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Politics
5:04 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Think tank urges Illinois constitutional change for fairer tax

Center for Tax and Budget Accountability executive director Ralph Martire talks taxes at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockford.
Jacqui Stephens WNIJ

The leader of a not-for-profit think tank says now is the time for Illinois citizens to push their legislators toward a more fair tax system.

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Politics
2:02 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

GOP protests Democrat’s signatures in 90th House District

Republicans in the redrawn 90th Illinois House District are attempting to prevent Thomas Boken Jr. of DeKalb from appearing on the November ballot to oppose Tom Demmer of Dixon for retiring state Rep. Jerry Mitchell’s seat.

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Politics
1:43 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Rep. Jackson off on medical leave

Few details are being provided about the unexpected medical leave of absence that U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Chicago, began on June 10.

The three-sentence statement says Jackson went on medical leave just over two weeks ago. It says Jackson "asks that you respect his family's privacy."

A spokesman says the congressman is being treated for exhaustion. He had no further comment. Jackson's district offices remain open.

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Business
1:12 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

South Beloit BMO Harris Bank will close

The BMO Harris Bank location in South Beloit will be among the 24 bank branches to be closed in October as part of merger activities with Wisconsin banking company Marshall & Ilsley Corp.

The South Beloit branch was acquired in 2010 when Rockford-based AMcore bank was closed by regulators and the assets sold to Chicago-based BMO Harris.

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Business
12:51 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Rockford, Loves Park, Pecatonica share electricity aggregation deal

Three Winnebago County communities have signed a joint electricity aggregation agreement with FirstEnergy Solutions of Akron, Ohio, to supply power at a discounted rate for residents and businesses with an overall savings of nearly $20 million.

The Cities of Rockford and Loves Park and the Village of Pecatonica signed an intergovernmental agreement earlier in the year to bid jointly for contract as a result of the referendum approved in March.

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Breaking
10:04 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Pilot killed in plane crash near Monroe Center identified

A Lancair 235M lies in a cornfield near Monroe Center. The pilot was killed when the plane caught fire and crashed Tuesday.
Jacqui Stephens photo

A Will County man  who took off from the DeKalb airport en route to Rockford was killed shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed in a farm field at 19164 Crill Road near Monroe Center.

UPDATE: As of Tuesday night, the Ogle County Coroner had not released the man's name, but both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times cite people close to the pilot who identify him as Tom Plodzien, resident of Meadow Creek Airpark, outside of Monee. Records list Plodzien, 77, as the owner of the plane. 

Earlier in the day, WNIJ's Mike Moen reported from the scene that authorities were preventing onlookers and reporters from getting close to the crash itself, which was obscured by the corn crop. He said a helicopter hovered above the site and an ambulance was near the actual crash, but he was unable to see specifically what was happening.

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Education
6:33 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Whiteside County could be affected by regional superintendent cut

Governor Pat Quinn has signed a measure that will reduce Illinois' regional offices of education. To avoid elimination, offices must serve at least 61,000 residents. Whiteside County's population is under 59,000.

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Government
1:40 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Durbin, Kirk will head panel on U.S. Attorney

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL
durbin.senate.gov

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., says he and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., will seek an even-handed and bipartisan or nonpartisan replacement for outgoing U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago.

Durbin said the two senators will appoint a six-member committee to screen applicants for the job.

He says it doesn't matter if the next top prosecutor is from Illinois or from the outside, as Fitzgerald was when he was appointed.

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Politics
1:26 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Priest forced out for altering mass

A southern Illinois priest is being ousted for improvising part of his services.

Bishop Edward Braxton of the Belleville Diocese has told the Rev. Bill Rowe he's now considered retired and must leave the rectory at St. Mary Parish in Mount Carmel on July 10.

Rowe's long-stated practice of changing portions of the liturgy to make them easier to understand didn't become public until February. That came after church leaders in Rome revamped the liturgy to be based on earlier Latin versions.

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Government
11:40 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Rockford curfew limits teen late-night hours

Teens out late in public in Rockford may be subject to the city's curfew law if they are not working or in the company of an approved adult, according to the Rockford Police Department.

No minor under 17 years of age can be out and about in public within the city after midnight Friday and Saturday until 6 a.m. the following morning. The curfew start is moved back to 11 p.m.  Sunday through Thursday, running to 6 a.m. the following day

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