ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) - So far, more than 50 instructors have been approved to train Illinois residents applying for applications to carry concealed weapons.
The Daily Herald reports 54 instructors have been OK'd for the program - most of them in northern Illinois.
Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond says as many as 1,000 more applications have been received.
In July, Illinois became the last state in the nation to approve a law allowing the public possession of firearms.
Anyone who wants to apply for a concealed-carry license must complete 16 hours of training from a state-approved instructor. The instructor also must use the state's training curricula.
Applications for concealed-carry licenses will be available from state police beginning Jan. 5.
A list of instructors can be found here.
CAVE-IN-ROCK, Ill. (AP) - Vendors at a recently completed outdoor festival featuring the Insane Clown Posse rap-metal group say they haven't been paid thousands of dollars by promoters of the yearly southern Illinois event.
The Southern Illinoisan reports that several vendors at the Gathering of the Juggalos say they've received bad checks from the promoters of the event near Cave-In-Rock.
Hardin County Sheriff Jerry Fricker says his department got a check from the promoters, Michigan-based Psychopathic Records Inc., as a donation for equipment such as protective vests and stun guns. But Fricker says that check bounced.
The festival has been staged for the past several years near Cave-In-Rock, drawing thousands of people for a week.
A message seeking comment was left Thursday with Psychopathic Records.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - New Census Bureau figures show Illinois' poverty rate remained stubbornly near 15 percent last year, and anti-poverty advocates say that's a sign an economic recovery isn't trickling down to the least fortunate.
The latest figures suggest that 14.7 percent of Illinoisans, or about 1.85 million people, lived in poverty last year. That's down ever slightly from 15 percent, or 1.88 million, in 2011.
The national rate also remained at 15 percent.
Amy Terpstra of the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance's Social Impact Research Center says the latest figures may make the case for raising Illinois' minimum wage. It's set at $8.25 an hour. Gov. Pat Quinn is pushing that idea, but business executives say it could backfire and force employers to eliminate jobs.
CHICAGO (AP) - With his top Democratic challenger out of the 2014 race, Gov. Pat Quinn says he remains focused on his day job.
Quinn addressed reporters Wednesday in Chicago. The appearance was his first since former White House chief of staff Bill Daley bowed out of the 2014 race.
Quinn shied away from addressing Daley's criticisms, including parting statements that Quinn wouldn't win.
With just one lesser known candidate left, he's widely expected to get the nod from his party during the March primary.
Quinn says he'll still attend a statewide slating discussion this weekend in Springfield by the state's Democratic party.
Four Republicans are running for governor. Quinn says it'll be a tough contest.
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois officials say the state saved about $44 million in five months because of a vendor's work to scrub unentitled Illinois residents from the Medicaid rolls. Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos detailed the savings Tuesday at a legislative hearing in Chicago.
The work by Reston, Va.-based Maximus resulted in the state canceling Medicaid for more than 125,000 people. Outsourcing that task will cost the state about $70 million over two years.
Hamos says 40 percent of the people kicked off Medicaid had no medical costs in the past six months, resulting in lower than projected savings.
She says Illinois officials still would like to complete the contract with Maximus and will appeal an arbitrator's ruling that would require the contract to be canceled Dec. 31.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Illinois' congressional delegation is grappling with whether to approve U.S. use of military might against Syria. And freshman Representative Bill Enyart appears emblematic of the complexity of the decision.
The southern Illinois Democrat who once headed Illinois' National Guard says he hasn't made up his mind about President Barack Obama's call for limited military force against Syria.
Enyart says feedback from his constituents has been overwhelmingly against U.S. involvement. And Enyart wonders whether flexing U.S. military might against Syria might fan anti-America sentiment in the Middle East.
Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin this week voted in a Senate committee in favor of a resolution authorizing military force but restricting it to 90 days and barring American ground troops from combat. That resolution is to reach the Senate floor next week.
An Illinois AMBER Alert has been canceled.
A 13-year-old Champaign, Illinois girl abducted Thursday has been found safe in a Cape Girardeau Wal-Mart, according to the Champaign Police Department. Cleo Younce called her mother yesterday to say she had been abducted by 21-year-old Nicholas Hurley. Younce and Hurley had met about a month earlier through a mutual acquaintance.
It is not known why Hurley abducted the teen.
Illinois authorities have issued an Amber Alert for a 13-year-old girl from Champaign, Illinois.
Police say that Cleo Younce was taken Thursday afternoon at 3:24. Younce was taken 21-year-old Nicholas Hurley. The pair were last seen in a Bronze 2000 Chevy Suburban with Indiana license plate 2-6-1-C-T-D.
Younce is described as a white female, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 5'8" tall and was last seen wearing black half jacket, black tank top, dark jeans, black and teal K-Swiss shoes.
Hurley is a white male with brown hair and eyes. He is 6'8" tall and weights around 300 pounds.
Anyone with information or who sees the pair should call 911.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Precipitation has been below average this summer in Illinois.
Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign says statewide average precipitation for June, July and August was just less than 10 inches. He says that's nearly 2 inches below average.
Data show June's rainfall was above average, but rainfall during both July and August were below average. However, Angel says this year is an improvement over last summer. That's when precipitation was just less than 7 inches or nearly 5 inches below average.
The summer's statewide average temperature has been 72.5 degrees. That's about 1 degree below average.
CHICAGO (AP) - The president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce is retiring next year.
Chamber chairman Ray Drake says Douglas Whitley announced his retirement plans at the chamber board's quarterly meeting on Thursday. Whitley has had the position for 12 years and says he will leave the chamber in June. Whitley is 63.
Drake says the chamber's board will embark on a nationwide search to replace Whitley. Drake says Whitley has given the board enough time to find a new president and prepare before next year's election for Illinois governor.
ST. CHARLES, Ill. (AP) - Three courthouses in Kane County are open again after being evacuated due to bomb threats.
The Kane County Sheriff's Office says on its Twitter account that the courthouses were reopened Wednesday afternoon and "no suspicious items were found." Lt. Pat Gengler is with the Kane County Sheriff's Office. He says officers were investigating "a series of bomb threats" made against the three separate courthouses.
The facilities evacuated Wednesday morning include the Kane County Judicial Center in St. Charles and the Elgin Branch Court in Elgin. Also the Kane Branch Court and Kane County Clerk's office, which are in the same building in St. Charles.