Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

A Wall Street rating agency says Chicago isn't alone in grappling with underfunded city employee pensions, but that it's in the worst shape among the nation's 15 largest cities.  The city registered the highest annual debt, pension post-employment benefits costs as a percentage of governmental expenditures, and the highest debt and pension liability per capita.

Climate scientists say a freakishly warm February broke more than 11,700 local daily records for warmth in the United States. But it didn't quite beat 1954 for the nation's warmest February on record.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the average temperature last month was 41.2 degrees. That's 7.3 degrees warmer than normal but three-tenths a degree behind the record.

A memo says Illinois prison officials wanted Drew Peterson transferred to a federal prison because the former suburban police officer convicted of killing his third wife and plotting to kill the prosecutor, posed a danger to the prison.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The first woman to be promoted to brigadier general in the Illinois National Guard is retiring. 

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Health officials have declared a mumps outbreak at a suburban Chicago high school after confirming a third case among its students.

The Lake County Health Department says it has nearly 20 suspected mumps cases at Barrington High School, along with an adult from Lake Zurich and a Libertyville High School student.

Those cases come as the U.S. is in the midst of one of the largest mumps surges in decades, with schools and college campuses in many states contending with outbreaks.

A judge has ruled that the Illinois state comptroller may direct which accounts should be used to pay state employees.  

Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza reported yesterday that St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien ruled against Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. She may decide how to pay 600 employees.

Rauner wanted the Department of Central Management Services workers paid from general revenue. But there's a two-year budget stalemate and no appropriations for that fund.

Illinois' Republican governor says he is very concerned that the state's residents might be left in the lurch under the health care plan proposed by congressional Republicans.  Gov. Bruce Rauner says he is talking with his fellow GOP governors and members of Congress on ideas for changing the proposal. He declined to discuss his specific recommendations.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he's urged Republican state senators to keep negotiating for a budget compromise that's a good deal for taxpayers.  The Illinois Senate has been working for months to pass a so-called "grand bargain" that could resolve a nearly two-year state budget impasse. 

A judge is allowing former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois to end supervised release early.  Jackson, the son of civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, was given a 2 1/2-year prison sentence for spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items. 

If you're gorging on bacon or skimping on nuts, you might want to rethink your diet. That's according to new research that links 10 foods with deaths from heart disease, strokes and diabetes.  The study says overeating or not eating enough of those foods contributes to nearly half of U.S. deaths from the three causes.

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CHICAGO (AP) - Authorities say students were evacuated from a Jewish grade school in Chicago after someone called in a bomb threat.

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. (AP) - Governors State University has announced it will eliminate 22 academic programs and hike tuition to cope with a lack of funding due to Illinois' budget stalemate.

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The top Capitol Hill Democrats from Illinois say they believe President Donald Trump's revised travel ban is unconstitutional and won't survive legal challenges.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has filed a lawsuit over the way Illinois' comptroller is handling employee pay. The lawsuit says Democratic Comptroller Suzanna Mendoza is violating a 2015 court order. It contends the paychecks of 587 Central Management Services employees could be disrupted if the matter is not resolved by Wednesday. 

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says student borrowers dealing with mounting loan debt are making up a greater number of consumer complaints to her office.  Madigan released her annual top-ten list of such complaints. She says consumer debt and identity theft were the top two issues drawing complaints for the ninth straight year.

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The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has released figures that show union membership in Illinois matched a historic low in 2016.  Union membership in Illinois accounted for 14.5% of the wage and salary workers in the state last year. That is down from 15.2% from the previous year and ties the historic low set in 2007.

An Illinois man accused in a 2012 Chicago expressway killing and mistakenly released from state custody last month has been captured in Georgia.   Authorities found Garrett Glover in Atlanta's suburb of Lithonia late Friday. He was at the apartment of a relative's girlfriend.  

A significant expansion of casino gambling is back in play in the Illinois General Assembly.  A proposal to authorize six new casinos got Senate approval this past week. It was one of the few victories in a week dedicated to getting a compromised budget plan through the Senate. 

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CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago nearly went a full week without a fatal shooting.

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CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Unseasonably high temperatures have allowed Illinois farmers to work in the fields, but many of them are wondering how the weather will affect their crops and orchards.

An Illinois appellate court has temporarily barred Gov. Bruce Rauner from imposing his contract terms on the state's largest public employee union.  The 4th District Court of Appeals sided with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. The court issued an order prohibiting immediate action by the Republican governor.

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More than 8,000 Illinois students will get to visit state parks, museums and other sites to learn about nature and conservation thanks to a privately funded grant program.

The state's ongoing budget deadlock has spurred the University of Illinois to ask its departments to cut an average of about 2% from their budgets.  Interim Provost John Wilkin's office sent the budget guidelines this week to the school's academic units.

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The founder of a suburban Chicago technology company has been sentenced to nine years in prison for a scheme that bilked investors out of $9 million.  Seventy-one-year-old Gregory Webb is founder and chief executive officer of Elk Grove Village-based InfrAegis Inc.  He was convicted last year of nine counts of mail and wire fraud.

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Arizona health officials say four cases of E. coli infections involving children at Arizona child care centers appear to be linked to eating soynut butter produced by a Glenview, Illinois-based company that is conducting a voluntary recall.

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CROSSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner visited the tornado damaged community of Crossville, noting the recovery process in the town of about 750 has begun.

The Illinois Senate has adjourned without pushing its stalled budget compromise further. But a Senate Democrat filed legislation today spelling out services that could be subject to the state sales tax to battle a budget deficit. 

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Cook County prosecutors will no longer oppose the release of some detainees who are held on nonviolent offenses because they can't afford to pay cash bonds of up to $1,000 at a time.  Sheriff Tom Dart's policy chief, Cara Smith, quickly praised the decision. Dart has focused on the issue for the past two years in order to reduce the county jail's population.

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A northern Illinois man has died after being struck by a tree during a powerful Midwestern storm, raising the death toll for the regional storms to four.  Peoria County's coroner says 31-year-old David A. Johnson of Ottawa died Wednesday of severe head trauma at a Peoria hospital.

The Cook County state's attorney is investigating whether a former Chicago police sergeant tainted far more convictions than those he has been held accountable for.  State's attorney spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said the office's Conviction Integrity Unit is reviewing any cases of incarcerated individuals where former Sgt. Ronald Watts was substantively involved.

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