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Arts
2:59 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Rockford Symphony Names New Conductor For Youth Orchestra

Linc Smelser
Credit Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO) has chosen Linc Smelser to be the next conductor of the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra (RSYO). The RSO announced the selection Friday.

In the announcement, RSO Music Director Steven Larsen said he was delighted to have Smelser as the RSYO's new conductor.

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DeKalb
1:00 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Full Speed Ahead For DeKalb Library Expansion

Credit Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Saturday's groundbreaking for a $24 million dollar library expansion can't come soon enough for Dee Coover. The library director walked into her office this week to sweltering temperatures. She called to get the problem fixed and heard a familiar refrain from workers.

"It's been remodeled several times so everything is in the way of what I am trying to work on. It's just that everything is old...antiquated," said service technician Chad Phund.

He's been called to the to 80-year-old building several times to "put band-aids on band-aids."

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Election 2014
7:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Quinn Renews Call For Assault Weapons Ban

Credit WNIJ

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is bringing the debate over guns into his re-election campaign.

Quinn says the issue of military-style weapons represents a fundamental difference between his policies and and Republican candidate Bruce Rauner.

"My opponent thinks people should have assault weapons as they see fit. Do folks here agree with that? Do you agree with that?"

Quinn was speaking at a church on Chicago’s West Side to support a ban on high-capacity guns.

Rauner said people have a right to own so-called assault weapons at a primary debate back in February.

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Unemployment
7:04 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Jobless Rate Drops Again In Rockford

Credit IDES

The jobless rate in all of Illinois' metro areas dropped again last month. State officials Rockford's rate was 1.5 percent lower than the year before. 

Illinois
4:02 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Inspector General Discloses Political Hiring Investigation

Attorney Michael Shakman's lawsuit accuses Gov. Pat Quinn's administration of political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation, which until late June was headed by Anne Schneider. In this photo, taken in April, Schneider is introducing a state roads plan with Quinn by her side.

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:56 pm

  As Gov. Pat Quinn battles a lawsuit accusing his administration of political hiring, the state watchdog charged with investigating ethics violations is asking to get involved.

Confidentiality restrictions prevent the Inspector General from saying what he is or isn't looking into.

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Hydraulic Fracturing
4:01 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Business, Labor Leaders Urge Quinn Administration To Finish Fracking Rules

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:18 pm

  Business and labor leaders are urging Illinois' Department of Natural Resources to finish the rules for hydraulic fracturing. The coalition says it's left wondering if the governor's administration might be dragging the process for political reasons.

It's been over 400 days since the General Assembly passed a law to allow hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Proponents say the technique of drilling for natural gas deep in the ground will lead to job and revenue growth.

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Politics
6:30 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Kinzinger And Bustos Discuss Plane Crash Probe

Rep. Cheri Bustos (left) Rep. Adam Kinzinger (right)

A northern Illinois Congressman wants the international community to freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those comments come from 16th District Republican Adam Kinzinger.

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Contraception
5:32 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Durbin: Companies Should Disclose Stance On Birth Control Coverage

Credit durbin.senate.gov

After a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month, certain companies are exempt from providing birth control as part of their insurance plans. They don't have to cover contraception if it conflicts with owners' religious beliefs.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is proposing legislation to require these companies to share that information with job seekers.

Durbin, a Democrat, says potential employees have the right to know.

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Illinois
4:33 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Illinois' Credit Prognosis: Negative

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 6:29 pm

Wall Street's view of Illinois' financial health has taken a hit, thanks largely to the state budget that took effect at the start of this month. Pensions also continue to be a drag. 

When Illinois Democrats passed the state's latest budget, many seemed to hold their nose. Credit ratings agencies are more direct: Standard & Poors has revised Illinois' credit outlook to "negative." 

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Illinois
6:12 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Quinn Signs Billion Dollar Construction Plan

Credit WNIJ

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a new state capital construction bill. It invests $1.1 billion in road and bridge projects around the state. The plan will be paid for by selling bonds. Among the projects:

Ogle and Winnebago County

·         $26 million to resurface 31 miles of Interstate 39/U.S. 51 in Winnebago and Ogle counties.

Carroll and Whiteside County

·         $4 million to resurface 14.3 miles of Illinois 40 from Milledgeville to Coleta in Carroll and Whiteside Counties.

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