City of Dixon

Dixon’s mayor says he received good news earlier this week regarding an idle cement plant.

St. Mary’s Cement halted operations in 2008, leaving dozens of people without work. That year, the U.S. EPA and the Department of Justice also announced a settlement with the company to resolve Clean Air Act violations at the facility.

State Authors Featured On Annual Reading List

16 hours ago

Works by several authors with ties to Illinois are included on the recommended Illinois statewide reading program for 2015.

The Illinois Reading Council on Wednesday named books for everyone from adults to newborn babies. The program is intended to promote reading for people of all ages.

Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football, the Rich Cohen paean to Windy City football at is finest, and Chicago author Scott Turow's Identical are among the six recommendations for adults.

End Of University Tuition Waivers Proposed Again

18 hours ago

Children of public university employees may see their tuition waivers taken away if an Illinois lawmaker's proposal is approved.

Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, says it costs the schools about $10 million a year to offer half-price tuition to employees’ children.

"I see the state of Illinois pretty much on a lifeboat,” Franks said, “and we're sinking and we can't afford to do everything. I wish we could, but this is not the time that we can continue to have these type of perks."

Rauner Takes Collective Bargaining Message Downstate

Mar 4, 2015

Governor Bruce Rauner traveled outside Springfield Wednesday to continue his push to let voters decide whether to allow collective bargaining for local unions. 

Rauner delivered a single, bare-bones message during scheduled stops in Peoria, Canton and Havana to support letting local voters weigh-in on whether to permit collective bargaining for government and private unions: “They should control what collective bargaining occurs inside their schools, and they should control whether local employers need to be closed shop, forced-unionization or free-employment flexibility.” 

Lawmaker Targets "Sexting" In Schools

Mar 4, 2015

An Illinois lawmaker wants to help make parents and students aware of the potential legal consequences of sexting -- or sending nude photos via a text message -- by requiring local school districts add it to their codes and handbooks.

A House committee passed his proposal, but some lawmakers question how effective it would be.

Representative Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, says there may be better ways to inform the public of the crime.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

The newly appointed Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform includes a significant number of members who are well known as advocates for a more rational approach to criminal justice — that is, basing sentencing decisions on what's most likely to rehabilitate an offender while also protecting the public.

Training a new generation of effective leaders often involves mentoring through a shared passion. It involves someone with a strong skill set who is willing to help someone else feel the spark. We continue our occasional series "Pass the Torch" in the middle of a guitar circle.

Deep within Northern Illinois University's music building sits a group of musicians. Some have studied jazz, others classical, but it doesn't matter, because their maestro is the epitome of fusion.

Still No Agreement, But State Budget Plan Moves Forward

Mar 4, 2015

Illinois Senate Democrats are proposing that the state sweep outstanding balances from special state funds to fill the current budget gap – and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's office is calling the plan "half-baked."

This partisan feuding means there's still no agreement on how to fill a hole in this year's budget.

The Illinois budget year goes through June but, thanks in part to the reduction in state income taxes, money already is running out for such needs as a program that helps low-income workers send their kids to daycare.

Calls for appointments are pouring in at DeKalb’s Elder Care Services. Mary Rongey came in for the second year in a row. She says she knew she needed the extra help because her husband used to keep track of the couple’s finances.

“This is where he came before he passed away, and then I just came back here. It’s all kind of new to me.”

Rongey says she’s been satisfied with the help she gets.

“I think you need someone who knows what they are doing, somebody that can answer your questions if you have any questions. They know what they are talking about.”

Northern Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock (R-18) reimbursed the federal government more than $1,200 for a flight to a Chicago Bears football game last November.

The Peoria Republican had charged the private air travel to his House office account, which is funded by taxpayers. A spokesman says Schock wrote a check to cover the costs of the trip.

Newly released congressional reports show Schock charged more than $14,000 in private air travel last fall. Those costs add to a list of flights he took on planes owned by donors.