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Obama Urges 'Better Politics' In Speech to Illinois Legislature

President Barack Obama arrived at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield where he is addressing lawmakers about how elected officials can work better together. "We have to find a better way of doing business," he said, " to build a better politics." He told the lawmakers -- now mired in a budget impasse for more than seven months -- that a refusal to compromise is not a trait to be admired. Obama told lawmakers that the Illinois statehouse was where he learned how to work together with oth...
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The Justice Department says it is considering taking legal actions against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, after Ferguson city councilors unanimously voted last night to amend and potentially gut a negotiated agreement to reform the city’s police department and municipal court.

The agreement came after the 2014 killing of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer.

"Blogging?" by Flickr User Anonymous Account / (CC BY 2.0)

An Illinois lawmaker wants to criminalize recording fights in order to post them online.

Rep. Terri Bryant says she was disturbed by a video of an altercation between two boys from her hometown of Murphysboro that was posted to Facebook. The Republican lawmaker says she wants to show that staging fights or being a willing bystander is unacceptable.

cps.edu

Chicago Public Schools have slashed millions of dollars from school budgets, forcing principals to refigure their plans with the second semester just underway.

The principals received news of the $85 million cut on Tuesday as the school district faces a $1.1 billion budget deficit, no income from the state of Illinois and no contract with the Chicago Teachers Union.

In a written statement, schools CEO Forest Claypool the steps taken were necessary because the district's cash position "becomes tighter every day."

Before he arrived in Omaha as a doctoral student in computer science, Jason Jie Xiong says, "I didn't even know there was a state called Nebraska."

Jie Xiong, 29, who hails from a small city outside Shanghai, had landed a full scholarship at the University of Nebraska to teach and do research. He says he only knew "more famous states like California and New York."

He admits he found the program initially "by randomly checking information," but he's quick to add that he's happy there.

As the international community grapples with how best to stymie North Korea's nuclear development, South Korea is making one move on its own. It's shutting down the last remaining vestige of inter-Korean cooperation, the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

The special zone, located north of the border just six miles inside of North Korea, employs an estimated 55,000 North Koreans. South Korea's government and industries pay to operate the park. A total of 124 South Korean companies run businesses and factories there, mostly making goods like shoes and clothing.

portraits from whitehouse.gov

Members of the Illinois General Assembly will hear from President Barack Obama today.

Obama is returning to Springfield nine years to the day after he was in Springfield to announce he was running for the nation's highest office.

It will be the first time a sitting President has addressed a joint session of the Illinois legislature since 1978.

Then-President Jimmy Carter said that, as a former Georgia state senator, he realized the "extreme importance" of state government.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

People interested in owning something that belonged to Dixon’s jailed former comptroller will get another chance.  The U.S. Marshals service will conduct an auction Feb. 23-March 8 of items that didn’t sell in the previous auction of Rita Crundwell’s possessions that ended last week.  Sauk Media reports opening bids will be lowered on the nearly 200 items in hopes of attracting buyers.  Most are women’s clothing, including western shirts, leather jackets, a fur vest and a fur coat. 

NIU athletics

In response to public outcry over the failure of students to qualify under a free-tuition prize related to football attendance, the Northern Illinois University Athletics program is offering an olive branch.

Students who attended all six home games were notified this week of a reward for their efforts.

WNIJ obtained a letter provided to one of the recipients:

President Obama unveils his 2017 budget proposal today. It's an aspirational blueprint that details how he would set priorities if he controlled the government's checkbook ... which he doesn't.

"This budget is not about looking back at the road we have traveled," Obama said. "It is about looking forward."

But congressional Republicans are looking past the president. House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the budget as "a progressive manual for growing the federal government at the expense of hardworking Americans."

Barack Obama/flickr

The fate of Illinois' budget impasse could be influenced by the leader of the free world. At least, that's what Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is hoping for.

The state owes the city of Springfield more than $7 million in unpaid utility bills because there's no state budget. Langfelder says he hopes President Barack Obama's speech to state lawmakers Wednesday will help forge a budget compromise.

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