Associated Press

Illinois officials say college students should continue to apply for financial aid, even though the state budget impasse has put grants for needy students on hold.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is encouraging students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The form determines if a student is eligible for most financial aid programs, including the Illinois Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants.

Chicago State University students and faculty members took to the streets to protest the Illinois budget standoff that is threatening to force the closing of the school.


During Monday's demonstration outside Chicago's Thompson Center, students demanded an end to what they called a “political game of chess” and free up funding Chicago State and other Illinois public universities rely on to operate.

Greg Younger / cc by 2.0


Wisconsin’s governor has signed a bill legalizing concealed switchblades and knives. Scott Walker signed the measure Saturday at an annual National Rifle Association gathering in Wisconsin.  Walker says Wisconsin citizens have the fundamental right to defend themselves. 

Manufacturing, selling, transporting, purchasing, or possessing a switchblade has been illegal in Wisconsin for decades. The Republican bill eliminates that prohibition as well as permits anyone who can legally possess a gun to carry concealed knives of any length without a concealed carry license. 

"O'Hare Airport" by Flickr User Dave Sizer / (CC BY 2.0)

American Airlines is adding five new gates to O'Hare International Airport as part of the Chicago airport's first major expansion in nearly a quarter-century.

The airline and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced the expansion Sunday. It's the first such expansion at O'Hare since Terminal 5 was built in 1993.

The new gates are slated to open by 2018.

The agreement follows an announcement last week of a new O'Hare runway that will open in 2020. Construction on that $1.3 billion project is set to begin in May.


A northern Illinois county purchasing director allegedly spent more than $60,000 on personal items, according to a draft of an insurance claim Winnebago County plans to file.

The Rockford Register Star reports the claim alleges Sally Claassen, who resigned from the job in September, allegedly spent more than $60,000 on personal items. The document was obtained after a Freedom of Information Act request.

"Wind turbine blades" by Flickr User Patrick Finnegan / (CC BY 2.0)

Officials at a Stephenson county jail hope to install a 120-foot wind turbine in an effort to cut electricity costs by 40 to 70 percent.

The Journal-Standard reports that Stephenson County Sheriff Dave Snyders and jail administrator Dean Schroeder have partnered with Highland Community College's Wind Turbine Technology department on the project.

An instructor obtained a donated wind turbine after a two-year study found it's consistently windy at the jail.

About $30,000 is needed to erect the tower. The county and college hope to pay for that with grant money.

A white Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black 19-year-old Northern Illinois University student and accidently killed a neighbor has filed a lawsuit against the teenager's estate.

Robert Rialmo argues the shooting left him traumatized.  His lawsuit filed Friday provides the officer's first public account of how he says the December 26th shooting happened. It says Rialmo opened fire after Quintonio LeGrier swung a bat at his head.


FBI data shows Illinois has recorded 38 gun-related domestic violence homicides since 2006, but the number is likely higher because the data are incomplete.  

Only the Chicago and Rockford police departments report firearm-related domestic violence homicides to the FBI.  The Illinois State Police says the relationship of a homicide victim to the offender is considered supplementary data that is not required to be reported. 

Chicago Police Department

Chicago police say the bodies of four men, one woman and a child have been found inside a home on the city's South Side in what they say could be a murder-suicide.

Interim police Superintendent John Escalante says there is “no known threat'' to the neighborhood.

Authorities are still working to identify the dead. Escalante says it's probable they were all family members.

He says police entered the house in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood after receiving a call from a co-worker to check on person who lived there.

Chicago State University


Chicago State University trustees have declared a financial emergency at the troubled school that could make it easier to lay off employees.  

According to the Chicago Tribune, trustees at the predominantly black university on Thursday declared a type of emergency that, in the academic world, means the school faces an imminent threat to its survival that could require such measures as cutting faculty jobs.  The board also created a committee to decide on actions that could include layoffs and pay cuts.