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Statehouse
8:32 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Quinn: Wrong Time For Tax Breaks

Gov. Pat Quinn says he will veto any legislation with special tax breaks to get Archer Daniels Midland Company to keep its global headquarters in Illinois until lawmakers address the state's pension crisis.  
In an interview with The Associated Press, Quinn says it's ``the wrong time'' to talk about tax incentives for any company.  
The Chicago Democrat says the best thing the Legislature can do to help ADM or other businesses is address Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension shortfall. He wants lawmakers to act when they meet later this month.  

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Drilling Rules In Draft Stage
5:38 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

DNR Opens Fracking Registration

A coalition lobbying for a fracking moratorium protested Illinois' pending legislation during the 2013 General Assembly session.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Illinois is a ways off from allowing oil and gas drillers to begin "fracking" but companies that are interested can begin the paperwork.

Environmentalists lost their fight to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Lawmakers instead decided to open Illinois to a practice that's been an economic boon in other states.

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Nation/World
5:20 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Shutdown Worries State Workers, Retirees

Credit npr.org

The federal government's partial shutdown is worrying some Illinois state workers and retirees.  
That's because recipients of various state health insurance programs need to get documents from the IRS by a late October deadline in order to prove that their dependents should still be eligible to receive coverage.  
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/1btoZUS ) the ongoing government shutdown means that the IRS isn't providing the federal transcripts.  

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Statehouse
5:12 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Decatur Job Loss Part Of Negotiations On ADM Incentives

Senate President John Cullerton says any tax-incentive package to get Archer Daniels Midland Company to keep its headquarters in Illinois should include something to make up for the loss of jobs in Decatur.
 
ADM announced last week it was moving its global headquarters _ and 100 jobs _
out of Decatur. The company is asking the state for $20 million in tax breaks to
keep its headquarters in Illinois. Chicago officials have said the city is in
the running.
 
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/156Z8gp )

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District 186
3:55 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Supt. Search, Property Tax Referendum Among Issues In Dist. 186

 A property tax referendum may be posed to Springfield voters next year, if a group of parents gets its way. The group says it'll campaign on the issue from a grass roots angle, even though board members aren't convinced the timing is right to raise taxes. School board vice president, Adam Lopez, is one who says the board needs to work on other issues first. 

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District 186
11:23 am
Thu October 3, 2013

'The Matthew Project' Aims To Help Homeless Students

Picture from matthew-project.com

The project, founded by Ann Libri, started simple by collected clothing and school supplies for students growing up in unstable environments. This year, the project is kicking off a pilot program with ten students that will teach life skills and provide meals, tutoring, school supplies, and clothing. Libri says she hopes the project will continue to grow and assist the hundreds of homeless children in Springfield's district 186.

We recently interviewed Libri, and the Springfield city treasurer, Jim Langfedler, who is also an advisor to the project: 

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Harvest Desk
11:18 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Government Shutdown Slows USDA

The USDA headquarters in Washington D.C.
Credit brittreints/flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture was forced to send home tens of thousands of employees because of Tuesday’s government shutdown.

As a result, the agriculture department and its nearly two dozen agencies are operating at limited capacity – or not at all.

But even though important agencies such as the Farm Service Agency and the Risk Management Agency will be shut down almost entirely, agriculture officials said that Midwest farmers and producers won’t be affected that much.

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Pensions
9:37 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Cullerton Backs Possible Pension Compromise

Sen. John Cullerton
Credit ilga.gov

The president of the Illinois Senate says he's backing a compromise pension reform plan that could save $138 billion by 2043.  
Chicago Democrat John Cullerton tells The (Springfield) State Journal-Register (http://bit.ly/1btBYG2 ) that he's working to build support for the still-unfinished proposal being developed by a pension reform committee. Cullerton hopes lawmakers can begin to act on the plan during the upcoming Oct. 22 veto session.  

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Nation/World
8:37 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Federal Shutdown Leads To Worries In Illinois

Credit wikipedia

The federal government's partial shutdown is worrying some Illinois state workers and retirees.
 
That's because recipients of various state health insurance programs need to
get documents from the IRS by a late October deadline in order to prove that
their dependents should still be eligible to receive coverage.
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports
(http://bit.ly/1btoZUS ) the ongoing government shutdown means that the IRS
isn't providing the federal transcripts.
 

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Fall Drive 2013
12:00 am
Thu October 3, 2013

T H A N K S ! Calendar Club Strengthens Service, Shortens Drive

Amanda Vinicky & Rich Bradley remind you to join the Calendar Club.
Randy Eccles WUIS

CLICK HERE TO GIVE!

FIVE FEWER DAYS OF ON-AIR FUNDRAISING

The 2013 WUIS fall drive ran on-air for only five days; October 3-7 thanks to the ongoing support of the Calendar Club members.

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Statehouse
6:07 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

State Failed To Keep Tabs On Decatur Murder Suspect

Credit flickr/katerha

Lawmakers say an early prison release law doesn't need changing despite a mistake in which a parolee now charged with murder was not properly monitored.
 
Joshua A. Jones was set free in May five months early. He was charged with a Decatur murder three months later.
Documents and Associated Press interviews show Jones was supposed to be electronically monitored but was not. State prison officials say an employee
faces discipline.

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Statehouse
5:26 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Health Alliance Not Selected For State Retiree Coverage

The state of Illinois has removed Health Alliance from its list of retiree health contracts, as of January 2014. 

Other carriers include Medicare Advantage plans with Aetna Life, Humana Health, Humana Benefit or United Healthcare.  The change could, in some cases, force patients to change doctors.  

Health Alliance Spokeswoman Jane Hayes says the insurer submitted a competitive bid, and can’t explain why it wasn’t included.

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Statehouse
5:16 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Quinn Asking Supreme Court To Back Him In Lawmaker Pay Dispute

Gov. Pat Quinn has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to hear his appeal of a ruling that his veto of money for lawmaker salaries was unconstitutional.  
Attorneys for Quinn filed a motion with the court Wednesday. They say the case deserves an ``expeditious and conclusive'' ruling by the state's highest court.  
Quinn vetoed money for paychecks in July because he was angry legislators hadn't addressed Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.  
House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton sued, saying his action was unconstitutional.  

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Pensions And Pay
4:08 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Comptroller: All Legislative Paychecks Processed

  After going without pay for three months, Illinois legislators' paychecks are in the bank.

Serving as a state senator or representative is technically a part-time job -- and for some, it is. For others, it is a full-time gig and sole source of income.

Which made it tough when Gov. Pat Quinn canceled General Assembly members' pay over the summer because they failed to pass legislation to cut pension costs.

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UIS Visual Arts Gallery
7:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Artist Explores Vachel Lindsay's 'Golden Springfield' With Installation

Vachel Lindsay is one of Springfield's most well known historical figures, considered the father of "singing poetry" - he was known as the Prairie Troubadour and was one of the most celebrated poets of his time. But a lesser known aspect of the writer is the utopian vision he had for the future - influenced by his own political brand of socialism. These ideas became a novel called 'The Golden Book of Springfield.' 

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Fire House News
6:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Jacksonville Dog Wins National Contest

Smokey
Credit The Today Show

A Jacksonville native will have a cameo performance on one of the hottest television shows in the country: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'. She's 4 years old, has dark hair, and her name is Smokey. Smokey the black lab is a resident of the Jacksonville fire house, where she helps out by assisting fire-safety classes for children. She won a national contest that had people vote for the country's best fire-house dog. Todd Warrick who works for the fire department and trains Smokey recently told us all about it:  

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ADM Leaving Decatur
5:32 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Senator: Decatur Unemployment Must Be Considered In ADM Tax Breaks

Credit ADM

As Archer Daniels Midland plans to move its headquarters out of Decatur, state lawmakers are considering whether to award tax breaks to keep the agribusiness giant in Illinois.

At a legislative hearing in Chicago, representatives of ADM told lawmakers they wanted incentives worth $1.2 million a year for up to 20 years. In return, the company would keep its headquarters in Illinois, likely in Chicago.

One lawmakers says it's "essentially blackmailing the state."

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Arts
2:23 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Sandburg Statue In Galesburg To Be Unveiled Soon

Carl Sandburg
Credit nps.gov

Work is almost done on a massive, nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Carl Sandburg.  
The (Galesburg) Register-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1hhDqZx ) the statue of the Pulitzer-winning author and Galesburg native will be set up in the western Illinois community's public square.  
The piece depicts Sandburg with a guitar on his back and his books in one hand, along with his pet goat.  
The statue was commissioned by the Galesburg Public Arts Commission and is being designed by artist Lonnie Stewart.  

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Obamacare Politics
6:59 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Early Campaign Fodder

Congressman Rodney Davis, a Republican from Taylorville, issued a statement says is "ready and willing to work with my colleagues" until the government reaches a funding agreement.

  A day into the federal government shutdown, it's already turning into campaign fodder for next year's election.

Congressman Rodney Davis is facing competition from both sides as he aims to hold onto his central Illinois seat. The Taylorville Republican is looking at a primary challenge from former Miss America Erika Harold; three candidates are trying for the Democratic nomination: University of Illinois physicist George Gollin, U of I social policy analyst David Green and former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.

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Health Desk
6:13 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Busy First Day For Illinois Health Exchange

Credit GetCoveredIllinois

More than 69,000 people visited Illinois' new health insurance marketplace by late Tuesday, the first opportunity to comparison shop for
coverage through a system that's a key piece of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. But people hoping to enroll weren't getting much further, as the federally run website experienced glitches and delays.
 
 At a health center on Chicago's west side, workers said their goal for the day
was to get just one person enrolled, but none of the people who came in were

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Health Desk
3:55 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Quinn Says Health Marketplace Launch "Historic"

Gov. Pat Quinn

Gov. Pat Quinn says the launch of the health insurance marketplace marks a ``historic'' day that will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans.  
Quinn spoke at a press conference in Chicago on Tuesday, the same day the marketplace opened in Illinois and other states.  
But the federal website where people enroll was experiencing some glitches. Consumers couldn't get beyond initial screens, and some reported waits of 20 minutes on a hotline set up to assist them.  
Quinn says glitches are part of any new endeavor.  

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Statehouse
1:43 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Durkin Doubtful Pension Changes Will Happen This Fall

Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs)
Credit ilga.gov

The newest leader in state government says he doubts pension reform will become reality during the upcoming fall veto session. Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says it's not right to vote for something that's close to ideal just because there is fatigue surrounding the issue.

"The issue needs to be done, but we need to do it right," Durkin said. "But I am not going to just wave the white flag out of expediency because people have been worn down or they're tired of the issue and want to get it off their plates."

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Harvest Desk
12:08 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Millet Could Be The Next Trendy Grain

Millet, long an ingredient in bird feed, could be the next food to capitalize on the heritage grain trend.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Heritage grains are trendy. Walk through a health food store and see packages of grains grown long before modern seed technology created hybrid varieties, grains eaten widely outside of the developed world: amaranth, sorghum, quinoa.

But there’s another grain with tremendous potential growing on the Great Plains: millet.

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English & Writing
10:47 am
Tue October 1, 2013

UIS Writing Series Kicks Off

"The first public reading by Matt Rasmussen will take place on Thursday, October 3 at 7 p.m. in the Lincoln Residence Hall Great Room at UIS."

A mix of established and emerging poets and writers will make their way to Springfield this month for the UIS Creative Writing and Publishing Series. The series, free and open to the public, kicks off on Thursday at 7pm with a reading from an author whose poetry explores feelings about his own brother's suicide. Meagan Cass is with the English department at the university and helps organize the series, she joined us for this interview: 

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Federal Budget
9:12 am
Tue October 1, 2013

U.S. Attorney: Shutdown 'Quite Disruptive'

U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, of the Central District of Illinois, is seen in this August 2013 file photo.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

The federal government shutdown means public servants across Illinois will be sent home today.

At times like these, National Parks are considered a luxury, so Springfield's Lincoln Home National Historic Site would be closed. But air traffic control and weather forecasting are considered critical, so they'd keep going.

Public safety jobs are supposed to be exempt, too. But U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, the top federal prosecutor for Central Illinois, says he'll have to send a quarter of his attorneys home and a majority of the support staff.

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Regional
9:12 am
Tue October 1, 2013

There's Less Chance You'll Collide With A Deer

New figures released this week by State Farm say Illinois drivers are less likely to hit a deer in the next year.  The insurance company says drivers in the state have a 1 in 214 chance of hitting a deer in the next 12 months. That compares with a 1 in 162 chance last
year. Nationwide, the figure is 1 in 174.
 
Bloomington-based State Farm says Illinois drivers made 39,000 claims last year
for accidents involving deer. Nationwide, there were 1.2 million claims, down
about 3.5 percent.
 

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Health Desk
8:58 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Health Law Could Reduce Incarceration Rates

Credit flickr/sideonecincy

Tuesday marks the launch of state health insurance exchanges, a major part of the Affordable Care Act. Among the many changes likely after the new health coverage takes effect: Fewer people behind bars.

During a recent expo put on by the Illinois Department of Corrections in Champaign, Jeff Rinderle of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District talked with parolees and former prison inmates transitioning into civilian life about the Affordable Care Act.

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Concealed Carry Law
6:27 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Concealed Carry Instructor Guidelines Now Available Online

Credit concealcarry.org

The Illinois State Police has posted on its website a list of approved concealed carry firearms training curricula.

The list has all skills required by the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act.  It includes firearm safety; basic principles of marksmanship; care, cleaning, loading and unloading of a concealable firearm; transportation of a firearm. It also includes instruction on the appropriate and lawful Interaction with law enforcement while transporting or carrying a concealed firearm.

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Get Covered Illinois
5:22 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Insurance Plan Prices Under ACA Unveiled

  The most visible part of the Affordable Care Act has arrived. Today, Illinois residents without insurance will be able to go to the "Get Covered Illinois" website to begin shopping for healthcare plans.

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Harvest Desk
2:45 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Farm Bill Expires; What's Next?

Without a farm bill in place, farmers all over country are left to guess at what federal policy will look like.
Credit Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

The farm bill expired at midnight on Monday, leaving farmers and ranchers across the country guessing at what federal farm policy will look like when they next put their crops in the ground.

Of course, they’re used to uncertainty, as this is the second straight year Congress has let the farm bill expire. Last year, farmers were set adrift for three months before lawmakers passed a nine-month extension of older policy in January.

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