Victor Yehling

Managing Editor

Victor Yehling is Managing Editor for WNIJ News.  He coordinates the WNIJ news team, assigns stories, offers suggestions, develops project ideas, and generally harasses our outstanding news employees.  He's a relative newcomer, joining WNIJ in July 2010, but he has 15 years experience as a newspaper editor and reporter plus a couple of years in TV news.  He also spent time on the dark side, working in public relations and advertising; he claims he's recovering.  Away from the station, he enjoys theater, grandchildren, board games, Kansas City Chiefs football, and preparing for retirement in rural suburban Hagarstown.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner painted a bleak picture Monday morning of what could happen if a state budget is not passed before Friday.

But he gave some hope that a solution could be reached when the Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield on Wednesday for the first time since the spring legislative session ended in May.

WalletHub

The Rockford area is well within the top 10 percent of metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, nationwide when it comes to reflecting the average American community.

The Forest City and its surrounding area ranked 35th out of 379 of the largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas and 14th out of 164 similarly medium-sized MSAs in comparison to the national average.

That’s better than the Peoria area, which used to be considered the typical American community. Peoria came in at 73 in the medium-sized category and 140 overall.

Jack McCullough’s 2012 conviction in the 1957 death of seven-year-old Maria Ridulph should be thrown out, according to a filing by DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack.

The filing made Tuesday is in answer to an amended petition filed Monday by McCullough’s latest attorneys, Gabriel Fuentes and Shaun Van Horn of the Chicago law firm of Jenner and Block.

McCullough was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2012, and his murder conviction was upheld by the Second District Appellate Court in 2015.

  In what might be called a “Citizens United” uprising, voters in the Green County towns of Clarno and York and the cities of Brodhead and Monroe will decide whether to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  

 

Although the wording varies among the four ballots, the basic propositions are these:

-Only human beings  -- not artificial entities like corporations, unions, and similar associations -- are endowed with constitutional rights.

Rockford residents approved – by a nearly 2-to-1 vote -- for the third time the imposition of a 1% sales tax that funds public infrastructure, including road and bridge repair for the next five years. This measure would maintain rather than increase the current tax rate. It is expected to yield about $60 million over the next five years.

In DeKalb County, voters in the Village of Waterman approved a 1% sales tax to fund municipal operations, on public infrastructure, or property tax relief with nearly two-thirds of the voters voting Yes.

Most races in Tuesday’s primaries for the Illinois General Assembly have been fully tabulated, but some that involve McHenrty County are still incomplete.

Only one State Senate primary affects the WNIJ listening area directly, and all the returns still had not been filed as of late this morning. A three-way Republican race in the 26th Senate District shows Dan McConchie with just under 36% of the vote, Casey Urlacher in second place with a little less than 34%, and Martin McLaughlin with just over 30%.

Results were mixed Tuesday for area fire-protection districts in their requests to increase property tax assessments on the communities they serve. One district actually increased its taxpayer base.

The Blackhawk Fire Protection District southwest of Rockford received approval for a special tax of not more than .05% of assessed property value to pay for emergency and rescue crews and equipment.

Finalists in the search for a new Rockford Police Chief will be announced early next week, according to the Rockford Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.

The new chief will fill the position left vacant by Chet Epperson, who retired last November.

With the help of search firm IOS Solutions, the board is winnowing the 26 qualified applicants. The board is scheduled to review applications and select three or four finalists at its meeting next Monday. 

WNIJ/Victor Yehling

Friday is the final day of sculpting for the artists in the 2016 Illinois Snow Sculpting Contest, and teams were hard at work bringing their works to fruition.

Designs this year are mostly fanciful, with the occasional more-serious work. The official competitors are complemented bay an array of high school teams.

Spectators were not in short supply, as a fairly steady stream of cars wended through Sinnissippi Park on North Second Street in Rockford.

The largest city in Illinois is nowhere near the top in a 2016 ranking of the best Illinois cities for families, and the third-largest city didn’t fare much better.

Chicago ranks 154th of the 162 cities on the WalletHub family-friendly list, and Rockford placed 149th. Aurora – the second-largest Illinois city – came in at number 99.

WalletHub says it rated Illinois cities on four weighted categories of and then totaled the scores to achieve the ranking.

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