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Neighborhood Recovery Initiative
3:57 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Two Insiders Dropped From Subpoena List

Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley
Credit ILGA.gov

Subpoenas are going out to five former members of Gov. Pat Quinn's administration who were involved with his plagued anti-violence program, but two other insiders will not be served. As Quinn seeks reelection, he continues to be dogged by a program rolled out just before his last, close race for governor.

Republicans contend the timing wasn't a coincidence; they allege Quinn rushed to introduce the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative to curry favor with Chicago area leaders before the 2010 election. A state audit and media reports reveal it was botched.

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Business
10:56 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Tim Landis: Video Gambling; Workforce Job Shifts; Parsons Ordered To Court

Tim Landis
Credit SJ-R.com

On this week's WUIS/State Journal-Register Business Report, the SJ-R's Tim Landis talks about efforts to slow the growth of video gambling in Springfield.

We also hear how one company is adding jobs at the same location another firm has been making layoffs and THR and Associates founder Jeff Parsons is told to report to court:

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10th Street Rail Corridor
5:06 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Ombudsman To Act As Go-Between For 10th Street Rail Corridor

Retired Judge Theodis Lewis will serve as ombudsman for the 10th Street Rail Corridor project. Lewis addressed a press conference at the location of the first construction, at 10th and Carpenter, on Monday.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  Negotiations between residents of the 10th Street Corridor and the Illinois Department of Transportation , now that there is a go-between for the high speed rail project. A new ombudsman says he will be independent of either side.

Retired Judge Theodis Lewis will mediate discussions and disputes as the city and state get going on construction of the 10th Street Rail Corridor. Lewis' position was announced in downtown Springfield, on the site of the first phase of construction, at 10th and Carpenter. An underpass is slated to begin in late summer.

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Election 2014
4:12 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Libertarians: Strive To Beat "Ballot-Blocking" To Get On Ballot

The Libertarian's slate of statewide candidates for the 2014 election; Chad Grimm, the candidate for governor, is to the immediate left of the podium, while Political Director Lex Green is speaking.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

The Libertarian Party of Illinois is running a candidate for Governor, and all of the other statewide races. But the race could be over before it begins.

Chad Grimm, a 33-year-old health club manager from Peoria, and the Libertarian party's nominee for Illinois governor, has some unconventional political views; he believes Illinois should completely do away with a state income tax, and that there should be no -- as in zero - regulations on guns: Not the type, not where they're allowed, not who can have one.

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Statehouse
3:36 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Anti-Violence Program Director, Others Subpoenaed

Credit WUIS/Brian Mackey

Illinois legislators have voted to subpoena seven former state officials to answer questions about a troubled 2010 anti-violence program started by Gov. Pat Quinn.  

A subcommittee of the Legislative Audit Commission voted Monday. They were initially considering just one person for subpoena, but Democrats on the committee said they'd decided to hear from everyone at once. The matter requires a signature from a co-chairman, state Rep. Frank Mautino, a Democrat who wasn't at the meeting.  

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Statehouse
3:14 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

New U of I President To Be Named In December

Retiring U of I President Bob Easter.
Credit U of I

University of Illinois officials say they plan to announce the next president for the state's flagship institution by December.  But the process is only just getting started.

President Bob Easter will retire next year.

The search committee in charge of recommending a replacement to the U of I's board of trustees must sift through around 120 candidates.    Some candidates are nominees, and others are those who are qualified to fill the position but already hold a significant post elsewhere.

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Statehouse
9:20 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Lottery Contractor Likely Short Of Target

Credit Illinois Lottery

Illinois' lottery contractor will likely be $200 million short of the money it promised the state this year when the fiscal year ends next week.
 
Northstar Lottery Group has never reached the profits it signed onto when it
took over in 2011.
 
The contract says falling short of goals by 10 percent two years in a row is
reason to end the partnership, and this year would be the second consecutive
year it hasn't made its goal.
 
Northstar CEO Tim Simonson says that his company has achieved higher profits

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Election 2014
8:43 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Quinn Fundraising Appeal Tied To Bill Signing

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks to reporters in this file photo.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Voters will get to weigh in on whether Illinois should raise its minimum wage for adults to $10 an hour. Gov. Pat Quinn approved the ballot question Sunday, and wasted no time campaigning on the issue.

The question is just advisory — lawmakers don’t have to heed the people’s advice — but supporters of the increase say they hope it’ll pressure reluctant legislators to go along.

Critics say this is a ploy to get more Democrats to the polls — since turnout tends to be lower in non-presidential election years.

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Illinois Medal of Honor
4:51 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Sixteen Officers Receive Medal Of Honor

Illinois State Trooper Brad Williams, one of 16 recipients of the states's Medal of Honor this year.
Credit Screengrab via YouTube

  Sixteen police officers from across Illinois were awarded the state's Medal of Honor Friday in Springfield. One officer had previously been honored as state trooper of the year.

In April 2013, State Trooper Brad Williams responded to a five-victim homicide in the tiny village of Manchester, in Western Illinois. Traveling by motorcycle, he chased the suspect for miles, joined by dozens of other officers along the way.

In the end, the suspect stopped his car and shot at police. Williams pulled his weapon and fatally shot the man.

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State Week
4:42 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Listen To State Week - June 20, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

Citizen initiatives on redistricting and term limits are facing challenges on their way toward inclusion on the November ballot.  Governor Quinn signs legislation undoing cuts to the Medicaid program.  Also, Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam loses his bid to join the House leadership team in Washington D.C.

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Inspector General Report
3:50 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

IBHE Leader "Abused Public Resources," Got $48K

Former Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Dr. George Reid
Credit Illinois Board of Higher Education

A just-released investigation by Illinois' Inspector General's office found that the former head of the state board of higher education abused public resources and wasted state funds, among other findings.

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Regional
9:25 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Special Prosecutor Appointed In Pike Co. Case

Pike Co. Sheriff's Office
Credit pikecoil.org

A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the
case of Pike County's sheriff, who is accused of misconduct.
 
The Quincy Herald-Whig reports (http://bit.ly/1l6HtOo ) that Ed Parkinson with
the Illinois State's Attorney Appellate Prosecutor's Office has been assigned to
Sheriff Paul Petty's case. Petty is due in court for a hearing on Friday.
 
An Adams County judge ruled earlier this month that having the Pike County
State's Attorney's office prosecute the case was a conflict of interest.
 

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Regional
8:15 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Alderman Wants Competitive Bids To Insure CWLP In The Future

Credit springfield.il.us

A Springfield alderman wants to make sure that other insurance companies get the chance to cover CWLP properties for the city.

At the last city council meeting, aldermen approved a 3 year contract with R.W. Troxell to insure the city owned utility.  The cost is around $1.8 million per year.

Under city code, however, anything with a cost over 25 thousand dollars must be competitively bid.
Ward 7's Joe McMenamin says the Mayor's administration got around that caveat by claiming insurance is a service, rather than a purchase.

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Statehouse
7:44 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Power Outage Caused Secretary Of State Computers To Go Down Thursday

Credit cyberdriveillinois

The Illinois Secretary of State office's main computer briefly stopped working, halting transactions for about three hours.

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Education Desk
5:01 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Chancellor Wise Says New U Of I Med School Should Be Small

Phyllis Wise
Credit news.illinois.edu

University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise says that a new medical school being proposed in Urbana-Champaign should be small and what she called complementary.  

Wise spoke to a group of faculty in Urbana Wednesday about the idea.  
According to The News-Gazette she said a lot of work still needs to be done on the proposal. But she said if done right the school could be an important addition to the area and the state.  

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Business
4:57 am
Fri June 20, 2014

New Law Aimed At Used Tire Sites

Credit flickr/vagawi

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed new legislation meant to improve oversight of used-tire storage and processing sites that can pose major environmental hazards.  

Thursday's signing comes one year after a massive fire broke out at a tire-recycling facility in central Illinois.  
The June fire at J&R Used Tire Service in Hoopeston engulfed tens of thousands of tires and took weeks to extinguish. Many homes in neighboring communities had to be evacuated. The cleanup also took several weeks.  

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Statehouse
4:07 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Illinois Overuses Nursing Homes: AARP

Credit flickr

The AARP says Illinois has improved opportunities for elderly people to remain in the community. But it says there are still too many living in nursing homes who need not be.

There are good reasons for helping seniors to stay independent, or at home, getting help -- and out of long-term care facilities.

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Regional
2:19 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Redpath Annouces Run For Ward 1

Credit WUIS/Lee Strubinger

A familiar face to the Springfield City Council hopes to return after a hiatus from city government.  Chuck Redpath is running for alderman, again.  But this time to represent the city's first ward:

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Regional
12:00 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Another Coal Mine Discovered Under Springfield

Credit legendsofamerica.com

There was more coal mining under the city of Springfield than previously thought.

Some cases of mine subsidence in the south part of Springfield last year led to a discovery that more ground under Springfield had been mined for coal.

Scott Elrick with the State Geological Survey says they found an area between MacArthur and Fifth and  between Ash and Laurel that had been mined in the 1800's.

Elrick compares the finding to a new discovery when doing family genealogy.

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Harvest Desk
8:37 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Agritourism A Growing Opportunity On The Farm

Blake Bohlender attended a three-day camp at Laughing Buck Farm near Fort Collins, Colo.
Credit Harvest Public Media/Luke Runyon

Farms aren’t just for food any more. With the local food movement growing, more savvy farmers are putting a price tag on more than those organic tomatoes. They are instead marketing and selling the “farm experience” in the form of agritourism attractions.

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Regional
6:11 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Springfield Man Created Child Safety Program

Credit Operation Kidsafe

Mark Bott had the idea for Operation Kidsafe 11 years ago.  Since then, more than 1 million children have participated.

The program is free.  It allows kids to be photographed and fingerprinted and lets parents obtain other safety information.  The parents are handed a document that can be updated.   No personal information is given and there is no databasing.

"So you will always have a document that's ready to hand to law enforcement," Bott said.  Of course, no one wants to ever see the information needed.

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Statehouse
5:16 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Term Limit, Political Map Lawsuit Unfolds In Court

The near-70,000 page term limit petition is wheeled onto a semi truck in April.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The decision of whether two November ballot measures dealing with term limits and redistricting are constitutional is in the hands of a Cook
County judge.
 
Oral arguments were Wednesday in a lawsuit attempting to keep both measures off
the ballot.
 
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva says she'll issue a written decision by noon on June 27.
 
Mikva has said she wants to expedite a ruling because it will affect the November election. Ballots are certified in August.
 

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Eavesdropping law
5:10 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Lawmakers Work To Replace Illinois' Eavesdropping Law

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  Since the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state's eavesdropping law in March, it's been legal to record audio of someone without asking permission. But legislators are working on a replacement.

The Supreme Court found the old law overly broad. It was a crime even to record in public, where people shouldn't really have an expectation of privacy. Because of that, Illinois' law was considered one of the strictest in the nation.

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Regional
2:01 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Mayor Defends CWLP Insurer Despite Lack Of Contract Bid From Other Companies

Credit City of Springfield

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston is defending the city’s decision to renew a contract for CWLP insurance, despite criticisms over the lack of a bidding process.

The 3 year contract with R.W. Troxell to insure the city owned utility will cost around $1.8 million per year.  Mayor Houston, during an interview on WUIS’ Illinois Edition, said the local firm has been doing business with the city for 30 years with a solid track record.

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Regional
9:13 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Mother Jones Monument In Central Illinois To Be Restored

Credit Mother Jones Museum

An Illinois monument to famed labor crusader Mother Jones in the graveyard where she's buried is getting a makeover, thanks to donors from 17 states.  

The (Alton) Telegraph  reports the restoration of the 22-foot granite obelisk was announced Tuesday in the union-owned Mount Olive cemetery where Mary Harris Jones is buried.  

A symbolic check for $61,000 was presented during the ceremony, representing donations ranging in size from $5 to $5,000 from 107 union organizations.  

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Regional
9:45 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Springfield Approves Halfway House Zoning Despite Precedent From Earlier In The Year

Credit springfield.il.us

One Springfield Alderman called the two zoning changes approved for halfway homes in Springfield during last night's council meeting as "picking and choosing."

Zoning classifications for halfway houses were called into question last fall when a man living in one, known as House of the Rainbow, was arrested for murder.  After that, the council refused to go along with zoning for that operation.   

Yet last night, changes were allowed for properties on East Jackson and South 11th.  

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Election 2014
4:24 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

"Fair Maps" Group Gets Some Latitude In Fight For Ballot Spot

Twenty-seven feets' worth of voter signatures may still not be enough for a redistricting group's effort to make it on the November ballot.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

A struggling effort to change how Illinois draws its legislative districts will live another day. State election authorities Tuesday (6/17) voted to give it some extra time to prove it deserves to make it on the November ballot.

Supporters were joyous last month when a semi-truck pulled into the state board of elections' parking lot in Springfield.

A campaign to overhaul the state's redistricting process was dropping off a 27-foot-long document, filled with a half million signatures.

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IEMA
12:20 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Illinois Test Runs Earthquake Response

IEMA Director Jonathon Monken
Credit http://www.iema.illinois.gov/about/Director.asp / IEMA, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Monken

The Midwest isn't typically thought of as a place at risk of a major earthquake. Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Jonathon Monken says the chances are higher than most people would estimate. He says the U.S. Geological Survey says that in the next 50 years, there is a 10-percent chance that Illinois could experience an earthquake of the magnitude emergency responders are running practice exercises for this week. It's meant to test capabilities in the event of a quake in the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones.

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Regional
9:00 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Sangamon County Fair Kicks Off Wednesday

Credit @SangCoFair

The Sangamon County Fair gets underway Wednesday night.  This year, the fair is featuring several well known acts as well as queen pageant and demolition derby.  Lee Strubinger sat down with coordinator Elizabeth McDevitt, who says this year the fair spent more on entertainment than any other year.

For more information about this year's festival, including festival line-up and prices, click here.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
4:50 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Department Of Public Health To Test For New Genetic Disorder In Newborns

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  Babies born in Illinois are already tested for dozens of disorders. Now the state public health department is adding more to that list.

Newborns will be tested for SCID, a rare genetic disorder that makes babies especially susceptible to bacterial and viral infections.

Every baby born in the state of Illinois gets a tiny pinprick on the heel of their foot. The blood drawn is then sent to an Illinois Department of Public Health lab, where it's tested for dozens of genetic disorders.

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