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  • Firefighters rescue boy from Rockford home fire Dec 18, 2014 11:53 AM
    Rockford firefighters have rescued a 14-year-old boy who they found hiding in the basement under a sheet during a home fire. The Rockford Register Star reports firefighters responded to heavy flames in the building Wednesday. Neighbors told responders there might be children home. Firefighters say the boy couldn’t escape because of heavy smoke on the first floor. Fire District Chief Dan Zaccard describes him as a special-needs child. His injuries aren’t life threatening. Zaccard says no adults were home at the time of the fire and smoke alarms were operating. Fire authorities say the Department of Child and Family Services was called as a matter of protocol. Damage was estimated at $15,000. No other injuries were reported. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire. ——— Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com

  • Report: Culvert repairs pose environmental risks Dec 18, 2014 11:55 AM
    A Purdue University engineering report recommends states require standardized testing to safeguard against environmental contamination caused by a widely used method for rehabilitating aging drainage culverts. Assistant engineering professor Andrew Whelton says the nation’s culvert infrastructure is decaying and states have no standardized product test method that screens out technologies or construction practices that can cause environmental damage. He says there’s evidence that a frequently-used technology called cured-in-place pipe have caused fish kills, harmed wastewater treatment plants and caused evacuations of day care centers, schools and government buildings. Whelton says a newly developed modified procedure can be used on freshly manufactured pipe rehabilitation materials to potentially screen out hazardous materials.

  • Police: DNA links Milwaukee man to sexual assault Dec 18, 2014 12:00 PM
    Authorities have charged a Milwaukee man whose DNA they say links him to a rape on the city’s north side. WTMJ-TV reports 24-year-old Robert Brown is charged with robbery, kidnapping and sexual assault of a woman in the September incident. Authorities say evidence from the assault scene matched Brown’s DNA in the state’s database. Authorities say Brown approached the victim as she was walking to a friend’s house. She tells police he asked her for a cigarette before dragging her behind a house while holding a gun to her head. Police say he stole the woman’s cellphone. It wasn’t immediately clear if Brown has an attorney. ——— Information from: WTMJ-TV, http://www.todaystmj4.com

  • U.S. attorney: No racial bias in Illinois office Dec 18, 2014 12:00 PM
    The U.S. attorney overseeing public-corruption convictions of several black defendants in central Illinois in recent years says racial bias is not involved. James Lewis is the Justice Department’s prosecutor in Springfield. He spoke Wednesday after black businessman Leon Dingle Jr. and his wife, Karin, who is white, were convicted of stealing $3.4 million in Illinois Department of Public Health grant money. Lewis says trial evidence “has no color.” Dr. Eric Whitaker — the black former public health director and President Barack Obama’s friend — testified outside the jury’s presence in the trial. He criticized Lewis for a disproportionate number of blacks prosecuted. Lewis’s boss, Attorney General Eric Holder — a black man and friend of Whitaker and Obama — has said his Springfield-based prosecutors act in a “neutral” manner.

  • Galesburg veterans facility named in honor of late congressman Dec 18, 2014 12:00 PM
    President Barack Obama has signed legislation naming a veterans’ clinic after a late Illinois congressman. U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos announced that Obama signed the bipartisan legislation on Thursday naming the facility the Lane A. Evans VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic. The bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House by Bustos of East Moline. Durbin’s office says it was supported by the entire Illinois congressional delegation. Evans represented Illinois’ 17th Congressional District for more than 20 years. He died in November after battling Parkinson’s disease. Evans chaired the Vietnam-era Veterans’ Congressional Caucus and was the first Vietnam-era veteran to serve as ranking member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Kirk called him a “champion” for servicemen and women abroad and at home.

  • Wanted felons arrested after shooting, chase Dec 18, 2014 11:39 AM
    Two suspects accused of shooting at officers during a police chase have been arrested following a manhunt in the woods of northeastern Wisconsin. Marinette County sheriff’s officials closed a section of Highway 141, evacuated some homes and locked down two bars Wednesday night as they searched for the armed men near Middle Inlet. Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve says the events began to unfold when authorities in Michigan informed his deputies two wanted felons were staying at a hotel in Crivitz. Officials say the men may have been responsible for home burglaries in Pound and Stephenson. WLUK-TV reports the suspects’ car was spotted north of Crivitz and deputies began a chase. Sauve says the suspects shot at a pursuing squad car, later crashed in the woods and fled on foot. Deputies arrested the men about three hours later. ——— Information from: WLUK-TV, http://www.fox11online.com

  • Indiana woman gets 60 years in murder-for-hire Dec 18, 2014 11:30 AM
    A southwestern Indiana woman who admitted plotting to have her daughter’s boyfriend kill her estranged husband has been sentenced to 60 years in prison. Forty-seven-year-old Brenda Dossett of Evansville could have faced life without parole if she had been convicted at trial of murder in the May killing of her estranged husband, Gilbert Dossett. But the Evansville Courier & Press reports Dossett instead agreed last month to plead guilty to murder and was sentenced Wednesday in Vanderburgh County. She’s agreed to testify against 19-year-old Mason James Hughes, who’s accused of fatally shooting Gilbert Dossett as he slept. Court documents say Brenda Dossett expected a $42,000 life insurance payout from her husband’s death and promised to buy Hughes a car costing no more than $10,000 to kill her husband. ——— Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com

  • Oshkosh Corp. has another Army order Dec 18, 2014 12:16 PM
    Oshkosh Corp. says it has another order from the U.S. Army to make tactical vehicles and trailers. The company said Thursday the contract for 256 medium tactical vehicles is worth $67 million. The vehicles are to be delivered next year and 2016. Oshkosh Corp. says it has delivered more than 22,000 trucks and 11,000 trailers to the Army since 2010. The Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, or FMTVs, are used by the Army and National Guard at home and abroad.

  • Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private-sector job growth Dec 18, 2014 12:16 PM
    Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private-sector job growth for the 12-month period ending in June. The latest figures were reported Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They show that Wisconsin grew private-sector jobs between July 2013 and the end of June this year by 1.45 percent. That lags the national average of growth at 2.3 percent. Wisconsin ranks 32nd nationally and behind Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development also reported Thursday that unemployment dropped from 5.4 percent to 5.2 percent between October and November. The national unemployment rate for November is 5.8 percent. The monthly also shows Wisconsin added 16,500 private sector jobs in November.

  • Supporters of Kenosha casino rally for jobs Dec 18, 2014 12:16 PM
    Hundreds of supporters of a new casino in Kenosha rallied for jobs at the former greyhound dog track. Local and state officials were among those who showed up to support the proposed Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Wednesday night. The rally was held at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha. Officials estimate the casino could generate more than 10,000 jobs. Supporters of the Menominee Indian tribe’s plan say the $800 million hotel and casino would have a huge economic impact on the area. There’s strong opposition to the project as well. The Potawatomi tribe is concerned it will draw business away from its Milwaukee casino.

  • Indiana creates county travel status mobile app Dec 18, 2014 11:55 AM
    Indiana has created a free mobile app the state says will provide users with county travel status updates and alerts directly to their mobile devices. The state Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday it collaborated on creating the free app with Indiana’s Office of Technology. The app’s features allow users to set alerts for any county or counties they choose, and when a travel status in a selected county is changed, users will receive an alert notification. The app will include weather conditions for each county and contact information for county emergency management agencies. The Indiana Travel Advisory app is available to download for iPhone in the App Store and Android in the Google Play Store.

  • Quinn wants 2016 special election for comptroller Dec 18, 2014 5:56 PM
    Gov. Pat Quinn wants lawmakers to set up a special election in 2016 to replace former state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. The outgoing Democrat called lawmakers to Springfield for a special session Jan. 8.

  • Girl, 13, competent to stand trial in Slender Man stabbing Dec 18, 2014 1:14 PM
    One of two girls accused of stabbing a classmate in a southeastern Wisconsin park to please a fantasy character known as Slender Man is competent to stand trial for attempted homicide, a judge ruled Thursday. A state psychiatrist determined the girl was able to assist in her defense, but her attorney disputed the finding, saying he had a report from another doctor who disagreed. Both reports are sealed. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren said the girl is competent to stand trial. The decision keeps the case tracking toward a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors have charged both girls with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the attack in May in Waukesha, a city of 71,000 about 15 miles west of Milwaukee. They say the girls plotted for months to kill classmate Payton Leutner, luring her to a wooded park after a sleepover and stabbing her 19 times. After her attackers left, Leutner crawled through the woods to a sidewalk where a bicyclist found her and called 911. The two girls charged in the case were found walking toward a national forest where they said they believed Slender Man lived in a mansion. They told investigators they believed killing Leutner would curry favor with the figure. All three girls were 12 at the time of the attack. The girl whose competency was in question has since turned 13. Wisconsin law requires suspects in severe crimes to be charged as adults if they are at least 10 years old. The Associated Press is not naming the girls because their attorneys have said they may still try to move their cases into juvenile court, where proceedings are closed to the public.

  • Baby Jesus statue stolen and returned will get GPS Dec 18, 2014 11:30 AM
    The baby Jesus is getting a tracking device. A statue of the newborn Jesus recently stolen and then returned to a central Indiana retirement home will soon be equipped with a GPS monitor.

  • Ebuzz: Outlet allows Wi-Fi to give you a smarter home Dec 18, 2014 4:43 PM
    Kukec's eBuzz column features Naperville-based Grid Connect, which now offers the ConnectSense Smart Outlet that plugs into your wall outlet and has two Internet-connected electrical sockets. You can then plug in household devices and control them with an iPhone app or even voice command from Siri.

  • Quinn administration being committed to history Dec 18, 2014 4:29 PM
    David Joens director of the Illinois State Archives, is working with the Quinn administration to get six years of emails from top officials preserved for good.

  • Mother gets 2 years for locking son in basement Dec 18, 2014 7:27 PM
    A Quincy woman has been sentenced to two years in prison for locking her 5-year-old son in their basement. Tricia Franklin, 27, pleaded guilty last month to an unlawful restraint charge.

  • Teacher at school for visually impaired arrested Dec 18, 2014 7:28 PM
    Illinois State Police say they’ve arrested an instructor at the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired for aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

  • Report: Illinois fails to monitor runaway kids Dec 18, 2014 7:21 PM
    Illinois’ child-welfare agency cannot properly account for thousands of runaway or otherwise missing foster-care children, is sloppy about keeping track of when they disappear and can rarely show that proper authorities are contacted when necessary, a report by Auditor General William Holland released Thursday found.

  • Chickenpox forces southern Illinois prison lockdown Dec 18, 2014 7:24 PM
    A southern Illinois maximum-security state prison is in lockdown because five inmates in one housing unit have developed chickenpox.

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