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    There's a question I've been asked for years, both seriously and by people with a smirk on their face because they know it's impossible. The question is some variation of: "Can you tell me what to plant for a no-maintenance garden?"

      If someone asked you to name your favorite spring flower, what would you say? Something along the lines of daffodils, tulips, or hyacinths? Even though there are probably a thousand daffodils in my yard, my all-time favorite is the primrose.

        Years ago, when I was a newly-minted University of Illinois Extension Educator, I received a phone call one afternoon from a reporter for a Chicago-based television station. I was taken off-guard, wondering why they were calling me since Decatur is about 180 miles from Chicago.

        Macon County State’s Attorney Scott Rueter shares his stance on portions of Illinois' SAFE-T Act package during a Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Wednesday. Rueter is one of many Illinois State's Attorneys who signed onto a lawsuit challenging the "Pretrial Fairness Act" po…

        Indiana Republicans have forged ahead with a proposal that would upend the current nonpartisan school board elections across the state despite opponents of the change arguing it would further inject politics into local schools. The Indiana House elections committee voted 6-4 along party lines Wednesday to endorse a bill to establish a system allowing each of the state’s nearly 300 school boards to decide whether to require candidates to declare a political party or a voter referendum making that decision. Candidates could be required to win a party’s May primary in order to advance to the November general election ballot. Bill supporters say they believe having candidates identified by political party would give voters more information.

        Big money is pouring into primary care clinics as the nation’s health care giants hunt for ways to cut costs by keeping people healthy. CVS Health said Wednesday that it will spend about $10.6 billion to buy Oak Street Health, which runs clinics that specialize in treating Medicare Advantage patients. That follows a nearly $9-billion investment by rival Walgreens in VillageMD’s acquisition of the urgent and primary care chain Summit Health-CityMD. Both deals involve an expansion of value-based care, an approach to medicine growing popular with bill payers like the federal government’s Medicare program.

        Police say an armed man who was involved in an altercation early Wednesday outside a Chicago bar was fatally shot by police officers during an exchange of gunfire in an alley. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown says officers were called to the scene about 3 a.m. CT about a person with a gun when the suspect ran into an alley and exchanged gunfire with officers. Brown says the suspect was shot and died at the scene. He says the two officers involved in the shooting were not hurt but they were taken to area hospitals for observation purposes. One officer is a 12-year veteran and the other is a probationary officer.

        Two Chicago men have been charged in connection with the August death of a Florida woman who was struck by a car as the men were allegedly street racing. Chicago police say 27-year-old Aaron Guerrero was charged with reckless homicide with a motor vehicle and aggravated street racing in the death 40-year-old Shawman Meireis of Naples, Florida. The Chicago Tribune reports that 36-year-old Noe Garcia, is charged with aggravated street racing in the incident on the city’s southwest side. Meireis was crossing a street early on Aug. 28 near Midway Airport when police said Guerrero's Corvette hit another car and careened into Meireis, who died at a hospital.

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        Among the tense moments: Incumbent Lori Lightfoot accused Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson of “mansplaining” and scolded former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas for treating her “like some child.”

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