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.

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.

WNIJ/Victor Yehling

The 2016 Illinois Snow Sculpting Contest finally got underway Wednesday along the roadways of Sinnissippi Park in Rockford. Lack of snow had delayed the start by a week.

Several teams took advantage of the comparatively warm mid-afternoon weather to work on their snow blocks, made from manufactured snow due to the lack of suitable precipitation.

The team names defy attempts to guess the origins. They include such monikers as Vikings in Black, Kilted Snow Weasels, Quatsch-Men, The Band of Misfit Boys, and the Slacktastic 4.

Rockford Police Department

Rockford aldermen are looking for community input to help guide the search for a new police chief.

The first of three community input meetings will be held at 5:30 this evening in the Millennium Center in downtown Rockford.

Rockford Aldermen want to gather information to help the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners in its search to replace Chief Chet Epperson, who retired Nov. 13.

The input sessions will be led by trained Transform Rockford facilitators.

cyberdriveillinois.com

At Midnight Nov. 30, the grace period to renew potentially hundreds of thousands of Illinois license plates expired – and many of them may have been completely unaware.

At the end of September, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White suspended mailing out notices of license renewal due to the Illinois budget stalemate.

That action was expected to save about $450,000 monthly in the postal fund so White’s office could continue sending out new vehicle titles and plates and stickers and such.

Flickr user Loren Kerns / "100/36: November PDX leaves" (CC V. 2.0)

It’s another sign of winter: the end of leaf pickup along with the regular garbage pickup – at least in one northern Illinois city.

Monday through Thursday will be the last days of 2015 that residents can put bundled branches or bagged leaves out with the regular garbage in Rockford.

Rockford officials note that yard waste will be taken only if it’s in compostable paper bags or in garbage cans clearly marked with a large X – and weighing less than 50 pounds.

New hearing dates have been set to review charges against the two top officers of the Beloit Police Department.

The Beloit Police and Fire Commission scheduled nine days in January to hear evidence against Beloit Police Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin.

City Manager Lori Luther told a news conference October 13 that Jacobs and Dunkin “grossly mismanaged the department, incurring significant liability for the city and the community as a whole.”

muralsofthelincolnhighway.com

Studying for a quiz usually involves reading textbooks, reviewing notes, and staying up late the night before.  But a road trip across northern Illinois is just what the teacher ordered to get ready for the online Lincoln Highway quiz.

Mercy Rockford Health System

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center could be forced to cut the equivalent of 200 full-time jobs if the Rockford Health System Riverside Campus is built on the east side.

That is one of several objections raised about the project in a letter from St. Anthony CEO and President Paula Carynski filed last week with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

More than half of the renters in Illinois are spending a burdensome portion of their income on housing, according to a new study.

In 2014, 50.2% of Illinois renters spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing. That’s a burden, according to a study by apartmentlist.com.

Using census data from 2007 to 2014, the study found that only 47.4% of Wisconsin renters fall into that category, and a mere 43.9 percent of Iowa renters fit the definition.

Nationwide, 51.8% of renters are cost-burdened.

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