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Around the state 12-12-17

Deadline for health insurance coverage coming up Friday
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois residents are being reminded that if they need health insurance coverage for next year they must register by Friday night.
The Illinois Department of Insurance says it is issuing the reminder because people may not understand that they can no longer change their plans in January after receiving their first premium bill.
The department says people looking to purchase insurance should visit GetCovered.Illinois.Gov to view individual plans offered both on and off the exchange. It also says the connector tool on the website will allow people to arrange appointments with navigators and certified application counselors.
Consumers with questions or hoping to sign up for a plan over the phone may request to speak to a licensed insurance agent by calling 866-311-1119 on weekdays from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Nurse claiming she was fired after abuse report awarded $5M
PONTIAC, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois jury has awarded $5.2 million to a nurse who claims she was fired from a nursing home after reporting alleged abuse.
The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports Katrina Wesemann worked as a licensed practical nurse at a Dwight facility in 2012 when she was fired. She alleges she was let go because she wouldn't follow a director's orders to increase dosages of anti-anxiety medication to agitated residents and refused to change or omit records of suspicious injuries.
The jury deliberated last week. Wesemann will receive past wages, benefits and $5 million in punitive damages.
A spokesman for the nursing home, Bloomington-based Heritage Enterprises Inc., says officials continue to dispute the allegations and are "deeply disappointed" in the verdict.
An attorney says Wesemann works at another facility.
Lockdowns spike at Illinois jail after officer layoffs
ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — Inmate lockdowns at a northern Illinois jail have spiked after correctional officer layoffs this year.
The Rockford Register Star reports Winnebago County Jail inmates spent a combined total of nearly 500 hours on lockdown in October, when 10 corrections officers were laid off because of budget cuts. The number of hours surged to almost 2,000 the next month.
During lockdowns cell doors are kept shut instead of allowing inmates the chance to leave their cells in the mornings.
While lockdowns are mostly for the jail's disciplinary section, they've recently been used for the general population as the jail deals with having fewer correction officers and overtime cutbacks.
Inmates and officers say the long lockdown hours contribute to a dangerous environment, but jail officials say they have no choice with budget constraints.
Committee OKs $31M to 4 wrongly convicted of rape, murder
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago committee has approved a $31 million settlement to four men who were each imprisoned for about 15 years for a 1994 rape and murder they didn't commit.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports the City Council's finance committee approved the police misconduct settlement Monday. The matter heads to the full City Council, which nearly always approves police misconduct settlements brought to it.
The money will go to Michael Saunders, Vincent Thames, Harold Richardson and Terrill Swift. They were freed after 2011 tests matched DNA from the victim's body to another man killed in 2008.
An FBI report unsealed this year accused investigators of pressuring the then-teenagers during the investigation of the rape and killing of 30-year-old Nina Glover. It cited an ex-prosecutor describing how investigators coached witnesses and manipulated the defendants into giving false confessions.
89-year-old train depot in Alton demolished
ALTON, Ill. (AP) — An 89-year-old train depot in Alton is being razed.
The (Alton) Telegraph reports that Union Pacific had been leasing the building to Amtrak . The passenger rail service started serving passengers at the new Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center in September.
A demolition team began earlier this week by punching a hole in the wall of the building. That allowed benches to be moved out of the interior before machinery proceeded.
The newspaper reported that Union Pacific did not want the 1,600-square-foot (149 square meters) building to be used for another purpose because of how close it is to railroad tracks. The company feared liability issues as a result.

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