• Governor Bruce Rauner

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Bruce Rauner is seeking "common ground" with Republicans on divisive issues after barely surviving an insurgent challenge in Tuesday's election.

    Rauner says his 19,000-vote victory over state Rep. Jeanne Ives in the GOP primary has confirmed for him the need to "bridge the divides."

    He told reporters after a campaign kickoff at a Springfield sign-making company that focusing on "what unites us" is key to victory. That includes lowering property and income taxes and imposing political term limits.

    He says Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker is in cahoots with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Rauner says nemesis Madigan is part of a "Mafia protection racket" by getting rich off of legal work reducing property tax assessments. Madigan has said he follows the law and strict ethical standards.

  • Michael Madigan

    CHICAGO (AP) - A former campaign consultant for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is suing his political committee and the state Democratic party, alleging that reporting a top lieutenant for sexual harassment hindered her from advancing in the speaker's organization.

    Alaina Hampton filed the lawsuit Wednesday contending that her effort to stop Kevin Quinn's unwanted advances prevented her from getting further work on Democratic campaigns.

    Hampton alleges in the lawsuit that Quinn sent her text messages and called her in pursuit of a romantic and sexual relationship. Madigan fired Quinn a day before Hampton went public with her allegations in February and hailed her as a "courageous woman."

    But Hampton has called the termination a proactive "cover-up" and said no action was taken for nearly a year after she reported Quinn.

    Hampton's lawsuit seeks $350,000, in addition to attorney's fees.

  • BENTON, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois man has been sentenced to 23 years in federal prison in connection with the 2014 attempted robbery of a Cairo bank during which two women were killed.

    The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reported Wednesday that prosecutors say 35-year-old Otha Don Watkins III of Cairo received the sentence after pleading guilty in January to assisting in the crime among other charges. First National Bank employees Anita Grace and Nita Jo Smith were killed and a third employee was seriously injured.

    Watkins' accomplice, James Watts, pleaded guilty last year to attempted bank robbery resulting in a death and was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years.

    Watkins is alleged to have driven Watts to the bank, and communicated with Watts on a two-way radio while Watts attempted to rob the bank.

  • Glenn Ramey

    OLNEY, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois man has been sentenced to the maximum 60 years in prison for raping an 8-year-old girl who was later found dead.

    The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Richland County Judge Larry Dunn said Thursday morning that Glenn Ramey's case "cried out for the maximum sentence." The Olney man pleaded guilty in January to predatory criminal sexual assault for the rape of Sabrina Stauffenberg. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped a murder charge that alleged Ramey suffocated the Olney girl.

    The child's body was found in November 2016 behind a vinegar plant on the south side of Olney, a town in southeastern Illinois of about 9,000 people.

    Sabrina's grandmother Susan Vaughn said in a victim-impact statement read in court Thursday that "every day is filled with sadness."

  • Several personnel issues were addressed at the latest South Central Board of Education Meeting.

    In personnel action, the board granted tenure to Brittany Kramer and Stephanie Jones effective next school year. The board accepted the resignations from Jane Miller as High School Cheerleading Sponsor, Lynn Smith as SCHS Yearbook sponsor, Sarah Shomaker as social worker, Morgan Crouse as an elementary teacher and Kim Major as a school counselor all effective at the end of the current school year. The board also accepted the resignation of Middle School science teacher and girls middle school basketball coach Jordan Pals. Kaleb Welch was hired as a high school science teacher for next year.

    The Board also approved the annual renewal for the IHSA yearly agreement. They approved donations to local ball fields for maintenance and use for school sporting events. $600 was given to Lions Field in Kinmundy, Farina Ball Field $300 and Kinmundy Area Sports Complex $600.