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Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, Illinois' two gubernatorial candidates met in Peoria for a public debate.  Also, in Chicago, lawmakers began hearings looking into problems with the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

Preview Of 'Beethoven Meets the Silk Road'

Oct 10, 2014
Rachel Otwell/WUIS

A tabla virtuoso is in Springfield. Sandeep Das has worked with greats like Yo-Yo Ma and Ravi Shankar. He will play with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, headed by Alastair Willis, on Saturday (CLICK HERE for more info.)

In this interview, UIS ethnomusicology professor Yona Stamatis speaks with Maestro Willis about the concert, called 'Beethoven Meets the Silk Road': 

Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner
Illinois Public Broadcasting

The two leading candidates for Illinois governor met Thursday night in Peoria for the first debate of the election season. Both men stuck closely to the ideas they’ve been honing for months on the campaign trail.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, are running carefully scripted campaigns.

Quinn has a populist message: That he’s a friend of the working man, always looking out for the little guy.

Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner
Illinois Public Broadcasting

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner met for the first formal debate of the general election season Thursday in Peoria. The panel included Illinois Public Radio/WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and Illinois Issues Executive Editor Jamey Dunn.

Watch or listen to the full debate:

Let's Talk Kids - "Design for Success"

Oct 9, 2014
Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

I’ve noticed something about my alarm clock:  If I set it for 4 a.m., it goes off at 4 a.m. every time.  It doesn’t sometimes sound at 4 and other times at 9.  It always goes off at 4.

It was designed to respond the way I’ve instructed it to when I set it.  For me to expect it to function any other way would be silly.  And yet sometimes, we expect people to function differently than they were programmed to function.  Here’s an example.

Illinois is about a quarter of the way into its fiscal year and building up debt along the way.

A new report says it's a return to detrimental policies that landed Illinois in an unstable financial position in the first place.
                     
There was one, glaring question for lawmakers last spring: what were they going to do about the temporary income tax?

Illinois hiked rates in 2011, but only until midway through this fiscal year.  The 5% rate rolls back to 3.75%  in January.

WILL

On Friday, the Campus Senate of the University of Illinois at Springfield will take up a strongly-worded resolution written in the aftermath of the Board of Trustees' controversial dismissal of Steven Salaita. 

He's the professor whose job offer at the university's main campus was rescinded after his critical and sometimes profane tweets about the Israeli conflict with Gaza.

UIS Senate chair Jorge Villegas said the resolution is in response to the Board's position that tenure comes with a requirement of civility.

History Series: Sousa In Springfield

Oct 9, 2014

Our history series continues with a look at the relationship between Springfield and John Philip Sousa. The stories are sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society. Performers include Tom Hutchinson and Eric Thibbodeaux-Thompson. 

And now, for something completely different...

CLICK HERE for The Sousa Archives at the Center for American Music at the U of I in Champaign.

 

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

If you think an art show needs the confines of white walls, like in a museum or other formal setting, think again. Warehouses, apartments, and storefronts are also display places for art. Alternative art spaces, as they are known, began gaining attention in the late sixties. To this day, they draw in audiences who desire art that’s challenging and cutting edge. While cities like New York and L.A. are known for them, you don’t have to go to a big city to check one out.

SJ-R.com

A project in downtown Springfield that was to revitalize a former church is now in the courtroom.  Tim Landis of the State Journal Register discusses that and some of the week's other stories.

M.E.R.C.Y. Communities began helping homeless mothers and their children 15 years ago in Springfield. The work involved providing transitional and permanent housing, along with other services.

Fundraising and grants has helped cover costs.  But this year, word came that a federal HUD grant won't be renewed.   And unless that money is recouped, some services will be scaled back or eliminated.

WSIU

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called "fracking" - is an extraction method of natural gas that has many environmentalists concerned. It also has energy business booming in towns across the nation, and those towns will soon include ones in southern Illinois.

 

But in states where fracking is already underway, some say public health is at risk and pollution is happening. A recent study in Texas has looked at the liquid byproduct left over from fracking - and how it could be safely handled. Jamey Dunn joins us to talk about her recent column on the topic:

 

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club is launching an initiative Wednesday that aims to spark a discussion about consequences if the Illinois Supreme Court strikes down pension overhaul legislation.

The nonpartisan organization of executives is calling the outreach effort to lawmakers, schools and social services the ``What If'' initiative. Committee President Ty Fahner calls it ``imperative'' to understand what could result if pension reform is overturned.  

Lawmakers are set to start a two-day hearing probing Gov. Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program.  

The Legislative Audit Commission subpoenaed seven former Quinn administration officials connected to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. They're due to start appearing before the bipartisan committee that oversees state audits Wednesday. Organizers say testimony could take all day.  

Daisy Ad screenshot

It was 50 years ago last month that a new type of campaign commercial aired -- one devised to make President Lyndon Johnson's opponent look bad, rather than to extol his own virtues. "Daisy" only aired once, it was so controversial: the scene of a girl pulling petals off a flower crossed into one of an exploding bomb.  That commercial changed the political landscape. Any inhibitions campaigns may have had in 1964 have long since vanished. Now, negative ads are the norm. It's gotten to the point that a candidate for State Representative this week filed a lawsuit over it.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

As election day nears, legislative races are hotly contested in some parts of the state. We preview those and look at the odds of a Republican take-over in the Illinois House or Senate. We spoke with the Daily Herald's Mike Riopell for this interview:

To read Riopell's story about legislative races, CLICK HERE.

 

Amanda Vinicky

A Chicago attorney and anti-corruption campaigner is stressing that a court-appointed monitor is needed to ensure the state's Department of Transportation is in compliance with political hiring bans.  

Michael Shakman's filing Monday in federal court comes in response to a motion by Gov. Pat Quinn's attorneys that the governor's administration's response to allegations of political hiring in the department had been both ``prompt'' and ``appropriate.''  

With Curbside Composting, Food Waste Not A Total Loss

Oct 7, 2014

Wasting around 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. certainly has its drawbacks: It's not feeding people in need, it's expensive and it does a lot of environmental damage.

But across the country, cities, towns and companies are finding food waste doesn't have to be a total loss. In fact, it can be quite valuable – in making fertilizer, electricity or even fuel for cars, trucks and buses.

Latino Policy Forum website

As candidates hustle for voters' support, interest groups are working to drum up numbers of their own, with voter registration drives. The deadline is tomorrow.

Martin Torres has been all over Chicago lately, holding voter registration events. It's the Latino Policy Forum's goal to sign up 5,000 voters.

He says Latinos make up 16-percent of the state's population, but the community's political influence hasn't kept up.

U.S Department of Agriculture

A beetle that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees across the country has spread into central Illinois.

The state's agriculture department says the emerald ash border has been confirmed in 14 new counties, including Sangamon, Logan and Menard.  

That brings the total counties infested to 50.  

Chase

James Glassman, Head Economist, Commercial Bank, JP Morgan Chase says the economic recovery is better than many people think.   Speaking at the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce's Economic Outlook Breakfast, Glassman said this recovery is "in the fifth inning".  

Glassman says there are still two groups that haven't felt the recovery.  Those who are "involuntary" part time workers and students.   

Bruce Rauner and Pat Quinn headshots
brucerauner.com, quinnforillinois.com

Tune into WUIS 91.9 FM in central Illinois this Thursday, October 9 at 8 p.m. for a live debate between Governor Pat Quinn (D) and challenger Bruce Rauner (R) in this close Illinois gubernatorial campaign (this will also stream at WUIS.org and broadcast on WIPA 89.3 in west-central Illinois and other Illinois public radio and television stations).  The debate originates in Peoria.

WSIU

Brian Gaines has watched Illinois politics for 20 years.  The political scientist is with the University of Illinois's Institute for Government and Public Affairs. He says the current system of drawing legislative and congressional maps is bad and he hopes reformers can do something before the next re-map in 2020.

Gaines says there is too little transparency and too few people are involved.  The current map for Illinois' congressional district he says was created to help Democrats.   He says the public is not well served by maps that engineer outcomes. 

Starved Rock State Park

The state of Illinois has acquired 51 acres of land adjacent to Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby to provide more space for wildlife.  

In a news release, Gov. Pat Quinn's office announced that wildlife habitat land had also been acquired in Edgar, Woodford and Jackson counties.  

In the release, Quinn's office says the state bought the land next to Starved Rock with Open Land Trust funds from a private estate for the appraised value of $900,000.  

Lunch time at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo., displays all the usual trappings of a public school cafeteria: Star Wars lunch boxes, light up tennis shoes, hard plastic trays and chocolate milk cartons with little cartoon cows. It’s pizza day, the most popular of the week, and kids line up at a salad bar before receiving their slice.

Macon County

Election officials say there are two days left for regular voter registration ahead of Nov. 4.  

Illinois residents who have a driver's license or state ID can register online through the State Board of Elections website through Tuesday.  

Starting Wednesday, voters have a chance to participate in ``grace period'' registration until Nov. 3.

The process will be a little different for those registering late. Residents must present two forms of identification to election officials in person. One of these forms must include a current address.  

Amanda Vinicky

First, the President held a $50,000 a head fundraiser for Pat Quinn.  This week, First Lady Michelle Obama and Gloria Steinem are scheduled to be in Illinois to stump for him.  Over the weekend, it was actor Martin Sheen's turn to campaign alongside the Democratic governor.

According to the trade magazine "Variety," Martin Sheen made as much as $300,000 an episode for his role as Democratic Pres. Jeb Bartlet in the show "West Wing."

wikipedia/nyttend

An ancient site in present day Calhoun County is the source of intrigue among archaeologists.  Despite it's age and long known existence, little is known about the Golden Eagle site, near where the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers meet.   It features mounds with an earthen enclosure.  Some believe it was a trading center. But questions are plenty.

Jason King is Director of Research for the Center for American Archaeology in Kampsville. 

He's researching the site and will speak about that work at the Illinois State Museum's next Science Series lecture Wednesday night. 

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

President Barack Obama was in Chicago this week backing Governor Pat Quinn's re-election bid, while questions about Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative continue.

Courtesy of Illinois State Museum

First Friday is an event hosted by the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. It's from 5 to 8 pm (10/3) and will focus on local food, beer, entertainment, arts & crafts. The event is an attempt of the museum to draw in a crowd it might usually miss - young professionals. Families and children are also invited, and it's free to get in. Jennifer Snopko is with the museum and joined us for this interview about it:

CLICK HERE for more info about events at the museum.

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