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

May 7, 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A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. _ Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday took aim at the state’s Department of Children and Family Services, which has been haunted for decades by deaths wrought of abuse and neglect and is in the spotlight again following the beating death of a 5-year-old suburban Chicago boy with a long history of contact with the agency. Rep. Sara Feigenholtz stood with more than a dozen House and Senate members of a new child welfare reform caucus to propose legislation that would bolster checks and balances in the child welfare agency. By AP Political Writer John O’Connor. SENT: 730 words, photos.


CHICAGO _ Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti pushed his way into the R. Kelly sex abuse case proclaiming that he was representing two of the accusers but on Tuesday it became clearer that he may be involved in a way he didn’t anticipate: as a witness. At a court hearing, Kelly’s attorney reiterated his demand for any communications between Avenatti and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office regarding the R&B star. He said he continues to wait for prosecutors to provide him with a copy of the videotape that Avenatti said he turned over to them that allegedly shows Kelly having sex with an underage girl. By Don Babwin. SENT: 590 words, photos, video.


—R KELLY-THE LATEST: The Latest on the sexual abuse case against R&B singer R. Kelly. Will be updated as developments occur.


AUSTIN, Texas _ Cellphone video Sandra Bland took during a confrontational 2015 traffic stop in Texas with a state trooper has surfaced publicly for the first time. The 39-second clip shows the black Chicago-area woman’s perspective as the white trooper draws a stun gun and orders her out of her car. The 28-year-old Bland was found hanging in her jail cell outside Houston three days after her arrest. Her death became a flashpoint in the debate over the treatment of black people by police. By Paul J. Weber and Clarice Silber. SENT: 700 words, photos.


ST. LOUIS _ Residents of a small Missouri town are busy sandbagging yet another levee being threatened by a seemingly ceaseless flood. The Pin Oak Levee protects a little over 100 homes in the low-lying area of Winfield, a Mississippi River community of 1,400 residents 45 miles northwest of St. Louis. Waves of flooding that began in March have caused significant damage to farmland, homes and businesses throughout the Midwest. By Jim Salter. SENT: 4500 words, photos.


—SPRING FLOODING-ILLINOIS RIVER: The U.S. Coast Guard has ordered the Illinois River closed to all commercial and recreational traffic due to high waters north and south of Peoria. SENT: 140 words.

—SPRING FLOODING-THE LATEST: The Latest on flooding in the Midwest. Will be updated as developments occur.



TRENTON, N.J. _ Congress won’t be seeing President Donald Trump’s tax returns any time soon, but it’s not the only way Democrats are trying to pry them loose. So far this year, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have introduced bills that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns as a condition for appearing on the state ballot. Critics say such laws could run afoul of the U.S. Constitution and could lead future legislatures to place all kinds of other restrictions on candidates. By Michael Catalini and Geoff Mulvihill. SENT: 700 words, photos.


PENSION PAYMENTS-PRITZKER: Higher than expected tax revenue has prompted Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to drop plans to lower the state’s payment to its underfunded pension plans.



DETROIT _ Eight burn victims sued the maker of Pam cooking spray Tuesday, saying they were severely injured when cans of the spray exploded in their kitchens. The plaintiffs’ attorney, J. Craig Smith, says larger cans of Pam and similar cooking sprays made by Chicago-based Conagra Brands have a faulty, U-shaped vent system in the bottom that makes them prone to explosion. In one case, a victim said the fire was so intense that it burned her contact lens onto her right eye, causing near-blindness. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 410 words, photos.


—FORMER OFFICER-CHARGES: Although a judge said a beating of two men by a former Chicago police sergeant “shocks the conscience,” the officer was allowed bail and can return to his Florida home.

—STRAY BULLET-FATAL: Prosecutors allege a Chicago woman was killed by a bullet fired by an alleged gang member targeting a rival the shooter observed selling marijuana from a car in a parking lot.

—RIDE-HAILING DRIVER-CHARGES: A former Lyft ride-hailing driver is free on bond after being accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger in suburban Chicago.

_PLANT FIRE-ILLINOIS: Officials identified two more victims of a deadly northern Illinois explosion as crews continued searching for a fourth worker whose body hasn’t been recovered.

—ARSON CONVICTION-VACATED: A DuPage County judge has ruled that a man exonerated of his mother-in-law’s death shouldn’t receive a certificate of innocence.

—DNR-LAW ENFORCEMENT: A state representative from southern Illinois has resigned to become the director of law enforcement for the state Department of Natural Resources.

—TWINS RESEARCH-ILLINOIS: Two Illinois universities are putting together what they say is the first database to focus on twins in the state.

—INTERSTATE 55-RENAMING: A portion of Interstate 55 near Bloomington will be renamed to honor a former resident who killed while serving in Afghanistan.



CHICAGO _ The Chicago Cubs got help from a local domestic violence organization in the wake of Addison Russell’s suspension, rekindling a decades-old relationship. Family Rescue provided domestic violence training for the club’s staff during spring training. By Jay Cohen. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos.


CHICAGO _ Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and the Chicago Cubs open a four-game series Tuesday evening against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 7:05 p.m. ET.


CLEVELAND _ The Chicago White Sox look for another win Tuesday as they take on the Cleveland Indians in the second game of a four-game road stand. The White Sox won Monday’s match 9-1. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game underway.


The U.S. Soccer Federation has filed a court document denying allegations of gender discrimination made by players of the U.S. women’s national team. Twenty-eight members of the current women’s player pool filed the lawsuit March 8 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, alleging “institutionalized gender discrimination” that includes unequal pay with their counterparts on the men’s national team. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 440 words, photo.


If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to chifax@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.