More than 2 million people a year visit Illinois state historic sites. The locations play a big role in both state and local economies. But they often lack political muscle. So a more coordinated effort is underway to bring back the Historic Preservation caucus in the Illinois General Assembly.
Speaking on WUIS’ Illinois Edition, Chris Wills with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says there is a need:
Despite years of cuts to the Illinois state budget ... even more are ahead. Legislators are still deciding where else they can slash spending.
"Human services" is a legislative phrase Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) says covers:
HARRIS: "All the state departments dealing with health care, senior services, children services, so the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Medicaid, human services, mental health, substance abuse, Department of Aging, DCFS, public health and veterans... "
JP Harris & the Tough Choices play at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield tonight (5/17) as part of WUIS’ Bedrock 66 Live Concert Series. Harris’s music has been called “real country” and Harris calls his music “Hank Williams with a Motorhead attitude.” The Alabama native and Nashville transplant shares his music and what inspires it in this interview:
Illinois universities and community colleges have signed on to a deal that would have them pick up the cost of their employees' retirement benefits. It's part of lawmakers' ongoing efforts to reduce how much the state is spending on pensions.
Illinois has cut its spending on universities for years ... and even more reductions are expected next year.
School administrators say it's forced them to hike tuition, and to leave positions unfilled.
An Illinois Senate committee has approved legislation that would pave the way for concealed-carry of firearms in Illinois. But gun-rights advocates say it's too restrictive, and the measure faces an uphill climb.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, was trying to negotiate a compromise with gun-rights supporters. But ultimately he went his own way. His proposal would not allow guns in schools, day cares, casinos, and stadiums.
Just over two weeks remain before the Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn for the summer, on May 31st. They still have a lot to deal with in that time — like pensions, concealed carry, same-sex marriage, and next year's budget. But an incident Wednesday in the Illinois House shows tempers are already starting to flare.
John Michael Presney is a Rochester native who’s spent the last couple years touring the country as part of a musical production that he played rockabilly star Carl Perkins in. But 25 year old Presney has crafted a music-style all his own. And he has a new EP called ‘The Nighttime and the Dawn’ to prove it.
The third Springfield PrideFest is this Saturday. The all-day event celebrating gay pride includes food, drinks, and performances. The festival will be on Capitol Avenue between 4th and 6th streets downtown. WUIS’ Rachel Otwell recently spoke with Jonna Cooley about it, she’s the executive director of The Pheonix Center which puts on the event:
CLICK HERE for more info about the event on Saturday in downtown Springfield from noon to 9pm.
A local elementary school is teaching students about growing their own food with a hands-on project. Rachel Otwell recently visited the community garden across from McClernand Elementary School and spoke with instructors and students as they planted and tended to plots. She brings us this story:
Could Illinois be getting closer to legalizing the medical use of marijuana? Dan Riffle is with the Marijuana Policy Project, which has lobbied state lawmakers to approve the law. He was a guest on WUIS’ Illinois Edition with Sean Crawford.
Less than half of the money in Illinois' Road Fund actually pays for highway construction and maintenance. That's the finding in a new audit (pdf) that also says the Road Fund overpaid for employee health insurance.
Members of the Springfield City Council are looking for a way to prevent further incidents like the one in April in which police records were apparently shredded or deleted after they were requested by a local reporter through the Freedom of Information Act.
Tuesday night aldermen passed out of committee an ordinance that would require all changes to union contracts be approved by the Council and signed by the Mayor. Such contractual changes are known as memorandums of understanding, or MOUs.
The Springfield school board decided last night it will begin interviewing search firms and may hire one to find a new superintendent for district 186. The district has an interim superintendent who took over for Walter Milton at the beginning of April. It’s been debated since then how to go about finding someone to permanently replace him.
The Illinois Senate is expected to vote Thursday on the latest proposal to fix the state's drastically underfunded pension systems. In what's become a multi-year pension debate, many aspects of the plan have been put forth before. But it has one element that makes it unique.
Are government workers underpaid? Bob Bruno says his research shows in many cases, they are. He authored a study that found when comparing comparable jobs in the public and private sector, those who work for government, including teachers, get the short shrift. Bruno is a professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois.
He told WUIS' Sean Crawford the purpose of the study and how he went about the comparisons:
Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he's gathering more information about events last month that triggered allegations that the city destroyed files sought in a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Attorneys for Springfield resident Calvin Christian say the police department violated a state public records retention law last month by destroying dozens of internal affairs files subject to a FOIA request filed by Christian.
This week, Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register discusses the new use for the Maisenbacher House in Springfield, the city’s first major project tied to consolidation of rail traffic and a survey that shows small businesses play an big role in the area’s economy:
When a federal court declared Illinois' ban on letting people carry guns in public unconstitutional ... it also gave legislators an assignment: pass a concealed carry law by June 9. Lawmakers are in continued negotiations, but so far gun rights' activists have been unable to reach an agreement with those who favor stricter gun control. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is doubtful they will ... at least in time. He fears that could leave Illinois temporarily without ANY real limits on who can carry a gun, and where.
The Fernwood Mausoleum is more than just the story of a dilapidated building. It’s a sad result for those who thought that they would spend eternity inside the enclosure located in the Greene County town of Roodhouse.
But the future for the nearly 100 bodies still housed at the mausoleum remains uncertain, nearly a century after it was built. Costly repairs are needed. Ray Coons, with the Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association, is among those volunteers working to save the site.
A Springfield school board race that was too close to call is now over. Katharine Eastvold announced today she has conceded in the race for subdistrict five. She lost by one vote to Donna Moore. A partial recount found that votes had been counted accurately. Eastvold says she considered asking a judge for a full recount but did not find enough evidence to warrant that move. A supporter of Eastvold had used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover election documents. But Eastvold says those documents failed to turn up information to justify dragging out the contest.
Community gardens are cropping up in urban areas across the country. They’re a way for those without the yard space to grow their own food. Kemia Sarraf is the founder and president of the local group gen H Kids, which stands for Generation Healthy. She tells WUIS’ Rachel Otwell about how the group is bringing a new community garden to Springfield:
Katharine Eastvold lost her run for Springfield school board by a single vote about three weeks ago. But she’s not quite done fighting for the seat. A partial recount earlier this week found the votes had been accurately recorded. Donna Moore was declared the winner by only one vote in subdistrict 5. But it’s not yet over. The next step says Eastvold is working with her lawyer to determine whether there’s enough evidence to warrant asking a judge for a full recount.