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 The Humane Society is trying to use star power to protect Illinois bobcats. But will it work?

Ever seen Iron Man 2? The HBO show The Newsroom? Excited about the X-Men: Apocalypse movie that's filming?

Each of them star Olivia Munn. She's also the girlfriend of Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Apparently her interest in the Midwest crosses the Wisconsin/Illinois border.

Bruce Rauner at Illinois Chamber forum.
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Another swath of programs could get the axe. Governor Bruce Rauner this afternoon released a second round of cuts given the uncertainty over a new state budget. There's no deal, with the new fiscal year beginning July first.

At the start of this month, Rauner - a Republican - announced that he's closing a downstate prison workcamp, the State Museum in Springfield, and cutting off funding of a program that helps low-income people pay their electric bills.

That list has grown.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The war of words continues between Governor Rauner and Democratic leaders in the Legislature and they seem to be no closer to an agreement on a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year - which leaves Illinois facing a possible government shutdown on July 1st.  Doug Finke of Gatehouse News joins the panel this week.

If you are done taking the picture of your happy hosts super seriously ... then it is time to listen to this week's version of THE SCENE. The lovely Allison Lacher, an art professor, artist, curator, etc. etc. joins Scott Faingold and Rachel for this edition:

Events discussed this week include:

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

A plaque on my desk reminds me of one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my work:  “What people need is a good listening to.”  While there’s often lots of talk in families, there is sometimes a mismatch as we fail to really “hear” what’s being said.  Most families I know could sharpen their communication skills by learning to do a little OPERA listening.

No, I’m not referring to listening to Carmen or The Marriage of Figaro, although there are certainly merits to that activity.

Springfield's Muni, an outdoor theater,  is opening up for the season this weekend. The first musical is Spamalot - Monty Python's Broadway musical hit. Mac Warren is the director - he joined us to talk about the production: 

Ticket info and other information about the Muni, here.

 

Lisa Ryan

Illinois lawmakers have a couple of weeks left to reach a resolution on the state budget. If they don't get it done by the end of June, the comptroller has warned that she'll no longer have authority to pay the state's bills.

Open mic nights in Springfield come and go. Some have more of a jam-band feel, others may cater to singer-songwriters, the list goes on. Expressions in the Dark brings an urban vibe, and a major focus is poetry. I recently visited one of the events, held monthly at the Homespun Republic in the Vinegar Hill Mall .


A couple of years ago, two people in Urbana were hit by darts fired from a blow-dart gun. They weren't seriously injured. That’s not what this story is about.  

The attacks were so random, and frankly so weird, that most people found them humorous. One of those happened to be a middle-school teacher, who posted a comment on Facebook.

coin flip
Ray Nelson / flickr.com/ray811

In episode 5 of the State of the State podcast, we look at moral luck. In the context of the law, moral luck is the notion that chance outcomes can play a significant role in how one is treated — think of the different punishments for attempted murder versus actual murder.

Amanda Vinicky headshot
mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

WUIS' Sean Crawford talks with Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky on where the state budget gridlock goes from here. 

Leslie Munger at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger, says she will have to stop nearly all state payments if a budget impasse remains unresolved by the end of this month, when the fiscal year ends.

Sex Trafficking And The Legislative Session

Jun 10, 2015

1 (888) 373-7888 National Human Trafficking Resource Center SMS: 233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO") Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week Languages: English, Spanish and 200 more languages Website: traffickingresourcecenter.org Edit | Remove

  Sex trafficking is not just a problem in other countries or big cities. It can happen just down the street. And you're probably unaware it's going on.

“For people to think that slavery is over … it is not.”

A new museum has opened in Pontiac - all about gilding arts. Displays in the museum show how gold leaf is made and where gilding can be found. There is also a recreation of a gold-leaf manufacturing company and what it looked like in 1887. 

The federal government’s complex set of rules meant to spur a renewable fuels industry has fallen behind one of its main goals: cut greenhouse emissions from gasoline.

Nearly a decade after the rules were drafted, low-carbon fuels have yet to arrive. The Environmental Protection Agency says it will propose tweaks to the nation’s ethanol policy by June 1, and the changes will mark a crucial point for the next generation of biofuels, which have so far failed to flourish.

Amanda Vinicky

Lawmakers' actions in Springfield today made evident there has been no thaw in state politicians' stances on a property tax freeze. It's one of various stalemates holding up a budget deal even as Illinois is weeks away from a potential government shutdown.

Gov. Bruce Rauner campaigned on lowering local property taxes; more recently the Republican has said a freeze must come before he'll negotiate to bridge a 3-billion dollar gap in Democrats' spending plan.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner and state employees have yet to reach an agreement for contracts. Union members gathered in Springfield on Tuesday to protest what they say are unfair proposals from the governor.

After more than six months of negotiating, an agreement has yet to be reached for state union contacts, which are scheduled to end June 30.

Jennifer Desulis works for the Illinois Department of Revenue and has been a union member for 16 years.

Illinois Times

That's the question reporter for the Illinois Times Patrick Yeagle asks in his cover story. He explores calls for putting fewer criminals in prison while sending more of them through rehabilitation programs. Yeagle writes about how "tough on crime" efforts of the 80s and 90s are being re-thought, though Illinois has been slow to join other states in revamping policies and laws.

siumed.edu

Springfield's population is expected to increase over the next quarter-century but at a lower rate than in recent years.  Tim Landis of the SJR discusses his reporting on the issue with Bill Wheelhouse.  Also a different Parsons in bankruptcy court and goodbye New Coney Island.

Courtesy of Illinois State Museum

Archaeological investigations have revealed that ancient peoples in North America employed astronomical observations in order to determine the onset of various seasons as well as to understand the length of the year. Such information helped guide religious, social, and economic activities.

Aaron Schock
Aaron Schock / Instagram

Former Peoria Republican Congressman Aaron Schock's fall from political grace set in motion an unexpected special election, and that has unexpected consequences for county clerks.

On July 7, primary voters in the 18th Congressional district will get their first crack at choosing who'll represent them in D.C., following Aaron Schock's resignation.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Over the past few months I have worked on a story about what it's like to be transgender, especially for those who do not have the privilege of fame and plenty of resources. For many, being transgender comes with stigma and discrimination in just about every facet of life.

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General Lisa Madigan pushed legislation calling for new policies to handle sexual assault cases on Illinois campuses. The bill was approved by both Houses in late May.

Ethanol is one of the most important industries in the Midwest, and it’s an industry about to change. The U.S. EPA says that by June 1 it will propose new targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, which dictates the amount of ethanol the oil industry has to blend into our gasoline.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The Illinois General Assembly should have been done with its business at the end of May. Instead, lawmakers are set to return to Springfield Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is still clashing with the Democratic leaders of the legislature. House Speaker Michael Madigan says Rauner's focus on pro-business changes is misplaced — that he ought to be more worried about getting the state’s finances in order.

flickr/Stephen Woods

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is banning out-of-state birds from exhibitions and fairs around the state to help stem the spread of a deadly bird flu that's hit nearby states.  

The restriction announced Friday includes county fairs, FFA and 4-H fairs and the state fairs in Springfield and DuQuoin.  

The agency says the bird flu hasn't yet been detected in Illinois. Agency director Philip Nelson says the restrictions are meant to protect the Illinois poultry industry and allow youths to show livestock at county and fairs this summer.  

flickr/Daniel X. O'Neill

The Illinois Senate will consider a proposed property tax freeze when the chamber reconvenes for the first time since the regular legislative session ended May 31.  

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton announced Friday the entire Senate will hear testimony on the issue Tuesday. 

This week, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers continued to spar over the state budget and the governor's legislative agenda.  Rauner dismissed the legislature's proposed changes for workers' compensation as "phony reform" and Democrats criticized the governor paying his top education aide, Beth Purvis, a $250,000 salary from Department of Human Services funds.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel discussion.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

Garrison Keillor closes his “Prairie Home Companion” broadcasts by signing off from Lake Wobegon, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

This tendency of parents to celebrate the positive is admirable, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of a family’s experience.  Because for every child—no matter how lovely—the day will come when he disappoints his parents.

A 26 year old woman has died from injuries sustained in an accident in a Wal Mart parking lot last night, policy say.   She was identified as Lindsey Sharp of Springfield.  The Sangamon County Coroner says Sharp died at 11:15 a.m. Friday.  Police indicated she had suffered a serious head injury.

The accident happened at the Wal Mart along South Sixth Street in Springfield, just after 6 p.m.

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