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A former Marine already sentenced to death for killing a sailor in Virginia pleaded guilty Tuesday to fatally attacking two young girls in a suburban Chicago park 13 years ago.

 

 

A judge sentenced Jorge Torrez, 30, to 100 years in prison under a plea deal with prosecutors for the fatal stabbings of 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and 9-year-old Krystal Tobias on Mother's Day 2005. The attack took place at the Beulah Park Forest Preserve in Zion, near the Illinois-Wisconsin state line.

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Striking Chicago hotel workers spent a fifth day on picket lines as the walkout grew to 26 downtown hotels.

 

 

 

The strike has targeted large chains including Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott. The Chicago Tribune reports employees at the Cambria Chicago Magnificent Mile joined the strike Tuesday.

 

Some visitors say hotels have scrambled to clean rooms and check in guests.

 

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A new organization is trying to get more filmmakers and production companies to film their movies in southern Illinois.

WSIL-TV reports the nonprofit Southern Illinois Film Commission wants to highlight the natural beauty of the area while boosting the local economy.

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Illinois county officials have about four months to figure out details of the rabies vaccination effort for cats.

Legislation signed into law this month by Gov. Bruce Rauner amended Illinois' Animal Control Act. Beginning in January, cat owners must vaccinate their cats for rabies and keep them updated from the age of 4 months. The second rabies shot must be done within one year of the first vaccination.

As with dogs, counties will be required to issue a vaccination certificate and a rabies tag, which they will give to veterinarians to distribute.

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Officials in northeastern Illinois are raising concerns about the enforcement of environmental regulations for the planned Foxconn manufacturing plant in neighboring Wisconsin.

 

 

They’re calling on Wisconsin officials to reconsider waiving environmental regulations for the Taiwanese company.

 

Much of the concern centers on displaced water possibly overflowing in downstream areas.

 

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Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, once an opponent of land-based casinos, now says he favors casino expansion, including one in Chicago.

Edgar on Wednesday told the Chicago Sun-Times there are "more pluses than minuses" than there were 25 years ago. At that time Edgar said he didn't want casinos in any part of Illinois.

Now Edgar says the city of Chicago needs the revenue and the state of Illinois could use the revenue.

The former two-term Republican governor made the remarks as an Illinois House subcommittee hearing about casino expansion bill was underway.

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Illinois is creating a new merit-based scholarship aimed at getting more high school graduates to attend in-state colleges and universities.

The AIM HIGH grant pilot program will provide at least $50 million in financial aid. The state is providing $25 million in the current budget year. Universities are matching that amount.

Lawmakers approved the program earlier this year with nearly unanimous support. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the measure into law Tuesday during a stop in Champaign.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a law that gives families of extremely ill children more flexibility in health care. 

The Republican's action Monday affects children considered "medically fragile, technology dependent ." The law means that their expensive, highly technical care which is covered by Medicaid is exempt from managed-care organizations.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a law that gives families of extremely ill children more flexibility in health care.

 

The Republican's action affects children considered "medically fragile, technology dependent ." The law means that their expensive, highly technical care which is covered by Medicaid is exempt from managed-care organizations.

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Helene Miller Walsh, the wife of a conservative radio host and former Illinois congressman, will replace a former state lawmaker who resigned after being accused of sharing nude photos of an ex-girlfriend online.

The Chicago Tribune reports Walsh was selected from a pool of about 20 contenders to replace former GOP state Rep. Nick Sauer.

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A series of festivals, parades and other events will mark the 200th anniversary of Illinois adopting its state constitution.

Among the celebrations planned for Aug. 26 is the dedication of a new Bicentennial Plaza next to the Illinois Governor's Mansion in Springfield.

Constitution Day festivities also are planned in Galena and Dixon, and East St. Louis hosts a Heritage Festival. Gov. Bruce Rauner is holding a Route 66 Motorcycle Ride that will travel from Shorewood to Springfield.

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Authorities say a Chicago teenager killed himself after being chased by police, but his family thinks the officers shot him and they're calling for an independent investigation.

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a law requiring owners of gas storage fields to notify local officials if a natural gas leak threatens drinking water supplies.

The Republican signed the law Thursday designed to protect the Mahomet Aquifer in east-central Illinois. It is the area's primary water source. It provides drinking water for more than 500,000 residents.

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Agreements are almost finalized with city officials in Champaign and Urbana for the area's first dockless-bike-share service.

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The mother of the black teenager who was fatally shot by a white Chicago police officer appeared in court but before she could take the witness stand the judge cleared the courtroom so the public and media could not hear her testimony.

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Illinois Democrats are gearing up for a record turnout for their annual state fair gathering, but they'll be missing their star.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to keynote the Democratic County Chairs Association brunch. But the Democrat announced Tuesday night he's ill and doctor's orders prohibit his travel.

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A new lawsuit alleges Chicago police officers pointed guns at a family, including at 9- and 5-year-old children, after bursting into the wrong apartment with a search warrant last year.

The Chicago Tribune reports the suit was filed Wednesday in federal court for the father, Gilbert Mendez. It alleges false arrest and seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

The lawsuit says the actual subject of a drug investigation lived in another, upstairs apartment. It says even after the error became clear, Mendez was kept in handcuffs.

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People caught texting while driving will face stiffer penalties under a new Illinois law.

Starting July 1, 2019 drivers caught texting will be issued a moving violation that will go on their driving record. Anyone convicted of three moving violations in a 12-month period may have their license suspended.

Under the current law that took effect in 2014 a first offense for texting while driving is a non-moving violation and doesn't affect a person's driving record.

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A trip by former Vice President Joe Biden to Springfield has been called off because of illness.

 

Biden had been scheduled to speak Thursday at the Illinois Democratic County Chairs' Association brunch at a Springfield hotel, but the group's leader says Biden is under doctor's orders not to travel. Rock Island County party chairman Doug House says he's sure Biden will soon be back campaigning for Democrats in Illinois and elsewhere.

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A storage safe manufacturer is closing two Chicago-area factories and moving operations to Mexico to counteract the effects of metal tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump's administration.

The Chicago Tribune reports Stack-On Products will lay off about 150 people at its Wauconda and McHenry plants when they close Oct. 12.

Human resources director Al Fletcher said Tuesday the decision to relocate operations to Juarez, Mexico, was made about two months ago. That's when Trump announced tariffs on numerous goods and materials from China as well as other countries.

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Illinois Republicans are converging on Springfield and the Illinois State Fair for Governor's Day.

The annual festivities Wednesday draw a focus on the crucial November balloting. Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to win re-election along with a slate of statewide and congressional candidates.

Republican regulars meet early Wednesday in downtown Springfield before GOP faithful hit the fairgrounds for an old-fashioned campaign rally at noon.

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Police reform activists are pressing for major additions to a proposed consent decree outlining terms of federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department.

The activists, the Illinois attorney general's office and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are wrangling over details of a potential court order that would govern how officers use force and are held accountable.

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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing the operators of Trump International Hotel and Tower for releasing water into the Chicago River in violation of federal environmental laws.

 

The lawsuit claims the building sucks about 20 million gallons of water out of the Chicago River and returns the same amount 35 degrees hotter. The water is used to cool heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the building.

In a statement Madigan said the water is taken without a permit and without any regard to how its return may impact the river's ecosystem.

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An Illinois judge has been reprimanded for using his position to solicit paid speaking engagements from law enforcement groups, medical societies and hospitals.

The Illinois Courts Commission said Monday it determined 4th District Appellate Judge Robert Steigmann of Urbana  exploited his office and had improper financial dealings with people likely to come before his court.

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A new state law will allow Illinois high school students to take an unlimited number of dual-credit courses and earn both high school and college credits.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation Friday that he says will give students better access to higher education. The General Assembly unanimously approved the measure in May.

Some school districts have limited the number of dual-credit classes students may enroll in or the number of credits they may earn.

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Activists are organizing a "March to the Polls 2018" as a follow up to the Women's March in January.

Women's March Chicago has announced the event for Oct. 13 to celebrate the opening of early voting in Illinois. Organizers describe it as a "critical next step in voter engagement" as women show that they are "changing outcomes at the ballot box to protect a fragile democracy."

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Chicago has a new strategy to return lost animals to their owners more quickly and keep them out of the city's animal shelter.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday that the city's animal control officers will now carry mobile microchip scanners. They'll be able to scan lost pets that have been implanted with microchips to determine the owner's address. The animals will be returned to their owners without having to be processed through Chicago Animal Care and Control.

Best Friends Animal Society and Animal Farm Foundation donated the 60 scanners.

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Civil rights activists and local aldermen are criticizing a joint investigation by Chicago police and the Norfolk Southern Railroad that involved using a truck loaded with shoes to lure potential thieves.

Residents of the city's Englewood neighborhood recently filmed police arresting a man and accused officers of trying to entrap poor residents with the truck. Residents featured in the video, which went viral, said the truck was stocked with Nikes.

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For the second time, Illinois Republican leaders are disavowing a congressional candidate over contentious views they've promoted.

 

The state GOP chairman and other party officials say they're withdrawing support for candidate Bill Fawell. That's after reviewing conspiracy theories he posted to social media about the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2012 Sandy Hook mass school shooting. Fawell is the GOP challenger to Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos in northwestern Illinois' 17th congressional district.

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Governor Bruce Rauner has blamed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for failure on the city’s violence.

Governor Bruce Rauner says Rahm Emanuel has "failed horribly" on public safety. The comments came after gunfire in the city last weekend injured more than 70 people and killed at least 11.

The Republican said Thursday that Chicago police have not received sufficient personnel, equipment or staffing assistance to be effective.

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