Illinois braces for latest punch of winter weather
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for parts of northeastern Illinois, forecasting more than half a foot of snow.
The warning runs from 10 p.m. Tuesday through 1 p.m. Wednesday. It includes the Chicago area southwest to Kankakee and Pontiac. Much of the rest of northern and central Illinois are part of a winter weather advisory.
The National Weather Service in Romeoville says northern Illinois could receive four to eight inches of snow by midmorning Wednesday. At some points, the snow could fall at a rate of an inch or two per hour.
Northwestern Illinois is expected to get between two and four inches of snow and central Illinois could receive three to five inches.
Meteorologists say blizzard conditions are possible with winds reaching 40 mph.
Illinois readies roads for winter storm
CHICAGO (AP) - Transportation officials say they're getting ready to respond to a winter storm forecast to move through northern Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Transportation says travel routes could be impacted by the storm that's expected Tuesday night through Wednesday morning. As many as 8 inches of snow are expected in some areas.
IDOT says it has about 1,750 trucks and more than 3,700 employees to remove snow and ice from state routes.
Motorists are encouraged to be extra cautious and allow more time for travel.
Lake Michigan ice cover breaks 37-year-old record
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Lake Michigan's ice cover has set a record.
The federal government's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor reports that ice spread across 93.29 percent of the lake's surface area on Saturday. That eclipsed the previous high of 93.1 percent in 1977.
The 37-year-old record was broken just before moderating temperatures began shrinking Great Lakes ice. At one point last week, the ice cover reached 92.2 percent for the entire five-lake system, second only to the 94.7 percent high reached in February 1979. On Monday night, it had dropped to 83.9 percent.
Lake Michigan fell to 77.1 percent Monday.
Pharmaceutical, subsidiary to pay $30 million
CHICAGO (AP) - Prosecutors say a pharmaceutical manufacturer and its subsidiary will pay nearly $30 million to U.S. and Illinois authorities. The payment is to resolve claims it improperly paid a Chicago physician to prescribe anti-psychotic medication.
Chicago's U.S. attorney's office announced the agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and subsidiary IVAX LLC Tuesday.
Dr. Michael Reinstein allegedly prescribed generic clozapine to thousands of Medicare and Medicaid patients for payments. Prosecutors say clozapine is a drug of last resort because of potentially deadly side effects.
Teva says it didn't admit liability and "was pleased to bring resolution to" the case.
The civil case against Reinstein continues. In a 2012 lawsuit, federal prosecutors say he sought $50,000 yearly payments to put patients on clozapine. He didn't return a message seeking comment.
State superintendent: education cuts 'devastating'
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The head of the Illinois State Board of Education says proposed cuts in education funding could be "devastating" to school districts.
State superintendent Christopher Koch's comments were reported by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers.
He says if the proposed cuts are approved, some districts might "not make it through the school year."
The ISBE is asking for a $1 billion increase in funding, while a preliminary revenue blueprint shows a potential $1 billion decrease.
The potential cuts come as state officials debate whether to change the school funding formula, which hasn't been updated since the mid-1990s.
That proposal would put almost all state education funding into one pot and require districts to demonstrate need.
The current method factors in poverty for some types of state aid, but not others. It also treats Chicago school funding differently.
Volunteers help move Illinois petting zoo animals
GENEVA, Ill. (AP) - Northern Illinois authorities got help from more than 100 volunteers to move dozens of animals from a traveling petting zoo because of neglect.
The 84 animals, including horses, goats, llamas, alpacas and miniature donkeys, were being moved Tuesday from land in Geneva to a private facility in Kane County.
The livestock were discovered along with the remains of 10 dead animals last week. The owners of the petting zoo are facing misdemeanor charges.
The animals were impounded after the petting zoo's owner was charged with animal cruelty and another charge for failing to provide adequate food, shelter and care.
They've been staying on rented farmland.
Kane County Animal Control Administrator Rob Sauceda told The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald he was "really, really pleased with the outpouring of support."
Illini graduate lands after 6 months in space
URBANA, Ill. (AP) - University of Illinois graduate Mike Hopkins was a member of the crew that landed safely after spending nearly six months on the International Space Station.
Hopkins and two Russian astronauts landed late Monday in Kazakhstan. They spent 166 days in orbit on the space station.
The Russian Soyuz capsule descended slowly by parachute. Rescue crews said the astronauts were in good spirits.
Heavy snowfalls and strong winds at the landing site had prompted Russian space officials to consider putting off the landing by a day, but they eventually decided to proceed with the original plan.
Hopkins is a 1991 engineering graduate and was co-captain of the Illini football team.
U OF ILLINOIS-DRINKING
271 ticketed during celebration Unofficial party
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Champaign area authorities say they issued more than 270 tickets during last week's Unofficial St. Patrick's Day Celebration.
The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports the 271 orders to appear in court were issued during the festivities, most of them for underage drinking or public possession of alcohol. Nearly 30 people were taken to the hospital in ambulances and 15 people were taken to the county jail during the annual event that drew thousands of students for a day of drinking.
This year, the city limited bar hours during Friday's celebration as well as how much alcohol could be sold near campus. They also limited the entry age for people to get into bars, which they have done in previous years.
Daughter in $7M shoplifting case freed
CHICAGO (AP) - A judge in Chicago says a daughter accused of participating in a $7 million shoplifting spree with her parents can go free pending trial.
Tuesday's detention hearing for 34-year-old Julia Bogdanov came a day after U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason deemed her Yugoslavia-born parents flight risks and ordered that they stay behind bars.
The three were arrested at their luxury home in suburban Chicago last week. They haven't entered pleas on charges they worked in tandem for years to pilfer merchandise nationwide.
Mason let Julia Bogdanov return to her family home under the supervision of her sister, Kristina Bogdanov. No bail had to be paid.
The sister assured the judge an antique musket had been removed from the house. That was one condition for allowing Julia Bogdanov to stay there.
ILLINOIS PRIMARY-US SENATE
Primary for shot at Durbin a dilemma for GOP
CHICAGO (AP) - Choosing a challenger to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin creates a dilemma over who's the best Republican candidate to top the party ticket in the fall.
State Sen. Jim Oberweis is a dairy magnate who's run twice for the office unsuccessfully and has been known for verbal gaffes about immigrants and abortion. Doug Truax is a West Point graduate and businessman with little name recognition.
There's more at stake than the Senate race. The GOP Senate candidate's name also will appear in November above a crucial governor's race the GOP believes it can win after years of Democrat control.
Truax says he's the kind of new face the GOP needs to attract younger and independent voters.
Oberweis says he brings experience and name recognition needed to win and will help Republicans.
Spike Lee to attend Roger Ebert film festival
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Director Spike Lee will attend a 25th-anniversary screening of "Do The Right Thing" at late movie critic Roger Ebert's film festival.
The festival announced Tuesday that the screening will take place April 25 during the 16th annual Ebertfest at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Ill.
Ebert gave "Do The Right Thing" four stars when it debuted in 1989.
The festival previously announced director Oliver Stone would attend a 25th anniversary screening of his film "Born on the Fourth of July." Comedian Patton Oswalt will attend a screening of his 2011 movie "Young Adult."
Ebert died last April at age 70. The year's Ebertfest is April 23-27. The full lineup will be announced soon.
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