WINTER WEATHER-ILLINOIS RESPONSE
Illinois preparing for another winter storm
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois is coordinating departments to respond as another winter storm is forecast to bring more than a half foot of snow to parts of the state.
Gov. Pat Quinn said Tuesday that emergency crews are working to keep people safe. He says the system forecast for Tuesday evening "will hopefully be one of the last winter storms."
The National Weather Service says the system could bring heavy snowfall paired with strong winds. Experts say that could create whiteout conditions.
The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police, Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois Tollway are all coordinating efforts.
BLAGOJEVICH APPEAL-LATE RECORDS
Court accepts late Blagojevich records
CHICAGO (AP) - A court in Chicago has confirmed that transcripts of FBI wiretaps not played at Rod Blagojevich's corruption trials have been made part of the official appellate record.
That decision Tuesday by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals came as it also rejected a request from the imprisoned former Illinois governor's defense to unseal the records.
Defense attorneys submitted the records late after realizing they weren't in an initial batch of documents. That raised questions about whether the panel would include them in the record.
While the court accepted the records, it didn't say whether appellate judges would or wouldn't factor them into a decision on Blagojevich's appeal.
The appeal argues Blagojevich's alleged crimes were legal political horse-trading and that the unplayed FBI recordings supported that contention.
GOP candidates face U of I admissions question
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - The Republican contenders for governor are facing questions about their roles in a five-year-old admissions scandal at the University of Illinois.
The scandal involved some politicians using clout to get students enrolled. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and state Sen. Kirk Dillard have acknowledged their names are on the list the University of Illinois maintained of lawmakers who called to check on applications. They were asked about it at a televised debate last week.
State Sen. Bill Brady said he'd never tried to influence admissions decisions. But afterward he acknowledged that his name is on the list, too. He said his office staff made the calls, not him personally.
Brady said Tuesday that he believes the debate question dealt strictly with the use of clout, something he says he never did.
Union-backed group to stop airing anti-Rauner ads
CHICAGO (AP) - A union-backed group says it will no longer air television ads attacking Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur).
Illinois Freedom PAC has spent millions to blast Rauner, who's seeking the March 18 nomination against state Sens. Kirk Dillard, Bill Brady and treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROOTH'-ur-furd).
On Tuesday, spokesman Mike Murray said the decision "has nothing to do with" Rauner being ahead in the polls with just a week to go.
Murray says the group has achieved its goal of highlighting issues about Rauner that families needed to know. He says now "it's up to the campaigns to make their final case."
Steve Shearer heads another union-supported group that has blasted Rauner and is backing Dillard. He says "we're still on" but the decision is "day by day."
Illinois health insurance signups lag behind goals
CHICAGO (AP) - Nearly 900 Illinois residents per day signed up for coverage on the health insurance marketplace last month. But the state must quicken that pace to reach a goal set by President Barack Obama's administration.
Federal figures released Tuesday show 113,733 Illinois residents signed up for coverage during the first five months of the nation's new marketplace system. That's somewhat short of the original five-month goal of 114,400.
One-third of the Illinoisans signing up for coverage are older, ages 55 to 64. That's a group more likely to have expensive medical needs than younger people.
The most popular plans are the so-called silver plans with 56 percent of Illinois enrollees choosing them over other plans.
Time is running out. The open enrollment period closes March 31.
Jury finds businessman guilty of killing wife
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) - Jurors in suburban Chicago have found a businessman guilty of killing his wife in September 2010.
The jury deliberated about two hours Tuesday afternoon at 63-year-old Allan Kustok's trial. Prosecutors accused the Orland Park businessman of shooting his wife in the head while she was sleeping. Defense attorneys argued that 58-year-old Anita "Jeanie" Kustok committed suicide.
Kustok's daughter testified Monday that she didn't believe her father would kill her mother. But Sarah Kustok also said she didn't think her mother would kill herself.
Authorities accuse Kustok of wrapping his wife's body in bedding and a bathrobe and driving to a nearby hospital. Kustok says a gunshot woke him up and he found his wife dead next to him in their bed. The couple was married 34 years.
SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL
Ground broken on Belleville September 11 memorial
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Ground has been broken for a September 11 memorial in southern Illinois.
The Belleville News Democrat reports the ceremony was Tuesday in Belleville on city-owned property near a firehouse. The September 11 Memorial Walkway of Southern Illinois will be built. Organizers hope to have the project finished by Sept. 11 of this year.
The centerpiece of the memorial will be a 7,100-pound steel column from the World Trade Center.
There also will be a Flight 93 Memorial, a timeline of the terrorist attacks and a memorial in the shape of a pentagon.
Organizers have raised $80,000 for the project. They hoped to raise $100,000 before breaking ground.
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