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Education Desk
4:01 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

LLCC Announces New Ag Programs

One state university and four Illinois community colleges are kicking off new agricultural and environmental programs. That includes Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield.

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150% of capacity
11:38 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Clock Ticking On Illinois Prison Crowding

Credit flickr/dnak

A watchdog group says whoever wins the race for governor is going to face difficult choices about Illinois’ prisons. The group on Wednesday is laying out what it’s calling a “roadmap” for overhauling crime and punishment — and wants to know where the candidates stand.

The non-partisan John Howard Association says decades of “tough on crime” policies have led Illinois to lock up 49,000 people in a system designed to hold 32,000.

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Arts/Engagement
11:24 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Send Us Your Scary Stories!

Do you have a scary or spooky original story or original piece of writing: fiction or non-fiction? Would you like to hear it on the radio? WUIS is looking for Springfield area writers to share their frightening tales with us for the coming Halloween season. Maybe it’s a ghost story, or a remembrance of the time you forgot your kid at the grocery store. If it’s scary, send it our way! Email your writing to rotwe2@uis.edu, and we may be in touch to have you voice your story for our air.

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Regional
10:22 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Decatur Unemployment Shows Biggest Drop In Nation

Decatur's unemployment rate showed the biggest drop in the nation from a year ago. However that does not mean more people are working.

The jobless rate in Decatur is tied for the highest in the state with Rockford,  but the drop of  3.1% was the biggest decrease in the nation according to the federal agency that monitors such things.  

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Business
7:22 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Public Hearing Thursday Regarding Elkhart Mine

Tim Landis
Credit SJ-R.com

An area coal company says 300 jobs are a stake in Logan County.  Tim Landis, Business Editor of the State Journal Register discusses that and Jimmy John's response to a security breach.

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Statehouse
6:31 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Quinn Lauds Affordable Care Act, Backs Down From State Marketplace

Credit flickr

In recognition of the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Pat Quinn is touting its success, while at the same time backing away from having Illinois take a greater role in the program.

At first, Gov. Quinn was all about Illinois creating its own "exchange" -- a technical word for the portal where people can shop for coverage.

Instead, insurance companies and healthcare advocates couldn't agree on how to set one up. Timid lawmakers, afraid to look like they were embracing Obamacare ahead of the 2012 election, didn't help either.

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Food Waste Series
6:16 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Manufacturers Cut Food Waste To Build Bottom Line

Todd Scherbing, Smithfield Foods’ senior director of rendering, holds a tray of pituitary glands that are cut from hogs on the line in the Farmland Foods plant in Milan, Mo. Pituitary glands are used to make insulin. (Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media)

The long line of semi-trucks waiting to get in the gates of the Farmland Foods plant could simply wait around for a few hours to head back, fresh products on board.

The trucks are loaded with hogs from several confinement operations near this factory in Milan, a small town in northeast Missouri. Within just 19 hours, those pigs will be slaughtered, butchered and boxed into cuts that consumers see in the grocery store and in restaurants.

But that effort will use only about half of the animal.

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Election 2014
2:23 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Bruce Rauner, Before He Was A Candidate (Author Interview)

Credit Chicago Magazine

Though Gov. Pat Quinn remains largely private about his personal life, he has been in the public eye for decades -- there were unsuccessful bids for treasurer, Secretary of State and the U.S. Senate, as well as successful ones for Illinois Treasurer, Lieutenant Governor and, most recently, for Governor.

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Carbon Emissions Cuts
1:06 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Clearing The Air On Clean Air Plan

Environmental advocates met at the state capitol to thank Gov. Quinn for his support of the federal proposal requiring states to curb carbon emissions from coal power plants, and asked that he put an emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Illinois regulators are continuing to develop a plan to reduce the state's output of greenhouse gasses. Environmentalists say they have the Pat Quinn to thank. Or do they?

Illinois has had clean energy targets for years, but this latest effort isn't part of that. Rather, the state's Environmental Protection Agency and commerce commission are preparing for a proposed federal rule. It would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from coal-fired power plants.

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Statehouse
5:00 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Court Rules AFSCME Members Are Owed Money

An Illinois appellate court has ruled that back wages owed thousands of state government workers from 2011 to 2013 must be paid.
 
A panel of judges from the First District Appellate Court found that members of
the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees should get the
back pay and the Legislature's failure to appropriate enough money to cover the
raises is not a reason to renege on them.
 
The ruling supports an independent arbitrator's decision that the government's

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Health Desk
7:14 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Effort Underway To Gauge Sangamon County Health Needs

Credit rosmary/flickr

You have a chance to give your thoughts about public health in Sangamon County. 

Memorial Medical Center, St. John's Hospital and the Sangamon County Public Health Department are teaming up to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment.  Information is being gathered through five local forums starting this week and an online survey.

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Politics
6:26 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Durbin, Oberweis Debate Background Checks for Guns

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis have staked out opposing positions on whether to require universal background checks for firearms purchases.  

Oberweis is trying to unseat Durbin in November. They met Monday before the Chicago Tribune editorial board.  

Durbin says mandatory background checks would help keep convicted felons and mentally unstable people from getting guns. He says a federal law would reduce violence in places like Chicago, where police say felons get weapons from other states with weaker laws.  

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Food Waste Series
6:12 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Technology, Infrastructure Minimize Food Waste On The Farm

On-farm and post-harvest loss accounts for about 40 percent of food waste in the developing world, according to the U.N. But it is credited with relatively small levels of waste in most industrialized countries. (Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

On a wet, grey day in Grinnell, Iowa, the rain beats a rhythm on the metal roof of a packing shed at Grinnell Heritage Farm. Crew member Whitney Brewer picks big bunches of kale out of a washing tank, lets them drip on a drying table and then packs them into cardboard boxes.  

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Education Desk
4:57 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Manar Gears Up For Fight Over School Funding Change

Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)
Credit ilga.gov

State lawmakers returning to the capitol for the fall veto session could discuss a change in the state's school funding formula.   But it won't happen without a fight. 

State Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill in Macoupin County, has been pushing for approval of a plan that would provide additional aid to districts with a higher number of students in poverty.

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Live from the Suggs
2:37 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Free Preview Performance & Discussion "Concerto for Tabla and Orchestra" Oct. 9

REGISTER TO ATTEND

FREE Performance & Discussion
Thursday, October 9, 2014, Noon
WUIS Suggs Performance Studio

Join UIS Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Yona Stamatis in an interview/demonstration with:

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Lincoln
1:46 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Mary Todd Lincoln And Spiritualism

Jean H. Baker
Credit Goucher.edu

In a nation devastated by the Civil War, spiritualism offered grieving families some hope of connecting with lost loved ones. It also gave women another outlet for their energy and influence in a society that sharply limited women’s roles.

Jean H. Baker, author of “Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography,” visits the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Sept. 30 to discuss spiritualism and attempts to contact the dead.

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Business
12:10 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Sangamon Businesses Have Positive Expectations

Credit Indiana Public Media

A new study shows local businesses are optimistic about the local economy. 

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce is out with its annual economic outlook.   It shows more than 80 percent of local businesses surveyed are increasingly optimistic about their own firm and that of the overall Sangamon county economy.   

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Elexction 2014
8:40 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Retirement Plan At Center Of Dispute In Ill. Treasurer's Race

State Rep. and former House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego, and Democratic Senator Mike Frerichs of Champaign
Credit campaign photos

Last month, Champaign Senator and Illinois treasurer candidate Mike Frerichs found himself on the defensive after opponent Tom Cross blamed him for costing Champaign County millions of dollars more than a decade ago, when he served as county auditor.  He and the Republican challenger are at odds over an early retirement program.

Cross (R-Oswego) contends the plan, passed more than a decade ago by the Champaign County Board, backfired, while Frerichs calls those allegations ‘lies’.

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Harvest Desk
6:03 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Waste Weighing Down U.S. Food System

About 35 million tons of food was dumped in landfills across the U.S. in 2012, compared to 29 million tons of plastic and 24 million tons of paper. (Pat Aylward/NET News)

It’s a hot summer day outside of Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He’s wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

“You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools,” Chappelle says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none.”

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Pensions
4:54 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Pensions: Vexing Illinois Politicians Since 1917

The tally in the Illinois House on the pension overhaul law.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

The underfunding of the state's pensions have grabbed headlines the past several years, and finally reached the political tipping point late last year when legislators passed an overhaul of the systems. It's a recent response to a very old problem.

It was Gov. Pat Quinn who signed the law that reduces state workers' and most public school teachers' pensions -- a controversial plan that's at the center of a lawsuit.

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Election 2014
7:34 am
Sat September 27, 2014

Mike Lawrence: The Compelling Challenge Of Rehabbing Illinois

Mike Lawrence
Credit IGPA

The following is an op-ed written by Mike Lawrence for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.  Lawrence was a longtime journalist, Press Secretary for Gov. Jim Edgar and later directed the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner are having a brawl -- trash-talk and all. So, it's less likely with every gouge and grunt, that either will focus on rescuing Illinois until after the election -- if then.

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State Week
1:11 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Listen to State Week - September 26, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS
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Regional
11:44 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Decatur Forum Focuses On Compassion

A national movement is asking people to be more compassionate and empathetic. The cause has come to Decatur – where a forum on compassion is planned for Tuesday. We spoke with one of the group’s members, Macy Barnett, about the event and its message:

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Election 2014
8:34 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Quinn, Rauner Share Hazy Stance On Decriminalizing Pot

Credit Thinkprogress.org

It's hard to find common ground between Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican businessman Bruce Rauner, but when it comes to decriminalizing marijuana, they're on the same page. Both have a stance that's well, hazy.

"It's worthy of looking at," Quinn said about the idea of reducing penalties for people caught with small amounts of pot."It's basically something I think the legislature should have hearings on. I think a lot of people should have input on. I do think that it's worthy of consideration."

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Education Desk
6:53 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Missed Any Of Our Education Specials? Find Them Here

Credit Stephen Smith

The Science Of Smart

Schools across the country are trying new ways to teach based on brain science. Teachers say current techniques are failing, but new approaches can help students learn more deeply.  

Until recently, we didn't know much about the best ways to learn. Now that's changing. Over recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better.

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State Hiring
2:51 am
Thu September 25, 2014

IDOT Layoffs Halted, But Quinn Wants To Proceed

Gov. Pat Quinn was at an unrelated appearance in Springfield when he was asked about the timing of the IDOT layoffs.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  Gov. Pat Quinn wants to proceed with getting rid of dozens of Illinois Department of Transportation employees. The layoffs won't happen for at least another month.

Gov. Quinn doesn't claim the layoffs as his idea; rather, he says it was his newly-appointed IDOT Secretary, Erica Borggren, who came up with the "reorganization" that'll leave some 58 employees out of work.

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Education Desk
4:37 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Nursing Program Comes To UIS

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch, UIC College of Nursing Dean Terri Weaver and Memorial Health System CEO Ed Curtis
Credit Sean Crawford/WUIS

The University of Illinois Springfield is branching out into the health field. Starting next fall, a new nursing program will start accepting students. About 30 are expected to enroll in the first year of the four-year program. Memorial Health System is donating $2 million, which includes scholarships and the hospital will provide facilities for teaching. 

UIS Chancellor, Susan Koch says she's often heard from students, parents, and others in the community that the university needs to provide medical training.

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Election 2014
8:48 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Illinois Among Tops In U.S. For Campaign Ad Spending

Credit espensorvik/flickr

If it seems as though the number of political ads on television has ramped up markedly this election, now there's concrete proof.  

Illinois has seen a roughly 30 percent increase in the number of TV ads and the money spent to air them this election cycle compared to four years ago, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity. That jump has been fueled by a neck-and-neck contest for governor pitting wealthy Republican Bruce Rauner against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.  

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Statehouse
6:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Can Politics And Prison Reform Mix?

Bruce Rauner is airing ads criticizing Gov. Pat Quinn's handling of a prison early release program back in 2009.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

As a candidate for governor once again tries to make political hay over a prison early-release program, a group of state lawmakers met in Chicago Tuesday to consider drastic changes to Illinois’ criminal justice system.

Republican Bruce Rauner is trying to remind voters about a botched, secret early release program that dates to Gov. Pat Quinn’s first year in office.

Campaign ad: “Two-hundred thirty violent criminals, secretly released early by Pat Quinn.”

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Health Desk
9:00 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

St. John's Children's Hospital Exec Charged With Embezzlement

 A children's hospital official in central Illinois faces a charge of embezzling $500,000 from the institution since 2008, according to a published report.

Springfield police on Monday arrested Margaret "Peggy" Curtin, 55, executive director of St. John's Children's Hospital, according to the report in the State Journal-Register. She is in custody at the Sangamon County Jail on $1 million bond, State's Attorney John Milhiser said in a news release Tuesday.

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