Regional

Regional
8:55 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Marking The Former Home Of The Concordia Seminary

From l-r: Stuart Fliege, Rev. Mark Miller and Ralph Woehrmann
Credit WUIS

Longtime residents of the Springfield area will recall the Concordia Theological Seminary.  For about 100 years, it taught those who would become leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  The seminary moved to Indiana in 1975.  

Today, the Department of Corrections uses the buildings for training.  The site also housed what was once known as Illinois State University, during Abraham Lincoln's time.

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Regional
8:33 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Study Reports Numerous Violations At Nuke Plants

Clinton nuclear plant
Credit nrc.gov

A study determined that six Illinois nuclear power plants logged hundreds of safety violations from 2000 through 2012, most of them considered low-level.  
The Government Accounting Office report, based on Nuclear Regulatory Commission figures, shows the number safety violations at nuclear plants across the country vary dramatically from region to region.  
Illinois plants, with 11 reactors, had 1,118 violations, 17 of them considered high-level. By contrast, there were 1,885 mostly low-level violations in the Southeast region, home to 33 reactors.  

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Transportation
6:54 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Amtrak Deal Keeps Trains Running In Illinois

Illinois has agreed to pay more for in-state Amtrak trains. The deal prevents a shutdown of rail service that could have happened as early as next week.

Illinois is the second-to-last state to reach an agreement with Amtrak.

The deal was necessary because of a federal law that requires states to pay more if they want to keep shorter-distance rail lines.

Some states, like California, will pay millions of extra dollars.

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Tax Burden
1:55 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Does It Pay To Move From Illinois?

Is it worth it to leave one state for another due to taxes?  The National Center for Policy Analysis, a non partisan public policy research group, developed a way to help you determine the answer.  It's an online state  tax calculator.   Pam Villareal is a senior fellow for the Center. She spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford:

Want to try out the calculator?  Find it here.

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Regional
7:58 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Springfield Museum Remembers "The Forgotten War"

Credit flickr/TheNationalGuard

Along the plaza across from the Old State Capitol, in a former Osco store, you can find a tribute to the men and women who fought in Korea more than 60 years ago.

But the Korean War National Museum does more than simply honor veterans.  It attempts to educate visitors about the causes of the conflict.  Operating on donations, the museum shows videos and displays items that shows what life was like at that time for those too young to remember the war.

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Regional
2:28 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Shutdown Shuts Out Hunters, Fishermen

Rend Lake in southern Illinois
Credit rendlake.com

Hunters in southern Illinois are officially shut out of tens of thousands of acres of federal lands thanks to a partial shutdown of the federal government.  
Fishermen looking to troll Rend Lake for crappies found closed campsites managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week. The closures are a setback to the region. Southern Illinois has economic challenges and the area's recreation helps local businesses.  

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Fire House News
6:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Jacksonville Dog Wins National Contest

Smokey
Credit The Today Show

A Jacksonville native will have a cameo performance on one of the hottest television shows in the country: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'. She's 4 years old, has dark hair, and her name is Smokey. Smokey the black lab is a resident of the Jacksonville fire house, where she helps out by assisting fire-safety classes for children. She won a national contest that had people vote for the country's best fire-house dog. Todd Warrick who works for the fire department and trains Smokey recently told us all about it:  

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Regional
9:12 am
Tue October 1, 2013

There's Less Chance You'll Collide With A Deer

New figures released this week by State Farm say Illinois drivers are less likely to hit a deer in the next year.  The insurance company says drivers in the state have a 1 in 214 chance of hitting a deer in the next 12 months. That compares with a 1 in 162 chance last
year. Nationwide, the figure is 1 in 174.
 
Bloomington-based State Farm says Illinois drivers made 39,000 claims last year
for accidents involving deer. Nationwide, there were 1.2 million claims, down
about 3.5 percent.
 

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Regional
3:15 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

UIUC Student Killed Near Campus

Police in Urbana say a University of Illinois student has been killed in her apartment a few blocks north of the campus.

Lt. Bryant Seraphin tells The (Champaign) News-Gazette that officers were called shortly after 11 a.m. to the apartment complex. The university police issued alerts to students and faculty, but the campus was not locked down.

Seraphin says the victim's roommate was in the apartment during the killing and had been bound. He says she broke free and ran into the building's courtyard where she met officers.

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Regional
10:53 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Plan To Keep Asian Carp Out Of Lake Decatur

Credit flickr/mlinksva

The latest round of work on the Lake Decatur dam is underway and will include a barrier aimed at keeping invasive Asian carp at bay.  
The $4 million project is set to be finished by fall 2014.  
The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports (http://bit.ly/1beo5M0 ) the first phase of the project was completed in 2011.  
The latest round of work includes fixing concrete and repairing erosion damage. Meanwhile, crews will also remove a failed tailwater dam, which was built more than a century ago.  
Keith Alexander is director of water management in Decatur.  

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Regional
8:18 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Harris Bros. Trials Cost Nearly $1M

34-year-old Christopher Harris (mugshot following 2009 arrest)
Credit Logan County

The trials of two brothers charged in the 2009 deaths of a Logan County family cost the public roughly $935,000.  

The Bloomington Pantagraph reports the state initially paid defense bills for both Christopher and Jason Harris from the Capital Litigation Trust Fund - more than $500,ooo.

But expenses started going to Logan County taxpayers when the death penalty was abolished in March 2011.

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Regional
6:10 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

ATV Riders Will Begin Paying Registration Fee

Credit flickr/skakerman

Owners of all-terrain vehicles in Illinois will be paying a bit more for having the off-road conveyance.

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Regional
5:44 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

City Of Dixon To Recover Some Losses

Rita Crundwell
Credit Mike Moen/Northern Public Radio

The city of Dixon will recoup about $40 million of the $53 million in public money stolen by former comptroller Rita Crundwell.  
Dixon Mayor Jim Burke said Wednesday that the city has settled a lawsuit with auditors and a bank in connection with Crundwell's thefts. Crundwell is serving nearly 20 years in federal prison. Authorities say she stole the money over more than 20 years, spending it on a lavish lifestyle and horse-breeding operation.  

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Route 66
7:00 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Interview: 12th Route 66 Mother Road Festival

Cars line up during last year's festival
Credit route66fest.com

Over 1,000 classic cars will be on display in Springfield this weekend. It's time again for the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival - on its 12th year. We recently spoke with the president of the festival, Kim Rosendahl about it. She tells us the event is about more than just cars, it's about the lifestyle the iconic highway represents:  

CLICK HERE for more about the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival which kicks off in Springfield this weekend with a city night cruise on Friday.

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ISP Still Vetting Instructors
6:53 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Gun Trainers Waiting For Concealed Carry Curriculum

Credit Susan Stephens/WNIJ

There are now 54 concealed carry instructors approved by the Illinois State Police. Anyone who wants to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon has to put in sixteen hours in the classroom and shooting range with an official instructor.

         

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History
11:39 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Dillinger's Death Mask Going On Display In Springfield

A plaster mask cast from the face of gangster John Dillinger after his death is going on display in Springfield.  
The Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation museum in Springfield will display the mask from Thursday to Saturday, and has extended its visitor hours this weekend.  
They say the mask is one of four cast from the face of the Prohibition-era gangster.  

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File Shredding Lawsuit
11:51 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Houston: Leak Of Former Chief's Testimony "Unethical"

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston
Credit City of Springfield

Mike Houston says the court system doesn't appreciate when cases are "tried in public", and Springfield's mayor suggests "unethical" leaks of sworn testimony to the media are doing that by "coloring the situation".

The situation is the ongoing lawsuit filed by local newspaper columnist Calvin Christian, which claims the city destroyed dozens of documents he was seeking through the Freedom of Information Act.

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Religion
3:49 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Former Jacksonville Priest Under Investigation For Abuse

Credit Springfield Diocese

A priest who formerly served at a Jacksonville church is under investigation for sexual misconduct.   The Springfield Diocese issued a statement saying the Reverend Robert "Bud" DeGrand has temporarily withdrawn from the ministry.   He most recently was involved with parishes in east central Illinois in Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville.

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Regional
8:06 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Book Uncovers Violent Greene County History

Credit thewitwerfiles.com

D.L. Dennis set out to write a book about a century old chapter in his family's history as well as the history of one west central Illinois town.  The Witwer Files follows his grandfather's time as marshal in the Greene County community of Hillview.  In 1915, Witwer shot and a killed a man and was brought up on charges of murder.  He was eventually acquitted.  

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Regional
7:29 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Jacksonville's Ken "Jawbreaker" Norton Dies At 70

Ken Norton

Former heavyweight champion and Jacksonville native Ken Norton has died at the age of 70 following a series of strokes.

A friend of the Norton family tells the Associated Press the ex-boxer from central Illinois passed away Wednesday in a care facility near Las Vegas. 

Here's more from the State Journal-Register, which tapped into its archive as it remembered the boxer:

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Before The British Invasion
9:30 am
Wed September 18, 2013

First Beatle In America - George Harrison

It was 50 years ago this month that a young George Harrison, a virtual unknown, traveled from Great Britain to the United States.  He was coming to visit his sister, Louise, who had moved with her husband to the southern Illinois town of Benton.  

George spent a couple of weeks in that area.  He bought a classic guitar, later used on Beatles' recordings.  He also did a radio interview and camped out in the Shawnee National Forest.  

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Regional
12:28 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Interview: Tom Gray On Chatham Water Rates, Growth, Trains

Tom Gray
Credit Village of Chatham

Chatham's mayor stands behind the village's choice to stop buying water from Springfield's public utility.

Along with New Berlin, Chatham is a customer of the South Sangamon Water Commission, established so the villages could avoid rate hikes from City, Water, Light and Power.  

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Regional
7:54 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Funeral Monday For 7-Yr. Old Girl Believed Stabbed By Uncle

Willow Long
Credit https://www.facebook.com/searchofwillow

Services are set for a 7-year-old southern Illinois girl who prosecutors allege was stabbed to death by her uncle.
 
Authorities say Willow Long was killed late Saturday or early Sunday near her home in Watson, an Effingham County village 100 miles northeast of St. Louis.
 
Prosecutors have charged 22-year-old Justin DeRyke with three counts of first-degree murder. Authorities say he told investigators he killed his niece to end her suffering after she accidentally fell onto a brush pile and pierced her neck with a stick.
 

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Religion
3:36 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Handcuffed Priest Returning To Ministry

Father Thomas Donovan
Credit Springfield Diocese

A priest found handcuffed in a church rectory in Springfield last year is returning to the ministry.  The Springfield Diocese issued a statement today saying Father Thomas Donovan will serve as a chaplain to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton.  

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Regional
3:45 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Quincy Hotel Demolished After Fire

Credit Landmarks Illinois

Crews have finished demolishing an historic hotel in Quincy that was gutted by fire.  
Demolition of the Newcomb Hotel has ended and The Quincy Herald-Whig reports (http://bit.ly/1b6yb0e) streets in Quincy should reopen Wednesday. Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze that broke out late Friday. The hotel first opened in 1888 but has been empty for years.  
The city plans to put up a 6-foot fence around the building to keep people away from the debris. Removal of debris isn't expected to start for more than a month. The city must solicit bids for cleanup.  

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Regional
9:19 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Young Philanthropists Are Giving Back

Micah Roderick (left) and Stacy Reed in the WUIS studios
Credit Sean Crawford/WUIS

You don't have to be old to give to worthy causes.  In fact, there is a group in the area known as the Young Philanthropists, which provides grants for various needs in the community.  All you have to be is over 21 years old and you can join simply by giving 125-dollars a year.  

Micah Roderick, on the Steering Committee of the Young Philanthropists, and Stacy Reed, Vice President of Programs with the Community Foundation for the Land Of Lincoln, spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford:

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Regional
3:16 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Students Overcome By Heat During Outdoor Mass

Credit dio.org

More than a dozen students have been taken to local hospitals after being overcome by the heat during an outdoor Mass.  
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/17Rdcrc ) students were gathered Monday morning for an All-City Catholic Schools Mass in an outdoor football stadium at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School. Temperatures were near 90 degrees.  
Springfield Fire Chief Ken Fustin says eight students were taken to St. John's Hospital and eight others were taken to Memorial Medical Center.  Parents of other students took them home for the day.  

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Manchester Shooting
2:41 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Young Shooting Survivor "Adjusting To Life"

The scene outside of the shooting in Manchester April 24, 2013
Credit WUIS

The grandmother of a 7-year-old who survived an April shooting in central Illinois that left several members of her family dead says the girl is adjusting to life.  
Kassidy Ralston now lives with her grandparents in Greene County. Grandma Pam Ralston says Kassidy is adjusting ``amazingly well.'' Ralston tells The State Journal-Register that the family is getting a lot of support.  

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Chatham Teens Arrested
9:38 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Want To Impersonate A Cop? There's An App For That

with dozens of free apps available to smartphone users, it's easier than ever to 'play cop'
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

Two Chatham teens are in custody for allegedly impersonating police earlier this week.

Sangamon County deputies arrested Thomas Orme and Christopher Morthland about 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. 

In a news release Friday morning, Undersheriff Jack Campbell says Orme and Morthland are suspected of having used a cellphone app that mimics flashing police lights and sirens to pull over several drivers near Curran.  

Chatham Police helped deputies identify the teens.

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10th Street Rail Corridor
9:42 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Engineering Change: Jim Moll's Vision For Trains In Springfield

Civil Engineer Jim Moll stands at the site of the future Carpenter Street underpass
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

The flow of traffic in Springfield could change dramatically in the coming decade.

Transportation planners seeking to re-route trains recently scored a major victory in the fight for funding.

The federal government announced August 30th a $14.4M grant to help pay for the first of several construction projects along 10th Street.  Crews could begin work by summer 2014, but design work must be completed first. 

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