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-Illinois
1:56 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Illinois Businesses, Farmers, Officials React To President's Announcement on Cuba

Credit Illinois Corn Growers Association

President Obama's announcement that the U.S. will start talks on normalizing relations with Cuba includes plans to allow more exports to that country.  Some say that could offer new opportunities for Illinois farmers and businesses.

One of those people is William Delaney. He chairs the International Business Council for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, and reacted positively to the possibility of greater exports to Cuba being allowed.

"The impact would be direct, immediate and hugely beneficial for the state of Illinois."

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Illinois
6:46 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Former WREX Meteorologist, NIU Alumnus In Stable Condition After Being Shot

Credit WREX

Northern Illinois University alumnus Patrick Crawford was shot three times after leaving his job as a TV weatherman in Texas. 

Crawford underwent surgery yesterday and is now in stable condition.

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Arts
6:35 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Fox Valley Orchestra, Chorus To Host DIY Messiah

Lisa Fredenburgh leads the Fox Valley Orchestra Chorus in rehearsal
Credit Guy Stephens / WNIJ

This weekend, Dec. 21, the Fox Valley Orchestra and Chorus present a "Sing-Along Messiah," an event often known as a "Do-It-Yourself Messiah."  Audience members are invited to join the choir in singing choruses from Handel’s masterpiece.

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Health
6:25 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Experts Suggest Connection To Autism, Air Pollution

Credit Flickr user Jake Setlak / "Smog" (CC BY 2.0)

Scientists are suggesting a link between autism and air pollution exposure during pregnancy. 

The study in Environmental Health Perspectives says tiny particulate matter, which can be passed from the lungs to the bloodstream may be a factor. 

Experts say pregnant women should minimize their exposure to air pollution. However, the link has yet to be proven.

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Winnebago County
5:03 am
Thu December 18, 2014

New Flood Maps Mean More Flood Insurance For Some

Andrew Epstein WNIJ

Illinois is updating some of its flood maps: and that means some homeowners will need to buy flood insurance for the first time.

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Illinois
4:04 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Friends, Family Remember Topinka At Memorial Service

Credit Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

Republicans and Democrats alike are remembering Judy Baar Topinka.

The state comptroller died last week after complications from a stroke.

Topinka was a Republican who was supported by labor unions and endorsed same-sex marriage.

At her memorial service Wednesday- Governor-elect Bruce Rauner said he got to know Topinka during his campaign - when he frequently criticized unions.

Topinka’s memorial service - was at a union hall in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.

That was not lost on Rauner.

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NPR Story
3:25 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Rauner Named Nation's Most Influential Pension Figure

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:43 pm

The trade magazine "Institutional Investor" has ranked Illinois' incoming governor as its most influential player in U.S. pensions. An article says Bruce Rauner may regret ever having run for office, given the state's massive longterm pension debt, and the difficulty he is expected to have in addressing it.

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Joseph Hosey Case
12:21 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Illinois Courts Rule In Favor Of Reporter's Rights, Cameras In Courtrooms

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Two court rulings this week are being hailed as victories for journalists. 

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NPR Story
5:57 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Rauner Favors Merging Comptroller, Treasurer. Just Not Now.

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner took a handful of questions from reporters following his appearance Tuesday at a Better Government Association in Springfield; the audience was delighted to hear that he'll live in the capital city.

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 11:00 pm

Many of Illinois' top politicians will pay their respects to the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at a memorial service today (Wed., Dec. 17). Topinka died last week at the age of 70, shortly after having a stroke. Even as she's being mourned, political jockeying is underway to determine who'll next take her job.

Topinka passed away a month before she was to be sworn into her next term as Comptroller -- the position in state government responsible for paying the bills.

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Illinois
5:52 am
Wed December 17, 2014

CUB, AARP Prepare For Fight Against Phone Industry

Credit WCBU

The Citizens Utility Board and AARP are joining forces to prevent the phone industry from ending landline service statewide.

The two Tuesday launched the “Save Our Service” campaign. This comes as lawmakers are expected to consider revisions to the Illinois Telecommunications Act next year.

CUB spokeswoman Megan Carlson says the telecom industry is expected to push for phone deregulation.

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