BC-IL--Illinois News Digest, IL

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Associated Press

Posted on November 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM

The supervisor is Caryn Rousseau, followed by Don Babwin.

If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to chifax(at)ap.org or fax them to the Chicago bureau at 312-781-1989. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please transmit them to AP's Chicago photo desk. If you have questions about the Illinois AP news report, please call the Chicago bureau supervisor at 800-572-2585 or 312-920-3626. For questions about the photo report, please call the Chicago photo editor at 888-276-3804.

JACKSON-RESIGNATION

WASHINGTON — Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., a once rising political star who has been on a mysterious medical leave for months for treatment of bipolar disorder, has resigned from Congress, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday. Jackson's resignation and hushed absence from politics comes amid a continuing House Ethics Committee investigation into his dealings with imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, along with reports of a new federal probe into possible misuse of campaign money. Boehner's spokesman Michael Steele said his office received a resignation letter from Jackson but did not comment further. By Henry C. Jackson and Sophia Tareen.

AP Photos WX105-WX107.

CAMERAS IN COURT

WHEATON — DuPage County's top prosecutor says the first foray into having cameras in court in a Chicago-area criminal case went smoothly but it's too early to issue a final verdict. DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin says he didn't notice that cameras during a brief hearing Wednesday. But when asked afterward if he thinks cameras in the courtroom are a good idea, Berlin responded: "We'll see." By Sara Burnett.

AP Photos ILMG104-105.

WITH:

—ILLINOIS-CHILDREN DEAD, from WHEATON: The attorney for a suburban Chicago woman accused of stabbing to death her young son and a girl she was babysitting asked the public not to rush to judgment after the woman's arraignment hearing on Wednesday. Elzbieta Plackowska pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in each child's death. Prosecutors allege she stabbed her 7-year-old son more than 100 times because she was angry with her husband, and then stabbed the 5-year-old girl about 50 times because she was a witness. Prosecutors said Wednesday that a psychiatrist has started a mental health evaluation of Plackowska in anticipation she may use an insanity defense. The process could take months, they said. By Sara Burnett. AP Photos.

DROUGHT-SEVERITY

ST. LOUIS — The nation's worst drought in decades is worsening in portions of key farming states after an encouraging five-week run of improving conditions, a drought-tracking consortium's update showed Wednesday as fresh evidence of the stubborn grip of dry conditions. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that 60.1 percent of the continental U.S. was in some form of drought as of Tuesday, up from 58.8 percent the previous week. By Jim Suhr.

WITH:

—DROUGHT-SEVERITY-ILLINOIS.

THANKSGIVING TRAVEL

CHICAGO — Millions of Americans navigate around the sluggish economy to make the annual Thanksgiving migration, many of them having had to sacrifice summer vacations, scour websites for deals or rely on relatives to chip in for airfare. Accepting there's no quick end to the road out of recession, many say they've had to become savvier or at least hardier travelers — resilient enough to brave a day-long drive with the kids or a long haul on the bus. There were other familiar obstacles, like heavy fog shrouding the air hub of Chicago, which sent some delays and cancelations rippling around the nation. By Jason Keyser.

AP Photos.

WITH:

—THANKSGIVING TRAVEL-MUSIC, from CHICAGO: Crowds moving through Chicago's two airports will have a soundtrack to accompany their Thanksgiving journey.

EARNS-DEERE

MINNEAPOLIS — Farm and construction gear maker Deere & Co. reported a bigger fourth-quarter profit as it sold more equipment at higher prices, but results still missed analyst expectations. Deere said its net income rose 2.7 percent to $687.6 million, or $1.75 per share for the quarter ended Oct. 31. Revenue rose 14 percent to $9.79 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting earnings of $1.88 per share. A year ago, Deere's net income was $669.6 million, or $1.62 per share. Deere revenue got a boost from a 4 percent increase in prices, although some of that gain was offset by unfavorable foreign currency exchange that hurt sales by 3 percent. By Joshua Freed.

AP Photos NYBZ140, NY113.

UNITED-7 WTC LAWSUIT

NEW YORK — United Airlines cannot be held responsible for the hijacking of an American Airlines flight and the collapse of a third World Trade Center building after the twin towers fell in the Sept. 11 attacks, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The Chicago-based airline was not responsible for the collapse of 7 World Trade Center because it had no connection to American Airlines Flight 11 or its hijackers, except that it had shared responsibility for a security checkpoint in Portland, Maine, that screened two of the terrorists, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said. Regardless of their air carrier, all passengers at the time passed through the checkpoint. By Larry Neumeister.

ALSO MOVING:

—ILLINOIS-METRO UNEMPLOYMENT, from CHICAGO: Illinois is getting some good news when it comes to metro unemployment numbers. The state's Department of Employment Security on Wednesday reported that the metro unemployment rates fell statewide in October compared to October 2011. With: ILLINOIS-METRO UNEMPLOYMENT-GLANCE.

—ILLINOIS ELECTION-PREGNANT VOTER, from DOLTON: A pregnant suburban Chicago woman who voted on Election Day despite labor pains has given birth to a baby girl.

—ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY-DIRECTOR, from CHICAGO: The director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is retiring. Gov. Pat Quinn announced 65-year-old David Vaught's retirement Wednesday. In a statement, Quinn praised Vaught and thanked him for his state service.

—LAKE COUNTY COURTS, from WAUKEGAN: The Lake County Board has voted to spend more than $119 million on a five-year plan to increase and improve courtroom and jail space.

—WWII ORDNANCE, from ST. JOSEPH: The owner of an auction house in east central Illinois found a big surprise while unpacking the belongings of a recently deceased Longview man: a box filled with World War II-era explosives.

—EMBEZZLEMENT-BANK TELLERS, from EDWARDSVILLE: The second of two former tellers who admitted stealing thousands of dollars from their bank has been sentenced to probation and ordered to repay the stolen money.

—GIRLS MOLESTED-SENTENCING, from URBANA: A Champaign County judge has sentenced a 37-year-old man to 50 years in prison after a jury convicted him of molesting one girl and trying to molest another child.

—ILLINOIS-DEER SEASON, from SPRINGFIELD: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says deer hunters around Illinois killed more than 72,000 deer during last weekend's opening of the 2012 firearm season.

—DISABILITY PARKING CRACKDOWN, from CHICAGO: State officials say they're cracking down on people who illegally park in disability parking spaces at shopping malls.

—TRAFFIC SAFETY, from SPRINGFIELD: Illinois state officials are launching an end-of-year "Drive to Survive" campaign to reduce the number of traffic fatalities.

—DUI FATAL-MAN ACCUSED, from BELLEVILLE: A southwestern Illinois man who as a teenager admitted drunkenly causing a 2006 death is free on bond after being charged again with driving under the influence.

—WILLIAMSON COUNTY KILLING, from MARION: A southern Illinois woman has been sentenced to a half century in prison for her role in the 2011 shooting death of a man.

—ILLINOIS-ALTERNATIVE FUELS, from DES MOINES: A more than $50,000 federal alternative fuel project is coming to Des Plaines. The Department of Energy announced the project Monday for the Gas Technology Institute in the Chicago suburb.

—SKATING RINKS DELAYED, from CHICAGO: This week's unseasonably warm weather may be perfect for Thanksgiving Day football games, but it's a little too warm for Chicago's outdoor ice skating rinks.

SPORTS:

BKN-BULLS-ROCKETS

HOUSTON — Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls face James Harden, Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. Developing from 7 p.m. (CT) tipoff. By Chris Duncan.

BKC-BUTLER-ILLINOIS.

LAHAINA, Hawaii — The Illini will face Butler in the final of the Maui Invitational, and a win would give Illinois a 6-0 start to the season. By Oskar Garcia. Tipoff is 9 p.m.

WITH:

—BKC-ROCHESTER (MICH.)-E. ILLINOIS. Game time is 12 p.m.

—BKC-DEPAUL-W. KENTUCKY. Game time is 6 p.m.

FBN-BEARS OFFENSE-CUTLER

LAKE FOREST — Jay Cutler's playing status after missing a game due to a concussion could be clarified Wednesday, but the Bears offensive problems seem like more than a quarterback change can correct as they prepare for a crucial game against the Minnesota Vikings following a Monday night disaster in San Francisco.

WITH:

—BBA-WHITE SOX-WISE, from CHICAGO: The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a one-year, $700,000 contract with veteran outfielder Dwayne Wise.

ILLINOIS SPOTLIGHT: HONDURAS DRESSES

FREEPORT — Each day when Marilyn Gibbs of Freeport has some spare time, she can be found in the basement of her home in what she calls "my cave." The cave is actually the place Gibbs sews, and these days she has been spending a lot of time sewing. Gibbs is making dresses that will be taken to Honduras on a mission trip in January. These simple, but ornate, dresses are given to children in orphanages. It was last year when Gibbs sent 67 dresses to Africa on a mission trip taken by Amanda Cummins of Cedarville. Cummins made that mission trip through an organization at her college. The local church that assists with sending these dresses is Cedarville Emmanuel Church. By Jane Lethlean. The (Freeport) Journal-Standard.

AP Photos ILFRE501-502.

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