ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) -- Three waitresses at an Illinois restaurant said they could only stare in disbelief when a woman over the weekend handed them each a $5,000 check.
The owner of the Boone County Family Restaurant in Caledonia, Matt Nebiu, said business was slow Saturday when the customer handed checks to 25-year-old Amy Sabani, 23-year-old Sarah Seckinger and 28-year-old Amber Kariolich.
Sabani told the Rockford Register Star (http://bit.ly/1n7PcZh) she first thought her check was for $500. But on closer inspection she saw its actual value and refused to take it.
Sabani said the woman told the waitresses to use the money for school and "everything else in life."
Seckinger said a last semester to earn her associate degree in criminal justice was too expensive, but she will now return to school.
Record number of exonerations: A new report released today shows that a nationwide push by prosecutors to re-examine possible wrongful convictions contributed to a record number of exonerations in 2013. The National Registry of Exonerations said 87 people falsely convicted of crimes were exonerated last year. The joint effort by the Northwestern University and University of Michigan law schools shows that nearly 40 percent of those exonerations were initiated either by law enforcement or included police and prosecutors' cooperation.
U.S. troop morale higher: U.S. soldiers had higher morale and suffered fewer mental health problems in Afghanistan last year as they handed off more duties to Afghans and saw less combat themselves, according to a report released Monday. The Army report was drawn from a battlefield survey and interviews in June and July. It was the ninth time since the practice started in 2003 in Iraq that the service had sent a team of mental health experts to the field of war to measure soldier mental health and assess available care.
May exhaust measures quickly: Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said he will start using emergency measures after Friday to avoid a first-ever default on the national debt. He said he expects to exhaust those measures quickly. Lew said in a speech Monday that he expected to run out of maneuvering room by the end of this month. Congress suspended the debt limit last October as part of a deal to re-open the government after a partial shutdown. But the suspension ends on Friday. After that time, Lew can employ various measures to keep the government operating without breaching the debt limit.
Yellen sworn in as Fed chair: Janet Yellen officially took over the leadership of the Federal Reserve on Monday -- and along with it a delicate task: Unwinding the Fed's extraordinary economic stimulus without spooking investors or slowing a still-subpar economy. Yellen, the first woman to lead the Fed in its 100 years, was sworn in during a brief ceremony in the central bank's board room. She succeeded Ben Bernanke, who stepped down last week after eight momentous years.
Worried about trade war: Meat and livestock groups upset that Congress opted in the new farm bill not to back off from mandatory country of origin labeling requirements are worried the issue could start a trade war with Canada and Mexico. Previous labeling rules required only the country of origin to be noted, such as "Product of U.S." or "Product of U.S. and Canada." New rules that took effect last year require that labels for steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat include clear information about where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. Labels must specify, for example, "Born in Mexico, raised and slaughtered in the United States."