State public health officials say an elderly central Illinois man is the first person in Illinois to die of West Nile virus this season. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced the death Friday. They say the Logan County man was in his 80s and died in mid-August. The Macon County Health Department says a private lab confirmed the death. The state health department says it is confirming the results. So far this season West Nile virus has been reported in 57 Illinois counties. The first human case was reported Aug. 21 in McHenry County.
This week's topics include Democratic Party choices for endorsement of a Governor candidate, Secretary of State Jesse White announces he'll seek re-election, and the controversy over Capitol Building renovations continues.
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she's hitting the road to announce her candidacy for re-election. Topinka put out a schedule Thursday detailing stops across Illinois. Her trip starts Sunday in Chicago and ends Tuesday in Marion in southern Illinois. In between she'll make stops in Rockford, Moline, Peoria, Quincy, Springfield, Edwardsville and Mount Vernon. Topinka says in the announcement that she's running for re-election ``to fight against the ill-advised spending and reckless borrowing that has decimated state finances.''
The Southern Illinois University system's governing board has signed off on forming an advisory committee to help search for a replacement for the university's retirement-bound president. The SIU board of trustees also voted Thursday to authorize its executive committee to hire an outside search firm in the quest to find a successor to Glenn Poshard. Poshard announced in July that he plans to retire June 30 of next year, even though his contract expires in 2015.
Members of a board overseeing renovations to the state Capitol are defending decisions to include ornate features that have raised eyebrows.
The four-person board says the inclusion of copper-plated doors and chandeliers was "a mere fraction of the work being done.'' They say the $50 million renovation was mostly about safety and followed all budget and procedural requirements.
Three sets of copper doors each cost $223,000 and the chandeliers cost $80,000. Gov. Pat Quinn has halted funding for future renovations until a review of the expenditures.
Services are set for a 7-year-old southern Illinois girl who prosecutors allege was stabbed to death by her uncle.
Authorities say Willow Long was killed late Saturday or early Sunday near her home in Watson, an Effingham County village 100 miles northeast of St. Louis.
Prosecutors have charged 22-year-old Justin DeRyke with three counts of first-degree murder. Authorities say he told investigators he killed his niece to end her suffering after she accidentally fell onto a brush pile and pierced her neck with a stick.
The Democratic Party of Illinois says it'll meet later this month to consider slating statewide candidates in next year's election. But at least one of those candidates thinks its a bad idea.
It's been rare for the state Democratic Party to get involved in recent primary elections. That makes the announcement of the meeting something of a surprise.
Democratic Party chairman Mike Madigan — you may also know him as speaker of the Illinois House — says the meeting will give the candidates an opportunity to "convey the strengths they bring to the ticket."
Many of Illinois' public universities are welcoming larger freshmen classes to their campuses this fall. Experts warn not to read too much into the increases. But many of the schools say higher numbers could mean that everything from the University of Illinois' strong science and math programs to efforts working to draw more students to smaller schools such as Eastern Illinois University. Blair Lord is provost at EIU. The Charleston school's freshman enrollment went up for the first time in four years to 1,254.
A priest found handcuffed in a church rectory in Springfield last year is returning to the ministry. The Springfield Diocese issued a statement today saying Father Thomas Donovan will serve as a chaplain to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton.
The University of Illinois is giving President Bob Easter a $90,000 bonus and a pay raise. University trustees approved the bonus and raise for Easter at their regular board meeting Thursday in Urbana. The bonus is part of a new incentive-based compensation plan for Easter. The bonus was based on the three-campus university system reaching set goals for cost reduction, enrollment and other factors under Easter. Easter's base pay will increase 2.75 percent to $462,375. Most university employees are getting 2.75 percent raises.
Illinois' old law banning the concealed carry of firearms took another hit Thursday. A federal court already found it unconstitutional last year. Now the Illinois Supreme Court has taken the same position.
Alberto Aguilar was 17 when Chicago police arrested him for having a loaded handgun with the serial number scratched off.
He was convicted of unlawfully possessing a firearm and sentenced to 24 months probation.
Matthew Dearing says theatregoers don't need to study Quantum Electrodynamics in order to enjoy a show about the man behind the theory.
Dearing is directing QED: A Play, which stars Decatur actor Al Scheider as theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. Feynman helped develop the atomic bomb. He also gained notoriety in the 1980s as a member of the panel that investigated NASA after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
Roller derby is a contact sport on wheels known for its brutality, but also its inclusivity. Anyone willing to strap on a pair of skates and protective gear is invited to join the area teams. Rachel Otwell visited with a men’s team, Springfield’s Capital City Hooligans, as they prepared for their first official bout in May. This Sunday, the Hooligans play their first official home bout at Skate Land South.
We thought it was a good time to re-visit our feature story:
The price of insurance policies that will be offered under the federal health care overhaul remain a mystery, even to state officials.
Oct. 1 will be a big day across the country for President Barack Obama's signature health care law. It's the launch date for insurance marketplaces, the Affordable Care Act's term for where people without insurance will be able to shop for coverage.
Crews have finished demolishing an historic hotel in Quincy that was gutted by fire. Demolition of the Newcomb Hotel has ended and The Quincy Herald-Whig reports (http://bit.ly/1b6yb0e) streets in Quincy should reopen Wednesday. Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze that broke out late Friday. The hotel first opened in 1888 but has been empty for years. The city plans to put up a 6-foot fence around the building to keep people away from the debris. Removal of debris isn't expected to start for more than a month. The city must solicit bids for cleanup.
You don't have to be old to give to worthy causes. In fact, there is a group in the area known as the Young Philanthropists, which provides grants for various needs in the community. All you have to be is over 21 years old and you can join simply by giving 125-dollars a year.
Micah Roderick, on the Steering Committee of the Young Philanthropists, and Stacy Reed, Vice President of Programs with the Community Foundation for the Land Of Lincoln, spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford:
Illinois’ capitol was designed in the late 1800s. Critics are upset about the money spent restoring the statehouse to what architect J. Richard Alsop III calls its “period of historic significance,” with fixtures like this statue of a maiden – which cost approximately $40,000.
The Governor says he's put a hold on future renovations of Illinois' Statehouse, a move his challenger calls too little, too late.
The fuss over how much money the state has spent redoing the west wing of the Illinois Capitol continues to brew. Some of the $50 million dollar project was done to fix ventilation issues and bring the building up to fire code, but $323,000 paid for gargantuan chandeliers created to look like antiques, and nearly $700,000 was spent on a set of copper doors.
Gov. Pat Quinn has suspended funding for future renovations at the Capitol, a pricey project that's already caused embarrassment for financially-shaky Illinois and raised questions about how it was allowed. The Chicago Democrat told reporters Tuesday that he's instructed his budget director to hold up appropriations for renovations that are yet to be done.
Filmgoers attend Roger Ebert’s 16th annual film festival in Champaign next spring, they’ll be able to pose with the famous Urbana native.
A fundraiser campaign aims to build a life-size sculpture of Ebert, and unveil it as part of the festival in late April, outside the Virginia Theatre. The bronze tribute to the late Urbana native and longtime Chicago Sun-Times critic places him in the middle of three theater seats, giving the trademark ‘thumbs up.’
About 125-thousand dollars is needed to build the sculpture.
Most Americans don’t eat horse meat, and they don’t like the idea of horses being slaughtered, but a handful of investors are struggling to restart a horse slaughter industry in the United States.
The investors argue that reviving horse slaughter plants would be both good for the horse business and more humane than the current situation. They’re hoping to open a new horse slaughter plant near Gallatin, Mo., but opposition has the project mired in the legal system. The issue cleaves horse owners into two camps: one that views horses as pets and another that see them as livestock.
Fall 2013 enrollment at the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois is up by nearly 100 students compared to the previous fall semester. According to the official fall census, the total number of students enrolled at UIS after the first 10 days of classes is 5,137. This marks the fourth year enrollment has topped 5,000 students. Last fall’s enrollment was 5,048.
Overall, the number of freshmen students attending UIS jumped by 20% this semester. That makes it the largest freshman class in UIS history.
As gas prices rise and fall, there's one constant: however much you pay to fill your gas tank, it's taxed. Several proposals would change how.
In Illinois, gasoline is taxed twice.
"What we have in Illinois is a tax on a tax," Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) says. "Which is just wrong. Because right now we get charged with the motor fuel tax. But then on top of that, they charge a sales tax."
Jameson Jenkins was Abraham Lincoln's neighbor. The site of his former home is located in the Lincoln Neighborhood. While Jenkins is far less well-known than the future president who lived a few doors away, he is nonetheless an interesting figure in history.
WUIS' Sean Crawford spoke about research being done with Lincoln Home National Historic Site Superintendent Dale Phillips and Site Historian Tim Townsend on Illinois Edition: