POWERBALL JACKPOT: Powerball luck has struck three times -- once in Minnesota and twice in New Jersey -- for the multistate lottery's latest massive jackpot. The three winning tickets will split the $448 million Powerball jackpot.
CIGARETTE TAX: Illinois' cigarette tax revenue more than doubled in July compared to the same period last year, state officials said. July revenue reached $30 million, up from $12 million in July 2012, according to data released by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. The increase is being attributed to last year's $1-per-pack tax increase that was approved by the Legislature.
CELEBRATING EID: Millions of Muslims began celebrating the end of the fasting month of Ramadan while security threats loomed across the Muslim world. Mortar shells were fired on the neighborhood where Syrian President Bashar Assad was praying.
MCLEOD COLUMN: We all want to solve the big problem. We want to be the one who creates the breakthrough, who upends the paradigm, who stops or starts "it" once and for all. When you can't solve the big problem, it often feels futile to try. Because if you try and you don't succeed, it seems like wasted effort. But it's not. Sometimes moving the needle is enough.
OBAMA-RUSSIA: The common ground between the U.S. and Russia -- and Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin -- has been shrinking steadily in spite of the much-touted "reset" of relations between the old Cold War foes. And it just got even smaller. The latest blow came when Obama, annoyed with Putin's decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, canceled a face-to-face summit with the Russian leader.
FORT HOOD SHOOTING: A military judge could decide whether the soldier accused in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood is trying to guarantee himself a death sentence.
DEMENTIA-BLOOD SUGAR: New research suggests a possible way to help prevent Alzheimer's disease: Keeping blood sugar at a healthy level. A study found that higher glucose levels, even those well short of diabetes, seemed to raise the risk for dementia. The results overturn current thinking by showing that it's not just the high glucose levels of diabetes that are a concern, the study's leader says.
BURNED BODIES-MISSING CHILDREN: The search expands to Oregon and Washington state for a Southern California man suspected of abducting a 16-year-old girl, after killing her mother and possibly her 8-year-old brother. Investigators believe James Lee DiMaggio may be headed to Texas or Canada with the teen, who he once said he had a crush on and would date if they were the same age.
FIREFIGHTERS KILLED-SURVIVOR: Lone survivor of blaze that killed 19 firefighters recalls in interviews the devastation of losing fellow crew members.
BIRD FLU: Scientists who sparked an outcry by creating easier-to-spread versions of the bird flu want to try such experiments again using a worrisome strain, research that might predict if it's becoming a bigger threat to people. This time, the government is promising extra scrutiny up front.
BRIEFLY: Authorities: At least 4 dead, others wounded in Dallas-area shootings, and suspect in custody; Libyan suspect in US consulate attack that killed ambassador, 3 others denies charges; Deliberations in the Whitey Bulger racketeering trial go into a 3rd day; A wildfire that broke out in the inland mountains of Southern California has expanded exponentially, burning homes, forcing the evacuation of small mountain communities and campgrounds and leaving three people injured; Syrian TV says President Bashar Assad has attended Muslim holiday prayers in Damascus mosque; Archaeologists make once-in-a-lifetime find of Mayan frieze in northern Guatemala; Prosecutors are asking an expert on militant Islam to help them show that Pfc. Bradley Manning damaged U.S. interests by disclosing classified information through WikiLeaks; Greek premier in US to meet Obama, will get support on efforts to emerge from economic crisis.
HELP FAIR: One big change will impact many participants at the 15th annual Back-to-School Help Fair, which takes place from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church, 739 N. Eighth. For the first time, children seeking medical-related tests and immunizations will be transported by bus to the Adams County Health Department.
BABY BOTTLE BLITZ: Care Net Pregnancy Services' annual Baby Bottle Blitz has generated more than $20,000, a record for the fundraiser that started about a decade ago and benefits the non-profit organization's effort to provide "practical help and emotional support" to young, expectant mothers.
SAMMY FUND TRAINING: Most people can run a 5K, Angie Asmann says, but they need to train first. NuFIT and the Sammy Fund are partnering in a training program designed to help people "get up and move for a good cause."
VETS HOME PROJECT: Capital funds will help the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy fix powerhouse equipment. Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday announced the release of $504,000 from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program that was approved in 2009.
BOWEN PRELIM: The preliminary hearing for a 51-year-old Quincy man charged with multiple felonies tied to the recent stabbing of an 82-year-old woman has been scheduled for later this month. Turhan D. Bowen was told Wednesday he will return to Adams County court at 1:45 p.m. Aug. 20 for a preliminary hearing.
ROBERTS PLEA: A Quincy man pled guilty to aggravated domestic battery and unlawful possession of cannabis on Wednesday.
MYERS PLEA: A plea hearing Wednesday for a Quincy woman facing methamphetamine-related charges was continued for a week.
DAY OF SERVICE: Culver-Stockton College is inviting alumni and friends to help with several improvement projects around the campus as part of Saturday's Alumni Day of Service.
LEG FROM LEGOS: As a child, Christina Stephens filled the basement of her parents' home with castles and pirate ships made of Legos. When she put her Lego-building skills to work last month to make a prosthetic leg out of the children's toy, she became an Internet sensation.
MISSOURI FLOODING: Heavy thunderstorms early Wednesday hit already saturated areas of south-central Missouri, where one child has been reported killed and a woman remains missing in flooding that also has forced the closure of major highways and a handful of evacuations.
LED INVENTOR RETIRES: The man who invented the LED has retired from the University of Illinois. But colleagues say he'll almost certainly continue doing research.
BOY SCOUTS-LAWSUIT: Fifteen former Boy Scouts from the Chicago suburb of Burbank filed a lawsuit alleging that the organization failed to protect them from a scout leader who was later convicted of molestation.
MISSING BOY-INMATE: A Florida prison inmate says he knows what happened to a St. Louis-area boy who disappeared 25 years ago, and authorities in Missouri are trying to determine if his story is legitimate. Scott Kleeschulte of St. Charles was 9 when he disappeared on June 8, 1988, while walking near a wooded area not far from his home.
BRIEFLY: Authorities uncovered human remains in Woodford County and investigators are waiting for tests to see if they may belong to a missing 74-year-old man; Administrators at Southern Illinois University are preparing for a record number of new students arriving on campus when fall classes begin later this month. But that's creating a housing crunch at the Carbondale school; State troopers had to play hog-wrangler after a collision spilled dozens of pigs on Interstate 35 in northwest Missouri; A new state task force will work with religious and community groups to try to prevent violence. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Wednesday to create the Violence Prevention Task Force; A marker recognizing the military service of Abraham Lincoln's father will be placed on his grave during a ceremony in east-central Illinois later this month; House Speaker Michael Madigan says he's disappointed a judge has delayed ruling on the legislator salary lawsuit; Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on Springfield for the 160th Illinois State Fair, which gets underway Thursday.
MORTGAGES-FANNIE AND FREDDIE: Homebuyers could feel the pinch if Congress follows through on plans to shut down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled mortgage guarantee giants that were rescued by a $187 billion taxpayer bailout during the financial crisis.
CRASH TESTS-SMALL CARS: Six of 12 small cars performed well in front-end crash tests done by an insurance industry group, but some popular models fared poorly.
CONSUMER CREDIT: Americans borrowed more in June to buy cars and attend schools. But they were frugal again with their credit cards, indicating many are still wary of taking on high-interest debt.
SMARTER BABIES-MOBILE APPS: Smartphones don't make smart babies, a consumer group says in a complaint to the government about mobile apps that claim to help babies learn. The group asks the Federal Trade Commission to investigate two popular baby app developers -- Fisher-Price Inc. and Open Solutions -- it says are trying to dupe parents into thinking their online games can teach babies and toddlers.
BRIEFCASE: Wal-Mart has agreed to improve safety conditions for employees who use trash compactors and cleaning chemicals at more than 2,800 stores as part of a settlement agreement with the Labor Department; Toyota is recalling 342,000 Tacoma midsize pickup trucks because the front seat belts can malfunction; A federal magistrate has ordered BP to pay more than $130 million in fees to the court-supervised administrator of its multibillion-dollar settlement with Gulf Coast businesses and residents after the company's 2010 oil spill; Chicago-based Groupon named co-founder Eric Lefkofsky as CEO, replacing Andrew Mason, who was fired from the online deals site in February amid growing concerns about its financial performance.
LIND SHOOTING UPDATE: Two people Quincy police were questioning in connection with a Tuesday night shooting in the 600 block of Lind that injured a Quincy man have been arrested.
METH ARRESTS: Two Quincy residents were the subjects of drug-related arrests on Wednesday. Danny Biesterfield, 52, and Teresa Thomas, 51, both of 2603 West Valley View, were arrested after the Adams County Sheriff's Department and West Central Illinois Task Force conducted a search warrant at the residence.
KNOX COUNTY ARREST: A Kirksville man has been arrested in connection with a May burglary near Baring.
HANNIBAL FIRE: No serious injuries were reported Wednesday from a house fire in the 300 block of North Sixth in Hannibal, Mo.
LAWSUIT-BOYS & GIRLS CLUB: Two 18-year-old women are claiming that a man who worked for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago coerced them into having sexual contact with him when they were minors.
FOX RIVER-BODY FOUND: An autopsy is set to be performed on the body of a man that was found floating in the Fox River in Aurora. Wednesday's autopsy by the Kane County Coroner is expected to offer clues about how the man died.
MARION KILLING-CHARGES: A southern Illinois man faces a September sentencing after he pleaded guilty to a lesser count linked to a 2011 shooting death in Marion. WSIL-TV reports that 26-year-old Dominique Smith of Marion pleaded guilty in Williamson County Circuit Court to aggravated discharge of a firearm.
TRAIN HITS ATV: Authorities say a woman was critically injured when a coal train hit the all-terrain vehicle that had gotten stuck on the railroad tracks in southwestern Illinois. Madison County authorities say the woman injured in the accident Tuesday night in Mitchell was flown by helicopter to an unspecified hospital.
FAKE VIAGRA-CHINA: Two men have been charged with trafficking about 17,000 fake Viagra pills in an undercover investigation linked to Texas and Illinois. Prosecutors in Houston say an 11-count indictment unsealed Tuesday names 49-year-old Jamal Khattab of Katy and 45-year-old Fayez Al-Jabri of Chicago.
SEXUAL ASSAULT-SENTENCING: A suburban Chicago man convicted of sexually assaulting his estranged wife has been sentenced to 12 years in prison by a DuPage County judge. In a news release, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin's office says Judge Blanche Hill Fawell sentenced 23-year-old Jose Mendoza-Maceda of Carol Stream this week.
ROBBER-TAXI: A St. Louis County man is accused of robbing a bank and a pharmacy, then trying to get away in a taxi.
SERIAL BURGLAR-SENTENCE: An eastern Missouri man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a long string of burglaries dating back more than two decades.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT AIDE-INDICTMENT: A federal grand jury has indicted a onetime aide to a former director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
FRAUD SCHEME: A Nevada, Mo., man has pleaded guilty in federal court for his role in a $2 million scheme to defraud Cargill Inc. by receiving money for loads of corn that were paid for but never delivered.
ROCKIN' JAKE: Rockin' Jake says he isn't out to "dazzle anybody" with his harmonica playing, though he's considered one of the best blues harmonica players around by his peers and blues lovers. "I just want to hit people in the soul and make them feel good," says Rockin' Jake, who plays with his band Friday night at Washington Park's Blues In The District.
GEMS ADVANCE: Bryan Niedbalski broke up a 2-2 tie in the ninth inning with a two-run single to help the Quincy Gems beat the Danville Dans 5-2 on Wednesday in Danville, Ill. The win gave Quincy a 2-0 sweep in the Prospect League West divisional series. The Gems advance to the league championship series, where they'll face the West Virginia Miners.
WIU QB BATTLE HEATS UP: The Western Illinois football team's offense was historically bad last season, and the quarterback position was a key reason why. This year, the Leathernecks are seeking more production under center, and the starting QB spot is up for grabs, with several candidates getting a strong look.
MCILROY SEEKS OLD FORM: The PGA Championship tees off Thursday with Rory McIlroy hoping to regain the form that allowed him to win golf's final major in 2012.