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    He gets most of the PR, at least nationally, but Punxsutawney Phil isn't the only groundhog to purport to predict the weather. Not hardly. From Staten Island Chuck in New York City to Jimmy the Groundhog in Wisconsin, there are a lot of them. And their predictions, which of course is a generous term, can be all over the map just as they are. And please do remember Charlotte, a groundhog who died in 2014 a week after the New York City mayor dropped her during festivities.

      NFL prospects are facing the standard barrage of questions designed to probe their personality and attitude. They're less likely to get the outlier questions that players might find demeaning or embarrassing. It's a nod to the greater attention being paid to mental health concerns among athletes. The NFL warned teams in a memo last January that they could be forced to forfeit a draft pick between the first and fourth round and be fined a minimum of $150,000 for out-of-bounds questions, and individual club employees could also face fines or suspensions.

        The family of a suburban Chicago boy who was 12 when an officer shot him in the knee during a 2019 police raid will receive $12 million under a settlement of the family’s lawsuit. The settlement will be paid by the village of Richton Park’s insurance company. Family attorney Al Hofeld Jr. said Wednesday the Richton Park officer apologized last weekend privately to Amir Worship and his mother, Crystal Worship. The village also issued a public apology to the boy and his family, as the settlement required. Amir was shot in May 2019 as police were raiding his family’s Markham home, searching for Crystal Worship’s boyfriend on drug possession charges. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the officer later said the weapon was defective and had accidentally fired.

        The Iowa athletic department voided the tickets an Illinois spirit group purchased under an assumed identity for the men's basketball game in Iowa City on Saturday. The group known as “Orange Krush” bought 200 tickets but had them canceled after Iowa discovered the tickets were falsely purchased for a Boys and Girls Club in Champaign. Iowa issued a refund and donated the tickets to the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids. Orange Krush leader Kilton Rauman said he attempted the end-around because he doubts the host school would knowingly sell to a large group cheering the visitor and heckling the home team.

        The Nebraska Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee took nearly eight hours of testimony Wednesday before adjourning without a vote on whether to advance a bill that would outlaw abortion at a point before many women know they’re pregnant. Hundreds of people crowded the halls of the state Capitol for a committee hearing on a so-called heartbeat bill. The bill would ban abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, which is generally around the sixth week of pregnancy. The committee took testimony from around 100 people before adjourning. A decision about whether to advance the bill will come at a later date.

        Disgraced Los Angeles celebrity lawyer Tom Girardi has been indicted in Los Angeles and Chicago on charges of stealing more than $18 million from clients. The charges mark the latest in a string of legal disasters for a once powerful player who rubbed elbows with politicians and celebrities as one of the nation’s most prominent plaintiff’s lawyers, known for winning settlements such as the one portrayed in the movie “Erin Brockovich.” Federal prosecutors say the schemes included stealing funds from clients injured in car and boat crashes and some who lost family members in a 2018 Lion Air crash that killed 189 people.

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        A federal judge in Wisconsin has ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of a man shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse during a protest in 2020 can proceed against Rittenhouse, police officers and others. The father of Anthony Huber, one of two men shot and killed by Rittenhouse, filed the lawsuit in 2021, accusing officers of allowing for a dangerous situation that resulted in his son’s death. He alleged that Rittenhouse conspired with law enforcement to cause harm to protestors. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman on Wednesday dismissed motions to dismiss the lawsuit, allowing it to proceed.

        Some Amtrak commuter service between Detroit and Chicago has been disrupted after freight cars derailed along tracks on Detroit’s southwest side. The Detroit Free Press reports Wednesday that an Amtrak spokesman said several routes were canceled through Friday. Nine empty railcars derailed about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday. One car teetered over the side of a rail bridge. That forced about two dozen Amtrak passengers traveling from Chicago to disembark their train and complete their trip by bus. The tracks were cleared by Wednesday morning. The cause of the derailment was under investigation. No injuries were reported.

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