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Illinois Symphony Orchestra
6:47 am
Fri June 28, 2013

ISO's New Performance Lineup

ISO Music Director Alistair Willis
Credit www.alistairwillis.com

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra has announced its new season.

Music Director Alastair Willis says the season that starts in October will include appearances from the Illinois Shakespeare Festival and young cellist Julie Albers.

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Education Budget
4:28 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Despite Level Funding, Quinn Says Pensions Still Squeezing Schools

Gov. Pat Quinn

After years of state budget cuts, Illinois schools will get roughly level funding under legislation signed into law Thursday. But Governor Pat Quinn says it's still not enough.

Earlier this year, Quinn said Illinois' budget problems meant the state had to reduce school spending. But lawmakers decided not to cut the education budget, in part because Illinois collected more taxes in April than it anticipated.

The extra money will go to elementary and high schools, community colleges, and public universities. It also funds MAP grants for needy college students.

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Same sex marriage
2:04 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

What The DOMA Rulings Mean For Illinois

Gay rights activists hold a press conference before the end of the legislature's spring session, demanding the same sex marriage bill get a vote in the Illinois House.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Expect a raucous time at this weekend's annual Pride Parade in Chicago.  Gay right activists will celebrate the death of "DOMA," or the Defense of Marriage Act.  Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling declaring the Act unconstitutional is a major victory for advocates, who had a disappointing spring in Illinois.  The House of Representatives adjourned in late May without taking a vote on a measure to legalize gay marriage in the state.   Activists say they're hopeful the federal ruling will put additional pressure on state legislators to pass a law.  For the meantime, figuring out just what the r

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Jacksonville Fatal Fire
12:57 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Mother, Two Sons Killed In Mobile Home Fire

The Morgan County Coroner says a mother and her two young sons were the victims of a fatal fire early Thursday morning.  Coroner Jeff Lair says smoke inhalation is blamed for the deaths of Kayla Perry and her two sons, 4-year-old Christopher and 7-year-old Joshua.  The family's mobile home caught fire around 1 am Thursday.  Neighbors placed the 911 call, and area firefighters say they arrived to find the residence fully engulfed in flames.  A cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The state fire marshal has been called to investigate.  

Education
11:31 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Technology In The Classroom Pt. II: iPads Used Daily

  Paper notebooks are still a requirement in schools. But devices like iPads are becoming increasingly more popular in classrooms. In the second half of the WUIS series on technology and teaching, this story takes us to elementary schools in Springfield’s District 186 to see how the electronic tablets are becoming a common part of the school day:

REAVY: “OK, so go ahead and open up your email to ‘Snakes Quiz’…”

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Americana
11:20 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Ford Edsel Devotees Bring Unique Cars To Springfield

Herb Wiese with his '58 Edsel Pacer Convertible
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

  The Ford Edsel is widely known for being one of the greatest marketing flops in history. It had a brief run from 1958 to 1960. But not everyone gave up on the Edsel:

WHITE-SWIFT: “Favorite car votes… get your favorite car votes here….”

Joey White-Swift is from Waco, Texas. He came to Springfield for the Edsel Owners Club's 45th Annual Convention. He's collecting votes for the 15 cars on display.

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Risk Analysis
7:00 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Report Questions Illinois' Low Credit Rating

  Governor Pat Quinn says Illinois' failure to solve its pension problem means the state will have to pay $130 million more in interest on bonds it sold Wednesday. But a new study is questioning Illinois' low debt rating.

Illinois got an average interest rate of five percent on the $1.3 billion bond sale — and had to turn away many potential buyers.

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Election 2014
6:30 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Brady Announces Third Bid For Governor

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, takes questions from reporters June 26, 2013, at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

State Sen. Bill Brady on Wednesday formally announced a third bid to be the governor of Illinois.

The Bloomington Republican says he isn't giving up on Illinois despite the state's serious fiscal challenges. He also says he'll veto any attempt the extend the 2011 tax increase, which is scheduled to begin rolling back in 2015.

Brady says he learned a lot about appealing statewide since 2010, when he narrowly emerged as the Republican primary victor. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn defeated him by less than one percent of 3.6 million votes.

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Pensions
3:56 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Quinn Says Lower Credit Rating Costly

Governor Pat Quinn

Gov. Pat Quinn says Illinois will pay an extra $130 million in interest on a bond issue this week due to lowered credit ratings because the state has not been able to solve its pension crisis.  
The state sold $1.3 billion in bonds to pay for transportation projects around the state, including redevelopment of a Chicago mass transit line, road repairs and new buildings at university campuses.  

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Same-Sex Marriage
11:54 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Springfield Catholic Leader Responds To Supreme Court Rulings

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
Credit www.dio.org

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield says the nation's high court has given "legal protection to an intrinsic evil" by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and not defending California's Proposition 8.  

In a statement Wednesday, Reverend Thomas John Paprocki went on to call the Supreme Court's rulings "hollow decisions" that are "devoid of moral authority".  

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Illinois Edition
10:07 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Film Festival Now Hosting Mini-Screenings In Springfield

Credit www.route66filmfestival.net

The film festival held in Springfield each fall has expanded its calendar of events to include "mini-screenings" this summer.

Route 66 International Film Festival board member Thea Chesley joined Peter Gray on Illinois Edition to discuss the short films her group is now sharing with moviegoers - in a setting that's more casual than conventional:

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Statehouse
4:20 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Representative Says Pension Deal Could Happen Soon

Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Mt. Sterling)

An Illinois House and Senate conference committee will meet tomorrow in Chicago as members try to work out a compromise on the state's pension problem.
Ten lawmakers, six of them Democrats, make up the panel.  It was formed after a pension deal eluded the General Assembly in the spring.  Republican Jil Tracy of Mount Sterling is among those given the task of coming up with a solution.

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Gasification Fails
4:45 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Weekly Business Report: Growth in Wineries

Credit SJ-R

Amanda Vinicky talks with Tim Landis, Business Editor for the State Journal Register. We'll talk about Illinois' growing, and spreading, wine industry.  And what to do about high-accident intersections.  That and more in this week's Business Report.

You can read the latest stories Landis is working on daily in the SJR. 

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MacArthur Boulevard Redevelopment
10:49 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Hy-Vee Breaks Ground, Open Set For Spring '14

GSCC Pres. Steward Sandstrom, Hy-Vee's Mary Fuhrman, Alds. Cory Jobe and Joe McMenamin move a bit of ceremonial earth
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

Springfield residents living near South MacArthur Boulevard could have a new grocery store in the neighborhood by this time next year.

Iowa-based chain Hy-Vee held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning in the parking lot of the old Kmart store and bowling alley just north of Outer Park Drive.

Hy-Vee Asst. VP of Operations Mary Fuhrman says her crews will start tearing down the vacant buildings immediately.  Fuhrman expects the store to open by late spring 2014.

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Harvest Desk
7:44 am
Mon June 24, 2013

My Farm Roots: Jackie Dougan Jackson

Jackson’s father was known around town as “The Babies’ Milkman.”
Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

Jackie Dougan Jackson grew up like many farm kids. She spent sunbaked summer hours detasseling corn, tending the crops so it can be pollinated. For farm kids, detasseling is one of the ultimate chores. For the 85-year-old Jackson, those memories still put a song in her heart.

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The Muni
2:42 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

The Muni’s Les Miserables Showcases Local Talent

Photo courtesy of The Muni

Springfield’s Muni out-door theater is putting on its largest production yet. With a cast of just about fifty actors, plus chorus singers, Les Miserables cost 50 percent more than the average Muni show. When Les Mis recently became available to amateur theaters, The Muni was quick to buy the rights. The show is in its second week… performances start at 8:30. They are tonight through Sunday, and again next week – Thursday through Saturday. Here's the interview with cast members Sydney Assalley & Jerry Hicks and the vocal director, Damien Kaplan.

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Pensions
1:58 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Legislature Forms Group Tasked With Finding Pension Fix

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Governor Pat Quinn is giving legislators less than three weeks to come together on a pension overhaul. So far the formation of a rare “conference committee” is the only result of the special legislative session Quinn called to deal with the state’s pension problem.

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Education
1:43 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Sangamon Co. Regional Superintendent Jeff Vose Interview

Sangamon County Regional Superintendent Jeff Vose
Credit roe51.org

Regional Offices of Education have often been an overlooked area of government.  But the elected positions have unwillingly been in the spotlight over the last couple of years when Governor Pat Quinn tried to eliminate them.  A compromise with the legislature resulted in a consolidation of the offices that is underway now.  44 offices are required to drop down to 35.   In Sangamon County, an agreement was reached this month to merge with Menard County starting in 2015.

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13th Dist. Primary
10:30 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Rep. Davis Asks Supporter To Step Down

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R - IL 13th Dist.)

 

Central Illinois Republican congressman Rodney Davis is asking a campaign official to step down from his party position after writing what's been called a racist email about Davis' primary challenger. 

Montgomery County GOP Chairman Jim Allen wrote an email suggesting Erika Harold could fill a "minority quota'' if she lost the Republican primary. The bi-racial Harvard law school graduate was crowned Miss America in 2003 and launched her campaign bid this month. 

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Harvest Desk
2:03 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Harvest Desk: Studying Effects Of Ag Runoff

One of the U.S. Geological Survey teams collecting water samples and checking cages for fish eggs in Missouri this summer: biologist Diana Papoulias, chemist Dave Alvarez, hydrologist Peter Van Metre, biologist Diane Nicks and environmental toxicologist Don Tillitt.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Midwest waterways are getting lots of attention this summer. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency have immersed themselves in the ecology of 100 streams from Ohio to Nebraska. It’s a first-of-its kind effort to understand how ag runoff is not just changing the water but affecting the critters that live there. Harvest Public Media’s Abbie Fentress Swanson joined a crew on a rainy day while they gathered water samples and searched for fish eggs on three streams in central Missouri.

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Pensions
8:33 am
Wed June 19, 2013

University Presidents Rally Behind Exclusive Pension Plan

U. of I. President Robert Easter, second from left, testifies at the Statehouse in May.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

The presidents of Illinois' public universities are rallying behind a plan intended to bolster the pension system for their employees. The proposal was the subject of a state Senate hearing Tuesday in Springfield. But its future is far from certain.

One by one, university presidents told senators why they believe something must be done about pensions. University of Illinois president Robert Easter says his schools are at a competitive disadvantage for recruiting top faculty.

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Pensions
7:32 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Special Session's Special Move: Creating a Conference Committee

House Speaker Mike Madigan has a front row seat Tuesday during a House committee on pensions, as the General Assembly's poised to form the first conference committee in years.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Members of Illinois' General Assembly return to the capitol Wednesday for a special session on pensions, where they're expected to pass off the problem to a yet another legislative committee. 

                      

    

What to do about Illinois' $100 billion pension debt has confounded legislators for years.

The most recent barrier: the House and Senate -- as well as the chambers' respective leaders -- are fixated on different plans.  So they've agreed to a new approach they're putting in motion Wednesday.

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UIS Speaker
6:25 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Thomas Jefferson And The Monticello Gardens

Peter Hatch

Thomas Jefferson was more than a founding father.  He was an avid gardener.  We’ve learned more about Jefferson’s passion for gardening thanks to Peter Hatch and the various books he has written.

Hatch is the retired Director of Gardens and Grounds at Jefferson’s Monticello.  He’ll speak on the UIS campus Thursday night.  He also talked with WUIS’ Sean Crawford about Jefferson’s gardens….

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District 186
2:34 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Technology In The Classroom Pt. I: Interest In Computer Science Increases

Indigo Lacy shows off her final project in computer programming class at SHS

  While most high schools teach an assortment of foreign languages: Spanish, French, German – other types of languages are finding their way into classrooms. Like Java. Never heard of it? It’s basically a language computers speak. At one time, this area was something few kids found interesting. But in the era of video games and smart phones, technology is part of the average students’ everyday life. In the first of a two-part series looking at teaching tech, we look at how District 186 is getting the next generation of programmers ready:

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District 186
11:29 am
Tue June 18, 2013

186 School Brd. Discusses Residency Requirement – Reappoints Leming

The Springfield school board continues to discuss a rule on the books that requires administrators to live within district 186 boundaries. Vice president Adam Lopez has adopted the cause, saying the policy should either be enforced, or removed from regulations. It’s his wish to enforce it. But board member Donna Moore questioned the need for the policy:

MOORE: Can I ask a question … I know we have this policy… but what purpose does it serve? Is this policy helping us to achieve the goals that we’re trying to achieve in the school district? Or does it hamper it?”

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Quinn: Will Create Jobs
3:07 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Fracking Regulations Become Law

Illinois' fracking regulations divided the environmental community; while those like the Illinois Environmental Council signed on as proponents of the new law, others - like these activists - remain opposed.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law what's touted as the nation's toughest regulations on "fracking."  

 

High-volume hydraulic fracturing is a controversial process used to reach oil and natural gas deep underground.

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Guns and transparancy
7:41 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Concealed Carry Permit Board Not Subject To FOIA, Open Meetings

Josh Sharp, Government Relations Director for the Illinois Press Association
Credit courtesy of the Illinois Press Association

Governor Pat Quinn says he's reviewing a measure that would lift Illinois' long-standing concealed carry ban. It took legislators months to reach a compromise, and still gun control and gun rights activists both say they're not happy.   Other critics say they're upset about a lack of government transparency.

The concealed carry legislation approved late last month creates a seven-member board to review applications from people who want to be able to carry a gun in public.

Under the measure, that board would be exempt from the state's Freedom of Information Act.

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Harvest Desk
6:16 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Agriculture Pushes For "Right To Farm"

Hog farmer Bob Young had to overcome lawsuits from his neighbors before building his confinement facility near Rochester. Says Young: “There are a few (city people) that come out here and think we got to change everything so we can make it city living. And that won’t work.”
Credit Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

Individual state constitutions across the nation spell out a host of guaranteed rights for their citizens. For example, same sex marriage or collective bargaining. But what about the right to farm?  From the WUIS Harvest Desk,  Bill Wheelhouse reports on a drive to establish that guarantee:

The way hog farmer Bob Young sees it, city people just don’t understand farmers.

“There are a few that come out here and think we got to change everything so we can make it city living,” he said. “And that won’t work.”

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Higher Education
5:30 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Republicans Propose Tuition Tax Breaks

Rep. Adam Brown (R-Champaign)
Credit Amanda Vinicky

With college tuition on the rise, Illinois House Republicans say they want to give working class families a break, and an incentive to go to a school in state.

 

Rep. Adam Brown graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2007, but in that short time, tuition's steadily gone up.

BROWN: "The average cost for tuition, fees and books right now -- $26,000 and ten years ago that was $19,000.”

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Statehouse
11:18 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Brauer Predicts Nothing Special In Special Session

State Rep. Rich Brauer
Credit ilga.gov

What will the special legislative session next week accomplish?

"Nothing," says Rep. Rich Brauer (R-Petersburg).  Brauer was a guest on WUIS' Illinois Edition Thursday.  He talks pensions, concealed carry, same sex marriage and the state budget:

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