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Lawmakers Back In Session

(Springfield, IL)  --  Lawmakers are back in Springfield today, after a two-week break.  They return to session with a full load of issues on their plates -- from pension reform to gay marriage and concealed carry.  On top of that, they have to finalize the state's budget for next year.  The goal is to get it all taken care of by May 31st, when session is scheduled to wrap up for the year.

Ebert To Be Laid To Rest Today

(Chicago, IL)  --  Legendary film critic Roger Ebert will be laid to rest today.  His funeral will be at Holy Name Cathedral, on State Street in Chicago.  Service starts at 10 a.m.  It's open to the public but because seating is limited, anyone hoping to attend should get there early.  Ebert died last Thursday after a long battle with cancer. 

Quinn Praises U.S. Diplomat Killed In Afghanistan

(River Forest, IL)  --  Governor Quinn is praising a U.S. diplomat from Illinois, who was killed in Afghanistan over the weekend.  Anne Smedinghoff died in an explosion Saturday as she was delivering books to kids.  Quinn calls her a brave young woman who selflessly served others in the war-torn country.  Smedinghoff was from the Chicago suburb of River Forest and graduated from Fenwick High School.  She was serving as a Foreign Services Officer for the U.S. State Department.

Small Town Pays People To Move In

(St. Libory, IL)  --  One small town in Illinois is paying people -- sort of -- to move there.  Officials in St. Libory are giving new homeowners a 25-percent refund on their property taxes for up to eight years.  Only homeowners in certain subdivisions would qualify and they'd have to apply for the refund.  The incentive could mean less cash for schools since they're primarily funded through property taxes.  But school officials tell the "Belleville News Democrat" they'll likely get more money from the state once they have more students enrolled, which should balance out the loss.     

Trout Season In Full Swing

(Undated)  --  Trout season is in full swing.  The season opened this past Saturday.  More than 40 lakes, rivers, and creeks have been stocked with about 60-thousand rainbow trout.  Anyone who wants to catch a few must be licensed.  Licenses can be purchased at or by calling 888-673-7648.

Search For Two Men Resumes This Morning

(Hartford, IL)  --  Authorities in southern Illinois are still searching for two men whose boat capsized amidst rough conditions on the Mississippi River.  The accident happened Saturday in the town of Hartford - about 20 miles outside St. Louis.  Crews searched all day yesterday and will resume their efforts this morning.  Officials blame windy conditions on the river for the initial accident.

IL Guardsmen To Be Honored

(Galesburg, IL)  --  More than a hundred Illinois  National Guardsmen are being honored for their service.  The 115 soldiers from the 444th Chemical Company were honored last night in Galesburg.  The soldiers are credited for their parts in Operation Enduring Freedom in which they helped save a half-million-dollars worth of government contracts.

Mayor Presents "Four Ps" To Stop Violence

(Chicago, IL)  --  Mayor Emanuel lays out his ideas for putting an end to gun violence in Chicago.  Speaking to nearly one-thousand people yesterday at an event sponsored by the Council on Foundations Emanuel presented his "four Ps" to stop gun violence.  They are policing, prevention, penalties and parenting.  Emanuel spoke during a panel discussion which included Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

IL State Fair Adds Act

(Springfield, IL)  --  More musical acts are being announced as headliners at this summer's Illinois State Fair.  Just added to the star-studded lineup is an August 17th performance by pop star "Ke$ha."  Already announced by Fair officials are Toby Keith, Billy Currington, Styx and REO Speedwagon.  The fair runs August 8th to the 18th.


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