CHILD CARE BACKUP: Illinois children whose parents qualify for the Affordable Care Act may be left in limbo for up to three months, according to local health care workers. State officials say even if paperwork is running behind, children should be covered for health issues.
SALES TAX: Quincy sales tax figures are coming in above budget projections this year, but with expenses expected to rise and the city now directing a portion of general fund revenue to cover firefighter and police pensions, sales tax and other revenues will become increasingly important to fund services.
ECONOMY: Healthy U.S. economic growth in the second half of last year has raised expectations that 2013 ended with a fifth straight month of solid hiring. Economists predict that employers added 196,000 jobs last month, according to a survey by FactSet. That would be nearly as strong as November's robust gain of 203,000. The unemployment rate is forecast to remain at a five-year low of 7 percent.
HUSAR COLUMN: A recent conversation with Trooper Mike Kindhart, the safety education officer for the Illinois State Police in Pittsfield, was very interesting. It was a Thursday night in mid-December, and icy conditions were creating traffic headaches throughout the region. Since I was writing a weather story that night, I called several law enforcement sources to get their take on the situation. As we were ending our conversation, Kindhart said he wanted to note for the record that the ISP is getting away from using the term "accidents" when referring to routine collisions, roll-overs and other motor vehicle mishaps investigated by the agency.
MEXICO-BOATS SEIZED: When heavily armed marines and government tax agents stormed eight marinas on Mexico's Pacific and Caribbean coasts, boaters thought they were witnessing a major drug bust. The mostly American and Canadian retirees found out the target was actually them -- couples spending their golden years sailing warm-weather ports in modest 40-foot boats. After inspecting more than 1,600 vessels in late November, the Mexican government's Treasury Department announced it had initiated seizure orders against 338 boats it accused of lacking a $70 permit.
FOOD STAMPS: Doctors are warning that the federal government could be socked with a bigger health bill someday if Congress cuts food stamps and hunger-related issues send the poor to doctors' offices or hospitals. The lobbying effort comes as lawmakers craft a compromise farm bill certain to include cuts to the nation's food stamp program. Republicans are seeking heftier reductions than Democrats.
CHRISTIE-TRAFFIC JAMS: A wounded Chris Christie is working to move beyond the most challenging test of his political career, while the New Jersey Republican governor's critics promise to keep probing a traffic scandal that rocked his administration this week and threatens to tarnish his national image ahead of the next presidential contest.
HOTEL SLAYING-911 CALL: Hank Hunt's 9-year-old granddaughter tried to call 911 from the hotel room where she could hear her mother dying. She didn't know to dial 9 first. "Papa," she told Hunt later, "I tried, but it wouldn't work." Kari Hunt Dunn's slaying in December, allegedly at the hands of her estranged husband, inspired Hunt to launch a national push to require hotels and other businesses to do away with dialing 9 or anything else before calling 911. An online petition has gotten 365,000 signatures. Advocates at a national 911 organization say changes are long overdue to prevent anyone from getting stuck when trying to call for help.
HAGEL-NUCLEAR FORCES: Moments before he launches a carefully planned pep talk to members of the Air Force's nuclear missile force, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is undercut by yet another sign of trouble in their ranks: a drug probe of two missile officers.
BRIEFLY: A series of killings in southern Russia involving booby-trapped bombs has heightened security fears ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi; Film director Zhang Yimou must pay more than $1.2 million in fines for having three children in violation of China's strict family planning rules; An American man who was arrested in the United Arab Emirates for a parody video that was posted online has been released from prison and was en route to Minnesota; Nearly seven weeks after signing a landmark nuclear deal, representatives of Iran and six world powers hope to reach agreement this week on its implementation; An Indian envoy whose arrest and strip search in New York City caused a diplomatic furor is heading home after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Manhattan and then ordered to leave the country; Students at the U.S. military academies often believe they have to put up with sexist and offensive behavior, a Pentagon report finds; Obama's health care law back in GOP crosshairs as House weighs bills on reporting, security; Nine W.Va. counties told not to drink, cook, bathe in water after chemical spill into Elk River; Two service members, 1 Afghan employee die in aircraft accident in eastern Afghanistan; Search called off for sailor missing since Navy helicopter crash off Virginia; A federal judge in Ohio will again weigh competing testimony from experts over the effects of a lethal injection method; Fla. man survives being stuck under truck for hours in subzero temperatures, snow in Indiana; Off-duty Houston firefighter uses beer to put out truck tire blaze, rig was hauling the brew.
COUNTY CLERK FORUM: The three candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Adams County clerk/recorder said they would work to eliminate deficiencies in the office that were reported during several audits. Scott Stone, Chuck Venvertloh and Becky Weed spoke during a forum at the Adams County Republican Party meeting Thursday at the Twin Oaks Club.
ARTS AWARDS: The four recipients of the annual City of Quincy Arts Awards epitomize a strong spirit of volunteerism and community involvement.
OLIVER SENTENCING: A Quincy woman was sentenced Thursday to 30 months of probation on a methamphetamine charge in a case in which one of her co-defendants admitted dumping meth waste into the Mississippi River.
TRAIN DERAILMENT: A railroad car accident caused Mo. 79 north of Continental Cement to close Thursday morning and into the afternoon.
BURGLARY ARREST: A Hannibal woman was arrested Wednesday in connection with the Jan. 2 burglary of the Salvation Army's thrift store at 302 Broadway in Hannibal.
QUINCY DRUG ARREST: A noisy and damaged car that drew the attention of police at 10:10 p.m. Wednesday resulted in the arrest of a Quincy man.
TRAFFIC STOP: Quincy driver arrested on multiple charges after traffic stop early Friday morning.
WEST QUINCY ACCIDENT: Two injured in West Quincy accident.
GOLDEN FIRE VICTIMS: Efforts are being made to help the family of six who lost their home and most of their belongings in an early Sunday morning fire in Golden.
ILLINOIS GOVERNOR-MINIMUM WAGE: The rising issue of a minimum wage hike tripped up Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, as he declared his previous support for cutting Illinois' minimum wage a "mistake" and said he would now do the opposite: support raising it.
TORNADO-FEMA AID: Gov. Pat Quinn said Illinois would appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency's denial of the state's request for $6.1 million in aid to local governments after deadly tornadoes in November.
MISSOURI-SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: A newly filed lawsuit challenges Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's directive that state tax officials accept jointly filed returns from same-sex couples who have legally married in other states.
BRIEFLY: Western Illinois college administrators are considering whether to create a small, armed campus police force; Nobel laureate and longtime Northwestern University economics professor Dale Mortensen has died; State officials say Rockford was a finalist being considered for a massive Boeing plant before the aerospace company reached a deal with a union and agreed to build its 777X planes near Seattle; Slightly more water than normal is expected to flow into the Missouri River this spring, but the dams along the river should have room for it; Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants the owner of a suburban St. Louis landfill to provide more details about the site; A suburban St. Louis man is $2 million richer after matching all but the Powerball number in the Dec. 4 Powerball drawing.
GADGET SHOW-SMART CARS: With apologies to David Hasselhoff and "KITT," Knight Rider reruns aren't the only place you can see a truly "smart" car these days. At the International CES gadget show this week, a French company is starting to sell a driverless shuttle in the U.S., and Harman is showing how drivers can make use of Google Glass while behind the wheel.
HOLIDAY SALES: Several major retailers slashed their fourth-quarter profit forecasts this week in the latest sign that Americans didn't spend briskly during the holiday shopping season.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 330,000, signaling fewer layoffs and steady job growth.
MORTGAGE RATES: Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages barely changed this week, hovering near historically low levels. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average for the 30-year loan slipped to 4.51 percent from 4.53 percent last week.
BRIEFCASE: A new report says almost one-third of Illinois homes are "deeply underwater" meaning that they're worth at least 25 percent less than what's owed on the loans; Snapchat has released an update to its disappearing-photo app following a security breach last week that exposed the phone numbers of millions of users. And for the first time since the New Year's breach, the company said it's sorry; Television's Military Channel has a change of mission. Discovery Communications said Thursday that the Military Channel is changing its name to the American Heroes Channel, beginning in March; Ford is raising the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders for the second time since restoring the payout in 2012.
MISSOURI TEEN-SEX ASSAULT: A Missouri man accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old schoolmate when he was 17 pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor child endangerment -- a far less serious crime than the rape charges the girl and her family had been pursuing.
ISU KILLING-BEAMAN: A judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing former prosecutors and police of conspiring to wrongfully accuse a man imprisoned for 13 years before DNA evidence cleared him in the murder of his girlfriend.
STEPDAUGHTER KILLED: A man convicted of raping and murdering a 9-year-old southwest Missouri girl has appealed his conviction and death sentence to the Missouri Supreme Court.
SAUDI SUSPECTS-HIGH BOND: Prosecutors have dropped the main charge against two Saudi Arabian men accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in Springfield, prompting a judge to significantly reduce their combined $2 million bond.
HUSBAND-BEATING DEATH: A northwest Missouri woman was sentenced to eight years in prison for beating her husband to death with a hammer.
CHILD DEATH-ST LOUIS: St. Louis police are investigating the death of a 3-year-old boy.
COUNTERFEIT DOCUMENTS: A federal judge in Chicago is scheduled to sentence three men for one of the largest counterfeit-documentation schemes of its kind
POLICE CORRUPTION-CRACKDOWN: A 2-year prison sentence was handed a former southern Illinois police officer convicted of forcing a woman to have oral sex, stealing village funds and evading taxes.
ILLINOIS JUDGE-INVESTIGATION: The federal judge presiding over the drug and weapons case against a former Illinois judge says he's unhappy with the 18-month sentence recommended by prosecutors.
AUNT DEATH-LIFE SENTENCE: A suburban Chicago man has been sentenced to life in prison for the brutal beating death of his elderly aunt.
SISTER SHOT-WISCONSIN: Wisconsin police say a young Illinois man accidentally shot his teenage sister in the arm, thinking she was an intruder.
QU MEN WIN: Behind a career night from Scottie Bruxvoort, the Quincy University men's basketball team beats McKendree for its first Great Lakes Valley Conference victory of the season.
QU WOMEN WIN: The Quincy University women's basketball team bounces back from its first GLVC loss to steamroll McKendree and get right back on track.
DEVILS STILL STRUGGLING: The Quincy High School boys basketball team scores only 14 points in the first half and cannot erase a deficit, losing to Alton in the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout in St. Louis.
Today ... Areas of fog in the morning. Occasional rain. High around 40. South wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90 percent.
Tonight ... Cloudy. Rain likely in the evening. Low around 30. South wind 10 to 15 mph in the evening shifting to the west with gusts to around 25 mph after midnight. Chance of rain 60 percent.
Saturday ... Mostly cloudy early in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. High around 40. West wind around 15 mph.
Saturday night ... Mostly clear. Low in the upper 20s. West wind 10 to 15 mph in the evening shifting to the southwest after midnight.
Sunday ... Warmer. Partly cloudy. High around 50. South wind 10 to 15 mph.
Sunday night ... Partly cloudy in the evening then becoming mostly cloudy. Low around 30.
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