Regional

Springfield City Government
9:26 am
Wed September 4, 2013

City To Help Foot Bill For EPA Coal Tar Cleanup

Aerial view of Factory Street in Springfield, where environmental remediation efforts will begin to remove coal tar
Credit Google Maps

The city of Springfield has agreed to pay the EPA an estimated $1.6 million to clean up coal tar seeping out of the ground on the city's northeast side.

This fall the Environmental Protection Agency will send contractors to dig up Factory Street, about five blocks north of Lanphier High School.

The city owns part of the site where Springfield Iron Co. used to operate in the 1900's.  A power substation and water storage tank sit there today.

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Regional
5:06 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Christian County Considers New Jail

Christian Co. Sheriff Bruce Kettlekamp
Credit http://www.christiancountyil.com/sheriff.htm

Christian County officials say they may need a new jail to replace an aging facility that's often overcrowded and has a bad roof and leaking pipes.  
The jail in Taylorville was built in 1975 and was originally designed to hold about two dozen inmates. It's since been updated, but some weekends has as many as 60 inmates. When it's that crowded, some inmates have to sleep on the floor on mats.  
Sheriff Bruce Kettlekamp says the prison is ``busting at the seams.''  

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Rail Consolidation
3:49 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Springfield Gets Money For Rail Underpass

Credit WUIS/Peter Gray

The federal government has awarded a $14.4 million grant for a railroad underpass in Springfield that will improve service along the emerging 110-mph Amtrak route between Chicago and St. Louis.  
Four members of Congress from Illinois announced the award Friday.  
The Carpenter Street underpass is part of work to consolidate rail traffic on a line east of downtown.  
It will eliminate three street-level crossings, improving the safety of faster rail service through the state capital. It will also keep first responders from getting stuck at crossings.  

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National Cemetery
6:17 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Decorated Army Vet To Oversee Camp Butler

Michael Henshaw
Credit www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-henshaw/27/582/297

An Army veteran who earned two bronze stars for combat operations in Iraq has been named the new director of Camp Butler National Cemetery.
 
Michael Henshaw has served 25 years with the Army.   In addition to having served in Iraq, he's also taken part in operations at Fort Lee, Virginia and in Naples, Italy.
 
Camp Butler, between Springfield and Riverton, is located on part of what was Illinois' second-largest military training camp during the Civil War.
 

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Regional
6:57 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Bringing Illinois Stories To Viewers

Mark McDonald interviews Lincoln sculptor John McClarey in Decatur.
Credit WSEC/WQEC/WMEC

Mark McDonald estimates he has done 900 episodes of "Illinois Stories".  McDonald travels throughout the area to bring interesting people to the screen on public television stations WSEC/WQEC/WMEC.  A veteran TV journalist, his conversational style allows viewers to learn about places and individuals who might live right down the street. 

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Beer
11:08 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Microbreweries Call Springfield-Area Home

Inside operations of Engrained Brewing Company
Brent Schwoerer

When it comes to the beer business, craft offerings and microbreweries are becoming more popular.

The Springfield area is starting to catch up with the national trend. 

Rachel Otwell went behind the scenes of local beer-making operations to get "tapped in" to what's happening there: (For more on Springfield's history of brewing, you can find an extended interview at the bottom of this page)

How did the craft beer movement find its way to town?

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Regional
5:18 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Maufacturing Losses Lead To Decatur's Rise In Unemployment

Credit flickr/ptooey

Illinois has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation.  And Decatur has the highest in the state.

Caterpillar announced hundreds of layoffs this summer and that is now showing up in the jobless rate.  Decatur's rate has gone up to 13.2 percent, 2 full percentage points above where it was a year ago.  And it's also at the highest level it's been this time of year in about three decades.  

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Regional
10:13 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Illinois State Fair Attendance Up

Illinois officials say this year's state fair had the highest attendance levels in more than a decade.  
The governor's office says Thursday that more than 961,000 people attended the fair during its 11-day run this month.  
That's up almost 5 percent from last year and the highest since 2002, when 1.2 million people went through the fair's gates.  

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Regional
7:14 am
Thu August 22, 2013

LaHood To Be Guest Lecturer At Bradley University

Ray LaHood
Credit wikipedia.org

Bradley University has revealed former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and congressman Ray LaHood's new role at the school's Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service.
 
Bradley announced Wednesday that LaHood has been named an honorary senior distinguished fellow at the institute. In that role he's expected to be a guest lecturer for Bradley students and be part of public policy events on campus.
 

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Springfield City Government
8:54 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Water Study: Gravel Pits Won't Be Enough To Supply A Thirsty Springfield

A study presented to the Springfield City Council Tuesday indicates gravel pits near the Sangamon River won't be a viable alternate water source during a time of severe drought.

This spring the city hired engineers to determine if it could draw from pits east of town without sucking dry wells in neighboring communities, including Riverton and Dawson.

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Regional
8:38 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Transmission Line Gets ICC Approval

General corridor for the project
Credit Ameren

Regulators have signed off on a new transmission line that'd cut through central Illinois.   The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/15024Oj ) the Illinois Commerce Commission approved all but 30 miles of Ameren's Illinois Rivers Project during a meeting Tuesday.  
The $1 billion, 380-mile transmission line would run through 19 counties, traveling from Quincy to the Indiana border. It'd affect about 8,400 landowners.  

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Direct To Disney
9:04 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Springfield-Orlando Flights To Take Off In November

Allegiant Air will begin flying to Orlando from Springfield's airport this fall.
 
The low-cost carrier says the non-stop flights from Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport will begin November 22. They're scheduled to depart twice a week.
 
The State Journal-Register reports the airline is offering a special discounted round-trip rate of $99 until Thursday.  After that, fares will cost $69 each way.
 

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Regional
11:32 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Auburn Mayor Approves Video Gambling

The issue of video gaming machines has created a divide in the town of Auburn. 

Mayor Barb Stamer cast a tie breaking vote against gambling earlier this year.  Now, she's changed her mind.  (UPDATE: 6:45 a.m. Tuesday) The matter came up at Monday's Auburn City Council meeting and Stamer cast the tie-breaking vote in favor.

Towns small and large have had to decide whether or not allowing the machines is worth the cut the communities will receive from gamblers.

Stamer spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford on Illinois Edition:

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Authors
11:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Writer Collects Personal Stories On Recession In Springfield & Across US

Lee Somerstein & his travel companion Trooper
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Lee Somerstein is a writer and blogger traveling the country and collecting stories about how people have been impacted by the recession. He recently made a stop in Springfield and joined us in studio to talk about his findings here and in the other places he has visited:  

CLICK HERE to see Somerstein's blog, where you can read about his travels and the stories he's collected so far about the recession.

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Illinois State Museum
2:44 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Lecture On Civil War Excavations In Southern Ill.

Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois is home to Civil War artifacts and historical sites that many people don't know about, and archeologists say there's potential for even more exploration and excavation to be done. Mark Wagner heads the Center for Archeological Investigations at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He's speaking tonight at 7pm at the Illinois State Museum about his findings, we recently caught up with him: 

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State Fair
11:31 am
Wed August 14, 2013

No Heightened Security For Butter Cow

The 2013 Illinois State Fair Butter Cow
Credit Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

Organizers of the Illinois State Fair say they're not changing security procedures after vandals threw paint on a butter cow at the state fair in Iowa. 
Jeff Squibb is a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. 
He tells The Pantagraph (http://bit.ly/1cB7iD1 ) that a refrigerated case holding the butter bovine is locked all the time in the fair's Dairy Building, while a webcam streams live images of the sculpture. 

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Springfield Parks
12:37 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Interview: Leslie Sgro, Springfield Park Board President

Leslie Sgro
Credit Springfield Park District

It's been a challenging year so far for the Springfield Park District. It faced a backlash earlier this year after it was discovered the former executive director had created his own policy for paying out vacation and sick time without Park Board's consent. And the fiscal situation is on lean times according to park board president, Leslie Sgro. She recently joined WUIS for this interview: 

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Report Of Millikin Prof's Dark Past Shocks Many
8:29 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Interview: Sun-Times' Dave McKinney On St. James/Wolcott Case

Dr. St. James
Credit millikin.edu

Last month, an investigation by the Georgetown Advocate revealed that James St. James - psychology chair at Millikin University in Decatur - once went by the name Jim Wolcott. 

According to the newspaper, Wolcott shot and killed his parents and teenage sister when he was fifteen and living in Georgetown, Texas.

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File Shredding Controversy
5:46 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Springfield Agrees To Pay $5K For Destroying Buscher File, Violating FOIA

Calvin Christian
Credit Calvin Christian

The City of Springfield admits it illegally destroyed Deputy Police Chief Cliff Buscher's internal affairs file. 

In a motion filed in Sangamon County Court Friday, the City agrees to pay Calvin Christian $5,000, the fee set for a single violation of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. 

Christian sued the City in May after it said Buscher's file had been destroyed.

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Regional
2:13 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Former IDPH Chief Of Staff Indicted

Jim Lewis is U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Authorities say a onetime chief of staff to the former head of the Illinois Department of Public Health took $433,000 in kickbacks for steering grant and contract money to certain groups.  
An indictment released Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Springfield says Quinshaunta R. Golden faces one count of bribery and theft involving federal funds.  
The accusations largely relate to the time Golden was chief of staff to Eric E. Whitaker in the 2000s.  

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Cams In Courts
8:57 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Macon County Judges Now Open To Allowing Cams In Courts

Credit WSIU/Illinois Public Radio

Video and still cameras could be allowed in circuit courts in central and east central Illinois within the next several weeks.

The Champaign News-Gazette reports judges in the Sixth Judicial Circuit approved the cameras during a meeting last week.

Chief Judge Dan Flannell says he submitted an application to the Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday. The state's high court has the final say on whether the circuit will be included in the pilot program that was approved about 18 months ago.

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Illinois State Fair
5:56 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Longtime Rushville Doctor Named State Fair Parade Grand Marshal

Dr. Russell Dohner
Credit Dr. Dohner Fan Page/Facebook

From Governor's news release:

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RealCuisine Hiatus
6:15 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Caterer Mom Setting Food Aside To Focus On Family

Glatz flips one of her final market omelets
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

Ashley Glatz of RealCuisine Catering says she's closing her business temporarily in order to devote more time to motherhood. 

Glatz's operation at 2028 South 15th Street is closed as of Monday, August 5th, and she'll no longer be a presence at Springfield's downtown farmer's market.

Peter Gray caught up with Glatz to ask about the decision to hang up her chef hat:

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Fair Preview
12:43 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Illinois State Fair Prepares To Open Gates Thursday

The 2013 Illinois State Fair in Springfield runs August 8th through the 18th.

Peter Gray joined Rachel Otwell on Illinois Edition with a few highlights of the fair this year, including the grandstand's new VIP section for fans who want to avoid long lines but want to be as close to the stage as possible: 

The State Fair's mobile site can be accessed HERE

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Summer Road Work
9:43 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Chatham Rd. Bridge Work To Start Monday, Expect Traffic Delays

Aerial view of site where work will begin August 5th
Credit Google Maps

After August 4th, commuters in Springfield may want to avoid Chatham Road between Iles and Wabash.  A small bridge there is scheduled to be replaced, a project which could take months.  The Office of Public Works issued the following statement Friday:

"The City of Springfield Office of Public Works has announced that Chatham Road bridge construction will start Monday, August 5th between Iles Avenue and Jerome Avenue. 

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Teens
4:13 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

'The Voice' Brings Teen's Perspectives To Local Media

Alissa Groeninger

Alissa Groeninger is the editor for The State Journal Register's teen section, 'The Voice'. She joined WUIS to talk about her work with the area's young aspiring journalists: 

CLICK HERE to follow updates from 'The Voice' on Twitter.

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Springfield City Government
4:10 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Acting Police Chief Winslow On Restoring Dept. Morale, Public Confidence

Kenny Winslow sits at Robert Williams' old chair in the office of the Springfield Chief of Police
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

Springfield's new top cop says regaining the public's trust in his department is at the top of his to-do list.  

Acting Chief Kenny Winslow took over Monday for Robert Williams, whose signature at the bottom of a police union memo cleared the way for destruction of internal affairs files.

Williams, along with the city's attorney, this month stepped aside as the city faces a lawsuit alleging it violated public records laws.

Interim Chief Winslow says today he's focused on polishing the department's tarnished image:

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Community
2:58 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Central Illinois Foodbank Moves Into New Site

The Central Illinois Foodbank is moving into what once was the Pepsi plant on Cook Street in Springfield. The non-profit hosts an open house tomorrow for the public to tour the new facility. Kaleigh Friend joins us now to tell us more about the move and what it means for the organization: 

The Central Illinois Foodbank's open house is tomorrow (Thursday, July 25th) from 4:30 to 7 at its new location: 1937 East Cook Street. CLICK HERE for more information.

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History
2:41 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Effort To Restore Facade Of Springfield's First Black Firehouse

On the 13-hundred block of Adams street in Springfield sits a building that's been used as a Masonic lodge for decades. What's not obvious by looking at it now - is that it was once the first black firehouse in Springfield, back when the city was segregated in the early nineteen-hundreds.

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Regional
5:26 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Deadline For Flood Victims To Seek Federal Aid

Wednesday is the last day individuals affected by extreme flooding in the spring can apply for federal assistance.
Towns were evacuated.  Homes destroyed.  Fields turned to swamps. Rivers reached historic crests.
Flooding that hit Illinois this spring was bad enough that President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration for certain counties.
Now is the deadline for Illinois residents impacted by flash and river flooding from April 16 to May 5 to get government help with recovery.
Individual assistance - which businesses can also apply for - is available to residents of 35 counties.  That's to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.
Five additional counties are eligible for public assistance - that's for the state, local governments and certain non-profit groups, who can use the money to help with debris removal and to help repair damaged public facilities.
The application is at disasterassistance.gov.

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