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Mar 20, 2015

Illinois man freed after 20 years in prison gets $20 million

CHICAGO (Reuters) – An Illinois man who was freed from prison after 20 years for a murder he did not commit was awarded $20 million in a settlement – the highest individual settlement ever given in a wrongful conviction case, his lawyers said on Friday.

Juan Rivera, 42, was cleared by DNA evidence of the 1992 rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker in Waukegan, a city about 40 miles north of Chicago.

Mar 19, 2015

Former Illinois state lawmaker sentenced to 8 years for child porn

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a former Illinois state lawmaker to eight years in prison for sending child pornography through office computers, rejecting a request that the critically ill man be allowed to die at home.

Former Democratic Illinois State Representative Keith Farnham, 67, of Elgin, has pulmonary fibrosis and is expected to have only a few months to live, according to court documents. U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang rejected a defense request that Farnham be allowed to remain on electronic home detention for six months to give him the chance to die at home.

Mar 18, 2015

Chicago City Council votes to transfer parkland for Obama library

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Chicago City Council, hoping to boost the chances of landing President Barack Obama’s presidential library for his hometown, on Wednesday unanimously approved the use of land in two parks near the president’s home.

The land is near the University of Chicago and would be transferred if the school’s bid for the presidential library is accepted. Obama was a law professor at the university before his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

Mar 18, 2015

U.S. Presbyterian Church approves same-sex marriage amendment

By Mary Wisniewski

(Reuters) – The U.S. Presbyterian Church on Tuesday approved a change in the wording of its constitution to include same-sex marriage, a move which threatens to further splinter one of the largest U.S. mainline Protestant denominations.

A majority of the 171 regional “presbyteries,” or local leadership bodies of the church, have now voted to change the wording of the constitution to define marriage as a commitment “between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

Mar 17, 2015

U.S. Presbyterian Church close to accepting same-sex marriage

March 17 (Reuters) – The U.S. Presbyterian Church was close
on Tuesday to approving a change in the wording of its
constitution to include same-sex marriage, a move which
threatens to further splinter one of the largest U.S. mainline
Protestant denominations.

The 171 regional “presbyteries” or local leadership bodies
of the church have been voting on whether to change the wording
to call marriage a contract “between a woman and a man” to being
“between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

Mar 17, 2015

Missouri set to execute brain-damaged man who killed deputy

By Mary Wisniewski

(Reuters) – Missouri is set to execute the convicted killer
of a sheriff’s deputy on Tuesday over objections from his
lawyers who say a sawmill accident decades ago cost him part of
his brain and made him ineligible for the death penalty.

Cecil Clayton, 74, of southwest Missouri, is scheduled to
die by lethal injection after 6 p.m. CDT at a Missouri state
prison. He would be the second inmate executed in Missouri this
year and the 10th in the country.

Mar 12, 2015

The Rev. Willie Barrow, Chicago civil rights leader, dies at 90

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Rev. Willie T. Barrow, a Chicago civil rights leader known as the “Little Warrior” for her small stature and determination to fight for equality, died on Thursday at age 90.

Barrow died at her Chicago home. She had recently been hospitalized for a blood clot in her lung, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Mar 2, 2015

Chicago’s black voters key as Garcia battles to defeat Emanuel in mayoral race

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Winning more support from Chicago’s black community, which makes up about one third of the electorate, will be essential if Jesus “Chuy” Garcia is to cause one of the biggest political upsets of recent years by defeating incumbent Rahm Emanuel in a run-off and become Chicago’s first Hispanic mayor.

He will need to overcome tensions between the black and Hispanic communities in the city, aggravated under the 22-year term of Mayor Richard M. Daley, which ended in 2011. There was a widespread perception in the black community that Hispanic supporters of Daley were favored in getting city jobs.

Feb 28, 2015

Storm leads to 1,000 canceled flights in Texas as more snow heads east

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Stormy weather coated parts of Texas and Oklahoma with ice on Saturday, canceling nearly 1,000 flights at the Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport, while more snow headed toward the already winter-weary Midwest and Northeast.

Meteorologists said a storm moving east across the plains will bring a wide swath of 1-3 inches of snow into the Midwest, including Illinois and Kentucky, on Saturday night. The snow follows extreme cold, with Chicago hitting -10 F (-23 C) Saturday morning, an all-time record for the day.

Feb 25, 2015

‘Regular Joe’ wins biggest Illinois lottery jackpot

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A 70-year-old retired Chicago-area man who described himself as a “regular Joe” will take home about $127 million after winning what lottery officials said on Tuesday was the biggest Illinois lottery jackpot.

Jesus Davila Jr. of suburban Naperville was handed a gigantic ceremonial check from the Jan. 16 Mega Millions drawing in an event broadcast on local television.