The supervisor is Jason Keyser.
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ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE-ROAD PROJECTS
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's administration says that when it comes to a boost in road construction this spring, follow the letter, not the law. A new law signed by the governor allows as much as $176 million to be taken out of a road construction fund. But in a letter to a top Senate Democrat, Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider promises not to divert that much money from a $675 million plan for highway and bridge construction projects this year. By Political Writer John O'Connor.
—ILLINOIS FORECLOSURES, from CHICAGO: Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a new law that's designed to speed up Illinois' foreclosure process. AP Photo CX101.
ILLINOIS PRISON-INMATE DEATH
SPRINGFIELD — A state prosecutor says his office is treating the Jan. 31 death of a southern Illinois prison inmate as a murder investigation. Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker said Friday that he hasn't decided on whether he will file criminal charges in the death of 25-year-old Jason Hall. Walker says he has spoken with Illinois Department of Corrections internal investigators but has yet to receive reports on the incident. By John O'Connor.
HOUSE ETHICS PROBE-DAVIS
CHAMPAIGN — The office investigating U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock over allegations the Illinois Republican violated campaign fundraising laws says new GOP Congressman Rodney Davis isn't cooperating with the probe. A report released Wednesday by the bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics indicates Davis refused to cooperate. Davis is a Republican from Taylorville who took office this year.
Schock is accused of soliciting a $25,000 contribution last March from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's political action committee for PAC backing of Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Federal law prohibits contributions of more than $5,000. Schock has denied any wrongdoing.
AP Photo ILSPR501.
BELLEVILLE — The Vatican's defrocking of a Roman Catholic priest whose decades-old molestation of a former altar boy led to a $6.3 million payout in a southern Illinois lawsuit was welcomed Friday by that victim's attorney as long overdue even if the timing is surprising. Diocese of Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton, in a statement published in the diocese's The Messenger newspaper, said 78-year-old Raymond Kownacki's defrocking took effect Jan. 11 as part of a papal decree that called the move "for the good of the church." By Jim Suhr.
TULSA, Okla. — An Illinois man suspected in a plot to firebomb dozens of Oklahoma churches last fall with Molotov cocktails is unstable and has battled bouts of mental disorders and depression throughout most of his life, his aunt said this week. Gregory Arthur Weiler II, 24, of Elk Grove Village, Ill., is accused of planning to destroy 48 churches in northeastern Oklahoma and preparing to launch the attacks from a tiny motel he was holed up in near Interstate 44 in Miami, Okla. "When we visited him (in jail) he was unable to finish his sentences," Weiler's aunt, Joanne Meyers, said sobbing.
CHICAGO — Jenny McCarthy may have made a home in the Chicago suburbs, but the 40-year-old mom of a 10-year-old son hasn't lost her goofy, party girl-persona. The former Playboy playmate and TV host says Hugh Hefner's 1970s-era "Playboy After Dark" is the inspiration her new weekly VH1 talk show, "The Jenny McCarthy Show," which debuts Friday night. She'll commute to New York to film the show from her home outside her native Chicago. "In a perfect world the dream is to be as close as possible to my little boy so I can be the mom I want to be and to be the person on TV I want to be," McCarthy said in an interview this week with The Associated Press while she was preparing for her new weekly show. By Caryn Rousseau.
AP Photos NYET101-104. AP Video.
CHICAGO — Federal authorities have announced charges against an Illinois main accused of scamming hundreds of Chinese investors out of millions of dollars. The Securities and Exchange Commission says it has frozen the assets of Anshoo Sethi, 29. The SEC alleges Anshoo R. Sethi, 29, created a company that claimed investors would be financing construction of the "World's First Zero Carbon Emission Platinum LEED certified" hotel and conference center near Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The agency alleges Sethi fraudulently sold more $145 million in securities and $11 million in fees to more than 250 investors, most of them from China.
UNDATED — Boeing acknowledges it may not be able to deliver 787s as fast as hoped. The company said it has told customers expecting the next 787 deliveries that those planes have either been delayed, or are at risk for a delay. Chicago-based Boeing is still building the long-range, fuel-efficient planes, and it reiterated that it has no plans to slow production. The world's fleet of 50 787s has been grounded since Jan. 16, after a battery fire and a smoldering battery happened just days apart. Knowing the root cause could take weeks, investigators have said. Fixing it could take longer. The 787 is the first commercial airliner to rely heavily on lithium-ion batteries. Each plane has two of the 63-pound blue power bricks, one near the front to provide power to the cockpit if the engines stop, and one near the back to start up the auxiliary power unit, which is essentially a backup generator. By AP Business Writer Joshua Freed.
—HAIR SALON ROBBERIES, from WHEATON: Law enforcement authorities in DuPage County are accusing an Evanston man of allegedly robbing a tobacco store and three hair salons.
—STATE OF UNION-MURRAY, from EVANSTON: An Evanston woman whose 19-year-old son was shot to death will attend President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
—CHURCHGOERS ROBBED, from BELLEVILLE: Three men are charged with armed robbery in connection with the robbery of congregants of an East St. Louis church during Sunday services.
—DISSUADING DRINKERS-CONTEST, from CHICAGO: Teenagers are being asked to come up with artwork and slogans encouraging adults in Illinois not to provide alcohol to minors.
—TRAFFICKING RING, from NEWARK, N.J.: A former New Jersey resident who had been a fugitive since being charged in 2009 as part of a purported international crime ring has been returned to New Jersey.
—KIRK-STATE OF THE UNION, from CHICAGO: Sen. Mark Kirk has invited one of the physical therapists who helped him recover after his stroke to be his guest for next week's State of the Union address.
SALT LAKE CITY — The Chicago Bulls got off to a good start against the Utah Jazz as they tried to halt a two-game skid and come out of a six-game road trip with a .500 record. The game featured the return of Carlos Boozer, only his second time back since leaving Utah as a free agent in the summer of 2010. By Lynn DeBruin.
CHAMPAIGN — In a confounding year of college basketball, there may be no more confounding team than Illinois. With first-year coach John Groce just getting started and the memory of the collapse that cost his predecessor his job still fresh, few expected much of the Illini. They surprised nearly everyone by going 12-0 and securing a top-10 ranking, then promptly fell apart by opening the Big Ten season 2-7. The low point was a loss to Northwestern. At home. The high would be Thursday's 74-72 stunner over No. 1 Indiana. The out-of-the-blue win came at a moment when the Illini were so low — they'd lost six of seven and watched both their shooting and their defense fail — that even a close loss would have provided Groce with a moral victory. By David Mercer.
AP Photos ILJD106 ILJD112, ILJD117.
CHICAGO - It's the ultimate status symbol for a company looking to make a splash. It's a statement: We're here, and we plan on staying for a while. And it's a valuable revenue stream for teams looking to upgrade their facility, or build a new one altogether. Corporate names are plastered on arenas and stadiums all over the world today, and the marquee sponsorship agreements are becoming more lucrative and intricate with each blockbuster contract. That's why some of the top professionals in sports are paying close attention to an intriguing group of naming rights deals set to expire within the next five years. "Everyone's starting to think about this," said Eric Fernandez, a senior vice president at MediaLink LLC. By Jay Cohen.
AP Photos NY186-189.
AURORA — The Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is continuing its mission of facilitating business development - Latino style - under new leadership. Longtime chamber member Karina Garcia recently became the chamber's executive director, stepping into the role previously held by Interim Executive Director Jerry Campagna. Garcia, 31, of North Aurora, said the chamber will push to build greater community involvement among Hispanic business owners, offer more workshops for small businesses and bring back a business expo last held in 2010. By Marie Wilson. (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald.
AP Photo ILARL301.
THOMASBORO — Ruby Splittstoesser needs a display case. She could use one for all of the tokens of appreciation she has received for her efforts on behalf of U.S. troops. Perhaps she could place the display case at Heartland Dry Cleaners, Thomasboro, which she operates with her husband, Dan. Or maybe she would prefer one at home. The items she has been given are recognition for her efforts to send care packages to U.S. troops serving overseas. As of last week she had sent more than 3,300 of the packages. By Dave Hinton. The (Champaign) News-Gazette.
AP Photo ILCHN301.