WNIJ news – Several schools could close under a budget proposal from the superintendent of the Rockford Public School District. LaVonne Sheffield says the move is needed to help erase a projected deficit of $50 million dollars. Under the plan, seven buildings would be shuttered, and nearly 300 staff members would lose their jobs. Sheffield says district schools are below capacity, and that keeping all of them open is something they can't afford. The board of education is expected to vote on the proposal by early March.
WNIJ news – Efforts to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy are ongoing. Supporters of the move secured a major victory last month, when Congress gave its consent. WNIJ's, Mike Moen, spoke with a pair of openly gay graduate students from Northern Illinois University, who served under the policy. They discussed their experience, and how it affects them today:
***a warning this story contains some potentially offensive language***
DeKalb – This weekend's Bears-Packers game is the latest chapter in a great rivalry. But what happens when that rivalry is in the home? WNIJ's Dan Klefstad talks with NIU clinical psychologist Mark Matuszewski ahead of the division championship.
DeKalb – Many farmers use Facebook and Twitter to promote their farms and their produce. But Illinois corn farmers are less likely to do so. Now, the Corn Marketing Board is offering free workshops to get more farmers to talk to consumers about their product. The Board's Tricia Braid talks with WNIJ's Dan Klefstad.
DeKalb, IL – Prosecutors around the state are trying to decide how to proceed on death penalty cases. They're waiting for Governor Pat Quinn to announce whether he'll sign on to the decision by lawmakers to repeal capital punishment. Quinn supports the death penalty, but has kept former Governor George Ryan's moratorium intact. Quinn has more than two months to decide whether to sign. DeKalb County State's Attorney Clay Campbell says that makes it difficult to decide how to proceed on some cases.
WNIJ news – The new Congress includes several freshmen from Illinois. Legislative agendas on Capitol Hill have taken a pause since the Arizona shooting. But as things get back to normal, these lawmakers will have plenty on their plates. WNIJ's, Mike Moen, talked with some of them about their new duties:
Rockford – For the second year in a row, nationally-known artist and Rockford resident Roland Poska (pah-skah) is inviting people tomorrow (Saturday) to sign a declaration against prejudice and violence. WNIJ's Christopher Hosken has the details.
WNIJ news – Illinois' income tax is one step away from going up. Lawmakers have approved a 67-percent hike on personal incomes. The plan also calls for an increase in corporate taxes. Governor, Pat Quinn, supports the plan and is expected to sign the measure. Those who voted for the bill say Illinois is running dangerously close to financial ruin, and that additional revenue is needed right away. Opponents say the tax hike will hurt families, and will also be a jobs killer. Under the proposal, a large portion of the tax hike would expire in four years.