LEMON RESIGNS: Lonny Lemon, superintendent of the Quincy School District for the past four years, announced his resignation Wednesday night. Lemon said in an interview he has accepted a job as superintendent at the Oak Grove 68 School District, which serves grades K-8 in Green Oaks, Ill., a community in the vicinity of Libertyville in the Chicago area. Lemon will work until the current fiscal year ends June 30, but he might leave earlier than that by using some vacation days. School Board President Bill Daniels said the board will hurry to find a temporary replacement to serve as interim superintendent once Lemon leaves.
SKATE PARK OPEN HOUSE: More than 100 Quincy residents turned out Wednesday afternoon and evening to examine plans -- and voice their opinion -- concerning a proposed skate park at the 18th and Harrison corner of Johnson Park.
GAMBLING EXPANSION: Offering up a direct challenge to a resistant Gov. Pat Quinn, the Illinois House resurrected a huge expansion of legalized gambling that includes a land-based casino in Chicago, four more on riverboats and allowing ailing horse-racing tracks to add slot machines. Quinn responded to House approval with ridicule, asserting the measure "continues to have major ethical shortcomings."
U.S. 36 CRASH: Standalone PIC and long cutline of crash that closed U.S. 36 Wednesday. Police said no written report will be issued because there were no injuries. Refer to additional photos on Between the Lens.
MCLEOD COLUMN: Be honest. We all procrastinate. Whether it's putting off the challenging phone call or trolling Facebook when we should be writing a proposal, we all avoid certain tasks.
TV-AMERICAN IDOL-FINALE: From the moment he first stepped in front of the judges and unleashed a folksy take on Michael Jackson's "Thriller," humble pawn shop worker Phillip Phillips seemed preordained to win "American Idol," and not just because he's another white guy with a guitar, the all-too-familiar profile of the past five "Idol" champions.
PAKISTAN: Pakistan sentences a doctor who helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden to 33 years in prison for conspiring against the state, adding new strains to an already deeply troubled relationship with Washington. Shakil Afridi ran a vaccination program for the CIA to collect DNA and verify the al-Qaida leader's presence at the compound where U.S. commandos killed him.
FOOD STAMP FRAUD: Food stamp recipients are ripping off the government for millions of dollars by illegally selling their benefit cards for cash -- sometimes even in the open on eBay or Craigslist -- and then asking the government for replacement cards.
EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS: European Union leaders conclude their latest summit with few concrete steps to fix the continent's festering financial crisis even as the potential for a messy Greek exit from the euro appears to be rising. Some leaders stressed the importance of planning for just such an event but offered no measures that might help Greece avoid it.
IRAN-NUCLEAR: Iranian negotiators reject proposals by six world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program, and demand answers to their own counteroffer meant to alleviate concerns about Iran's ability to build atomic weapons.
EXECUTION ACCESS: A U.S. appeals court ruled in 2002 that every aspect of an execution should be open to witnesses, from the moment the condemned enters the death chamber to his or her final heartbeat. The ruling established what was expected of the nine Western states within the court's jurisdiction. A decade later, five of the states have kept part of each execution away from public view, according to an Associated Press review and death penalty experts.
BRIEFLY: U.S. military leaders, Clinton, push for Senate ratification of sea treaty they say will boost U.S. national security and create jobs; New York woman is sentenced for faking cancer to con donors into paying for her wedding and Caribbean honeymoon; California health officials are testing 26 babies for tuberculosis after an individual with an active case of the life-threatening diseases visited neonatal-intensive care units at two Northern California hospitals: Unabomber Ted Kaczynski updates a Harvard University alumni directory, listing his occupation as "prisoner" and says his awards are "eight life sentences'; After strong GOP hauls, Obama and his Democrats redoubling fundraising efforts to keep edge; Mom of toddler trapped in New Jersey washing machine says she and his dad aren't in surveillance video; The family of a woman left with brain damage after an accident during the filming of "Transformers 3" has reached an $18.5 million settlement with Paramount Pictures.
AMEREN: Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois held an open house Wednesday to provide information about the proposed 345,000-volt Illinois Rivers electric transmission line.
SCHOOL BOARD PAY: The Quincy School Board agreed Wednesday to give non-union workers the same pay increase that teachers will receive in the 2012-13 school year.
SCHOOL BOARD BONDS: The Quincy School Board on Wednesday formally authorized the issuance of $6.2 million in working cash bonds approved by voters in March.
MEMORIAL DAY SAFETY: Local law enforcement will be out in greater numbers this Memorial Day weekend, enforcing speed limits, seat belt use and other traffic issues.
MEMORIAL DAY PROGRAM: A Memorial Day program at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy Friday will feature Command Sgt. Maj. Howard Robinson as the guest speaker.
GENE GRAWE: Registrations are being accepted until May 31 for the Gene Grawe Fund, which enables families with children in one of Quincy's Catholic elementary schools or Quincy Notre Dame in the fall of 2013 to defray the cost of tuition.
LEWIS COUNTY SCHOOLS BUDGET: The Lewis County C-1 Board of Education's budget meeting Wednesday was a mixed bag. The district will finish this school year with 39 percent of its operating budget in reserves, but shifting fortunes at the state level made its deficit situation unclear for 2012-13. Meanwhile, the district faces a number of maintenance issues and calls for teacher hiring at Highland Elementary School.
MENDON SCHOOL BOARD: Lunch prices are going up next fall in the Mendon School District. The School Board last week approved a 25-cent increase in lunch prices for students and a 50-cent increase for adults who eat lunch at school. Under this plan, lunch will now cost $2.25 for students in grades K-4 and $2.50 for grades 5-12. Meals for adults will cost $3.
BROWN COUNTY MAN GUILTY: David Dunn was found guilty by a Brown County jury Wednesday on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of his wife in 2010.
REMAINS: Remains of woman linked to man who killed himself last year after pursuit by Quincy-area law enforcement.
BARN FIRE: Barn fire near Taylor.
US ATTORNEY-CHICAGO: Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the country's most relentless federal prosecutors and the architect of corruption convictions against two Illinois governors and a former vice presidential aide, is stepping down as U.S. attorney at the end of June. Fitzgerald has overseen thousands of criminal prosecutions and high-profile cases against Illinois governors Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan, former Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and media mogul Conrad Black. He took on public corruption, international terrorism, corporate fraud and organized crime. With BIO BOX.
IOWA-CAVE RESCUE: An Illinois man says he was amazed by the number of people who worked to rescue him and pray for him while he was trapped in an Iowa cave. Logan Eliasen of Port Byron, Ill., says that the number involved was surprising because he only saw two or three rescuers at a time. About a dozen people took turns crawling through 300 feet of twists and turns in an attempt to rescue Eliasen, who was trapped for 20 hours underground at Maquoketa Caves State Park before being freed.
NATIONAL GUARD-OPEN RECORDS: Members of the Missouri National Guard have been disciplined for looting in Joplin after the massive tornado last year, but the Guard refuses to release information about the incidents, citing an exemption from Missouri's open records law. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that the Guard did not respond to the newspaper's open records request for details this month. The Guard said it is not subject to the open records law, which was created to make state government accountable.
SMALL TOWN SWINDLE: Officials in the northern Illinois city of Dixon are holding off on investigating a former financial officer accused of stealing more than $53 million in public money.
BRIEFLY: Illinois lawmakers want to get tougher on fraud and abuse of parking privileges for disabled people; Investigators are working to determine exactly what caused an explosion at a suburban Chicago company that killed one worker and injured 12 other people; A fraternity's national organization has revoked the charter of the Sigma Pi chapter at Illinois Wesleyan University; UARDS, from DWIGHT: Guards at Dwight Correctional Center and other state facilities slated to close this summer have received layoff notices; The Illinois House has passed legislation giving the state the power to acquire private property for a proposed expressway connecting Interstate 65 in Indiana with Interstate 55 in Illinois; Columbia police are holding a community meeting Thursday night amid a spike in local heroin use and medical emergencies linked to the drug, including overdose deaths; A proposed amendment to Missouri's Constitution asserting the right to pray in public will go before voters in August; Mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus in DuPage County, the first sign of the disease in Illinois this year; It's getting harder to buy the decongestant pseudoephedrine in southeastern Missouri without a prescription.
OIL PRICES: Oil dropped below $90 per barrel for the first time since Nov. 1. Supplies are growing while a crisis in Europe and slowing economic growth in China and the U.S. suggest that demand won't rise as quickly as expected. Oil has plunged 15 percent in May, and gasoline is now 25 cents cheaper than its peak in early April. By Energy Writer Chris Kahn.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: The government reports at 7:30 a.m. on the number of people who applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week.
YAHOO SEARCH: Yahoo is joining the battle to redefine Internet search and taking aim at building a better Web browser, too.
PRIVATE SPACE: The private spacecraft Dragon closed in on the International Space Station on Thursday for a series of critical close-up flying tests. The Dragon rocketed into orbit two days ago on the world's first commercial space station delivery trip.
BRIEFCASE: G&D Integrated has notified almost 200 of its employees in Peoria that they'll lose their jobs by the end of the summer; An appeal filed in the California Supreme Court contends that two state appellate court justices owned stock in Boeing Co. while they were involved in deciding whether to reverse a multimillion-dollar award against the the Chicago-based firm; Facebook's initial public offering is the subject of two congressional inquiries and mounting lawsuits as the social network enters its fifth day of public trading on Thursday; The government reports at 7:30 a.m. on business orders for durable goods in April.
PILL BUST: Six Quincy residents and one Missouri resident were arrested Wednesday after police conducted a methamphetamine sting operation in the Quincy area.
WAYLAND FATAL: Two persons were killed and a third seriously injured in a pickup-car accident at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday north of Wayland, Mo.
SCHUYLER ACCIDENT: A child was injured in a one-vehicle accident at 10:48 a.m. Wednesday in Schuyler County.
MONROE MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT: A Paris, Mo. motorcyclist was injured at 5:35 p.m. Wednesday in an accident in a construction zone in Monroe County, Mo.
PARIS MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT: Motorcyclist from Holilday, Mo. was injured at 10:35 p.m. Wednesday when his bike overturned off U.S. 24 west of Paris, Mo.
MARIJUANA BUST-GPS: When Kentucky State Troopers stopped 49-year-old Robert Dale Lee on Interstate 75 in September 2011, they knew he would be coming their way and what to look for in his car. The Drug Enforcement Administration had been following Lee's car from Chicago using a GPS -- a tracking device placed on the vehicle as part of a multi-state drug probe -- and troopers found 150 lbs of marijuana in his car. Now, a federal judge has ruled the stash inadmissible in the case against Dale, 49, because the DEA and troopers didn't have a warrant to place the device on the car. By Brett Barrouquere.
MOTHER-MURDER PLOT: Police have arrested three teens who are accused of plotting to kill one of their mothers because she was too strict.
TROOPER CRASH-WORKERS COMPENSATION: A former Illinois State Police trooper whose high-speed crash killed two sisters is asking again for workers' compensation benefits for injuries he received in the wreck.
ATM SOLUTIONS ROBBERY: Another person is going to prison for her role in the ATM Solutions robbery in St. Louis.
DOGS-TORTURE: A St. Louis man is charged with animal abuse and neglect for allegedly strangling several dogs.
CAPE GIRARDEAU-MURDER-SUICIDE: The shooting deaths of two men in Cape Girardeau has been ruled a murder-suicide.
PRIEST ABUSE-DEATH: A Roman Catholic priest accused of abusing a girl in the 1960s has died, leaving only the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph as defendants in a civil lawsuit.
CHILD DEATH-SENTENCE: An eastern Missouri babysitter has been sentenced to five years of probation for the death of an infant in her care.
BANK ROBBERY-NEVER MIND: A would-be bank robber apparently changed her mind midway through the crime, but police are still looking for her.
RAPE CONVICTION CHALLENGED: A onetime high school football star whose college prospects were shattered by a kidnap-rape conviction 10 years ago seeks exoneration after his accuser changed her story and friended him on Facebook.
BACKALLEY BANDFEST: Stroll the streets and alleys of historic Keokuk, sampling a variety of music genres at the 6th annual Back Alley Bandfest, Friday, May 25.
BAKER TRIBUTE: Local musicians gather to honor the late Mickey Baker.
IAROCFEST: Third annual event offers 30 bands in 3 days.
QND SOCCER: If Mark Longo had any worries the Quincy Notre Dame girls soccer players might get caught up in the moment, they were alleviated before practice began Wednesday.
QND BASEBALL: QND posts a 9-0 victory in the Class 2A baseball sectional semifinal game at Niemann Field.
QND SOFTBALL: A season-high three QND errors led to four unearned runs for Stanford Olympia, and the Spartans claimed a 5-3 win in the Class 2A Havana Sectional semifinals.
GRIGGSVILLE BASEBALL: Trailing Delavan 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Griggsville-Perry turned Brock Rumple's lead-off single and a series of defensive mishaps into two runs and a 3-2 victory in the semifinals of the Class 1A Lewistown Sectional.
CANTON BASEBALL: Santa Fe scored three times in the second inning, then hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning while rolling to a 13-4 victory that ended Canton's season at 19-5.
PAYSON SOFTBALL: Down a run in the seventh inning, Payson rallied for a 4-3 victory over Orion in the semifinals of the Class 1A Abingdon Sectional.