News

Pages

Harvest Desk
6:01 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Meat Labeling Advocates Back New Farm Bill

The USDA's new COOL rule went into full effect in November. It requires labels to list where animals were born, raised and slaughtered.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Proponents of a new labeling rule that gives consumers more information about where their meat comes from say they are pleased with the new farm bill President Obama signed into law on Friday. That’s because the bill does not include any significant changes to current country-of-origin labeling rules, known as COOL.

Read more
Election 2014
6:33 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Hardiman Swipes Quinn For Not Debating

Tio Hardiman
Credit Courtesy of HardimanForIllinois.com

  Democratic candidate for governor Tio Hardiman is lashing out at incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn for refusing to debate in the run-up to the March primary. Quinn isn't saying much in response.

A spokeswoman for the Quinn campaign previously said there would be no debates between he and Hardiman.

On Wednesday, the governor was asked why voters shouldn't be able to hear from both men face to face.

"Well, they know where I stand," he said. "And I think he can make his campaign and I'll make mine, and voters will decide."

Hardiman, on the other hand, says:

Read more
Veteran home loans
6:23 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Officials Promote Veterans Home Loan Program

Gov. Pat Quinn promotes the "Welcome Home Heroes" home loan program in front of Jonas and Angie Harger's home. The Hargers are pictured at right.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  As veterans return to civilian life in Illinois, the state provides loans to those having trouble affording a home. Officials were in Springfield Wednesday, touting that program.

Navy veteran Jonas Harger welcomed Governor Pat Quinn into his Springfield home Wednesday. He says he couldn't have bought it without the help of the state's "Welcome Home Heroes" program.

Read more
Happy Birthday, Lincoln
6:13 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

New Lincoln Postage Unveiled In Springfield

The new commemorative Lincoln stamp is worth 21 cents—not enough to mail a letter, but enough to cover an extra ounce of mail.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

  On the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth Wednesday, the U.S. Postal Service issued a new stamp paying homage to the Sixteenth President.

A new, black-and-white, 21 cent stamp is available at post offices nationwide. It features a close-up photograph of the Lincoln Memorial statue, in Washington D.C. But the unveiling of the stamp wasn't there.

The ceremony was at the Old State Capitol building, in Springfield — where Lincoln gave his "House Divided" speech.

Amy Martin is director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Read more
Statehouse
1:06 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Illinois Lawmakers Want To Tweak Concealed Carry Law

Credit wikipedia

Illinois lawmakers are considering amending the state's new concealed carry legislation.
 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/1eqxFX7 ) a series of changes are already being introduced in Springfield, even though the first concealed carry permits haven't been issued.
 
Some of the proposals would make it easier to get a permit, while others would
expand the list of locations where people would be allowed to carry weapons.
Others would tighten restrictions.
 

Read more
Harvest Desk
12:41 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Harsh Winter Freezing Out Some Crop-Devouring Pests

Western corn rootworm beetles munch on a corn stalk
Credit Purdue University Extension

Despite what they may be thinking now, Midwest grain farmers and backyard gardeners alike may be thankful for the recent arctic temperatures before 2014 is out.

That’s because soil that’s frozen solid from weeks of below average temperatures isn’t exactly a cozy spot for hibernating insects that feed on crops as soon as the spring thaw comes.

Read more
Election 2014
6:03 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Rutherford: "I Will Support The Republican Nominee"

State Treasurer and Republican candidate for governor Dan Rutherford
Credit danrutherford.org

Treasurer Dan Rutherford appears willing to support his party no matter what, even as he maintains that another candidate for governor is trying to take him down.

During a debate in Chicago last month, Rutherford, along with the other Republican candidates for governor in attendance, made a pledge to support whomever ends up being the nominee.

Though venture capitalist Bruce Rauner wasn't there, his spokesman says he'll do the same.

Read more
Springfield City Council
10:43 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Aldermen Call For Movement On Hunter Lake

Ald. Frank Edwards

Several Springfield aldermen want to ramp up efforts for building Hunter Lake.  

The proposed second water source for the city has been on the drawing board for decades, but the state EPA and Army Corps of Engineers must sign off on the project.  

Read more
Education
7:10 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Illinois High School Grads AP Test Scores Above Average

Credit flickr/ecastro

A new report has found that Illinois high school graduates are slightly above the national average for Advanced Placement exam scores.  

According to a Advanced Placement Program report released Tuesday, 21 percent of 2013 graduates received an AP exam score high enough for college credit. The national average is 20 percent. Scores of three or more out of five are generally eligible for college credit.  

Read more
WUIS / SJ-R Business Report
4:38 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Business Report: Car Insurance Claims Up; PCCC Reality Show?

The Prairie Capital Convention Center
Credit planonspringfieldil.com

Auto insurance claims are up in what has been an especially cold and snowy winter across central Illinois.  State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis talks with WUIS' Sean Crawford on that topic as well as the possibility of a reality show featuring the Prairie Capital Convention Center and how supermarkets are helping the Central Illinois Foodbank with donations.

Read more
District 186
12:43 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Interview: Jennifer Gill, Incoming 186 Superintendent

Jennifer Gill
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

It took about a year - but Springfield has officially found a replacement for its previous district 186 superintendent. Jennifer Gill will take over the role on May 1st. She's been a teacher and administrator in the district. She'll be leaving her current role as the director of teaching and learning for the McLean County Unit 5 School District. This interview begins with Gill reflecting on how she became a third-generation educator:

Read more
Education
10:07 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Gillespie School Repairs Going Slow

There have been delays rebuilding a tornado-damaged high school gym.  

A tornado ripped off part of a wall of Gillespie High School gym last May. Superintendent Joe Tieman says there have been setbacks in the effort to rebuild the gym. He tells The (Alton) Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1ocv2AS ) those include issues with insurance claims, power lines and the harsh winter weather.  
 Tieman says officials thought the gym would be repaired by March, but now it's looking more like May.  

Read more
Harvest Desk
9:16 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Retailers Look To Sell Sustainability Of Food

A poster meant to teach the general public about sustainable ag hangs in Rob Myers’ office. “Everyone can mentally think of a farm scene: the cows out in the pasture, and the crops growing out in the field and a farmer in their pickup but when we talk about sustainability, it’s a step beyond that,” Myers said.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for foods they believe were sustainably produced, like free-range chicken, fair-trade coffee and pesticide-free wine. But what does “sustainable” actually mean?

Read more
History
8:19 am
Tue February 11, 2014

La Salle: An Explorer Who Charted A Legacy

Credit wikipedia

Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle died more than 300 years ago.  But his achievements can still be felt today in Illinois and the midwest.

"He had a vision. He had a big dream.  That was to connect Canada, Quebec and the Atlantic Ocean with the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River," historian Mark Walczynski said.  

Read more
Affordable Care Act
5:06 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Area Man Signs Up For Health Insurance Via Satire Website

Credit Get Covered Illinois

A new banner of ads will top The Onion website. This is the state's latest effort to get young people to sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

The Onion is known for its satire, but this is no joke.

As the Affordable Care Act's March 31 deadline approaches, Illinois officials are trying to get a demographic they call the "Young Invincibles" to sign up. 

Read more
Harvest Desk
2:59 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Harvest Blog: Crop Insurance To Cover Midwest Cucumbers, Cherries

Michigan, Indiana and Illinois are major producers of cucumbers that wind up in pickle jars around the country
Credit en.wikipedia.org

Passage of the Agriculture Act of 2014 brought with it good news for fans of pickles and cherry pies.  

Read more
Election 2014
2:42 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Lawsuit Filed; Rutherford Denies Wrongdoing

Illinois Treasurer and candidate for Governor Dan Rutherford
Credit danrutherford.org

A former employee in Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford's office has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and that the Republican gubernatorial candidate made him do political work on state time.  
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Chicago's federal court on behalf of Ed Michalowski. He was a lawyer and director in Rutherford's office.  

The complaint alleges Rutherford made inappropriate sexual advances toward Michalowski, among other things.  
Rutherford has said there's ``absolutely no truth'' to the former employee's claims.  

Read more
Election 2014
12:57 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Durbin Disappointed With GOP Governor Candidates

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) speaks to reporters at his home on Sunday.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is criticizing the Republican field of candidates governor for their stances on low-income workers and the unemployed.

It's an ongoing battle the Democratic senator is fighting in Congress, mirrored in the race for the governor's mansion: raising the minimum wage.

The four Republican candidates for governor oppose raising the minimum wage in Illinois, which is currently $8.25 an hour.

One reason they've given is that mostly high school and college students work minimum wage jobs. Senator Durbin says that isn't so.

Read more
District 186
11:05 am
Mon February 10, 2014

District 186 Considers Tax Referendum Possibilities

Springfield's district 186 is struggling to fill a 5 million dollar gap in the budget for the coming school year. A group of parents and community members say they have an answer to supplementing the district's budget: raise property taxes. But passing a referendum will prove challenging. And if it's going to happen, some say efforts to get the word out need to ramp up now. 

Read more
Lincoln
11:04 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Lincoln Birthday Events At Old State Capitol

The U.S. Postal Service has a present for Abraham Lincoln fans this week.   On his birthday Wednesday, a new stamp will be unveiled at the Old State Capitol depicting Lincoln.  

It's part of events that will mark the 205th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.  

Read more
Harvest Desk
5:00 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Propane Price Spike Hitting Hog, Poultry Farms

Week-old piglets are kept under electric heat lamps while feeding
Peter Gray/WUIS

Residents across the Midwest are struggling with tight propane supplies, especially in this bitterly cold, snowy winter. Homes in rural counties are not the only places lacking adequate heating fuel. Farms that put bacon and eggs on your breakfast plate are also feeling the supply pinch.

Hog farmer Phil Borgic of Nokomis, Ill., burns liquid propane – LP - from September through May to support his piglets. His farrowing barn goes through about two semi truckloads of LP each year.

Read more
Arts
3:01 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Interview: Annie Leibovitz In Springfield

Annie Leibovitz looks at photos from her exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. At left are Lincoln's hat and gloves he had with him the night of his assassination.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

The photographer Annie Leibovitz is best known for shooting celebrities. Her elaborately staged work is a staple of Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines. But a few years ago, she set out on a more personal project — a pilgrimage to capture places and objects connected to people who've inspired her, including Abraham Lincoln.

Read more
9:33 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

WUIS Is An Outlet For Community Engagement

Lead in text: 
It's always nice when the boss gives you a shout out...
Since its founding 40-plus years ago as Sangamon State University, the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois has sunk its roots deep into the Springfield area.The university and its growing alumni community contributes in countless ways to the economic, social and cultural advancement of the region at the same time that UIS students benefit from the university's location in Springfield and central Illinois.This intentional connection between campus and community is what the Carnegie
Harvest Desk
2:21 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Why Cutting The Ethanol Mandate May Not Ruin The Rural Economy

Just outside of Central City, Neb., is the Green Plains Energy ethanol plant, a facility that can produce 100 million gallons of ethanol each year.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The EPA wants to roll back the amount of ethanol mixed into the fuel supply for 2014, worrying farmers across the Corn Belt. Ethanol supporters warn that if the EPA follows through, the rural economy will take the fall. But many economists predict a soft landing.

Read more
Statehouse
2:14 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Listen To State Week - February 7, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

Among the topics this week: State Treasurer Dan Rutherford denies allegations of sexual harassment and Governor Pat Quinn moves the annual Budget Address to late March.

Read more
Harvest Desk
10:37 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Obama Signs Farm Bill, Announces Rural Export Initiative

President Obama signs the 2014 Farm Bill
whitehouse.gov

One of the key farm bill negotiators says the nation has entered “a new era of farm and food policy.” 

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma) said the legislation President Obama signed into law Friday “values saving money, reforming or repealing government programs and yet still providing an effective safety net for the production of our national food supply and for those Americans who are struggling.”  Read Lucas' full statement here

Read more
Statehouse
6:46 am
Fri February 7, 2014

How Large Is Illinois' Pension Debt? Depends On Who You Ask

Credit MT_Image/Flickr

The controversial new law that overhauls pensions for Illinois public workers is now facing legal challenges.

But even before it was passed, experts had been fighting over exactly how big the state’s pension crisis really is. The answer to that math problem could have a big impact on your wallet.

When pundits and politicians and reporters talk about Illinois’ monster pension problem...there’s this number that keeps coming up.

Read more
Regional
8:57 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

So. Ill. Town Has No Squad Cars Left

Credit VillageofIna.com

A small southern Illinois community is without any police cars after separate accidents heavily damaged the department's only two squad cars.  

The police chief in the village of Ina says the first car was damaged last week when it was hit by an ambulance. The second car was wrecked on Tuesday when it was hit by a semi-truck on a snowy highway.  
No one was injured in either collision.  

Read more
School safety
4:48 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

School Security Task Force Never Formed, Could Get Second Chance

Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  When tragedy strikes, politicians often line up to say they'll do something to make sure it doesn't happen again. But the follow-up can lag early promises. That's what happened after the 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Read more
Election 2014
2:53 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Brady Says His Debate Remark Was "Insensitive"

Sen. Bill Brady
Credit ilga.gov

Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bill Brady says he was ``insensitive'' when he said out-of-work people don't want jobs because they enjoy collecting unemployment benefits.

The state senator from Bloomington told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register Wednesday he ``didn't take into consideration there are a number of people out there looking for jobs who don't want to be on unemployment.''  

Read more

Pages