Rockford

Authorities say someone stabbed a pregnant Rockford woman to death before a house fire that killed three of her children.

The Rockford Register Star reports new details of the September 17 deaths emerged Friday at a Winnebago County Coroner's Office inquest.

Autopsies determined 27-year-old Keandra-Kirana Austin was 16 weeks pregnant when she was stabbed in the chest. Her body was found in a bedroom alongside the children, ages 9, 6 and 6 months.

There was no sign of trauma to the children, who died of smoke inhalation.

Rockford Public Schools

The time to file petitions to run for office in the upcoming local elections came and went, but no one filed a petition for one Rockford school board seat.

There were no petitions filed in time for those to be listed in the primary elections for the Rockford School Board Subdistrict A seat. That’s according to the Winnebago County Clerk’s office.

However, those who want to file as write-in candidates for the seat for the April 4th election have until the beginning of February to do so. If no one files to run for office, then someone is appointed for the position.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It’s the shortest day and the longest night of the year. To advocates in Rockford, the Winter Solstice symbolizes the harshest challenges for the homeless in their city. Wednesday, they held their annual memorial for homeless people who died this year.

Richard Reed was there to remember his friend Humberto, who was just 31 when he died in April. He recalled that he was “a good pool shooter, a good friend, a nice and kind person. And I’m thankful that I knew him.”

State of Illinois

A program designed to help spur economic development in Rockford and other river cities in Illinois got a new lease on life this week. Tuesday, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation extending the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program until the beginning of 2018.

Rockford Public Schools pushed back its final exams because of inclement weather. 

Normally, these would have started Monday.  But principals closed down schools when a fifth of their bus fleet failed to start Monday morning.

Principals agreed to push back finals by one day.  This means students will take their last set of exams on January 9, after winter vacation.  That date also is the end of the grading period. 

Teachers plan to hold a 20-minute review session before each test that day.  RPS says families should expect report cards by January 16th.

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