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Statehouse
3:20 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

ADM Incentives Vote On Hold

Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion)
Credit housedem.state.il.us

The sponsor of a bill to give Archer Daniels Midland Company up to $24 million in tax breaks to keep its headquarters in Illinois opted not to call it for a vote Tuesday.  

The House Revenue and Finance Committee had been scheduled to consider the bill. But Rep. John Bradley, a Democrat from Marion, took it off the agenda.  

Bradley says the incentives for ADM and several other companies ``are all under consideration.'' He declines to say when or if the bill will get a vote.  

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Statehouse
3:17 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Gov. Quinn: Pension Problem Is "Extreme Emergency"

Gov. Pat Quinn is disputing a fellow top Democrat's statements that Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension shortfall isn't a crisis.  

Senate President John Cullerton has said that the pension shortfall is not an imminent crisis, but that finding a solution can keep the state's income taxes down.  

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District 186
12:15 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Parents Urge186 Board To Pose Property Tax Referendum

A group of parents who have students in Springfield public schools took their push for a property tax increase before the District 186 board last night. They’re pursuing the issue - despite the fact the school board vice president recently proposed the idea of a 1% county-wide sales tax increase. Supporters of the property tax idea say it would benefit the general education fund while the sales tax hike, by law, would be used for building needs.

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Shutdown Fallout
5:46 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Furloughed Workers Must Repay Unemployment

Credit WBEZ

Illinois is continuing to deal with the effects of the federal government shutdown. The state agency that handles unemployment says hundreds of laid-off federal workers have to pay back their benefits.

During the shutdown, the Illinois Department of Employment Security had a significant spike in calls from laid off federal workers. A few thousand applied for benefits, and 577 ultimately collected money.

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Statehouse
5:29 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Both Sides In Same Sex Marriage Debate Gathering In Springfield

Credit flickr/geodesic

Opponents and supporters of same-sex marriage are gearing up for another push in the Illinois Legislature. 

Supporters are planning a march and rally in Springfield on Tuesday, the first day of the Legislature's fall session. Gov. Pat Quinn and other lawmakers who support legislation legalizing same-sex marriage are expected to participate.  

Opponents have scheduled a prayer rally at the Capitol on Wednesday. A group of African American clergy who oppose the measure also recorded radio ads in which they urge listeners to call lawmakers and tell them to vote no.  

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Veto Session 2013
7:50 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Preview: Fall Veto Session

Advocates pass out fliers promoting it during the Pride Parade in Chicago over the summer; despite an intense campaign to legalize same sex marriage in Illinois, the legislation's sponsor remains tight-lipped about whether he has the 60 votes needed for it to pass in the House.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

For the first time since a brief special session in July,legislators will begin making their way en masse to Springfield this week, for the fall veto session. The agenda before them is relatively light. The General Assembly will likely debate some budget matters. And there's a hearing on a new type of health care coverage for retired state employees. Amanda Vinicky previews what else is ahead.

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Riverton Elementary
7:00 am
Mon October 21, 2013

No Art Classes For Riverton Elementary - Parents Hope To Provide Alternative

Chanell Bradbury

 Riverton Elementary School is going without art classes for students this year due to cuts in it the district's budget. But there's still hope students may have another option for a creative outlet. Chanell Bradbury's daughter is a student at the Elementary, when she found out that the art classes were being cut to save money, she was disappointed: "I was really, really mad at first. How can an elementary school - of all schools ... how could they drop an art class? These children, their brains, they're just so like sponges."

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Statehouse
4:51 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Mike Lawrence Says '95 Pension Law Could Have Worked

Mike Lawrence
Credit news.siu.edu

Mike Lawrence spent years as a journalist covering state government and politics before eventually working as the Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
In between,  he served as press secretary and senior policy advisor to former Governor Jim Edgar.

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Day Sponsorship
12:00 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Michael and Allyn Armour celebrating their wedding anniversary.

Support comes from day sponsors Michael and Allyn Armour celebrating their wedding anniversary, an anniversary day shared with their daughter and son-in-law, Dana and Jake.

Higher Education
7:58 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Bradley Univ. To Again Have Mascot

Credit Bradley University

Bradley University has a new mascot for the first time in more than 20 years.  
The Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/16gYekk) the school said in a news release Friday that it has chosen the gargoyle as its new mascot. The Peoria school will keep the nickname ``Braves.'' School officials have said Bradley stopped using a mascot at some point before 1990 as pressure to drop American Indian mascots increased.  

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Regional
8:56 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Smelly Flower In Bloom In St. Louis

Credit Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden says its rare corpse flower is blooming.  
Garden officials say the flower began blooming Thursday evening and will continue into Friday. In the first 24 hours, the plant gives off a rotten smell.  
The bloom will last for about a day and a half but the foul odor mostly diminishes after the first 24 hours. The plant grows up to 6 feet tall and can be up to 3 feet wide.  
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the rare plants don't bloom every year. They store energy in a huge underground stem and can take up to a decade to bloom.  

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Statehouse
3:27 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down 'Amazon Tax'

Credit Illinois Supreme Court

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday struck down the so-called "Amazon tax." The decision could pave the way for businesses to make more money online.

The law was intended to force Internet retailers to collect Illinois sales tax.

Even if such companies didn't have an office or physical store here, they might have had Illinois "affiliates." That would be a website that linked to a product on, say, Amazon.com, and got a small kickback for every sale.

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Statehouse
1:50 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

State Week In Review: October 18, 2013

On this edition of State Week in Review, our panel previews the upcoming fall session of the Illinois General Assembly.  From pensions to same sex marriage to gun crime sentencing, we discuss what may or may not occur. 

Also, the impact of the federal shutdown on state government.   Our guest this week is Gatehouse Media's Doug Finke.

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Education
12:28 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Governor Suspends Charter School Group's Funding

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has again suspended state funding to the United Neighborhood Organization, the state's biggest charter-school operator.  
Quinn spokeswoman Sandra M. Jones told the Chicago Sun-Times the final $15 million of a $98 million state school-construction grant the Illinois Legislature promised UNO in 2009 is being withheld.  
Quinn previously suspended funding for UNO in April, after reports the organization gave $8.5 million of business to companies owned by the brothers of then UNO executive Miquel d'Escoto.  

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Education
9:24 am
Fri October 18, 2013

ISBE Warns Of School Funding Cuts

Credit flickr/LizMarie_AK

School administrators in Illinois are being warned to prepare for even less state funding for the next fiscal year.  
The Springfield Bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/16g1Hjd ) the Illinois State Board of Education is telling school districts to prepare to receive about 85 percent of the normal general state aid payments.  
This year, the qualifying districts are getting 89 percent of the money.  

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District 186
7:00 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Search Firms Tells 186 School Board It's Uniquely Political

District 186 needs to warn superintendent candidates of the highly political atmosphere that’s become business-as-usual for the Springfield school board.

That’s what the search firm the board hired to help find a new superintendent is telling them, based on feedback the firm gathered from members of the community and staff. 

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Bedrock 66 Live
6:31 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Robbie Fulks - October 18, 2013

Credit David Landis

  Robbie Fulks/The Old Fashioneds

October 18, 2013, 8 p.m. 
Show#8 
Hoogland Center for the Arts

With his fourth performance at WUIS' Bedrock 66 Live, Robbie passes the Bottle Rockets for most appearances.  Face it, we love Robbie & Co.

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Federal Budget
6:30 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Illinois Did Not Lose Money Under Default Threat: Rutherford

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford is seen in this August 2013 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

With the federal shutdown over and a government default averted, investors are breathing a sigh of relief Thursday. That includes the people responsible for investing billions of dollars on behalf of Illinois state government.

The state of Illinois has about $10 billion in investments. That money is the responsibility of Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who says about $1.2 billion of Illinois' portfolio is in the form of U.S. Treasury Bills.

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Election 2014
5:24 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Congressman Rodney Davis Defends His Vote

Cong. Rodney Davis

13th District Congressman Rodney Davis doesn’t believe he abandoned his principles by voting to reopen the government.
The Taylorville Republican says he didn’t get all the victories he wanted out of the measure approved late Wednesday, but says there were some, including a change in the Affordable Care Act that requires verification of income.  Davis says that provision could save taxpayers billions by giving federal subsidies to those who actually deserve them.

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Statehouse
5:16 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Governor Urged To Act On Steidl Pardon

Randy Steidl
Credit uis

Attorneys for the Center for Wrongful Convictions have sent an open letter to Gov. Pat Quinn in an attempt to push the Democrat into acting on a pardon for Gordon ``Randy'' Steidl.  
The letter dated Wednesday seeks action on an 11-year-old petition.  
The letters says, ``This matter has lingered for far too long. Please do the right thing.''  
It says at the least, Quinn should meet with Steidl in person to explain why he has not acted on Steidl's request while deciding thousands of other clemency petitions since taking office in 2009.  

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Fundraiser - October 31
1:41 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

WUIS Honors NPR Correspondent Kelly McEvers

Kelly McEvers with Tanks
Glen Carey NPR

Join WUIS in honoring Kelly McEvers for her world class reporting on international affairs October 31, 2013 at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.  

Learn more about Kelly and read her recent stories.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS or call 217-523-2787.

Kelly previously reported for WUIS and, when vesting family recently, agreed to do this event as a fundraiser to help support her home town public radio station.  There are two ticket levels:

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9:56 am
Thu October 17, 2013

A True Fulks Hero

Lead in text: 
Friday (10/18) the WUIS Bedrock 66 Live concert series presents Robbie Fulks with local guests The Old Fashioneds. Illinois Times Tom Irwin previewed the show in the latest issue. Don't miss what is always a highlight of the Bedrock season, a Robbie performance. BUY TICKETS NOW at 217-523-2787.
The latest piece of provocative songwriting and innovative instrumentation from Chicago-based musician and artist Robbie Fulks, Gone Away Backward, received critical and fan acclaim for the folk-bluegrass playing and the honest portrayal of characters that has supported and populated many of his best works.
Harvest Desk
7:32 am
Thu October 17, 2013

The Long, Slow Decline Of The U.S. Sheep Industry

Once a staple part of the American diet, we’re eating a lot less lamb. The U.S. sheep herd today is just one-tenth the size it was in the 1940's.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in this country has been cut in half. In fact, the number has been declining since the late 1940's, when the American sheep industry hit its peak. Today, the domestic sheep herd is one-tenth the size it was during World War II.

The decline is the result of economic and cultural factors coming together. And it has left ranchers to wonder, “When are we going to hit the bottom?”

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Pensions
6:04 am
Thu October 17, 2013

AFSCME's Henry Bayer Talks Pensions

Henry Bayer
Credit Afscme31.org

Henry Bayer is the Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.  The role puts the union leader in the middle of several battles over benefits and working conditions.  That includes the current dispute involving public pensions.

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Statehouse
5:41 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Ill. Supreme Court Will Hear Lawmaker Pay Dispute

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear Gov. Pat Quinn's appeal of a ruling that his veto of money for lawmaker pay was unconstitutional.
The court issued its one-page order Wednesday without additional comment. A hearing date has not been set.  Quinn vetoed money for lawmakers' salaries in July because he said they didn't deserve to get paid until they address Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.  

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Election 2014
5:27 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Rutherford Expects No Backlash For State GOP Candidates

Credit danrutherford.org

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford doesn’t think he will see a backlash against Republicans in next year’s race for governor. Some recent polls have shown most Americans disapprove the way congressional Republicans handled the budget.
Rutherford says he doesn’t think the conflicts in Washington, D-C will be a factor in a race closer to home - like his bid to win the Republican nomination for governor.

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Statehouse
3:48 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

State Defends Hiring After Madigan Referral

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

Gov. Pat Quinn's administration says there should be no doubt about the qualifications of a former Metra transit employee hired by the state after a referral by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.  
Central Management Services spokesman Mike Claffey  says Patrick Ward worked for 25 years in Chicago's personnel department and has a master's degree with an emphasis in labor relations.  

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Politics
9:27 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Fmr. Congressman Lane Evans Honored

Evans' childhood friend Don Lind, unveiling the sign in Rock Island
Credit WVIK

Former Illinois Congressman Lane Evans has been honored by his hometown. Tuesday, Rock Island re-named a street in the neighborhood where he grew up "Lane Evans Drive." 

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Regional
9:07 am
Wed October 16, 2013

WUIS / SJ-R Business Report: October 16, 2013

Credit SJ-R

The State Journal-Register's Tim Landis talks with Peter Gray about the state's latest work to prepare rail lines near Springfield for higher speed trains, new renderings for residential re-development and progress for retail on the south end of town.

Read the latest business stories in the SJ-R.

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Regional
8:55 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Marking The Former Home Of The Concordia Seminary

From l-r: Stuart Fliege, Rev. Mark Miller and Ralph Woehrmann
Credit WUIS

Longtime residents of the Springfield area will recall the Concordia Theological Seminary.  For about 100 years, it taught those who would become leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  The seminary moved to Indiana in 1975.  

Today, the Department of Corrections uses the buildings for training.  The site also housed what was once known as Illinois State University, during Abraham Lincoln's time.

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