News

Fitness Tips To Beat Winter Blues

Feb 4, 2016

As winter grinds on and your mood grows darker, maybe you should focus on a new mental fitness routine instead of obsessing about the weather or the steps counter on your Fitbit. Here's a four-step emotional fitness routine to help banish the winter blues.

A 23-year-old Rockford man was killed and two others injured in a crash that shut down a busy intersection for most of the day Wednesday. He’s been identified as Juan Lozano Junior.

The three were spotted driving a stolen car overnight near Rockford and were briefly pursued by Illinois State Police troopers, who gave up the chase. The stolen car was found a short time later after crashing into a tree near Anderson Japanese Gardens at the intersection of Spring Creek and Highcrest Roads.  

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has used his executive powers to create a privately run and funded economic development agency that he says will ``jump-start'' job growth.

The first-term Republican signed an executive order Wednesday establishing the Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation. It's a nonprofit group the governor, a former private equity investor, says will work with an existing state agency, though it will be funded with ``millions'' in private donations.

Jenna Dooley

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says the income tax rate in Illinois would need to double from its current rate to combat growing debt. She says Illinois is on pace to spend an additional $6.2 billion dollars more than it brings in.

Last year, the income tax rate dropped in Illinois – from 5 percent to 3.75 percent. Speaking in Rockford, Munger says the tax rate would need to be in the range of 7 to 8 percent.

Judge Rejects Topless Activist's Free-Speech Argument

Feb 3, 2016
"Courtroom One Gavel" by Flickr User Beth Cortez-Neavel / (CC BY 2.0)

A federal judge rejected a "GoTopless Day'' activist of her core argument against a Chicago ordinance barring women from baring their chests in public.

Sonoko Tagami sued after police ticketed her in 2014 for violating the ordinance during an annual protest of such bans nationwide.

The protest was organized by the Las Vegas-based group GoTopless. The ticket cost Tagami $150. 

Tagami's lawsuit argues Chicago's ban infringes on her free-speech and other rights.

But the judge in Chicago rejected that in a Tuesday ruling.

heartlandalliance.org

A nonprofit research group says poverty rates in Illinois are up to three times higher for racial minorities.

The Chicago-based Heartland Alliance's research arm released a report outlining significant racial disparities for income, unemployment, birth rates and housing, among other things.

The 44-page document is called “Racism's Toll: Report on Illinois Poverty,'' and looks at institutional racism in the state.

The report says unemployment rates are 1.4 to 2.4 times higher for minorities than for whites.

CPS

Chicago school officials say they're ready to cut $100 million from school budgets and force teachers to pay more pension costs after the teachers' union rejected the latest offer in contentious contract negotiations that have lasted over a year.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool said yesterday the union's rejection was “disheartening'' and cost-cutting efforts were necessary without a deal.

He says bargaining continues.

The district faces a $1 billion shortfall and recently laid off hundreds of central office employees.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

There is increased attention on water quality across the nation as a result of elevated levels of lead in Flint, Michigan.

For the past several years, the unincorporated community of Wedron, in LaSalle County, has been dealing with its own water woes.

EPA: Wedron Groundwater Contamination Site

An Egyptian activist is touring the U.S., reminding people that the struggle in her country continues five years after the uprising.

Tuesday night, she spoke in Rockford. Salma Hussein is a human rights advocate and journalist from Cairo, Egypt. She says "it's hard to see people talking about it like it's history because the movement is still there. Even if it's not necessarily with the same momentum anymore, the movement is still alive and present."

GOP Lawmakers Introduce Procurement Reform Proposal

Feb 2, 2016
ilga.gov

Republican state representatives Bob Pritchard of Hinckley and Dan Brady of Bloomington are among the GOP lawmakers promoting a simplified purchasing process for colleges and universities in Illinois.

It also is supported by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who says he wants to change the way the state buys goods and services to save taxpayers a half billion dollars a year. 

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