Associated Press

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A powerful Chicago City Council member was charged Thursday with trying to shake down a fast-food restaurant seeking city remodeling permits.

Alderman Ed Burke, 75, is charged with one count of attempted extortion. In 2017 he told company executives that they'd get the permits if they signed on as clients at Burke's private property-tax law firm in Chicago, the 37-page complaint says. A conviction carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

Burke has been on the council for 50 years and chaired its finance committee for the last three decades.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a sweeping package of Republican legislation Friday that restricts early voting and weakens the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

 

Signing the bills just 24 days before he leaves office, the Republican governor and one-time presidential candidate downplayed bipartisan criticism that they amount to a power grab that will stain his legacy.

Just two hours later, a group run by former Democratic U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced it planned legal action to block the limitation on early voting.

Rochelle Community Hospital

A wave of bomb threats emailed Thursday to hundreds of schools, businesses and government buildings across the U.S. triggered searches, evacuations and fear — but there were no signs of explosives, and authorities said the scare appeared to be a crude extortion attempt.

Law enforcement agencies across the country dismissed the threats, saying they were meant to cause disruption and compel recipients into sending money and were not considered credible.

legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/13/fitzgerald/

Wisconsin Republicans moved quickly Monday to change the 2020 presidential primary date at a cost of millions of dollars to benefit a conservative state Supreme Court justice, part of a rare lame-duck session that would also weaken the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general.

 

The changes being sought would shift power to the GOP-controlled Legislature and allow outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker to make one last major mark on the state's political landscape after he lost re-election in November.

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 The family of a Northern Illinois University student who died while enduring fraternity hazing has reached a $14 million settlement of their lawsuit.

 

David Bogenberger of Palatine, Illinois was found dead in November 2012 at Pi Kappa Alpha, the fraternity the 19-year-old was pledging.

Authorities say Bogenberger and other pledges participated in an event that required them to drink vodka and other liquor.

Illinois Department of Corrections

Illinois officials have again denied parole to 79-year-old inmate Chester Weger. He was sentenced to life in prison for the 1960 killings of three suburban Chicago women in a state park.

 

 

Chase Cavanaugh

Billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker has donated $15 million more to his campaign for Illinois governor. This pushed his self-financing total to $161.5 million.

 

   

Both Pritzker and multimillionaire Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner have been largely funding their own campaigns. The Chicago Tribune reports that Pritzker's campaign reported the new donation to state election officials Saturday.

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Medical marijuana use is up more than 80% in Illinois, with PTSD as the most common condition treated, according to a report by the state Department of Public Health.

More than 46,000 people have used medical marijuana in Illinois this year, The Chicago Tribune reported. Almost 75% of patients are older than 40.

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A jury has convicted white Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke was charged with first degree-murder in the October 2014 killing, a charge that requires a finding that the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable. The judge told jurors the second-degree charge was also available, requiring them to find Van Dyke believed his life was in danger but that the belief was unreasonable.

ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office has opened an investigation into the management by Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration of a Legionnaire's disease crisis at a state-run veterans' home.

Eileen Boyce is spokeswoman for the Democratic attorney general. She said Wednesday that authorities will review whether laws were broken and whether residents, their families, staff members and the public "were informed in a timely and appropriate manner."

Illinois leaders of both parties are urging the U.S. Senate to delay a vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and ask the FBI to investigate a charge of sexual assault against him.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said on WBEZ Chicago Friday that Christine Blasey Ford's allegations "are very serious and seem very credible." Ford claims Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party when they were teenagers 35 years ago.

Brian Mackey

The controversy over sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh spilled into governor's races across the country as Christine Blasey Ford told her story Thursday.

Governors have no role in how the U.S. Senate should handle Kavanaugh's appointment. But their voices could add pressure to senators trying to decide how to vote.

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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.

Governor Bruce Rauner on Facebook

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.

Gov. Bruce Rauner/Facebook

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.

Brian Mackey

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.

ilga.gov

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.

Governor Bruce Rauner on Facebook

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.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Facebook

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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