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7:40 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Springfield Airport Will Make Another Attempt To Add Gambling

Credit flickr/brownpau

After being turned down for a video gambling license last year, the Springfield airport will try its luck again.

The Director of the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, Mark Hanna, says adding the gambling machines is an opportunity that needs to be explored.

"Just like any other non-aeronautical revenue opportunity, we feel we are doing the responsible thing in actually looking at all available sources of revenue that are out there to offset our expenses and tax burden," Hanna said.

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State Week
5:55 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Listen to State Week - January 23, 2015

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner gave a glimpse of what he may say during his State of the State Address.  Also, questions about Rauner's claims that he's putting his personal investments in a "blind Trust".

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
4:11 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Speaker Madigan: How Can Illinois Prevent A Sandy Hook?

It has been two years or so since 26 people -- most of them young children -- died in a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The shooter was 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

A report studying him was released late last year by Connecticut's child advocate office; it shows problems identifying and treating his mental illness.

"There were several missed opportunities to help Lanza," said longtime Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan on the opening day of the new General Assembly.

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
11:17 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Art Beat: Pirates, Local Tunes & Movies Galore

Credit http://blacksheepspringfield.com/

It's Friday, and that means time again to bring you our discussion of what events to check out this weekend and beyond. Scott Faingold of the Illinois Times and I will tell you about:

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
10:29 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Manar Incorporating 'Constructive Criticism' From Suburban Superintendents In New Draft Of Bill

Senator Andy Manar, pushing for an overhaul of school funding, shared a draft of his revised bill with the Associate Press. Click HERE to read the story.

Education Desk
7:11 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Community College President To Get Payout & A Building In His Name

Severances and bonuses seem to be a way of life for Illinois colleges and universities.

College of DuPage officials have voted to approve a  $762,000 buyout package for the school's president when he retires next year.
 
 The board of trustees accepted the severance deal Thursday as part a four-page agreement regarding the early retirement of President Robert Breuder next March.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
2:57 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Court Rejects Request To Delay Pension Case

It took legislators - here, meeting in a conference committee - years to reach a compromise on a pension overhaul; the law they finally passed is facing a constitutional challenge.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

The fate of Illinois' pension law will stay on the fast track. Illinois' Supreme Court justices today rejected a request for a delay.

It can take a long time for a case to wend its way through the courts. But after a Sangamon County judge in November ruled Illinois' overhaul of public worker pensions unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court agreed to take up the case on an expedited basis.

On Tuesday, lawyers contesting the law tried to slow it down by a month.

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
2:56 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Chicago Public Schools CEO Opts Most Schools Out Of PARCC

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has declared that only 66 of her 6,000 schools will participate in PARCC testing this spring. That's because the kids don't have enough access to technology to do their best on an online test. HERE's the Chicago Tribune story. She does plan to fully-implement the test next year, and continue with the Common Core curriculum.

Illinois Issues - State Of The State
1:47 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Supreme Tort: The Campaign To Fire Justice Lloyd Karmeier

Justice Lloyd Karmeier was targeted for defeat by just seven lawyers and law firms.
Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS

A version of this story appears in the February 2015 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
1:10 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Graying Illinois

Credit Illinois Issues

Listen to Jamey Dunn talk about her piece with Rachel Otwell:

Three years ago, the first members of the Baby Boom generation turned 65. This generation, born between the mid-1940s and mid- 1960s, has had a large influence on American politics and policy, in part by virtue of its sheer size. As the Boomers reach retirement age, they may once again drastically reshape the country.

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Let's Talk Kids
12:49 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Let's Talk Kids - "Reading To Babies"

Credit mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced a new policy directing pediatricians to encourage reading to babies.  Pediatricians are urged to use each contact with families to promote reading aloud and conversation from the earliest weeks of life, according to Dr. Pamela High who wrote the policy. 

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This I Believe
12:41 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

"This I Believe" Essay Contest Deadline Is Jan. 29

WUIS is looking forward to a new set of entries for this year’s WUIS “This I Believe” Essay Contest.  As in the past, ten winners – current area high school seniors - will be selected from among the entries.  The deadline for submissions is Thursday, January 29th, just a week away!  Ten winners will be welcomed here at the WUIS studios to read their essays for broadcast in February.  Each winner will also receive a a modest scholarship from the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise.  Submissions at WUIS.org.

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
10:20 am
Thu January 22, 2015

ISBE Budget Request Includes Full Funding Of Aid Promised To Schools

Here's ISBE's press release with the highlights of the budget request that it will send to the General Assembly
---
ISBE recommends nearly $730 million increase in education funding

Board members acknowledge fiscal challenges facing state, but urge lawmakers to fully fund General State Aid commitment, increase funding for early childhood programs

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
10:06 am
Thu January 22, 2015

New Chair Sworn In At ISBE

James Meeks
Credit Illinois State Board of Education

When the Illinois State Board of Education met yesterday in Springfield, there was a new chairman running the agenda.

 

 

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
9:11 am
Thu January 22, 2015

School Funding Fight Set To Resume In Senate

Senator Andy Manar spoke to supporters of his bill at a rally in the state capitol in December 2014.
Credit Dusty Rhodes

     When it comes to funding public schools, Illinois ranks near the bottom for equity. Legislation designed to change that stalled last session.

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
7:27 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Downtown Festivals Revamped

Downtown Springfield is going to make changes to its major summer events.   

The group says its doing away with it Taste of Downtown. 

Instead it will introduce the Downtown Bacon Throwdown in July.   The group is also planning to move the Old Capitol Blues and BBQ's Festival from August to early October.  

Hot weather has affected attendance, which put the  group in financial trouble this past year.

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
6:09 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Chamber Orchestra's "No Strings Attached"

Alistair Willis
Credit AlistairWillis.com

This Friday at 6 and 8 p.m., the Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra's next concert takes place at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield. 

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
6:08 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

State Board Of Education Asks For More Money

State Superintendent Christopher Koch
Credit isbe.state.il.us

  Even as Illinois runs ever shorter on cash, the board of education is asking for $730 million increase in state funding.

Illinois' superintendent of schools is well aware of the state's financial strain. Christopher Koch has been in charge as over the past several years, the state has failed to come through with all the money it's supposed to give to meet local district's basic needs.

But, Koch says, "education is the smartest investment we can make in the economic future of our state."

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Fender Bender
4:31 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Governor Unhurt In Chicago Car Accident

Gov. Bruce Rauner, R-Winnetka, was not hurt in an accident on Wednesday.
Credit flickr.com/appleswitch (Creative Commons)

Gov. Bruce Rauner is okay after he was involved in a car accident today in Chicago.

Rauner's motorcade was stopped at a red light on E. Randolph Street in Chicago, when two cars got into accident in front of him in the intersection, at Michigan Avenue. One of those cars spun out, hitting the black 2012 Ford Expedition Rauner was in, at 8:13 Wednesday morning.

State police say Rauner's fine, and the officers that are on his security detail are too. Three people did go to Northwestern Medical Center to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
1:28 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Hoogland Show Brings Irving Berlin To The Stage

The Land of Lincoln Chorus perform "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."
Credit Land of Lincoln Chorus

Things went so well with a December performance that the Land of Lincoln Chorus will return with "An Evening With Irving Berlin" this Friday night.  The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. 

Along with the music, Bob Grant will portray Berlin on stage.

"(Berlin) is quite a fascinating character," Grant said. "Even George Gershwin said that he was the greatest American composer."

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
12:24 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Interview: Combating Systemic Racism In Springfield

SDART co-coordinators Leroy Jordan & Sister Marcelline Koch
Credit Patrick Yeagle

Some people claim we're living in a "post-racial" world. There's a black president, and laws to protect the rights of citizens no matter their skin color. But while it's no longer common place to overtly discriminate against others due to their looks - racism is alive and well in many of the institutions and systems of power in this country, and that includes in Springfield.

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Education Desk
10:54 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Ball-Chatham Superintendent Stepping Down For New Job

Carrie Hruby
Credit chathamschools.org

The Ball-Chatham School District's superintendent is leaving to take a new job.   Carrie Hruby has been in the role since 2012. 

Hruby will become superintendent in O'Fallon's district starting this summer.  She made the announcement today in a letter to staff and parents.

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illinois Issues - Education Desk
8:30 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Poll Reveals Springfield Students' Feelings About School

Click HERE to see the complete results for District 186.

And check back for data specific to each school.

Illinois Issues - Leadership
8:25 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Lobbying Firm Employee Pleads Guilty To Embezzling

Hotel rooms.

Clothes.

A visit to the spa.  

Groceries. 

Alas, not my "to do" list (a visit to the spa? I wish! Though I do actually need to buy some groceries ...); that was what Alice Foss, a 53-year-old Springfield woman, admitted to buying with the $400,000 she'd embezzled from her employer, the lobbying and consulting firm Don Moss and Associates. 

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Pensions
7:50 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Potential Pension Case Holdup

Credit Illinois Supreme Court

As they seek to permanently toss Illinois' pension overhaul, state employees and retirees are asking the state Supreme Court for more time to make their arguments. Lawyers filed the request Tuesday.

It's a case that's supposed to be on the fast track: After a Sangamon County judge in November found Illinois' pension law unconstitutional, the Attorney General appealed straight to the state supreme court -- which agreed to hear it on an expedited basis.

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Illinois Issues - State of the State
6:32 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Frerichs Keeping Rutherford Investigation Under Wraps

Days before his inauguration, pictured here, Treasurer Mike Frerichs said he wanted to release the results of an investigation into his predecessor.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs is keeping secret the results of an investigation into his predecessor.

Former Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford saw his political career collapse last year when an employee accused him of harassment and requiring political work.

Rutherford commissioned an investigation and pledged to release the results, but then backtracked.

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
12:20 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

ICYMI: Cartoonist Chris Britt Says It's His "Duty To Make You Uncomfortable"

My grandpa, Ralph Otwell, shows off a printing plate of a cartoon by Bill Mauldin
Credit Luke Otwell

Political cartoons and their creators have a special place in my heart. While growing up, my grandparents' house was decorated with dozens of cartoons (my grandfather worked for the Chicago Sun-Times). Many took a cynical stance on the Daley regime. I think one of my grandfather's most prized possessions is a printing plate he snatched before it got melted down and recycled. It contained the famous cartoon created by Bill Mauldin in the hours after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
11:17 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Collecting On Line Sales Tax & A Springfield Manufacturer Expands On WUIS/SJR Business Report

Credit flickr/jmorgan

On this week's Business Report, Bill Wheelhouse talks with Tim Landis about a new effort to collect on-line sales taxes in Illinois; Nudo Products expands & Illinois has a new agriculture director.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
7:32 am
Tue January 20, 2015

The Most In-Demand Jobs in Chicago

Crain's has an article of a dozen of the most in-demand jobs in Chicago.   Bartender (excuse me, "mixologist,")  is on the list.   

Read the article here

Satire
5:04 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

New Governor Means New Material For Political Cartoonists

Portrayal of Gov. Bruce Rauner (Scott Stantis)

This month's inauguration of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner marks a change in leadership for lawmakers and employees at state agencies. But it's also a big transition for people who will deal with the new governor in a very different capacity over the next four years: political cartoonists.

Scott Stantis draws political cartoons for the Chicago Tribune. He says Bruce Rauner has very identifiable features.

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