Illinois Public Media News
30 to 50 cadets at Rantoul's Lincoln's Challenge program could face expulsion over a fight in the academy's dining hall Sunday night.
The National Guard-sponsored academy is for students who dropped out of high school but want to rebuild their lives. National Guard public affairs director Major Brad Leighton says the fight apparently grew out of a dispute over a basketball game earlier yesterday. He says today staff are trying to sort out how the fight developed into an incident that brought about 20 Rantoul police officers to the hall, looking at surveillance tapes of the cafeteria.
No one was reported seriously injured.
Leighton says Lincoln's Challenge works on a military basis and has a zero-tolerance policy against fighting, so cadets involved may be kicked out of the program. Academy director Peter Thomas says the school is working as normal today.
The FBI in Illinois says weekend raids in Ohio and Indiana are part of an ongoing investigation led by the FBI in Michigan.
Raids were conducted in all three states and at least three people were arrested, two in Ohio and one in Illinois.
Federal warrants were sealed, but one federal law enforcement official says some of those arrested face gun charges. That official also says they're pursuing other suspects.
A militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one of the raids was a Christian militia group.
George Ponce, who works at a pizzeria next door to a home raided in Hammond, Ind., said he and a few co-workers stepped outside for a break Saturday night and saw a swarm of law enforcement officers.
Ponce said officers yelled "get back inside'' and told them the house was being swept for bombs. He estimates agents took more than two dozen guns from the house.
A Chicago man accused of terrorism is scheduled to be in court Monday, but some of the public proceeding may be held in private.
Prosecuctors say the case against Tahawwur Rana includes classified information.
Information the government would like to use against him, but information the government would not like to trot out in a public courtroom.
That's why much of Monday's s hearing may be closed.
The judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys will likely discuss how they'll handle evidence that falls under the "Classified Information Procedures Act," or CIPA.
The act allows prosecutors to protect certain information by using only partial evidence, a part of a recording or a document.
Prosecutors would present the evidence to the judge who then decides how much of it can be seen by defense attorneys.
Rana has been charged with supporting another Chicagoan - David Headley - as he helped plan the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed more than a hundred and sixty people.
The Illinois State women's basketball team defeated Illinois 53 to 51Sunday, in a close game that sends the Lady Redbirds to the Women's NIT Final Four.
Senior Jenna Smith scored with 1:43 left in the game to give Illinois a 51-50 lead over ISU. But the Redbirds' Katie Broadway shot a three-pointer with 17.5 seconds left to regain a lead that turned out to be the final score. Two Illinois shots at the basket in the final seconds --- the first by sophomore Lydia McCulley and the rebound by Smith --- were unsuccessful.
The game was close for most of the first half, with ISU pulling ahead to a 28-19 lead with three minutes in the half. Illinois started the second half with a 9-2 run to take a 33-32 lead at the 15:53 mark. After that, the lead went back and forth the two teams, with neither one leading by more than four, up through the Redbirds' two-point victory margin.
Freshman Karisma Penn led Illinois with 13 points, while Smith followed up with 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks in her final game for the Illini.
Nicolle Lewis was the Redbirds' top scorer, with 14 points and nine rebounds.
The game was played at Redbird Arena in Normal, in front of 4,459. ISU will host California Thursday, April 1st, in the Women's NIT semifinals. Illinois finishes its season with a 19-15 record, including their first-ever quarterfinal appearance at the WNIT..
Sheila Simon has won the Democratic nomination for Illinois lieutenant governor.
Simon had the backing of Gov. Pat Quinn, who praised her public service and also said it was important to have a downstate resident on the Democratic ticket.
The Democratic State Central Committee chose Simon Saturday to fill a vacancy created when the original nominee dropped out amid a scandal over his legal problems.
She defeated Rep. Art Turner, who had finished second in the February primary election.
Turner is black and some Democratic leaders had predicted that rejecting him would sour black voters on the Democratic ticket.
Meanwhile, Republican lieutenant governor nominee Jason Plummer is welcoming Simon to the race
Plummer said Saturday that he hopes for a thoughtful campaign that sticks to the issues -- especially Simon's support for raising income taxes.
The 27-year-old candidate says the Democratic State Central Committee's decision to choose Simon over Turner was an example of arrogance.
Plummer says Gov. Pat Quinn hand-picked his running mate and ignored the voters.
Pink Floyd The Wall'' in its only surviving 70 millimeter print, and "Apocalypse Now Redux'' --- a longer 2001 re-edit of Francis Ford Cuppola's 1979 original --- are among the 13 movies on the schedule next month at Roger Ebert's annual film festival.
Organizers announced the lineup Friday for this year's Roger Ebert's Film Festival. The festival will be April 21-25 at the Virginia Theater in Champaign, with related events at the Illini Union at the University of Illinois. The Chicago Sun-Times film critic is a native of Urbana and a U of I graduate.
Other movies on the schedule include the 2009 Oscar Winner "Departures'' and a 2007 film shot in Rwanda with local actors called "Munyurangabo.''
This year's silent film is 1929's "Man With a Movie Camera", an avant-garde Russian film. As in past years, the three-person Alloy Orchestra will accompany the showing.
Roger Ebert's wife, Chaz, will once again act as emcee for the festival. Roger Ebert is unable to speak due to cancer surgery, but plans to play a role using a computer synthesis of his voice.
According to its organizers, Roger Ebert's Film Festival features films that the film critic feels have been overlooked, either by critics, distributors or audiences, or because they come from an overlooked genre or format.Besides the film showings, guests connected with many of the films will appear on the Virginia Theater stage for informal Q-and-A sessions after the screenings. The festival is presented by the University of Illinois College of Media, of which Illinois Public Media is a part.
Festival passes for the festival are sold out. Tickets for individual films go on sale April 5, through the Virginia Theater box office.
Illinois Democratic Party leaders meet Saturday morning in Springfield to pick a nominee for lieutenant governor.
Governor Pat Quinn announced on Friday he wanted Sheila Simon to fill the ballot spot left vacant by Scott Lee Cohen, who won the primary and then withdrew.
Simon is the daughter of the late U-S Senator Paul Simon, himself a one-term lieutenant governor.
Quinn doesn't get a vote when party officials pick the nominee...but he hopes they listen to his preference.
"There's no sure thing in life, okay?", says Quinn. "You're not sure until they vote"
And some powerful members of the Democratic State Central Committee say they will not be supporting Simon - instead voting for state Representative Art Turner, who finished second in the primary.
Turner's supporters say there could be a voter backlash if he doesn't end up the nominee, but Quinn says the longtime lawmaker has no claim to the nomination.
"The way primaries work is, the one who finishes first is the winner", sayd Quinn. "Everyone else goes home, you know? When it's over it's over."
It's ALL expected to be over on Saturday, when the 19 men and 19 women on the committee cast their votes.
Portraits of Illinois' former governors hang in the state capitol. But House lawmakers want to make sure a likeness of the state's last governor, Rod Blagojevich, doesn't join them, at taxpayers' expense.
Previous Illinois governors have gotten in trouble with the law ... including Otto Kerner and George Ryan. Portraits of both men still hang in the Capitol. But Rod Blagojevich is the only Illinois Governor to have been impeached and removed from office.
Republican Representative Bill Black of Danville says that distinction is why he doesn't want the state to foot the bill for a painting of Blaogjevich ... which Black estimates could cost up to $25,000.
"I don't think it unreasonable to say you forfeit your right to have the taxpayers memorialize your time as Governor", said Black. "You've given up that right when you were impeached and convicted by the Illinois Senate."
Black says if a private group or the family wants to pay for a portrait ... that's O-K.
While Black's measure passed ... 23 representatives voted "no", including Onarga Republican Shane Cultra
Representative Jack Franks, a Woodstock Democrat, ultimately voted for the measure. But he says you can't just erase history.
"Sometimes its been shameful", said Franks, chuckling, "but it's our history."
If it becomes law, the measure will apply to any Governor thrown out of office.
The House also approved a measure requiring public officials convicted of corruption to forfeit and return to the state any profits of their crimes. That measure passed 107-0.
Gov. Pat Quinn is set to announce that the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon is his pick for a running mate.
A person familiar with Quinn's selection process tells The Associated Press that Quinn wants Sheila Simon to fill the lieutenant governor spot. The person didn't want to pre-empt Quinn's announcement at a Friday afternoon news conference and would speak only on condition of anonymity.
While Simon might be Quinn's choice, the Democratic Party State Central Committee has the final say. They'll meet Saturday in Springfield to make the official pick.
Simon is a law professor at Southern Illinois University and a former member of the Carbondale City Council.
Democrats get to pick Quinn's running mate because primary winner Scott Lee Cohen quit amid questions about his past. Simon is on a list of finalists they'll choose from.
A tree-killing beetle is inching closer to Champaign and Vermilion Counties.
Field workers recently found the emerald ash borer in about a dozen ash trees at a rest stop along I-57 near the Iroquois County town of Loda. A quarantine on bringing in firewood already impacts all or part of 21 Illinois Counties... most of them in northern and northeast Illinois. But it was extended downstate to McLean County after beetles were discovered in some trees in Bloomington two years ago. Warren Goetsch is the Illinois Department of Agriculture's bureau chief of environmental programs. He says there's a good chance those boundaries will extend to the east soon. "Just because of the way the infestations have been in Indiana - they're kind of looking at it from a national perspective," says Goetsch. "And sometimes, that big picture perspective perhaps causes us to work in some areas that maybe would have liked to have done a little differently. And so this gives us a little more confidence that we need to be doing some more trapping in East Central Illinois."
Goetsch says by telling people not to move firewood, to purchase it locally, and to burn it all when camping, they'll minimize the 'artificial' spread of the insect. Goetsch says he expects a number of ash borer traps to soon be set in Champaign and Vermilion Counties. The larvae from the green beetles burrow into the bark of ash trees, cutting off their food supply. The ash borer has killed more than 25 million ash trees in states like Michigan, Ohio and Missouri since 2002. It was first found in Illinois in northern Kane County in 2006.
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