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Briefs: Hastert won't quit soon
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Published: 9/26/2007 12:17 AM

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Congressman Dennis Hastert said Tuesday he still hasn't decided whether he'll vacate his seat before his term ends in January 2009, but scoffed at speculation he might quit soon to force a special election before the Feb. 5 primary. "I don't see a primary before the primary," the Plano Republican told The Associated Press. The Illinois lawmaker announced last month that he would not run again for the 14th District seat he's held since 1986. His decision came about eight months after he lost his post as longest-serving speaker of the House, with eight years at the helm.

3 arrested in botched heist

Chicago police arrested three people early Tuesday after a robbery at a South Side airbrush shop that went awry and resulted in a standoff with police. There were no injuries during the incident and no charges were immediately filed against the suspects, according to police. Police were summoned to the shop late Monday after a witness reported seeing three armed and masked people enter the shop located in the Roseland community, authorities said. Victims targeted by the three people had fled the shop by the time police arrived, but the robbers were still inside, according to police. They were arrested after a three-hour standoff.

CTA changes card policy

The Chicago Transit Authority is reversing a policy that could have led to many commuters losing the balance left on their electronic fare cards. There are more than 300,000 Chicago Cards, and more than 50,000 will expire by year's end. The CTA angered patrons last week when it said nearly 10,000 cards issued in 2003 will expire next month. It said customers could be held responsible for registering or re-registering cards before a deadline or risk losing their balances. Under the new policy, customers who registered those cards will get replacement cards good for another four years. The CTA will mail them out before the old cards expire. Users who didn't register can turn in expired cards for a replacement any time without losing the value on expired cards.

Bridging the academic gap

Looking to mend the disconnect between high schools and colleges, Illinois leaders backed a law that will create a council of teachers, parents, college leaders and civil leaders to address the academic transition from preschool to university. Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the measure into law Tuesday. The law is effective Jan. 1. The initiative comes as four of every 10 community college freshmen enlist in a remedial course nationwide, according to a recent survey by the test company, ACT Corp. In Illinois, it is five of every 10.