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Bell Bowl Prairie, a high-quality remnant of Illinois prairie, located within the boundary of Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

On Friday, the Greater Rockford Airport Authority filed a motion in U.S. District Court to dismiss a lawsuit blocking the airport’s planned expansion of its cargo operations, which would destroy a rare five-acre high-quality remnant prairie in the process.

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$50M airfield cargo expansion first phase of grander plan

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Construction on the Rockford Airport cargo expansion has come right to the edge of Bell Bowl Prairie. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

The Rockford Airport Authority is not ceding Bell Bowl Prairie, an ancient prairie remnant that’s part of the airport’s nearly 3,000-acre property. In an interview with WTTW News, the authority reaffirmed its commitment to a $50 million expansion plan that would impact the five-acre prairie.

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Bell Bowl Prairie, a high-quality remnant of Illinois prairie, located within the boundary of Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

Members of the coalition that sprung up to save Bell Bowl Prairie from demolition by the Rockford Airport are allowing themselves a brief victory lap to celebrate a temporary suspension of construction.

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Bell Bowl Prairie, a high-quality remnant of Illinois prairie, located within the boundary of Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

The Natural Land Institute filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court to stop the Greater Rockford Airport Authority from tearing up the 8,000-year-old Bell Bowl Prairie as part of an airport expansion project.

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Bell Bowl Prairie, a high-quality remnant of Illinois prairie, located within the boundary of Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

In a dramatic 11th-hour turnaround, Chicago Rockford International Airport officials announced Thursday a change in plans affecting the 8,000-year-old Bell Bowl Prairie remnant. Construction slated to resume Monday has been suspended until further consultations with federal agencies are completed.

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Construction on the Rockford Airport cargo expansion has come right to the edge of Bell Bowl Prairie. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

Supporters of the movement to save Bell Bowl Prairie, a small patch of rare remnant prairie situated within the boundaries of Chicago Rockford International Airport, say they have a simple solution that preserves the prairie and allows the airport to expand: Just move a road.

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Bell Bowl Prairie, a high-quality remnant of Illinois prairie, located within the boundary of Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

Conservationists are in a race against the clock to save a five-acre patch of rare Illinois prairie from being bulldozed as part of a 280-acre expansion of the Chicago Rockford International Airport's cargo operation.

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This Dec. 13, 2019 photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. 1st Class Duke Webb who is currently serving as a Special Forces Assistance Operations and Intelligence Sergeant. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army via AP)

An attorney for a U.S. Army special forces sergeant arrested in what authorities called an apparently random shooting at an Illinois bowling alley that left three people dead said client may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

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This booking photo provided by Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office shows Duke Webb. (Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

A U.S. Army special forces sergeant based in Florida has been charged in an apparently random shooting at an Illinois bowling alley that left three people dead and three wounded, authorities said Sunday.

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Rockford Police Officer Patrice Turner (WTTW News)

Chicago police officials have long admitted they struggle solving homicides, but a city just west of Chicago has seen an almost miraculous improvement in its homicide clearance rate – and it coincides with a different approach to policing.