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sticking points: salary and insurance
4:13 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Kishwaukee College Delivers 'Last Best Offer' To Faculty Union

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The union representing Kishwaukee College teachers says last night’s failed contract negotiations have moved both sides closer to a strike. 

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Law
3:27 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

City of Rockford Settles Barmore Case

2009: Rockford residents march near the county jail to protest the shooting of Mark Barmore.
Susan Stephens WNIJ

From the City of Rockford:

The Rockford City Council of the City of Rockford approved a release and settlement agreement with the Plaintiff on behalf of all named defendants in the matter of 09-cv-50236 Estate of Barmore v. City Of Rockford, et al. In exchange for a release of liability and dismissal with prejudice of all claims against the City of Rockford, et al, the Estate of Barmore will receive a settlement payment in the amount of $1,115,500.00 from the City of Rockford.

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Healthcare
2:21 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

State Regulators Approve Hospital Merger

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board on Tuesday approved the merger between Mercy Health System and Rockford Health System. According to a news release, the merger is expected to create a combined multi-regional health system that will provide care in more than 40 northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin communities. The new health system begins operations on Jan. 1.

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Illinois
5:59 am
Tue December 16, 2014

I-90 Construction Complete

Credit Illinois Tollway

The Illinois Tollway is putting the finishing touches on the 37-mile rebuilding project between Rockford and Elgin. 

Officials say reconstruction of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway will finish today and the speed limit will return to 65 mph. Traffic will flow in both directions on three new lanes this morning.

The project took two years to complete.

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Education
8:42 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

School Districts Concerned About Funding, Mandates, and Pensions

Credit Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

A new report outlines how Illinois school districts feel about state education services.

The Lieutenant Governor's office is required by law to direct a committee which approves a survey at least every three years. School districts provide anonymous feedback on the quality and importance of services provided by the state.

More than 350 districts filled out the most recent survey.

Read the report here.

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Illinois
12:58 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Illinois AG: Rauner Can Appoint Full Term Comptroller

Credit Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

Illinois' Attorney General says, under the Constitution, governor-elect Bruce Rauner can appoint a new state comptroller to a full 4-year term when he takes office next month.  But, in a statement released Monday, Lisa Madigan urged the Legislature to authorize a special election to elect a new comptroller in 2016. Madigan also says Governor Pat Quinn should appoint someone to the post to fill out the comptroller's present term which ends January 12th.  The incumbent State Comptroller, Judy Baar Topinka, died last week after a stroke.

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Health
6:24 am
Mon December 15, 2014

'60 Minutes' Shows Denial Rate For Mental Health Claims

“60 Minutes” shined a light Sunday on the issue of patients denied mental health treatment by doctors who never even saw them. That’s despite mandatory coverage for mental health services under the Affordable Care Act.

The claim denial rate often exceeded 90 percent.

Illinois
6:12 am
Mon December 15, 2014

USPS Braces For Yearly Rush

Credit USPS

The U.S. Postal Service says today will be its busiest mailing day of the year, with more than 8 million cards, letters and packages processed in the Chicago area. 

USPS says it’s delivering seven days a week, including Christmas Day. To ensure delivery by Christmas, materials must be sent by next Saturday.

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Politics
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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