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Around the state 3-29-18

 
Aurora raises age to 21 for buying tobacco, vaping products
AURORA, Ill. (AP) — The city of Aurora is the latest Illinois municipality to raise the age to buy tobacco to 21.
The (Aurora) Beacon-News reports that this week's City Council vote was unanimous to raise the age and came after months of research by city staff. The ordinance includes vaping materials. Eighteen other municipalities also require patrons to be age 21 or older to purchase tobacco or vaping-related products. Other cities include Chicago, Evanston, Naperville and Bolingbrook.
Mayor Richard Irvin said in a statement that Aurora's City Council has "once again made the health and future of our children a top priority."
Officials became involved after hearing about how tobacco and vaping issues were growing in local schools.
Illinois state law prevents anyone 17 and younger from buying tobacco products.
 
Staff of the satire website The Onion has unionized
CHICAGO (AP) — The staff of the humor website The Onion has decided to unionize.
Workers at the website and its sisters, A.V. Club and ClickHole, will be represented in collective bargaining talks by the Writers Guild of America East and will negotiate with the owners, including the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.
A.V. Club's deputy managing director, Caitlin PenzeyMoog, says staffers began exploring union representation six months ago, with 90 percent of the workers signing union cards by last week.
PenzeyMoog says digital media is a precarious industry and she's seen some peers suffer while others have thrived with union protection.
Onion Inc. spokesman David Ford told the Chicago Tribune the company has begun discussions with the guild and "hope to arrive at an arrangement in short order."
The Onion was founded in 1988 by two University of Wisconsin students.
The paper relocated its editorial operations to Chicago from New York in 2012 and went all-digital the following year.
 
Chicago police: Weekend shootings were not all during march
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say shootings that left one man dead and 18 other people wounded during the past weekend did not all happen during the March for Our Lives protest against gun violence.
Police spokeswoman Jessica Rocco says the reported shootings took place across the city between last Friday and Sunday.
Several online sites incorrectly claimed in headlines that the shootings all happened during the Saturday protests that were held nationwide.
In the single death, 23-year-old La'Dell Barnett was found with a gunshot wound to his head in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood.
The previous weekend, seven people were killed and 13 were wounded in Chicago shootings.
Rocco says Chicago had seen 106 homicides this year through Sunday, compared to 128 homicides for the same period in 2017.
 
Nobel Prize winner's wife died of exposure, hypothermia
OREGON, Ill. (AP) — A coroner's office has ruled that the wife of a Nobel Prize-winning chemistry professor died of exposure and hypothermia.
Sauk Valley Media reports that the Ogle County Coroner's Office ruled the death of 80-year-old Sumire Negishi was accidental. Sheriff's deputies found her body March 13 in a vehicle at the Orchard Hills Landfill outside Rockford in northern Illinois. Shortly after, they found Ei-ichi Negishi walking nearby.
Relatives have said Sumire Negishi was "near the end of her battle with Parkinson's" disease and Ei-ichi Negishi may have been suffering from confusion and shock.
The Negishis had been reported missing the day before from their home about 200 miles away in West Lafayette, Indiana, where Ei-ichi Negishi is a Purdue University chemistry professor.
The Japanese scientist won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010.
 
White House picks Illinois senator to be Kenyan ambassador
LEBANON, Ill. (AP) — President Donald Trump has chosen Illinois state Sen. Kyle McCarter to be the U.S. ambassador to Kenya.
The White House made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, citing McCarter's charitable efforts in the African nation. The Republican from Lebanon in southern Illinois didn't run for re-election to the Illinois Senate's 54th district.
The Belleville News Democrat reports that McCarter applied for the position a year ago and that he and his wife have worked in Kenya for more than 30 years with the Each One feed One International charity, which the couple founded. The organization works with a school helping children and providing a medical clinic that serves about 15,000 people annually.
McCarter told the newspaper he's preparing for his confirmation hearing with the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.
 
Poets invited to apply for annual statewide competition
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Emerging writers are invited to submit their poetry to the 14th Annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition.
Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White says the contest celebrates talented poets and gives writers an outlet for their work. The winner will receive the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, named after the influential late Pulitzer Prize winner who grew up on Chicago's South Side.
The competition is open to all Illinois residents ages 18 and over. The top three entries will receive a cash prize and have their work submitted to literary magazines across the state. The winners will also read their poems at a ceremony later this year at the Illinois State Library in Springfield.
Entries are due June 30. Applications can be found on the Secretary of State's website.
 
Veterinary group warns of holiday risks to family pets
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago-area veterinarians are warning pet owners about some common items found around the Easter and Passover holidays.
The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association says items such as Easter grass, lamb bones, chocolate and Easter lily plants all pose dangers for some family pets.
Easter lily plants are poisonous for cats and may cause kidney failure. Some varieties of chocolates can cause vomiting and seizures in dogs.
The group offers one other piece of advice: Don't surprise anyone with the gift of a bunny, kitten or puppy. They say many unwanted bunnies are turned in to shelters in the weeks after Easter.

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