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Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, once an opponent of land-based casinos, now says he favors casino expansion, including one in Chicago.

Edgar on Wednesday told the Chicago Sun-Times there are "more pluses than minuses" than there were 25 years ago. At that time Edgar said he didn't want casinos in any part of Illinois.

Now Edgar says the city of Chicago needs the revenue and the state of Illinois could use the revenue.

The former two-term Republican governor made the remarks as an Illinois House subcommittee hearing about casino expansion bill was underway.

On a Saturday in early August, around 250 people packed into the sanctuary of Salem Lutheran Church in Sycamore to celebrate the installation of a new pastor. The congregation led their new leader through the church, stopping along the way to call him to service.

 

It’s an empowering ritual in the Lutheran tradition, and one that is especially meaningful since Salem’s new pastor, Preston Fields, is the first openly gay pastor in the Northern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).

 

Guy Stephens/WNIJ

Rochelle has leveraged its location, and resources like its municipal railroad, to spur a lot of business activity in its corner of Ogle County. Now it’s set to move into neighboring Lee County in a big way. 

Illinois EPA

Illinois EPA Director Alec Messina announced the completion of a forced waste tire removal in Rockford.

More than 4,600 tons of waste tires were removed from S.T.A.R. Used Tire Disposal, a former commercial used tire processing facility.

The facility operated in violation of the Environmental Protection Act and Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations for more than a decade. S.T.A.R. did not respond to a removal notice from the Illinois EPA, prompting the forced removal.

Jennifer Fuller / WSIU

State lawmakers say hours of testimony Monday on the SIU Carbondale campus will help as the group shapes the future of higher education funding in Illinois.

Victoria Lunacek/WNIJ

When a city negotiates a new contract for waste haulers, it can lead to a change in services or opportunities to lower costs.

If you live in a decently-sized city, you probably roll your trash cans to the curb once a week, and the garbage gets hauled off. The City of DeKalb recently approved a contract with Lakeshore Recycling as its new garbage hauler.  It takes effect in September, and Public Works Director Tim Holdeman says the move came about when the city’s old contract was up for renewal. 

Brian Mackey

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a law that gives families of extremely ill children more flexibility in health care.

 

The Republican's action affects children considered "medically fragile, technology dependent ." The law means that their expensive, highly technical care which is covered by Medicaid is exempt from managed-care organizations.

ilga.gov

Helene Miller Walsh, the wife of a conservative radio host and former Illinois congressman, will replace a former state lawmaker who resigned after being accused of sharing nude photos of an ex-girlfriend online.

The Chicago Tribune reports Walsh was selected from a pool of about 20 contenders to replace former GOP state Rep. Nick Sauer.

Flickr User Nephelim BadTusk (CC x 2.0)

A series of festivals, parades and other events will mark the 200th anniversary of Illinois adopting its state constitution.

Among the celebrations planned for Aug. 26 is the dedication of a new Bicentennial Plaza next to the Illinois Governor's Mansion in Springfield.

Constitution Day festivities also are planned in Galena and Dixon, and East St. Louis hosts a Heritage Festival. Gov. Bruce Rauner is holding a Route 66 Motorcycle Ride that will travel from Shorewood to Springfield.

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Authorities say a Chicago teenager killed himself after being chased by police, but his family thinks the officers shot him and they're calling for an independent investigation.

WNIJ is re-visting the "Read With Me" library for some summer reading. One novel about a coach for the Chicago Cubs, The Clubhouse Thief, seems ripe for a second look with the Cubs leading the National League Central Division. Here's an encore presentation of our interview with author James Janko.

The Sound of Science - "Frizzy Hair"

Aug 17, 2018

Welcome to the Sound of Science. I’m Kate Powers – And I’m Mackenzie Thompson.

M: Kate, this week we have a burning question that comes to mind during the hot summer months. What is it about humidity that makes your hair so frizzy and curly?

K: As a curly hair girl, Pati, this question is close to my heart. And the basic answer to the question is simply: chemistry.

M: Chemistry? Are there chemical reactions between humid air and your hair?

Governor Bruce Rauner on Facebook

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a law requiring owners of gas storage fields to notify local officials if a natural gas leak threatens drinking water supplies.

The Republican signed the law Thursday designed to protect the Mahomet Aquifer in east-central Illinois. It is the area's primary water source. It provides drinking water for more than 500,000 residents.

Flickr User Paull Wasneski / (CC X 2.0)

Agreements are almost finalized with city officials in Champaign and Urbana for the area's first dockless-bike-share service.

Flickr User Patrick Feller (CC x 2.0)

The mother of the black teenager who was fatally shot by a white Chicago police officer appeared in court but before she could take the witness stand the judge cleared the courtroom so the public and media could not hear her testimony.

Victoria Lunacek

Chess is played by millions of people worldwide and can be enjoyed by even the youngest participants. Detroit native Daron Brown hopes a chess club in DeKalb will open doors for local kids he mentors. On this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jenna Dooley talks with Brown about his love of the game.

In the basement of DeKalb's public library, Daron Brown is wearing a white dress shirt and baby blue striped tie. He's "Mr. Brown" for the dozen or so pre-teen kids who are part of the club.

Sessions from Studio A - Zack Baumgartner

Aug 16, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Zack Baumgartner performs "Goodbye" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Zack Baumgartner performs "Blame It All On Me".

Find the music of Zack Baumgartner at ReverbNation.

Nippon Sharyo Plant In Rochelle To Close

Aug 16, 2018
WNIJ

It’s the end of the line for Rochelle rail car maker Nippon Sharyo. It appears the company is shuttering its Illinois plant.

In 2012, the announcement that the Japanese rail car manufacturer had selected Rochelle for its massive factory came with much fanfare. Japan’s ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki and then-governor Pat Quinn helped cut the ribbon at a celebration while Taiko Japanese drums thundered in the cavernous building.

The Wait Is Over For A Rare (And Smelly) Bloom

Aug 16, 2018
Claire Buchanan

Today you can walk into Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens to the sounds of gently running water, families enjoying their last outing of the summer -- and the smell of rotting flesh and stinky gym socks. The odor is coming from the titan arum, or corpse flower. It bloomed this week after a long wait.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Facebook

Illinois Democrats are gearing up for a record turnout for their annual state fair gathering, but they'll be missing their star.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to keynote the Democratic County Chairs Association brunch. But the Democrat announced Tuesday night he's ill and doctor's orders prohibit his travel.

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A new lawsuit alleges Chicago police officers pointed guns at a family, including at 9- and 5-year-old children, after bursting into the wrong apartment with a search warrant last year.

The Chicago Tribune reports the suit was filed Wednesday in federal court for the father, Gilbert Mendez. It alleges false arrest and seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

The lawsuit says the actual subject of a drug investigation lived in another, upstairs apartment. It says even after the error became clear, Mendez was kept in handcuffs.

Flickr User Lord Jim / (CC X 2.0)

People caught texting while driving will face stiffer penalties under a new Illinois law.

Starting July 1, 2019 drivers caught texting will be issued a moving violation that will go on their driving record. Anyone convicted of three moving violations in a 12-month period may have their license suspended.

Under the current law that took effect in 2014 a first offense for texting while driving is a non-moving violation and doesn't affect a person's driving record.

SLIDESHOW: Rockford Area Celebrates 815 Day

Aug 15, 2018
Victoria Lunacek

Rockford hosted the annual 815 Day on Aug. 15 offering live performances and activities around the city. The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau handed out local favorites like Mrs. Fisher's chips and gelato from Franchesco's.

www.facebook.com/joebiden/

A trip by former Vice President Joe Biden to Springfield has been called off because of illness.

 

Biden had been scheduled to speak Thursday at the Illinois Democratic County Chairs' Association brunch at a Springfield hotel, but the group's leader says Biden is under doctor's orders not to travel. Rock Island County party chairman Doug House says he's sure Biden will soon be back campaigning for Democrats in Illinois and elsewhere.

Parabon Nanotyping / DeKalb County Sheriff's Office

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office has released pictures of what the man who killed a rural Sycamore couple might look like. The images are based on DNA evidence gathered at the home where 85-year-old Patricia Wilson and her son, 64-year-old Robert Wilson, were found dead. 

Investigators determined the two died of blunt force trauma the night of August 14, 2016. The Sheriff’s Office says, despite thousands of man-hours, dozens of search warrants and work with state and national agencies, it has been unable to come up with the name of the killer.

Stack-On Products on Facebook

A storage safe manufacturer is closing two Chicago-area factories and moving operations to Mexico to counteract the effects of metal tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump's administration.

The Chicago Tribune reports Stack-On Products will lay off about 150 people at its Wauconda and McHenry plants when they close Oct. 12.

Human resources director Al Fletcher said Tuesday the decision to relocate operations to Juarez, Mexico, was made about two months ago. That's when Trump announced tariffs on numerous goods and materials from China as well as other countries.

Governor Bruce Rauner on Facebook

Illinois Republicans are converging on Springfield and the Illinois State Fair for Governor's Day.

The annual festivities Wednesday draw a focus on the crucial November balloting. Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to win re-election along with a slate of statewide and congressional candidates.

Republican regulars meet early Wednesday in downtown Springfield before GOP faithful hit the fairgrounds for an old-fashioned campaign rally at noon.

Flickr User Dave Conner / (CC X 2.0)

Police reform activists are pressing for major additions to a proposed consent decree outlining terms of federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department.

The activists, the Illinois attorney general's office and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are wrangling over details of a potential court order that would govern how officers use force and are held accountable.

Flickr user David Schroeder

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing the operators of Trump International Hotel and Tower for releasing water into the Chicago River in violation of federal environmental laws.

 

The lawsuit claims the building sucks about 20 million gallons of water out of the Chicago River and returns the same amount 35 degrees hotter. The water is used to cool heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the building.

In a statement Madigan said the water is taken without a permit and without any regard to how its return may impact the river's ecosystem.

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new Illinois law will require hospitals to ensure that sexual assault victims receive timely treatment from someone trained to examine them.

 

Right now in Illinois, fewer than 200 nurses have completed training in how to treat sexual assault victims, and only 20 are certified in pediatrics.

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