Winnebago County

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.

Federal prosecutors are seeking jail time for a former Winnebago County purchasing director accused of embezzlement. 

Sally Claassen allegedly siphoned $451,353 from the county between 2014 and 2015. 

She’s accused of using the money to remodel her kitchen and pay for vacations to Marco Island and Amelia Island in Florida. 

Winnebago County’s Finance Committee failed to agree on a balanced budget Tuesday.  

The county has a deficit of more than $7 million. Officials say this is due to increased employee salaries, as well as funds paid out by arbitration.  They say one example is that since police aren't allowed to strike, an arbitration court decides the amount awarded in the case of an impasse.