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Crowds tear down statues, attack Wisconsin state senator

By Scott Bauer Associated Press MADISON, Wis. (AP) –Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday he was prepared to activate the National Guard to protect state properties after protesters outside the Wisconsin Capitol tore down statues commemorating an abolitionist and women's rights and threw a Molotov cocktail into a government building during a night of violence that also included an attack on a state senator. The violence from a group of between 200 and 300 people broke out Tuesday night as…

Appeals court orders dismissal of Michael Flynn prosecution

By Eric Tucker Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) –A divided federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered the dismissal of the criminal case against President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, turning back efforts by a judge to scrutinize the Justice Department's extraordinary decision to drop the prosecution. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said in a 2-1 ruling that the Justice Department's decision to abandon the case against Flynn…

Senate GOP police bill hits roadblock, as Dems seek changes

By Lisa Mascaro Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) –A Republican policing bill hit a roadblock Wednesday as Senate Democrats voted against it as inadequate, leaving the parties to decide whether to negotiate a compromise or walk away despite public outcry over the killings of Black Americans. The impasse threatens to turn the nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others into another moment that galvanizes the nation but leaves lawmakers unable to act.…

Youth organization announces winners of COVID-19 grocery giveaway

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - A local nonprofit that helps at-risk youth announced the winners of its grocery giveaway. I Am Kid Culture called on area youth to submit short videos about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic for its #Food4TheHood contest. Five kids submitted videos and received $75 worth of groceries and $75 worth of I Am Kid Culture merchandise. The winners are Zaniah Gray, Zabrina Gray, Isaiah Baker and Anthony Holliman. "Kids made 10- and 20-second…

Police disciplinary records are largely sealed

By Claudia Later and Colleen Long Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Officer Derek Chauvin had more than a dozen misconduct complaints against him before he put his knee on George Floyd's neck. Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City officer who seized Eric Garner in a deadly chokehold, had eight. Ryan Pownall, a Philadelphia officer facing murder charges in the shooting of David Jones, had 15 over five years.  But the public didn't know about any of that until the victims' deaths.…

Downtown streets to close for more outdoor restaurant seating

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The City of Rockford, in collaboration with the River District  Association, will be closing sections of downtown streets this weekend to allow for more outdoor restaurant seating. Starting at 3 p.m., Friday, June 12, the 200, 300, 400 and 500 blocks of East State Street, the bridge on State Street, and Madison Street between East State and Market streets will be closed to traffic. At 8 a.m., Saturday, the State Street Bridge and Madison Street will open back up.…

Officer charged in death of George Floyd released on bond

By Jim Hagerty Reporter MINNEAPOLIS - One of four ex-officers charged in the death of George Floyd has been released on bond. Thomas Lane, 37, was released from Hennepin County Jail Wednesday afternoon after posting bail, according to court documents. His bond was set at $1 million. Lane is charged with manslaughter and aiding and abetting second-degree murder, allegations that stem from a May 25 incident that left Floyd, 46, dead. The Memorial Day incident drew national outrage when a…

Illinois’ coronavirus infection rate continues to drop

Staff Report SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday announced 625 new cases of COVID-19 and 78 additional deaths. There have now been 129,837 cases of coronavirus infection and 6,095 deaths in 101 Illinois counties. In the past 24 hours, state laboratories processed 20,820 COVID-19 tests for a total of 1,100,002. The preliminary seven-day infection rate from June 3 -9 is 4%. Wednesday's deaths included two Winnebago County women, one in her 80s and a one…

Rockford included in $270M child care grant

Staff Report ROCKFORD - Joined by child care providers and local officials at the Rock River Valley YMCA Children's Learning Center Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Rockford will be included in the $270 million Child Care Restoration grant program provided for in the FY21 budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly. The first program of its kind in the nation, this program will support Illinois' vast network of childcare providers as they continue to provide care to children…

Pritzker signs $43B budget; plan relies on federal assistance

By John  O'Connor AP Political Writer SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Wednesday an Illinois budget heavily reliant on borrowing because of revenue lost to COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and social interaction.  But even short of revenue, Democrats who control the General Assembly sent the Democratic governor a $42.9 billion spending plan, 7.5% larger than the current year's outlay. It takes effect July 1.  The legislation allows the state to borrow up…

Rockford Park District summer camps open June 22

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Rockford Park District's summer cay camps will open this month. Beginning June 22, Nature Quest summer camp will be open for youth ages 5-12. Based at Alpine Hills Adventure Park, the camp provides an introductory experience with a different theme and nature and environment related activity each week, along with traditional camp activities including archery, crafts, hiking, games, and tie-dyeing. Live animal demonstrations and special guests are also…

Man arrested in Rockford looting incident

Staff Report ROCKFORD - A Rockford man has been jailed after police say he broke into a east-side department store and started a fire last month. Sean Cardenas, 20, is charged with burglar, arson and felony criminal damage to property, charges that stem was reported as a looting incident at Burlington Coat Factory May 30. Rockford officers responded to the department store at about 11 p.m., and noticed the front door had been smashed. Police also discovered a fire smoldering in the…