News Minute: Here is the latest Illinois news from The Associate - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

News Minute: Here is the latest Illinois news from The Associated Press at 7:40 a.m. CDT

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HIGHLAND, Ill. (AP) - A freshly painted mural of Highland High School's bulldog mascot "Fat Al" will greet fans at the football stadium this fall for the first time in nearly half-a-century. Maintenance crews wielding a power-washer and an artistic custodian saw to that. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that a summer cleaning crew's high-pressure spray on a wall near the stadium entrance revealed the mural. Custodian Dave Bourgeois got the call to recreate it. Bourgeois works as an artist outside of his day job.

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - The Carbondale City Council is considering allowing "natural" burials that involve biodegradable materials and no chemicals. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports is discussing altering its code to allow the process at Oakland Cemetery. Natural burials use no chemicals such as formaldehyde to preserve a body. Biodegradable caskets are used and placed directly in the ground with no vault. Typically such graves are not even permanently marked.

CHERRY VALLEY, Ill. (AP) - The Rockford School District has cut the ribbon on a $15.7 million elementary school. The Rockford Register Star reports that school officials cut the ribbon and hosted an open house Friday at the 86,000 square-foot (8,000 square meters) building in the Rockford suburb of Cherry Valley. Teacher Kris Schroeder described the 31-classroom center with $700,000 in new furnishings as "perfect." She says, "They really thought of everything when they did the plan."

SPRINFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A new study by the Illinois Board of Education shows that less than a quarter of the state's children were fully prepared to enter kindergarten last year. The study of about 106,000 students was based on teachers' evaluations of their kindergarten students. The data show that about 42 percent of students weren't prepared last year in any of three development areas. Seventeen percent were prepared in one area, 18 percent in two areas and 24 percent were prepared in all three areas.

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