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Around the state 11-30-17

Lawsuit challenges Illinois abortion-coverage expansion
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — More than a dozen groups and lawmakers who oppose abortion have filed a lawsuit challenging a new law providing taxpayer-funded abortions.
The Thomas More Society filed the action Thursday in Sangamon County Circuit Court. It says including abortion among procedures covered by state employee health insurance and Medicaid beginning Jan. 1 is illegal.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the measure Sept. 28. It infuriated conservatives who claim he promised to veto it.
GOP state Rep. Peter Breen is Thomas More's lawyer. He says taxpayers morally object to financing up to 30,000 abortions annually.
He adds it's illegal because there's no state budget to cover them and because lawmakers held onto the legislation so long that the Constitution bars it from taking effect earlier than June 1.
 

Transgender student sues Illinois district over locker room

PALATINE, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Chicago school district that previously faced a federal complaint over a transgender student's use of a girls' locker room is now facing a lawsuit over the issue.

Palatine High School senior Nova Maday filed the lawsuit Thursday against Palatine's Township High School. The lawsuit asks that Maday be allowed to use the girls' locker room to change for physical education classes.

Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union are representing the 18-year-old student, who says school officials have made her change in other facilities.

The district previously allowed a transgender student at a different high school to use the girls' locker room with a private changing station.

District Superintendent Daniel Cates says the lawsuit "misrepresents the accommodations extended the student."

 
Ill. AG subpoenas Message Envy amid sexual assault questions
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has subpoenaed Massage Envy spas following a report that more than 180 people across the nation have filed sexual assault lawsuits and other sexual misconduct complaints against the company.
In a news release, Madigan says her office issued subpoenas for the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company and four of its franchises in Illinois seeking information about employee training and how the company handles complaints related to sexual assault and sexually inappropriate behavior.
The website BuzzFeed News reported this week that that dozens of women had complained that Massage Envy therapists had groped their genitals and breasts as well as incidents of digital and oral penetration.
A Massage Envy official has said the company has tried to create "stringent, rigorous policies" for hiring, screening, and training therapists.
 
Illinois judge allows DNA evidence in ex-Marine's case
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — A northern Illinois judge has ruled that DNA evidence will be allowed in the upcoming trial of a former Marine accused of fatally stabbing two girls.
A Lake County judge made the ruling Wednesday in Jorge Torrez's case. Torrez is charged with the 2005 killings of 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and 9-year-old Krystal Tobias in Zion.
Prosecutors said they are pleased with the ruling. However defense attorney Jed Stone has argued that the DNA sample isn't complete enough to be used as trial evidence and called it "compromised."
Laura Hobbs' father, Jerry Hobbs, initially was charged with the killings and gave what he said was a false confession. However he was cleared by the DNA evidence that prosecutors say points to Torrez.
A trial date hasn't yet been set.
 
Peoria Farm Show has traditional, cutting-edge offerings
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The Greater Peoria Farm Show bills itself as the largest indoor agricultural showcase in Illinois.
This year is no exception. The (Peoria) Journal Star reports the 36th edition boasts 355 vendors with more than 1,000 products in 90,000 square feet (about 8,400 square meters) of exhibit space.
The show runs through Thursday.
The exhibits include the traditional down-on-the-farm equipment as well as the cutting edge in tools and technology.
Ron Bormaster is show manager for Minnesota-based Farm Shows USA . He says the show has the latest and "gets better and better all the time."
Harvest Energy Solutions is an example. It occupies the central spot in the hall with a tower of solar panels. The Michigan company works with farmers on renewable energy installations.
 
Chicago commuter train, Amtrak passengers face delays
CHICAGO (AP) — Commuter and interstate train travelers in Chicago are facing another day of delays due to the derailment of a Metra train this week outside the city's Union Station.
Metra says delays of 10 to 20 minutes were expected for passengers on the BNSF, SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor lines during the Thursday morning rush. Amtrak says its trains may experience delays of 10 to 20 minutes for arrivals and departures.
No injuries were reported when the third, fourth and fifth cars of an eight-car Metra train derailed late Tuesday on the south side of the station. All of the cars remained upright and the locomotive on the SouthWest Service train stayed on the tracks.
Crews are working to repairs tracks, switches and signal equipment. The derailment's cause is under investigation.
 
Chicago man accused of fatally shooting woman, dumping body
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man is being held without bond in the 2016 fatal shooting of a woman whose body was dumped in the city's Englewood neighborhood.
Cook County prosecutors say David White killed 19-year-old Fatima Muhammad for telling the mother of one of White's children he was flirting with her.
White threatened to shoot the other woman. After the woman helped White dispose of the body, she fled with the child to Duluth, Minnesota, where she told police what happened.
Prosecutors say White and the woman relocated to West Fargo, North Dakota, where on March 19 he shot her in the face. He was convicted of attempted murder.
The 26-year-old White was extradited Tuesday to Chicago to face first-degree murder charges. It wasn't immediately known if he has legal representation.
 
Judge sets hearing in East Chicago cleanup intervention case
EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — A group of East Chicago residents seeking a role in negotiations over plans to cleanup lead and arsenic in their neighborhood will get their day in court.
A federal judge has set a Jan. 18 hearing for the residents and federal officials to argue whether the residents' intervener status request should be granted.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is negotiating with companies held responsible for the contamination in East Chicago's Calumet neighborhood for the planned remediation.
The Post-Tribune reports attorneys for the EPA and the Department of Justice contend the residents' intervener filing came too late.
But the residents' attorneys say those living at the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site only became aware of the extent of the contamination in 2016, and that plans to remediate their properties continue to change.

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