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Around the state 2-11-18

Memorials planned to mark 10th anniversary of NIU shooting

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) — Events are planned throughout the coming week to mark the 10th anniversary of a shooting at Northern Illinois University that left five students dead.

Memorials started Friday with a candlelight vigil on the DeKalb campus honoring victims Gayle Dubowski, Catalina Garcia, Julianna Gehant, Ryanne Mace and Daniel Parmenter. The five were killed when a gunman opened fire in a large classroom on Feb. 14, 2008, wounding more than a dozen others before killing himself.

Other memorial events planned include a reflection walk, first-responder recognitions and a concert. An exhibit in the campus student center will feature items sent and donated to NIU from around the world in the days after the shooting.

On the Wednesday anniversary there will be a laying of memorial wreaths and tolling of bells at 3:06 p.m.

U of I team studying spread of information on social media

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — University of Illinois researchers are using a $4 million grant to study how information moves across social media, affecting people's beliefs and shaping events.

Computer Science Professor Tarek Abdelzaher is leading a team that received a five-year grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The team has been modeling information spread on Instagram and Twitter and will study other platforms.

The spread of information via social media has influenced everything from the "ice bucket challenge" to the 2016 presidential election.

Abdelzaher says the team wants to study how people react to events and whether social media is creating "echo chambers where we only hear what people who will think like us say." He says there are interesting questions about "a reality that didn't exist 10 years ago."

Federal court sides with IHSA in disabled runner's case

CHICAGO (AP) — An appellate court in Chicago says the governing body of Illinois high school sports didn't violate anti-discrimination laws by refusing to establish a division for disabled runners.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin report s the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued its ruling siding against a student with cerebral palsy and backing the Illinois High School Association.

The majority on the three-judge panel, William Bauer and Michael Kanne, concluded that establishing the division wouldn't have been a reasonable remedy even assuming discrimination was involved. They said it would undermine the nature of racing: to get from one point to another in the fastest possible time.

Judge Ilana Rovner dissented, noting that wheelchair races aren't thought to undermine foot races.

The student is a senior at Evanston High School.

Powerful former Chicago union boss banished from Teamsters

CHICAGO (AP) — One of Chicago's most powerful labor leaders before he was indicted on federal charges of extorting $325,000 from a film studio in the city has been banished from the Teamsters Union.

The Chicago Sun-Times cites records that show International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa approved the recommendation by a panel of union leaders to permanently expel John Coli Sr. Coli had maintained his union membership even after resigning his leadership positions prior to his indictment last year.

The paper reports that the move follows a hearing in which Coli cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions from a court-appointed union investigator.

Coli is charged with extorting money from Cinespace Chicago Film Studio, which produces NBC series "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago P.D."

Coli has denied any wrongdoing.

Springfield museum's exhibit to focus on 'unsung heroes'

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A new exhibit opening next month at the Illinois State Museum will feature three "unsung heroes."

Museum officials say they're focusing on "ordinary people who did extraordinary things."

They are nurse Anna Heistad, who worked in Chicago in the early 19th century during a flu pandemic, missionary worker Minnie Vautrin, who helped shelter thousands of women and children, and Thomas Jones, a Navy medic.

The display relies on photos and personal objects to tell their stories.

Erika Holst is the Illinois State Museum's curator of decorative arts. She says they are stories of the three individuals show "incredible heroism."

The exhibit opens on March 3 at the museum in Springfield.

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