(Minooka, IL) -- A not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman is sparking debate over the state of race relations in Illinois, and in America. Many African-Americans turned to Facebook and Twitter to express sadness or anger over the verdict, which found Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin in Florida last year. Michael Ross, from Minooka, says he felt the sting of the verdict because his own son would throw on a hoodie and run out to the store for late-night snacks. Ross says he’s thankful nothing ever happened but more importantly, he says the Zimmerman verdict shows him justice wouldn’t have been a guarantee.
>>Quinn Heartbroken Over Loss Of Trayvon Martin
(Chicago, IL) -- Governor Quinn says his heart is broken over the loss of Trayvon Martin. But, like Martin’s father, Quinn says his faith is unshattered. He says he’ll keep the Martin family in his prayers and according to his faith, he’ll see Trayvon again. Martin was killed last year in Florida during an altercation with the Neighborhood Watch guard, George Zimmerman. A jury cleared Zimmerman over the weekend on charges of manslaughter and second-degree murder.
>>Carrying Guns In Public Still Illegal
(Springfield, IL) -- The Illinois State Police want to make it clear that people still aren’t allowed to carry guns in public. Under the new law passed by the legislature, people must have a valid license to conceal and carry a gun. Officers will continue to enforce the state’s ban and anyone busted with a gun in public will be subject to arrest. The ISP has six months to put the training system in place and then they’ll start accepting applications for licenses. All Illinois residents seeking to obtain a Concealed Carry License must have a valid FOID card.
>>No Stripping In Fairfield
(Fairfield, IL) -- Women in Fairfield won’t be baring any skin once the fracking industry hits southern Illinois. A city committee discovered that bringing fracking to the area could create a hot market for strip clubs. That’s because most of the workers will be men who come in from out of town. But officials say they aren’t having it. They passed an ordinance last week banning nude, semi-nude, and exotic dancing.
>>”The Voice” Auditions Coming To St. Louis
(St. Louis, MO) -- If you’ve ever wanted to be a star, he’s your big shot. “The Voice” auditions are coming to St. Louis this weekend. An open call will be held at Chaifetz Arena on Saturday and Sunday. Applicants must be prepared to sing two a capella songs for the audition, they must at least 15-years old, and they must be a legal resident of the U.S. Those who can’t make it to St. Louis can also submit their video audition online at NbcTheVoice.com.
>>Senator Dillard To Announce Candidacy For Governor
(Undated) -- Add another name to the list of candidates for Illinois governor. Illinois Republican Senator Kirk Dillard will officially announce his candidacy today at an event in Decatur. Dillard joins a list of candidates that already includes Republican Senator Bill Brady, businessman Bruce Rauner and State Treasurer Dan Rutherford.
>>Lawmakers Want Ex-Metra CEO To Speak-Up
(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois lawmakers say they want to hear from the former CEO of Metra over allegations that he was ousted for resisting political clout. The House Mass Transit Committee will hold a hearing to investigate a high-priced severance package paid to ex-Metra head Alex Clifford. But since Clifford's buyout includes a confidentiality clause, House members say they're calling for an investigation to find out the truth.
>>Quinn Comments On Texas Governor Perry
(Undated) -- Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is sharing some interesting thoughts about his Texas counterpart. Quinn said when he and Rick Perry visited Iraq and Afghanistan four years ago, he learned the Texas Governor's favorite subject is Rick Perry. The Democrat Quinn made his comments about the Texas Republican yesterday on CNN. Both governors have sparred in recent months over Perry's attempts to lure Illinois businesses to the Lone Star State.
>>IL Effort To Re-Establish Endangered Bird Begins
(Springfield, IL) -- An effort is afoot to re-establish the endangered nesting osprey in Illinois. Five osprey chicks from Virginia were recently sent to Illinois to become part of an eight-year re-establishment program in Illinois. Osprey are fish-eating hawks. The state's Department of Natural Resources and students from the University of Illinois will monitor the birds' recovery and progress