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Statehouse
5:25 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Corrections Worker Headed To Prison For Stealing From Memorial Fund

A former Illinois Department of Corrections accounting employee will serve 21 months in federal prison after admitting to embezzling more than $50,000 from a fund meant to benefit prison workers killed in the line of duty.  
U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough sentenced 47-year-old Mary Ann Bohlen on Monday.  
Myerscough also ordered the Edinburg resident to pay nearly $24,000 to the Illinois Correctional Employees Memorial Association and $27,000 to the state corrections agency.  

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Budget Fight
4:14 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Lincoln Home Would Be Closed By Federal Shutdown

The Lincoln Home in Springfield would be closed if the federal government shuts down Monday night. The majority of National Park Service employees have been deemed non-essential, meaning they’d be sent home without pay.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The historic home of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield would be among the victims of a federal shutdown Monday night.

During a shutdown, the federal government makes all kinds of decisions about what's considered an essential government function.

Air traffic control and National Weather Service forecasts are essential. National parks are not. Which is why the Lincoln Home National Historic Site is on the block.

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Health Desk
3:54 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Illinois To Launch Obamacare Ad Campaign

Credit GetCoveredIllinois

Illinois will launch an advertising campaign Tuesday to inform Illinois residents about the health insurance marketplace opening that day that will connect people with new benefits under President Barack Obama's health care law.  
Marketplace spokeswoman Kelly Sullivan provided copies of the ads to The Associated Press. She says the Get Covered Illinois campaign will begin with newspaper ads in 50 state markets. Radio and TV ads are planned for later this fall.  

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Harvest Desk
10:11 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Taking The SNAP Challenge Is Not Easy

Monica Eng prepared rice and beans with kale salad for dinner on the SNAP challenge.
Credit Monica Eng/WBEZ

How well would you do living off $4.80 a day for food? 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is often the way some families get food. The SNAP Challenge is designed to illustrate what it's like to live off the allotment given to those who receive what are commonly called food stamps. 

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Concealed Carry Law
7:19 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Gun Permit Numbers Update

Credit Source: http://www.adamsguns.com

The Illinois State Police continues to struggle with a backlog of applications for gun ownership. So it remains to be seen how they can handle an influx of requests for permits to carry concealed weapons.

The department has 49,000 applications for Firearm Owners Identification cards awaiting approval.

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Today Is Sponsored by...
12:00 am
Mon September 30, 2013

The Loving Family of Sherry Miner of Rochester, Congratulating Sherry on Her Retirement

Today is sponsored by the loving family of Sherry Miner of Rochester, Illinois, congratulating Sherry on her retirement.

Statehouse
3:36 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Reaction To Illinois Same Sex Marriage Ruling

Attorneys for both sides are reacting to an Illinois judge's decision that a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage can continue.  

Camilla Taylor is an attorney with Lambda Legal, representing 25 couples who filed for marriage licenses in Cook County and were denied. Taylor said after Friday's ruling in Chicago that it will be ``a very bad day for the defendants'' when the case is decided.  

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Salary Veto
3:32 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Court Rejects Latest Quinn Effort To Withhold Lawmakers' Pay

Gov. Pat Quinn

A state appellate court has denied Gov. Pat Quinn's request to withhold lawmakers' pay while he appeals a ruling that his veto of legislative salaries was unconstitutional.
 
Quinn vetoed $13.1 million for lawmaker pay in July as a consequence of the Legislature not addressing Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension shortfall.
 
House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton sued, saying the veto was unconstitutional.
 

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Regional
3:15 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

UIUC Student Killed Near Campus

Police in Urbana say a University of Illinois student has been killed in her apartment a few blocks north of the campus.

Lt. Bryant Seraphin tells The (Champaign) News-Gazette that officers were called shortly after 11 a.m. to the apartment complex. The university police issued alerts to students and faculty, but the campus was not locked down.

Seraphin says the victim's roommate was in the apartment during the killing and had been bound. He says she broke free and ran into the building's courtyard where she met officers.

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Springfield Art Association
2:41 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Springfield Art Association Celebrates 100 Years By Planning Updates

Edwards Place

The Springfield Art Association, located in the Enos Park neighborhood, turns a century old this year, and is using the milestone to publicly outline plans for updates and renovations. The organization, which boasts an art gallery, learning and teaching center, and Edwards Place - a historic home once visited by the Lincolns, is marking its century anniversary this year.

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State Week
1:25 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Listen To State Week - September 27, 2013

This week's topics include a court decision preventing Governor Quinn from blocking Illinois lawmakers' pay, the Illinois Democratic Party's official endorsement of Pat Quinn in the next gubernatorial race, and new reports indicating that conditions in the state's juvenile detention facilities are not improving.

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Statehouse
6:18 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Judge To Rule On Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit

Circuit Judge Sophia Hall
Credit Powell Photography, Inc.

An Illinois judge promises to rule on the future of a lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

The lawsuit was filed last year by 25 gay and lesbian couples who want the right to marry.

Cook County Judge Sophia Hall is expected to rule Friday on a motion to dismiss the case.

Lawyers for five downstate county clerks who are defending the ban want the case tossed.  Plaintiffs' attorneys want the judge to let the lawsuit stand - then rule immediately that they won the lawsuit and that the ban is illegal.

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Salary Veto
1:34 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Quinn Continues Fight To Block Pay

Gov. Pat Quinn
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

A judge says Governor Pat Quinn went too far this summer when he blocked paychecks for Illinois lawmakers.

Members of the General Assembly have missed two paydays so far, and it's not clear when they'll get their money. The governor stands by his actions, saying it's his best option for cajoling the General Assembly into overhauling the state's pension systems. Quinn says he plans to appeal.

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Today Is Sponsored by...
12:00 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Mary Beaumont, Noting the AAUW’s Used Book Sale. Today & Tomorrow

  Today is sponsored by WUIS member Mary Beaumont, noting the American Association of University Women’s used book sale. Today from 3:00-7:00 p.m. and tomorrow 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Springfield.

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Today Is Sponsored by...
12:00 am
Fri September 27, 2013

The Lincoln Tomb, the Lincoln Home, Iles House, Edwards Place and the Illinois State Military Museum

  Today is sponsored by the Lincoln Tomb, the Lincoln Home, Iles House, Edwards Place and the Illinois State Military Museum-- the  sites on the candlelight tour, “The Fiery Trial: Civil War Stories by Candlelight,”  The theme is the Emancipation Proclamation. Tomorrow from 5 to 9.

Education
6:00 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

American Graduate Day: Yesterday's Dropouts

Hosted by former WUIS reporter, Kavitha Cardoza, now with WAMU in Washington D.C.
Credit www.americangraduatedc.org

 Former WUIS Reporter, Kavitha Cardoza Hosts "Yesterday's Dropouts"

Approximately 30 million adults in the U.S. are at the low end of the literacy spectrum. They struggle to read a menu, a pay stub or a bus schedule. About 46 million find it challenging to do the most basic math. And for millions of adults, there’s the added challenge of not being able to speak English.

Tune in for this American Graduate Day special program Saturday, September 28th at 2:00 pm.

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Education
5:30 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

American Graduate Day: Crossing the Stage

Credit http://www.prx.org/amgrad

Hosted by Dick Gordon, this program talks about what’s happening with the drop-out rate in the country. More kids are staying in school but those numbers might be misleading. We’ll hear about some of the new thinking – ways to make school more appealing or more meaningful so students want to stay in high school, and we’ll get a sobering take on the GED, long thought to be a reasonable alternative to a high school diploma.

Tune in for this American Graduate Day special program Saturday, September 28th at 3:00 pm.

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Breaking
3:02 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Judge: Gov. Quinn Must Pay Lawmakers

Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of lawmakers salaries has been ruled unconstitutional.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

A Cook County judge has ruled that Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to halt lawmaker pay over the pension crisis is unconstitutional and has ordered Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to pay them immediately.

Judge Neil Cohen made the ruling Thursday.

He says the state Constitution makes it clear that lawmakers' pay can't be changed while serving they're serving their terms.

Quinn used his line-item veto to cut money for legislators' salaries from the state budget because they hadn't fixed Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

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Regional
10:53 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Plan To Keep Asian Carp Out Of Lake Decatur

Credit flickr/mlinksva

The latest round of work on the Lake Decatur dam is underway and will include a barrier aimed at keeping invasive Asian carp at bay.  
The $4 million project is set to be finished by fall 2014.  
The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports (http://bit.ly/1beo5M0 ) the first phase of the project was completed in 2011.  
The latest round of work includes fixing concrete and repairing erosion damage. Meanwhile, crews will also remove a failed tailwater dam, which was built more than a century ago.  
Keith Alexander is director of water management in Decatur.  

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Regional
8:18 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Harris Bros. Trials Cost Nearly $1M

34-year-old Christopher Harris (mugshot following 2009 arrest)
Credit Logan County

The trials of two brothers charged in the 2009 deaths of a Logan County family cost the public roughly $935,000.  

The Bloomington Pantagraph reports the state initially paid defense bills for both Christopher and Jason Harris from the Capital Litigation Trust Fund - more than $500,ooo.

But expenses started going to Logan County taxpayers when the death penalty was abolished in March 2011.

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Pension Overhaul
6:46 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Pension Conference Committee Progress Report

Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville (left) and Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, discuss estimated savings of a previous plan designed to cut the state's pension costs.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

It is approaching four months since the Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session. Lawmakers have missed two paychecks since the governor decided to punish them for not passing a pension overhaul. And a special committee has been negotiating over how to solve the pension problem for more than 12 weeks. Amanda Vinicky checks in with members of that committee for a progress report.
 

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Regional
6:10 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

ATV Riders Will Begin Paying Registration Fee

Credit flickr/skakerman

Owners of all-terrain vehicles in Illinois will be paying a bit more for having the off-road conveyance.

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Regional
5:44 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

City Of Dixon To Recover Some Losses

Rita Crundwell
Credit Mike Moen/Northern Public Radio

The city of Dixon will recoup about $40 million of the $53 million in public money stolen by former comptroller Rita Crundwell.  
Dixon Mayor Jim Burke said Wednesday that the city has settled a lawsuit with auditors and a bank in connection with Crundwell's thefts. Crundwell is serving nearly 20 years in federal prison. Authorities say she stole the money over more than 20 years, spending it on a lavish lifestyle and horse-breeding operation.  

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Arts
4:20 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Willie Nelson Cancels Springfield Show

Willie Nelson has been forced to pull out of the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival and three other shows due to a shoulder injury.  
Nelson's publicist said Wednesday that the 80-year-old country music star is under a doctor's orders to rest his shoulder for a week, meaning he'll miss shows in Carmel, Ind., Charlotte, Mich., Springfield, Ill., and Saturday's appearance at the festival hosted by Zac Brown in Nashville, Tenn. The individual dates have or will be rescheduled.  

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Disrict 186 & The Arts
12:23 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Local Benefit For The Arts In Public Schools Features Area Talent

A new local non-profit is using art, music, and comedy to help raise funds for local students. The Illinois Independent Arts Association hosts what's called a 'Springfield Renaissance' show this Saturday at Donnie's Homespun restaurant and venue in Springfield. Local musicians include Carrie Jo Stucki aka CJ Thunder Stucki, and band Lowder featuring Josie Loweder. Proceeds will benefit the band program at Washington Middle School. Rachel Otwell recently spoke with Eric Heyen and Jaimie Kelly of the group about it: 

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Health Desk
9:49 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Healthcare Marketplace To Be Called 'Get Covered Illinois'

Illinois officials have decided on a brand name for the new health insurance marketplace set to open Tuesday.

Gov. Pat Quinn's administration unveiled the name Wednesday: It's  "Get Covered Illinois.'' The brand tagline is "The Official Health Marketplace.''

Deputy Gov. Cristal Thomas says the administration wanted a name that was "very clear about what this product has to offer.''

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Statehouse
7:30 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Same Sex Marriage Activists Target House Republicans

Greg Harris, IL State Rep. sponsoring same-sex marriage legislation
Credit AP

 A bill to legalize gay marriage in Illinois will be waiting for lawmakers when they head back to Springfield next month. The bill already passed the State Senate - but is stuck in the House. Now, proponents are in the midst of a lobbying campaign targeted at an unlikely group of lawmakers: House Republicans. But as WBEZ’s Alex Keefe reports, there are big hurdles to getting GOP representatives to vote yes:  

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Route 66
7:00 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Interview: 12th Route 66 Mother Road Festival

Cars line up during last year's festival
Credit route66fest.com

Over 1,000 classic cars will be on display in Springfield this weekend. It's time again for the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival - on its 12th year. We recently spoke with the president of the festival, Kim Rosendahl about it. She tells us the event is about more than just cars, it's about the lifestyle the iconic highway represents:  

CLICK HERE for more about the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival which kicks off in Springfield this weekend with a city night cruise on Friday.

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ISP Still Vetting Instructors
6:53 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Gun Trainers Waiting For Concealed Carry Curriculum

Credit Susan Stephens/WNIJ

There are now 54 concealed carry instructors approved by the Illinois State Police. Anyone who wants to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon has to put in sixteen hours in the classroom and shooting range with an official instructor.

         

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Statehouse
6:33 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Metra Panel To Meet In Chicago

Credit commons.wikimedia.org

A state panel charged with coming up with reforms for Metra and other Illinois public transit agencies is set to have a second public hearing.
 
The Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force meets Wednesday in downtown Chicago.
 
Gov. Pat Quinn formed the group in August after allegations about political hiring at Metra. He's called for an overhaul of the commuter rail agency, PACE and other transit agencies.
 

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