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.

WNIJ/Victor Yehling

Rockford’s Sinnissippi Park is attracting teams of snow sculptors from across Illinois starting Wednesday. 

They're taking part in the 32nd Annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition. The Rockford Park District used snowmaking machines to ensure an adequate supply for competitors. They will have until Saturday to build the best sculpture they can out of a 6- by 6- by 10-foot block of snow.  Rockford Park District Spokeswoman Laura Gibbs-Green said teams’ tools are limited.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner discussed several state issues at a news conference in Rockford Friday.

The event began as a private roundtable with small business owners at the Field Fastener company. They aired various grievances regarding state policy and how it affects their companies.  Field Fastener President Jim Derry said many of his current customers are outside the area or the state, compared with when he began the business 27 years ago, and said reforms are needed.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

The DeKalb County government employees got some insight Thursday night into how to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act. These rules are invoked frequently when the actions of area governments and other public bodies come under scrutiny.

Leah Bartelt of the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau offered an in-depth explanation of the state’s FOIA and OMA rules. 

HUD

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded more than $109 million in grants Thursday to homeless programs across Illinois, and a fair amount of those funds were disbursed around northern Illinois. 

"U-Haul" by Flickr user Laura D'Alessandro / (CC x 2.0)

The state's continued net loss in population is affecting the workforce.

 

U.S. Census Bureau statistics show Illinois lost population since the beginning of the decade, and about 33,000 people left in the past year. 

 

Rockford Public Schools

Illinois public schools face a teacher shortage, and officials increasingly are turning to substitutes when full-time educators are unavailable. But what effects does this have on education, particularly when substitutes themselves are becoming harder to find? In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Chase Cavanaugh looks for some of the answers.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.49. This is identical to last week's average. 

AAA reports the most expensive gasoline is in the city of Chicago, at a price of $2.86 per gallon. In contrast, the cheapest gas is in Quincy, at $2.25 per gallon. 

Rockford's average price is $2.40 per gallon. This is 4 cents cheaper than last week. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.49. This is identical to last week's price. 

AAA reports the most expensive gas is in the City of Chicago, at $2.88 per gallon.  By contrast, the cheapest gas is in Decatur, at $2.27 per gallon. 

Rockford's average gas price is $2.44 per gallon. This is 3 cents cheaper than last week. 

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.49. This is ten cents cheaper than last week. 

The state's most expensive gas can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.91 per gallon. By contrast, AAA reports the cheapest gas is in Springfield, at $2.29 per gallon. 

Rockford's average price is $2.47 per gallon. This is 7 cents cheaper than last week. 

Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers

Northern White Sand terminated a lease with a LaSalle County barge loading facility along the Illinois River.

The company shuttered its Utica mine in March of last year and wanted to renegotiate the lease, citing a struggling business climate. However, the County held them to the original terms, which would have required a payment of at least $90,000. Board Member Tom Walsh says the effects on the County are limited. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.59. This is ten cents cheaper than last week.

AAA reports the most expensive fuel can be found in the City of Chicago, at $3 per gallon. In contrast, the cheapest gasoline, at $2.40 per gallon, is in Carbondale.  

Rockford's average gas price is $2.54 per gallon. This is 5 cents lower than last week. 

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.69. This is 3 cents lower than last week. 

AAA reports that the most expensive gasoline can be found in Chicago, at $2.85 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest gasoline is in Bloomington-Normal, at $2.41 per gallon. 

Rockford's average price is $2.59 per gallon, which is seven cents cheaper than last week. 

The Illinois General Assembly recently overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto on the Debt Transparency Act.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza was a major sponsor of the measure and has been hard at work paying down state debts. She said the biggest change the act makes is requiring state agencies to report their debts to her once a month, rather than once a year.

Facebook

The leader of Wisconsin’s firefighters union announced his bid for governor this week. 

Mahlon Mitchell previously ran for public office in 2012 for lieutenant governor, but lost to Rebecca Kleefisch.  However, his 1.2 million votes were the highest tally in a single election received by any of the gubernatorial candidates so far. 

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.72.  This is 6 cents cheaper than last week.

AAA reports the most expensive gasoline can be found in the City of Chicago, at $3.09 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest gas is in Springfield, at $2.53 per gallon.

Rockford’s average price is $2.66 per gallon. This is 2 cents cheaper than last week.  

pixabay.com

One of the primary ways that local governments get revenue is through property taxes. The amount of each property tax bill is determined by what various government entities need and the value of each home or business to be taxed. In this week’s Friday Forum, we look at how that value is determined and what you can do if you think they’re asking for too much.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.51. This is 3 cents cheaper than last week.

 

AAA reports the most expensive gasoline can be found in the City of Chicago, at $2.83 per gallon. By contrast, the cheapest fuel is available in Champaign-Urbana, at $2.32 per gallon.

 

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.

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