The supervisor is Caryn Rousseau, followed by Herb McCann. The photo editor and Robert Graves.
If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.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 312-781-0500. 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.
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois transit advocates are proposing a plan to fix the state's deteriorating roads through a new tax that would raise the price at the gas pump, The Associated Press has learned. The Transportation for Illinois Coalition says the $800-million-dollar-a-year plan is necessary to get a toehold on needed repairs to roads, bridges and rails. The influential group is pushing legislation to replace the current 19-cents-a-gallon motor fuel tax with a 9.5 percent wholesale tax. It would add about 19 cents to today's price of a gallon of gas. By John O'Connor.
CHICAGO — The National Weather Service is upgrading the risk of storms to its highest alert level for parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The agency's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., says there's a high risk that damaging winds will strike in extreme eastern Iowa into northern portions of Illinois and Indiana and northwest portions of Ohio. The storms could hit Chicago around rush hour. By Carla K. Johnson.
AP Photos: WX101-102
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is planning a fresh vote on own his plan to reform public-employee pensions despite a request from the governor for compromise with the Senate. The Chicago Democrat filed legislation Wednesday identical to a bill the House OK'd last month but failed in the Senate. It doesn't mention a rival proposal by Senate President John Cullerton. Gov. Pat Quinn, who has called a special session on the issue for next week, wants both ideas in one bill in case a court rejects one. By Kerry Lester.
ST. LOUIS — A second Illinois prosecutor is letting his county's residents carry concealed weapons even as the governor weighs whether to allow it statewide, reflecting more impatience among local law enforcers months since a federal court tossed out Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban. Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker's decision to stop prosecuting the prohibition on guns in public came days after his Madison County counterpart issued a similar declaration. The sheriff of southern Illinois' Clinton County also has joined suit, saying any armed person found in his jurisdiction from counties that allow concealed weapons won't be arrested for packing heat. By Jim Suhr.
AP Photos ILCAR501, ILBND501.
CROP REPORT-RAINY SPRING
DES MOINES — The USDA releases its monthly update on planted acres and yield expectations on Wednesday. The report could reflect some of the impact of a very wet spring in the Midwest where much of the nation's corn and soybeans are grown. The USDA could reduce the number of acres planted from earlier estimates to reflect flooded and muddy fields. The government's analysts also may cut the anticipated amount of corn and soybeans harvested per acre — the crop yield — to reflect late planting for both crops which could reduce production because the crops have less time to fully develop. These estimates could send prices for corn and soybeans higher but many analysts believe it's simply too early in the season to worry about prices climbing high enough to have a significant impact on food prices. By David Pitt.
AP Photo ILSP101
CHICAGO — Prosecutors say a suburban Chicago mother and caretaker planned for more a week to kill a 14-year-old boy with severe autism. A Cook County judge denied bond Wednesday for 50-year-old mother Dorothy Spourdalakis and 40-year-old caretaker Jolanta Skrodzka.
AP Photos pursuing.
MONON, Ind. — An Amtrak train traveling from Indianapolis to Chicago on Wednesday collided with a farm tractor hauling a tank of anhydrous ammonia across a northern Indiana rail crossing, injuring two people, officials said. White County Sheriff Patrick Shafer said the passenger train appears to have struck the trailer-mounted tank about 8:35 a.m. Wednesday near the town of Monon, about 30 miles north of Lafayette. He said the tank loaded with anhydrous ammonia — a farm fertilizer that becomes a toxic gas when airborne — was not punctured or leaking after the impact.
CHICAGO — Robert W. Fogel, a University of Chicago economist whose study of the economics of slavery sparked a furious debate in academia and later helped garner him a Nobel prize, has died. He was 86. Fogel wrote 22 books in all — the last one published in April — and was an active faculty member in the Department of Economics and the Booth School of Business who was working on three more books at the time of his death.
AP Photos CX101-102.
— TREASURER-SCHILLERSTROM, from SPRINGFIELD: A former DuPage County board chairman and 2010 gubernatorial candidate is considering a bid for state treasurer. AP Photos pursuing.
— METHADONE DEATHS, from PEKIN: A 19-year-old from Tazewell County was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the methadone deaths of two central Illinois men.
— GRANITE CITY-WOMAN KILLED, from GRANITE CITY: Authorities in southwestern Illinois' Granite City say they have a suspect in custody in the stabbing death of a woman who was found along a road.
— CALUMET RIVER-DEATH, from CHICAGO: Authorities say one man died and another was rescued from the Calumet River on Chicago's far South Side. The 39-year-old was pulled from the 15 feet of water on Tuesday evening.
— ILLINOIS JUDGE-INVESTIGATION, from BELLEVILLE: A man facing drug trafficking charges in connection with a judge's cocaine death wants to be released from jail to enter drug treatment program.
— NURSING HOME-ARMED ROBBERY, from JONESBORO: Authorities in southern Illinois' Union County are trying to locate a man who got away with drugs after they say he used a knife to rob a nursing home.
— PAROLE DENIED, from ROCKFORD: A man convicted in a 1970 fatal shooting in Rockford is having his parole request denied — for the 32nd time.
— CHAMPAIGN VIOLENCE, from CHAMPAIGN: Champaign police arrested three people they suspect were involved at least some of the shootings that injured six people since Friday.
— DNA TESTING-JAIL, from SPRINGFIELD: The Sangamon County jail will start collecting DNA samples from people who've been arrested for serious crimes.
— SHERIFF RETIRES, from BLOOMINGTON: The McLean County sheriff says he's retiring after spending more than 30 years working for the department. Mike Emery said Tuesday that he won't run for re-election in 2014.
— METRO-STRIKE VOTE, from ST. LOUIS: Union members representing mass transit bus drivers, mechanics and clerical workers in the St. Louis area have voted to authorize a strike.
— METRA-SECURITY, from CHICAGO: Officials with the Metra commuter train service say they're stepping up police patrols for the system that runs along 11 different routes in northern Illinois.
— CHILD STRUCK-TRIAL, from WAUKEGAN: A Lake County judge has delayed the trial of a suburban Chicago teen accused of driving onto a sidewalk and killing a 5-year-old girl.
— INDECENT SOLICITATION-ARREST, from JOLIET: The Will County prosecutor's office says a Chicago man is charged with allegedly trying to meet a 12-year-old girl for sex. State's Attorney James Glasgow says 35-year-old Charles F. Bocock was arrested Monday at a Plainfield Dunkin' Donuts and charged with indecent solicitation of a child and other related offenses.
— ROCKFORD-FRONTIER AIRLINES, from ROCKFORD: Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines is ending its year-round service between Rockford and Denver. The Denver-based airline says the route has brought in good business in the summers, but not the rest of the year.
— CORRECTIONS-SUMMIT OF HOPE, from SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Corrections is releasing its summer and fall schedule of "Summit of Hope" fairs for prison parolees.
— BOBCAT REHAB, from URBANA: Two orphaned baby bobcat kittens have been moved from Urbana to Alton to finish rehabilitation before they can be released into the wild.
CHICAGO — Two of the NHL's most beloved franchises face off for the Stanley Cup when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the finals. Chicago is coming off a five-game victory over Los Angeles, while Boston swept favored Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference finals. By Jay Cohen. Game starts 7 p.m. CDT.
— HKN--STANLEY CUP-KEY.
— HKN--STANLEY CUP NOTEBOOK.
— HKN--STANLEY CUP-BETTMAN.
— ART INSTITUTE-BLACKHAWKS.
BBA--BLUE JAYS-WHITE SOX
CHICAGO — Chris Sale starts for Chicago as the White Sox wrap up their three-game series against Esmil Rogers and the Toronto Blue Jays. Rogers will be making his third start after moving out of the bullpen. 7:10 p.m. CT.
CHICAGO — Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds try to beat the Chicago Cubs for the 19th time in 22 games. Votto, Xavier Paul, Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier all homered on Tuesday as the Reds pounded Matt Garza in a 12-2 victory. Mike Leake starts for Cincinnati and Travis Wood pitches for Chicago. 1:20 p.m. CT.
— CUBS MOVES.
— SOC--MLS-CREW-FIRE, from BRIDGEVIEW: The Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew meet in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.
— FBC--ILLINOIS-SOUTHERN ILLINOIS KICKOFF, from CHAMPAIGN: Illinois says its season opener on Aug. 31 will kick off at 11 a.m. Illinois officials said in a new release Wednesday that the game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
— BKC--ILLINOIS STATE-VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH, from NORMAL: Illinois State says its men's basketball team will begin a home-and-home series with Virginia Commonwealth this fall.
ILLINOIS SPOTLIGHT: SUMMER READING
STERLING — Dillian Wellman could not wait to crack open a book this summer. Dillian, 6, a first-grader-going-on-second-grader, and his reading buddy, Freckles, a floppy, spotted leopard Beanie Baby, delved into the first one - a skinny, glossy book about dinosaurs - on Monday. The pair will read - well, Dillian will read and Freckles will listen attentively - a variety of books together, some fiction, some nonfiction; some short, some a little longer. They'll get through maybe 20 books before school starts again in the fall. Franklin Elementary School teachers Heather Wittenauer and Peg Wills last year launched a guided summer reading program for their first-graders. By Kayla Heimerman. The (Sterling) Daily Gazette.
AP Photo ILSTE501.