Here's a look at how AP's general news coverage is shaping up in Illinois at 1:30 p.m. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP-Chicago bureau at 312-781-0500 or Jeff Karoub 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A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.



CHICAGO — Some political die-hards are getting caught up in an expanded effort by Twitter and other social media companies to crack down on nefarious tactics suspected of interfering in the 2016 election. Without meaning to, they've demonstrated the difficulty such crackdowns face. A 70-year-old grandmother is among the supporters of President Donald Trump who've been flagged as "bots," or robot-like automated accounts, because they tweet prolifically. Their accounts have been suspended or frozen for "suspicious" behavior. When they started tweeting support for a conservative lawmaker in Illinois' GOP governor primary, news stories warned "propaganda bots" were trying to influence the election. By Sara Burnett. 800 words, photos.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The 2018 Illinois State Fair by the numbers: 160. 200. 30 million. 4. And 1 "Crazy Mouse" roller coaster. The state fair kicks off Thursday, the 160th edition, amid the backdrop of the Prairie State's 200th birthday. After years of fairgrounds deterioration exacerbated by a political deadlock that left the state without a budget for two straight years, there's $30 million available this year for improvements — the roads have already been repaved. And to celebrate, the fair is offering a 20 percent drop in the price of a beer, to $4. The fair runs through Aug. 19. By John O'Connor. 600 words, photos.



JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — On the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from Illinois that weakened public-sector unions, labor's clout is being put to a new test by a voter referendum in Missouri over whether the state should ban compulsory union fees in all private-sector workplaces. The statewide vote in Tuesday's primary on a so-called right-to-work law could be a watershed moment for unions, if they can halt what has been a steady erosion of strength in states with historically deep-rooted support. By David A. Lieb. 1,200 Words, Photos.


CHICAGO — Two high-tech buoys in Lake Michigan are helping experts study erosion and boaters follow lake conditions. The Chicago Tribune reports that the buoys have been placed about one mile (1.6 kilometers) offshore from Waukegan Harbor and Winthrop Harbor's North Point Marina. They are administered by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Great Lakes Observing System . Officials say they're providing the first real-time data on wind speed, wave height, water temperature and more. Webcams shoot hourly videos during daytime. 130 Words.


HOOPESTON — Teachers in Hoopeston (HUP'-stihn) schools are learning how to take care of themselves so they can take care of their students. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that all 220 Hoopeston school staff members this month will attend one-day wellness and self-care training based on "The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Achor. 130 Words.



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.


— ICONIC THEATER-AUCTION: A movie theater that's been an icon for a southern Illinois community but that's fallen into disrepair may be doomed.The Southern Illinoisan reports that Du Quoin's Grand Theater will go up for auction later this month. There's wide agreement that it may not be economically viable to develop the 104-year-old building. 130 Words.

—TRIBUNE TOWER: The Chicago Tribune has left its longtime home but the newspaper's iconic sign will remain when the iconic building is turned into condominiums. The Chicago Tribune reports that its parent company, Tronc, and the real estate firms that are developing Tribune Tower have agreed to settle a lawsuit that had put the fate of the sign in jeopardy. 130 Words.



CHICAGO — Javier Baez and the Chicago Cubs continue their four-game series against the San Diego Padres. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 1:20 p.m. CT.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - All-Star Blake Snell returns from a stint on the 10-day disabled list as the Tampa Bay Rays continue a weekend series against lefty Carlos Rodon and the Chicago White Sox. By Dick Scanlon. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 5:10 p.m. CT.


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