>>Veterans Day Celebrated Across Illinois

(Undated)  --  Veterans Day is being celebrated at hundreds of events across Illinois today.  Springfield is hosting a parade that promises a greater focus on veterans by banning politicians from participating.  Local congressmen will be speaking in Bloomington at a flagpole dedication at O-S-F St. Joseph Medical Center.  Belleville will host its annual ceremony featuring a commander from the Scott Air Force base.  And Four-Star General Robert Cone will speak at a Soldier Field in Chicago.

>>Pension Reform Will Likely Lead To Extra Session In Springfield

(Springfield, IL)  --  State lawmakers aren’t officially due back to Springfield until late January but many sources say they’ll be back much sooner.  The “State Journal-Register” says the unresolved pension reform issue will require a special session next month.  Besides gay marriage legislation, many lawmakers are acknowledging that not a whole lot got done in last week’s veto session.  A bipartisan group couldn’t agree on terms to begin official negotiations on the pension crisis.

>>Downstate High School Mourning Loss Of Student

(Bethalto, IL)  --  Friends and family are mourning the loss of a metro-east high school student.  Sixteen-year-old Samantha Owsley was killed and four other teenagers were hurt after the car she was driving crashed into a tree near Collinsville.  The East Alton teen attended Roxana High School.  Investigators are conducting routine toxicology tests and are trying to determine if the students were wearing seat belts in Saturday night’s crash. 

>>Rockford Hotel Fire Extinguished By Sprinkler System

(Rockford, IL)  --  Rockford authorities are investigating an electrical fire at an area hotel.  Smoke poured through the first floor of the Hampton Inn on Clark Drive as the hotel guests evacuated.  The “Rockford Register Star” says the sprinkler system quickly put out the fire and there were no injuries.  Officials estimate about 15-thousand dollars in damage from last night’s incident.

>>Pilot Fined For Spraying Teens With Fungicide

(Pesotum, IL)  --  A pilot is being fined 750-dollars for accidentally spraying fungicide on a group of workers.  Eighty teenagers were de-tasseling corn in a southern Champaign County field when Josh Pavia flew over and sprayed the pesticide.  The “News-Gazette” says an investigation determined the pilot was acting in a faulty and careless manner for the incident in July.  The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced the fine this weekend. 

>>Medicaid Sign-ups Ahead Of Schedule In Illinois

(Springfield, IL)  --  Illinois residents may be slow to sign up for healthcare, but officials say Medicaid online sign-ups are ahead of schedule.  Governor Pat Quinn says 44-thousand people have applied for coverage and should expect to receive it at the start of next year.  According to the “State Journal-Register” the federal Affordable Care Act now allows some low-income adults to qualify for Medicaid.  Officials expect nearly 300-thousand new Illinois Medicaid customers next year.

>>U of I Professor May Have Tenure Revoked

(Urbana, IL)  --  For the first time in the University of Illinois' history, the Board of Trustees is meeting this week to potentially revoke a professor’s tenure.  According to “The Chicago Tribune,” engineering Professor Louis Wozniak has been accused of publicly embarrassing a student, videotaping students without them knowing, and sending an e-mail with sexual undertones.  Wozniak hasn’t taught since 2010, but has been collecting an 85-thousand-dollar salary and still showing up to his office.

>>Injured Veteran’s Family Gets Big Gift From Belleville Businesses

(Belleville, IL)  --  It will be a happy holiday return home for one Illinois veteran.  Retired Marine Corporal Chris Van Etten lost both of his legs in Afghanistan last year.  After his family looked into how much it would cost to make their family’s basement more accessible to him, some Belleville contractors and businesses are taking care of the renovations for free.  The “Belleville News-Democrat” says Van Etten will have an up-to-date basement to handle his prosthetic legs and wheelchair when he and his wife visit home next month.

>>Normal Man Faces Aggravated DUI Charges

(Normal, IL)  --  A Normal man is facing aggravated DUI charges after a crash killed one of his passengers.  Nineteen-year-old Garrett Peterson is in the McClean County Jail for allegedly driving drunk and slamming into a utility pole.  Eighteen-year-old Peyton Scheuermann was thrown from the vehicle and officials say he was dead at the scene.  According to the “Bloomington Pantagraph” a second passenger is in intensive care following the crash early yesterday morning.

>>Squirrel Causes Power Outage

(Peoria, IL)  --  A squirrel is being blamed for causing a Peoria power outage and delaying the girl’s state cross country meet.  Ameren Illinois tells the “Peoria Journal Star” that one of the rodents jumped on a power line and hit a fuse.  Electric clocks weren’t working at a nearby park so cross country runners were forced to wait.  Ameren says squirrels jumping on power lines is pretty common this time of year.


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