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BC-IL--Illinois Weekend Digest, IL

August 2, 2018

AP-Illinois stories for the weekend of Aug. 4-5. Members using Exchange stories should retain the bylines and newspaper credit lines. If you have questions, please contact the AP-Illinois desk in Chicago at 312-781-0500 or chifax@ap.org.




URBANA, Ill. — It’s tough to find just the right fashion look when you’re almost 9 feet tall. So Alma Mater has her own tailor, and a closet full of clothes and accessories for every occasion. The 89-year-old University of Illinois sculpture has acquired quite a wardrobe since she first donned an Illini basketball jersey for the 2005 Final Four. Hats and a sash for her birthday. A runner’s bib for the Illinois Marathon (No. 1867, of course). A bright red dress for Chinese New Year. T-shirts for freshman convocation. An orange-and-blue knit scarf for the first snow of the season — along with stocking caps for her pals, Learning and Labor. And a statue-sized cap and gown for graduation. By Julie Wurth. The News-Gazette. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos.


ROCKFORD, Ill. — Ingersoll Machine Tools has built the largest machine of its kind in the world for world’s richest man — Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, who will use the engineering marvel to build rockets to carry humans to the moon and maybe even Mars. It took three years to design and manufacture the Sasquatch-sized machine, which stands 51 feet tall, 136 feet long and 43 feet wide. The machine — its trademarked name is Mongoose — will be disassembled in coming weeks and shipped to Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket factory, at Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Park on Merritt Island, Florida. There, the machine will be reassembled and will manufacture cryogenic tanks that will be filled with liquid oxygen and hydrogen to fuel rockets. By Isaac Guerrero. Register Star. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos.



DECATUR, Ill. — When Jacques Nuzzo opened the crate containing the first baby osprey for this year’s hacking project, he was a bit taken aback. “I said, ‘Oh, that really is a baby,’” said Nuzzo, program director for the Illinois Raptor Center, which works with the University of Illinois at Springfield to examine and catalog the birds. “I was just a little worried about it, not super worried, but I thought, let’s just keep him inside and make sure his body temp stays stable and he’s doing great. I’m going to move him outside today.” The osprey repopulation project is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and overseen by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. An endangered species in Illinois, the effort’s goal is to restore the osprey as a nesting species in the state. By Valerie Wells. Herald & Review. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.


MOLINE, Ill. — With a growing child population living in poverty, Awa Thiam is using her engineering background to connect West African food producers with school systems. And networking with Iowa agriculture experts could be the push she needs to get her business off the ground. Thiam, 27, of Senegal, is one of 25 African entrepreneurs hoping to network and absorb as much Midwestern business culture as they can this summer. She’s a fellow with the University of Iowa’s Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, which is in its third year. The group toured Deere & Co. facilities in the Quad-Cities. Two years ago, she founded the Lifantou project, where she uses geospatial data to connect farmers with school systems. Her goal is to use technology to improve food distribution and secure daily meals for children, which in turn could revamp public school conditions and diversify West Africa’s agriculture industry. By Sarah Ritter. The Dispatch. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos.

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