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Two Charged In Chicago Teen's Death

(Chicago, IL)  --  Two men have been charged in the death of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton.  Eighteen-year-old Michael Ward and 20-year old Kenneth Williams are each charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, and aggravated battery with a firearm.  Ward apparently pulled the trigger on January 29th, opening fire on about a dozen students who were taking cover from rain underneath a canopy at a park.  Pendleton was shot in the back and two others were injured.  The two suspects thought they were firing on rival gang members who had shot Williams last summer. 

Pope Will Be Remembered As Profound Thinker

(Springfield, IL)  --  Bishop Thomas Paprocki, with the Springfield Diocese, says Pope Benedict the 16th will be remembered as a very scholarly person and a profound theological thinker.  The Pope has released several books under his real name Joseph Ratzinger during his papal service.  He made it very clear that the writings about Christ weren't an infallible pronouncement from the pope.  Paprocki says he hopes the Pope will continue writing once he retires.

Union Leaders Reach No Deal At Pension Summit

(Burr Ridge, IL)  --  Union leaders and lawmakers are still bumping heads when it comes to pension reform.  The We Are One Coalition hosted a summit yesterday, with the hopes of negotiating a fair and constitutional deal on pension.  Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate attended the event but walked out without a deal.  Union leaders say they'll keep pushing for an agreeable pension fix.  Governor Quinn and Tom Cross were the only leaders that showed up.

Paper: Former Congressman Wants To Stop Paying Child Support

(Chicago, IL)  --  Former Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh denies a report claiming he wants to stop paying child support.  The "Chicago Sun-Times" reports Walsh skipped his payment last month and filed a petition in Cook County Court to get out of the two-thousand-134-dollar-per-month payment altogether.   The Sun-Times claims he can't make the payment because he no longer has a job, but Walsh says the story is "an absolute lie" and he plans to sue the paper.   Democrat Tammy Duckworth beat him out in the last election.

Durbin:  Obama Should Focus On Jobs

(Washington, D.C.)  --  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is expecting President Obama to talk about a wide range of issues during his State of the Union speech tonight.  He says the president will likely touch on immigration reform and gun control, but the most pressing issue is putting people back to work.   He says jobs must be the president's number one priority, especially because the nation's unemployment rate is still fairly high, at seven-point-nine percent.  President Obama's speech will be televised at 8:00 tonight.

Derrick Smith Case May Be Unraveling

(Chicago, IL)  --  The case against state Rep Derrick Smith could be falling apart.  Reports indicate federal authorities may have lied about their informant and key witness in the case.  Authorities claimed the informant had one prior arrest and was paid 12-hundred dollars from the FBI to work the case but he'd actually been arrested 20 other times and had been paid 21-hundred dollars.  Smith's attorney wants to use that information in court but prosecutors say the informant's criminal history doesn't change the fact that Smith allegedly accepted a bribe in exchange for securing a state grant.

Suspicious Man Offers Child A Ride To School

(Downer's Grove, IL)  --  Police in Downers Grove are looking for a man who they say offered a kid a ride to school yesterday.   The 13-year-old boy was walking near 40th Street and Saratoga Avenue when a Hispanic man allegedly stopped his vehicle, rolled down the window, and asked the boy if he wanted a ride.  The boy took off running and reported the incident.  Police are looking for a man with gray hair, a mustache, and dark spots under his eyes who was wearing a tan jacket and driving a light blue Buick or Mercury with damage on the driver's side trunk.  Anyone with information should contact police.

Report: One In Three Illinoisans Live In, Near Poverty

(Undated)  --  Illinois officials are trying to digest some sobering news about poverty across the state.  A Chicago-based research group says one-in-every-three Illinoisans lives below or near the poverty line.  The Social Impact Research Center found that actually amounts to 15-percent of the state population, or one-point-eight-million people.  Families of four with an annual income of 23-thousand dollars are considered to be living below the poverty level.

CA Drug Company Order To Pay State

(Undated)  --  A California-based pharmaceutical firm will cough up more than 100-thousand dollars to Illinois for making false claims.  The U.S. Justice Department said Victory Pharma of San Diego must pay Illinois 140-thousand dollars to resolve federal civil and criminal liability.  Victory Pharma is alleged to made false claims about some of its products.  The firm is also accused by the feds of paying kickbacks to doctors when they prescribed Victory Pharma's products.

IL Catholic-Run Hospitals Seek Lawmakers' Help

(Springfield, IL)  --  Illinois' network of Catholic hospitals is attempting to persuade state lawmakers to vote in favor of a major expansion of Medicaid coverage.  The Affordable Care Act includes what would be the largest expansion of Medicaid since the program started in 1965.  But it still has to pass a vote by the Illinois General Assembly.  Executives from the Catholic-operated hospitals are trying to encourage some Republicans who make up most of the House and Senate seats in those territories around the state where the hospitals are located.

Community College Owed 10M By State, Says Its President

(Mattoon, IL)  --  The president of an Illinois community college says the state owes his institution more than ten-million dollars.  The President at Lake Land College in the central Illinois town of Mattoon says the state hasn't paid it ten-point-three-million-dollars in previously promised funds.  President Scott Lensink told his Board of Trustees yesterday the money amounts to the most ever owed to the college in its history.


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