Chase Cavanaugh

Reporter

Chase started in radio while earning his Master's in diplomacy and international commerce at the University of Kentucky.  He was bitten by the radio bug while volunteering at Radio Eye (a local equivalent to NIRIS) and soon became a reporter at WUKY. After four years of reporting in Kentucky's Bluegrass, Chase traveled north to join WNIJ as Morning Edition producer.  Chase reports on a variety of developments in our broadcast area but is particularly drawn to anything with a political or international connection.  He is also an avid board gamer.

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ

In August, Northern Illinois University held an orientation for 65 international scholars taking part in the Fulbright Scholars program. This Gateway served as an introduction to the United States before they went to their separate universities. Two members of that group are studying at NIU. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.44. This is seven cents cheaper than last week.

AAA reports the most expensive gas is in the City of Chicago, at $2.79 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest gas can be found in Springfield, at $2.32 per gallon.  

Rockford's average price is $2.40 per gallon. This is two cents cheaper than last week.  

USDA Agricultural Research Service

Hunting is an activity that crosses state lines, with hunters looking for the best spots for game, and game not even having a concept of political boundaries. But a disease is infecting deer herds in both Illinois and Wisconsin, and it could pose a threat to hunters. 

Chronic Wasting Disease is a malady that’s existed among deer in the region for more than a decade. It was first detected in southern Wisconsin around 2002. Since then, infected herds have spread to at least 19 counties.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.51. This is seven cents more expensive than last week.

AAA reports the most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.82 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest gas is in Champaign-Urbana, at $2.34 per gallon.

Rockford's average price is $2.42 per gallon. This is one cent cheaper than last week.  

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.44. This is 9 cents cheaper than last week.  

AAA reports the most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.82 per gallon. By contrast, Decatur has the cheapest gas, at $2.19 per gallon. 

Rockford's average gas price is $2.43. This is 5 cents cheaper than last week. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/got_legos/ (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a mobile phone consumer protection bill. 

The Geolocation Privacy Protection Act would require explicit consent from mobile phone users when companies want to use their geographical data gathered from mobile apps. Only then could companies collect, use, and sell this information.

GotCredit.com/CC 2.0

The increasing prospects of high college costs and a demand for more trade-based jobs are pushing more students to enroll in community college. But how do the institutions in northern Illinois stack up?

Community colleges in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin didn’t fare exceptionally well in a ranking of 728 institutions in a recent study by WalletHub – although Southwest Wisconsin Technical College took the number-three spot, and Illinois’s Rend Lake College ranked eleventh.

Mosquitos which tested positive for West Nile Virus were found recently near the Whiteside County Fairgrounds in Morrison.

The virus was first detected in the county in July, and it’s also been found in Carroll and Ogle Counties.  Whiteside County Health Department Public Health Administrator Beth Fiorini said the last cases usually show up in late August, making this a highly unusual case.

“It’s been a really, really dry season," she said. "I don’t know if that’s why. We haven’t had rain in Whiteside County for weeks.”

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.53.  This is 11 cents cheaper than last week.  

AAA reports the most expensive gas is in the City of Chicago, at $2.86 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest gas can be found in Bloomington-Normal, at $2.29 per gallon. 

Rockford's average per-gallon price is $2.48. This is 7 cents cheaper than last week. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.64.  This is 5 cents more expensive than last week.

AAA reports that the most expensive gas is found in the City of Chicago, at $2.89 per gallon.  By contrast, the lowest per-gallon price is available in Decatur, at $2.42.  Rockford's average price is $2.55 per gallon. This is one cent lower than last week. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.59. This is 18 cents higher than last week's average.  

AAA reports the most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at a price of $2.85 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest gas can be found in Champaign-Urbana, at $2.42 per gallon. 

Rockford's average price is $2.56 per gallon. This is 23 cents higher than last week.  

"Hurricane Harvey Flooding - 8/26/17 to ?" by Flickr user Jill Carlson (jillcarlson.org) / (CC x 2.0)

Hurricane Harvey has prompted an outpouring of donations, but a common concern is whether these contributions are providing the most bang for the buck.

Paul Logli is President of the United Way of the Rock River Valley. He said since relief efforts are focused on long term recovery, cash donations are the most effective.

“Certainly dry clothing for the people that first come in is important," he said, "but usually the stuff pouring in the area is far in excess of immediate demand and not very usable.”

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner put his signature today on a bill that redefines how Illinois public schools are funded. But it also will send overdue money to schools starting up the academic year.

Northern Illinois University

Field trips are a hallmark of grade school, often with memorable visits to a local museum, park or business. But not many students get the same opportunity once they reach college.  A group at Northern Illinois University wants to change that.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.41.  This is 6 cents more expensive than last week. 

AAA reports the most expensive gas is in the City of Chicago, at $2.72 per gallon. By contrast, Danville has the cheapest gas at $2.22.   Rockford's average price is $2.33 per gallon. That's 4 cents higher than last week. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.35. This is five cents cheaper than last week.  

AAA reports the most expensive gas is in the City of Chicago, at $2.71 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest gas can be found in Springfield, at $2.13 per gallon.  

Rockford's average price is $2.29. This is 2 cents cheaper than last week.  

United Way of Rock River Valley / http://www.unitedwayrrv.org/

United Way of the Rock River Valley is bringing fresh produce and meats to two food-disadvantaged Rockford neighborhoods Saturday.

The charity is teaming up with Chicago-based Top Box, which purchases the foods wholesale, and Strong Neighborhood houses, where police live among the community. United Way Vice President Linda Sandquist said the two neighborhoods in question, Midtown and Rural Oaks, are considered food deserts.

Flickr User Democracy Chronicles/CC 2.0

Conflict of interest is a hot topic of discussion in modern politics, particularly with the rise of big money and hyper-partisanship. But it’s usually brought up in the context of the legislature and executive branches. However, the judiciary has its own complications.

At the national level, the Supreme Court was intended to be a more moderating influence. These justices are appointed for life and don’t have to face the pressure of running for a new term.

Northern Illinois University

NIU is giving a crash course on the United States to a collection of new Fulbright scholars this week.

The Fulbright program was created in 1946 to provide scholarships to international students interested in studying in America, and for U.S. citizens to do the same abroad. This week, Northern Illinois University is holding a “gateway orientation” for 65 foreign students who will study across the country. Stephanie Brown, Associate Director of the NIU Student and Faculty Office, said the campus provides a broad base for students preparing to study across the U.S.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.40. This is three cents cheaper than last week's average. 

AAA reports the most expensive gas is in the City of Chicago, at $2.72 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest gasoline is available in Danville, at $2.16 per gallon. Rockford's average per-gallon price is $2.31, which is one cent cheaper than last week.  

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

A group of Rochelle residents is being recognized for their engineering work at the Illinois State Fair. 

Back in May, a class of Rochelle middle- and high-school students used a 3-D printer to build a prosthetic hand for local farmer Jack Hubbard.  He had lost the arm in a mechanical accident, and the new hand now lets him avoid his bulky work prosthesis at home and play more easily with his kids. 

Ben Jacobson/CC 2.5

Tourism revenue in Rockford and Winnebago County reached an all-time high last year.

Data from the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau reports visitors spent $353 million and generated $6.2 million in local sales tax. Their data also says tourism spending in Winnebago County rose by 39% since 2009. This was second only to growth in Chicago and Cook County.

Illinois Times

A recent survey shows that Illinois residents carry the 14th highest amount of student debt among all 50 states.

The study, compiled by WalletHub, based its rankings on two general sets of data. The first set relates directly to student debt, such as debt’s share of student income, as well as how many debts have gone into default. The other set of data measured potential ways to alleviate this debt, such as availability of student jobs, grants, and paid internships.

twitter.com/BruceRauner

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner extended tax deadlines for residents in counties struggling with recent flooding.

The affected counties include Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Rock Island, Carroll, Henry, and Jo Daviess.  This expands a privilege extended previously to Kane, Lake, McHenry and Cook counties. The waiver applies to those whose tax returns are due between July 11 and Dec. 1. 

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

The Northern Illinois University STEM Read program is designed to get pre-college students interested in the sciences through compelling literature. While the program has a wide variety of selections, its director is reaching out toward the younger crowd through a stuffed bunny, particularly in local libraries.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.31. That's two cents more expensive than last week.  

AAA reports that the City of Chicago has the most expensive gasoline, at $2.67 per gallon. By contrast, Champaign-Urbana's gasoline is the cheapest in the state, at $2.03 per gallon. 

Rockford's average price is $2.23 per gallon. 

Flickr User Staffan Vilcans/CC 2.0

It’s much easier to pay energy bills in Illinois compared to much of the country, according to a recent survey by WalletHub. 

The survey examined the average monthly amount each state’s residents spent for natural gas, electricity, home heating oil, and gasoline and compared that with the average monthly consumption of each resource.

The Ogle County Board wants to continue negotiations with the Oregon City Council over a sally-port for the new county jail.

Plans for the jail included vacating part of Sixth Street  in Oregon for an uninterrupted path between the jail and courthouse. This would allow authorities to escort inmates directly between the two buildings for hearings without the need for additional security.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.29. This is three cents cheaper than last week's average. 

AAA reports the most expensive gas in the state can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.68 per gallon. By contrast, Decatur has the cheapest gas, at a price of $2.12 per gallon. 

Rockford's average per-gallon gas price is $2.18.  This is identical to last week's average.  

City of Aurora

Aurora ranks among the best-run cities in the U.S., according to a recently released survey by WalletHub.

The company measured the operating efficiency of the nation's 150 largest cities by looking at their economy and overall finances, city services (such as schools and public safety), and budget per capita.

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