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Education Desk
1:50 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Foundations Help Fill School Funding Gaps

In 2014, students at Mt. Carmel High School performed "Grease." This year, they will perform "Mary Poppins."
Credit courtesy of Mt. Carmel High School

Rehearsing her students for the big spring musical, Kim Mandrell has crossed two huge worries off her list: She's decided not to have Mary Poppins fly - and this year, for the first time ever, she doesn't have to fret about the safety of the audience.

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economy
12:39 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

The Top 10 Consumer Complaints To Feds

List of consumer complaints to Federal Trade Commission

The Illinois Attorney General released a list of the top ten consumer complaints.   The Federal Trade Commission has also released its list.    The number of complaints to the Feds:

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Economy
11:34 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Top Ten Consumer Complaints In Illinois

The Illinois Attorney General's office is out with its annual top ten list of consumer complaints to A-G's office.

CATEGORY

# OF COMPLAINTS

1. Consumer Debt (mortgage lending, debt collections, credit cards)

3,655

2. Identity Theft (fraudulent credit cards and utility accounts, bank fraud)

2,617

3. Telecommunications (wireless service, local phone service, cable/satellite)

2,162

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Other Former Governors Get Six-Figure Pensions Too
4:45 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Ex-Gov. Quinn Begins Collecting Six-Figure Pension

The base of former Gov. Pat Quinn's salary is protected under the pension overhaul he signed into law, but like other state employees, future hikes will be reduced should the court uphold its constitutionality. Quinn began collecting his annual, $137,000 pension a day after he left office in January.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Some of the main architects of the Illinois law that seeks to save the state money by reducing workers' pensions have begun collecting pensions of their own.

On March 11, the Illinois Supreme Court will hear arguments for and against the pension overhaul signed into law late in 2013 by then-Gov. Pat Quinn. If it succeeds, Quinn, like other retired state employees, will see his the size of his future retirement benefits shrink, as the law does away with compounded cost-of-living increases.

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Illinois Issues - Ends And Means
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Chronic Mismanagement Drove State Into Its Fiscal Mess

Charles N. Wheeler III

“Illinois’ business climate outshines its regional rivals.”

A peek into a crystal ball, revealing future newspaper headlines after Illinois lawmakers embrace Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 44-point, State of the State, “Turnaround” manifesto?

Guess again. A leftover claim from former Gov. Pat Quinn’s failed campaign? Nope.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

People

Felicia Norwood

Rauner selects agency, board heads

During his first months in office, Gov. Bruce Rauner named several key members of his administration.

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Illinois Issues - Essay
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Essay – Cashing In On Cutting Carbon

U.S. clean carbon plan gives Illinois a chance for significant state revenue

Nobody likes taxes, and certainly not new taxes. So a carbon tax can be a tough sell. Does it really excite anybody to point out that a carbon tax might be a lot less bad than other state taxes? Well, perhaps it should. No matter how large or small you want the Illinois state budget to be, the state still needs some revenue. And collecting part of that revenue by using a state carbon tax could be like “free money” compared to costly state income taxes or sales taxes. 

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Illinois Issues - Business
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Women’s Work

Gospel singer and restaurateur Kim Stratton recently held the grand opening for her Kim Stratton’s Kitchen in Palatine. Stratton is one of a growing number of women business owners in Cook County.

The rise of the female entrepreneur

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Lincoln Lore

Mary Lincoln, c. 1846

The first couple shared a love of politics.

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Illinois Issues – Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

The Raw Milk Underground

Farmer Joe Zanger has four Guernsey cows producing milk on his dairy farm in Liberty, in western Illinois.
Credit Abby Wendle / Illinois Issues

Regulators of the dairy drink work to change its legal status.

This story comes to Illinois Issues through a partnership with Harvest Public Media, which is a reporting collaboration of public media stations throughout the Midwest that focuses on food and agriculture issues. For more information, visit www.harvestpublicmedia.org.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Murders Of Young Black Males Are Less Likely To Be Solved, Report Says

Isaiah Milton holds a candle during a memorial for his 19-year-old cousin who was shot in Chicago last year.
Credit Alex Wroblewski

When young black males in poor inner-city areas are murdered, their cases are less likely to be resolved, particularly if a gun is involved.

That’s the finding of Alonzo DeCarlo, division chair of social and behavioral sciences at the Springfield campus of Benedictine University. His findings, after a look into 10 years of Uniform Crime Reporting data kept by the FBI, were published in January by the journal Contemporary Social Science.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Following Family Path, Police Director Breaks New Ground

Sydney Roberts

When she was a girl, Sydney Roberts wanted to follow her dad’s footsteps into a career in law enforcement. “I was always raised that you can be anything you want to be,” says Roberts, who heads the Illinois Secretary of State Police. “But you need to make yourself the best candidate you can be, so when opportunities come up, you’re the obvious choice.”

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Lawsuit Says Prisoner Review Board Ignoring Risk-assessment Statute

In 2009, Illinois enacted a law requiring the Department of Corrections and the Prisoner Review Board to use a risk-assessment tool to evaluate inmates. The agencies did not meet a 2013 deadline to get it up and running, and that failure is now the subject of a class-action lawsuit. The idea behind the risk-assessment tool is to make an objective analysis about whether an inmate poses a danger to the public.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Poverty Rate Doesn’t Budge Despite Recession’s End

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population universe used to calculate poverty is smaller than the total population of the state because certain groups of people, like unrelated children under age 15, are excluded.
Credit Social IMPACT Research Center / Heartland Alliance

The poverty rate in Illinois has held steady in recent years despite the fact that the nation has emerged from the Great Recession.

That’s according to a report issued recently by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center. The group reported that the 14.7 percent poverty rate in Illinois for 2013, which is the most recent data available for the analysis, has been unchanged since 2012. The 2011 poverty rate was slightly higher at 15 percent.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Study Offers A Possible Answer To Why Women Are Underrepresented In Some Corners Of Academia

Women are underrepresented in some academic fields because of stereotypes that make it seem that they are not as brilliant as men, according to a recent study produced by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Princeton University.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Book Outlines Illinois Corruption In One Volume

Author Thomas Gradel says when he first thought about the project that would become the book Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality, he envisioned it as an encyclopedia of corruption. But his collaborator Dick Simpson couldn’t picture that approach.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Lawmakers Aim To Prohibit Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy For Minors

Rep. Kelly Cassidy

Lawmakers in Springfield are renewing efforts to pass legislation that would ban the practice of sexual orientation conversion therapy for minors.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Volcano Eruption May Have Driven Major Migration To Illinois In 19th Century

Strange as it seems, a volcano that erupted 200 years ago in Indonesia may have been a major factor leading to Illinois’ 1818 statehood.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Aging Population To Change Transportation Demands In Illinois

As Baby Boomer residents age, and they and their parents’ generation live longer, Illinois’ infrastructure plans may have to change to accommodate a much larger retired population.

A new report from the University of Illinois Chicago’s Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement says the state will have to improve transportation, develop variety in housing options and strengthen medical and safety net service to meet the day-to-day needs of its older population. 

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Federal Plan To Offer Free Community College Could Cost States

President Barack Obama called for community college tuition to be free to some in his State of the Union address.
Credit The White House

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address included a proposal to grant free tuition for some community college students. Dubbed America’s College Promise, it’s the kind of idea that had a chorus of Illinois officials lining up to sing its praises.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Legislative Checklist March 2015

The start of a new session brings with it the introduction of thousands of new bills. Much of the early legislation sponsored by members of the 99th General Assembly reacts to stories in the news, including measures on police tactics, red-light cameras and athlete concussions.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Will Rauner Get Tough On Getting Tough On Crime?

Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey writes the State of the State column for Illinois Issues magazine.
Credit mattpenning.com / WUIS/Illinois Issues

News Analysis — Gov. Bruce Rauner made a stunning declaration last month in his State of the State address.

“The conditions in our prisons are unacceptable,” Rauner said. “Inmates and corrections officers alike find themselves in an unsafe environment. It’s wrong.”

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Illinois Issues – Editor's Note
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Why The Butterflies Are Gone

Jamey Dunn
Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / Illinois Issues

When I was a teenager, I came home one day to find monarch butterflies covering a tree in my parents’ backyard. Hundreds of them had swarmed the leaves and branches. And there they sat, opening and closing their brightly painted wings in the sun.

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Politics
5:12 pm
Sat February 28, 2015

Butler Named New 87th District Rep

Republican County Leaders Saturday selected Tim Butler as a replacement in the Illinois 87th House District.  He'll fill the seat Rich Brauer held until he resigned to take a job with the Rauner Administration.
Butler has served as an aide to Congressman Rodney Davis, as his District Chief of Staff. Previously, he worked for Congressman Ray LaHood.
 GOP Leaders from four counties that make up the district (Sangamon, Logan, Menard and Tazewell) accepted applications over the past week before unanimously selecting Butler.

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
4:16 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Illinois Not Alone In Post-Recession Budget Woes

Illinois’ budget is in even worse shape than previously thought. Illinois has the biggest unfunded pension obligation in the nation. Illinois slapped with the lowest credit rating of any state. These are the grim headlines Illinois residents endure on a regular basis. You can’t live in this state and not have at least a vague idea that our budget is in the dumps.

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Election 2015
2:42 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Rauner’s Budget Poses Risk For Emanuel’s Re-election

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, second from left, awaits the inauguration of Gov. Bruce Rauner in this January 2015 file photo.

If Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is looking for a silver lining on his disappointing first round re-election bid, he ought not study Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget. The state’s largest city has some big problems that the governor’s fiscal plans could aggravate.

Chicago has issues of “looming pension crisis in the city and at the board of education, ongoing problems with guns and gangs and drugs, still a feeling that too many neighborhoods are being neglected and there aren’t enough jobs,” Andy Shaw, head of the non-partisan Better Government Association, said election night.

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State Week
1:44 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Listen to State Week - February 27, 2015

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, continuing concerns over the state's budget, Governor Rauner holds his first cabinet meeting, and Rahm Emanuel faces a run-off election in his bid to remain Mayor of Chicago.

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Business
10:31 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Kentucky Provides Model For Rauner's "Empowerment Zones"

A teamsters truck is parked outside the Warren County, KY courthouse on the day the fiscal court gave final approval to a local right-to-work law
Credit Lisa Autry / WKU Public Radio

Just over a month since taking office, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has already laid out a clear agenda. He’s detailed significant spending cuts, proposed a pension overhaul and targeted the power of unions. That includes a proposal to allow some parts of the state to become what he calls 'right-to-work' zones.  Neighboring Kentucky recently began a similar experiment, and could offer some clues as to what to expect in Illinois.

The governor first outlined his plan for what he called worker empowerment zones in late January, during a visit to Decatur.

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This I Believe 2015
7:45 am
Fri February 27, 2015

A Daily Realization

Maggie Lenkart - Southeast H.S.
Credit Rachel Lattimore / WUIS / Illinois Issues

I recently stumbled upon a neat little web series entitled “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Koenig. Every short video consists of a newly invented word he explains in depth. One word in particular jumped out at me: sonder.  “sonder,” n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as yours. This feeling has always been something I have taken note of. As a little girl, strapped tight in my car seat, gazing out the window at the cars passing down the busiest street in town, I would think:  “Where are they going?

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Code Switch Illinois
4:01 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Income Levels Influence Success In Avoiding Pregnancy, Report Says

Credit The Brookings Institute

A report released today found that women who are the poorest are five times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy as opposed to wealthy women.

The Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institute prepared a report that compared sexual activity, contraception use and abortion rates among women representing different economic levels. Women who were the poorest had the greatest number of unintended pregnancies, while abortion rates were highest for the most affluent, according to researchers.

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