SPRINGFIELD

Reba McEntire set for Illinois State Fair

Country Music Hall of Fame legend Reba McEntire will perform this summer at the Illinois State Fair.

Officials say she will close out the lineup at the Illinois Lottery Grandstand Stage with a concert on Aug. 18.

McEntire is a household name whose career has spanned five decades in music, television, film, theater and retail. She's a member of the Hollywood Bowl and has won 16 ACM Awards, 15 American Music Awards, nine People's Choice Awards, six CMA Awards, three Grammy Awards and a GMA Dove Award.

The 2018 Kennedy Center Honors recipient has a new album. "Stranger Than the Truth" is scheduled for release April 5 on Big Machine Records.

Country singer Rachel Wammack will open for McEntire. Wammack was selected for Entertainment Weekly's "2019 Artists to Watch."

URBANA

U of I adds faculty as enrollment rises

The University of Illinois plans to hire hundreds of new faculty members at its three campuses as enrollment rises.

The News-Gazette reports President Tim Killeen told trustees Thursday that the hiring initiative is needed in response to the 7,500 students that have been added since 2014. He says the university system has seen a 9.5 percent increase in students, while faculty has only grown by about 2 percent.

The plan calls for the university system to hire about 900 faculty members over the next five years.

Killeen says faculty hiring lagged as the university struggled with funding during the two-year state budget impasse. He says it's resulted in larger class sizes and higher student to faculty ratio, which hurts the quality of education and the system's national rankings.

CARBONDALE

Shawnee road shut for snake migration

A stretch of road in southern Illinois is closed to allow snakes and amphibians the chance to migrate to their summer homes.

The Shawnee National Forest's "snake road" was closed Friday to allow the animals to move from the limestone bluffs where they hibernate during the winter to the nearby LaRue Swamp. The migration attracts spectators from across the country.

The (Carbonale) Southern Illinoisan reports that some of the species are considered threatened or endangered in Illinois. The migration is gradual and takes about two months.

The 2½-mile stretch of roadway is often called Snake Road. It's also known as LaRue Road or Forest Service Road. It will be closed until May 15 to vehicle traffic, but foot traffic is welcome.

CHICAGO

Court: Too late to claim stolen plane

A Chicago federal appeals court has handed a defeat to one man's legal battle to claim a WWII-era fighter plane he alleged was stolen and rightfully belonged to him.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports Thursday that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found Richard Vartanian had run out of time under statute of limitations to pursue his claim.

Vartanian bought a P-51D Mustang from Canada in the 1960s. He says it was stolen between 1974 and 1985.

In 1985, Vartanian contacted law enforcement authorities. He revived his inquires 15 years ago when he read an article that mentioned current owners of a plane he believed was his.

The appeals court said too much time had passed for any "reliable decision about what happened to Vartanian's plane."

— Associated Press

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