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Local protesters call for better policing, not dismantling

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Removing officers from the Rockford streets would certainly bring change. But, contrary to an array of cries to disband police departments across the country, a group of local activists wants something else. Nearly 30 protesters who rallied at Davis Park Monday say it's time for Rockford to reallocate funds the police department spends on armaments and big salaries towards proactive community programs. "There is so much money and equipment that's being…

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara takes first step to secure police body cams

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, on Monday, announced that he is taking the first step to outfit city police officers with body cameras. "I signed the Mayoral Pledge from the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance to review, engage, report and reform common-sense limits on police use of force with feedback from the community, McNamara said. "I hear the concerns of our residents and want to take steps to ensure justice and equity for all in our community. I urge all…

Illinois COVID-19 cases continue to drop

Staff Report SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday announced 867 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including 43 additional confirmed deaths. Sunday's deaths include 33 Cook County: a man in his 30s, five women in their 60s, six men in their 60s, five women in their 70s, six men in their 70s, two women in their 80s, a man in his 80s, four women in their 90s, three men in their 90s. There have been 127,757 cases of COVID-19 statewide, including 5,904…

Family cat tests positive for coronavirus; state infection rate steadies at 6%

By Jim Hagerty Reporter SPRINGFIELD - Illinois health professionals, on Friday, reported that a family cat has been infected with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. "The cat was in a home with people who had tested positive," the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a release. "This is the first animal to test positive for the virus in Illinois.  There is no evidence COVID-19 is transmitted from animal to humans.  However, if you are sick, you…

Man, woman wanted in Rockford home invasion

Staff Report ROCKFORD -  Investigators are searching for a two people they say committed the offense of home invasion in the near-east side of the city earlier this week. Police responded the scene, a home in the 1600 block of of South Fifth Street, Wednesday, June 3 to investigate the incident, which occurred the previous "When they arrived, officers learned that the victim was asleep on her couch when two unknown suspects, a male and female, entered the residence through a cut screen…

Illinois reports 982 new cases of COVID-19

Staff Report SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health, on Wednesday, announced 982 new cases of COVID-19, including 97additional deaths. Wednesday's deaths include a Winnebago County main in his 70s and 56  people in Cook County. Deaths were also reported in DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, Madison, McHenry, Peoria, St. Clair, Stephenson County, Union and Will counties. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 123,830 cases, including 5,621 deaths, in 101 counties.…

Murder charges upgraded in death of George Floyd, three others now charged

By Amy Forliti and Steve Karnowski Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors are charging a Minneapolis police officer accused of pressing his knee against George Floyd's neck with second-degree murder, and for the first time will level charges against three other officers at the scene, a newspaper reported Wednesday. Widely seen bystander video showing Floyd's May 25 death has sparked sometimes violent protests nationwide and around the world. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired…

Boone County Fair canceled because of coronavirus, other events planned

Staff Report BELVIDERE - The 2020 Boone County Fair has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers voted Saturday to not hold this year's event for the safety of fairgoers, staff, vendors exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers, volunteers, and the community. "The Boone County Fair Board has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic data along with local, state, and federal health officials," President Lyle Lee said in a release. "Although some restrictions have been…

J.B. Pritzker accuses Trump of making George Floyd aftermath worse

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Gov. J.B. Pritzker accused President Donald Trump Monday of making the aftermath of George Floyd's death worse with what he called “inflammatory” and “dangerous” rhetoric about the nationwide protests. Pritzker unloaded on Trump during a conference call with several governors that was leaked to media Monday morning. “I’ve been extraordinarily concerned about the rhetoric that’s been used by you,” Pritzker said. “It’s been inflammatory, and it’s not…

J.B. Pritzker: Donald Trump is a racist, misogynist, homophobe and xenophobe

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker minced no words Friday when asked about President Donald Trump's tweets regarding the death of George Floyd and rioting that's erupted in Minneapolis. "From the very moment I announced my decision to run for governor three plus years ago, I said that this president is a racist, a misogynist, a homophobe, a xenophobe," Pritzker said. "I was right then, and I am right now." Pritzker was responding to tweets in which Trump accused…

ARRESTED: Former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin in custody in death of George Floyd

By Tim Sullivan and Amy Forliti Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe, was arrested Friday. Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrested Derek Chauvin. He's charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.  The arrest comes after three days of protests,…

Rockford Park District announces ‘Phase 3’ restrictions for golf courses

Staff Report ROCKFORD -  The Rockford Park District has updated restrictions for its five golf courses as the Restore Illinois coronavirus plan moves into Phase 3 Friday, May 29. The restrictions are in accordance with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. In Phase 3 groups of four are allowed with 10 minutes between tee times. Driving ranges, practice putting greens, and Aldeen Practice Centre will be open at 50% capacity. Golf carts are permitted. Individuals…

Restore Illinois: Pritzker walks back restrictions on church services

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Illinois houses of worship are no longer restricted by Gov. JB Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan. Instead, the governor's office, on Thursday, released non-mandatory guidelines for places of worship to reopen, including recommendations for indoor services. The state recommends outdoor worship gatherings including drive-in services, where congregants remain inside vehicles, and indoor meetings of 10 people or fewer. However, for churches where those…

Rockford man faces more charges in child abuse case

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - A Rockford man has been indicted on additional charges in a 2019 child-abuse case. Trenton Higgins, 19, is now charged with two counts of aggravated battery to a child under the age 13 causing great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement. He also faces a single count of aggravated battery to a child under the age of 13. Higgins was initially indicted in January but authorities say information gleaned during an ongoing investigation…

3 people found dead inside Machesney Park apartment

By Jim Hagerty Reporter MACHESENY PARK - Three people were found dead inside an apartment building  in the 1100 block of Minns Drive Wednesday. Winnebago County deputies arrived at the scene just after 4 p.m., and discovered the bodies. How the people died has not been reported, however, Chief Deputy Rick Ciganek told reporters at the scene that a preliminary investigation indicated that there is not a threat to the community. "We believe what happened was contained in the apartment,"…