Illinois fiscal reputation costs $80 million more
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A study contends that Illinois wears a "scarlet letter" when it borrows money - which has cost at least $80 million over a five-year period.
The review by the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs estimated the state's "risk premium" in selling bonds to raise money. This cost is on top of additional interest charges paid because of Illinois' worst-in-the-nation credit rating.
The study found that on bonds sold from 2005 to 2010, bond-buyers demanded the premium based only on the state's fiscal reputation. It notes the Prairie State's credit rating has fallen further since 2010.
Authors of the study collected data on all state general obligation bonds sold during the period and calculated interest charges above the extra paid based on credit rating.
Clerk's spouse earned $146K from troubled program
CHICAGO (AP) - Tens of thousands of dollars earmarked for an anti-violence program launched by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010 was paid to the husband of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports Benton Cook received more than $146,000 in salary and fringe benefits from state grant for his work with the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative in the city's West Garfield Park neighborhood. The neighborhood received $2.1 million over two years from the effort.
He told the newspaper he worked for the program, but didn't receive that much money for his role.
An audit of the $55 million program released in late February questioned 40 percent of the expenditures claimed by service providers.
The review by Auditor General William Holland found "pervasive deficiencies" and has been sent to law enforcement authorities.
REGISTERED VOTERS-COOK COUNTY
Voter registrations reach record in Cook County
CHICAGO (AP) - A record number of suburban Cook County residents have registered to vote in the March 18 primary.
Cook County Clerk David Orr said Monday more than 1.4 million voters are registered. That's an increase of nearly 13,000 voters from the previous record set in the 2010 primary.
Orr notes the surge in registered voters comes despite an effort to remove ineligible voters from the rolls. The clerk's office has removed more than 135,000 names by cross-checking databases for people who've moved or died.
Some new voters are 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the November general election. A new state law allows them to vote.
Nearly 5,500 new 17- and 18-year-old voters registered at events held at 89 high schools around suburban Cook County in January and February.
Woman sentenced to 37 years in 2012 slaying
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - A Peoria woman has been sentenced to 37 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of a man.
The Peoria Journal Star reports that 27-year-old Amanda Payne was sentenced Monday after prosecutors dropped from the charge any mention that Payne shot James Cohee in the head - a change that eliminated a mandatory minimum of 45 years in prison and a sentence as long as 120 years.
Prosecutors alleged that Payne and two others hatched a plan that called for Payne to spike Cohee's drink at his Lake Camelot home to knock him out so the two could rob him. When the drug didn't work, Payne shot Cohee.
Last year, the co-defendants pleaded guilty to murder and each received 25-year prison sentences.
Man charged in $7M shoplifting case remains jailed
CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge in Chicago says the head of a suburban family accused of shoplifting $7 million in goods must remain behind bars after deeming him a flight risk.
The ruling came Monday at a detention hearing for a father, mother and daughter accused of going on regular excursions nationwide to steal.
Prosecutor Renato Mariotti says Branko Bogdanov claims he's $28,000 in debt. But Mariotti says Bogdanov actually owns a $1.3 million Northbrook home and 12 vehicles, including a 2003 Chevy Corvette.
Mariotti also told the court the 58-year-old emigrated in 1973 from the former Yugoslavia and is in the U.S. illegally.
The judge didn't immediately rule on the detention of the mother and daughter. All three are charged with interstate transportation of stolen property. They haven't entered pleas.
PINCKNEYVILLE PRISON-GUARDS INJURED
4 guards injured during southern Ill. prison fight
PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois prison is on lockdown after a weekend fight injured four guards.
The Illinois Department of Corrections says the fracas at the medium-security Pinckneyville Correctional Center for men began about 10 a.m. Sunday when a guard asked an unruly inmate to step out of the meal line.
That's when another inmate apparently punched the guard. After three other correctional officers responded, a third inmate joined in the altercation before guards used pepper spray to subdue the prisoners involved.
Three of the guards were treated at a hospital, including one officer who sustained a broken nose. The fourth guard and the accused inmates were treated at the prison's health-care unit.
Corrections officials say charges will be pursued.
The lockdown restricts inmate movement and bars visitation.
Nurses strike at Chicago-area psychiatric hospital
DES PLAINES, Ill. (AP) - Nurses at a psychiatric hospital in suburban Chicago are on strike to call attention to what they say are delaying tactics from management during contract negotiations.
Nurses and their supporters at the Maryville Behavioral Health Hospital in Des Plaines started picketing outside the facility Monday. The nurses plan to picket through Saturday.
Illinois Nurses Association Executive Director Alice Johnson says the nurses want a safe working environment.
Maryville spokesman John Gorman says the hospital has stopped admitting patients and the 18 remaining patients, mostly teenagers, are well cared for. Gorman says some nurses scheduled to work Monday's morning shift showed up and were caring for patients.
Plane that crashed in Missouri in 2012 hit a tree
CANTON, Mo. (AP) - Federal investigators say a plane that crashed in northeast Missouri, killing both men on board, hit a tree before crashing.
The victims of the Aug. 29, 2012, crash were identified as 74-year-old John Johnson, of Carbondale, Ill., and 47-year-old Carl Maiden, of DuQuoin, Ill. The 1956 twin-engine Piper crashed a few miles from Canton.
In a probable cause report released Friday, the National Transportation Safety Board says the plane took off from a Pinckneyville, Ill., airport and was headed to a private airstrip near Blakesburg, Iowa.
The NTSB says the probable cause of the accident was the 74-year-old pilot's decision to try to make a forced landing in a field with obstacles. The report says the plane hit a tree, and that there were larger, more open fields nearby.
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