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Health
7:06 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Flexible Hours Can Decrease Sleep Deficiency

Credit Flickr user Betsssssy / "100/365: Sleeping fine..." (CC BY 2.0)

Giving employees flexible work hours can help curb sleep deficiency and improve overall health. 

That’s according to a new study in the journal Sleep Health.

Sleep deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of automobile crashes, disease and early mortality. Improving sleep is a goal of Healthy People 2020, which is a federal initiative that sets national objectives and monitors progress concerning the health of the nation.

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Conversion Therapy
7:04 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Ill. Legislators Try To Ban LGBT Conversion Therapy Again

Illinois lawmaker Kelly Cassidy is again trying to ban counseling that tries to make gay kids, straight.

Sexual orientation conversion therapy can cause depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, according to reports from psychologists. A proposal to make the therapy off limits for minors failed last year in the Illinois House. 

The CEO of the gay rights group Equality Illinois, Bernard Cherkasov, is hopeful it will pass this time. 

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Politics
6:56 am
Mon January 26, 2015

$11K Unaccounted For In Ogle County Sheriff Internal Audit

Credit KWWL

Almost $11,000 is unaccounted for in an internal audit of a northern Illinois sheriff’s department’s towing fund. The Ogle County Sheriff's Department expects the audit to take a couple of months. 

The forensic audit also found about $61,000 in fees were not deposited in the county's general fund as required.

The investigation began after a forensic auditor could not account for the money in the administrative tow fund, which was controlled by former Sheriff Michael Harn. An ordinance allows the sheriff's department to charge $350 to tow vehicles.

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Mental Health
6:50 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Speaker Madigan: How Can Illinois Prevent A Sandy Hook?

Credit WUIS

It has been about two years since 26 people, most of them young children, died in a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The shooter was 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

A report studying him was released late last year by Connecticut's child advocate office. It shows problems identifying and treating his mental illness.

"There were several missed opportunities to help Lanza," said Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan on the opening day of the new General Assembly.

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Rockford, Winnebago County
6:42 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Rockford, Winnebago County 9-1-1 Centers Talk Merge

Officials in Rockford and Winnebago County say they're ready to discuss merging their emergency call centers.

The two systems were separated about a decade ago.

The Winnebago County Sheriff's Department handles emergency calls outside of Rockford, while the city's 9-1-1 center dispatches police and fire and helps callers inside city limits. They currently serve as backup centers to each other.

Ernie Banks, 83
10:32 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Public Memorial For 'Mr. Cub' In Daley Plaza

Ernie Banks, when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in 2013.
Credit "14 Ernie Banks Medal of Freedom White House" by White House photographer

The public memorial for Cubs legend Ernie Banks will be held on Wednesday in downtown Chicago. A statue of Banks will stand at Daley Plaza from Wednesday until Saturday.

Banks died Friday from a heart attack at the age of 83. He was a Baseball Hall of Famer, two-time National League MVP, and the first African-American to play for the Cubs, where he spent his entire major league career.

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Higher Education
3:10 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Large Payouts For Departing Illinois College Leaders

Credit WNIJ

Two Illinois college leaders are getting big payouts on their way out the door.

In the past week-and-a-half public Illinois colleges have given out more than $850,000 to departing leaders.

The University of Illinois Trustees caught some flack last week when they approved a $98,000 bonus for UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.

But that amount pales in comparison to the $760,000 payout to the retiring president of the College of DuPage, Robert Breuder.

The community college’s board approved that buyout yesterday by a vote of 7 to 1.

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My Brother's Keeper
6:31 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Rockford Answers The President's Call To Prevent Violence

Jermaine Robinson addresses his breakout group during the My Brother's Keeper Initiative, as Matthew Simpson looks on.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A new community group is pulling together to improve Rockford by making life better for its young minority residents. About one hundred people showed up for the organizational meeting for the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

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Health
6:22 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Coffee May Help Reduce Melanoma Risk

Credit Flickr user Susanne Nilsson / "Cup of coffee" (CC BY 2.0)

Stuck without sunblock? Drinking coffee could reduce the risk of developing melanoma. 

That’s according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 

The findings suggest caffeine acts as a sunscreen and absorbs ultraviolet radiation. Still, health officials say the best way to avoid skin cancer is to limit sun and UV ray exposure.

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Arts
6:20 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Womanspace At 40: The Art Of Growing In Many Directions

Womanspace co-founder Elaine Hirschenberger
Guy Stephens WNIJ

Rockford’s Womanspace celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and, by all accounts, is going strong.  

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