Victor Yehling

Managing Editor

Victor Yehling is Managing Editor for WNIJ News.  He coordinates the WNIJ news team, assigns stories, offers suggestions, develops project ideas, and generally harasses our outstanding news employees.  He's a relative newcomer, joining WNIJ in July 2010, but he has 15 years prior experience as a newspaper editor and reporter plus a couple of years in TV news.  He also spent time on the dark side, working in public relations and advertising; he claims he's recovering.  Away from the station, he enjoys theater, grandchildren, board games, Kansas City Chiefs football, and preparing for retirement in rural suburban Hagarstown.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell was sentenced today to serve 235 months -- 19 years and 7 months -- in prison on one federal count of wire fraud resulting from her embezzlement of more than $53 million in public funds from the City of Dixon.

There are several similarities between the candidates in Illinois’s 17th Congressional District, which includes Democratic-leaning chunks from Rockford and Peoria as well as wrapping through the Quad Cities and across rural northwestern Illinois.

"Maria's got her justice."

Jack McCullough heard his guilty verdict Friday in a packed courtroom on the third floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse, less than 10 blocks from where he snatched Maria Ridulph on the snowy evening of Dec. 3, 1957.

Known in those days as John Tessier, the 72-year-old convicted kidnapper and murderer sat through five days of a bench trial before Judge James Hallock and heard a parade of prosecution witnesses detail circumstantial evidence that tied him to the seven-year-old girl’s disappearance from the corner of Archie Place and Center Cross Street in Sycamore.

Testimony is over in the murder-kidnap trial of Jack Daniel McCullough, accused of abducting and killing 7-year-old Maria Ridulph from a street corner just three doors from her Sycamore home on the evening of Dec. 3, 1957.

The child's badly decomposed body was found a few months later in a wooded area off U.S. 20 near Woodbine in Jo Daviess County.

The defendant's fate is now in the hands of Judge James Hallock.

Two inmates and a forensic anthropologist testified Wednesday in the murder-kidnap trial of Jack Daniel McCullough, accused in the disappearance and death of little Maria Ridulph in Sycamore nearly 55 years ago.

The inmates told slightly different – but not necessarily contradictory – stories of McCullough’s jailhouse conversations about his case, and the scientist explained how she found evidence of deep cutting wounds on the skelton of the 7-year-old victim.

Playmate recalls the last time she saw Maria Ridulph

Three half sisters of accused murderer Jack Daniels McCullough testified for the prosecution Tuesday in the 55-year-old disappearance and death of little Maria Ridulph. Two contradicted their parents’ statement that the accused was home that fateful night, and one recalled their mother’s deathbed declaration about the case.

They were preceded on the stand by Kathy Sigman Chapman, Maria’s playmate on Tuesday evening, December 3, 1957. A member of the prosecution team brought her to the witness stand before the session started. Chapman – with close-cropped grey hair and wearing a dark skirted suit – tested the chair, looked around, chatted briefly with the court stenographer, then smiled and stepped away.

Medical providers are still processing today's long U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the federal health care law.  They see positives and negatives in the coming expansion of health care. Doctors and hospitals agree getting health coverage for more people is a good thing.

Several citizen action groups will hold a rally in Daley Plaza at 5 p.m. today praising the Supreme Court ruling as a “profound victory for American consumers.”

“With this seminal Supreme Court decision, the constitutional debate over the law ended and the quest toward affordable and accessible healthcare moved triumphantly forward,” according to a statement from Citizen Action/Illinois.

Initial accounts from various news organizations on the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to uphold most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were vague and sometimes confusing at best today.

Apparently trying to be first with the big news, CNN trumpeted that the individual mandate for everyone to have health insurance had been overturned. It later backed off the announcement as more of the opinions and statements were read in court.

Other news organizations held back for more and then proclaimed the mandate had been upheld as a tax.

An Internet virus was used to steal more than $30,000 from a fund that pays Dixon Rural Fire Protection District pensions, Dixon police told saukvalley.com, and they have traced the virus to a person in Massachusetts,

If you’ve been worried about foam and a red cast in some of the branches of the Kishwaukee and Rock Rivers,you can relax.

It is not, according to the Illinois EPA, due to some unreported industrial or agricultural release. The EPA says investigations have determined that these are rare but natural occurrences. In this case, weather and water conditions in northwestern Illinois have been just right to promote growth of a particular type of algae.

Republicans in the redrawn 90th Illinois House District are attempting to prevent Thomas Boken Jr. of DeKalb from appearing on the November ballot to oppose Tom Demmer of Dixon for retiring state Rep. Jerry Mitchell’s seat.

The BMO Harris Bank location in South Beloit will be among the 24 bank branches to be closed in October as part of merger activities with Wisconsin banking company Marshall & Ilsley Corp.

The South Beloit branch was acquired in 2010 when Rockford-based AMcore bank was closed by regulators and the assets sold to Chicago-based BMO Harris.

A southern Illinois priest is being ousted for improvising part of his services.

Bishop Edward Braxton of the Belleville Diocese has told the Rev. Bill Rowe he's now considered retired and must leave the rectory at St. Mary Parish in Mount Carmel on July 10.

Rowe's long-stated practice of changing portions of the liturgy to make them easier to understand didn't become public until February. That came after church leaders in Rome revamped the liturgy to be based on earlier Latin versions.

U.S. Marshals Service

At least some of the more than 400 prime quarter horses belonging to former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell  should go on the block at a multi-day, live public auction later this summer in Dixon under a proposal by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Using www.fedbizopps.gov,the Marshals Service has posted a dozen or so documents detailing the requirements to bid for the contract – including the fact that it is open only to small businesses.

The Rockford metro area unemployment rate fell nearly one percentage point in May  to 10.4 percent and payroll employment grew by 3,400 jobs or 2.3 percent, according to preliminary data released today.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and the U.S. Department of Labor said unemployment fell in eight metro areas, increased in two and essentially was unchanged in two compared to last year, according

The data comparing May 2012 to May 2011 is not seasonally adjusted. The state unadjusted rate has dropped every month this year.

Winnebago Village Trustee Kris Kieper has been named to the first class of Edgar Fellows to address issues facing the future of Illinois.

Kieper is CEO of the Rockford YWCA and writes a blog for the Rockford Register Star.

UPDATE: (6/16/12) 

A federal judge has granted permission to the U.S. Marshals Service to begin selling 401 quarter horses owned by former Dixon Comptroller Rita A. Crundwell.

Federal marshals wanted permission to sell some or all of the more than 400 horses owned by former Dixon Comptroller Rita A. Crundwell because of “burdensome” costs, according to a federal court filing this week.

IDNR website

Funding for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is likely to be called for another vote — either this summer if the Legislature is called back into session, or in the fall veto session — according to State Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley.

Attempts to fund the department, which supervises state parks and other recreational facilities, failed to pass the state Senate this spring.

The City of Rockford has indefinitely closed off 369 spaces – about 44% -- of the 843 spots in the downtown Concourse Parking Deck just across South Church Street from the BMO Harris Bank Center.

With limited on-street parking, the facility is the primary parking location for entertainment events at the former MetroCentre and among the preferred choices for activities at Davis Park along the Rock River.

Windsor Lake in Loves Park will open to public recreation later this month under two agreements approved Tuesday by the Rockford Park District board.

Commissioners agreed to provide recreational services at the 12-acre private lake, located off North Alpine Road and Windsor Road in Loves Park, under a lease with Ed Carlson Sr. and family through Dec. 31, 2012.

Two Illinois Congressmen from opposite sides of the aisle are working together to promote legislation aimed at strengthening American manufacturing.

U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-3, originated The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-11, signed on as co-sponsor.

A Big Ten football schedule change will result in eight high school football title games coming to DeKalb on Thanksgiving weekend during odd-numbered years through 2021.

  • State high court rejects GOP redistricting complaint
  • Good news is bad news on unemployment benefits
  • Convicted powerbroker Cellini suffers heart attack
  • New party joins Crundwell case seeking payment

  • House panel says Smith can be disciplined
  • Patient safety survey grades Sterling hospital “A”
  • Retired Illinois teachers got $900 million COLA bump
  • S&P weighs another Illinois ratings downgrade

  • Democratic congressional hopeful files petitions
  • Rockford casino not likely to get Quinn’s OK
  • Rockford man gets 37 years for Will County murder
  • Starved Rock hopes for contest windfall
  • Staggered state senate terms assigned

lisamadigan.org

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the state's current prohibition against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The Democrat is throwing her weight behind a pair of lawsuits in Cook County court that are challenging the state's marriage laws. She says she personally supports gay marriage.

I don't believe that the current law that prohibits gays and lesbians from being able to marry in the state of Illinois - uh, meets - uh, equal protection," she said.

Both sides of the recall election targeting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are prepared for a razor-thin margin as the Republican tries to become the first U.S. governor to successfully fend off a recall effort.

Also targeted in today’s voting are Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and majority control of the state Senate.

A record turnout -- estimated as high as 65 percent of registered voters – is expected. Polls opened at 7 a.m., and voting continues until 8 p.m.

  • Does more truck traffic mean economy improvemnent?
  • Pension-reform session is a must: Quinn
  • Will the governor approve Rockford’s casino?
  • Chicago schools reach agreement with a union

  • Ottawa shooting range settles safety case with state
  • Waterman bank agrees to end “unsafe” practices
  • President visits hometown to raise money
  • Cancer center groundbreaking is Monday

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