6:17 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Former Democratic Senator Alan Dixon Dies At 86

Alan Dixon

Former U.S. Senator Alan Dixon died Sunday, just shy of his 87th birthday.  His political career ended in 1992 when he lost a Democratic primary to Carol Moseley Braun.

In an interview recorded a couple of years ago, Dixon says a neighbor, who was the Democratic Party Chairman of Belleville, took him under his wing. He helped Dixon land his first elected office, as the local police magistrate.

From there, Dixon didn't stop, for decades.

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6:09 am
Mon July 7, 2014

More Fireworks In Illinois Next Year?

Credit Flickr user Matt Seymour "Fireworks" (CC BY 2.0)

An Illinois lawmaker is already looking to next year's Fourth of July.

State Senator Chapin Rose says he saw a lot of fireworks for sale on recent trips to Kentucky, Wisconsin and Tennessee -- and saw a lot of Illinoisans crossing the state line to buy them. The Mahomet Republican says Illinois’ ban on most consumer fireworks sales is bad for the state’s economy. 

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Murder Suspect Terence Doddy
1:54 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

National Hunt For Rockford Man Ends In Wisconsin Car Crash

Terence Doddy

The suspect in two northern Illinois murders is now in police custody in a Wisconsin hospital. Terence Doddy was captured near Beloit after he crashed a car into a tree after a high-speed police chase.

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6:00 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Court: Convicted Police Commander Can Keep Pension

The Illinois Supreme Court says former Commander Jon Burge can keep receiving $3,000 a month from the Chicago police pension fund. 

That’s despite a  2010 conviction for lying under oath about his role as the leader of a police torture ring.

The 2010 conviction prompted a hearing of the police retirement board on Burge’s pension benefits.

The board tied on the question of whether a conviction for lying about his activities as a police commander was related to Burge’s police service.

The tie meant Burge’s benefits were safe.

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67th District Democrat
12:42 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

State Representative Jefferson Says "It's Time"

State Representative Chuck Jefferson talks about his reasons for leaving the legislature.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

State Representative Chuck Jefferson says he’s retiring because it’s time to let someone younger take on the position. The Democrat held a retirement party of sorts at the State of Illinois building in Rockford’s downtown. 

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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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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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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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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.

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.