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Election 2014
7:20 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Republican Bruce Rauner Defends His Personal Tax Bill

Bruce Rauner
Credit WUIS

Bruce Rauner -- the Republican nominee for Illinois governor -- says he followed the letter of the law when filing his taxes.  But he won't say whether it was fair.

Rauner, a businessman, has said his wealth puts him in the top .01%.
Even so, a Chicago Tribune analysis showed that in several recent years, he paid no Social Security or Medicare taxes.
Rauner has released limited parts of his tax returns.

It's believed he took advantage of I-R-S rules to legally cut his tax burden.
Rauner defended that ...

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Harvest Desk
5:59 am
Mon July 14, 2014

My Farm Roots: Smells Like Home

Growing up in Nebraska, Kari Williams spent many vacations visiting her family’s farms.
Credit Harvest Public Media/Luke Runyon

Most family vacations are remembered for endless car rides, packed tourist beaches and a string of poorly decorated hotel rooms.

But not former Nebraskan and current Coloradan Kari Williams. Her family vacation memories center on smells of cow manure, adventures on horseback and roosters with bad attitudes on farms in central Nebraska.

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Politics
5:47 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Houston Likely To Seek Re-election

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston will make a campaign announcement Monday morning.  While his release did not say specifically that he will run for another term, the release included this quote, "With so many evolving projects, there's too high of an investment to get off course or to go backwards. Springfield can't afford to make the mistakes again I've worked so hard to correct."  His announcement is at 10:30 a.m.

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Health Desk
1:08 am
Mon July 14, 2014

DCFS Urges Child Supervision Around Water

Credit flickr/rockandbacon

Illinois has recorded 10 child drownings this spring and summer.  That's prompted the state's child welfare agency to remind parents about the need to use caution and keep a watchful eye.

"When we're talking about an infant or a toddler, we talk about touch supervision or reach supervision.  Which means you never let that child get any farther away from you than you can reach out your hand to grab them if they need your help,"  said Jennifer Florent with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

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Harvest Desk
6:06 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

EPA Promotes Water Rule To Farmers

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks to reporters at Heffernan Farm in Rocheport, Mo., July 9, 2014. (Kris Husted/Harvest Public Media)

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

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State Week
2:27 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Listen to State Week - July 11, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

More details are emerging on the Illinois Inspector General's probe into political hiring at Metra.  Also, a call for further investigation into Governor Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

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Remembering
9:43 am
Fri July 11, 2014

WUIS Archive: Alan Dixon Was Gracious In Defeat

Credit wikipedia

Former U.S. Senator Alan Dixon died Sunday in his southern Illinois home.

The 86-year-old Belleville Democrat spent more than four decades in public office - 30 years in state government before going on to serve in Congress from 1981 to 1993.

But Chicago Democrat Carol Moseley Braun unseated Dixon in 1992.  Braun became the first African American woman to serve in the Senate.

On March 17th, 1992, Dixon congratulated Braun for her win, and bowed out of public office with a certain grace uncharacteristic of politicians who've just suffered defeat at the polls.

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Statehouse
8:21 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Number Of Statehouse Reporters Down More Than One-Third Since 2003

Credit WUIS

As traditional news sources cut back on statehouse reporters, other outlets seek to fill the gaps in coverage.

The Pew Research Journalism Project took a look at statehouse press corps across the country. State populations are generally predictive of the size of their statehouse press corps. At the time of the survey, Illinois had 22 full-time statehouse reporters. Texas had the most at 53. South Dakota had the fewest with two.

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Corrections
11:41 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Series Part 3: Death In Illinois Prisons

Credit flickr/Brad K.

Illinois taxpayers pay a private company more than a hundred million dollars a year to give health care to prison inmates.

Yet no one in Illinois knows how good, or bad, the care is.

But that will likely change soon.

As part of our series “Of natural causes: Death in Illinois prisons,” WBEZ’s Robert Wildeboer reports.

On July 28, 2012 Elawndoe Shannon put in a request for sick call at the prison where he was housed in Lawrence, Illinois.

Two days later, he died.

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Arts
12:02 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Get "All Shook Up" At The Springfield Muni

If you love Elvis, get ready for the next Springfield Muni production.  All Shook Up begins a 3 week run Friday night.

We had a chance to speak with Jacob Deters, an SHG grad who plays "Dennis", Glenwood grad Sophie Lanser, who portrays "Natalie/Ed" and the director Anna Bussing.  It's her first time directing, but she's been part of the Muni family for years, first appearing as a kid on the lakeside stage. 

Deters and Lanser also give us a sample of the dialogue and perform a song.

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Residents Fend For Themselves
10:40 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Tensions Rise With Waters Over Flood Expense

There's an irony to the arch on the entranceway of Clarksville's park, which reads "Touch the Mississippi." Normally, that requires stooping down; now the river laps up a main downtown drag, and comes to you.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Heavy rains have led to flooding all across the Midwest in recent days: in Iowa, Illinois, and in the small town of Clarksville, Missouri, which sits on the Mississippi River. That river is expected to reach its crest there Wednesday, and residents hope the walls they’ve built to keep out the water will hold. Especially because this time, they had to build those walls themselves.

Ask a Clarksville resident how long they’ve lived there, and the answer is usually given in the context of a flood.

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Corrections
11:12 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Series Part 2: Prison Deaths In Illinois

Credit flickr/Fiona Dalwood

Between 80 and a hundred people die behind bars in Illinois every year.

The average age of the people who die is 54.

The Department of Corrections says it carefully reviews every death, but information on deaths provided to Chicago public station WBEZ was scattershot and incomplete.

Rob Wildeboer continues our series, “Of natural causes: Death in Illinois prisons.”

Keith Dean has a manila envelope that causes him a lot of grief and regret, but he can’t throw it out.

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Education Desk
1:45 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

State Pays Schools On Time

Credit flickr/alkruse24

Illinois has broken its streak of late grant payments to schools for the first time since 2007.
 
 State Superintendent Christopher Koch praised the news in a letter to school officials dated July 1.  But Koch warned them not to bank on the same thing
happening next year.
 
 Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's office says timely payments for specialized grants and programs in 2014 are due to an influx of $1.3 billion in revenues the
state hadn't originally budgeted for.  
 
 Next year's $35.7 billion state budget signed by Gov. Pat Quinn banks on

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Corrections
10:58 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Series: Death In Illinois Prisons

Credit flickr/meesh

Between 80 and a hundred people die each year inside Illinois prisons.

Chicago public station WBEZ has been seeking information about those deaths, but the Department of Corrections under Governor Pat Quinn is taking a “trust us, nothing to see here” attitude.

However, persistent and disturbing complaints from inmates and their families make it hard to just move along.

Robert Wildeboer will bring us some of their stories and the department’s response this week as part of our series “Of natural causes: Death in Illinois prisons.”

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Arts
8:34 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Sangamon Auditorium Bringing In New Acts, Old Favorites

Roger McGuinn plays the Sangamon Auditorium May 14, 2015
Credit Roger McGuinn press photos

The 2014-2015 entertainment lineup at the Sangamon Auditorium is a mix of the old and new. 

From classic rock like the Moody Blues and classic comedy from Bill Cosby to lesser known performers with unique styles and Broadway shows.

Auditorium Director Bob Vaughn visited with WUIS' Sean Crawford on Illinois Edition to preview the upcoming season.  

You can find a list of all the performers and ticket information here.

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Health Desk
7:17 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Illinois Hospital Fees To Pay For Error Reports

Credit acphospitalist.org

A new annual licensing fee for hospitals that's taking effect in Illinois will finally fund a system for reporting medical errors that was established by state law back in 2005.

 Crain's Chicago Business reports the new fee will raise about $1.7 million annually. The fee was part of legislation signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last week.  

The fee of $55 per hospital bed will fund a system for hospitals to report mistakes such as performing surgery on the wrong body part. The idea is to improve patient safety by analyzing how errors occur.  

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Regional
5:45 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Record Month For Home Sales In Area

Credit flickr/justinshearer

The number of home sales in the Springfield area set a record last month.  The average price per home was also an all time high.

The real estate market continues to recover, coming out of the recession.  The Capital Area Association of Realtors says June numbers show a nearly 30 percent jump in homes being sold, compared to the same period a year ago.  And it's a good time be a seller.  The median home sale price was above $136,000.  Both are all time marks.  

It's possible the severe winter resulted in pent up demand.     

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Science
1:26 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Unearthing A French-Canadian Mystery

Lindenwood students work at the Blanchette site in St. Charles, Mo.
Credit Lindenwood University

Archaeological research has turned up some interesting finds in St. Charles, Missouri. 

Old living floors for two buildings have been identified and one of the buildings is believed to be associated with the town's founder, Louis Blanchette. The site dates back to around 1770.

Dr. Steve Dasovich, Director of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Lindenwood University, his students and volunteers have been doing the research. 

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Business
11:16 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Ameren Gets Eminent Domain WUIS SJR Business Report

Credit Ameren.com

On this week's WUIS-SJR Business Report Tim Landis discusses Ameren's efforts to acquire land for the Illinois Rivers Transmission Line. Also the status of the Taylorville Energy Center land and a Chik Fil A coming back to Springfield.

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Regional
8:23 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Roof Repairs Underway At Executive Mansion

Credit City of Springfield

Workers are patching eight leaks in the roof at the nearly 160-year-old Executive Mansion in Springfield.
 
A spokesman for Gov. Pat Quinn tells The (Springfield) State Journal-Register
(http://bit.ly/1naGY6E ) for a Tuesday story that inspectors found the leaks.
Work started shortly after the governor approved emergency roof repairs on June
30. Officials expect work to be done in a few weeks.
 
The amount of money spent on the repairs won't exceed $40,000 and will cover

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Harvest Desk
8:20 am
Tue July 8, 2014

States Working Out Kinks In Agritourism

Carol Zadrozny, owner of Z's Orchard in Palisade, Colo., has had trouble securing insurance coverage for her agritourism attractions
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Colorado already draws thousands of visitors each year for skiing, hiking, beer drinking and, most recently, marijuana sampling. In 2012, those visitors spent more than $16 billion in the state. Tourism officials want more and they’re looking to do it by bringing well-educated “traveling foodies” to the state.

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Election 2014
3:08 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Voters In Bad Mood Shaping Gov's Race

Credit data.illinois.gov

The people of Illinois are feeling particularly gloomy about their state, with its high unemployment, billions of dollars in debt and decades-long battles against corruption.  

The bad mood surfaces in public-opinion polls that startle even the pollsters. And now it's shaping one of the nation's most competitive governor's races.  

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Regional
2:58 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

High Water Closes Two Mississippi River Bridges

US 54 at Champ Clark Bridge closed due to Mississippi River flooding.
Credit MODOT

Two Mississippi River bridges are closed due to flooding, and with more storms in the forecast, there is growing concern that conditions could worsen in parts of Missouri and Illinois.  

The Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana, Missouri, closed yesterday. The next nearest bridge is in Hannibal, Missouri, 35 miles to the north.  
The Quincy Memorial Bridge in Quincy, Illinois, shut down this morning. The impact there isn't as severe because Quincy has two bridges, and the other is not threatened.

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Election 2014
2:44 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Democrats Hold Fundraising Edge

Credit flickr/Daniel Borman

Illinois Democrats are outpacing their Republican counterparts in fundraising so far in the 2014 election cycle.  

Crain's Chicago Business reports that Democrats have almost twice as much cash on hand as Illinois Republicans with $26.9 million. Democrats control the governor's mansion and the state Legislature. Crain's examined the finances of candidates for statewide office, state party organizations and county organizations.  
 Republican businessman Bruce Rauner trails Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn by about $1.5 million in cash on hand in the Illinois governor's race.

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Labor
10:13 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Unions Gain Members In Public Sector

Credit wuis

Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past
half-century.
 
A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity _ at the federal, state or local levels.
 
Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector workforce last year. That's according to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 

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Congress
1:13 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Editor Of Dixon Memoir Remembers The Late Senator

  Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon of Illinois has died.

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State Week
2:11 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

Listen to State Week - July 4, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that state employee pension benefits are protected under the state constitution, countering lawmaker's efforts to overhaul the state's underfunded pension system.

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Regional
5:07 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Beason Murder Site Burned Down

Firefighters have burned down the home where five members of a central Illinois family were beaten to death in 2009.  

Ten members of the Beason Fire Department on Thursday set the small, white, one-story house where Rick and Ruth Gee and three of their children were killed ablaze. Beason is about 30 miles south of Bloomington.  

Beason fire Chief Jim Hubrich told The Pantagraph in Bloomington that the Gee family asked him for help demolishing the house. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency signed off on the plan.  

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Statehouse
5:01 am
Fri July 4, 2014

AP: Quinn Halts Political Hiring

Credit flickr/tripp

Gov. Pat Quinn has ordered a moratorium on political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation and is requiring executive-level staff in every state agency to undergo training about proper hiring practices.  

The Chicago Democrat's actions come amid questions about whether state jobs were improperly filled based on clout rather than qualifications.  

The Associated Press obtained copies of memos sent Thursday by Quinn's attorney to IDOT leadership and the heads of all agencies, boards and commissions.  

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Harvest Desk
4:56 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Meat Prices Higher This Independence Day

Credit flickr/Clemensv.Vogelsang

According to the USDA, beef prices have increased more than 10 percent and pork prices are up more than 12 percent over last summer. University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown says a combination of high feed prices, drought and a hog virus devastating the pork supply are to blame.

“I will say that we are at unprecedented levels in terms of where we are on consumer prices. We have been seeing growth over the last four or five years generally,” Brown said.

And soon, Brown predicts, you’ll see higher prices at restaurants as well.

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