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.

The Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad Company (CCP) will pay $570,000 to settle damages from a 2009 train derailment in Cherry Valley that resulted in one death, a fire and the release of thousands of gallons of ethanol into the surrounding environment.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office announced the settlement Thursday.

On June 19, 2009, a Canadian National train carrying a mixture of ethanol and gasoline derailed.

JPI Website

Illinois taxpayers spend $304.11 per day to provide supervision, education, housing, meals and other care for each youthful offender in the seven Illinois Youth Centers run by the Department of Juvenile Justice.

That’s according to figures in a report released today by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding alternatives to incarceration.

RVC

Home-grown theater in Rockford has changed significantly over the past few decades. Theaters have come and gone, and the people who present stage works for local audiences have changed as well.

Mike Webb is preparing for the next production in his 29th season as Artistic Director of Rock Valley College Theatres. He’ll open “The Wizard of Oz” in December as part of what he calls his “impossible season.”

Only two Illinois counties in the WNIJ listening area passed The Illinois Policy Institute audit of online government transparency.

Kane County was the only one to earn a perfect score of 100 points. DeKalb County placed eleventh with 60 point 9 points. Only three of the 102 Illinois counties scored 90 percent or higher.

 Rockford Ald. D. William “Bill” Robertson, I-14, who served as Rockford Fire Chief for 17 years before entering politics, died Saturday morning after an extended battle with cancer.

Flags on city buildings were ordered flown at half staff in his honor.

“He was dedicated to the community in his role of Fire Chief, as a member of the Rockford Fire Department for 37 years, and as an alderman,” said current Fire Chief Derek Bergsten. “Our thoughts go out to his entire family in this time of great sorrow.”

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell was sentenced today to serve 235 months -- 19 years and 7 months -- in prison on one federal count of wire fraud resulting from her embezzlement of more than $53 million in public funds from the City of Dixon.

There are several similarities between the candidates in Illinois’s 17th Congressional District, which includes Democratic-leaning chunks from Rockford and Peoria as well as wrapping through the Quad Cities and across rural northwestern Illinois.

"Maria's got her justice."

Jack McCullough heard his guilty verdict Friday in a packed courtroom on the third floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse, less than 10 blocks from where he snatched Maria Ridulph on the snowy evening of Dec. 3, 1957.

Known in those days as John Tessier, the 72-year-old convicted kidnapper and murderer sat through five days of a bench trial before Judge James Hallock and heard a parade of prosecution witnesses detail circumstantial evidence that tied him to the seven-year-old girl’s disappearance from the corner of Archie Place and Center Cross Street in Sycamore.

Testimony is over in the murder-kidnap trial of Jack Daniel McCullough, accused of abducting and killing 7-year-old Maria Ridulph from a street corner just three doors from her Sycamore home on the evening of Dec. 3, 1957.

The child's badly decomposed body was found a few months later in a wooded area off U.S. 20 near Woodbine in Jo Daviess County.

The defendant's fate is now in the hands of Judge James Hallock.

Two inmates and a forensic anthropologist testified Wednesday in the murder-kidnap trial of Jack Daniel McCullough, accused in the disappearance and death of little Maria Ridulph in Sycamore nearly 55 years ago.

The inmates told slightly different – but not necessarily contradictory – stories of McCullough’s jailhouse conversations about his case, and the scientist explained how she found evidence of deep cutting wounds on the skelton of the 7-year-old victim.

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