Illinois

Blagojevich corruption aides
10:51 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Levine relieved by light corruption sentence

Stuart Levine

A relatively short prison sentence seems to be bringing some relief to Stuart Levine, one of the central figures in the Blagojevich scandal.
After being sentenced yesterday, Stuart Levine smiled and shook hands and joked with many of the prosecutors and FBI agents who investigated him and brought him down.
And what a downfall it's been.
Levine went from being a multi-millionaire to working at a kiosk in a mall.

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Open Meetings Act
10:30 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Quinn signs law closing open-meetings loophole

Gov. Pat Quinn

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Thursday to strengthen the Illinois Open Meetings Act by requiring that notice of public meetings and agendas are posted for two full days before the meeting.

“This law gives the public greater access to information and activities that impact their lives,” Quinn said. “Increasing government openness and accountability from the statewide level to the local level will make Illinois a stronger, more ethical state.”

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June home sales
10:17 am
Fri July 20, 2012

June home sales, median price rise in Illinois

Statewide home sales in June surged 18 percent over previous year levels to 13,111 single-family homes and condominiums. This was the best June performance since 2010, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.

The statewide median price in June was $155,000, up 3.3 percent from June 2011, the fourth straight month of median price increases in Illinois. The median price -- where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less – has risen $32,650 since January.

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Illinois Insurance Exchange
11:31 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Illinois will partner with feds on health insurance exchange

Illinois will seek a partnership with the federal government to set up a health insurance exchange for the first year, aides to Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday.

That online marketplace eventually could help more than 1 million Illinoisans obtain affordable insurance as part of the federal health-care law.

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Drug prevention
11:21 am
Thu July 19, 2012

$1 million gift will help fight drugs in Illinois

A private donor has come through with a grant to make up for state cuts to drug prevention. Five years ago, Illinois was spending about $7.5 million to keep young people from trying drugs.

This year, the state's spending $1 million, and the future is cloudy; the governor tried to cut all of the funding.

Larry Goodman of Highland Park says the cut is unconscionable when teens across Illinois are increasingly using heroin.

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Illinois bond sale
10:47 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Illinois gets 'rock bottom' rate on $1.5 billion in bonds

The state of Illinois didn’t have any trouble selling $1.5 billion in debt to repay a federal loan for its unemployment-insurance program, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Crain’s Chicago Business said interest rates for the three-series offering were “rock bottom,” thanks to the dedicated stream of unemployment insurance taxes backing them up -- separate from Illinois' general fund. Also, any extra money from the tax can be used only to pay off the debt, providing extra protection for investors.

People familiar with the deal said it received many more orders than there were bonds available.

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Consumer protection
1:34 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Quinn signs four consumer-protection laws

Gov. Pat Quinn
WNIJ

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed four consumer-protection laws banning false phone charges known as “cramming,” lowering utility costs, and helping resolve billing and credit issues.

“When everyday people work together for the common good, we can improve our state,” Quinn said. “We need to keep fighting for consumer rights in Illinois and ensure those rights are protected from those who would take advantage of them.”

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Business
3:12 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Mitsubishi launches Outlander production in Illinois

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Mitsubishi's top selling vehicle is now made in Illinois. The Japanese automaker has shifted production of the Outlander Sport to its only U.S. production facility in Normal.

Gov. Pat Quinn, who attended the ceremony launching the Japanese automaker's latest U.S. product, touted the sporty crossover SUV during remarks to 1,200 plant workers, company executives, and other officials.

"It's fuel efficient and it's made in America and made in Illinois,” he said. “That means a lot to me, and I think to everybody in our state, that your skill has crafted this vehicle that not only will supply the automotive needs of our country but also the export possibilities."

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-Illinois
12:07 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Boom planting turning into bust crops in Illinois

Gov. Pat Quinn tours an Illinois corn field
Illinois Farm Bureau

Quinn tours drought-stricken Southern Illinois farm

With the warm spring, farmers were able to plant early and corn and soy seeds went in at a remarkable pace.

"We were set out to raise what we thought was probably the largest corn crop in the history of American agriculture," Said Illinois Farm Bureau President Phillip Nelson.

Instead, months of drought are killing those expectations ... and the corn. Nelson says some farmers will end up with no crop, or only half of one.

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Science
2:59 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Drought worsens in Illinois, Wisconsin -- but there's a bright spot

The drought in southern Wisconsin has been officially declared severe, and all of Illinois is now officially in a drought … but there is one crop that seems to be doing fine despite the hot weather.

Officials at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska say Cook County is fully in a moderate drought for the first time this year. ... But that isn't the worst of it.

Far southern Illinois is designated as being in an exceptional drought, which is the most serious classification. 

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