Winnebago/Boone Counties
5:41 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Hot Summer? Cooling Sites Offer Relief

Credit flickr user / Ray Bodden "98 Degrees" (CC BY 2.0)

Winnebago and Boone county officials will once again offer cooling sites this summer. The centers offer air conditioned relief when an Excessive Heat Advisory is issued by the National Weather Service. You can find a list of Illinois cooling centers here.

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4:40 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

NIU Education Leader Sees Lack Of Diversity

La Vonne Neal
Credit NIU

A Northern Illinois University educator wants to help schools close the achievement gap among students of different cultures. Part of the solution involves attracting more teachers from diverse backgrounds into the profession. Dr. La Vonne Neal, dean of NIU's College of Education, has co-authored a book aimed at that goal.


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6:20 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Rockford Dance Company's New Director Sees Potential In City

Wayland Anderson
Credit Guy Stephens / WNIJ


The Rockford Dance Company has a new Artistic Director.  Wayland Anderson has been a lead dancer and choreographer for ballet companies in Texas, Maryland and South Carolina, and co-founded the modern ballet company Dancewordz.  It's been a busy career, but to hear him tell it, it's all perfectly natural.

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6:18 am
Thu June 26, 2014

State To Pay $40 Million In Dixmoor Settlement

Credit state of Illinois

The state of Illinois is paying $40 million to the so-called Dixmoor Five - a group of men falsely imprisoned as teenagers for a rape and murder they did not commit.

Peter Neufeld is one of the attorneys for the men. He says the money is beside the point.

"What you have here in Cook County is an epidemic of false confessions by young people, particularly people of color and until they do an investigation you are doomed to repeat those errors in the future and that would be a catastrophe," Neufeld said.

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6:15 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Chicago Aldermen Question Movie Museum Location

Credit city of Chicago

Some aldermen are raising concerns about building a George Lucas movie museum along Chicago’s Lakefront.

The museum could house art and memorabilia from Star Wars, Indiana Jones and other Lucas Films.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says it will offer new hope to what is now a parking lot between Soldier Field and McCormick Place.

"It would be unparalleled in the country, both educationally, culturally and then, laterally, economically," Emanuel said.

But downtown Alderman Bob Fioretti says the Lakefront is not the location he’s looking for.

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2:21 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Join Us For A Night Of Storytelling In Rockford

Credit Conveyor

WNIJ is pleased to be a part of the new live storytelling series at Conveyor in Rockford. This Friday, the theme is Independence Stories:  storytellers will weave tales of events that triggered them to assert their individualism. Divorce, adulthood, quitting that terrible job… what sparked YOUR independence?

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4:52 am
Wed June 25, 2014

TRS Lowers Return Expectations

The Illinois Teachers' Retirement System says it expects a lower return on its pension investments in the next year. That means the state will have to cover more of the cost of teacher pensions.

TRS says it's still a good assumed rate of investment return at 7.5 percent.  That falls in line with similar pension systems nationwide. But it's not as profitable as 8 percent, which TRS had been using for the previous few years.

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4:31 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Statue's Restoration Is Closer To Becoming A Reality

A warning fence surrounds the base of "The Eternal Indian" -- also known as Black Hawk -- to help protect visitors from falling debris.
Guy Stephens

American sculptor Lorado Taft called it “The Eternal Indian”, but it’s universally known as “Black Hawk.”

Taft constructed the statue out of concrete and colored cement on a bluff overlooking the Rock River near Oregon in 1911. Since then, the years, weather and repairs and restorations of varying quality have taken their toll. 

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Tourists, Wife Were Big Factors
5:47 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

George Lucas Chooses Chicago For Museum Of Narrative Art

Jim Henson and George Lucas on the set of "Labyrinth" in 1986.
Credit public domain

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas has picked Chicago over San Francisco as the future site of his museum of art and movie memorabilia.

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6:49 am
Tue June 24, 2014

New Law Aims To Standardize Farmers Markets

Farmer David Woodruff with a customer at the Woodstock Farmers Market in 2013
Credit Chelsey Fulbright / WNIJ

The Farmers Market Taskforce will work with the Illinois Department of Public Health to come up with a single set of rules and regulations farmers can follow no matter where they sell their products in Illinois. 

Local health departments currently set the rules for buying and selling food at farmers markets. State Senator Dave Koehler sponsored the legislation. He says the statewide standard will help more farmers participate in more markets.

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