BC-IL--Illinois News Digest, IL

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Associated Press

Posted on March 30, 2013 at 8:30 PM

The supervisor is Sara Burnett.

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.

ILLINOIS PRISONS-PONTIAC TOUR

PONTIAC — The warden at one of the state's toughest prisons says his staff has absorbed highly volatile former Tamms Correctional Center inmates without violence or other trouble by explaining expectations and "giving them what they have coming — nothing more and nothing less." Pontiac prison chief Randy Pfister proudly displayed his facility — whose oldest part dates to the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant — lifting a curtain that Gov. Pat Quinn had drawn over his penitentiaries until last fall but reversed after media agitation. The Good Friday tour came on the last day for Dwight Correctional Center — the women's prison 20 miles northeast of Pontiac. Quinn, a Democrat, ordered Dwight and Tamms and other facilities closed, claiming it will eventually save $100 million a year. By John O'Connor.

AP Photos ILBLO101-104.

QUINN-CLEMENCY

CHICAGO — A woman who served 27 years of a life sentence for her husband's murder — despite not being present when he was killed — was among 87 people granted clemency by Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday. Peggy Jo Jackson left the Logan Correctional Center on Friday and headed to South Carolina, where she'll live with her sister and mother and complete her parole, said Erica Nichols-Cook, an attorney with the Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois-Springfield. By Sara Burnett.

BUDGET BATTLE-AIRPORTS

CHICAGO — Airport operators are mounting a legal challenge to the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to cut funding for 149 air traffic control towers, accusing the agency of violating federal law meant to ensure major changes at airports do not erode safety. Several airports are now asking a federal court to halt the plan and compel the FAA to more carefully study the potential safety impact, said Carl Olson, director of the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill. He warned that without a more cautious approach, lives will be put at risk by cuts that he contends are arbitrary and the result of reckless political brinkmanship in Washington. By Jason Keyser.

AP Photos ILBLO501.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR-LAWSUIT

ST. LOUIS — A federal contractor has agreed to pay roughly $5.7 million to resolve a whistleblower's claims in an 8-year-old lawsuit that the company made money by submitting bogus claims, the Justice Department announced. The deal announced Friday does not include any admission of wrongdoing by CDW-Government LLC, a reseller of information technology, equipment, services, office supplies and related products. The lawsuit, filed in 2005 in East St. Louis, alleged that from 1999 to 2011, CDW-Government under a General Services Administration contract improperly charged federal purchasers for shipping, illegally sold products to the U.S. that were made in China and other countries. By Jim Suhr.

SEVERE WEATHER-WARNINGS

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Residents of Sumner County, Kansas, received a dire warning last year as a tornado barreled through toward Wichita: Get underground or into a shelter — or else. "Mass devastation is highly likely, making the area unrecognizable to survivors," the National Weather Service cautioned last April. In an effort to get people to safety quickly, the National Weather Service said Friday that it will expand its retooled severe weather warning system in Kansas, Missouri and 12 more Midwestern states, including Illinois. By Kyle Potter.

AP Photo: CER104.

BUSINESS

UNITED AIRLINES-BOEING

CHICAGO — United Airlines is delaying its new Denver-Tokyo service — again — because its new Boeing 787 jets remain grounded. United says service between Denver and Tokyo's Narita Airport will begin June 10. The airline had already pushed back the original March 31 start to at least May 12. The airline said that it was still determined to use the plane on the new route. The 787, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, promises a more comfortable ride for passengers and significant fuel savings for airline customers. But all 50 of the planes in airline fleets are grounded because of incidents involving smoldering batteries in January.

SEARS-EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

The CEO of Sears Holding Corp. received a compensation package worth nearly 90 percent less in 2012 than the prior year. Louis D'Ambrosio's became CEO of Sears in February 2011 and stepped down last month due to heath issues involving his family. In a proxy statement filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the retailer said D-Ambrosio's salary rose to $1 million last year from $930,769 in 2011. The value of his perks, like corporate housing and travel from his primary residence in Philadelphia to Chicago, shrank to $278,741 from $852,037 in 2011.

GREAT LAKES-SHIPPING WOES

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Water levels on the Great Lakes are so low that shippers are being forced to leave as much as 15 percent of their cargo behind, said industry experts who are working to find ways to alleviate the problem. Lakes Michigan and Huron are about 26 inches below their long-term monthly averages, and Lake Superior is about 13 inches lower, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers has said. Even though the lakes are expected to rise 2 to 4 inches in the next month, that's small consolation for shippers who are finding the waterways difficult to navigate.

ALSO MOVING:

—HUBCAP SHOOTINGS, from CHICAGO: An alleged hubcap thief who precipitated a shooting in Chicago's Medical District by driving his car at an FBI agent has surrendered.

—FIRE CLOCK FACTORY-FIRE, from PERU: Hundreds of tons of rubble has been removed this month from the site of a former clock factory in northern Illinois that was partly destroyed in a January 2012 fire.

—TOLONO-LOTTERY TICKET, from TOLONO: A winning Little Lotto ticket sold in the central Illinois village of Tolono expires April 10. Illinois Lottery officials say time is running out to claim the $50,000 prize.

—GREAT CHICAGO FIRE FESTIVAL, from CHICAGO: The city's newest festival will feature a "fire spectacle," acrobatics, live music and a procession of floating, illuminated sculptures on the Chicago River.

—DARIEN-THREE DEAD, from WHEATON: A DuPage County judge has allowed some hearsay evidence at the trial of a suburban Chicago man charged with the fatal shootings of three Darien family members.

—HKO-PEORIA-RIVERMEN LEAVING, from PEORIA: The St. Louis Blues have told the operators of the Peoria Civic Center that the NHL club's minor league affiliate in Peoria will leave after this season.

—FARM RICH-RECALL, from NEW YORK: Health officials say at least 24 people have become sick from an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to frozen snack foods marketed to children in several state, including Illinois.

SPORTS:

HKN--DUCKS-BLACKHAWKS

CHICAGO — Sheldon Souray scored the go-ahead goal with 2:08 left, Jonas Hiller made 25 saves and the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 to end a four-game losing streak. Souray's drive through a screen from the left point hit the stick of Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and deflected past Ray Emery, who suffered his first loss of the season. Anaheim's Corey Perry scored at 1:15 of the second period in the meeting of the top two teams in the Western Conference. By Matt Carlson.

AP Photos CXA101.

BBO--CUBS-ASTROS

HOUSTON — Chicago right-hander Edwin Jackson struck out nine in four innings as the Cubs took on the Astros in the first of two exhibition games to wrap up the exhibition season.

AP Photos.

BBO--WHITE SOX-BREWERS

MILWAUKEE — Hector Santiago pitched three perfect innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2. Santiago struck out five while throwing 35 pitches. Adam Dunn went 3 for 3 with two RBIs for the White Sox, who finished with 12 hits. By Joe Totoraitis.

AP Photos WIJP112-113.

ALSO:

—BKN-BULLS-THOMAS, from CHICAGO: The Chicago Bulls signed forward Malcolm Thomas to another 10-day contract Friday.

—FBN-BEARS-MCCOWN, from LAKE FOREST: The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with quarterback Josh McCown.

—FBN-BEARS-SLAUSON, from CHICAGO: The Chicago Bears and former New York Jets guard Matt Slauson have agreed to a 1-year contract.

—HKO-PEORIA-RIVERMEN LEAVING, from PEORIA: The St. Louis Blues have told the operators of the Peoria Civic Center that the NHL club's minor league affiliate in Peoria will leave after this season.

ILLINOIS SPOTLIGHTS:

COP FOR A DAY

PEORIA — Zach Edington dusted for fingerprints in the crime lab and met a police dog as part of a behind-the-scenes look at the Peoria County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday afternoon. At 4 foot 5 inches, the teen needed a boost to peek into the cells, but the tour is one step toward accomplishing his dream of one day becoming an officer, specifically a member of the SWAT team. "I like to help people and I've been a fan of it for a long time," said the Hanna City boy, 13. Zach has Noonan syndrome, a genetic disorder that prevents normal development in various parts of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. Though he's small even compared to his middle school classmates, doctors guess he won't grow much more. By Laura Nightengale. (Peoria) Journal Star.

AP Photos ILPEO301-303.

CELEBRITY SERVERS

BLOOMINGTON — Hockey players served breakfast at Bloomington Junior High School students while the Cat in the Hat whirled through Irving Elementary School's cafeteria as students ate green eggs and ham. It was all part of a plan to encourage healthy eating. On other days, whole grain bread, low fat milk, vegetables and fruit speak for themselves as part of new federal nutrition standards. Irving fourth-grader Aakiah Sylvester likes eating breakfast and lunch at school and is among about 200 students who eat breakfast there every day. "This is my favorite," she said of the green eggs and ham. By Phyllis Coulter. The (Bloomington) Pantagraph.

AP Photos ILBLO301-302.

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