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Regional
6:15 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Tornado Damage Now At Least 1,500 Homes

Credit wcbu

State officials now say at least 1,500 homes were
destroyed or badly damaged in Illinois as federal storm-damage assessors began
work in the state.
 
Patti Thompson is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
She said Thursday that that figure will almost certainly rise after Sunday's
tornadoes.
 
Officials also said Thursday that 22 tornadoes touched down around the state.
Six people were killed.
 
Thompson says Federal Emergency Management Agency workers started assessing

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Special Programming
2:42 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

John F Kennedy 'Real-Time' Special

Extended Here & Now
Friday, November 22, 11am - 3pm

On Friday, November 22, 2013, in addition to the day's news, Here & Now will also track the events in Dallas on November 22, 1963 in close to real time. The series of special reports about that fateful day in Dallas will unfold over the course of Friday's Here & Now from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, mirroring the news as it was reported that day.

Hourly Details

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Harvest Desk
1:07 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Cougar Under The Corn Crib: DNR Says Landowners Called The Shots

The 5-6 ft. male cat found near Morrison, Ill.
Credit Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (IDNR)

Dept. of Natural Resources employees have discussed adding cougars to the list of protected species in Illinois.

But in a phone interview with WUIS, IDNR spokesman Tim Schweizer said currently "it’s up to the landowner” to decide whether a potentially threatening animal should be put down.  

That's what transpired Wednesday near Morrison, Ill., when a woman and her husband reportedly spotted the large male cougar hiding under their corn crib and asked Conservation Police to dispatch the cat.

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Pensions
12:03 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Unions Plan "Emergency" Lobby Days Over Pensions

Credit commons.wikimedia

Illinois unions are planning an intensive lobbying push in opposition to a developing plan to deal with the state's $100 billion pension crisis.  

The ``We are One Coalition'' represents the state's major employee unions. The group sent an email to members about ``emergency call-in days'' next week and Dec. 2-3.  

Members are being asked to call and visit lawmakers' offices and urge them to vote against pension bills that don't have union support. Legislative leaders are meeting Thursday to firm up a plan that could save close to $150 million over 30 years.  

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Vade, Satana
2:17 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Bishop Holds 'Minor Exorcism' Over Same-Sex Marriage

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield speaks with reporters after his prayers of "exorcism" over same-sex marriage.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Minutes after Gov. Pat Quinn made gay marriage legal in Illinois, the Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield began a prayer service in response. Tuesday's service was formally called a prayer of “exorcism.” But the ceremony was more subdued than that dramatic word might suggest.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki was methodical, even dispassionate, as he led at least 200 of the faithful in prayer.

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Statehouse
5:15 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Reaction To Same Sex Marriage Bill Signing

Sponsor Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago)
Credit wuis

Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday signed same sex marriage into law in Illinois. Here are quotes and reaction to the bill signing.  
     ___  
 ``It means we are able to say that we're a family and be recognized because we are like everyone else.'' _ Jen Dickie Rothke of Chicago, who has been with her partner for 13 years. They have a son together.  
     ___  
 ``We are witnessing one of the most significant demonstrations of justice in Illinois history.'' _ Illinois Senate President John Cullerton.  
     ___  

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Business
3:08 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Sangamon County Businesses See Economic Growth Amid Concerns

What do Sangamon County employers see in the year ahead?  The fall economic outlook survey shows they have a positive outlook about their individual business and sector, but not about the overall economy.  As for jobs, nearly half expect employment rates to stay stagnant.  

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Statehouse
2:42 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Illinois Is 16th State To Allow Same-Sex Marriage

     

Illinois is now the 16th state to allow same-sex marriage. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law Wednesday in Chicago that makes the state the largest in the Midwest to legalize gay weddings. The law takes effect in June when county clerks can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Illinois allowed civil unions in 2011, but it was a bumpy road to same-sex marriage in President Barack Obama's home state.

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Regional
2:40 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Number Of Tornado Damaged Homes Expected To Go Higher

State officials now say that at least 900 homes were either destroyed or badly damaged by Sunday's tornadoes. And that figure is likely to grow.  

Patti Thompson is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. She says Wednesday the agency doesn't have anything close to a full count of the homes affected in Washington, which was hardest hit by the storms.  

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Special Programming
2:22 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

JFK Assassination Anniversary

 We Knew JFK: Unheard Stories from the Kennedy Archives

Thursday, November 21st at 12pm & 7pm.

We'll hear from JFK colleagues who were with him during his first political race in 1946, until his last days in office.

Famous names and voices wrestle with grief and memory; they provide intimate details on JFK the man, the president and father. 

Join WUIS for this special broadcast marking the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination.

http://weknewjfk.org/

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Tornado
11:40 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Football Team Deals With Tornado Aftermath

The 2013 Varsity football team at Washington High School
Credit Washington High School website

This has not been an easy week for the Washington, Illinois High School Football Team. Instead of just preparing for a playoff game this weekend, they have one of the largest distractions imaginable, an EF-4 tornado that hit their community.

The Washington Panthers are practicing at Illinois State University's Hancock Stadium in Normal getting ready for Saturday's Class Five-A Semifinal game in Springfield against Sacred Heart-Griffin. At least nine of the team lost their homes in Sunday's Tornado.

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Gettysburg Address
9:03 am
Wed November 20, 2013

At Lincoln's Tomb, Remembering A Fallen Son

Staff Sgt. Lincoln Hollinsaid was killed April 7, 2013, in Iraq. An Army engineer, he was driving a crane at the Baghdad airport when it was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.
Credit Illinois National Guard

A unique group of families met in Springfield Tuesday for their own commemoration of the Gettysburg Address. It's the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's speech consecrating a Civil War cemetery.

Nowadays, the most famous speech in American history is chiefly remembered for the quality of its rhetoric.

But for others, it's the substance of Lincoln's words that counts.

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Big Bank Settlement
8:25 am
Wed November 20, 2013

JPMorgan Chase To Pay Illinois Pension Funds $100 Million

Chase Tower in Chicago.
Credit John Picken (flickr.com/picken)

The bank JPMorgan Chase will pay Illinois' pension funds $100 million under a national settlement announced Tuesday. The payment is a result of the bank's misconduct leading up to the Great Recession.

Like a lot of investors in the last decade, Illinois' pension funds had a good chunk of change in mortgage-backed securities. Once the housing market collapsed and homeowners began defaulting, the value of those securities collapsed, too.

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Statehouse
8:22 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Suspicious Fire Burns Illinois Lawmaker's Office

Rep. Dwight Kay

(AP) A fire chief says a blaze in a building that houses an Illinois state lawmaker's southwestern Illinois office is considered suspicious.  

Edwardsville Fire Chief Rick Welle says no injuries resulted from Monday night's fire that damaged Rep. Dwight Kay's office.

The building also included an insurance site, consulting agencies and counseling services.  Welle said it's unclear if any of the offices was specifically targeted, but that investigators haven't ruled out arson.  

Illinois State Police and the state fire marshal's office are investigating.  

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Student Debt
8:00 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Local Filmmaker Hones In On "Student Loan Debt Crisis"

Zach Baliva - Executive Producer of 'Deferred'
Credit http://deferredmovie.com/

Zach Baliva says it's become the norm for students to attend college with the help of hefty loans, and all that debt is becoming a serious obstacle for students and graduates. With the film 'Deferred' Baliva, a local documentarian, hopes to explore these issues. He recently joined us to talk about what inspired the movie and plans to get it off the ground: 

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Health Desk
7:03 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Illinois Regulators Looking For Health Scams

(AP) Illinois regulators are on guard for con artists trying to profit from the nation's new health care law, and they've already shut down one suspicious operation and a lookalike website.  

The state Department of Insurance reported on its fraud prevention efforts Tuesday to a governor's task force on the law's rollout in Illinois.

Legitimate trained counselors are helping people sign up for health insurance. They must pass a background check to be certified to do the work.  

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Regional
6:17 am
Wed November 20, 2013

FEMA Inspectors To View Storm Damage Thursday

Credit Alex Rusciano WCBU

(AP) _ Federal assessments of tornado-damaged property in Illinois are to begin Thursday.
 
Gov. Pat Quinn's office says Federal Emergency Management Agency assessments
are necessary so the state can request federal assistance.
 
Five teams will look at damage to homes and businesses in Champaign, Grundy,
Massac, Pope, Tazewell and Will counties. Sunday's tornadoes destroyed hundreds
of homes and left six people dead in the state.
 
 The governor's office says federal and state emergency officials will meet with

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District 186
5:00 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

NAACP Threatens To Sue District 186

Springfield NAACP President, Teresa Haley
Credit http://www.springfieldnaacp.org/

District 186 says it's working hard to hire more minority teachers and administrators. Still, the percentage of minorities in those roles is only half of what it should be according to a decades old desegregation order. And the Springfield branch of the NAACP says it's preparing for a potential lawsuit. 

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State Week
3:39 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Listen To State Week - November 15, 2013

More on Paul Vallas, the other gubernatorial candidates, a possible legislative session in December, and same sex marriages

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Tornado
2:55 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Washington Mayor Says 1,000 Homes Sustained Damage

Credit npr

The mayor of the central Illinois community of Washington says more than 1,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed by strong storms.  

Mayor Gary Manier says that figure includes homes that were totally destroyed as well as properties that received minor damage. Officials still haven't said how many people in the community have been affected by Sunday's tornado. Washington has about 16,000 residents and is about 10 miles east of Peoria.  

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Harvest Desk
1:00 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Joel Salatin: Local Food Evangelist

Joel Salatin on his Virginia farm.
Credit Creative Commons

Joel Salatin is one of the rock stars of the local food movement. He’s written books, appeared in documentaries and scheduled speaking engagements nationwide. Among foodies, he’s a celebrity.

He’s also a vocal critic of industrialized agriculture. Salatin criticizes the use of pesticides, herbicides, genetic modification in crops, and hormones and antibiotics in livestock.

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Weather
9:52 am
Tue November 19, 2013

See A Monthly Breakdown Of Illinois Tornado Activity

A tornado damaged home in Gifford, Ill.
Credit Sean Powers/Illinois Public Media

November tornadoes seem out of place in Illinois.  But weather statistics show they're not uncommon.   Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel studied the years 1950 to 2010 and found nearly 70 tornadoes occurred in November.  That's more than October or December. 

But what made Sunday different was the outbreak that occurred. 

"All our other outbreaks tend to happen in the springtime," Angel said.  "So the ones in November tend to be single events, but this is by far the biggest number that we've seen in November."

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Statehouse
3:31 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Lincoln Predicted The World Would Not Remember His Gettysburg Address; 150 Years Later It Does

Lincoln impersonator Fritz KIein reenacts the Gettysburg Address; he started giving the 272-word speech promptly at midnight at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, an occasion observed at the start of the day at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield.

There's a line in the Gettysburg Address, where Lincoln wrote "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here."

And yet, 150 years later, a Lincoln impersonator was repeating the 16th President, reenacting the brief, yet poignant, speech, at the stroke of midnight.

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Election 2014
6:19 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Can This Man Beat Illinois' Most Popular Politician?

Republican Mike Webster will challenge incumbent Democrat Jesse White for Illinois secretary of state. White is seeking a fifth term.
Credit www.facebook.com/MikeWebsterIL

Illinois' longtime secretary of state finally has at least one challenger in next year's election. Republican Mike Webster says he'll take on Democrat Jesse White.

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UIS
6:06 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

UIS Team Names May Change

Mascot "Cozmo"
Credit www.uisjournal.com

The University Of Illinois Springfield continues to kick around the idea of a new school mascot. The Chancellor's office paid for a consultant whose suggestions include the Springers, Sabers, Mammoths and the Stampede. Aaron Mulvey is the president of the Student Government Association at UIS. He says some students are confused by the Prairie Star nickname and the mascot, a masked boy named Cozmo. Others say they just don't like either.

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Tornado Relief
4:50 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Want FEMA Aid? Even If "Home Is Totally Destroyed" Governor Tells Victims To Document

An estimated 200 homes were destroyed in the village of Gifford, in Champaign County.
Credit Sean Powers/WILL

  State officials say victims of yesterday's (Nov. 17) storms should take extra care in documenting their material losses. Illinois learned the hard way why that can be important.

About two years ago, seven people died in the tornadoes that rocked Harrisburg, in deep southern Illinois. And yet the state was denied a request for federal assistance. That meant home and business owners could not get federal loans, grants and other aide.

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Nightsounds Blog
12:48 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

A History of the Sounds of the Night

Credit Brian Snelson

Nightsounds was originally chartered in 1987 as a locally produced radio program that showcased artists loosely affiliated with New Age music, which became quite popular with the ascension of such labels as Windham Hill, Optimism, Higher Octave and Narada Records; all studios which featured artists loosely affiliated with acoustic and electronic instrumental music that did not pigeon hole into jazz or even soft record categories.

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Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series
11:30 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Lincoln's Journey To Gettysburg

Credit UIS

The story of the Gettysburg Address began long before that day Abraham Lincoln stood at the speaker's platform and delivered those famous 272 words. 

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Regional
8:56 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Washington Mayor: As Many As 500 Homes Damaged Or Destroyed

Credit Anthony Khoury/twitter

The mayor of the central Illinois community of Washington says storms and tornadoes destroyed or heavily damaged between 250 and 500 homes in the Tazewell County community.
 
Gary Manier says hundreds of residents of Washington spent the night in
shelters after a storm cut a swath of damage through the community of about
16,000 people that's about 140 miles southwest of Chicago.
 
It's not clear when they'll be allowed home.
 
One person in Washington died and a state official says at least 60 others were

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Regional
8:50 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Tornado Damaged Town Under Curfew

Credit Alex Rusciano WCBU

The central Illinois community of Washington will be under a curfew for at least a week after a deadly tornado turned scores of houses into rubble.
 
Illinois State Police Trooper Dustin Pierce says Monday that the curfew will
run from 6 p.m. until 7 a.m.
 
Authorities implemented the curfew in large part for safety reasons. With power
lines knocked down and tons of debris from the hundreds of homes that were
destroyed or badly damaged, authorities do not want people walking around _
particularly when it's dark.
 

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