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Courts
12:10 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Illinois Supreme Court Sides With Retirees

Credit Illinois Supreme Court

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled the state constitution's pension protection clause prevents any diminishment of health care benefits for state retirees. According to Crain's, the 6-1 decision said the clause overrode the state's argument that its police powers, applied to dealing with the state's budget crisis, justified a recalculation of what retirees must pay for their health benefits. 

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Economic
6:21 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Rural Poverty Highlighted In New Report

Credit New York Times

Poverty is prevalent in rural areas across the U.S. That’s according to a published report, which says it’s not just an urban issue. Some northern Illinois ranked near the middle, while others fared better in the rankings.

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Transportation
6:20 am
Thu July 3, 2014

IDOT Buys Bult Field, Paves Way For South Suburban Airport

Illinois are moving forward with plans for a major airport south of the city of Chicago. Part of that plan includes the State of Illinois owning and operating a small general  aviation airport near Monee in Will County where the long proposed South Suburban one will go. 

The Illinois Department of Transportation purchased Bult Field for $34 million.

The purchase includes 288 acres of land and a 5,000 foot runway.

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Education
6:09 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Sterling Board Approves Sales Tax Resolution

The Sterling School Board is backing a county sales tax resolution. The vote come in Tuesday night's meeting. Sauk Valley Media reports that gives Whiteside County districts enough support to put a referendum on the November ballot.

If approved, the sales tax would increase to 7.75 percent.

Health
6:05 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Gene Linked To Stroke, Heart Attack

Researchers identified a gene that may put people at greater risk of stroke. Around one in 10 people in the Caucasian population carry the gene variation.

BBC: Gene Linked To Higher Stroke And Heart Attack Risk

But scientists say lifestyle factors still have the greatest influence on risk. The findings appear in the journal Plos One.

67th District Democrat
4:12 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Jefferson Resigns As Rockford's State Representative

State Representative Chuck Jefferson is flanked by Rockford mayor Larry Morrissey and Governor Pat Quinn in this 2012 photo.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

State Representative Chuck Jefferson surprised constituents and political watchers alike by quietly submitting his resignation. The Rockford Democrat has served in the State House since 2001. 

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Economy
5:36 am
Wed July 2, 2014

"Poaching" Not In Blueprint For Illinois Job Growth

Credit DCEO

Illinois' economy was slow to feel the effects of the Great Recession, and has been slow to recover from it. The state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is submitting a five-year plan to the General Assembly, with suggestions for business growth and more state spending.

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Weather
5:25 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Tornado Confirmed In Earlville Monday Night

NWS

The National Weather Service reports six tornadoes touched down in Illinois Monday night. A damage survey confirmed an EF-1 tornado landed near Earlville. The weather service reports peak winds reached 110 mph in northern LaSalle County. 

Education
5:16 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Taiwanese Students Learn How To "Argue" At NIU Camp

Jenna Dooley WNIJ

There are a lot of summer camps to choose from, with everything from sports to arts and crafts.

Two dozen young students from Taiwan are learning with their American peers how to get their point across. This week, the students are taking part in activities designed around the study and debate of alternative energy.

The students from the National University of Tainan's Affiliated Elementary School will stay in DeKalb through mid-July.

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Illinois
5:23 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Supreme Court Limits Power Of Illinois Home Care Worker Unions

Credit supremecourt.gov

An Illinois home care worker argued that being forced to pay union fees violates her first amendment rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken her side.

But it limited its decision to non-traditional public employees-- like home care workers, who are paid by the state but hired and fired by the people they care for.

Paul Kersey works for the Illinois Policy Institute which helped bring the case.

He says today was a big win, but there’s more to be done.

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