Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald


Here are the top Illinois stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at

Please check in the evening for changes to story lineup, including breaking news.


- Jean Hodges, 630-348-3350, 630-956-8834,

- Michael Toeset, 630-835-8870, 708-785-4355,


HIDDEN VIOLATIONS: A seven-month national investigation conducted by Small Newspaper Group found that Illinois has one of the worst track records for removing errant teachers from the profession. Story links are packaged here:

ABOUT THE SERIES: “Hidden Violations” is a series made available to GateHouse News Service from the Small Newspaper Group. Its predecessor, “The Hidden Costs of Tenure,” won nine national journalism awards. For the current investigation, 300 FOIA requests were filed with governmental entities across the nation, and a national database of teacher disciplinary actions was built from scratch. Supporting documents for the series have been posted at The Small Newspaper Group is sharing this with Gatehouse because some newspapers in our group ran the predecessor, and also to maximize the impact of the series. The group’s only request is that the work be attributed to Small Newspaper Group.

All stories are available on the news service now. Art for some of the stories will be added this afternoon/evening. If you need it immediately, please contact Michael Toeset (info above).


- Illinois fails to resolve teacher misconduct incidents

- Illinois lacks investigators, background on teachers before 2004

- Teacher screens fail students

- Teachers get fired, but don't leave classroom

- Complete criminal histories of teachers can be hard to find

- Officials say moving bad teachers 'passing the trash'

- Chicago teachers don't lose pension over job-related felony

- Experts disagree on frequency of sexual abuse of students

- Regional school officials: We're short of resources

- Chicago maintains secret files on teachers

- The case of teacher Bill Beck: Warning signs ignored


(Please note that this news list is not all-inclusive; other stories will move in Illinois News as well.)

NOTE: There will be coverage of the LYN HOWARD and ALAN BEAMAN state Supreme Court cases this week.

STATE BRIEFS: A collection of briefs from GateHouse newspapers across the state. By 6 p.m. / Illinois and Illinois News

-NOTE: If your paper has a digest item you’d like to share, please email it to

DOLPHIN DIES: 6-year-old bottlenose dolphin dies at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago. Reports say it was a tracheal infection. Investigation under way. With photo. Chicago Suburban.

DRUNK KIDS: Online photos lead to five arrests for underage drinking party. Chicago Suburban.

DESPERATE DOGS: Springfield animal protective league is hoping to attract homes for 18 dogs found at a Greene County farm - not hoarded, but just reproduction run amok. If no homes found quickly, they'll be put to death. Young, SJR / Evening / Illinois and Illinois News

TONGUE-SPLITTER: YouTube video showing unsafe tongue-splitting procedures (involving an x-acto knife and a two-by-four, so help us), which is grossing out tattoo artists and body modifiers all across the country, is the product of a spfld tattooist. Rushton, SJR / evening / Illinois and Illinois News

-- With: It's illegal besides: even though tongue-splitting is illegal in Illinois, Sangamon County dept of public health apparently ignored a complaint about this case from another local tattoo artist. Rushton

MIRACLE BABY: Springfield woman found dead in her crashed car near Palmyra Saturday morning, and her 1-year-old daughter was alive in the car seat in back. Alcohol was a factor, authorities say. Caller says daughter is hospitalized in St. Louis. Bolinski, SJR / Evening / Illinois and Illinois News

TURBINES VS BIRDS: The first study of its kind in Illinois found 10 birds and 21 bats killed by the 33 turbines at the Crescent Ridge wind farm near Princeton. This was exceedingly low and warranted no further wildlife concerns at the site, researchers concluded. Curry & Kerlinger LLC of Virginia and New Jersey, which specializes in wind turbine impacts on wildlife, was hired by the developer. Kills came in well below typical levels seen at wind farms. Keith Shank, impact assessment specialist with Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said it established a reference point for Illinois. (12-15 inches by 8 p.m.) MATT BUEDEL. PJS / Illinois and Illinois News

VOTERS? First day of early voting. Are there any signs that illinois voters have been energized by the prospect of actually being part of at least one competitive primary this year, thanks to the earlier primary date? Do registration numbers show an increase, local or statewide, from the 2004 primary? Bernie, SJR / Evening / Illinois and Illinois News

PJS DEBATE: (w/pic) The three GOP Congressional candidates square off tonight during a televised debate sponsored by us, the League of Women Voters and WEEK-TV. Expect discussion on wide variety of topics. (15-17 inches by 10 p.m.) KAREN MCDONALD. PJS / Illinois and Illinois News

MCCARRON DAY 6: (w/sketch) The defense is expected to call its medical expert, who will testify about Karen McCarron's mental state. The prosecution will bring out its medical expert either today or later this week in response. McCarron is on trial for murder in the smothering death of her autistic daughter. (merits; by 7 p.m.) KEVIN SAMPIER. PJS / Illinois and Illinois News

PANNIER FOLO: (w/mug) The remains of Army PFC Phillip Pannier, 20, of Washburn will be returned to the Peoria Airport on Tuesday morning. Pannier died Jan. 9, while serving in Iraq. A processional will bring his body through Metamora. Will update other funeral info. (merits; by 5 p.m.) ANDY KRAVETZ. PJS / Illinois and Illinois News

NEW DRIVING LAWS: Teens driving on a permit for the past three months and who failed to get their license by Dec. 31 will now have to wait another six months. As of Jan. 1, all teens have to have nine months of practice time behind the wheel, up from three months. Also, 16-year-old drivers are allowed to have just one passenger in their vehicle for the first year after receiving their license. Previously, it was a six-month wait. Curfew hours for teen drivers also have been shortened by an hour. Talking with traffic Sgt. Dane Person, Barry Molencupp, owner of the five area Drive Right Schools, and with teen drivers. GREEN/RRS / Evening / Illinois and Illinois News


JEFF VRABEL: Golden Globes -- You have gone too far this time, TV writers!

EDITORIAL: Dig into Banner mine issues. Peoria.


JANE MILLER: In the Fast Lane motorsports column is back! Lots of news as we sprint into '08.

NADEL: Bruce Weber says and does some dopey things, but that doesn't mean he's a bad coach. And though he certainly deserves criticism for this down season of Illinois basketball, those who believe he will or should get fired need a reality check. 7 p.m. / Mike Nadel and Illinois Sports

WITH THE ILLINI: Multisport notebook column will cover men's basketball, football and other Illini varsity sports. SUPINIE. Champaign. Illinois sports and Big Ten. Moving this evening.

PACKER FANS SNOW: The colder it gets and more it snows, the more Packer fans like it. One fan dubbed last week's game "The Snow Globe Game" and fans compared it to the Ice Bowl as one of the more memorable in Packers history TROWBRIDGE/RRS. Evening / Illinois Sports and Pro Football