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This Hour: Latest Illinois news, sports, business and entertainment

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AFGHANISTAN VICTIM-RELATIVE

Relative: Slain doctor loved work in Afghanistan

CHICAGO (AP) - Dr. Jerry Umanos (oo-MAHN'-ohs) was doing exactly what he wanted to do with his life when he was killed in Afghanistan.

His brother-in-law says the pediatrician who was one of three people shot to death at a Kabul hospital became a doctor so he could help poor children. Speaking by phone from suburban Atlanta, Jeff Schuitema (SKEYE'-tuh-muh) says Umanos and his wife first went to Afghanistan years ago, once their children were grown. They'd been returning ever since - coming back to Chicago to earn enough money so he could continue his volunteer work.

He says his sister, Jan Schuitema, went with Umanos and taught at a girls' school, but returned more often than he did to earn enough money so that he could stay in Afghanistan.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR-RAUNER

Rauner skips GOP event over pastor's comments

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) - GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) isn't attending a Republican dinner in Moline because he says he disagrees with past statements from a pastor asked to speak at the event.

The (Moline) Dispatch reports Rauner was to attend Thursday's Rock Island County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner where the Rev. Donald Johnson of Rock Island's Destiny Baptist Church is speaking.

Rauner told The Associated Press Thursday he "strongly strongly" disagrees with Johnson's comments. He wouldn't elaborate.

The Dispatch reports Johnson's books accuse President Barack Obama of "anti-Biblical" actions and that he "homosexualized the military."

Johnson was taken off the program then added back.

He declined comment to the newspaper. Calls to his church went unanswered.

County GOP chairman Bill Bloom says Johnson's social conservative message made Rauner's campaign "nervous."

QUINN HIRING-RAUNER

Rauner wants Quinn to release hiring documents

CHICAGO (AP) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) is calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to release documents related to a federal complaint alleging improper hiring in the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Rauner told The Associated Press Thursday that Quinn should keep promises of transparency by making public documents supposedly detailing hiring issues. He says Quinn is continuing Illinois' history of corruption and cronyism.

Rauner tells AP he hasn't hired friends, family or allies.

The complaint filed Tuesday alleges job qualifications may have been based on clout and says Quinn's administration withheld documents.

Quinn says an audit was ordered and problems addressed.

His campaign spokeswoman Izabela Miltko says Rauner's comments are a distraction to his "pattern of hiding the truth" and says Rauner should release complete tax forms from the last five years.

TERM LIMITS-QUINN

Gov. backs term limits for constitutional officers

MARION, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he supports a plan to let voters decide if they should limit the terms of state constitutional officers.

Republican leaders from the state House and Senate have proposed an amendment to the state's Constitution that would limit the officers to two, four-year terms. To get the measure on the ballot, it needs a three-fifths vote in the Legislature. The state's six constitutional officers include the governor, treasurer and comptroller.

In a Thursday statement, Quinn says he's backed term limits for years. However, when asked about the issue last year, Quinn wouldn't commit to a term limit for himself.

He's seeking a second full term in November.

His Republican gubernatorial challenger, Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) is pushing for a term limits measure for lawmakers.

ILLINOIS-METRO UNEMPLOYMENT

Jobless rate drops in most Illinois metro areas

CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Department of Employment Security says unemployment fell in March in 10 of the state's 12 metro areas.

Department Director Jay Rowell says the numbers released Thursday indicate the state's economy is improving and people are becoming more confident about it.

Joblessness in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metro area fell sharply compared to March 2013 from 9.3 percent to 8.1 percent

Elsewhere the sharpest decline was in the Kankakee-Bradley area. The jobless rate there sank from 11.8 percent to 10.7 percent.

Rockford's unemployment rate fell from 11.8 to 10.9 percent.

Unemployment was up slightly to 11.1 percent in Danville and 7.1 percent in Bloomington-Normal.

Earlier this month the department said Illinois' jobless rate for March was 8.4 percent. That remains one of the country's highest jobless rates.

FORMER ISU PRESIDENT

ISU rehires fired grounds worker

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - A former Illinois State University worker who was fired after an incident involving ex-ISU President Timothy Flanagan has been rehired at the campus.

ISU Chief of Staff Jay Groves tells The Pantagraph that former grounds superintendent Patrick Murphy has been hired as a horticulturist and curator of Fell Arboretum.

Flanagan pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge in connection with the incident involving Murphy.

Groves says new ISU President Larry Dietz thought Murphy "deserved another opportunity at the university." The horticulturist and curator position was open due to a retirement.

Flanagan resigned last month, days before the charge was filed. He took the top post at the university in August.

VETERANS FLIGHTS

Ill. group that honored veterans with trips ending

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) - A central Illinois program that took World War II veterans on free trips to Washington is turning its operations over to a similar group after having to cancel several flights.

Don Niehart of Effingham is the organizer of the Central Illinois Honor Flight program. He told The Herald & Review in Decatur that the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight program in Springfield is taking over his operation.

Niehart said a family death and business obligations forced to make the move.

Niehart has taken more than 1,300 World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and other sites since 2009.

Ray Wiedle of the Springfield group said it is happy to take over and plans several flights this year.

CARL SANDBURG STATUE

Statue of Carl Sandburg arrives in Galesburg

GALESBURG, Ill. (AP) - A state of poet Carl Sandburg has made its first appearance in his native Galesburg.

The 9-foot bronze statue of Sandburg carrying his guitar and books arrived on Wednesday. The statue arrived at the Galesburg Welcome Center and was part of a parade down Main Street. There was a dedication ceremony that started the four-day Sandburg Days Festival.

The statue's temporary home will be the Ameren Building. The statue, by sculptor Lonnie Stewart, will remain at the building until money is raised to build a brick-and-mortar base. The statue ultimately will be installed in the city's Central Park.

Sandburg is known for his poetry and a biography of Abraham Lincoln. The small frame home where he was born is operated as a state historic site.

OBAMA HIGH SCHOOL

Chicago to name high school after President Obama

CHICAGO (AP) - President Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago plans to name a high school after him.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday announced plans to build Barack Obama College Preparatory High School. The selective enrollment high school will be open for the 2017-2018 school year. Chicago Public Schools says its enrollment will be 1,200 students.

Emanuel and school officials say Chicago needs more competitive selective enrollment schools. They say nearly 16,500 students applied for 3,200 seats this school year. The Obama school will be the 11th selective enrollment high school in Chicago.

School officials say the Obama school will open with a freshman class of 300 students.

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