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Articles filed under Illinois

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  • 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.

     
  • Naperville man, brother plead guilty to $6.1M tax fraud Dec 18, 2014 11:39 AM
    Two Illinois brothers have pleaded guilty in what federal authorities say was a $6.1 million tax fraud scheme. U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis said Wednesday that 50-year-old Shaher Mizyed of Naperville and 46-year-old Mohammad Mizyed of Peoria will be sentenced in April for crimes including conspiracy to defraud the United States. Authorities say the brothers who formerly owned and operated a Fast Stop service station in Peoria admitted to conspiring to file false federal corporate income tax returns from 2006 through 2010. Mohammad Mizyed also pleaded guilty to mail fraud and says he fraudulently received about $160,000 in state medical benefits. Conspiracy to defraud the U.S. carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and mail fraud crimes carry a penalty of up to 20 years.

     
  • Police: 3 women arrested in Rockford home invasion Dec 18, 2014 11:53 AM
    Rockford police have arrested three women who they say broke into an apartment and beat two female residents with a pipe and other weapons. The Rockford Register Star reports the three women in their 20s were arrested on charges of home invasion and aggravated battery Wednesday. Police were called to the apartment around 3:30 a.m. One of the victims suffered a cut on her head that required treatment at a hospital. Police didn’t identify a motive in the attack. Police say they spotted a white Chevrolet that matched the description of the vehicle the victims say the attackers used to flee. Police stopped the car and arrested the women after an investigation. ——— Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com

     
  • 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

     
  • Quinn wants 2016 special election for comptroller Dec 18, 2014 12:21 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.

     
  • NIU offering live video stream of dorm demolition Dec 17, 2014 1:25 PM
    NIU offering live video stream of dorm demolition DEKALB — Northern Illinois University is offering a live video feed of the ongoing demolition of a 51-year-old residence hall. The stream offers viewers a wide shot of the scene at Douglas Hall so they can watch equipment and crews working to strategically dismantle the building. The goal is to salvage as many materials as possible by separating concrete and steel. NIU spokesman Paul Palian says about 80 percent of the building will be recycled. He says some of the recycled materials will be used on a $4.5 million road expansion project to create a major east-west thoroughfare on campus. Palian says interior demolition began last month and the building is expected to be gone at the end of March. The Daily Chronicle reports the residence hall housed NIU students from 1963 until May. ——— Information from: The Daily Chronicle, http://www.daily-chronicle.com

     
  • University of Illinois trustee Pam Strobel won’t serve again Dec 17, 2014 1:25 PM
    A member of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees who led the school through two presidential searches says she won’t seek reappointment after her term ends next month. Pam Strobel tells The (Champaign) News-Gazette in a Wednesday story that she has informed University of Illinois President Bob Easter of her decision. Strobel has served since Gov. Pat Quinn appointed her when the university board was reconstituted in 2009 after an admissions scandal. She is a Democrat from Winnetka and a retired business executive who earned degrees from the university in journalism and law. Strobel says she thinks it’s “very helpful to get fresh perspectives and new thinking on the board.” Board Chairman Christopher Kennedy has also said he plans to step down when his term ends in January. ——— Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

     
  • Deliberations begin in Illinois grant-fraud case Dec 17, 2014 1:25 PM
    A federal jury has started deliberating on whether a Chicago businessman and his wife stole $3.4 million they received in Illinois state grant funds. Leon and Karin Dingle are charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering in a Justice Department investigation that has already yielded four guilty pleas.

     
  • Chicago ‘petcoke’ handler says it’ll enclose piles Dec 17, 2014 1:16 PM
    A company storing petroleum coke on Chicago’s southeast side says it plans to build a huge structure to contain the grainy black piles and keep them from blowing around. KCBX Terminals said Tuesday that it’ll build a $120 million structure about 1,000 feet long, 200 feet wide and 100 feet tall to comply with a city requirement to enclose “petcoke.” Construction would begin next fall and take two years — even though the city requires that petcoke piles be enclosed by 2016. The company is asking the city to waive that timeline. Petcoke is a byproduct of oil refining often used as industrial fuel. Many residents want the piles removed, saying they worry about their health. A proposed city ordinance would limit the amount of petcoke stored in Chicago.

     
  • NIU graduate shot outside Texas TV station Dec 17, 2014 3:47 PM
    A weather forecaster who attended Northern Illinois University was shot multiple times outside a central Texas television station Wednesday morning, according to reports.

     
  • Top leaders give Cuba move mixed reviews Dec 17, 2014 6:44 PM
    Local leaders react after President Barack Obama Wednesday announced the release of American prisoner Alan Gross from Cuba and a move toward a diplomatic relationship with the country.

     
  • Topinka remembered as honest, tough at memorial Dec 17, 2014 4:31 PM
    Late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has been remembered as a tough, honest leader with a signature sense of humor. Crowds filled a union hall in Countryside on Wednesday to pay respects. Individuals included the state’s top leaders, lawmakers, local leaders and Illinoisans who knew her for more than 70 years.

     
  • Chicago couple convicted of stealing state grants Dec 17, 2014 11:00 PM
    A Chicago businessman and his wife were convicted Wednesday on more than a dozen counts of stealing $3.4 million in state taxpayer money as part of a rampant fraud scheme involving Illinois Department of Public Health grants. A federal jury deliberated for just over five hours before dealing a clean sweep for the government in finding Leon Dingle Jr., 77, and Karin Dingle, 75, guilty on 17 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering.

     
  • George Ryan, who took big trip to Cuba, praises move Dec 17, 2014 4:36 PM
    Former Gov. George Ryan, who made a famous trip to Cuba in his first year as governor 15 years ago, praised President Barack Obama’s move Wednesday to establish diplomatic ties to the country. Ryan said he wrote more than one letter to Cuban leaders since leaving federal prison to ask for the release of imprisoned American Alan Gross, who was released Wednesday.

     
  • Indiana man gets 65 years in cousin’s slaying Dec 16, 2014 10:18 AM
    A central Indiana man convicted last month in his cousin’s fatal shooting has been sentenced to 65 years in prison. Nineteen-year-old De’Auntaye White of Anderson received the maximum possible sentence Monday for his murder conviction in last year’s slaying of 21-year-old Quayshawn Jordan. Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings tells The Herald Bulletin he normally does not seek the maximum sentence for someone as young as White. But the prosecutor says “that was what needed to be done” in light of White’s previous involvement in two prior shootings. That includes a 2010 incident in which White three times at his older brother with a loaded revolver. A Madison County jury convicted White in Jordan’s killing last month. ——— Information from: The Herald Bulletin, http://www.theheraldbulletin.com

     
  • Police: Man arrested in Jacksonville killing Dec 16, 2014 10:18 AM
    Jacksonville authorities say they have arrested a man wanted in an October shooting death after he spent nearly eight weeks on the run. Police say the U.S. Marshals Service arrested the 19-year-old Monday. Jacksonville Lt. Adam Mefford said he was being held in or near St. Louis. The man is accused of shooting 24-year-old Marcus Jackson outside a home in Jacksonville. Police announced a wide search for the man four days later and noted his ties to the Jacksonville, Springfield and Decatur areas. No charges have been reported.

     
  • Rockford settles police shooting lawsuit for $1.1M Dec 16, 2014 10:14 AM
    The city of Rockford says it has reached a $1.1 million settlement with the estate of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot inside a church-run day care by two white police officers in 2009.

     
  • Officials: Nearly 600 Oak Park students out sick Dec 16, 2014 9:23 AM
    Officials say nearly 600 students in Oak Park Elementary School District 97 have missed school because of illness. The district said about 10 percent of its students and staff members were absent Monday. It says it will be monitoring the situation closely and taking extra measures in cold and flu prevention, including extensively cleaning surfaces in school buildings.

     
  • Indiana prison escapee captured at U of I Dec 16, 2014 3:57 PM
    Police say an inmate who escaped from a minimum-security federal prison in Indiana has been arrested on the University of Illinois’ campus. Campus police say an officer doing a routine walk-through of the school’s undergraduate library in Urbana found 61-year-old Michael Ward there.

     
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