Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up today in Illinois. Questions about today’s coverage plans are welcome, and should be directed to AP-Illinois News Editor Hugh Dellios at 312-781-0500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories, digests and digest advisories will keep you up to date.
Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.
CHICAGO — Americans in states served by the federal health insurance exchange have until the end of today to sign up for coverage under the new health care law. Federal officials extended the deadline from yesterday to allow for any technical problems that might result from a last-minute rush of applicants. By AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson. SENT: 1,090 words, photos. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 p.m.
CHURCH SIGN HUMOR
ST. LOUIS — Pastor Mike Butzberger insists he only had holiday spirit in mind this month when he had his Florida church’s marquee read “Christmas — Easier to spell than Hanukkah.” But when an offended passer-by told him she found it anything but festive, he begrudgingly changed it to “Jesus Loves You.” Welcome to the challenge for pastors eager to update the age-old practice of luring in worshippers with messages on marquees out front of the church. Long the place merely for Gospel quotes and Christmas Eve sermon hours, now the signs are often clever, pithy or funny. But pastors from Carbondale to Nashville to North Palm Beach are finding that joking about religion is serious business, and it’s easy to cross a line. By Jim Suhr. SENT: 930 words, photos.
CHICAGO — Every Christmas season for the past six years, Chicago actor Larry Yando has gotten into character as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Goodman Theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.” Yando says it’s not always easy to play grouchy, grinchy Scrooge, but the long-time actor and acting teacher is well-known for playing evil roles. He’s performed as the diabolical Uncle Scar in “The Lion King,” the man-eating tiger Shere Khan in “The Jungle Book” and an array of Shakespeare villains. By Caryn Rousseau. SENT: 720 words, photos. Previously moved on Dec. 21 and still available.
FROM AP MEMBERS:
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Public health officials say the flu is beginning to hit Illinois. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus is being seen on a regional basis throughout the state. That’s one step away from being widespread. In Champaign, doctors are busy treating patients who have the illness, along with those who have strep and pneumonia. Flu activity typically begins building in the U.S. in December, although the peak typically isn’t seen until sometime between January and March. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 200 words.
SMALL TOWN SWINDLE
DIXON, Ill. — Officials in a northern Illinois community have received a $9.2 million restitution check in the case of a thieving former bookkeeper who stole almost $54 million from Dixon. The (Dixon) Telegraph reports the check from the U.S. Treasury arrived in the mail Monday. The money comes from the sale of Rita Crundwell’s belongings, including properties, a luxury motorhome, more than 400 horses and her jewelry. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 250 words.
SHELBYVILLE, Ill. — While it takes a village to raise a child, it turns out you need the good offices of a priest to raise a knockout Christmas village. Village, however, is perhaps the last word in understatement. Head on over to the “gathering space” fronting the sanctuary in Shelbyville’s Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and feast your eyes on the festive metropolis created by the Rev. Don Wolford and friends. Set aside a few hours, you’ll need it. By Tony Reid. (Decatur) Herald & Review. SENT: 820 words.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A long-ago fire at the State Arsenal that destroyed many military records sparked plans to provide a permanent home for documents important to the Land of Lincoln. The late Margaret Cross Norton, superintendent of the State Archives from 1922 to 1957, was instrumental in planning the design and construction of the Illinois State Archives building. Since 1995, it’s been known as the Margaret Cross Norton Building, located in the Capitol Complex on the west side of Springfield’s downtown. By Tamara Browning. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.
— REMAINS FOUND: Authorities say skeletal remains found in a northern Illinois home belong to a McHenry County woman. SENT: 130 words.
— GAS STATION SLAYING-RESENTENCE: A Peoria man has been sentenced to 58 years in prison for the 2009 slaying of a gas station owner. SENT: 130 words.
— HOLIDAYS-ROADWORK SUSPENDED: Illinois transportation officials are suspending non-emergency roadwork to reduce traffic congestion over the holidays. SENT: 130 words.
— HOLIDAY SAFETY-DRIVING: State officials are urging people to drive safely during the holiday season. SENT: 130 words.
— SHEET METAL-INJURY: A man working at a suburban Chicago business was injured after more than two tons of sheet metal fell on his leg. SENT: 130 words.
— CHICAGO RODENTS: Chicago has launched a 10-week pilot program to help control the city’s rodent population. SENT: 130 words.
— LIBRARY DONATION: A new library branch in downtown Aurora will bear the name of a late philanthropist and his wife. SENT: 130 words.
— NORTHWESTERN-NATIONAL GROUPL The dean of the Northwestern University School of Law takes over soon as president of a national group representing the interests of those in legal education. SENT: 130 words.
— ESSAY CONTEST: Springfield-area students are encouraged to compete for prizes in a Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest. SENT: 130 words.
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MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Illinois and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational pane of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click “All” or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.