AP: Illinois news digest for Thursday, Oct. 3

TOP STORY:

EARLY RELEASE-MURDER CHARGE

SPRINGFIELD – An ex-convict accused of killing a man shortly after getting out of prison under Illinois’ revamped early-release program hadn’t been fitted with an electronic ankle monitor, as he should have been, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Associated Press. An Illinois Department of Corrections official says an unnamed agency employee failed to follow a Prisoner Review Board order to put 28-year-old Joshua A. Jones on electronic monitoring before setting him free May 3, five months before Jones’ scheduled release. Jones was arrested in August for allegedly killing a 22-year-old man outside of a Decatur home. It’s unclear if the electronic monitoring could have prevented the Aug. 15 fatal shooting of Marvin E. Perry, if Jones is responsible, as prosecutors contend.

STATE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS:

HEALTH OVERHAUL-ILLINOIS

CHICAGO – Illinois officials thanked state residents for their patience on the second day of a new online health insurance marketplace where consumers have run into frustrating glitches when they tried to sign up for coverage. For the second day, a new Illinois website routed people to a state Medicaid enrollment site or to a federal website, depending on household income. The Medicaid side of the system appeared to be working smoothly, with more than 5,000 applications submitted online. But problems with the federal website continued to prevent many people in Illinois and elsewhere from setting up accounts, comparing insurance policies and enrolling for coverage under the nation’s new health care law.

With:

-HEALTH OVERHAUL-ILLINOIS RATES: Information on the prices of the health insurance policies available on the new Illinois marketplace is emerging, but slowly.

SHUTDOWN-MY VACATION

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. – Everybody gathers around Joe, the guy who seems to have all the answers. Only he doesn’t. He’s worked in Yosemite National Park for about 30 years, and is trying to advise anxious guests about what’s open, what’s closed as the government shutdown enters its second day. If they want to see the valley floor, he says, they’d better get in their cars and drive now, before more of the roads are closed. They probably won’t find an open restroom along the way, but the food court in Yosemite Village might be – for now. Then again, they might get turned away. Who knows? It’s hour by hour now. I never intended to get a first-hand look at the closure of a national park. But here I am, trying to figure out what to do when some of the wonders I’d come to see are inaccessible.

AROUND THE STATE:

BEANIE BABIES CREATOR-CHARGED

CHICAGO – The billionaire who created Beanie Babies broke down crying in court as he pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion for hiding $25 million in income in secret Swiss bank accounts. H. Ty Warner, 69, also apologized as he stood before a federal judge in Chicago, removing his designer tortoise-shell glasses and wiping away tears as he struggled to regain his composure. “I have so much to be thankful for,” said the suburban Chicago businessman, his voice breaking as he cited his Illinois-based stuffed-toy company, TY Inc. “There is no excuse for my actions.”

JUDGE INVESTIGATION-NEW TRIAL

BELLEVILLE, Ill. – A man convicted in an East St. Louis shooting death was granted a new trial by a judge who ruled the man’s trial attorneys should have been told the presiding judge and the case’s key investigator were under separate drug investigations. St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert Haida granted the new trial requested by 29-year-old William Cosby, who was found guilty in April of first-degree murder in last year’s shooting death of Antwan Thomas, 31, outside an East St. Louis lounge. Cosby’s conviction came roughly three weeks before federal prosecutors charged the presiding judge, Michael Cook, with possessing heroin and having a gun while illegally using controlled substances.

CHICAGO-PICASSO MODEL

CHICAGO – A model of Pablo Picasso’s famed Chicago sculpture will be auctioned next month, and Christie’s estimates it will sell for between $25 million and $35 million. The late Spanish artist created the piece, named Tete, between 1962 and 1964. The iron and sheet metal model that goes to auction Nov. 4 in New York is 41 Î_ inches tall and 27 Î_ inches wide. It was later made into the 65-foot-tall, welded-iron sculpture unveiled Aug. 15, 1967, in Chicago’s downtown Daley Plaza. The sculpture is a top tourist attraction in the city, with children often playing on it in the summer and visitors debating what the enigmatic artwork depicts.

BUDGET BATTLE-VETERANS MEMORIAL-ILLINOIS

CHICAGO – About 90 Illinois veterans traveled to Washington on Wednesday to visit the World War II Memorial despite a government shutdown that threatened the success of the pilgrimage. The veterans’ trip, organized by Honor Flight Chicago, was a success despite initial fears they, many in their 90s, wouldn’t be allowed to view the memorial. However, that wasn’t the case. Only a banner stood in their way. “It was easy, we just do what we always do in a war – move it aside!” Gerry Goldman said after he returned with others to Chicago’s Midway Airport.

EXCHANGE: JUDAISM IN ROCKFORD

ROCKFORD – The Rock River Valley does not have the numbers to fill two large Jewish sanctuaries in Rockford. Ohave Sholom Synagogue leaders were forced to put their building on the market when it became too expensive and too large to house its 30 members. Their home of more than 40 years, 3730 Guilford Road, had changed from a place that once embraced teaching the conservative approach of Judaism to youths to one of a predominately older generation. They knew they would have to eventually say goodbye to their sanctuary unless many new families joined. “We got spoiled and reality sets in, and you’re not spoiled anymore,” Ohave member Ruby Lash said. By Jennifer Wheeler. Rockford Register Star.

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