The Russia Investigations: More Pleas, More Charges — Any More Preparation?

This week in the Russia investigations: More newcomers join Mueller's roll of honor; the feds meet with state officials on election security; and Washington starts thinking about considering some potential planning to defend the 2018 midterms. Guilty Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller broke his own record this week for guilty pleas. On Tuesday, Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan appeared in federal court and admitted he had lied to investigators about his contacts with Donald...

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As the death toll climbs for opioid-related overdoses in Illinois, state leaders are looking for solutions. Advocates have highlighted a Whiteside County Clinic as a state leader in its outpatient drug rehabilitation program. WNIJ's Jessie Schlacks went to Rock Falls to tour the facility:

Whitney Miller is case manager of the Medication Assisted Treatment program - or MAT - at the Whiteside County Clinic.

It was Saturday afternoon, and Abigail Spanberger was in a busy hallway at the Chesterfield County Public Library in Midlothian, Va., minutes away from training a room of about 40 campaign volunteers. She seemed ready for a quick interview, but then abruptly called out to her campaign manager.

"Hey Dana, Eileen Davis is about to come through. Can you head her off at the pass so she doesn't interrupt the — "

She cut herself off and turned to me.

"That's my mother," Spanberger said, laughing.

Her mom is volunteering for her campaign?

"Evidently."

Visitors for sporting events in the Rockford area are expected to bring more than $800,000 into the local economy within the next month or so.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Matt Streb, chief of staff to Acting NIU President Lisa Freeman, says Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed allocation for higher education ignores even a minimal 1.9 percent increase requested by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Instead, it keeps cuts made in last summer’s budget deal.

“The [university] presidents,” he said, “including Acting President Freeman, have argued that the institutions in the state should revert to the Fiscal ‘15 year allocation, which was the last year that we had a full budget before FY ’18.”

Proposal Aims To Diversify History Lessons

Feb 19, 2018
Flickr User Benson Kua

A state legislative proposal would make sure that schools teach about LGBTQ people who made history. 

Equality Illinois, an LGBTQ advocacy group, says many of the state’s school-aged children who don’t identify as heterosexual feel left out of history lessons.

“The phrase we often hear is that history has been set a little too straight," said Mike Ziri, the group’s Public Policy Director, "and that the contributions of LGBTQ people are not included by omission.”

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, as well as the 2016 election, have sparked renewed passion for electing women to office in Illinois.

It's a cold, slushy weeknight as about 50 people pour into the community room of a Springfield grocery store on the west end of town. They're making protest signs for the second annual Women's March. Two friends sit in a corner using cutout letters and permanent marker. Business owner Katie Dobron is writing, "Vote women in."

Billy Donachio is a baseball coach who's been losing since 1969. Billy was in the Chicago Cubs farm system then, playing second base and drinking whiskey with shortstop Nick Glouser. These fictional characters have a lackluster season in contrast to the Major League Cubs who stay in first place for 155 games -- until the New York Mets pass them by in September.

Nick offered a toast so we could drink with purpose. "To the Mets," he said. "May their plane crash and burn before they play in the World Series."

Top election officials from across the country grappled with a delicate question this weekend: How do you tackle the threat of election interference, and be transparent in doing so, without further eroding the public's trust in the voting process?

"I'm always trying to straddle the line between sounding the alarm on this issue and being alarmist," said Steve Simon, Minnesota's secretary of state.

Outside a Trump campaign rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., there was a cage holding a person dressed up like Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform. In the outrageous state of the 2016 campaign, it wasn't altogether shocking to see someone at a Trump event staging the visual stunt, after the "lock her up!" chants that punctuated Trump rallies.

But it's now known that this moment was set up by Russians.

Chicago Police Department

Five Cook County Jail inmates who applauded as the man charged with the fatal shooting of a Chicago police commander was led by their cell could face reprisals for their actions.

  

The incident happened Thursday after suspect Shomari Legghette appeared in court on first-degree murder charges in the Tuesday slaying of Commander Paul Bauer.

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In a new biopic from filmmaker Raoul Peck, the central character is a 19th century revolutionary who'd probably have plenty to say about the 21st century.

Peck's film, The Young Karl Marx, centers on the German philosopher, journalist and economist famously known for championing an economic system based entirely on uniform distribution of wealth. In 1848, Marx penned his most famous work, The Communist Manifesto.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

It's not called a snail's pace for nothing, but just how slow is too slow for the mollusk to move? According to a pub in England, hibernation is where they draw the line.

The Dartmoor Union Inn in Devon was promoting a snail racing championship for Saturday, promising guests, "each thrilling race will last about 4 minutes with guests able to bet on their favourite snail."

Proceeds would go toward city emergency services.

Except it's so cold in the United Kingdom that even the snails are hunkering down.

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