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TOXIC WASTE-AQUIFER

City leaders say PCBs not only concern at landfill

CLINTON, Ill. (AP) - Communities that rely on a large central Illinois aquifer say Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to block disposal of PCBs at the Clinton Landfill might not do enough to protect their drinking water.

Quinn's office says the state Environmental Protection Agency will modify a permit to prohibit disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls because local landfill approval in 2002 didn't include PCBs.

The landfill sits above the Mahomet aquifer, which provides water to 750,000 people in about a dozen counties. Many towns worried that PCBs could contaminate the aquifer.

But Normal City Manager Mark Peterson tells the (Decatur) Herald & Review that (http://bit.ly/1lXlAxE ) he also worries about manufactured gas plant waste.

PCBs were used in industrial and commercial products but banned in 1979 because they can cause cancer and other health problems.

HEPATITIS DRUG-ILLINOIS

Illinois Medicaid restricts use of hepatitis drug

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois is placing tight restrictions on a new hepatitis C drug that costs $1,000 per pill. Medicaid patients must meet 25 criteria and get prior approval before the government health care program will pay for Sovaldi.

The drug can stop the liver-damaging virus, but it comes with a budget-straining price tag.

Illinois approved the restrictions this month after spending $16 million on Sovaldi this year. Medicaid medical director Dr. Arvind Goyal says the cautious approach was appropriate because there isn't yet enough research on Sovaldi in minority patients and other groups.

But doctors who've seen Sovaldi wipe out the virus say the rules are too limiting. Dr. Steven Flamm of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine says the rules could eliminate most patients he'd like to treat with Sovaldi.

RAIL CARS-ILLINOIS

Japanese firm expands Illinois rail car plant

ROCHELLE, Ill. (AP) - A Japanese rail car manufacturer is expanding its plant in north-central Illinois, adding 90 jobs.

Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday attended the opening of the new $100 million Nippon Sharyo Manufacturing LLC facility in Rochelle. The company has a passenger rail car production facility in the Ogle County city.

The company already has about 400 employees at the site. The 90 manufacturing jobs will be created when the new portion of the facility is in full production.

The governor's office says Nippon Sharyo expanded its facility to meet demand for new passenger rail cars. Those cars will be used on high-speed lines throughout the U.S.

The Federal Railroad Administration is paying for 130 new cars. Of those, 88 will go to Illinois.

ARCHER DANIELS-EPA SETTLEMENT

Archer Daniels Midland settles EPA allegations

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Federal regulators say Archer Daniels Midland Co. has agreed to settle allegations that it violated Clean Water Act rules at oil storage facilities in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.

The Environmental Protection Agency says Decatur, Illinois-based Archer Daniels will pay a civil penalty of $430,000.

An Archer Daniels spokeswoman said Wednesday that she couldn't immediately comment.

The EPA says the company violations involved large oil storage facilities situated in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa; Deerfield and Mexico, Missouri; and Columbus, Nebraska. The EPA says violations included a lack of EPA-required spill response plans and violations of industrial stormwater requirements for Clean Water Act operating permits.

FATAL WRECK-TRUCKER SOUGHT

Police search for trucker after fatal I-70 wreck

TROY, Ill. (AP) - Illinois State Police are searching for a tractor-trailer driver who they say drove off after being involved in an accident that left another motorist dead.

Police did not immediately identify the motorist killed in the wreck shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday on westbound Interstate 70 near Troy in Madison County.

Police say the car's driver apparently lost control of his Chevrolet Impala and ended up stopping sideways on the interstate. Investigators say that's when a tractor-trailer clipped the car's front, spinning it several times before a second semi rig hit the car's passenger side.

Police say the driver of the first tractor-trailer fled the scene and they are searching for the driver. The second semi rig came to rest on its side in a ditch.

CARROLLTON-FATAL FIRE

Western Illinois woman dies in mobile home fire

CARROLLTON, Ill. (AP) - Authorities suspect an electrical appliance caused a western Illinois mobile home fire that killed a woman.

Carrollton Fire Chief Tim Thaxton tells The (Alton) Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1qmKh9n ) that 39-year-old Katrina Baker died at the scene of the fire reported about 2:30 a.m. Monday.

Baker's body was found on the home's living room floor. Thaxton says Baker was alone at the time, and that her two children were staying that night with friends.

Carrollton police are investigating, and toxicology tests are pending.

SPIRIT AIRLINES-NEW ORLEANS

Spirit Airlines adds flights to New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Spirit Airlines will start direct flights between Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Chicago and Detroit this fall.

Starting Nov. 6, the airline will fly to and from those cities once a day.

The company, based in Miramar, Florida, announced the expanded service Wednesday before it is set to start non-stop service to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Houston, Texas, on Aug. 1.

The New Orleans Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1u0DKDO ) Spirit currently offers non-stop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth. Once all the nonstop routes are operating, there will be five direct flights offered by the airline from New Orleans.

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

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