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Chicago sees drop in homicides in October

CHICAGO (AP) — The number of homicides in Chicago in October was significantly lower than during October 2016, but 2017 still will be one of the most violent years in recent memory for the city.
The Chicago Police Department said Wednesday that 53 homicides occurred in October compared to 80 in October 2016. It said 228 shooting incidents happened last month compared to 353 in October of last year.
The total homicide count for the year is 570 so far. The city had 631 killings by this time last year.
Chicago, which is the third-largest city in the U.S., has seen 2,445 shooting incidents so far this year compared to 3,000 by this time last year, department statistics show.
It's unlikely that 2017 will end with 762 Chicago homicides as it did in 2016. The 762 killings was the highest total for the city since 1997 and more than the combined 2016 totals of Los Angeles and New York City.
However, Chicago is almost certain to pass the 600 mark for homicides for just the second time in 14 years. And with two months left in the year, the number of shooting incidents has already eclipsed the total for all of 2015.
Police said some of the drop for October can be attributed to an expanded use of technology that helps officers respond to shootings more quickly and better identify areas where violence might occur.
 
Judge lifts gag order in Wheaton College football case
WHEATON (AP) — A gag order has been lifted in the case of five Wheaton College football players charged with battery against one of their teammates in suburban Chicago.
A DuPage County judge lifted the order Tuesday at the request of three of the five players whose lawyers want to address sexual assault allegations stemming from the case. But the attorneys declined comment after the order was lifted. One said they needed "to review everything" first.
The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports attorneys for the two other players are expected to support the move.
The players are accused of duct-taping a teammate's hands and feet, and attempting to sodomize him with an object last year. Four players have pleaded not guilty. The fifth's arraignment is Nov. 13.
The players are also charged with mob action and unlawful restraint.
 
Don't 'tweet every thought,' Michelle Obama tells youths
CHICAGO (AP) — Former first lady Michelle Obama says words matter, particularly in an age where Twitter and other social media can be used like a weapon.
She addressed a summit of young leaders Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation. She says people shouldn't "tweet every thought" because "first initial thoughts are not worthy of the light of day."
The comments drew laughter from the crowd as Obama added she wasn't "talking about anybody in particular."
She says when people send a tweet, especially young people, they need to think it over, spell correctly and use good grammar.
Obama also talked about growing up on Chicago's South Side with working class parents who she says have kept her grounded.
Former President Barack Obama is expected to speak at the closing of the two-day event later Wednesday.
 
Illinois task force examines adult education
NORMAL (AP) — An Illinois task force that's studying adult education is brainstorming potential goals and will determine what improvements or problems need to be considered.
The Pantagraph newspaper reports that the Statewide Task Force on the Future of Adult Education and Literacy was created by the Illinois Community College Board earlier this year as a result of legislative action.
Board spokesman Matt Berry says improvements being considered include greater development of soft skills and career readiness, such as resume writing, interviewing, communication and time management.
Berry says one of the concerns addressed at the meeting was that not enough students are moving from basic education classes to middle-level, advanced career training.
The group held its first meeting on Oct. 23. The panel has until Jan. 31 to turn in a final report.
 
Ex-ISU president now head of state higher education agency
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Former Illinois State University President Al Bowman has been named the new executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that the board approved Bowman's contract Tuesday and he started work at the agency Wednesday. Bowman led Illinois State University from 2003 to 2013 and is president emeritus. He lives in Bloomington.
The board is updating its Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success and is asking Bowman to lead developing a new plan next year.
Board chairman Tom Cross called Bowman an "exemplary role model of a college educated Illinoisan." Bowman replaces James Applegate, who stepped down after three years in January when he said he would "pursue other opportunities."

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