Illinois

Open Data
9:51 am
Sun October 21, 2012

Illinois Making More Public Data Available Online

(via Flickr/Remko van Dokkum)

The Illinois state government is seeking to make more local and state data available online and is challenging entrepreneurs to create applications with the information that will serve the public.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the Illinois Open Technology Challenge on Saturday and said it would start on a pilot basis in four communities around the state: Belleville, Champaign, Rockford and Chicago's south suburbs.

The governor said the project would increase transparency at the local level and create jobs.

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High-speed rail tested in Illinois
3:29 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Illinois Doubling Down On High-Speed Rail

Officials rode an Amtrak train at 110 mph in central Illinois Friday.
(St. Louis Public Radio)

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was on board Friday when an Amtrak train reached speeds of 111 mph for the first time along a Chicago to St. Louis route. The train hit the mark on a stretch between Dwight and Pontiac before braking back to normal speeds of 79 mph. By the end of November, paying passengers will get to experience the higher speeds on that initial section between Dwight and Pontiac. 

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THOMSON CORRECTIONAL CENTER
1:28 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Residents Of Thomson Eager To Push Forward After Prison Sale

The federal government will purchase the underused state prison in Thomson, Ill., shown here in a screenshot from Google Maps, despite Congressional opposition.
(screenshot via Google Maps)

Residents of a small northwest Illinois village say they're eager for economic opportunities after the sale of a prison to the federal government. 

The Chicago-Sun Times reports that the sale of Thomson Correctional Center could bring up to 1,600 inmates and just as many jobs to struggling Thomson where fewer than 600 people reside.

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Thomson Correctional Center
1:49 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Federal Government Will Buy Illinois Prison

The federal government will purchase the underused state prison in Thomson, Ill., shown here in a screenshot from Google Maps, despite Congressional opposition.
(screenshot via Google Maps)

Updated at 5:45 p.m. with additional comments from Gov. Quinn and comments from Sen. Durbin. Brian Mackey contributed reporting.

Updated at 2 p.m. with statement from Gov. Pat Quinn.

The federal government has agreed to purchase the underused Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois to relieve crowding in its facilities, despite fervent opposition from members of Congress.

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Unemployment Fraud
8:11 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Illinois Cracks Down On Unemployment Fraud

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

Illinois is getting $2.7 million to strengthen its efforts to fight waste and fraud in unemployment claims.

The grant from the U.S. Labor Department will help beef up anti-fraud programs launched in the past year.
 
The Illinois Department of Employment Security says it has begun garnishing tax returns of unemployment cheats, working more closely with the attorney general and holding business leaders personally liable for misstating company obligations.

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The Picture Show
2:54 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Bringing Springfield's Photos Back To Life

Triplets born to Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Atterberry of Petersburg at St. John's Hospital, two girls and a boy, Aug. 21, 1930.
Courtesy of Rich Saal/State Journal-Register

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 1:04 pm

The first photography staff at the Illinois State Journal carried heavy, clumsy and slow Speed Graphic cameras. They shot on glass plates, and only had a few precious exposures to use throughout their day.

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Morning round-up
9:20 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Morning headlines: Thursday, September 20, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Three people killed on Grand Bridge following early morning police chase

The Grand Bridge was closed for several hours early Thursday morning as the result of a vehicle crash that left three people dead and another person critically injured.

The crash happened as the car was fleeing police.

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Campaign finance
11:27 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Federal court upholds Ill. campaign spending disclosure law

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A federal appeals court has upheld the Illinois law that requires disclosure of most campaign spending by groups in excess of $3,000.

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Fraud
5:24 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

Fraud conviction reinstated for ex-Ill. official

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A federal appeals court has reinstated the wire fraud conviction of a former supervisor for the Illinois secretary of state's office.

Cecil Turner was convicted on four counts of wire fraud in 2006 for covering up a scheme in which three janitors were paid for hours they didn't work.

Turner did not take any illegal money. He was convicted on the legal theory that he denied taxpayers the honest services they deserved.

The U.S. Supreme Court later narrowed the scope of "honest services" violations, and Turner's conviction was reversed.

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Ill. facility closures
5:22 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Tamms, other prisons will stay open for another month

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Two major Illinois prisons and other facilities will stay open for at least another month after an arbitrator ruled Gov. Pat Quinn's administration violated workers' rights in rushing to close them

Arbitrator Steven Bierig concluded Friday that the state departments of Corrections and Juvenile Justice did not properly negotiate with workers over the impact of closing the supermax Tamms prison, the Dwight women's lockup and several juvenile facilities. 

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