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The U.S. House Republican Conference is scheduled to select its candidate for speaker Thursday to replace John Boehner, who’s leaving Congress at the end of the month.

The rifts in the Republican party that led to Boehner's departure are reflected in the thinking of House Republicans from Missouri and Illinois.

"Trick or Treat" by KOMU News / Flickr

"Don't go in there!"

How many times have you screamed that during a horror movie? Despite your protests, the hapless character opens the door and steps into the dark room or basement or tunnel -- alone.

Today's "Three-Minute Fiction" story has the same premise, but you'll have to read to the end of "The Last Adventure" to see what happens to the hero.


Low-income, working parents are once again fighting for help from the state for childcare.

Since July, Illinois drastically reduced who's eligible for the state's daycare assistance program. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner made the change, he says, to save money.

For nearly two hours Tuesday at a hearing in Springfield, daycare providers and parents -- like Chante Morrison -- pressed Rauner to cancel the rollbacks.

Morrison is a single mother of two girls from Galesburg.

"I wanna work; my children need to know that you have to work to succeed," Morrison said.

flickr user Kam Abbott / "Pumpkin Patch 100_9300" (CC BY 2.0)

Crop experts say there should be enough pumpkins for Halloween, but that supplies of canned pumpkin could be scarce by Thanksgiving. 

Illinois is the country's top pumpkin-producing state.

Mohammad Babadoost is a plant pathology professor at the University of Illinois. He says "we'll have a pumpkin for everybody'' for Halloween, but cautions that canned pumpkin could run low by Nov. 26's Thanksgiving holiday.

Babadoost says he'd "buy it whenever it comes to the store.''

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says he plans to stay in his job as long as he can.

The police chief spoke to reporters Tuesday, a day after a group of mostly black aldermen called for him to step down.

McCarthy testified before some of those same aldermen at an afternoon budget hearing.

Most of the aldermen demanding McCarthy's firing are African-American. They contend McCarthy has had plenty of time to reduce street violence plaguing the city and hasn't done so.

A bipartisan panel has selected longtime state Rep. Frank Mautino to serve as Illinois' next auditor general.

The Legislative Audit Commission voted Tuesday to recommend the Spring Valley Democrat to replace retiring Auditor General William Holland.  

Mautino's selection for the job of overseeing audits of state agencies must be approved by a three-fifth vote in the Illinois House and Senate.  

Mautino has represented parts or all of Bureau, LaSalle, Livingston and Putnam counties since 1991. He's served as deputy majority leader since 2011.  

Maria Boynton

In Greek mythology, the god Zeus orders a lesser god to create the first woman on earth. The god charged with this task, Hephaestus, makes a stunning beauty out of water and earth. Her name is Pandora and the Olympians shower her with gifts, including a mysterious jar which, through a translation error, became known as Pandora's Box.

Twitter / ECC

A suburban Chicago community college was recognized by state officials for completing a campus safety initiative. 

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency announced Elgin Community College received the “Ready to Respond Campus” designation.

The goal of the program is to help students, administration and faculty prepare for hazards and emergencies. That includes campus shootings.

To get the status, a college or university has to develop a violence prevention plan and start a campus outreach and education campaign.

Vijay Kumar Koulampet, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

A Wisconsin state Senate committee is holding a public hearing on a Republican bill that overhauls the state's 110-year-old civil service system. It would affect about 30,000 state employees.

The bill would do away with the civil service exam, speed up the hiring process, define “just cause” for disciplining employees and eliminate “bumping” rights that protect more experienced workers from losing their jobs.

Flickr user E Photos / "IMG_1927 - Power Lines" (CC v 2.0)

Commonwealth Edison's CEO says the state's largest utility is about halfway through with a major component of a grid modernization program.

A controversial law passed in 2011 hiked the price for the delivery of electricity. Ameren and ComEd were to use the money for infrastructure upgrades, like the installation of so-called "smart meters."

Smart meters are digital devices that measure electricity use, and send that information back to the utilities.