AP-IL--Illinois News Digest, IL

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Associated Press

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 1:30 PM

The supervisor is Caryn Rousseau, followed by Herbert G. McCann.

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STATE OF THE STATE

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois needs a tough law prohibiting lawmakers from voting on issues where they have a conflict of interest, Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday in his State of the State address. Quinn also renewed a call for banning military-style assault weapons and approving gay marriage and urged a 20 percent increase in the hourly minimum wage, to $10. The state's most pressing problem — a stifling public-employee pension deficit putting a "squeeze" on other government spending — was an undercurrent throughout Quinn's fifth State of the State. Quinn pointedly named Senate President John Cullerton's latest legislation that provides a fallback plan if the first is declared unconstitutional as "the best vehicle to get the job done." By John O'Connor and Sophia Tareen.

AP Photos.

WITH:

—STATE OF THE STATE-GLANCE.

—STATE OF THE STATE-TEXT OF SPEECH.

—Separate NewsNows moving on proposals, reaction.

SMALL TOWN SWINDLE

DIXON — An attorney for former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell is asking a judge to be lenient at her sentencing next week for the theft of more than $53 million in public funds from the city. Crundwell faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on a felony count of wire fraud. Sentencing guidelines that take into account Crundwell's acceptance of responsibility and lack of prior criminal history put the possible punishment at between 13 and 16 years in prison.

AP Photos pursuing.

SMARTPHONES OVERTIME

CHICAGO — A lawsuit filed by a Chicago police officer claiming he and fellow officers are owed overtime for work performed after hours on their department-requisitioned smartphones is still on track. Sgt. Jeffrey Allen's lawyers and city attorneys told a judge Wednesday they had agreed on the wording of documents that will be sent to other officers about the possibility joining the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims police brass pressure officers to answer work related calls and track e-mails but to not file for overtime. City attorneys deny that and say the written policy is that they should seek overtime. A federal judge in Chicago recently ruled the plaintiffs had shown sufficient merit for the suit to continue. By Michael Tarm.

BOEING 787-NTSB

WASHINGTON — The use of lithium ion batteries to power aircraft systems isn't necessarily unsafe despite a battery fire in one Boeing 787 Dreamliner and smoke in another, but manufacturers need to build in reliable safeguards, the nation's top aviation safety investigator said Wednesday. National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said she doesn't want to "categorically" rule out the use of lithium ion batteries to power aircraft systems, even though it's clear that safeguards failed in the case of a Japan Airlines 787 that had a battery fire while parked at Boston's Logan International Airport last month. "Obviously what we saw in the 787 battery fire in Boston shows us there were some risks that were not mitigated, that were not addressed," Hersman told reporters in an interview. The fire was not "what we would have expected to see in a brand new battery in a brand new airplane," she said. By Joan Lowy.

AP Photo WX103.

ALSO MOVING:

—CHURCHES-BOMB PLOT, from TULSA, Okla.: An Illinois man charged with plotting to firebomb dozens of churches in northeastern Oklahoma with Molotov cocktails will be tried in federal — not state — court.

—JAIL QUARANTINE-ILLNESS, from CHICAGO: What officials say is an outbreak of the "stomach flu" in the Cook County Jail has prompted the sheriff to quarantine one of the jail's largest divisions.

—GUN PROSECUTIONS, from CHICAGO: A Cook County official wants federal authorities to prosecute more gun cases.

—RIVER-DREDGING, from ST. LOUIS: Dredging operations in the middle Mississippi River are finished for the winter.

—U OF ILLINOIS-CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE, from URBANA: The University of Illinois may open a new institute financed by the Chinese government and focused on Chinese language and culture.

—SPRINGFIELD TORNADO-FEDERAL AID, from SPRINGFIELD: A Springfield utility must repay nearly $800,000 in federal reimbursements it received after tornadoes struck central Illinois in March 2006.

—MARION-OFFICIAL ACCUSED, from BENTON: The former longtime manager of Marion's water department has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that accuse her of stealing more than $500,000 from the southern Illinois city.

—DIAMONDJACKS BANKRUPTCY, from JACKSON, Miss.: The Oklahoma Indian tribe that planned to buy DiamondJacks casinos in Bossier City, La., and Vicksburg, Miss., is now suing to get back the $6.25 million deposit it put down on the purchase.

—COLLEGE AID, from SPRINGFIELD: February is Financial Aid Awareness Month and authorities are urging parents of college-bound kids not to delay seeking assistance.

—MISSISSIPPI RIVER TOWNS, from ALTON: Two mayors from southern Illinois say they're going to Washington next month to talk with lawmakers about the Mississippi River.

—PEACE CORPS-COLLEGES, from CHICAGO: Three Illinois colleges are among the top schools in the nation for sending volunteers to work with the Peace Corps.

—TURKEY HARVEST, from SPRINGFIELD: Illinois wild turkey hunters harvested 1,330 birds during the 2012 season, a slight increase over the previous year.

SPORTS:

FBC-SIGNING DAY-ILLINOIS

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois looks to build up a team that last fall lacked depth and won just two games in coach Tim Beckman's first season on campus. Beckman has already added a number of junior college players. Some recruiting services preliminarily rank Illinois' 2013 class in the upper half of the Big Ten.

AP Photos.

WITH:

—FBC_SIGNING DAY-ILLINOIS-LIST

FBC-SIGNING DAY-NORTHWESTERN

EVANSTON — Northwestern added a pair of highly ranked players to its offense as part of its 2013 recruiting class. The Wildcats said Wednesday that they signed 19 players. They include quarterback Matt Alviti of Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Ill. Scouting services Rivals.com and Scout.com consider him a four-star recruit.

WITH:

—FBC-SIGNING DAY-NORTHWESTERN-LIST.

ALSO:

—BKC-BOWLING GREEN-N. ILLINOIS. Game time is 7 p.m.

—BKC-ILLINOIS ST.-DRAKE. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

ILLINOIS SPOTLIGHT: HISTORIC HEADWEAR

DECATUR — It's hard to imagine what brides wore nearly 120 years ago, but Decatur sisters Toni Skelley and Martha McNamara were able to look into the past when they received a wedding headpiece their grandmother, Pauline Bucher, wore when she married in 1895. "Our mother had it when our grandma died, and then when our mother passed away, I got it," Skelley of the a delicate wax crown adorned with tiny white, wax blossoms. "I wanted to use it in my wedding, but we realized it was too squished to use." By Nicole Harbour. Herald & Review.

AP Photos ILDEC501-502.

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