CLOSER LOOK-ILLINOIS PENSIONS
GOP, Dems now face pension vote fallout in 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Legislature's watershed vote to approve a $160 billion pension reform plan offered some surprises this week.
Far fewer GOP lawmakers than expected supported the plan despite pension reform being a party priority for years. Only 15 of 47 House Republicans voted for the plan, as did 10 of 19 Senate GOP members.
Many said the plan didn't cut enough costs for the state. They also faced pressure from campaign donors, and concerns about giving Democratic Governor Pat Quinn a re-election boost.
Democratic lawmakers stepped forward with more yes votes to compensate, even though the plan was bitter medicine for their party's traditional union allies.
Lawmakers now could face consequences in the 2014 campaign, when Democrats will seek to preserve their "supermajority" status in the House and Senate.
Lawmaker seeks to reduce plane noise by airports
CHICAGO (AP) - A lawmaker from Illinois has introduced a bill that aims to reduce noise in residential areas near airports.
U.S. Representative Mike Quigley says the Silent Skies Act would require aviation companies to phase in quieter planes faster than they're doing. All commercial airplanes would have to comply with stricter standards by 2035.
Quigley's 5th Congressional District incorporates O'Hare International Airport. The Democrat's office said Thursday he's made reducing noise pollution around O'Hare a priority.
His office says the Federal Aviation Administration issued regulations in 2006 requiring that new planes meet improved standards. But it didn't spell out if older planes must retrofit with quieter engines.
The Silent Skies Act would require companies to phase in quieter engines at a rate of 25 percent of an airline's fleet every five years.
PEARL HARBOR REMEMBRANCE
Illinois marking 72nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois has marked the 72nd anniversary of the Imperial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 1,177 people and brought the United States into World War Two.
The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs held a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony Saturday afternoon at the Disabled American Veterans' Club in Springfield.
The service included a display of Pearl Harbor-related memorabilia, military honors and a wreath laying in Lake Springfield.
Governor Pat Quinn earlier this week proclaimed Saturday Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. He ordered flags be flown at half-staff from sunset and sunrise in memory of those who died in the attack and to honor the people who survived.
President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7th, 1941 "a date which would live in infamy."
Senators talk up benefits of Illiana Expressway
CHICAGO (AP) - U.S. Senators Mark Kirk of Illinois and Dan Coats of Indiana are talking up the benefits of the proposed Illiana Expressway.
The 47-mile tollway would connect Interstate 65 in northwest Indiana with I-55 south of Chicago.
Kirk says the plan to build and run it in partnership with private investors should be a model for faster infrastructure development.
Coats says it would increase opportunities to ship goods made in Indiana.
Skeptics, including some Chicago metropolitan planners, say the road would have minimal impact on economic development and that toll revenue would fall short, leaving taxpayers on the hook.
The Illinois Department of Transportation estimates construction costs at $1.3 billion, with Illinois responsible for about $1 billion.
It's been approved in Illinois. An Indiana planning agency will vote December 12th.
SEVERE WEATHER-WIND TURBINES
Ill. wind turbine damage blamed on strong storms
DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The company that operates an eastern Illinois wind-energy farm where two blades recently broke off a turbine near a school says last month's severe storms may be to blame.
Invenergy says the 159-foot blades broke off the turbine north of Oakwood and near Oakwood Junior High on the night of November 20th, three days after powerful storms tore across Illinois. Oakwood is about 30 miles east of Champaign.
The company tells The News-Gazette in Champaign that the storms may have been damaged by the November 17th storms.
No one was injured by the falling blades.
Those storms, though, included tornadoes that killed seven people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses around the state.
Chicago announces 100 Learning Gardens at schools
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago officials are announcing that they have installed a total of 100 gardens where students can grow fruit and vegetables at their schools.
In a news release, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office says what are called Learning Gardens that started being installed last year now provide more than 50,000 children with "hands-on nutrition and science education opportunities."
The gardens are part of an effort in which the city and a nonprofit group called the Kitchen Community to teach students healthy habits, improve academic performance and reverse trends in childhood obesity.
The release says the city hopes to plant as many as 40 more gardens in city schools next year.
SEXUAL ASSAULT-LAWYER CHARGED
Chicago lawyer, nephew accused of sexual assault
CHICAGO (AP) - An attorney with a prominent Chicago law firm and his nephew have been charged with sexually assaulting a man.
Cook County prosecutors allege that 50-year-old Stanley Stallworth and 22-year-old Therrie Miller pressured an 18-year-old into drinking alcohol and then sexually assaulted him in Stallworth's home in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
Citing court records, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the alleged victim blacked out several times while struggling with his attackers.
Stallworth and Miller are each charged with one count of criminal sexual assault, and a judge set bond at $150,000 each.
Stallworth is a partner with Sidley Austin LLP. According to the firm's website, he is currently on leave.
Stallworth did not respond to phone messages and an email seeking comment Saturday.
There is no public phone listing for Miller.
EAST ST LOUIS-TEENAGER KILLED
Police probe East St. Louis teen's shooting death
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - Authorities in East St. Louis are investigating the shooting death of a teenager whose body was found in snow near his home.
Police Chief Michael Floore says 18-year-old Roman Brooks was found before dawn Friday by ambulance workers.
He says the teenager lived three houses away from where his body was discovered lying on the ground.
Illinois State Police are assisting in the investigation.
JOYRIDE FATAL CRASH
Girl, 13, charged in fatal Illinois joyride crash
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) - A 13-year-old girl has been charged with reckless homicide in a deadly car crash in suburban Chicago in which she's accused of taking a vehicle full of children on a joyride.
The November 27th crash in Olympia Fields killed one of the passengers.
WMAQ-TV reports that the Cook County State's Attorney's office has charged the girl with reckless homicide, reckless conduct and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Authorities are not releasing her name because of her age.
Police say the car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck a tree. Twelve-year-old passenger Armani Creamer was killed. Four other passengers - all under the age of 16 - were treated at hospitals and released.
The boy was scheduled to be buried on Saturday.
Man sentenced to 17 years in Elgin home invasion
ELGIN, Ill. (AP) - A suburban Chicago man who pleaded guilty in a home invasion last year has been sentenced to 17 years in state prison.
The Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports that 25-year-old Modesto Rosales of Elgin could have been sentenced to 30 years in prison had he gone to trial and been convicted.
Instead he admitted to helping kick down the door of an Elgin home and severely beating his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend with fists, an iron, a chair and a computer monitor. The beating took place in front of the young son of Rosales and the woman.
A second man, 28-year-old Jaime Zarate of Elgin, is also charged. He is scheduled to appear in court February 5th.
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