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Lawsuit against Mississippi gun dealer settled

CHICAGO (AP) - The parents of a slain Chicago police officer have settled a lawsuit filed against a Mississippi gun shop they believe was the origin of the weapon used to kill their son.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Carolyn and Thomas Wortham III and Ed's Pawn Shop & Salvage Yard announced litigation between the parties was resolved "to the satisfaction of all parties." The pawn shop agreed to increased vigilance on gun sales.

Thirty-year-old Thomas Wortham IV was killed May 19, 2010 as he tried to stop four men from stealing his motorcycle. The lawsuit alleged the gun dealer knew or should have known at the time that the gun's sale to Michael Elliott was illegal.

Elliott pleaded guilty to his role as a straw purchaser and served a six-month sentence.


Spring corn planting still sputters in key states

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Efforts by the nation's corn growers to get their crops planted in key grain states continue to sputter.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says just 6 percent of this year's corn crop is in the ground. That compares to the average of 14 percent over the previous five years and 4 percent a year ago, when one of the wettest springs on record got farmers in many states off to the slowest start in decades.

The sluggish start to corn season is especially pronounced in key farming states. Illinois growers have planted just 5 percent, while Iowa is at just 2 percent and Nebraska is at 4 percent.

The USDA says corn planting traditionally is in full swing from this time through May 23.


Madigan: 'Misunderstanding' on Obama library vote

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says there was a "misunderstanding of the rules" when no Republicans were in attendance at a vote involving Barack Obama's presidential library.

The Chicago Democrat said Tuesday at a Democratic party meeting in Springfield that the vote will be held again. The measure would offer $100 million to lure the Obama library to Chicago.

Democrats hold a slim advantage on the Madigan-controlled House Executive Committee.

They approved the measure last week without any Republicans support.

GOP lawmakers have criticized both the vote and the way it was conducted. Madigan says there will be another vote on April 30 to quash criticism.

Madigan says he hopes the proposal will have Republican support next week.


Madigan re-elected to lead Ill. Democratic party

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - House Speaker Michael Madigan has been elected to his fifth term as chairman of the Illinois Democratic party.

The Chicago Democrat received near unanimous support from the party's state central committee during a meeting in Springfield on Tuesday. The only committeeman to oppose him was state Sen. Michael Noland of Elgin.

Noland says he "respectfully" voted against Madigan but declined to detail why. He says the two have a difference of opinion and spoke by phone about the issues in recent days.

He says it's "nothing personal" and he plans to honor his commitment to Madigan to not talk about the disagreement.

Noland says "only time will tell" if there are political ramifications for his actions. Madigan has served as House speaker for all but two years since 1983.


Cook County sheriff reopens inquiry into priest

CHICAGO (AP) - The Cook County Sheriff's office says it is reopening an investigation of sexual abuse allegations made against a Roman Catholic priest.

Father Michael W. O'Connell stepped down as pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Chicago in December 2013 after allegations he engaged in sexual misconduct while assigned to Our Lady of the Woods Parish in Orland Park. The Archdiocese of Chicago last week reactivated O'Connell after the sheriff's department concluded there's no evidence he abused a minor 20 years ago.

An unidentified man, speaking Monday at a Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests news conference, alleged he witnessed O'Connell behaving improperly at a gym years ago.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Eleni Demertizis says based on the new allegation the investigation of O'Connell was reopened.

O'Connell hasn't responded to requests for comment.


Heisse named editor of The Times in Munster

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) - A veteran editor and manager has been named editor of The Times Media Co. in Munster.

Bob Heisse has served as the top editor of The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill., since March 2012. He also has worked as regional editor of GateHouse Media in Illinois and as executive editor and vice president of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa.

He succeeds longtime executive editor and open records champion Bill Nangle. The Times reports Nangle announced Monday that he would retire for health reasons effective May 31. He has worked at the newspaper for 44 years.

Heisse is the former president of the national Associated Press Media Editors and its Foundation, the Pennsylvania APME and the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors.

He will start May 12.


Obama, first lady mourn Knuckles

OSO, Wash. (AP) - President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are mourning the loss of Frankie Knuckles, a Grammy-winning Chicago disc jockey known as the "Godfather of House Music."

Knuckles died last month at age 59. The cause was not available.

In an April 17 letter on White House stationery and addressed to Knuckles' family and friends, the president and first lady praise Knuckles as a trailblazer. They say his work helped open minds and bring people together by blending genres in a way that captured their attention and ignited their imaginations.

They say his legacy lives on in Chicago and on dance floors across the globe.

Both Obamas signed the letter. Chicago is their hometown.

They say that Knuckles will be dearly missed but that his spirit will remain a guiding force.

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