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Education Desk
6:02 am
Fri October 31, 2014

"Growth" Graph Is New Gauge Of Illinois Schools

Here's a glimpse of how one local elementary school is performing as compared to the district and state averages.

Illinois new report cards on public schools become available online today. But parents hoping to find a simple snapshot of how their kids' school measures up might be in for a surprise.

Thanks to a federal waiver received in April, Illinois schools are no longer judged by whether students have achieved "adequate yearly progress" -- the standard set by No Child Left Behind.

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Criminal Justice
3:17 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Prisoner Freed After Recanting Testimony "Angry"

Alstory Simon
Credit IDOC

A man released from a west central Illinois prison after recanting a confession to a 1982 double murder says he's angry with those he alleges coerced his admission of guilt.  

A judge ordered Alstory Simon's release Thursday after Cook County prosecutors re-examined the case.  
Simon's initial confession led to the release in 1999 of another man who was on death row for the killings.  

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Election 2014
2:49 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Choice Of Choice: Gov. Candidates On Abortion

Credit WUIS

Gov. Pat Quinn used the issue of abortion to win votes from suburban women in his election four years ago. This time, his Republican opponent says he's pro-choice. But it's not that cut-and-dry.

Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, like Quinn, classifies himself as pro-choice. He's also said he doesn't have a “social agenda."

That hasn't satisfied Terry Cosgrove, of Personal PAC, which has endorsed Quinn. "While Bruce Rauner may say he doesn't have a social agenda, that is not true when you look at his actions," Cosgrove said.

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12:58 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

How Political Donors Are Changing Statehouse News Reporting

Lead in text: 
Governing magazine looks at advocacy and journalism with a focus on Illinois (includes a picture of Amanda Vinicky at work in the WUIS/Illinois Issues statehouse bureau).
The talk radio segment started with the opening guitar riffs of Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City." Then, over the first drumbeats of the 1987 rock anthem, came the deep, resonant voice of a male announcer, "Holding government accountable for how they spend our money, it's Illinois Watchdog Radio: Watching the statehouse and cities across the state."
Education Desk
7:17 am
Thu October 30, 2014

MacMurray College Scrapping Ten Programs

MacMurray College in Jacksonville is getting rid of ten academic programs due to low enrollment. 

The Board of Trustees approved the phase out of the programs, which include Elementary Education, English and History.

A statement from the school says the changes affect about 15 students.  Those currently enrolled in the programs will have opportunities to complete their degrees and no new students will be admitted.  The college says no layoffs are involved.

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Regional
6:24 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Authorities: Springfield Woman's BAC Three Times The Legal Limit

Sangamon County Courthouse

Authorities say a Springfield woman had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit when involved in a crash that killed two.  

Andrea E. Little is charged with aggravated driving under the influence in connection with a crash that killed 16-year-old Pleasant Plains High School student Danielle Allen. Authorities say Little was eastbound on Illinois 125 late Saturday when her car veered and crashed into a car driven by Allen.  

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Politics
9:31 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

U-S Senate Candidates Differ On Ebola Response And More

Jim Oberweis (left) and Dick Durbin
Credit WTTW

Ebola has not just dominated the news recently, it has become a point of discussion in campaigns.  It came up in last night's U-S Senate debate, held as part of the public t-v program "Chicago Tonight."

U-S Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, says he favors close monitoring of passengers and quarantining those at high risk of exposure.

But he disagreed with his Republican challenger Jim Oberweis, a state Senator, on the need for a travel ban from certain countries.  

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Education Desk
4:33 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Illinois Provides Data On Schools Via Award-Winning Report Card

The website gives data by school, by district and for the state as a whole.

When you think of a report card, you think of a basic form that provides average test scores and little more. But the new online report cards for each Illinois public school offer more granular data, such as teacher retention and principal turnover rates, the percentage of high school freshmen deemed "on track" for graduation, and even survey results for how safe students feel at school.

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Statehouse
4:16 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

A Look At Amazon's Move To Illinois

Jamey Dunn
Credit Matthew Penning

Amazon has announced it will open facilities in Illinois, saying it will bring 1,000 jobs to the state. That announcement was made Tuesday. But what does it really mean for the state when it comes to jobs, as well as taxes for consumers? Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn has been following the online retailer and its relationship with the state for years now (read a past report here). She joins us for this interview:

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Education Desk
2:24 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Training Ambassadors For Non-Violence

Bernice King speaks with students at Riverview Gardens High School about nonviolence on Sept. 18, 2014
Credit Tim Lloyd/St. Louis Public Radio

This story is the third part of A Teachable Moment, a three-part series that profiles how issues raised by events in Ferguson are being discussed in classrooms across the St. Louis region.

In Riverview Gardens High School’s library, students have formed small groups. For many of the kids here, peaceful demonstrations and at times violent clashes between police and protesters weren’t just on TV; they were down the street, around the corner or in their backyards.

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Arts
1:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

What's New With The Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony? Quite A Lot

Gene Power
Credit SVYS

Music Director Gene Power says he's received a positive response to his plan for a first ever Chamber Music Program. 

"We had about 27 kids who were interested in being in chamber ensembles," he said.  A coach was hired to work with the students after regular practices. 

Power says it's part of a larger effort to bring more visibility to the organization which provides music opportunities for kids at the elementary and secondary school levels. 

The ensembles could also perform at events where live music might be proper, like a holiday party.

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History
9:54 am
Wed October 29, 2014

History Series: Local Reaction To Orson Welles' War Of The Worlds

Orson Welles

Listen to the latest from our history series. These are sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society and written by Tara McClellan McAndrew, history columnist for the State Journal-Register.  Performers included Tom Hutchinson and Eric Thibbodeaux-Thompson. 

Springfield can lay a small claim to the man behind the "War of the Worlds" radio program. Orson Welles' mother, Beatrice Ives, was from a Springfield family.

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Scary Stories
9:41 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Scary Story: Missing Meredith By Jill Barth

A photo of the author
Credit courtesy of Jill Barth

WUIS is wrapping up its series of scary stories, written by local authors and presented in honor of Halloween season. This second-to-last story comes to us from Jill Barth:

CLICK HERE to read the story.

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Statehouse
6:17 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Durbin & Oberweis Debate Tonight

Credit Oberweis for US Senate

The Illinois candidates for U.S. Senate are set for their final televised debate ahead of next week's election. 

Chicago's WTTW-TV will host the Wednesday forum for Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican challenger state Sen. Jim Oberweis. WTTW officials say they'll also take questions from Twitter users during the 60-minute event.

Durbin is the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate and is seeking a fourth term. Oberweis is a dairy magnate from Sugar Grove who was elected to the state Senate in 2012. 

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Regional
7:38 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Young Philanthropists Keep Giving Back

Stacy Reed (left) and Sarah Buening
Credit WUIS

Sarah Beuning calls it the "snowball" effect. 

"Young Philanthropists is a giving circle at the Community Foundation for people who want to get involved in philanthropy at kind of an early level," she said.  "The more people who get together, the bigger impact we can have."

Every member gives $125 and the money is pooled and grants are awardedThe next round will be going out soon. A deadline of Nov. 3 is coming fast for those who work with children and want to apply. 

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Election 2014
6:20 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

The Lone Justice Fighting For Retention

Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who was elected a decade ago, is now up for retention; an organization calling itself "Campaign 2016" is trying to unseat him.
Credit Illinois Supreme Court

There's a last-minute push to unseat one of Illinois' Supreme Court justices. That's difficult to do -- a sitting judge doesn't have to win a race. He just has to get 60-percent of voters' to agree to his retention.

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Education Desk
1:40 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

For Some, Ferguson Is A Matter Of Faith

Chaminade High School Theology Teacher Dan Stout talks with students about protests in Ferguson.
Credit Tim Lloyd/St. Louis Public Radio

This story is the second part of A Teachable Moment, a three-part series that profiles how issues raised by events in Ferguson are being discussed in classrooms across the St. Louis region. 

From pulpits to protests, a wide cross section of St. Louis’ religious leaders has been deeply involved with demonstrations following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9. And for some teachers at religious schools in St. Louis, talking with students about the protests in Ferguson and Brown’s death is about more than education -- it’s a matter of faith.

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Election 2014
1:36 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Why Is Illinois So Hard To Poll?

Gov. Pat Quinn, seen at the Illinois State Fair, beat the polls in his 2010 campaign for governor.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

This story first ran in the October 2014 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

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Sports
1:23 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Water Damages Illini Basketball Court

State Farm Center
Credit wikipedia

The University of Illinois says it is evaluating the condition of the new basketball court inside the State Farm Center after several inches of storm water backed up inside the arena.  

The university said on its athletics website that the water covered the floor about 3 a.m. Tuesday due to a blocked storm-drain line after a heavy rain.  

The school said that if the court can't be fixed the university will ``secure an alternate playing surface'' in time for the season that begins next week. It wasn't clear if that would mean buying a new surface.  

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Election 2014
12:58 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Madigan Vs. The Marine

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is escorted by American Legion members at a 2014 convention in Springfield; she's seeking a fourth term.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Lisa Madigan was the first woman elected to be Illinois' Attorney General, in 2003. After flirting with a run for governor, Madigan, the daughter of House Speaker Michael Madigan -- is instead seeking a fourth term as the state's top lawyer. Amanda Vinicky starts off this extended interview asking Madigan what she has accomplished that makes her deserving of another four years.

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Business
11:07 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Supermarket Hiring Contributes To Lower Unemployment WUIS SJR Business Report

Grocery store hiring part of the better jobless rate,  Bunn-O-Matic buys building on west side and a chance to save an 1840's home from the wrecking ball on today's WUIS-State Journal Register business report.

 

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Scary Stories
8:00 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Scary Story: St. Michael And Mr. Pyles By H.W. Devlin

H.W. Devlin
Credit courtesy of H.W. Devlin

H.W. Devlin sent us this story, which he recorded himself. Devlin says he, "...is a lifelong resident of Virginia, Illinois with three children, a dog and five sisters. He enjoys running, fishing, carpentry, gardening and coffee -- not necessarily in that order."

CLICK HERE to read the story.

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Business
7:44 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Amazon Says It Will Bring 1,000 Jobs To Illinois

Amazon Inc. says it plans to open its first facility in Illinois next year in a move that would create 1,000 jobs.  

The announcement comes a week from election day as Governor Pat Quinn touts economic growth and his Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, has criticized the slow growth of employment in Illinois.

The company made the announcement about the $75 million project on Tuesday. The jobs figure would be reached by 2017.  

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Legal
6:22 am
Tue October 28, 2014

George Ryan's Prosecutor Back In U.S. Attorney's Office

A prosecutor-turned-private attorney has returned to the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago to take its No. 2 job.  

Joel Levin served for 28 years as a federal prosecutor in California, Wisconsin and Illinois. In Chicago, he helped prosecute former Illinois Gov. George Ryan for corruption. He entered private practice in 2008.  

Another Ryan prosecutor is Chicago's current U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon. Fardon announced the 60-year-old Levin's appointment as first assistant U.S. attorney Monday.  

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Regional
4:51 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Making Buildings Healthier From The Inside Out

Credit flickr/JoshuaRothhaas

What chemicals wind up in building materials?   And do they impact your health?   

Those are questions Jeffrey Saad has been asking.   He's deciphering the "recipes" that are used in construction.  The Chicago based architect with Perkins+Will says of the more than 82,000 chemicals registered in the U.S., only about 200 have been analyzed for their potential threats.  And only 5 are banned.

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Education Desk
6:06 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri: A Teachable Moment

Vincent Flewellen leads a lesson on Ferguson during his eighth-grade multicultural studies course at Ladue Middle School. Credit Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

It was early September and Vincent Flewellen had just wrapped up his day teaching at Ladue Middle School.

“It was a pretty day,” Flewellen remembered. “I had a great day here at Ladue Middle School. I was really in a good mood.”

But Flewellen knew he could be in for a heavy night.

Less than four weeks had passed since Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown. And Flewellen, who is African American, was on his way to an event at Saint Louis University designed to help teachers unpack complicated issues of race and class.

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Election 2014
5:44 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Ebola Strikes Race For Governor

Credit Brett Levin / Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22/6044203012/in/photolist-nRM8aA-nRM9cA-6W3y3x-iSCMSX-ad77YL-ombQ4H-3cF2NM-8hAiN6-6W7Bsm-csFVES-grKEtn-9ZSWDs-fArP8e-niwAQi-89m25F-9ZT3kf-9ZQc52-n8xZJj-9ZT3Q3-9ZSikY-9ZPp8z-9ZSj83-csFRxN-ff

Illinois'  O'Hare Airport is one of five in the nation where travelers from West Africa must undergo extra screening for Ebola. But now the state has additional guidelines to prevent the virus' potential spread. What to do is the latest disagreement in an already adversarial race for governor.

Even as New Jersey releases a nurse forced into quarantine upon her return from Sierra Leone, Gov. Pat Quinn is standing by a similar policy for Illinois.

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Election 2014
5:28 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Businesses Weigh In On What Illinois Government Should Do

Credit flickr/locosteve

The future of Illinois’ business climate is one of the hottest topics in the governor’s race.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner toss it around like a hot potato - claiming credit for themselves while lobbing blame at the other guy.

But that hot potato represents real people - and real businesses. Plenty of examples can be found in what once was the fastest-growing county in the whole country.

You don’t have to spend much time in Kendall County before you find places still haunted by the economic downturn.

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Scary Stories
3:33 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Scary Story: Planes By Ted Morrissey

Here's our latest in the scary story series, listen to Ted Morrissey read his piece titled, "Planes":

 

You can read the story, HERE.

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Education Desk
7:55 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Group Has A Goal Of Improving Access To Preschool In Macon County

Credit flickr: EdenJanineJim

Getting more kids into pre-school might not solve all the problems, but there is mounting evidence that it can help ensure a child gets off to a good start. 

However, some communities struggle to get more youngsters into early learning.  

The Education Coalition of Macon County has studied the issue there and found some pressing needs when it comes to early childhood education. 

Sarah Bjelland is the group's Research and Data Manager.

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