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BC-IL--Illinois News Digest 6pm, IL

January 31, 2019

Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up today in Illinois. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP-Chicago bureau at 312-781-0500 or chifax@ap.org. Herbert McCann is on the desk.

A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Central.

TOP STORIES:

WINTER WEATHER

CHICAGO _ A blast of polar air enveloped much of the Midwest on Wednesday, closing schools and businesses and straining infrastructure across the Rust Belt with some of the lowest temperatures in a generation. The deep freeze snapped rail lines and canceled hundreds of flights in the nation’s third-largest city, which was as cold as the Arctic. Heavily dressed repair crews hustled to keep water mains and gas pipes working. Chicago dropped to a low of around minus 23 (minus 30 Celsius), slightly above the city’s lowest-ever reading of minus 27 (minus 32 Celsius) from January 1985. Milwaukee had similar conditions. Minneapolis recorded minus 27 (minus 32 Celsius). Sioux Falls, South Dakota, saw minus 25 (minus 31 Celsius). By Michael Tarm and Corey Williams. SENT: 1,065 words, photos, videos.

With:

__WINTER WEATHER-CROSSING GUARDS: Despite frigid temperatures that closed hundreds of Chicago public and private schools, city officials ordered crossing guards to report for duty.

—WINTER WEATHER-ILLINOIS FATALITY: An 82-year-old central Illinois man has died in the cold weather after authorities say he was found several hours after he fell trying to get into his home.

—WINTER WEATHER-ILLINOIS: Wind chills dipped as low as 57 degrees below zero in Rockford as bitter cold weather moved into Illinois. Photos.

—WINTER WEATHER-CHICAGO: ComEd says crews have restored power to more than 42,000 customers and are working to restore another 9,400 as double-digit subzero temperatures hit Illinois. Photos.

—WINTER WEATHER-THE LATEST: The Latest on a major snowstorm and frigid weather in the Midwest. Will be updated as developments occur. Photos.

—WINTER WEATHER-AMTRAK: Extreme weather conditions have prompted Amtrak to cancel all trains into and out of Chicago.

—WINTER WEATHER-ILLINOIS COURTS: Among the things the arctic cold is freezing up temporarily in Illinois are the wheels of justice.

—WINTER WEATHER-DRIVERS SERVICES: Illinois secretary of state facilities are closed Wednesday because of the severe cold weather.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS:

XGR--MINIMUM WAGE

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. _ Business advocates now resigned to the likelihood that Illinois will soon adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage urged legislators Wednesday to make it a tiered approach based on geography, arguing there are vast cost-of-living differences between Chicago and more rural areas downstate. While Illinois’ statewide minimum wage has remained at $8.25 an hour since 2010, Chicago has jumped ahead, with the minimum wage there going to $13 this year. Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, told the Senate Labor Committee that the nation’s third-largest city shouldn’t set the wage floor for everywhere else in the state. By Political Writer John O’Connor. SENT: 625 words, photos.

ENTERTAINMENT:

EMPIRE CAST MEMBER-ATTACK

CHICAGO _ Chicago police say surveillance cameras have captured images of people of interest in an attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says pictures of ``persons of interest’’ in the alleged late night racist and homophobic attack on Smollett will be released later Wednesday. Smollett, who is black and gay and who plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox television show, said the men beat him, subjected him to racist and homophobic insults. By Don Babwin. SENT: 600 words, photos. Will be updated.

With:

JUSSIE SMOLLETT-PROFILE, from NEW YORK: TV star and musician Jussie Smollett, who alleges he was the victim of a brutal racial and homophobic attack , is a former child star who grew up to become a champion of LGBT rights and one of the few actors to play a black gay character on primetime TV. SENT: 510 words, photos.

TV-NOAH WYLE

PASADENA, Calif. — Noah Wyle is back in Chicago for a TV drama that’s far different than the 1990s hit “ER” that launched his career. In CBS’ limited series “The Red Line,” Wyle’s character loses his African-American husband in a mistaken police shooting that’s the catalyst for family anguish and social uproar. Wyle, who went from fresh-faced Dr. Carter in NBC’s 1994-2009 medical drama “ER” to action series including “The Librarian” and “Falling Skies,” choked up as he discussed “The Red Line,” a title referring to a major train line that cuts through Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. By Lynn Elber. SENT: 475 words, photos.

DOCUMENTARY DETERRENTS

LOS ANGELES _ Lights ... cameras ... lawyers? The path to the screen can be tough for the makers of documentaries with damaging claims about powerful people, such as the recent Lifetime series “Surviving R. Kelly” and an upcoming one featuring men who accuse Michael Jackson of molestation. But lawyers who oversee such documentaries say the law is often on their side. Kelly and other stars are public figures, and if they sue for defamation they must clear a high legal standard that strongly favors free speech. By Andrew Dalton. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

BUSINESS:

EARNS-BOEING

DALLAS _ Boeing, flying high on strong demand for airliners and military planes, faces a difficult decision over whether to develop a new plane to fill in a gap in its lineup. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says the plane could replace less fuel-efficient bigger planes and let airlines launch new midrange routes. It would be bigger than Boeing’s workhorse 737 but smaller than the 787, the company’s newest airliner, which first landed in airline fleets in 2011. By David Koenig. SENT: 775 words, photo.

EARNS-MCDONALD’S

McDonald’s says modernized stores and growth in delivery helped bring in more customers globally last year, but lower store traffic in the U.S. remains a concern. The world’s biggest hamburger chain said sales rose 4.4 percent at established locations in the fourth quarter and 4.5 percent for the year. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 660 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

—TEACHER CHARGED-SEX ABUSE: Authorities say a 27-year-old Chicago Catholic schools teacher is charged with sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy and battering a 13-year-old boy.

—UI-TUITION FREEZE: The president of the University of Illinois is proposing to freeze tuition for in-state students for a fifth consecutive year.

SPORTS:

BKN--BULLS-HEAT

MIAMI _ Chicago has escaped the polar vortex and made its way to Miami, for a matchup Wednesday night against a Heat team trying to get back over .500. By Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts at 6:30 p.m. CT.

BKC--WINTER WEATHER

The polar vortex couldn’t stop college basketball in the Midwest. Despite the deep freeze, a dozen men’s games and four women’s games in major conferences were scheduled to be played Wednesday night as temperatures approached or broke records. In Indianapolis, school was canceled at Butler and other nearby schools — but the game between the Bulldogs and No. 10 Marquette wasn’t. By Luke Meredith. SENT: 400 words, photos.

BKC--VILLANOVA-DEPAUL

CHICAGO _ No. 14 Villanova looks to go to 8-0 in Big East play when it meets DePaul in Chicago. Coach Jay Wright’s Wildcats have won eight in a row since back-to-back beatings by Pennsylvania and Kansas last month left them with an 8-4 record, matching their loss total each of the previous two seasons. By Andrew Seligman. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts at 7 p.m. CT.

BKC--ILLINOIS-MINNESOTA

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. _ The Fighting Illini host the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Wednesday night at home. UPCOMING: 600 words. Game starts at 8 p.m. CT.

BKC--INDIANA STATE-SOUTHERN ILLINOIS

CARBONDALE, Ill. _ The Southern Illinois Salukis host the Indiana State Sycamores on Wednesday. UPCOMING: 150 words. Game starts at 8 p.m. CT.

BKC--NORTHERN IOWA-LOYOLA-CHICAGO

CHICAGO _ Loyola-Chicago takes on Northern Iowa on Wednesday. UPCOMING: 150 words. Game starts at 6 p.m. CT.

BKC--BRADLEY-EVANSVILLE

EVANSVILLE, Ind. _ The Bradley Braves are in Indiana on Wednesday to play the Evansville Purple Aces. UPCOMING: 150 words. Game starts at 6 p.m. CT.

BKC--ILLINOIS STATE-DRAKE

DES MOINES, Iowa _ The Illinois State Redbirds travel to Iowa on Wednesday to take on the Drake Bulldogs. UPCOMING: 150 words. Game starts at 7 p.m. CT.

Also:

—SOC--RANGERS-POLSTER: United States defender Matt Polster has joined Scottish club Rangers from the Chicago Fire. SENT: 130 words, photo.

___

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