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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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Business
12:18 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

WUIS / SJ-R Business Report: July 23, 2013

On this week's business report, we get an update on high speed rail work.   $1.45 billion in contracts awarded now in Illinois; mostly for rail upgrades but still a lot of work to get to 110 mph trains on two-thirds of St. Louis-Chicago route in late 2015.
Also, the Outlets at Springfield; A Pennsylvania developer David Ober says construction in Legacy Pointe,just south of Scheels will begin as soon as planners approve the large-scale design.  It could open next year and promises more than 80 stores and 800 to 900 jobs.

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
12:03 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

The Lincoln Family's Health Problems

The Lincoln family had its share of health problems, as did most living in the eighteen-hundreds. Local historian and author Glenna Schroeder-Lein recently wrote about it in a book called 'Lincoln and Medicine'.

She's also helped curate an exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum about medicine during the civil war era, which runs through November. Schroeder-Lein joins us to tell us more about her book and the exhibit:

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Health Desk
8:16 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Quinn Signs Medicaid Expansion Bill

Even as Congress looks to further roll back President Barack Obama's signature health care program, his home state is officially implementing a key part of it.  Amanda Vinicky has more on a new Illinois law expanding Medicaid.

                                                          

For the first time, low-income adults without children will be eligible for Medicaid.

Specifically ... adults within 138-percent of the poverty level, so someone making just under $16,000.

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Sports
5:51 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Stanley Cup To Appear In Springfield

The Stanley Cup is returning to Springfield.  
Rocky Wirtz _ chairman of the 2013 National Hockey League champion Chicago Blackhawks _ announced Monday the trophy will appear at private events on July 29.  
It will go to a legislative reception at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, then for a photo with the Illinois Air National Guard's 183rd Fighter Wing.  
The public may snap photos with the trophy when it arrives at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport at 7 a.m. and leaves the library and museum at 9 a.m.  

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Music & Community
12:17 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Performance & Interview With Carrie Jo Stucki

Springfield guitarist and vocalist Carrie Jo Stucki also goes by CJ Thunder - and for good reason. The vivacious singer with a booming voice holds nothing back while she performs her original tunes. She's made a name for herself on the downtown Springfield circuit, frequently playing open mics, as well as with various other local musicians and bands. Stucki joined us at the WUIS studios to share some of her original tunes and tell us about her background:

Carrie Jo Stucki is joined by Dustin Strother on guitar, in this original tune by Stucki called ‘Unnamed Hymn’.

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Jacksonville Developmental Center
8:00 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Jacksonville Area Authorities Seeking Tips On JDC Vandalism

Building on the campus of the former state run institution
Credit http://jacksonvilleinstitutions.wordpress.com/closure-of-jacksonville-developmental-center/jdc/

The public is asked to assist the Jacksonville Police Department with its investigation into recent vandalism at the Jacksonville Development Center.

The following information is from Crimestoppers of Morgan and Scott Counties:

Sometime in the overnight hours of July 17; unknown person(s) broke several windows out of two buildings on the former JDC grounds.

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Springfield City Government
6:15 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Interview: Columnist Calvin Christian On File Shredding Lawsuit

Calvin Christian III
Credit Calvin Christian

Calvin Christian has been working since 2010 to make documentation of police officer misconduct more accessible to the public. 

Christian is now suing the City over the premature destruction of public records, including those which detail the embarrassing (and criminal) past of Deputy Police Chief Cliff Buscher.

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Regional
8:07 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Grafton Ferry Set To Return

A Mississippi River ferry service linking southwestern Illinois' Jersey County to Missouri's St. Charles County is about to be back in business after being shut down for more than two years.  
 The (Alton) Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1146MGq ) reports that the Grafton ferry will resume next Friday, thanks to dredging efforts that cleared out river silt that kept the service from operating.  

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Springfield City Government
7:05 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Houston: "Let Chips Fall Where They May" As Police Chief, Top Attorney Depart

Mayor Michael J. Houston
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

Mayor Mike Houston has announced that Springfield's Chief of Police and top legal counsel are both on their way out.  

Houston says Chief Robert Williams will take the rest of his accrued vacation time and retire in mid-October.  Corporation Counsel Mark Cullen is expected to formally submit his resignation when he returns from a vacation out of the country.

In a Friday evening interview with WUIS, Houston called for a stop to the "innuendo and rumors" he says are "floating around" in the community.  

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Purvines Ancestors Barn
12:27 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Barn At Clayville Site To Become Pioneer Agriculture Museum

Purvines Ancestors Barn
Credit Pleasant Plains Historical Society

Volunteers who help at the Clayville Historic Site outside of Springfield have a new use for an old barn that's been preserved by a family with strong ties to Sangamon County.

They're inviting the public to Clayville Sunday to learn more about the effort to put together a Pioneer Agriculture Museum in the Purvines Ancestors Barn. 

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Political Patronage Allegations
10:23 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Metra Could Hire Former Federal Prosecutor For Buyout Probe

Patrick Collins
Credit perkinscoie.com

Metra is considering hiring a former assistant U.S. attorney to investigate allegations that prominent politicians pressured staff in personnel and contract decisions.

The public agency's board of directors will vote Monday on whether to approve hiring Patrick Collins, who prosecuted the case that sent former Gov. George Ryan to prison for corruption.

The allegations involving Metra emerged during inquiries into a lucrative buyout for former CEO Alex Clifford.

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2009 Beason Slayings
9:58 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Christopher Harris Sentenced To Life In Prison

Christopher Harris

An Illinois man convicted of fatally beating five members of his ex-wife's family in 2009 has been sentenced to life in prison.  
 A judge sentenced Christopher Harris to five consecutive life sentences on Friday.  
 The 34-year-old Harris faced a mandatory life sentence after he was convicted in May on five counts of first-degree murder, home invasion and other charges.  

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Concealed Carry Legislation
9:30 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Some Municipalities Race To Pass Gun Bans As Deadline Looms

Credit www.sxc.hu

It could be months before law-abiding gun owners can get a permit to carry a handgun in public.  But a separate provision of Illinois’ new concealed carry law has already taken effect. 

Beginning July 19, communities lose the ability to enact local restrictions on firearms.  Those ordinances that are already in place will remain valid, while any future controls would have to be approved by the legislature.

WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky gives the local gun control issue some historical context in this report:

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Environment
1:33 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Fracking Divides Environmentalists In Ill.

Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Across the world, the drilling process referred to as "fracking" has caused controversy. Some say it brings heavy profits with the oil and natural gas it extracts from far underground. Others say it's caused pollution, contaminated water... and even initiated earthquakes. It's an issue Illinois residents have been largely untouched by - until now, as fracking has recently begun in the southern part of the state.

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Community
1:21 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Interview: Illinois Prairie Pastel Society President

"Off Crockrell Lane" - by George King
Credit Illinois Prairie Pastel Society

The Illinois Prairie Pastel Society aims to promote and foster creative use of the medium. It was established a few years ago, and what started with a handful of members has grown since then. The group has artwork on display at the Chatham Area Public Library. President of the group, George King, joins us now to talk about that exhibit and why the pastel society was formed in the first place.  

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Harvest Desk
9:37 am
Thu July 18, 2013

The Cost Of Satisfying A Nation's Sweet Tooth

Candy shop owner Rob Flesher says companies like his pay more for sugar thanks to government sugar supports.
Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

Americans consume a lot of sweets. Even discounting all the high fructose corn syrup you find in soft drinks, the average consumer takes in about 40 pounds of refined sugar in a year, according to the USDA.

That means food companies from Nestle to Hostess and small neighborhood candy stores have to buy sugar. Lots of it. And those bakers and snack food makers say the government gives too much support to sugar growers and consumers are footing the bill.  

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Political Patronage Allegations
8:23 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Ousted Metra CEO: Madigan's Actions Show "Moral And Ethical Flaw"

Former Metra CEO Alex Clifford
Credit Metra

A former California transit executive tapped to clean up Chicago's scandal-tarnished Metra commuter rail agency says he was pushed out for doing exactly that and resisting pressure from Illinois politicians.
 
Alex Clifford was allowed to speak publicly for the first time Wednesday about his lucrative buyout agreement, which critics have called hush money and a waste of taxpayer funds.
 

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Caterpillar: Policy's Anticompetitive
5:21 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Illinois Business Coalition Calls For Immigration Overhaul

A somewhat unlikely coalition is calling on Illinois' Congressional delegation to support an overhaul of the nation's immigration policy.       

                                                                           

At a Springfield roundtable discussing immigration, Mark Peters, an attorney with Peoria-based Caterpillar, started off his remarks by saying: "This would be a ... a really bad preface to a poor joke about a sheriff, a lawyer and a priest going into a bar..."

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District 186
9:30 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Schools Feed Kids Over Summer Months — For Free

Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

District 186 students might be on break, but many are still showing up at schools. Six different schools offer free meals to students during the summer months. In this story we take you to Butler Elementary, where lunch is being served:

Outside of the elementary school, right off of MacArthur Boulevard, kids are swinging, climbing equipment, and bouncing balls — but this isn't recess. They are waiting to be fed.

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Health Desk
8:58 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Diagnosing Disorder: The DSM-5 And A Changing Mental Health Field

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - 5th Edition
Credit http://mghmcleanpsychiatry.partners.org

Over the past decade, scientific research has influenced the way psychiatrists and other clinicians diagnose mental health disorders.

That's according to Dr. Vikki Vandiver  of Portland, Oregon.  The professor and co-editor of the academic journal Best Practices in Mental Health will be in Springfield Thursday, July 18.

Vandiver will speak at a conference for doctors, social workers and other professionals about changes to the widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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Same-Sex Marriage Legislation
7:17 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Gay Rights Advocacy Coalition Picks New Campaign Director

John Kohlhepp
Credit Crain's Chicago Business

WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky speaks with John Kohlhepp, the newly selected Campaign Director for Illinois Unites for Marriage.  The coalition is pouring about $2M into a new push to get same-sex marriage legislation approved in the Illinois House. 

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Election 2014
6:15 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Quinn Suddenly Ready To Talk Politics, Disses Daley

Bill Daley, on the left, is a likely primary challenger for Gov. Pat Quinn, on the right in this stitch of separate photos.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  With Attorney General Lisa Madigan out of the race for Governor,  incumbent Pat Quinn turned his focus to another potential opponent,  Bill Daley.  It's an early indication of the campaign to come.

                                           

Republicans have a somewhat crowded field of four candidates hoping to be Illinois' next Governor.

For now, though, Democrats have only two: former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley and Governor Pat Quinn.

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PCCC
4:45 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Interview: Brian Oaks On Changes For The PCCC

The Prairie Capitol Convention Center in Springfield has hosted some big names when it comes to musicians, like country singer and American Idol winner Carrie Underwood, and the decades-old prog-rock band Kansas. But the center is taking a bit of a hiatus as plans are finalized to make it more appealing to convention-goers and concert-goers alike. Brian Oaks is the general manager of the center, he joins us for this interview about the on-going renovations: 

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