August 1  5:37 am

Matthiessen State Park
 Trail closures at Starved Rock State Park have meant more visitors to the neighboring Matthiessen State Park in LaSalle County.  Trails have been closed at Starved Rock since storms on June 30 downed trees. Mathiessen Park Superitendent Mark McConnaughhay says the Starved Rock trail closures have "put more people on the trails at Matthiessen" than he's seen in "quite some time."

Farm Equipment Lee County
 Vintage farm equipment including tractors, corn shredders and potato diggers will be on display Saturday and Sunday in Lee County.  The Living History Antique Equipment Association is staging the 25-acre exhibition of old-fashioned farm implements in the village of Franklin Grove this weekend.   Association President Dave Shaw says that the show has doubled in size during the past two decades and nearly 400 pieces of machinery will be on view. 

Streator City Manager (SPL)
Streator’s new city manager will be taking the helm at the end of the year. At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Scot Wrighton spoke about how he is excited to begin his second tenure for the city of Streator. One of Wrighton’s main points was how to maintain the sustainability by delivering “longer, faster, and cheaper.” Wrighton said that he has gone off the normal path of a city manager from going from a small community to a larger one then back to a small one and has had “no regrets.” While he did not speak on any of the current issues, he said he will be ready to help advance the plans set forth by the Mayor and city council.

Financial Aid Extensions
Illinois Valley Community College announced that financial aid extensions are being offered. School officials say the extension is available for students who have yet to apply for financial aid or have not yet enrolled in classes and that cannot pay tuition themselves.  Extensions can be requested through August 14th and a down payment must be made by August 22nd

 Energy watchdog groups are worried that Exelon's plan to buy one of its competitors will be bad for northern Illinois electricity customers. Exelon said Wednesday that it's buying the retail business of Integrys for $60 million. Environmental Law and Policy Center executive director Howard Learner says Exelon's acquisition of Integrys could reduce competition and lead to higher utility bills.

Chicago Shooting
 The local medical examiner has identified the man accused of shooting and wounding his boss before fatally shooting himself inside a Chicago high-rise office building. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the man as Anthony DeFrances. Police say a demoted worker pulled a gun after entering a 17th-floor office to meet with his company's CEO.

Rauner Agriculture
 Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) says a coalition of supporters from Illinois' agricultural community is backing his bid to unseat Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. Rauner stopped yesterday at a farm in the central Illinois community of Lincoln. The Winnetka businessman says he will be "a champion" for Illinois agriculture.

Chicago and Illegal Immigrant Children
 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says bringing some 1,000 illegal immigrant children who have fled Central America to the city is simply the right thing to do. President Barack Obama's administration recently approached Emanuel about perhaps housing 1,000 illegal immigrant children in Chicago sites bankrolled by the federal government. Emanuel says welcoming the children "speaks to who we are as a city."

Meat in Needles
 Federal prosecutors are accusing an Illinois man of inserting sewing needles into packaged ground beef for more than a year at a supermarket in his hometown.   Sixty-eight-year-old Ronald Avers of Belleville was charged Wednesday with seven felony counts of tampering with consumer products.  The FBI alleges in court filings that a Shop 'n Save grocery store reported on July 9 at least seven cases since May of last year in which sewing needles were found in packaged meat products.

Asian Carp
 Illinois' two U.S. senators are pressing federal officials to take action against the threat of Asian carp and other invasive species.   Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk sent a letter Thursday to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Other Great Lakes senators also signed the letter.    They say urgent action is needed to protect the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basin.