News

WUIS Education Desk logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

REGISTER TO ATTEND

Residents are encouraged to share what they see as the top education issues affecting Illinois at the next WUIS/Illinois Issues Forum on Education September 27, 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.  The forum will be in the WUIS Suggs Performance Studio on the UIS campus. 

flickr/Simon Cunningham

Illinois unemployment fell in August to 6.7 percent, the sixth straight monthly decrease in the state's jobless rate, according to figures released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  

The latest figure represents a drop from 9.2 percent one year ago and marks the largest year-over-year decline since 1984. The last time the rate was lower than 6.7 was in July 2008, when it was 6.6 percent.  

There are 40,600 more jobs than one year ago, the department said.  

Quinn campaign

This story first appeared as Illinois Issues' State of the State column in the September 2014 edition of the magazine.

mattpenning.com 2011

When the world sees our children, it sees them as they are at this moment and in this environment, through a narrow lens.  Their teacher at school sees how well they internalized today’s math lesson (or not).  Their dentist sees the condition of their teeth as they are today, including that new cavity in a molar.  The neighbor sees them as the sweet child who brought in their garbage can for them or the nasty brat who littered in their front lawn.

Amanda Vinicky

Democrats succeeded in getting a slate of Green Party candidates wiped from the November ballot. But the Libertarian Party had enough signatures to withstand a Republican challenge before the State Board of Elections. And now the Libertarians have withstood a court challenge as well.

Sometimes you can actually hear the smile in someone's voice. I didn't actually see Chad Grimm's face upon hearing the news that he'll remain on the ballot as the Libertarian nominee for governor. But, he sure sounded happy.

It’s the second year for  The Humanities Film Series in Jacksonville. This year’s is meant to make you think about moral courage, and the challenges that can come with doing the right thing. It kicks off Thursday night at 6:30 at the Jacksonville Public Library. Christopher Strangeman teaches history at MacMurray College in Jacksonville and helped get the film series started, he joined us for this interview about it. 

Courtesy of lpillinois.org

A Sangamon County judge is expected to rule today (Thursday 9/18)
on an appeal by Republican attorneys to remove a Libertarian candidate for
Illinois governor from the November ballot.
 
Sangamon County Circuit Judge Patrick Kelley heard arguments in which the GOP
attorneys questioned the validity of signatures Libertarian candidates gathered
to get on the ballot.
Political analysts say Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Chad Grimm could
draw votes that otherwise would go to Republican candidate Bruce Rauner

A rare respiratory illness continues to spread. The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed the first case in New Jersey. But it's hard to tell the status of the outbreak in Illinois. The state was one of the first to have confirmed cases of the enterovirus strain.

It was in mid-to-late August when a Chicago hospital noticed a surge in patients with respiratory problems. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that of the 14 specimens submitted, 11 tested positive for what is known as enterovirus D68.

A 17 year old was taken into custody this morning after school officials and Chatham police were alerted to a message posted on Twitter.

The teen, whose identity is not being released, was arrested at his home for making an electronic threat and aggravated battery of a police officer.  Chatham Sgt. Scott Tarter said an officer was scratched when making the arrest.

Few other details are available as the case remains under investigation.  Tarter described the threat as "general" in regards to violence, "but definitely directed at the school."

Courtesy of Andrew Woolbright

The Pharmacy artist co-op in Springfield has come a long way since its humble beginnings a few years ago. The group will soon move from their digs in what once was the Watt Bros. Pharmacy off South Grand Avenue to a new location downtown. It's hosted numerous art shows, as well as literary, musical, and educational events.

IKEA

IKEA is recalling its GUNGGUNG child swing that it sold at its stores this summer.

The furniture retailer says the suspension fittings can break causing a child to fall from the swing, posing a risk of serious injury. Four injuries have been reported since the product went on sale in August.

Hartland Township MI

The mayor of Springfield took umbrage to a weekend editorial in the local paper.

The State Journal Register Sunday criticized the city for a lack of a comprehensive sewer program, following housing and street flooding after heavy rains in recent weeks.

Mayor Mike Houston called reporters together to remind them, as he approaches a re-election campaign, that the city is in the midst of a 10 year $60 million dollar borrowing program to fix some of the problem sewer systems.

HOOKER, Okla. – Jennifer Brdar’s dream job was to be a meat inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, watching out for unwary consumers and making sure the meat on their dinner tables was clean and disease-free.

After earning an associate’s degree in meat science, Brdar (pronounced Ber-dar) was hired in March as a temporary federal meat inspector at a big beef packing operation just up the road in Liberal, Kan.

She lasted barely a month, walking away in frustration.

flickr/loveMeagan

Farm and Business groups have been vocal in their opposition to proposed federal water regulations.  Opponents of the rules say it will turn into regulatory over-reach on the part of the government.    Last week, we talked with the Illinois Farm Bureau about their efforts to kill the regulations.  Today... we hear from supporters of the proposed rules.   WUIS Bill Wheelhouse spoke with John Devine of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

To read differing viewpoints on the proposed rules, check out the following:

Did you know that Betty White was born in Illinois? This, and other tidbits about Illinois' successes, are the subject of a new website. It's intended to counteract some of the negativity that has swirled this election cycle ... and to defend lawmakers' policies. 

No, it's not a project born by the state's tourism department. 

Amanda Vinicky

It will be at least another month before legislators take up regulations of hydraulic fracturing. The Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, or JCAR -- a bipartisan panel -- voted Tuesday to spend more time reviewing, and potentially rewriting, them.

LegacyPointe.net

A major retail development planned near the Scheel's store in Springfield will now involve the company that runs White Oaks Mall.

Simon Property Group has joined with Global Outlet Management to build 80 outlet stores at MacArthur Boulevard and I-72.

It's being called a 50/50 partnership.  David Ober, with Global Outlet Management out of Hershey, Pennsylvania, says the two companies teaming up means the development will be opening next year.

© 2014 Maloof Collection, Ltd.

By now her story is one that’s been told often: A Chicago nanny takes thousands of photos, many are of street scenes from all over the city. She never tells anyone about her passion for photography. A young man buys boxes of her works on a whim at an auction, only to later realize in his possession are what will become some of the most critically acclaimed examples of street photography perhaps ever. By the time the man realizes the value of his findings, the mysterious woman who took the photos has passed away.

flickr/jmorgan

The legislature easily approved a measure in the spring that will raise taxes on some of the largest Illinois businesses.  Apparently they didn't know what they were passing.  Bill Wheelhouse spoke with Paul Merrion of Crain's Chicago Business.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' largest public employees union has made an about-face in its attitude toward Governor Pat Quinn. Over the weekend, AFSCME leaders endorsed him during a meeting in Peoria. It's a classic case of going with "the devil you know."

flickr/Katherine Johnson

Without some help, Downtown Springfield Incorporated could cease to exist in just over a month.  The organization that helps put on events like the downtown farmer's market, blue and bar-b-q and serves as an umbrella group for various businesses is on the ropes financially. 

Victoria Ringer, Executive Director, says a 2012 Taste of Downtown event suffered from extreme heat, which kept patrons away.  After making up part of that loss, this year's outdoor blues show also lost money because of heat.

NOTE: This story has been updated.  More than 130 students and a few staff members from North Mac Intermediate School in Girard have been taken to hospitals with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. North Mac superintendent Marica Cullen said a leaky pipe caused significantly high carbon monoxide levels, and the school - with about 640 students, was evacuated around 9 am she said.

Cullen says the number of affected students may continue to rise, as parents are being told to take their children directly to the hospital if they show any signs of being sick.

commons.wikimedia.org

 U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints that the doors won't latch properly on some Ford Fiesta subcompact cars.
 
 The probe announced Monday by covers about 205,000 Fiestas from the 2011 through 2013 model years.
 
 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received 61 complaints about the doors. Some said the latches wouldn't catch. A dozen said a door opened while the cars were being driven. The agency says one person was hurt when a door rebounded after an attempt to close it.
 

A Practice In Poverty

Sep 15, 2014
Rachel Otwell/WUIS

It’s been 50 years since the “War on Poverty” was launched. Around 15% of Illinois residents currently live in poverty, the same percentage of a half century ago. Universities, non-profits, and other organizations are teaming up to draw attention to the unrelenting problem. The University of Illinois Springfield is hosting a series of poverty-related events in the coming year. The first was a “poverty simulation.”

flickr/LizMarie_AK

Nearly 100 organizations are joining together to push
Illinois lawmakers to pass a school funding reform proposal in the spring.
 
 Funding Illinois' Future members include community foundations, civil rights organizations, school officials, and business and education reform groups statewide. All support the passage of a school funding proposal sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill.
 
 The legislation would overhaul Illinois' dated school funding formula, first put in place in 1997. While there's wide agreement that the state's funding

Tom Cross for Treasurer campaign

Tom Cross of Oswego has spent more than 20 years as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives.  A former prosecutor, for over a decade he was the House Republican Leader.  

Now Cross, 56, wants to be state Treasurer.  He won the GOP nomination and faces Democratic state Senator  Mike Frerichs of Champaign.  The position is responsible for investing state dollars.

Cross said he feels current Treasurer Dan Rutherford has done "a nice job" streamlining the office and it's budget.  But he said he can take the office in a different direction.

flickr/LizMarie_AK

Who Illinois voters choose to be their next governor could make a big difference in how Illinois funds schools, and even where students can go to get an education.

Quinn's agenda seems to leave things basically as-is; taxpayer dollars flow to public schools:

"I believe that the public system of education is the best way to go," Quinn told the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board last week.

Not that he has much personal experience in the system.

District 186

An unloaded gun was discovered at Southeast High School today.   District officials say the gun was not found on a person, but suspects have been detained.   An investigation is continuing.  

The district also says the discovery came after a tip was given to the school.  That prompted what's known as a soft lock down as a precaution.  

Increased security is planned for tonight.  Southeast hosts Chatham Glenwood in a football game this evening.
   
It was just over two weeks ago that a Lanphier student was arrested for bringing a loaded gun to school.

WUIS

Fifty-five workers who have been told they're being laid off by the Illinois Department of Transportation claimed in a lawsuit Friday that they're being fired to spare Gov. Pat Quinn election-campaign embarrassment over a hiring scandal.  

The Democratic governor's administration fired the so-called ``staff assistants'' last month in an IDOT shake up over a state investigation that found the agency hired 255 people over 10 years without going through proper channels to give everyone a chance to be hired.  

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, opponents in the gubernatorial race Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner traded barbs during a joint interview before the Chicago Tribune's Editorial Board.  Also, a proposal to increase the number of cameras used by on-duty police.

Pages