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State regulators are beginning to discuss how Illinois will meet new federal requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

When energy experts say things are going to get complicated: well, that's saying something. That's pretty much how Jim Ross, an air pollution control manager with Illinois' Environmental Protection Agency, summed up his briefing on the new standards.

Missouri's governor has brought in the National Guard to help to help deal with rioting in Ferguson, outside of St. Louis. Protests that erupted there over the Aug. 9 police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed, African American teenager, have frequently turned violent.

When there's an extreme emergency, Illinois National Guard units have gone to other states to help. Thousands of troops were sent to New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina, for example.

Federal auditors have found that Illinois used faulty methods
for withdrawing federal Medicaid money, resulting in overdraws the state later
had trouble repaying.
 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General
released the report Monday.
 
The report says Illinois created ``a perpetual `treadmill effect''' as it
continued to overdraw and repay later.
 
The state's withdrawals exceeded its spending by an average of $60 million per

Skeletal remains discovered in Rochester last month have been positively identified as those of a Decatur woman.

The Sangamon County Coroner, Cinda Edwards, says DNA  testing confirmed the identity as 43 year old Tracy Trimby.   Relatives were notified a couple of weeks ago, but the name had been withheld from the public until now.  

The remains were found when someone was cleaning out the shed on July 19.  
Police say Trimby's name was not on any lists of missing people. Authorities believe her death was a homicide because items in the shed were stacked on her.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

District 186 students are back in the classroom on Monday.  They will see some changes,  including all Springfield public schools observing a one hour early dismissal every Wednesday. Bus routes will run an hour early and after-school programs are available on those days. The district also has a new superintendent, Jennifer Gill. She joined us for this interview about how budget cuts will affect students, why she's hoping to focus on the district's drop-out rate, and more: 

methproject.org

Illinois has increased the penalties for some drug offenses.  

Gov. Pat Quinn signed three drug-related pieces of legislation Saturday. They take effect Jan. 1.  

Manufacturing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of any school property will now be a Class X felony, punishable by a minimum of six years in prison. It was previously considered a Class 1 felony.  

Illinois' public colleges are going smoke-free _ indoors and out _ starting next summer.  

Gov. Pat Quinn says he's signed a law that bans indoor and outdoor smoking at all state-supported colleges and universities.  

The bill makes exceptions for smoking inside privately owned vehicles traveling through campus and some activities under the federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act.  A companion bill signed by Quinn also allows smoking on campus inside parked, non-state-owned vehicles.  

Bruce Rauner
brucerauner.com

Even though Illinois' general election is months away, a controversial ballot question could be answered by the end of this week. Friday is the deadline for a term limits initiative to make it on the ballot.

Republican's nominee for governor, Bruce Rauner, has made instituting term limits for legislators a central plank of his campaign.

That would require a constitutional amendment. Rauner funded an effort to collected a half million signatures, so that the question could go before voters this fall.

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, taffy and politics at the Illinois State Fair.

You may want to check your spice rack. This recall affects products sold in Illinois.

McCormick & Company, Incorporated is initiating a voluntary recall of McCormick® Ground Oregano, 0.75 oz bottle, UPC 0-523561-6 with code dates BEST BY AUG 21 16 H and AUG 22 16 H due to possible contamination with Salmonella. This recall does not impact any other McCormick Ground, Whole or Oregano Leaves products.

Hannah Meisel

Politicians are supposed to apologize when they mess up, but typically that doesn't involve saying "I'm sorry" to cows. That's what Governor Pat Quinn says his opponent's running mate needs to do.

Before Republican Bruce Rauner asked her to be his running mate, attorney Evelyn Sanguinetti had made inquiries about getting a job with the state.

Lee Enterprises newspaper reporter Kurt Erickson uncovered that inquiry; which was made via email, to state employee whom Sanguinetti supposedly went to law school with.

Hannah Meisel

  With summer coming to an end, and the November election getting ever closer, Gov. Pat Quinn and other Illinois Democrats gathered Wednesday in Springfield, for an annual party meeting and rally. But Thursday, Republicans had their day. The GOP hopes it'll be their year.

There's no "normal" way to get to the area on the Illinois State Fairgrounds where Republicans had their gathering.

Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner hammered on Democrats at the Illinois State Fair Thursday. The Democrat facing the most criticism is Governor Pat Quinn.

Rauner was greeted almost like a rock star as he rolled into the Republican Day party on his Harley. Every time he mentioned voting Quinn out of office, the crowd erupted in cheers.

Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar says he's all in for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.

Edgar says the Democratic agenda offers more of the same policies voters have seen for the past decade. He even equated Gov. Pat Quinn's tenure to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is now serving a 14-year term in federal prison.

"The Blagojevich-Quinn governorship has been a disaster for Illinois," he said. "We have an opportunity this November to end one-party rule by electing Bruce Rauner the governor of Illinois."

WUIS

Ann Callis says she has talked to people throughout the 13th congressional district during her campaign and one theme comes through loud and clear.

"It all comes down to jobs. People want good, livable wage jobs," she said.  The Democratic candidate stopped in Springfield Wednesday to attend party events in connection with the Illinois State Fair.  

"(People) worry about their future.  I hear from college students. They worry about student loans.  From people that have graduated, they worry about student loan debt."

Lincoln New Salem's Theatre in the Park Facebook page

There's more than one venue in the Springfield area to see a show while enjoying some time outdoors. New Salem's Theatre in the Park is bringing back a musical celebrating its 60th anniversary. The Pajama Game follows the story of a pajama factory going through labor disputes, and an unlikely romance that transpires there.

We recently spoke with the two lead actors, Becky Bertram and Mark Wheeler, as well as director Sean VanAusdall-Rose.

ehs.ua.edu

AP ADDS CLARIFICATION TO FOLLOWING STORY.

In a story Aug. 13 about a toxic waste permit, The Associated Press erroneously reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denied a permit requested by an Illinois landfill to store PCBs. The EPA decided not to consider the request, meaning the landfill won't be able to store the chemicals. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has decided against giving a chemical waste permit to a central Illinois landfill that would allow it to store PCB.  

Amanda Vinicky

Even as states like Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin are known as political battlegrounds and bellwethers, Illinois has the reputation for being a solid "blue" state. Illinois sends double as many Democrats to Washington as it does Congressional Republicans. The state legislature tips heavily in favor of Democrats, who hold veto-proof majorities. And it has been more than a decade since a Republican last sat in Illinois' governor's seat.

Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  Environmental activists hoping to curb hydraulic fracturing in Illinois crashed a breakfast held for Democratic party organizers in Springfield Wednesday. They want to stop natural gas extraction in the state before it starts.

"Drought! Pollution! Earthquake! Fracking is a big mistake!"

flickr/JasonRojas

A new report finds signs of racial bias in data collected about police searches during traffic stops in Illinois.  

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois released the report Wednesday.   It suggests police are nearly twice as likely to ask blacks and Latino drivers to consent to vehicle searches during traffic stops than they are to ask whites. But white drivers are about 50 percent more likely to have contraband found during such a search. 

Springfield numbers are similar to the statewide findings. 

Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair brought out Democratic leaders from across the state — including those counties where Democrats seem few and far between.

In these heavily Republican counties, momentum for Democratic candidates can be hard to come by. Compound that with lower Democratic voter turnout in non-presidential election years, and the fight to "keep Illinois blue" gets even more difficult.

One of Illinois' most popular Democrats is expressing doubts about Governor Pat Quinn's chances.  It's an annual event; hundreds of Democrats get together at a Springfield hotel for breakfast and speeches, before heading out to the state fairgrounds.  It's part reunion, part rally.

But as he headed into the event, Secretary of State Jesse White was candid about his fears that November's election may not go well for Democrats ... or at least for the Democrat near the top of the ticket, Gov. Pat Quinn.

The DEMO Project in Springfield showcases contemporary art, much of which is in the form of installations. The pieces come out of the walls, wind around the room and even jump out of the fireplace. Artist and Illinois native Lauren Turk's exhibit titled 'Communal Paradox' opens on Friday evening on the Springfield Art Association's campus. We recently spoke with her.

Ferguson demonstrators
Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio

18 year old Michael Brown was shot by police on Saturday in a St. Louis suburb called Ferguson, and what was originally a peaceful vigil and protest the next day became a night of arson, rioting, and theft. Since then police and the community continue to square off as tensions around the shooting of Brown, who was black and unarmed, continue to spread. St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann updates us on where things stand as of Wednesday morning.

sj-r.com

Turning an abandoned downtown Church into the "metropolitan place", Stanford Avenue expansion, a car dealership adds another brand and a chili parlor open again.

Economic growth in Springfield is expected to be a top issue in the race for mayor next year.   Jim Langfelder is among those running for the position.  The current city Treasurer says Springfield needs to find ways to bring in more high paying jobs to go along with retail expansion:

"It's great to see Scheels.  I think that was an anchor that helped spur development along MacArthur (Boulevard). I grew up in that area and went to school in that area.  So I have seen the deterioration from what it once was. What I would like to see are professional jobs being created," he said.

Amanda Vinicky

For most of the thousands of people who go to the Illinois State Fair each summer, it's about fun -- the carnival rides, and corn dogs. But for others it's about competition. There are awards given for everything from longest ponytail to -- feminists, beware! --husband-calling. Not to mention the livestock events, which crown the best of the breeds. But what grabbed my attention was the "hobbies," where bakers, crafters and collectors have their chance at glory. First, they have to win over the judges.

ilga.gov

  The Democratic candidate for state treasurer is catching flak from Republicans, who are critical of his time as a local official. But Mike Frerichs' (D-Champaign) campaign says Republican opponent Tom Cross (R-Oswego) is playing "revisionist history."

Frerichs, currently a state senator, was elected to the Champaign County board in 2000, then became the county's auditor in 2002. Republicans point out that during Frerichs' time as auditor, the County Board implemented an early retirement program to save money.

HPM

Farmers will produce a record-breaking corn harvest this year, surpassing earlier expectations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has revised upward its estimate of this year's corn harvest to 14 billion bushels.  
That exceeds last year's 13.9 billion bushel record.  

Soybean production also will set a new record at 3.8 billion bushels, beating the 2009 harvest of 3.4 billion bushels.  

SAAC

Penny Wollan-Kriel will retire at the end of next month as Executive Director of the Springfield Area Arts Council.  But she won't give up her connection to the arts community. 

'I am definitely staying back.  I do not want to be someone looking over the shoulder of the new Executive Director," she said.  "I will continue my involvement in the arts and with children."

She is a Springfield native who grew up dancing. Her  connection to the arts goes back to her childhood. Wollan-Kriel has spent a combined 17 years with the arts council. 

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