Committee, which is investigating the deal that secured the end of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's five-year captivity. In exchange, the U.S. transferred five high-level Taliban detainees to the Gulf emirate of Qatar. Republicans and some Democrats have sharply criticized the Obama administration for not notifying Congress in advance. They've accused the president of breaking the law. Other questions center on whether Bergdahl deserted and whether the U.S. gave up too much for his freedom. Members of Congress have cited intelligence suggesting the detainees could return to the battlefield in Afghanistan.

--------------------------------

House, Senate move to improve health care for vets

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of military veterans enduring long wait times for VA medical care could soon get help from Congress. The Senate is poised to vote by Thursday on a measure making it easier for veterans who've encountered delays getting initial visits to receive VA-paid treatment from local doctors instead. The measure closely resembles a bill approved Tuesday in the House, prompting optimism among lawmakers that a compromise version could be on its way soon to President Barack Obama for his signature. The legislation comes on the heels of a Veterans Affairs Department audit showing that more than 57,000 new applicants for care have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments and an additional 64,000 newly enrolled vets who requested appointments never got them.

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Obama to address graduates at turn-around school

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is delivering the commencement address at a Massachusetts high school, the latest in a string of honors for a school whose demographic and educational profiles make it a model of achievement. Obama will speak to the Worcester Technical High School graduating class in a week devoted to his education policies. Obama has promoted programs that break from the traditional classroom format or that are designed to improve the nation's science and technology workforce. The Worcester school stands as an example of a triumph against the odds. Six out of 10 students at the high school are underprivileged and qualify for free or reduced meals; two out of 10 have special needs. Last year, it was one of the Education Department's 286 national blue ribbon schools.

--------------------------------------

New York's Cardinal O'Connor Was Jewish

(New York, NY)  --  There have been rumors swirling for weeks that the late Cardinal O'Connor was Jewish and now his sister is confirming it.  Mary O'Connor Ward-Donegan told the "New York Times" that the cleric who led New York's Catholics for 16 years was born to a Jewish mother.  His 87-year-old sister made the discovery while exploring the family's roots.

--------------------

Johnson Leading Charge On Bison Bill

(Washington, DC)  --  South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson is leading the charge to make bison the national mammal.  He's sponsoring a bill in the U.S. Senate that's expected to be introduced today.  South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard tells the "Argus Leader" there is no better animal to symbolize our nation.  It's no coincidence that Johnson is sponsoring the bill, since South Dakota has tens of thousands of bison. 

-------------------

NASA to conduct Mars 'flying saucer' test on Earth

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NASA is getting ready to launch a "flying saucer" into Earth's atmosphere to test technology that could be used to land on Mars. For decades, NASA has depended on the same parachute design to slow spacecraft after they enter the Martian atmosphere. But it needs a larger and stronger parachute if it wants to land heavier objects and astronauts. On Wednesday, weather permitting, a balloon carrying the saucer-shaped vehicle is set to launch from Hawaii. Then the vehicle will ignite its rocket engine and climb to 34 miles. It will inflate a tube to slow itself down from supersonic speeds and unfurl a parachute for a water landing. Engineers will analyze the data to determine if the test was successful. The test has been postponed several times because of high winds.

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Lew says economy still facing major challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says the economy should grow at much stronger rates the rest of this year as the country overcomes the impact of a harsh winter. But Lew says millions of Americans continue to struggle as unemployment remains too high and economic growth is too slow. In a speech to the Economic Club of New York, Lew calls for actions on the part of government and the private sector to boost hiring of the long-term unemployed and increase investment in productivity-enhancing equipment and critical infrastructure projects such as roads, railways and ports. Lew says the country also needs a stronger commitment to education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math to make sure students have the skills they need to compete in the new economy.

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Hundreds Gather For Vigil In Oregon School Shooting

(Troutdale, OR)  --  Oregon is mourning the teenager killed in a shooting at a high school in a Portland suburb on Tuesday.  Hundreds of students, parents, townspeople and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber gathered in Troutdale to comfort one another last night.  They sang, lit candles and prayed during a vigil for 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman, who was killed when another student opened fire with a rifle at Reynolds High School.  The shooter killed himself.  

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Trial Begins For Former Blackwater Guards In Deadly Shooting

(Washington, DC)  --  Four former private security guards go on trial today in Washington, DC.  They're accused in the deaths of 14 Iraqis in a shooting in Baghdad in 2007 when they worked for Blackwater Worldwide.  The guards say they acted in self-defense when they opened fire on cars at a busy intersection in the Iraqi capital.  Prosecutors and former guards who will testify say the shooting started when one of the men, Nicholas Slatten, fired on a car that was stopped.  Slatten is reported to have said he "wanted to kill as many Iraqis as he could as 'payback for 9/11.'"   

-----------------------

CDC: Diabetes On Alarming Rise

(Undated)  -- More Americans are developing diabetes.  The CDC reported Tuesday that almost 30 million Americans have diabetes, and one in four don't know it.  Weight loss and moderate physical activity are seen as key in preventing people with prediabetes from developing type two diabetes.

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Most Americans Not Adequately Prepared For Natural Disasters

(Northbrook, IL)  --  People who experience a natural disaster aren't necessarily motivated to prepare for a future catastrophe.  More than 90-percent of the respondents in a new Allstate poll say they've "lived through a disaster" such as a tornado, hurricane, or wildfire.  But fewer than ten-percent have practiced an evacuation plan or mapped out an escape route to follow if a major storm were headed toward their area.  Just 36-percent have created an inventory of their possessions.  

------------------------

INTERNATIONAL
Iraq foreign minister: Iraq faces 'mortal threat'

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Iraq's foreign minister says the fall of the major northern city of Mosul to insurgents must push the country's leaders to work together and deal with the "serious, mortal threat" facing Iraq. Hoshyar Zebari made the comments in Athens Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union and Arab League foreign ministers. He said he assured his colleagues there would be "closer cooperation" between Baghdad and the Kurdistan regional government to push the insurgents out of Mosul. Most of the city was seized Tuesday in a major assault by al-Qaida-inspired militants known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Zebari said they could be pushed back "by the Iraqi security forces in cooperation with the Kurdish peshmerga forces," adding that the response had to come "soon."

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Egypt el-Sissi apologizes to sexual attack victim

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's newly sworn-in president has apologized in person to a woman who was sexually assaulted by a mob during weekend celebrations marking his inauguration. Local television networks showed a visibly moved Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi visiting the woman in a Cairo hospital. "I have come to tell you and every Egyptian woman that I am sorry. I am apologizing to every Egyptian woman," said el-Sissi, a former military chief who ousted the country's first elected president nearly a year ago. Several women were assaulted during Sunday's inaugural festivities. The attacks were a grim reminder of one of Egyptian society's darkest sides and coincided with el-Sissi starring in carefully choreographed ceremonies held at two of the capital's most opulent presidential palaces and attended by hundreds of local and foreign dignitaries.

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Ukraine rejects Putin's offer of gas discounts

MOSCOW (AP) — Ukraine has rejected Russia's offer of a discount for gas shipments, which President Vladimir Putin touted as a "partnership deal." Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan told Russian news agencies on Wednesday that Kiev found the deal unacceptable. Prodan said Ukraine was seeking a price lower than $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, which is what Ukraine had been paying until late last year and which is what Putin offered. The minister said the Ukrainian government now believes that arbitration is the best option to solve the dispute.

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Study: Red meat possibly linked to breast cancer

LONDON (AP) — A new study suggests that women who eat lots of hamburgers, steaks and other red meat may have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. Doctors have long warned that a diet loaded with red meat is linked to cancers including those of the colon and pancreas, but there has been less evidence for its role in breast cancer. Researchers at Harvard University analyzed data from more than 88,000 women aged 26 to 45 who had filled in surveys in 1991. Their red meat intake varied from never or less than once a month, to six or more servings a day. Initial results of the study were first published in 2006 and showed a preliminary link between eating red meat and breast cancer after 12 years. The latest research confirmed the earlier findings with longer follow-up information, and analyzed other types of breast cancer.

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SPORTS
TUESDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago Cubs 7, Pittsburgh 3
St. Louis 1, Tampa Bay 0
Detroit at Chicago White Sox, ppd., rain

Frontier League

Southern Illinois 5, Frontier 4

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh, 6:05 p.m.
St. Louis at Tampa Bay, 6:10 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 5:14 p.m.)
Detroit at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Frontier League

Gateway at Evansville (2)
Frontier at Southern Illinois

--------------------------

News For June 10, 2014

LOCAL
Jefferson County Schools Look at Consolidation Plan

A pair of Jefferson County schools are working on a new plan for consolidation. Last year, Dodds and Ina tried merging with Opdyke-Belle Rive but the referendum didn't get enough votes. Under the new plan, the districts want to drop Opdyke and try a two-school consolidation. Budget cuts in recent years have forced both schools to reduce staff. A new district could increase state funding by more than 20 percent.  The State Board of Education has until the end of June to sign off on the plan before consolidation would be put to a vote in November.  

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Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Releases Their Monthly Report

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has released their monthly report for May.  The office has 188 detainees in May, up 5 from April, and the second highest number in the last six months.  Four of the detainees were out of county detainees.  Those detainees had 2,169 days in custody for an average of 68 days per detainee.  Officers issued 83 citations, made 61 arrests, and attended to 31 traffic crashes for the month.

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Family Struggles With Death Of Woman

(Breese, IL)  --  Family members and friends are trying to come to terms with the death of an Edwardsville woman.  Police say the body of 23-year-old Lana Albert was found along Old Highway 50 in Breese, Illinois yesterday, after reports of someone walking in and out of traffic.  Authorities are looking for the owner of a vehicle they believe hit her.  Lana's father, Ray Albert, told the media she was a "fantastic" woman and the family wants to know what happened to her. 

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Police Investigating Air Conditioner Thefts

(Marion, IL)  --  Police in Marion are looking into several air conditioner thefts.  Three AC units had been stolen on May 30 from a business on Airway Drive.  The owner says the units were worth 45-hundred dollars apiece.  Air conditioner thefts were also reported last week at a pair of doctor's offices in Herrin.  Anyone with information about the thefts should call the Marion Police at 618-993-2124 or Herrin Police at 618-942-4132.

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Quinn To Sign Cupcake Bill

(Troy, IL)  --  Governor Pat Quinn is signing the Cupcake Bill today.  He's making a trip to Troy to sign it in 12-year-old Chloe Stirling's home.  She inspired the bill, after the health department shut her down.  The new law will allow people to sell homemade foods and desserts without having their kitchen inspected.  Chloe says she'll have plenty of cupcakes for the governor when he shows up. 

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Quinn To Ease Restrictions On Poker Runs

(Marion, IL)  --  A group of Harley riders will be spending part of their afternoon with Governor Pat Quinn.  He'll be at the Black Diamond Harley-Davidson dealership in Marion to sign a poker run bill.  It'll give more local control over the runs and allow county leaders to issue licenses for the events.  Motorcycle riders use poker runs to raise money for sick kids and other people who are in need.  

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ISP District 19 Announces May Activity and Enforcement

Carmi, IL – Illinois State Police District 19 Commander, Captain Kelly Hodge, announced today activity and enforcement figures for the month of May.  Troopers in District 19, which includes Wabash, Edwards, Wayne, White, Hamilton, Saline, and Gallatin Counties, answered 349 calls for service and initiated 1,710 incidents in the field during the month. In addition, enforcement figures totaled 959 citations and 1,332 written warnings, including 378 speeding citations, 9 DUIs, 231 seatbelt citations, 15 child restraint citations, 379 written warnings for speeding, and 32 criminal arrests. Troopers also assisted 74 motorists, conducted 216 Motor Carrier Inspections, and investigated 25 traffic crashes.  There were no fatal traffic crashes investigated by District 19 during May. During the month, 652 citations and 504 written warnings were issued for “Fatal Four” violations.  These violations are most associated with fatal traffic crashes and include Speeding, DUI, Failure to Wear a Seatbelt, and Distracted Driving.

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Upcoming field days to feature the latest in beef cattle research

Illinois beef producers will have the opportunity to engage in discussion with University of Illinois faculty, researchers, and Extension educators at an upcoming field day, featuring the latest in beef cattle research.  A research update and farm tour will be given at the U of I’s off-campus research station at Orr Research Center (Perry, Ill.). The program requires RSVP.
The Orr Research Center field day will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the John Wood Community College Ag Center just off  IL Rt. 104, outside of Perry, Ill. The event will start at 5 p.m. After a discussion on management strategies and an update on research at the Orr Center, participants will be shuttled to the farm just 1 mile south and have an opportunity to tour the facility. Another opportunity for southern Illinois producers is the Southern Illinois Beef Day. It will be held on Friday, July 18, at the Applied Science Center at Rend Lake College, Ina, Ill.  Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. Topics include antibiotic issues and their effects on the cattle industry, non-nutritional reasons why cattle are not pregnant, and financial and forage production benefits of adaptive high-stock density grazing.  Both locations will have refreshments available, but an RSVP is required. More details about the meetings can be found by visiting http://web.extension.illinois.edu/oardc/ for the Orr field day, and at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/ for the Southern Illinois Beef Day.

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Six Southern Illinois Residents Added To Methamphetamine Conspiracy Indictment

On June 3, 2014, James Scott Rankin, 44, and James C. Leming, 53, both of Carbondale, Larry E. Recar, 38, and Amye L. Sandidge, 29, both of Murphysboro, Daniel J.E. Overmyer, 23, of Carterville, and Dawn Unterfer, 44, of Gorham, were charged by superseding indictment with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced Monday. The offense occurred between 2010 and May 2014, in Jackson, Williamson, Union, and Franklin Counties. The six co-defendants made their initial appearances in federal court on June 9, 2014. They are currently being held without bond, pending June 12, 2014, detention hearings. Two co-defendants have previously pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Five co-defendants have pled not guilty and are awaiting jury trial. The methamphetamine offense carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, to be followed by 3 years’ supervised release, and a fine of $1,000,000. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury. The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Murphysboro Police Department, Carbondale Police Department, Illinois State Police/Southern Illinois Drug Task Force, and Drug Enforcement Administration. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

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Two Carbondale Residents Charged  With Crack Cocaine Conspiracy

On May 21, 2014, Johnathan T. Buck, a/k/a “Buffalo,” 40, and Maurice L. Christian, a/k/a “Reece,” 26, both of Carbondale, were charged by indictment with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. The offense occurred between 2013 and March 2014, in Jackson County. Buck made his initial appearance in federal court on May 27, 2014. At his May 29, 2014, 2014, detention hearing, he was ordered held without bond pending a July 28, 2014, jury trial. Christian is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court on June 12, 2014. The crack cocaine offense carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a fine of $1,000,000. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group, Carbondale Police Department, and Drug Enforcement Administration. The Jackson County State’s Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

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STATE
About 900 Ill. veterans requested, didn't get care

 
CHICAGO (AP) — A new audit shows nearly 900 veterans have requested appointments at Illinois' Veterans Administration hospitals in the past decade but not received them. The Veterans Affairs Department released findings Monday of a national audit on quality of care and wait times. It follows allegations that 40 patients died awaiting care at a Phoenix hospital where employees kept a secret waiting list to cover up delays. The audit shows 494 new patients requested an appointment at the VA hospital in Marion, Illinois but no appointment was scheduled. It also shows the average wait time for a primary care appointment was 33 days for patients at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital outside Chicago and 54 days in Danville. Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says the VA hasn't been forthcoming enough about problems.
 
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Kirk: More details needed on VA audit findings
 
CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is calling for the Veterans Administration to release more information about wait times and the quality of care at its Illinois hospitals. The Illinois Republican and former Navy reservist says his office learned early Monday that some Illinois facilities were flagged for further review following a VA audit. They include hospitals in Hines and Marion and an outpatient clinic in Peoria. Kirk says the limited information he received on the audits backs up outside reports he's received from whistleblowers at those facilities. The audits come as a House committee is set to hold hearings Monday about the widening scandal. Kirk is a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation that would make changes at the VA and provide veterans more flexibility in where they obtain health care.
 
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Supreme Court To Decide On Cell Phone Searches


(Springfield, IL) -- Can police officers sift through a person's cell phone if they don't have a search warrant? That's the question that the US Supreme Court is set to make a decision on sometime this month, but some Illinois police departments say they're already taking that step. Sergeant Mark Folkenroth with the Quincy Police Department says getting a warrant ensures that the evidence collection process is legitimate. Some privacy advocates believe that searching through cell phones without a warrant is an invasion of privacy. That's because it contains so much vital information like banking records, emails, videos, and pictures. The justices are expected to decide if that's the case, sometime by the end of this month.

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Toolkit Helps Military Families Transition Into New Schools

(Springfield, IL) -- There's a useful resource available to help military parents transfer the kids from one school district to another. Matt Vanover, with the state Board of Education says it helps guide parents on how to enroll their kids into a new school, and provides a checklist of things they'll need to do that. Parents will want to make sure they have their student's transcripts and immunization records. The toolkit is available under the "Learning Supports" tab on the state Board of Education's website, at ISBE.net.

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Dept. of Agriculture starts recycling program

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture is starting a new program for farmers to recycle fertilizer and pesticide containers. Department officials say beginning in late July there will be sites throughout the state that collect containers and recycle them into small plastic chips that will be used to make shipping pallets, fence posts, drainage tubing and plastic lumber among other products. Agriculture director Bob Flider says the program offers farmers "a convenient opportunity to dispose of empty pesticide containers and demonstrate their environmental stewardship." Metal and household pesticide containers are not eligible for the recycling program. Participants are responsible for rinsing containers and removing all caps, labels, booklets and seals.

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NATIONAL
US Official: 5 killed in Afghanistan are American

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. defense official says five NATO service members who were killed in southern Afghanistan were American. The official insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter by name. This official referred to earlier statements issued by the international coalition for additional details. The international coalition said Tuesday the service members were killed in an apparent friendly fire incident. The statement said all five soldiers died on Monday but did not give further details on the attack or the nationality of the soldiers. If confirmed, it would be one of the most serious cases involving coalition-on-coalition friendly fire during the nearly 14 year Afghan war.

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VA official concedes 'integrity issue,' apologizes

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Veterans Affairs Department official is acknowledging an integrity problem among some top agency personnel and apologizing for it. That admission comes as evidence mounts that VA workers fabricated data on veterans' waits for medical appointments in an effort to mask frequent, long delays. The agency is the nation's largest provider of medical care. The House Veterans Affairs Committee held a rare Monday evening hearing on the issue. VA official Philip Matkovsky told lawmakers that long delays for care and agency efforts to hide those waits were indefensible. He apologized to veterans and their families. Hours earlier, the VA released an internal audit showing that tens of thousands of new patients waited at least three months for initial appointments or never got one, despite requesting a visit.

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Report: Social Security judges rubber-stamp claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four Social Security judges are headed to Capitol Hill to face accusations they rubber-stamped claims for disability benefits, approving billions of dollars in lifetime payments. A new report by the Republican staff of the House Oversight Committee says each of the judges approved more than 90 percent of the cases they heard from 2005 to 2013. The report says the high approval rates indicate the judges did not follow proper procedures or conduct meaningful hearings. The administrative law judges are scheduled to testify before the Oversight Committee on Tuesday. In written testimony, Judge Gerald I. Krafsur of Kingsport, Tennessee, says he has heard thousands of cases and never had one overturned because the applicant was not disabled.

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Morgan crash fuels debate over tired truckers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A New Jersey highway crash that severely injured Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian is drawing attention to the dangers of tired truckers just as the industry and its allies in Congress are poised to roll back safety rules on drivers' work schedules. The proposed change is backed by the trucking industry and opposed by safety advocates and the Obama administration. It would effectively let truck drivers put in as many as 82 hours a week behind the wheel. The change was recently added to a transportation spending bill in the Senate. The trucking industry has been sparring with safety advocates and unions over driver hours for two decades. The government says nearly 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year and driver fatigue is a leading factor.

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Tropical Storm Christina expected to strengthen

MIAMI (AP) — Tropical Storm Cristina is expected to strengthen as it swirls off Mexico's Pacific coast. The storm's maximum sustained winds early Tuesday are near 40 mph (65 kph) and the U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cristina could become a hurricane by Thursday. The storm is centered about 155 miles (250 kilometers) south-southwest of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and is moving west near 3 mph (6 kph). There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

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White House Continues To Defend Bergdahl Swap

(Washington, DC)  --  The White House continues to defend the prisoner exchange that led to the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.  Presidential spokesman Josh Earnest called prisoner exchanges a necessary part of ending wars.  Bergdahl was released by the Taliban after five years in captivity in exchange for five Taliban commanders who had been held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo.  Meanwhile, a new poll shows Americans are deeply divided on the prisoner swap. 

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VA Officials Appear Before Congressional Panel

(Washington, DC)  --  The inspector general for the Veterans Administration believes some officials who changed appointment logs may have committed a crime.  VA officials appeared before a Congressional panel last night to answer questions about the findings in a nationwide audit.  It shows tens of thousands of cases of veterans having to wait for medical appointments for too long. 

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Graham Expects To Survive Primary Challenge In South Carolina

(Undated)  --  Longtime Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is expected to survive a challenge in today's South Carolina primary.  State Senator Lee Bright and several other GOP challengers hope to keep Graham's margin under 50-percent, forcing a runoff election.  In Virginia, well-funded House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is expected to hold off a Tea Party challenge from economics professor Dave Bratt. 

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Hillary Clinton says she understands 'hard life'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton is seeking to refine comments she made about being "dead broke" when she and President Bill Clinton left the White House. The former secretary of state tells ABC's "Good Morning America", "I fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans today." Clinton said she and former President Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001 roughly $12 million in debt, largely from legal bills. But she said, "We've continued to be blessed in the last 14 years." Clinton hinted Tuesday she might be leaning toward another run for president, saying, "I want to use the talents and resources that I have to make sure that others" have the same opportunities. She said, "We have gone through some of the same challenges that many people have."

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FAA OKs commercial drone flights over land

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators say they've granted the first permission for commercial drone flights over land. The Federal Aviation Administration has given approval to energy corporation BP and unmanned aircraft manufacturers AeroVironment to conduct aerial surveys of pipelines, roads and equipment at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The first flight, by a Puma drone, took place Sunday. Made by AeroVironment, the Puma is a small, hand-launched craft about 4 1/2 feet long with a 9-foot wingspan. The FAA had approved the use of the Puma and the ScanEagle drone, made by a Boeing subsidiary, over the Arctic Ocean last summer. Last week, the agency said it's considering giving permission to seven filmmaking companies to use drones, a potentially significant step that could lead to greater relaxation of the agency's ban on commercial drone use.

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GM CEO: No more serious safety issues lurking

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors CEO Mary Barra says a thorough review of safety issues at the company hasn't turned up any more serious problems. She also says at a press conference ahead of GM's annual shareholders meeting that personnel changes related to a deadly ignition switch problem are finished. The company forced out 15 workers last week after an outside attorney blamed them for failing to act on the problem. Barra further says that there will be some minor adjustments to GM's structure after the investigation by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas. GM has admitted knowing about the ignition switch problem for at least a decade, yet it didn't recall the cars until early this year. At least 13 people have died in crashes linked to the switches.

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Charges expected in Seattle campus shooting

SEATTLE (AP) — Prosecutors are expected to file charges Tuesday against the man accused of killing one person and wounding two others in a shooting at Seattle Pacific University. King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg called a late morning news conference to announce charges against 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra of Mountlake Terrace. Ybarra was pepper-sprayed and wrestled to the floor by a student security monitor and held for police officers responding to Thursday's shooting. Ybarra was held without bail and has been on suicide watch at King County Jail. His lawyer says he has a long history of mental problems. Police say Ybarra had at least 50 additional shotgun rounds and told investigators he planned to kill as many people as possible and himself.

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Police: Grenade in school leads to mother's arrest

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) — The mother of an 11-year-old Connecticut boy has been arrested after police say her son brought a grenade to school for a show and tell related to World War II lessons. Lisa Miguel of Stratford was charged with risk of injury to a minor, reckless endangerment and illegal possession of an explosive. Stratford Academy was placed on lockdown Friday. Students were sent to the back of the school until a bomb squad determined the grenade was a simulator used for training. The 44-year-old Miguel didn't immediately return a message Tuesday seeking comment. Police say she told them the grenade had been a gift from her father, a war veteran, who had told her it was a dud. State Police say simulator grenades can combust and cause injuries within a 20-foot radius.

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INTERNATIONAL
Injured caver conscious; rescue may yet take days

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's mountain rescue service says an injured researcher stuck deep inside an Alpine cave on the Austrian border is able to walk with help, but an operation to bring him out may still take several days. The rescue service said Tuesday that a six-member team of experts from Germany, Austria and Switzerland is now with the patient, who is conscious. The 52-year-old German was hit by falling rocks early Sunday in the Riesending cave system near Berchtesgaden. The accident happened some 6,000 meters (3 ¾ miles) from the entrance. Access to the site nearly 1,000 meters underground requires covering tricky terrain such as vertical shafts and squeezing through narrow passages. The rescue service has set up a radio-based communication system that allows rescuers to send text messages to the surface.

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Ireland to investigate deaths at church-run homes

DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland's government is launching an investigation into mistreatment and burial of babies who died decades ago in nun-operated homes for unmarried mothers. Children's Minister Charlie Flanagan told RTE it was important to shine a light on "these dark periods" following revelations that hundreds of children died at former church-run home in western Ireland. Flanagan said Tuesday he wants a look at the high mortality rates at the homes, the burial practices at these residences, illegal adoptions and whether vaccine trials were conducted on the children.A researcher has found records showing that 796 children, mostly infants, died in a home in Tuam, County Galway, which operated from 1925 until 1962. Ireland had some 10 such "mother and baby homes" run by different orders until the 1960s.

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Iraq prime minister calls for state of emergency

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency over a militant attack in Mosul. Nouri al-Maliki made the call in a televised news conference Tuesday. Militants effectively seized of Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul on Tuesday. Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts and militants overran the provincial government headquarters and other key buildings, dealing a serious blow to Baghdad's attempts to tame a widening insurgency in the country. The gunmen torched several of the city's police stations, freeing detainees held in lockups. The fighters are believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaida splinter group that is behind the bulk of the bloody attacks in Iraq and is among the most ruthless rebel forces in Syria.

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SPORTS
MONDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Pittsburgh 6, Chicago Cubs 2
Chicago White Sox 6, Detroit 5

TUESDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh, 6:05 p.m.
St. Louis at Tampa Bay, 6:10 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 5:14 p.m.)
Detroit at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Frontier League

Frontier at Southern Illinois

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White Sox Purchases River City's Stone

The contract of Rascals right-hander Dane Stone has just been purchased by the Chicago White Sox organization. The right-hander has been very impressive for Brook and the Rascals this season after becoming a regular starter for the first in his professional career. Through four starts Stone has a 3-1 record with a minute ERA of 0.93 in 29 innings. A former member of the Miami Marlins organization, Stone signed with River City this offseason, where he began to adapt to his new starting role. Stone becomes the 33rd River City Rascal to be signed by a Major League Baseball organization

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News for June 9, 2014

LOCAL
Missouri Man Fatal Victim Of Cairo Shooting

Violence has struck Cairo for the second time in less than three weeks as a Sunday morning shooting has left a Missouri man dead. The 27 year old victim died at a Cape Girardeau hospital early yesterday morning. Authorities are still investigating the deadly event.

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2 small tornadoes confirmed in southern Illinois

RED BUD, Ill. (AP) — The National Weather Service says it has confirmed that small tornadoes were responsible for minor damage in portions of southwestern Illinois' Monroe County. Meteorologist Mark Britt says both of the Saturday afternoon twisters southeast of St. Louis have been classified as EF-Os and caused no injuries. Britt says one of the tornadoes toppled a tree onto a house in the tiny village of Fults. Another one three miles west of Red Bud caused minor damage to crops and some trees. Britt says neither tornado had maximum estimated wind speeds exceeding 80 miles per hour.

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East St. Louis police seek help identifying gunman

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police and East St. Louis police are asking for the public's help to identify the gunman who fatally shot a 48-year-old woman. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Angela Heard of East St. Louis died Friday at a St. Louis hospital. Four days earlier the dancer was shot in the head outside a convenience store across the street from her home. The newspaper reports that Heard's money, debit card and other things were missing.

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Breese police investigate deadly hit-and-run wreck

BREESE, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois coroner says a pedestrian killed by a suspected hit-and-run driver was a 23-year-old woman from Edwardsville. Clinton County Coroner Phillip Moss says Lana Albert died at the scene of the accident early Sunday in Breese. Police say officers responding to reports of a woman walking in and out of traffic on old U.S. 50 found Albert's body. Breese police are investigating and asking for the public's help in locating the vehicle's driver. A description of the vehicle was not immediately available.

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Vigil Held For Hit-And-Run Victim

(Granite City, IL)  --  Friends and family gathered to remember a Granite City man who was struck by a car while taking a walk.  A candlelight vigil was held last night for Jack Hoppe.  The father of two was killed Friday on a Granite City bike trail.  His family says it's a path he frequently liked to walk. 

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SIU holding off on Carbondale chancellor search

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Just a month on the job, Southern Illinois University's president says he and the school's regents will be patient in addressing the likely exodus of the Carbondale campus' boss. The Arizona Board of Regents announced Friday that Carbondale chancellor Rita Cheng has been named the sole finalist for its presidency of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Cheng has guided SIU-Carbondale since mid-2010, and Randy Dunn credits her with improving the campus' enrollment and expanding its research. Dunn tells The Associated Press that no formal search for Cheng's successor has been launched. He noted Cheng still must negotiate a contract with Northern Arizona. He says the university has the senior leadership and others on campus to get done what's needed in the interim until a new chancellor is named.

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Centralia Man Arrested On Multiple Charges

A 22-year-old Centralia man has been arrested on charges of financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person, along with criminal damage to state property and felony theft. According to Centralia Police, Aaron Owens is accused of moving his mother into his apartment against her will and then selling some of her pain medication. Police were reportedly alerted by an agency that assists the elderly about the possible exploitation. They then learned after speaking to the mother that while she was hospitalized, Owens had allegedly moved her out of her own apartment and into his own. The mother also claimed her son was selling her prescription pain medication, and that she had allegedly given him several hundred dollars on multiple occasions from her social security benefits. The criminal damage to state property arises from alleged damage when he moved his mother out of her state supported apartment in Centralia. Owens has denied knowledge of his mother's prescription medication.

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STATE
Illinois will erase some juvenile arrest records


CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation to erase some arrest records for children who were not charged with a crime. The legislation approved Saturday automatically clears records in less-serious, non-violent cases upon the person's 18th birthday. The law takes effect Jan. 1. It will exclude sex-related offenses, higher-level felony arrests and those occurring within the previous six months. Supporters say the law will give youths a better chance to get jobs, enter college and avoid gang violence. Some lawmakers were concerned because the measure does not guarantee that some lower-level arrest records will not be made public. The Democratic governor said Saturday the new law, known as the "clean slate" measure, will ensure youths "have every opportunity to land a job and succeed in life."

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Advocates celebrate same-sex marriage law

CHICAGO (AP) — Some of Illinois' top elected officials attended a brunch celebrating the state's new law allowing same-sex marriage on Sunday. Democrats Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel along with Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka were among Sunday's attendees. Equality Illinois is the sponsor of the event. The law took effect earlier this month, though some couples were able to wed earlier due to court rulings. In his speech, Emanuel noted his recent 20th wedding anniversary. He says the same-sex marriage law is a milestone but that there are many more miles to go. The event wasn't without references to the 2014 election. Quinn was praised for supporting the measure while advocates blasted his Republican opponent in a close race, Bruce Rauner. He hasn't detailed his views on gay marriage.

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Illinois bans microbeads in cosmetics and soaps

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a law he says makes Illinois the first state nationwide to ban products containing so-called microbeads. Synthetic plastic microbeads are found in soaps and cosmetics and billed as a way to exfoliate. But experts have raised concerns of plastic pollution in waterways. The new Illinois law seeks to prohibit the manufacture of such products by 2018's end and sale of such products by the end of 2019. Quinn signed the legislation Sunday. Lawmakers in other states, including New York and California, are considering similar bans. In a statement, Quinn says the Illinois law will help safeguard Lake Michigan. However, critics have expressed concerns about the long rollout of the new law.

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AP Exclusive: Ill. has 22 fugitive escaped inmates

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An analysis shows there are nearly two dozen inmates who escaped from Illinois prisons or halfway houses over the years and haven't been caught. The Associated Press collected and analyzed prison data for the number of escaped inmates. It also found 11 who were on the lam have been snared in the past two years. Three died while on the loose. The Illinois Department of Corrections says it never stops looking for them or closes a case. Apprehension specialist Mike Harrington says he hunts fugitives by contacting family and trying to determine patterns and practices. Most inmates listed as escaped fled from transition centers, not from prison lockups. One inmate escaped in 1955 and hasn't been seen since.

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Report raises questions about 2010 Quinn program

CHICAGO (AP) — A published report is raising new questions about when Gov. Pat Quinn's administration issued payments for an anti-violence program that's now under investigation. Quinn started the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative in 2010. It's been the subject of a scathing state audit detailing mismanagement. Critics have also called it a political slush fund started before an election where Quinn won by a close margin. Quinn maintains he addressed issues and no money was spent before the election. But the Chicago Sun-Times reports payments were at least initiated before the election. The newspaper cites an Oct. 10, 2010, email from the head of the agency running the program that pushed for early payments and cites records showing the comptroller issued a voucher. However, the payments didn't go through due to "insufficient funds."

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Illinois Kids Still Struggle To Get Fed During Summer

Illinois is doing a better job – but still not a good job – of feeding hungry kids in the summer. Kids from low-income families can get breakfast and lunch at school, and 774,814 do. But when school is out, only 106,818 – 13.8 – percent turn up at summer meal sites. That’s a 2013 figure, up from 12.5 percent in 2012. Diane Doherty of the Illinois Hunger Coalition says she’d like to see the figure reach 60 percent, and the USDA, which funds the summer meal program, is trying to help. “The United States Department of Agriculture had chosen Illinois as one of a handful of states that they would work with us this summer and do some targeted outreach in an effort to expand the number of kids that are getting fed,” she said. The summer meals are served at 1,200 locations around the state, typically at parks, community centers, churches and school that are in session. The problems are finding sponsors and sites that will serve the meals, notifying the kids and their parents of the availability of the meals, and in some cases transportation.

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Gambling Expansion Plan To Get More Work

It’s a return to the drawing board for the architect of a long-stalled gambling expansion plan in Illinois. Claiming the bill wasn’t ready, State Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island) did not call gambling expansion for a vote at the end of the spring legislative session. Instead, he is planning on working through the summer to get agreement prior to the fall session in November and December. “This will allow us, through the summer, to sit down with the mayor of the city of Chicago, sit down with [officials in the] East St. Louis area and try and work through something we can put on a vote when we return,” said Rita. Rita says a gambling expansion plan is complicated – always has been – noting that when you move one piece, it moves two others. The outline of the proposal is to add casinos in Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Park City (near Waukegan) and in an unspecified location in the South Suburbs of Chicago.  Among the moving parts are slot machines at race tracks and slot machines at the Chicago airports.

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NATIONAL
2 officers, 3 others dead in Las Vegas shooting

UNDATED (AP) — Authorities say two suspects shot and killed two police officers at a Las Vegas eatery before fatally shooting a third person and killing themselves inside a nearby Walmart. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman calls the killings a "cruel act" and praised the officers for dedicating "their lives to protecting all of us in our community." Las Vegas police spokesman Larry Hadfield says the rampage began late Sunday morning when a man and woman walked into CiCi's Pizza and shot Officer Alyn Beck and Officer Igor Soldo at point-blank range while they were eating lunch. One of the officers was able to fire back before he died, but it's unclear if he hit the suspects. Hadfield says the suspects then fled to the Walmart across the street, where they fatally shot a person inside and then killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact. Hadfield says one of the suspects yelled, "This is a revolution," but the motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

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Survey: Growth to pick up, hiring steady

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. business economists are expressing more optimism. A survey by the National Association of Business Economists predicts that U.S. economic growth should accelerate in the second quarter and remain healthy for the rest of this year. But the economists say growth for the full year will likely come in lower than they previously estimated. The forecast says job growth should remain steady and consumer spending will also likely pick up. The survey also found that economists increasingly agree that the Federal Reserve will end its bond purchase program by the end of this year. Economists expect the economy will jump to 3.5 percent in the second quarter and remain above 3 percent for the rest of the year. The pickup comes after harsh winter weather caused the nation's gross domestic product to contract 1 percent in the first three months of the year.

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Released Soldier's Parents Given Rare Government Access

(Undated)  --  A new report shows the parents of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl were given unprecedented access to video conferences with top government and military officials while their son was held captive by the Taliban.  The "Washington Times" reports that Robert and Jani Bergdahl were hooked into secure video conferences that included members of the Obama administration, intelligence officials, and the military command that runs the war in Afghanistan.  The Taliban released Bergdahl last week in exchange for five Taliban commanders who'd been held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

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Utah 'Mountain Man' set to take plea deals

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A man accused of eluding authorities for years while ransacking cabins across a wide swath of Utah is set to agree to a package of plea deals that will bring an end his court case. The 46-year-old Troy James Knapp will be in a St. George courtroom Monday. He will go first before a federal judge who must approve parameters of a deal Knapp agreed to in April on federal weapons that call for 10 years in prison. From there, Knapp will go before a state judge where he's scheduled to take plea deals from seven Utah counties where he is charged with burglary-related crimes. Knapp, known by many as the "Mountain Man," was captured in April 2013. Authorities say he began a string of cabin burglaries in 2007.

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NJ bridge panel to hear from top Christie aide

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie's chief of staff is scheduled to go before a New Jersey legislative committee investigating traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. Kevin O'Dowd is due to testify Monday under oath. The panel hopes to gain more information about who in the Republican governor's circle ordered traffic diverted near the bridge to create gridlock in the town of Fort Lee to punish its Democratic mayor. O'Dowd told lawyers hired by Christie that he had no knowledge of the plot. O'Dowd said he learned in January — four months after the lanes were blocked for four days — that ex-staffer Bridget Kelly put the scheme in motion. Christie, who is considering running for president, has denied advance knowledge of the scheme. O'Dowd is Christie's nominee to be the state's next attorney general.

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Morgan recovering after surgery following crash

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Tracy Morgan is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks following surgery on a broken leg suffered in a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that left two others critically injured and another man dead. The 45-year-old actor and comedian, a former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" cast member, was in critical condition early Monday. Morgan's spokesman, Lewis Kay, says Morgan was "more responsive" on Sunday following the surgery. A Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia has been charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. Authorities say 35-year-old Kevin Roper apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead early Saturday in New Jersey and swerved to avoid a crash. His rig smashed into the back of Morgan's Mercedes limo bus, killing comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair.

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Obama aims to expand student loan relief

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is signing an executive order that lets borrowers pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income in student loan payments. The measure expands on a 2010 law that covered those who started borrowing after October 2007 and kept borrowing after October 2011. The executive order allows those who borrowed earlier to participate, potentially extending the benefit to millions more borrowers. Obama will sign the order Monday during an event in the White House Rose Garden. The president will also use the appearance to call for Congress to pass more sweeping legislation that would let college graduates with heavy debts refinance their loans. The Senate is expected to debate the legislation next week, but it faces significant obstacles.

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Tyson wins bid war for Hillshire with $7.75B offer

NEW YORK (AP) — Meat producer Tyson Foods Inc. has won a bidding war for Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs, with a $63 per share offer. Both Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride had been bidding of Hillshire Brands. Tyson had previously offered $50 per share for the company. Pilgrim's Pride then raised its bid to $55 per share. Pilgrim's Pride says it is withdrawing its offer. The offer from Tyson is worth $7.75 billion based on Hillshire's 123 million shares outstanding. Tyson values the deal at $8.55 billion, including debt. Tyson said the combination will help it expand its prepared food business. The deal is contingent on Hillshire Brands terminating its agreement to buy Pinnacle Foods, which makes Birds Eye frozen vegetables and Wish-Bone salad dressings. Tyson shares fell 4 percent in premarket trading.

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World's oldest man dies in NYC at age 111

NEW YORK (AP) — The world's oldest man, a retired chemist and parapsychologist, has died in New York City. Alexander Imich was 111. His niece, Karen Bogen of Providence, Rhode Island, says Imich died Sunday at his home in Manhattan. Bogen says she had visited Imich a day earlier. She says his health declined about two weeks ago and he didn't recognize her. Imich was born in 1903 in a town in Poland that was then part of Russia. He and his wife fled after the Nazis invaded in 1939. They eventually moved to the United States in 1951. His wife died in 1986. In news reports, Imich said his good genes and a general healthy lifestyle contributed to his longevity. Guinness is investigating the claim that 111-year-old Sakari Momoi of Japan is now the world's oldest man. The world's oldest person is a woman, 116-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan.

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INTERNATIONAL
East Ukraine rebel stronghold hit by shelling

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Several buildings have been damaged by shelling in an eastern Ukraine city controlled by pro-Russian separatists. An AP reporter in downtown Slovyansk saw five buildings on Monday that had suffered heavy damage. Slovyansk has been the epicenter of a nearly two-month standoff between Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian rebels, who have seized administrative buildings, police stations and border posts across the region. Residents said the shelling happened on Sunday. Rebels have held the Ukrainian government responsible for the rising number of civilian casualties in the conflict, while Ukraine has insisted that the pro-Russian rebels are responsible for the bloodshed. On Saturday, Ukraine's new president, Petro Poroshenko, was sworn into office, calling for armed groups to lay down their weapons and promising amnesty for those "without blood on their hands."

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Families attempt to raise reward for missing jet

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Relatives of five people on board the missing Malaysian jetliner are trying to crowd source a $5 million reward for information about what happened to the plane. The group has started a campaign on the fundraising website Indiegogo. Just under 24 hours after it launched, the campaign had raised just over $5,000. The group says it "wants to provide a substantial incentive for anyone who knows the truth to come forward." The Boeing 777 disappeared on March 8 flying from Malaysia to China. A team of experts says satellite transmissions from the plane show the flight ended somewhere in a large patch of the southern Indian Ocean. Searchers have found nothing there, leading to continuing speculation over its fate.

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Syrian president declares amnesty for prisoners

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian state media reports that President Bashar Assad has declared a general amnesty for prisoners in the country. The decree comes just five days after Assad won a third, seven-year term in office amid the 3-year-old civil war in his country. It was not clear how many — if any — prisoners will be freed. The report Monday by the state-run SANA news agency did not say if the amnesty would apply to the tens of thousands of opposition supporters and their relatives activists say are held in the country. SANA's report suggested it would reduce prisoners' sentences without freeing them. Government officials could not be immediately reached to explain the decision. Syria's pro-government Al Ikhbariya television station quoted the justice minister as saying that the presidential decree was issued in the "context of social tolerance and national unity."

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Rivals Hamas, Abbas in first showdown in Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamic militant group Hamas are locked in a first showdown since the formation of their unity government last week, a sign of their volatile relations. At issue are the salaries for more than 40,000 government employees Hamas hired during its seven-year rule of Gaza. Western-backed Abbas is the conduit for foreign aid, while Hamas remains the real power on the ground in Gaza. Last week, the new government began distributing salaries to 150,000 civil servants loyal to Abbas, but said it cannot yet pay the former Hamas employees. At the time, scuffles erupted outside cash machines in Gaza. Hamas police security forces closed banks. A senior Hamas official, Khalil al-Haye, said Monday the banks would not reopen until a solution is found.

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SPORTS
SATURDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

St. Louis 5, Toronto 0
Chicago Cubs 5, Miami 2
L.A. Angels 6, Chicago White Sox 5

Frontier League

Schaumburg 7, Southern Illinois 3
Gateway 5, Windy City 4
Evansville 5, Lake Erie 1

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

St. Louis 5, Toronto 0
Miami 4, Chicago Cubs 3
L.A. Angels 4, Chicago White Sox 2

Frontier League

Schaumburg 14, Southern Illinois 3
Windy City 10, Gateway 3
Lake Erie 3, Evansville 2

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh, 5:05 p.m.
Detroit at Chicago White Sox, 6:10 p.m.

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News For June 6, 2014

LOCAL
Divers find stolen vehicles in East St. Louis lake

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Divers undergoing search training in a southwestern Illinois state park's lake found a lot more than rusty beer cans and mossy tires. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that search-and-rescue divers from various agencies Tuesday found several stolen vehicles submerged in the lake at Frank Holten State Park in East St. Louis. Authorities say some of the vehicles had been missing for decades. Investigators say a 1972 Plymouth sedan that was recovered had been reported stolen in 1983. A 1993 Plymouth Voyager van salvaged from the water has been missing since 2005.

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Ill. man gets prison for wreck that killed worker

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for causing a 2012 wreck that killed a highway construction worker and injured three others. WSIL-TV reports that 36-year-old Michael Jeter of West Frankfort was sentenced in St. Clair County. The coal miner pleaded guilty in April to four counts of aggravated driving under the influence. Authorities have said Jeter was on the sleep aid Ambien and an antihistamine at the time of the May 2012 wreck on Interstate 64. The victims were part of a crew that was waiting in the median to paint road markings on the freeway. The crash killed 38-year-old contract worker Dennis Beard, a married Pocahontas father of three children. Three other workers were injured.

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Illinois congressman pays visit to Marion VA

MARION, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Congressman Bill Enyart is giving the VA Medical Center in Marion a passing grade after paying a visit to the facility. VA officials last week disclosed problems with delayed care existed at several Midwest sites, including the one in Marion. Enyart on Thursday told the Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale that although improvements are needed, he is pleased every patient he met is pleased with the care they receive. Patients, staff and administrators pointed out there are 1,400 full-time employees currently at the hospital who are treating 43,000 patients a year. Enyart says staffing issues is the cause of eight veterans waiting more than 90 days for appointments at local outpatient clinics. He says new staff, including doctors and nurses, are being recruited.

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Teen Charged After Pointing Fake Gun At School

(Belleville, IL)  --  A Belleville teenager is in trouble with the law after pointing a fake gun at West High School.  Officials say 18-year-old Vantezz Carter was in an SUV yesterday when he pointed the gun out the window, toward a group of football players.  A witness reported the incident to cops and when they caught up with the SUV, they found five sir soft guns inside.  Police say those could easily be mistaken as real guns.  Carter is charged with disorderly conduct. 

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Old missile base set for auction in Illinois

HECKER, Ill. (AP) — A former Cold War missile base in southwestern Illinois can be yours if the price is right, warheads not included. The Belleville News-Democrat reports a missile site that once guarded the St. Louis region against a possible Soviet nuclear strike goes up for public auction July 12. The Nike Hercules missile base near the Monroe County village of Hecker has been shuttered since 1969. It includes an administration building and a 14-acre launch complex made up of three de-activated bunkers that once housed anti-aircraft missiles capable of firing nuclear warheads. An opening bid is set at $70,000. Prospective buyers can get a pre-auction look at the property June 26 and 27.

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Historic columns may get new Belleville home

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Some historic limestone columns that once graced a former southwestern Illinois courthouse are headed to a new home. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that history buffs in Belleville hope to use the segments of the columns to decorate roundabouts expected to be opened July 4 at Illinois highways 158 and 13. The columns had been part of the old St. Clair County Courthouse before they were removed in 1972. They then were part of a real estate agent's office before winding up at Belleville's Bicentennial Park.

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Monster spud to make southwestern Ill. visit

SHILOH, Ill. (AP) — When it comes to potatoes, this one is anything but a small fry. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports a giant replica of an Idaho potato is on a 19,000-mile U.S. trek, and this weekend it will pause in southwestern Illinois. The spud is 28 feet long, 12 feet wide and more than 11 feet high, weighing in at six tons. It'll be on display outside the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Shiloh from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It's part of a food drive, with anyone who brings two food pantry items getting a coupon for a free appetizer at the restaurant. The spud promotes healthy-heart awareness for women and may be a natural in Shiloh, which is not far from the "World's Largest Bottle of Catsup" in Collinsville.

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Transportation Committee Favors Eastern Route of 51 Expansion For Sandoval

Residents along Route 51 are being notified that a transportation committee has recommended a preferred route for the highway expansion through the village of Sandoval.  Emails from the Illinois Department of Transportation indicate the committee has recommended the eastern route, which was preferred by the majority to the western route that would draw traffic further from the village's business center. The project that would expand Route 51 to four-lanes from the Christian/Shelby County line to the village of Irvington in Washington County proposed two routes through Sandoval. The western route would have displaced nine homes and 39 farms, but would have seriously damaged businesses in the center of town. The eastern route, which was preferred by residents and recommended by the IDOT committee, would displace 16 residences, two businesses, and 45 farms, but would keep traffic routed through the business district.

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Six Charged In Drug Distribution, Laundering Indictment

Six local individuals were charged yesterday in federal court on a four count indictment claiming conspiracy to distribute cocaine in Clinton, Cook, Jefferson, Marion And Washington Counties, as well as a scheme to launder money obtained from drug sales. Allen J. Redmond, also known as “North” and “Big Boy,” along with Tenaucah A. Little, also known as “Naucha”, Walter Gardner Jr, also known as “J-Rock” and “Junior,” Cambryn M. Baker, Jason Crabtree and Vickie Marie Parrish are all charged in the indictment. A federal grand jury charges in count one that all six were part of the conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. In count two, Little is charged with selling cocaine in St. Clair County in May 2012. Count 3 charges Crabtree distributed cocaine in Marion County in August 2012. And count 4 charges Little and Baker with conspiracy to launder money that was the proceeds of cocaine distribution. Because of the allegations, all six defendants are ordered to forfeit any and all property obtained directly or indirectly from the alleged sales, including approximately $10,500 that was seized in October 2012 as part of the money laundering charge, and proceeds of at least half-million dollars.

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STATE
'Incomplete' Ill. budget leaves agencies in limbo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Lawmakers left Springfield last week after approving an election-year budget that's leaving everyone from Illinois' prison authorities to historic agency officials wondering about what comes next. The $35.7 billion spending plan keeps most funding flat after Democrats couldn't find enough votes to extend the state's temporary income increase to fill a hole in revenues. Gov. Pat Quinn has slammed the so-called "maintenance" plan, calling it "incomplete." The plan doesn't allocate enough money to cover expenses, uses special funds for day-to-day operations and banks on future increases in revenue that may or may not materialize. State agencies, schools and social service providers say they're planning for worst-case scenarios as they wait on details about how to implement the plan.

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Springfield St. John's Hospital Cutting Managers

(Springfield, IL) -- St. John's Hospital in Springfield is firing 43 managers over the next few months and they're blaming the Affordable Care Act along with lower reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid. The 43 managers represent just one-percent of the workforce, and no non-management workers are affected. CEO Dr. Charles Lucore says lower reimbursements plus financial pressures from the Affordable Care Act prompted St. John's to create a smaller management team.

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29 face charges involving Medicaid home services


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — More than two dozen Illinois residents have been charged with health care fraud stemming from federal investigations. U.S. attorneys James Lewis of the central district of Illinois and Stephen Wigginton of the southern district announced the charges Thursday against 29 people who allegedly abused a health care program funded by Medicaid. The program pays for personal assistants to help Medicaid recipients stay in their homes. The defendants allegedly submitted false claims for hours worked when they had other full-time jobs or were incarcerated or the client was hospitalized. Lewis announced that 13 defendants were issued summonses to appear in federal court in June. Two others have agreed to plead guilty. Wigginton says his office indicted 14 following previous charges against 29 others. Health care fraud carries a 10-year prison sentence.

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Quinn campaign focuses on Rauner's business deals

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn is delving into a key theme aimed at keeping venture capitalist Bruce Rauner from becoming the first Republican in more than a decade to run Illinois. It's picking apart the business dealings of Rauner's private equity firm and how he made hundreds of millions of dollars. Political experts say the tactic has risks, such as not being able to directly tie Rauner to company decisions and irking businesses. But Quinn's campaign says if Rauner wants to run Illinois like a business, it's fair game. The campaign is now pointing to a company formed by Rauner's GTCR in 2005 that over the years outsourced jobs overseas. That comes as Illinois struggles to lower unemployment. Rauner's campaign calls the approach a "desperate" attack and defends GTCR's long, successful record.

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Robin Thicke Joins State Fair Lineup

(Springfield, IL) -- R and B phenom Robin Thicke is joining the lineup at the Illinois State Fair. He'll take the stage on Sunday, August 17th. Thicke topped the charts with his hit songs "Love After War" and "Blurred Lines." Tickets for the concert will go on sale Friday, June 13th, at 10 a.m. They can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Illinois State Fair Box Office.

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Illinoisans Middle Of The Pack For Getting Drunk

(Undated)  --  Illinoisans are in the middle of the pack when it comes to getting drunk.  A recent survey puts the state as the 27th most drunk state in the nation.  According to the stats, people drink about two-point-36 gallons of alcohol each year.  That's barely above the national average, which is two-point-33 gallons.  New Hampshire topped the list as the most-drunk state, where people put back more than twice the national average.

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NATIONAL
Obama honors WWII, 9/11 generations at Normandy

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) — President Barack Obama says the American commitment to liberty that is "written in blood" on the beaches of Normandy endures with a new generation. Today, Obama honored the legacy of World War II veterans in a visit to France's Omaha Beach. It' the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

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Another month of solid hiring could fuel US growth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government reports May employment figures today and they could bolster optimism about an economic rebound. FactSet reports that economists predict employers added 220,000 jobs in May, in line with this year's monthly average. They also predict the unemployment rate rose to 6.4 percent from 6.3 percent, mostly because more people are actively seeking work.

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Shooting victim out of surgery

SEATTLE (AP) — A hospital in Seattle says a woman seriously wounded in a deadly shooting at Seattle Pacific University is out of surgery and in intensive care. Police say a 26-year-old man opened fire Thursday at the school, killing a 19-year-old man and wounding three people. Police say a student disarmed the gunman and several other students jumped on top of him and pinned him down until police arrived.

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CDC: Texas patient died of mad cow-related disease

DALLAS (AP) — Health officials say a Texas patient is the fourth person in the United States to die of a rare brain disorder that is believed to be caused by consumption of beef products contaminated with mad cow disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says recent laboratory tests confirmed a diagnosis of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the patient. The CDC says that in each of the three previous U.S. cases, infection likely occurred outside the U.S. And the center says the Texas patient's history included extensive travel to Europe and the Middle East and suggests the infection occurred outside the country. The CDC says that worldwide more than 229 variant CJD patients have been reported, with a majority of them in the United Kingdom and France. The Texas Department of State Health Services says there are no state public health concerns or threats associated with the case. The CDC and DSHS are investigating. The CDC says there is no known treatment for the disease and it is invariably fatal.

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Senate Leader Defends Bergdahl Swap

(Washington, DC)  --  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is defending President Obama's decision to exchange five Taliban leaders for U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.  In a Capitol news conference, Reid said it was clear Bergdahl's health was in question and that the President had to act quickly.  Reid got advance word from the White House about the swap.  Some congressional leaders are angry about not being consulted about the swap before it took place.

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Acting VA Secretary Visits Troubled Phoenix Facility

(Phoenix, AZ)  --  The acting Veterans Affairs Secretary says the VA has "let our veterans down" far too many times.  Sloan Gibson made his remarks during a press conference in Arizona on Thursday.  Gibson spoke at the troubled VA Medical Center in Phoenix and insisted the VA will work to earn back the trust of veterans.  The VA has been under fire for systemic scheduling problems and delays. 

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Statewide bridge inspections in Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) —Transportation officials in Delaware have ordered a statewide inspection of major bridges in the state after the discovery of leaning columns on a major bridge in Wilmington. The Interstate 495 span typically carries about 90,000 vehicles daily. It's been closed since Monday.

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Casey Kasem Alert, In Critical Condition

(Gig Harbor, WA)  --  Radio legend Casey Kasem is in critical condition as he continues to battle an infected bed sore.  St. Anthony Hospital spokesman Scott Thompson says Kasem is on I-V antibiotics and also blood pressure and pain medication.  Thompson says Kasem is "alert" and "appears comfortable."  He arrived at the hospital in Washington state on Sunday.  Kasem's children have been involved in a dramatic personal and legal battle with his current wife, Jean, over both his care and access to their father. 

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SPORTS
THURSDAY'S RESULTS

MLB

Chicago Cubs 7, N.Y. Mets 4
Kansas City 3, St. Louis 2

Frontier League

Evansville 11, Normal 7
Normal 2, Evansville 1
Southern Illinois 2, Joliet 0
Southern Illinois 2, Joliet 1
Gateway 7, Rockford 3

FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

Miami at Chicago Cubs, 3:05 p.m.
St. Louis at Toronto, 6:07 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 5:09 p.m.)
Chicago White Sox at L.A. Angels, 9:05 p.m.

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Schaumburg
Evansville at Lake Erie
Gateway at Windy City

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

St. Louis at Toronto, 12:07 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 11:09 p.m.)
Miami at Chicago Cubs, 3:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at L.A. Angels, 9:05 p.m.

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Schaumburg
Evansville at Lake Erie
Gateway at Windy City

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE

MLB

St. Louis at Toronto, 12:07 p.m. (94.1 FM WMIX, pregame at 11:09 p.m.)
Miami at Chicago Cubs, 1:20 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at L.A. Angels, 2:35 p.m.

Frontier League

Southern Illinois at Schaumburg
Evansville at Lake Erie
Gateway at Windy City

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Webber State Finals Games On WMIX

We will broadcast both Webber Trojans baseball games from the State Finals on AM 940 and WMIXSports.com. Friday pregame: 9:45 AM, 1st Pitch: 10:00 AM Saturday’s pregame will be 15 minutes prior to first pitch

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Big Ten museum set to open its doors in Illinois

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — The Big Ten Conference is set to open its doors for a new digital museum at its headquarters in Illinois. Conference officials have announced that the so-called "Big Ten Experience" museum will be open to the public on Saturday, June 7 in Rosemont. It has 13 interactive exhibits that showcase the conference's notable players and coaches since 1896. Some of the exhibits include a challenge where museum-goers can attempt to catch a football, stop a soccer ball or block a hockey puck. Another lets patrons listen to the radio broadcast of game-winning shots on a hardwood court from the spot where players shot the ball. Admission to the museum is free. It's open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

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Bears sign Clausen to 1-year deal

UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Bears have agreed to a one-year contract with former Notre Dame and Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen. The move was announced Thursday. Clausen appeared in 13 games for Carolina from 2010 to 2013 after starring at Notre Dame. He made 10 starts as a rookie and threw for 1,558 yards with three touchdowns and nine interceptions in a 2-14 season. The Panthers drafted Cam Newton the following April. Clausen was waived/injured last August. Besides signing Clausen, the Bears waived linebacker Lawrence Wilson.

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News For June 5, 2014

LOCAL
Ill. man accused in wife's death to be evaluated

BENTON, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois man accused of fatally shooting his wife in the back of the head has been ordered to undergo psychiatric testing to assess his mental fitness for trial. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports Franklin County Circuit Judge Jerry Crisel ordered the testing for 66-year-old John P. Adams at his attorney's request. Adams has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder in the death of 52-year-old Kendra Adams. Authorities say she was shot March 30 with a small-caliber handgun in the couple's West Frankfort home and died the next day at an Indiana hospital. John Adams is being held in lieu of $2 million bond.

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Alfeld appointed new Madison County judge

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois prosecutor and constitutional law educator soon will be a judge. Third Circuit Chief Judge David Hylla says assistant Madison County state's attorney Philip Alfeld has been appointed to become an associate judge. He'll replace Dean Sweet, who retired May 30. Alfeld has served as a Madison County prosecutor and special assistant attorney general since 1989. He earned his law degree in 1980 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He is past president of the Alton-Wood River Bar Association and teaches constitutional law at Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey, where he lives.

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Fake Cancer Victim Charged With Fraud For Alissa's Army

(Belleville, IL) -- A woman accused of lying about having ovarian cancer to collect thousands of dollars for non-existent medical bills if facing fraud charges in Belleville. Two people who were volunteering for "Alissa's Army" to raise funds for Alissa Jackson tipped off police when they got suspicious it might be a scam. Police investigated and say Jackson is not sick. She is charged with two counts of fraud of less than ten-thousand dollars, though some estimate fundraisers for Alissa's Army brought in more than 35-thousand bucks.

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More Illinois veterans hospitals under scrutiny

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois members of Congress are increasing their scrutiny of veterans hospitals in the state after an internal review showing several dozen patients waited more than three months for appointments at two facilities. A letter from Veterans Affairs officials to two U.S. senators disclosed that problems with delayed care and unauthorized wait lists existed at several facilities in the Midwest. They include two hospitals serving veterans from southwestern Illinois, in Marion and St. Louis. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus says just days ago officials at both facilities had assured him there were no such problems and that the letter raises questions. Other lawmakers, meanwhile, were planning visits to VA facilities this week amid a nationwide investigation that began with allegations that long wait times were covered up at a hospital in Phoenix.

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Suspected Meth Cooks Throw Drugs At Cops

(East St. Louis, IL)  --  A meth bust in East St. Louis landed two cops in the hospital.  Officials say the officers approached a couple allegedly cooking meth near the Wood River Creek Tuesday, but when they got close enough, the suspects threw the meth at them.  The officers inhaled some of the fumes, and one of them suffered a chemical burn.  The suspects tried to run away but were caught and taken into custody. 

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Road Construction Coming To West Frankfort

Motorists in Franklin County are being alerted of scheduled road construction set to take place starting next week along the south leg of Route 37 intersecting with Route 149 in West Frankfort. Beginning Monday and lasting thru June 15th, the south leg of Route 37 is set to be closed to all traffic. Weather permitting from June 16th-22nd, the north leg of Route 37 is set to be closed to all traffic.

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Contienental Tire, RLC Strengthen Relationship

The strong partnership between Continental Tire the Americas, LLC and Rend Lake College is getting stronger still.  CTA is stepping up as the lead donor in the “Pathway to Success” campaign, hosted by the RLC Foundation, by having pledged $25,000 toward the project, and the company will be highlighted on 24-inch by 24-inch pavers laid on the pathway to success walkway leading to the Dr. Allen Y. Baker Administration Building.  The campaign will focus on renovating and upgrading the walkways and front façade of the Administration Building, a location visited by nearly every student for needs such as admission, advisement, financial aid, student records, and more.  The renovations will help students identify the building, and will stand as a testament to the commitment of supporters such as CTA in the college and its students.  CTA is already a Platinum Major Gift Donor, having donated more than $100,000 to RLC.  For more information about the “Pathway to Success” campaign, contact the Rend Lake College Foundation at 618-437-5321, extension 1214.

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Governor Quinn Announces $17 Million for Construction Projects in Southern Illinois

OKAWVILLE – Governor Pat Quinn today announced an investment of $17 million for construction projects in Clinton, Edwards, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Perry, Randolph, Saline, Washington, Wayne and White Counties. Funded by his Illinois Jobs Now! construction program, the projects are part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to creating jobs and driving Illinois’ economy forward. “These projects will make sure our infrastructure in southern Illinois is well-maintained to improve safety and longevity,” Governor Quinn said. “The projects will also employ a number of construction workers, which will drive local economies forward.” The projects will be managed by the Illinois Department of Transportation except where noted. In Jefferson County, County Highway 35 west of Waterville will receive 3.9 miles of microsurfacing treatment from North Ridge Lane to Illinois Route 148. Microsurfacing Contractors, LLC of St. Louis was the lowest of three bidders at $206,324. In Marion County, County Highway 28 east of Centralia will be improved from Illinois Route 37 to Adams Road, and from Clifton Road to the Wayne County line. The total project encompasses 3.51 miles. Howell Paving, Inc. of Mattoon was the low bidder at $699,559. In Washington County, Illinois Route 177 will receive a total of 9.8 miles of resurfacing at two locations in Washington County. The first location is east of Waterworks Road in Okawville to Route 127, and the second is west of U.S. Route 51 to the Jefferson County line, including work on the U.S. 51/Illinois 177 interchange ramps. Howell Paving, Inc. of Mattoon was the lowest of four bidders for the job at $3,208,178. In Wayne County, A bridge carrying Township Road 426 over Deer Creek about three miles southeast of Cisne will be replaced for $279,945 by Perry County Construction Company of Herrin, the lower of two bidders. The projects are part of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 439,000 jobs over six years. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest construction programs in the nation.

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Pinckneyville Museum Hosting Tractor Drive & Banquet on Saturday

The Illinois Rural Heritage Museum of Pinckneyville is hosting its 6th Annual Tractor Drive & Banquet this Saturday.  A couple of Nashville High School FFA Chapter members will be in attendance, driving tractors and helping out.  Tricia Hermann explains that the event is a fundraiser for the museum, where in the day they have the tractor drive during the day and then a banquet with a speaker, or in this case 3, as it will be the Peterson Farm Brothers from Assaria, Kansas.  They are YouTube celebrities with song parodies about farming and agriculture used to promote them.  The event will be held at Illinois Harvest LLC, which is Irl Engelhardt’s farm just off of White Walnut Road.  The Tractor Drive Starts at 1:30 PM and banquet starts at 6 PM.  The meal is being provided by Buretta’s Bar & Grill of Nashville.  For More information regarding getting tickets & directions to this family friendly event contact museum volunteer Mary at 571-1854 or visit www.IllinoisRuralHeritageMuseum.org, as it promotes farm life long ago with old plows, tractors, scenes of life such as an old store, a dentist’s office, a doctor’s office and a home with a hand crank washing machine and rolling carpet sweepers.  Hermann tells what the museum shows visitors.   The Illinois Rural Heritage Museum in Pinckneyville has been open since 2011and is located across from the North Entrance of the Perry County Fairgrounds in Pinckneyville.

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STATE
Sixteen Killed At Illinois Railroad Crossings


(Springfield, IL) -- More than 50 people were injured or killed at railroad crossings in Illinois last year and now Amtrak is jumping on board with a campaign to help save lives. Barbara Petito says there's no question that people will be injured if they're hit by a train. Sixteen people in Illinois were killed at the crossings last year, another 40 were injured. Operation Lifesaver has a "See Tracks, Think Train" campaign that reminds people to think twice when they approach a railroad crossing. Whether you're walking or driving, you should always remember to yield at tracks, especially if there's no crossing arm. And most importantly, never try to walk or drive around the crossing arm when it's down.

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FBI Encourages Parents To Use Child ID App

(Springfield, IL)  --  The FBI has a useful tool to help speed up the process of finding kids if they come up missing.  Spokesman Brad Ware says they have a Smartphone App that lets parents upload information about their kids and alert police with the push of a button. Parents can download the free app on iPhone and Android devices.  They'll have to enter their child's name, height, weight, eye color, and any other special characteristics then upload a recent picture.  The app will even dial 9-1-1 if that's what parents need.  Officials say the FBI does not store or collect any information that is keyed into the app.

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Quinn to sign law requiring students be taught CPR

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign legislation that requires teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other safety skills to Illinois high school students. The proposal also requires students to get trained on automated external defibrillators. According to Quinn's office, he will sign the legislation during a Thursday event in Normal. The bill was prompted by paramedic George Laman. His daughter, who had a heart condition, collapsed and died in 2008 during drill team practice at a suburban Chicago high school. Quinn's office says an AED was available at the school, but not used until paramedics arrived. Her family believes her life could've been saved had someone known how to use it. Quinn calls it a "common-sense law" that'll help students in the case of an emergency.

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IDPH Confirms West Nile In Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed that a bird and mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus in Colona and Godfrey. Mosquitoes pick up the virus by feeding on infected birds. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, head and muscle aches. Officials say that virus activity is largely dependent on the weather.

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NATIONAL
More than a dozen injured in Staten Island blaze

NEW YORK (AP) — Authorities in New York City say 29 people have been injured overnight in a five-alarm fire on Staten Island. The Fire Department says 19 firefighters and 10 civilians suffered injuries ranging from minor to serious. Nearly all were taken to the hospital but none of the injuries is considered life-threatening. About 200 firefighters responded to the blaze at 1 a.m. today. A fire department spokesman says the fire consumed three, 2-story townhouses. One man says he caught one of two small children who were tossed out of a window of one of the burning buildings. The children are OK and firefighters rescued the man who tossed them to safety.

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Acting VA secretary to visit Phoenix facility

PHOENIX (AP) — Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson will be looking for answers when he visits the troubled VA hospital in Phoenix, which has been at the heart of allegations of delayed treatment and even deaths there. A former clinic director has said that up to 40 veterans may have died while awaiting treatment. Gibson will tour the facility and talk with officials in Phoenix later today.

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Questions grow about bridge closure, dirt mountain

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Delaware officials are using aerial images taken over the last few years to investigate a mountain of dirt they think may have caused the Interstate 495 bridge in Wilmington to become unsafe. Engineers think that as the pile of dirt grew to about two stories high and 100 yards long, it moved the ground and caused the bridge to tilt. The heavily-traveled bridge is closed off to traffic for the foreseeable future and motorists are being rerouted onto Interstate 95.

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No injuries in California military jet crash

IMPERIAL, Calif. (AP) — A Marine Corps spokesman says no one was injured when a jet crashed in a residential area in a Southern California desert community. Despite the jet smashing into at least one house and setting at least two on fire in a row of tightly spaced homes in Imperial on Wednesday. The spokesman says the pilot ejected safely and was taken to a hospital only for evaluation. The roof of the house that took the brunt of the crash was gone, but the walls were still standing.

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GM: Incompetence, negligence led to delayed recall

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — GM CEO Mary Barra says 15 employees have been fired over the company's recent ignition switch recalls. Barra made the announcement Thursday as she released an internal investigation into the recall of 2.6 million older small cars for defective ignition switches. Barra called the internal investigation into its recent ignition switch recall "brutally tough and deeply troubling." It took GM more than a decade to report the switch failures, which it blames for 13 deaths. In a town hall meeting at GM's suburban Detroit technical center, Barra says attorney Anton Valukas interviewed 230 employees and reviewed 41 million documents to produce the report, which makes recommendations to avoid future safety problems.

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Bergdahl's hometown cancels celebration amid furor

HAILEY, Idaho (AP) — A woman who lives next door to Bowe Bergdahl's family in Idaho says some of the reaction to his release amounts to a "modern-day lynching." Lee Ann Ferris says Bergdahl has "already suffered enough," and that the community "will welcome him back no matter what." But the town of Hailey has canceled plans for a celebration later this month marking his return from five years of Taliban captivity in Afghanistan. The town has been swamped with hate mail and angry calls from those who believe Bergdahl was a deserter who should be punished. Bergdahl was captured in 2009 in Afghanistan after walking away from his unit, unarmed.

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Videos made public of Western couple held in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The families of an American woman and her Canadian husband are calling for a humanitarian effort to bring the couple and their young child home. Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle disappeared while traveling as tourists in Afghanistan in October of 2012. They were expecting their first child. Coleman's parents received two short videos last year in which Boyle and Coleman are seen calling on the U.S. government to free them and their child from the Taliban. Family members are asking for "compassion" from their captors, and for help from anyone with information.

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Applications up slightly for US jobless aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but claims for jobless aid continue to hover near seven-year lows. The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 310,250. That's the lowest average since June 2007. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the running average suggests employers are letting go of fewer workers. When businesses are confident enough to hold onto staff, they may also step up hiring. That is a positive sign ahead of May's jobs report to be released Friday. Economists expect that 220,000 jobs were added last month, according to a FactSet survey. But payroll processer ADP said Wednesday that private employers hired just 179,000 workers in May.

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DC school principal comes out at gay pride event

WASHINGTON (AP) — The principal at one of the District of Columbia's largest public high schools has told students for the first time that he is gay at a pride day event. Wilson High School Principal Pete Cahall was joined Wednesday by Mayor Vincent Gray and by the first openly gay member of the D.C. Council, David Catania. Cahall says he has hid in the shadows for the last 50 years but was inspired by his students to say publicly for the first time that he is "a proud gay man." Students greeted the announcement with loud cheers. For years, being gay was a fireable offense in schools. Now, more gay teachers and school administrators are open about their sexual orientation. Cahall's announcement drew some criticism from those who oppose gay rights.

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INTERNATIONAL
Ukraine diplomacy kicks into high gear at G-7

BRUSSELS (AP) — Diplomatic efforts to resolve the months-long standoff between Ukraine and Russia are kicking into high gear in two European capitals. After the leaders of the Group of Seven major economies kept the threat of further sanctions against Russia on the table, Thursday's action was moving from Brussels to Paris where at least two tete-a-tete meetings were planned between President Vladimir Putin and European leaders. If President Barack Obamas didn't envisage such an encounter, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the eve of D-Day commemorations in Normandy. European leaders hope this week will offer a chance for a diplomatic breakthrough. The meetings will take place during a dinner, lunch and a double dinner.

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European Central Bank cuts rates to help eurozone

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central bank has cut two key interest rates in an attempt to keep the eurozone economy from falling into deflation. The monetary authority for the 18-country eurozone reduced its benchmark refinancing rate Thursday from a record low of 0.25 percent to 0.15 percent. More dra