News

police cars
flickr.com/appleswitch (Creative Commons)

The question of just what happened in Ferguson, Missouri before the shooting death of Michael Brown has renewed a push in Illinois to equip police with cameras.

Body and dashboard cameras for police isn't a new idea;  President of the Illinois's NAACP chapter, George Mitchell, says his organization has been supportive of the concept as far back as 2001.

But he says Ferguson shows why. Mitchell says had the Brown incident been on tape, much of the controversy could have been avoided.

Jim Meadows, WILL

University of Illinois trustees on Thursday voted not to hire a professor whose anti-Israel Twitter messages were deemed anti-Semitic by some, raising the likelihood of a lawsuit and further campus protests.  

Steven Salaita, who last year accepted a job to begin teaching this fall in the university's Native American Studies Program, has threatened legal action if the university rescinded the offer. His attorneys have said if he isn't hired, they'll go to court to try to get an injunction to force the university to hire him.  

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Republican candidate Bruce Rauner continues trying to soften his image when it comes to government employees. This comes after he won the nomination in part by relentlessly attacking public employee unions.

Rauner has called for all current state employees to have their pensions frozen and be put into 401(k)-style retirement plans. Many consider that even more harsh than the pension reductions Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law last year.

Donna Lounsberry

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been told for over a century. But it’s only been a Broadway musical since the 1990s. Now, it’s a production on the Muni stage in Springfield. We were recently joined by cast members who told us more about it: D.J. Schultz who plays Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Wes Bridges who plays his best friend John Utterson, and Dennis O’Brien who plays Sir Archibald Proops.

Jekyll & Hyde is this Thursday through Saturday, and Sept. 18-20 as well. Shows begin at 7:30.

northwestern.edu

Officials at St. John's hospital say a decision by the SIU School of Medicine to move all Trauma care services to Memorial Medical center happened because St. John's asked SIU for more financial accountability of their services. SIU officials deny that the permanent switch to memorial was connected to St. John's request for the audit.    Dean Olsen reports that claim in Thursday's State Journal Register.

WUIS/Brian Mackey

Everyone remembers where they were 13 years ago today, September 11, 2001. 

WUIS' Sean Crawford was preparing for a typical day covering state government and politics at the capitol building.  But as word of the terrorist attacks in New York spread, Illinois authorities made the rare decision to close state offices. 

The day changed America and how the State of Illinois operated.  Security increased in the years after.  New focus was put on preparedness efforts. 

From our archives, here is Crawford giving an update on 9/11 to Illinois Public Radio's Tom Rogers.

Republicans across America have high hopes for Bruce Rauner's campaign to be the next governor of Illinois. Appearing with him Wednesday in Springfield was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  

Christie is head of the Republican Governors Association, which last week gave Rauner another $2 million. That brings its total support for the wealthy candidate to $6 million.

Christie headlined a pair of fundraisers with Rauner in Springfield, then stopped at Brickhouse, a downtown restaurant and bar, to pose for pictures with supporters.

UKberrinet/flickr

Supporters of high-volume oil and gas extraction said Wednesday that they'll seek dozens of changes in proposed rules to govern the practice in Illinois that appear to violate a hard-won compromise between industry and environmentalists.  

A coalition of industry groups will outline more than 65 areas of concern to a legislative panel that must decide whether the rules _ written by the Department of Natural Resources to implement a new hydraulic fracturing law _ can take effect as written, said Mark Denzler vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association.  

flickr/ThoamsdeAquino

It's unclear if state officials will release complete information about companies seeking to grow or sell medical marijuana in Illinois.  

Applications from prospective companies aren't subject to state open records laws, according to the law that legalized medical marijuana in Illinois. The application period opened Monday and will close Sept. 22. Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for Illinois' medical marijuana pilot project, said the state won't release any information about the number of applicants until after the deadline.  

The recent shooting death of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked renewed national discussions about racial tensions, police actions and more.

NPR’s Michel Martin moderates a much needed and serious conversation with community leaders.

The audience also participates in the discussion, recorded August 29, 2014.

Monsanto Settles Some GMO Wheat Cases

Sep 10, 2014
brdavid/flickr

Monsanto has reached a settlement with wheat farmers in the Pacific Northwest in a lawsuit over genetically modified wheat.   But plaintiffs in the Midwest and other parts of the country are still in negotiations.

The trouble started at an Oregon farm in 20-13, when some wheat plants would not die, even when they were sprayed with Roundup herbicide.

  They no longer had to do it through campaign commercials. Gov. Pat Quinn and his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner faced one another in a joint interview before the Chicago Tribune's Editorial Board Tuesday. So far, Quinn, a Democrat, and businessman Rauner, Republican's nominee, have contested one another from a distance. At this appearance, though, they were seated side-by-side.

At times, that led to heated discussions; often the candidates talked over one another.

UIS.edu

Enrollment at the University of Illinois Springfield has surpassed 5,400 for the first time in the school's history.  300 more students are on campus this fall compared to a year ago.

The fall census of students eclipsed the previous record set four years ago with 5,431 students enrolled.  It also marks the fifth consecutive year that enrollment has topped 5,000.

 The number of international students increased more than 115 percent, to 827 this fall.  

SJ-R.com

The State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis explains residents are upset about a plan to open a meat market along Stevenson Drive in the old Eagle Supermarket building. The concern comes from a proposal to allow animal slaughtering on site.

Also, Legacy Pointe was supposed to have had outlet stores and a lot more by now.  The delay of development has led to questions about the project ever coming to fruition.  

And, Downtown Springfield Inc. could be running out of money as early as next month. What happened and will the city come to the rescue?

apple.com

Students at Decatur public schools will each have their own iPad or laptop to use. That's the goal the district has set for the coming two years. Elementary schools will have 1-to-1 iPads, middle schools will have a mix of iPads and laptops, and the two high schools will use laptops. At Eisenhower High School it's already taken place - with each student having their own MacBook Air.

Illinois Farm Bureau

Illinois Business and Farm groups are trying to fight off some new federal water regulations.  The groups claim the regulations will be an over-reach onto farmers private property.   The proposed rules would extend regulations streams and wetlands on farms that connect to other water sources.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Last Thursday, over 300 people met in Springfield for a meeting titled “Saving Our Black Males Through Education, Information, and Communication." It was organized as a response to the situation in Ferguson, Missouri where an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a police officer. One common refrain was that blacks in Springfield often feel targeted by police simply because of their skin color. Local police chief Kenny Winslow told the crowd that better communication is needed.

Most vegetable seeds today are bred by seed companies to be hearty and easier to grow. They’re created by cross-breeding different varieties and selecting for specific characteristics. Heirloom seeds are different. Like your grandmother’s engagement ring, heirloom seeds have been passed down through generations. And today’s gardeners likely wouldn’t have access to For many of their favorite heirloom plants if it weren’t for the work of the Seed Savers Exchange.

Bruce Rauner
brucerauner.com

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner outlined an education reform plan Monday that touched on teacher merit pay, overhauling
tenure and changing the state's school funding formal, but the proposal didn't contain specifics on what exactly he would change or how he would accomplish
them.
 
 The venture capitalist said his ideas would help create ``world class schools''
and he vowed to increase school funding in the first year if he wins office
without raising the income tax or property taxes. He said he wanted to change

Illinois Attorney General

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Monday defended her right to give legal advice to state lawmakers conducting a probe into a troubled
Chicago anti-violence program that was overseen by Gov. Pat Quinn's administration.
 
Madigan's role has been questioned by Paul Schimpf, a Republican attorney running against the three-term Democrat in the November election. His campaign
has argued that she faces a conflict of interest because a member of her staff served as co-chair of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority Board, which

Monsanto has agreed to settle some of the lawsuits brought by U.S. farmers who allege they lost money when an Oregon field was discovered to have been contaminated with an experimental genetically modified strain of wheat.

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States is genetically modified, but GMO wheat has never been approved for farming.

Days after a 17-year-old girl accused of leaving her newborn baby alive in a trash bin was arrested for child abandonment, prosecutors in the west-central Illinois community of Jacksonville have decided to charge her with attempted first-degree murder.

According to The Jacksonville Journal-Courier,  http://bit.ly/1qHULly , prosecutors announced Monday the teen will be tried as a juvenile. Her name has not been released because of her age.  

http://mortonvillage.anthropology.msu.edu

The next Illinois State Museum Science Series lecture is this Wednesday night, Sept. 10. 

Dr. Jodie O'Gorman has been researching a 700 year old site in Fulton County called Morton Village.

It's where two groups met, lived and apparently fought.  While the site is a tranquil setting these days, evidence points to high rate of violent deaths.   Understanding how a migrant group called Oneota and local Mississippians got along, and sometimes didn't, is the focus of the work.

Illinois Farm Bureau

The state's business community is lining up with farm groups in an effort to stave off some new federal water regulations.  

The Illinois Farm Bureau has the backing the of manufacturers and the state Chamber of Commerce as it works to derail proposed rules. Rules it says would lead to the Feds getting more of a say in how farm land is used.  

Eric Brace and Peter Cooper headline Friday night of the two night American Music Show at Donnie's Homespun, 107 W. Cook St. in downtown Springfield. Saturday night will feature JP Harris and the Tough Choices and The Bottle Rockets. Tickets at www.bedrock66.com or at the door. 

SCHEDULE:

flickr/NicholasEckhart

Eight of Illinois' 30 interstate rest areas that have been closed are set to reopen this fall.
 
Maintenance was required at the closed facilities, but it's not clear why most
of it happened around the same time period, Paris Ervin, a spokeswoman for the
state Department of Transportation, told the Springfield bureau of Lee
Enterprises newspapers (http://bit.ly/1pH3tfX ).
 
The Salt Kettle rest area, on Interstate 74 west of Danville, parts of the
Silver Lake rest area, along Interstate 70, and the Gateway rest area,

WBEZ

Entrepreneurs wanting to cultivate or dispense medical marijuana under a new Illinois law are getting their chance to be considered.  

The state on Monday was to begin accepting applications from aspiring cultivation centers and dispensaries vying for one of a limited number of permits.  

A state law enacted last year authorized a four-year pilot project that will expire in 2017, but so far, not a single marijuana seed has been planted. State officials have said the first products may be sold next year.  

Illinois Rt. 66 Scenic Byway

Traveling along Route 66 in Illinois, you pass a lot of small communities.  And when you pass them by, you are missing out on history. 

A new project will showcase some points of interest. A series of interpretive signs and two-dimensional iron statues are being placed in 9 areas. 

After failing to get on the November ballot,  the Green Party's candidates for Governor and Secretary of State say they will launch a write-in campaign in this fall's election.   That comes less than a decade after the Illinois Greens pulled in enough votes to reach "major party status" in Illinois.
 

 In the 2006  Governors Race,  Judy Baar Topinka was challenging incumbent Rod Blagojevich.      There was also Rich Whitney who ran for Governor as a candidate for the Green Party.  He got more than ten percent of the vote that year.

ILGA.gov

A new report from Moody's investors service says Illinois still faces "daunting pension challenges" despite a 2013 law intended to curb the state's pension costs. So do its cities. 

The Moody's report lays it out starkly: Illinois' pension burden is significantly higher than other states. And yet Illinois' legal framework gives "very limited" flexibility for dealing with that.

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