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SPRINGFIELD — Illinois transit advocates want to tie a tax on gasoline to the price at the pump as part of an aggressive fundraising effort to get a toehold on what they say are rapidly deteriorating roads, rails, and bridges. The Transportation for Illinois Coalition is pushing legislation to impose a 9.5 percent tax on the wholesale price of fuel — adding about 14 cents a gallon at today's prices — along with vehicle license and registration fee hikes to bring in about $800 million a year, coalition co-chairman Doug Whitley told The Associated Press. That's still a far cry from what the coalition says is a price tag of more than $65 billion in the next five years to catch up with and modernize roads and mass transit. By John O'Connor.
AP Photos ILSP104-105.
CHICAGO — The National Weather Service is upgrading the risk of storms to its highest alert level for parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The agency's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., says there's a high risk that damaging winds will strike in extreme eastern Iowa into northern portions of Illinois and Indiana and northwest portions of Ohio. The storms could hit Chicago around rush hour. By Carla K. Johnson.
AP Photos: WX101-102
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is planning a fresh vote on his plan to overhaul the public-employee pension system, despite a request by the governor for compromise with the Senate. Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, filed legislation Wednesday identical to a bill the House approved last month that failed by a wide margin in the Senate. It doesn't mention any inclusion of a rival proposal by Senate President John Cullerton, as requested by Gov. Pat Quinn Monday as a compromise way to move forward on fixing the state's nearly $100 billion shortfall in funding employee pensions. Quinn has called a special session in Springfield for next week to address the issue. By John O'Connor and Kerry Lester.
CHICAGO — The sheriff of Illinois' most populous county told Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday that the concealed carry bill awaiting his signature is "fatally flawed" — a warning that stands in contrast to decisions by a two downstate prosecutors who, tired of waiting on the governor, are telling residents they can carry weapons. In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart does not ask Quinn to veto the bill state lawmakers approved last month. But the sheriff of the county that includes Chicago harshly criticized the provision in the bill that requires law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to object to a governor-appointed panel if they suspect applicants are dangerous to themselves or others. By Don Babwin and Jim Suhr.
AP Photos ILCAR501, ILBND501.
CHICAGO — As the debate over government surveillance rages on, there's an assumption that young people will be the least concerned about privacy. Turns out, many young people want to keep their personal information to themselves — in some cases, more than their elders. That attitude showed up most recently in a poll done for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post. By Martha Irvine.
AP Photos CD108-110
CROP REPORT-RAINY SPRING
DES MOINES — Corn farmers are feeling the impact of a cool, wet spring but are still expected to bring in a record crop this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its monthly report released Wednesday that farmers are expected to bring in 14 billion bushels of corn this year. That's 135 million bushels less than last month's estimate, reflecting the impact of the cooler spring.
But that would still beat the 13.1 billion bushel record, set in 2009. Last year, farmers harvested only about 11 billion bushels because of the drought. The changes are not expected to significantly affect food prices for consumers. By David Pitt.
AP Photo ILSP101
CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago mother and caretaker planned for more than a week to kill a 14-year-old boy with severe autism, prosecutors said at a bond hearing for the women, both charged with first-degree murder in the boy's stabbing death. A Cook County judge denied bond for Dorothy Spourdalakis, 50, and caretaker Jolanta Skrodzka, 40. Neither woman spoke at the hearing. The boy's father and uncle found Alex Spourdalakis, 14, on Sunday stabbed numerous times in the chest and lying on his bed in a second-floor River Grove apartment, authorities said.
AP Photos ILRG101-102.
—CHICAGO TERRORISM ARREST-SURVEILANCE, from CHICAGO: Federal prosecutors have responded to a defense call for the government to reveal if an expanded U.S. surveillance program led to terrorism charges against a suburban Chicago teenager.
—ILLINOIS JUDGE-INVESTIGATION, from BELLEVILLE: Federal prosecutors in southern Illinois say they will oppose a motion to release for drug treatment a man facing heroin trafficking charges and who is involved in a judicial corruption case.
—TRUCKING FIRM-LAWSUIT, from PEORIA: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued an Illinois trucking company for allegedly violating the religious rights of two former employees.
—GALESBURG COURTHOUSE-RADON, from GALESBURG: Knox County Sheriff David Clague says the courthouse in Galesburg has tested positive for radon.
—TOLLWAY-CHILD SAFETY, from DOWNERS GROVE: The Illinois Tollway and District 15 of the Illinois State Police are planning a summer-full of "Kids Identification and Safety Seat" events to help keep children safe.
—LINCOLN CABIN-DAY CAMP, from LERNA: A series of one-week camps this summer will give children an opportunity to experience what life was like in Illinois during the 1840s.
—MILITARY ACADEMY-GRADUATIONS, from SPRINGFIELD: The Illinois National Guard says 295 cadets attending a military academy in Rantoul for school dropouts will graduate this month.
—MARION-RECREATION CENTER, from MARION: The southern Illinois city of Marion is getting a new $10 million recreation center, with an assist from the state's taxpayers.
—DARIEN-FOUR DEAD, from DARIEN: Autopsy results show a Darien man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and three women found dead with him died of gunshot wounds to the face.
—GRANITE CITY-WOMAN KILLED, from GRANITE CITY: A southwestern Illinois man is jailed without bond after being accused in the stabbing death of his estranged wife.
—CAPE COD LAB-AFFILIATION, from BOSTON: The Marine Biological Laboratory on Cape Cod and the University of Chicago have agreed to a research and educational affiliation.
—METRA-SECURITY, from CHICAGO: Metra officials say they're stepping up police patrols for the northern Illinois commuter rail.
CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks got third-period goals from Dave Bolland and Johnny Oduya to tie the Boston Bruins 3-3 and send a riveting Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals to overtime. In the first championship meeting in 34 years between Original Six franchises, Milan Lucic scored twice and Patrice Bergeron added a power-play goal just over six minutes into the third to give Boston a 3-1 lead. But the Blackhawks came storming back after that. By Andrew Seligman.
AP Photos CXA109, CXA111, CXA122, CXA124, CXA128, CXA133.
—HKN-STANLEY CUP-SENATORS WAGER, from BOSTON: Senators from Illinois and Massachusetts have a friendly food wager on the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup series between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
—HKN-STANLEY CUP-BETTMAN, from CHICAGO: The Phoenix Coyotes are about to be in limbo no more. Where they'll end up, however, is up to the Glendale City Council. By Nancy Armour. AP Photos CXA101-102.
BBA-BLUE JAYS-WHITE SOX
CHICAGO — The game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Blue Jays was postponed because storms were in the forecast. The game was called early in the afternoon as severe weather was approaching. No makeup date was announced. The Blue Jays aren't scheduled to play again at U.S. Cellular Field this season. This was the fourth home postponement for the White Sox this season, the most since they had five home games called off in 2008.
BBA-WHITE SOX-ANDERSON, from CHICAGO: The Chicago White Sox say they have agreed to a deal with first-round draft pick Tim Anderson with a $2.164-million bonus.
CHICAGO — Mike Leake pitched just a little better than former teammate Travis Wood, and helped the Cincinnati Reds extend their dominance of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Leake combined with Aroldis Chapman on a three-hitter and Todd Frazier hit a tiebreaking home run against Wood in the seventh inning, leading the Reds past the Cubs 2-1 Wednesday for their record 12th straight win at Wrigley Field. Leake won for the fourth time in five decisions, allowing only Nate Schierholtz's second-inning home run into the right-field bleachers, his eighth of the season. The Cincinnati starter gave up one run and three hits while striking out six over eight innings. By Brian Sandalow.
AP Photos CXC106, CXC108-113.
NEW YORK — Epiphanny Prince is healthy enough to head to the EuroBasket tournament. Prince will fly Thursday afternoon to France and join the Russian national women's basketball team for the event that runs from June 15-30. The Chicago Sky guard had sprained her right ankle playing in an exhibition game for the Russian team last week and it was uncertain whether she'd be OK to play in the World Championship qualifier. After injuring her ankle when she landed on an opponent's foot on June 6, the New York native traveled back to Chicago to have it looked at by Dr. Lowell Scott Weill Sr. He had performed surgery on Prince's same foot when she injured it last June. By Doug Feinberg.
ILLINOIS SPOTLIGHT: SHAKESPHERE CLUB
CHRISMAN — A club devoted to William Shakespeare continues to meet in east central Illinois - and has been going strong for 120 years. The 20-plus men and women who are members of the Shakespeare Club, based in Chrisman, meet a few times a year to discuss the playwright's works and the majesty of his language. Sometimes, the meetings wander onto other topics, such as making aprons. But still, the literature lovers are united by their interest in the man who's regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. "Shakespeare was an interesting man," said Tom Jenkins of Danville, who has been a member five years. His wife, Norma, has been a member 31 years. By Mary Wicoff. (Danville) Commercial-News.
AP Photo ILDAN501.