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Macon County State's Attorney fired back at a grand jury report that was released last week that said his office's work environment was "toxic and threatening," but did not recommend any criminal charges. Read more below.

Four other stories you should see are Gov. Bruce Rauner's annual budget address, Cape Air takes off in Decatur, the Illini play at Indiana tonight and Theatre 7's latest production is an Agatha Christie classic.   

Scott: Grand jury report 'slanderous,' outside its duties

Macon County State's Attorney Jay Scott is criticizing the special prosecutor who led a grand jury investigation into allegations against him. Scott is disputing the findings of the jury, which were filed in Macon County Circuit Court last week.

Special prosecutor Stephanie Wong said in court documents that she would not file criminal charges against Scott, whom she was investigating after allegations of misconduct. However, the grand jury said in its findings report that the work environment in Scott's office was “toxic and threatening,” and jurors recommended an independent review.

In the statement Wednesday, Scott said state law does not give grand juries power to issue general reports. He described the document as "slanderous" and "unauthorized," and said Wong had never attempted to interview him.

Read the full story here.

Rauner calls for $1B tax cut in budget address

Gov. Bruce Rauner says a $1 billion tax cut should be the top priority for this year's legislative session. The Republican said Wednesday it could be achieved by changing the way pensions are doled out to state employees.

But the pension changes are contentious and experts question whether a court would find it constitutional.

Rauner's fourth budget address included his promised plan for a phased-in cut in last year's income-tax increase. Lawmakers increased the rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent to help pay down the state's massive deficit. Rauner vetoed it but it was enacted anyway.

Read the full story, watch the video and see a transcript of the speech here.

Cape Air's Decatur service takes off

Cape Air kicked off its service at Decatur Airport on Wednesday with a 7 a.m. departure to St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The airline also provides daily flights to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, both on a twin-engine Cessna that seats nine.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Cape Air a two-year contract in December. The federal agency chooses Decatur’s airline because its air service is subsidized through the Essential Air Service program.

Read the full story here and a column by reporter Jaylyn Cook here.

Illini playing at rowdy Indiana tonight

Illini coach Brad Underwood figures he knows three things for certain about Wednesday night's rematch with Indiana.

One, the game will be in Bloomington, Ind., at the always rowdy Assembly Hall. “Played there,” Underwood said, recalling his days as a guard at Kansas State. “Never coached there.”

Two, Indiana will do what every team now realizes it must do. The Hoosiers will make life difficult for freshman guard Trent Frazier, who on Monday was named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week.

The third thing Underwood said he can count on is that Indiana will clog the lane with defenders.

Read Mark Tupper's preview here.

Agatha Christie classic up next for Theatre 7

Theatre 7's Al Scheider directed the upcoming show “And Then There Were None" 20 years ago as a high school teacher: “And I loved it then,” he said.

When the opportunity to direct the murder mystery came up again, Scheider said he volunteered to direct of one of his favorite Agatha Christie plays.

Theatre 7 will perform “And Then There Were None” Feb. 16-18 and 23-25 in the Decatur Civic Center Theater. The play is the second show of the theater’s "Murder, Mysteries and Mayhem" season.

Read the preview here.

jreidy@herald-review.com | (217) 421-6973

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