News

Income tax space on a Monopoly game board
StockMonkeys.com

Commentary — Let’s be blunt: Illinois needs higher taxes.

That statement might come as a shock to citizens under the illusion that all would be well, if state leaders would just cut all the wasteful spending out of the state budget. 

Luis Arroyo
Brian Mackey/WUIS

For the first time in three weeks, state representatives will convene in Springfield Thursday.

Not much has changed in those three weeks. There's still no agreement between Democratic legislators and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on a state budget.

But representatives are back anyway, and they do have some budget measures on the table.

For one, they're set to discuss Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to exempt some middle-class homeowners from paying higher property taxes.

labor event
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Labor unions are going on the road to make their case against Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s pro-business agenda. The latest in a series of events took place Wednesday morning in Springfield.

As the third month Illinois has gone without a state budget nears its end, some programs have recently gotten funding. Many other are still waiting and starting to feel the pinch. 

Rachel Otwell // WUIS

Time for a very special edition of The Scene. Jeff Williams started the band N.I.L.8 30 years ago while a high-schooler at Lanphier here in Springfield.  He joins us and talks about his art show coming up this weekend at The Pharmacy, plus his personal take on the local punk scene and how it's changed over the past three decades.

Cart filled with belongings
Flickr

Advocates and others gathered at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago today to draw attention to the budget impasse’s impact on services for homeless youth.

UIS Senior Photographer Shannon O’Brien

Jamie Anderson grew up in the foster care system. She relies on her 4-thousand-dollar MAP grant to pay tuition at the University of Illinois Springfield. She says she works two jobs totaling 50 hours a week to cover living expenses.

State Museum Workers Get Reprieve, At Least For Now

Sep 22, 2015
WUIS

Unionized workers in several state agencies were set to lose their jobs in a week.  But they'll keep them, at least for awhile longer.

Landmarks IL

Illinois has a wide variety of historic places. From Chicago to the prairie land, architects have long been inspired by an array of landscapes and urban places. Every year, Landmarks Illinois recognizes some of the rehabilitation projects that have successfully restored fascinating and important sites in our state.We were joined by the President of Landmarks Illinois, Bonnie McDonald, to talk about some of them: 

Jason Parrott

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wants a federal review of the state's response to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that killed 12 residents of a western Illinois veterans home. 

Law firms pushing farmers to sue Syngenta on this week's WUIS/SJR Business Report:

teachlikeachampion.com

A teacher friend of mine shared THIS ARTICLE about the book "Teach Like a Champion 2.0" with no comment, but the style of teaching described in it is something I'm hearing about more and more, as the wave of the future, especially in charter schools.

If you have time, please read the blog post and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

http://cropsci.illinois.edu

The University of Illinois plans to reduce off-campus crop research and may shut down several agricultural centers as part of a cost-cutting move tied to flagging state support.
 
The budget cuts will affect the Brownstown Agronomy Research Center near Vandalia; the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center in southern Illinois; the St. Charles Horticulture Research Center west of Chicago; and the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center near DeKalb.
 

igpa.gov

A sitting state legislator has died. Seventy-one-year old Rep. Esther Golar represented the southwest side of Chicago since 2006.

U.S Department of Energy

Illinois appears to have a lot of potential for growth in wind energy.     One area that some say is ripe for development is wind farms off the shores of Lake Michigan.   However one expert is not so bullish on the idea.

EliChristman/flickr

Data from the Illinois Secretary of State's office show that more than 5,000 Illinoisans who were convicted of drunken driving four times and had their licenses revoked could legally drive again under a new state law.
 
 Gov. Bruce Rauner last month signed the measure, which would provide restricted permits if drivers prove they are drug and alcohol free for at least three
years.
 
     More than half of the 5,085 eligible drivers live in the Chicago area.
 
 The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1FaDWuu ) the Illinois Secretary

Illinois Issues

A state board that's charged with protecting rare flora and fauna has fallen victim to the state's budget woes. Gov. Bruce Rauner 's administration says funding for staff has been eliminated.

A boarded up apartment building
Robert Loerzel / Illinois Issues

The Illinois poverty rate hovers above pre-recession levels at 14.4 percent, according to Census numbers released Thursday. In all, 1.8 million Illinoisans live in poverty.

Meanwhile, income in Illinois is stagnant even though job growth is up, according to numbers crunched by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance.

This is likely a consequence of the state’s budget woes, says Kimberly Drew, an economic security specialist at the alliance.

Drew says cuts in social programs because of the budget impasse are likely to worsen the effects of poverty in the state.

Illinois' governor and legislative leaders haven't talked to each other in months, and the state continues to spend money without a budget.  Just how long can this continue?  Lee Enterprises' Springfield Bureau Chief Kurt Erickson joins the panel.

PARCC Parsed

Sep 18, 2015
Illinois State Board of Education

News director Sean Crawford quizzes me about what the just-released preliminary PARCC scores do -- and do not -- say about Illinois students.

Rachel Otwell // WUIS

Kevin Bradford is one of the founders of Black Sheep, the all-ages, punk music venue on the corner of South Grand Ave. and 11th Street in Springfield.  It’s at the center of a plethora of indie and DIY activities in Springfield’s once-blighted Southtown neighborhood. 

Three years ago, the first video gaming machines popped up in Illinois bars, restaurants, and truck stops. 

Blue Ice

Sep 18, 2015
Blue Ice
RL Boston

Dye sublimation process printed directly on high quality aluminum with white gloss base. 

Blue ice off sets the white steam, ice and snow on a bitter winter day at CWLP on Lake Springfield. 

Photography / Metal Print

10 x 15

Market Value: $150

Currently on Show

Contact the artist for more information.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

Even though family schedules are busier than ever, parents and children still manage to spend time together.  The challenge lies in making those minutes productive and purposeful

Case in point:  time spent in the family roadster. First up is morning drive time.  It’s a great chance to look forward to the day, reminding kids of friends they’ll see and activities they’ll enjoy.  We can also use this time to offer encouragement for challenges, like a dreaded exam or a tough social situation.

PostSecret

Have you ever had a secret haunt you? Something you would never tell a soul? Or maybe just a crush you don't want anyone to know about - or a weird quirk you'd rather keep to yourself. Frank Warren wants to know. He came of age in Springfield and he now travels the world with his collection of secrets, perhaps the largest in the world.

Crayons and children's books
Donnie Nunnley

Limits on who is eligible for this Welfare-to-Work program sparked intense debate in Springfield.  But the fight isn’t over. 

Wikimedia Commons

Families with babies, from birth until they're three years old, are eligible for state assistance to help their children learn and grow. It's called early intervention. But without a budget, Illinois stopped paying the therapists who provide these services. Now, the comptroller and the governor's administration says they've come up with a way to pay again, even though Illinois still has no budget in place.

When Tamiko Schaefer's baby Daniel was about six months old, she started noticing something.

Tom Davidson / Creative Commons via flickr.com/88100135@N02

The Donald's stance on immigration has kept him atop the polls, but it presents dangers for Republicans in a state with a growing Latino electorate.

Illinois State Board of Education

Today, Illinois became the first state to release results of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers -- or PARCC -- assessment. It's the new standardized test linked to the Common Core. 

Judge Orders State To Pay For Seniors' Home Care

Sep 16, 2015

A federal judge has ordered the State of Illinois to fund Medicaid services for seniors living at home rather than at a nursing facility during the budget impasse.

Cindy Cunningham is with two providers who asked the court to force payments.

She says Wednesday's order will help caretakers who have taken out personal loans to keep their companies afloat.

"We’ve been without payments since July. Our houses are on the line. Our businesses are on the line," she said.

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