Thousands of WNIJ listeners lost contact with their NPR programming this morning, when a severe thunderstorm cut the power to Northern Public Radio's transmitter in Lindenwood, Ill. The outage also affected listeners to WNIJ's sister station, Classical WNIU.

While Commonwealth Edison struggled to restore power to 175,000 customers, WNIJ and WNIU had hoped to use generator power to continue broadcasting.  Unfortunately, according to chief engineer Jeff Glass, our backup lacked coolant.  So when the power went out around 6:00am, fans of NPR's Morning Edition were forced to pull in distant signals from Chicago Public Radio or Wisconsin Public Radio.

DeKalb
10:47 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Rey Calls For "Changing Direction" In State Of The City Address

NIU President Doug Baker (left) DeKalb Mayor John Rey (center) City Manager Anne Marie Gaura (right)
Credit N'Jema McIntyre

DeKalb Mayor John Rey delivered his second "State of the City" address Tuesday. His focus was the future of the city and the role of Northern Illinois University. He says he continues to work with NIU President Doug Baker's leadership team to find ways to make DeKalb more attractive to prospective students and residents.

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Government
6:45 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Northern Illinois Counties Get Power To Remove Political Appointments

Chris Lauzen

Current state law doesn't allow county governments to remove an appointed official suspected of an ethics violation. But some northern Illinois counties will soon have that power.

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Illinois
6:29 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Rauner Continues Fight For Term Limits Initiative

The Republican candidate for Illinois governor says he’ll take his term limits proposal to the state Supreme Court.

That’s after his effort received a setback late last week.

Republican Bruce Rauner got the signatures needed to have voters weigh in on how many terms an Illinois legislator can serve.

But a Cook County judge ruled his plan to be unconstitutional - and kicked it off the ballot.

Attorneys for the term limits effort wanted the Illinois Supreme Court to take up the case so it could be decided ahead of November election.

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Education
6:11 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Illinois Making Changes To GED

Credit flickr user/ Ramunas Geciauskas "Lonely Pencil" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed legislation that will remove all references to the GED from Illinois law. It’s part of a much broader change in the education program for people who didn’t finish high school. 

This year the GED more than doubled in price, going from $50 to $120.

It also got a lot harder, based on the new, more rigorous Common Core education standards.

State GED administrator Jennifer Foster, with the Illinois Community College Board, says that’s led to a significant drop in the number of people taking GED tests.

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Question ruled unconstitutional
7:28 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Right To Vote For Term Limits This Fall Gets Expedited Appeal

Credit WNIJ

The question of term limits will get its day in court, in time for this fall’s election. An Illinois appellate court agreed to hear an expedited appeal from supporters of a term limits referendum, led by Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner.

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Environment
9:42 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Sun + Heat = Alert For Sensitive Lungs

Credit airnow.gov

It's been an ideal summer so far for people who enjoy the outdoors, but warmer temperatures expected this week could lead to health concerns for some.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on Monday issued an Air Pollution Action Day for Kane, McHenry, Lake, Will, Cook, Grundy, Kendall, and DuPage counties.

Kim Biggs, spokesperson for the Illinois EPA, says this is the second Action Day issued this year related to ozone. She says today's weather conditions are part of the perfect recipe for health concerns among those with respiratory or pulmonary diseases:

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Health
6:36 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Study: Americans Trust Word-Of-Mouth For Health Recommendations

Americans trust word-of-mouth and personal recommendations from doctors far more than provider quality data coming from the government or third parties.

The survey was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

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Concealed Carry
6:13 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Attorney General Wants To Send Concealed Carry Cases Out Of Court

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Illinois gun owners who've been denied a concealed carry permit can appeal. But instead of going through the courts, Illinois' Attorney General wants a state panel to decide those cases.

There are about 200 concealed carry denials before Illinois courts, brought by people who say they shouldn't have been deemed dangerous or a threat to public safety by Illinois' Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board.

Until recently, applicants didn't actually know why they were rejected.

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Illinois
6:07 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Sycamore Police Chief Plans To Retire

Donald Thomas
Credit city of Sycamore

Sycamore's police chief announced his intention to retire next year. The city council will consider Donald Thomas' request to retire in January after 13 years. 

If approved, a search for his replacement is expected this summer. 

From tonight's agenda:

"B. Ordinance No. 2014.10—An Ordinance Approving an Employment Agreement

Between the City of Sycamore and Donald Thomas. First and Second Reading.

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