Local News

Top Stories From 2014 in DeWitt County (6-10)

As we wrap up 2014, Regional Radio News takes a look back at some of the top headlines from this year in Clinton and DeWitt County. Today we take a look at stories 6-10.

The results are based off statistics compiled through DeWittDailyNews.com. The stories as presented have been edited from their original versions.

#10 - Fugitive Sought In Aggravated Battery, Armed Robbery Case Arrested (Aug. 13)

The public's assistance in August resulted in the arrest of a wanted fugitive.

The fugitive the Clinton Police Department was seeking the public's help in capturing turned himself in.

Regional Radio News learned Dennis L. Eveland III turned himself in after the Clinton PD issued a statement seeking information in locating Eveland. Eveland was wanted in Dewitt County on multiple arrest warrants on charges of armed robbery, and aggravated battery.

According to Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers, at approximately 2:10 pm [Aug. 13], Eveland turned himself in to the DeWitt County Jail and is in their custody.

Eveland was believed to be possibly be armed and considered dangerous.

Authorities remind residents their information on any other fugitives or other crimes can be submitted through Clinton Area Crime Stoppers by calling 217-935-3333.

The CrimeStoppers phone line is not recorded and does not utilize caller identification.

CrimeStoppers does not want your name, just your information.

#9 - Hoffman to Board Members: You're Not Smart Enough (May 2)

No top stories list would be complete without a County Board story, and only one highlights this year's list.

Several Board Members exchanged some very heated and personal words at [the May 1] DeWitt County Board meeting.

Board Member Terry Hoffman presented several questions to State's Attorney Karle Koritz regarding how the Board is moving forward regarding the Clinton Landfill. Koritz explains his answer is the same as its been in previous [meetings].

[audio:5214hoffman1.mp3] [/audio]

After another back and forth with the board member and the former State's Attorney, the discussion grew more personal when Hoffman referred to David Newberg and Camille Redman as quote-"not smart enough" at which point, Danny Ballenger interjected.

[audio:5214hoffman2.mp3] [/audio]

Redman requested Board Chair Sherrie Brown control Hoffman but Brown says she won't control a specific board member if the rest can't stay in line. Several argued Brown can't handle her job and Ballenger requested Brown resign, to which she requested the same of him.

[audio:5214hoffman3.mp3] [/audio]

#8 - Clinton IGA Employee Arrested For Threatening Customer (August 8)

Clinton authorities have indicated to Regional Radio News a Clinton IGA employee has been arrested for unlawful use of a weapon over a dispute with a customer.

[August 8] a verbal altercation broke out between a Clinton IGA employee and a customer over the grocery store's product.

Clinton Police arrested Jonathan Bratcher ,38, of Clinton for unlawful use of a weapon after an altercation in IGA. Bracther was transported to the DeWitt County Jail and released to corrections.

#7 - Suspicious Vehicle Spotted At Clinton School (March 21)

A suspicious vehicle spotted near a local elementary school Friday had authorities on the lookout in Clinton in late March.

Just before noon [March 21], officials at Clinton's Webster Elementary School spotted a suspicious vehicle in a neighboring park. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates the vehicle was a silver Honda with tinted windows. He says this is the second time the vehicle has been spotted at the school in recent days, and it appeared the male driver was taking pictures of students.

[audio:missingvehicleaudio1.mp3] [/audio]

The Clinton Police Department plans to increase patrols around all of the community's schools in response to the incident. Clinton Schools Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Holmes, notes the district is also taking precautions. He says all of the district's buildings are on the lookout for the vehicle, and students at Webster Elementary were kept inside the building the rest of the day Friday.

[audio:missingvehicleaudio2.mp3] [/audio]

School officials were unable to identify the license plate of the silver colored Honda with dark tinted windows.

#6 - Baum Recovering Following Motorcycle Accident (Sept. 6)

A Clinton businessman [spent time] in Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, after a motorcycle accident in mid-August in the western United States that shattered his right leg.

Scott Baum was riding with several other Clinton residents who also were on motorcycles, in Kingman, Arizona on August 18th, when Baum took a spill and his motorcycle landed on his right leg.

The impact shattered the leg bones into many pieces. He was airlifted from Kingman to University Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Doctors stabilized the leg enough for him to be flown to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, where he was admitted August 27th.

Specialists had had to perform several skin grafts on the leg.

Baum and his family own and operate the Chevrolet and Buick dealership in Clinton.

Tune into Regional Radio News New Year's Day and we'll reveal the top five stories from 2014.

Petty Traffic Ticket 'Sign and Drive' Now Law

Who needs court? With a new law signed by Governor Pat Quinn Sunday, beginning next year you can skip the entire judicial process altogether for certain alleged traffic offenses. The law commonly called “Sign and Drive” ends the practice of people surrendering their licenses as bail after what’s described by the governor’s office as a petty traffic stop. Instead, drivers can sign the back of the officer-issued ticket acknowledging they will either pay the find, and in doing so admit guilt, or they promise to be in court to address the allegations. The law takes effect Thursday.

121-Thousand Sign Up For ACA Plans

A report says more than 121,000 Illinoisans selected health plans during the first month of the current sign-up period under President Barack Obama's health care law.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the data Tuesday. It's the first indication of how enrollment is going in Illinois where residents are relying on the federal HealthCare.gov website for the second year.

About 54 percent of the Illinois enrollees are new customers. The rest bought health plans last year and have actively re-enrolled. The report doesn't include those being automatically re-enrolled.

About 80 percent of the Illinois enrollees qualify for financial assistance.

Get Covered Illinois officials say they've made an aggressive start to the second enrollment season with more than 500 enrollment events and extended enrollment hours across the state.


Miller Media Group radio stations WRAN groovy 97.3 in Taylorville and WEZC “Your EASY Choice!” 95.9 FM in Clinton, will simulcast the annual All-Night New Year’s Party, from 11pm New Year’s Eve, until 5:00am New Year’s Day.

Miller Media Group president Randal J. Miller will emcee the show, which will feature request and dedications of easy and top 40 hits from the 50’s thru the 80’s. The show will also feature listener contests and give-aways.

The show will also feature messages asking listeners to “Don’t Drink and Drive” over the New Year’s holiday.

Miller began doing a New Year’s Show on his stations since the late 1980’s.

The phone number to call in requests or to participate in contests during the show will be toll-free 1-866-500-9726.

College Football Bowl Recaps

 width=>>Notre Dame Knocks Off LSU With Late FG

(Nashville, TN) -- Kyle Brindza split the uprights with a 32-yard field goal as time expired to give Notre Dame a 31-28 upset of 23rd-ranked LSU in the Music City Bowl. Malik Zaire got the start at quarterback and threw one touchdown pass and also ran for a score as the Fighting Irish snapped a four-game losing streak to finish the season 8-and-5. C.J. Prosise ran 50 yards for the game-tying touchdown late in the third quarter for Notre Dame. Leonard Fournette rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers, and also returned a kickoff 100 yards for another score. The Tigers end their season 8-and-5.

>>Stanford Smashes Maryland In Foster Farms Bowl

(Santa Clara, CA) -- Kevin Hogan threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns as Stanford mauled Maryland 45-21 in the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara. Remound Wright had three rushing scores for the Cardinal, who close out the season with a record of 8-and-5. Devon Cajuste had both receiving touchdowns in the victory. C.J. Brown passed for 205 yards and an interception for the Terrapins, who end the year 7-and-6. William Likely returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the loss.

 width=>>#13 Georgia Drops #21 Louisville In Belk Bowl

(Charlotte, NC) -- Nick Chubb rumbled his way to 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns as number-13 Georgia grabbed a 37-14 victory over 21st-ranked Louisville in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. Sony Michel chipped in 31 yards and a TD on the ground as the Bulldogs picked up their just their second bowl win in five years. Hutson Mason tossed for 148 yards and a score before leaving the game in the second quarter with an unknown injury. Georgia ends the year 10-and-3. Brandon Radcliff rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown as the Cardinals dropped to 9-and-4 to finish the season. Kyle Bolin threw for 301 yards, a score and two interceptions in the loss.

>>Alabama, Ohio State Square Off In Sugar Bowl

(New Orleans, LA) -- Top-ranked Alabama goes up against number-four Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day at the Superdome. It's one of two national semifinals in the new College Football Playoff that will determine this season's national champion. The Crimson Tide earned a spot in the Final Four after blowing out Missouri 42-13 in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama is 12-and-1 on the season, having won eight straight games. The Tide's only loss was a 23-17 setback at Ole Miss on October 4th. The Buckeyes earned their playoff spot with a 59-0 demolition of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State is also 12-and-1 on the season. The Buckeyes' only loss came in the second game of the season to Virginia Tech on September 6th. Cardale Jones starts at quarterback for OSU, which lost starter J.T. Barrett to a broken ankle in the regular-season finale against Michigan. The winner of this game will play the winner of the Rose Bowl between Oregon or Florida State for the national championship on January 12th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

 width=>>Oregon, Florida State Meet In Rose Bowl

(Pasadena, CA) -- A pair of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks face off as the Rose Bowl takes on a brand new identity in the College Football Playoff between second-ranked Oregon and third-ranked Florida State. The winner will take on the winner of the Sugar Bowl between Alabama and Ohio State in the College Football Playoff Championship Game on January 12th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Ducks earned their way to Pasadena by going 12-and-1, and avenging their lone loss of the season by dominating Arizona 51-13 in the Pac-12 Championship game. Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota will be under center for Oregon, while 2013 winner Jameis [[ JAME-iss ]] Winston starts for FSU. Winston was cleared of student conduct violations last week related to allegations that he sexually assaulted a female student in 2012. The 13-and-0 Seminoles have not lost a game in over two years, and won the ACC Championship Game 37-35 over Georgia Tech. Oregon last won the Rose Bowl in 2011, when the game featured the top teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

Rays, Cabrera Agree To Deal

The Tampa Bays Rays are adding Asdrubal [[ az-DREW-bull ]] Cabrera to their infield.  FOX Sports reports the two sides have agreed to a one-year deal worth around eight-million-dollars.  The 29-year-old hit .241 with 14 home runs while splitting last season between the Indians and Nationals.  Cleveland dealt the two-time All-Star to Washington at the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31st.  He had spent his entire career with the Tribe before that.

Candidates Emerging For Bears GM Job

 width=At least three potential candidates for the Chicago Bears' GM job have emerged.

Longtime former NFL scout John Wooten told The Associated Press he recommended Baltimore Ravens director of pro personnel Vince Newsome, New York Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross, and Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson to team consultant Ernie Accorsi.

He said he spoke Monday night with Accorsi. Wooten is the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, which promotes the hiring of minorities in the NFL.

The Bears fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman following a 5-11 season on Monday.

Whether the Bears will interview the candidates recommended by Wooten remains to be seen. Wooten expects Accorsi to conduct a wide search for GM but to move quickly because the coaching job also needs to be filled.

>>Ryan To Reportedly Interview With Falcons, Niners

(Undated) -- Former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan may not be out of work for very long. CBS Sports reports Ryan will interview with the Atlanta Falcons for their vacant head coaching position, while the "New York Daily News" says Ryan will also speak with the San Francisco 49ers about the same job. The Jets fired Ryan after he guided them to a 4-and-12 record this season. Ryan went 46-and-50 in six seasons in New York.

>>Lions' Suh Wins Appeal, Suspension Overturned

(New York, NY) -- The NFL is overturning the suspension for Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh [[ en-DOM-uh-kon SOO ]]. The "Detroit Free Press" reports Suh won his appeal of a one-game ban and will now be eligible to play against the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's NFC Wild Card Game. Suh had been suspended for stepping on the leg of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers this past Sunday. Instead, the league will fine Suh 70-thousand-dollars. The 27-year-old had eight and-a-half sacks in 16 regular-season games for the Lions this season.

>>Steelers Sign Ben Tate

(Pittsburgh, PA) -- With running back Le'Veon Bell possibly unavailable for Saturday's playoff game, the Steelers are adding depth at the position. The team has signed running back Ben Tate, who was cut by the Vikings after just three games. The 26-year-old originally signed with the Cleveland Browns in the offseason, but was released after Week 11. Tate rushed 119 times for 371 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games between the Browns and Vikings. The Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs.

>>Giants Confirm Return Of Coughlin, Reese

(East Rutherford, NJ) -- The New York Giants are bringing back both head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese next season. Team owners John Mara and Steve Tisch confirmed the move on Tuesday. There had been speculation about the job security for both late in the season, which ended with a disappointing 6-and-10 record. It was Coughlin's first 10-loss season since his first year with the Giants in 2004. The 68-year-old is 96-and-80 in 11 seasons with the Giants overall, winning a pair of Super Bowl championships. He is the second-longest tenured coach in team history behind only Steve Owens.

Predators Edge Blues

 width=Shea Weber's shorthanded goal 9:02 into the third period was the difference as the Predators skated to a 3-2 win over the Blues in Nashville. Weber also scored in the first period, while Gabriel Bourque lit the lamp in the second. Pekka Rinne stopped 26 shots in Nashville's fifth win in seven games. Chris Butler and T.J. Oshie had the goals for St. Louis, which has dropped five-of-six. Brian Elliott made 44 saves in the setback.

Montreal Canadiens 2, Florida Panthers 1 (SO)
Edmonton Oilers 3, Los Angeles Kings 2 (SO)
Vancouver Canucks 3, San Jose Sharks 1

>>Blues Activate Elliott

(Nashville, TN) -- Goalie Brian Elliott is back with the Blues. He was activated off injured reserve and started last night's game in Nashville. Elliott had missed 14 games since suffering a sprained knee late last month against Ottawa. The Blues have placed forward Chris Porter on injured reserve.

 width=>>Blackhawks Clash With Caps In Winter Classic Tomorrow

(Washington, DC) -- The Blackhawks will clash with the Capitals in the NHL's annual Winter Classic game tomorrow afternoon. The game will take place at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. The 'Hawks previously hosted the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in 2009.

Nets Cool Off Bulls

 width=Joe Johnson scored 20 points with 11 rebounds as the Nets took down the Bulls 96-82 at the United Center. Brook Lopez led the team with 29 points, while Jarrett Jack chipped in 11 with five assists. Alan Anderson added 11 off the bench as Brooklyn improves to 15-and-16 with its fifth win in six contests. Mike Dunleavy led the Bulls with 23 points, while Joakim Noah recorded a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double. Pau Gasol added 10 points, seven boards and seven assists as the Bulls' seven-game winning streak ends. Chicago sits at 22-and-10.

Detroit Pistons 109, Orlando Magic 86
Atlanta Hawks 109, Cleveland Cavaliers 101
New Orleans Pelicans 110, Phoenix Suns 106
Memphis Grizzlies 95, San Antonio Spurs 87
Dallas Mavericks 114, Washington Wizards 87
Los Angeles Lakers 111, Denver Nuggets 103
Utah Jazz 100, Minnesota Timberwolves 94
Portland Trail Blazers 102, Toronto Raptors 97 (OT)
Golden State Warriors 126, Philadelphia 76ers 86

>>Bulls' Brooks Ejected From Game vs Nets

Chicago Bulls guard Aaron Brooks was ejected in the second quarter of Tuesday night's game with the Brooklyn Nets after picking up two technical fouls.

With the Bulls players heading toward the bench following a timeout with 9:42 remaining in the first half, Brooks picked up the first technical from official David Guthrie for bouncing the ball hard back onto the court.

At that point, Brooks turned and said something to Guthrie. The official then called the second technical, resulting in the automatic ejection.

Illinois Blows Lead, Game At Michigan

 width=Jim Harbaugh's introduction at halftime was the big news, but Ricky Doyle helped make it an even happier homecoming for the new Michigan football coach, scoring the Wolverines' last seven points in regulation to force overtime and Michigan beat Illinois, 73-65, on Tuesday.

Harbaugh received the biggest cheers during the game, but Aubrey Dawkins stole the show, scoring 17 of his game-high 20 points after halftime. Dawkins' previous career-high was five points. Caris LeVert turned in his usual solid effort with 17 points and Doyle finished with 13 for Michigan (8-5 overall, 1-0 Big Ten).

Malcolm Hill scored 19 as the only player to finish in double digits for Illinois (10-4, 0-1). Rayvonte Rice chipped in eight points, 11 rebounds and six assists, and both Jaylon Tate and Aaron Cosby came off the bench to score seven points.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#3 Virginia Cavaliers 83, Davidson Wildcats 72
#6 Louisville Cardinals 63, Long Beach State 49ers 48
#11 Maryland Terrapins 68, Michigan State Spartans 66 (2OT)
#12 Utah Utes 85, Carroll (MT) Fighting Saints 49
#13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 87, Hartford Hawks 60
#14 Kansas Jayhawks 78, Kent State Golden Flashes 62
#15 West Virginia Mountaineers 82, Virginia Tech Hokies 51
Iowa Hawkeyes 71, #18 Ohio State Buckeyes 65
#20 North Carolina Tar Heels 86, William & Mary Tribe 64
#22 Baylor Bears 92, Norfolk State Spartans 51

Technology Pilot Deemed Success In First Semester

 width=After the first semester of introducing new technology into its classrooms, Warrensburg-Latham administrators feel it has been a big success.

ChromeBooks were introduced into Warrensburg-Latham classrooms starting this year and the results of a recent survey indicate, the introduction of them has been a huge success. Superintendent Kristin Kendrick-Weikle explains the ChromeBooks are being piloted amongst the high school freshman and the reviews came back overwhelmingly positive.

[audio:123014techpilot1.mp3] [/audio]

Thanks to the ChromeBooks, the survey indicates students feel they are more organized. Kendrick-Weikle attributes the organization to using GoogleDocs. She feels the two are very compatible and even allows teachers to be interactive at times.

[audio:123014techpilot2.mp3] [/audio]

Kendrick-Weikle believes her expectations of the first year of the pilot have been met. She explains teachers have been pleased with how quickly students have adapted to having the computers in the classroom.

[audio:123014techpilot3.mp3] [/audio]

An unintended consequence of the pilot among the high school freshman has been family members of the students using the devices. Kendrick-Weikle says in some families, the ChromeBook may be the only device they have access to.

Bowl Recaps

>>#17 Clemson Crushes Oklahoma In Russell Athletics Bowl

(Orlando, FL) -- Cole Stoudt threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns and also ran in for a score as 17th-ranked Clemson crushed Oklahoma 40-6 in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Florida. Artavis Scott had eight catches for 114 yards and a TD, while Mike Williams added nine grabs for 112 yards and a score for the Tigers, who have won at least 10 games in four straight seasons. Samaje Perine ran for 134 yards on 23 carries for the Sooners, who finish the year 8-and-5. Trevor Knight was just 17-of-37 for 103 yards and three interceptions in defeat.

 width=>>Arkansas Dominates Texas In Texas Bowl

(Houston, TX) -- Jonathan Williams carried the ball 23 times for 105 yards and a touchdown to help Arkansas cruise past Texas 31-7 in the Texas Bowl from NRG Stadium in Houston. Brandon Allen tossed for 160 yards and a pair of scores to help the Razorbacks finish the year 7-and-6. The Longhorns finished with just 59 yards of total offense as they dropped their second straight bowl game. Tyrone Swoopes went 13-for-25 for 57 yards and an interception, plus rushed for a TD in the loss.

>>A&M Holds Off West Virginia In Liberty Bowl

(Memphis, TN) -- Freshman quarterback Kyle Allen passed for 294 yards and four touchdowns as Texas A&M held off West Virginia 45-37 in the Liberty Bowl. Tre Carson added 133 yards on the ground as the Aggies finished the season 8-and-5. Malcome Kennedy caught seven balls for 82 yards and two scores in the win. Skyler Howard threw for 346 yards and three TD's in his second career start for the Mountaineers. West Virginia ends its season 7-and-6.

>>Notre Dame To Start Zaire At QB

(Nashville, TN) -- Notre Dame will have a different look under center against 22nd-ranked LSU in Tuesday's Music City Bowl. The Fighting Irish have named Malik Zaire their starting quarterback in place of redshirt junior Everett Golson. Zaire will make his first career start after not seeing any game action in 2013. He came on in relief against USC and completed 9-of-20 passes for 170 yards in a 49-14 loss to the Trojans. Zaire also ran 11 times for 91 yards in the setback. Notre Dame has lost four straight and five of its last six games since starting the season 6-and-0. The Tigers are 8-and-4 on the year.

>>Harbaugh Arrival Spiking Michigan Basketball Ticket Prices

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- The anticipated arrival of new head football coach Jim Harbaugh is also affecting Michigan basketball. Ticket prices for Tuesday afternoon's home game against Illinois have soared, with Harbaugh expected to make an appearance at the game. The former San Francisco 49ers head coach is slated to be introduced as the Wolverines' new head football coach at a noon Eastern press conference. The basketball game tips off at 3 p.m. Tickets on the resale site StubHub started at 119-dollars Monday morning. Those same seats were available for 14-dollars apiece early last week.

>>USC's Williams Heads To NFL

(Los Angeles, CA) -- USC will have a large hole to fill on its defensive line next season. Defensive end Leonard Williams has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2015 NFL Draft. Williams is expected to be picked in the top-five. He had 80 tackles and seven sacks this past season for USC. In the Trojans' Holiday Bowl win against Nebraska, Williams piled up nine tackles and a sack.

Blackhawks, Blues Win

 width=>>Blackhawks Beat Predators In Shootout

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the Predators, 5-4, in a shootout at the United Center. Jonathan Toews scored the only goal of the shootout. Bryan Bickell tied the game at four on a goal with 1:13 left in the third period. Corey Crawford turned away 36-of-40 shots for Chicago, which has won three-of-four. James Neal tallied his 12th and 13th goals of the season in the defeat. Pekka Rinne [[ PECK-uh REE-nay ]] gave up all four goals on 38 shots as the Predators have lost two-of-three. The Blackhawks lead Nashville by three points for first place in the Central Division.

>>Blues Blank Avs


(St. Louis, MO) -- Martin Brodeur denied all 16 shots he faced as the Blues blanked the Avalanche 3-0 in St. Louis. The NHL's all-time leader in shutouts recorded the 125th of his illustrious career. The 42-year-old also earned his first blanking in a Blues uniform. Dmitrij Jaskin, Chris Butler and Vladimir Tarasenko had the goals for the Blues, who put the brakes on a four-game skid. Seymon Varlamov made 22 saves for Colorado, which has dropped its last two.

Boston Bruins 5, Detroit Red Wings 2
New Jersey Devils 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 1
New York Islanders 4, Washington Capitals 3 (OT)
Montreal Canadiens 3, Carolina Hurricanes 1
Ottawa Senators 5, Buffalo Sabres 2
Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 2
Minnesota Wild 3, Winnipeg Jets 2
Dallas Stars 3, New York Rangers 2
Calgary Flames 2, Los Angeles Kings 1
Arizona Coyotes 4, Philadelphia Flyers 2

Bulls Sneak By Pacers

 width=The Bulls held off a fourth-quarter rally from the Pacers to pull out a 92-90 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Jimmy Butler led the way, posting 27 points, nine rebounds and four steals as Chicago won its seventh straight. Pau Gasol added 20 and Derrick Rose put up 17 despite shooting 5-of-20. Indiana outscored the Bulls by 14 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough. Chris Copeland had a team-high 17 points off the bench. The Pacers had won three of their last four prior to the defeat.

Milwaukee Bucks 104, Charlotte Hornets 94 (OT)
Brooklyn Nets 107, Sacramento Kings 99
Orlando Magic 102, Miami Heat 101
Washington Wizards 104, Houston Rockets 103
Los Angeles Clippers 101, Utah Jazz 97

ISU Tops Quincy

Reserve guard Justin McCloud scored a career-high 18 points to lead Illinois State over Division II Quincy 99-57 on Monday.

 width=McCloud was 5 of 6 from the floor - all 3-pointers - as the junior college transfer played his most significant minutes of the season for Illinois State (9-4).

The Redbirds never trailed against the lower-division Hawks. Illinois State raced out to a 21-6 lead over the first 8 minutes of the game. A 16-0 run midway through the first half - including three 3-pointers by McCloud - pushed the lead to 24 and Illinois State led comfortably at the half, 59-23.

Illinois State scored 14 of the first 17 points of the second half to extend its lead to 73-26 before easing to the win.

Quincy made just 2 of 13 attempts from beyond the arc. Josh Schaben led the Hawks with 15 points on 7 of 7 shooting.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#2 Duke Blue Devils 86, Toledo Rockets 69
#8 Gonzaga Bulldogs 60, San Diego Toreros 48
#9 Texas Longhorns 66, Rice Owls 55

 width=>>Illinois At Michigan Today In Big Ten Opener

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- Illinois plays its Big Ten opener at Michigan today. The teams meet at Crisler Center at 2 p.m. The Fighting Illini are 10-and-3 on the season, while the Wolverines are 7-and-5. New Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh will be introduced today and appear at the game.

>>Kentucky, Duke Remain One-Two In Latest Poll

(Undated) -- Kentucky and Duke continue to hold down the top two spots in this week's "USA Today" Coaches Poll. The 13-and-0 Wildcats received 30-of-31 first-place votes to remain number-one. The Blue Devils got the other first-place vote this week and remain second. Arizona fell from third to seventh after losing at UNLV last week. Virginia is ranked third, followed by Wisconsin and Villanova. Louisville fell from fourth to sixth after losing to top-ranked Kentucky on Saturday. Gonzaga is eighth, with Iowa State and Texas rounding out the top-10.

Ridgeview Tops Monticello In Hoopla Championship

 width=For the second straight year, the Monticello Sages took on Ridgeview in the championship game of the the Monticello Holiday Hoopla, and for the second straight year, Ridgeview took home the title, defeating Monticello 65-56.

An early 9-5 advantage with just over 5 minutes to play in the opening period was the largest lead for Monticello before a 19-6 run into the second quarter sunk the Sages as Ridgeview never relinquished the lead, and expanded it by as much as 17 into the fourth quarter.

Monticello was led by the 18 points of Noah Freemon, who struggled from three-point range, going just 2-9 and the Sages shot just 6-21 from long distance Monday.

 width=Zach Fisher chipped in with 16 points and six rebounds. Isiah Florey added ten points and three boards off the bench.

Monticello outrebounded the Mustangs 35-27.

Four players finished in double-figures for Ridgeview. Austin Zielsdork stuffed the stat sheet 14 with 14 points, six boards and four assists. Caleb Jones also had 14 points and four rebounds.

Luke Ward chipped in with 13 points and William Tinsley added 10. Tyler McCormick had eight points, five boards and five asssits as Ridgeview moves to 12-1 on the season.

The Sages drop to 6-2 in the early going and will play Saturday at Tri-Valley at 2:30 pm.

Scores from around the area Monday...

Clinton 42
Hillsboro 57 Williamsville Holiday Tournament

Shelbyville 65
South Central 56 Vandalia Holiday Tournament

Tuscola 66
Argenta-Oreana 74 Monticello Holiday Hoopla

Sullivan 26
Decatur St. Teresa 40 Team Soy / St. Teresa Christmas Tournament

Warrensburg-Latham 50
Williamsville 33 Williamsville Holiday Tournament

Illinois State, North Dakota State Return To Practice Monday

North Dakota State and Illinois State are back to practicing as they prepare for the upcoming NCAA Division I Football Championship Game.


The two Missouri Valley Football Conference co-champions had a holiday break last week following wins in the national semifinals. After not meeting in the regular season, they will square off on Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas.

North Dakota State (14-1), which is seeking an unprecedented fourth straight FCS title, returned to practice in Fargo on Sunday. Illinois State (13-1), appearing in the championship game for the
first time, was back to practicing again in Normal on Monday.

Their championship meeting will be the first in FCS history between two teams from the same conference. The FCS began conducting playoffs in 1978.

Both teams will travel to Frisco on Jan. 7. This will be the fifth straight year the FCS championship game will be played at Toyota Stadium, just north of Dallas.

Governor's Race Tops 2014 List of Illinois Top Stories

Bruce Rauner's election as Illinois' first Republican governor since 2003 topped the state's news in 2014.

The election reflected concerns about an uneven economy and showed voters were unhappy enough with the state of the state to want change.

The Associated Press' Top 10 Illinois stories of the year also featured a number of specific state government issues - enactment of the first law allowing residents to carry concealed weapons, the first gay marriages in state history and a move toward legal sales of medical marijuana.

By the end of the year, evidence surfaced that the economy was improving.

And sports was big news, too: A Chicago Little League team made global headlines, and Cubs fans saw reason to hope their team soon might truly be big league again.

New State Office To Help Resolve Condo Disputes

A new state law gives Illinois officials a role in resolving disputes between condominium owners and associations.

Outgoing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Saturday to create a new position within the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The ombudsperson will help resolve disputes and educate condo owners.

Quinn says it will give condominium owners an alternative to litigation and could help keep costs down for property owners.

State Sen. Heather Steans is a bill sponsor. The Chicago Democrat says four other states already have a condominium ombudsperson.

The law takes effect July 1, 2016.

It calls for the ombudsperson to provide educational materials online. It also requires condominium associations to register with the state and to have a written policy for resolving disputes.

Teen Drinking Ramifications Among New Laws In 2015

Parents and guardians considering allowing their teens to host parties will be responsible for more than just the alcohol consumed in the house when the new year rolls in.

Adults can be fined up to $2,000 if they allow those under 21 to drink in vehicles, trailers, campers or boats under their ownership or control. If death occurs as a result, parents or guardians can be charged with a felony.

The legislation expands the current state law, which penalizes adults who allow underage people to drink alcohol in their homes. It was sponsored in the Senate by Deerfield Democrat Julie Morrison.

The legislation is one of more than 200 new laws that will go into effect Jan. 1.

Recovering Stolen Guns Difficult In Springfield

Records show the recovery rate for stolen guns in Springfield is far lower than the national average.

According to reports, of 291 guns reported stolen from January 2012 through early this month, only 13 were recovered.

That 4.5 percent recovery rate pales compared to the national rate - although it, too, is low. The Justice Department's National Crime Victimization Survey an average of 232,400 guns were stolen each year from 2005 through 2011. About 17 percent were recovered.

In Bloomington, a similar records examination showed that of 84 guns stolen since 2012, six were recovered - 7.1 percent.

The majority of guns stolen in the capital city - 66 percent - were handguns.

In most cases, one gun is stolen.

New App Aimed At Reducing Deaths In Grain Bins

A new app could help reduce the number of fatal grain bin entrapments that occur in Illinois.

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois teamed up to create an app that will locate the nearest grain rescue tube. The tubes can be placed around a person who has fallen into a grain bin to help prevent them from drowning or being crushed by grain.

John Lee is director of the Safety, Health Environmental Services Program for the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois. He says the app is "another tool in the toolbox if an unfortunate situation occurs."

He says downloading the app and having it available before someone is entrapped will save time if the tubes are needed.

Peoria Man Charged With Toddler's Beating Death

A central Illinois man now faces a first-degree murder charge after a toddler he's accused of beating died of his injuries.

Nineteen-year-old Deon Davelle Wells was initially charged with aggravated battery.

According to police, his girlfriend's 19-month-old son, Koffi Harris, was brought unconscious to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center on Monday night. The boy had multiple injuries, including head trauma.

The toddler was pronounced brain dead on Tuesday and was later taken off of life support.

Peoria County State's Attorney Jerry Brady said at a hearing Friday that Wells hit the child and slammed his head into a hardwood floor.

According to reports, Wells was ordered held on $1.5 million bond.

Online court records do not show whether Wells has an attorney.

Oil Prices Rising

Oil prices are up in early international trading this morning.  Europe's benchmark Brent crude was up 37 cents to just under 60 dollars a barrel, after closing down 79 cents on Friday.  The U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose 57 cents, to 55-30 a barrel after falling more than a dollar-10 a barrel in light trading Friday.  Fighting at one of Libya's main oil expert terminals has destroyed 800-thousand barrels of crude oil and that's raising concerns about supplies.

DNR Officials Discouraging Illegal Deer Carcass Dumping

With the busy hunting season nearly wrapped up for 2014, local Department of Natural Resources officials are encouraging outdoorsmen to properly dispose of their dead deer carcasses.

Conservation Police officers will many times find deer carcasses illegally dumped along roadsides or even in wooded areas they shouldn't be. CPO John Williamson says a deer carcass disposed of improperly can lead to disease and many other things.

[audio:122614deerdump1.mp3] [/audio]

Williamson says it is often just as convenient to abide by the law as it is to break it. He explains there are plenty of legal avenues to take to properly dispose of a deer carcass.

[audio:122614deerdump2.mp3] [/audio]

Williamson indicates the illegal dumping of deer carcasses is considered a wildlife code violation which would be a deduction of points against hunting privelidges.

Local Lawmaker Says Incoming Governor To Face Major Challenges Right Away

Many issues await governor-elect Bruce Rauner and his team when he takes over in January, and one local lawmaker says it will be interesting to see how the incoming Republican handles the issues at hand.

Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner will take office in January and State Representative Bill Mitchell says he's looking forward to a governor who is willing to work with the General Assembly. He believes despite any differences he may have with Rauner, he's been impressed by his hands-on attitude during the campaign.

[audio:122414mitchellgov1.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner has received some criticism over the last few months because of his lack of experience in government, but Rep. Mitchell believes he's a smart guy who will have a bit of learning curve and a large workload when he takes over the governor position.

[audio:122414mitchellgov2.mp3] [/audio]

According to the representative, Rauner likely won't receive any help from Democrats during his time in office. Rep. Mitchell does note the governor could see major issues involving the state budget during the coming months.

[audio:122414mitchellgov3.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner faces major questions as it relates to the state income tax set to rollback and school funding reforms currenlty on the table in Springfield. Rep. Mitchell recently addressed Clinton and DeWitt County residents, and feels those all have major effects in DeWitt County.

Rauner gets sworn in Jan. 12.

DeWitt County Museum Asst. Director Takes On New Role

 width=A familiar face at the DeWitt County Museum will take the reins as its leader.

Current Assistant Manager Joey Woolridge (right) will take over the duties of Director on January 4th. She will be succeeding current Museum Director, Larry Buss, and will oversee many of the museum's daily functions.

[audio:122314woolridge1.mp3] [/audio]

Buss will take on the role of Tour Director at the Museum. He does not plan to depart and will continue be responsible for tours and various Apple and Pork Festival organizing responsibilities. He believes the museum has seen exciting changes since Woolridge has joined the team and is excited to see where it will go next.

[audio:122314woolridge2.mp3] [/audio]

Woolridge says she's looking forward to working closely with Buss and their Board of Directors while she transitions into the new position.

Woolridge began her current position as assistant director in 2013.

Image courtesy of Facebook.

Blackhawks, Blues Return To Action Tonight

 width=>>Blackhawks Host Preds

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks host the Predators at the United Center this evening. Chicago returned from the Christmas break and captured a 5-2 win over Colorado on Saturday. The 'Hawks moved to 24-10-and-2 with the win. The puck drops at 7:30.

>>Blues Host Avs Tonight

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Blues host the Colorado Avalanche tonight at Scottrade Center. St. Louis has lost four straight following a 4-3 home setback to Dallas on Saturday. The Blues sit at 21-11-and-3 overall. The Avs come in at 13-14-and-8.

 width=>>Blues' Elliott Nearing Return

(St. Louis, MO) -- Blues goalie Brian Elliott is close to returning to action. Elliott practiced on Sunday and could be back with the team in the next few days. He has been out since suffering a lower-body injury on November 25th.

Florida Panthers 6, Toronto Maple Leafs 4
Anaheim Ducks 2, Vancouver Canucks 1 (OT)

Bulls In Indianapolis Tonight

 width=>>Bulls Battle Pacers

(Indianapolis, IN) -- The Bulls will battle the Pacers in Indiana tonight. Chicago ran its winning streak to six with a 107-100 victory over the Pelicans on Saturday. Chicago also improved to 21-and-9 with the win. Tip-off tonight is at 6:00.

>>Mavericks Drop Thunder

(Dallas, TX) -- Dirk Nowitzki [[ nuh-VIT-skee ]] scored 30 points on 8-of-13 shooting to help steer the Mavericks to a 112-107 victory over the Thunder at American Airlines Center. Chandler Parsons put up 26 points and Monta Ellis added 18 for Dallas, which has won five of its last seven. Rajon Rondo tallied 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the win. Serge Ibaka paced Oklahoma City with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Russell Westbrook had 18 points, nine rebounds and nine assists while Reggie Jackson scored 21 off the bench. The Thunder dropped to 8-and-15 without Kevin Durant in the lineup this season.

Detroit Pistons 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 80
San Antonio Spurs 110, Houston Rockets 106
Portland Trail Blazers 101, New York Knicks 79
Toronto Raptors 116, Denver Nuggets 102
Phoenix Suns 116, Los Angeles Lakers 107

Authorities Questioning Cubs' Castro After Shooting

 width=Authorities in the Dominican Republic say they have questioned Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro after a nightclub shooting in which several people were injured.

Police spokesman Jacobo Mateo says people close to Castro were apparently involved, adding that he has no further details.

The shooting occurred early Saturday in the northwest province of Montecristi, where the 24-year-old Castro is from.

Police are investigating allegations that the shooting occurred after an argument between Castro's brother and the assistant of a government official.

Castro said at a news conference earlier this month that he had already left a club when a different shooting occurred and was not involved in it.

Packers Clinch NFC North; NFL Notes

 width=>>Packers Beat Lions, Clinch First Round Bye

(Green Bay, WI) -- The Packers clinched their fourth straight NFC North title and a first round bye by defeating the Lions 30-20 at Lambeau Field. After re-aggravating his calf injury in the second quarter Aaron Rodgers returned to throw for 226 yards and two touchdowns and ran in for a score as well. Eddie Lacy tallied 100 yards on 26 carries and Randall Cobb had 80 receiving yards and a pair of TDs. Green Bay finished the season 12-and-4 with its 24th straight home victory against Detroit. Matthew Stafford went 20-for-41 for 217 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions, who ended up 11-and-5 and will travel to Dallas in the Wild Card round. Calvin Johnson caught two TDs and Joique Bell ran for 60 yards in defeat.

>>Vikings Sink Bears

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Teddy Bridgewater threw for 209 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Vikings in a 13-9 win over the Bears from TCF Bank Stadium. Matt Asiata rushed for 91 yards for Minnesota, which ends the season 7-and-9. Adam Thielen had 68 yards receiving and a TD in the win. Jay Cutler tossed for 172 yards on 23-of-36 passing for Chicago, which closes the year 5-and-11. Matt Forte ran for 51 yards to get over one-thousand for the season.

 width=>>Seahawks Drop Rams, Clinch Top Seed In NFC

(Seattle, WA) -- The Seahawks clinched the NFC West and home field advantage throughout the playoffs for the second year in-a-row by grinding out a 20-6 win over the Rams at CenturyLink Field. Marshawn Lynch rumbled for 60 yards and a touchdown while Bruce Irvin returned an interception 49 yards for a score to help Seattle finish the regular season 12-and-4. Russell Wilson threw for 239 yards and an interception in the victory. Shaun Hill went 26-for-37 for 243 yards and a pair of picks as St. Louis wrapped up the year 6-and-10. Greg Zuerlein's [[ ZER-line ]] two field goals provided the only points in a losing effort.

Baltimore Ravens 20, Cleveland Browns 10
Dallas Cowboys 44, Washington Redskins 17
Indianapolis Colts 27, Tennessee Titans 10
Houston Texans 23, Jacksonville Jaguars 17
Kansas City Chiefs 19, San Diego Chargers 7
New York Jets 37, Miami Dolphins 24
Philadelphia Eagles 34, New York Giants 26
New Orleans Saints 23, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
Buffalo Bills 17, New England Patriots 9
Carolina Panthers 34, Atlanta Falcons 3
Denver Broncos 47, Oakland Raiders 14
San Francisco 49ers 20, Arizona Cardinals 17
Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Cincinnati Bengals 17

>>Top Of NFL Draft Set

(Undated) -- The top of the 2015 NFL Draft is set. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers locked up the number-one overall pick with a 23-20 loss to the Saints. Tampa finished 2-and-14, the same record as the Titans, but earned the top slot because of a strength of schedule tiebreaker. The Jaguars have the third pick followed by the Raiders at four, Redskins at five and Jets at six. New York cost itself the fourth pick by beating the Dolphins in their season finale. The top ten is rounded out with the Bears, Falcons, Giants and Rams in that order.

>>NFL Black Monday

(Undated) -- Black Monday has arrived in the NFL world and it's off to a fast start. The 49ers and head coach Jim Harbaugh have already mutually agreed to part ways. Harbaugh is expected to take over as the University of Michigan's head coach. Multiple outlets are reporting Jets head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik will receive their walking papers. Falcons head man Mike Smith will be fired after seven seasons with the team, according to NBC Sports. The Raiders will start their search for a head coach immediately. Interim head coach Tony Sparano will be apart of the process after they missed on their two top targets, Harbaugh and Jon Gruden. Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman's status is up in the air coming off a disappointing 5-and-11 season.

>>NFL Playoff Schedule Set

(Undated) -- With the NFL regular season now complete, the playoff schedule has been set. Wild Card Weekend kicks off Saturday with the Cardinals traveling to face the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium at 4:20 p.m. Eastern. It will be shown on ESPN. Later that night at 8:15, an AFC North rivalry is renewed with the Steelers hosting the Ravens from Heinz Field on NBC. On Sunday, the action starts with the Colts welcoming the Bengals to Lucas Oil Stadium at 1:05 p.m on CBS, followed by the Lions and Cowboys doing battle at AT&T Stadium at 4:40 p.m. on Fox.

>>Browns Fine QB Manziel

(Undated) -- The Cleveland Browns are fining rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel [[ man-zel ]]. He held a party on Friday night that ultimately led to wide receiver Josh Gordon getting suspended for the season finale. Manziel and Gordon both missed Saturday's walkthrough prior to Sunday's game against Baltimore. Manziel was placed on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury this past week. Gordon has now been suspended 11 games this season. Meanwhile, cornerback Justin Gilbert was deactivated for the Baltimore game for missing a team meeting.

>>Watt Sets NFL Record

(Houston, TX) -- J.J. Watt grabbed himself another NFL record in the Texans' final game on Sunday. Watt tallied three sacks in Houston's 23-17 win over the Jaguars to give him 20 for the year. He became the first player in NFL history to record 20 or more sacks in two different seasons. Watt compiled 20-and-a-half sacks in 2012. He had six games this season with multiple sacks.

Bradley, Illinois Win This Weekend

 width=>>Bradley Tops Illinois Chicago

Tramique Sutherland scored 19 points, Josh Cunningham added 11 with 11 rebounds and Bradley defeated Illinois-Chicago 68-60 on Sunday night.

The Braves (5-8) led by as much as 12 in the second half, but surrendered a late run that pulled UIC (3-11) within two with 2:18 remaining. Sutherland answered with a jumper and a three-point play to make it 63-57 with 1:06 left. Cunningham sank three late free throws and Sutherland hit two to seal it.

Ka'Darryl Bell and Auston Barnes combined to go 9 of 12 from the field, with Bell scoring 16 points and Barnes chipping in 12. Bradley shot 46.3 percent overall and scored 15 points off turnovers.

Jake Wiegand paced the Flames with 21 points and Paris Burns added 12, with both grabbing seven rebounds. Marc Brown and Lance Whitaker each had 11 points for UIC, which committed 17 turnovers and went 18 of 43 overall.

>>Illinois Blows Out Kennesaw State In Final Tune Up Before Big 10 Play

 width=Following the thrilling, buzzer-beating Braggin' Rights win and a few days off for the holidays, the Illini came back to Champaign to bury the Kennesaw State Owls, 93-45, Saturday night at State Farm Center.

Rayvonte Rice was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field in the first half, having 12 points by the 13 minute mark and finishing with 16 points at the break, only missing one free-throw for the period. He finished the game with 21 points on 7-of-7 shooting, including two threes. He has now scored double-figures in all 28 of his non-conference games as an Illini.

The last seven minutes of the first half belonged to the Illini, with Illinois going on a crazy 25-0 run in a span of 6:21 and three Illini in double figures at the break. Illinois closed the half with a 36 point lead, 54-18 - the biggest halftime margin of the season, surpassing the 35-point halftime bulge against Coppin State.

Aaron Cosby finished with 13 points, his first game in double figures since Indiana State before Thanksgiving. Malcolm Hill went for 16 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing his first career double-double.

Freshman Leron Black had a strong game off the bench, adding 8 points and 8 rebounds.

Illinois heads to Ann Arbor to open Big Ten play Michigan on Tuesday.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#6 Wisconsin Badgers 68, Buffalo Bulls 56
Stony Brook Seawolves 62, #13 Washington Huskies 57
#19 St. John's Red Storm 82, Tulane Green Wave 57
#24 Northern Iowa Panthers 74, South Dakota State Jackrabbits 63

Clinton Police Holiday Report









Reports: Bears Fire Trestman, Emery

The Chicago Bears have fired head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery on the heels of a 5-11 season, according to multiple reports. 

 width=Emery spent three years at the helm and brought in Trestman in January 2013 after inheriting coach Lovie Smith, who was fired despite a 10-6 season in 2012. 

The Bears floundered the past two years, posting an 8-8 mark in 2013 before this year's disappointing finish. Chicago hadn't finished below .500 since a 7-9 mark in 2009 and suffered through its worst season since a 5-11 record in 2004. 

Trestman landed in Chicago after five years as the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL. He won a pair of Grey Cup titles in Canada and had been an  NFL assistant with the Vikings, Buccaneers, Browns, 49ers, Lions, Cardinals, Raiders and Dolphins. 

Considered a successful quarterbacks coach, Trestman's undoing, in part, was the play of Jay Cutler. The veteran quarterback struggled in 2014 and was even benched for Week 16 against Detroit before playing in Sunday's season-ending 13-9 loss to the Vikings after Jimmy Clausen suffered a concussion against the Lions. 

Emery joined the Bears in January 2012 after three seasons as the director of college scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs. It was his second stint with Chicago, serving as an area scout for the team from 1998-2004. 

DeWitt County Sheriff's Holiday Report

December 22, 2014 – December 28, 2014

Average Daily Jail Population: 44
Summons Served: 11
Warrant Arrests: 0

Marisa Starace, 26, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 61 MPH in a 45 MPH Zone. Starace was issued a promise to comply and was released.

Derek Fatheree, 33, Clinton was issued a Citation for No Valid License. Fatheree was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Kaitlyn Shelton, 18, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 77 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Shelton was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.








Clinton Police Officers Return From NYC For Funeral of Officer Ramos

 width=Thanks to generosity from a national and local level, a couple police officers in Clinton were able to show their support for a fallen peer in New York City this past weekend.

Sgt. Jerry Causer and Officer Jason Yost returned from New York City where they attended the funeral of slain NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos. According to Sgt. Causer, the police department of New York City and it's officers played host to them and the thousands of other officers that made the trip to show their support.

[audio:123014officersnyc1.mp3] [/audio]

Law enforcement departments every where are being scrutinized because of just a few incidents, and Sgt. Causer calls the trip a rally of support to law enforcement officials everywhere. He explains police officers and law enforcement officials consider themselves a family, and it was members of the family from across the country showing their support.

[audio:123014officersnyc2.mp3] [/audio]

 width=The perception of law enforcement officials across the country are coming under a negative light in recent months and Sgt. Causer says he answers to the people of the community he has taken an oath to protect. He believes it is difficult to judge officers on one incident when there are many examples of them doing things right more than wrong.

[audio:123014officersnyc3.mp3] [/audio]

According to a release by the Clinton PD, Officer Yost said quote-"The thin blue line is a saying in law enforcement and up until now I just thought I knew what it meant. Today, I lived it, and have a complete new understanding of it's real meaning". - end quote.

After attending the funeral service, the officers were able to take in some sightseeing that included the 9/11 Memorial, 9/11 museum and the NYPD's 102nd Precinct.

No tax dollars were used in the expenses for Officer Yost and Sgt. Cuaser to make the trip. JetBlue Airways provided free airfaire for the two to travel and Clinton Area Crime Stoppers pitched in as well. The two officials also used their own time off and paid for part of the trip on their own.

Picture below: Officer Yost (left) and Sgt. Causer (Right) join thousands of police officers from across the country in honoring NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos.


Maroons Pull Off An Amazing Win In Tournament

The Clinton Maroons came back to defeat the Roanoke-Bensen Rockets yesterday at the Williamsville Holiday basketball tournament 59-57.

For the Maroons (5-6), Bowe Carter lead the team by giving them 20 points. Behind him was Tanner White, who had 13 points. Peyton McCubbin and Jacob Overton each had 10 points a piece as well.

For the Rockets (9-2), Luke Rasmussen had an amazing day, leading both teams with 25 points.Ryan Fehr and Klay Nafziger also helped out the team by giving the team another 9 and 7 points.

Clinton's next game will be on Monday at 12 pm @ Williamsville against Hillsboro.The next WHOW broadcast of a game will be Saturday at 2:30 pm as the Lady Maroons will be facing Pana.

New Law Set to Affect Pregnant Workers Will Take Effect Soon

A new law taking effect at the beginning of next month protects the rights of pregnant workers in Illinois. State Department of Human Rights Director Rocco Claps says the law bans businesses from discriminating against pregnant employees.

[audio:rddPregnantLaw11.mp3] [/audio]

Claps applauds the new law taking effect on January 1st, indicating his department has received reports of women being discriminated against in the workplace because they were pregnant in the past. He says this law lets employees make a reasonable request for accommodations.

[audio:rddPregnantLaw21.mp3] [/audio]

Claps urges pregnant workers to communicate with their employers about any reasonable accommodations they might need, such as a stool to sit on or an extra break. For more information on this new law and how to file a complaint, visit illinois.gov/idhr.

JetBlue Flies 730 For NYC Officer's Wake, Funeral

JetBlue has flown 730 officers from law enforcement agencies across the country to New York for the wake and funeral of a slain city police officer.

Spokesman Morgan Johnston says Friday the New York-based airline committed to finding space for two officers per agency that wanted to send representatives.

Johnston says officers traveled from police and sheriff's departments big and small, departing from airports in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Thousands have appeared at the daylong wake of Officer Rafael Ramos. Vice President Joseph Biden is scheduled to attend his funeral Saturday.

Funeral plans haven't yet been announced for Ramos' partner, Officer Wenjian Liu.

The men were killed Dec. 20 in a brazen daytime ambush while sitting in their patrol car.

Hundreds Watch 'The Interview' In Chicago-Area

Several hundred people in suburban Chicago were among those who watched Sony Pictures' movie "The Interview" on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Movie theaters in Buffalo Grove, Naperville and Woodridge screened the comedy after threats from hackers nearly derailed its release. The Seth Rogen-James Franco film depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Sony initially called off its release after major theater chains dropped the movie. But company officials changed their minds after President Barack Obama and others criticized the decision. Sony made the movie available online and at about 300 independent theaters.

Buffalo Grove Theater owner Debbie Benjamin says she showed the movie because "people have the right to see what they want to see." She had 275 people watch the film at midnight on Christmas.

Governor Pat Quinn Pushing For Operation Hero Miles Program



[audio:122714opheromiles1.mp3] [/audio]

Governor Quinn has even donated some frequent flier miles himself

[audio:122714opheromiles2.mp3] [/audio]


Illini Have Texas Christmas As Bowl Day Arrives

Illini football players are readying for the Heart of Dallas Bowl game against Louisiana Tech.

Reports say that the players had a walkthrough Thursday at the Cotton Bowl stadium and posed for photos. The team was scheduled to arrive in Champaign around 8 p.m. yesterday after playing in its first bowl game under coach Tim Beckman.

Tim Knox is director of operation for the Illinois football team. He says players had four hours to spend with family on Christmas Day.

University of Illinois President Bob Easter was among fans on a Christmas morning flight from Champaign to Dallas. He says a bowl game is a "tremendous" experience for the Illini.

Players have stayed busy in Texas. On Tuesday, Beckman and team members volunteered at a food pantry.

New Illinois Law Expands School Bullying Authority

Illinois school districts soon will have the authority to punish students for cyberbullying, even if it occurs outside of school.

Reports say the new state law takes effect Jan. 1.

Currently, districts may take action against students if online bullying - such as something posted on Twitter or Facebook - occurs during the school day or using district-owned technology. Starting in 2015, schools will be able to discipline students for any electronic bullying that disrupts the school day.

Districts also will have to update their disciplinary policies to reflect the new law.

Officials at Tuscola High School in central Illinois say the district is launching an online forum in January that students and parents may use to anonymously report cyberbullying.

Unemployment Continues To Drop Locally

County November unemployment statistics were released earlier this week by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, and for much of central Illinois, the news continues to be positive.

Piatt County unemployment statistics remains positive, as in November they came in at 5.5%, which is actually up from 5.4% in October, still though, the areas lowest unemployment rates.

McLean County also saw one of the areas lowest unemployment rates with a 5.6%-rate for November, down from 5.9% in October.

DeWitt County registered a 6% unemployment rate, just a tick down from October's 6.1%.

Champaign County unemployment for November came in at 5.9%, a half-percent from October.

Macon County continues to have one of the areas higher unemployment rates, at 7.9% in November, down from 8.2% in October. It is worth pointing out, unemployment in Macon County this time last year was 12.2%.

In Logan County, unemployment was 6.3%, down minimally from October (6.5%).

In Sangamon County, unemployment was 5.9%, a tick down from October. Tazewell County's unemployment was 6.3%.

Peoria County unemployment came in at 7.1%, down from 7.5% in October.

Brown County in western Illinois had the state's lowest unemployment rate, at 3% for November.

Franklin County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 9%.

The biggest gains in unemployment was in Calhoun County, where unemployment jumped over a percent. November came in at 7.4%, up from October's 6.3%.

And unemployment dropped almost a percent and a half in Mercer County, the state's biggest drop in unemployment, going from 7.3% in October to 5.9% in November.

Illinois unemployment was 6% while the national average is 5.5%.

Holiday Travel Reaching Record Numbers

More Americans are traveling this holiday season than ever before.

[audio:rddTravelAAA11.mp3] [/audio]

Triple-A's Julie Hall says the calendar is just one reason for the uptick in travel.

[audio:rddTravelAAA21.mp3] [/audio]

Hall says drivers should do a safety check of their car before heading out on vacation.

[audio:rddTravelAAA31.mp3] [/audio]

She adds 90-percent of those vacationers will travel by car, and drivers will notice the steep drop in gas prices and the price of gas isn't a factor in a family's decision to vacation, but cheaper prices give them more to spend on hotels, restaurants, and merchandise. Hall recommends that drivers do a safety check of their car, since Triple-A expects to rescue 1.1-million stranded motorists between now and January 4th.

Oil Prices Holding, But Heading For 5th Straight Weekly Drop

Crude oil prices are holding above 60 dollars a barrel in Friday trading, but they're on track to drop for the fifth week in a row.

Europe's benchmark Brent crude stayed above the 60-dollar mark while West Texas Intermediate crude was over 56 dollars a barrel. But U.S. figures show crude oil inventories are at the highest level ever for December, after rising by seven-point-three million barrels last week.

That's evidence of the supply glut that's keeping prices down.

Clemency Applications Await Gov. Quinn's Action

While Gov. Pat Quinn granted 179 clemency petitions in time for Christmas Day, thousands of other applicants are awaiting word during the outgoing Democrat's final weeks in office.

Quinn inherited a backlog of thousands of cases from his predecessor. Spokeswoman Katie Hickey says Quinn mostly worked through those, but there has been a surge of new applicants during Quinn's tenure.

During his six years in office, he's acted on nearly 4,000 cases, which is more than recent governors. But he still faces about 3,000 cases.

Some attorneys are feeling a particular time crunch with Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner taking office Jan. 12. They say it's unknown how he'll proceed since it's his first time in public office.

A Rauner spokesman has said the Winnetka businessman will carefully review cases.

Quinn Grants 179 Christmas Eve Clemency Petitions

Gov. Pat Quinn has granted 179 clemency requests after going through 604 petitions filed since 2008.

The Democrat issued a Christmas Eve statement saying he's also denied 425 petitions.

The list of grantees wasn't made available until four hours after the announcement. Quinn's office didn't explain the delay.

A Prisoner Review Board list shows clemencies granted are for crimes including identity theft.

Quinn still has roughly 3,000 petitions with weeks left before Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner takes office.

Quinn inherited thousands of cases from predecessor ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Quinn's spokeswoman says he's nearly eliminated the backlog, but there's been a surge of new petitions.

Overall, Quinn has acted on nearly 4,000 clemency petitions, more than recent governors.

Those granted clemency underwent background checks. They can seek expungement of their convictions.

Central Illinois Schools Sanctioned For Basketball Fights

Two central Illinois basketball programs have been sanctioned by the Illinois High School Association this week after a fight at a recent game.

According to reports, a Decatur McArthur High School player punched a Lanphier High School player during the final minutes of a close game on Dec. 19. Pushing and shoving followed and spectators charged onto the court before the game was halted.

The IHSA's sanctions include placing the teams on probation for one calendar year, and having team players complete courses on sportsmanship to avoid suspensions. The coaches of both teams are expected to take a seminar on teaching and modeling behavior.

Lanphier principal Artie Doss says he plans to hold meetings with parents and students to outline expectations for behavior at future games.

Teenage Driver Ticketed In Fatal Crash In Peoria

Authorities in Peoria issued four traffic citations to a teenage driver involved in a fatal one-car crash last weekend.

According to reports, police did not identify the 17-year-old driver because of privacy exemptions for juveniles. Peoria police gave the driver tickets for failing to reduce speed, improper lane usage, having too many passengers and reckless driving.

Seventeen-year-old Danielle Smith of Sparland died when the sport utility vehicle rolled in the Saturday crash. She was a junior at Midland High School in Varna.

Six other occupants of the vehicle were taken to Peoria hospitals for treatment. They've all been released.

Peoria County prosecutors also are reviewing the case.

Peoria Toddler Pronounced Brain Dead After Beating

A 19-month-old Peoria boy has been pronounced brain dead a day after police say he was beaten by his mother's boyfriend.

Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll says Koffi Harris was pronounced brain dead Tuesday in the pediatric intensive care unit at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

Ingersoll says the boy will remain on life support until his organs can be donated.

According to police, the boy was brought to the hospital unconscious Monday night and with multiple injuries, including head trauma.

Reports indicate, 19-year-old Deon Davelle Wells has been charged with aggravated battery. He is being held on $1.2 million bond.

Online court records do not show whether Wells already has an attorney.

Miller Park Zoo Acquires New Pair of Red Wolves

With kids out of school for yet another week and a half, parents and guardians may be looking for something to do to keep them entertained.

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington is hoping you'll consider bringing them out to check out a new group of red wolves that were brought to them this winter. Zoo Superintendent Jay Teztloff explains they have received the pair of the endangered species that are brought into captivity and then released back into the wild after threat of extinction.

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The Zoo has been successful with various breeding pairs of red wolves in recent years and Tetzloff notes they are focused on long term efforts to preserve the wolves for future generations. Native to North Carolinam he hopes to see them move into other states in the near future.

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Tetzloff explains the Miller Park Zoo does its best to prepare wolves that are eventually released into captivity through teaching themselves, especially when it comes to tracking down food.

DeWitt County Musuem Wraps Up Candlelight Tours Tonight

The DeWitt County Museum's Candlelight Tours wrap up their holiday season tonight.

The first tours of 2014 took place the day after Thanksgiving. Museum Managers Joey Woolridge and Larry Buss explain they have been very satisfied with attendance this year. Buss adds those attending this evening shouldn't worry about getting tickets in advance.

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This holiday event usually provides the Museum staff time to talk with visitors who come from all over the area. Buss notes he enjoys the laid back atmosphere of the tours which allow them time to visit with the public. Woolridge loves feeling the Christmas Spirit during the five Fridays of the holiday season.

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The final Candlelight Tour takes place tonight from 5-8pm and is done in an open house style. Admission is three dollars for adults and one dollar for ages 12-18.

DeWitt County Board Approves Purchase Of Two Trucks for Sheriff's Department

 width=The DeWitt County Sheriff's Department is taking on a new look.

Picture Right: Truck Already Part of Sheriff's Department Fleet

DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner briefed the DeWitt County Board recently regarding the purchase of a pair of Dodge Ram trucks. He explains cost of ownership will be better than previously purchased cars because the functionality of the trucks will be better for holding more police equipment.

[audio:122414sherifftruck1.mp3] [/audio]

The effeciency of the truck was a major selling point. The trucks are four-wheel drive and according to the Sheriff they will get gas mileage that is equivalent to their traditional vehicles. In addition, they will also be safer.

[audio:122414sherifftruck2.mp3] [/audio]

The trucks will cost just over $79-thousand with $25-thousand coming from the police vehicle fund.

Golfer Stricker Has Back Surgery

 width=Steve Stricker, who has battled a balky back for several years, had outpatient back surgery on Tuesday and is home recovering.

The surgery was to "relieve issues stemming from acute and chronic L5 radiculopathy' according to a statement on PGATour.com.

Stricker, a 12-time PGA Tour winner, has played just 24 official events over the past two seasons. That was by design so he could spend more time with his family.

He skipped the FedExCup playoffs due to the bulging disc in his back.

The 47-year-old will rest and rehab his back over the next six weeks. After that time, Stricker will be able to begin practicing and doctors expect all restrictions will be lifted after eight weeks.

Baseball Notes

 width=>>Braves To Sign Catcher Pierzynski

(Atlanta, GA) -- The Atlanta Braves are adding catching depth. MLB.com reports the team and backstop A.J. Pierzynski [[ peer-ZIN-skee ]] have agreed to a one-year deal. The 37-year-old hit .251 with five home runs in 102 games last season between the Red Sox and Cardinals. The 17-year vet is expected to help Evan Gattis transition to the outfield and backup Christian Bethancourt.

>>Orioles Re-Sign Delmon Young

(Baltimore, MD) -- The Baltimore Orioles are brining back veteran slugger Delmon Young. MASNSports.com reports the O's and the former number-one overall draft pick have agreed on a one-year, 2.25-million-dollar contract. Young hit .302 with seven home runs in 83 games during his first season in Baltimore.

Illini Face Kennesaw State

 width=The Fighting Illini welcome in Kennesaw State to the State Farm Center tomorrow.  Tip from Champaign is at 8 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.  The Illini are 9-and-3 while the Owls are 4-and-9. 

>>Wichita State Upset By George Washington

Yuta Watanabe and Kevin Larsen hit the back-to-back 3-pointers late in the second half to catapult George Washington to a 60-54 upset of 11th-ranked Wichita State in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic.

Kethan Savage had 12 points, while Larsen and Watanabe each scored 10 for the Colonials (9-3), who finished the contest on a 17-4 run. GW smashed Ohio in its tournament opener before edging Colorado on Tuesday.

Fred VanVleet had 11 points for Wichita State (10-2), which handily beat Loyola Marymount in its first game at this tournament, then got by Hawaii in overtime on Tuesday.

The Shockers shot just 34.4 percent from the field.

Cutler Admits Bears Could Be In For Changes; Packers Go For NFC North Title

 width=>>Cutler Admits Bears Could Be In For Changes

Jay Cutler is ready for just about any scenario next week after the Chicago Bears' dismal season comes to an end.

He understands changes could be coming, that coaches could be gone and so could he. Cutler says that's "part of it."

The future of everyone from general manager Phil Emery to coach March Trestman to his assistants and the quarterback with a seven-year contract is in question with the Bears (5-10) last in the NFC North and the season ending at Minnesota on Sunday.

It's quite a fall for a team that envisioned a playoff run.

Instead, the Bears are missing the postseason for the seventh time in eight years.

 width=>>Lions, Packers Play For NFC North Crown

(Green Bay, WI) -- The Detroit Lions meet the Green Bay Packers at historic Lambeau Field with the division crown on the line Sunday afternoon. In addition to the NFC North title, both teams can still secure a first-round bye or even home-field throughout the NFC playoffs if things shake out properly with the league's other 11-and-4 teams. The Packers have won 22-straight regular-season home games against Detroit, and are 7-and-0 at Lambeau this season. Detroit is seeking its first division title since 1993. The Lions defeated the Packers 19-7 back in September.

>>Bears And Vikings Wrap Up Season

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Jay Cutler is back under center for the Bears as they finish off an underwhelming season at the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday. Cutler was benched last week for Jimmy Clausen in Chicago's, 20-14, loss to the Lions. Clausen suffered a concussion with Chicago losing a fourth straight game and falling to 5-and-10. The Vikings dropped to 6-and-9 last week losing a wild, 37-35, overtime game to the Dolphins. On a positive note, Minnesota rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has throw two touchdown passes in four out of the last five games.

>>Seahawks Host Rams With NFC West Title On The Line

(Seattle, WA) -- The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks can clinch their second straight NFC West Division title and the number-one seed in the NFC on Sunday as they host the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field. The 'Hawks have won five in-a-row and eight of their last nine since losing 28-26 at St. Louis in Week Seven. Seattle is coming off a 35-6 rout of Arizona last Sunday night that has them atop the NFC at 11-and-4. A loss to the Rams and an Arizona win in San Francisco would give the Cardinals the division crown. The Rams sit at 6-and-9 and will endure their eighth straight losing season.

Bulls Beat Lakers

 width=>>Bulls Rock Lakers

(Chicago, IL) -- The Bulls pulled away from the Lakers in the fourth quarter outscoring them by 14 and going on to a 113-93 win at the United Center. Pau Gasol led the way with 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Jimmy Butler added 21, six boards and five assists. Derrick Rose contributed 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting for Chicago, which has won five in-a-row and eight of nine. Kobe Bryant sat out a second consecutive game as the Lakers have gone 1-and-1. Wesley Johnson posted a team-high 19 points. Ed Davis compiled a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds in the defeat.

Washington Wizards 102, New York Knicks 91
Oklahoma City Thunder 114, San Antonio Spurs 106
Miami Heat 101, Cleveland Cavaliers 91
Chicago Bulls 113, Los Angeles Lakers 93
Los Angeles Clippers 100, Golden State Warriors 86

Illini, Louisiana Tech In Heart Of Dallas Bowl

 width=299 height=168 />Illinois and Louisiana Tech meet on the gridiron today in Texas.  The Heart of Dallas Bowl kicks off at noon from the Cotton Bowl on ESPN.  The Fighting Illini are 6-and-6 while the Bulldogs come in at 8-and-5. </p>						</div>

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Tremont Uses Big Second Half To Sink Maroons

As heard on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com Friday morning, the Tremont Turks used a 20-10 third quarter to get passed Clinton 64-51 to open the Williamsville Holiday Tournament.

 width=The Maroons cut a large second quarter deficit to one at the half, trailing 30-29, but Tremont raced out of the gates in the third and opened up a 50-39 lead going to the fourth and never looked back, as Clinton could not keep momentum going.

The Maroons were paced Friday morning by Bowe Carter's 18 points. Junior Jacob Overton added 12 and Connor Klitzing chipped in with seven.

For the Turks, Dylan Becue led all scorers with 24. Tyler McDonald had 10 and Connor McDonald added nine.

The Turks improve to 8-2 on the year. Clinton drops to 4-6.

The Maroons play at 9 am again on Saturday morning from Williamsville.

The next CHS sports broadcast comes your way Saturday, January 3 at 2:30 pm, as the Clinton Lady Maroons host Pana. That can be heard on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

The next boys basketball broadcast is on January 9 at 7:30 pm as they take on Shelbyville. That can be heard on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Minimum Wage Hikes Affecting Pay At 1400 Walmart Stores

Pay is going up at more than 14-hundred Walmart stores as more than 20 states raise their minimum wage.  Walmart says it's adjusting pay rates to comply with the law in 21 states that will raise their minimum wage on or around January 1st.  Those changes include combining the company's three lowest pay grades, which cover cashiers, cart pushers and maintenance workers, into one base rate.  Walmart also will narrow the pay gap between higher skilled positions such as deli workers and department supervisors, and lower paying jobs.  Walmart is the nation's biggest private employer, with one-point-three million workers on its payroll. 

Saudi Arabia To Not Cut Oil Production

Saudi Arabia is vowing not to cut oil production to boost slumping prices. Danny Cox of British-based stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown says Saudi Arabia is no longer targeting higher prices.

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Cox says other non-OPEC countries are increasing oil production.

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The country's oil minister suggested oil at 20-dollars a barrel would be acceptable. Brent crude prices are currently hovering around 60-dollars a barrel, their lowest level in five years.

Donate Miles To Families Of Injured Soldiers

Anyone who has stored up frequent flier miles can help an injured soldier get reunited with his or her family. Governor Quinn says the Operation Hero Miles Program is a great way to make sure soldiers have their loved ones by their bedside while they recover.

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Quinn says he's giving up some of his own frequent flier miles to help with the cause. To donate miles or get more information, check out OperationHomeFront.org and click on "Support our Troops."

University of Illinois Faculty Wants Professor To Get Job Back

A committee of University of Illinois faculty members recommends that the school reconsider its decision to rescind a job offer to a Native American studies professor.

The committee was asked to review Steven Salaita's situation. He was offered a job earlier this year at the Urbana-Champaign campus but had the offer rescinded after he wrote a series of profane, anti-Israel Twitter messages.

According to reports, the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure wrote in the recently released report that it does not believe Salaita's messages made him unfit to teach.

Campus Chancellor Phyllis Wise says she'll review the report with other campus leaders.

An attorney for Salaita, Maria LaHood, says he continues to hope the university will hire him. He has threatened a lawsuit.

State Posts Rules For Kids on Medical Marijuana

Illinois officials have posted emergency rules spelling out how the state's medical marijuana program will be extended to children under a law taking effect Jan. 1.

The Department of Public Health posted the regulations online Tuesday.

Children with certain health conditions, including seizures from epilepsy, will be able to use non-smokable forms of marijuana. But they will need two doctors to sign forms certifying they think the patient will benefit.

The rules expand a medical marijuana advisory board to include a parent or caregiver of a patient under age 18 and a medical professional with experience in pediatrics.

The emergency rules are in effect for 150 days. A draft of permanent rules will be published later, which will trigger a 45-day public comment period.


Illinois Woman Sentenced For Allowing Sex Abuse

An eastern Illinois woman who admitted she knew her boyfriend was sexually abusing young children has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Reports indicate 37-year-old Kristy J. Wines of Thomasboro was sentenced Tuesday in Urbana after pleading guilty last month to one count of permitting the sexual abuse of a child. Thomasboro is about 10 miles north of Champaign.

Wines' boyfriend, Lyn Niemann, is serving a life sentence after his conviction in April of predatory criminal sexual assault of three boys.

Wines and Niemann lived together while the crimes occurred.

During Wines' sentencing, Judge Heidi Ladd called her callous and depraved for not trying to stop Niemann.

Illinois School Leaders Seek To Take Back Education

A movement among school leaders in Illinois has educators across the state excited about the future of education in the state.

Vision 20/20 is a program in which Illinois school leaders are seeking to recapture the educational system in the state. According to Dr. Jeff Holmes, Superintendent of Clinton Schools, school leaders have been taking their cues from Springfield, when he believes it should be the other way around.

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There are four pillars to this movement that will essentially encompass the entire effort. According to Dr. Holmes they deal with educators, students, curriculum and finances. He believes the financial aspect of Vision 20/20 is the most important.

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Vision 20/20 is driven by several groups of educational leaders in Illinois. According to Dr. Holmes those groups encompass Superintendents, principals, and school boards among others. He explains there are numerous other groups that have been briefed on the movement, and the hope is they will get behind the effort.

[audio:122414holmes20203.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Holmes says the 2020 is a full implementation date of the year 2020. He explains all of the goals of the group are not realistic to expect to be introduced at once, so over the course of the next five years, they would like to see major changes sweep education.

Clinton Am Vets Make Sizeable Donation To Danville Veterans Hospital

The Clinton Am Vets concluded a nearly three week effort of collecting needed items for veterans in need at the Danville Veterans Hospital.

Collecting items from clothes to toiletries and money, Jesse Owens with the Clinton Am Vets Post 14 explains the community stepped up in a big way this year. He says they collected dozens of clothing items and fifty boxes of toothbrushes and toothpaste.

[audio:122414amvetscollect1.mp3] [/audio]

The Am Vets collected close to $800 dollars worth of monetary donations and according to Owens, they decided to distribute those to several different sources within the hospital. He explains they contributed gas cards for families to visit the veterans and to their general fund.

[audio:122414amvetscollect2.mp3] [/audio]

In addition to the things donated to the Am Vets, Owens indicates youth in the community also got involved. He was in contact with an elementary teacher about having the students make Christmas cards for the Veterans, and he says he received handmade cards from each school.

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Owens cannot thank enough everyone within the community who stepped up to help with the drive. He says it was a couple cars full of boxes and goods they were able to help.

He hopes to do this again next year and possibly in the middle of the summer.

Upsets Headline Tuesday College Basketball

 width=>>UNLV Shocks #3 Arizona

(Las Vegas, NV) -- Christian Wood scored a career-high 24 points to go with 10 rebounds as UNLV shocked third-ranked Arizona 71-67 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Rashad Vaughn donated 21 points for the Rebels, who improved to 8-and-3 on the year and 5-and-0 at home. Stanley Johnson posted 13 points and 13 boards for the Wildcats, but had seven turnovers including a costly one in the final seconds. T.J. McConnell chipped in with 14 points for U-of-A, which fell to 12-and-1.

 width=>>Stanford Stuns #9 Texas In Austin

(Austin, TX) -- Anthony Brown dropped in a game-high 25 points as Stanford stunned ninth-ranked Texas 74-71 in overtime at the Frank Erwin Center. Chasson Randle netted 22 points, while Reid Travis ripped down 14 rebounds for the Cardinal, who improved to 7-and-3 on the season. Javan Felix scored 19 points off the bench to pace the Longhorns, who fell to 10-and-2. Jonathan Holmes and Kendal Yancy both had 14 points in defeat.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  ("USA Today" Rankings) 
UNLV Rebels 71, #3 Arizona Wildcats 67 
#4 Louisville Cardinals 80, Cal State Northridge Matadors 55 
#7 Villanova Wildcats 92, N.J.I.T. Highlanders 67 
Stanford Cardinal 74, #9 Texas Longhorns 71  (OT) 
#14 Utah Utes 80, South Dakota State Jackrabbits 66 

Marshall, Navy Pick Up Bowl Wins

 width=Marshall and Navy picked up wins as the bowl season continued on Tuesday. Rakeem Cato accounted for five touchdowns to lead Marshall to a 52-23 win over Northern Illinois in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl. Cato finished his collegiate career by extending his NCAA-record streak of games with a touchdown pass to 46. Meanwhile, Austin Grebe's 24-yard field goal with 1:27 left to play lifted Navy to a 17-16 comeback win over San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl. Navy held on after San Diego State missed a 34-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the fourth.

The bowl season rolls on with a pair of games on Christmas Eve. At noon Eastern, Central Michigan clash with Western Kentucky in the Bahamas Bowl. Later, Fresno State will square off with Rice in the Hawaii Bowl at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Bulls Squeak By Wizards

 width=Derrick Rose knocked down 10-of-17 shots on his way to 25 points and the Bulls defeated the Wizards, 99-91, at the Verizon Center. Pau Gasol just missed a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Aaron Brooks chipped in 13 off the bench. Chicago has won four in-a-row. John Wall contributed 18 points, nine helpers and five rebounds in the loss. Bradley Beal added 15 points and two threes for the Wizards, who have lost two straight.

Orlando Magic 100, Boston Celtics 95
Indiana Pacers 96, New Orleans Pelicans 84
Cleveland Cavaliers 125, Minnesota Timberwolves 104
Brooklyn Nets 102, Denver Nuggets 96
Atlanta Hawks 107, Los Angeles Clippers 104
Philadelphia 76ers 91, Miami Heat 87
Portland Trail Blazers 115, Oklahoma City Thunder 111 (OT)
Charlotte Hornets 108, Milwaukee Bucks 101
Phoenix Suns 124, Dallas Mavericks 115
Los Angeles Lakers 115, Golden State Warriors 105

Blues, Blackhawks Blasted

 width=>>Jets Blast Blackhawks

(Chicago, IL) -- Mathieu Perreault scored twice as the Jets blasted the Blackhawks 5-1 at the United Center. Bryan Little, Anthony Peluso and Blake Wheeler also found the net for Winnipeg, which has won three of four. Michael Hutchinson stopped 38 of the 39 shots he faced in the victory. Marian Hossa [[ HOE-suh ]] scored the lone goal for the 'Hawks, who have dropped two of three . Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta [[ AHN-tee RAHN-tuh ]] combined for 21 saves in defeat.

 width=>>Avs Blast Blues

(Denver, CO) -- Semyon Varlamov denied all 26 shots he faced as the Avalanche blasted the Blues 5-0 at the Pepsi Center. Erik Johnson, Zach Redmon, Alex Tanguay, Ryan O'Reilly and Jarome Iginla had the goals for Colorado in its third straight win. Gabriel Landeskog and Brad Stuart logged a pair of assists apiece in the laugher. Jake Allen allowed all five goals on 31 shots before being lifted for Martin Brodeur, who stopped all 10 shots he faced the rest of the way. St. Louis has lost its last three games.

Boston Bruins 5, Nashville Predators 3
Carolina Hurricanes 2, New Jersey Devils 1 (SO)
Montreal Canadiens 3, New York Islanders 1
New York Rangers 4, Washington Capitals 2
Philadelphia Flyers 5, Minnesota Wild 2
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Dallas Stars 0
Detroit Red Wings 6, Buffalo Sabres 3
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 3
Arizona Coyotes 5, Edmonton Oilers 1

Cubs Lose Catcher To Waivers, Sign Another; Cards Sign Walden

>>Orioles Claim Cubs' Catcher Off Waivers

The Baltimore Orioles have claimed catcher Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from the Chicago Cubs.

Lavarnway played in 10 games with the Boston Red Sox in 2014, going hitless in 10 at-bats. He also hit .283 in 62 games with Triple-A Pawtucket.

 width=Lavarnway was claimed off waivers by the Cubs last week from Boston. In 97 career games, he has a .201 batting average with five home runs.

To clear room for Lavarnway on the 40-man roster, the Orioles released outfielder Quintin Berry.

>>Cubs Ink Ross

(Chicago, IL) -- The Chicago Cubs continued to overhaul the catcher's spot by agreeing to terms with veteran David Ross on a two-year contract.

Ross has caught nearly 700 games over 13 major league seasons, the last two of which were spent with the Boston Red Sox. The 37-year-old hit just .184 in 50 games last season, but had seven home runs in 171 at-bats.

Over 744 career games, Ross owns a .233 average with 95 homers and 273 RBI.

Tuesday's signing reunites Ross with new Cubs ace Jon Lester, as the two were teammates on the Red Sox prior to Lester's trade to Oakland last July.

 width=>>Cardinals Ink Waldon To New Deal

(St. Louis, MO) -- The St. Louis Cardinals and reliever Jordan Waldon are avoiding arbitration. The two sides have agreed on a two-year deal, that includes a club option for 2017. Waldon was acquired last month with outfielder Jason Heyward from Atlanta for starting pitcher Shelby Miller and a minor leaguer. The 27-year-old is 12-and-13 with a 3.10 ERA and 38 saves in five seasons between the Angels and Braves.

>>Giants Re-Sign Jake Peavy

(San Francisco, CA) -- The World Series champion San Francisco Giants are bringing back veteran hurler Jake Peavy. The two sides agreed to a two-year deal that ESPN reports is worth 24-million-dollars. The 34-year-old went 6-and-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts after the Giants acquired him at the end of July for two pitching prospects.

>>Braves Add Jason Grilli

The Atlanta Braves have come to terms with right-handed pitcher Jason Grilli on a two-year contract with a club option for 2017.

Grilli has 45 saves over the last two seasons, including 33 for the Pirates in 2013. The 38-year-old had a combined 1-5 mark with a 4.00 ERA and 12 saves in 62 appearances for Pittsburgh and the Angels this past season.

He was dealt to the Angels on June 27 for pitcher Ernesto Frieri.

Bears, Rams Named To Pro Bowl

 width=>>Bears Lineman Chris Long Makes Pro Bowl

Chicago Bears right guard Kyle Long has been selected to his second Pro Bowl in two NFL seasons.

The son of Hall of Famer Howie Long becomes the first Bears offensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons. He is also the first Chicago player to be selected in his first two years since return specialist Devin Hester in 2006 and 2007.

Long was picked in 2013 after being drafted 20th overall and made it again this season, one of the few bright spots on a Chicago team that's 5-10 heading into its final game at Minnesota. He sat out last week's loss to Detroit because of a hip injury, but coach Marc Trestman was optimistic Tuesday that Long will be ready to play against the Vikings.

 width=>>Donald, Quinn Named To Pro Bowl

(New York, NY) -- Rams rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald and defensive end Robert Quinn were selected to the Pro Bowl last night. The pair will appear in the NFL's annual All-Star Game on January 25th in Arizona.

>>Nine Broncos Highlight Pro Bowl Selections

(New York, NY) -- Nine members of the Denver Broncos highlighted the NFL Pro Bowl selections Tuesday night. Quarterback Peyton Manning was one of the selections that helped the Broncos led all teams in representatives. The Cowboys led all NFC teams with six selections, including quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant. Only the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans did not have a player selected.

For the second consecutive year, the two teams will be selected via a draft setup that replaced the old AFC-NFC format. Hall of Fame wide receivers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin were selected in July as alumni captains for the game, which will be held January 25th at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Among the notable omissions from the initial roster for this year's NFL All-Star Game was Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was named a first alternate.

>>Lions' Raiola Loses Appeal, Out Against Green Bay

(Detroit, MI) -- The NFL is denying Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola's [[ rye-OH-luh's ]] appeal of his one-game suspension. Raiola is officially suspended for Sunday's game at Green Bay for stomping the ankle of Bears defensive lineman Ego Ferguson over the weekend. The winner of the game will be the NFC North champion and will have a first-round bye in the playoffs. Raiola has six player-safety violations since 2010, and was fined 10-thousand-dollars for an illegal club to the head of a New England Patriots player earlier in the season. Sunday will be the first time in Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's career that he's had anyone other than Raiola as his starting center.

Trio of Redbirds Receive All-American Accolades

 width=Illinois State senior longsnapper Chris Highland, running back Marshaun Coprich and offensive tackle Jermaine Barton each played large parts in helping the Redbirds advance to the 2015 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game, and each were honored Tuesday by The Sports Network as All-Americans.

Highland and Coprich were named to the first team, while Barton earned third-team honors in the annual list of the best players in FCS football. The Missouri Valley Football conference led all conferences with a total of 18 selections and secured the most first-team selections with six overall, two of which went to the Redbirds.

Information Courtesy of GoRedbirds.com

Maroa Fire Department Responds To Late-Tuesday Shed Fire

 width=Around 9:50 pm Tuesday night, Maroa Fire was called to a machine shed on fire.

Two engines and a tanker responded. Argenta-Oreana Fire, Hickory Point Fire, Kenney Fire, Clinton Fire, Warrensburg Fire and Latham Fire were called as mutual aid according to details from the Maroa Fire Department.

Picture courtesy of Tony Norton of the Maroa Fire Department.

Tips For Holiday Visits With Kids

Visiting friends and families around the holidays is certainly a highlight, but parents need to be careful when taking kids into a home that might not be child-proof. Doctor Elaine Schulte [[ SHULL-tee ]] with the Cleveland Clinic says it's important to survey the room for hazards.

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Doctor Schulte says it's crucial to maintain a normal routine for children, even during the holidays.

[audio:CCDrSchulte1223b1.mp3] [/audio]

Doctor Schulte adds that anything that's shiny and bright will be a magnet for small children and could be a hazard. Small toys, buttons, batteries or even potpourri could be a choking hazard. When visiting an older person's home, it's important to make sure medicines and cleaning supplies are put away and out of the reach of children.

Illinois Holiday Travelers Could See Rain, Snow

Rain or snow could fall across a big swath of the nation's midsection as holiday travel gets underway.

National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Seeley says parts of Illinois area could see rain switching over to snow on Christmas Eve, but it's impossible to predict yet where or how much will fall.

She says various computer models are showing differing forecasts and "aren't in agreement yet."

The National Weather Service says on its website that showers and thunderstorms across the Mississippi Valley are expected to strengthen Tuesday into Wednesday and move to the southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England.

Meanwhile, travelers from the Rockies to the Upper Great Lakes could see snow.

Oil Prices Staying Soft

Oil prices are staying soft and traders hope strong U.S. economic news will firm up the price of crude.  Europe's benchmark Brent crude fell back to just above 60 dollars a barrel in early trading in Japan.  West Texas Intermediate crude bumped up to nearly 57 dollars a barrel in early trading before sliding back to less than 56 dollars a barrel.  U.S. durable goods orders and third quarter GPD figures are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time today and oil traders hope strong numbers will breathe new life into prices.

Toby Keith To Perform At Rauner Inaugural Concert

Country singer Toby Keith will headline a concert celebrating Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's inauguration.

Rauner on Monday announced the lineup for the Jan. 12 concert. It also includes blues artist Buddy Guy and the Boat Drink Caucus, a trio of state legislators.

The concert at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield is part of a series of events marking the Winnetka Republican's inauguration. He announced earlier this month the concert will replace the traditional inaugural ball.

Tickets for the concert are $125.

Keith's hits include "Should've Been a Cowboy" and "How Do You Like Me Now?"

Guy is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a pioneer of Chicago blues.

Rauner will take the oath of office earlier in the day Jan. 12, replacing Gov. Pat Quinn.

State Officials Say Supply and Demand Will Determine Pot Prices

State officials say medical marijuana prices in Illinois will be determined by the marketplace, not regulated by the state. Bob Morgan, who runs Illinois' medical cannabis program, says the cost of the product will depend on supply and demand in the state.

[audio:rddCannabisMarket11.mp3] [/audio]

Morgan says when it comes to medical marijuana prices next year, it'll be basic supply and demand that sets the prices for the drug.

[audio:rddCannabisMarket21.mp3] [/audio]

Public health officials say patients will be able to start buying and using medical marijuana sometime during the first half of next year. As of early December, 600 people had been approved to use the drug, although thousands have started the application process. The state will license 21 medical cannabis growers and 60 dispensaries around the state.

University of Illinois Gets Grant To Catolog Rare Italian Books

The University of Illinois is getting a grant to catalog a collection of rare Italian books that it's had for more than nine decades.

The university said Monday that its Rare Book & Manuscript Library will use the nearly $500,000 grant to catalog a collection of more than 20,000 Italian imprints from the 16th through 19th centuries.

The library bought the collection in 1921 from the family of a count who was considered an authority on the local history of northern Italy.

Library Director Valerie Hotchkiss says the books are "one of the world's premier collections for Italian studies." But until now, the library didn't have the money to catalog them.

They'll be made available to scholars.

The grant comes from the Council on Library and Information Resources.

Heart Attack Blamed In Vehicle Crash At Restaurant

Authorities in a small eastern Illinois town say a heart attack led to an automobile crash that killed one man and injured a woman.

The police department in Monticello said Monday that 79-year-old Robert L. Howard of Decatur suffered a heart attack while driving through Monticello late Saturday morning.

According to reports, police said Howard's vehicle crashed into the Red Wheel Restaurant.

Howard died at a local hospital.

Police said a woman who worked at the restaurant had minor injuries.

Robotics Being Introduced at Warrensburg-Latham Schools

 width=As robotics begins to take off locally, one school district is joining the parade.

According to Superintendent of Warrensburg-Latham Schools, Kristen Kendrick-Weikle, one of their teachers volunteered to lead the group and it started strong in the junior high ranks and has maintained it's momentum.

[audio:122314wlrobots1.mp3] [/audio]

Getting the program up and running was not an overnight procedure. Kendrick-Weikle explains organizers of the group received a great deal of community support, so much in fact, the district is considering making robotics an elective course next year.

[audio:122314wlrobots2.mp3] [/audio]

As the district seeks to expand it's opportunities for students in robotics, the classes would need to be more interactive and challenging for students. Kendrick-Weikle explains they would likely expand their computer science offerings to continue to advance the skills of the students that take the elective.

[audio:122314wlrobots3.mp3] [/audio]

Kendrick-Weikle believes robotics is an area of study that touches on many of the new standards put out by the state board of education and the federal government. She points to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as the points of emphasis among those standards.

She explains the program is so popular, they do not have enough robotics kits to go around for all their students, so funding is going to be a major challenge going forward for the program.

College Football Notes

 width=>>Memphis Outlasts BYU In Double-Overtime

(Undated) -- The college football bowl season resumed Monday with a wild affair in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl. BYU quarterback Christian Stewart threw a game-ending interception to seal a 55-48 win for Memphis in double-overtime at Marlins Park. Memphis improved 10-and-3 in a game sullied by a postgame brawl that involved many players from both teams. It is the Tigers' first bowl victory since 2005.

The bowl season continues Tuesday with two games on the slate. Marshall meets Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton Bowl in Florida, while Navy takes on San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

>>Report: Mike Bobo Hired By Colorado State

(Fort Collins, CO) -- Colorado State has found its new head football coach. According to ESPN, the Rams will hire Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to what is expected to be a five-year contract. Bobo has been the OC for the Bulldogs since 2007. Jim McElwain left the job after only two seasons to take the head coaching position at Florida. McElwain went 18-and-8 in two seasons at the helm.

Illinois State Wins; Bradley Loses; NCAA Basketball Notes

 width=>>Illinois State Cruises Past IPFW

Daishon Knight scored 12 points and Illinois State cruised past IPFW 68-43 on Monday.

Illinois State (7-4) ran out to a 9-1 lead after 3 ½ minutes - including a 3-pointer by Knight - and a 10-2 run midway through the half pushed the lead to double digits as the Redbirds built a 37-17 advantage at the break.

The lead reached 30 points six minutes into the second half after an 11-0 run and Illinois State cruised to the win.

Bobby Hunter added 11 points and MiKyle McIntosh had 10 points. Illinois State shot 46 percent from the floor, held a 42-35 advantage on the boards and blocked seven shots, including four by Reggie Lynch.

IPFW (6-5) was paced by Joe Reed's 12 points, the only Mastodon in double figures. They were just 12 of 42 (29 percent) from the floor and 2 of 14 from beyond the arc.

 width=>>Arkansas-Little Rock Downs Bradley

Roger Woods scored 17 points to lead Arkansas-Little Rock to a 64-54 win over Bradley on Monday in the consolation game of the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic.

Ben Dillard had 14 points for Arkansas-Little Rock (5-5) and J.T. Thomas added 11.

James White hit two free throws with 5:27 left to give Arkansas-Little Rock a 57-42 lead. Then Bradley went on a 9-0 run to get within 57-51 with 1:40 left. But Arkansas-Little Rock made 7 of 10 free throws in the final 1:15 to seal it.

Arkansas-Little Rock did not hit a field goal in the final seven minutes of the game.

Omari Grier led Bradley (4-8) with 16 points and Tramique Sutherland added 13.

Bradley controlled the glass by a 50-33 margin, with 25 offensive rebounds, but only converted 18 of its 63 field goals. Arkansas-Little Rock made 17 of its 43 attempts, including 8 of 22 3-pointers.

 width=>>Temple Shocks #10 Kansas

(Philadelphia, PA) -- Will Cummings and Quenton DeCosey combined for 37 points as Temple upset 10th-ranked Kansas 77-52 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Owls added to a 10-point first half lead with a dominant second half to pull off the shocker. Frank Mason the Third led the Jayhawks with 20 points in defeat. Perry Ellis was just 1-of-10 from the field for five points as KU fell to 9-and-2. It is the 8-and-4 Owls first win over a ranked opponent this season.

>>Kentucky Maintains Top Spot In Coaches' Poll

 width=(Undated) -- Kentucky remains the top team in men's college basketball. The 12-and-0 Wildcats received 30 of the 32 first-place votes to retain the number-one spot in this week's "USA Today" Coaches Poll. The top-11 went unchanged. Duke is still second, followed by Arizona, Louisville and Virginia. Wisconsin, Villanova, Gonzaga, Texas and Kansas round out the top-10. Miami, Michigan State and Butler all dropped out of the rankings, while Baylor, Northern Iowa and Colorado State jumped in.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#6 Wisconsin Badgers 68, California Golden Bears 56
#11 Wichita State Shockers 80, Loyola Marymount Lions 53 (Diamond Head Classic at Honolulu, HI)
#13 Washington Huskies 66, Tulane Green Wave 57
#16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 91, Northern Illinois Huskies 66
#17 West Virginia Mountaineers 77, Wofford Terriers 44
#18 Ohio State Buckeyes 93, Miami (OH) Redhawks 55
#19 St. John's Red Storm 66, Long Beach State 49ers 49
#20 Oklahoma Sooners 85, Weber State Wildcats 51
#23 San Diego State Aztecs 61, UC Riverside Highlanders 33
#22 Baylor Bears 70, Southern Jaguars 66
#25 Colorado State Rams 75, Charleston Southern Buccaneers 54

Baseball Notes

>>Twins, Hughes Agree To Extension

(Minneapolis, MN) -- The Minnesota Twins are rewarding Phil Hughes with a contract extension. The two sides have agreed to a 42-million-dollar deal that will keep him in Minnesota until 2019. The new contract restructures the two remaining seasons on Hughes' free agent contract, and adds three more. The 28-year-old enjoyed a career-year in 2014, going 16-and-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 32 starts for the Twins.

 width=>>Pittsburgh Wins Bidding For Korean SS

The Pittsburgh Pirates submitted the highest bid for the negotiating rights to Korean
shortstop Jung Ho Kang.

The Pirates now have 30 days to try and work out a contract with Kang.

Kang, 27, hit .356 with 40 home runs and 117 RBI over 117 games last season for the Nexen Heroes.

Avs Host Blues

 width=The Blues battle the Avalanche in Denver this evening. St. Louis has been off since suffering a 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks on Saturday. The Blues have dropped two straight to enter tonight's game 21-9-and-3 on the season. The puck drops at 7:00.

Washington Capitals 2, Ottawa Senators 1
Nashville Predators 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Florida Panthers 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (SO)
Vancouver Canucks 7, Arizona Coyotes 1
Anaheim Ducks 3, San Jose Sharks 2 (OT)

Clausen Out, Cutler In

 width=>>Clausen Out, Cutler To Start For Bears

(Chicago, IL) -- Jay Cutler is back as the Chicago Bears starting quarterback. One week after being benched, Cutler will resume his role under center after Jimmy Clausen suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to the Lions. Cutler has thrown for over 36-hundred yards with 28 touchdowns, while leading the NFL with 24 turnovers. Clausen went 23-of-39 for 181 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the defeat. The Bears visit the Vikings on Sunday in the season finale.

>>NFL To Suspend Raiola For One Game

(Detroit, MI) -- The Detroit Lions will be without their starting center when the team battles the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title on Sunday. The NFL is suspending center Dominic Raiola [[ rye-OH-luh ]] one game without pay for stomping Chicago Bears defensive lineman Ego Ferguson's leg in the Lions win over the weekend. Raiola claims he did not intentionally step on Ferguson's ankle, and apologized to him after the game. This is Raiola's sixth safety-related rules violation since 2010, and he was fined 10-thousand-dollars earlier this year for striking a member of the New England Patriots in November. He is expected to appeal the suspension.

>>Bengals Outlast Broncos To Clinch Playoff Berth

(Cincinnati, OH) -- Dre Kirkpatrick's 30-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed a 37-28 win for the Bengals over the Broncos in Cincinnati. Jeremy Hill rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals, who secured a playoff berth with the victory. Andy Dalton threw for 146 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Cincinnati will face Pittsburgh in a de facto AFC North title game on Sunday. Peyton Manning passed for 311 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions for Denver, which dropped to 11-and-4. Emmanuel Sanders had two touchdown grabs in the loss.

>>Patriots Clinch Top Seed In AFC

(Undated) -- The road to the Super Bowl in the AFC is traveling through Foxboro. The Patriots locked up the number-one spot when the Broncos lost to the Bengals on "Monday Night Football". The Pats sit at 12-and-3 heading into the final week of the regular season when they face the Bills at home. In the AFC Championship Game last season, the Pats lost, 26-16, at Denver. They've been eliminated in the AFC title game the past two seasons. The Broncos currently hold the two-seed, but there are scenarios where they could drop depending on what transpires in Week 17.

>>Report: Jets To Have Casserly As Consultant

(Undated) -- If New York Jets owner Woody Johnson decides to make sweeping changes across the organization he will have some help. ESPN reports former Texans and Redskins general manager Charley Casserly would be hired as a consultant. New York is going to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Head coach Rex Ryan and second-year general manager John Idzik have both come under fire with the Jets sitting at 3-and-12. They wrap up the season on Sunday against the Dolphins in Miami. If the season ended today, they would have the fourth-pick in the NFL Draft.

>>Season Over For Johnny Manziel

(Berea, OH) -- The 2014 NFL season has come to an end for Cleveland Browns rookie signal caller Johnny Manziel [[ man-ZELL ]]. Head coach Mike Pettine [[ PET-in ]] told reporters Johnny "Football" will miss the regular season finale against the Baltimore Ravens with an injured left hamstring. The first-round selection suffered the injury in the Browns' loss to the Panthers on Sunday. Manziel finishes the season with 175 passing yards, zero throwing touchdowns and two interceptions in two losses. He also rushed for 29 yards and his lone NFL TD coming on the ground. Veteran Brian Hoyer will take back his starting role that he was stripped of two weeks ago.

O'Toole Turns Senior Year Into Bowl Year

 width=You might think quarterback Reilly O'Toole would want to forget Illinois' 45-14 loss to Nebraska.

But the senior quarterback says an early interception in that late-September game taught him something that's helped him as he led Illinois late this season. He said he learned not to try to do too much.

After a career spent mostly as a backup, O'Toole led the Illini (6-6) to three late-season wins. That run got them to Friday's Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl against Louisiana Tech (8-5).

O'Toole was highly regarded when he came to Illinois. He won two state titles in high school.

But he's spent most of his career behind Nathan Scheelhaase and Wes Lunt.

Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit says O'Toole deserves to finish as a starter.

Bulls Rally In Fourth To Get Past Raptors

 width=Derrick Rose scored 29 points, Jimmy Butler added 27 points and 11 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls snapped the Toronto Raptors' six-game winning streak with a 129-120 victory on Monday night.

Rose scored 15 of the Bulls' franchise-record 49 points in the fourth quarter.

Chicago, who has won three straight, got Rose and Taj Gibson back after each missed two games. Rose was ill and Gibson was out with an ankle injury.

Rose's jumper over Kyle Lowry put the Bulls up 106-100 with 4:12 left. He put away the game with a 3-pointer to make it 118-105 with 1:17 left.

James Johnson finished with 16 points for the Raptors.

Charlotte Hornets 110, Denver Nuggets 82
Houston Rockets 110, Portland Trail Blazers 95
Utah Jazz 97, Memphis Grizzlies 91
Atlanta Hawks 105, Dallas Mavericks 102
San Antonio Spurs 125, Los Angeles Clippers 118
Golden State Warriors 128, Sacramento Kings 108

Lady Maroons Win; Boys Team Loses

>>Lady Maroons Win With Players Returning From Injury

As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons defeated the St. Teressa Bulldogs on Monday evening 51-48.

For the Lady Maroons (5-7), Megan Tool lead the team in her first game back this season, returning from injury with 15 points. Haley Ginger returned from injury as well, with 9 points. Peyton Bieber added nine and Jessica Scott had eight.

 width=For the Lady Bulldogs (4-9), Sydney Fyke lead the team with 14 points. Shannen Quehl followed with 11 points, with Lexi Newborn and Jordan Brunner also scoring 7 points a piece.

Tune into 92.3 FM WHOW on Saturday January 3rd as the Lady Maroons will take on Pana at 2:30 pm.

>>Maroons Fall To Argenta-Oreana

As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Argenta-Oreana Bombers Monday night 65-46.

For the Maroons (4-5), Bowe Carter and Jacob Overton lead the way with 12 points a piece. Tanner White and Peyton McCubbin added 10 points apiece.

For the Bombers (4-5), Keegan McHood lead the team with 22 points. Konner Damery followed with 15 points, who was also followed by Tyler Hemmen with 12 points.

Tune into 92.3 FM WHOW Friday Morning at 9 AM as the Maroons will take on Tremont in WIlliamsville.

Scores in the Central Illinois Conference Monday:

Mt. Pulaski 40
Decatur St. Teresa 54

Sullivan 70
Cerro Gordo/Bement 59

Storm System Likely To Hamper Holiday Travel

Heading home for the holidays may be easier said than done.  A massive winter storm system stands ready to hamper the plans of a record number of holiday travelers.  Forecasters say about two-thirds of the country is in the path of the system that'll be delivering heavy rain, winds and thunderstorms starting as early as Tuesday.  That's seriously bad news for the expected 98-million-plus people that Triple-A estimates will be venturing 50 miles or more away from home for Christmas. 

NARCAN Program Saves People During Heroin Overdose

Heroin is the drug of choice these days, and it's been killing people in every corner of the state. Nearly 50 people died in DuPage County last year, but Coroner Richard Jorgensen says that number is down to 29, thanks to a program that lets cops carry NARCAN.

[audio:rddHooked11.mp3] [/audio]

Jorgensen says people can get addicted to heroin after just one hit and contrary to public opinion, it's not just rich kids getting hooked.

[audio:rddHooked21.mp3] [/audio]

Jorgensen says once people get hooked, it's hard for them to break free.

[audio:rddHooked31.mp3] [/audio]

All two-thousand police officers in DuPage County are trained to administer NARCAN to a person who's slipped into an overdose. It stops the effects of heroin and brings people back to life. DuPage County police have saved 32 lives with NARCAN this year, but if you take it out of the picture, there would've been more than 60-heroin related deaths in that county. State representatives have taken notice of the NARCAN program and are pushing to get all police officers, firefighters, and other first responders in Illinois to carry it.

Fire Marshal Urges Holiday Fire Safety

The state fire marshal is urging families to take note of potential fire hazards this holiday season. State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis [[ mat-KY-tis ]] advises using only three sets of lights per extension cord, and avoid stringing miles of lights together to help reduce fire risk.

[audio:rddHolidayFires11.mp3] [/audio]

Matkaitis [[ mat-KY-tis ]] says if you're going to use candles this holiday season, keep them a foot away from anything that can burn, but he advises to use a battery-operated flameless candle.

[audio:rddHolidayFires21.mp3] [/audio]

Matkaitis says natural trees must be well-watered so they don't dry out, and artificial trees should be labeled as fire-resistant. Plus, turn the lights off before you go to bed, and make sure the tree isn't too close to a fireplace or heat vent. Last year, there were 91 reported home fires caused by Christmas trees and holiday decorations.

CDC Says Flu Season Starting Early This Year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu season is coming early and it's hitting hard.  The health organization says the flu is widespread in 29 of 54 states and territories they track, but was widespread in only four at this time last year.  Federal health officials warned earlier much of the influenza virus in the U.S. has mutated and this year's vaccine doesn't provide much protection.  Pregnant women and the elderly are especially vulnerable and eleven children have died so far this year. 

Oil Above $60 In Europe Trading

Crude oil is trading above 60 dollars a barrel in Europe.  Europe's benchmark Brent crude was up 74 cents to more than 62 dollars a barrel early this morning.  U.S. crude was up 66 cents, at nearly 58 dollars a barrel.  Crude oil was selling for more 115 dollars a barrel six months ago.  Saudi Arabia's oil minister said Sunday that he's confident the fall in prices is temporary and that the market will correct itself.  The oil minister said lower oil prices will stimulate the global economy, leading to more demand for oil. 

Illinois Man Gets Jail Time For Cattle Rustling

A west-central Illinois man has been sentenced to 180 days in the Fulton County Jail for helping steal $74,000 worth of cattle.

According to reports, 18-year-old Garret Lynch will be allowed to serve the jail time during weekends so he can continue with his studies and his work.

Prosecutors say Lynch took part in the theft of somewhere between 60 and 77 cattle.

The Fulton County Sheriff's Department responded to theft complaints at two farms in December 2013.

A second suspect was an employee at one of the farms. Prosecutors say Lynch helped him take and sell the cattle.

Besides the jail time, Lynch was ordered to pay restitution. He was also given two years of probation.

Illinois Farm Groups Foresee Market Growth In Cuba

Illinois farm groups are looking to Cuba as a growing market for corn, soybeans, pork and other state products.

According to reports, Tamara Nelson of the Illinois Farm Bureau says thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba could mean up to $7 million more a year in sales for Illinois farmers in the short term. She says long-term potential could be $25 million annually.

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday the U.S. and Cuba will begin taking steps to restore full diplomatic relations and he'll try to persuade Congress to lift the trade embargo.

Agricultural exports have been an exception to the embargo, but they've been subject to burdensome rules. Other countries with fewer restrictions and easier financing have gained market share in Cuba in recent years.

Springfield Mayor Predicting Tight Budget

The mayor of Springfield says he anticipates the "most difficult" budget he's had to put together.

Reports indicate, Mayor Mike Houston says it's a "very very tight budget."

For three years, Springfield officials have been making cuts. City officials say there aren't many obvious places left to make reductions.

The city has little revenue growth. A proposed corporate fund budget includes an increase of less than 1 percent, or about $713,000from the $117.4 million in the current fiscal year's budget.

City officials say the overall increase is from rising employee health care costs and pension funds for police and fire departments.

The heads of city departments have been asked to submit budget requests.

FAFSA Filing Can Be Essential To Affordability In College

The 2015 Spring Semester is coming up quickly for many local colleges and students are in the midst of applying for financial aid.

The most important financial aid document for any college student is their free FAFSA form. Tuition prices are constantly rising and FAFSA can assist in obtaining monetary assistance for education. Lisa Gregory, Executive Director of Public Information with Richland Community College, says there shouldn't be any excuse for students to not apply for aid through FAFSA.

[audio:121614fafsa1.mp3] [/audio]

Billions of dollars in loans and grants are awarded to students each school year, yet many don't bother in applying for it. Gregory notes Illinois students have access to s variety of monetary help and need to pay attention to applications and deadline dates.

[audio:121614fafsa2.mp3] [/audio]

Many myths surround the FAFSA filing process including eligibility due to the age of the student or their GPA. The numerous myths are usually note true according to Gregory. She mentions a student never knows what they are eligible for until they complete their FAFSA filing.

[audio:121614fafsa3.mp3] [/audio]

Gregory says you can get a jumpstart on FAFSA filing by including your 2013 tax information on your online form. Once the 2014 numbers come in, they can be changed without losing your place in line.

For more information on FAFSA filing including needed documents, you can go to www.fafsa.gov.

DeWitt County HRC Offers Tips For Stress Free Christmas

The holiday season should be a joyous time for many, yet it can also bring about undue stress for some.

There are many factors for sources of stress and one of the most common is winter weather. Lynn Scoville, Executive Director of the DeWitt County Human Resource Center, notes everyone should take advantage when brighter weather conditions come around.

[audio:121714holidaystress1.mp3] [/audio]

Gift-giving can also provide stress during the Christmas season and Scoville encourages families to make a budget and stick to it. Homemade gifts can also provide a money-saving alternative to the latest gadget.

[audio:121714holidaystress2.mp3] [/audio]

Eating right and exercising is also a helpful way to combat stress over the holiday season according to Scoville.

Anyone needing assistance with these and other issues can call HRC at 217-935-9496.

County Introduces New Method For Paying Bills

 width=The DeWitt County Board approved a new method of paying bills at their latest meeting.

Each committee will now be responsible for approving their own bills at each committee meeting. Finance Chairman Camille Redman explains all board members will still receive a list of all bills listed and can ask to have a bill pulled anytime. According to Board Chair David Newberg, the purpose of the motion was to make sure bills are paid on time now that the Board is not meeting three times a month.

[audio:121914boardbills1.mp3] [/audio]

Administrative Assistant Dee Dee Rentmeister notes the new method would help keep bills paid on a weekly basis where in the past, certain bills may have waited for approval up six or seven weeks before approval from the full Board.

[audio:121914boardbills2.mp3] [/audio]

If a Board Member wants a bill pulled, then they will need to contact the Chairperson of that particular committee and County Clerk Dana Smith. Bills that come in after a committee meeting will go the Finance Committee before the full Board meeting if they arrive on time.

[audio:121914boardbills3.mp3] [/audio]

The motion passed 10-2 with Sherrie Brown and Terry Hoffman voting no.

To hear the entire conversation, listen below: 

[audio:121914boardbills4.mp3] [/audio]

Bulls Host Raptors

 width=The Bulls welcome the Raptors to the United Center tonight. Chicago has been off since collecting a 103-97 road win over the Grizzlies on Friday. Chicago upped its record to 17-and-9 with the victory. Tip-off is at 7:00.

Toronto Raptors 118, New York Knicks 108
Cleveland Cavaliers 105, Memphis Grizzlies 91
Miami Heat 100, Boston Celtics 84
Brooklyn Nets 110, Detroit Pistons 105
Sacramento Kings 108, Los Angeles Lakers 101
Philadelphia 76ers 96, Orlando Magic 88
Phoenix Suns 104, Washington Wizards 92
Indiana Pacers 100, Minnesota Timberwolves 96
New Orleans Pelicans 101, Oklahoma City Thunder 99

Blackhawks Blank Leafs

 width=Antti Raanta made 31 saves to power the Blackhawks to a 4-0 win over the Maple Leafs in Chicago. It's his second shutout of the season and the third of his career. Patrick Sharp had three assists while Patrick Kane had a goal and two helpers for Chicago, which has won three of four. James Reimer made 30 saves for Toronto, which has lost three straight.

Colorado Avalanche 2, Detroit Red Wings 1 (SO)
Dallas Stars 6, Edmonton Oilers 5 (SO)
Boston Bruins 4, Buffalo Sabres 3 (OT)
New York Rangers 1, Carolina Hurricanes 0
Philadelphia Flyers 4, Winnipeg Jets 3 (OT)

Packers Win; Bears, Rams Lose

 width=>>Packers Top Bucs, Clinch Playoff Spot

(Tampa, FL) -- Aaron Rodgers threw for 318 yards and a touchdown to help the Packers beat the Buccaneers 20-3 and clinch a postseason berth. Eddie Lacy rushed for 99 yards and a score for Green Bay, which improved to 11-and-4. Jordy Nelson had nine catches for 113 yards and a TD, while Randall Cobb brought in 11 balls for 131 yards. Josh McCown tossed for 147 yards and an interception for Tampa Bay, which slipped to 2-and-13 with its fifth straight loss.

>>Lions Outlast Bears

(Chicago, IL) -- Joique Bell and Reggie Bush each had a rushing touchdown as the Lions rallied for a 20-14 win over the Bears in Chicago. Matthew Stafford threw for 243 yards and two interceptions for the Lions, who will face the Packers with the NFC North title on the line in Green Bay next Sunday. Calvin Johnson made six catches for 103 yards in the win. Jimmy Clausen started in place of the benched Jay Cutler and was 23-of-39 for 181 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for Chicago. Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte [[ for-TAY ]] had TD grabs as the Bears fell to 5-and-10.

 width=>>Giants Rough Up Rams

(St. Louis, MO) -- Eli Manning was 25-of-32 for 391 yards and three touchdowns as the Giants knocked off the Rams 37-27 in St. Louis. Odell Beckham Jr. made eight catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns for New York, which has won three straight to move to 6-and-9. Rueben Randle had 132 receiving yards and a touchdown, while Andre Williams rushed for 110 yards in the victory. Shaun HIll threw for 290 yards, two scores and an interception for the Rams, who fell to 6-and-9 with their second straight loss. Tre Mason rushed for 76 yards and a TD in the loss.

Miami Dolphins 37, Minnesota Vikings 35
Houston Texans 25, Baltimore Ravens 13
Carolina Panthers 17, Cleveland Browns 13
Atlanta Falcons 30, New Orleans Saints 14
Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Kansas City Chiefs 12
New England Patriots 17, New York Jets 16
Dallas Cowboys 42, Indianapolis Colts 7
Oakland Raiders 26, Buffalo Bills 24
Seattle Seahawks 35, Arizona Cardinals 6

>>Jets, Giants Honor Fallen Officers

(Undated) -- Members of the New York Giants and New York Jets honored the two New York City police officers that were shot and killed over the weekend. The Jets held a moment of silence prior to their game against the New England Patriots in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Jets center Nick Mangold also wore an NYPD hat prior to kickoff. Meanwhile, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin wore a black strip and a peace symbol on his jacket during the team's game against the Rams in St. Louis.

Officers Rafael Ramos [[ RAH-mos ]] and Wenjian Liu [[ win-jin Lu ]] were in their patrol car in Brooklyn when they were shot and killed on Saturday.

>>Report: Harbaugh Done With 49ers Immediately After Season

(Undated) -- It's been assumed for some time 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh's time with the organization is coming to an end, but now we have a time frame. Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported on Sunday the Niners will cut ties with their head coach 24-to-48 hours after their final game on Sunday at home against the Arizona Cardinals. Harbaugh has taken San Francisco to three straight NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl. Glazer stated Harbaugh isn't yet sure where he will go next. Michigan's top priority is to hire him to replace Brady Hoke and teams such as the Raiders and Bears are expected to have interest at the NFL level.

Illinois Beats Mizzou On Buzzer Beater; ISU, Bradley Fall

>>Three Gives Illinois Victory Over Mizzou

 width=Rayvonte Rice hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the last of his 19 points, giving Illinois a 62-59 victory over Missouri in the annual Braggin' Rights game on Saturday.

Rice also had seven rebounds and three assists and Illinois (9-3) had a tougher time than expected against Missouri (5-6), which is rebuilding under new coach Kim Anderson. Ahmad Starks added 13 points and Malcolm Hil had 10.

After Wesley Clark's jumper from the key tied it with 17.8 seconds remaining, Illinois left the game in Rice's hands. He dribbled for several seconds before stepping up the key and drilling a fade-away shot over defenders Keith Shamburger and Johnathan Williams III.

Williams had 15 points and eight rebounds for Missouri. Clark added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists and also tied it at 55 with 4:40 to go.

 width=>>Bradley Falls To UC-Irvine

Travis Souza hit four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points to lead UC Irvine in a strong second half to get past Bradley 55-47 in the opening round of the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic on Sunday.

Bradley led by as many as 14 points in the first half and led 27-22 at the break. UC Irvine opened the second half on a 13-0 run to take a 35-27 lead, and had a 12-point lead with about ten minutes remaining. The Braves pulled within 51-47 with 1:22 left, but the Anteaters made four of six free throws to seal it.

Bradley (4-7) made just 3 of 29 shots from the field in the second half, and finished on 26.8 percent shooting overall. Omari Grier led the Braves with 13 points.

Jaron Martin added 10 points, and Luke Nelson made 6 of 9 free throws for UC Irvine (5-5).

 width=>>Murray State Races Past Illinois State

Jarvis Williams scored 21 points and Cameron Payne had 20 and Murray State took control in the second half to defeat Illinois State 89-77 on Saturday.

Jeffery Moss added 14 points and Justin Seymour came off the bench for 13 for the Racers (8-4).

Daishon Knight hit four 3-pointers and had 26 points for the Redbirds (6-4) while Tony Williams added 14.

Murray State shot 52 percent in the first half but trailed the Redbirds 42-37 as Knight poured in 16 points. Then the Racers hit 17 of 24 shots in the second half to take control.

There were 12 lead changes but Murray State opened the second half with a 14-4 run to take the lead for good, although the margin didn't hit double figures until the final six minutes.

The only other time the two teams met was 43 years ago when Doug Collins scored 29 points for the Redbirds in an 85-74 loss.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball
#5 Virginia Cavaliers 76, Harvard Crimson 27
#18 Maryland Terrapins 73, Oklahoma State Cowboys 64

Illinois State Rallies Past New Hampshire, Headed To FCS Championship

Illinois St. scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter as the fifth-seeded Redbirds rallied for a 21-18 win over top-seeded New Hampshire in the FCS semifinals on Saturday.

 width=Tre Roberson scored on a 47-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to give Illinois State (13-1) the lead and Jon-Marc Anderson ran in the two-point conversion.

Roberson was 2-for-2 on third-down conversions during the drive and capped it off with the big run. The defense held after that and the Redbirds punched their ticket to the FCS Championship against No. 2 North Dakota State, the three-time defending champion and Missouri Conference rival, on Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas.

Roberson passed for 278 yards and ran for another 95 including a touchdown as Illinois State. will head to its first ever championship game.

Marshaun Coprich capped a 10-play, 84-yard drive for the Redbirds with a 2-yard run a minute into the fourth quarter to cut New Hampshire's (12-2) lead to 18-13. He finished with 79 yards on 24 carries a week after having more than 200 in the quarterfinal win at Eastern Washington. It was the first time this season he was held under 100 yards.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 12-15 through 12-21

December 15, 2014 – December 21, 2014

Average Daily Jail Population: 45
Summons Served: 6
Warrant Arrests: 3

Jason North, 37, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Failure to pay or appear. North posted the necessary bond and was released.

Robert Fortune, 55, Kenney was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Failure to Pay or Appear. Fortune posted the necessary bond and was released.

Gene Blue, 54, Clinton was arrested and charged with Contempt of Court. Blue unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.

Robert Moore, 22, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Aggravated Assault and Resistance to Officer. Moore unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.

Kimberly Spangler, 38, Danville was issued a Citation for Speeding 75 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Spangler was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Austin Wickenhauser, 21, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 75 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Wickenhauser was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Domingo Ramirez-Hernandez, 35, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Ramirez-Hernandez was issued a Promise to Comply.









Filings Made Final For Upcoming Spring Election

It will once again be an interesting spring in DeWitt County as election officials Monday night accepted petitions for those seeking to run for office on the Clinton City Council, the Clinton Board of Education and the Blue Ridge Board of Education among many others.

Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters' term on the City Council comes up for re-election this spring, and she will be opposed by Roger Cyrulik, who has previous mayoral experience in Clinton.

Incumbent Commissioner Tom Edmunds will run unopposed for Commissioner of Accounts and Finances.

Incumbent Commissioner of Public Health and Safety, Jerry Milton will be opposed by Dan Ballenger.

John Wise, Commissioner of Public Property will run unopposed for his post this spring.

And Nan Crang, a first term Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements will be opposed by Mike Bray.

The Clinton School Board election will also be voted on this spring.

There is an unfilled two-year term left after the sudden passing of Tom Pruser last summer. Russell Long was appointed to the vacancy by the board shortly after Pruser's passing, now long will seek to finish the two-years remaining on the term, however, Mike Walker will challenge him for the spot.

Other filings on the School board included incumbent's John Blythe and Nancy Stokowski, along with Mitchi Tucker, Evan Severson, Chris Hammer, Ron Connor, Rodney Rogers, and Tracy Golden.

Incumbents Ron Savage and Mark Haas did not file petitions for re-election.

Also needing to file by the 5 pm Monday deadline were petitions for the Blue Ridge Board of Education, which will have a new look next spring.

No incumbents on the current board sought re-election in DeWitt County, as filings included one-time board member Curt Homann, Ruth Elizabeth Bolton-Slusser, Elizabeth Foulks, Kelly Nichols, Dale Schneman, and Matthew Althaus filed petitions before the Monday deadline.

The spring election is Tuesday, April 7.

Reminder: People Pay Taxes On Unemployment Benefits

The Illinois Department of Employment Security is out with a reminder. IDES Director Jay Rowell says anyone who collected unemployment insurance still needs to pay taxes on those benefits.

[audio:rddIDEStax11.mp3] [/audio]

The 1099 form will be emailed out in January. Rowell says the online system saves taxpayers hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars on postage and paper costs. To sign up, go to Illinois.gov then type 1099-G in the search box.

Pew: Internet Privacy Rights Likely To Remain At Risk

Most experts don't expect to see any real improvement in the protection of privacy rights online within the next decade.  More than half of the technology researchers and policymakers taking part in a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and Elon University said it's unlikely that a secure privacy rights infrastructure will be in place by 2025.  The survey concluded that personal data is now the raw material of the knowledge economy.  That means anyone operating online should expect to be under some type of surveillance. 

Pink Elevator Campaign Raises Breast Cancer Awareness

Construction sites across the country are turning pink as part of an initiative started by Indianapolis-based Metro Elevator, with the goal of raising money and awareness for breast cancer research. Company vice president Roger Brummett [[ BRUH-met ]] says workers, contractors and subcontractors pledge money for each time a pink elevator goes up the side of their construction site.

[audio:Det1218pink1.mp3] [/audio]

Brummett says a construction elevator can do a whole lot of things.

[audio:Det1218pink31.mp3] [/audio]

Brummett says the elevator goes up about 120 feet so you can see it from far away.

[audio:Det1218pink21.mp3] [/audio]

Brummett says whether a construction elevator is blue, green, yellow or rust it's going to haul workers and gear. Once you turn it pink though it becomes an ambassador for a very worthy cause.

Amazon Reveals One-Hour Delivery Service Prime Now

Amazon is launching a new one-our delivery service for impatient customers called Prime Now.  The service will be available in select areas of Manhattan starting today, with a larger rollout planned next year.  Two-hour delivery is included with an Amazon Prime subscription, but customers can spend eight dollars to have orders delivered in an hour.  Prime Now is Amazon's latest effort to boost the value of a Prime subscription, which now costs 99-dollars a year and includes free two-day shipping, video and music streaming.

Seasonal Stress Can Lead To Holiday Blues

For some people, stress and expectations can fill the holiday season with more misery than merriment. Doctor Lynn Bufka of the American Psychological Association says 26-percent of people feel lonely around this time of year.

[audio:LynnBufka11.mp3] [/audio]

She adds it's easy for people to lose sight of what's important under the holiday barrage of advertising and wish lists.

[audio:LynnBufka21.mp3] [/audio]

If you're feeling down, Doctor Bufka suggests you talk about it with friends, family or a professional psychologist.

IDOT and ISP Make Final Push To Save Lives On Illinois Roads In 2014



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DeWitt County Angel Tree Wraps Up 2014 Holiday Season

The DeWitt County Angel Tree is wrapping up another holiday season of giving back to the community.

The Clinton Police , Farmer City Police and DeWitt County Sheriff's Departments joined forces with Angel Tree for Shop with a Cop the past week. 17 kids were able to shop for Christmas with a police officer at the Clinton Wal-Mart. Sue Calvert, with Angel Tree, explains Wal-Mart provides a two-thousand dollar grant for the event.

[audio:122014angeltree1.mp3] [/audio]

The last event for Angel Tree in 2014 will be Shop with a Fireman. Calvert notes the children participating are additions to the kids Angel Tress serves during the Christmas season.

[audio:122014angeltree2.mp3] [/audio]

This year's Angel Tree distribution were able to help over 500 kids this year. Those not adopted still had gifts purchased by last minute donors who provided the needed items as well. Calvert adds the generosity of DeWitt County never ceases to amaze her.

[audio:122014angeltree3.mp3] [/audio]

Calvert stresses Angel Tree will still assist any emergency cases that arise through Christmas. They will also help after Christmas for needed items such as winter coats.

Chicago Announces Plans To Build 88-Story Skyskraper

Chicago officials have announced that a Chinese developer is planning to build an 88-story hotel and condominium tower that would be the city's third tallest building.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced an agreement Thursday between the Beijing's Wanda Group and the Magellan Development Group for a $900 million project to build a downtown high-rise designed by Chicago architect Jeanne Gang. It will be known as Wanda Vista.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 and when completed it would be the third tallest structure in Chicago, behind Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Emanuel's office says the project represents the largest real estate investment by a Chinese company in Chicago and will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs.

GOP Wants Rauner To Appoint Next Comptroller

Republican leaders say the only "responsible" way to name a replacement for late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is through an appointment by Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released a joint statement Thursday stressing provisions in the Illinois Constitution. Earlier in the day, Gov. Pat Quinn announced he's calling lawmakers to Springfield next month to consider a 2016 special election for comptroller.

Topinka died last week. She had won a second term in November.

Quinn says voters should have a say.

However, Republicans including Gov-elect. Bruce Rauner say a rushed decision for a special election would certainly face costly legal challenges.

In a statement, a Rauner spokesman says any changes should apply to future vacancies so they don't look "overtly political."

Report Shows Illinois Fails To Monitor Runaway Kids

An audit has found that Illinois does a poor job monitoring and tracking children who run away from foster homes.

Auditor General William Holland reported Thursday the Department of Children and Family Services does not keep reports on the total number of missing children in a year or their previous locations.

In 2011 and 2012, DCFS estimated as many as 3,100 children went missing in up to 29,200 separate incidents. But they were not all runaways. They included wards of the state whose caregivers did not know their whereabouts.

The report also noted shortfalls in tracking how timely authorities were notified when necessary.

DCFS spokeswoman Veronica Resa (REE'-suh) says the agency agrees with the audit. She says "additional controls" have been implemented and training is forthcoming.

Shriners, University of Illinois Sign Agreement

The Chicago Shriners Hospital and the University of Illinois health system have signed an affiliation agreement.

The organizations announced the partnership Thursday.

The Chicago Shriners Hospital serves children in the Midwest with specialized orthopedic care, rehabilitation and cleft lip and palate repair. It's one of 22 Shriners hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

University of Illinois Health is a public health system based on Chicago's West Side. It includes UI Hospital, Children's Hospital University Illinois, an outpatient care center and 13 federally qualified health centers in Chicago.

Leaders of both organizations say the affiliation will expand care to more Chicago-area children and provide more training opportunities for residents and medical students. Shriners Hospital has been a training site for UI Health's orthopedic residents and other trainees.

Instructor at School for the Blind Arrested for Sex Crime

An instructor for the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired is behind bars after being arrested for Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. Department of Human Services Spokeswoman Januari Smith says James Strader of Jacksonville cleared a background check prior to being hired.

[audio:ArrestISVI1.mp3] [/audio]

Strader has been employed at the school since July according to a press release from the Illinois State Police, which had conducted an investigation. He reportedly worked as a rehabilitation and mobility instructor. The investigation is ongoing by state police and the Morgan County State's Attorney's Office. Charges could be filed next week.

Illinois Brothers Plead Guilty To US Tax Fraud

Two Illinois brothers have pleaded guilty in what federal authorities say was a $6.1 million tax fraud scheme.

U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis said Wednesday that 50-year-old Shaher Mizyed of Naperville and 46-year-old Mohammad Mizyed of Peoria will be sentenced in April for crimes including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Authorities say the brothers who formerly owned and operated a Fast Stop service station in Peoria admitted to conspiring to file false federal corporate income tax returns from 2006 through 2010.

Mohammad Mizyed also pleaded guilty to mail fraud and says he fraudulently received about $160,000 in state medical benefits.

Conspiracy to defraud the U.S. carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and mail fraud crimes carry a penalty of up to 20 years.

Caterpillar Sees Cuba Relations As An Opportunity

Caterpillar Inc. sees President Barack Obama's change in U.S. policy toward Cuba as a potential business opportunity.

Bill Lane is the Peoria-based heavy equipment-maker's global government affairs director. He says the president's decision to establish diplomatic ties with the island nation is an important step.

Lane says that if longstanding trade restrictions between the two countries are loosened even more, Cuba could become a good market for Caterpillar. He says the underdeveloped island needs to build a modern infrastructure.

Reaction from Illinois' congressional delegation has been mixed.

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria says the decision makes other countries wonder what the United States stands for.

But fellow Republican congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville says the move promises economic opportunities for the state's agriculture industry.

Numbers Continue to Improve in State Unemployment

Illinois' unemployment rate is down. Greg Rivara with the state Department of Employment Security says the November jobless rate reflects a state economy that continues to move forward.

[audio:IllinoisUnemployment11.mp3] [/audio]

Rivara adds there was some job growth last month as well.

[audio:IllinoisUnemployment21.mp3] [/audio]

About 23-hundred jobs were added last month in Illinois. The biggest gains were seen in the manufacturing, construction and leisure and hospitality industries. The national unemployment rate for November came in at five-point-eight percent.

DeWitt County Board Names New State's Attorney

 width=The vacant DeWitt County State's Attorney position was filled at Thursday's DeWitt County Board Meeting.

The DeWitt County Republican Central Committee recommended Daniel P. Markwell (right, with Judge Koritz) for State's Attorney to the Board. Chairman of the Republican Committee, Dustin Peterson explained Markwell, who comes from Clinton County, received a unanimous vote from the Republican Committee and comes highly recommended by his peers. The State's Attorney job was recently left open due to Karle Kortiz accepting the position of Circuit Judge.

[audio:121914attorneyboard1.mp3] [/audio]

Board Member Terry Hoffman questioned if the Board had received Markwell's resume so they could understand who they were appointing but Newberg believes the process had been done correctly and it was the Board's job to vote on the Republican Party's recommendation.

[audio:121914attorneyboard2.mp3] [/audio]

The appointment for Markwell was approved 9-3 with Hoffman, Sherrie Brown and Ron Savage abstained. His term expires November 30, 2016.

Other county business approved Thursday included:

- Ruth Stauffer appointed to the board of directors for the Central Illinois Economic Development Authority

-Terry Ferguson appointed DeWitt County Board Parliamentarian

-Camille Redman appointed Open Meetings Compliance Officer

-Marina Slip Rents for Dock 4 were increased to match Dock 6 for 2015.

- The missing holidays from county employee's schedules were reinstated including Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Spring Holiday, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day and Christmas Eve.

Illinois Faces Missouri Saturday

 width=>>Illinois Face Missouri

(St. Louis, MO) -- Illinois and Missouri meet on a neutral floor tomorrow from St. Louis. Tipoff at the Scottrade Center is slated for 1 p.m. on ESPN2. The Fighting Illini are 8-and-3 while the Tigers come in at 5-and-5.

>>Duke Gets By UConn

Tyus Jones scored 21 points and No. 2 Duke stayed unbeaten with a 66-56 win over
Connecticut on Thursday.

Jones made 9-of-10 from the free throw line and handed out a game-high three assists for the Blue Devils (10-0), who have won all 10 games this season by at least 10 points.

All five Duke starters reached double figures, while the Blue Devils didn't receive a single point from three bench players that logged minutes. Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor scored 12 points apiece and Amile Jefferson went for 11 points and 13 rebounds.

 width=Duke is 10-0 for the 19th time in school history.

Ryan Boatright scored 22 for UConn (4-4), which hadn't lost four non- conference regular season games since the 1986-87 season.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#5 Virginia Cavaliers 70, Cleveland State Vikings 54

Cards Honor Minor Leaguers; Baseball Notes

 width=>>Cardinals' Minor Leaguers Honored With Season Awards

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Cardinals are honoring a pair of minor leaguers for their outstanding 2014 seasons. Marco Gonzales, who is expected to compete for a rotation job in 2015, was named the team's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, while outfielder Magneuris Sierra was named Player of the Year.

>>A's, Padres Pull Trade

(Undated) -- The Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres are pulling off a trade. The teams announced the deal Thursday night. The A's will send catcher Derek Norris, right-hander Seth Streich and an international signing slot to the Padres for right-handers Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez

>>Kemp To Padres Becomes Official

(San Diego, CA) -- Outfielder Matt Kemp is officially going from the Dodgers to the Padres. The teams announced the deal on Thursday night after "USA Today" reported his physical with the Padres revealed arthritis in both hips. Catcher Tim Federowicz [[ fed-er-OH-vitch ]] and cash considerations are heading to the Friars along with Kemp in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal [[ yaz-MAH-nee gran-DAHL ]], righty Joe Wieland and pitching prospect Zach Eflin.

>>Royals Ink Medlen To Two-Year Deal

(Kansas City, MO) -- The Kansas City Royals are adding Kris Medlen to their pitching staff. The two sides have agreed to a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2017. The 29-year-old right-hander missed all of the 2014 season recovering from Tommy John surgery after an elbow injury in spring training with the Atlanta Braves. Medlen's lone season as a starter came in 2013 when he went 15-and-12 with a 3.11 ERA. He is 34-and-20 with a 2.95 ERA in 152 career appearances.

Kings Storm Back, Beat Blues

 width=>>Kings Battle Back Against Blues

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The Kings erased a 3-0 lead and pulled out a 6-4 win versus the Blues at the STAPLES Center. Marion Gaborik [[ GAB-rick ]] had two goals and one assist, while Anze Kopitar [[ AHN-jay KOE-pih-tar ]] compiled one goal and four assists in the victory. Jonathan Quick stopped 24-of-28 shots for Los Angeles, which snapped a three-game losing streak. David Backes [[ BACK-es ]], Dmitrij Jaskin [[ dih-MEE-tree YASH-kin ]] and Kevin Shattenkirk all scored within a three-minute span in the first period to give St. Louis the 3-0 lead. Martin Brodeur [[ mar-tan broh-DURE ]] allowed all six goals on 37 shots. The Blues had a five-game winning streak snapped.

Florida Panthers 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1 (SO)
Pittsburgh Penguins 1, Colorado Avalanche 0 (OT)
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 1
Washington Capitals 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (OT)
Anaheim Ducks 2, Montreal Canadiens 1
San Jose Sharks 4, Edmonton Oilers 3

Cutler Surprised By Benching; NFL Notes

>>Bears' Cutler Says Benching Caught Him Off Guard

(Lake Forest, IL) -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler says his benching this week caught him off guard. Head coach Marc Trestman has decided to sit Cutler down and start Jimmy Clausen this Sunday against the NFC North leading Detroit Lions. The Bears are in last place in the division at 5-and-9 and have been eliminated from playoff contention.  width=Cutler threw three picks Monday night against the Saints and was also sacked seven times. The 31-year-old has thrown a league-high 18 interceptions this season and has 24 total turnovers. Cutler is in the first year of a seven-year contract worth more than 126-million-dollars, with 54-million guaranteed. He says he hopes to remain with the Bears.

>>Lions Square Off With Bears At Soldier Field

(Chicago, IL) -- NFC North rivals meet for the second time this season as the Detroit Lions head to the Windy City to battle the Chicago Bears Sunday at Soldier Field. It's the second of three straight divisional games for Detroit, which reclaimed first place with a 16-14 home win over Minnesota last weekend. At 10-and-4, the Lions and Packers are tied atop the division but Detroit beat Green Bay earlier this season. The Lions and Packers meet at Lambeau Field in Week 17. The Bears are coming off a 31-15 loss to the Saints on "Monday Night Football." Chicago has lost three in-a-row to fall to 5-and-9 on the year.

 width=>>Packers Battle Bucs In Tampa

(Tampa, FL) -- The Green Bay Packers face their final road test of the regular season when the take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. It's the second straight road game for Green Bay, which had its five-game winning streak snapped with a 21-13 loss at Buffalo this past Sunday. At 10-and-4, the Pack is tied with the Lions for the NFC North lead but Detroit holds the tiebreaker with a head-to-head win in Week Three. The Bucs are riding a four-game losing streak that has them in the NFC South cellar at 2-and-12. Tampa Bay is winless at home this season at 0-and-6.

 width=>>Giants Go Up Against Rams In St. Louis

(St. Louis, MO) -- The New York Giants hit the road one last time in 2014 as they play the St. Louis Rams Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. The G-Men are coming off a 24-13 win over Washington. The Giants have won their last two games on the heels of a seven-game losing streak to improve to 5-and-9. The Rams are coming off a 12-6 loss to the Cardinals on "Thursday Night Football" last week. That snapped a two-game winning streak for St. Louis, which had posted back-to-back shutouts over the Raiders and Redskins the two games before. The Rams are in last place in the NFC West with a 6-and-8 mark.

>>Jaguars Top Titans

(Jacksonville, FL) -- Toby Gerhart and Jordan Todman both had second half touchdown runs as the Jaguars topped the Titans 21-13 on "Thursday Night Football" at EverBank Field. Todman had a 62-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that put the Jags up 21-10. Gerhart and Todman combined for 124 of Jacksonville's 177 total rushing yards. Blake Bortles threw for 115 yards and a TD and added 50 yards on five carries as the Jags improved to 3-and-12. Charlie Whitehurst finished 24-of-35 for 287 yards and a score for Tennessee, which slipped to 2-and-13. Leon Washington had seven catches for 62 yards and the lone touchdown in defeat.

Bulls Down Knicks Without Rose

 width=>>Bulls Sink Knicks

(Chicago, IL) -- Jimmy Butler dropped a career-high 35 points with seven assists, five rebounds and four steals helping the Bulls get past the Knicks, 103-97, at the United Center. Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson sat out for Chicago, while Carmelo Anthony missed the game for New York. Pau Gaol added 20 points, seven boards and five blocks as the Bulls earned their fourth win in five tries The Knicks were paced by Tim Hardaway Junior's 23 points. Amar'e Stoudemire chipped in 16 and Cole Aldrich piled up a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double. New York has lost three straight.

New Orleans Pelicans 99, Houston Rockets 90
Milwaukee Bucks 108, Sacramento Kings 107
Golden State Warriors 114, Oklahoma City Thunder 109

Illinois State Heads To New Hampshire In FCS Playoffs

Illinois State's gifted offense was relentless in dispatching Eastern Washington, 59-46, in the quarterfinals. But now the Redbirds are moving to the other side of the country, so it's
possible all the travel will have an effect on the Missouri Valley Football Conference co-champions.

 width=Still, star running back Marshaun Coprich doesn't appear to be slowing down, having gone over 100 rushing yards in all 13 games. That includes 258 yards and four touchdowns against Eastern Washington, which gave him a national-high 2,089 yards this season. With New Hampshire playing a 4-2-5 defensive alignment, he should be able to get to the edge of the secondary, as he likes to do.

Of course, Illinois State has had a 1-2 offensive punch all season. Quarterback Tre Roberson, the Indiana transfer, has set the school record for total yards in a season (3,559) and accounted for 36 total touchdowns.

The Wildcats have to be error-free on offense, especially quarterback Sean Goldrich, who will mix in the run and pass. Coach Sean McDonnell, the Eddie Robinson Award winner, figures to be creative offensively, and the Wildcats want to let their top playmaker.

Running back Nico Steriti doesn't break long runs, but he's built strong and powers through defenses to eat up yards. Had he not been hurt during the regular season, he figured to have been at an All-CAA level. The playoffs are giving the senior a chance to make up for lost time.

The UNH defense can bend but can't break like Eastern Washington's did against Illinois State. Chattanooga had 566 yards against UNH in the quarterfinals, so the Wildcats were fortunate to pull out a 35-30 win.

Rauner Learning From Mitch Daniels

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner is planning to take a few pages out of former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels's playbook, especially when it comes to creating jobs.

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Rauner says Illinois families and businesses have been flocking to Indiana because of the growing economy. He says he wants to reverse that trend. Rauner says Daniels had a lot to do with boosting the Indiana economy and as far as he's concerned, Daniels is one of the greatest governor's in American history. Daniels was known for speaking out against public sector unions and eliminating collective bargaining rights for government workers. Rauner won't say if he plans to make any moves like that.

University of Illinois To Sexual Assault Group Starts Work

A University of Illinois task force on sexual assault has started meeting and plans to survey the school's three campuses to assess the situation at each.

University spokesman Tom Hardy says the new task force met for the first time Wednesday. The group is supposed to finish surveys at the Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield campuses by the spring.

University President Robert Easter created the group in late October. He said in a letter at the time that the task force was started because "issues concerning sexual violence on college campuses have been in the national spotlight."

Sexual violence in college and the military has become a prominent national issue.

Hardy says the task force has about 18 members. They include students as well as public-safety officials, student-services staff and others.

Central Illinois Man Convicted In Double Murder

Jurors have found a 30-year-old central Illinois man guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his second cousin and the cousin's wife in an execution-style shooting.

According to reports, a Macon County jury reached a verdict at Demarta Cunningham's Wednesday after deliberating for about four hours over two days.

Prosecutors say Cunningham killed his 34-year-old second cousin, Freedom Cunningham, and 28-year-old Central Cunningham in 2012 in Decatur. They say Cunningham shot the couple because Freedom Cunningham owed him around $15,000 as part of a heroin deal.

Under Illinois law, Macon County State's Attorney Jay Scott says Cunningham will receive an automatic life sentence for killing two people. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6.

Local Veterans Assisting Veterans At Danville's VA Hospital

Time is running short to support local veterans assist their peers who are in need this holiday season.

The Clinton's Am-Vets are doing a special collection this holiday season to support their fellow-vets in Danville, Illinois. According to Jesse Owens of the Am-Vets in Clinton, they are looking for basic necessities and clothes. He stresses any clothing items need to be in either new or like new condition.

[audio:12914vetscollect1.mp3] [/audio]

Along with the Am-Vets in this effort, Clinton's Walgreen's does a candy bar drive also that goes to the Danville facility. Owens explains the Walgreen's effort has been going much longer than theirs but he says both are good avenues to support veterans in need.

[audio:12914vetscollect2.mp3] [/audio]

You can support the Am-Vets and the Daville veterans hospital through more ways than just tangible contributions. Owens explains financial contributions can go a long ways as well.

[audio:12914vetscollect3.mp3] [/audio]

The supply drive for the Danville Veterans hospital is underway. Donations can be taken to Darvin's Barber Shop in downtown Clinton. Donations will be accepted all the way up to the 21st of December with a group of Am-Vets to go to Danville on the 22nd.

Local veteran activist Jeff Morlock is challenging area businesses to step up and help a good cause. He hopes to draw interest in this drive not just from the residential community, but from the business community also.

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To find out more about the drive, contact Owens at 217-413-7960 or Darvin Volker at 217-935-3551.

Morlock and Owens also encourage any current service men or women who are on active duty and will be coming home to contact them about a special escort home they have done recently. They also hope any veterans who haven't yet had the opportunity to participate in the Honor Flights to contact them about doing so.

You can also reach the AmVets by email at amvets14@gmail.com.

Bears, NFL Notes

>>Trestman Says He's Aware of Speculation About Future

Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman is aware of speculation about his future and acknowledges he is not getting the most out of quarterback Jay Cutler.

The Bears (5-9) have two games left in a season that derailed long ago and changes could be coming. Trestman says his focus is on the task at hand, which is preparing for this weekend's game against Detroit and figuring out a way to end a three-game losing streak.

 width=Even so, he acknowledges there is "noise out there" about his future. He also says he feels "very supported" within the Bears' headquarters.

If there are changes, it is unclear how far up the chain they will go.

>>Bears To Start Jimmy Clausen At Quarterback

(Chicago, IL) -- The Chicago Bears are benching quarterback Jay Cutler for their upcoming game against the Detroit Lions. ESPN reports the team will start backup Jimmy Clausen instead. Chicago has lost three straight and is in the NFC North cellar at 5-and-9. Cutler leads the league with 18 interceptions and 12 fumbles. Clausen has thrown for 16-hundred yards, three touchdowns and nine interceptions in 16 games over his five-year career out of Notre Dame. The Lions are 10-and-4 and tied with the Packers for first place in the division. Detroit currently holds the tiebreaker, having beaten Green Bay back in Week Three.

>>Bears' Conte Says Playing In NFL Worth Health Risks

(Chicago, IL) -- At least one player believes playing in the NFL is worth any potential long-term health risks. Bears safety Chris Conte tells WBBM Radio that he'd rather have the experience of playing in the NFL and die 10 or 15 years earlier than not be able to play in the NFL and live a long life. The 25-year-old said he's not even referring to concussions, just the general risk of playing football.

 width=>>Report: Michigan Makes Offer To Jim Harbaugh

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- The University of Michigan wants 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to come back to his alma mater. Multiple reports have the school offering Harbaugh a six-year, 48-million-dollar contract to leave the pros. The 1986 Big Ten Player of the Year is under contract with the Niners through the 2015 NFL season. Harbaugh led San Francisco to three straight NFC Championship games, but are out of playoff contention this season at 7-and-7. The Wolverines fired head coach Brady Hoke after four seasons. U-of-M finished 5-and-7 this year and missed a bowl game for the first time since 2009. At eight-million-dollars per season, the deal at Michigan would make Harbaugh the highest-paid coach in college football. The Oakland Raiders are also rumored to be interested in Harbaugh's services, but would have to trade for the coach.

>>49ers Release McDonald Amid Sexual Assault Allegation

(Santa Clara, CA) -- The San Francisco 49ers are parting ways with embattled defensive tackle Ray McDonald. Niners general manager Trent Baalke [[ BAHL-kee ]] says the team has released him from his contract after reports he was served with a search warrant by police investigating an alleged sexual assault. San Jose police went to his home Tuesday after speaking with a woman who was receiving treatment at a hospital for a possible sexual assault. The preliminary investigation revealed the alleged suspect to be McDonald. The 30-year-old was arrested in August for a domestic violence incident involving his pregnant wife, but charges were later dropped due to a lack of evidence.

>>Panthers' Newton Back At Practice

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton practiced on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his back in a car crash last week.

Newton suffered two fractures in his lower back last Tuesday afternoon in a two-car accident near the team's stadium, forcing him to miss Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton "looked good" in limited action during practice, even throwing a couple of passes over 60 yards.

But Rivera stressed that the team was taking a wait-and-see approach as far as Newton's status for Sunday's game against Cleveland is concerned.

Derek Anderson filled in for Newton and threw for 277 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 19-17 win over the Buccaneers.

Cubs, Cards Notes

 width=>>Mariners To Acquire Justin Ruggiano

(Seattle, WA) -- The Seattle Mariners are adding Justin Ruggiano [[ roo-jee-AH-no ]] to their outfield. FOX Sports reports the M's are sending minor league pitcher Matt Brazis to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Ruggiano. The 32-year-old hit .281 with six home runs and drove in 28 runs in 81 games for the Cubs last season.

 width=>>Cardinals' Matheny Switching To Number-26

(St. Louis, MO) -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is switching uniform numbers. The skipper will now wear number-26 to honor a late former friend, who passed away November 10th. Matheny gave his old number-22 to new outfielder Jason Heyward, who was acquired from the Braves in a trade last month.

>>Padres, Rays, National Agree To Three-Team Deal

(San Diego, CA) -- Outfielder Wil Myers is headed to San Diego in a three-team deal involving the Padres, Rays and Nationals. ESPN.com reports the Padres will receive Myers, catcher Ryan Hanigan and minor leaguer Gerardo Reyes from the Rays. Meanwhile Tampa receives catcher Rene Rivera and minor league pitcher Burch Smith, infielder Jake Bauers and Jose Castillo from San Diego. The Rays also pick up outfielder Steven Souza, and pitching prospect Travis Ott from the Nationals. Washington receives minor league right-hander Joe Ross and shortstop Trea Turner from the Padres organization. The centerpiece of the deal, Myers, was the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year.

>>Royals Reportedly Agree To Two-Year Deal With Volquez

(Kansas City, MO) -- The Kansas City Royals are adding free-agent pitcher Edinson Volquez to their starting rotation. CBSSports.com reports the two sides have agreed to a two-year contract worth 20-million-dollars. The 31-year-old right-hander went 13-and-7 with a 3.04 ERA last season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Volquez will be called upon to help fill the void of pitcher James Shields, who is a free agent and is not expected to return. Volquez is 66-and-59 with a 4.44 ERA in 10 big league seasons with the Rangers, Reds, Padres, Dodgers and Pirates.

>>Orioles' Davis Gets Therapeutic-Use Exemption

(Baltimore, MD) -- Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis is getting a therapeutic-use exemption for the drug that got him suspended for 25 games last season. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters Tuesday that Davis has been cleared to use Adderall during the 2015 season. He received a 25-game ban on September 12th for failing a second test for the drug, and not having an exemption. Davis missed the final 17 games of the regular season and all seven O's playoff games. He still has one game to serve and will miss Opening Day in 2015. After leading the majors with 53 home runs in 2013, Davis hit .196 with 26 bombs last season.

>>Giants Bringing Back RP Romo

he San Francisco Giants have reportedly re-signed reliever Sergio Romo on Wednesday.

According to FOX Sports, Romo and the Giants have agreed on a two-year, $15 million pact.

The right-hander's numbers dipped in 2014 as he finished the year with 23 saves, a 3.72 earned run average and a 6-4 record over 64 games.

Romo, who has been a part of all three of the Giants' World Series teams since 2010, has racked up 78 saves, a 2.51 ERA and a 31-21 record over 405 games spanning seven seasons with San Francisco.

The 31-year-old has also gone 3-1 over 25 career postseason appearances, registering a 2.11 ERA and four saves.

Blues At Kings Tonight

 width=The Blues and Kings play the second of their home-and-home matchup tonight in LA. It's the start of a three-game road trip for the Blues, who beat the Stanley Cup champions 5-2 at home on Tuesday for their fifth straight win. The Blues also play at San Jose and Colorado on this trip.

Ottawa Senators 2, New Jersey Devils 0
Boston Bruins 3, Minnesota Wild 2 (OT)
Dallas Stars 2, Vancouver Canucks 0

Bulls Host Knicks Tonight

 width=>>Bulls Host Knicks Tonight

(Chicago, IL) -- The Bulls are back home to take on the New York Knicks tonight at the United Center. Chicago had its three-game winning streak snapped with a 93-86 loss in Atlanta on Monday. The Bulls sit at 15-and-9 on the season. The Knicks have dropped 12 of their last 13 games and are just 5-and-22 overall.

Atlanta Hawks 127, Cleveland Cavaliers 98
Phoenix Suns 111, Charlotte Hornets 106
Dallas Mavericks 117, Detroit Pistons 106
Utah Jazz 105, Miami Heat 87
Boston Celtics 109, Orlando Magic 92
Toronto Raptors 105, Brooklyn Nets 89
Memphis Grizzlies 117, San Antonio Spurs 116 (3OT)
Portland Trail Blazers 104, Milwaukee Bucks 97
Los Angeles Clippers 102, Indiana Pacers 100
Houston Rockets 115, Denver Nuggets 111 (OT)

>>Report: Celtics Shopping Rondo

(Boston, MA) -- The Rajon Rondo trade rumors are resurfacing again. ESPN reports the Celtics and Mavericks "are in substantive discussions on a trade that would send Rondo" to Dallas. The deal would involve draft picks with at least one of them being a first rounder along with center Brandan Wright going to Boston. There would need to be other players in the deal to make the trade work from a salary cap perspective. Other teams the Celtics have been in contract with include the Knicks, Kings and Rockets. Rondo is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Illini Football Add Eight Early Enrollees

 width=Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman announced Wednesday the addition of eight student-athletes: six junior college transfers who signed national letters of intent and two high school seniors who signed Big Ten tenders to enroll at Illinois in January 2015 and play football for the Fighting Illini. All eight incoming student-athletes plan on participating in spring football practices with the Orange and Blue.

The junior college additions include three offensive linemen - including the No. 1 junior college center and the No. 2 JUCO offensive guard in the nation - the Nos. 1 and 7 junior college tight ends in the nation and a running back ranked No. 10 in the JUCO ranks. The two high school January enrollees, Dre Brown and Jimmy Fitzgerald, both rank among the top players in the state of Illinois.

Illinois, Illinois State Win Wednesday

 width=>>Nunn Leads Illinois Over Hampton

Kendrick Nunn scored a season-high 16 points as Illinois cruised over Hampton 73-55 on Wednesday night.

The Illini (8-3) jumped out to a 27-11 lead early in the first half, but Hampton (4-6) made a run behind leading scorer Quinton Chievous. The senior scored eight consecutive points on a 10-0 Hampton run.

Illinois closed out the half on a strong note when Nunn drilled a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to push the lead back up to 12.

After missing his first two shots, Nunn made his next six, including four 3-pointers.

In the second half, the lead wouldn't dip into single digits as the Illini stifled the Pirates.

Deron Powers and Dwight Meikle led Hampton with 12 points each, although the Pirates never led in the game.

Rayvonte Rice added 12 points and five rebounds for Illinois.

 width=>>ISU Escapes UT-Martin

Daishon Knight scored 18 points and Illinois State's late run lifted the Redbirds over UT Martin 64-54 on Wednesday.

Knight's 3-pointer with 3:45 left broke a 52-all tie and ignited a 13-2 run while UT Martin missed its last five shots of the game.

Illinois State (6-3) led by one midway through the first half but closed on a 14-5 run to lead 28-18 at the break. UT Martin (6-3) scored one point in the final 4:58 of the half, missing its final four shots and 3 of 4 free throws.

The Skyhawks roared out of the gate after intermission to make a game of it, as a 17-6 run gave them a one-point lead just over 6 minutes into the second half.

Reggie Lynch had 12 points and eight rebounds for Illinois State and Justin McCloud added 11.

Deville Smith paced UT martin with 16 points and Marshun Newell had 14.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#12 Ohio State Buckeyes 97, North Carolina A&T Aggies 55
#16 Washington Huskies 86, Grambling State Tigers 38
Cincinnati Bearcats 71, #17 San Diego State Aztecs 62 (OT)
#22 Michigan State Spartans 66, Eastern Michigan Eagles 46

IHSA To Post Basketball Championship Games Online

The Illinois State High School Association says fans of high school basketball will soon be able to watch state-title games from six decades online.

 width=The IHSA said Wednesday that video of 145 boys' and girls' championship games shot between 1947 and 2007 will be posted to the IHSA Archives Youtube channel on Sunday. Fans will be able to watch the videos for free.

IHSA Assistant Executive Director Scott Johnson said the organization has been considering various ways to let the public take advantage of its archives.

If the videos are popular, more from other sports could be posted. Johnson said the IHSA has video form about 1,600 state final-games and meet.

The IHSA is the governing body for high school sports in Illinois.

State Rep. Meets With Clinton, DeWitt County Residents, Leaders

 width=The Loft in Clinton Thursday was packed with leaders and citizens interested in hearing and interacting with State Representative Bill Mitchell.

Local leaders and citizens stopped in Thursday to voice questions and concerns of the representative who represents the 101st district in Illinois. According to Rep. Mitchell, comments ranged from taxation suggestions to budget questions.

[audio:121914mitchellmeet1.mp3] [/audio]

The crowd on hand was almost exclusively Clinton and DeWitt County residents, and Rep. Mitchell says there are many state issues that have a great deal of relevance to area residents. He points to rural transportation and economic development as just a few.

[audio:121914mitchellmeet2.mp3] [/audio]

Rep. Mitchell was very pleased with the turnout Thursday. He felt as though coming personally instead of sending someone in his place, as is a legislator custom, was a major factor in the solid turnout.

[audio:121914mitchellmeet3.mp3] [/audio]

Rep. Mitchell called Thursday's get together a success and anticipates trying something like that again.

His opening remarks discussed the upcoming budget challenges the State faces and did not provide an optimistic view of the next two budget cycles as Illinois faces an $8-billion debt.

US Attorney Says No Racial Bias In Illinois Office

The U.S. attorney overseeing public-corruption convictions of several black defendants in central Illinois in recent years says racial bias is not involved.

James Lewis is the Justice Department's prosecutor in Springfield. He spoke Wednesday after black businessman Leon Dingle Jr. and his wife, Karin, who is white, were convicted of stealing $3.4 million in Illinois Department of Public Health grant money.

Lewis says trial evidence "has no color."

Dr. Eric Whitaker - the black former public health director and President Barack Obama's friend - testified outside the jury's presence in the trial. He criticized Lewis for a disproportionate number of blacks prosecuted.

Lewis's boss, Attorney General Eric Holder - a black man and friend of Whitaker and Obama - has said his Springfield-based prosecutors act in a "neutral" manner.

Topinka's Son Takes Hit At Blagojevich

Judy Baar Topinka's son Joseph says he's watched his mom take some pretty nasty hits from her opponents over the years. He says her 2006 race against former Governor Rod Blagojevich was especially tough, but the tides have since turned.

[audio:rddThinking11.mp3] [/audio]

Blagojevich used the "What was she thinking" tagline against Topinka on just about every issue during the race. He beat her out that year. Now, he's serving out a 14-year-prison sentence for corruption. Topinka was remembered as a hard working politician who fought for every person in Illinois, during a memorial service this morning. She died suddenly last week after having a stroke.

Judy Baar Topinka's Son Remembers Her Tenacity

Judy Baar Topinka's son Joseph is remembering his mom as a fun-loving woman who never gave up - no matter what people, or even instructions, said.

[audio:rddTopinkaEggs1.mp3] [/audio]

Joseph says his mom used that same tenacity to fight for the people of Illinois. Topinka served in the state legislature and went on to become the state's first female treasurer. She was the first woman to top the GOP ticket for governor back in 2006 but lost out to Rod Blagojevich. The loss didn't sit her down though, she became the state comptroller in 2011. Topinka died suddenly last week after having a stroke.

Thompson: Remember Topinka By Putting Bickering Aside

Former Governor Jim Thompson says Judy Baar Topinka worked with dignity and served the people of Illinois with honor. He says other political leaders could learn from her example.

[audio:rddTopinkaEggs1.mp3] [/audio]

Thompson says political leaders can find solutions to high debt, high unemployment, high crime, and crumbling infrastructure if they put partisanship aside and work together. He says it's just one reason why Topinka was successful in all of her endeavors. She died suddenly after having a stroke last week. Nearly a-thousand-people gathered at a memorial service in her honor yesterday.

Report Links Fracking With Toxic Air Pollution

A leading environmental group says fracking causes toxic air pollution.  According to a report released Tuesday by the National Resources Defense Council, Americans who live near oil and gas drilling operations are exposed to a variety of hazardous airborne chemicals including benzene and formaldehyde.  Researchers say those chemicals can cause breathing problems, birth defects and cancers, among other serious health issues.  Previous studies by the EPA have linked fracking to pollution of drinking water.  The drilling process uses huge amounts of water mixed with sand and other chemicals to break apart shale deposits to extract gas and oil. 

Toys For Tots Enters 68th Annual Celebration

The Toys for Tots campaign is entering its 68th season of delivering millions of smiles to kids on Christmas morning who are less fortunate.

[audio:ToysTots11.mp3] [/audio]

Lieutenant General Osman says make sure not to wrap the toys you are donating.

[audio:ToysTots21.mp3] [/audio]

Osman says they expect to have one of the biggest years they have ever had.

[audio:ToysTots31.mp3] [/audio]

The CEO for the Marine Toys for Tots Lieutenant General Pete Osman says that more than 750 communities in all 50 states are participating in the program this year. Osman believes close to 20-million toys will be donated to hand out to nearly 8-million needy children this year. People who want to donate, need to buy a toy that you would buy your own child and then find a drop off box in your community. Osman says some of the best gifts to give kids, are electronic gadgets.

Holiday Mailing Deadlines Are Quickly Approaching

People around the country need to mail their packages and letters soon if they want them to arrive to their loved ones by Christmas. That's according to United States Postal Service spokesman David Rupert.

[audio:DENrupertholidaymail1.mp3] [/audio]

That priority mail needs to get to a mailbox by December 20th. Rupert says the busiest mailing day is December 15th. He expects 15-and-a-half-billion cards, letters and packages will have been delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve around the country.

Christmas Mailing Deadlines Coming Up

Postal workers will be stuffing more cards and letters into mailboxes around the U.S. today than any other day of the year. The United States Postal Service says today is the busiest delivery day of the year for smaller holiday items. Those expecting bigger gifts will likely get them tomorrow, the busiest day for package delivery at the post office.

If you haven't sent your holiday mail, the deadline to get it delivered before Christmas is coming up. The USPS says this coming Saturday is the deadline to send cards, letters and packages to be sure they'll be delivered by Christmas Day. Next Tuesday, December 23rd, is the deadline for sending packages with Priority Mail Express.

Walmart CEO Says Supercenter Stores Too Big

The big boss at Walmart says the company's supercenter stores are just too big.  CEO Doug McMillon says the world's biggest retailer found out "how big was too big" when the company learned that some customers don't want to walk around a 200-thousand square food store to do their shopping.  That's how big Walmart's biggest supercenters are, the size of four football fields.  McMillon told PBS interviewer Charlie Rose that Walmart's been building smaller supercenters over the past few years.  McMillon says Walmart's future stores will keep getting smaller as the company focuses more on its e-commerce business and adds more Neighborhood Markets, which are about one-fifth the size of supercenters.

Police Say Man Arrested in Jacksonville Killing

Jacksonville authorities say they have arrested a man wanted in an October shooting death after he spent nearly eight weeks on the run.

Police say the U.S. Marshals Service arrested the 19-year-old Monday. Jacksonville Lt. Adam Mefford said he was being held in or near St. Louis.

The man is accused of shooting 24-year-old Marcus Jackson outside a home in Jacksonville. Police announced a wide search for the man four days later and noted his ties to the Jacksonville, Springfield and Decatur areas.

No charges have been reported.

Courts Warning About Scam Over 'Missed' Jury Duty

Illinois residents are being warned about a phone scam in which victims are told there's a warrant for their arrest because of missed jury duty. They're also told they can avoid arrest by paying a fine.

The Illinois Supreme Court has issued an alert to courts throughout the state, saying that the scam has recently been carried out in Kendall County.

The caller identifies himself as "Captain David Allen" from the "Federal Warrant Division" and tells victims that a specific judge has issued an arrest warrant.

Victims are asked to buy a "money pack" - a prepaid credit card available at many stores - then call "Captain Allen" at a specific phone number. The victim is asked to read the numbers off the money pack to settle the false fine.

Spending Rises As Gas Prices Drop

It's estimated spending will be up ten-to-20 percent over last holiday season. Economist Jim Rounds says that's because of reduced gas prices and increased confidence in the economy.

[audio:121614JimRoundscut11.mp3] [/audio]

Rounds adds savings at the pump does not mean people will set aside their savings.

[audio:121614JimRoundsCUT21.mp3] [/audio]

He says lower gas prices also will cost producers less to ship their products, which should lower their prices, so there's a substantial ripple effect.

Rauner May Rent While Governor's Mansion is Fixed Up

Illinois' governor-elect says he may have to rent a house or condo while the governor's mansion is being fixed up.

Winnetka Republican Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) made the comments during a luncheon in Springfield Tuesday.

Rauner and his wife Diana have vowed to live in the governor's mansion in downtown Springfield after his inauguration in January. But Rauner says there is work to be done on the structure. It has been the official residence of the governor since 1855, but the two previous governors lived mostly in Chicago.

The third floor had to be closed this spring because of a leaky roof. Ceilings and walls were damaged and some furniture was moved to a storage facility.

Rauner has said he plans to use private funding for repairs.

Budget Structure Hurting Illinois People, Business

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner says the state's flawed budget structure is weighing heavy on the people who live and work here.

[audio:rddStructure11.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner says the whole structure needs an overhaul and that will be a priority when he takes over on January 12th. Rauner says there will be some tax reforms but he won't go into detail on what the specific plans are. He makes it clear though, he will not tax retirement income.

Escaped Indiana Prison Inmate Captured In Illinois

Police say an inmate who escaped from a minimum-security federal prison in Indiana has been arrested on the University of Illinois' campus.

Campus police say an officer doing a routine walk-through of the school's undergraduate library in Urbana, Illinois, found 61-year-old Michael Ward there and arrested him Monday night.

Reports indicate the officer noticed Ward because of his clothing and his prison-issued "knit bag." He was taken to the Champaign County Jail to await extradition to Indiana.

Ward was found missing Sunday morning during an inmate count at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, about 60 miles southeast of Urbana.

The Department of Justice says Ward is believed to have escaped in a white, government-owned Chevy Silverado pickup truck.

New Leader Named For Illinois Farm Service Agency

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has named a new leader of the Farm Service Agency Illinois State Committee.

Jill Appell of Altona, Illinois, farms in Knox County. She's a past president of the National Pork Producers Council and the Illinois Pork Producers Association. Appell also has served as the U.S. Agriculture Department's Illinois State Director for Rural Development.

In a news release Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says Appell has decades of experience in rural and agricultural issues. Durbin says he's confident she'll "shine" in her new position.

The Farm Service Agency helps administer federal farm programs at the local level. They include programs to help farmers conserve land and water resources and to help them recover from disasters.

Appell replaces Darrell Sarff, a grain and vegetable farmer from Chandlerville.

Clinton Schools Name New Superintendent

Anticipating the retirement of current Superintendent Dr. Jeff Holmes at the end of the school's fiscal year, the Clinton Board of Education named its replacement Tuesday night.

 width=Curt Nettles comes to the Clinton District from Lexington and will be the successor to Dr. Holmes. Starting in the fall, the Board of Education has been interviewing candidates for the position. According to Nettles, he's been seeking a new professional opportunity, and felt Clinton was a place that "has a good reputation".

[audio:121714nettles1.mp3] [/audio]

Through the interview process, Nettles was impressed with thoroughness of the Board of Education. He explains they showed they cared a great deal about the district and the students and also took note of the many newer facilities.

[audio:121714nettles2.mp3] [/audio]

School Board President Rod Wertz says he is very pleased with the hire and welcomes Nettles to the district. He explains the process they went through was very strenuous and thorough and appreciates the hard work put in by the Board of Education.

[audio:121714nettles3.mp3] [/audio]

Nettles indicates he has started a transition plan for himself to become more informed and becoming more established with the inner-happenings of the district. He will begin to attend board meetings on a regular basis and hopes to start forming the working relationships with the staff, which calls very important.

Nettles will take over July 1 of next year.

NASCAR, Sprint To End Partnership After 2016

 width=Sprint will end its partnership with NASCAR after the 2016 season.

The wireless carrier cited a need to focus more directly on its core business priorities as the reason for its decision to end its sponsorship of NASCAR's top series.

NASCAR and Nextel signed a 10-year agreement in 2004 and Sprint took over after a corporate merger with Nextel. The Nextel Cup became the Sprint Cup in 2008.

Prior to 2004, NASCAR's premier series had been sponsored by tobacco giant RJ Reynolds for 33 years and was known as the Winston Cup.

NBA Notes

>>Bucks Announce Parker Out Rest of Year

The Milwaukee Bucks announced that rookie Jabari Parker is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

Parker left Monday's 96-94 win over the Phoenix Suns after suffering the injury on a drive to the basket in the third quarter.

Parker returned to Milwaukee on Tuesday afternoon and an MRI revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He will undergo surgery to repair the injury.

 width=Parker was leading a break early in the third when he appeared to collide with P.J. Tucker. His left knee buckled and he went down in immediate pain.

At the time, team officials confirmed a left knee sprain for Parker, who did not return and finished with eight points.

Parker, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft out of Duke, did not disappoint in 25 games as a rookie. The reigning Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October/November was second among first-year players with an average of 12.3 points and his 5.5 rebounds ranked third.

>>Pacers Would Bring Back Stephenson If Bird OKs Move

(Indianapolis, IN) -- Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon says he would bring back eccentric guard Lance Stephenson in a trade if team president Larry Bird gives his approval. Simon told the "Indianapolis Star" the move would be up to the front office. The 24-year-old left the Pacers during the offseason after four seasons to sign a three-year, 27.4-million-dollar contract with the Charlotte Hornets. Multiple reports say Stephenson has already worn out his welcome in Charlotte, and is on the trading block.

>>Grizzlies End Warriors' 16-Game Winning Streak

(Memphis, TN) -- Marc Gasol led a balanced attack with 24 points as the Grizzlies ended the Warriors' 16-game winning streak with a 105-98 victory in Memphis. Zach Randolph had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have won their last five. Mike Conley also scored 17 points in the victory. Klay Thompson netted 22 points for Golden State, which lost for the first time since November 11th. Stephen Curry had 19 points on 9-of-25 shooting, including 1-of-10 from three-point range, in the loss.

Washington Wizards 109, Minnesota Timberwolves 95
Miami Heat 95, Brooklyn Nets 91
Dallas Mavericks 107, New York Knicks 87
New Orleans Pelicans 119, Utah Jazz 111
Oklahoma City Thunder 104, Sacramento Kings 92

College Baskebtall, Football Notes

 width=>>Arizona Routes Oakland

Stanley Johnson had 18 points and No. 3 Arizona routed Oakland 101-64 on Tuesday night.

Brandon Ashley posted 15 points and eight rebounds, while Gabe York added 15 points for the Wildcats (11-0), who closed out their five-game home stand.

T.J. McConnell dished out 10 assists in the triumph.

Kahlil Felder tallied 20 points, nine assists and four steals to lead the Golden Grizzlies (4-7).

>>Wichita State Gets By Alabama

Fred VanVleet fed Darius Carter for the game-deciding dunk with 11.9 seconds remaining as No. 11 Wichita State survived Alabama, 53-52, on Tuesday.

 width=The Crimson Tide led by 11 with under five minutes to play before a furious comeback pulled the Shockers even. Rashard Kelly scored the final four points of an 11-0 run, the last two coming off a steal with 1:20 remaining.

Carter and Ron Baker led the Shockers with 16 and 14 points, respectively, while Randolph and Shannon Hale each netted 13 points for the Tide.

VanFleet finished with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists.

>>Marquette Tops Arizona State

Jajuan Johnson scored a game-high 22 points off the bench as the Marquette Golden Eagles
secured a 78-71 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils in non-conference action at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Fellow reserve Luke Fischer accounted for 19 p

The Sun Devils (6-4) were paced by Gerry Blakes with 20 points, although his solid 4-of-8 showing behind the 3-point line was offset by his 6-of-17 shooting from the field overall. Kodi Justice pitched in with 12 points and Eric Jacobsen eight points and 10 rebounds.oints, nine rebounds and five blocked shots, followed by Duane Wilson with 19 points for the Golden Eagles (5-4), although he shot just 9-of-17 at the free-throw line.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#9 Texas Longhorns 106, Lipscomb Bisons 61
#15 Oklahoma Sooners 85, Oral Roberts Golden Eagles 53
#24 North Carolina Tar Heels 79, UNC Greensboro Spartans 56


>>Gary Patterson Signs New Contract With TCU

(Fort Worth, TX) -- Gary Patterson is expected to stay at TCU for the rest of the decade. Athletic Director Chris Del Conte announced the contract extension for "Coach P" on Tuesday, but didn't release details. Patterson says it feels like he's become an ambassador for the Horned Frogs and is trying to make the university better. He also compared his situation to Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer who's been with the school since 1987. Patterson is TCU's all-time winningest coach.

>>Report: Wisconsin Set To Hire Chryst

(Madison, WI) -- It appears Paul Chryst will be the next head football coach at Wisconsin. The "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" reports Chryst was in Madison on Tuesday to meet with UW officials and a news conference has been scheduled for Wednesday evening. The paper also reported last week that Chryst was set to replace Gary Andersen, who left to take over at Oregon State. Chryst is currently the head coach at Pittsburgh. The Madison native is 19-and-19 with Pitt since leaving three years ago. He was the Badgers' offensive coordinator from 2005-to-2011, the tight ends coach in 2002 and was a quarterback from 1986-to-1988.

Baseball Hot Stove Season Remains Busy

 width=>>White Sox Sign Ageless Penny

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms on a deal with veteran right-hander Brad Penny, who made a comeback this past season with the Miami Marlins.

Penny's management agency confirmed the deal in a tweet on Tuesday.

Multiple outlets, including SB Nation, said it was a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Penny, 36, returned to the majors in August after almost two years and went 2-1 with a 6.58 ERA in eight games, including four starts.

The right-hander pitched out of the bullpen for San Francisco in 2012 in his previous MLB season and hadn't made a start since Sept. 25, 2011, with Detroit.

>>Rockies Agree To Two-Year Deal With Descalso

(Denver, CO) -- The Colorado Rockies are adding infielder Daniel Descalso. The 28-year-old has agreed to a two-year, 3.6-million-dollar deal with the Colorado Rockies. Descalso can earn an extra one-million with incentives. He hit .242 with 11 doubles in 161 at-bats for the St. Louis Cardinals last season. Descalso is a career .243 batter with 10 home runs and 111 RBI in five seasons, all with the Cardinals.

>>Indians Sign Gavin Floyd

(Cleveland, OH) -- Gavin Floyd is making his way back to the American League Central. SB Nation reports the Cleveland Indians and Floyd have agreed on a one-year, four-million-dollar contract. The 31-year-old can earn up to six-million in bonuses based on starts and innings pitched. After working his way back from Tommy John surgery, Floyd pitched for the Atlanta Braves last season before suffering a season-ending fractured arm. Before the injury, Floyd was 2-and-2 with a 2.65 ERA in nine starts for the Braves. He pitched seven seasons for the White Sox from 2007-to-2013.

>>Padres Add Pitcher Brandon Morrow

(San Diego, CA) -- Righty Brandon Morrow will try and catch on with the San Diego Padres. MLB.com reports the two sides have agreed to a one-year, 2.5-million-dollar contract. He can earn up to five-million in incentives if he starts, and up to one-million working out of the Padres' bullpen. Morrow has not pitched in a full season since 2011. The 30-year-old went 1-and-3 with a 5.67 ERA in 13 games for the Blue Jays last season, six of which were starts. Toronto converted him back to the bullpen after four seasons as a starter.

 width=>>Marlins Agree To Two-Year Deal With Morse

(Miami, FL) -- The Miami Marlins are adding some pop to their lineup. According to multiple reports, the Marlins have agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse. The deal is pending a physical. The 32-year-old batted .279 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI last season for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Morse is a career .281 hitter with 99 home runs in parts of 10 big league seasons.

>>Rangers Sign Former Cubs Reliever

The Texas Rangers have signed pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa to a one-year contract with a club option for 2016.

Fujikawa spent the past two seasons with the Chicago Cubs, compiling a 1-1 record with two saves and a 5.04 ERA in 27 games. The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2013 and missed 14 months. He returned toward the end of the 2014 season
and pitched in 15 games.

Before joining the Cubs, Fujikawa spent 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball Central League, where he saved 220 games.

The Rangers also signed infielder Tommy Field and first baseman Kyle Blanks to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training.

Saints Fan Arrested For Pushing Bears Chairman

 width=A New Orleans Saints fan is dealing with legal troubles after pushing the Chicago Bears chairman during "Monday Night Football."  Chicago police arrested 58-year-old Richard Kohnke after he allegedly got into physical altercation with George McCaskey at Soldier Field.  Police say McCaskey accused Kohnke of sitting in his seat and then the two argued.  McCaskey then went to get stadium security, which prompted Kohnke to push the chairman from behind to the ground.  The Saints fan was then ejected from the stadium, processed by police and charged with misdemeanor battery. 

Blues, Blackhawks Win

 width=>>Blackhawks Handle Wild

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks scored twice late in the third period to take down the Wild 5-3 at the United Center. Five different Blackhawks scored, led by Patrick Kane's goal and two assists. Jonathan Toews [[ taves ]] found the back of the net and finished with two dimes, while Marian Hossa [[ HOE-suh ]] and Ben Smith logged goals. Antti Raanta [[ AHN-tee RAHN-tuh ]] stopped 26 pucks as Chicago jumped to 22-9-and-1 with its 10th win in 11 contests. Thomas Vanek [[ VAN-eck ]] and Marco Scandella scored in the loss, with Nino Niederreiter [[ NEE-noh NEE-der-RITE-er ]] adding a penalty shot score. Niklas Backstrom stopped 34-of-38 shots in net for the Wild, who fell to 16-12-and-1.

 width=>>Tarasenko's Hat Trick Leads Blues Past Kings

(St. Louis, MO) -- Vladimir Tarasenko [[ tare-uh-SANK-oh ]] recorded his second career hat trick to lead the Blues past the Kings 5-2 in the first end of a home-and-home at Scottrade Center. Tarasenko now has 20 goals on the year and added an assist for a four-point night. Kevin Shattenkirk and Alexander Steen also lit the lamp during a four-goal third period for the Blues, who have won five in-a-row. Jake Allen made 21 saves in the victory. Marian Gaborik [[ GAB-rick ]] scored back-to-back goals in the second period to stake LA to a 2-0 lead before St. Louis responded with five unanswered. Jonathan Quick stopped 18 shots in defeat. The Kings have lost three in-a-row and five of their last six. The teams rematch on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Montreal Canadiens 4, Carolina Hurricanes 1
Columbus Blue Jackets 1, Detroit Red Wings 0 (SO)
Florida Panthers 2, Washington Capitals 1 (SO)
Toronto Maple Leafs 6, Anaheim Ducks 2
Nashville Predators 3, Boston Bruins 2 (SO)
Winnipeg Jets 5, Buffalo Sabres 1
New York Rangers 5, Calgary Flames 2
Arizona Coyotes 2, Edmonton Oilers 1 (OT)

ISU RB Named All-American

 width=Many accolades have been bestowed upon Illinois State junior running back Marshaun Coprich in 2014, however none have been as prestigious as his selection to the 2014 Walter Camp Football Foundation Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-America team on Tuesday.

Coprich is the first Redbird to be honored as a Walter Camp All-American since 2012, when his former teammate and current San Diego Charger Colton Underwood earned the honor. The team was selected by the head coaches and sports information directors of the Football Championship Subdivision schools and certified by the accounting and auditing firm, Marcum LLP.

With his 258 yards rushing in ISU's quarterfinal playoff win at Eastern Washington last weekend, the 2014 Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year became the first Redbird in school history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season, upping his season total to 2,089 yards. The Victorville, California, native also extended his school record of consecutive 100-plus yard rushing games to 13 overall.

Coprich also holds the ISU single-season rushing touchdowns mark with 26.

Clinton Schools Battling Major Illness

 width=For the past few weeks, Clinton Schools have seen hundreds of students missing school thanks to illness.

It is not uncommon for 200-300 students or more to miss classes because of illness and Superintendent Dr. Jeff Holmes says his nurses do not hesitate to send students home if they are not healthy enough to be at school. He encourages parents to take precautions and keep kids home until they are fever free and even symptom free for 24 hours.

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The district is taking as many measures as possible to maintain a clean and sanitized environment across the school buildings. Dr. Holmes encourages students to wash their hands as much as possible during this spell of sickness.

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Having several hundred students across the district out sick on a given day may be alarming to some, but Dr. Holmes says that is not enough for him to cancel school. He points to students who rely on the district for their meals through the day as the primary reason for keeping the schools open.

[audio:121814clintonsick3.mp3] [/audio]

As many as 300 students have been out of school already this month with sickness. National health officials have recognized this year's flu vaccine is not covering all the strands of flu that are cropping up across the country and recently there's been a resurgence in mumps cases nationally as well.

Local Lawmaker To Spend Time in Clinton Thursday

 width=Thursday morning, a local business will welcome in a local lawmaker.

The Loft in Clinton will be the site where State Representative Bill Mitchell will host a different style satellite office for the morning. The Representative explains, beginning at 11 am, he'll be at the Loft fielding questions from those he represents.

[audio:121814mitchellloft1.mp3] [/audio]

Five counties make up the 101st district that Rep. Mitchell represents, and he explains sometimes it is hard to get out as much as he'd like but being at The Loft will give the public very easy access to him.

[audio:121814mitchellloft2.mp3] [/audio]

Topic Rep. Mitchell recently discussed on the The New WHOW Morning Show were Senate Bill 16, which is a revised form of school funding, and also incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner and the challenges he'll be facing as he gets set to take over in early January.

Jewish Holiday Of Hanukkah Starts This Evening

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins at sundown tonight.  Rabbi Shmuel [[ SCHMOOL ]] Goldin says it's a joyous holiday that commemorates religious freedom and spiritual rebirth.  Goldin, who's an honorary former president of the Rabbinical Council of America, says against all odds Jews were able to reclaim the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and avoid being converted.  That was a miracle, as well as the one-day supply of Temple oil that burned for eight days. Rabbi Goldin says that's why the candles that Jews light for eight days in a special Hanukkah menorah have become such an important holiday symbol.

Fewer Teens Abusing Alcohol, Pain Killers

Fewer teens are using tobacco, alcohol and painkillers. A new report by the National Council on Drug Abuse shows prevention efforts are having a positive impact on keeping teens off hard drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. The same study showed rates of marijuana use stayed pretty much level in 2014, but the public perception of weed has also softened in recent years. Over the past five years, daily cigarette smoking among teens has seen a huge drop of nearly 50 percent. About three-percent of 10th graders reported smoking cigarettes in 2014, down from around six-percent five years ago.

Despite the promising stats on traditional cigarettes, two other studies released this week show a big jump in the number of teens using electronic cigarettes. The battery-powered devices deliver nicotine as a vapor, rather than smoke. Lawmakers and public health professionals are calling for more information and regulation of the so-called e-cigarettes.

Most Employers Plan Holiday Parties, Employees Prefer Cash

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. employers are throwing holiday parties for their workers this year.  A new poll finds workers appreciate having a good time on the boss's dime, but they'd rather have cash.  The survey of employees, hiring managers, and HR professionals reports 63-percent of employers plan to throw staff parties.  The poll finds that most workers plan to attend the parties but just about all of them, 96-percent, say they'd rather have a cash bonus.  About half of them are getting their wish.  Forty-six percent of employers will pay holiday bonuses. 

CDC: Mumps Outbreak Impacting U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says over one-thousand people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with mumps this year. Recently, players on five different NHL teams have been affected. Doctor Camille [[ kah-MEAL ]] Sabella of the Cleveland Clinic says you could still be at risk of getting mumps even if you've been fully vaccinated.

[audio:CCSabellaMumps1216a1.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Sabella adds you can always get a booster for mumps, even as an adult.

[audio:CCSabellaMumps1216b1.mp3] [/audio]

The disease often starts with fever, fatigue and aches, followed by swelling of the salivary glands. The CDC says a crowded environment is a major contributing factor to outbreaks, which can happen at any time of the year.

Governor-Elect Announces Inauguration Events

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's inaugural festivities will include a dinner at the Illinois Capitol, a concert and a free event at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

The Winnetka Republican launched a website Monday with a schedule for the 2015 inauguration.

Rauner takes the oath of office during a ceremony Jan. 12. Rather than the traditional inaugural ball that evening, he's planning a concert with a yet-to-be-named "famous musical act."

Concert tickets are $125. Tickets for an inaugural dinner and reception are $1,000 per person.

Other events are free. They include admission to the museum on Jan. 11 and an open house with Rauner and other elected officials at the Old State Capitol on Jan. 12.

An inaugural committee is raising private funds to pay for the events.

Illinois Microbrews Donating Grains To Farmers

Several microbreweries in suburban Chicago are sharing grain left over from making beer with local farmers instead of throwing it away.

Scorched Earth Brewing in Algonquin takes the grains out of a kettle after brewing and puts them into another container for a farmer who lives near Sycamore to pick up for free. Crystal Lake Brewing puts its leftover wet grains into a 44-gallon garbage can to await pickup from a farmer who lives near Woodstock.

The spent grains can be used to feed farm animals or supplement feed. One farmer who receives the spent grains says she can easily use 3,000 pounds to feed cattle.

Reports indicate about 1,000 pounds of grain is used per batch, but the amount varies depending on the style of beer.

Brent Crude Oil Falls Below $60 Per Barrel

Europe's benchmark crude oil is selling for the lowest price in more than five years.  Brent North Sea crude for January delivery fell to 59-dollars and 49-cents a barrel in morning trading in London today.  This is the first time Brent's been below 60 dollars a barrel since July of 2009.  Industry analysts say slowing Chinese factory activity and weak currencies for emerging economies are choking demand and driving down prices.

Senate President Supports Madigan's Ruling

Senate President John Cullerton says there should be an "immediate" lawmaker special session to make plans for a 2016 election to replace late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

Topinka's death last week created a rare situation for outgoing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued legal analysis Monday saying Quinn should appoint someone until Jan. 12, when current terms end and newly-elected officials are sworn in. Once Rauner is in office, he should appoint someone. But Madigan says it's an elected office and urged lawmakers to consider a special election.

House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman says Rauner and Quinn should work together on succession plans.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says the Constitution makes it clear Rauner will appoint a full term comptroller in 2015.

Attorney General Says After Appointees, Vote Should Be Taken For New Comptroller

>>Attorney General Says After Appointees, Vote Should Be Taken For New Comptroller

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka leaves essentially two vacancies that should first be filled by outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn and then Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner. But she says voters should also get a chance to cast ballots for the office in 2016.

Topinka died last week. The Republican had won a second term, which starts next month.

In a legal analysis released Monday, Madigan says Quinn should appoint someone until Jan. 12, when the current term ends and new elected officials are sworn in. Then once Rauner is in office he should appoint someone.

But Madigan says it's an elected office. She says voters should have a say in a replacement as early as possible.

>>Quinn Reviewing Madigan's Decision

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner says Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's legal analysis of succession plans for the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka shows "bipartisan agreement."

Rauner has said Topinka's aide Nancy Kimme should take over in the interim. She's also on Rauner's transition team. In a Monday statement, Rauner says he appreciates Madigan's thoughts on the appointment, but didn't comment on a possible election.

A spokesman says Quinn is reviewing the analysis.

Illinois Wesleyan President To Retire

Illinois Wesleyan University's president says he plans to retire at the end of July.

Richard F. Wilson made the announcement Monday in a news release. He has been president at the private university in Bloomington for 11 years.

Wilson said that the completion of several important projects over the past few years made this a good time to retire.

Those projects included a $141 million fundraising campaign and a pair of strategic planning efforts.

Before he became president at Illinois Wesleyan, Wilson was associate chancellor for development at the University of Illinois. He also had been vice president of the University of Illinois Foundation.

The news release from Illinois Wesleyan said a national search for a new president will start right away. The school has about 2,000 students.

'Vision 20/20' Hopes To Reform Future Education

Various Illinois school leaders are introducing a program they hope will determine the path of public education for the future.

Vision 20/20 was put together by school administrators and officials to promote their vision for where education should be going. Heyworth Superintendent, Dr. Ty Wolf, believes the people who occupy the school system everyday should determine its future.

[audio:12151420201.mp3] [/audio]

The hope is the general community will get behind the program and understand its vision. According to Dr. Wolf, school needs to be about more than just math and reading, he believes school needs to about "developing the whole student".

[audio:12151420202.mp3] [/audio]

Perhaps the most common special needs students many may think of a district taking on are those with some sort of disability, however, Dr. Wolf notes, it is actually students in poverty. When evaluating school districts, many times the students with special needs are not accounted for. Dr. Wolf's believes districts should not be penalized for needing to provide those students with more resources to learn.

[audio:12151420203.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Wolf feels school districts have the ability to allow students to be better and it can be accomplished through investing in kids and equipping them for better lives.

Clinton FD Upgraded Recent Vehicle

A recently purchased truck by the Clinton Fire Department will soon be customized.

According to Fire Chief Shawn Milton, their new 2015 Ford truck will be outfitted with a topper, a bed extension slide and stepping bars.

[audio:121614firetruckupdate1.mp3] [/audio]

The Chief says the truck is going to be a great asset to the department. He explains it will allow them to travel to mutual aid calls without having to take out one of their big rigs.

[audio:121614firetruckupdate2.mp3] [/audio]

The updates were approved at a cost of $4159.

At the less than 25 minute Monday meeting, the City Council also approved the relocation of an electrical system in the alley of the 200 block of East Washington Street at a cost of just under $40-thousand. We'll have more on that later this week on Regional Radio News.

College Basketball Recaps

 width=>>Duke Tops Elon

Jahlil Okafor erupted for 25 points and 20 rebounds as No. 2 Duke stayed unbeaten with a 75-62 win over Elon on Monday.

Okafor, considered by many as the nation's top freshman, shot 10-for-14 and posted career highs in both categories. He recorded the first 20-20 game by a freshman in Duke history and became the first Blue Devil to accomplish the feat since Elton Brand in 1998.

Amile Jefferson scored 13 points and Justise Winslow had 12 for Duke (9-0), which extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 38 games.

Luke Eddy paced Elon (5-5) with 16 points.

>>Gonzaga Crushes Texas Southern

Kyle Wiltjer scored 21 points to lead No. 8 Gonzaga in a 94-54 romp over Texas Southern.

Domantas Sabonis had 16 points and six rebounds, while Silas Melson gave 13 for the Bulldogs (10-1), who have won three straight.

Gonzaga owns a 32-game home winning streak, which is currently the second- longest streak in the country behind Duke's 38-game run.

Madarious Gibbs and Deverell Biggs each gave 12 points for the Tigers (1-8), who have lost their last three.

Blues, Blackhawks Back In Action Today

 width=>>Blues Host Kings Tonight

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Blues begin a home-and-home series with the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings tonight at Scottrade Center. The teams will rematch Thursday night in LA. The Blue beat the Avalanche 3-2 in overtime on Saturday for their fourth straight win. The Kings have lost four-of-five.

 width=>>Blackhawks Host Wild

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks host the Wild at the United Center tonight. Chicago is coming off Sunday's 2-1 win over the Flames. Chicago has won nine of its last 10 overall. The puck drops at 7:30.

Buffalo Sabres 5, Ottawa Senators 4 (SO)
New York Islanders 3, New Jersey Devils 2 (SO)
Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 2

>>Crews Transform Nats Park For NHL Winter Classic

(Washington, DC) -- How do you transform a baseball field into an ice rink? You bring in a whole lot of ice. Today, crews began the process of transforming Nationals Park in DC into a world class ice rink for the NHL Winter Classic. A mobile refrigeration unit from Toronto arrived this morning. The 53-foot trailer hauled in ice-making equipment to manufacture a massive sheet of ice that will be the centerpiece. The Winter Classic is set for New Year's Day between the Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks.

>>Ennis, Suter, Lundqvist Earn NHL Weekly Honors

Buffalo Sabres center Tyler Ennis, Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist were named Monday as the NHL's Players of the Week.

Ennis posted a goal and four assists in three games to earn the First Star.

Suter was the Second Star after registering five assists in three games.

Lundqvist went 3-0-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average and .951 save percentage to collect Third Star honors.

Hawks Drop Bulls

 width=Al Horford's 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists led the way for the Hawks in their 93-86 win against the Bulls at Philips Arena. Paul Millsap helped out with 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals, while Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver each chipped in 12. Atlanta has won 10-of-11. The Bulls shot just under 38-percent from the field and missed 23-of-29 three-point attempts. All five Chicago starters scored in double-figures, but they only got 11 points from the bench. Jimmy Butler paced the Bulls with 22 points and nine rebounds as they had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Boston Celtics 105, Philadelphia 76ers 87
Indiana Pacers 110, Los Angeles Lakers 91
Cleveland Cavaliers 97, Charlotte Hornets 88
Toronto Raptors 95, Orlando Magic 82
Milwaukee Bucks 96, Phoenix Suns 94
Portland Trail Blazers 108, San Antonio Spurs 95
Los Angeles Clippers 113, Detroit Pistons 91

Cubs Introduce Lester, Add Reliever

 width=>>Lester Hoping To End Century Long Championship Drought

Jon Lester says he believes in the Chicago Cubs' plan and is ready to try to help bring them their first championship since 1908.

Lester says "we fully buy in."

A three-time All-Star who won two World Series with Boston, he was introduced at a news conference on Monday and presented Kerry Wood's old No. 34.

Lester agreed to a $155 million, six-year contract with the Cubs at the winter meetings last week that set baseball records for largest signing bonus and biggest upfront payment.

Chicago President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein says this "really marks the start of a transition for the Cubs."

>>Cubs Add Reliever Motte

(Chicago, IL) -- Right-handed reliever Jason Motte is moving from the St. Louis Cardinals to the rival Chicago Cubs. Yahoo! Sports reports the two sides have agreed to one-year, 4.5-million-dollar contract. The 32-year-old missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He went 1-and-0 with a 4.68 ERA in 29 games last season for the Cardinals. He recorded 42 saves in 2012.

>>Report: Royals Sign Alex Rios

(Kansas City, MO) -- The Kansas City Royals are bringing in free agent slugger Alex Rios. Multiple outlets are reporting Rios has signed a one-year, 11-million-dollar contract with the Royals. Rios became a free agent after Texas declined his 13.5-million-dollar option in October. The 33-year-old hit .280 with four homers and 54 RBI in 131 games last season, his second with the Rangers. The two-time All-Star has a career .278 average with 165 home runs and 762 RBI over 11 big league seasons.

>>Dodgers Agree With Brett Anderson

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The Los Angeles Dodger are adding depth to their starting rotation. ESPN.com reports the team has agreed to a one-year, 10-million-dollar contract with lefty Brett Anderson. The 26-year-old can earn up to four-million in incentives. Anderson has not thrown over 100 innings since 2010. In six seasons, he has gone 27-and-32 with a 3.73 ERA in 92 games, including 81 starts. Anderson broke his finger last season on a hit-by-pitch and then had surgery to correct a bulging disc in his back. He was 1-and-3 with a 2.91 ERA in eight starts for the Rockies in 2014.

>>Astros Bring Back SS Lowrie

(Houston, TX) -- Jed Lowrie is returning to the Houston Astros. The 30-year-old shortstop has signed a three-year free-agent contract worth a reported 23-million-dollars. The deal includes a club option for 2018. Lowrie batted .249 with six home runs and 50 RBI last season with the Oakland A's. He hit a career-high 16 home runs with the Astros in 2012. Lowrie is a career .261 hitter with 56 home runs in seven big league seasons overall.

>>Mets Finalize One-Year Deal With Mayberry Jr.

(Flushing, NY) -- The New York Mets have finalized a one-year contract with outfielder/first baseman John Mayberry Jr. Reports during last week's Winter Meetings had the value of the deal at 1.45-million-dollars. The 30-year-old Mayberry split last season between Philadelphia and Toronto, batting a combined .212 with seven home runs in 78 games. He's a career .241 hitter with 53 home runs in six big league seasons. To make room pitcher Gonzalez German [[ her-MAHN ]] has been designated for assignment.

>>Yankees Agree To Four-Year Deal With Headley

(Bronx, NY) -- The New York Yankees are keeping third baseman Chase Headley in the Bronx. CBS Sports reports the Yankees and Headley have agreed on a four-year, 52-million-dollar contract. The 30-year-old is expected to be the Bombers' starting third baseman, while Alex Rodriguez will serve mostly as the designated hitter coming off a year-long suspension. Headley came to New York in a midseason trade from the Padres in exchange for infielder Yangervis Solarte [[ yahn-HER-viss so-LAR-tay ]] and right-hander Rafael De Paula. Headley hit .262 with six home runs and 17 RBI in 58 games for the Yankees.

>>Nationals, Harper Agree On Two-Year Deal

(Washington, DC) -- The Washington Nationals and outfielder Bryce Harper are avoiding a contract dispute. CBS Sports reports the two sides have agreed on a two-year, 7.5-million-dollar contract. The 2012 NL Rookie of the Year will earn 2.5-million in 2015, and five-million in 2016. The Nats and Harper avoided an issue that the two-time All-Star would have had the right to opt-out of his initial major league deal he signed upon being drafted, and enter baseball's arbitration system. The move would have allowed him to earn more money. Harper is hitting .272 with 55 home runs in his three-year career.

Brees, Saints Cruise Past Bears

 width=>>Brees Leads Saints Past Bears

(Chicago, IL) -- Drew Brees went 29-of-36 for 375 yards and three touchdowns to guide the Saints to a 31-15 victory over the Bears at Soldier Field. Josh Hill caught a pair of TDs and Marques [[ marcus ]] Colston finished with 65 yards and a score as New Orleans moves to 6-and-8 and grabs sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Mark Ingram rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in the win. Jay Cutler tossed for 194 yards, two scores and three interceptions for Chicago, which drops to 5-and-9 with its third straight loss. Alshon Jeffery and Marquess [[ mar-keese ]] Wilson both had a touchdown catch in defeat.

>>Cowboys RB Murray Has Surgery On Broken Hand

(Irving, TX) -- Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray has a broken bone in his hand. Murray underwent surgery Monday, but head coach Jason Garrett is unwilling to rule him out of this Sunday's home game against the Indianapolis Colts. Garrett said they will see how the surgery goes before making a decision and hopes he'll be back soon. Murray suffered the injury late in Sunday night's game at Philadelphia. He rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns as Dallas won 38-27 to take over first place in the NFC East. Murray leads the NFL in rushing with nearly 17-hundred yards and also has a league-leading 11 rushing touchdowns this season.

>>Ravens Place Jackson On IR

(Owings Mills, MD) -- The Baltimore Ravens' secondary continues to lose players. Defensive back Asa Jackson will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Jackson was hurt in the Ravens' win over Jacksonville. The Ravens already have four DBs on injured reserve, with Jackson to be the fifth. He started the last six games for Baltimore, recording 28 tackles.

>>"RG3" To Start For Redskins Against Eagles

(Ashburn, VA) -- Robert Griffin the Third will once again be under center for the Washington Redskins this weekend. "RG3" will start at quarterback when the Redskins host the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles Saturday at FedEx Field. Head coach Jay Gruden says it's important for their offense to rally around him and play well around him. Griffin replaced an injured Colt McCoy in Sunday's 24-13 loss to the New York Giants. "RG3" went 18-of-27 for 236 yards and a touchdown after McCoy aggravated a previous neck strain on the opening series. Griffin has appeared in just half of Washington's 14 games this season.

>>NFLPA Files Suit Challenging Peterson Suspension

(Minneapolis, MN) -- The NFL Players Association is filing a lawsuit challenging the decision to uphold the suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. The NFLPA filed a 74-page document in a Minneapolis federal court asking for last week's ruling by an NFL-appointed arbitrator to be vacated. Friday, the arbitrator said the league's ruling to suspend Peterson for the rest of the season was not unfair or inconsistent, as the running back's initial appeal suggested. The former NFL MVP is seeking reinstatement as early as the beginning of the offseason, otherwise he is required to wait until April 15th for the league to revisit his status. Peterson is also trying to cut the number of game checks he will lose from six to two. Last month, he pleaded no contest to a reduced charge for abusing his four-year-old son with a "switch." Peterson has not played since Week One of the season.

Illini WR Named Freshman All-American

 width=Illinois wide receiver Mike Dudek was named a first-team Freshman All-American by Scout.com and was a true-freshman All-American according to ESPN.com and 247sports.com. Dudek also was named to ESPN.com's Big Ten All-Freshman team, a group that included both true-freshmen and redshirt-freshmen.

The Naperville, Illinois, native broke school freshman records with 69 catches for 965 yards in his inaugural campaign, and stands tied with College Football Hall of Famer David Williams for the UI freshman receiving touchdowns record with six. Dudek also earned All-Big Ten second team honors by league media and honorable mention All-Big Ten laurels by conference coaches on Dec. 1.

Dudek was the Big Ten's top receiver during conference play, posting 50 catches for 716 yards (89.5 yards per game) and three TDs in eight league games. He also leads all FBS freshmen in receiving yards per game on the season (80.4 ypg) heading into the Illini's matchup with Louisiana Tech in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 26.

Clinton Fire Department's Weekend Capped Off By Transformer Fire

A busy Saturday night for the Clinton Fire Department was followed up by an early Sunday morning call that may have been just as bizarre as their Saturday episode.

 width=A transformer explosion near Calvert Funeral Home in downtown Clinton Sunday morning was called in at approximately 8:30 AM. According Captain Brandon Karr, a single transformer was on fire as a result of the explosion, however, upon arrival, the fire department could not act on the fire because of live electricity.

Crews waited on scene for Ameren for nearly an hour to shut power to the transformer off so they could take a fire extinguisher to it.

Initially, the fire only caused a power outage to Calvert Funeral Homes, but Capt. Karr says once Ameren killed electricity to the transformer, more residents in the area were effected.

Once they were able to extinguish the fire, it was around 11 AM Ameren workers had the transformer replaced and residents were back to full power.

Clinton crews were able to leave the scene at approximately 9:45 AM with their new ladder truck. The ladder truck was on scene because of the height of the transformer on the power pole.

Capt. Karr called the incident simple and they spent most of their time on scene waiting for Ameren.

Two Studies Show Big Jump In Teens Using E-Cigarettes

Two separate studies show a real jump in the number of teens using e-cigarettes. The findings are raising concerns that the devices may hook young people on nicotine at a time when cigarette use continues to fall. One study shows about 25-percent of high schoolers in Connecticut have used e-cigarettes. A similar study done in Hawaii shows nearly 30-percent of teens in that state have used the devices. By comparison, the latest figures from the CDC show only about five-percent of American teens have used e-cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulating e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, but has not yet issued a final rule on the matter. And while 40 states prohibit selling e-cigarettes to minors, that still leaves 16-million U.S. kids under age 18 who can buy them legally.

Flu Season Starting Early In Illinois

Seasonal flu is making an earlier appearance in Illinois this year.

Figures released Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health show more people getting sick, more positive lab tests and more people hospitalized compared to this time last year.

The story is similar throughout Illinois. A suburban Chicago high school closed briefly last week because a quarter of the students were absent with flu-like illnesses.

So far this season, 115 people have been admitted to Illinois hospital intensive care units with influenza, according to the state health department flu data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Illinois is one of 14 states where the flu is already widespread and it's one of six states where doctor's offices are seeing influenza-like illness at rates much higher than average.

SIU Prepping For Different State Funding Scenarios

Southern Illinois University officials say they're putting together several different budgets to prepare for different state funding scenarios.

According to reports, SIU President Randy Dunn says the school will "be doing lots of different budgets as exercises throughout the course of this spring." He adds, "where's it's going to come down at the end, it's anybody's guess."

Dunn says if there are cuts, the school's goal will be to keep campuses operating without drastic disruptions. The newspaper reports the school is drafting budgets that consider funding cuts ranging from 5 to 20 percent.

Dunn also says he would prefer to use reserves or cash pools instead of making large-cuts in individual programs this spring.

Lawmakers are grappling with whether to allow a rollback of the state's temporary income tax.

Rauner Lawyers Meet With Quinn About Comptroller

The incoming Illinois governor's attorneys have met with staffers for Gov. Pat Quinn and argued Quinn may make only a short-term appointment to fill the comptroller's office left vacant by the sudden death of Judy Baar Topinka.

Reports indicate Republican Bruce Rauner's (ROW'-nurz) attorneys told Quinn's staff this week that they believe Quinn can appoint a replacement for Topinka only until Jan. 12. That's the day the GOP comptroller's next term would have started. Rauner believes he then gets to pick a replacement for the next four years.

The Illinois Constitution is not clear, saying in the case of a vacancy, the governor shall name a replacement to serve until a successor is elected. But there's not another election until 2018.

Diamond Ring Found In Salvation Army Kettle

Someone dropped a women's diamond ring into a Salvation Army red kettle in central Illinois.

Reports indicate, the ring had an anonymous note attached telling the charity to use the ring for toys, food, shelter or whatever is needed. Salvation Army Corps Officer Major Tom McDowell says the note was signed "God bless us all." The ring was dropped Thursday night into a kettle outside of a Walmart store.

McDowell says the ring was sold Friday to a Champaign jewelry store for $225.

Last year someone placed a 2003 half-ounce gold Liberty coin into a kettle in front of the same Walmart.

Hunting of Bobcats Up To Outgoing Illinois Governor

Avid southwestern Illinois trapper Ken Staley for years has craved catching a more exotic prey: bobcats. And soon, he may get his chance.

On the threatened species list for more than two decades until 1999, the cats have made enough of a comeback that Illinois lawmakers approved a measure allowing bobcat hunting in the state for the first time in more than 40 years.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources believes the state's bobcat population has rebounded to about 5,000 and that regulated hunting will help long-term management of the species.

Opponents question the science behind declaring them recovered and argue bobcat hunting is all about trophies, not food.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn leaves office next month and is said to be reviewing the bill.

Postal Services Brace For Busiest Mailing Day

The U.S. Postal Service is bracing for its yearly rush.

The agency says that Monday will mark its busiest mailing day of the year, with more than 640 million cards, letters and packages expected to be processed.

Around Chicago, the Postal Service forecasts that more than 8.3 million cards, letters and packages were to be sent off by local customers and processed on Monday.

The Postal Service says it is delivering seven days a week in the Chicago area, and that includes on Christmas Day.

To ensure delivery by Christmas, greeting cards, packages and letters must be sent by next Saturday.

University of Illinois Offering Therapy Dog Visits During Finals

Students cramming for finals at the University of Illinois will get a little time to visit with canine friends.

The school is having therapy dogs come to several campus libraries over the next few days. Dogs from a variety of breeds, including Goldendoodle and Bichon Frisé, will visit the libraries with a group of handlers registered with CU Canine Connection. Reports indicate the school expects the dog visits will attract about 100 people an hour.

A reference services librarian with the Undergraduate Library says school officials are always looking for ways to help students cope with the stress of finals week.

This is the third fall that the therapy dogs have been at the Champaign-Urbana campus.

Exams started on Thursday and end on Dec. 19.

State Weather Officials Doubtful About White Christmas Chances

What are the chances of a white Christmas in Illinois this year? State Climatologist Jim Angel says it depends on where you live.

[audio:rddrddIllinoisChristmas11.mp3] [/audio]

Angel adds the long-term forecast is calling for above-normal temperatures in the state for the next two weeks.

[audio:rddrddIllinoisChristmas21.mp3] [/audio]

The areas with the highest statistical possibility of a white Christmas are all in Northwestern Illinois, but Angel says the current long-term forecast is calling for above-normal temperatures through Christmas Day.

No End In Sight For Declining Gas Prices

Falling gas prices continue to be the Nation's early holiday gift.  The latest Triple-A report says the current national average price is around two-dollars-56 cents, which is the lowest price since at least February 2010.  gas prices will keep dropping for the foreseeable future as the price of crude oil continues its downward spiral.  Many U.S. cities are reporting the average price well below two-dollars-50-cents a gallon.  

Social Security Sets 2015 Cost of Living Adjustment

The Cost of Living adjustment was recently announced by Social Security.

The increase amount for 2015 is 1.7% for beneficiaries. For those who receive SSI, the increase is effective on December 31st. Jack Myers, with Social Security, explains they always pay checks the month after they are due. This means the raise will be effective with the December 2014 payment.

[audio:12414sscostliving1.mp3] [/audio]

Myers mentions the Cost of Living Adjustment is determined by a numerical measure of inflation. He adds they look at last year's third quarter average Consumer Price Index for the determination. Both 2013 and 2014 are used to determine the CPIW for 2015.

[audio:12414sscostliving2.mp3] [/audio]

Myers says the majority of beneficiaries are retirees, along with those on disability. He encourages anyone wanting more information on the Cost of Living Adjustment or any Social Security topic to visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

Travel Can Be Big Source of Sickness This Time of Year

The holiday season is a heavy time for travel and there are several ways to keep yourself from getting sick.

There are many different types of viruses going around this flu season and flu shots just cannot cover everything. According to retired Pharmacist David Foreman, we are constantly exposed to all kinds of bugs during the winter months and there are several precautions to take before taking a trip by plane or bus.

[audio:121514travelsick1.mp3] [/audio]

Foreman recommends taking probiotics when traveling as the supplement helps to produce friendly bacteria which supports the immune system. He explains probiotics also help prevent digestive issues that occur when traveling.

[audio:121514travelsick2.mp3] [/audio]

Foreman also recommends AHCC which is a natural medicine. He explains many studies have shown this supplement helps to fight bacteria within the immune system. AHCC could help to fight off bacteria not helped by the flu shot.

[audio:121514travelsick3.mp3] [/audio]

Foreman also emphasizes the importance of exercise and getting enough sleep for maintaining good health over the holidays.

For more information, you can find him online at herbalpharmacist.com.

DeWitt County Law Enforcement, Angel Tree Hosting Annual Shop With A Cop

 width=The DeWitt County Angel Tree is joining forces with local police departments in order to provide a great Christmas for area kids.

The Clinton Wal-Mart will once again be the location for Shop With a Cop this week. A grant through the retail giant allows fifteen local kids to team up with a local police officer to pick up some wanted and needed items for Christmas. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers explains the interactions between the kids and cops are always a highlight.

[audio:121114shopcop1.mp3] [/audio]

Events like these help to enhance kids' perception of police. Chief Lowers explains it reinforces the fact police are there to help and this event provides a human connection for those participating.

[audio:121114shopcop2.mp3] [/audio]

Sue Calvert, the head of DeWitt County's Angel Tree, echoes Chief Lowers feelings regarding the event. She believes Shop With a Cop helps to relieve holiday stress from parents who may not be able to provide all that their kids need or want during the holidays.

[audio:121114shopcop3.mp3] [/audio]

Shop With a Cop will take place this Tuesday at 6pm. The Clinton Police Department will also be joined by the DeWitt County Sheriff's Department and Farmer City Police.

Oregon QB Wins Heisman

 width=>>Oregon QB Mariota Wins Heisman Trophy

(New York, NY) -- Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota [[ mar-ee-OH-tuh ]] is the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner. Mariota has thrown for 3,783 yards, 38 touchdowns and only two interceptions for the second-ranked Ducks this season. The junior has also rushed for 669 yards and 14 TDs. He is the first Oregon player to ever win the award. Mariota and the 12-and-1 Ducks will face last year's Heisman winner Jameis Winston and third-ranked Florida State as part of the first-ever College Football Playoff on January 1st.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon finished second in the voting. Gordon has rushed for 2,336 yards and 26 touchdowns this year. Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper finished third after catching 115 passes for 1,656 yards and 14 scores this season.

>>Arrest In Auburn University Football Murder

(Auburn, AL) -- A suspect is under arrest in the murder of a freshman football player at Auburn University. Police say Jakell Mitchell was shot to death at an apartment complex near the university's campus in Auburn, Alabama last night. Police have arrested Markale Hart for the murder, but are not releasing any more details at this time.

>>Muschamp Heading To Auburn

(Undated) -- Former Florida head football coach Will Muschamp didn't stay out of work for long. Multiple reports say he will be hired as Auburn's defensive coordinator. He was previously the DC at Auburn from 2006-07. Muschamp was fired in November but coached the final two games of the regular season. Ellis Johnson was fired by Auburn after the Tigers lost the Iron Bowl to Alabama.

White Sox Reportedly Ink Cabrera

 width=The Chicago White Sox and outfielder Melky Cabrera have reportedly agreed to a three-year contract.

According to MLB.com and Chicago radio station 670-AM, the deal, pending a physical, is worth between $42 million and $43.5 million.

Cabrera spent the past two seasons with Toronto. He hit .279 with three homers and 30 RBI in 88 games with the Blue Jays in 2013, then followed with a strong 2014 campaign in which he batted .301 with 16 homers, 35 doubles and 73 RBI in 139 games.

The 30-year-old Dominican native played his first five seasons with the New York Yankees, winning a World Series title in 2009, then spent 2010 with Atlanta, 2011 with Kansas City and 2012 with the San Francisco Giants.

Blackhawks Beat Flames

 width=Brandon Saad [[ Sod ]] scored with just over seven minutes to go as the Blackhawks beat the Flames 2-1 from the United Center.  Patrick Sharp had a power play goal midway through the second period for Chicago, which has won nine of 10.  Antti Raanta [[ AHN-tee RAHN-tuh ]] stopped 23 shots in the win.  The 'Hawks host the Wild tomorrow night.

New York Rangers 2, Edmonton Oilers 0
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (SO)

Bulls Pound Heat

 width=>>Bulls Cruise Past Heat

(Miami, FL) -- Mike Dunleavy scored 22 points while going 4-of-5 from three-point range to lead the Bulls to a 93-75 win over the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena. Jimmy Butler tallied 17 points and seven rebounds, and Taj Gibson added 15 points and nine boards. The victory gives Chicago its third straight. Luol Deng recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, which has dropped six of its last eight. Dwyane Wade also scored 17 in the loss.

Golden State Warriors 128, New Orleans Pelicans 122 (OT)
Washington Wizards 93, Utah Jazz 84
Los Angeles Lakers 100, Minnesota Timberwolves 94
Oklahoma City Thunder 112, Phoenix Suns 88
Toronto Raptors 95, New York Knicks 90 (OT)
San Antonio Spurs 99, Denver Nuggets 91

>>McDermott Sidelined After Knee Surgery

(Chicago, IL) -- Bulls rookie Doug McDermott will be out of action for four-to-six weeks after having arthroscopic knee surgery on Saturday. McDermott has averaged only 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 17 games this season.

>>Bryant Passes Jordan On All-Time Scoring List

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list during Sunday's 100-94 win over the Timberwolves in Minnesota. Bryant entered the game needing nine points to pass Jordan's career mark of 32,292. He finished with night with 26 points on 7-of-20 shooting. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Karl Malone are ahead of Bryant on the all-time list.

>>Hornets Looking To Dump Stephenson

(Undated) -- The Charlotte Hornets are looking to dump swingman Lance Stephenson. ESPN reports the team will try to trade him when he becomes eligible to deal on Monday. Stephenson is off to an underwhelming start with his new team this season. He signed a three-year, 27-million-dollar deal this past offseason after a solid year with the Indiana Pacers. He's averaging 10.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and five assists per game this season and is shooting under 40-percent from the floor.

>>Report: Kings Fire Head Coach Mike Malone

(Sacramento, CA) -- The first head coach of the NBA season has been fired. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Kings fired Mike Malone due to not meeting "win-loss expectations of ownership." Assistant Tyrone Corbin will take over as the interim head coach. The Kings fell to 11-and-13 on Saturday losing to the Pistons at home. They've been without DeMarcus Cousins for their past nine games going 2-and-7. They were 9-and-6 through the first 15 games when Cousins was in the lineup.

Packers Lose, Bears on MNF

 width=>>Bills Stun Packers

(Buffalo, NY) -- Mario Williams's sack-strip resulting in a safety in the final minutes sealed it as the Bills took down the Packers 21-13 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Marcus Thigpen took a punt 75 yards to the end zone in the first quarter for Buffalo's lone touchdown. Kyle Orton tossed for 158 yards and an interception, while Dan Carpenter nailed all four of his field goal attempts. The victory gives the Bills their first eight-win season since 2004. Aaron Rodgers went just 17-for-42 for 185 yards and a pair of picks as Green Bay had its five-game winning streak snapped. Eddie Lacy rushed for 97 yards and a TD in defeat.

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Atlanta Falcons 20
New York Giants 24, Washington Redskins 13
New England Patriots 41, Miami Dolphins 13
Kansas City Chiefs 31, Oakland Raiders 13
Indianapolis Colts 17, Houston Texans 10
Baltimore Ravens 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 12
Carolina Panthers 19, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Cincinnati Bengals 30, Cleveland Browns 0
New York Jets 16, Tennessee Titans 11
Denver Broncos 22, San Diego Chargers 10
Seattle Seahawks 17, San Francisco 49ers 7
Detroit Lions 16, Minnesota Vikings 14
Dallas Cowboys 38, Philadelphia Eagles 27

 width=>>Bears Host Saints

(Chicago, IL) -- The Bears welcome in the Saints to Soldier Field for "Monday Night Football." Chicago has already been eliminated from playoff contention at 5-and-8. The Bears are coming off a 41-28 setback to Dallas 11 days ago. New Orleans is looking to keep pace in the NFC South at 5-and-8. They are currently second in the division behind the 5-8-and-1 Panthers. They lost 41-10 to Carolina last time out.

 width=>>Rams Enjoy Sunday Off

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Rams enjoyed Sunday off after playing on "Thursday Night Football" against the Cardinals. The Rams lost 12-6 in a field goal battle to fall to 6-and-8. The Rams play their home finale this Sunday as they welcome the 5-and-9 Giants to the Edward Jones Dome.

Coprich, ISU Run Past Eastern Washington

 width=Marshaun Coprich ran for 258 yards and four touchdowns to lead Illinois State to a 59-46 win over Eastern Washington on Saturday in the FCS quarterfinals.

Tre Roberson passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns and added 62 yards rushing and another score for the Redbirds.

Fifth-seeded Illinois State (12-1) visits top-seeded New Hampshire (11-1) next Friday or Saturday in the semifinals. Fourth-seeded Eastern Washington finished 11-3.

Illinois State built a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, led 24-17 at the half, then outscored the Eagles 21-3 in the third quarter.

Eastern Washington's Vernon Adams, one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award as the FCS offensive player of the year, lacked his usual passing accuracy. Adams completed 25 of 44 passes for 425 yards. In the fourth quarter, he scored on a 2-yard run and passed for three touchdowns in near-freezing temperatures.

Illinois State Downs DePaul; Illinois Falls To Oregon

 width=>>Illinois State Downs DePaul

Paris Lee converted a four-point play to spark a 12-3 run in the final minute, pushing Illinois State past DePaul 78-72 on Sunday night.

Billy Garrett Jr.'s layup gave DePaul a 58-49 lead with 8:16 remaining. Illinois State answered with a 17-9 run to pull within 69-66 with 1:15 left before Lee made it 70-69 with 58 seconds to go.

Daishon Knight's three-point play pushed the Redbirds' lead to 73-69. Garrett split a pair of free throws to make it 73-70, but Illinois State made five of six from the line to seal it.

Knight scored 25 points. MiKyle McIntosh added 14 points, and Reggie Lynch 13 points and 13 rebounds for Illinois State (5-3).

Jamee Crockett scored 22 points, and Tommy Hamilton IV had 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead DePaul (6-3). Durrell McDonald dished out five assists for the Blue Demons.

 width=>>Illinois Falls To Oregon in Chicago

The Oregon Ducks played their best game of the season to race past Illinois at the United Center in Chicago.

Oregon used an 11-0 run to turn a four-point deficit into a seven-point lead with 1:31 left. Illinois was scoreless for 4:34 during that span.

Joseph Young scored 15 points and Dwayne Benjamin added 13 for the Ducks, who were playing their first true road game of the season.

Rorie scored 11 and Elgin Cook had 10.

Rayvonte Rice tied his career high with 29 points for the Illini, who led by as many as 13 and fell to 35-13 all-time at the United Center.Oregon shot 46 percent from the field to Illinois' 36 percent. The Ducks also scored 40 points in the paint to the Illini's 20.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#4 Louisville Cardinals 68, UNC-Wilmington Seahawks 57
#7 Villanova Wildcats 85, Temple Owls 62
#13 Iowa State Cyclones 88, Southern Jaguars 78
#17 Washington Huskies 81, Eastern Washington Eagles 77
Tennessee Volunteers 67, #19 Butler Bulldogs 55
#21 West Virginia Mountaineers 69, Marshall Thundering Herd 66
#23 Michigan State Spartans 87, Oakland Golden Grizzlies 61

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for Dec. 8 through 14

December 8, 2014 – December 14, 2014

Average Daily Jail Population: 47
Summons Served: 6
Warrant Arrests: 6

Tracy Mann, 43, Wapella was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Failure to Pay or Appear. Mann posted the necessary bond and was released.

Britten Fulgham, 43, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Failure to Pay or Appear. Fulgham posted the necessary bond and was released.

Brianne Guzouskis, 19, Lincoln was issued a Citation for Speeding 80 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Guzouskis was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Justin Barns, 22, Decatur was issued a Citation for Wrong Way in One Way. Barns was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Sherry Mears, 35, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 78 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Mears was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Eric Delaney, 39, Farmer City was arrested on 2 DeWitt County Warrants charging him with Failure to Pay or Appear. Delaney posted the necessary bond and was released.

Michael Tevert, 30, Heyworth was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Failure to Pay or Appear. Tevert posted the necessary bond and was released.

Phillip Dyer, 47, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Possession of Controlled Substance. Dyer posted the necessary bond and was released.



Clinton Fire Department Responds To Saturday Chemical Spill

It was an eventful weekend for local first responders.

Starting with Saturday night, a chemical spill on one of Clinton's busiest streets forced the redirection of traffic. According to Kyle Livingston of the Clinton Fire Department, the call came in between 5:30 pm and 6 pm of a large tanker that was stuck at the underpass on Van Buren Street. He indicates upon arrival, there were several leaks, that included an oil spill.

[audio:121614vanburenaccident1.mp3] [/audio]

The scene was originally being worked on as an accident scene but Livingston says they quickly considered it a hazmat situation. He says chemicals were making their way into the sewer system.

[audio:121614vanburenaccident2.mp3] [/audio]

Livingston says there was visible damage to the railroad viaduct, so that had to be inspected as well.

He says it was a great effort of several agencies coming together and working together for a smooth outcome.

Lady Maroons Snap 7 Game Losing Streak With Win Over Bombers

As heard on 92.3 WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons defeated the Argenta-Oreana Lady Bombers Monday night 56-28.

For the Lady Maroons (4-7), Peyton Bieber and Jessica Scott lead the team, with 22 and 19 points. Madi Filkin also had 6 points.

For the Lady Bombers (2-6), Megan Manning lead the team with 16 points. Following her were Maggie Millington and Kassidy Meador with 7 and 5 points.

Tune into 92.3 WHOW next Monday as the Lady Maroons will face St. Teresa at 4:00 pm.

Early-Stage Breast Cancer Patients Getting More Radiation Therapy Than Needed

Most early-stage breast cancer patients in the U.S. get more radiation therapy than they need.  The Penn Medicine researchers who made this finding say it indicates medical professionals are either unaware of or are going against professional society guidelines about radiation treatment for early-stage patients.  Randomized trials have shown only three weeks of a higher-dose form of radiation are needed for these patients. However, about two-thirds of early-stage breast cancer patients have radiation for twice that long following surgery.  The study findings were published in the "Journal of the American Medical Association." 

United Health Foundation Ranks Healthiest States In America

The United Health Foundation is out with its rankings of the healthiest states in America. Dr. Reed Tuckson is a Medical Advisor with the United Health Foundation and says obesity across the country is on the rise.

[audio:DrReedTucksonNationalbite1.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Tuckson says people need to take care of their own health.

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Some states did well in certain areas of health. Colorado was number one in the fewest incidence of people with obesity and number one for the most active population. Ohio and Nevada's strengths in the survey was their high rate of high school graduation, which contributes to the health of individuals. California did well in having a low prevalence of smoking, people being inactive, and obesity. The 25th edition of America's Health Rankings evaluates how each state is performing on a variety of important health measures.

Half Of Teens Don't Tell Parents What They Really Want For Holidays

A new survey finds nearly half of American teenagers say their holiday wish list is probably out of their parents' price range.  Conducted by DreamFund.com, 49 percent admit they are afraid to ask their parents for what they really want out of fear that it will be a financial burden.  The majority of parents, however, say they want suggestions.  Eighty-five percent say they would be willing to buy a gift that their children specifically asked for.  About half of the teen respondents say they would rather someone donate money to charity than buy them a gift they don't really want.

People Snatching Classic Apple iPods On eBay

If you own an Apple iPod Classic, it might bring you a nice holiday bonus.  The MP3 player is fetching more than double the retail price, averaging around 400-bucks online, now that Apple has killed the outdated storage device.  Five-thousand of the 160 gigabyte versions have already sold on eBay, with some that are still in the box going for as much as 900-dollars.  People buying the device say they prefer the large storage space over streaming, while others say they like the nostalgia factor. 

Americans Spending More On Health Care

 Americans are spending more money on health care.  A new report finds health care spending increased more than three and-a-half percent in 2013.  Researchers say spending totaled just under three-trillion dollars.  That works out to more than nine-thousand dollars per person.

More Holiday Travelers This Year

You can expect longer waits and bigger crowds at U.S. airports next week.  The Airlines for America's holiday travel forecast says 45-million passengers will fly between December 17th and January 4th, up two-percent from last year.  That breaks down to 47-thousand travelers a day.  The busiest travel day is Friday, December 19th, and the least busiest days are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. 

Demand For Crude Hits Decade Low

Demand for crude oil is hitting lows not seen in more than a decade.  Bloomberg reported Wednesday that OPEC has slashed its estimate of how much crude will be needed next year by 300-thousand barrels a day.  The revised estimate of 28.9 million barrels a day marks the lowest level of demand in 12 years.  Booming shale supplies in the U.S. and reduced global consumption are driving the drop in demand. 

Bourbon Shortage Leads to Hoarding

Whiskey enthusiasts are beginning to hoard bourbon.  Since news of a bourbon shortage broke a couple of weeks ago sales of the whiskey have shot up.  The "Wall Street Journal" says domestic sales are up 36-percent since 2009 and international exports are up 50-percent since 2010.  The "Journal" says a man in Virginia has a bunker with at least 700 bottles in it.  The "Business Insider" reports that big market whiskeys like Jack Daniels and Jim Beam will still be plentiful, but older and small-batch whiskeys are starting to disappear as hoarding ensues.  As the "Wall Street Journal" puts it, "panic has gripped bourbon enthusiasts across the country, and they are amassing stockpiles of it." 

Nissan Recalls 470-Thousand Cars Over Fuel Leak

 Nissan is recalling 470-thousand SUVs and cars over a production flaw that could cause a fuel leak.  The global recall includes model years from 2012 through 2015.  In the U.S. the recall includes about 143-thousand Nissan and Infinity models.  The company says fuel pressure sensors may not have been properly installed during production, which could cause a leak over time and lead to fires. 

Eight Out Of Ten People Stress Over The Holidays

About eight out of ten people say they get stressed during the holiday season. Psychologist Doctor Mike McKee with the Cleveland Clinic says two things cause the most amount of stress this time of year.

[audio:Mike1McKee1201141.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. McKee adds there are some things you can do if you start feeling overwhelmed during the holidays.

[audio:Mike2McKee1201141.mp3] [/audio]

Stress can cause fatigue and irritability and can lead to overeating, drinking and even depression. Doctor McKee recommends planning out the holidays and trying to focus on the positives to help get you through the next month or so.

TIME Names Ebola Workers as Persons Of the Year

The brave workers battling the worst Ebola outbreak on record are being named TIME Magazine's Persons of the Year. The magazine chose the Ebola fighters based on their "courage, kindness and bravery." The risk of catching the deadly virus is 100 times higher for healthcare professionals working directly with patients in West Africa. The World Health Organization estimates more than 600 healthcare workers have contracted Ebola. Second place went to the Ferguson protesters.

Third place went to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Fourth place was given to Kurdish President Masoud Barzani [[ Mah-sood Bar-ZAHN-ee ]] for his efforts to gain independence for his region, while fighting ISIS militants. Jack Ma, who co-founded Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba earned the Fifth spot. The company pulled in 25-billion dollars when it went public earlier this year. Pop star Taylor Swift was an early nomination, but didn't make it into the top five.

TIME Names Ebola Workers as Persons Of the Year

The brave workers battling the worst Ebola outbreak on record are being named TIME Magazine's Persons of the Year. The magazine chose the Ebola fighters based on their "courage, kindness and bravery." The risk of catching the deadly virus is 100 times higher for healthcare professionals working directly with patients in West Africa. The World Health Organization estimates more than 600 healthcare workers have contracted Ebola. Second place went to the Ferguson protesters.

Third place went to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Fourth place was given to Kurdish President Masoud Barzani [[ Mah-sood Bar-ZAHN-ee ]] for his efforts to gain independence for his region, while fighting ISIS militants. Jack Ma, who co-founded Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba earned the Fifth spot. The company pulled in 25-billion dollars when it went public earlier this year. Pop star Taylor Swift was an early nomination, but didn't make it into the top five.

Google Named Best Company To Work For

Google employees love their job.  "Glassdoor's" latest Employees Choice Awards list shows Google's perks, pay and advancement opportunity make it the best place in the country to work.  The free food doesn't hurt either.  Google is one of 14 tech companies to make the list of 50 best places to work.  Glassdoor uses anonymous employee reviews and rankings to compile its yearly list.  This year, the UK was included for the first time.  Google was named number one there as well. 

List Shows Top Ten States With The Worst Drivers

Montana and South Carolina share the top spot on a new list of states with the worst drivers. Texas, North Dakota and Delaware round out the top five according to the website CarInsuranceComparison.com. States are ranked based on fatality rates, drunk driving and speeding crashes among other key factors. Louisiana, Nevada, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Missouri also made the list of top ten states with the worst drivers.

Top Ten States With The Worst Drivers

1. Montana, South Carolina (Tie)
3. Texas
4. North Dakota
5. Delaware
6. Louisiana, Nevada (Tie)
8. Hawaii
9. Oklahoma
10. Missouri


Super Bowl Ad Campaigns Beginning

The Super Bowl doesn't kick off for nearly two months, but advertisers are already working to score points with viewers.  Dorito's is putting out its annual call for ad concepts that will run during the game on February 1st.  And Internet service giant GoDaddy is picking a golden retriever puppy to appear in its Super Bowl ad alongside NASCAR driver and company spokeswoman Danica Patrick.  GoDaddy is also asking people to submit name ideas for the dog.  Commercial shooting begins later this week for GoDaddy and the company is likely to follow its recent pattern of making early versions of its Super Bowl ads available online.



[audio:empire.mp3] [/audio]


Experts Calm Fears Of Getting Old

A recent survey finds that 87-percent of Americans have at least one fear when they think about getting old. Pfizer Chief Medical Officer Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall says most of us can relate to these fears.

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Dr. Lewis-Hall says young people can start right now in their effort to be healthy later.

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Daniel Perry the founder of the nonprofit Alliance for Aging Research says that aging baby-boomers are redefining what it means to be an older person in the so-called retirement years.

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Perry adds because of medical advances life expectancy has dramatically changed.

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Baby boomers are turning 65 at the rate of ten-thousand a day and that's going to continue for the next 15-years. Lewis-Hall says these numbers just highlight the importance of making sure people know the best ways to age in healthy and happy fashion. Those include, she says eating right, getting regular checkups and maintaining an active social life.



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Sheriff's Department Looking For Drunk Drivers Over Holidays

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Department will be cracking down on drunk drivers this holiday season.

Beginning December 19th, deputies will be out in force as part of Illinois' annual "Drive Sober of Get Pulled Over" campaign. The statewide crackdown will see high-visibility alcohol and belt enforcement throughout the DeWitt County. Sheriff Jered Shofner explains motorists will see the patrols throughout the holidays. He adds drunk drivers and those not wearing a seatbelt will see major consequences.

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Sheriff Shofner adds drunk driving brings a wide range of consequences and is not worth the risk.

The patrols will be out looking for drunk drivers through January 4th.

Lady Maroons Fall To the Lady Blackhawks

As heard on The Big 1520 AM and 92.3 FM WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons were defeated by the Sheridan Lady Blackhawks Saturday afternoon 49-38.

For the Lady Maroons (3-7), Peyton Bieber lead the team with 23 points. Jessica Scott was right behind with 9 points, followed by Madi Filkin with 4 points and Ally Green with 2 points.

For the Lady Blackhawks (7-2), Brittany Welch lead the team with 21 points. She was follwed by Audrey Reed with 8 points and Katie Hybarger with 7 points. Rebekah Hopper was next with 5 points. Payton Fleener also had 4 points and Faith Fleener and Payton Buckner each shared 2 points a piece.

Tune into WHOW Monday as the Lady Maroons will face Argenta-Oreana at 7:30 pm.

Maroons Win With Three-Pointer Late In The Game

As heard on The Big 1520 AM and 92.3 FM WHOW, the Clinton Maroons defeated the Blue Ridge Knights Saturday afternoon 57-55.

For the Maroons (4-3), Jacob Overton and Bowe Carter lead the team with 15 and 14 points. Tanner White and Peyton McCubbin both had 7 points and Jason Love had 5 points, with a three-pointer at the end of the game to give Clinton the win.

For the Knights (2-5),Issac Trotter lead the team with 20 points. Balazzi followed with 12 points and Justin Jamison with 6 points.

Tune into WHOW on the 22nd as Maroons will face Argenta-Oreana at 7:30 pm.

Richland Community College in Midst of Open Enrollment

Richland Community College is encouraging current and potential students to take advantage of their current open registration.

Current students should have or be currently meeting with their academic advisor according to Director of Registration Rob Kerr. Most students are able to register online for spring courses and new students can find online applications. Kerr mentions once applications are completed, they will be contacted regarding the next step.

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Kerr notes all initial steps can be done online which assists student who live out of state. High demand courses have also become more accessible due to online services.

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Richland requires students to initially meet with an academic advisor while several colleges are doing away with them. Kerr says they believes these relationships are important during the first year of college, especially during registration time.

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Kerr also encourages students to stay on top of their FAFSA forms and financial aid during registration periods.For more information or to register online, you can go to www.richland.edu/registration.

Local Energy Company Introducing Educational Campaign

A major DeWitt County corporation is taking part in a state wide effort to get the public behind their purpose.

Clinton Exelon Nuclear Power Station has joined an online petition asking for names and e-mail addresses that will show support towards nuclear energy. Clinton Exelon's Communications Director, Brett Nauman says any support they receive can go a long ways.

[audio:121114nuclearsupport1.mp3] [/audio]

Exelon is a major contributor to many efforts and functions in Clinton and according to Nauman, he feels this has led to the public having a generally positive outlook towards the company, though he does question how much day-to-day knowledge they may have.

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Economic issues are the biggest obstacles facing nuclear facilities at the moment and Nauman notes the survey will hopefully open doors for Exelon and other plants to find a voice within the state legislature in the future.

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For more information on the Nuclear Powers Illinois survey, visit www.nuclearpowersillinois.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday's Scoreboard

Arizona Cardinals 12, St. Louis Rams 6

Oklahoma City Thunder 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 94
Houston Rockets 113, Sacramento Kings 109 (OT)

Chicago Blackhawks 3, Boston Bruins 2
Buffalo Sabres 4, Calgary Flames 3
Philadelphia Flyers 4, New Jersey Devils 1
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Washington Capitals 2 (OT)
Los Angeles Kings 5, Ottawa Senators 3
Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1
St. Louis Blues 6, New York Islanders 3
Colorado Avalanche 4, Winnipeg Jets 3 (SO)
Nashville Predators 5, Arizona Coyotes 1
San Jose Sharks 2, Minnesota Wild 1

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball
No Games Scheduled

Blackhawks Hold Off Bruins

The Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 victory versus the Bruins at the TD Garden.  Klas Dahlbeck, Ben Smith and Patrick Kane each lit the lamp.  It was Kane's 13th goal of the season.  Scott Darling stopped 32-of-34 shots for Chicago, which has won eight in-a-row.  Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews left during the second period with an undisclosed injury after being put into the boards face-first.  Boston made things interesting getting goals from Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, but couldn't finish off the comeback.  Tuukka Rask [[ TOO-kuh  rask ]] allowed all three goals on 21 shots.  The Bruins have lost four of five.  

Sox, Fish Pull Trade

The White Sox and Marlins pulled a trade on the final day of the Winter Meetings. The Sox sent pitcher Andre Rienzo to Miami for lefty Dan Jennings. Rienzo was 4-and-5 with a 6.82 ERA while Jennings was 0-and-2 with a 1.34 ERA in 47 games last season.

Bulls Battle Blazers

 The Bulls battle the Trail Blazers at the United Center tonight.  Tipoff on ESPN is at 6 p.m.  Chicago is coming off a 105-80 win over Brooklyn.  The Bulls are 13-and-8 while Portland is 17-and-5. 

Rams Knock Cardinals' Stanton Out Of Game

The Rams recorded just one sack last night, but it was a hurtful one for the Cardinals.  Rookie Aaron Donald knocked quarterback Drew Stanton out of the game with a knee injury in the third quarter.  Arizona lost starting QB Carson Palmer to a knee injury against the Rams in Week 10. 

SLU Hosts SIU-Edwardsville Tomorrow

 The Saint Louis Billikens are on their home floor tomorrow night against SIU-Edwardsville.  The Billikens lost 62-55 to South Dakota State on Tuesday.  It was the second straight loss for SLU, which is 5-and-4 overall and 3-and-2 at home.  The Cougars are 1-and-5 so far this season. 

College Football's Heisman Trophy Awarded Saturday

The Heisman Trophy will be presented Saturday, but numerous other college football awards will be handed out tonight. Heisman finalists Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin, as well as Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, are up for the Maxwell Award as the nation's top player. Mariota, Prescott and TCU's Trevone Boykin are finalists for the Davey O'Brien quarterback award, while Heisman finalist Amari Cooper of Alabama is the likely
favorite for the Biletnikoff Award as the top wide receiver.

Army National Guard to Open New Readiness Center

The Illinois Army National Guard is set to dedicate a new, $18 million readiness center in Normal.

Soldiers of the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade will hold a dedication and open house Sunday at the Normal Readiness Center at Heartland Community College.

The 18,000-square-foot shared space on the college campus is the new home of the 404th, which was previously headquartered in Chicago.

Ground was broken on the facility in March 2013.

In a news release, Illinois Army National Guard officials say the new center will give the 404th easy access to an airport and the highway system in the central part of Illinois.

The 404th MEB includes units with expertise in domestic emergencies such as search and extraction, military police and firefighting.

Lawmaker Rips Quinn For 'Last Minute' Patronage

Another fellow Democrat is blasting Gov. Pat Quinn for helping a former aide get a job at the agency that runs U.S. Cellular Field weeks before Quinn finishes his term.

The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority board on Monday hired former Quinn campaign manager Lou Bertuca to lead the agency. Quinn's four board appointees voted yes, while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's three appointees voted no.

State Sen. Julie Morrison of Deerfield says she'll introduce legislation in January to prevent future governors from making similar appointments within 60 days of leaving office.

Morrison says the $160,000-per-year job is one of the highest-paying in Illinois. She says "this kind of last-minute patronage" is embarrassing.

Emanuel also has criticized the appointment.

Board chairman Emil Jones Jr. calls Bertuca a "smart, effective leader."

Memorial Service for Topinka Set For Wednesday

A public memorial service for late Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is scheduled for next week.

The comptroller's office says the memorial service will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Operating Engineers' Local 150 headquarters in Countryside.

Topinka died unexpectedly Wednesday at the age of 70 after suffering complications from a stroke. Her passing came just weeks after she was elected to a second term.

A news release says fellow state leaders, colleagues and family will share stories and celebrate Topinka's life at the memorial.

Spokesman Brad Hahn says while Topinka "made it very clear she didn't want a funeral or a wake" she included a stipulation in the legal document that her family and friends could hold a memorial service for her following her cremation.

School District Report Cards Recently Released

The time for school districts to review their progress has begun with the release of District Report Cards.

A School Report Card helps to provide information regarding school districts to the public. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle, Superintendent of Warrensburg-Latham Schools, explains the report card summarizes student body and staff. Test scores are also featured along with student and staff ratios.

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Weikle notes the district has received their ISAT and Prairie State Test scores. Yet, both test were no longer given in Illinois after the spring of 2014. There has been an increase in reading, science and math throughout Warrensburg-Latham though. Weikle says the scores provide a good road map of where students need to improve.

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The Superintendent stresses, while the report card is always helpful, it only captures a small picture of how students perform. She notes many students do great things every school day that can't be seen in a school report card.

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All Illinois school district report cards can be found online for anyone to view. They can be found at www.illinoisreportcard.com.

Redbirds Ready For Showdown With Eastern Washington

Illinois State's last trip to the playoffs in 2012 ended with a 51-35 loss at Eastern Washington. The host Eagles are seeking their fourth trip to the national semifinals in the last five seasons, beginning with their 2010 national championship team.

It was actually Eastern Washington quarterback Kyle Padron (six touchdown passes) and not then-redshirt freshman Vernon Adams Jr. who fueled the playoff win over Illinois State in 2012. But current Eagles' standouts Quincy Forte (116 yards on seven carries) and Ronnie Hamlin (10 tackles, one interception) both played big parts in the win.

For Illinois State, it's all about containing Adams because there's little hope of shutting him down. He's thrown for 3,058 yards and 32 touchdowns in only nine games this season and leads an offense that is 20 points shy of the school and Big Sky single-season records of 592 points. The Eagles have allowed 41 sacks, so Adams might find it difficult to get out of the pocket with Redbirds pass rushers Teddy Corwin and David Perkins flying at him from the edge of the 4-3 front. But Adams has plenty of passing targets and his comfort zone is sophomore wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who is nearing his second straight 100- catch season.

With quarterback Tre Roberson and running back Marshaun Coprich starring together nearly every game, Illinois State is accustomed to starting strong. The Redbirds have scored on their first series seven times and outscored opponents 117-20 in the first quarter.

The winner will advance to face either Chattanooga or Villanova in the national semifinals.

Rauner's Team Reviewing Options After Lottery Deal

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's team is reviewing potential next steps in the wake of an agreement over the Illinois Lottery that they claim was made against taxpayers' interests.

Illinois terminated its contract with private vendor, Northstar Lottery Group, which ran the lottery. Gov. Pat Quinn's office, lottery officials and Northstar negotiated details to avoid lawsuits. Subcontractors Gtech and Scientific Games will provide services at a lower rate until a new company is selected.

But Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf alleges the termination agreement is essentially a hefty new contract binding Illinois' hands for years and eliminating the ability to collect penalties, which equals lost revenue.

Attorneys for Rauner's transition team are weighing legal options, but declined Wednesday to detail them.

Lottery Director Michael Jones disputes the claims, saying it's a good deal for Illinois.

Illinois Receives $80-Million For Early Childhood Education

Illinois has received an $80 million federal grant to increase access to early childhood education.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the award Wednesday. His office says the state will receive a maximum of $20 million per year for four years.

The federal program is intended to help four-year-olds from low-income families attend preschool. In a news release, Quinn's office says the grants will help more than 33,000 additional kids nationwide attend high-quality preschool programs.

In Illinois, more than two dozen school districts and organizations will receive funding. They include preschool programs in Chicago and its suburbs, Rockford and Monroe and St. Clair counties.

Quinn says "Providing high-quality early childhood education is a game changer for our economy."

Supreme Court To Expedite Pension Hearing

The Illinois Supreme Court is going to hear oral arguments on the pension law in March.  They're rushing to get to the case so lawmakers will know how to move forward when they build the budget for next year.  A judge in Springfield struck the law down last month.  He says it cuts benefits for retired and state workers, and depending on how you read the state's constitution, that's illegal.  The pension clause says benefits can't be reduced or diminished.  The Springfield judge says that clause is absolute and lawmakers can't change it when things aren't going their way.  Right now, the state has a 100-billion-dollar pension shortfall.

President Remembers Judy Baar Topinka

President Barack Obama says Judy Baar Topinka was "an institution in Illinois politics."

The president issued a statement Wednesday afternoon about the passing of the Republican Illinois comptroller. Topinka died early Wednesday after suffering a stroke. She was involved in Illinois politics for more than 30 years.

Obama says he got to see Topinka's fierce advocacy for her constituents when she was state treasurer. He was a member of the Illinois General Assembly.

Obama also says Topinka was "blunt, pragmatic, unfailingly cheerful and energetic." He also says she was "always willing to put politics aside to find commonsense solutions that made a difference for the people of Illinois."

Gay Community Remembers Topinka

A gay rights group is mourning the death of Republican Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

Equality Illinois says in a Wednesday statement that Topinka demonstrated political labels shouldn't be a barrier to reaching out to all citizens. Topinka died early Wednesday at age 70 after suffering a stroke.

Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov called Topinka a leader in supporting issues important to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans. He said she endorsed same-sex marriage in Illinois and even offered to be a flower girl for any same-sex couple that would have her.

Cherkasov also said Topinka opened her office to Equality Illinois' delegation on the group's annual Springfield lobbying days. He says she also attended Chicago's Pride Parade and the group's annual galas.

Confusion Over How To Replace Topinka

There's a bit of confusion as to how the process works in terms of putting a new State Comptroller in place. Ann Lousin [[ Lou-SEEN ]], who was a researcher during the 1970 Constitutional Convention, explains her take on the situation.

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Lousin says Bruce Rauner would have the authority to fill the slot after January 12th, since he's the incoming governor. But some people have a different understanding of what the state's constitution actually means. It says the governor can appoint someone to serve until an "elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified." Some people believe that gives Quinn the right to put someone in place until a new person is actually elected. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is supposed to weigh in on the matter soon.

State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka Mourned

Tributes are flowing for State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who died suddenly today at the age of 70 after suffering a stroke. David Stewart reports.

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Remember Judy Baar Topinka



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University of Illinois To Offer Wrongful Conviction Course

The University of Illinois Springfield plans to offer a free online class examining the issues surrounding wrongful convictions.

The university said Wednesday that online registration is underway for the six-week course, which begins in February and is open to the public. Participants need not be enrolled at the university.

It will examine the scope and causes of wrongful convictions and the difficulties in trying to free innocent people after they have been convicted. It also will consider strategies to prevent future wrongful convictions.

The course will be taught by Assistant Professor Gwen Jordan, who also is a staff attorney for the Illinois Innocence Project.

Scores of inmates in Illinois and elsewhere have been freed from prison after serving years for crimes they did not commit.

Marina Faces Many Challenges Under New Board

The new DeWitt County Board has a number of challenges on their hands as they take over this month.

Among those challenges is the Clinton Lake Marina. Chair for the Marina Committee Danny Ballenger indicates they were recently slapped with over 60 Americans Disabilities Act violations and now the challenge is making progress before a looming deadline.

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According to Ballenger, the upcoming year could be a challenge because the major work will need to be completed and they only have until the end of the next year to get it all done. He notes they have worked closely with the Attorney General's office to come up with a schedule.

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Ballenger feels it will be a close fit to get all the projects yet to do finished, but is encouraged by what they have accomplished so far. He adds the committee they have in place is one he feels can move the Marina and the County forward and get things done.

Richland, Clinton High School Improving Partnership For Students

 width=Clinton High School is hoping to give students a leg up through a partnership with Richland Community College.

The high school wants to prepare their students for college by providing them with classes that could provide college credit. Principal Jerry Wayne explains several courses will be dual-credit which allows students to earn both high school and college credit. He notes funding is now available for several English and Social Studies dual classes that will be affordable for families.

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Wayne also mentions the school intends to offer dual-credit math and science classes. He's excited about the prospects of students being able to afford close to 18 college credits through this partnership.

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Clinton High School has had this type of program for several years. Yet, Wayne feels the new Richland facility has brought the partnership to a new level of education.

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Wayne emphasizes the only true cost that will fall to the student will be the textbooks thanks to the Clinton Educational Foundation.

Kansas Downs Georgetown

 width=Brannen Greene scored 19 points and No. 10 Kansas survived to take a 75-70 victory over
Georgetown on Wednesday.

Frank Mason III scored 14 points and Perry Ellis gave 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Jayhawks (7-1), who have won six straight after a loss to Kentucky on Nov. 18.

Joshua Smith had 20 points and five rebounds, L.J. Peak scored 18 and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera gave 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Hoyas (5-3), who have lost three of their last four.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 56, Columbia Lions 46
#6 Wisconsin Badgers 93, Milwaukee Panthers 54
#8 Gonzaga Bulldogs 81, Washington State Cougars 66
#12 Ohio State Buckeyes 97, High Point Panthers 43
#14 Utah Utes 65, BYU Cougars 61
#16 San Diego State Aztecs 60, Long Beach State 49ers 59
#20 Maryland Terrapins 67, North Carolina Central Eagles 56
#23 Northern Iowa Panthers 65, Denver Pioneers 55

College Football Notes

>>Ohio State's Barrett Involved In Domestic Incident

(Columbus, OH) -- A couple of days after the Big Ten Championship Game, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was involved in a domestic issue. Barrett called 911 Tuesday night and his ex-girlfriend did the same thing six minutes later. There were no arrests or charges filed. According to the police report there were no injuries you could see with the naked eye and neither wanted medical attention. The two gave conflicting details of what happened.  width=Ohio State has said they're aware of the incident and working on collecting the details. Barrett didn't play in the Buckeyes win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game after suffering an injury versus Michigan and is out the rest of the season.

>>Andersen Leaves Wisconsin For Oregon State

(Corvallis, OR) -- Gary Anderson is making the move from the Big Ten to the Pac-12. Andersen will exit as Wisconsin's head coach and accept the head coaching position at Oregon State. Mike Riley left the Beavers last week to take the job at Nebraska. The 50-year-old Andersen went 19-and-7 in two seasons as Badgers head coach. He led Wisconsin to a 10-and-3 season and an appearance in the Big Ten championship game, where the Badgers lost 59-0 to Ohio State.

>>Bo Pelini To Coach Youngstown State

(Youngstown, OH) -- Former Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini didn't take long to find a new job. FootballScoop.com reports Pelini plans to accept the head coaching job at Youngstown State. The Youngstown native went 67-and-27 during a seven-year tenure with the Cornhuskers. He was fired after going 9-and-3 this season. Pelini replaces Eric Wolford, who was let go after a 31-and-26 record over five seasons. The Penguins won four FCS national championships between 1991-and-1997 under former coach Jim Tressel, who is now the school's president.

Winter Meetings Heating Up Hot Stove Season

 width=>>Cubs World Series Odds Shrink After Lester Signing

(Las Vegas, NV) -- The Cubs are getting some love in Las Vegas after signing top free-agent pitcher Jon Lester. The Westgate SuperBook lists the Cubs' odds of winning the World Series in 2015 at 12-to-1. The "lovable losers" started the offseason at 40-to-1, but saw those odds shrink to 18-to-1 after hiring new manager Joe Maddon. The Dodgers and Nationals have the best odds at 7-to-1. The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908.

>>Angels Trade Kendrick To Dodgers

(San Diego, CA) -- Second baseman Howie Kendrick is changing teams. Multiple reports say he is heading north to the Dodgers from the Angels. The Halos are getting young lefty Andrew Heaney, who was traded from the Marlins to L.A. for second baseman Dee Gordon among others also on Wednesday. Kendrick is set to make nearly 10-million-dollars this season and will be a free agent following 2015. He hit .293 with seven homers and 75 RBI this past season. Kendrick has been with the Angels since 2006. Heaney is the 18th-ranked prospect by MLB.com and the second-best left-handed pitcher.

>>Marlins, Dodgers Pull Off Six-Player Deal

(San Diego, CA) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins are pulling off a six-player swap. The "Miami Herald" reports the Dodgers will send second baseman Dee Gordon and veteran starting pitcher Dan Haren to Miami in exchange for pitchers Andrew Heaney and Chris Hatcher, second baseman Enrique Hernandez and catcher Austin Barnes. Gordon led the bigs with 64 stolen bases last season, while Haren posted a 13-and-11 record with 4.02 ERA. Heaney ranks as MLB.com's 18th overall prospect.

 width=>>Red Sox, Diamondbacks In Possible Trade Talks

(San Diego, CA) -- There is some confusion regarding a possible trade between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox. "USA Today" says the Red Sox believe a deal is done privately while Arizona is publicly denying any trade. Multiple reports said the Sox traded for starter Wade Miley. The Arizona Diamondbacks would receive pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster as a part of the package. Miley was 8-and-12 with a 4.34 ERA last season for Arizona. De La Rosa was 4-and-8 with a 4.43 ERA while Webster was 5-and-3 with a 5.03 ERA.

>>Phillies, Dodgers Close to Rollins Deal

The Philadelphia Phillies are close to trading longtime shortstop and franchise hits leader jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.

While the return has not yet been reported, numerous outlets have said the deal is close to being done.

The 36-year-old Rollins, who had to waive a no-trade clause to complete the deal, figures to be a one-year stopgap for the Dodgers until prospect Corey Seager is ready.

A cornerstone of the Phillies organization since his debut in 2000, Rollins developed into one of the best shortstops in baseball and was named the 2007 National League MVP in 2007, a year before helping the team to its first World Series title in 28 years.

>>Rockies ship Rutledge to Angels

Hours after reportedly trading second baseman Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers, the Los Angeles Angels acquired infielder Josh Rutledge from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for right-handed pitcher Jairo Diaz.

Rutledge, a lifetime .259 hitter, has spent time at second base, third base and shortstop in his three-year career with the Rockies.

The 25-year-old has 19 home runs, 89 RBI and 126 runs during his brief career.

Diaz, 23, compiled a 18-27 record in the minor league before making his MLB debut in 2014. The Venezuelan made five appearances, yielding two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

>>MLB Announcer Enberg Named Frick Award Winner

Dick Enberg, who has carved out a broadcasting career lasting for more than five decades, has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.

Enberg, a native of Michigan and product of Central Michigan and Indiana University, began his career as an undergraduate at CMU. During his time with the Angels, he also broadcast Los Angeles Rams and UCLA men's basketball up until joining NBC Sports in 1975. Once there, Enberg drew praise for his coverage of Wimbledon as much as his baseball acumen.

After a 10-year stint with CBS Sports beginning in 2000, Enberg returned to the day-to-day grind of the majors with San Diego for the 2010 season -- a position in which he remains currently.

Other finalists included: Richie Ashburn, Billy Berroa, Rene Cardenas, Dizzy Dean, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ralph Kiner, Ned Martin, Joe Nuxhall and Jack Quinlan.

>>Astros Ink Relievers Gregerson, Neshek

(San Diego, CA) -- The Houston Astros are beefing up their bullpen with the addition of right-hander Luke Gregerson. "USA Today" reports the 30-year-old reliever has agreed to a three-year, 18.5-million-dollar contract. Gregerson went 5-and-5 with a 2.12 ERA, three saves and 22 holds in 72 games last season for the Oakland A's. With incentives, the total value of his deal could reach 21-million. According to the report, the Astros have also signed reliever Pat Neshek [[ NEE-skeck ]] to a two-year deal. The 34-year-old went 7-and-2 with a 1.87 ERA, six saves and 25 holds last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Rams on Thursday Night Football

 width=>>Cardinals Clash With Rams On "TNF"

(St. Louis, MO) -- NFC West rivals meet for the second time this season as the Arizona Cardinals take on the St. Louis Rams on "Thursday Night Football" at the Edward Jones Dome. The Cardinals held off the Chiefs 17-14 on Sunday to improve to 7-and-0 at home this season and 10-and-3 overall. Arizona leads the division by one game over Seattle. The Rams blanked the Redskins 24-0 on Sunday to improve to 6-and-7. After a 52-0 win over the Raiders the week before, the Rams have posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1945. St. Louis lost 31-17 at Arizona in Week 10.

>>Anderson To Start At QB For Panthers Sunday

(Charlotte, NC) -- Derek Anderson will be the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers this Sunday against Tampa Bay. Anderson will fill in for Cam Newton, who is recovering from two small fractures in his lower back as the result of a two-car, rollover accident on Tuesday. Head coach Ron Rivera says he informed Anderson of the move Tuesday night. He adds Newton's availability will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis. This will be just the second game Newton has missed in his career. Anderson started Week One this season at Tampa Bay with Newton recovering from a preseason rib injury. He completed 24-of-34 passes for 230 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions as the Panthers beat the Bucs, 20-14. Carolina is 4-8-and-1, just behind the 5-and-8 Falcons and Saints in the NFC South.

>>Newton Released From Hospital, No Charges

(Charlotte, NC) -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is out of the hospital. He was released Wednesday morning, one day after suffering two small fractures in his lower back as the result of a two-car, rollover accident. Charlotte Mecklenburg Police say Newton will not face charges for the accident and was traveling at the posted 35 mile-per-hour speed limit when the other driver pulled out in front of him. His status for Sunday's home game against Tampa Bay is uncertain.

>>Newton Named NFC Offensive Player Of The Week

(Charlotte, NC) -- Before getting in an accident this week that would land him in the hospital, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's on-field performance earned him NFC Player of the Week honors. Newton completed 21-of-33 passes for 226 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, while adding 83 rushing yards and another score in Carolina's 41-10 win at New Orleans. Newton is likely out for Panthers' game this Sunday against the Buccaneers with two small fractures in his lower back that he suffered in a rollover accident on Tuesday.

Blues, Blackhawks Back In Action Today

 width=>>Blackhawks Face Bruins

(Boston, MA) -- The Blackhawks are on the road tonight taking on the Bruins in Boston. The puck drops from the TD Garden at 6 p.m. Chicago is 19-8-and-1 after a win over New Jersey on Tuesday. Boston moved to 15-12-and-1 after a win over Arizona on Saturday.

 width=>>Blues Host Islanders Tonight

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Blues welcome the Islanders to Scottrade Center tonight for a 7 p.m. faceoff. The Blues have won two straight, including a 6-4 win over the Islanders in New York on Saturday. With 38 points, the Blues are tied with Nashville for second place in the Central Division, one behind Chicago.

Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Detroit Red Wings 1 (SO)
Anaheim Ducks 2, Edmonton Oilers 1

Bulls Blast Nets

 width=Derrick Rose dropped in a game-high 23 points as the Bulls blasted the Nets 105-80 at the United Center. Pau Gasol posted 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won four of six. Taj Gibson chipped in with 11 points and 10 boards and Jimmy Butler netted 18 in the victory. Deron Williams scored 17 points and Kevin Garnett had 13 in Brooklyn's third straight loss. Alan Anderson added 12 points in defeat. The Nets shot just 33-percent as a team.

Charlotte Hornets 96, Boston Celtics 87
Los Angeles Clippers 103, Indiana Pacers 96
Washington Wizards 91, Orlando Magic 89
Atlanta Hawks 95, Philadelphia 76ers 79
Minnesota Timberwolves 90, Portland Trail Blazers 82
Dallas Mavericks 112, New Orleans Pelicans 107
San Antonio Spurs 109, New York Knicks 95
Golden State Warriors 105, Houston Rockets 93
Denver Nuggets 102, Miami Heat 82

Richland's Partnership with Clinton High School Leads to Affordable College Credit

Clinton High School is hoping to give students a leg up through a partnership with Richland Community College.

The high school wants to prepare their students for college by providing them with dual-credit courses. Principal Jerry Wayne explains the classes allow students to earn both high school and college credit. He notes funding is now available for several English and Social Studies dual classes that will be affordable for families.


Wayne also mentions the school intends to offer dual-credit math and science classes. He's excited about the prospects of students being able to afford close to 18 college credits through this partnership.


Clinton High School has had this type of program for several years. Yet, Wayne feels the new Richland facility has brought the partnership to a new level of education.


Wayne emphasizes the only true cost that will fall to the student will be the textbooks thanks to the Clinton Educational Foundation.


Cleveland Cavaliers 105, Toronto Raptors 101
Portland Trail Blazers 98, Detroit Pistons 86
Memphis Grizzlies 114, Dallas Mavericks 105
Oklahoma City Thunder 114, Milwaukee Bucks 101
New Orleans Pelicans 104, New York Knicks 93
Utah Jazz 100, San Antonio Spurs 96
Miami Heat 103, Phoenix Suns 97
Los Angeles Lakers 98, Sacramento Kings 95

Chicago Blackhawks 3, New Jersey Devils 2 (SO)
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Philadelphia Flyers 2 (OT)
Buffalo Sabres 1, Los Angeles Kings 0
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Calgary Flames 1
Montreal Canadiens 3, Vancouver Canucks 1
Washington Capitals 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Minnesota Wild 5, New York Islanders 4
Winnipeg Jets 5, Dallas Stars 2
Nashville Predators 3, Colorado Avalanche 0

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#3 Arizona Wildcats 87, Utah Valley Wolverines 56
#4 Louisville Cardinals 94, Indiana Hoosiers 74 (Jimmy V. Classic at New York, NY)
#7 Villanova Wildcats 73, #25 Illinois Fighting Illini 59 (Jimmy V. Classic at New York, NY)
#11 Wichita State Shockers 77, Seton Hall Pirates 68
#13 Iowa State Cyclones 73, UMKC Kangaroos 56

Blackhawks Edge Devils In Jersey

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews [[ taves ]] both scored in the shootout as the Blackhawks edged the Devils 3-2 at the Prudential Center.  Scott Darling stopped both shootout attempts to go with 22 saves in regulation.  Duncan Keith scored the tying tally with 3:13 left in the third period, while Bryan Bickell lit the lamp in the second for Chicago, which won its seventh straight.  Jordin Tootoo and Stephen Gionta [[ jee-AHN-tuh ]] scored for the Devils, who have dropped seven of nine.  Keith Kinkaid made 37 saves in defeat. 

Rams Get Ready For Thursday Night Football

The Rams continue to get ready for Thursday Night Football against first-place Arizona.  The teams meet tomorrow at the Edward Jones Dome.  The Rams are 6-and-7 after back-to-back shutouts over the Raiders and Redskins.  The Cardinals lead the NFC West at 10-and-3. 

White Sox Add Samardzija In Six-Player Deal

The Chicago White Sox are bolstering their starting rotation.  They have acquired right-hander Jeff Samardzija [[ suh-MAR-jah ]] and pitching prospect Michael Ynoa [[ IN-oh-ah ]] from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for infielder Marcus Semien [[ SIM-ee-in ]] and prospects Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley and Rangel Ravelo.  Samardzija went 7-and-13 with a 2.99 ERA in 33 starts between the Cubs and the A's.  The 29-year-old was dealt from the Cubs to the Athletics with Jason Hammel in July for three players.

Lester Signs With Cubs

Jon Lester is joining the Chicago Cubs.  Yahoo! Sports reports Lester has agreed to a new six-year deal worth 155-million dollars.  Lester was being chased by multiple teams, but had narrowed down his choices to the Cubs and Boston Red Sox.  The 30-year-old ultimately reached a long-term deal with Chicago late Tuesday night.  Lester was one of the highly regarded free agents this offseason after a 16-and-11 combined record with Boston and Oakland last season. 

#7 Villanova Cruises Past Illinois In Jimmy V Classic

Dylan Ennis scored 18 points to lead seventh-ranked Villanova to a 73-59 win over 25th-ranked Illinois in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.  Daniel Ochefu and Darrun Hilliard the Second added 12 points apiece for the Wildcats, who improved to 9-and-0.  Josh Hart had 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench in the victory.  Malcolm Hill netted a career-high 20 points for the Fighting Illini, who slipped to 7-and-2.  Rayvonte Rice was the only other player in double figures with 10 points in defeat.

Sen. Durbin Reacts to Senate CIA Torture Report

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois is calling the CIA interrogation practices described in the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report troubling. He says it's "equally disturbing" that U.S. intelligence agencies "refused to disclose the truth even to the highest levels of government."

The report released Tuesday is the first public accounting of tactics employed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and it describes far harsher actions than had been widely known.

In a statement Tuesday, Durbin said the report "makes it clear that the CIA misled and impeded critical oversight by Congress" and the president.

Durbin is the chairman of the Senate's Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the CIA and the intelligence community. He's long been highly critical of the CIA's use of abusive interrogation techniques.

Marching Illini Will Play at Texas Holiday Bowl Game

The University of Illinois' 360-member marching band is heading south to Texas for the Christmas holiday.

Director Barry Houser told students Monday the entire Marching Illini band and staff will take charter buses to the Dec. 26 Heart of Dallas bowl game to watch the Illini football team play Louisiana Tech. It's the band's first bowl trip since 2011, when 100 members traveled to San Francisco.

A spokesman says the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics will pay for the trip using bowl game proceeds. He says Illini cheerleaders will also make the trip.

Sophomore band member Erica Allender says she would like to spend the holiday with her family but she doesn't mind missing Christmas celebrations to play at her first bowl game

Lincoln Museum Marks Anniversaries with Exhibits

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum will be marking the 150th anniversary of the 16th president's death - and its own 10th anniversary - with a host of new exhibits and activities next year.

In a news release, the museum said Tuesday there will be new digital features that will give visitors immediate access to photographs and documents. There will also be a presentation of artifacts related to Lincoln's death and funeral - including a medallion from the hearse that carried Lincoln's body to the cemetery that apparently hasn't been seen since the 1865 funeral. And the exhibit that opened last month called "Undying Words: Lincoln 1858-1865," will continue.

There will be family, events, including a strawberry social and parties to mark the birthdays of Lincoln's sons.

Illinois 'Lawsuit Abuse' Target of Ad Campaign

A national business group has begun a campaign to shine a spotlight on what it calls "systemic lawsuit abuse" in the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform unveiled its campaign Tuesday. It focuses on Madison County courts' "loose standards" for allowing asbestos-liability action by non-residents.

The effort will include television, billboard and online ads and direct mail.

Chamber President Lisa Rickard also released a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn asking him to veto legislation adopted by the General Assembly last week.

It would give people suffering from illnesses related to asbestos exposure more time to file lawsuits against people and firms that constructed buildings using the fireproofing material. Asbestos was banned in the 1970s after it was linked to cancer.

Champaign Post Office Honor for Veteran Advances

Legislation to name the Champaign post office after an African-American World War II veteran has been sent to President Barack Obama.

James Burgess Jr. was a leader of the first African-American armored battalion in World War II. He also served as Champaign County state's attorney and a U.S. attorney before his 1997 death.

His son Steve led an effort to honor Burgess by naming a government building after him.

On Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said a bill to designate the Champaign post office as the James R. Burgess Jr. Post Office Building passed the full Senate. It's now awaiting Obama's approval.

Davis says it's a small token of Illinois' gratitude for Burgess and for his son, who died unexpectedly last year.

Judy Baar Topinka Dies

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka died early today, less than 24 hours after having a stroke, according to her office. She was 70.

Topinka reported discomfort yesterday and was admitted to a hospital in Berwyn. After undergoing tests she appeared to be doing well overnight before suddenly losing consciousness this morning. She was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m.

Topinka, a Republican, won a second term last month in a tough race with Democratic challenger Sheila Simon, the former lieutenant governor.

"This was not going to be an easy race, and that's the way it turned out," Topinka said after the election results came in. "We were watching right to the end. I'm just happy because I have four more years to get things done."

Topinka previously served three terms as Illinois state treasurer, was a former Illinois GOP chairwoman and ran for governor in 2006. She said the temporary income tax increase should be phased out so that the state "keeps its promise without blowing a multi-billion hole in its budget."

Topinka and Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner were the only two Republicans to win statewide races this year after Tom Cross was narrowly defeated in the treasurer's race.

Allerton Park Plans Busy Winter Season

The holiday seasons is a busy time for one of Central Illinois' hidden gems.

Monticello's Allerton Park will see several major events scheduled throughout its' winter season. Matt Smith, with Allerton, notes while activity slows down during the next couple months, several holiday parties keep their staff busy in December. Private parties are available to the public throughout Christmas time and prove to be very popular.

[audio:12814allertonwinter1.mp3] [/audio]

Allerton's mansion will also see a Gingerbread House display throughout the holidays with entries still accepted though the 12th. Another major event is their Holiday Affair which is sold out for this year according to Smith. The park's final major function in December is their Breakfast with Santa geared toward the little ones of the community.

[audio:12814allertonwinter2.mp3] [/audio]

Smith explains Allerton's holiday schedule will wind down after Breakfast with Santa concludes just before Christmas. January will see more conferences at the mansion right before their Valentine's Day events begin in February.

Local Veterans Assisting Veterans At Danville's VA Hospital

Clinton's Am-Vets are doing a special collection this holiday season to support their peers in Danville, Illinois.

According to Jesse Owens, they are looking for basic necessities and clothes. He stresses any clothing items need to be in either new or like new condition.

[audio:12914vetscollect1.mp3] [/audio]

Along with the Am-Vets in this effort, Clinton's Walgreen's is doing a candy bar drive also that will go to the Danville facility. Owens explains the Walgreen's effort has been going much longer than theirs but he says both are good avenues to support veterans in need.

[audio:12914vetscollect2.mp3] [/audio]

You can support the Am-Vets and the Danville veterans hospital through more ways than just tangible contributions. Owens explains financial contributions can go a long ways as well.

[audio:12914vetscollect3.mp3] [/audio]

The supply drive for the Danville Veterans hospital is underway. Donations can be taken to Darvin's Barber Shop in downtown Clinton. Donations will be accepted all the way up to the 21st of December with a group of Am-Vets to go to Danville on the 22nd.

Local veteran activist Jeff Morlock is challenging area businesses to step up and help a good cause. He hopes to draw interest in this drive not just from the residential community, but from the business community also.

[audio:12914vetscollect4.mp3] [/audio]

To find out more about the drive, contact Owens at 217-413-7960 or Darvin Volker at 217-935-3551.

Morlock and Owens also encourage any current service men or women who are on active duty and will be coming home to contact them about a special escort home they have done recently. They also hope any veterans who haven't yet had the opportunity to participate in the Honor Flights to contact them about doing so.

You can also reach the AmVets by email at amvets14@gmail.com.

Still Time to Adopt for DeWitt County Angel Tree

 width=There is still time today to participate in DeWitt County Angel Tree
adoptions for the holiday season.

After 5pm on Tuesday, the angels will be taken down from local
businesses trees. Sue Calvert, with Angel Tree, explains there
have been many kids in need this holiday season. She
encourages anyone wanting to still participate to contact her to
obtain a list.

[audio:12914angeltree1.mp3] [/audio]

Calvert notes there has been a great outpouring of support for
Angel Tree this year. Many local youth groups have been a great
source of support also. Efforts such as Angel Tree have left a great
impact on those it has assisted according to Calvert and many
return as adults to give back to their community.
[audio:12914angeltree2.mp3] [/audio]
Calvert is grateful for the local volunteers and businesses that make
Angel Tree possible. She adds they have tried to make the
shopping experience simpler for those who adopt by finding other
venues to provide such items as winter wear throughout the year.

[audio:12914angeltree3.mp3] [/audio]
Donations to Angel Tree can still be made at First National Bank
throughout the holiday season. Anyone wishing to adopt after
Tuesday can contact Sue Calvert at scalvert13@gmail.com or 309-825-5822.
Dick and Nathan Douglas of Sunset Inn and Suites donated $1000
to the DeWitt County Samaritan Room's Angel Tree.  The Douglas
family have been long time supporters of the holiday program.

Rauner Says He Won't Be 'Mr. Popularity'

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner says the next two years are going to be "very rough" because of Illinois' financial troubles and he won't be "Mr. Popularity" for a while.

Rauner spoke Monday before the Illinois Farm Bureau.

The Winnetka Republican didn't detail what unpopular steps he may take.

This year's $35.7 billion state budget is billions short of what's needed. Next year's budget gap will be worse. That's partially because Illinois' income tax rate is scheduled to drop from 5 to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1.

Rauner says he plans to manage the budget with the 3.75 percent rate. But he says "nothing will be off the table."

He's previously said he may be open to a higher tax rate, but wants it to drop to 3 percent within four years.

Illinois Principal Urges Smart Social Media Usage

The principal of a high school in eastern Illinois is advising students to exercise caution on social media after a student from a neighboring school was suspended for racist remarks shared via Twitter.

Darren Loschen, principal of Armstrong Township High School, says it's important that teens take a step back and evaluate what they've written before posting. He says teens need to think about the potential consequences of their words, especially those that come from anger or frustration, before they're shared on the Internet.

Reports indicate a female student from Oakwood High School in Fithian was suspended for five days after posting about the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, following the grand jury decision not the indict a white police officer in the killing of an unarmed black man.

Quinn Responds To Troubled Youth Centers Reports

Gov. Pat Quinn is responding to a newspaper's investigation about allegations of assaults, abuse and prostitution schemes at Illinois residential treatment centers for youth.

Quinn on Monday directed an advisory council to meet Thursday to assess the situation. He named Dr. Robert R. Bloom as an adviser to the Children and Family Services Advisory Council.

The Chicago Tribune's ongoing investigation focuses on taxpayer-funded residential centers for disadvantaged youth.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services previously said it has imposed an "intake hold" on two of the troubled centers in Chicago, meaning it won't place juveniles in them for now. The department is caretaker to approximately 1,300 young people in residential facilities. Department officials on Monday said they will work with the advisory council and others to improve services.

Police Say East Peoria Man Robbed In Craigslist Deal

Police are investigating after an East Peoria man reported being attacked and robbed of two cellphones when responding to a Craigslist advertisement.

According to reports, the man tells police he agreed to buy a Samsung cellphone in a grocery store parking lot over the weekend. He says he tried to walk away after discovering the cellphone he was offered wasn't the one advertised but the seller hit him in the back of the head and he fell to the ground.

The man says the suspect then knocked him unconscious and robbed him of two cell phones worth a total of $900.

A grocery store manager says she saw a fight in progress in the parking lot but couldn't find anyone when she went outside. Police say security footage wasn't immediately available.

Pekin Considering Asian Carp Processing Study

A city in central Illinois is deciding whether to conduct a study to determine if there would be a local market for Asian carp.

The Pekin City Council will meet Monday to vote on funding for the proposal, which could pave the way for an Asian carp processing plant. Reports indicate City Manager Darin Girdler says several companies have expressed interest in bringing such a facility to Pekin. He says the $8,000 market/feasibility study would be conducted by the University of Illinois to determine the viability of the venture.

Girdler adds the city could ask other municipalities if they would like to participate in the study.

The study could help the city obtain U.S. Department of Agriculture loans to construct a facility.

Driver Gets 12 Years In Crash That Killed Officer

A South Carolina man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in connection with a vehicle crash that killed an on-duty Pontiac officer and his police dog last year.

According to reports, Jason C. Collins of West Columbia, South Carolina, was sentenced Monday in Livingston County Circuit Court. He pleaded guilty in August to four counts of aggravated driving under the influence and one count of reckless homicide.

Twenty-nine-year-old officer Casey Kohlmeier and his dog, Draco, were killed when Collin's truck crashed into Kohlmeier's SUV that was parked on an interstate median.

A civil lawsuit filed by the officer's parents is still pending. The civil suit names Collins, a bar where he'd been drinking and his employer as defendants.

VFW That Lost Flag Pole To Thieves Gets New One

Back in September someone cut down and stole the flag pole outside the Wilson & Taylor Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Decatur.

As of Sunday, it's back.

According to reports, the soldiers at the VFW post dedicated the new flag pole with a rifle salute from the Macon County Honor Guard.

Ivery Chambliss is Post 730's quartermaster. He suspects the old flag pole was stolen for scrap. But finding the flag that was on the pole lying in the mud was a shock.

He called the flag's treatment "an insult to all of us."

The Free Runners Masonic Organization in Decatur paid for the replacement.

Tips For Eating Healthy During Holidays

The holiday season is a time for great food but should also be a time for taking care of one's health.

Many parties are thrown during the Christmas season and many include a variety of great food. U of I Extension Nutrition Expert Caitlin Huth explains that many try to set aside health choices during this time of year. Yet, she says this is usually not a good idea.

[audio:12514holidayfood1.mp3] [/audio]

Huth notes holiday party guests should plan ahead before the gatherings. She mentions one shouldn't overindulge before eating rich foods with many calories. It might also be a good idea to ask what will be served at a party beforehand.

[audio:12514holidayfood2.mp3] [/audio]

According to Huth, it's important to focus only on the foods you really want. Portion sizes are also important during buffet style meals. Small portions allow a guest to sample various types of food with lower calorie intake.

[audio:12514holidayfood3.mp3] [/audio]

Huth adds looking for healthier options of favorite recipes are also a way of cutting calories over the holidays.

Mariota Highlights Heisman Trophy Finalists

 width=Three finalists are in the running for the 2014 Heisman Trophy.  The list is highlighted by Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, while Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper will also make the trip to New York.  Mariota led the 12-and-1 Ducks to a Pac-12 Championship by throwing for over 37-hundreds-yards, 38 touchdowns to just two interceptions.  Mariota also rushed for 669 yards and 14 more scores.  Gordon rushed for over 23-hundred-yards, and his 26 rushing scores led the nation.  He set a then-single-game NCAA rushing record with 408 yards against Nebraska.  Cooper led the top-ranked Crimson Tide with 115 catches for 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns.  The winner will be announced during Saturday's ceremony in New York.

NBA Notes

>>Cavaliers Pound Nets

(Brooklyn, NY) -- Dion Waiters went off for 26 points off the bench, leading the Cavaliers to a 110-88 victory against the Nets at the Barclays Center. Kevin Love had a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while LeBron James tallied 18 with seven assists and four boards. Matthew Dellavedova played 16 minutes and scored two points with three assists in his return from an injury for Cleveland, which has won seven straight to improve to 12-and-7. Brooklyn was without Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson due to a back injury and illness, respectively. Deron Williams shot 3-of-14 from the field, but piled up 13 points and 11 assists. The Nets have lost two straight.

Atlanta Hawks 108, Indiana Pacers 92
Washington Wizards 133, Boston Celtics 132 (2OT)
Toronto Raptors 112, Denver Nuggets 107 (OT)
Golden State Warriors 102, Minnesota Timberwolves 86
Sacramento Kings 101, Utah Jazz 92
Los Angeles Clippers 121, Phoenix Suns 120 (OT)

>>Cavaliers And Nets Players Wearing "I Can't Breathe T-Shirts"

(Brooklyn, NY) -- NBA players continue to take a stand against police violence. Before the Cavaliers and Nets game at the Barclays Center Monday night, numerous players wore shirts reading "I Can't Breathe" in protest of the death of Eric Garner. The Staten Island man died after a cop put him in a chokehold and slammed his head to the ground. It was all caught on video and protests have beed going on around the country since the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, wasn't indicted last Wednesday. LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack and Alan Anderson all wore the t-shirts. Jack was the player who supplied them to everyone.

>>Lowry, Aldridge NBA Players Of The Week

(New York, NY) -- Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry and Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge are the NBA's Players of the Week. Lowry nabbed Eastern Conference honors after averaging 29.3 points and 8.7 assists in three games for Toronto last week. Aldridge got the nod in the Western Conference after averaging 27 points and 11.7 rebounds in three games for Portland. Aldridge finished with a double-double in each contest.

Packers Outlast Falcons On MNF

 width=>>Packers Hang On To Top Falcons

(Green Bay, WI) -- Aaron Rodgers went 24-for-36 for 327 yards and three touchdowns to guide the Packers to a 43-37 win over the Falcons at Lambeau Field. Jordy Nelson caught eight balls for 146 yards and a pair of scores as Green Bay moves to 10-and-3 with its fifth straight victory. Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined to rush for 148 yards and two TDs. Lacy also caught a touchdown pass in the win. Matt Ryan tossed for 375 yards and four scores but also had an interception. Julio Jones had 11 catches for 259 yards and a touchdown, while Roddy White and Harry Douglas both found the end zone as well. Atlanta falls to 5-and-8 with the loss, but remains atop the NFC South.

>>Trestman Standing Behind Cutler

 width=Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman remains firm in his support of quarterback Jay Cutler.

Trestman shot down a report that the Bears considered benching their quarterback during last month's win over Tampa Bay, saying Cutler has been "the guy we've had in there and wanted to play."

Trestman adds that Cutler "as a very good understanding of how we feel about him."

Trestman was more vague when it came to defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. Trestman would not confirm or deny a decision has been reached on whether to keep Tucker. The Bears (5-8) are at the bottom of the NFC North.

>>Marshall Released From Hospital

Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman says star receiver Brandon Marshall is out of the hospital after suffering two broken ribs and a lung injury last week.

Marshall was hurt in the second quarter of Thursday's 41-28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He was hit in the right side by the knee of Dallas defensive back Barry Church after making a catch.

Trestman acknowledged Monday that Marshall will likely miss the remainder of the season, ending a string of seven straight 1,000-yard seasons. He has 61 catches for 721 yards.

Trestman said Marshall has not been placed on injured reserve because the Bears are working through some "roster situations" that will be sorted out soon.

>>Chiefs' Berry Diagnosed With Hodgkin Lymphoma

(Kansas City, MO) -- Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry is dealing with Hodgkin lymphoma. The Emory Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, where Berry is being treated, released a statement saying the diagnosis is very treatable and potentially curable with standard chemotherapy. Berry also issued a statement expressing thanks for the amount of support he and his family have received over the last several weeks. The soon-to-be 26-year-old added that he will embrace the process to combat his cancer and attack it like everything else in life. He also expressed prayers for others going through similar struggles. Berry had complained of discomfort in his chest after the Chiefs' November 20th game against Oakland. Initial testing discovered a mass in his chest.

Blues Double Up Panthers

 width=Chris Porter scored the go-ahead goal with 1:54 to go in regulation as the Blues went on to beat the Panthers 4-2 at Scottrade Center. Paul Stastny [[ STAZ-nee ]] added an empty net goal in the final minute, while Maxim Lapierre [[ LAH-pee-AIR ]] and Ian Cole lit the lamp in the first period for the Blues, who have won two in-a-row. Martin Brodeur [[ mar-tan broh-DURE ]] made 32 saves in the victory. Nick Bjugstad [[ BYOOG-stad ]] and Aaron Ekblad both scored for Florida, which has alternated wins and losses over its last six games. Roberto Luongo stopped 24 shots in defeat.

New York Rangers 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (OT)
New Jersey Devils 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1

White Sox Open Winter Meetings With Bang; Cubs Notes

 width=>>Report: White Sox Sign Robertson

(San Diego, CA) -- The White Sox are making some noise at the MLB Winter Meetings. According to the "USA Today", Chicago signed closer David Robertson to a four-year deal worth over 40-million-dollars. Robertson took over for Mariano Rivera as the Yankees' ninth-inning man last year and locked up 39 saves with a 3.08 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. This isn't all the White Sox are doing. Multiple outlets have them on the verge of acquiring starter Jeff Samardzija through a trade from the Athletics.

>>White Sox Reportedly Acquire Samardzija

(San Diego, CA) -- The Oakland Athletics have reportedly shipped starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija [[ suh-MAR-juh ]] to the Chicago White Sox. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports the teams have agreed to a deal, but he did not say what Oakland will receive in return. The 29-year-old Samardzija split time between the A's and Chicago Cubs last season and went combined 7-and-13 with a 2.99 ERA. Samardzija holds a career record of 36-and-48 with a lifetime 3.85 ERA. News of the deal came shortly after "USA Today" reported the White Sox also signed former Yankees closer Dave Robertson to a four-year deal.

>>White Sox Claim Brantly

(San Diego, CA) -- The White Sox claimed catcher Rob Brantly off of waivers from the Marlins on Monday. Brantly hit .255 with four homers and 37 RBI in 101 games in Triple-A last season. The Sox now have five catchers on their 40-man roster.

 width=>>Cubs Bringing Back Hammel

(San Diego, CA) -- The Cubs are bringing free-agent pitcher Jason Hammel [[ HAM-mel ]] back to their rotation. FOX Sports reports the two sides have agreed to a two-year, 20-million-dollar deal. The Cubs dealt Hammel and right-hander Jeff Samadzija [[ suh-MAR-juh ]] to Oakland in July. Hammel went 8-and-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts for Chicago last season.

>>No Electees From HOF Golden Era Ballot

(San Diego, CA) -- No players will be going into the Baseball Hall of Fame next year via the Golden Era ballot. None of the 10 players on the ballot received enough votes for induction. Infielder Dick Allen and outfielder Tony Oliva fell one vote short and pitcher Jim Kaat [[ Cott ]] was two votes shy of the 12 required for election. The 16-member Golden Era committee is tasked to consider the ballot of candidates whose contributions to the game were most significant from 1947-72. Maury Wills, Minnie Minoso, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Billy Pierce and Luis Tiant were also on the ballot. The committee works on a three-year cycle and won't consider candidates again until 2017.

>>Indians Acquire Brandon Moss

(San Diego, CA) -- The Cleveland Indians are adding a power bat to their lineup. Yahoo! Sports reports the team has acquired slugger Brandon Moss from the Oakland A's in exchange for second base prospect Joe Wendle. Moss crushed 25 home runs last season after hitting 30 long balls in 2013. MLB.com has Wendle rated the Indians' ninth-ranked prospect.

>>Madison Bumgarner Named SI Sportsman Of The Year

(New York, NY) -- World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner is the 2014 "Sports Illustrated" Sportsman of the Year. The award honors "the athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement." Bumgarner led the Giants to their third World Series title in five seasons, while going 2-and-0 in the Fall Classic with a 0.43 ERA in three dominant performances. The 25-year-old is the 14th major leaguer to earn the honor. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was last year's winner.

Illinois vs. Villanova At MSG Tonight

 width=Illinois goes up against seventh-ranked Villanova tonight in the Jimmy V. Classic at Madison Square Garden. The Fighting Illini remain 25th in this week's "USA Today" Coaches Poll. Illinois beat American 70-55 on Saturday to improve to 6-and-1. The Wildcats are 8-and-0.

>>Miami (FL) Pounds Savannah State

Angel Rodriguez and Manu Lecomte each made four 3-pointers as No. 20 Miami-Florida handled overmatched Savannah State, 70-39, on Monday night.

Rodriguez finished with 17 points, while Lecomte and Sheldon McClellan added 15 apiece for the Hurricanes (9-1), who made better than half their shots (21- of-41) after shooting at a 32.8 percent clip in Saturday's loss to Green Bay.

Demarcus Bryant netted nine points on the strength of three 3-pointers, but the Tigers (3-7) could not overcome Miami's hot shooting and a 19-2 discrepancy in made free throws.

State Run Health Exchange Program On Hold

An Illinois lawmaker says she plans to halt her push for a state-run health insurance marketplace until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a case that could result in higher health-care costs for low- and middle-income residents.

Evanston Democratic state Rep. Robyn Gabel was unable to gather enough votes to establish a state exchange during the Legislature's fall veto session, which concluded this week.

She says she's in "wait-and-see mode" as the court considers whether health insurance subsidies are legal in states like Illinois that use the federal website to connect residents with insurance offered through President Barack Obama's health care law.

Without passing the legislation, Illinois will miss an end-of-year deadline to qualify for $270 million in federal funding to set up the marketplace.

IHSA Says Suit Could Lead to 'Haves, Have Not' Schools

The nation's first high school sports governing body to face a class-action concussions lawsuit is warning legal action could result in wealthier schools keeping their football programs and cash-strapped ones eliminating them.

Illinois High School Association Director Marty Hickman said in a Friday news conference that court-imposed policies, such as mandating physicians be present at all practices, would be costly.

Hickman says the result would be that "the haves are going to continue to have (football) and the have-nots are not going to have it."

A former high school quarterback filed the lawsuit Saturday. It says the IHSA doesn't adequately protect the state's 50,000 high school football players.

The lawsuit also wants the IHSA to implement policies at 800 member schools that go beyond state-law requirements.

Illinois Governor-Elect Visits White House

Illinois Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) has visited the White House and met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Rauner was one of seven newly elected governors visiting the White House Friday for a presidential briefing. Topics included education, health care and transportation.

The Winnetka businessman is the first Republican governor elected in Obama's home state in more than a decade. He says he has "close working relationships" with a number of senior White House officials, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Rauner told reporters that problems nationally and in Illinois must be solved on a bipartisan basis.

Rauner replaces outgoing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. He will be sworn into office Jan. 12.

Benedictine University Layoffs To Begin This Month

A first round of layoffs at Benedictine University in Springfield will begin at the end of this month.

The job cuts are a result of the school's decision to drop the undergraduate program at its Springfield campus. It announced in October that it would instead focus on its master's and doctoral programs as well as the segment of adults seeking degrees.

Reports indicate six admissions office employees have been notified of layoffs effective Dec. 31.

The school has also filed a formal notice of layoffs with the state, something that is required for cuts of 25 or more full-time employees.

Initially, the school had said it would cut a total of 75-100 jobs.

Spokeswoman Nicole Selinger said Friday the exact number is unclear.

Ameren Warning About Scams

Ameren Illinois is releasing several tips to make sure customers are aware of scams being attempted throughout the state. Marcylyn [[ MAR-seh-lin ]] Love with Ameren Illinois says Ameren will never ask for any type of financial information or an immediate payment.

[audio:rddAmerenScams11.mp3] [/audio]

Love says Ameren employees will never come to a residence without scheduling an appointment for a reported outage or leak.

[audio:rddAmerenScams21.mp3] [/audio]

Over the holiday season, Ameren officials see an increased amount of scam artists who threaten disconnection of utility service unless a payment with a Green Dot Money Pak car or other pre-paid card is made immediately. Love says scammers are also mimicking voice recordings that appear to be from utilities to persuade customers to make quick payments. If you suspect some is impersonating a Ameren employee, end the conversation immediately and call Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000.

Public Health Director Gives Advice On Getting Flu Shots

With flu activity picking up in Illinois, the State Department of Public Health is urging families to make sure they get their flu shot. Public Health Director Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck says it's definitely not too late to get your flu shot, even amid concerns the current vaccine doesn't cover all strains of the virus.

[audio:rddFluShots11.mp3] [/audio]

The number of people getting vaccinated tends to drop off in November, but Dr. Hasbrouck says there is definitely still time to be immunized against the flu.

[audio:rddFluShots21.mp3] [/audio]

Hasbrouck emphasized people don't get the flu from the flu shot. People with flu symptoms should stay home for 24 hours after the fever is gone. It's recommended that everyone over six months of age get the flu vaccine. Complications from the flu are most likely to hit the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, young children and pregnant women.

University Rehires Former SLA Radical Kilgore

The University of Illinois has hired 1970s-era radical James Kilgore to teach a course next semester.

Thomas Bassett is director of Global Studies at the Urbana-Champaign campus. He said Friday that Kilgore's proposal to teach the course "Sweatshops or Flat World Opportunities? Exploring the new World of Work" was approved this week. Kilgore will be paid $3,500.

Kilgore declined comment.

Earlier this year the university told Kilgore it would no longer hire him. That followed news stories about university work he'd done since his 2009 prison release.

Kilgore served time for his role in a 1975 bank robbery committed by members of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army during which a housewife died.

Last month university trustees cleared the way for him to return by saying part-time hires are campus-level decisions.

Champaign Police Investigating High School Protest

Police are investigating a student protest at a Champaign high school after a car was damaged when the demonstration was taken outdoors.

More than 100 students protested the recent grand jury decisions not to indict two white police officers in the killings of two unarmed black men, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, at Centennial High School on Thursday. After participating in a "die-in," a sit-in style protest, by lying in the hallways, some of the students left the building to continue the demonstration outside.

Police say at least one student struck the window of a car driving through the crowd. According to reports, an 18-year-old student was taken into custody for causing damage to the vehicle and has since been released. No one was injured.

Police say they will continue to investigate the incident.

Old Bloomington Warehouse To Be Luxury Apartments

A once-crumbling warehouse in downtown Bloomington is being turned into luxury apartments.

According to reports, the 100-year-building is the latest addition to the downtown's offering of high-end apartments. The renovation project is the result of an $800,000 investment by Joe and Ruth Haney. The building will be called 407 Upper West Lofts.

The Haneys own Haney Plumbing and Rental. They bought the warehouse building at a public auction three years ago for $46,000 - not too long after part of the building's facade crashed to the ground.

Joe Haney grew up on the city's West Side and he says that he found it gratifying to save what he calls a piece of the city's history.

Lincoln High School Leader Hopes Recent Conference Can Help Better School

School leaders from across the state convened in Chicago last month to discuss the future of schools and to share ideas to better education in Illinois.

The Illinois Association of School Boards Annual Conference last month was attended by Lincoln High School Superintendent Robert Bagby. He explains the conference gives many school boards the opportunity to join together to present workshops about professional development.

[audio:12314lchsconference1.mp3] [/audio]

The conference features districts presenting on a wide variety of issues such as alternative learning and developing new superintendents. Bagby explains the topics usually contain relevant information that any school district can benefit from.

[audio:12314lchsconference2.mp3] [/audio]

Bagby came away with several ideas to improve Lincoln High School over the coming years through teacher committees, budget planning and revenue forecasts among many others.

Local Youth Taking Up Robotics

Mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science are all branches of an increasing science known as robotics youth across the world are rapidly exploring, and locally, the study is booming.

Robotics clubs in central Illinois are exploding among youth organizations and University of Illinois Extension Youth Educator, Sherry Fulton indicates it is becoming very popular in DeWitt County. Fulton explains 4-H students here are well on their way to establishing a very strong robotics club.

[audio:12814dewittrobotics1.mp3] [/audio]

According to Fulton, American children are behind in Science and Math in comparison to kids around the world. She explains 4-H has gotten behind an effort to get kids into science and mathematics.

[audio:12814dewittrobotics2.mp3] [/audio]

The challenge for the future of robotics clubs locally is not the interest among the youth, but Fulton believes it is finding support among adults to lead the groups. She admits, many adults are rightfully hesitant because the equipment and technology aren't things they may know a lot about.

[audio:12814dewittrobotics3.mp3] [/audio]

There are several DeWitt County 4-H robotic events coming up, some with deadlines that are nearing and some that have passed. For further details on the DeWitt County 4-H robotics special interest club, contact the University of Illinois Extension Office in DeWitt County at 217-935-5764.

Fulton notes kids in other parts of the area who's schools or clubs may not have a robotics group, are welcome to join as well.

Koritz Sworn In As Circuit Judge Friday

In front of a crowd of family, friends, and colleagues that filled the DeWitt County Courtroom, former State's Attorney Karle Koritz was sworn in as DeWitt County's Circuit Judge Friday morning.

 width=Several noteable leaders were on hand as Judge Dan Flannell, Chief Judge of the Sixth Circuit, made opening remarks and gave a short speech in place of Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita Garman who was unable to attend due to illness. Eleventh Circuit Associate Judge William Workman, a fellow colleague of Koritz's from their days together in the McLean County State's Attorney's Office, also made remarks praising new Judge Koritz.

Koritz's grandfather, Ivan Stanwood, held the family bible while Judge Workman administered the oath of office to Koritz. The new Judge Koritz was then presented with the judicial robe by his wife of 13 years, Katy.

In his remarks, Judge Koritz thanked Chief Justice Garman for the appointment and stated that he wanted to honor her in return as well as the people that will appear before him by being the best judge he can be. Judge Koritz went on to thank various family members including his grandfather.

He thanked his colleagues as well as the members of the public who have been so good to him and his family over the years.

Judge Koritz thanked his wife Katy, stating "I thank God every day that she chose me. What more do you need in this life to be happy than this - that the person you love most in this world loves you right back."

Judge Koritz called the experiencing humbling. He says it is humility, and not pride, that he felt most upon being appointed Circuit Judge. Judge Koritz recognized those who wrote letters on his behalf during the appointment process and expressed how humbling it was to compare himself to the person described in those letters. He was particularly humbled to be consider the judges of the Sixth Circuit, because the late Judge Bryan, was the peer group against whom he would be measured.

College Football Notes

>>College Football Playoff Set

(Undated) -- The first-ever College Football Playoff is set. Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State were announced as the final four teams on Sunday. Top-ranked Alabama will face fourth-ranked Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on January 1st. The second-ranked Oregon Ducks will take on number-three Florida State in the Rose Bowl the same day. The winners will meet at AT&T Stadium on Monday, January 12th in the College Football National Championship Game.

 width=Ohio State earned the final spot after blasting Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday. TCU, which was ranked third in the penultimate rankings, dropped to sixth despite a 55-3 win over Iowa State in its season finale. Baylor came in fifth in the final rankings.

>>Complete College Football Bowl Schedule Released

(Undated) -- The complete college football bowl schedule was released on Sunday. In all, 39 bowl games will be played, beginning with the New Orleans Bowl between Nevada and Louisiana-Lafayette on December 20th. A trio of marquee games will take place on New Year's Eve. TCU, which finished sixth in the final College Football Playoff rankings, will take on Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl, while Arizona will clash with Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. Also on December 31st, Georgia Tech will meet Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl. On New Year's Day, Wisconsin will battle Auburn in the Outback Bowl, while Baylor will face Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl.

The first-ever College Football Playoff will also begin January 1st. The first semifinal will pit second-ranked Oregon against number-three Florida State in the Rose Bowl. Later in the day, top-ranked Alabama will square off with fourth-ranked Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. Bowl season will wrap up with the National Championship Game on Monday, January 12th in Arlington, Texas.

Baseball Notes

 width=>>MLB Winter Meetings Begin Today

(San Diego, CA) -- Baseball's Hot Stove league heats up this week with the Winter Meetings starting today in San Diego. Representatives from all 30 big league clubs will meet with players, agents and other executives to discuss potential trades and free-agent signings. While some of the top hitters have already come off the market like Nelson Cruz, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, top starting pitchers Max Scherzer [[ SURE-zer ]], Jon Lester and James Shields all remain available.

 width=>>Dempster Retires As A Cub

(Chicago, IL) -- Pitcher Ryan Dempster is joining the front office of the Chicago Cubs. The two-time All-Star signed with the team to retire as a member of the Cubs. Dempster will now serve as a special assistant to president Theo Epstein. The 37-year-old missed all of last season, citing health and family issues. He last pitched in 2013, winning a World Series title with the Boston Red Sox. Dempster spent nine of his 16 major league seasons with the Cubs. He had a career record of 132-and-133 with a 4.35 ERA and 87 saves for the Marlins, Reds, Rangers, Cubs and Red Sox.

>>Yankees Sign Reliever Miller To Four-Year Deal

(Bronx, NY) -- The New York Yankees are bolstering their bullpen with the addition of reliever Andrew Miller. The Bronx Bombers have signed the 29-year-old left-hander to a four-year deal worth a reported 36-million-dollars. Miller went 5-and-5 with a 2.02 ERA and one save in 73 games while splitting last season between Boston and Baltimore. He allowed just 33 hits in 62-and-a-third innings, with 103 strikeouts and just 17 walks.

>>Yankees Acquire Gregorius In Three-Team Deal

(Bronx, NY) -- The Yankees may have landed Derek Jeter's replacement. The Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks have agreed to a trade that sends shortstop Didi Gregorius from Arizona to New York, right-hander Shane Greene from New York to Detroit, and lefty Robbie Ray and infield prospect Domingo Leyba from Detroit to Arizona. Gregorius hit .226 with six home runs and 27 RBI last season. Greene was 5-and-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 15 games, including 14 starts.

>>MLB Nats' Werth to Serve Jail Time For Reckless Driving

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was found guilty of reckless driving Friday and was sentenced to 10 days in jail over a speeding incident in Virginia this past summer.

Werth was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 170 suspended, and will lose his license for six months.

He was clocked going 105 mph in a 55 mph zone on the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County on July 6.

Werth's attorney said he will appeal the judge's sentence. According to Washington television station WRC, it is likely Werth will only have to serve half of his given sentence.

>>Dodgers Claim Lavarnway Off Waivers From Red Sox

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Catcher Ryan Lavarnway is the newest member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have claimed the 27-year-old backstop off waivers from the Red Sox. Boston designated Lavarnway for assignment late last month after signing free agents Pablo Sandoval and former Dodger Hanley Ramirez. Lavarnway was hitless in 10 at-bats for the Red Sox this past season. He has a career average of .201 with five homers and 34 RBI in 97 games.

Blues Host Florida Tonight

 width=>>Blues Host Florida

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Blues welcome in the Panthers tonight. St. Louis is 17-8-and-2 after a win over the Islanders on Saturday. Florida is 11-7-and-7. The puck drops at 7 p.m. from the Scottrade Center.

Anaheim Ducks 4, Winnipeg Jets 3 (OT)
Detroit Red Wings 3, Carolina Hurricanes 1
Ottawa Senators 4, Vancouver Canucks 3 (OT)
Edmonton Oilers 2, San Jose Sharks 1

Rams Route Redskins; Packers On MNF Tonight

 width=>>Rams Rout Redskins

(Landover, MD) -- Tavon Austin returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown as the Rams routed the Redskins 24-0 at FedEx Field. Shaun Hill threw for 213 yards and two touchdowns for the Rams, who have won two straight to improve to 6-and-7. St. Louis had seven sacks and held Washington to 206 total yards in the win. Colt McCoy threw for 199 yards and two interceptions before being benched in favor of Robert Griffin the Third, who was 3-of-4 for 33 yards the rest of the way. The 3-and-10 Redskins have lost five in-a-row.

Pittsburgh Steelers 42, Cincinnati Bengals 21
New York Giants 36, Tennessee Titans 7
Carolina Panthers 41, New Orleans Saints 10
Minnesota Vikings 30, New York Jets 24 (OT)
Baltimore Ravens 28, Miami Dolphins 13
Indianapolis Colts 25, Cleveland Browns 24
Detroit Lions 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Houston Texans 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 13
Arizona Cardinals 17, Kansas City Chiefs 14
Denver Broncos 24, Buffalo Bills 17
Seattle Seahawks 24, Philadelphia Eagles 14
Oakland Raiders 24, San Francisco 49ers 13
New England Patriots 23, San Diego Chargers 14

 width=>>Falcons, Packers Play On "MNF"

(Green Bay, WI) -- A pair of teams fighting for division titles meet up on "Monday Night Football" as the Atlanta Falcons go up against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Falcons are coming off a 29-18 win over NFC West-leading Arizona and have won three of their last four games overall. Atlanta is 5-and-7 and battling New Orleans for first place in the NFC South. Green Bay is coming off a 26-21 win over New England in Week 13. The Packers have won four in a row and eight of their last nine games to improve to 9-and-3. Green Bay is a perfect 6-and-0 at home this season, while Atlanta is 2-and-4 on the road.

Illinois State, Illinois Win Over Weekend

 width=>>Illinois State Tops UAB

MiKyle McIntosh scored 18 points to lead Illinois State over UAB 78-74 on Sunday.

McIntosh was 7 of 10 from the floor. Daishon Knight had 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell added 13 points. Reggie Lynch had six blocked shots for Illinois State (4-3).

UAB (3-6) was paced by Robert Brown with a career-high 27 points. He made a career-high seven 3-pointers on nine attempts.

Following Akoon-Purcell's dunk at 11:15 of the first half Illinois State led 22-9. But Brown hit a trio of 3s to lead UAB on a 10-0 run and the Blazers trailed by six at intermission.

They cut the deficit to one with 1:11 left on another Brown 3-pointer but Denzel Watts missed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left and Tony Wills made four straight free throws to seal the win.

 width=>>Memphis Crushes Bradley

Shaq Goodwin scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, pacing Memphis to a 73-45 victory over Bradley on Saturday night.

The Tigers (3-3) shot 42.9 percent from the field and committed just eight turnovers. Avery Woodson and Nick King each added 11 points, and Austin Nichols had nine with four blocks. Goodwin was 4 of 7 from the field and 7 of 12 from the line.

Memphis limited Bradley (3-5) to 13-of-48 shooting (27.1 percent). Omari Grier led the Braves with 14 points, but no other Bradley players had more than seven.

The Tigers put on a show with eight first-half dunks. A string of dunks from Nichols, King, Pookie Powell and Markel Crawford sparked a 16-7 run to close the first half and give Memphis a 34-20 lead.

Bradley pulled within six in the second half, but Memphis put on the throttle and outscored the Braves 36-14 from there.

 width=>>Illinois Downs American

Malcolm Hill scored 13 points as Illinois defeated American 70-55 on Saturday.

The Illini (7-1) only led by two points midway through the first half, but a 17-2 run put the Eagles (5-4) in an early deficit.

American whittled the lead to eight with 10:42 remaining in the second half. But the Illini's Jaylon Tate had a three-point play and Hill drained a 3-pointer off a steal on the next possession.

Nnanna Egwu chipped in five points and seven rebounds, while Rayvonte Rice worked his way through a shooting slump, 1-of-7 from the field, to finish with 10 points.

After consecutive poor shooting performances against Baylor and Miami, the Illinois offense was back to its usual form. The Illini shot 48.1 percent from the floor in the first half.

Pee Wee Gardner led American with 16 points.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today rankings)
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 82, Eastern Kentucky Colonels 49
#12 North Carolina Tar Heels 108, East Carolina Pirates 64
Washington Huskies 49, #14 San Diego State Aztecs 36
#17 West Virginia Mountaineers 67, Northern Kentucky Norse 42
Clemson Tigers 68, #21 Arkansas Razorbacks 65 (OT)

Illinois Selected To Heart of Dallas Bowl; ISU Rolls Northern Iowa

 width=>>Illinois Selected To Heart of Dallas Bowl

Illinois will face Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 26.

Illinois beat Penn State and Northwestern to close the season at 6-6. The Illini's defense forced five turnovers in beating the Wildcats 47-33 on the road.

Louisiana Tech (8-5) lost to Marshall 26-23 on Saturday in the Conference USA title game. The Bulldogs had won seven of their last eight games prior to that loss to the Thundering Herd.

The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Cody Sokol, the Iowa transfer who has thrown 29 TD passes, and running back Kenneth Dixon. He has rushed for 1,236 yards and 21 touchdowns.

 width=>>ISU Rolls Northern Iowa In FCS Playoffs

Tre Roberson threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns and Marshaun Coprich become Illinois State's single-season rushing leader with his 12th-straight 100-yard game to lead the Redbirds to a 41-21 win over Northern Iowa on Saturday.

The Panthers (9-5) won the first meeting of these Missouri Valley Conference rivals 44-28 to start a five-game winning streak to make the FCS playoffs but fell behind 24-0 at halftime. The Redbirds (11-1) extended their school-record home winning streak to 13.

Illinois State, seeded fifth, goes to fourth-seeded Eastern Washington next weekend.

Roberson had two touchdown passes in the first half and Coprich ran for a score as Illinois State piled up 345 yards to 52 for Northern Iowa.

The Redbirds finished with 564 yards to UNI's 335. Coprich had 148 yards on 30 carries giving the league MVP 1,831 this season.

Cameron Meredith had seven catches for 115 yards and James O'Shaughnessy four for 105 and both had two touchdowns.

Clinton Police Weekend Report






DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 11-26 through 12-7

November 26, 2014 – December 7, 2014

Average Daily Jail Population: 49
Summons Served: 22
Warrant Arrests: 3

Brently Long, 24, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Burglary. Long unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.

Beverly Clymer, 38, Clinton was issued a Citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Clymer was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Edward Walls, 56, Clinton was issued Citations for Failure to Reduce Speed/ Accident, Failure Immediate Notice of Accident, Leaving the Scene of Accident- Vehicle Damage and Improper Lane Usage. Walls was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Jacob Woodbury, 25, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Failure to Appear. Woodbury posted the necessary bond and was released.

Prateek Ranjan, 24, Champaign was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Ranjan was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Pamela MacDougall, 50, Benton Harbor, MI was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. MacDougall was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Christopher Miller, 27, Clinton was issued a Citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Miller was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Douglas Hermann, 45, Decatur was issued a Citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Hermann was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Sierra Wegrich, 19, DeLand was issued a Citation for Failure to Reduce Speed/ Accident. Wegrich was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Tristin Mummel, 18, Stewardson was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Mummel was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Jessica Vidmar, 18, Clinton was arrested and charged with Driving while License Suspended and was issued Citations for Operating Uninsured Vehicle and Driving While License Suspended. Vidmar posted the necessary bond and was released.

Dustin Hoffman, 21, Maroa was arrested and charged with Driving Under Influence Alcohol, Driving on Revoked License and Obstructing Identification. Hoffman was issued Citations for Driving Under Influence Alcohol and Driving While License Revoked. Hoffman posted the necessary bond and was released.

Carlton Dehner, 46, Lincoln was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Failure to Appear. Dehner posted the necessary bond and was released.

Justin Dam, 25, Clinton was issued a Citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Dam was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Morgan Dubree, 19, Normal was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Dubree was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Brandon Baker, 31, Leroy was issued a Citation for Failure to Reduce Speed/ Accident. Baker was traveling South on County Highway 10. He stated he received a phone call. Baker looked down to see who called and missed the stop sign at the T-Intersection of County Highway 16 and County Highway 10. The vehicle crossed over County Highway 10 into the ditch on the side of County Highway 10. There were no injuries reported. Baker was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Abrahim Quaigi. 37, Springfield was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Quaigh was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.



DeWitt County Sheriff Introduces Fraud Abuse Hotline

 width=Scams continue to be a problem locally, and because of that, a local law enforcement official has introduced a special hotline to get advice or report a scam.

According to DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner, thousands of dollars each month leave DeWitt County on account of scams and fraud. Because of this, he has introduced a new hotline for anyone to call to report a scam or to seek professional information on if a phone call, email, or piece of mail may be a potential scam.

[audio:12914scamhotline1.mp3] [/audio]

Scams can take on many forms and are continuously changing, but the Sheriff says the "grandparents scam" is making a comeback. Sheriff Shofner says that particular scam is so effective because the person on the other end of the line gives up crucial information without even knowing it.

[audio:12914scamhotline2.mp3] [/audio]

People can call the hotline at any time of the day and talk directly to the Sheriff or to one of this deputies. If there's an instance where none of them are available, and according to Sheriff Shofner, a voicemail message can be left that goes to all of them and the turnaround on receiving a call back should be short.

[audio:12914scamhotline3.mp3] [/audio]

The number of scams that are successful are reported very frequently, but more often, they are not. This leaves the Sheriff to wonder how many successful scams are actually reported in DeWitt County.

As it relates to recovering what you may have lost in being a victim of a scam, the Sheriff notes each case is unique but he hopes victims will come forward and give themselves a chance to rectify the situation.

The Fraud Prevention Hotline in DeWitt County is 217-935-7867.

Governor-Elect Speaks Before Agriculture Leaders

 width=Agriculture leaders have convened in Chicago throughout the weekend and into this week and a special guest stopped by yesterday.

Governor Elect Bruce Rauner made a brief stop at the annual Illinois Farm Buraeu meeting in Chicago. The governor-elect says he is going to work for Illinois and it's farmers. Because of this, the governor-to-be believes there's no reason Illinois shouldn't be successful.

[audio:12914raunerfarmers1.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner calls the farmers of Illinois "the backbone of Illinois' economy" and says it's because of farmers Illinois is maintaining despite it's struggles.

[audio:12914raunerfarmers2.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner will be sworn into office in early January and he says he wants people in leadership positions that will get stuff done. He targets farmers specifically and says he wants farmers leading agriculture.

[audio:12914raunerfarmers3.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner challenged those in attendance Monday to come with solutions when they come with problems. He does not believe in boards, commissions and council's, he wants to be known as the Governor who gets stuff done.

Rauner says Illinois has the resources and hard workers to return Illinois to a growing state again.

Google To Create Kid-Friendly Products

Google has plans to start making kid-friendly versions of their popular products. Executives at Google say it will be a full-time effort, beginning next year. They say the new project is a follow-up to their current youth project, the Made With Code Initiative, which will light up the White House Christmas Thursday tree by using coding programs created by kids from around the country. Leading the new push is Pavni Diwanji, Google's vice president of engineering. She says everyone inside the company is having kids, "so there's a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children."

However, the Federal Trade Commission has some concerns. Maneesha Mithal with the FTC's privacy and identity protection division says they want kids protected and will strictly promote business compliance. The watchdog group Electronic Privacy Information Center adds that they're concerned about kids being sold things they don't need. Diwanji says she understands those concerns, but thinks their new project can bring families together. She adds what needs to be worked out is how parents can use Google to oversee their children's activity.

More Than 50% Of Google Ads Are Never Seen

 Google is admitting that no one ever sees more than half the ads it puts out.  A study just released by the search engine and digital display advertising giant says more than 56-percent of the ads on Google display platforms are never seen by anyone.  That's because the ads are displayed outside of the browser window.  The study says the best viewing spot for an ad is just above the "fold," or the lowest point on the page before a user has to scroll.  But that "above the fold" location isn't always viewable on all browsers -- meaning that if the user doesn't scroll, the ad isn't seen. 

This Year's Flu Shot Less Effective Because Virus Mutated

The CDC says this year's flu vaccine offers less protection because the current strain of the virus has mutated. However, CDC officials still encourage people of all ages to get their flu shot since the vaccine can decrease the severity of the illness. The federal health agency issued an advisory Wednesday on how half of the flu virus samples analyzed through late November were different than the virus strains included in this year's flu shot.

The most common strain reported this flu season has been linked to more hospitalizations and deaths, especially among young children, the elderly and those with chronic health issues. During the 2012-2013 flu season, more than 12-thousand people who got the flu had to be hospitalized. The CDC says nearly all of the 150 children who died during that flue season had not received the flu vaccine.

Rise In Plastic Surgery Due To Increase In Selfies

 More Americans are getting plastic surgery so they will look better in selfies.  A new poll by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery shows that one-out-of-three plastic surgeons has seen a surge in demand for cosmetic surgery, mainly from people who want to look better on social media.  The self-portrait using a smartphone, or selfie, has risen in popularity.  Now, plastic surgeons are reporting a ten-percent rise in nose jobs, a seven-percent rise in hair transplants and a six-percent rise in eyelid surgery from patients who want to improve their selfie image.

People Pressure Themselves To Throw The Perfect Holiday Party

Along with spending time with family and friends, the holidays also bring the stressful task of throwing parties. Doctor Scott Bea with the Cleveland Clinic says people put too much pressure on themselves to have the perfect holiday party.

[audio:Scott1Bea1202141.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Bea with the Cleveland Clinic says don't be afraid to ask for help.

[audio:Scott2Bea1202141.mp3] [/audio]

A good way to lessen the stress of throwing a party is to spread around the responsibilities. For example, make your party a potluck so you don't have to worry about cooking a full meal for everyone.

Expert Gives Picks For Perfect Tech Gifts

World renowned tech expert and author Scott Steinberg has some tips for people planning on buying tech-gifts for the holidays. He says that a new computer or tablet may not be as expensive as you'd think. He likes the Google Chromebook for about 279-dollars.

[audio:Det1203techgifts21.mp3] [/audio]

Steinberg says for a working professional who's looking to be more productive, he suggests the brand new Blackberry Passport smartphone.

{[audio:Det1203techgifts1.mp3] [/audio]

Not all tech gifts he says have to be phone or computer related. Steinberg says there are a lot of high-tech grooming products that he wouldn't mind seeing under his tree.

[audio:Det1203techgifts31.mp3] [/audio]

For working professionals he recommends the new Blackberry Passport smartphone. Not all tech gifts he says have to be phone or computer related. Steinberg says there are a lot of high-tech grooming products that he wouldn't mind seeing under his tree.

Deadline To Mail Soldiers Packages For Holidays Fast-Approaching

The deadline for people to mail packages and cards to soldiers in time for Christmas is fast-approaching. David Rupert is regional spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in Denver.

[audio:COsoldierpackagerupert11.mp3] [/audio]

Rupert talks about the deadline for mailing first-class and priority items to soldiers around the world.

[audio:COsoldierpackagerupert21.mp3] [/audio]

The deadline to mail priority and first-class cards, letters and packages to soldiers around the world, to make it by the holiday, is December 10th. He says this holiday season, it's expected people around the country will mail about 470-million packages, many of them going to military members. People can visit usps.com to find out about holiday mailing.

After Cold November, December Begins Warmer

As we welcomed in December this week, things were much warmer than in November.

State Climotologist Jim Angel indicates this weekend we will see a cloudy couple days with temperatures hovering in the mid to upper-30s.

[audio:wx.mp3] [/audio]

Chance For El Nino Increases

El Nino may be coming back. The National Weather Service says there's now a 65-percent chance the West Coast will see a wet winter because of an El Nino weather pattern. Pacific Ocean temperatures are warming, but Michelle Mead with the National Weather Service says another element is still needed.

[audio:rddMead1.mp3] [/audio]

Mike Halpert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains what's needed for El Nino to return.

[audio:rddHalpert11.mp3] [/audio]

Halpert says if El Nino does return, it won't have major implications.

[audio:rddHalpert21.mp3] [/audio]

Mead also says the current rains in California are not a result of El Nino. She says they're just typical winter storms we haven't seen in a few years.

University of Illinois Rehires Former SLA Radical Kilgore

The University of Illinois has hired 1970s-era radical James Kilgore to teach a course next semester.

Thomas Bassett is director of Global Studies at the Urbana-Champaign campus. He said Friday that Kilgore's proposal to teach the course "Sweatshops or Flat World Opportunities? Exploring the new World of Work" was approved this week. Kilgore will be paid $3,500.

Kilgore declined comment.

Earlier this year the university told Kilgore it would no longer hire him. That followed news-media stories about part-time university work he'd done since his 2009 prison release.

Kilgore served time for his role in a 1975 bank robbery in California during which a housewife died.

But last month the university's board of trustees cleared the way for him to be hired by saying part-time hires are campus-level decisions.

Local Lawmakers React To Voter Registration Legislation

Local lawmakers are reacting to a piece of legislation that was pushed through before the close of the latest session in Springfield.

After passing early voting and same-day registration right before the end of the spring legislative session, House Democrat leaders said they would see how the process works in November, then analyze it, study it, get comment on it, and then decide whether to make the law permanent. However, three days after certification of the November votes and with no study, the House Wednesday approved a bill to make Election Day registration permanent. State Representative Bill Mitchell calls the measure quote-"the voter fraud act of 2014".

[audio:120314MitchellSB172.MP3] [/audio]

Sen. Dan Brady says many election authorities across the state, particularly in his district of McLean County, oppose the measure.

[audio:120314BradySB172.MP3] [/audio]

Sen. Brady questions the urgency of the measure. He explains there are no statistics at this point in time that would indicate the need to pass the measure so swiftly.

[audio:120314BradySB172b.MP3] [/audio]

House Republicans in debating the measure on the floor say the measure was Chicago politics at its worst and will allow Chicago ward bosses the ability to bundle “absentee” ballots and allows for the processing of votes before Election Day.

Others say the bill puts rural voters at a disadvantage and also places additional mandates on state and local governments with a corresponding impact of higher costs for taxpayers.

Get Covered Illinois Targeting Rural Areas, Towns

Illinois is mailing information on President Barack Obama's health care law to more than 53,000 homes this week as the campaign reaches into rural areas and small cities.

Officials will monitor phone and website traffic from the targeted areas to see if the pilot project works. The orange fliers say "Enroll now" and tell where to get free help signing up for health insurance from "some of the top carriers in Illinois."

Jennifer Koehler of Get Covered Illinois says rural outreach requires new tactics. She says what works well in Chicago may not work in areas where people are spread out over hundreds of miles.

The mailings are part of a $25.6 million contract to promote health insurance coverage. The money comes from federal grants under the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Adjourns Veto Session

Illinois' Senate president says it's unlikely the chamber will return to work before a new General Assembly is sworn in next year.

Chicago Democrat John Cullerton made the comments as the Senate concluded its fall veto session Thursday. He says he's keeping the chamber open to have the option of reconvening between now and Jan. 13.

The House on Wednesday formally adjourned for the year after Speaker Madigan said he didn't have enough votes for a bill raising the state's minimum wage. The Senate passed the bill by a 39-18 vote after the House left.

Outgoing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn or legislative leaders could agree to call a special session, but Quinn hasn't indicated if he will do so. A Quinn spokesman says "all options are on the table."

Decatur Hires New Chiefs With Local History

Decatur has new police and fire chiefs who have each worked for the city for years.

According to reports, new fire chief Jeff Abbott joined the Decatur Fire Department in 1995. The 46-year-old has since been a lieutenant, captain, deputy fire chief and interim chief.

Similarly, Brad Sweeney went to work as a patrol officer in 1995. Sweeny, who is 42, later worked as a master patrol officer, sergeant and lieutenant.

City Manager Ryan McCrady announced their appointments Thursday.

McCrady said the two have proven themselves capable of doing their new jobs.

Sweeney follows Todd Walker, who retired Sept. 12. Abbott replaces Matt Sekosky, who retired Nov. 30.

Bloomington Shooting Still Unsolved

Bloomington police are continuing to ask for the public's help in the unsolved shooting death of a local accountant.

Department spokeswoman Sara Mayer says officers are seeking information that could develop into leads as they continue to investigate the homicide. She says police are interested in obtaining home or business surveillance video taken in the area on Nov. 3 and 4.

Pamela Zimmerman was shot multiple times in her office at the beginning of last month. Her body was discovered Nov. 4 after a friend called police and requested they perform a well-being check.

Police have declined to speculate or share information about the shooting. Several searches have been conducted by investigators at and near the crime scene, including a home and the grounds of a snack food company.

Miller Park Zoo Hosting Special Event

For the fourth consecutive year, the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington will be hosting a rare opportunity for patrons to see the zoo in a different light, literally.

Normally, the Bloomington/Normal Zoo is only open during daylight hours, however, each year during the Christmas season, the zoo puts outs hundreds of luminaries and Superintendent Jay Tetzloff says they open the place up at night for patrons to view the zoo from a different perspective.

[audio:12514wildlights1.mp3] [/audio]

Because organizers recognize cold weather can play a large role in an event like this, Tetzloff explains they try to keep things happening in their various buildings as their patrons make their way around.

[audio:12514wildlights2.mp3] [/audio]

Tetzloff the evening time of day can be a better time to watch some of their animals. He explains many become more active at night and because of the limited openings at night, it is a rare opportunity to experience it.

Things kick off Friday and Saturday night at 5:30 pm and go until 8. For further details visit millerparkzoo.org or call 309-434-2250.

College Football Notes

 width=>>Nebraska Names Riley New Head Coach

(Lincoln, NE) -- Mike Riley is the new head football coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The 61-year-old leaves Oregon State to replace Bo Pelini, who was fired last Sunday after seven seasons. Riley coached the Beavers for 14 seasons, with a four-year stint in the NFL sandwiched in between from 1999 to 2002. Oregon State finished last in the Pac-12 North this season with a 5-and-7 record, including 2-and-7 in conference games, but Riley has long been considered a top-tier coach. He will be formally introduced at a press conference on Friday, but current Huskers assistant Barney Cotton will coach Nebraska in its bowl game.

>>Florida Names McElwain New Football Coach

(Gainesville, FL) -- Jim McElwain is the new head football coach of the Florida Gators. The announcement comes after previous reports that a 7.5-million-dollar buyout at Colorado State was holding up negotiations. McElwain replaces Will Muschamp, who was fired after going just 10-and-13 over the last two seasons. McElwain was named Mountain West Coach of the Year on Tuesday. The 52-year-old was in his third year with the Rams, improving each year from 4-and-8 to 8-and-6 and then 10-and-2 this season. McElwain was previously the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama.

 width=>>Wisonsin, Ohio State Meet For Big Ten Title

The Amos Alonzo Stagg Trophy is up for grabs, as the 11th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers take on the sixth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2014 Big Ten Conference Championship Game.

Wisconsin earned its way to the title tilt, its third appearance in the four years the game has been in existence, by winning the Big Ten's West Division after knocking off Minnesota last Saturday, 34-24. As a result, the Badgers finished the regular season at 10-2 overall, which included a 7-1 league ledger, and they are seeking their first Big Ten crown since winning back-to- back titles in 2011-12.

The Badgers are currently riding a seven-game win streak, and they earned their first outright division title in four years.

Ohio State is in the conference championship game for the second straight year after losing to Michigan State in 2013, 34-24. The Buckeyes have won 10 straight games, finishing the regular season at 11-1, 8-0 in conference. They have now won three straight division titles, and they have won a Big Ten- record 24 consecutive conference games during the regular season.

 width=>>Arizona, Oregon Meet For Pac-12 Title

The third-ranked Oregon Ducks will have revenge on their minds when they take on the eighth-ranked Arizona Wildcats in the Pac-12 Conference Championship game at Levi's Stadium on Friday night.

On Oct. 2, the then unranked Wildcats stunned the second-ranked Ducks, 31-24, in Autzen Stadium. The win was the second straight for Arizona over Oregon, with the Wildcats also logging a 42-16 triumph last season. Oregon still leads the all-time series, 24-16. It will be even more desperate to capture the 25th all-time win against the Wildcats this week

This contest promises to be quite the offensive exhibition, as both squads have had their fair share of success on that side of the ball this season. The Wildcats finished the regular season ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in both total offense (481.3 ypg) and scoring (36.7 ppg). The success of the team in that area, as well as in the standings, earned Rich Rodriguez Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors.

 width=>>Florida State, Georgia Tech Meet For ACC Title

The second-ranked Florida State Seminoles and 12th-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will collide at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday evening, with the Atlantic Coast Conference championship on the line.

Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles have staved off defeat more than a few times this season but have come through the battles unscathed, as they have now won 28 straight games. The defending national champions knocked off rival Florida last weekend, 24-19 to finish the regular season at 12-0. The team won the ACC's Atlantic Division a couple of weeks ago and is eyeing up its 15th ACC championship since joining the league in 1992. FSU is playing in its fifth ACC Title Game and fourth in the last five seasons.

Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets are a formidable obstacle in the way. Georgia Tech earned the Coastal Division title and will be playing in its third ACC Championship Game in the last six years. The Yellow Jackets moved to 10-2 on the season with a thrilling 30-24 overtime victory over archrival Georgia last weekend. Earlier this week, Johnson was named the ACC Coach of the Year for the third time.

Illinois Hosts American Saturday; College Basketball Notes

 width=>>Fighting Illini Host American Tomorrow

(Champaign, IL) -- The Fighting Illini are on their home floor tomorrow afternoon against American University. Illinois is 25th in this week's "USA Today" Coaches Poll. The Illini lost 70-61 at number-15 Miami on Tuesday to fall to 6-and-1. The Eagles are 5-and-3 after losing at Brown Wednesday.

>>LSU Upsets West Virginia

Josh Gray's layup with six seconds to go lifted LSU to a 74-73 win over No. 16 West Virginia in an SEC/Big 12 Challenge game on Thursday.

LSU trailed by one after Daxter Miles Jr.'s tip-in. Out of a timeout, Gray drove the lane on an isolation play for an uncontested layup to push the Tigers in front.

Tim Quarterman had 21 points off the bench and Jarell Martin scored 18 points with 14 rebounds for the Tigers (6-2), who had lost 14 straight road games against ranked opponents since beating No. 13 West Virginia in overtime in 2005.

Jordan Mickey, LSU's leading scorer, spent most of the first half on the bench due to foul trouble and finished with four points and six rebounds.

Staten paced the Mountaineers (7-1) with 17 points and Miles totaled 13.

>>Iowa State Pounds Arkansas

Bryce Dejean-Jones and Georges Niang had 27 and 26 points, respectively, and No. 20 Iowa State cruised past 18th-ranked Arkansas 95-77 on Thursday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Dejean-Jones made all eight of his shots and went 4-of-4 from beyond the arc for the Cyclones (5-1), who have won 24 straight non-conference home games. Niang added eight assists and six rebounds.

Dustin Hogue tallied 14 points for Iowa State, which shot 64 percent from the field and went 10-of-19 from 3-point range. Monte Morris and Naz Long had 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Bobby Portis ended with 19 points and eight rebounds for the Razorbacks (6-1). Alandise Harris donated 15 points.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#14 San Diego State Aztecs 57, San Diego Toreros 48

Bulls Host Warriors

 width=>>Bulls Face Warriors

(Chicago, IL) -- The Bulls battle the Warriors tomorrow from the United Center. Chicago is 12-and-7 after Wednesday's win over the Hornets. Golden State defeated New Orleans 112-85 last night.

>>Cavs Dump Knicks

(New York, NY) -- Carmelo Anthony missed a three-pointer as time expired and the Cavaliers held on for a 90-87 win against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Kyrie Irving went off for 37 points on 12-of-18 shooting, while LeBron James added 19 points and 12 assists. Kevin Love had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. Cleveland has won five in a row. Anthony struggled from the field shooting 4-of-19 and tallying only nine points. Tim Hardaway Junior had a team-high 20 off the bench. Amar'e Stoudemire posted 18 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who are off to a franchise worse start of 4-and-16 through 20 games.

Portland Trail Blazers 88, Indiana Pacers 82
Golden State Warriors 112, New Orleans Pelicans 85

Preds Beat Blues

 width=>>Predators Top Blues

(Nashville, TN) -- Mike Ribeiro scored and posted two assists as the Predators topped the Blues 4-3 from Bridgestone Arena. Filip Forsberg and Eric Nystrom scored in the first for Nashville, which has won five of six. Colin Wilson added a goal midway through the third for the Preds. Pekka Rinne [[ PECK-uh REE-nay ]] saved 29 shots in the win. Martin Brodeur [[ mar-tan broh-DURE ]] made 20 saves in his season debut for the Blues. Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals for St. Louis, which has lost two straight.

Vancouver Canucks 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 0
Washington Capitals 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1
New Jersey Devils 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
New York Islanders 2, Ottawa Senators 1
Detroit Red Wings 5, Dallas Stars 2
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Buffalo Sabres 0
Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Florida Panthers 3 (SO)
Calgary Flames 4, Colorado Avalanche 3 (OT)
Los Angeles Kings 4, Arizona Coyotes 0
San Jose Sharks 7, Boston Bruins 4

>>Blackhawks Host Montreal

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks host the Canadiens tonight from the United Center. Chicago is 16-8-and-1 after a win over St. Louis on Wednesday. Montreal is 17-8-and-2.

Cubs Hire Dave Martinez For Bench Coach

 width=The Chicago Cubs have hired Dave Martinez to serve as manager Joe Maddon's bench coach.

The 50-year-old Martinez had the same position with Maddon in Tampa Bay for the previous seven seasons. Martinez was a candidate to succeed Maddon with the Rays, but did not make the cut when the organization selected three finalists last month.

Martinez was drafted by Chicago in the third round of the 1983 draft. He made his major league debut with the Cubs in 1986 and played for the franchise for parts of four seasons.

The Cubs also announced on Thursday that Brandon Hyde would move from bench coach to first base coach. Doug Dascenzo, who was hired as first base coach in October, is switching to outfield and baserunning coordinator with responsibilities in the majors and minors.

Cowboys Pounds Bears; Rams In Action Sunday

 width=>>Murray, Cowboys Run Through Bears

(Chicago, IL) -- DeMarco Murray carried the rock a career-high 32 times for 179 yards and a score as the Cowboys stomped the Bears 41-28 from Soldier Field. Murray added nine catches for 49 yards while Cole Beasley scored twice on three catches and 42 yards. Tony Romo fired three touchdowns on 21-of-26 passing for 205 yards as Dallas improved to 9-and-4 and remain perfect on the road with six wins. Jay Cutler threw for 341 yards with two scores and a rushing touchdown in the loss. Alshon Jeffery caught six balls for 95 yards and a touchdown and Martellus Bennett recorded 12 catches for 84 yards and a score. Brandon Marshall left with a rib injury and went to the hospital after taking a knee to his back in the second quarter. The Bears fell to 5-and-8.

>>Bears WR Marshall Taken To Hospital

(Chicago, IL) -- Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall did not finish "Thursday Night Football" after leaving for the hospital during the first half. Marshall was kneed in the back after making a catch in the second quarter. He was helped off the field. Marshall had three catches for 61 yards before exiting. He was ruled out by the team with a ribs injury.

>>Cowboys' Brent Active For First Time This Season

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent is active for the first time this season after serving a 10-game suspension for his intoxication manslaughter conviction.

Brent is available but not in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Chicago Bears. He hasn't played since Dec. 2, 2012, six days before the drunken-driving crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown. He was suspended the first 10 games and was inactive the past two.

The Bears are holding out Robbie Gould (right quadriceps) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (knee). With Gould out, veteran Jay Feely is handling the kicking duties after signing on Wednesday.

Receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) and safety Chris Conte (eye) are available after being listed as questionable.

 width=>>Rams, Redskins Square Off At FedEx Field

(Landover, MD) -- The St. Louis Rams hit the road Sunday to take on the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. The Rams are coming off a 52-0 demolition of the Raiders last Sunday that saw running back Tre Mason score three touchdowns. St. Louis has alternated wins and losses in its last eight games and is 5-and-7 overall, last in the NFC West. The Redskins will start Colt McCoy at quarterback for the second straight game and third time this season. Washington surrendered a season-high 49 points last Sunday in a loss at Indianapolis. The Redskins have lost four in-a-row and are last in the NFC East at 3-and-9.

>>Texans Put Clowney On IR

(Houston, TX) -- The season is over for Houston Texans rookie linebacker Jadeveon [[ jah-DAY-vee-on ]] Clowney. He has been placed on injured reserve with an ailing right knee. Clowney was the top overall pick in this year's NFL Draft out of South Carolina, but has had an injury-plagued year. He suffered a torn meniscus in the season-opener and had arthroscopic knee surgery the next day. Clowney missed the next six games, came back for one, missed the next one and then played the last two weeks against Cleveland and Cincinnati. He has just seven tackles and no sacks in four games this season.

>>Ravens' Ngata Suspended Four Games For PED's

(New York, NY) -- The NFL is suspending Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata [[ hih-LOH-tee NAH-tah ]] four games for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Ngata says he took the banned substance Adderall and takes full responsibility for making a mistake that has let down his family, teammates, fans and himself. Ngata will be eligible to return if the Ravens make the playoffs. Baltimore is 7-and-5 entering Sunday's game against Miami and is tied with five other teams for the final AFC Wild Card spot. Ngata is in his ninth season with the Ravens.

Big Ten Bowl Eligible School Could Be Left Out

 width=The Big Ten has informed its schools that one of its bowl-eligible teams could be left out of the postseason.

Illinois sports information director Kent Brown says the school received a memo from the league office notifying it of the potential bowl shortage. The league has 10 eligible teams.

ESPN first reported Thursday an email was sent from a Big Ten official to conference members on Wednesday.

Illinois (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten), which became bowl eligible Saturday by beating Northwestern, is one of the teams most likely to get left out. Penn State is also 6-6 and bowl eligible for the first time in three years after NCAA sanctions. Conference newcomers Rutgers and Maryland each finished 7-5.

Conference officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ISU Hosts Northern Iowa In FCS Playoffs

What Missouri Valley Football Conference co-champions North Dakota State and Illinois State have in common is their only losses are to Northern Iowa. For ISU, it was a 42-28 setback on Nov. 1, but that game was played at the UNI-Dome. The Redbirds haven't lost at home in the last two seasons - a combined 12 straight wins at Hancock Stadium.

Their star running back, Marshaun Coprich (1,683 yards), the MVFC offensive player of the year, has the chance to surpass Pierre Rembert's single-season rushing record (1,743). Coprich has opened the season with 11 straight games of 100 or more rushing yards, which is one game off Rembert's ISU consecutive games record.

 width=Coprich and quarterback Tre Roberson feed off each other. The threat of Coprich opens up the downfield passing. Roberson, the newcomer of the year in the MVFC, has combined for 29 passing and rushing touchdowns, and his top three receivers - Cameron Meredith, Lechein Neblett and tight end James O'Shaughnessy - all average 18 or more yards per reception.

Illinois State has been tough against the run, which is a must against UNI. Inside linebacker Pat Meehan, the Redbirds' leading tackler (88), and 6-5, 260-pound defensive end Teddy Corwin are the defensive leaders.

Northern Iowa has won six straight games, including a 44-10 blasting of Stephen F. Austin in the first round of the playoffs. The Panthers are the historical power in the MVFC and are in their 17th playoff appearance, with 20 all-time wins. Coach Mark Farley is the conference's all-time wins leader at 73-31.

Senior running back David Johnson has been at an other-worldly level over the second half of the season. He has gone over 200 all-purpose yards in five of the past six games, including 36
yards (152 rushing, 84 receiving) against Stephen F. Austin.

During UNI's hot streak, quarterback Brion Carnes has come on with increased effectiveness, although he doesn't put up big numbers.

The winner will advance to play either Montana or No. 4 seed Eastern Washington in the national quarterfinals.

Game time is 1 pm Saturday at Hancock Stadium in Bloomington.

Maroons Lose Rivalry Game Against Trojans

As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW, the Clinton Maroons lost to Maroa-Forsyth Friday night 60-43.

For the Maroons (3-3), Jacob Overton finished the game with 12 points. Jason Love had 7 points, Collin Underwood, Bowe Carter, and Peyton McCubbin each shared 6 points. Other notables were Reggie Senters with 4 points and Tanner White with 2 points.

For the Trojans (1-1), Packer Barrett and Bryant Athrens both shared 17 points for the team. Brody Adreon had 15 points and Jairon Ritter had 8 points. Other notables were Trae Hise and Blake Bryan both had 2 points.

Tune into 92.3 FM WHOW next Saturday as both Maroons and Lady Maroons travel to Indianapolis to face Blue Ridge. Lady Maroons game will start at 10:30 AM, followed by the Maroons game at 12:30 PM.

Public Official Arrested for Theft, Official Misconduct.

Donna Evans, 51, formerly of rural Farmer City, has been arrested for theft of over $10,000 in public funds from the Village of DeWitt.  Evans served as the Village Treasurer at the time of the alleged thefts.  The arrest was a result of a year-long investigation by DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office.  

Evans was arrested on a warrant at her current residence in Shelby County, Texas.  She will be extradited to Illinois to face felony charges of Official Misconduct and Theft.

Sheriff Jered Shofner said cases like this should be a wake-up call for all government entities, "Regardless of the size of local government, we owe it to the taxpayers to make sure public funds are protected by a system of checks and balances.  This type of theft is preventable".  

All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Local Leader Says DeWitt County Animal Shelter Will Get Done Quickly

 width=The DeWitt County Board earlier this week reinstated the committee structure, and the head one of those committees says the animal shelter is going to take top priority.

Danny Ballenger heads the Public Safety Committee. He explains it will not be long before he is contacting architects to join them for their first committee meeting to get the process rolling. He wants to get the ball rolling and get a new animal shelter prepared as soon as possible.

[audio:12514shelterstart1.mp3] [/audio]

The building is almost completely outfitted for the new animal shelter, and Ballenger believes it is very well suited to fit the needs of what they want. In addition to that, there is also a huge storage building on the property as well.

[audio:12514shelterstart2.mp3] [/audio]

Ballenger indicates the inside of the building is very spacious and is going to allow the animal shelter and their staff so much more opportunity. He explains there is plenty of room for kennels, offices, and even an area for dropping off animals out of the weather elements.

[audio:12514shelterstart3.mp3] [/audio]

Leaders in Macoupin County who recently constructed a new animal shelter have been very willing recently to share their ideas and experiences with Ballenger as a part of this process. He explains they faced many of the same challenges and have seen the site for the animal shelter, and Ballenger notes, they feel the building is ideal for what any animal shelter should be.

[audio:12514shelterstart4.mp3] [/audio]

The first meeting for the Public Safety Committee will be next Thursday at 7 am in the County Board room at the courthouse. Ballenger hopes those interested will come out and be a part of the process and encourages anyone interested to approach him about seeing the old Black's Building and their plans for it.

Ballenger hopes the site will be ready for the animal shelter to take over by the middle of next year.

Illinois Lawmakers Pass Ridesharing Regulations

The Illinois Legislature has passed legislation regulating drivers in the emerging ridesharing industry.

Both the House and Senate Wednesday approved legislation creating statewide regulations for drivers working for ridesharing services connecting passengers with drivers who use personal vehicles to give rides. It includes modified insurance requirements, background checks and a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol.

Democratic state Rep. Mike Zalewski of Riverside is sponsoring the legislation. He originally planned to call for an override of Gov. Pat Quinn's veto on earlier ridesharing bills.

The taxi industry supported the initial bills, claiming ridesharing companies skirt regulations.

Zalewski agreed to work with ridesharing companies as he drafted the new legislation. That includes Uber, which opposed earlier efforts.

The measure now heads to the Senate.

Legislature Approves Same-Day Voter Registration

It looks like voters in Illinois will be allowed to register to vote on Election Day from here on out. Republicans wanted to hold off on passing the measure, but Representative Jack Franks scolded them and said it's all about giving people a right to participate.

[audio:rddSameDay51.mp3] [/audio]

Republican Ed Sullivan says Democrats are moving too fast.

[audio:rddSameDay11.mp3] [/audio]

Republicans want to hold off on the idea until they know how much it'll cost, but Democrat Christian Mitchell doesn't think that's necessary.

[audio:rddSameDay21.mp3] [/audio]

Republican David Reis wants to know why Democrats are rushing to clear the bill.

[audio:rddSameDay31.mp3] [/audio]

There are some exceptions for communities with less than 100-thousand people that don't have electronic voting machines. They'll only be required to have same-day registration in some of their precincts. The bill is headed to Governor Quinn's desk.

House Ends Session With Budget Problems Looming

There will be no lame duck session for the Illinois House, and that puts the pressure on incoming governor Bruce Rauner to find the money to fill the hole in the budget. David Stewart reports.

[audio:rddIllinoisHouseEndsSession123141.mp3] [/audio]

Two Illinois Utilities Seek Options For Rate Hikes

An Illinois legislative committee has taken action that gives a pair of state electric utilities an opportunity to receive what could be two more years of rate hikes.

Reports indicate the Illinois Senate Executive Committee on Tuesday voted 12-1 on a measure involving Ameren Illinois and Commonwealth Edison. The utilities want to avoid legislative oversight until 2019 on upgrades to the state's aging electric grid.

The law currently says the "smart grid" oversight program should end in 2017. The law also gives the utilities the ability to apply to raise rates to pay for upgrades.

Ameren says it has taken longer than expected to install digital electric meters and make other improvements. Labor unions, like the AFL-CIO, also say they support the extension.

Bradley Teams Up With Universities In India

Bradley University is offering its graduate students more global opportunities through new partnerships with universities in India.

The private university in Peoria announced Wednesday those opportunities could include study abroad programs, research collaborations and transfer programs.

Jeff Bakken is the dean of Bradley's graduate school. He says the program offers a chance to students and faculty "to experience a new culture with all of its diversity and opportunities."

Two of the partnerships are with universities in Chennai (cheh-NEYE'), India. They are Sathyabama (sah-thee-ah-BAM'-uh) University and Hindustan University. The third is with the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India Foundation in Hyderabad.

The first student exchange could take place this summer.

University of Illinois Officials Seeking Statement on Salaita Case

A group of department heads and others at the University of Illinois is asking the incoming president to address the damage they believe was caused by the decision to withdraw a job offer to a professor.

According to reports, 14 department heads and 20 other academics wrote to incoming university system president Timothy Killeen and asked him to commit to free speech and academic freedom.

The letter writers' concerns stem from the decision to rescind Native American studies professor Steven Salaita's job offer this year after he wrote profane anti-Israel Twitter messages.

The letter writers note that more than 5,000 academics from other schools have said they'll boycott events at the University of Illinois.

Killeen has said he doesn't know Salaita's situation well enough yet to comment.

Allerton Park Gearing Up For Christmas Season

 width=One of central Illinois' hidden gems is gearing up for this holiday season.

Tonight, Allerton Park administrators are inviting the public out to help them finish up their holiday decorating. According to Matt Smith with Allerton, they are inviting families with kids to come out and create decorations from various items you may find around the park, as they put the finishing touches on the decorating of the mansion in preparation for a busy Christmas season.

[audio:12414allertonxmas1.mp3] [/audio]

The Mansion was host to very popular open houses many years ago, however, in recent years, those events have fallen by the wayside. Smith explains they hoping to bring those back and have even added attractions to the open houes they feel will give a bit of a nostalgic feel to the mansion and the park.

[audio:12414allertonxmas2.mp3] [/audio]

Smith feels the nostalgic feel of the home comes from of course, the age of the home but he also believes the home takes people back to a time when they would come to the park and mansion when events they hosted were popular. He hopes they can rekindle some of that.

[audio:12414allertonxmas3.mp3] [/audio]

Open houses at Allerton Park take place on December 13, 14 and 15th.

Tonight's decorating event and this weekend's open houses kick off what will be a very busy weekend at the park and throughout the mansion more specifically. We'll have more on the upcoming activities at the mansion next week on Regional Radio News.

Clinton Schools Annual Levy In Good Shape

 width=This time of year, taxing bodies release their annual levy information and for one DeWitt County taxing body, 2014-15 is shaping up nicely.

According to Superintendent of Clinton Schools Dr. Jeff Holmes, the assessed value of the district is estimated to increase by $6-million, and because of that, the district will be able to slightly decrease the levy this year, something he's excited about.

[audio:12314schoollevy1.mp3] [/audio]

As the challenges of funding education increase, districts are forced to find ways to bridge the gap between what the state does provides versus what they are supposed to provide. Despite a one-cent sales tax measure failing in DeWitt County earlier this year, Dr. Holmes would like to explore that option again to increase the revenues for area schools.

[audio:12314schoollevy2.mp3] [/audio]

As the state of Illinois looks to revamp school funding, the most popular proposal with the most momentum at the moment has been a bill to redistribute money from wealthier districts to the poorer schools. Dr. Holmes says even though Clinton is very well off financially, he says it took many years of hard work to get there.

[audio:12314schoollevy3.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Holmes also points out, the Clinton school district is taxing the maximum they are allowed by law without a referendum. So if the state was to put them into a situation they would have to raise taxes, they would have to take it to a referendum first. He doesn't believe voters would approve a tax increase, which would effect the students of the school district.

NCAA Football Notes

 width=>>Wisconsin's Gordon Among Walter Camp Finalist

(Undated) -- Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon is one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright are also up for the prestigious award. The winner will be announced December 11th. Florida's State's Jameis [[ JAME-iss ]] Winston captured the award last year.

>>Quarterback's Conduct Code Hearing Ends

(Tallahassee, FL) -- Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston's university hearing is over. The hearing stems from a two year old sexual assault incident for which Winston was never charged. His attorney, David Cornwell, was confident afterwards. A decision is expected in 10 days. It could be small, or could mean expulsion for the Heisman Trophy winner.

 width=>>Report: Florida Deal With McElwain Delayed Over Buyout

(Undated) -- A deal between the Florida Gators and Colorado State head football coach Jim McElwain is reportedly being stalled over a buyout. The "Orlando Sentinel" reports, after two days of negotiations, CSU has not budged on the 7.5-million-dollar buyout for McElwain. The report also says McElwain is Florida's top target and the school is not talking with anyone else. McElwain met with a contingent from Florida, including athletic director Jeremy Foley on Tuesday. The Gators are in search of a replacement for Will Muschamp, who was fired after four seasons in Gainesville. McElwain has spent the last three seasons at CSU, going 10-and-2 this year and 22-and-16 overall.

ACC Dominates Day 3 of ACC/Big Ten Challenge

 width=>>#2 Duke Drops #4 Wisconsin

(Madison, WI) -- Tyus Jones tallied 22 points and six rebounds as the second-ranked Blue Devils dropped the fourth-ranked Badgers 80-70 from the Kohl Center. Duke shot over 65-percent from the floor compared to just 40.7 percent from Wisconsin. Jahlil Okafor added 13 points and six boards for the Blue Devils, who improved to 8-and-0. Traevon Jackson scored 25 points for the Badgers, who slipped to 7-and-1. Frank Kaminsky had 17 points and nine boards in the loss.

>>#6 Virginia Tops #22 Maryland

(College Park, MD) -- Malcolm Brogdon netted a game-high 18 points as sixth-ranked Virginia topped 22nd-ranked Maryland 76-65 in College Park. Justin Anderson added 16 points and Mike Tobey tallied 14 off the bench for the Cavaliers, who improved to 8-and-0. Melo Trimble posted 16 points to pace the Terrapins, who fell to 7-and-1. Jake Layman had 14 points in the setback.

 width=>>Notre Dame Knocks Off #18 Michigan State

(South Bend, IN) -- Jerian Grant netted 27 points and Demetrius Jackson scored 22 as Notre Dame knocked off 18th-ranked Michigan State 79-78 in overtime in South Bend. Pat Connaughton and Steve Vasturia added 12 points apiece for the Fighting Irish, who upped their record to 7-and-1. Branden Dawson racked up 16 points and 18 rebounds for the Spartans, who slipped to 5-and-3 with their second straight loss. Denzel Valentine dropped in 22 points and Bryn Forbes had 18 in the setback.

>>Iowa Upsets #12 North Carolina In Chapel Hill

(Chapel Hill, NC) -- Mike Gesell scored a game-high 16 points as Iowa upset 12th-ranked North Carolina 60-55 in Chapel Hill. Adam Woodbury posted 11 points and seven rebounds, while Aaron White had 10 points and eight boards for the Hawkeyes, who improved to 6-and-2 on the season. Kennedy Meeks recorded 15 points and 12 boards to pace the Tar Heels, who fell to 5-and-2. Marcus Paige was the only other player in double figures with 13 points. UNC shot just 27.9-percent as a team.

 width=>>Utah Ends #10 Wichita State's 35-Game Winning Steak

(Salt Lake City, UT) -- Delon Wright's jumper with 14 seconds left lifted Utah to a 69-68 overtime win over 10th-ranked Wichita State in Salt Lake City. The Shockers' regular season winning streak ends at 35. Brandon Taylor tallied 17 points and Wright ended with 13 to go with seven assists and six rebounds for the Utes, who improved to 6-and-1. Jakob Poeltl added 12 points and 11 boards in the victory. Ron Baker netted 15 points while Tekele Cotton chipped in with 14 for the Shockers, who slipped to 4-and-1. Fred VanVleet donated 13 points in defeat.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#9 Villanova Wildcats 84, La Salle Explorers 70

Bears Meet Up With Cowboys At Soldier Field; Sign Kicker

>>Cowboys, Bears Look To Bounce Back From Turkey Day Losses

(Chicago, IL) -- A pair of teams coming off Thanksgiving Day losses meet up on "Thursday Night Football" as the Dallas Cowboys visit the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Dallas was bludgeoned 33-10 at home by Philadelphia last Thursday to fall to 8-and-4, a game behind the Eagles for first place in the NFC East.  width=The Cowboys are just 3-and-4 at home this season, but a perfect 5-and-0 on the road. Dallas plays three of its final four games away from home. The Bears are coming off a 34-17 loss at Detroit on Turkey Day. Chicago is 5-and-7 overall. This is the start of three consecutive home games for the Bears.

>>Bears Sign Kicker With Gould Hurt

The Chicago Bears signed veteran kicker Jay Feely with Robbie Gould doubtful for Thursday's game against the Dallas Cowboys because of a right quadriceps injury.

Gould, who is tied with Kevin Butler for the franchise record with 243 field goals, sat out practice on Tuesday. The Bears brought in Feely on Wednesday.

Feely has converted 82.7 percent of his field-goal attempts over 13 seasons with Atlanta (2001-04), the New York Giants (2005-06), Miami (2007), the New York Jets (2008-09) and Arizona (2010-13). Feely has also hit 444 of 446 extra points.

The Bears listed receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), safety Chris Conte (eye) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (knee) as questionable.

They also waived/injured receiver and kick returner Chris Williams.

>>Peterson Appeal Hearing Resumes 

(New York, NY)  --  The appeal hearing for suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson resumes today.  NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent could testify after being ordered to do so by the appeals officer earlier this week.  At question is whether Vincent privately told Peterson he would get credit for time served while on the commissioner's exempt list during his child-abuse case, and that the league's updated domestic violence policy would not apply retroactively. 

The former NFL MVP missed eight games before pleading no contest early last month to using a tree branch to discipline his four-year-old son.  The league then suspended Peterson for at least the rest of this season, citing the NFL's code of conduct policy, with no chance for reinstatement until April.

>>Browns Sticking With Hoyer At QB 

(Berea, OH)  --  The Cleveland Browns will stay the course at quarterback this week.  Head coach Mike Pettine [[ PET-in ]] has named veteran Brian Hoyer the starter for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.  Pettine said earlier this week he would announce Wednesday whether he would start Hoyer or rookie signal-caller Johnny Manziel [[ man-ZELL ]].  The Browns are fighting for a playoff spot in the tightly-packed AFC North at 7-and-5. 

>>Browns Place Austin On IR, Sign Draughn 

(Berea, OH)  --  The 2014 season has come to end for Browns receiver Miles Austin.  Cleveland has placed Austin on injured reserve because of a kidney issue.  The 30-year-old was hospitalized after sustaining the injury against Buffalo on Sunday.  During his first season with the Browns, Austin is the team's second-leading receiver with 47 catches for 568 yards and two touchdowns.  Cleveland has signed running back Shaun Draughn [[ Drawn ]] to fill the roster spot. 


>>Chip Kelly Not Interested In Florida Job 

(Philadelphia, PA)  --  Chip Kelly will not be the next head football coach at the University of Florida.  Kelly told reporters the school has not contacted him, and if it did he would not entertain any offer.  The second-year NFL coach maintains he is very happy with the Philadelphia Eagles, and his main focus is winning a Super Bowl.  Kelly also said he was staying at Oregon shortly before he took the Eagles job.


Bulls Beat Hornets

 width=Joakim Noah just missed a triple-double as the Bulls defeated the Hornets 102-95 from North Carolina. Noah ended with 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Chicago, which has won three of four. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler both had 15 points in the win. Pau Gasol tallied 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulls. Kemba Walker scored 23 points to pace Charlotte, which has lost 10 straight. Lance Stephenson chipped in with 20 points and eight boards in defeat.

Washington Wizards 111, Los Angeles Lakers 95
Atlanta Hawks 112, Miami Heat 102
Boston Celtics 109, Detroit Pistons 102 (OT)
Brooklyn Nets 95, San Antonio Spurs 93 (OT)
Dallas Mavericks 107, Milwaukee Bucks 105
Philadelphia 76ers 85, Minnesota Timberwolves 77
Houston Rockets 105, Memphis Grizzlies 96
Toronto Raptors 123, Utah Jazz 104
Los Angeles Clippers 114, Orlando Magic 86

>>Bulls' Butler Honored

(New York, NY) -- Bulls guard Jimmy Butler is the Eastern Conference Player of the Month. Butler averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists over 15 games for the Bulls in November to win the award. He led the NBA in minutes at more than 39 per game.

Blackhawks Blast Blues

 width=Patrick Kane scored twice during a three-goal third period as the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-1 at the United Center. Kris Versteeg tallied a goal and two assists and Marcus Kruger also lit the lamp for the 'Hawks, who have won four in-a-row and nine of their last 11. Antti Raanta [[ AHN-tee RAHN-tuh ]] made 40 saves in the victory. Ian Cole scored the lone goal for St. Louis, which had won its previous two. Jake Allen allowed all four tallies on 33 shots in the setback.

Minnesota Wild 2, Montreal Canadiens 1
Winnipeg Jets 3, Edmonton Oilers 2 (OT)
Anaheim Ducks 5, Philadelphia Flyers 4 (SO)

>>Blackhawks' Crawford Out 2-to-3 Weeks

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks will be without starting goaltender Corey Crawford for a while. He is expected to miss two-to-three weeks after injuring his foot while attending a concert. Crawford says he took an awkward step while leaving the show and is now wearing a walking boot.

Illinois Seeking Fan Input On Game-Day Experience

 width=The University of Illinois is setting up a council of fans to provide feedback on the game-day experience as it plans for next football season.

The university said in a news release Wednesday that it's looking for fan input from a group it will choose. Council members will need to be season-ticket holders in football, volleyball or men's or women's basketball. Interested applicants can apply through the school's sports website, fightingillini.com.

Athletic director Mike Thomas said the group is intended to help the school improve the game-day experience.

Attendance has dropped at Illinois football games from an average of 61,707 a game in 2008 to an announced average of 41,549 this season.

Illinois OKs Approximately 600 Marijuana Applications

The number of medical marijuana patients approved in Illinois is increasing.

Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said Wednesday about 11,000 people started the process online and 1,600 have submitted at least some paperwork. The department has approved approximately 600 patient applications.

A month ago, the department had approved about 230 patient applications.

The state's new program requires patients to have a qualifying condition such as cancer. Patients must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check using a state-approved fingerprint vendor.

Most patients also must get their doctor's permission to use medical marijuana. Only military veterans getting Veterans Affairs care won't need a doctor's signature. That's because VA doctors, as federal employees, aren't permitted to recommend controlled substances to treat ailments.

Dubai-Based Company Purchasing Springfield Hotel

A United Arab Emirates-based global investment company is purchasing a hotel in downtown Springfield.

Al Habtoor Group, led by multi-billionaire Khalaf Ahmad al Habtoor, is set to close on the sale of President Abraham Lincoln Hotel on Dec. 16. Owner Steve Horve of Decatur says the whole process happened quickly and was worked out in about a month. He says al Habtoor made an offer on the hotel in October when he was in town with former President Jimmy Carter.

Although Horve declined to reveal the sale price, the Sangamon County assessor's office estimates the fair market value of the hotel is $8.1 million.

Reports indicate the 310-room hotel, which has about 140 employees, will likely continue operating under the DoubleTree by Hilton brand.

Clinton To Do Feasability Study on Madison Street Property

 width=The Clinton City Council Monday night approved a preliminary study of what it would take to turn a dilapidated property on Madison Street (right) into a potential fire station.

Recently, the Council has begun discussions on the future of housing for the Clinton Fire Department, and one target for their future has been a piece of city owned property on Madison Street. Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters indicates the Council is investing $19-thousand to have the Farnsworth Group begin investigating what it would look like to enclose the property for a fire house.

[audio:12314madisoneval1.mp3] [/audio]

In preparation of a new fire station, the Mayor has begun to research what other communities who have recently built a fire house have done, how they have funded their stations and how they determined locations among other questions. Her goal is to be very thorough before making a decision.

[audio:12314madisoneval2.mp3] [/audio]

At their regular meeting Monday, the topic once again was brought forward, and Commissioner of Public Safety, Jerry Milton indicates the Mayor can find a lot through the Fire Marshall's website about city trends and other factors in determining a location for the fire station.

[audio:12314madisoneval3.mp3] [/audio]

For a fee, the City could pay the Fire Marshall's office to look into call trends of the city, but according to Fire Chief Shawn Milton, those trends and statistics change over time for a variety of factors.

[audio:12314madisoneval4.mp3] [/audio]

The Chief explains he has been in contact with other departments with new stations about what their locations and building materials among other things. The Farnsworth Group has been charged with coming up with a lot of that information, and the Chief notes, the study will even include several different options.

[audio:12314madisoneval5.mp3] [/audio]

At $19-thousand, the Council Monday approved the Farnsworth Group to move forward with an evaluation of the Madison Street property to find what needs to be done to the structure to make it suitable for a fire station.

The property currently houses minimal amounts of material for the streets department.

Brands Look To Grow Twitter Following During Busy Shopping Season

Retailers are hoping to expand their Twitter following during the busy holiday shopping season.  Twitter's Director of Retail JJ Hirschle [[ her-shal ]] says retailers of all sizes are offering exclusive bargains to their followers.  The country's largest retailers are looking toward social media to grow sales and make up for a disappointing Black Friday weekend.  The National Retail Federation this week reported sales were down eleven-percent during the weekend following Thanksgiving.  Customer traffic was also down, with six-million fewer shoppers stepping foot inside brick and mortar stores. 

Majority Of Infants Sleeping On Unsafe Bedding

The majority of infants in the U.S. sleep on unsafe bedding. Doctor Sara Lappe [[ lah-pay ]] at Cleveland Clinic Children's says the number is trending in the right direction, but it's still an issue.

[audio:Sara1Lappe1203141.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Lappe adds you should never have a young infant sleeping in your bed.

[audio:Sara2Lappe1203141.mp3] [/audio]

Doctor Lappe says your child is safest in an empty crib or bassinet.

[audio:Sara3Lappe1203141.mp3] [/audio]

Soft and loose bedding like thick blankets and quilts can suffocate your baby, and have also been known to increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

$33-Million in Grants Awarded For After School Programs

The Illinois State Board of Education has approved $33 million in federal grants for before- and after-school programs at schools and organizations around the state.

The board said in an announcement Tuesday that those programs serve nearly 70,000 students each year.

The programs receiving funding are aimed at pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in high-poverty and low-performing schools.

Goals include helping students meet state and local standards in core subjects like reading and math.

Truck Speed Limit Going Up On Interstates

Truckers will soon be allowed to drive a bit faster on Illinois interstates. The speed limit is going up from 55-to-60-miles-an-hour starting January 1st, but State Rep Monique Davis doesn't like the idea.

[audio:rddSpeed11.mp3] [/audio]

Governor Quinn vetoed the proposal back in August claiming increased truck speeds will lead to more vehicle crashes that result in death. He noted several accidents in a construction zone involving semis on I-55 near Channahon. Six people died in two separate crashes on July 21st. But lawmakers disagree with Quinn and think drivers will be safe if the speed limit goes up. Both the House and Senate have voted to override the veto.

Rauner Finds More Bad News In State Budget

Governor elect Bruce Rauner says every time he looks at the state budget, he finds more he doesn't like. David Stewart reports.

[audio:rddRaunerSlamsBudget122141.mp3] [/audio]

Autopsy Finds Missing Illinois Woman Drowned

Preliminary autopsy results show that a missing 83-year-old woman found in a car submerged in a central Illinois lake drowned.

Reports indicate, McLean County Coroner Kathleen Davis released the findings Monday afternoon. Katherine Reardon of Morton was pulled from Evergreen Lake on Sunday morning in her submerged car. Davis says forensic toxicology tests have been ordered. The accident remains under investigation.

Reardon was a school bus monitor for Morton School District 709. Her daughter reported her missing Nov. 24 when she didn't show up for work. The coroner has said the death doesn't appear suspicious.

Illinois High Schools Voting on Football Proposal

Members of the Illinois High School Association are voting this month on a proposal that would change the matchups of football teams in the state.

Voting on the by-law proposal, known as Proposal 10, started Monday. The proposal seeks to alter the structure of regular-season football scheduling and playoff qualifications. Depending on how the schools vote, current football conferences could be replaced with eight geographic regions, with the top four teams from each region going to the playoffs.

The new schedule structuring would also allow each team to be available for one or two inter-regional matchups so rivalries can be maintained between neighboring schools that don't end up in the same playoff class.

According to reports, results of the statewide vote are expected in early January.

Electric Corridor of Route 66 To Run Through Lincoln

 width=The City of Lincoln was one of eight communities recently named by the State of Illinois as part of the “Illinois Route 66 Electric Corridor,” a new network of charging stations to be established along historic Rt. 66.

The Illinois Route 66 Electric Corridor will connect communities along the 300-mile stretch from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River with a network of high-power electric vehicle (‘EV”) charging stations.

Installation of the charging stations will begin this month at some locations, with targeted completion of the entire project by summer 2015. The statewide project will cost the State of Illinois approximately $1 million.

In a news release, Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder says the city is excited to be included in this project.

The Mayor addst the City is hoping to place the donated charging stations at the restored Lincoln Depot next year as that facility once again becomes a hub for transportation needs.

Mayor Snyder adds-quote-“This combined charging capacity is great news for electric vehicle commuters and tourists as well as the City,” -end quote.

The other cities named as part of the Corridor were Plainfield, Dwight, Pontiac, Normal, Springfield, Carlinville, and Edwardsville. Each of the communities on the Corridor will receive at least one fast charging station capable of charging vehicles with either CHAdeMO or SAE connectors within 15-20 minutes and one Level 2 charging station capable of charging most electric vehicles in 3-4 hours.

Accident Shuts Down Part of Highway 51 Tuesday

A two vehicle accident on Tuesday morning shut down parts of US Highway 51.

DeWitt County Sheriff Chief Deputy Mike Walker tells Regional Radio News at approximately 7:30 am Tuesday morning, a semi-tractor trailer was pulling off of Tabor Road, north of Clinton onto US Highway 51, crossing over to the northbound side.

A southbound vehicle in the right driving lane went to switch lanes and in the process lost control of the vehicle and slid into the passenger side of the semi-truck. Walker indicates the vehicle lost control, flipped, and skidded into the center median of the highway.

The accident caused the closure of one of the lane's of southbound Highway 51 for approximately one hour. Walker says crews were on scene until around 9 am.

No injuries were reported and the subjects names were not available through the DeWitt County Sheriff's Department.

The State Police are handling the investigation of the incident.

Woods Ready To Return To Golf

 width=Golf star Tiger Woods is ready to tee it up this weekend.  The former world number-one will play in the annual Hero World Challenge in Florida, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.  Woods says he feels good and his back problems are behind him. Woods hasn't played competitive golf since August after a season plagued by back ailments.  He had surgery on March 31st, which caused him to miss nearly three months on the PGA Tour.  Tiger remains second on the all-time list of major championships with 14, four behind Jack Nicklaus.

College Football Notes

>>TCU Moves Into Top-Four Of Latest CFB Playoff Rankings

(Undated) -- After a two-week absence, TCU is back in the top-four of the latest College Football Playoff Rankings. The Horned Frogs check in at number-three, in place of unbeaten Florida State, which slides to fourth. Mississippi State drops from fourth to 10th after losing 31-17 to in-state rival Ole Miss. Alabama is in the top spot for the third straight week, with Oregon holding steady at number-two. Ohio State, Baylor, Arizona, Michigan State and Kansas State are ranked fifth through ninth. Georgia and UCLA fell out of the top-10 to 14th and 15th, respectively. The semifinal matchups will be announced on Sunday. The semifinals will be played on January 1st at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The National Championship Game will take place January 12th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

 width=>>Mariota, Wright, Rodriguez Earn Pac-12 Honors

(San Francisco, CA) -- The Pac-12 football awards are out. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is the conference's Offensive Player of the Year. Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright the Third takes home Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year honors, while U-of-A coach Rich Rodriguez was named the Pac-12's top coach. Ducks running Royce Freeman is the Offensive Freshman of the Year, and Adoree' Jackson of USC is the top freshman defender. Mariota threw for over 34-hundred yards, 36 touchdowns and just two interceptions while rushing for 636 yards and 11 more scores as a junior. Wright racked up 139 tackles, led the conference with six forced fumbles, and his 14 sacks rank third in the nation. "Rich Rod" led the Wildcats to a 10-and-2 record, and the program's first-ever Pac-12 South Division title.

>>Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze Agree On Extension

(Oxford, MS) -- Ole Miss is locking up head coach Hugh Freeze with a contract extension. Freeze and athletic director Ross Bjork both took to Twitter to announce the agreement. The "Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal" reports it's a multi-year deal that will give the coach a 1.5-million-dollar raise on top of his three-million-dollar annual salary. The contract also includes raises for his assistants. Freeze is 24-and-13 in three seasons at Ole Miss, including 9-and-3 this season.

>>Winston Conduct Hearing Remains Secret

(Tallahassee, FL) -- Heisman Trophy winner Jameis [[ JAY-miss ]] Winston is facing the possibility of being thrown out of Florida State University. Winston was present Tuesday at a student code of conduct hearing related to accusations he sexually assaulted a former student in 2012. Little information will be released about the hearing until after a decision is made and released. Although not criminally charged, Winston could be reprimanded, suspended from the team, or even expelled if a judge rules that he violated the university's code. The hearing is expected to last several days.

>>Brady Hoke Fired From Michigan

The University of Michigan fired head football coach Brady Hoke on Tuesday after four seasons, saying he had enough time to produce positive results that never came.

Hoke posted a 31-20 record at Michigan, but never improved on an 11-2 mark and Sugar Bowl title in his first season with the Wolverines.

They went 5-7 overall this season, including 3-5 in the Big Ten, marking the program's first losing season since going 5-7 in 2009 under Rich Rodriguez.

Hoke was hired as the 19th head coach at Michigan on Jan. 11, 2011, after Rodriguez was fired following a 15-22 record in three seasons at the helm.

Cardinals Notes

 width=>>Cardinals Sign Reliever Matt Belisle

(St. Louis, MO) -- The St. Louis Cardinals are adding bullpen depth. FOX Sports reports the team and right-handed reliever Matt Belisle [[ beh-LYLE ]] have agreed to a one-year, 3.5-million-dollar contract. The 34-year-old worked in 392 games over the past six seasons with the Rockies, compiling a 32-and-32 record with a 3.88 ERA and four saves.

>>Cardinals Promote Correa To Director Of Scouting

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Cardinals are promoting Chris Correa to the position of director of scouting. He replaces Dan Kantrovitz, who left to become assistant general manager of the A's last week. Correa was most recently the director of baseball development and has been with the team since 2009.

>>MLB Non-Tender Deadline Passes

(St. Louis, MO) -- Baseball's deadline to offer contracts to arbitration eligible players has passed. The Cardinals had to decide on outfielders Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos, infielder Daniel Descalso, catcher Tony Cruz, and pitchers Lance Lynn and Jordan Walden. Non-tendered players become free agents.

Blues, Blackhawks Meet Tonight; Both Beat Up

 width=>>Blues At Blackhawks Tonight

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blues make the second stop on their four-game road trip tonight in Chicago. St. Louis is coming off a 3-2 shootout win at Minnesota on Saturday and has won four of its last five games. The Blackhawks have won three in-a-row and six of their last seven. Faceoff is at 7 p.m.

>>Blackhawks' Crawford Out Vs. Blues

(Chicago, IL) -- Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will not play in tonight's game against the Blues due to a lower-body injury. Head coach Joel Quenneville said yesterday he isn't sure how long Crawford will be sidelined, but the 'Hawks did call up goaltender Scott Darling from Rockford. Tonight's game is at 7:00.

 width=>>Blues Sign Brodeur To One-Year Deal

(St. Louis, MO) -- Veteran goalie Martin Brodeur [[ mar-TAN bro-DURE ]] is the newest member of the St. Louis Blues. They have signed the 42-year-old netminder to a one-year contract. Brodeur joined the Blues last Wednesday on a professional tryout after Brian Elliott suffered a lower-body injury against Ottawa on November 25th that may keep him sidelined for weeks. Brodeur had spent his entire career with the New Jersey Devils, winning three Stanley Cups and four Vezina trophies as the league's top goalie. He is the NHL's all-time leader with 688 wins, 124 shutouts and 1,259 games played.

New York Islanders 3, Ottawa Senators 2 (OT)
Pittsburgh Penguins 1, New Jersey Devils 0
Vancouver Canucks 4, Washington Capitals 3
Carolina Hurricanes 2, Nashville Predators 1
Buffalo Sabres 2, Tampa Bay Lightning 1 (SO)
Toronto Maple Leafs 5, Dallas Stars 3
Florida Panthers 4, Detroit Red Wings 3
Calgary Flames 5, Arizona Coyotes 2
San Jose Sharks 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Los Angeles Kings 2, Boston Bruins 0

Mavs Bounce Bulls In Double OT

 width=The Mavericks pulled out a wild, back-and-forth battle with the Bulls, 132-129, in double-overtime at the United Center. Monta Ellis led the way with 38 points on 35 shots, including three free throws that sent the game to the first OT. Dirk Nowitzki added 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, while Chandler Parsons posted 24. Dallas has won four straight. A Derrick Rose three-pointer off the glass put the game into the second OT. Rose finished with 18 points and 10 helpers. Pau Gasol played 50 minutes and put up 29 points with 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who had won their two previous games.

Cleveland Cavaliers 111, Milwaukee Bucks 108
Atlanta Hawks 109, Boston Celtics 105
Los Angeles Lakers 106, Detroit Pistons 96
Brooklyn Nets 98, New York Knicks 93
New Orleans Pelicans 112, Oklahoma City Thunder 104
Phoenix Suns 116, Indiana Pacers 99
Portland Trail Blazers 105, Denver Nuggets 103
Toronto Raptors 117, Sacramento Kings 109
Golden State Warriors 98, Orlando Magic 97

Illinois, ISU Loses; Bradley Wins Big

 width=>>Miami Tops Illinois At Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Deandre Burnett scored 19 points and No. 15 Miami beat No. 24 Illinois 70-61 on Tuesday night as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Manu Lecomte added 15 points and Sheldon McClellan had 14 for the Hurricanes (8-0), who have won their first eight games for the first time in five years.

Rayvonte Rice had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead Illinois (6-1) and Malcolm Hill scored 13.

Miami shot under 38 percent for the game and fired up 30 3-pointers, making just nine. Illinois shot under 34 percent and also attempted 30 shots from distance, making only seven.

>>ISU Can't Hold On Against VCU


Melvin Johnson scored 19 points, including five 3-pointers, and VCU held off Illinois State late for a 66-62 win on Tuesday.

Johnson's free throws with 46 seconds left gave VCU (5-2) a 3-point lead. Mo Alie-Cox blocked the next two Illinois State shots and the Redbirds could only manage one more free throw the rest of the way as Briante Weber made a pair from the line for the Rams with 4 seconds left to ice it.

Alie-Cox finished with four blocked shots and eight rebounds. Treveon Graham had 17 points while Jordan Burgess added 10 points and eight boards.

Illinois State was led by DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell with 18 points and seven rebounds. Paris Lee added 12 points and four assists while Daishon Knight finished with 11 points.

Although Illinois State shot 50 percent from the floor, VCU forced 24 turnovers and limited the Redbirds to just 40 field goal attempts.

 width=>>Bradley Rolls Central Michigan

Warren Jones nailed 5 of 10 attempts from long range to post a career-high 33 points and lead Bradley to an 84-73 victory over Central Michigan on Tuesday night.

Omari Grier had 13 points and Auston Barnes added 11 for Bradley (3-4).

Central Michigan led 14-12 midway of the first half, but Grier made a jumper, Jones nailed a 3-pointer, Mike Shaw hit a jump shot and Jones made two more 3-point jumpers to leap out to a 25-14 lead with 7:32 remaining in the first half. Bradley led 37-29 at the break.

Central Michigan's Josh Kozinski hit a 3-pointer to trail 63-55 with 6:23 left in the game but could get no closer.

The Braves shot 24 of 46 while limiting the Chippewas to 21 of 48. Bradley also outmuscled the Chippewas under the boards, grabbing 41 rebounds to 20.

Chris Fowler led Central Michigan (5-1) with 24 points.

>>#5 Louisville Hands #14 Ohio State First Loss

(Louisville, KY) -- Wayne Blackshear dropped in a game-high 22 points as fifth-ranked Louisville cruised to a 64-55 win over 13th-ranked Ohio State at the KFC Yum! Center. Montrezl Harrell had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinals, who improved to 6-and-0. D'Angelo Russell netted 17 points to pace the Buckeyes, who fell to 5-and-1. Marc Loving added 13 points in the setback.

>>Michigan Holds Off Syracuse

Spike Albrecht totaled 11 points and a career-high nine assists with no turnovers off the bench as No. 17 Michigan held off Syracuse, 68-65, in this installment of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Albrecht, who became a household name when he scored 17 first-half points against Louisville in the National Championship game two years ago, broke a 63-63 deadlock when he stepped into an NBA range 3-pointer with 31 seconds to play.

Zak Irvin led Michigan (6-1) with 18 points while LeVert and Ricky Doyle scored 12 apiece. The Wolverines improved to 5-0 at home this season.

Trevor Cooney and Rakeem Christmas had 16 and 15 points, respectively, in the setback. McCullough finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Michigan started 0-for-7 from the floor before Kameron Chatman finally hit a jumper from the free throw line. That bucket sparked a 9-0 Wolverines run, with Irvin canning a 3 and throwing down a dunk in transition during the spurt.

>>Indiana Beats Pittsburgh

Stanford Robinson provided the Hoosiers with 15 points off the bench as Indiana defeated the
Pittsburgh Panthers, 81-69, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Assembly Hall.

James Blackmon, Jr. added 13 points for Indiana (6-1), which also received 11 points courtesy of Yogi Ferrell. Troy Williams contributed 10 points, while Robert Johnson handed out a game-high nine assists.

Chris Jones paced the Panthers (4-3) with 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting from the floor. Josh Newkirk chimed in with 16 points and eight assists, while Michael Young netted 13 points.

>>Minnesota Downs Wake Forest

Andre Hollins poured in 27 points as the Minnesota Golden Gophers eased past the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 84-69, as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at LJVM Coliseum.

Carlos Morris added 15 points, Joey King tacked on 14 and Maurice Walker finished with 10 for Minnesota (5-2).

Miles Overton netted 14 points off the bench for Wake Forest (4-4). Mitchell Wilbekin and Codi Miller-McIntyre each had 10 points.

Minnesota had a 37-31 edge on the glass and outscored Wake Forest, 34-28, in the paint.

>>Purdue Downs NC State

Vince Edwards scored 16 points as the Purdue Boilermakers held off the NC State Wolfpack for a 66-61 victory in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Mackey Arena.

A.J. Hammons netted the game's final four points en route to 15 points for Purdue (6-1), while Isaac Haas added 13 points.

Kyle Washington provided the Wolfpack (6-1) a spark off the bench with a game- high 17 points. Trevor Lacey chipped in 15 points.

Although Purdue hit on just 32 percent shooting from the field after the break, it managed to extend its lead with a 12-of-17 clip at the charity stripe. The Wolfpack converted only 2-of-8 free-throw tries in the second half. NC State was held scoreless for the final 3:15 of the contest.

Purdue enjoyed a 37-31 edge in the rebounding battle, which led to a 22-14 advantage in second chance points.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#3 Arizona Wildcats 91, Gardner-Webb Bulldogs 65
#7 Texas Longhorns 63, UT-Arlington Mavericks 53
#8 Gonzaga Bulldogs 76, Southeast Louisiana Lions 57
#19 Iowa State Cyclones 96, Lamar Cardinals 59

Changes In The Works For Voter Registration

Democrats say letting people register to vote on Election Day last month was a huge success. It was just a trial run but State Representative Barbara Flynn Curries says people should always have that option.

[audio:rddVote11.mp3] [/audio]

Now they're pushing to allow same day registration during all elections from here on out, but Republican state rep Ed Sullivan says it's too soon to make that call.

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The bill would also extend the early voting period. It cleared a House committee yesterday and is headed to the floor for a vote. Republicans aren't so quick to jump on board with the idea, though. They'd rather see a full analysis of how things actually went on Election Day before supporting it. Republicans have argued that the same-day registration is ploy to convince more Democratic voters to get out and vote.

University of Illinois President May Start Work Early

Incoming University of Illinois system president Timothy Killeen says he's negotiating to begin his new job earlier than his official July 1 start date.

According to reports, Killeen says he'll be a regular presence on the University of Illinois campuses "and the start date might move forward." Killeen is replacing the retiring university President Robert Easter. He didn't give an exact date but says he hopes to start work in late spring.

Killeen says he and Easter may overlap. Killeen would be in a junior role and Easter in a presidential role. The system's Board of Trustee must give Killeen's hiring final approval at its next regular meeting on Jan. 15. He was announced as the next system president on Nov. 19.

Illinois Economic Index Shows Growth

A University of Illinois index that tracks the state's economy indicates steady growth since early this year.

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the university said Monday that its Flash Index was at 106.6 in November. Any reading over 100 indicates economic growth and the index has been in the 106-107 range since February.

Institute economist Fred Giertz (GERTZ) also pointed to strong improvement in the state's unemployment rate as a sign the economy is growing. The jobless rate was 6.6 percent in October. That's down from 9.1 percent a year earlier.

The institute releases the Flash Index every month. It uses corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income to track Illinois' economy.

Cover Crop Day Set for Thursday

 width=Area farmers are encouraged to turn out for a day of free information on the opportunities and benefits of cover crops.

The day starts at 10 am Thursday morning at Stoutenborough Farms, north of Maroa with a soil pit over five years for cover crop grazing. Also on the agenda between 10 and 11:30 am is presentations by Doug Gucker and Dan Towery. Gucker will speak on the economics of cover crops while Towery will present on dormant seeding. A question and answer session will conclude morning hours before transitioning to the next site.

Jeff Stock Farms, located at 7356 East Andrews Street in Dalton City will be the site for the next two hours, from noon until 2pm. There will be two soil pits on adjacent fields with three years of cover crops and different tillage practices. Gucker will present on management of cover crops and tillage practices, while Towery will conclude his lecture on dormant seeding. A question and answer time will conclude the day.

A free lunch will be provided between in between sessions.

Farmers seeking further information should contact the Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District at 217-877-5670, EXT 3 or email laura@maconcountyswcd.com.

Taxes To Drop For Clinton Property Owners

The Clinton City Council approved the 2015 Levy Monday night and includes good news for property owners.

According to Commissioner of Finances, Tom Edmunds, the property values in Clinton have risen, which means the property taxes can drop. He notes, the increase in property values has to do with an expiring TIF district.

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The decrease is minimal, only one-percent. Edmunds explains, the city portion of the tax levy for a home worth approximately $60-thousand would be around $414.

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 width=According to Clint Lichtenwalter (right), City Treasurer, they have been able to catch funds that have been behind in recent years. He points to the IMRF funds, or the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

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City administrators echo Edumds' sentiments of the tax levy dropping, saying anytime a governmental body can say taxes are going down, that is exciting.

Bulls Host Mavs

 width=The Bulls welcome the Mavericks to the United Center tonight. Chicago wrapped up its seven-game road trip with a 102-84 win over the Nets on Sunday. The Bulls went 4-and-3 on the trip to enter tonight's game 11-and-6 on the season. Tip-off is at 7:00.

San Antonio Spurs 109, Philadelphia 76ers 103
Washington Wizards 107, Miami Heat 86
Denver Nuggets 103, Utah Jazz 101
Los Angeles Clippers 127, Minnesota Timberwolves 101

Blues Forward Nets NHL Award

 width=>>Blues' Tarasenko NHL's Second Star For November

(St. Louis, MO) -- Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is the NHL's Second Star for the month of November. He had 10 goals and seven assists in 15 games last month as the Blues went 11-3-and-1. Tarasenko has 14 goals and 12 assists overall. Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano was named First Star.

>>Halak, Callahan, Ramo Named Weekly Top Stars

(New York, NY) -- Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak [[ hah-LOCK ]], Lightning forward Ryan Callahan and Flames goalie Karri Ramo are the NHL's top stars for last week. Halak took First Star honors after going 3-0-and-0 with a 0.95 goals-against average and a .964 save percentage. Callahan was named Second Star after notching three goals and two assists in just two games. Ramo got the Third Star after starting in net for shutout wins over San Jose and Phoenix.

>>Lightning Double Up Rangers

(New York, NY) -- A three-goal third period lifted the Lightning to a 6-3 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson each had two goals for Tampa Bay, which has won four in-a-row. Ben Bishop turned away 32 of the 35 shots he faced. The Blueshirts have dropped three games to the Lightning since November 17th. Martin St. Louis tallied his 10th goal of the season to give New York a 3-2 lead midway through the second period. Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals on 20 shots for the Rangers, who had won four of their previous five.

Columbus Blue Jackets 2, Florida Panthers 1
Montreal Canadiens 4, Colorado Avalanche 3
Arizona Coyotes 5, Edmonton Oilers 2
Anaheim Ducks 3, Boston Bruins 2

Forte Wants Bears To Commit To Run; Rams Refuse To Apologize For Players Actions

 width=>>Forte Says Bears Need To Commit To Run

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte sees the commitment to the handoff and can't help but come away impressed.

The only thing that would be better for him would be if he was talking about his own team instead of this week's opponent.

The Bears will see a team committed to the run when they host DeMarco Murray and the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night. Forte says it's "impressive to see" and makes it clear he wants more carries.

During a loss to Detroit last week, Forte had just five carries, matching a career low, for six yards.

 width=>>St. Louis Rams, Police Disagree On Team "Apology"

(St. Louis, MO) -- The St. Louis Rams and St. Louis County police disagree about whether a team executive apologized for players' demonstration before Sunday's game. During player introductions, five Rams players raised their hands in a "hands up-don't shoot" gesture. Monday, team executive vice-president Kevin Demoff said he "regretted any offense police officers may have taken," but that he didn't apologize. Speaking to the "St. Louis Post Dispatch," Demoff added that he believed it was possible support both law enforcement and players' First Amendment rights. A spokesman for Police Chief Jon Belmar said the chief believed Demoff did apologize in a phone conversation.

The police officers union condemned the gesture Sunday night, calling it "tasteless, offensive, and inflammatory." The players made the gesture six days after a grand jury decided not to indict former Ferguson, Missouri police office Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Wilson shot the unarmed teenager in a street confrontation in the St. Louis suburb last August.

>>Dolphins Sneak Past Jets

(East Rutherford, NJ) -- The Dolphins scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull past the Jets, 16-13, at MetLife Stadium on "Monday Night Football." Lamar Miller's four-yard touchdown run tied the game and Caleb Sturgis' 26-yard field goal with 1:57 left gave Miami the victory. Reshad Jones intercepted Geno Smith on New York's final offensive possession to clinch the win. Miami joined a group of six teams in the AFC with a 7-and-5 record. Smith only threw 13 passes for 65 yards, while the Jets piled up 277 yards rushing on 49 carries. Chris Johnson led the way with 105 yards and Chris Ivory added 62. New York is 2-and-10.

>>Browns To Decide QB Starter Wednesday

(Berea, OH) -- The Cleveland Browns are undecided who will start at quarterback this week. Head coach Mike Pettine [[ PET-in ]] said Monday he'll announce on Wednesday whether Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel [[ man-ZELL ]] will be under center for Sunday's home game against the Indianapolis Colts. Pettine added that General Manager Ray Farmer will be in on the meetings. Hoyer was benched early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 26-10 loss at Buffalo. The Browns are fighting for an AFC playoff spot at 7-and-5.

>>Steelers Put Keisel On IR

(Pittsburgh, PA) -- Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel [[ KEASE-ull ]] is on injured reserve with a torn left triceps. The 13-year veteran was hurt in Sunday's loss to New Orleans and a Monday MRI confirmed the injury. Keisel played in all 12 games with Pittsburgh this season, including four starts. He recorded 17 tackles and one sack. The Steelers have signed defensive end Clifton Geathers to take Keisel's spot on the roster.

>>Cardinals' Mathieu Has Broken Left Thumb

(Tempe, AZ) -- The Arizona Cardinals could be without safety Tyrann Mathieu [[ MATH-hew ]] for a while. He suffered a broken left thumb in Sunday's loss at Atlanta, leaving his status in doubt for this Sunday's game against Kansas City. Head coach Bruce Arians said Monday that Mathieu could have a pin inserted in the thumb to help it heal, which could sideline him for three weeks. There is also the chance he could wear a cast and continue to play.

Illinois, ISU Football Notes

>>DuVernois, Dudek Named to All-Big Ten Teams

Senior punter Justin DuVernois and freshman wide receiver Mike Dudek both were named All-Big Ten second team on Monday, while five other Fighting Illini were honorable mention selections.

 width=DuVernois was a second-team selection by both the media and coaches, while Dudek was a second-team pick by the media and honorable mention by the coaches. Junior cornerback V'Angelo Bentley, junior offensive lineman Ted Karras and junior linebacker Mason Monheim were honorable mention selections by both the media and coaches, while junior defensive end Jihad Ward was voted honorable mention by the league's coaches and sophomore safety Taylor Barton by the media. Senior quarterback Reilly O'Toole was Illinois' honoree for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

DuVernois is having one of the most prolific punting seasons in Illinois history. He ranks second in the Big Ten and 14th in the nation in punting average (44.4 ypp), which currently stands as the fourth-best punting season in school history, one yard behind record-holder Steve Weatherford's 45.4 average in 2004 campaign. For the season, DuVernois has 19 punts over 50 yards, including six over 60 yards and a long of 74. He also has had 19 punts downed inside the 20, including nine inside the opponent's 10 yard line. During his four-year career, DuVernois ranks second in school history in career punting yards (10,377), second in in career punts (249) and third in career punting average (41.67 ypp).

Dudek was the Big Ten's top receiver in conference play, posting 50 catches for 716 yards (89.5 yards per game) and three touchdowns. For the season, he leads all FBS freshmen in receiving yards per game (80.4) and has broken Illinois' freshman records for receptions (69) and receiving yards (965), previously held by Freshman All-American Arrelious Benn, while tying the touchdowns mark (6) held by College Football Hall of Famer David Williams. With a bowl game likely, Dudek needs 35 yards to post the eighth 1,000-yard receiving season in school history.

Information courtesy of fightingillini.com

>>17 Redbirds Make All-Missouri Valley Conference Teams

A total of 17 Illinois State football players were named to the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference teams Monday by the league office, highlighted by six MVFC First-Team selections that included MVFC Offensive Player of the Year Marshaun Coprich and MVFC Newcomer of the Year, Tre Roberson.

 width=Coprich, who became the fourth player in school history to earn the MVFC Offensive Player of the Year Award, led the league in rushing yards (1,683), touchdowns (21) and yards per game (153.0) during the regular season with the Redbirds. The Victorville, California, native rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season, setting a school and league mark for consecutive 100-plus yard games, and an ISU single-season record with 21 rushing touchdowns. During the season, he was named the MVFC Offensive Player of the Week twice and had several breakout performances, including eight games with multiple touchdowns and six games with over 150 yards rushing.

Roberson, the first player in school history to be named the MVFC Newcomer of the Year, started all 11 games at quarterback and led the Redbirds to a 10-1 record during the regular season, in his first with ISU after transferring from Indiana. The Indianapolis, Indiana, native led the MVFC in total offense (261.1 ypg) and with a pass efficiency rating of 150.8. He accounted for 29 total touchdowns (21 pass, 8 run) and finished the season with 2,198 passing yards. A three-time MVFC Newcomer of the Week selection, Roberson also rushed for 674 yards and eight scores on the ground to lead the way for a dangerous ISU offensive attack that led the conference in total offense (451.5 ypg), rushing offense (241.4 ypg) and scoring offense (38.7 ppg).

The six first-team selections are the most since 2012, when the Redbirds set a school record with eight players selected to the All-MVFC First Team. Joining Coprich and Roberson on the first team were senior offensive tackle Jermaine Barton, senior long snapper Chris Highland, junior defensive end Teddy Corwin and junior middle linebacker Pat Meehan.

Six seniors were among the seven players selected to the All-MVFC Second Team. Wide receiver Lechein Neblett, tight end James O'Shaughnessy, offensive lineman Rocco Ammons, defensive tackle Bradon Prate, defensive back Mike Banks and punter CJ Laros all earned Valley Football plaudits in their final seasons, and were joined by freshman fullback Bryce Holm.

Senior offensive tackle Michael Liedtke, safety Dontae McCoy and return specialist Tevin Allen were also named All-MVFC Honorable Mention selections in the annual vote, along with junior defensive end David Perkins.

Information courtesy of GoRedbirds.com

>>Wisconsin RB, Ohio State QB Highlight All Big Ten Team

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett were selected first-team, all-Big Ten and took top individual honors at their positions.

Both players led their teams to this week's conference championship game in Indianapolis.

Gordon leads the nation with a Big Ten-record 2,260 yards rushing for the Badgers (10-2, 7-1), who won the West division title. He also held the FBS single-game record for one week, running for 408 yards against Nebraska last month before Oklahoma's Samaje Perine put up 427 against Kansas.

The Buckeyes (11-1, 8-0) took the East, with Barrett throwing for 2,834 yards with a school-record 34 touchdowns before breaking his ankle Saturday.

>>SMU Hires Clemson OC Morris As Head Coach

(Dallas, TX) -- Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is the new head football coach at Southern Methodist University. Morris takes over an SMU team that is 0-and-11 this season. Morris helped Clemson to 41 wins and a pair of Orange Bowl appearances during his four-year stint with the Tigers. The 45-year-old spent 16 seasons as a high school coach in Texas, going 169-and-38. SMU wraps up its season this Saturday at UConn.

>>Auburn Fires Defensive Coordinator

(Auburn, AL) -- After surrendering 55 points to rival Alabama in the Iron Bowl on Saturday, Auburn is dismissing defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. Head coach Gus Malzahn says the move is what's best for the program, and thanked Johnson for his service to the team. The Tigers rank 10th out of 14 teams in scoring defense in the SEC, allowing over 26 points per game. Johnson has coached more than 18 years in the conference. ESPN.com reports there is mutual interest between Auburn and recently-dismissed Florida head coach Will Muschamp for the position.

>>Karageorge's Brain To Be Examined

(Columbus, OH) -- The brain of Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge will be examined for evidence of concussion-related damage. The Franklin County coroner says concussions reported by Karageorge may have impacted his mental condition before his apparent suicide. Some of Karageorge's teammates told "The Columbus Dispatch" that he never appeared to have any problems and suspect he never reported any head injuries to team doctors. Karageorge's body and a gun were found over the weekend in a dumpster less than a mile from his apartment. The 22-year-old is believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Illini Crack Top 25 As Enter Big Ten/ACC Challenge vs Miami; ISU Forward Named MVC Newcomer of the Week

>>Illini Crack Top 25 As Enter Big Ten/ACC Challenge vs Miami

 width=So far, Illinois has an undefeated record, a preseason tournament title and a Top 25 ranking to its credit.

But coach John Groce said Monday he believes the Illini (6-0) haven't played their best basketball yet.

Illinois moved into the AP Top 25 Monday at No. 24. It faces No. 15 Miami (7-0) on Tuesday night in Florida.

The Illini took the Las Vegas Invitational title Friday with a 62-54 win over Baylor.

Illinois struggled to make shots in the first half of that game. However, Groce points out his team was down by just four points at the half.

Groce said his team has played good basketball so far but hasn't even played a complete game yet. As Groce put it, he believes the team's "ceiling is still high."

>>Kentucky Retains Top Spot In Latest Hoops Poll

(Undated) -- Kentucky remains the number-one team in men's college basketball this week. The 7-and-0 Wildcats received 29 of 32 first-place votes to hold the top spot in the "USA Today" Coaches Poll. Duke remains number-two, with Arizona moving up one spot to third and Wisconsin dropping one spot to fourth. Louisville is still fifth, with Virginia, Texas, Gonzaga, Villanova and Wichita State rounding out the top-10. VCU, UCLA and Providence fell out of the poll.

>>ISU Forward Named MVC Newcomer of the Week

 width=For the second-consecutive week, the Illinois State men's basketball team has earned the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week accolade, with Redbird freshman forward Deontae Hawkins receiving this week's honor, as announced by the league office Monday.

Hawkins averaged a double-double last week, scoring 12.5 points and a team-best 10.0 rebounds per game against Seton Hall (Nov. 24) and Youngstown State (Nov. 29). Hawkins netted a career-best 18 points, while grabbing a career-high 15 rebounds for the game's only double-double in the Redbirds' overtime victory over YSU.

DeWitt County State's Attorney Makes Resignation Official Monday Night

 width=In early November, it was announced State's Attorney Karle Koritz (right) had been named to the post of Circuit Judge after the passing of late-Judge Garry Bryan. Monday night, Koritz made his resignation official.

Koritz will be sworn in as the Resident Circuit Judge of DeWitt County on December 5th, and took a few minutes Monday night to thank the community for their support during the 2012 campaign and his two years as State's Attorney. He's proud of the last two years despite the many challenges.

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Despite the negative publicity the County has received the past couple years, Koritz says "I see different reality in the halls of this building (County Building) every single day". He assures residents their county is in good shape thanks to each county department head.

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The latest installment of the DeWitt County Board was sworn in Monday, and Koritz could not help but express his excitement about the future of the County. He has every confidents in the abilities of the members to the County going forward.

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Koritz is grateful for the support he and his family have received the last two years and calls his new position "a dream job" and feels it is rare one gets to hold a position like that in their hometown.

Koritz concluded with an aside saying he was glad to see District B fully represented again on the Board.

Internet Activity Up Ahead Of Cyber Monday Shopping

It looks like many Americans spent their Thanksgiving weekends browsing online to gear up for Cyber Monday.  Verizon Wireless has released a new study to pinpoint the surge in online traffic ahead of the day devoted to online sales.  Based on the study's scale, starting on Black Friday, Internet activity on the sites of retailers soared by twelve points over a 24-hour period.  Traffic jumped up another three points on Saturday.  The week-long high was on Thanksgiving Day itself, going along with experts' guesses that consumers tend to do their research online before shopping.  Verizon found similar results for its 2013 analysis of online retailers as well. 

Ebooks Becoming Popular Holiday Gift For Children

Many shoppers are going the digital route for the kids on their list this year.  A new survey conducted by PlayCollective finds that 45 percent of parents with kids between two and 13 plan to buy an e-reading device like the Amazon Kindle.  Half of those who already have a device plan to upgrade to a newer model.  Three-quarters of all the respondents say they'll also be re-stocking their kids' collection of digital books, and plan on spending an average of 26-dollars on a list of new titles.  The Kindle continues to be the most popular brand of e-reader, followed by non-iPad tablets, the iPad 4 and the iPad mini. 

Congressman Blames Obama For Quinn Loss

Congressman Luis Gutierrez says President Obama is partially to blame for Governor Quinn's failed reelection bid.  Gutierrez says Quinn lost votes from immigrants across the state because Obama put his executive order on immigration reform off until after the election.  He tells the Chicago Sun Times that Hispanics and people from other ethnic groups would've been more inclined to vote for Quinn had the executive order been issued before they went to the polls.  Gutierrez says he would've personally made the rounds across Illinois to help get people signed up under the deal if it had come down sooner.

Illinois Supreme Court To Consider FutureGen Case

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case regarding the $1.65 billion FutureGen clean-coal project in west-central Illinois.

Reports indicate the high court said last week it would consider if Illinois utililties must buy electricity from the FutureGen facility in Morgan County. The Illinois Commerce Commission issued a late 2012 ruling requiring utilities, like ComEd and Ameren, to sign 20-year contracts for FutureGen-produced power.

The state's 1st District Appellate Court rejected a challenge from ComEd and alternative power suppliers in July. They argued the Illinois Commerce Commission exceeded its authority. Ameren wasn't party of the challenge.

Plans are to refit a coal-fired power plant in Meredosia (mair-uh-DOH'-shuh) to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground. The project includes $1 billion in federal government funding.

Springfield Lincoln Museum Hosting Several Holiday Events

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is celebrating the holidays by collecting socks and books for children and presenting family and children's activities.

Officials are setting up a bookshelf at the library building. New or slightly used books for children in kindergarten through 8th grades will be accepted there until Dec. 19. They will go to Springfield school libraries.

Beginning Dec. 10 at the museum, visitors may donate new socks by placing them on a lobby Christmas tree. A donation earns $5 off admission or $10 off a membership to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

Children will have story time with crafts and cookies Dec. 6. Dec. 10 will be Family Day. Dec. 21 will be a birthday party for the president's son, Willie Lincoln.

Illinois Treasurer's Race Third Closest Since 1900

Illinois' next state treasurer won the Nov. 4 election by 9,225 votes - the third-closest statewide race since at least 1900.

Democrat Michael Frerichs (FRAYR'-ikz) beat Republican Tom Cross 48 percent to 47.8 percent out of 3.5 million votes cast. Records collected and analyzed by The Associated Press show that the 0.261 percentage-point difference ranks it behind only the 198-2 race for governor and 1952 campaign for secretary of state.

The Illinois State Board of Elections formally declared Frerichs the winner at a special meeting Sunday. Cross - the former House minority leader from Oswego (ahss-WEE'-goh) led by 20,000 votes on Election Day. But the state senator from Champaign ate into that lead because of late-arriving ballots that were mailed or cast provisionally and counted later.

IHSA Responds To Class-Action Concussion Suit

The Illinois High School Association has responded to a new class-action lawsuit alleging the governing body hasn't done enough to protect football players from concussions.

An attorney filed the suit Saturday on behalf of former high school quarterback Daniel Bukal in Cook County Circuit Court.

In an e-mailed statement, IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said he wanted to keep the spotlight Saturday on the last football playoff finals. He says IHSA will review the suit and comment more fully when appropriate.

But he did add concussion management is a top IHSA priority. And he says it'll "continue to be a leader" in reducing head-injury risks.

Bukal suffered concussions playing at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles until 2003. The suit says he still suffers frequent migraines and some memory loss.

Rantoul Joins Ranks of Police Using Body Cameras

Police in the central Illinois village of Rantoul are joining the growing of number of law enforcers using body cameras.

Reports indicate Rantoul's police department got a large, anonymous donation in 2011 for the research and purchase of the body cameras.

That was well before the popularity of such cameras started to surge this August. That's when white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Wilson was not wearing a body camera.

That case touched off at times violent protests in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb where demonstrations turned up again in recent days after a local grand jury declined to indict Wilson.

Brown's family has pressed for U.S. police departments to make body cameras required equipment.

Illinois Man Faces Trial For Stomping Puppy

A jury trial is set to begin Tuesday for a 48-year-old man accused of stomping one puppy to death and injuring another at a central Illinois home where he was staying with friends.

Reports indicate Stephen Coker has pleaded not guilty to two charges of aggravated cruelty to a companion animal. If found guilty in the Tazewell County trial, he could go back to prison for three years.

He'd recently been released from prison where he'd been serving a 10-year sentence for residential arson and aggravated domestic battery. Old family friends in Delavan, Illinois, had invited him to live at their home. Prosecutors say he injured the puppies during a violent outburst.

He's remained in custody since his arrest on the animal cruelty charges.

Incoming University of Illinois President More Than Just Scientist

Much has been said in the past week about the incoming University of Illinois president's extensive scientific background. But Timothy Killeen is also a classical guitarist and art aficionado, and he once played cricket, soccer and rugby in his native Wales.

According to reports, the rocket scientist with a lengthy resume in higher education talked Friday about some of his other interests.

He spends "quite a bit of time" playing classical guitar, though he considers himself more a "wanna-be" than a proper musician.

Killeen says he's also a sports fan, and admits to having been a Michigan football supporter going back to his days as a professor there. With an apology, he adds, "I'm going to be true orange from now on."

ISU Signs Agreement With Chinese University

Illinois State University has signed an agreement with a university in China to foster faculty and student exchanges.

According to reports, the agreement with Wuhan University also calls for training and joint research activities and academic material exchanges. ISU President Larry Dietz says increasing international students and faculty is "a way of bringing the world to Illinois State."

Dietz made a trip to China along with ISU education and international studies faculty.

ISU has a larger goal of providing more programs that develop a global environment. It wants more students to study abroad and to increase the number of foreign students studying in Normal. International students are about 2 percent of ISU's student body. Dietz says for a school of ISU's size that should be about 5 percent.

Businesses Partner With Children's Advocacy Centers For Holidays

 width=Local businesses are teaming up with a non-profit group that serves abused children this holiday season.

With the holiday season officially kicked off, the Child Protection Network and area businesses are teaming up in hopes gaining public support for their year round efforts. The annual Blue Kids Trees the CPN puts out are now up in area businesses and according to Executive Director of the Child Protection Network, Judy Brucker, the trees provide the public with an opportunity to support their efforts.

[audio:12114bluetrees1.mp3] [/audio]

The effort of the Blue Kids Trees is not a Christmas driven endeavor. Brucker explains the items they seek to collect are used year round by the families they serve.

[audio:12114bluetrees2.mp3] [/audio]

The Child Protection Network serves DeWitt, Livingston and McLean Counties and Brucker indicates you will find the trees in businesses and buildings all over DeWitt and McLean County.

[audio:12114bluetrees3.mp3] [/audio]

For all the items on the trees the CPN asks for, Brucker indicates they get back about 90% of what they ask for. She explains they use their collections from other drives to figure up what they may need for a given year.

[audio:12114bluetrees4.mp3] [/audio]

For those that collect any ornaments from the Blue Kids Trees or are interested in doing so, a list of locations can be found at the CPN website, www.mcleancpn.org. Items can be returned to any of the CPN locations in DeWitt, McLean, and Livingston Counties or at select businesses.

Brucker also notes there are still a few trees that can be distributed this holiday season. Any interested business owners should contact her and 309-888-5656.

New Look County Board Gets Sworn in Tonight

The new look DeWitt County Board will be sworn in tonight and changes could once again be sweeping the County.

The released agenda for a special Monday meeting features the swearing in of five new County Board members.

Board Chair Sherrie Brown's days of being the head of the board could be coming to an end as nominations will be taken for Chairperson and Vice-Chair.

The new board could also vote to go back to the "Code of Ordinance Book" which the old County Board eliminated nearly two years to the date.

In addition to that, the Committee system could be brought back. A motion is on the agenda to restore the Committee system, reestablishing the Public Safety, Road and Bridge, Marina, Land Use, Finance and Property committees, and make appointments to each.

The Board will also set meeting dates for 2015.

The new County Board also faces appointing a new State's Attorney, as current State's Attorney, Karle Koritz will step down mid-week as he takes over the position of Circuit Court Judge after the passing of the Honorable Garry Bryan.

Athletics Trade Donaldson To Blue Jays

 width=The Oakland Athletics made another splash in the MLB offseason.  Multiple reports are saying the A's are sending third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays for third baseman Brett Lawrie and three prospects.  Oakland will get pitching prospect Sean Nolin and shortstop Franklin Barreto, who both ranked in the top-12 of the Blue Jays' top prospects heading into last season.  The Athletics also get young pitcher Kendall Graveman, who made his Major League debut last season.  Lawrie hit .247 with 12 home runs and made just two errors in 63 games at third base last season.  Donaldson heads north after hitting 29 dingers and driving in 98 runs for the Athletics. 

Blues, Blackhawks Off Until Wednesday

 width=>>Blues Off Until Wednesday

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Blues are off the ice until Wednesday when they play the Blackhawks in Chicago. St. Louis is 16-6-and-2 following a win over the Wild on Saturday. Chicago is 15-8-and-1 after a win over Los Angeles on Saturday. This is the second of five meetings this season.

>>Blackhawks Back In Action Wednesday

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks will be back in action on Wednesday when they host the Blues at the United Center. Chicago wrapped up its six-game road trip with a 4-1 win over the Kings on Saturday. Chicago went 5-and-1 on the trek to improve to 15-8-and-1 on the year.

Detroit Red Wings 5, Vancouver Canucks 3

Bulls Crush Nets

 width=Jimmy Butler led the charge with 26 points as the Bulls cruised to a 102-84 win over the Nets at the Barclays Center. Pau Gasol tallied 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Derrick Rose scored 14 in the victory. Nikola Mirotic [[ nee-koe-luh MEER-oh-titch ]] chipped in 12 points and 12 boards off the bench for Chicago, which has won three of its last four. Bojan Bogandovic put up 13 points while Brook Lopez had 11 points as Brooklyn dropped its seventh game in its last nine. Jarrett Jack added 12 points in a losing effort.

San Antonio Spurs 111, Boston Celtics 89
Golden State Warriors 104, Detroit Pistons 93
Memphis Grizzlies 97, Sacramento Kings 85
Miami Heat 86, New York Knicks 79
Orlando Magic 93, Phoenix Suns 90
Portland Trail Blazers 107, Minnesota Timberwolves 93
Los Angeles Lakers 129, Toronto Raptors 122 (OT)

Packers, Rams Win

 width=>>Packers Hang On To Beat Patriots

(Green Bay, WI) -- Aaron Rodgers went 24-of-38 for 368 yards and a pair of touchdowns to guide the Packers to a 26-21 victory over the Patriots at Lambeau Field. Davante Adams caught six balls for 121 yards, while Jordy Nelson and Richard Rodgers both had TD catches. Eddie Lacy anchored the ground game with 98 yards on 21 carries as Green Bay moves to 9-and-3 with its fourth straight win. Tom Brady finished with 245 yards and a pair of scores, while Brandon Bolden had a six-yard rushing touchdown in defeat. Brandon LaFell totaled 58 yards and both Brady TDs for New England, which had its seven-game winning streak snapped.

 width=>>Rams Rout Raiders

(St. Louis, MO) -- Tre Mason rushed for 117 yards and accounted for three touchdowns as the Rams embarrassed the Raiders 52-0 in St. Louis. Shaun Hill threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns and ran in for another to help the Rams improve to 5-and-7. Trumaine Johnson returned an interception 43 yards for a score in the win. David Carr passed for 173 yards and two interceptions for the Raiders, who trailed 38-0 at hafltime en route to falling to 1-and-11.

Indianapolis Colts 49, Washington Redskins 27
Houston Texans 45, Tennessee Titans 21
San Diego Chargers 34, Baltimore Ravens 33
Jacksonville Jaguars 25, New York Giants 24
Cincinnati Bengals 14, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13
New Orleans Saints 35, Pittsburgh Steelers 32
Minnesota Vikings 31, Carolina Panthers 13
Buffalo Bills 26, Cleveland Browns 10
Atlanta Falcons 29, Arizona Cardinals 18
Denver Broncos 29, Kansas City Chiefs 16

>>Jets And Dolphins Square Off At MetLife Stadium

(East Rutherford, NJ) -- The Miami Dolphins try to become the sixth AFC team with a 7-and-5 record on "Monday Night Football" when they head to East Rutherford to face the division rival New York Jets. Miami has dropped two of three including a 39-36 loss to the Broncos in Week 12. The Dolphins are currently 1-and-2 in AFC East games. It's the second straight game the Jets have played on Monday night after their game last week versus the Bills got moved due to weather conditions in Buffalo and had to be played in Detroit. New York was embarrassed 38-3 by the Bills dropping them to 2-and-9. Geno Smith will be back as the starting quarterback replacing Michael Vick, who started the last three.

>>Report: Rice Receiving Interest

(Undated) -- Running back Ray Rice has reportedly received interest from at least four NFL teams. According to ESPN, the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints are among the teams that have expressed some interest in the recently-reinstated Rice. However, neither team is expected to pursue him. The other two teams interested in Rice were not identified. The 27-year-old Rice had been suspended since September 8th for punching his now-wife in an elevator in Atlantic City. He was reinstated after winning an appeal of his indefinite suspension on Friday. He is free to sign with any NFL team.

ISU Tops Youngstown State; NCAA Basketball Recaps

 width=>>ISU Downs Youngstown State in Overtime

Deontae Hawkins scored 18 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lift Illinois State to an 85-73 overtime victory over Youngstown State on Saturday.

DJ Cole scored to pull Youngstown State within 74-73 with 2:14 left in overtime before Illinois State surged on an 11-0 run to win it.

Bobby Hunter scored 20 points, DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell scored 7 of his 18 points in overtime, and Reggie Lynch had 10 points and seven blocks for Illinois State (3-2).

Hawkins made two free throws to give the Redbirds a 65-64 lead with 34 seconds left in regulation. Cole made 1 of 2 free throws to tie it at 65 with 21 seconds to go. Hawkins had a turnover, but Marcus Keene couldn't connect on a 3 at the buzzer to send it to overtime.

Keene scored a career-high 29 points to lead Youngstown State (4-4).

It was the first meeting between the schools.

>>St. Louis Comes Back To Beat Bradley

Austin McBroom nailed a 3-point jumper with 7.4 seconds remaining to give Saint Louis a 60-57 victory over Bradley in the consolation game of the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic on Saturday.

Warren Jones had a chance to tie but his 3-point attempt was off the mark.

Bradley led throughout the first half and was ahead 34-27 at the break.

The Billikens, who outscored Bradley 33-23 in the final period, took their first lead when Milik Yarbrough split a pair of free throws with 8:48 left in the game. Yarbrough followed with a layup and McBroom nailed a 3-point jumper for a 51-47 advantage at the 6:01 mark.

McBroom led all scorers with a career-high 26 points, making 6 of 9 from beyond the arc. Yarbrough and Brett Jolly had 10 each for Saint Louis (4-2).

Jones had 17 points, Auston Barnes add 12 and Josh Cunningham had 11 for Bradley (2-4).

>>ACC-Big Ten Challenge Preview

(Undated) -- The ACC-Big Ten Challenge tips off tonight. The action starts with Nebraska at Florida State and Rutgers at Clemson. There are 14 games total. Tuesday night's matchups are highlighted with Michigan welcoming Syracuse to Ann Arbor in a Final Four rematch from two seasons ago and Ohio State hitting the road to face Louisville. The marquee contest is Duke and Wisconsin on Wednesday. The same night Michigan State travels to South Bend to face Notre Dame, North Carolina hosts Iowa and Virginia and Maryland renew acquaintances in College Park. The two conference have tied the last two seasons, but the Big Ten won the three before that. The ACC won the first 10 times the conferences squared off.

 width=>>Kansas Outlasts Michigan State in Early Season Heavyweight Battle

Perry Ellis had 17 points and nine rebounds as No. 11 Kansas defeated 20th-ranked Michigan State 61-56 on Sunday in the championship game of the Orlando Classic.

The Spartans missed eight straight tries from beyond the arc after starting 5- of-7 before Travis Trice pulled up from the left wing in transition and nailed a 3-pointer to pull them within 59-56 with 1:36 remaining.

Frank Mason III turned the ball over at the other end, but Branden Dawson was off the mark on a jumper and then failed to convert a left-handed layup after corralling his own miss.

Jamari Traylor made two free throws with 30 seconds left and Trice was unable to connect from deep down the other end of the floor to seal the outcome.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk netted 11 points, while Mason added 10 points, 10 boards and five assists for the Jayhawks (5-1), who beat Michigan State for the first time since 2003.
Kansas has won four straight since its 72-40 loss to Kentucky on Nov. 18.

Denzel Valentine and Travis Trice scored 14 points apiece for Michigan State (5-2), which had its four-game winning streak snapped.

 width=>>Texas Tops UConn on Last Second FG

Jonathan Holmes drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 2.2 seconds remaining to lift
seventh-ranked Texas to a 55-54 victory over No. 24 Connecticut on Sunday at Gampel Pavilion.

Ryan Boatright missed the second of two free throws with 15 seconds to play, leaving Connecticut with a 54-52 lead. After a timeout by each team with 4.4 seconds left, Boatright couldn't fight through a screen on the inbounds pass and fell to the floor, leaving Holmes wide open in the corner for his winning shot.

The Huskies, without another timeout, were unable to get a shot away before time expired and suffered their second straight loss.

Holmes scored 13 points for the Longhorns (6-0), who played their first true road game of the season. DeMarcus Holland and Javan Felix each finished with 10 points in the victory.

Boatright, who had to be helped off the floor after the game, scored 24 to lead Connecticut (3-2), which hadn't played since a loss to West Virginia last Sunday in the title game of the Puerto Rico Tip-off.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 58, Providence Friars 38
#2 Duke Blue Devils 93, Army Black Knights 73
#11 Villanova Wildcats 78, Delaware Blue Hens 47

Illini Gain Bowl Eligibility After Win Saturday; Beckman To Return

 width=>>Illini Gain Bowl Eligibility With Win Over Northwestern

Reilly O'Toole passed for 147 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for 147 yards, Josh Ferguson had a pair of rushing scores and Illinois took advantage of five Northwestern turnovers for a 47-33 victory over its in-state and Big Ten rival on Saturday.

Illinois (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) is bowl eligible for the first time since 2011 and the win may end speculation that coach Tim Beckman could lose his job in his third season.

Northwestern (5-7, 3-5) was led by freshman running back Justin Jackson, who had 130 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. The Wildcats, though, couldn't overcome five turnovers by quarterback Zack Oliver, who was starting in place of injured Trevor Siemian.

Oliver finished with 221 yards passing, but much of it came after the outcome had been decided. He had just 9 yards in the first half.

>>Illini To Bring Back HC Tim Beckman

Illini athletic director Mike Thomas says football coach Tim Beckman will be with the team next year.

Thomas made the announcement Sunday afternoon after a season of speculation about whether the Illinois football coach would be fired. But on Saturday, Beckman secured his job with a 47-33 win at Northwestern. That made the Illini (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) bowl eligible in Beckman's third season and apparently signified the kind of progress Thomas said he needed to see in the program.

Illinois is 12-24 under Beckman. The team's bowl destination is still undetermined.

Beckman took over at Illinois after Ron Zook (ZUHK) was fired following a 6-6 season in 2011. But Zook's team finished with six straight regular-season losses. This year's Illini finished with three wins in their last five games.

>>Nebraska Fires Pelini

(Lincoln, NE) -- Nebraska fired head football coach Bo Pelini on Sunday. The announcement from athletic director Shawn Eichorst came two days after the Huskers finished a 9-and-3 regular season with a 37-34 overtime win over Iowa. The 46-year-old Pelini won at least nine games in each of his seven seasons at the helm, but the Huskers never won a conference title during his tenure. He notched an overall record of 66-and-27 and went 3-and-3 in bowl games after taking over in 2008.

>>Body Of Missing OSU Football Player Found

(Columbus, OH) -- Police say the body of missing Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge has been found. His body was discovered less than a mile from his apartment. Sergeant Richard Weiner with Columbus Police Department says Karageorge's body and a gun were found in a dumpster and that the player died from what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The 22-year-old Karageorge hadn't been seen since leaving his apartment early Wednesday morning. Family members say he had a history of sports-related concussions.

David Newberg Appointed County Board Chair; Committee System Reinstated Monday

 width=Monday night saw the DeWitt County Board receive a major facelift as five new members were sworn in and a new Board Chair was elected.

David Newberg was named the new DeWitt County Board Chair at Monday night's meeting by a vote of 8-2 with one abstention. Camille Redman was elected vice chair by the same number of votes.

[audio:12214newboard1.mp3] [/audio]

The new Board also approved a motion to reinstate the Standing Committee Structure which was discarded for the last two years. The motion was approved by a vote of 9-3. Ron Savage, Sherrie Brown and Terry Hoffman were the "no" votes. Newberg says the committee system will move DeWitt County forward in a positive way with experienced leaders at the helm.

[audio:12214newboard2.mp3] [/audio]

Redman echoed Newberg's feelings by saying the Board has two years of lost time to make up for. She mentioned they plan to work hard to serve the taxpayers they represent.

[audio:12214newboard3.mp3] [/audio]

The Chairs for each committee are as follows:

Public Safety- Danny Ballenger, Vice Chair- Sue Whitted

Road and Bridge- Melonie Tilley, Vice Chair- Randy Perring

Marina- Danny Ballenger, Vice Chair -Terry Ferguson

Land Use- Sue Whitted, Vice Chair- Melonie Tilley

Finance- Camille Redman, Vice Chair -Terry Ferguson

Property- Terry Ferguson Vice Chair-Cris Rogers

Newberg emphasized that each committee will have a Board Member representing each district.

Lady Maroons Lose 3rd Straight

 width=As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons lost to the Unity Lady Rockets Monday night 64-45.

For the Lady Maroons (3-3), Payton Bieber had 14 points, Jessica Scott had 13 points, and Madi Filkin had 7 points.

For the Lady Rockets (3-3), Rebecca Maxwell had 26 points, Hannah Stone had 17 points, and Breanne Cunningham had 8 points.

Clinton was 8-14 with free throws, while Unity was 13-18.

Tune into 92.3 FM WHOW Friday as the Clinton Maroons will travel to take on Maroa-Forsyth.

Other girls basketball action in the Central Illinois Conference Monday night...

Shelbyville 44, Kincaid South Fork 21
Sullivan 57, Mt. Zion 45
Tuscola 53, St. Joseph-Ogden 50
Warrensburg-Latham 46, Argenta-Oreana 31


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