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Tornadoes, damaging storms sweep Midwest, five confirmed dead

CHICAGO (AP) — Intense thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the Midwest Sunday, causing damage in several central Illinois communities while sending people to their basements for shelter and even prompting officials at Soldier Field in Chicago to evacuate the stands and delay the Bears game.

The community of Washington in central Illinois appeared particularly hard hit, and a state official said that emergency crews were racing to the area amid reports that people had been trapped in buildings. But communications were spotty and Patti Thompson of the Illinois Department of Emergency Management said it was difficult to get information from the scene.

As the storm darkened downtown Chicago after noon, the Chicago Bears – Baltimore Ravens game was delayed and fans were ordered out of the stands and players led off the field.

Despite the reports of tornadoes, there were not yet any confirmed reports of injuries.

Weather service officials confirmed that a tornado touched down just before 11 a.m. near the central Illinois community of East Peoria, but authorities did not immediately have damage or injury reports. Within an hour, the weather service said that tornadoes had touched down in Washington, Metamora, Morton and other central communities, though officials could not say whether it was one tornado touching down or several. Weather officials said it was moving northeast about 60 mph.

According to agency officials, parts of Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio are at the greatest risk of seeing tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds throughout the day Sunday. Strong winds and atmospheric instability were expected to sweep across the central Plains during the day before pushing into the mid-Atlantic states and northeast by evening. Many of the storms were expected to become supercells, with the potential to produce tornadoes, large hail and destructive winds.

In Chicago, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications issued a warning to fans attending making their way to Soldier Field to watch the Bears-Ravens game. It urged fans ''to take extra precautions and ... appropriate measures to ensure their personal safety.''

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  • Parent Category: News

Wallace announces for 2nd Congressional District

Congresswoman Robin Kelly will have a challenger in next year's election.

Eric Wallace announced in Kankakee Thursday evening that he'll be a Republican candidate the 2nd District in 2014. The district is heavily-Democrat, so Wallace knows he has an uphill battle ahead. But he said he'll focus on the south suburbs to hopefully gain the majority of votes.

Wallace, who's from Flossmoor, said the same-sex marriage vote will be a major issue in the race.

Wallace made his announcement at the Kankakee County Republican headquarters.

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  • Parent Category: News

I-65 traffic stop leads to drug bust in Indiana

Marijuana with an estimated street value of $420,000 was confiscated by authorities in Indiana (Thursday) during a traffic stop on I-65.

Salvador Sesaydo (Suh-say-doe) is jailed in Jasper County. Sheriff's Police said Sesaydo is a Mexican-National.

The stop was made near Route 114. Five bales of marijuana, weighing 28 pounds each, were found in the SUV.

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  • Parent Category: News

Sheriffs win round in court over salaries

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- An Illinois appellate court has ruled for county sheriffs who seek to restore salary cuts imposed by state lawmakers.

The Quad City Times reports the 5th District Appellate Court overturned a Franklin County judge's dismissal of a complaint that Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly failed to budget the full amount of a state stipend.

Sheriffs in 101 Illinois counties, but not Cook County, were to receive a $6,500 yearly stipend from state in addition to their county salaries. The Legislature allocated only $4,196 for each sheriff in 2010 and 2011.

Former Rock Island County Sheriff Mike Huff sued for the missing $2,304, arguing the state cannot change the salary of an elected official while they are in office.

The appeals court returned the case to Franklin County.

  • Parent Category: News

Open Range offers Hunters Safety

                             Law Enforcement Officials Promote Deer Hunting Safety

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Police (ISP) announced today its firing ranges will be open on November 16 to deer hunters for sighting in and test-firing their shotguns in a safe environment for the upcoming deer hunting season.

"The Open Range Program is offered in an effort to promote hunting safety by giving hunters access to ISP ranges for the purpose of sighting in their shotguns," said ISP Director Hiram Grau. "This will provide an opportunity for shotguns to be checked in a controlled environment, with firearms experts present, ensuring the safe and appropriate use of the shotgun," he added.

The Open Range Program is a collaborative effort organized every year by the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

"This is a great program for hunters to make sure their equipment is in proper working order before going afield. I appreciate the Illinois State Police and their commitment to promote the safety of our sportsmen and women in Illinois," said IDNR Director Marc Miller.

The public is asked to call one of the ranges listed below before the scheduled date to make a reservation. Targets will be provided, and there is no charge for use of the range. Participants must possess a valid Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card, provide their own ammunition and transport the firearm legally by having it unloaded and enclosed in a case. The Open Range Program is not part of the Concealed Carry License program. Handguns will not be permitted at the ISP Ranges.

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