Winnebago County

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc.

Opposition to the Great Lakes Basin Railroad Project is growing in Winnebago County, but its true effect on property value may not be known for a while. 

The 260-mile line would cross through Winnebago County on its way between Wisconsin and Indiana, bypassing congested Chicago freight yards.  Various property owners have raised opposition to the project -- particularly farm owners.  Illinois Certified Appraiser Charles Davidson says that’s due to the railroad’s potential effect on property value and function.    

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc.

Hundreds of Winnebago Township residents protested the latest proposal for the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.

The 260-mile route would pass through several parts of Winnebago County in order to bypass Chicago freight traffic.  However, the Rockford Register-Star reports residents are concerned the route could pass through their farmland or have a negative effect on wildlife. 

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc.

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. unveiled a proposal for an alternative rail route that wouldn't run through Boone County.  

The company originally proposed a 281-mile railway that would bypass Chicago's congested freight lines.  However, this plan faced opposition from Boone County residents.  A letter opposing the project cited loss of livability, land, and water quality, as well as an increase in noise and insurance costs. 

Four Bodies Identified In Rockford House Fire

Sep 19, 2016

The Winnebago County Coroner’s Office identified four victims of a Saturday house fire in Rockford.  

27-year-old Keandra Austin, 6-year-old Keeryn Austin, 9-year-old Deangalo Totty, and 6-month-old Aliya Beasley-Austin were found dead in their house at 2815 Garfield Drive.

A federal judge sentenced Sally Claassen to two years in federal prison and one year of supervised release.


She must also pay more than $445,000 in restitution and fines.

Claassen allegedly siphoned nearly a half million dollars from Winnebago County between 2014 and 2015.

County administrators have said she used her county-issued credit card to buy personal items, including resort vacations and kitchen renovations.

Claassen ran the county's Purchasing department for a little more than 18 years.