Preparing for Nobel week

Tony Leggett was working on a lecture earlier this week and it had him worried.

Sure, the University of Illinois physics professor gives lectures all the time, but he allowed that this one was a little different.

State to track threat to farms

SPRINGFIELD – The state plans to launch a pilot program in Clinton County that will use satellite technology and the Internet to map out agricultural assets that are potentially at risk of terrorism.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich pledged Friday to "expeditiously" expand the program to the state's other 101 counties if it proves to be successful.

State alleges Do Not Call list breach

SPRINGFIELD – A Missouri company selling vacations is the first to be charged with violating Illinois' Do Not Call list.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit Thursday against Surrey Vacation Resorts Inc. of Branson, Mo.

UI to recognize standout minority students in Illinois

CHICAGO – The University of Illinois is honoring more than 1,300 top black, Latino and American Indian students from Illinois high schools Thursday in Chicago.

Officials hope many of them choose to come to the UI, and if the pattern of recent years holds true, more than half of them will study at one of the UI's three campuses after high school.

Flying 'Air Illinois'

SPRINGFIELD – At a time when budget crises have led states such as Texas, Wisconsin and Missouri to pare down or eliminate state-owned aircraft, Illinois is hanging onto a fleet that includes four executive Beechcraft King Air 350 airplanes that on average are flying half-empty and two Sikorsky passenger helicopters that are rarely used.

And the rates that the state charges the passengers on these roomy flights are not sufficient to recover the costs of owning and operating the fleet, even if the plane is full.

Doctor loses Illinois license

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation has revoked the license of an Illinois doctor who already lost his licenses in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Tennessee for allegedly selling prescriptions over the Internet without examining the patients or getting the proper information from them.

"It is clear that his actions in doing so place patients in North Dakota and elsewhere at risk," concluded the North Dakota State Board of Medical Examiners.

Complaint names Urbana attorney

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission has accused Urbana attorney Robert G. Frederick of engaging in an improper relationship with a client and making a false statement to the court.

In a complaint served this week, the commission alleged Frederick had a sexual relationship with a woman he represented in a custody case and five other lawsuits, a situation that would present a conflict of interest for him.

Bill aims to better protect children

SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, wants to make sure that the Santa you take your kids to see at the mall doesn't have any unsavory motives.

Most malls already conduct background checks on applicants for such positions, but Mitchell has introduced legislation in the General Assembly that would prohibit convicted sex offenders from participating in any holiday event involving children, including Halloween trick-or-treating or wearing a Santa or Easter Bunny costume.

Web site puts focus on deadbeats

SPRINGFIELD – A Paris, Ill., man is now famous for something you don't want to be famous for.

The Illinois Department of Public Aid's Division of Child Support Enforcement launched a Web site Monday with photos of Illinois' worst offenders on child support.

$2 million released for Lincoln Hall

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich released $2 million Friday afternoon in planning money for the renovation of Lincoln Hall at the University of Illinois.

"Senator Rick Winkel has been working diligently with our administration over the last several months to make sure that funds were available for the Lincoln Hall project and we are pleased to join him in seeing his hard work pay off," said Abby Ottenhoff, a spokeswoman for Blagojevich.