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Emails raise questions of politics in 2010 program

CHICAGO (AP) - A published report is raising questions about the role of politics in Gov. Pat Quinn's scandal-plagued anti-violence program that's under federal investigation.

The Chicago Sun-Times cites email correspondence in a story published Wednesday that appears to show that a suburban Chicago mayoral race factored into determining funding that went to service providers.

Quinn started the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative in 2010 to help curb neighborhood violence. Earlier this year, state auditors detailed problems with mismanagement and misspending. Critics have claimed it was a political slush fund. Quinn dismisses that claim and says he addressed problems.

The now-defunct program is under investigation by Cook County and federal authorities as well as a legislative panel. The newspaper cites over 2,000 emails the Quinn administration turned over to the Legislative Audit Commission.


Lawmaker: Ill. concealed carry law 'complicated'

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A lawmaker who helped push through a bill that allows Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons is suggesting the law is too hard on gun owners from other states.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that state Rep. Brandon Phelps says the law is "too complicated" when it comes to out-of-state gun owners. The law requires people who have permits from other states to get an Illinois permit as well.

The Harrisburg Democrat says Illinois should recognize permits of other states the way states like Wisconsin and Michigan recognize the Illinois permits.

He says Illinois should follow the lead of many other states that have reciprocity agreements that allow gun owners with permits from other states to carry the weapons in the states they are visiting.


Illinois patients to docs: 'What about marijuana?'

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois doctors, nursing homes, hospitals and hospice organizations are ramping up for their role as gatekeepers in the state's new medical marijuana program.

Doctors are gauging whether marijuana's benefits outweigh its potential for abuse. Nursing homes are deciding whether residents will be able to keep it in their rooms. One hospital briefly considered applying for a marijuana dispensary permit. And hospice organizations are searching for guidance on marijuana for dying patients.

Medical professionals find themselves at the center of a quickly changing legal landscape with minimal scientific research to back the claims of marijuana fans.

Dr. Martha Twaddle of the Barrington-based hospice organization JourneyCare says families are already asking: "What about marijuana?" She says she tells them there isn't yet enough evidence that benefits offset the risks.


Quinn signs legislation to combat flooding

OAK LAWN, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has approved legislation aimed at tackling flooding around Illinois and protecting drinking water.

Quinn signed the measure into law Wednesday.

The plan was proposed by the Chicago Democrat during his annual "State of the State" address earlier this year and sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge and state Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook. It follows record rainfall and severe flooding last year that affected communities across the state.

The legislation expands the governor's Clean Water Initiative and makes storm water management and green infrastructure projects available for state financial assistance.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency officials say the measure is expected to create 28,000 jobs.

The legislation takes effect immediately.


Ex-Illinois gov: Namesake building 'a scrap heap'

CHICAGO (AP) - The condition of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago is getting some grief from the man the building is named for.

The former governor tells Crain's Chicago Business the building that bears his name "looks like a scrap heap."

He's wondering what message it sends about state government when visitors see the lack of maintenance. He notes the carpeting, which is patched with duct tape, looks like it's the original 1985 floor covering.

The building, designed by architect Helmut Jahn, has been controversial from the start. Crain's reports that lately there have been complaints about leaky ceilings, discolored walls and rusted metal panels.

Illinois Department of Central Management Services operates the building. A spokeswoman says some work is scheduled for the fall.


U of I trustees consider increasing arena budget

CHICAGO (AP) - When University of Illinois trustees meet in Chicago they will consider adding $4.5 million to the budget for the renovation of the State Farm Center in Champaign.

Trustees also will consider a raise for head basketball coach John Groce (grohs) at the Thursday meeting.

The agenda for the trustees' meeting includes the potential increase in the basketball arena's renovation budget from $165 million to $169.5 million. The agenda indicates the extra money is needed for a new scoreboard, video boards, a marquee and other items.

Work on the arena has started and is expected to be finished in late 2016.

The raise for Groce would increase his pay to by $100,000 a year to $1.7 million. His contract would also be extended by a year through 2018-19.


Illinois man retried, found not guilty in slaying

CHICAGO (AP) - A suburban Chicago man who was granted a new trial for a slaying he was convicted of nearly two decades ago has been acquitted and set free.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office confirmed Wednesday that a jury found 49-year-old Rodell Sanders not guilty late Tuesday night.

Sanders was arrested in 1994 by Chicago Heights police and charged with the murder of one man and the attempted murder of another person.

One of his attorneys says the conviction was overturned in 2011 and a new trial ordered. That happened after Sanders' lawyers presented evidence that a witness had recanted his identification of Sanders as the suspect. Sanders' attorney Gayle Horn says the trial lasted five days and the jury returned its verdict after five hours of deliberations.


Driver dies when tire hits car on Chicago highway

CHICAGO (AP) - A tire that flew off an SUV bounced across an interstate highway in Chicago and slammed into a car, causing an accident that killed its driver.

The Illinois State Police says the accident took place Wednesday morning along Interstate 94 on Chicago's South Side. Police identified the victim as 64-year-old Jovanka Mijatov of Schererville, Indiana.

The tire came off an SUV in the southbound lanes, then bounced into the northbound lanes and struck the car.

The car's driver was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.


Loves Park veteran wants to keep giving away flags

LOVES PARK, Ill. (AP) - A northern Illinois veteran who gives away free American flags every Memorial Day has raised $4,000 for a fund to keep the tradition going after he dies.

World War II Navy veteran Lee Hartsfield is 87-years-old and tells the Rockford Register Star that he wants to raised $25,000 for the flag program and he has an anonymous donor who will match that amount.

Hartsfield started the program in 1984 after Winnebago County cut funding for Memorial Day flags. He raises $3,000 a year to pay for the flags, which decorate veterans' graves. The flags are given out at the Field of Honor in Loves Park.

Hartsfield says his goal is to raise $5,000 a year for the next few years. He says he'll "continue this until I die."


Ex-1970s radical buys George Will's Champaign home

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - A house that conservative political commentator George Will sold to the University of Illinois has been bought by former 1970s radical James Kilgore and his wife.

The University of Illinois Foundation sold the home to Kilgore in April for $119,500.

Will is from nearby Champaign. He sold the home to the foundation for $10 so it could sell it and raise money. Will's father owned the home.

Will told The News-Gazette he isn't bothered that Kilgore bought it.

Kilgore could not be reached for comment.

Kilgore served six years in prison for his role in a bank robbery that left a California housewife dead while he was a member of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army.


Duran Duran accuses fan club of contract breach

CHICAGO (AP) - Popular 1980s band Duran Duran is suing its own fan club.

The group known for hits like "Notorious" and "Hungry Like the Wolf" accuses the suburban Chicago-based club of breaching contract by not paying the band promised revenue.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Duran Duran's lawsuit names Glenview-based Worldwide Fan Clubs, Inc. as the defendant. The suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court this week.

It says the band entered a 2010 contract allowing the club to collect memberships and sell merchandise. The contract also allegedly stipulates Duran Duran would get 75 percent of the profits.

Someone who answered the phone Wednesday at the Glenview office of Worldwide Fan Clubs said the company had no comment.

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

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