6:10 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Former NIU Trustee Will Chair Illinois Sports Facilities Authority

Credit NIU

An ally of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner will chair the state agency that owns the Chicago White Sox stadium, and oversaw the renovations of Soldier Field. But one of former Governor Pat Quinn's closest confidants will still retain another high-paying post. 

The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority has been home base for all sorts of political wins and losses over the years. And there's a whole roster of players.

Most recently, Quinn secured the executive director's job for his former campaign manager.  Lou Bertuca was hired without a national search.

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4:24 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Former Illinois Public Health Director Lands New Job

Credit IDPH

LaMar Hasbrouck will take over next month as the head of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

In a news release, Hasbrouck calls strong local health departments a "backbone."

He'll begin his new job Feb. 10.

Illinois' new governor, Republican Bruce Rauner,  named Nirav Shah as Illinois' new public health director.

Shah had been working as an attorney at a top Chicago law firm, and lectured at the University of  Chicago medical school.

He holds both law and medical degrees from the U of C.

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4:23 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

What's The Future Of Passenger Rail For Rockford?

Credit IDOT

Illinois has agreements in place for two new railroad projects.

One would allow passengers to travel by train to Rockford.  The other, to the Quad Cities.

But the head of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association,Rick Harnish,  says they could be in jeopardy because of Governor Bruce Rauner's hold on all non-essential state spending. Harnish says that delays could derail the projects.

"This was the year - it is the year - that really is the make or break difference. So it needs to move forward very quickly."

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4:14 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Legal Dispute Over Illinois Lottery Management

Credit Illinois Lottery

The management of Illinois’ lottery is under legal review.

Illinois’ lottery is run by a private company named Northstar.

And Northstar is part of a partnership made up of two large gambling companies that run lottos around the world.

Northstar is only partially through its 10-year contract with the state. Former Governor Pat Quinn’s administration had said the company wasn’t performing up to standards.

And Quinn wanted to end the contract before his term ended earlier this month.

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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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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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