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BC-IL--Illinois News Digest 1:30 pm, IL

March 14, 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. Caryn Rousseau is on the desk, followed by Herbert McCann.

A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.



CHICAGO _ Sex videos like those that have been integral to the criminal cases against R. Kelly have been circulating across the nation for years. Some of the tapes leaked out of the singer’s collection in the 1990s. They were copied and recopied and widely distributed through flea markets and street vendors. The recordings are still widely available from websites. A Pennsylvania man says he recently discovered one while cleaning his home. By Michael Tarm. SENT: 1,170 words, photos.


CHICAGO _ “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to the charges accusing him of lying to police about being attacked in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago. The 36-year-old actor’s lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the plea Thursday on Smollett’s behalf after Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to oversee the case, including the trial. The next court date was scheduled for April 17. Smollett is charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. By Don Babwin. SENT: 310 words, photos, video.



CHICAGO _ Illinois State Police are seeing a spike in crashes involving parked squad cars and passing vehicles, despite a law that was enacted nearly 20 years ago to make roads safer for emergency responders. The Chicago Tribune reports that state police have seen at least a dozen such crashes so far this year, which is more than last year’s total. Police say most of the crashes occurred when it was dark. Injuries were reported in nine cases, and a crash in January resulted in the death of a trooper. SENT: 320 words.


LAWRENCE, Mass. _ The utility company blamed for September’s natural gas explosions and fires in Massachusetts is enlisting former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to oversee its safety efforts. Indiana-based NiSource said Thursday that the former Republican congressman from Illinois will chair a board charged with reviewing the company’s rollout of a new safety management system across seven states. The September disaster killed one person, injured dozens and left thousands without gas service. SENT: 360 words.


A charity helped the man accused of masterminding a wide-ranging college admissions scandal funnel millions of dollars in bribes. An Associated Press review of William “Rick” Singer’s Key Worldwide Foundation shows grants with names that appear tied to elite universities’ sports programs masked bribes he’s accused of giving to coaches to help students get admitted. Several schools say they never received the donations that the foundation claimed to have dispersed. By Sally Ho. SENT: 840 words, photos. Illinois editors note DePaul University interest.


HEJERE, Ethiopia _ Flight recorders from a doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight have arrived in France for analysis. Meanwhile, relatives of the 157 people killed say they’re not getting the answers they need about the crash. More than 40 countries have grounded the Boeing 737 Max planes or refused to allow them into their airspace. By Elias Meseret and Yidnek Kirubel. SENT: 1,100 words, photos, video. With: ETHIOPIA-PLANE CRASH-PLANES GROUNDED and ETHIOPIA-PLANE CRASH-THE LATEST.


PHOENIX _ Despite more than 100 local governments around the country having adopted “sanctuary” rules to protect immigrants, informal information sharing continues to violate those rules. The chairwoman of the Bernalillo County Commission in New Mexico says staff members at the jail in Albuquerque were still giving Immigration access to information. And the American Civil Liberties Union says in Orange County, California, a detective often looked up license plate information for an immigration officer. By Astrid Galvan. SENT: 990 words, photos.


—BOY KILLED-CHICAGO: Chicago police say a 14-year-old boy faces felony charges in the accidental shooting of a 13-year-old boy.

—LINCOLN NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA-EXPANSION: A huge section of Illinois that honors the life and work of Abraham Lincoln and promotes tourism and recreation has been expanded.

—PRISONS-MENTAL HEALTH: Illinois officials are planning a groundbreaking ceremony for a 200-bed hospital to treat mentally ill prison inmates.

—CHICAGO-POLICE ACADEMY: Plans to build a new Chicago police and fire academy will move forward despite protests by activists and the opposition of mayoral candidates



CHICAGO _ Iowa tries to stop a four-game slide when it faces Illinois on the second day of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. The Illini advanced with a 74-69 overtime win against Northwestern on Wednesday night. By Jay Cohen. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. CT.


CHICAGO _ Minnesota looks to improve its NCAA standing when it meets Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. The seventh-seeded Gophers are likely in the NCAA, though a loss might put them in line for a trip to Dayton for a play-in game. Penn State has won seven of 10 after losing eight in a row. By Andrew Seligman. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 7 p.m. CT.


CHICAGO _ Nebraska takes on No. 21 Maryland on the second day of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. The Terrapins won each of their two meetings in the regular season. The Cornhuskers advanced with a 68-61 vicitory over Rutgers on Wednesday night. By Jay Cohen. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 2 p.m. CT.


CHICAGO _ After earning first-round byes, Ohio State and Indiana meet in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. Ohio State has lost the past three games without leading scorer and rebounder Kaleb Wesson, who is suspended for violating athletic department policy. Indiana has won four in a row after losing 12 of 13. By Andrew Seligman. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 11:30 a.m. CT.


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