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Higher Education
11:41 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Debate Over University Research Open Access

Illinois' public universities could have to share more of their research, under a new state law. 

Pick a subject. Any subject.  And two things are likely true:

-someone at a university is researching it, and

-the results of that research are getting published, probably in a scholarly journal.

There's the journal of Sewage and Industrial Wastes. Contemporary European History. The African Music Society Newsletter ...  all of which gets the information out to experts in the given field.

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Statehouse
8:48 am
Tue August 13, 2013

New Law Recruits Casinos To Assist With Child Support Collection

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that lets casinos and race tracks garnish gambling winnings from parents who owe back child support.
 
The new law that was signed Monday takes effect immediately. It's aimed at chipping away at the state's nearly $3 billion backlog in unpaid child support.
 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports the money would be turned over to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. From there, it'd be distributed to parents.
 

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Harvest Desk
8:24 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Honeybee Health In Illinois: A Tale Of Two Apiaries

Peter Gray/WUIS

The stakes are high for honeybees.

A survey conducted by the USDA shows apiaries continue to lose nearly one third of hives each year.

That has led some environmental activists to push for further restrictions on a pesticide used to treat seed corn.

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The Legacy Theatre
12:54 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

The Legacy Theatre Announces Coming Season

Scott Richardson & Patrick Russell
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Executive director of The Legacy, Scott Richardson, and Patrick Russell, associate director joined us to talk about the eclectic upcoming season through the rest of the year and into January. Shows include a Marx Brothers inspired musical with local performers, acrobatic cats, a metal Christmas show complete with lasers and other special effects, a returning musical about a transgender rock singer... and more: 

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District 186
6:46 am
Mon August 12, 2013

In-Depth Interview: Interim Supt. For District 186, Robert Leming

Robert "Bob" Leming
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

WUIS caught up with Robert Leming on a variety of issues, including how high speed rail could affect schools in the district, his vision for changes with elementary schools, a residency requirement for school administrators, and more: 

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Concealed Carry Law
5:33 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Police Trainers Prepare For Concealed Carry

Credit www.ptb-edi.state.il.us

The arrival of concealed carry in Illinois will mean a big change not only for gun-owning citizens, but police officers as well.

As Brian Mackey reports, the state board that oversees police training is already preparing for the change.

Police in Illinois are already trained on how to approach someone with a gun. Since that person was likely breaking the law, safety and caution were the watchwords. But how does that calculus change when citizens are able to carry legally?

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Harvest Desk
5:25 am
Mon August 12, 2013

My Farm Roots: Tough Guys In The Saddle

Nate Pike has worked the land outside Dodge City, Kan., for most of his 80 years.
Credit Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

This is the tenth installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

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Statehouse
4:58 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Whitaker Denies Involvement In Kickback Scheme

Dr. Eric Whitaker
Credit WBEZ

The former head of Illinois' Department of Public Health says he ``was not involved in any way'' with alleged illegal activities of his longtime chief of staff.  
In an indictment released this week, authorities accuse Quinshaunta Golden. They say she accepted $433,000 in kickbacks for steering grant and contract money to various groups around the time she worked for Eric E. Whitaker at the agency.  
Prosecutors have never accused Whitaker of wrongdoing.  

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On A Stick
4:53 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Gov 'Eating My Way Across The State Fair'

A pair of Lincolns look on as Gov. Pat Quinn opens the 2013 Illinois State Fair.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Illinois State Fair officially got underway Friday morning.

Based on the evidence Friday morning on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, it's never too early for fried mini-doughnuts.

Vendors were selling all manner of-deep fried delights, patrons were crowding parking lots, and dignitaries were cutting a red, white, and blue ribbon to mark the official opening of the 2013 fair.

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Statehouse
1:01 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

State Parks Seeing License Plate Money

Illinois state parks are starting to see money from a $2 surcharge on Illinois license plate renewals.  
The State Journal-Register in Springfield reports (http://bit.ly/1czFIoL) that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is using the money to reduce a $750 million maintenance backlog. Motorists had to start paying the surcharge this year after last year's DNR Sustainability Bill was approved.  

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Report Of Millikin Prof's Dark Past Shocks Many
8:29 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Interview: Sun-Times' Dave McKinney On St. James/Wolcott Case

Dr. St. James
Credit millikin.edu

Last month, an investigation by the Georgetown Advocate revealed that James St. James - psychology chair at Millikin University in Decatur - once went by the name Jim Wolcott. 

According to the newspaper, Wolcott shot and killed his parents and teenage sister when he was fifteen and living in Georgetown, Texas.

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State Fair
7:29 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Governor's Day To Break Tradition

Gov. Pat Quinn leads his supporters at the 2013 Twilight Parade on Springfield's North side, kicking off the state fair.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  The state fair got its start Thursday night with the Twilight parade through the north end of the capital city.  It's an annual tradition.  But indications are that another tradition -- a Democratic party rally  -- will not continue this year.  

There were cheerleaders, bands, children scrambling for candy, and of course, a parade of politicians.

The Attorney General, Treasurer, Comptroller, Lieutenant Governor were all there.

First in that line: Governor Pat Quinn and an army of supporters and staffers, wearing his trademark kelly green campaign t-shirts.

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File Shredding Controversy
5:46 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Springfield Agrees To Pay $5K For Destroying Buscher File, Violating FOIA

Calvin Christian
Credit Calvin Christian

The City of Springfield admits it illegally destroyed Deputy Police Chief Cliff Buscher's internal affairs file. 

In a motion filed in Sangamon County Court Friday, the City agrees to pay Calvin Christian $5,000, the fee set for a single violation of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. 

Christian sued the City in May after it said Buscher's file had been destroyed.

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Harvest Desk
6:22 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Soybean Breakthroughs Coming On Strong

University of Missouri plant scientist Melissa Mitchum inspects a plant for soybean cyst nematode in her greenhouse.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the nation’s farmers will deliver a record 3.42 billion bushels of soybeans this year. The USDA is also forecasting that this year for the first time Brazil will overtake the United States as the world’s leading producer of soybeans. That means the pressure is on American soybean farmers like Brian Flatt, 41, to eke out even more soybeans from his fields.

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Regional
2:13 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Former IDPH Chief Of Staff Indicted

Jim Lewis is U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Authorities say a onetime chief of staff to the former head of the Illinois Department of Public Health took $433,000 in kickbacks for steering grant and contract money to certain groups.  
An indictment released Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Springfield says Quinshaunta R. Golden faces one count of bribery and theft involving federal funds.  
The accusations largely relate to the time Golden was chief of staff to Eric E. Whitaker in the 2000s.  

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Cams In Courts
8:57 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Macon County Judges Now Open To Allowing Cams In Courts

Credit WSIU/Illinois Public Radio

Video and still cameras could be allowed in circuit courts in central and east central Illinois within the next several weeks.

The Champaign News-Gazette reports judges in the Sixth Judicial Circuit approved the cameras during a meeting last week.

Chief Judge Dan Flannell says he submitted an application to the Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday. The state's high court has the final say on whether the circuit will be included in the pilot program that was approved about 18 months ago.

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Arts
8:24 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Head East: 40 Years On

The 70's lineup for Head East
Credit Head-East.com

The band Head East grew out of central and southern Illinois and made it's way to a major label.  In 1974, Head East recorded Flat As A Pancake at Golden Voice Studios in South Pekin.  They released it on their own label, sold it at shows and the notoriety that followed got them a record deal.  From the highs of playing sold out arenas in the 70's to the end of the original lineup, Head East has remained.

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Code Switch
10:17 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

We Need to Talk

Do you code switch?

Is the way that you speak to a business associate different than how you catch up with a friend?  Do you talk to the opposite sex differently?  How do you address people of other races?  NPR has launched a new effort examining the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting.

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Medical Marijuana
5:52 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Durbin: Wait, Watch Before National Medical Marijuana Policy

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Medical marijuana may be legal in his home state, but the number two Democrat in the U.S. Senate says that shouldn't be a national policy.  

It'll be awhile before patients with certain diseases will actually be able to use pot to ease their symptoms - the Illinois law doesn't take effect until January, and state regulators have to put rules in place.

Even so, clinics  - including one in Chicago  - are already beginning to open.

Of course, it defies federal law.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he's not ready for the feds to change course.

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Statehouse
5:42 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Madigan Talks On Lawmaker Pay Dispute

House Speaker Michael Madigan says he's disappointed a judge has delayed ruling on the legislator salary lawsuit.  
Gov. Pat Quinn used veto powers last month to suspend pay because of inaction on pensions. Then Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton sued, claiming a misuse of power.  
A Cook County judge will hear arguments Sept. 18, meaning lawmakers could miss another paycheck.  
Madigan told reporters Wednesday before a closed-door speech that voting to override Quinn is still a possibility. That's according to Chicago's WLS-TV.  

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Health Desk
4:47 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Durbin: No Rush On Changing Federal Marijuana Law

Sen. Dick Durbin

Medical marijuana may be legal in his home state, but the number two Democrat in the U.S. Senate says that shouldn't be a national policy.
It will be awhile before patients with certain diseases will actually be able to use pot to ease their symptoms - the Illinois law doesn't take effect until January, and state regulators have to put rules in place.
Even so ... clinics ... including one in Chicago ... are already beginning to open.
Of course, it defies federal law.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he's not ready for the feds to change course.

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Kirkland Performance Arts
12:47 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Kirkland In Decatur Announces Upcoming Performing Arts Series Lineup

Courtesy of Millikin University

What do an aging folk singer, a Michael Jackson impersonator, and an improv comedy group from Chicago have in common? Well, they'll all be making their way to Decatur in coming months. The Kirkland Fine Arts Center recently announced the lineup for its 2013/2014 performing arts series. We recently spoke with director of the center, Jan Traughber, about it: 

CLICK HERE for more information on the coming lineup at the performance venue on the Millikin University campus in Decatur.

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Harvest Desk
9:15 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Springfield Family Bottles Tradition With Olive Oil Business

Christofilakos-Soler (second from right) speaks with a farmer's market customer Saturday, August 3rd.
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

A Springfield woman's family tree has deep roots in Greece.

On that tree's branches?  Olives.

Rini Christofilakos-Soler is helping grow her family's business by bringing the olive oil they produce to Springfield.

Peter Gray stopped by Christofilakos-Soler's table at the downtown farmers market to ask about her family farm in Greece:

Find more information at the family's Facebook page

 

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Statehouse
7:02 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Audit Finds State Computers Missing

Illinois' prison systems have misplaced $200,000 of computer equipment.  As Amanda Vinicky reports, the state's auditor general says that poses security risks. 

105 laptops are missing from the Illinois Department of Corrections - plus an additional 51 desktops.

According to a new audit,there's a risk confidential information stored on the computers could be exposed.

But D.O.C. spokesman Tom Shaer says that's not likely.

"We don't believe that these computers are laying around somewhere compromising security."

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Illinois State Fair
5:56 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Longtime Rushville Doctor Named State Fair Parade Grand Marshal

Dr. Russell Dohner
Credit Dr. Dohner Fan Page/Facebook

From Governor's news release:

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Business
4:27 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

WUIS / SJ-R Business Report: August 6, 2013

Credit SJ-R.com

The State Journal-Register's Tim Landis talks about efforts to expand the downtown Springfield Historic District, a new prototype store for Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries and a look at agriculture, a year after the drought. 

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Statehouse
1:21 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Same Sex Marriage Ruling Set For September

Credit WBEZ

A Cook County judge won't decide until late September on whether to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state's same sex marriage ban.
 
Circuit Judge Sophia Hall listened to nearly two hours of arguments on Tuesday. She then said she'll rule on Sept. 27. The lawsuit involves 25 couples who filed for marriage licenses in Cook County and were denied.
 
However, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has refused to defend the state's ban, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. She says it violates the state constitution.
 

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Business
12:14 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

ADM Reports Lower Net Income, Higher Costs

Credit adm.com

Archer Daniels Midland says its net income fell 22 percent in the second quarter as expenses climbed. 
The agribusiness company also says it more than doubled its provision for a possible settlement of an overseas bribery probe that's being conducted by the
federal government. 

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District 186
11:38 am
Tue August 6, 2013

186 Plans Focus Group Mtgs To Aid Search For New Supt.

The search continues for a new superintendent for district 186. So far eight people have applied for the position to head Springfield public schools. The district is currently planning a two day summit later in the month consisting of meetings among the search firm leading the effort, teachers, parents, and other community members. Board member Scott McFarland is helping plan the meetings. He says the search firm hopes to garner more applicants and then narrow down the options based on feedback from the board and the community:

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Health Desk
11:03 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Interview: SJ-R's Dean Olsen On Rollout Of Obama Health Care Law

Dean Olsen
Credit twitter.com

Illinois' online marketplace for health insurance expected to be up and running by October.

Dean Olsen has been keeping an eye on the implementation of "Obamacare" in Illinois.

Olsen is the State-Journal Register's health care reporter. His five-part series in the SJ-R this week focuses on the new health law's impact on consumers, providers and insurance companies.

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