McDonald’s begins phasing out plastic toys in Happy Meals

McDonald’s plans to “drastically” reduce the plastic in its Happy Meal toys worldwide by 2025. The burger giant said Tuesday it’s working with toy companies to develop new ideas, such as three-dimensional cardboard superheroes kids can build or board games with plant-based or recycled game pieces. McDonald’s said it’s also exploring using recycled plastic toys…Read more…

Mt. Vernon man found guilty of killing his father

JEFFERSON COUNTY — Jurors on Monday found a 31-year-old Mt. Vernon man guilty of murdering his father after a few hours of deliberation in the 2020 Jefferson County case. Traviel Gibson was found guilty of first-degree murder for the May 13, 2020, shooting death of his father Sam Joseph Gibson, III. In addition to the…Read more…

Appointments open for in-person help at Illinois job centers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — All 18 Illinois job centers offering services for people searching for work are accepting in-person appointments after shifting to remote operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Department of Employment Security announced this week. In-person appointments will begin Monday at five offices in Burbank, Chicago, Joliet and North Aurora. Other…Read more…

Illinois proving popular route for American white pelicans

CHICAGO (AP) — A kind of bird that not that long ago was so rare in Illinois that people traveled hours just to catch a glimpse of one have lately been winging their way through the Chicago area. American white pelicans are winging their way through the state right now as they take a route…Read more…

Cleanup of abandoned mines could get boost, relieving rivers

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Abandoned coal mines in the U.S. have been polluting rivers and streams for decades, but efforts to finally clean up the sites could soon get a big boost from the infrastructure bill. Tucked into the Senate-passed infrastructure bill is $11.3 billion for the cleanup of defunct mines to be distributed over…Read more…

Chicago woman charged with fraud in death certificate scheme

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago woman has been charged with taking advantage of the pandemic and the city’s surging homicide count to defraud the government out of thousands of dollars in tax refunds and coronavirus stimulus payments. Katrina Pierce faces federal charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a criminal complaint made…Read more…

Boeing to build Navy aircraft at MidAmerica, invest $200M

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Chicago-based aerospace giant Boeing Co. will invest $200 million to manufacture the U.S. Navy’s latest unmanned aircraft at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. A news release provided to The Associated Press in advance indicates that state and company officials plan a Friday afternoon announcement at the airfield in Mascoutah, southeast of St.…Read more…

System outage grounds United flights briefly

NEW YORK (AP) — United Airlines suffered a brief system outage and the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop of less than an hour for all United flights. The ground stop order was lifted before 8 a.m. at the airline’s request, according to an advisory issued by the FAA. The airline said in a…Read more…

Illinois hopes ‘better angels’ prevail in Lincoln desk rehab

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has unveiled the hulking desk the president-elect used in 1861 to craft his first inaugural address. The desk was presented Thursday in the atrium of the library in Springfield, Illinois, as part of an exhibit, “Lincoln’s Life in Letters.” The desk was in a…Read more…

Chicago-area priest back under scrutiny for possible abuse

CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago priest cleared last week of allegations he sexually abused children 25 years ago is back under scrutiny because new information has become available. Cardinal Blase Cupich on Thursday wrote a letter to parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich saying the Rev. David Ryan will…Read more…

Safety grant to pay for new rail crossing upgrades in Bonnie

BONNIE — As a matter of public safety, the Illinois Commerce Commission recently granted approval of a Stipulated Agreement to install new automatic flashing light signals and gates and reconstruct the existing highway approach grades at the East Lang Lane Crossing of the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) in the Village of Bonnie. The total…Read more…

Carlyle school district wins mask barring case

CLINTON COUNTY — The Carlyle school district is barred from requiring students to wear masks unless there’s a quarantine order from the county health department. While that Clinton County temporary order is for the entire school district, Attorney Thomas DeVore won a similar case in Effingham County on behalf of parents of three Teutopolis school…Read more…

Ex-House Speaker settles child sexual abuse payments suit

YORKVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Lawyers say once powerful former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse have reached a tentative out-of-court settlement over Hastert’s refusal to pay $1.8 million in exchange for the man’s silence. The lawyers would not release details of the settlement in the case.…Read more…

Pritzker: Illinois a ‘force for good’ by cutting carbon gas

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois’ governor has signed into law a pledge to eliminate the state’s climate-damaging carbon emissions within a quarter-century. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s action Wednesday includes money to keep clean-power nuclear plants running and incentives for purchasing electric vehicles. The legislation shuts down plants that generate electricity by burning fossil fuels such…Read more…

Militia leader gets 53 years in Minnesota mosque bombing

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The leader of an Illinois anti-government militia group who authorities say masterminded the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque has been sentenced to 53 years in prison for civil rights and hate crimes. Emily Claire Hari, who was previously known as Michael Hari and recently said she is transgender, was…Read more…