News

Today, voters in Illinois' 18th Congressional District choose a Democrat and a Republican for the race to replace former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.

Only a small number of voters will go to the polls, according to Matt Streb, who chairs the political science department at Northern Illinois University.

DCFS

Two key court hearings are happening in Chicago today that could shape how the Illinois state government shutdown plays out. 

The Department of Children and Family Services is the agency that removes abused or neglected children from their homes, and monitors foster care.

Those are the kind of services that Ben Wolf with the American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge to protect -- saying those families shouldn’t be affected by the political standoff.

JJ Harrison / CC BY -SA 3.0

Mosquitoes have been plentiful -- and voracious -- this summer, thanks to heavy rains that have created perfect breeding habitats for the blood-suckers. Now researchers at the University of Illinois may have found a way to reduce future mosquito populations with the help of some native Midwestern plants.

Fairdale Victim To Be Buried With Veteran Husband

16 hours ago
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Family members say a woman who died in the tornado that struck the northern Illinois town of Fairdale earlier this year will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Mark Schnorenberg is Jackie Klosa's brother-in-law and executor of her estate. He tells The Daily Chronicle that her family has secured arrangements to bury her at the Arlington, Virginia, cemetery next to her husband Arthur, who was in the U.S. Air Force and died in 2004.

Klosa died in the April 9 tornado that struck Fairdale. Another woman, Geraldine Schultz, also died in the tornado. 

Jim Browne/WGLT

The bison population is growing on a northern Illinois prairie.

The Chicago Tribune reports that, after bison were reintroduced to the Nachusa Grasslands, there are obvious signs that the bison are introducing themselves to each other. Fourteen bison calves were born this past spring at the 3,500 acre grasslands owned by The Nature Conservancy.

The conservancy's website says bison were returned to the area last October. The Tribune says the latest births bring the number of bison in the area to 44.

Wikipedia

A former U.S. congressman has failed to appear at a scheduled arraignment to enter a plea on federal tax charges.  
 

Mel Reynolds' lawyer explained Monday that his client traveled overseas in early June and couldn't return for his arraignment because his daughter fell ill.  
 

Monday's hearing in federal court in Chicago was supposed to be the Democrat's first court appearance since his indictment two weeks ago for allegedly not filing income tax returns for four straight years.  
 

Facebook

A Wisconsin prison guard served a one-day suspension for a joke on Facebook about President Barack Obama and lynching.

Collin Visser posted in December a photo of Christmas tree ornaments depicting Obama and the text, “Look guys. Obama Christmas ornaments. Suddenly it's legal to hang a black man from a tree again!”

Visser worked at the Dodge County Correctional Institution in Waupun since April 2014. A newspaper obtained documents revealing his punishment months after requesting them under the state's open records law.

state of Illinois

The new fiscal year began Wednesday, and Illinois has no new spending plan in place. It could be a while before there is one, but Illinois isn't alone.

Across the border in Wisconsin, lawmakers can't reach a spending deal.

Over on the east coast, North Carolina is in budgetary flux. Pennsylvania's negotiations are dragging on, and New Hampshire and Alabama are also facing similar issues.

National Conference of State Legislatures' fiscal analyst Arturo Perez says more states than usual have unfinished budgets.

WNIJ's Gas Price Monday: July 6, 2015

23 hours ago
Carl Nelson/WNIJ

For the most part, gas prices remained the same from last week across the state and country.

According to AAA, the average Rockford area gas price is currently $2.78 per gallon. That's about a nickel more than a month ago and about 90 cents less than a year ago. 

In Chicago, prices are currently at $3.39 per gallon. That's about the same as last week and last month. Current prices are about 75 cents less than prices from a year ago.

Unions File Lawsuit Demanding Paychecks

Jul 3, 2015

Unions representing Illinois state employees have filed a lawsuit demanding they will be paid in full and on time despite the lack of a 2016 fiscal year budget.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 and the Service Employees International Union among others filed the lawsuit Thursday in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

The unions argue the state's failure to pay employees their full wages under their unions' respective collective bargaining agreements would violate their contracts.

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