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Statehouse
9:32 am
Tue November 5, 2013

State's Mayors Want Pension Overhaul

Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg
Credit Loves Park City Website

The new head of the Illinois Municipal League wants lawmakers to remain committed to a pension overhaul. Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg was recently named president of the organization. Lindberg says the group has not put its support behind any one plan, but is paying attention to work being done by the bipartisan pension panel.

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Harvest Desk
6:40 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Noel, Mo.: Schools Build Safety Net For Immigrant Children

At the primary school in rural Noel, Mo., teachers and staff function as educators about as often as they do de facto social workers.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Noel, MO - It’s almost 9 a.m., and Noel Primary School teacher Erin McPherson is helping a group of Spanish-speaking students complete English language exercises. But it’s tough going.

One student in a bright blue T-shirt – 9-year-old Isac Martinez – has not yet picked up his pencil. He’s clearly sick. When McPherson asks him what’s wrong, Isac’s small voice is barely audible in between coughs. He says he threw up four times last night but did not go to a doctor.

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Statehouse
6:00 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Activists Pushing For Graduated Income Tax

A group of activists are working to end Illinois' flat income tax. They say they've gathered more than 150-thousand signatures so far, and are making their case to Illinois lawmakers.

Income in Illinois is taxed at a uniform five percent, whether you're working at a drive-thru window or you're the CEO of a multi-national corporation.

The people pushing what they call a "fair tax" would have wealthy people pay more, while middle- and lower-income people would pay less. That's already how federal income taxes work.

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Statehouse
4:56 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Opposing Views Of Same Sex Marriage

Some of the volunteers making calls during the Macomb phone bank in support of same-sex marriage.
Credit Rich Egger

Whether or not House lawmakers in Illinois vote on same sex marriage this week, those on differing sides of the issue have been working to make their case.

Supporters

The group Illinois Unites for Marriage has organized phone banks to target state representatives who’ve not made up their mind or who have not announced how they will vote.

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Regional
3:39 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Shaking Was Quarry Blast, Not An Earthquake

Credit USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey says the shaking with a measured magnitude 3.2 in northern Illinois was a blast and not an earthquake.  

USGS geophysicist Don Blakeman also says it appears Monday afternoon's blast came from within a rock quarry but that the exact location of the blast had not yet been determined. He says that all indications so far leads experts to believe that the blast came from the quarry. That includes that the epicenter is in an area close to the quarry.  

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Statehouse
12:56 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Car Dealers Push To Change Leasing Tax

Credit Flickr user oldbrochures

The price of leasing a car in Illinois could be lowered under a proposal before the Illinois General Assembly. Automobile dealers say leasing in Illinois has lagged behind other states.

If you were to lease a car today, chances are you'd be charged for tax on the full value of the vehicle, just like if you were buying it.

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Harvest Desk
12:55 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Area Farmers Reflect On Summer Crop, Look Ahead

Springfield shoppers who connect with local growers each summer at the Old Capitol Farmer's Market have stocked up for the cold months ahead. 

In these Oct. 26 interviews, Peter Gray caught up with a few vendors at the last Saturday market downtown to hear their thoughts on the summer harvest.

INTERVIEWS from the Old Capitol Farmer's Market:

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Same-Sex Marriage Vote Possible
6:22 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Heavy Veto Session Agenda

Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Democrat from Northbrook, is a member of the conference committee tasked with negotiating a pension deal.
Credit ILGA.gov

  Illinois legislators are scheduled to finish out their veto session this week. Their back-loaded agenda ranges from dealing with budget matters to social issues.

The first week of the veto session late last month went by with little of substance accomplished.

But what the General Assembly didn't touch then is back now.

Like tax packages designed to keep companies, like Archer Daniels Midland, headquartered in Illinois.

It also appears the sponsor of stalled same-sex marriage legislation is leaning toward calling it for a vote in the House.

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Business
6:22 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Greg Baise: Illinois Has To Compete For Jobs

Greg Baise
Credit IMA

A key Illinois business leader says the state is facing tough competition when it comes to keeping jobs.  Greg Baise is President of the Illinois Manufacturer's Association.  He says controversial legislation in Illinois that would offer tax breaks to certain firms is an effort to keep pace.

Among the firms, agribusiness leader Archer Daniels Midland, which wants to move it's corporate headquarters from Decatur to a larger city.  Illinois and other states are wooing the company with promises of tax incentives.

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Business
5:57 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

State Farm Could Move Some Jobs From Central Illinois

State Farm building in Bloomington
Credit wikipedia

State Farm Insurance Co. says it will likely move at least some of its claims services employees out of Bloomington.  

State Farm spokeswoman Holly Anderson said Friday that the company told employees this week that the potential move is being studied.  

The Bloomington-based company wouldn't say how many workers could be involved, where the jobs could be moved to or when. The Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington reported that as of 2011 1,600 people worked at the center where the claims workers are based.  

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State Week
1:34 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Listen To State Week - November 1, 2013

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, an overview of the Fall Veto Session so far, the possibility of tax breaks for Archer Daniels Midland, and the dustup between House Speaker Madigan and the Better Government Association.

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Harvest Desk
1:03 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Rural Neighbors Split On Wind Energy Lines

In O’Brien County, Iowa, Jay Hofland has agreed to sell part of his land to an energy company for a conver station that would mark the beginning of a high voltage transmission traversing the state.
Credit Durrie Bouscaren/Harvest Public Media

The rolling plains of Midwest farm country are being tapped for their natural resources again. This time, though, the bounty would be wind energy, instead of corn, wheat or soybeans.

Houston-based utility company Clean Line Energy Partners wants to produce a massive amount of wind energy on the plains. To do that, the company plans to build five large-scale high voltage transmission lines that would criss-cross the country, three of which would bring energy from Midwestern windmills to the energy grid to the east.

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Education
9:13 am
Fri November 1, 2013

U Of I To Open China Office

Credit University of Illinois

The University of Illinois plans to open an office in China later this year.
 
Pradeep Khanna is associate chancellor for corporate international relations at
the school. Khanna tells The News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1ahCsrT) that the
university plans to hire up to three employees for the new office in Shanghai.
 
A delegation of University of Illinois alumni is traveling to Beijing and
Shanghai next week. The group of about 50 people will meet with alumni and visit
companies and universities that have partnerships with UI.
 

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Film
7:00 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Rt. 66 Film Fest Features Eccentric Mix Of Indie Flicks

A still from the short film 'Wooing Wes Wilson' - directed by Thad Vassmer
Credit vimeo.com

Friday marks the kick off of the Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield. We bring you a conversation with Hugh Moore & Lana Wildman about that and a look at a couple of the films from Illinois that will be featured there:

CLICK HERE for more information about the fest, which runs Friday, November 1st to Saturday, November 2nd. You can also email Route66FilmFestival@gmail.com to get tickets for both days at a reduced price.

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Arts
4:41 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Listen To The War Of The Worlds

Listen to the complete 75th Anniversary re-creation of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre broadcast of 1938.

H.G. Wells' classic tale of invaders from Mars, originally adapted for radio for Halloween in 1938, as performed at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield from the original Welles script and featuring live sound effects.

CAST:  Gus Gordon, Tony Libri, Don Schneider, Johnny Molson, Bob Murray, Flynn Hanners, Jim Leach, and Bryan Boes.

SOUND EFFECTS:  Mary E. Myers and Ryan Mitchelle.

SOUND DESIGN:  Duane Fant

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Statehouse
3:41 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Audit Slams CMS Property Control

Credit flickr/danxoneil

An audit finds the agency that keeps track of all of Illinois state property does a poor job.  
Auditor General William Holland's review Thursday shows the Department of Central Management Services' inventory includes only a fraction of what the state controls. The review says the department has made little progress in developing a computerized list.

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Statehouse
3:32 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Senator Wants Job Commitment From ADM

Sen. Andy Manar
Credit ilga.gov

New legislation would bring jobs to Decatur as a condition for Archer Daniels Midland Company to receive state incentives it wants to keep its headquarters in Illinois.
 
State Sen. Andy Manar introduced an amendment Thursday to require the company
to relocate at least 100 jobs from out of state to Decatur and hire at least 100
new full-time employees a year in the city for five years.
 
ADM announced earlier this year it will move its 100-employee global
headquarters out of Decatur. ADM is reportedly considering Chicago and other
cities.
 

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Historic Home
9:45 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Architecture Tours Planned At Dana-Thomas House

Credit springfield.il.us

A new Frank Lloyd Wright architecture tour is being offered at a Springfield historic site designed by the famed Illinois architect.  

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Regional
9:39 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Inmate Captured In Macon County

After a four-hour manhunt, authorities have recaptured an inmate who escaped from jail in Decatur just as he was to begin serving a prison sentence for aggravated battery.  
Schuyler McCoy escaped from the Macon County Jail at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday by identifying himself to correctional officers as a different inmate who was in the process of being released on bond.  
Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider says a search began as soon as officers realized the error. U.S. Marshalls took part.  

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Morgan County
9:36 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Federal Report Supports FutureGen

Credit Bill Wheelhouse/WUIS

A final recommendation is still pending but the U.S. Department of Energy has said in a report that the FutureGen project in Morgan County should go ahead.  
The agency released the final environmental study on Wednesday. It says the clean-coal project should receive $1 billion in federal funding. The State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/17uijEH) a final decision on if the $1.65 billion project should come by the end of the year.  

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Education
6:00 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Grade Deflation On School Report Cards

Illinois schools and school districts get report cards Thursday. Many will appear to have suffered a significant drop in student achievement. But state officials say that’s just because they’ve changed how students are evaluated.

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Health Desk
6:10 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Mammography In 3D

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; during the fall veto session, doctors traveled to Springfield to show state legislators how 3D mammography (the scientific term is tomosynthesis) works, and its benefits.
Credit File photo

  Illinois requires insurance companies to cover routine mammograms, but that doesn't necessarily include a new method of detecting breast cancer.

A mammogram is a low-dose of x-rays doctors use to spot breast cancer. An important tool, to be sure, but one that can result in false-positives.

Dr. Sarah Friedewald says that'll happen a lot less if women also get a 3D mammogram. Likewise, she says, the new technology makes it easier to spot abnormalities.

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Regional
4:58 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Inmate Escapes From Macon Co. Jail

Credit maconcountysheriff

A man about to be sent to prison for aggravated battery has escaped from the Macon County Jail in Decatur.  

The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports (http://bit.ly/1aISpvu ) that 25-year-old Schuyler McCoy escaped Wednesday and police have begun a search.  

Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider tells the newspaper that McCoy escaped around 1:30 p.m. after identifying himself to correctional officers as a different inmate who was in the process of being released on bond.  

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Halloween
8:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Carl Jones, Local Ghost Investigator

"A fairly recent one from the old Milton School house in Alton, photo taken by Danielle Spain, she felt something behind her and a cold chill, put camera over her shoulder and captured this dark shadow figure. " -Carl Jones

You may be queuing up some scary movies on Netflix to get into the spirit of Halloween this week. But for some, interests in ghosts lasts all year 'round. Carl Jones started the Prairieland Paranormal Consortium and teaches classes at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield about the paranormal.

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Halloween
7:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Ghost Hunters Look For Paranormal Evidence At The Hickox Home

Exterior of Virgil Hickox House
Greg Manfroi

The Springfield-area is home to numerous ghost-hunting groups that investigate hauntings year round. As you might imagine, after going on hundreds of paranormal explorations - investigators start to acquire a few scary stories. WUIS recently caught up with two area paranormal investigators who were on site at one of Springfield's most notoriously haunted locations. If the evidence captured from that night doesn't scare you, perhaps their tales of their own run-ins with ghosts will. 

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Statehouse
6:36 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Bipartisan Call To Work Together On Budget

Credit wnij

Two state senators say partisan bickering over the state's budget should be set aside for the sake of Illinois residents.  

Park Ridge Democrat Dan Kotowski and McHenry Republican Pam Althoff touted the results of a survey of Illinois residents at a Tuesday news conference in Chicago.  

Kotowski says both Democrats and Republicans want many of the same things out of the state's budget. That includes more of the state's budget being put toward growing businesses, ensuring public safety and improving infrastructure.  

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Nation/World
5:21 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Prison "Snafu" Forces Jackson To Spend Night In Hotel

An attorney for former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says an administrative problem forced the Illinois Democrat to temporarily leave a
federal prison where he was trying to begin his sentence early for illegally
spending campaign money.
 
The former congressman then spent Monday night at a hotel and reported to
prison again Tuesday morning.
 
C.K. Hoffler told reporters in Atlanta Tuesday that she was contacted by Bureau
of Prisons personnel and asked to pick Jackson up about two hours after dropping
him off at the North Carolina prison.

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Fiscal Focus
4:30 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Report: Deficit Expected Even If Tax Hike Stays

Credit flickr/borman18

  Even if Illinois keeps its higher income tax rate, a new report projects the state is headed toward deficit spending. 

Illinois residents are paying a 5-percent tax on their income. It's been that way since 2011.

According to a new report from the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs, that tax money helped balance Illinois' budget this year.

But economist David Merriman, who directed the project, says that won't last.

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Nation/World
2:59 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Fmr. Congressman Reports To Prison

Jesse Jackson Jr.

Former Illinois U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has reported to a North Carolina federal prison to serve a 2 1/2-year prison term for misusing campaign funds.  
Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke declined to offer details, including when Jackson reported to prison.  
Court documents were never clear about when Jackson must report. In her sentencing order written earlier this year, A federal judge in Washington said only that he would have to surrender no earlier than Nov.1.  

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Harvest Desk
10:45 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Income Up - Revenue Down At ADM

Credit ADM

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. said today that its third-quarter earnings more than doubled partly on increased profit margins on ethanol. But the Decatur-based company says its results fell short of last year when adjusted to exclude an inventory credit.  

Revenue fell 2 percent but beat analysts' forecasts.  
Net income was $476 million, or 72 cents per share, up from $182 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.  

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