- 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A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.



CRYSTAL LAKE - When it comes to campus safety, less is more at McHenry County College. Since transitioning from a campus safety department to a full-fledged police department in the fall of 2010, the college has simultaneously reduced costs while increasing responsiveness and services from its police operations. “I think we’ve been a big service to the college community,” said Scott Sosnowski, director of police operations. “We can spend more time on things since we’re here all the time. The Crystal Lake police deal with a community of (40,000) people and had to respond to us. That’s a lot to handle.” By Jeff Engelhardt. The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald. SENT: 545 words, photos ILCRY501-502.


- EBERT STATUE: A sculpture of Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert that sits outside a theater where he watched movies as a child will be dedicated. SENT: 130 words. Will be updated.

- ILLINOIS FLOODING DEATH: Authorities in western Illinois say a Moline man has died after apparently getting electrocuted while trying to clear flood water from his basement. SENT: 130 words.

- PRIEST ABUSE-LAWSUIT: A federal appeals court says an Illinois man cannot sue the Vatican or Archdiocese of Chicago over allegations of sexual abuse dating back decades. SENT: 130 words.

- PARK RESTAURANT-LAWSUIT: Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is seeking to avoid testifying during the trial of a city lawsuit. SENT: 130 words.

- LAHOOD-HIGHWAY: Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood now has a stretch of highway named after him in his hometown of Peoria. SENT: 130 words.

- ROCK CLIMBING WALL: A former student from the Chicago-area who was injured when he fell from a rock climbing wall at the University of Iowa has sued the state. SENT: 130 words.

- CHICAGO SHOOTING-JUVENILE HELD: A 13-year-old Chicago boy is being held in a juvenile facility on charges he shot three teens. SENT: 130 words.

- HOLIDAY SAFETY: Illinois and federal officials are teaming up to enforce safe driving this holiday weekend. SENT: 130 words.

- HOLIDAY-ROADWORK SUSPENSION: Those hitting the roads for the holiday weekend should find fewer delays from highway construction. SENT: 130 words.

- PICNIC-SAFETY TIPS: Illinois health officials have some food safety tips ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend for those planning to picnic. SENT: 130 words.

- FIRE DEPARTMENT-MONEY: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making nearly $1.8 million available to a fire department in one of Chicago’s southern suburbs. SENT: 130 words.


MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Illinois and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational pane of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click “All” or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.

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