As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, families across Illinois may be inclined to take their boats out on the water. 

Boating safety is overseen by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which employs conservation officers in each county to conduct safety compliance checks.  Contrary to what one may expect, it is legal to drink alcoholic beverages while riding in or even operating a boat.  But Captain Laura Petreikis  says the most common accidents involve drunken operators, and it can be difficult to gauge intoxication. 

Dixon Public Works Director Resigns

Jun 28, 2016
city of Dixon

  Dixon Public Works Director Tim Ridder has resigned.  

He was hired in October to consolidated the city’s various public works departments.  These included water, sewer, cemetery, and public properties. 

Bringing these groups under one roof was part of Dixon’s transition to a city manager form of government.  This transition was designed to avoid individuals isolating themselves within a single department.  These precise conditions allowed former city comptroller Rita Crudwell to embezzled $53 million from 1983 to 2012

State of Illinois

Municipalities got much of their state funding this year. But Illinois is set to begin a new fiscal year Friday with no spending plan in place. That has local officials worried.

Mahomet Village President Sean Widener says it's a matter of stability.

"We need a state budget, we need road construction projects to continue, we need local governance to continue without further delay. And most importantly we need to restore the confidence for all the citizens in the state."

A spokeswoman for Gov. Bruce Rauner says the Illinois medical marijuana program's director has resigned.

Spokeswoman Catherine Kelly tells The Associated Press the administration has accepted the resignation of Joseph Wright, who was in the position for just over one year. She says the governor's office "will have no further comment."

Wright will be replaced by Jack Campbell, the program's bureau chief in the Department of Agriculture.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner painted a bleak picture Monday morning of what could happen if a state budget is not passed before Friday.

But he gave some hope that a solution could be reached when the Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield on Wednesday for the first time since the spring legislative session ended in May.

Susan Stephens

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Illinois is $2.48.  That’s ten cents lower than last week’s average, and 44 cents lower than the average a year ago, according to AAA.  AAA says regular unleaded gas in Illinois averaged $2.58 per gallon a week ago, and $2.92 per gallon a year ago.

The highest price is in Chicago, at $2.93 per gallon. The lowest is in Decatur, at $2.20 per gallon.

Some Illinois politicians are making a push to eliminate time limits on when people can be prosecuted for child sex crimes.

The move was prompted by the case of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.   

Although he pleaded guilty to violating federal banking laws, Hastert's 15-month sentence took into account his admission that he sexually abused teenage boys when he was a high school wrestling coach.

Young Girls Choose Extra 'School Day' For STEM And Art

Jun 27, 2016
Nicole Shenberger/WNIJ

On the first day of summer, instead of playing outside, a group of eleven 7-to-10-year-old girls got to go back to class for a morning.

MakerGirl, a group dedicated to getting young girls interested in Science and Technology, hosted an event at the Pearl City Elementary School in Stephenson County. The girls got to design their own key chain on a computer and watch it come to life on a 3D Printer. Tristen Carey, one of the participants, describes her favorite part of the event, “how science can be made into artwork”

Where Does Illinois Rank For A Hot Summer Destination?

Jun 27, 2016
"Welcome to Illinois, U.S. 36..." By Flickr User Ken Lund / (CC X 2.0)

A recent study by WalletHub says Illinois is the 16th best state for a summer road trip.

The study compared three categories: driving and lodging costs, road conditions and safety, and fun and scenic attractions.  

There were seven metrics measured within each category. They include violent crime rates per 1,000 residents and the number of scenic byways. 

Illinois' best rating was number six for its road conditions and safety. Wisconsin came in at 13 for this category.

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against three retired central Illinois police officers by a man wrongfully convicted of a 1993 murder.

Douglas County Judge Richard Broch Jr. on Friday dismissed the lawsuit filed by Alan Beaman seeking $50,000 from retired Normal officers Tim Freesmeyer, Dave Warner and Frank Zayas and the city of Normal.

Beaman served 13 years in prison in the death of Illinois State University student Jennifer Lockmiller before DNA evidence pointed to other suspects.

The Illinois Supreme Court vacated his conviction in 2009.