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1:20 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Suggs Studio Performance: Springfield Alternative Rock Band 'boon'

Alt-rock band Boon consists of members Aaron Stallone on drums, Matt Natale on bass, and Johnny Draper on vocals and guitar. They joined us recently in the Suggs Performance Studio to share a few tunes and tells us a bit about their music:

CLICK HERE for more tunes and info about boon.

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To Boldly Go
2:07 am
Wed July 31, 2013

What's The Deal With 'Exploring' Candidates?

Bill Daley spent more than a month "exploring" a run for governor of Illinois, though he also said he was "totally committed, 100 percent in" to the race.
Credit The White House

Tuesday's declaration by Bill Daley that he was "officially" running for governor was one of the least surprising announcements of this political season. You could be forgiven for thinking he was already running in the Democratic primary. But Daley insists that until this week, he was just "exploring" a bid for governor.

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Salary Veto
6:30 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Legislative Leaders Sue Governor Over Pay

Gov. Pat Quinn is seen at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in this July 29, 2013 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The leaders of the Illinois General Assembly have sued Governor Pat Quinn over his veto of lawmakers' salaries. They say they're trying to protect the independence of the legislature.

Quinn vetoed lawmakers salaries out of the budget as a sort-of punishment for not passing legislation to overhaul Illinois' government-employee pension systems.

In a joint lawsuit filed in Cook County, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton say the governor overstepped his bounds.

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Teens
4:13 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

'The Voice' Brings Teen's Perspectives To Local Media

Alissa Groeninger

Alissa Groeninger is the editor for The State Journal Register's teen section, 'The Voice'. She joined WUIS to talk about her work with the area's young aspiring journalists: 

CLICK HERE to follow updates from 'The Voice' on Twitter.

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Springfield City Government
4:10 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Acting Police Chief Winslow On Restoring Dept. Morale, Public Confidence

Kenny Winslow sits at Robert Williams' old chair in the office of the Springfield Chief of Police
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

Springfield's new top cop says regaining the public's trust in his department is at the top of his to-do list.  

Acting Chief Kenny Winslow took over Monday for Robert Williams, whose signature at the bottom of a police union memo cleared the way for destruction of internal affairs files.

Williams, along with the city's attorney, this month stepped aside as the city faces a lawsuit alleging it violated public records laws.

Interim Chief Winslow says today he's focused on polishing the department's tarnished image:

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2014 Election
6:56 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Lt. Gov. Simon Seeks Comptroller's Office

Credit Illinois.gov

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is jumping into the 2014 race for Illinois comptroller.

After months of considering other statewide offices, she'll make it official Wednesday with stops in Chicago, Springfield and Carbondale. She tells The Associated Press the idea of teaching the public about the budget is appealing.

She could face Will County Auditor Duffy Blackburn in a Democratic primary.

Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is seeking re-election and has a fundraising advantage. She's a former state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate.

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Conference Committee
6:00 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Lawmakers Said To Be Compromising On Pensions

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, announces his candidacy for governor in this June 26, 2013 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

A member of the Illinois legislature's special committee on pensions says the group is closing in on a compromise. But it remains to be seen whether the measure will have enough support in the full General Assembly.

The 10-members of the bipartisan conference committee have been meeting for more than a month. A good chunk of that time has been waiting for actuaries to analyze the various proposals — seeing how much of Illinois' nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities might be eliminated.

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2014 Election
5:55 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Daley Campaign To File With Illinois Board Of Elections

Credit Amanda Vinicky

Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley is making his Illinois gubernatorial bid official.

He's set to remove his "exploratory committee'' label Tuesday by filing paperwork with the Illinois Board of Elections. So far, he's Gov. Pat Quinn's only 2014 Democratic primary challenger.

In a video on his campaign website, Daley says the fact that the state Legislature adjourned in May without finding a solution to the pension crisis or voting on same-sex marriage represents a "dysfunction.''

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Hockey
11:15 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Stanley Cup Comes To Springfield

The Stanley Cup was at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Monday morning.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Stanley Cup made an appearance at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Monday morning,  just weeks after the Blackhawks won it for the second time in four seasons. There was an event for invited guests, including politicians and military personnel. Team chairman Rocky Wirtz was also on hand.

"The fans have been terrific," Wirtz says. "You realize that there is hockey south of I-80, and that's what's nice. It's nice to come down to the state capital. ... First time I've been to the museum, and I really enjoyed it."

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Concealed Carry Law
1:15 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Judge Tosses Bid For Immediate Concealed Carry

U.S. District Court in East St. Louis
Credit www.ilsd.uscourts.gov

A federal judge is rejecting a legal bid by gun-rights advocates who wanted people to be able to immediately carry firearms in Illinois under the state's new concealed carry law.

East St. Louis U.S. District Judge William Stiehl threw out the lawsuit filed by Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association, siding with the state and saying the legal action is moot.

Shepard and the rifle group had argued it was unconstitutional to make people wait for the permit process to be outlined under the new concealed carry law that lawmakers passed July 9.

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Legislative Salaries Frozen
5:54 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Credit Union Offers Lawmakers Zero Interest Loans

Illinois legislators were supposed to get their next monthly paycheck on Thursday, August 1st.  But Governor Pat Quinn vetoed their salaries out of the budget.  Amanda Vinicky reports on how lawmakers may be able to get by.

Many legislators won't feel the pinch too deeply.

Serving in the General Assembly is technically a part-time occupation ... and many own businesses, are partners at law firms, or have other government jobs.  

But many don't, and are their family's sole breadwinner.

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University of Illinois
5:44 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Mooney Steps Into Leadership Role At IGPA

Chris Mooney
Credit igpa.uillinois.edu/person/christopher-z-mooney

University of Illinois Springfield political scientist Chris Mooney will take over next month as the head of U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

WUIS listeners know Mooney as a frequent panelist on State Week in Review.

Mooney says the Institute's researchers and professors can bring together the university's resources to help lawmakers deal with the state's problems.

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Harvest Desk
5:36 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Becky Doyle: Always A Farmer

As state secretary of agriculture, Becky Doyle and Gov. Jim Edgar, center, ride through the 1991 Illinois State Fair.
Credit State Journal-Register

This is the next installment of the My Farm Roots series from the WUIS Harvest Desk. 

In 1986, Becky Doyle was helping her husband run the family’s hog farming operation. She also had a sidelight business of marketing gift baskets made from Illinois products. But that wasn’t enough: Doyle decided she would make a run for the Illinois House.

“I was young, naive and thought I could run as a Republican in a district where it was 11:4 Democrat,” Doyle said.

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Pensions
6:11 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Business Group Refuses Comment on Bond Accusation

An influential group of business executives is declining to comment on the possibility it helped to lower Illinois' credit rating. But public employees’ unions are calling for an investigation.

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago — and one of its leaders, former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner — were early leaders of the charge to do something about the state's underfunded pensions.

Fahner's been one of the most vocal advocates of doing not just something, but something major, to bring down the state's pension costs.

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Political Patronage Allegations
12:26 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Ethics Panel Votes To Investigate Madigan's Metra Role

House Speaker Michael Madigan's request to be investigated by the Legislative Ethics Commission is being granted.

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Fermi National Accelerator Lab
11:49 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Giant Electromagnet Reaches Fermilab After 3,200 Mile Journey From New York

Muon g-2 ring inches down Boughton Road in Chicago's west suburbs Thursday night
Credit https://www.facebook.com/Fermilab

It's 50 feet wide, weighs more than 15 tons and took a month to get to Batavia, Illinois.

A gigantic electromagnet ended its tedious journey early Friday at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where it will be used to study blazing-fast particles. 

But getting the massive gadget from New York to the lab wasn't so fast.

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Arts & Community
11:46 am
Fri July 26, 2013

'Rock The Arts' Event Pairs Music And Art In Springfield

Chris Maxey & Jennifer Snopko

An event featuring art, music, and kids activities tomorrow (Saturday 7/26) will highlight the need for support of the arts from the community. The Prairie Art Alliance's Gallery II, located in Springfield's Old State Capitol Plaza, will have art on display and right outside musicians will perform. Rachel Otwell recently spoke with planners of the event, musician Chris Maxey and Prairie Art Alliance interim executive director Jennifer Snopko:

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District 186
11:29 am
Fri July 26, 2013

"Sharefest" Brings Make-Overs To Springfield Schools

Called "Sharefest" - this weekend over one-thousand volunteers will gather to tear up carpet, paint walls, and generally improve the appearance of Jane Addams and McClernand elementary schools. McClernand is in the Enos park neighborhood, Jane Addams is on Springfield's north-west side.

Both were chosen to make-over based on the income level of students' families. Last year nearly 90% of students at McClernand came from low-income homes. 67% of students at Jane Addams came from low-income families. 

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Springfield City Government
8:16 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Interview: Alderman Cory Jobe On Push To Release Council Tapes

Ward 6 Ald. Cory Jobe supports Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards' push to make tapes of closed session available to the public
Credit https://www.facebook.com/cory.jobe.7

Springfield residents may soon know more about events this spring that led to the abrupt resignation of city attorney Mark Cullen and retirement of Police Chief Robert Williams.

On Tuesday, July 30th, the City Council will decide whether to release the audio recording and transcript of a closed-door meeting about the shredding of police internal affairs files. 

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Pension Reform
7:28 am
Thu July 25, 2013

As Chicago Schools Stumble, A Look At Shifting Pension Costs To Downstate Districts

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks with school district officials in this 2011 file photo
Credit cityofchicago.org

Chicago Public Schools continue to face severe budget problems.

The district is laying off staff and cutting programs.

Those reductions are due in part to its pension obligations.

Tony Arnold reports on how Chicago Public Schools’ struggling pension system could actually be used as a model for every other school in Illinois.

In this year alone - Chicago Public Schools says it’s a billion dollars in debt.

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Agrees To Serve Six Months In Prison
5:17 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Former IL Lawmaker Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge

Former Rep. Connie Howard (D-Chicago) leaves the federal courthouse in Springfield after pleading guilty to a single count of mail fraud.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  A former state legislator is the latest in a string of Illinois politicians to come under federal scrutiny for misconduct.  Wednesday,  longtime Rep. Connie Howard pleaded guilty to mail fraud.  

Though she'd served since 1995, Connie Howard is no longer a member of the House. 

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Community
2:58 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Central Illinois Foodbank Moves Into New Site

The Central Illinois Foodbank is moving into what once was the Pepsi plant on Cook Street in Springfield. The non-profit hosts an open house tomorrow for the public to tour the new facility. Kaleigh Friend joins us now to tell us more about the move and what it means for the organization: 

The Central Illinois Foodbank's open house is tomorrow (Thursday, July 25th) from 4:30 to 7 at its new location: 1937 East Cook Street. CLICK HERE for more information.

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History
2:41 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Effort To Restore Facade Of Springfield's First Black Firehouse

On the 13-hundred block of Adams street in Springfield sits a building that's been used as a Masonic lodge for decades. What's not obvious by looking at it now - is that it was once the first black firehouse in Springfield, back when the city was segregated in the early nineteen-hundreds.

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District 186
2:29 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

The Cost Of Finding A New Springfield Schools Superintendent

Previous 186 Supt. Walter Milton

Molly Beck, Education Reporter for the State Journal Register, has been covering the search for a new superintendent for Springfield public schools. Her recent article outlined the costs associated with that search. Beck joined us to talk about that article and her findings: 

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Chicago City Government
8:56 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Rep. Mell To Replace Father On Chicago City Council

State Rep. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago)
Credit ilga.gov

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is appointing a state lawmaker to fill her father's long-held city council seat.

Deborah Mell's appointment was announced Wednesday.

She'll replace Dick Mell, who's retiring after almost four decades.

Emanuel says the progressive state representative is "breaking glass ceilings'' as the council's first openly lesbian member.

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13th Dist. Democratic Primary
6:31 am
Wed July 24, 2013

UIUC Physics Professor Joins 13th Dist. Race

U of I Physics Professor and Congressional candidate George Gollin talks with Champaign Mayor Don Gerard at the Champaign County Fair Tuesday.
Credit Jeff Bossert, WILL/Illinois Public Radio

George Gollin says Congress has become a team of lawyers that disputes facts, and that’s why he’s running for office.

The UIUC physics professor launched his campaign Tuesday for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District.

Gollin told supporters at the Champaign County Fair that Congress needs to return to a time when party differences were set aside. 

Gollin will challenge retired judge Ann Callis in the March 2014 Democratic primary.

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Concealed Carry Law
4:55 am
Wed July 24, 2013

LRS Awarded Background Check System Contracts

Credit www.fbi.gov

  Illinois has awarded contracts for computer upgrades intended to screen out people prohibited from carrying concealed weapons under the state's new gun legislation. The State Journal-Register reports on two contracts totaling more than $350,000.

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Lincoln
3:54 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Historic Beardstown Courtroom Goes High Tech

Credit lincolninbeardstown.org

Beardstown is home to the only courtroom where Abraham Lincoln practiced that is still hearing cases.  And today that historic site gets a bit high tech.  Touch screen monitors have been installed that will allow tourists to learn more about the site.  Connie Foley, with the Old Lincoln Courtroom and Museum Commission tells how the effort began...
 

Find more details on the site here.

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Regional
5:26 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Deadline For Flood Victims To Seek Federal Aid

Wednesday is the last day individuals affected by extreme flooding in the spring can apply for federal assistance.
Towns were evacuated.  Homes destroyed.  Fields turned to swamps. Rivers reached historic crests.
Flooding that hit Illinois this spring was bad enough that President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration for certain counties.
Now is the deadline for Illinois residents impacted by flash and river flooding from April 16 to May 5 to get government help with recovery.
Individual assistance - which businesses can also apply for - is available to residents of 35 counties.  That's to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.
Five additional counties are eligible for public assistance - that's for the state, local governments and certain non-profit groups, who can use the money to help with debris removal and to help repair damaged public facilities.
The application is at disasterassistance.gov.

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Statehouse
3:39 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Gov. Quinn Hints At August Special Session

Gov. Pat Quinn is hinting at the possibility of a special session on pensions when lawmakers are in Springfield next month for the Illinois State Fair.
A bipartisan panel is attempting to come up with a solution to the nearly $100 billion crisis after the House and Senate remained deadlocked. However the panel blew past Quinn's deadline on pensions and he halted their pay as a consequence.
Quinn told reporters Tuesday that legislators will be in Springfield for the annual days devoted to state political leaders. But he wouldn't specifically sayif that's his plan.

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