This Hour: Latest Illinois news, sports, business and entertainment - – Rockford’s News Leader

This Hour: Latest Illinois news, sports, business and entertainment

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Illinois governor grants 38 clemency requests

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has taken action on 124 clemency petitions, granting 38 and denying 86.

The Chicago Democrat announced the news in a release Friday afternoon.

His office says those who were granted clemency have recently undergone criminal background checks. Clemencies that the governor granted were for crimes such as forgery, drug convictions and burglary.

Quinn says he's granted more than 1,100 clemency petitions since he took office and denied about 1,900 requests.

His office says the governor is making progress on clemency decisions aimed at clearing a backlog of more than 2,500 cases that built up under his predecessor.


Ingleside middle school teacher wanted for assault

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) - A suburban Chicago grade school teacher is wanted on allegations he sexually assaulted a girl.

An arrest warrant was issued Friday by the Lake County Sheriff's Department for Michael Vucic, an 18-year teacher at Gavin South Middle School in Ingleside. Vucic is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual assault.

Authorities say they suspect the 41-year-old Vucic of Lake Forest may have fled to Germany.

A sheriff's department spokeswoman says a girl under 13 told her grandparents that Vucic had inappropriate sexual contact with her multiple times in 2012. Authorities say Vucic hasn't had contact with any students since they were notified of the alleged crime.

Lake County authorities say they believe others have been victims of Vucic and are asking them to contact the sheriff's department.


U of I facing scrutiny over job-offer decision

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - The University of Illinois is wrestling with a controversy over a professor's withdrawn job offer.

The administration recently rescinded a job offer to an English professor named Steven Salaita to join the university's American Indian Studies program. Salaita had over the summer used Twitter to angrily and sometimes profanely denounce Israel during its conflict with the Palestinians.

Emails released by the university show that dozens of students, parents and donors begged Chancellor Phyllis Wise not to hire Salaita. On August 1st the offer was pulled back. Wise said Salaita's hiring hadn't yet been approved by the board of trustees.

Salaita now isn't talking. But his supporters say his academic freedom was violated. They say he was essentially hired and deserved the protection tenured professors are granted.


Highway interchange named for former Chicago mayor

CHICAGO (AP) - A highway interchange near downtown Chicago has been named for former Mayor Jane Byrne.

Governor Pat Quinn announced the new name Friday afternoon for what's known as the Circle Interchange. Its new name is the Jane Byrne Interchange.

Byrne held office from 1979 to 1983. She was the city's first and only female mayor. Earlier in the summer, city officials also proposed naming a park next to the Historic Water Tower after her.

In a statement, Quinn says Byrne broke barriers and the newly named interchange will ensure she'll be remembered.

The interchange connects several major highways near downtown, facilitating travel for more than 400,000 vehicles each day. It was built between 1958 and 1962 and is undergoing reconstruction.


Orbitz ends dispute with American and US Airways

NEW YORK (AP) - Orbitz says it reached an agreement that will allow it to continue selling American Airlines and US Airways tickets on its sites.

The Chicago company added that tickets previously bought on its sites are still valid.

On Tuesday American and US Airways pulled flight listings from Orbitz sites as part of a dispute over the fees Orbitz charges to list and sell the flights. American said it had already dropped its fares and that US Airways would do the same on Monday. Corporate customers would have still been able to book travel through Orbitz, but individuals would have had to go to the websites of the airlines or Orbitz' competitors.

Orbitz shares fell about 5 percent Tuesday.


Bears waive QB Jordan Lynch

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - The Chicago Bears have waived former Northern Illinois star quarterback Jordan Lynch.

A Heisman Trophy finalist for the Huskies last season, Lynch was trying to make the Bears as a running back after being signed as an undrafted free agent. He could still wind up on their practice squad if he's not picked up by another team.

The Bears also released receiver Armanti Edwards, tight end Jeron Mastrud, offensive tackle Dennis Roland and center/guard Robert Turner on Friday. Rosters need to be trimmed to 53 by Saturday afternoon.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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