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.

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.

public domain

A replica of Washington D.C.'s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall will set up shop in Sycamore this weekend.

The “Wall That Heals” contains the names of more than 58,000 troops either killed or missing in action, including 19 service members from DeKalb County. Though it has traveled across America, Renee McGuan with the DeKalb County’s Veteran Assistance Commission says this is the third time the replica will come to the county.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.32. This is 3 cents more expensive than last week. 

AAA reports the most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.69 per gallon.  Meanwhile, Springfield has the cheapest gas, at $2.03 per gallon.  

Rockford's average price is $2.18 per gallon. That's 1 cent cheaper than last week. 

Jenna Dooley

Sewage treatment plants clean what comes down northern Illinois pipes under strict regulation from the Illinois EPA. But, as regulatory standards rise, plants in cities like DeKalb are forming “reclamation districts” to help spread out the cost of mandatory upgrades among small communities.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

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

AAA reports the most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.69 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest is in Champaign-Urbana at $2.01 per gallon.

Rockford's average gas price is $2.19. This is 5 cents cheaper than last week.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.33.  This is identical to last week's price.

AAA reports that the most expensive gasoline can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.73 per gallon. By contrast, Champaign-Urbana has the cheapest gasoline, at $2.06 per gallon. 

Rockford's average price is $2.24 per gallon, which is five cents cheaper than last week's price.

Washington State Department of Agriculture

The Illinois Department of Agriculture plans to spray about 37,000 acres of farmland Wednesday to combat gypsy moths.

Gypsy Moths are a non-native species that feed on over 250 varieties of plants, but are particularly attracted to oak and willow trees.  Large numbers of the moths can defoliate plants, leaving them much more vulnerable to environmental stress.

UPS

UPS is hiring 250 new workers in its air sorting hub at Chicago-Rockford International Airport.

Positions include package handlers, supervisory roles, and tractor-trailer drivers who will support a new day shift. This comes as the shipping company moves air operations from Des Moines, Iowa, to Rockford.  A UPS spokeswoman says the jobs range in pay from $10.20 to $18.75 per hour. 

The Rockford UPS facility is the company's second-largest air hub in terms of sorting capacity. The largest is Worldport, in Louisville, Ky.

The LaSalle County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to say whether it’s investigating a drug-forfeiture task force.  

Current State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly filed a lawsuit alleging that her predecessor “criminally misused public money” under the SAFE task force.  This group was run by predecessor Brian Towne’s office but later disbanded after Donnelly was elected earlier this year.  

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

Asian Carp are an invasive group of fish that can compete with native wildlife for food and habitat. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains an electrical barrier to prevent the fish from entering Lake Michigan, but the problem spans all across Illinois. 

Asian Carp were first brought to the United States through aquaculture facilities, or fish farms, as a way to deal with algae in the tanks and make the resulting product tastier. The fish farms often are placed next to rivers for water sources.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.33.  This is six cents lower than last week. 

AAA reports the most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.75 per gallon. By contrast, Champaign Urbana has the cheapest gas, at $2.09 per gallon. 

Rockford's average per-gallon gasoline price is $2.29. This is five cents cheaper than last week.

City of Dixon

In 2012, Dixon officials discovered that city comptroller Rita Crundwell had embezzled more than $53 million over the course of two decades. The insularity afforded by her position played a large part in spurring residents to vote to shift Dixon toward a council-manager form of government.  This involves converting commissioners to council members and appointing a city manager to oversee day-to-day work. The City of Freeport adopted this model earlier this year, hired a city manager, and eliminated its water and sewer departments.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.39. This is four cents cheaper than last week.

AAA reports the most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.78 per gallon. In contrast, the cheapest gasoline is in Champaign-Urbana, at $2.14 per gallon

Rockford's average price is $2.34 per gallon -- three cents cheaper than last week's average. 

Hines/Provided -- Madison/Sue Stephens/WNIJ

One of the key participants in the Choice Program is regional hospitals. We continue our examination of this program by talking with managers and administrators at two facilities serving veterans in northern Illinois.

The Choice Program is designed to help veterans who are trying to receive specialist care that is either too far away, or the wait time for an appointment is too long. Veterans interested in the program talk to either their primary doctors or local veterans assistance center. These people then refer the veterans to a regional VA hospital.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.43.  This is three cents more expensive than last week's price. 

AAA reports the most expensive gas  can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.79 per gallon. By contrast, Danville has the cheapest gas, at $2.14 per gallon. 

Rockford's average price is $2.37. This is ten cents more expensive than last week.  

Illinois Tollway

The Illinois Tollway will close lanes of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) intermittently next week as overnight work continues on the Illinois 23 Bridge near Marengo.

Crews will place beams overnight from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., necessitating intermittent lane closures.  On Wednesday, westbound I-90 lanes will close intermittently for periods of up to 15 minutes.  The same disruption is expected Thursday, except with eastbound lanes.  The Illinois 23 bridge will remain open during the entire process, but be limited to a single lane of traffic.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.38 -- two cents higher than last week's average price. 

The most expensive gas in Illinois can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.75 per gallon. In contrast, Decatur has the cheapest gas, at $2.09 per gallon. 

AAA reports Rockford's average price is $2.26.  This is two cents cheaper than last week.  

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

The Rochelle community used a three-dimensional printer to give a local farmer and mechanic a new prosthetic arm. 

Jake Hubbard lost the use of his left arm in 2013, when an 1,100-pound tire fell on him in a mechanical accident. He was able to acquire an artificial limb for work hours, but he took it off in everyday settings.

Vic Worthington, the technical-lab teacher at Rochelle Middle School, attends the same church as Hubbard. He recalls when a child asked Hubbard about the stump, covered in a surgical sleeve. 

Great Lakes Basin Transportation / greatlakesbasin.net

The parent company of the Great Lakes Basin Railroad submitted an application to the federal Surface Transportation Board Monday. 

The project would create a 261-mile railway that runs between Milton, Wis., and Pinola, Ind., passing through six Illinois counties. It's meant to bypass congested Chicago freight lines. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.42.  This is seven cents cheaper than last week.

AAA reports the City of Chicago has the most expensive gas, at $2.81 per gallon.  By contrast, the cheapest gas can be found in Champaign-Urbana, at $2.16 per gallon.

Rockford's average gas price is $2.33 per gallon, which is three cents less than last week. 

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