Guy Stephens/WNIJ

When Jim Gitz steps down as Freeport mayor next week, it will mark the end of an era. Voters approved moving to a city manager system of government last November.

Freeport joins scores of cities in the state, including DeKalb and Woodstock, where day-to-day operations are run by a professional administrator.  The move means Gitz was the city’s last full-time mayor.

Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner visited a Freeport hospital to highlight Illinois Family Connects, a program that provides home visits for newborns. 

Officials with FHN Family Health Center in Burchard Hills say a community nurse will visit new mothers about three weeks after they give birth.  They'll conduct wellness checks and provide support in areas such as breastfeeding and dealing with postpartum depression.

U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger is working on a bill that would expand the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area to portions of the WNIJ listening area.

One of these areas is Freeport.  It's well-known as the site of the second Lincoln-Douglas debate, with a statuary park and other exhibits commemorating the event.

Freeport Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Connie Sorn says it’s also where Douglas formed the Freeport Doctrine. This claimed that states could pass laws for or against slavery, regardless of Supreme Court decisions.

WIkimedia Commons/User: IvoShandor

Freeport officials unveiled a new City Hall as part of the city's 162nd anniversary

WIkimedia Commons/User: IvoShandor

Freeport City Council members have approved a three-year contract between the municipality and its police union.  

The document was approved Jan. 17 and includes a retroactive raise for sworn officers, dating back to May 1, of 1.25%.  There also will be 3% raises on May 1 of 2018 and 2019.