LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES



Updated: November 27th 7:32 AM

Rockford School Deficit
An audit of the Rockford School District's financial results for the 2014 fiscal year has revealed an $8.8 million deficit. Administrators initially estimated a $3.2 million surplus. The district says the deficit will not cause any program or budget cuts.

Sandwich Man Killed in Monday Wreck
A two-vehicle accident northeast of Ottawa on Monday afternoon claimed the life of a Sandwich man. The La Salle County Coroner's office says 30-year old Justin Nichols was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities responded to the accident around 1:30 PM Monday at the intersection of Illinois Route 71 and County Highway 4, south of I-80. Authorities say witnesses said that Nichol's vehicle was southbound on Route 71, when for unknown reasons, it crossed the center line and struck a northbound truck head-on.

Rock Island Clean Line Approved
The Rock Island Clean Line Project has gotten approval to begin construction of their new power lines. Amy Kurt of Clean Line Energy Partners says the Illinois Commerce Commission unanimously approved the RICL project, granting them a certificate to construct and operate the 500-mile power line. The RICL project will deliver 3,500 megawatts of wind energy between northwest Iowa and a generating station in Grundy County. The lines are expected to go through La Salle and Bureau Counties.

The project has faced farmers throughout the area who do not approve of the project, including with those involved with "Block RICL." Many farmers believe the new windmills and power lines in the area will drive down property values and interfere with plows and crop dusters.

Thanksgiving Safety
Local law enforcement are reminding everyone to have a happy and safe thanksgiving. Police officers are reminding drivers to stay safe on the roads and take extra time to get to your destination, including in the recent bout of winter weather. Fire officials are also reminding residents to stay safe in the kitchen, including with the use of turkey fryers. Officials recommend those who fry their turkeys to cook them outside and make sure the turkey is completely thawed as partially frozen turkeys can cause hot oil to splatter, causing burns.

Final Crop Update
The freezing weather may have put an end to fieldwork for Illinois farmers. The Department of Agriculture says in its final weekly crop update for the year that 97 percent of the corn crop has been brought in. Growers made a big comeback after rain slowed the start of the harvest.

Washington Building Permits
Construction is booming in the central Illinois city of Washington more than a year after a devastating tornado. City officials say there are building permits for 80 percent of the 800 homes that were badly damaged or destroyed by the twister.

Illinois Ebola Hotline Shutting Down
Illinois health officials say they are shutting down their Ebola hotline because they say not many people are calling it anymore. The hotline started in mid-October following the death of an Ebola patient in Texas. Some people in Illinois have been monitored for the virus but no one has gotten sick.

Normal Man Pleads Guilty in Child Porn Case
A central Illinois man is facing more than 100 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography and sex offender registration charges. James Carter of Normal is charged with two counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of failure to register as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty in McLean County Circuit Court on Monday. The judge told Carter he faces 24 to 120 years in prison and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Chicago Christmas Tree
Chicago's Christmas tree in downtown's Daley Plaza is lighting up the sky. Hundreds of people cheered yesterday when the city flipped the switch during the 101st annual tree-lighting ceremony. This year's tree is a 10,000 pound 57-foot Colorado blue spruce cut from an Elgin family's front yard. The tree has 47,000 lights and 300 ornaments.