Local

NPR Story
6:34 am
Mon July 14, 2014

The Art of Cigar Box Guitars

John draws makes guitars from old cigar boxes, tin cans, and a other re-purposed materials.

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 10:40 am

John Draws is making a lot of noise – literally and figuratively – with three-string guitars made from cigar boxes and other bits and pieces.

Read more
Government
6:27 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Quinn Renews Call For Tighter Gun Laws

Credit WNIJ

Illinois lawmakers are being asked to revisit a bill that would impose tighter gun restrictions. On Sunday, Governor Pat Quinn again called for passage of a measure that would ban the sale or delivery of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition.

Read more
Agriculture
9:33 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Youth May Hold Key To Grain Bin Safety

Colin Ebbers, 19, of Dakota, Ill. volunteers to be the victim of a grain bin fall during a demonstration by Stateline Farm Rescue, based in Orangeville, Ill.
Jenna Dooley

A 9-year-old boy died in a grain bin this week in southwestern Wisconsin. While every situation is different, agricultural engineers continue to work on new ways to prevent such deaths. Those involved in the training industry say reaching the younger generation will be an important step to prevent entrapments. 

    

Rescue Tools

Read more
Illinois
8:04 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Illinois Tourism Sets Another Record

The Field Museum in Chicago is one of the state's most popular attractions.
Credit Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

There were more than 100 million visitors to Illinois in 2013. State agencies aim to grow those numbers more in the face of budget cuts. 

For the third year in a row, Illinois broke its own record for visitors to the state. In 2013, travelers spent $34.5 billion dollars in Illinois, according to the state's office of tourism.

Though Illinois' new budget provides less for the state's Historic Preservation Agency, and the tourist attractions and museums under it, there have not yet been closures.  However there has been talk of curbing hours of operation later this year. 

Read more
Illinois
7:48 am
Fri July 11, 2014

GOP: Continue State Probe Of Anti-Violence Program

Rep. Jim Durkin

Illinois Republicans say they want to continue a legislative investigation into a mismanaged anti-violence program.

That goes against the wishes of the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Justice asked Illinois state lawmakers to postpone their hearings on the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

Governor Pat Quinn’s advisors who ran the anti-violence program have been subpoenaed by a legislative committee looking into why it was so poorly managed.

Federal prosecutors have also issued subpoenas related to the program.

Read more
NPR Story
5:06 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Tensions Rise With Waters Over Flood Expense

There's an irony to the arch on the entranceway of Clarksville's park, which reads "Touch the Mississippi." Normally, that requires stooping down; now the river laps up a main downtown drag, and comes to you.

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 11:07 am

Heavy rains have led to flooding all across the Midwest in recent days: in Iowa, Illinois, and in the small town of Clarksville, Missouri, which sits on the Mississippi River. That river is expected to reach its crest there Wednesday, and residents hope the walls they’ve built to keep out the water will hold. Especially because this time, they had to build those walls themselves.

Ask a Clarksville resident how long they’ve lived there, and the answer is usually given in the context of a flood.

Read more
Steven Schulz
7:03 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

UPDATE: Initial Autopsy Results Show DeKalb County Man Shot

The area where Steven Schulz' pickup was found -- north of Route 72, near Annie Glidden Road and the Kishwaukee River.
Credit Google Maps

6:30 pm, 7/10/14

The DeKalb County man whose body was found Wednesday in the Kishwaukee River died of a gunshot wound to the head. That's the word today from the DeKalb County Coroner.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department says the autopsy and investigation turned up no signs of a struggle or trauma. 23 year old Steven Schulz was reported missing earlier this week: his pickup was found near the Kishwaukee River in northern DeKalb County. A full autopsy report will be available in the near future, after lab results are returned.

A dive team called in from St. Charles found the gun police believe was used to shoot Schulz. The case is still being investigated by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, although Sheriff Roger Scott says there is no threat to public safety.

 

Read more
Illinois
10:43 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Licenses In Illinois Top 5,000

Governor Pat Quinn's signature on the document making same-sex marriage legal in Illinois.
Credit @GovernorQuinn, Twitter

A new survey from the advocacy group Equality Illinois finds more than 5,000 same-sex couples in Illinois have marriage licenses. Illinois' law took effect June 1. Some counties, including DeKalb and Cook, issued licenses before that date. Of those, 1,694 civil unions were converted into marriages.

The group finds several counties, including DeKalb and Ogle, do not keep a record of same-sex marriages.

Read more
Transform Rockford
7:59 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Top 25 By '25: Ambitious Vision For Rockford

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Energy was high at the Coronado Theater last night: it has been more than seven months since Transform Rockford held its first community rally there, asking people to help create an ambitious plan for the city. 

Read more
Illinois
5:16 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Illinois Ends Fiscal Year In The Black...Temporarily

Credit state of Illinois

The state took in over a billion dollars more in taxes than the prior year, thanks to an uptick in sales tax money.  Personal income tax revenue also rose , but the amount coming from corporate income taxes dropped. It's something Jim Muschinske, a budget forecaster for the state, said was predicted.

"That was not unexpected. In fact, we actually did better this fiscal year than what was initially assumed back when the budget was passed," Muschinske said.

Read more

Pages