Illinois

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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Education
12:27 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Quinn signs an end to legislative scholarships

Gov. Pat Quinn
State of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are losing a century-old political perquisite -- the ability to award college scholarships. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation this morning to end the practice after one last round of awards this summer.

"Instead of scholarships going to those who truly deserve them and who were qualified for scholarships to go to college,” the governor said, “too often the program was abused in a political way."

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Government
12:16 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Rockford west-side driver facility closing

New office will be 15 miles south near I-39

State officials have confirmed that the Rockford west-side driver services facility will close once the lease expires July 29, and a new facility will open in September more than 15 miles away at 4752 Baxter Road along I-39 near the southern Winnebago County line.

Beth Kaufman, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, said negotiations with the landlord over maintenance and repairs fell through.

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Government
11:56 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Five non-union retirees sue state over new benefit law

Five retired state employees are suing over a new law that allows Illinois to begin charging some state retirees for health insurance.

The plaintiffs are members of the State Employees Retirement System who all put in at least 20 years of state service. Such retirees had been entitled to premium-free state health insurance, but Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law last month that does away with that benefit.

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Politics
11:20 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Boken will stay on ballot for Illinois House

Thomas Boken Jr. of DeKalb will be on the general election ballot as a Democratic candidate for the 90th House District seat being vacated by state Rep. Jerry Mitchell, R-Sterling, who is retiring after serving for 18 years.

The State Officers Electoral Board on Monday rejected an objection to Boken’s candidacy filed by Lee County Republican Party Chairman Greg Witzleb had objected to 178 signatures on Boken’s petitions.

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Politics
10:57 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Rep. Nekritz expects pension reform will be post-election

State Rep. Elaine Nekritz

Illinois State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, doesn’t expect lawmakers to act on pension reform until after the Nov. 6 general election, though Gov. Pat Quinn said they should be ready to return to Springfield this summer to work on the contentious issue.

A member of the governor’s pension reform committee, Nekritz told the Daily Herald editorial board “it’s not ideal” to delay the issue until after the election.

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Illinois
6:43 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Lawsuit filed to block state retiree health insurance changes

A former Illinois judge is taking legal action to prevent state retirees from having to pay more for their health insurance. Governor Pat Quinn recently signed the measure into law. It aims to reduce the cost of providing coverage to retired state workers.

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Government
3:31 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

A tale of two prisons: Can Illinois sell both?

Thomson Correctional Center
State of Illinois

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is rejecting calls to reduce the asking price for a state prison the federal government wants to buy. He’s also rejecting the idea that Illinois should not try to sell the federal government two prisons at once.

Thomson Correctional Center, in northwest Illinois, has barely been used in the decade since it was built. Illinois and the federal government agreed to a price of $165 million -- significantly less than the $220 million dollars at which that facility has been appraised.

And Quinn plans to close the super-maximum security prison at Tamms, in southern Illinois, as a cost-saving move. It's one of the newest state prisons and, once it's empty, Quinn hopes the federal government will be interested in buying it as well as Thomson.

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