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Illinois girl charged in mom's slaying to get mental review

Illinois girl charged in mom's slaying to get mental review
STERLING, Ill. (AP) — A western Illinois girl charged with murder in her mother's slaying will get a psychological assessment to help determine whether she'll be tried as an adult.
The body of 53-year-old Peggy S. Schroeder was found in a burning home July 8 in Morrison, about 130 miles west of Chicago. Schroeder's daughter was charged as a juvenile with two counts of first-degree murder, concealing a homicide and arson.
The teen allegedly shot her mother in the head and attempted to conceal the body by setting the house on fire.
Sauk Valley Media reports a Chicago psychiatrist hired by the defense is scheduled to interview the 15-year-old on Saturday. The evaluation should be ready for review in March.
Another girl is charged for allegedly helping conceal the killing.
Former Rauner staffer sues office over abortion bill emails
CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner's former communications director is suing the administration over emails on the signing of a controversial plan allowing taxpayer-funded abortions.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports the Cook County lawsuit was filed last week.
Rauner hired and fired numerous employees over the summer, including several from the conservative Illinois Policy Institute. Among them was Diana Rickert, who left Rauner's office as a communications director following the flap over an institute political cartoon critics called racist.
Rickert now works for the institute's legal arm, the Liberty Justice Center, which represents her. A spokesman says they want Rauner's office to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests.
Rickert wants the court to order Rauner's office to produce records she's sought, including first lady Diana Rauner's emails on the abortion bill that's now law.
The governor's office says the lawsuit is "under review."
Democratic state senator drops Secretary of State bid
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will run uncontested in the Democratic primary after state Sen. Michael Hastings dropped out of the race.
In a joint statement Wednesday, White said he's named Hastings has honorary co-chair of his re-election committee and the two will work together.
Hastings, a Tinley Park Democrat, withdrew his petitions this week. He'd filed petitions to challenge White in the March 20 primary, saying he was going to make sure White was running for a sixth term and hadn't made a final decision.
In the Wednesday statement, Hastings says he's proud to join White's campaign.
White first won office in 1998 and has easily won re-election since.
In November, he'll face Republican Jason Helland, who's the state's attorney in Grundy County.
Obama Foundation officials release revised design plans
CHICAGO (AP) — New details are emerging about the Obama Presidential Center including design revisions for a taller and sleeker museum tower and hundreds of new trees.
The changes are part of the plans that the Obama Foundation submitted to city of Chicago officials on Wednesday. Other changes for the estimated $350 million project include more green space, 400 new trees, more links to an existing science museum and underground parking.
The facility will be built along Lake Michigan on Chicago's South Side.
Crews are expected to break ground later this year and open doors in 2021.
Organizers envision the facility as a cultural attraction that'll create 5,000 jobs during construction and over 2,500 permanent jobs once the center opens. Foundation officials say they're expecting up to 760,000 visitors each year.
Illinois transgender inmate to be moved from current prison
CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for a transgender woman say Illinois' Department of Corrections has agreed to move her from her current male prison where she says she's suffered brutal abuse by guards and inmates.
Tuesday's agreement doesn't include a decision on whether 26-year-old Deon "Strawberry" Hampton will become one of the state's first transgender women to be granted a requested transfer from a male to female prison.
A lawyers' spokeswoman, Jessey Neves, of the MacArthur Justice Center, says that decision will be made within 60 days by a gender-identity committee. Hearings before a southern Illinois federal judge on Hampton's request were cut short when the sides agreed Hampton would be moved to a different facility pending the committee decision. Hampton is serving a 10-year burglary sentence.
The department didn't return messages seeking comment.
Chicago's Field Museum to add flying reptiles, gardens
CHICAGO (AP) — The huge central hall at Chicago's Field Museum won't only soon be home to the touchable cast of a titanosaur, the biggest dinosaur ever discovered.
The museum said Wednesday that Stanley Field Hall also is getting a flock of life-size giant flying reptile replicas and a hanging garden. A T. rex named Sue has occupied the hall and will be moved upstairs starting Feb. 4. The gardens, flying reptiles and titanosaur will start going up soon afterward. Final installation is expected in May.
The 122-foot-long titanosaur will take up a third of the museum's main hall and its head will peek over a 28-foot, second-floor balcony. Two of the flying reptile replicas have wing spans of 35 feet. The gardens will be made of 3D-printed plastic and more than 1,000 live plants.

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