OBAMA-GUN CONTROL: Facing powerful opposition to sweeping gun regulations, President Barack Obama is weighing 19 steps that could be taken through executive action alone, congressional officials say. That could include ordering stricter action against people who lie on gun sale background checks, striking limits on federal research into gun use, ordering tougher penalties against gun trafficking, and giving schools flexibility to use grant money to improve safety.
CURRICULUM COMMITTEE: Administrators from several Quincy schools say budget cuts have been hampering their ability to help students who struggle with reading and math. The administrators spoke out at Monday's Curriculum Committee meeting while giving reports about "school improvement plans" formulated for their respective buildings. These SIPs were developed for every local school as students' scores on standardized tests continue to trend downward throughout the district.
DIGITAL DISCIPLES: There's a twofold reason behind that smile Lorraine Steinberg is normally wearing. She coordinates the Digital Disciples group that is headquartered at Fist Christian Church and serves as an outreach to those in the community who feel left behind in the age of I-pads, smart phones and e-mail attachments. Most of those who go through her classes -- all of which, by the way, are free -- are older adults who did not grow up in the age of personal computers and social media.
OBRIEN COLUMN: Lance Armstrong came clean Monday in an interview with Oprah. His admission of guilt comes way too late. His feel-good story is shot to pieces. Armstrong can be seen now as a liar and a cheater.
HULK HOGAN-LAWSUIT: Wrestler Hulk Hogan sues spine surgery clinic in Florida, claiming career damage.
TV-ROBIN ROBERTS: ‘GMA' anchor Robin Roberts delivers good news about her health, hopes to be back within weeks.
NATALIE WOOD-INVESTIGATION: A newly released report shows coroner's officials amended Natalie Wood's death certificate based on unanswered questions about bruises on her upper body but were lacking several pieces of evidence and could only determine that she drowned under undetermined circumstances more than 30 years ago.
SPENDING CUTS POLITICS: In the heated talk about deep spending cuts that will dominate Congress in the coming weeks, one thing is likely to be in short supply: details. The reason is simple. Americans embrace the general, abstract idea of reducing federal spending. Their support quickly fades, however, when specific programs are targeted. That's why Republicans wrap their calls for deep spending cuts in broad generalities, even as they call on President Barack Obama to propose more detailed cuts of his own.
MALI-FIGHTING: A platoon of 150 French soldiers stationed in the Ivory Coast are heading to Segou in an effort to take back a garrison town in the central part of the West African nation. Diabaly fell to al-Qaida-linked rebels on Monday after they succeeded in outsmarting French jet fighters. Still unknown is the fate of the Malian soldiers who were stationed in the military camp. Their superior officers have not been able to reach them by cellphone since Diabaly's fall.
DRUG ROBBERIES-GPS: New York City police plan to combat the theft of painkillers and other highly addictive prescription medicines by asking pharmacies to hide fake pill bottles fitted with GPS devices. Investigators believe the so-called "bait bottles" could help investigators track stolen drugs and locate suspects.
BRIEFLY: A 16-year-old boy accused of shooting a classmate at a California high school has been charged as an adult with attempted murder; Northeastern lawmakers hoping to push a $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package through the House are facing roadblocks; Despite Obama's warning, Social Security checks could flow absent a debt deal; Military suicides hit record high in 2012 and experts fear it could grow worse this year; In just a few decades, walking down Pennsylvania Avenue has become an iconic inaugural moment; Thousands of anti-government protesters heeding the call of a fiery cleric rally in the streets of the Pakistani capital for a second day despite early morning clashes with police; Adding to Venezuelans' uncertainty over their country's fate with President Hugo Chavez bedridden in Cuba and unheard from in weeks are concerns his socialist-oriented economic system is eroding supplies of food and other goods; Supporters of same-sex marriage rights plan to assemble at the Rhode Island Statehouse to urge lawmakers to make the smallest state the 10th to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed; Oracle releases patch to Java aimed at fixing flaw that prompted Homeland Security alarm; City of Dallas demolishes apartment building where JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald once lived; Justice Thomas speaks at high court argument for first time in nearly seven years; Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is honorary chair of Obama's inaugural service event; White House responds to secession petition, says Texas doesn't have right to leave the U.S.; Former President George H.W. Bush released from Houston hospital after nearly two months.
CITY COUNCIL: Quincy officials hope flashing pedestrian crossing signs near 10th and Broadway are making drivers more aware of people crossing the street as they head to and from Blessing Hospital. City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp told the City Council Monday that the intersection has been a problem for many years, with many people crossing outside of the crosswalk.
ISP NUMBERS: Illinois State Police Trooper Mike Kindhart thinks drivers are starting to get the message. Kindhart, the safety education officer for Pittsfield-based District 20, believes that roads inside the district are getting safer. Kindhart cited tough enforcement policies and better education as the main reason why some key traffic statistics were down in 2012.
COUNTY FINANCE: Adams County could consider a wellness program as a way to help stem health insurance costs in the future. The catch is that if employees chose not to participate in the program, they could start paying premiums for their health insurance.
GARDENERS PALETTE: Registrations are being accepted for the 18th annual Gardeners Palette. The program gets both new and experienced gardeners motivated for the upcoming growing season. With PULLOUT and HEDSHOT of Kari Houle.
FAFSA NIGHT: Quincy High School students and their parents can get some help filling out Free Application for Federal Student Aid applications during a "FAFSA completion night" event from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at QHS.
SCHOOL GUNS-ARMING ADMINISTRATORS: School officials in a central Illinois town are considering training a handful of administrators as auxiliary police officers and letting them carry concealed handguns at the local high school. The idea being considered at Washington Community High School is, like many campus-safety plans being discussed nationwide, a response to the December shootings that killed 20 children and six educators at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Conn. But it's illegal in Illinois to carry concealed weapons, so the proposal suggests a way around the law: Making a few administrators part of the police force, Washington police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker said.
NIXON INAUGURAL: Gov. Jay Nixon recalled Missouri's bloody history in the Civil War during his inaugural address Monday while encouraging Democrats and Republicans in charge of the state's politically divided government to come together for the common good. Nixon took the oath of office for a second term shortly after noon Monday with his hand on a family Bible -- and his wife and two sons at his side -- in a chilly outdoor ceremony at the Capitol. It was the climax of a full day of events that began with a worship service at a nearby church and was to conclude with an inaugural ball inside the Capitol.
HIKERS DIE: On a weekend trip that was a surprise anniversary gift for his wife, an outdoors-loving Air Force veteran ventured out with two of his sons for a hike on a remote trail. Clad only in light jackets and sweaters, the three apparently didn't know how rapidly the weather would turn ugly, and that proved deadly. Searchers found the soaked bodies of 36-year-old David Decareaux and the two boys -- ages 8 and 10 -- on the Ozark Trail on Sunday, a day after Decareaux declined a passerby's offer of a ride back to the lodge where they had been staying, Reynolds County Sheriff Tom Volner said. The cold had killed them, he said.
DOUBLE SLAYING-ILLINOIS: Police say the strangulation and attempted dismemberment of two Illinois men, allegedly at the hands of four young adults, is one of the most heinous cases they've seen. Three of the people arrested were playing video games when police arrived at a Joliet home, where the bodies of Eric Glover and Terrence Rankins were found Thursday. "This is one of the most brutal, heinous and upsetting things I've ever seen in my 27 years of law enforcement," Police Chief Mike Trafton said. "Not only the crime scene, but the disregard for common decency toward human beings."
AIRLINE SUED: The lawsuit filed against United Airlines, alleging that the company falsely claims to buy jet fuel in a rural Illinois community in order to skirt tens of millions of dollars in sales taxes, hinges on whether a transportation agency can prove the monumental purchasing task couldn't have been done from inside the airline's tiny office 70 miles from Chicago. T
BRIEFLY: Leaders of the University of Missouri system want researchers on the system's four campuses to collaborate; Nine relics stolen from a Missouri Catholic parish are back with the church; The Illinois Department of Employment Security says it's closing seven offices and reducing staff by nearly 200 people; Northern Illinois University President John Peters has provided input to Vice President Joe Biden's task force on reducing gun violence; The Illinois Department on Aging is warning seniors about a recent scam that fooled two elderly women; Western Illinois University is receiving a grant from the Arbor Day Foundation that will allow reforestation of the Horn Field Campus; The Presidential Inaugural Committee says a float honoring Illinois will be among eight commissioned by the committee in Monday's parade after President Barack Obama is sworn in; A statewide snow-sculpting competition scheduled for Rockford has been canceled because there's not enough snow; Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered an analysis of Chicago's city employee pension funds to see if they hold companies that make or sell assault weapons.
AUTO SHOW-GENERAL MOTORS-GLOBAL SALES: Toyota has once again dethroned General Motors as the world's top-selling automaker. The Japanese company sold 9.9 million cars and trucks worldwide last year, although it's still counting. GM sold 9.3 million. Both companies saw higher sales, but Toyota's growth was far larger as it rolled out new versions of popular models like the Camry. Both companies say publicly that they don't care about who wins, but concede that the crown is an important morale booster for employees.
RETAIL SALES: The government reports on U.S. retail spending in December at 7:30 a.m. CST
DELL-STOCK: Dell's stock soared on a report that the struggling personal computer maker is in talks to take the company private. The report said, citing people familiar with knowledge of the situation, that Dell has discussed a potential sale with at least two firms that specialize in buying companies whose stocks have fallen out of favor.
FACEBOOK EVENT: Facebook's mystery "press event" on Tuesday could unveil a more robust search feature that will further heat up the competition between the social networking giant and rival Google Inc. The company invited bloggers and journalists last week to "come see what we're building."
BRIEFCASE: Medicaid coverage provider Centene Corp. has agreed to buy specialty pharmacy AcariaHealth for $152 million in a deal designed to help its pharmacy benefits management business; A measure of U.S. home prices rose in 2012 by the most in six years, buoyed by stronger demand, a lower inventory of unsold homes and fewer sales of bank-owned properties; UPS scraps $6.9 billion takeover of TNT Express, faced likely rejection from EU regulators; Apple's stock slipped below $500 for the first time in 11 months amid the latest signs that its latest iPhone is falling further behind a slew of sleek, less expensive alternatives running on Google's Android software.
COONS ARREST: A Quincy man was arrested Monday on an outstanding warrant for predatory criminal sexual abuse.
WHITE SUPREMACIST KILLINGS: A California judge finds a boy responsible for the murder of his white supremacist father when he was just 10. The boy's attorney had argued that he grew up in an abusive, violent environment and learned it was acceptable to kill people who were a threat. But the judge ruled that despite the abuse, the boy was responsible for murder, and he may be jailed until he is 23.
BRIDGE DEATH-CHARGES: A 27-year-old man has been sentenced to the maximum punishment of 14 years in prison for driving drunk and killing a St. Louis man who was struck by a vehicle and knocked off a Mississippi River bridge.
CAR HITS HOUSE-DEATH: Authorities in southwestern Illinois say a man was killed inside his home when an SUV crashed into the house.
BICYCLIST SHOT: St. Louis police are investigating after a man was found dead on a bicycle.
BONDSMEN CHARGED: Three central Missouri bail bondsmen are accused of assaulting a fugitive they were trying to apprehend for failing to appear in court on several warrants.
MUMBAI ATTACKS-SENTENCING: Prosecutors are asking a federal judge to give the maximum 30-year sentence to a Chicago businessman convicted of supporting a terrorist group that staged the deadly 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India.
FAMILY SLAIN-ILLINOIS: The trial of a central Illinois man accused of killing five members of a Beason family will be in Peoria County instead of Logan County.
WEED TRIMMER SLAYING: A man accused of beating his sleeping father to death with a weed trimmer has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
CHICAGO COUNCIL-SETTLEMENTS: A Chicago City Council committee is scheduled to consider proposals that would settle a pair of lawsuits against police for more than $32 million.
REAPER: Clark County native L.S. Murphy recently published her debut novel, Reaper. Reaper is a young adult paranormal romance about 16-year-old Quincy Amarante, who learns her destiny is to become a grim reaper. Quincy must navigate the social pitfalls of high school while learning what her future holds.
GOLDEN ERA FOR NFL QBs: Young, old and in between, the current crop of NFL quarterbacks is not only deep but dynamic and diverse.
CRAMSEY WINS GLVC AWARD: Quincy University junior Lucy Cramsey was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Monday. Cramsey averaged 17 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in a pair of QU wins last week and made 54.2 percent of her field-goal attempts. Cramsey endured a scare with her right knee during QU's 65-62 win over Southern Indiana on Saturday. That's the same knee she suffered an ACL tear in that caused her to miss the 2010-11 season. She said Monday she sprained her knee. Cramsey said she didn't practice Monday, but she plans to practice Tuesday and play in QU's game at Missouri S&T on Thursday.
ARMSTRONG ADMITS PED USE: After a decade of denial, Lance Armstrong has finally come clean: He used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. The disgraced cyclist made the confession to Oprah Winfrey during an interview taped Monday, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
GLVC HOOPS NOTEBOOK: Quincy University senior guard Ryan Stuckman continues to recover from soreness in his left knee, and Hawks coach Marty Bell said during Monday's "Marty Bell Show" on ESPN 1440 that Stuckman is questionable for Thursday's game at Missouri S&T. Stuckman had started the first 11 games for QU but tweaked his knee in practice on Jan. 7 and sat out during the Hawks' two losses last week. He's averaging 8.3 points and a team-best 1.6 steals per game.