The Morgan County Coroner says a mother and her two young sons were the victims of a fatal fire early Thursday morning. Coroner Jeff Lair says smoke inhalation is blamed for the deaths of Kayla Perry and her two sons, 4-year-old Christopher and 7-year-old Joshua. The family's mobile home caught fire around 1 am Thursday. Neighbors placed the 911 call, and area firefighters say they arrived to find the residence fully engulfed in flames. A cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The state fire marshal has been called to investigate.
Paper notebooks are still a requirement in schools. But devices like iPads are becoming increasingly more popular in classrooms. In the second half of the WUIS series on technology and teaching, this story takes us to elementary schools in Springfield’s District 186 to see how the electronic tablets are becoming a common part of the school day:
REAVY: “OK, so go ahead and open up your email to ‘Snakes Quiz’…”
Governor Pat Quinn says Illinois' failure to solve its pension problem means the state will have to pay $130 million more in interest on bonds it sold Wednesday. But a new study is questioning Illinois' low debt rating.
Illinois got an average interest rate of five percent on the $1.3 billion bond sale — and had to turn away many potential buyers.
State Sen. Bill Brady on Wednesday formally announced a third bid to be the governor of Illinois.
The Bloomington Republican says he isn't giving up on Illinois despite the state's serious fiscal challenges. He also says he'll veto any attempt the extend the 2011 tax increase, which is scheduled to begin rolling back in 2015.
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield says the nation's high court has given "legal protection to an intrinsic evil" by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and not defending California's Proposition 8.
In a statement Wednesday, Reverend Thomas John Paprocki went on to call the Supreme Court's rulings "hollow decisions" that are "devoid of moral authority".
The film festival held in Springfield each fall has expanded its calendar of events to include "mini-screenings" this summer.
Route 66 International Film Festival board member Thea Chesley joined Peter Gray on Illinois Edition to discuss the short films her group is now sharing with moviegoers - in a setting that's more casual than conventional:
Amanda Vinicky talks with Tim Landis, Business Editor for the State Journal Register. We'll talk about Illinois' growing, and spreading, wine industry. And what to do about high-accident intersections. That and more in this week's Business Report.
You can read the latest stories Landis is working on daily in the SJR.
Jackie Dougan Jackson grew up like many farm kids. She spent sunbaked summer hours detasseling corn, tending the crops so it can be pollinated. For farm kids, detasseling is one of the ultimate chores. For the 85-year-old Jackson, those memories still put a song in her heart.
Springfield’s Muni out-door theater is putting on its largest production yet. With a cast of just about fifty actors, plus chorus singers, Les Miserables cost 50 percent more than the average Muni show. When Les Mis recently became available to amateur theaters, The Muni was quick to buy the rights. The show is in its second week… performances start at 8:30. They are tonight through Sunday, and again next week – Thursday through Saturday. Here's the interview with cast members Sydney Assalley & Jerry Hicks and the vocal director, Damien Kaplan.
Governor Pat Quinn is giving legislators less than three weeks to come together on a pension overhaul. So far the formation of a rare “conference committee” is the only result of the special legislative session Quinn called to deal with the state’s pension problem.
Regional Offices of Education have often been an overlooked area of government. But the elected positions have unwillingly been in the spotlight over the last couple of years when Governor Pat Quinn tried to eliminate them. A compromise with the legislature resulted in a consolidation of the offices that is underway now. 44 offices are required to drop down to 35. In Sangamon County, an agreement was reached this month to merge with Menard County starting in 2015.
Central Illinois Republican congressman Rodney Davis is asking a campaign official to step down from his party position after writing what's been called a racist email about Davis' primary challenger.
Montgomery County GOP Chairman Jim Allen wrote an email suggesting Erika Harold could fill a "minority quota'' if she lost the Republican primary. The bi-racial Harvard law school graduate was crowned Miss America in 2003 and launched her campaign bid this month.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media
One of the U.S. Geological Survey teams collecting water samples and checking cages for fish eggs in Missouri this summer: biologist Diana Papoulias, chemist Dave Alvarez, hydrologist Peter Van Metre, biologist Diane Nicks and environmental toxicologist Don Tillitt.
Midwest waterways are getting lots of attention this summer. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency have immersed themselves in the ecology of 100 streams from Ohio to Nebraska. It’s a first-of-its kind effort to understand how ag runoff is not just changing the water but affecting the critters that live there. Harvest Public Media’s Abbie Fentress Swanson joined a crew on a rainy day while they gathered water samples and searched for fish eggs on three streams in central Missouri.
The presidents of Illinois' public universities are rallying behind a plan intended to bolster the pension system for their employees. The proposal was the subject of a state Senate hearing Tuesday in Springfield. But its future is far from certain.
One by one, university presidents told senators why they believe something must be done about pensions. University of Illinois president Robert Easter says his schools are at a competitive disadvantage for recruiting top faculty.
While most high schools teach an assortment of foreign languages: Spanish, French, German – other types of languages are finding their way into classrooms. Like Java. Never heard of it? It’s basically a language computers speak. At one time, this area was something few kids found interesting. But in the era of video games and smart phones, technology is part of the average students’ everyday life. In the first of a two-part series looking at teaching tech, we look at how District 186 is getting the next generation of programmers ready:
The Springfield school board continues to discuss a rule on the books that requires administrators to live within district 186 boundaries. Vice president Adam Lopez has adopted the cause, saying the policy should either be enforced, or removed from regulations. It’s his wish to enforce it. But board member Donna Moore questioned the need for the policy:
MOORE: Can I ask a question … I know we have this policy… but what purpose does it serve? Is this policy helping us to achieve the goals that we’re trying to achieve in the school district? Or does it hamper it?”
Illinois' fracking regulations divided the environmental community; while those like the Illinois Environmental Council signed on as proponents of the new law, others - like these activists - remain opposed.
Governor Pat Quinn says he's reviewing a measure that would lift Illinois' long-standing concealed carry ban. It took legislators months to reach a compromise, and still gun control and gun rights activists both say they're not happy. Other critics say they're upset about a lack of government transparency.
The concealed carry legislation approved late last month creates a seven-member board to review applications from people who want to be able to carry a gun in public.
Hog farmer Bob Young had to overcome lawsuits from his neighbors before building his confinement facility near Rochester. Says Young: “There are a few (city people) that come out here and think we got to change everything so we can make it city living. And that won’t work.”
Individual state constitutions across the nation spell out a host of guaranteed rights for their citizens. For example, same sex marriage or collective bargaining. But what about the right to farm? From the WUIS Harvest Desk, Bill Wheelhouse reports on a drive to establish that guarantee:
The way hog farmer Bob Young sees it, city people just don’t understand farmers.
“There are a few that come out here and think we got to change everything so we can make it city living,” he said. “And that won’t work.”
For two decades Springfielders have celebrated Juneteenth. It's a holiday commemorated in most states. It marks the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865, which came two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
Before Gen. Benjamin Grierson won acclaim for his tactical raid that helped the Union forces take Vicksburg. But before then, he was a music teacher in Jacksonville. This weekend, the community’s annual event to honor Grierson takes place. Plenty of free events that tie history and entertainment together are part of Grierson Days.