BC-IL--Illinois News Digest, IL

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Associated Press

Posted on February 4, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The supervisor is Tamara Starks, followed by Caryn Rousseau. The photo editor is Robert Graves.

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. If you're having problems with your AP equipment, please call AP Customer Support at 877-836-9477.

CLOSER LOOK-STATE OF THE STATE

CHICAGO — Gov. Pat Quinn faces big expectations over how he'll address Illinois' disastrous finances when he delivers his State of the State speech this week, but he's hinting he'll also spend time reminding the public how the state's image has been cleaned up under his watch. The annual speech is expected to set the tone for the year, touching on broad themes ahead of a later budget address on the nitty-gritty of running government. But this is the governor's best chance to boast of accomplishments, and Quinn has yet to succeed at forging compromise on pension reform and other issues as he did with helping restore the state's reputation after his two predecessors went off to prison. By Sophia Tareen.

VIDEO GAMBLING BARS

KEYESPORT — Some Illinois bar owners say they're already profiting big from video gambling machines that became legal late last year and profits are expected to jump even more with pending applications. Just ask Bob Wadddell who owns a bar outside Keyesport in Clinton County. He made $9,778 in video gambling in December, according to the (Belleville) News-Democrat. "I have not been disappointed with the results," he said. In the metro-east area, players combined lost on average slightly more than $10,000 in each of the region's 35 facilities with a video gambling license in December. Statewide players lost nearly $7 million that month. Establishments kept $2.45 million, the state earned $1.75 million, and cities and counties combined made about $350,000.

BOEING 787-BATTERY SHIPMENTS

WASHINGTON — At the same time the government certified Boeing's 787 Dreamliners as safe, federal rules barred the type of batteries used to power the airliner's electrical systems from being carried as cargo on passenger planes because of the fire risk. Now the situation is reversed. Dreamliners from Chicago-based Boeing worldwide were grounded nearly three weeks ago after lithium ion batteries that are part of the planes led to a fire in one plane and smoke in a second. But new rules exempt aircraft batteries from the ban on large lithium ion batteries as cargo on flights by passenger planes. In effect, that means the Dreamliner's batteries are now allowed to fly only if they're not attached to a Dreamliner. The regulations were published on Jan. 7, the same day as a battery fire in a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston's Logan International Airport that took firefighters nearly 40 minutes to put out. The timing of the two events appears coincidental. By Joan Lowy.

AP Photos WX102, WX103, WX104.

SCHOOL TURNAROUND BACKLASH

LOS ANGELES — The federal government's push for drastic reforms at chronically low achieving schools has led to takeovers by charter operators, overhauls of staff and curriculum, and even school shutdowns across the country. It's also generated a growing backlash among the mostly low-income, minority communities where some see the reforms as not only disruptive in struggling neighborhoods, but also as civil rights violations since turnaround efforts primarily affect black and Latino students. The U.S. Department of Education's civil rights office has opened investigations into 33 complaints from parents and community members, representing 29 school districts ranging from big city systems such as Chicago, Detroit and Washington D.C. to smaller cities including Wichita and Ambler. By Christina Hoag.

MEDICAL:

GAYS BULLYING

CHICAGO — It really does get better for gay and bisexual teens when it comes to being bullied, although young gay men have it worse than their lesbian peers, according to the first long-term scientific evidence on how the problem changes over time. By Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner. AP photos.

LITTLE HOUSE-SCARLET FEVER

CHICAGO — Any fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved "Little House" books knows how the author's sister Mary went blind: scarlet fever. But turns out that probably wasn't the cause, medical experts say, upending one of the more dramatic elements in the classic stories. By Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner. AP photos.

Also moving:

— CHURCH DONATIONS-NIGERIA — Members of a west-central Illinois church have packaged more than 285,000 meals that will be shipped to malnourished people in Nigeria.

— ATTORNEY GENERAL REVENUE, from CHICAGO — The office of Illinois' attorney general says it generated more than $1.1 billion in state revenue through litigation and collection efforts in 2012.

— KIRK-STROKE-NEWSPAPER, from CHICAGO — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has detailed the intense memories of the stroke he suffered more than a year ago, including an ambulance ride to the hospital, recovering from surgeries and grueling rehabilitation.

— TRAIN DERAILMENT-BELLWOOD, from BELLWOOD — Authorities say several cars of a Union Pacific freight train coming from California have derailed in the Chicago suburb of Bellwood.

— BRIBERY ALLEGATION-CAMPAIGN FUND, from SPRINGFIELD — A published report says indicted state Rep. Derrick Smith dipped into campaign funds to pay more than $37,000 to his defense team.

— SUPER BOWL FOOD, from AURORA — Don't let bacteria be the uninvited guests of your Super Bowl party.

— BRAIN DAMAGE SETTLEMENT, from CHICAGO — Cook County commissioners vote this week on a proposed $20 million settlement in a medical malpractice suit against a Chicago hospital brought by the family of a boy who suffered brain damage while receiving care.

— CHICAGO 911 CALLS — Chicago authorities are revamping how police respond to 911 calls in hopes of freeing up more officers to respond to the most serious crimes.

— HANG GLIDING DEATH — Authorities say an Illinois man has died in a hang gliding accident in central Florida.

— GANG ARRESTS — Police have arrested 43 suspected gang members and seized $23,000 worth of illegal drugs in a citywide gang takedown.

— COLD CASE-WALLET FOUND — An employee in the University of Illinois' refrigeration shop has helped solve a "cold case" of sorts.

— COYOTE SIGHTINGS — Authorities in northern Illinois are alerting residents that they could encounter an increasing number of coyotes during the mating season over the next few months.

Moved previously and available for use.

CHICAGO DRUGS TASK FORCE

CHICAGO — A first-of-its-kind headquarters has opened in Chicago where 70 federal agents, local police and prosecutors work side-by-side, all year round to fight drug trafficking — a set-up meant to end inter-agency rivalry and miscommunication that can plague investigations. The opening of the Chicago Strike Force office comes as Mexican traffickers have taken control of more than 90 percent of the drugs market in Chicago, which the syndicates also use as a hub for distribution across the Midwest, the Drug Enforcement Agency says. Cooperation among U.S. agencies and local law enforcement in Chicago and other cities isn't a new idea, but it has typically taken the form of scheduled meetings, frequent phone contact or participation in joint task forces fashioned for specific investigations. That's no longer good enough, DEA officials say. An AP Exclusive by Michael Tarm.

AP Photos ILMG101-104.

CHICAGO VIOLENCE-GUN LAWS

CHICAGO — They are counting the dead from gunfire again in Chicago, a city awash in weapons despite having one of the strictest gun-control ordinances in the nation. After a year in which Chicago's death toll surpassed 500, the bloodshed has continued in 2013 at a rate of more than one killing a day. It was the city's deadliest January in more than a decade. Now with this week's death of a 15-year-old drum majorette who had just returned from performing at President Barack Obama's inauguration, the mounting losses have put Obama's hometown at the center of the intensifying national debate over guns. By Don Babwin.

AP Photos ILCA101-107.

SPORTS:

BKC--WISCONSIN-ILLINOIS

CHAMPAIGN — Ben Brust scored 20 points and Wisconsin overcame a ragged start on Sunday to beat Illinois 74-68. The Badgers (15-7, 6-3 Big Ten) shot under 30 percent for most of the first half and combined with the Illini to score 14 points in the game's first eight minutes. AP Photos ILRS104, ILRS102, ILRS105, ILRS106, ILRS101, ILRS103.

T25-NORTHWESTERN-IOWA

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Karly Roser's layup just before time expired lifted Northwestern to a 67-65 Big Ten win over No. 24 Iowa on Sunday. The Hawkeyes (16-7, 5-4) had tied the game with Melissa Dixon's basket with 3 seconds to play. Dixon led Iowa with 21 points.

ILLINOIS SPOTLIGHT:

SPOTLIGHT-YOUNG PILOT

KANKAKEE — A tale involving aeronautical history and mechanical ingenuity might be expected at the Kankakee airfield that is home to the 86-year-old Koerner Aviation business. It's also predictable that the central characters in that story would be ancestors of the aviation pioneers who first brought flying machines to this area. In the latest story unfolding these days, 24-year-old Alex Koerner is getting noticed — along with his newly restored Luscombe 8C, a rare plane that first rolled out of the factory June 28, 1941. By Dennis Yohnka. The (Kankakee) Daily Journal.

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