- Associated Press - Thursday, July 3, 2014


Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up today in Illinois. Questions about today’s coverage plans are welcome, and should be directed to AP-Illinois News Editor Hugh Dellios at 312-781-0500 or sburnett@ap.org.

A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories, digests and digest advisories will keep you up to date.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.



CHICAGO - The Illinois Supreme Court has sided with retired state employees who argue that health insurance premiums are a protected retirement benefit. The court’s 6-to-1 ruling Thursday reverses a lower court decision to dismiss a challenge to a government move forcing employees to pay for a portion of their own health care. The justices sent the case back to the lower court, where retirees can proceed with their challenge. At issue is a cost-cutting measure lawmakers passed in 2012. Illinois had paid premiums for some retirees with 20 years or more of service. Under the new law, retirees had to cover part of the cost. The case is seen as a possible indicator of how the court will rule on a wider challenge to a statewide pension overhaul approved last year. By Carla K. Johnson. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 600 words by 2 p.m., photos.


ST. LOUIS - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is shutting down a Mississippi River lock and dam as flooding worsens. Corps spokesman Mike Petersen says Lock and Dam 24 in Clarksville, Missouri, will close to navigation Friday. The river is nearly 6 feet above flood stage in Clarksville and is expected to rise another 3 feet by Tuesday. Heavy recent rains in the upper Midwest have caused the Mississippi and many of its tributaries to rise sharply, causing significant flooding in Iowa, Illinois and in Missouri north of St. Louis. The Mississippi remains below flood stage from St. Louis to the south. The Corps of Engineers is also activating its Emergency Operations Center in St. Louis, a move that enables the agency to provide personnel and resources to support flood-fighting efforts. By Jim Salter. SENT: 130 words. Will be updated.


CHICAGO - An imprisoned former Chicago police commander accused of overseeing the torture of suspects will keep his $3,000-a-month pension following a ruling Thursday by the Illinois Supreme Court. The justices ruled 4-3 that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan cannot challenge a police pension board vote preserving former police lieutenant Jon Burge’s pension payments. The court said approving the challenge would be a “fundamental change” in the state’s pension code. By Don Babwin. SENT: 270 words, photo. UPCOMING: 500 words, photo.


CHICAGO - With brightly colored mats spread along a sidewalk, Tameka Lawson’s yoga students try to follow her instructions: concentrate on breathing and focus on surrounding beauty. But this is Englewood, one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods. So while the students stretch their arms to the sky, a man the size of a refrigerator stands guard. It seems odd, the slow movements, deep breathing and talk about being centered in a neighborhood ruled by drug-dealing gangs. It’s simply the latest attempt to curb violence in a city where homicides and guns seized leads the nation. The hope is that yoga’s meditative focus will help cooler heads prevail the next time violence or vengeance looms. By Don Babwin. SENT: 750 words, photos.



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