Afternoon News Update: April 28
- A Rockford man has pled guilty to second degree murder. 31-year-old Wyatt Hawkins agreed to a plea deal for his role in the shooting death of Troy Crecy. As a result, he’ll spend the next 16 years in prison. The murder happened back in July 2012 on the city’s south side.
- A recent study by the Wall Street Journal indicates Rockford has the 5th most miserable workers in the country. Survey respondents say a lot of it comes down to the lack of trust and respect. 72.3 percent of workers said their workplace is a trusting and open place. While less than 60 percent say they learned something new and interesting in the last 24 hours, which is among the lowest assessments in the nation.
- Nine students at the University of Illinois have been diagnosed with mumps. The cases are part of an outbreak that has already produced more cases this year than the state saw in all of 2013. Officials say the students have all been vaccinated, but the vaccine is only 80 to 85 percent effective. Last year Illinois had a total of 26 mumps cases. So far, there have been 65 this year.
- The U.S. Senate is set to revisit a stalled proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10/ hour. President Obama plans to push the issue on the campaign trail ahead of the November mid-term elections. Many states have already made moves to raise their own minimum wages.
- Illinois corrections officials are working to reopen a closed youth prison in Joliet so it can house adult inmates who are mentally ill. The state is trying to settle a 2007 lawsuit claiming it has failed to address mental illness in a crowded prison system. Taxpayers already owe $20,000 for a study planning the facility.
- Small dogs and cats will be welcome on Amtrak trains between Chicago and Quincy for the next few months. Amtrak is going to test out the idea for six months starting in May. Pets have to be 20 pounds or less and ride in a carrier. Their owners have to make an advance reservation and pay $25.