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6:04 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Illinois Legislature Attempts Sugary Drink Tax Again

Credit Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography / "Fizzy Purple Grape Soda" (CC v. 2.0)

Another attempt to tax sugary drinks is expected in the upcoming Illinois legislative session. Drinks like soda and even some juice have been linked to obesity, diabetes and other problems. 

Elissa Bassler, with the Illinois Public Health Institute, says a plan that came up in the past year would have imposed a penny per ounce tax on the drinks.  She says the new measure will be similar:

"It's a big idea and it takes some time for people to wrap their arms around it."

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Government
6:00 am
Mon December 15, 2014

NLRB Files Labor Charges Against GateHouse Media

Credit GateHouse Media

Formal labor charges have been filed against GateHouse Media, owner of the Rockford Register Star and Freeport Journal-Standard. The St. Louis-based United Media Guild is negotiating an initial contract for employees at the two papers.

The UMG claims that workers were unfairly targeted because of union activities.

The National Labor Relations Board office in Peoria confirmed investigators found that GateHouse Media threatened to outsource photography work to freelancers and imposed work schedule changes without prior negotiations.

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Criminal charges still pending
6:20 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Lawsuit Against NIU Fraternity Dismissed In Drinking Death

Credit Bogenberger Family Photo

A Cook County judge has thrown out a lawsuit against a fraternity in the death of a Northern Illinois University student.

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Education
6:57 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Beloit College Sets Up Luke Somers Memorial Fund

Beloit College created a memorial fund for Luke Somers, a hostage killed in Yemen during a U.S. rescue attempt. Somers is a graduate of the college.

The fund will honor Somers and his photojournalism, and provide students study abroad opportunities. It would especially benefit students who want to study the people and cultures of the Middle East.

Illinois
6:46 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Federal Officials OK Illiana Expressway

Credit Illiana Corridor website

The Illiana Expressway has received a green light from federal officials. The 47-mile expressway now moves from the planning phase to implementation. 

That means Illinois and Indiana officials can look for public-private partnerships to help build and operate the $1.5 billion project.

Land acquisition efforts, including landowner relations and local planning activities, also can continue.

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Politics
6:31 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Topinka Memorial Service Next Week; Officials Consider Comptroller Options

Credit WNIJ

A public memorial service for the late Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is scheduled for next week. The service will be held Wednesday morning at the Operating Engineers' Local 150 headquarters in Countryside.

Topinka died unexpectedly this week after complications from a stroke. Fellow state leaders, colleagues and family are scheduled to attend.

Meanwhile, Illinois officials are trying to figure out who has the power to name the state’s next comptroller and for how long.

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Dixon
5:30 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Does Rita Crundwell Deserve A Pension?

(Archived photo)
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell could be eligible to receive a large sum of money when she leaves prison. WNIJ's Jenna Dooley spoke with Sauk Valley Media's Matt Mencarini who has been reporting on the case.

He says Crundwell's attorney recently filed a motion in federal court arguing that her client should not have $90,565.86 in pension funds taken by the government.

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2014 Wolf Hunt
8:39 am
Thu December 11, 2014

154 Wolves Killed As Hunting Season Ends Early In Wisconsin

Credit Wisconsin DNR

For the third year in a row, Wisconsin hunters killed more wolves than allowed by law.

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Education
6:30 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Rockford School District's Audit Deficit From Accounting Change, Salaries

Credit Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

An audit shows the Rockford School District's $8.8 million deficit was the result of an accounting change and higher-than-anticipated salaries. 

The district has enough in cash reserves to cover the deficit. No programs or staff are expected to be cut.

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Arts
6:25 am
Thu December 11, 2014

DeKalb Municipal Band: 160 Years Of Music, Friendships And Community Support

Credit DeKalb Park District

The DeKalb Municipal Band marks 160 years with a concert of holiday music Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Egyptian Theatre.  Proceeds from the concert go to the Palmer Family Music Education Fund.  Kirk Lundbeck succeeded the band’s longtime leader, the late Dee Palmer, as director three years ago. WNIJ's Guy Stephens spoke with Lundbeck recently about the concert and the anniversary.

GS:  Most people think of the band as a summer band. So why a holiday concert?

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