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This Hour: Latest Illinois news, sports, business and entertainment

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First medical marijuana tally expected next week

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois officials say they expect to get the first indications next week of how many patients are applying for special ID cards allowing them to use medical marijuana.

Authorities began accepting applications for medical marijuana today from patients whose last names start with letters A through L.

Applications can be submitted both online and through the mail. The Illinois Department of Public Health has 30 days to review an application.

Lawmakers adopted the medical marijuana law in 2013. Under its provisions, patients must have a written certification from a doctor and get a background check. Only patients with certain medical conditions will be approved.

Patients whose last names begin with M through Z will have to wait until Nov. 1 to apply.


Fire forces partial shutdown of N. Ill. coal plant

HENNEPIN, Ill. (AP) - Authorities are investigating what caused a transformer fire at a northern Illinois power plant that forced one of two power-generating units to shut down.

The (LaSalle) News-Tribune reports that firefighters were called to the Dynegy Power Station in Hennepin around 11 this morning as thick black smoke rose from the site along the Illinois River. Smoke was no longer visible by noon.

Dynegy Inc. spokeswoman Katy Sullivan says the fire occurred in an area of the plant where electricity from the generating unit is transferred to the power grid for distribution. She says nobody was hurt.

She says the company will investigate the cause of the fire and whether there was any damage to the power plant.

Hennepin is in Putnam County, about 115 miles southwest of Chicago.


Illinois prisons dealing with backup power issues

(Information in the following story is from: The Pantagraph,

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Department of Corrections officials are retesting emergency power equipment at the state's correctional facilities to ensure they are adequately prepared for emergencies.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports a storm on Aug. 20 caused a 92-minute blackout at Vandalia Correctional Center. One prisoner at the minimum-security facility attacked a guard and others became unruly.

Other prison power outages caused similar problems with inmates, at Vienna Correctional Center in January and East Moline Correction Center in 2012.

The department says all of the state's prison facilities have backup generators, except Vandalia and a Peoria halfway house.

A corrections spokesman says portable generators, flashlights and lanterns can also help in the event of a prolonged power outage at those two facilities. He says Vandalia is awaiting a generator ordered before the blackout.

A spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union says the light failures highlight a lack of necessary funding.


Quinn: Eating crackers on minimum wage challenge

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says his experience trying to live on the minimum wage for a week has meant graham crackers for dinner.

Raising the state's $8.25 hourly minimum wage to at least $10 an hour has been a re-election focus for the Chicago Democrat. Quinn is facing a tough November challenge from Republican Bruce Rauner (ROW-nur).

Quinn told reporters today that he's opted for water instead of iced tea while eating out. He made the comments after talking to Chicago students returning to school for the first day of classes.

Other governors have tried similar challenges previously.

Quinn says he'll spend $79 this week on food and other expenses. His campaign says that's the estimated amount left for minimum wage workers after transportation and housing costs.


School starts in Chicago with more safety guards in some neighborhoods

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago school children walked past more guards on their way to their first day of school this morning.

Last year the city lined certain streets with 1,200 adults every day because of safety concerns. This year the city spent another $1 million to add another 100 workers to the Safe Passage program. The guards are stationed along routes that students walk through crime-ridden neighborhoods to get to classes.

The program will get even more support from the state of Illinois. Gov. Pat Quinn recently pledged $10 million and officials say another 600 workers will be hired over the next several weeks.

Jadine Chou is chief safety and security officer for Chicago Public Schools. She says more workers will be assigned along existing routes and some routes will be extended farther from schools. About 120 schools are in the program.


Climatologist says August warmed up in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois state climatologist says that after a cooler-than-usual July the summer finally turned warmer in August. And the season has been one of the wettest on record.

Climatologist Jim Angel said today that the statewide average temperature in August was 73.9 degrees. That's just above the average for the month and about 3.6 degrees warmer than July's 70.3 degrees. The July figure tied the coolest July on record for the state.

Angel says statewide average precipitation for August was 5.18 inches. That's 1.59 inches above average.

The statewide average rainfall for the three summer months of June, July and August has been 14.96 inches. That is the 10th wettest summer on record.

Angel noted that the warmer August was good for the state's crops.


15-year-old boy drowns in Kankakee River

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) - The Kankakee County coroner says a 15-year-old has drowned in the Kankakee River.

Coroner Bob Gessner says Jayden Irby of Chicago Heights was pronounced dead Sunday evening. Illinois State Police say crews pulled the boy from about 4 feet of water about 85 feet from the south shore of the river in Aroma Park. The site is near the Point Grove Campground.

Illinois State Police are investigating. Aroma Park is about 60 miles south of downtown Chicago in Kankakee County.


Illinois woman rescued after day stuck in mud

CARMI, Ill. (AP) - White County officials have rescued a woman who spent more than a day trapped in mud near the Little Wabash River.

The White County Sheriff's Department said yesterday it found 39-year-old Amy Chitwood of Carmi stuck near the river after responding to a call from a fisherman. He contacted police Sunday about what he thought was a dead body on the river bank.

Responders found Chitwood thigh-deep in mud. She had injured her hip and couldn't free herself, but she was conscious and alert.

EMT Adam Allen tells WSIL-TV it took crews about half an hour to free her.

Chitwood was treated at an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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