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Statehouse
3:40 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

First Same Sex Marriage Has Occurred In Illinois

Credit Cook County Clerk's Office

Two Chicago women have become the first couple to take their vows under the new same-sex marriage law in Illinois.  
Patricia Ewert and Vernita Gray married in a private ceremony Wednesday, just days after a judge agreed to expedite their wedding because of Gray's terminal illness.  

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Local Government
2:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

City Of Springfield Could Settle Police File Shredding Lawsuit

Credit wikimedia commons

The City of Springfield could be close to settling a lawsuit over destruction of police records.  Springfield Mayor Mike Houston has filed an ordinance that would settle the case for $102,964.10.

Aldermen could vote on it Tuesday night.  The proposal says Calvin Christian, who filed the suit, would receive about $30,000 while his attorneys would get much of the remainder.  Christian took the city to court after documents he had sought under the Freedom of Information Act were destroyed.  The city would admit no wrongdoing under the deal.

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Statehouse
1:03 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Pension Deal Reached; Vote Likely Next Week

Credit Wikimedia Commons

House Speaker Michael Madigan says the vote on a pension deal will be ``very difficult'' when lawmakers gather for a special session next week.  
Madigan spoke to reporters Wednesday after legislative leaders said they agreed on a proposal that will help solve Illinois' $100 billion pension crisis.  

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Regional
11:21 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Mississippi River Reopens To Barge Traffic After Townboat Sank

Credit WVIK

A portion of the Mississippi River between eastern Iowa and northern Illinois has reopened to barge traffic, as officials continue to investigate the sinking of a towboat still leaking diesel fuel and oil.
 
Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Colin Fogarty says officials determined Tuesday night that other boats can safely navigate the waterway. A queue has cleared, and boats are traveling through at a slower pace.
 

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Election 2014
5:15 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Poll: It's Anyone's Governor's Race

Seven candidates filed for governor earlier this week: four Republicans (Treasurer Dan Rutherford, whose lieutenant governor pick, Steve Kim, is pictured on the far left; Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-HInsdale, who is on the top right; Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, on the bottom right; and Bruce Rauner) and two Democrats, Gov. Pat Quinn and Tio Hardiman, of Chicago.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Gov. Pat Quinn has been surpassed as the nation's least-liked governor, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling. Pennsylvania's Pennsylvania's Republican Gov., Tom Corbett, can now claim that title. But the new poll shows Quinn could still have a hard time holding on to his seat.

It was about this time last year, that numbers from Public Policy Polling showed Democrat Pat Quinn as the most unpopular governor in the country.

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Transportation
3:45 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Sangamon County In Top Ten For Deer-Vehicle Accidents

It's likely you or someone you know have struck a deer.   While it seems as though they are always wandering into the road, the actual number of deer-vehicle accidents was down last year.  

State Farm Insurance has already predicted another decline based on claims filed.   The company attributes the expected decline in accidents to a smaller deer population and increased driver awareness.  It says Illinois drivers have less chance of hitting a deer than the national average.  

In Sangamon County last year, there were 335 accidents, 75 fewer than the year before.  

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Harvest Desk
9:09 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Buffett: "Everybody Can Do Something" To Fight Hunger

Howard G. Buffett
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

Farmer and philanthropist Howard G. Buffett had several messages for his hometown crowd this week. Among them?  "Everybody who is physically able" can do something to fight hunger.

Buffett spoke Tuesday before signing copies of his latest book, 40 Chances, at a fundraising event for Decatur area charities.  

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Election 2014
6:15 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Rauner Gives Another $500,000 To Election Bid

Credit brucerauner.com

A Republican candidate for Illinois governor has contributed another $500,000 to his campaign.  
Winnetka venture capitalist Bruce Rauner has now pumped $1.25 million of his own money into the four-way GOP primary for the right to take on Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014.

Rauner filed petition signatures for a ballot position yesterday and also released three years of tax returns. They show he reported more than $53 million in income last year.  
He also disclosed ownership stakes in three professional sports franchises, including the Chicago Bulls.  

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Statehouse
3:48 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Quinn: Next Week Could End Pension Gridlock

Gov. Pat Quinn says next week is another opportunity to tackle the state's $100 billion pension crisis.  
Legislative leaders have been negotiating on a plan, which could come up next week if there's a special session in Springfield. House Speaker Michael Madigan has told representatives to be ready for a one-day session next Tuesday. The Senate has tentatively set some days aside next week.  

However, details about the plan haven't been released publicly and legislative leaders say they're still hammering out issues.  

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Regional
3:38 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Cong. Findley Items Donated To Illinois College

Former area congressman Paul Findley has donated his congressional papers and other artifacts from his career to his alma mater, Illinois College in Jacksonville.  

The official transfer took place in the Paul Findley Congressional Office Museum on the campus.  

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12:33 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

The Great State of Sangamon?

Lead in text: 
St. Louis, Peoria, Cedar Rapids, and Springfield in the new state of Sangamon? Look at this map developed in 2012 that has now been printed. What do you think of revamping the U.S. map by population?
Neil Freeman, 2012 map format and dimensions vary The electoral college is a time-honored, logical system for picking the chief executive of the United States. However, the American body politic has also grown accustomed to paying close attention to the popular vote.
Business
11:55 am
Tue November 26, 2013

WUIS / SJ-R Business Report: Nov. 26, 2013

Tim Landis
Credit SJ-R

WUIS' Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Tim Landis about outlet malls planned for Springfield.  Are there enough shoppers to support all the stores?

We also discuss an expansion for Springfield Clinic and the shutdown of the final unionized mine in the state of Illinois.


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Same Sex
6:53 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Judge Orders Expedited Marriage License for Same Sex Couple

Credit Cook County Clerk's Office

The U.S. District Court in Chicago has ordered Cook County's clerk to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, one of whom is terminally ill.  

County Clerk David Orr said he will comply with the court's order, handed down Monday by Judge Thomas Durkin.  

A lawsuit was filed Friday by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois seeking immediate action for Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert. Gray has bone and brain cancer. Illinois' gay marriage law goes into effect June 1.  

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District 186
6:00 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Expelled Students Get A Second Chance

Elbert Betts, Adrianna Sivels, and Andre Williams
Rachel Otwell

When high school students in district 186 are expelled they're left with few options to obtain a diploma or GED. Over a decade ago, the Springfield NAACP started an initiative to address the number of black students being expelled. Since the year 2000, expelled high schoolers have been provided an alternative through those efforts - thanks in large part to retired teachers.

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Election 2014
4:40 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Rauner Made $53 Million In 2012

Bruce Rauner's 2012 tax returns show he made more than $53 million in 2012, most of it from interest and capital gains.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

One of the Republicans running for governor had a very good year in 2012. Bruce Rauner released his tax returns Monday, and says he made more than $53 million.

When people say, don't work for your money, make money work for you, this is what they're talking about.

Rauner's 2012 tax returns show he and his wife made almost all of their money on interest, capital gains, and real estate.

The line on his tax form for W-2s, where most people report "wages, salaries, (and) tips," shows zero dollars.

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Sports
3:02 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

U Of I Football Staffer Faces Gun Charges

Matt Sinclair played for the Illini from 2001-2004.
Credit fightingillini.com

Authorities say University of Illinois football staff member and former player Matt Sinclair has been charged after allegedly pointing an unloaded handgun at a vehicle carrying other staff members.
 
Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz says Sinclair was arraigned Monday on two felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon. He was arrested Saturday after Illinois' game at Purdue.
 
Rietz says someone called police to report a driver pointing a gun out of a truck on Interstate 74 in eastern Illinois. Police say Sinclair said he pointed the gun as a joke.
 

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Election 2014
2:13 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Six Candidates File To Run For Governor

Some candidates sent surrogates to file their petitions; others went themselves, including lieutenant governor candidate Steve Kim ( who is GOP Tres. Dan Rutherford's running mate) and Republican gubernatorial candidates Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  Candidates looking to run in the March primary began filing their paperwork today (11/25) with the State Board of Elections. Anyone who was in line by 8 a.m. gets a chance at the top spot on the ballot. Six men who want to be Illinois' next governor made that deadline.

Campaigns waited in a long line, despite a forecast of snow, so that they could get their petitions in. Some candidates send staffers as surrogates, including Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn and one of his four Republican challengers, Bruce Rauner.

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Regional
11:43 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Chef Charlie Trotter Died From A Stroke

Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina says in a statement Monday that tests showed the 54-year-old Trotter died from a stroked related to high blood pressure.  

Cina says neither drugs nor alcohol contributed to Trotter's death on Nov. 5 in Chicago, adding there was ``no scientific evidence'' that Trotter's recently travels contributed to his death.  

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Musicians
10:40 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Sherman Man Combines Christianity & Hip Hop

Zach Ayappa  is a 23 year old with a lot of passion for two things in particular: hip hop and God. The rapper goes by 'Momma's Boy' - it's a name that lends to starting conversation about his adoption, a topic he raps about along with Christianity. Ayappa hails from Sherman and brings his performances to churches around central Illinois. We caught up with him for an interview and performance at  a baptist church on Springfield's east side: 

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Harvest Desk
9:33 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Why The 'Turkey Shortage' Won't Affect Your Thanksgiving Meal

No need to panic, there's still plenty of turkey to be had. The "shortage" was only from one company, Butterball, and affected large fresh birds.
Credit tuchodi via Flickr/Creative Commons

Watched the news lately? Then you might’ve heard about impending doom for Thanksgiving dinners across the country.

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Harvest Desk
7:00 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Families In Rural America Brace For Food Stamps Cuts

The town of Sandoval was born along U.S. Route 51, which runs north-south from Kentucky to the state of Wisconsin. Once a booming corridor, this area in southern Illinois now sees extreme poverty.
Peter Gray/WUIS

As farm bill negotiations continue in Washington, D.C., it’s fairly certain that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will be cut.  One proposal would trim the food stamp program by $4 billion over the next decade; the other would cut roughly ten times that much. 

That’s after the Obama Administration’s recession-era boost to SNAP expired November 1st, leaving the average family with about $30 less to spend each month.

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Education
4:15 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

State Changes Map Of Regional Offices Of Education

Jeff Vose
Credit roe51.org

The Illinois State Board of Education has redrawn the map of regional education offices to meet a deadline set by the Legislature.  

The board voted Friday after hearing from regional superintendents who objected to the way the map would consolidate their offices.  

A new state law required the board to cut the number of regions from 44 to 35. New regional superintendents will be elected next year to lead the new offices.  
Sangamon County regional superintendent Jeff Vose was among the school leaders who spoke Friday. 

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IDNR
3:10 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Conservation Officer Shoots Driver At Traffic Stop

Credit flickr/inventorchris

UPDATE: Authorities say a 30-year-old Ohio man was shot and killed after he allegedly pinned an Illinois State Police trooper with his vehicle during a traffic stop.  

He was identified as Shane David Cataline of Toledo, Ohio. Illinois State Police said an autopsy was conducted Saturday. The results were not immediately available.  

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State Week
2:10 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Listen To State Week - November 22, 2013

This week, same-sex marriage legislation signed into law, the prospects for resolving the state pension crisis in a December special session, and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's success in raising campaign funds.

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Springfield Arts Association
10:18 am
Fri November 22, 2013

First Night Organizers Plan 5K

First Night Springfield,  Springfield's most-attended public event to celebrate New Year's Eve, will host a 5K race this year. The run and walk will take place around the Scheels store off of MacArthur Boulevard. It's a new addition to the roster of activities that include various arts performances. The race will take place on December 29th.

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Harvest Desk
9:27 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Farm Bill Talks Fall Through

While progress was reportedly made, it doesn't seem there will be a farm bill compromise on Capitol Hill any time soon.
Credit flickr/andrewmalone

Though farm bill talks heated up this week in Washington, key legislators emerged from negotiations Thursday disappointed and predicted there would be no progress until after Congress returns in December from its recess.

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Arts
6:16 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Styx And REO To Play Illinois Tornado Benefit

REO Speedwagon 2013
Credit REO

Two Illinois rock groups will return to their stomping grounds to benefit those who had losses in last week's tornadoes.

Rock groups Styx and REO Speedwagon will headline a benefit concert to raise money for victims of last weekend's Illinois tornadoes.  

The bands, which both have strong Illinois ties, will headline the event called ``Rock to the Rescue Extends a Hand to Those in Need.'' The concert will be held at Bloomington's U.S. Cellular Coliseum on Dec. 4  

Tickets go on sale Saturday and cost between $28 and $58.  

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Statehouse
5:27 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Candidate Rakes In Second $250k Contribution ... This Week

Republican candidate Bruce Rauner took his turn at the podium during the party's State Fair rally this summer.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

  Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner continues to rake in major contributions since he lifted Illinois' new campaign finance cap last week. While Rauner's opponents are freed from caps as well, he's the been the only one to get such major, and immediate, benefit.

State filings from yesterday (11/21) afternoon show Illinois' richest man, Ken Griffin, pitching in $250,000 to Rauner's campaign.

It's the second time this week Rauner received a donation worth a quarter of a million dollars.

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Regional
6:15 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Tornado Damage Now At Least 1,500 Homes

Credit wcbu

State officials now say at least 1,500 homes were
destroyed or badly damaged in Illinois as federal storm-damage assessors began
work in the state.
 
Patti Thompson is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
She said Thursday that that figure will almost certainly rise after Sunday's
tornadoes.
 
Officials also said Thursday that 22 tornadoes touched down around the state.
Six people were killed.
 
Thompson says Federal Emergency Management Agency workers started assessing

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Special Programming
2:42 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

John F Kennedy 'Real-Time' Special

Extended Here & Now
Friday, November 22, 11am - 3pm

On Friday, November 22, 2013, in addition to the day's news, Here & Now will also track the events in Dallas on November 22, 1963 in close to real time. The series of special reports about that fateful day in Dallas will unfold over the course of Friday's Here & Now from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, mirroring the news as it was reported that day.

Hourly Details

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