A trio of football players from the 1985 Super Bowl Chicago Bears will help kick off the Illinois State Fair next week.


Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson, and Steve McMichael are the grand marshals for the twilight parade Thursday (8/11) evening. 

Fair manager Kevin Gordon says then they’ll play a free concert as part of the band “The Chicago 6.”

“After the concert, they will come down off stage and we also will have a free autograph signing with them. So we obviously encourage everyone to come out,” Gordon said.

John Tann/Flickr

Due to cases of the Zika Virus, potential blood donors are now being asked if they've traveled recently to south Florida. The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center wants people who visited Miami-Dade and Broward counties to postpone giving blood for up to one month after their return.   

The center serves 88 hospitals in four states, and has already announced a "Zika Virus travel deferral" for anyone who's visited Mexico, the Carribean, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands.  

Illinois patients legally purchased $2.9 million worth of medical marijuana products in July.

State officials with the medical cannabis pilot program released the figures Wednesday. June sales had been $2.57 million.

Sales have climbed steadily since purchasing began Nov. 9.

Illinois now has nearly 8,891 qualified medical marijuana patients and 40 registered dispensaries.

July's figures bring the total retail sales of marijuana in Illinois to $16.3 million.

"2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) - 31" by Flickr User Nic McPhee / (CC X 2.0)

A law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner last week gives high school journalists rights they haven't had since 1988.

That's when a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court dictated that student publications could be censored by school administrators.

But Illinois has become the tenth state to restore free speech rights to student media.

Stan Zoller, with the Illinois Journalism Education Association, helped guide the legislation.

Illinois lawmakers' failure to pass a complete state budget means the state is missing out on roughly $31 million it could have earned through investments, according to an analysis from Treasurer Mike Frerichs.

He says that’s despite the enactment of a six-month spending plan.

"We don't know what's going to be needed come January," Frerichs said. "That limits our investment opportunities. We're still making money for the people of the state, but we're bringing in less money than we could if we had a more functional government."