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.
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.
(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.
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:
(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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Illinois took another step Friday toward allowing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The state has published draft rules on the controversial oil and gas extraction process, and it's looking for comments from the public.
Back in the spring, lawmakers touted Illinois' fracking law as the toughest in the country. It was the product of long negotiations between environmentalists and business groups.
The director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is to resign after a cancer diagnosis. Gov. Pat Quinn announced Friday afternoon that Richard Calica would leave the post. Calica's chief of staff
Denise Gonzales is to serve as the agency's acting director.
Calica has held the post since December 2011. He said in a statement that working for the agency has been ``the most exciting and rewarding time of my career in child welfare.''
The Kidzeum has been collecting money since 2009 in order to build a science museum for kids. The ongoing goal of raising enough funds seems to finally be near. The museum's board is kicking off its final fund raising phase, 2 million dollars is still needed. We recently caught up with board president, Rachael Thompson, about where the museum is headed, where it will be located, and what it will feature:
Springfield-area residents have a chance to get a taste of all things international on Friday. UIS hosts its annual International Festival with food, booths from area groups, entertainment and more. Erica Suzuki and Sarah Jome with UIS's International Student Services joined us for this interview about it:
President Barack Obama has signed legislation giving financial incentives to states to stockpile emergency medications in schools that could save lives in the cases of allergic reactions. The deaths of two girls in Illinois and Virginia from severe food allergies helped spur efforts to get schools to stockpile epinephrine.
Epinephrine is considered the first-line treatment for people with severe allergies. The medication is administered by injection through preloaded EpiPens. The measure was co-sponsored by Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk.
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees dismissed an engineering professor who had a 50-year career at the state's flagship school Thursday. Administrators say it's the first time a tenure decision went to the board.
Louis Wozniak was charged with harassing a student, improperly obtaining and publishing grades and sending an email to students that included a sexual reference. He apologized for that email the next day, though has claimed he did nothing wrong.
Wozniak was suspended with pay from his $85,000-a-year job in 2010 after the email.
A Pennsylvania newspaper says it's sorry it didn't recognize the greatness of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address 150 years ago.
The Patriot-News of Harrisburg on Thursday retracted a dismissive editorial penned by its Civil War-era predecessor, The Harrisburg Patriot & Union. The president's speech is now considered a triumph of American oratory. But the retraction notes the newspaper's November 1863 coverage said it amounted to ``silly remarks'' that deserved a ``veil of oblivion.''
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield plans a special prayer service the day same-sex marriage is to be signed into law. He says it's "scandalous" that so many Catholic politicians supported the legislation.
Gov. Pat Quinn is planning a big public ceremony to sign the same-sex marriage bill next Wednesday (Nov. 20) in Chicago.