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Teachers in a central Illinois school district are picketing in an effort to gain parents' support as contract negotiations stall.  
 The State Journal-Register reports  teachers in Pleasant Plains held signs Wednesday that read ``Let's work together for kids'' and ``Make it better.'' The teachers have been working under an expired contract for nearly three months and negotiations over a new contract began in April. The district had 1,300 students and 88 teachers last year.  

Creative Commons: Chris He, 2009

  Drivers' license facilities across Illinois are up and running again this morning, following a computer glitch that disrupted services much of Wednesday.

Driver's license facilities operated old-school yesterday, using paper forms whenever possible, because their computers were down.

Turns out the problem was like so many others in life: miscommunication.

The mainframe computer in Springfield "wasn't properly communicating with and recording data entered from the computer terminals at the facilities," said Sec. of State spokesman Henry Haupt.

CFLL

It was 100 years ago that community foundations began.  It was in Ohio.

"It was actually a banker from Cleveland who thought,there's all these charitable trusts being formed.  If we consolidated these it could be more efficient for philanthropy," said John Stremsterfer, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln.  

Based in Springfield, it serves Sangamon, Cass, Christian, Logan, Menard, Morgan, and Montgomery counties. The organization helps match donors with specific causes. 

flickr/JoeShlabotnik

Deer can be more than a nuisance. They can be dangerous when they venture on to roads.  

Illinois saw a one percent drop in the number of crashes in 2013,but there were still over 15-thousand accidents.  There was also a slight increase in injuries from those collisions and six people died.

Madison and Cook County led the way in the number of deer-vehicle accidents with well over 400 each.

flickr/dankdepot

The more than 370 applications to operate medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries in Illinois are being whittled down.  Licenses could be awarded before the end of the year.

flickr/Robert Kuykendall

Illinois State Police are fixing a leaky roof over an evidence room in a building near their downtown Springfield headquarters.  

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/14dewuJ ) that if the roof isn't fixed, evidence collected in criminal investigations may be damaged. The state police have signed off on a contract worth about $250,000 to fix the roof. Bidding documents state that it's ``an emergency purchase.''  

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

It's not all that often that a play begins at the end - but that's exactly the case for a new work by Illinois author Ken Bradbury. In the one-act, one-man play, titled The Last Full Measure - Bradbury explores what Lincoln may have been thinking near the end of the his life. The play premieres at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday and runs through the weekend. It will be performed by actor Fritz Klein - one of the foremost Lincoln impersonators.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has fallen out of the media spotlight here in the US to some extent, but not for one local man named Mike Mheidze. He grew up in the former Soviet Union and has lived in Springfield for 20 years now.

Race For Ill. Treasurer Remains Undecided

Nov 11, 2014
PeoriaPublicRadio

There are still thousands of votes yet to be counted in the race for Illinois State Treasurer. The contest between Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs is shaping up to be the closest in Illinois history. Currently, Cross holds a 500 vote lead over Frerichs -- one one-thousandth of a percentage point, and still too close to call.

But Cross' campaign alleges some voters who cast provisional ballots voted more than once. Cross' campaign manager Kevin Artl says his team saw the same names coming up twice in lists provided by the Cook County Clerk's office.

flickr/jmorgan

A hike in Illinois’ income tax rate will begin rolling back at the end of this year, and a majority of Illinois voters are alright with that.

A new poll shows 56-percent of voters oppose making the increase permanent.

Respondents to the survey, which was done before the election by the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University, were asked that question fairly directly.

Photograph by Alex Wroblewski

The shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has brought to national attention the obstacles that many young black males face - including racial profiling and a world where media portrayals of their peers are often less-than-flattering. Maureen McKinney took a look at the topic in Illinois. She joined Rachel Otwell for this interview: 

An effort to bring a high voltage power line across Illinois and other states is getting a discussion tonight (Monday) in Missouri. 

That state's public service commission begins hearings on a request by Clean Line Energy partners to build a high voltage power line from wind turbines in Kansas to Illinois, Missouri and Indiana.      The  plan would bring the lines near Hannibal then through Pike, Greene and Macoupin  counties among others in central Illinois.

Amanda Vinicky

When he was a candidate, Bruce Rauner promised that if elected, he would freeze property taxes. Now that he's won the race for governor, he's holding off on details about how.

It was a campaign promise that struck a chord.

A recent Mississippi River Bridge project at St. Louis has given the opportunity to take a look back in time.  Excavations took place near I-70 and the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge.

The research uncovered  information about a prehistoric civilization at the site.  But Dr. Claire Dappert, Historic Archaeologist at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, says a lesser publicized part of the project involves residential neighborhoods that existed about 100 years ago around the St. Louis National Stockyards.

ill.gov

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is reviving his end-of-session effort to make the Springfield-based Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum its own state agency. As first reported by the website Capitol Fax, the Speaker filed new legislation Thursday.

The last minute move by House Speaker Madigan in late May to separate the Library from the Historic Preservation Agency y seemingly came out of nowhere, and pretty much went nowhere. The plan passed the House, but went no further before the General Assembly adjourned.

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, a recap of the results of the Mid-Term Elections.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Brighton Beach Memoirs is a play set in 1937 in Brooklyn, New York. It follows the inner-workings of a middle-class family. And it's a coming-of-age tale that mixes drama and humor, and focuses on a teen who is going through growing pains while also dealing with family conflicts.  We were joined by a few members of that production, director Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, and actors Liza Torrence & Diamond Dixon:

   

Emerald ash borerCredit U.S Department of AgricultureEdit | Remove

Twelve counties have been added to Illinois' emerald ash borer (EAB) quarantine, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

The new additions to the boundaries include seven counties where the tree-killing beetle was identified for the first time this year and five that are considered to be at risk of infestation.

Eric Hines spent over two years shooting and editing this creation...

Cityscape Chicago II from Eric Hines on Vimeo.

Amanda Vinicky

Even though the race for Illinois governor is over, Gov. Pat Quinn and Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner continue to be at odds, this time over the minimum wage.

When he made his brief concession speech, Quinn said there was one goal he'd like to accomplish before leaving office: increasing the minimum wage.

But Rauner (who says he has not spoken with Quinn since the election) says lawmakers should hold off making any major policy changes until he takes over early next year.

Tom Ashbrook in the studio
On Point/WBUR.org

On Point host Tom Ashbrook’s wife, Danielle Guichard-Ashbrook, died of cancer Wednesday evening. Tom and his family have been by Danielle’s side throughout this difficult time.

Tom and Danielle were high school sweethearts from Illinois, lived in India, Tokyo and Hong Kong.  They settled and raised their family in Newton, Mass.

Danielle was an associate dean at MIT, and served as Director of the International Students office. She is survived by Tom, their three children and one granddaughter.

WUIS

A fracking law passed in 2013 could soon finally take effect in Illinois -- it's expected drillers will find oil and gas in southern Illinois. A bipartisan legislative committee Thursday gave its okay to a revised set of regulations. 

The long wait is an indication of how controversial hydraulic fracturing is; supporters hail its opportunity to spur economic growth while environmentalists decry the potential damage it may cause.

Passing a law was supposed to be the hard part, but the two sides came to a compromise. It's over the details since that they've departed. 

WUIS

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner is naming a transition team of advisers that includes former White House chief of staff Bill Daley, a Democrat.  
It also includes former Gov. Jim Edgar, Republican Congressman Aaron Schock and former Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard, another Democrat.  

The Republican venture capitalist ousted Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in a close contest this week.  

PeoriaPublicRadio

The race for state treasurer remains too close to call days after Illinois voters went to the polls.
 
Both Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs remain hopeful that uncounted absentee and provisional votes break their way.
 
Cross led Frerichs by 21,000 votes out of 3.4 million cast when The Associated Press stopped tabulating the vote count on Wednesday evening.
 
Cross spokesman Kevin Artl contends that Frerichs is not getting enough votes
still being tallied to make up the difference.
 

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The young woman’s faced bloomed with pleasure as she shared, “I love my kids so much!”

Do you imagine she was referring to her own offspring?  No, the kids who inspired this enthusiastic exclamation were the eight children who make up her child care class.

She spends many hours each week with them.  She’s learned what makes each of them tick, and sees them each as individuals brimming with potential.  She knows what will tickle each child’s funny bone, and which small disasters are likely to set each into a crying jag. 

JoAnn Verburg

A Decatur native and poet is making his way to Springfield this weekend to share his writings. Jim Moore now lives in between Minneapolis and Italy, which makes for a unique perspective in his writing. He recently joined us for this chat:

On  Sunday, November 9 at 2 p.m. Moore will read his poems as part of the “Poets in the Parlor” series at The Vachel Lindsay Home in Springfield (603 South 5th St.).

Former U.S. Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois, a former Marine who fought for veterans' rights during his 24 years in office, has died after a long fight with Parkinson's disease.  

His legal guardian and former congressional staffer Michael Malmstrom says Evans died Wednesday at a nursing home in East Moline, Illinois.  
The Democrat was 63.  

Tom Asbrook Taking Family Leave

Nov 6, 2014
Tom Ashbrook in the studio
On Point/WBUR.org

For all of our On Point listeners, who I very much think of as a kind of community – an important community – there is something personal I have to share.  It’s hard, and it’s as intimate as anything on Earth.

Bruce Rauner
brucerauner.com

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Bruce Rauner indicated he had called House Speaker Michael Madigan and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton.

However, a couple of reports indicated that neither Madigan nor Cullerton spoke with the Governor-Elect.   Reports in the State Journal Register and Chicago Sun Times say Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman has no record of any calls from Rauner

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

For some people, paying to watch one Power Point presentation after another might sound insane. But with interesting topics covered at a brisk pace, plenty of refreshments and a snazzy name - such events are becoming popular around the globe.

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