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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois transportation officials say they're gearing up for busy roadways this Memorial Day weekend and have a plan to reduce congestion.

   The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Thursday that non-emergency roadwork will be suspended to improve traffic flow at the unofficial start of summer.

   Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says the move helps ensure safety with the increase of motorists expected on the roads.

   The suspension starts 3 p.m. on Friday through midnight Monday.

   Transportation officials are urging motorists to obey posted speed limits and that posted limits are still in effect for construction zones even if there's no construction in the works.

 
Friday, 24 May 2013 03:35
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   The Illinois State Board of Education has released the state's first set of math courses under the new common core standards.  

   Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon and the board announced the curriculum for 6th through 12th grade classes on Thursday.  The package of coursework is aimed at reducing remedial math needs for college-bound students and better preparing students for the workforce.  

   State officials say the new courses will be available this fall and teachers can adapt the units as needed. 

   Missouri education officials have also signed on to the common core standards, Republican state lawmakers want to rescind that decision.

Friday, 24 May 2013 03:21
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   BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A metro-east judge's docket of hundreds of cases has been reassigned after the county's top prosecutor revealed that the judge is under federal investigation.

   St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelley didn't detail the reason for the investigation. But he said he filed a complaint Thursday against Circuit Judge Michael Cook with state judicial discipline regulators.

   Kelly and the county's chief judge, John Baricevic, says they've been cooperating with federal authorities.

   Kelly says he has "actively assisted in and advanced a federal investigation" of the judge. He says that aid resulted in law-enforcement searches of Cook's Belleville home and his hunting cabin in western Illinois' Pike County.

   The investigation has raised new questions about the death of 49 year old Circuit Judge Joe Christ, who died in March while at Cook's Pike County hunting cabin.

 

Friday, 24 May 2013 02:33
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House is expected to vote Friday on legislation allowing public possession of concealed guns.  The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. It was a compromise backed by Speaker Michael Madigan.

   The measure was endorsed Thursday 13-3 and goes to the full House Friday. It comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons.

   The legislation would require the Illinois State Police to issue concealed carry permits to qualified gun owners. It's patterned on a bill introduced by gun-rights advocate Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat.

   But Madigan's version significantly adds places that would be off limits to guns. Those include mass transit - a must for violence-weary Chicago Democrats.

 

Friday, 24 May 2013 02:24
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