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State News
7:05 am
Thu January 16, 2014

78-year old woman asks Governor to commute murder sentence

Ashley Clement, sister of victim Steven Watkins, holds a sign urging “no mercy” for Shirley Skinner.
Brian Mackey Illinois Public Radio

A 78-year-old woman convicted of murder is asking Governor Pat Quinn to commute her sentence. It was a notorious case in central Illinois. As IPR'S Brian Mackey reports, she's served just a few years in prison.

The woman is Shirley Skinner. Back in 2008, during a long, bitter custody dispute, her granddaughter's estranged husband, Steven Watkins, came over to visit their child. He ended up getting shot in the back of the head. Skinner reportedly told responding emergency medical personnel, "I shot him."

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State News
6:54 am
Thu January 16, 2014

State Farm moving out of Canada

State Farm Insurance is getting out of Canada. The Bloomington-based insurance giant is selling its Canadian unit to Desjardins Group, Canada's largest credit union. State Farm, Desjardins and its French partner Credit Mutuel, will invest $1.5 billion in the combined business.

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Peoria Public Radio News
6:48 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Peoria County Sheriff's office warning of new scam

The Peoria County Sheriff’s Department is offering Bartonville area residents a word of caution. A vacuum cleaning demonstration in the area is resulting in theft.

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Politics
11:30 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Details on fundraising for Republican governor candidates

Illinois voters have a better idea of how much the Republican candidates for governor are raising for their campaigns.   It’s no surprise that new numbers show venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is leading his Republican counterparts.  Rauner raised more than $2 million since October.  He also gave his own campaign 2 million. Still - Rauner spent more than he brought in. Most of his expenses were normal costs to campaigns - with a good chunk going toward a media production company.

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Education
10:57 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Dunlap teachers, parents oppose proposed cuts

The Dunlap school district should keep its teachers and current band and orchestra programs next year.  That’s the message from hundreds of parents and teachers voicing concern over proposed staff and program cuts.  The proposed spending plan would lay-off nearly 20 teachers, cut school bussing options and raise student fees. About 40 people spoke out against the proposed cuts during last night’s school board meeting. Many are opposed to cutting fifth grade band and fourth grade orchestra programs.  Tina Holloway is the band director at Dunlap Valley Middle School. She says delaying music classes hurts the students and the district:

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Education
10:48 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Peoria launching anti-gang program for students

Peoria is launching a pilot program next month aimed at stopping youth from joining gangs.  The state-funded ‘Don’t Start’ program includes two schools in Peoria District 150 and runs through the summer.  The anti-violence project pays for weekly gang-prevention talks, home visits for at-risk students and GED classes for parents.  Renee Andrews is principal at Trewyn Middle School, that’s seen students involved in gang activity.  She says it’s important that the Don’t Start Program targets students before high school:

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State News
1:15 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Getting prepared for concealed carry

More than 11-thousand people submitted applications for concealed carry permits on the FIRST day possible in Illinois. To be eligible to put in the application those people must complete a 16 hour class. Instructors have been teaching those courses for months now. Illinois Public Radio's Charlie Schlenker went to a class in McLean County to find out what they have been learning.

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State News
7:24 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Bruce Rauner skips debate in Plainfield

Credit BruceRauner.com

Three of the four Republican candidates running for Illinois governor debated in southwest suburban Plainfield Tuesday night. IPR'S Tony Arnold reports on how the fourth candidate’s absence was felt.

Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner wasn’t in attendance. He has a huge financial lead over the other Republicans, and has committed to other forums. 

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State News
7:16 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Some Illinois prisons to offer video visitations

Illinois prisons are integrating technology with inmate visits. This spring, some facilities will begin offering video visitations from satellite locations. Families will pay a 30-dollar fee to speak to a loved-one behind bars. Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says it will put less stress on those who make long trips to state prisons. But he says they are not planning to remove that option:

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State News
7:07 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Landfill leak sends dozens of Dekalb elementary students to hospital

Cortland Elementary School in relation to Waste Management's DeKalb County landfill.
Credit Google maps

Students return to Cortland Elementary School this morning, a day after the odor from a landfill sent dozens to a hospital emergency room.

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