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Athletes' union responds to Northwestern appeal

WASHINGTON (AP) - The College Athletes Players Association is criticizing Northwestern University's argument for overturning a ruling that would allow the school's football players to unionize.

Northwestern is appealing a ruling by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board who said that the school's football players are employees under federal law and thus entitled to unionize.

CAPA says Northwestern "has not established grounds for review of the regional director's factfinding." Wednesday's filing also attacks other parts of the appeal.

The players are set to vote by secret ballot April 25 on whether to form a union. CAPA would represent them.

The Evanston, Ill.-based university argues in the appeal that its athletic program "is fully integrated with its academic mission, and that it treats its athletes as students first."


Illinois-Chicago, faculty union reach agreement

CHICAGO (AP) - The head of the University of Illinois at Chicago's faculty union says a tentative contract agreement has been reached with the school administration.

Union president Joe Persky says details of the contracts for tenure-track and non-tenure track members won't be revealed until they are voted on next week by union members. However, he said Wednesday faculty work life and professional conditions are dramatically improved under the new agreement.

The union and the university were in negotiations for more than two years over issues such as salaries and career opportunities for full-time faculty who lack tenure. Union members went on strike for two days in February over the issues.

University officials, who said setting a long-term increase in salary was impossible because of the state's finances, expressed pleasure with the deal.


Robber who was homesick for prison to be sentenced

CHICAGO (AP) - Walter Unbehaun has spent nearly all of his adult life behind bars, so it's not surprising that he awaits sentencing for yet another crime, a bank robbery last year.

Unbehaun's reason for robbing the bank is surprising, though: He was homesick for prison.

The 74-year-old Unbehaun showed a Chicago-area bank teller a revolver in his waistband and told her softly over and over, "I don't want to hurt you." He drove to a nearby motel with more than $4,000 in loot and waited for police to arrive.

Confronted by police in the motel parking lot, Unbehaun dropped his cane, raised his hands and startled the officers by his apparent joy at getting nabbed. That's according to prosecutors and his own attorney.

He's scheduled to be sentenced later Thursday.


New warden named for Menard prison

CHESTER, Ill. (AP) - A new warden is in charge of the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center in southern Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Corrections said Wednesday that Kim Butler has been named to the position. She's the first woman to head the prison and the second woman to be appointed warden of an all-male, maximum security prison in Illinois.

Butler graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She started at IDOC as a correctional counselor and has been with the department for 20 years.

The previous Menard warden retired.

The prison has been on lockdown since April 4, when a cache of crude weapons and homemade alcohol was found. IDOC officials say the lockdown will continue until all security and investigation procedures are complete.


Kirk promotes stroke research funding, treatments

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is promoting efforts he says should be taken to reduce the incidents of stroke and treat those afflicted by the illness.

The Republican from Highland Park, who suffered a stroke in January 2012, met Wednesday with Chicago-area stroke researchers. He emphasized the importance of funding National Institutes of Health research.

The NIH has implemented a new stroke research network in response to the lack of centralization and efficiency in previous stroke research efforts. Before 2013, stroke research would often take over 10 years per study and would exceed its budget. The new regionalized model lowers the cost of research and promotes more timely trial results.

Kirk went through months of physical and speech rehabilitation after his stroke and returned to work in Washington a year later.


Wife of man whose drowning was linked to swan sues

CHICAGO (AP) - The wife of a suburban Chicago man whose 2012 drowning was attributed to the actions of an aggressive swan has sued the man's employer and the condominium complex where the swan was kept.

WMAQ-TV in Chicago reports the lawsuit filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court by Amy Hensley claims the swan attack caused or contributed to the drowning of Anthony Hensley of Villa Park. It names Bay Colony Drive condo complex, Hillcrest Property Management and Hensley's employer Knox Swan and Dog, LLC.

Authorities say the 37-year-old Hensley was in a kayak checking on several mute swans when he may have got too close to a swan or its nest.

The lawsuit claims the defendants knew or should have known mute swans have a "dangerous propensity to attack.

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