News Minute: Here is the latest Illinois news from The Associate - – Rockford’s News Leader

News Minute: Here is the latest Illinois news from The Associated Press at 8:40 a.m. CST

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PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) - A circular, concrete observation deck overlooking Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana has collapsed following recent erosion along the lakeshore. No injuries were reported in the collapse over the weekend at the Portage Riverwalk and Lakefront. The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports the park has been suffering from the effects of erosion the past few years and recent erosion has been made worse by high waves and strong winds.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Students at 10 rural Illinois high schools now have access to online advanced placement classes to help them better prepare for college. Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti leads the Governor's Rural Affairs Council. She says 75 students will take part in a new pilot program that will test the feasibility of expanding the online classes to students across rural Illinois. Sanguinetti says the classes can make college more affordable but access to them is "extremely limited" in rural areas.

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) - Sheriff's deputies in a central Illinois county will soon be able to take their work vehicles home after their shifts end. The Herald & Review in Decatur reports that a 15-year-program paid for in large part with $3.1 million from Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett's private foundation might begin as early as May. Macon County's board recently approved allowing the foundation to pay for the program as well as buy rifles for deputies.

LOVES PARK, Ill. (AP) - Police in the northern Illinois community of Loves Park are warning residents to be careful who they let into their houses after thieves got into a home by posing as water department workers and apparently stole jewelry. WREX-Rockford reports that two men _ one of whom was wearing a jacket and yellow vest with reflective stripes _ knocked on a resident's door on Friday and identified themselves as city water department employees.

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