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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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Health Desk
6:57 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Ill. Medicaid Upgrade To Use Michigan System

DHFS Director Hamos
Credit ilga.gov

State officials have announced an interstate partnership with Michigan to update Illinois' outdated Medicaid information management system.

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Lincoln
6:47 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Tomb At Oak Ridge Cemetery To Close For Repairs

Lincoln's Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery

The final resting place of Abraham Lincoln will be getting a make-over starting in October.

That means the tomb could be closed for up to 6 months.

Lincoln's tomb at the Oak Ridge Cemetery is also the resting place of his wife Mary Todd Lincoln and three of their four children.

The underground part of the monument has water damage and cracks, according to Chris Wills of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency:

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The Muni
12:18 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Peter Pan Comes To The Muni

The musical Peter Pan is likely one most folks are familiar with. This weekend you can see a live version of it at Springfield's outdoor theater, The Muni. Anna Bussing who plays Peter Pan, co-director Gil Opferman, and Jim Dahlquist who plays Smee recently joined us in studio to talk about the production:

CLICK HERE for more information about Peter Pan, which opens tonight. All performances begin at 8pm and run August 2-4 & 7-11.

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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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Obamacare Politics
9:28 am
Fri August 2, 2013

August Town Halls On Obama Health Law Planned

Congress goes on summer recess next week, so the debate over President Barack Obama's health law is heating up in the states, including Illinois.

Two liberal groups announced Thursday they are “going on the offensive'' to support the law in Illinois and nine other states.

The groups - Protect Your Care and Americans United for Change - wouldn't say how much money they've raised for the effort, which will include town hall meetings. Brad Woodhouse of Americans United for Change says the plan is to “hold Republicans accountable'' for efforts to repeal the law.

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H3N2V Influenza Confirmed In Illinois
4:22 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

State Fair Visitors Urged To Take Precautions To Prevent Spread Of Swine Flu

Ilinois State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick speaks to reporters Aug. 1 at the fairgrounds in Springfield.
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

A week before the Illinois State Fair, health officials have confirmed this year's first case of a relatively new type of swine flu.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, a child who visited the DuPage County Fair and came in contact with pigs showed mild symptoms of the H3N2V virus.  

Department Director LaMar HasBrouck says Illinois residents should enjoy state and county fairs while being careful to frequently wash their hands.

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Medical Marijuana
1:06 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Governor Quinn Signs Medical Marijuana Legalization For Ill.

Credit Wikimedia Commons/user: Bogdan

CHICAGO (AP)- Illinois has become the 20th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law today at a new University of Chicago medical facility.

Illinois' law takes effect Jan. 1, but it'll take several months before medical marijuana will be available for purchase. The measure outlines a four-year pilot program for patients suffering from more than 30 serious illnesses or diseases.

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Springfield Art Association
10:41 am
Thu August 1, 2013

'Sacrosanct' Exhibit Explores Religious Roots With Art

'The Second Time' by Amanda Grieve

'Sacrosanct: A Collaborative Soul Signature'  features the art of Amanda Grieve and Thom Whalen. The area artists say they usually show their work out of town - but they've come together to locally feature artwork based on their relationships with family and religion. Both were raised by artists and in the Catholic faith. Whalen and Grieve recently joined us in the studio to tell us more about their exhibit and their backgrounds:

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Arts & Community
7:00 am
Thu August 1, 2013

A Profile Of Springfield Painter & Muralist, Michael Mayosky

Mayosky in his home in Springfield
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Michael Mayosky's art is hard to miss if you live in Springfield. If you've ever been to Knight's Action Park - you've seen his aquatic landscapes stretching over the buildings. On Macarthur Boulevard, his more "trippy" murals adorn head-shop Penny Lane. And now, for his 109th Abraham Lincoln painting, he's going larger than life - much larger. But Mayosky's relative fame as a local professional artist has brought its challenges…

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Statehouse
10:12 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Governor To Sign Medical Marijuana Bill

Gov. Pat Quinn
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will sign legislation making the state the 20th in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana.

His remarks Thursday will focus on providing relief to the seriously ill, including veterans.

The Chicago Democrat will also tout the legislation's strict standards, which experts say are among the nation's toughest. That's according to a copy of details obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

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Pensions
10:02 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

After Long Silence, Quinn Aide Meets With Key Pension Lawmaker

Sen. Kwame Raoul, standing at right, presided over a hearing on pension legislation in this July 3, 2013 file photo.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

A day after Illinois legislative leaders sued Governor Pat Quinn for vetoing lawmakers' salaries, the governor continued lashing out at the General Assembly for not passing a pension overhaul.

Quinn has consistently tried to portray himself as being engaged in the negotiations over pensions. But members of the legislative committee trying to come up with a compromise say that's not true.

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Music
1:20 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Suggs Studio Performance: Springfield Alternative Rock Band 'boon'

Alt-rock band Boon consists of members Aaron Stallone on drums, Matt Natale on bass, and Johnny Draper on vocals and guitar. They joined us recently in the Suggs Performance Studio to share a few tunes and tells us a bit about their music:

CLICK HERE for more tunes and info about boon.

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To Boldly Go
2:07 am
Wed July 31, 2013

What's The Deal With 'Exploring' Candidates?

Bill Daley spent more than a month "exploring" a run for governor of Illinois, though he also said he was "totally committed, 100 percent in" to the race.
Credit The White House

Tuesday's declaration by Bill Daley that he was "officially" running for governor was one of the least surprising announcements of this political season. You could be forgiven for thinking he was already running in the Democratic primary. But Daley insists that until this week, he was just "exploring" a bid for governor.

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Salary Veto
6:30 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Legislative Leaders Sue Governor Over Pay

Gov. Pat Quinn is seen at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in this July 29, 2013 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The leaders of the Illinois General Assembly have sued Governor Pat Quinn over his veto of lawmakers' salaries. They say they're trying to protect the independence of the legislature.

Quinn vetoed lawmakers salaries out of the budget as a sort-of punishment for not passing legislation to overhaul Illinois' government-employee pension systems.

In a joint lawsuit filed in Cook County, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton say the governor overstepped his bounds.

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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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2014 Election
6:56 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Lt. Gov. Simon Seeks Comptroller's Office

Credit Illinois.gov

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is jumping into the 2014 race for Illinois comptroller.

After months of considering other statewide offices, she'll make it official Wednesday with stops in Chicago, Springfield and Carbondale. She tells The Associated Press the idea of teaching the public about the budget is appealing.

She could face Will County Auditor Duffy Blackburn in a Democratic primary.

Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is seeking re-election and has a fundraising advantage. She's a former state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate.

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Conference Committee
6:00 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Lawmakers Said To Be Compromising On Pensions

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, announces his candidacy for governor in this June 26, 2013 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

A member of the Illinois legislature's special committee on pensions says the group is closing in on a compromise. But it remains to be seen whether the measure will have enough support in the full General Assembly.

The 10-members of the bipartisan conference committee have been meeting for more than a month. A good chunk of that time has been waiting for actuaries to analyze the various proposals — seeing how much of Illinois' nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities might be eliminated.

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2014 Election
5:55 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Daley Campaign To File With Illinois Board Of Elections

Credit Amanda Vinicky

Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley is making his Illinois gubernatorial bid official.

He's set to remove his "exploratory committee'' label Tuesday by filing paperwork with the Illinois Board of Elections. So far, he's Gov. Pat Quinn's only 2014 Democratic primary challenger.

In a video on his campaign website, Daley says the fact that the state Legislature adjourned in May without finding a solution to the pension crisis or voting on same-sex marriage represents a "dysfunction.''

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Hockey
11:15 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Stanley Cup Comes To Springfield

The Stanley Cup was at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Monday morning.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Stanley Cup made an appearance at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Monday morning,  just weeks after the Blackhawks won it for the second time in four seasons. There was an event for invited guests, including politicians and military personnel. Team chairman Rocky Wirtz was also on hand.

"The fans have been terrific," Wirtz says. "You realize that there is hockey south of I-80, and that's what's nice. It's nice to come down to the state capital. ... First time I've been to the museum, and I really enjoyed it."

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Concealed Carry Law
1:15 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Judge Tosses Bid For Immediate Concealed Carry

U.S. District Court in East St. Louis
Credit www.ilsd.uscourts.gov

A federal judge is rejecting a legal bid by gun-rights advocates who wanted people to be able to immediately carry firearms in Illinois under the state's new concealed carry law.

East St. Louis U.S. District Judge William Stiehl threw out the lawsuit filed by Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association, siding with the state and saying the legal action is moot.

Shepard and the rifle group had argued it was unconstitutional to make people wait for the permit process to be outlined under the new concealed carry law that lawmakers passed July 9.

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Legislative Salaries Frozen
5:54 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Credit Union Offers Lawmakers Zero Interest Loans

Illinois legislators were supposed to get their next monthly paycheck on Thursday, August 1st.  But Governor Pat Quinn vetoed their salaries out of the budget.  Amanda Vinicky reports on how lawmakers may be able to get by.

Many legislators won't feel the pinch too deeply.

Serving in the General Assembly is technically a part-time occupation ... and many own businesses, are partners at law firms, or have other government jobs.  

But many don't, and are their family's sole breadwinner.

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University of Illinois
5:44 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Mooney Steps Into Leadership Role At IGPA

Chris Mooney
Credit igpa.uillinois.edu/person/christopher-z-mooney

University of Illinois Springfield political scientist Chris Mooney will take over next month as the head of U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

WUIS listeners know Mooney as a frequent panelist on State Week in Review.

Mooney says the Institute's researchers and professors can bring together the university's resources to help lawmakers deal with the state's problems.

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Harvest Desk
5:36 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Becky Doyle: Always A Farmer

As state secretary of agriculture, Becky Doyle and Gov. Jim Edgar, center, ride through the 1991 Illinois State Fair.
Credit State Journal-Register

This is the next installment of the My Farm Roots series from the WUIS Harvest Desk. 

In 1986, Becky Doyle was helping her husband run the family’s hog farming operation. She also had a sidelight business of marketing gift baskets made from Illinois products. But that wasn’t enough: Doyle decided she would make a run for the Illinois House.

“I was young, naive and thought I could run as a Republican in a district where it was 11:4 Democrat,” Doyle said.

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Pensions
6:11 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Business Group Refuses Comment on Bond Accusation

An influential group of business executives is declining to comment on the possibility it helped to lower Illinois' credit rating. But public employees’ unions are calling for an investigation.

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago — and one of its leaders, former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner — were early leaders of the charge to do something about the state's underfunded pensions.

Fahner's been one of the most vocal advocates of doing not just something, but something major, to bring down the state's pension costs.

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Political Patronage Allegations
12:26 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Ethics Panel Votes To Investigate Madigan's Metra Role

House Speaker Michael Madigan's request to be investigated by the Legislative Ethics Commission is being granted.

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Fermi National Accelerator Lab
11:49 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Giant Electromagnet Reaches Fermilab After 3,200 Mile Journey From New York

Muon g-2 ring inches down Boughton Road in Chicago's west suburbs Thursday night
Credit https://www.facebook.com/Fermilab

It's 50 feet wide, weighs more than 15 tons and took a month to get to Batavia, Illinois.

A gigantic electromagnet ended its tedious journey early Friday at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where it will be used to study blazing-fast particles. 

But getting the massive gadget from New York to the lab wasn't so fast.

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Arts & Community
11:46 am
Fri July 26, 2013

'Rock The Arts' Event Pairs Music And Art In Springfield

Chris Maxey & Jennifer Snopko

An event featuring art, music, and kids activities tomorrow (Saturday 7/26) will highlight the need for support of the arts from the community. The Prairie Art Alliance's Gallery II, located in Springfield's Old State Capitol Plaza, will have art on display and right outside musicians will perform. Rachel Otwell recently spoke with planners of the event, musician Chris Maxey and Prairie Art Alliance interim executive director Jennifer Snopko:

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District 186
11:29 am
Fri July 26, 2013

"Sharefest" Brings Make-Overs To Springfield Schools

Called "Sharefest" - this weekend over one-thousand volunteers will gather to tear up carpet, paint walls, and generally improve the appearance of Jane Addams and McClernand elementary schools. McClernand is in the Enos park neighborhood, Jane Addams is on Springfield's north-west side.

Both were chosen to make-over based on the income level of students' families. Last year nearly 90% of students at McClernand came from low-income homes. 67% of students at Jane Addams came from low-income families. 

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