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BC-IL--Illinois Weekend Digest, IL

May 2, 2019

AP-Illinois stories for the weekend of May 4-5. May be updated. 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.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. _ A plan to replace Illinois’ flat-rate income tax structure with one that relies more heavily on wealthy taxpayers is undergoing legislative examination. But there are competing ideas about how to implement Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s top campaign issue. Some questions and answers about what’s happening. By Political Writer John O’Connor. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos.




BLOOMINGTON, Ill. _ The tea was ready, the cake was cut and Day of the Dead napkins, plates and cups were on the counter. It’s OK to feel comforted and to celebrate life when the topic of conversation is death. That’s the idea behind Death Cafe, a group-directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. Death Cafe is a discussion group, not a grief support group or a counseling session. By Paul Swiech. The (Bloomington) Pantagraph. SENT: 820 words, photos.


FREEPORT, Ill. _ Robert Story fondly remembers the playful arguments he had with his late wife, Brooke Jones-Story, about the couple’s potbellied pigs. He would often say the two pigs, who they had rescued years earlier, had faces “only a mother could love.” “Brooke would look at me and say, ‘Well, I’m their mom,’” Story said. “The nuts and bolts of it, that was Brooke.” Jones-Story an Illinois State Police trooper who was killed by a semitrailer, left behind her family and friends and a farm full of animals she had rescued from injury, abuse and neglect. By Derrick Mason. The (Freeport) Journal-Standard. SENT: 620 words.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. _ After years of zealously guarding his online profile, Larry Gies is getting used to seeing his name in lights — or at least on billboards. Like when he steps off a train in Chicago and sees 15-foot letters spelling out “Gies College of Business” on a University of Illinois ad. The founder of Madison Industries initially didn’t want his name on the UI’s business college. He even considered remaining anonymous when he and his wife donated $150 million to the school. By Julie Wurth. The (Champaign) News-Gazette. SENT: 1,890 words, photos.


DECATUR, Ill. _ Original paintings and portraits line the walls of Thomas Jefferson Middle School’s cafeteria. Often, in the middle of the room, you’ll see an easel and paints and custodian Jim Powell spending his lunch break working on a portrait. Powell, 57, has been painting since he was a teenager and in the last four years, has been painting portraits of Thomas Jefferson students and giving them to the kids. By Valerie Well. (Decatur) Herald-Review. SENT: 580 words, photos.