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ILLINOIS GOVERNOR-CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS
CHICAGO — Republican Bruce Rauner has made a $500,000 donation to his campaign for Illinois governor, lifting the caps on political contributions for everyone in the 2014 race and ensuring a big-money battle for the state's top job. The personal donation removes from the race a key piece of campaign finance reforms that lawmakers approved in the wake of the scandal involving now-imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. And if Rauner doesn't win the four-way GOP primary, his move could end up providing an unintended fundraising advantage to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has no major challenger for the Democratic nomination. Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf said the donation was made Wednesday. It will help pay for television ads that the wealthy businessman and political newcomer plans as he tries to increase his name recognition. By Sara Burnett. SENT: 760 words, photo CX102.
STATE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS:
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois regulators plan to publicly release proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing "very soon," but it will be months before any permits are issued because the state must get the public's feedback before rules can be finalized, according to environmental officials. Marc Miller, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register that new state regulations for the practice are nearly complete. DNR spokesman Chris McCloud told the Associated Press Thursday in an email that the proposed regulations will be made public "very soon." SENT: 270 words, photo CX101.
HARTFORD, Conn. —The Connecticut Supreme Court overturned the ruling of a judge who found Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas didn't meet state requirements to hold his job and ordered his ouster. Vallas, however, already has decided to leave the post to be Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate for the 2014 election. He hasn't set a date for his departure. Critics of Vallas, including former state Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez, sued him and state and Bridgeport education officials in April, saying Vallas improperly received a waiver of state certification requirements for school superintendents. Although he previously led big city school districts in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, Vallas wasn't certified to be a school superintendent in Connecticut. By Dave Collins. SENT: 570 words, photo CX103.
AROUND THE STATE:
HEALTH OVERHAUL-ILLINOIS CANCELLATIONS
CHICAGO — With President Barack Obama shifting course to allow insurers to renew health plans they planned to cancel, Illinois regulators and the state's largest health insurance company found the ball in their court. Obama announced he would give insurers the option to keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled because they fall short of coverage requirements under the nation's health overhaul. The change would be effective for one year, although an extension is possible. In Illinois, a spokesman said state Insurance Director Andrew Boron was studying the issue, looking at options under state law. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois officials said the company, which has the most customers in the state's individual market, is "determining next steps," but stopped short of promising to renew its canceled plans. By Carla K. Johnson. SENT: 450 words, photo CX109.
A TWIN'S GIFT
CHICAGO — Identical twins Kelly McCarthy and Kristen Maurer have shared a lot in their lives so when one was diagnosed with breast cancer, she urged the other to get tested, too. "You just do everything together, don't you," the doctor told Maurer before delivering the bad news. Now the 34-year-old twins from Crown Point, Ind. are sharing a medical rarity: Maurer donated skin and fat tissue for McCarthy's breast reconstruction this week at the University of Chicago Medical Center. By Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner. SENT: 590 words, photos, video.
U OF I PROFESSOR-TENURE
CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois Board of Trustees dismissed a professor who had a half-century relationship with the state's flagship Urbana-Champaign school, an action officials characterized as unprecedented. The board voted unanimously after an administration report indicated that engineering professor Louis Wozniak's misconduct "badly damaged the university's paramount mission of trust and support for its students." The 75-year-old Wozniak, widely popular among many of the students he referred to as "adorable GKs" — for grandkids — lost tenure and was fired from his $85,500-a-year job after the administration charged him with eight offenses, most stemming from a dispute over a $500 teaching award. He has been suspended with pay since fall 2010. By John O'Connor. SENT: 850 words, photos ILCHN502, ILCHN101, ILSP101, ILSP103-108.
U OF ILLINOIS-CHICAGO CHANCELLOR: The University of Illinois board of trustees has extended the contract of University of Illinois-Chicago Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares by a year.
CHICAGO — A man who was ordered taken into custody to jail amid allegations that he threatened to kill someone who'd cooperated with prosecutors in his drug case instead walked out of a federal courthouse in downtown Chicago and disappeared, authorities said. Officials were still trying to piece together what happened Tuesday that allowed 32-year-old Ignacio Torres of Chicago to simply leave the building after his hearing. U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Randall Samborn said there was "some uncertainty about how and when he was supposed to report to the (U.S.) Marshal's Service," but that Torres was never supposed to leave the building after the hearing. SENT: 350 words.
EXCHANGE: BLUES FESTIVAL FAN
MATTOON — Not too far from the crossroads where some say legendary blues musician Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil, Mike Sneddon regularly visits to take in the kind of music Johnson performed, with or without his soul. It's during those and other trips that Sneddon has also been able to capture iconic images of the world of blues music. He has a photograph of bluesman Pinetop Perkins, looking every bit the part at age 97, that he took four years ago, not long before Perkins' death. "It kind of all worked together," Sneddon said. Every year in early October, Sneddon and his wife Joan leave their Mattoon home and travel to Helena, Ark., for the King Biscuit Blues Festival. It's one of many venues he's visited but said it's his favorite. By Dave Fopay. Mattoon Journal-Gazette and (Charleston) Times-Courier. SENT: 640 words, photo ILMAT501.
—GAY MARRIAGE-BISHOP: Springfield Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas John Paprocki says he will preside over a prayer service of "supplication and exorcism" on the day Gov. Pat Quinn's signs Illinois' same-sex marriage law.
—U OF ILLINOIS-SCIENTIFIC DATA: The National Science Foundation has given the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications more than $10 million to develop software to manage vast amounts of un-curated digital scientific data.
—OPEN RANGE-HUNTERS: Hunters will get to use Illinois State Police firing ranges to test fire and sight their shotguns in anticipation of deer hunting season.
—ILLINOIS-QUARRY BLAST: Scientists of the U.S. Geological Survey say it's likely that it was an earthquake shook Chicago's western suburbs after a blast at a quarry.
—PARADE-ILLINOIS STUDENTS: Nine Illinois student musicians have been selected to be part of the Great American Marching Band, marching in this year's annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
—STROGER-COUNTY SEAT: Todd Stroger says he will make an attempt to regain a seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
—HOLDER-PEORIA: Attorney General Eric Holder was in Peoria to take a look at a program designed to keep low-level drug offenders out of prison.
—FAKE BOTOX-CHARGES: A federal grand jury has indicted a central Kansas man on charges that he worked with an Alton, Ill., company and its owner in a $3 million scheme to sell foreign versions of Botox and Juvederm.
—MISSING TEEN-SENTENCING: A 26-year prison sentence was handed a man convicted of murdering a 17-year-old suburban Chicago teenager who disappeared in 2002.
—ATV DEATH: Police say a northwestern Illinois man has died in an all-terrain vehicle crash.
—PLANT EXPLOSION-REPORT: Federal officials say a northern Illinois manufacturing plant ignored safety auditor warnings before a 2009 fatal explosion.
—CHICAGO MAYOR-MEXICO: Rahm Emanuel has made his first international trip as Chicago mayor.
—U OF ILLINOIS-MEDICAL OVERHAUL: University of Illinois trustees have agreed to begin reorganizing the university's hospital, clinics and health-sciences colleges in Chicago.
SEATTLE — Boeing's ties to the Pacific Northwest date back more than a century, when William Boeing purchased a Seattle shipyard that would become his first airplane factory. In recent years, however, those ties have been fraying, first with the company shifting its headquarters to Chicago, then with the development of a new production line in South Carolina. Now, the relationship between Boeing and Washington state is near the point of unraveling after a fiery debate among machinists this week led the workers to reject a long-term contract. Boeing made good on its threats and said it is looking elsewhere to develop its popular new 777X airplane — and the company may take thousands of jobs along with it. By Mike Baker. SENT: 700 words, photos WAEVE102, WAEVE107-109, WASET109-111, WASET113, RPRL102.
NEW YORK — McDonald's wants to be a bigger player in the global coffee business. The world's biggest hamburger chain on Thursday highlighted beverages as one of its key growth opportunities at a daylong presentation for investors. McDonald's CEO Don Thompson noted Thursday that coffee is one of the fastest growing categories in its global drinks business and noted that the company has less than its "fair share" of the market. By Candice Choi. SENT: 360 words.
—MCDONALD'S-DRIVETHRU: McDonald's has an idea for speeding up service at the drive-thru: add another window.
NEWARD, N.J. — United Airlines will soon offer non-stop flights to Atlantic City International Airport, a move that New Jersey officials hope will boost the falling fortunes of the seaside gambling resort. United Chairman Jeff Smisek was joined Thursday by Gov. Chris Christie and New Jersey's Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney at Newark Liberty International Airport to announce the airline would begin non-stop daily service to Atlantic City from its hubs in Chicago and Houston — the nation's third- and fourth-largest cities — starting April 1. "United's new Atlantic City service will drive business, tourism and economic development throughout the southern part of the state," Smisek said. By Samantha Henry. SENT: 400 words, photos NJME101-109.
LAKE FOREST — Given the path he followed, it would be perfectly understandable if Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown was feeling rejuvenated. The veteran backup has played well filling in for the injured Jay Cutler, and he'll get another opportunity when the Baltimore Ravens visit Soldier Field on Sunday. "Sometimes everything is life is just about opportunities and when things happen," McCown said. Right now, good things are happening for him, if not the Bears. They've dropped four of six following a 3-0 start amid mounting injuries, with Cutler (high left ankle sprain) and cornerback Charles Tillman (torn right triceps) going down in last week's 21-19 loss to NFC North leader Detroit. By Andrew Seligman. SENT: 780 words, photo CXB169.
FBN--ON FOOTBALL-QB INJURIES
Week after week, a key event for an NFL fan — and, well, the teams themselves, of course — is the head coach's rundown of injuries, particularly when a quarterback's name arises. And week after week, more and more QBs are getting mentioned and missing games because they're hurt, even on within-the-rules plays. By Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich. SENT: 920 words, photos CADP104, CXB153, CXB158, WIMG109, NY173, CAGB109.
CHICAGO — Jonathan Toews and rookie Brandon Pirri scored in a four-round shootout, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-4 for their fourth straight win. Radim Vrbata had the lone shootout goal for Phoenix, 7-1-1 in its last nine games. Pirri tied the score 4-all 3 minutes into the third, and 4 seconds after a Chicago power play had elapsed. He connected on a midair deflection of Brent Seabrook's drive from the top of the circle. Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa also scored in regulation for the Blackhawks, who extended their point streak to eight games. Chicago fired a season-high 52 shots through overtime at Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. By Matt Carlson. SENT: 600 words, photos CXA101, CXA104-105, CXA107-110.
STANFORD, Calif. — Northwestern played its second game of the season on the road at Stanford. Wildcats coach Chris Collins coached against a fellow Duke alumni on the other bench in Johnny Dawkins. The Cardinal won the last time the two teams played a year ago. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos.
When Northwestern linebacker Collin Ellis and his teammates take the field against Michigan on Saturday, the Wildcats will trade their familiar purple for a set of patriotic uniforms like no other — stars and stripes across the shoulders and a distressed pattern that to some looks like blood stains on a flag. They're simply the latest push by companies that supply athletic equipment to schools to honor the military, and the players love it — especially when they help raise money for soldiers injured in the line of duty. By John Kekis. SENT: 1,110 words, photos CX201-202, CX204, NY170, NYR301, VAROA301.
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