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History
6:22 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Re-enactment Of Mormon Leader's Illinois Court Case

Joseph Smith
Credit wikipedia

The founder of the Mormon Church and efforts to extradite him in the 1800's will again provide courtroom drama as a series of events will be held later this year.  
Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Hearings were held regarding Missouri's attempt to extradite him from Illinois for charges that included treason.    Smith exercised his right of habeas corpus, requiring hearings to determine if they were being lawfully held in custody.   

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Statehouse
5:43 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Quinn Plans Concealed Carry "Showdown"

Credit ammoland.com

Gov. Pat Quinn says he's ready for a ``showdown'' in Springfield over concealed carry legislation.  
The Chicago Democrat has spent days making appearances talking up his sweeping changes to a bill that'd make Illinois the last state to allow concealed weapons.  
But lawmakers are expected to override Quinn's changes when they meet Tuesday in Springfield. The bill's sponsor, among others, says the original measure came out of months of negotiations.  
Quinn wouldn't say if he has the votes, but says he's working on it. He says the bill was influenced heavily by the National Rifle Association. 

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Regional
5:25 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Christopher Harris Wants New Trial

Christopher Harris
Credit Logan County

A central Illinois man convicted in May of beating to death five members of his ex-wife's family in their home wants a new trial.  
Attorneys Daniel Fultz and Peter Naylor mailed a motion asking for a new trial for Christopher Harris last Friday. A spokeswoman for the Logan County Circuit Clerk's Office said Monday that it hasn't yet arrived.  
The attorneys argue Judge Scott Drazewski denied 34-year-old Harris a fair trial by refusing to let jurors visit the home in Beason where Rick and Ruth Gee and their children died in 2009.  

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History
3:49 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

New Philadelphia During The Civil War

Credit http://www.newphiladelphiail.org

New Philadelphia was a Pike County town, founded by a former slave in 1836.  But there is another side to the story... What happened in New Philadelphia when the civil war broke out?   

Claire Fuller Martin, a research associate at the Illinois State Museum, will discuss that period during the next museum science series lecture. 


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Retirement? Not On The Farm
8:57 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Harvest Desk Series: "Changing Lands, Changing Hands"

Bob Hawthorn on his Iowa farm
Credit Ray Meints, NET News

The aging of the American farmer is reshaping the rural economy.  Reporter Grant Gerlock of Harvest Public Media and NET News in Nebraska begins the series "Changing Lands, Changing Hands" by checking in on the fastest growing group of farmers in the U.S. - those age 65 and older.

Working beyond retirement is a fairly common refrain these days. In 2012, 5 percent of the U.S. workforce was beyond retirement age. But farmers seem to work longer than most. In the last Agriculture Census 25 percent of all farm operators were over 65 years old.

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Harvest Desk
7:29 am
Mon July 8, 2013

My Farm Roots: Wings

Kelly Hagler left her family’s farm in northwest Missouri for the bright lights of Chicago, but her family and the farm are never far from her thoughts.
Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

This is the fifth installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Kelly Hagler, 25, is among the millions of young people who have left rural communities for the bright lights of the city, in this case Chicago.

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Pensions
6:57 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Quinn, Deadlines And Legislative Deadlock

Gov. Pat Quinn set his latest deadline for pension legislation — July 9 — in a Capitol news conference on June 19, 2013.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Tuesday is the latest deadline Governor Pat Quinn has set for overhauling Illinois' pension systems.

It's part of what's become an ongoing pattern: Quinn sets a deadline, the General Assembly fails to meet it, Quinn sets another deadline, et cetera. 

We asked Brian Mackey to take a look at the phenomenon, and try to figure out what — if anything — it says about the governor.

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Statehouse
5:12 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Father-In-Law Reflects On Blagojevich

Credit WBEZ

Retiring Chicago Alderman Dick Mell says his falling out with son-in-law Rod Blagojevich and the former Illinois governor's imprisonment for corruption continue to weigh heavily on him.  
Mell spoke with reporters Friday about his nearly 40 years as a City Council member.  
The 75-year-old says the events surrounding his son-in-law and his wife's death were two painful episodes in his life. He says they ``put a damper'' on what he otherwise regards as a lucky and fulfilling life.  
Mell says it was difficult to say what he really feels about Blagojevich, but he hopes Blagojevich gets an appeal and that his 14-year sentence could be reduced.  
Mell aided Blagojevich's rise to governor, but says he now wished he had ``done things differently.''

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Concealed Carry
4:17 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Quinn Goes To Wrigley Field To Sell Concealed Carry Stance

Governor Pat Quinn took his anti-gun message to the streets Friday. He spoke with reporters outside Wrigley Field in Chicago.
People come to Wrigleyville to watch the Chicago Cubs. Many of them also come to drink.
The neighborhood is home to many bars, and Quinn used that to highlight a change he's demanding in concealed-carry legislation.
As originally passed by the House and Senate, guns would only be banned at businesses that get more than half their revenue from selling alcohol -- basically, that means bars.

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Home Front Law
7:00 am
Fri July 5, 2013

New Rule To Help Lawyers In Military Families

This week, a new Illinois Supreme Court rule took effect that's intended to make it easier for spouses of military personnel to get a law license.

Angela Allen practices law in Chicago and, with a husband in the Illinois National Guard, she's one of about 800 members of the Military Spouse J.D. Network.

Allen says the job market for lawyers is tough enough as it is, but with the frequent transfers that are a part of military life, she says the time and expense of getting a new state law license made it even harder on the lawyer-spouses.

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Theatre In The Park
7:00 am
Thu July 4, 2013

'The Crucible' At New Salem's Theatre In The Park

John O'Connor as John Proctor & Kara DeWall as Abigail Williams
Credit Donna Lounsberry

Carly Shank joins us to talk about the play 'The Crucible', written by Arthur Miller. The final performances are Thursday through Sunday at The Theatre in the Park in New Salem. Carly Shank is the director of that production:

CLICK HERE for more information about the production and to purchase tickets.

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History
5:23 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Clemency Sought For Illinois Abolitionists

The home of Dr. Richard Eells in Quincy
Credit greatriverroad.com

Illinois' lieutenant governor is seeking clemency for Illinois abolitionists convicted for fighting slavery.  
The Carbondale Democrat's office is working with historians and experts to identify men and women around Illinois who were convicted of violating slavery laws.  
Slavery was abolished in Illinois in 1824, but laws prohibited people from harboring or helping slaves.  

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Conference Committee
5:33 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Stalemate On When Pension Stalemate Must End

Democratic legislators Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) prepare to begin the General Assembly's conference committee hearing on pensions.
Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Gov. Pat Quinn's office says his July 9 deadline for a pension overhaul stands, even though the leader of a special legislative panel formed to come up with a solution says there's no way to meet it.

It was a similar story about this time last year. 

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Health Desk
11:48 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Feds Delay Won't Impact Illinois Health Marketplace

Illinois officials say the one-year delay in a central requirement of President Barack Obama's health care law will have no direct impact on the new online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop for coverage.  
A spokesman for Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace is on track to begin enrollment on Oct. 1. Mike Claffey says consumers can expect a range of affordable health care options.  

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Illinois
9:17 am
Wed July 3, 2013

George Ryan: "Freedom's A Great Thing"

Former Ill. Gov. George Ryan

A cheerful, joking George Ryan has spoken outside his home after the former Illinois governor was released from home confinement.  
 Ryan spoke Wednesday afternoon in Kankakee, saying he felt good, physically and mentally.  
 Wednesday ended more than five years in federal custody for corruption. In January, he was released from an Indiana prison and moved to confinement at his home.  
 Ryan says he feels ``wonderful'' and that ``freedom's a great thing.''  
 Ryan says he's writing a book but didn't elaborate.  

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Business
9:16 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Illinois Chamber President Urges Pension Overhaul

Doug Whitley

Doug Whitley, President of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, says the state's underfunded pension systems are wreaking havoc in other areas.  He says the growing cost of pension payments is forcing Illinois government to spend less on areas like education and infrastructure. 

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Economic Development
7:27 am
Wed July 3, 2013

City Council OKs Jefferson Crossing TIF Plan

Site along Veteran's Parkway approved for future shopping center and city park
Credit Google Maps

Developers who've been planning for years to build a shopping center and gas station at a busy intersection on Springfield's northwest side say they could break ground on the project next month.

The Jefferson Crossing redevelopment plan got final approval from aldermen Tuesday night.  The City Council agreed to set aside $9.2 million dollars in future tax revenues to reimburse builders.  The funds will come from a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District set up in 2007 specifically for the project.

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Montford Point Marines
7:00 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Springfield Vet Honored for World War 2 Service In Segregated Unit

DeLoyce McMurray served in the Marine Corps during World War II. He and more than 19,000 other African Americans became known as "Montford Point Marines" — named for the location of their segregated boot camp.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was in Springfield Tuesday, presiding over a ceremony to honor a World War II veteran.

Four days after DeLoyce McMurray graduated from high school, he joined the Marines. But instead of training at Parris Island, McMurray was sent to Montford Point. That's where the segregated Marine Corps trained its African-American recruits.

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Concealed carry
6:45 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Quinn Rewrites Gun Bill; Critics Question Motive

Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) shepherds his concealed carry legislation, HB183, through the Illinois House on the final days of session in May.
Credit Chris Slaby/WUIS

With a week to go before a deadline requiring Illinois allow people to carry guns in public, Gov. Pat Quinn today vetoed the legislation that would have authorized concealed carry.  The Democrat claims he's concerned about public safety, but he's already under fire by critics who say it's a political stunt. The measure's sponsor has already filed paperwork to override Quinn's changes.

Illinois is the only state in the nation without some form of concealed carry.

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Education
4:40 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Focus Groups Will Meet Re: Search For 186 Superintendent

District 186 has chosen a search firm to find the next permanent superintendent. Walter Milton left earlier this year and Robert Leming has temporarily taken his place. The search firm School Exec Connect plans to accept applications until October, provided an ideal candidate is not found before then, says Springfield public school board president Chuck Flamini. He says the next step the search firm plans is organizing focus groups that will meet publicly:

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Statehouse
3:38 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Lawmakers Will Address Concealed Carry Next Week

Lawmakers are being called back to Springfield to consider Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed changes on a concealed carry bill.
House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman Steve Brown said Tuesday the House
will convene in regular session July 9. Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman says senators will join them. 
That's the day Illinois must meet a court-mandated deadline to legalize concealed carry.
Quinn used his amendatory veto power Tuesday to make significant changes. But the bill's sponsor intends to call for an override.
 

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58th Annual National Tom Sawyer Days
11:38 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Becky Thatcher House Re-Opens In Hannibal, MO

Credit Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

The 58th Annual National Tom Sawyer Days celebration starts Wednesday in Hannibal, Missouri.

The festival runs through the weekend with events honoring Samuel Clemens' literary work, including the town's "Tom and Becky" lookalike contest for kids.

A site in downtown Hannibal dedicated to Becky Thatcher - and the real woman who inspired the fictional character - has just re-opened to visitors following a major restoration effort.

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Statehouse
11:30 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Governor Changes Concealed Carry Measure

Gov. Pat Quinn says he wants to change concealed carry legislation because it has ``serious flaws'' and was inspired by the National Rifle Association.  
The Chicago Democrat held a news conference in downtown Chicago on Tuesday to announce that he's using his amendatory veto power to add ammunition limits, bar guns in establishments serving alcohol and says local governments should be able to enact their own local laws in some cases.  

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History
9:40 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Stephen Douglas Exhibit On Display

Stephen Douglas

This year marks the bicentennial of the birth for one of Illinois' most notable politicians.  But Stephen Douglas fell far short of his rival, Abraham Lincoln, in both height and the history books.   Douglas was more than simply a footnote in Illinois' past.  An exhibit underway at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum sheds some light on the Little Giant.  It includes items pertaining to Douglas.

James Cornelius is Curator of the Lincoln Collection at the facility and tells us more. 

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Concealed Carry
7:25 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Rep. Phelps: Quinn To Rewrite Concealed Carry Bill

Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg)
Credit ilga.gov

The sponsor of Illinois' concealed carry bill says Gov. Pat Quinn will use his amendatory veto powers to rewrite the measure.
 
Democratic State Rep. Brandon Phelps says the governor's office told him Quinn would issue the amendatory veto on Tuesday.
 
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson declined to give details about Quinn's decision, saying only that "the governor will act in the interest of public safety.''
 

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Gun Countdown
7:02 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Quinn Says Conceal Carry Action "Imminent"

Credit Mark Holloway via Flickr

  Illinois is quickly approaching a federal court's deadline of July 9 for the state to have a concealed carry law.

Every other state has some type of law that lets an average person carry a gun in public. But not Illinois where only those in certain professions can - namely police, retired law enforcement and security guards on the job.

Illinois is under a court order to lift that ban.

Legislators crafted a plan for how they want it done.   Now everyone's waiting for Gov. Pat Quinn to take action.

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Higher Education
3:12 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Raises For Most University Of Illinois Employees

University of Illinois President Robert Easter
Credit photo courtesy of University of Illinois Board of Trustees / University of Illinois

  University of Illinois employees are set to receive pay hikes this year, and just how much will depend on their performance.  The school's leader says he's trying to provide a more stable financial environment for staff, even in the face of the state's unstable finances.  

In a letter to employees*, University of Illinois President Robert Easter says competitive compensation is essential to recruit and retain top faculty and staff.  And yet, he writes, "we must recognize the many uncertainties and challenges before us."

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Statehouse
3:12 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Quinn To Act "Very Shortly" On Concealed Carry

Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll make a decision on whether to sign a concealed carry bill ``very shortly.''  
Illinois faces a July 9 deadline to legalize carry of weapons after a federal appeals court found Illinois' ban unconstitutional. But Quinn has given few hints about what he'll do, even after lawmakers asked him to make a decision quickly to they can plan next steps.  
Quinn could veto the measure which outlines who can carry. Quinn declined to give details Monday after signing a school safety bill. He says a decision is ``imminent.''  

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Regional
1:57 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Vets Having Trouble Getting Jobs

Credit Flickr/U.S. Military Academy at West Point

The economy has proven difficult for many.  But one group in particular, returning veterans, is finding it especially hard to locate work.  Meredith Colias of Illinois Issues magazine wrote about the problem in the latest edition. 

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Community
10:32 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Artist On The Plaza: Local Performers In Downtown Springfield

Every spring and summer, local artists can be seen performing in the plaza outside of the old state capitol in Springfield. We speak with Sheila Walk, who tells us about the Artist on the Plaza events which happen twice a week:

CLICK HERE for more information on the Artist on the Plaza events on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in downtown Springfield.

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