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.

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One of the more unique forms of government in Illinois is townships. They provide some services beyond those of a city but, in this frugal budget climate, some see township functions as redundant. 

Back in 2010, the city of Peru was emerging from the national financial crisis. To cut back on expenses, Mayor Scott Harl met with his counterparts from LaSalle and Oglesby.  

“We were looking at consolidation of our safety services, our dispatch for police, fire and 911," he said. "That took effect after six years. September of 2016.”   

The Illinois Department of Corrections is launching its first “Life Skills Reentry Center” in Kewanee.

It aims to teach a variety of skills to prisoners during the final years of their sentence.  Then, officials hope, they will be less likely to commit another crime upon release.  Example topics include cognitive behavioral therapy, sending e-mails, and making a personal budget.  

Warden Tony Williams says such skills may be things inmates haven't necessarily been exposed to due to their incarceration.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.27.  This is identical to last week's average.  

AAA reports that the City of Chicago has the state's most expensive gas, at a price of $2.65 per gallon.  Meanwhile, the cheapest gas can be found in Springfield, costing $2.11 per gallon.

Rockford's average per-gallon price is $2.20.  This is three cents cheaper than last week's average.  

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke in Rockford to tout a new school funding framework. 

The governor paid a visit to the Barbour Two-Way Immersion School, which provides instruction in both English and Spanish. After touring several classrooms, Rauner said he would double down on funding schools more equally.

“We are going to change the way schools are funded in Illinois, improve it, get more resources overall, and especially more resources for lower-income schools that don’t have access to the same advantages as higher-income schools," he said.

Susan Stephens

The President’s recent executive order put in place a 90-day ban on entry visas for immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen).  And it’s worrying the international community at NIU.

The concern is particularly strong among those present on a student visa.  Stephanie Brown, Associate Director of the International Student and Faculty Office, says only a small number of NIU's roughly 1,100 international students are affected directly. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.27.  This is eight cents cheaper than last week's average. 

AAA reports the state's most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.69 per gallon.  By contrast, Decatur has the state's cheapest gasoline on average, at a price of $2.02 per gallon.  

Rockford's average per-gallon price is $2.23.  This is 6 cents cheaper than last week's average.  

Project Time Off

Travel agencies across the country are promoting January 31 as National Plan for Vacation Day.  

The move was spurred by a U.S. Travel Association study that showed people are taking fewer vacation days than in years past.  It said that, between 1976 and 2000, people used 20.6 vacation days on average.  However, in 2015, that average dropped to 16.2 days.  Debbie Armstrong, Executive Director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau, says this lack of time off can have negative effects.  

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.35.  This is 8 cents cheaper than last week's average.

AAA reports the most expensive gas is sold in the City of Chicago, at $2.76 per gallon.  By contrast, the cheapest gas can be found in Decatur, at $2.15 per gallon.  

Rockford's average per-gallon price is $2.29.  This rate is six cents cheaper than last weeks' average.   

WNIJ continues its Friday Forum with two state senators and their priorities in the 100th General Assembly. 

Democrat Steve Stadelman and Republican Dave Syverson represent Illinois’ 34th and 35th senate districts respectively.  The 34th district comprises Rockford and its surrounding municipalities, while the 35th encompasses the cities of DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa, Belvidere, and Rockton.

wnij

Nippon Sharyo will lay off 100 employees from its factory in Rochelle.  The rail car manufacturer based its decision on a complication with one of its prototype cars, along with other business considerations. 

Nippon Sharyo says its factory will continue operations so it can meet deadlines for current projects.  The company has operated in Rochelle since 2012.  

Lifescape Community Services

Lifescape Community Services says home-delivery of food for its Meals On Wheels programs will not take place today.  Icy weather conditions mean the meals won't be sent out today in Winnebago, Boon, Ogle, and Lee County.  

Lifescape's adult day program remains open today. However, bus service is delayed by two hours.  

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.43.  This is six cents cheaper than last week's average, according to AAA.  

The state's most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.80 per gallon.  By contrast, Springfield has the cheapest gas, at $2.26.   

Rockford's average price is $2.35 per gallon.  This is 3 cents cheaper than last week's average. 

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