The Illinois State Board of Education has redrawn the map of regional education offices to meet a deadline set by the Legislature.
The board voted Friday after hearing from regional superintendents who objected to the way the map would consolidate their offices.
A new state law required the board to cut the number of regions from 44 to 35. New regional superintendents will be elected next year to lead the new offices. Sangamon County regional superintendent Jeff Vose was among the school leaders who spoke Friday.
This week, same-sex marriage legislation signed into law, the prospects for resolving the state pension crisis in a December special session, and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's success in raising campaign funds.
First Night Springfield, Springfield's most-attended public event to celebrate New Year's Eve, will host a 5K race this year. The run and walk will take place around the Scheels store off of MacArthur Boulevard. It's a new addition to the roster of activities that include various arts performances. The race will take place on December 29th.
Though farm bill talks heated up this week in Washington, key legislators emerged from negotiations Thursday disappointed and predicted there would be no progress until after Congress returns in December from its recess.
Two Illinois rock groups will return to their stomping grounds to benefit those who had losses in last week's tornadoes.
Rock groups Styx and REO Speedwagon will headline a benefit concert to raise money for victims of last weekend's Illinois tornadoes.
The bands, which both have strong Illinois ties, will headline the event called ``Rock to the Rescue Extends a Hand to Those in Need.'' The concert will be held at Bloomington's U.S. Cellular Coliseum on Dec. 4
Tickets go on sale Saturday and cost between $28 and $58.
Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner continues to rake in major contributions since he lifted Illinois' new campaign finance cap last week. While Rauner's opponents are freed from caps as well, he's the been the only one to get such major, and immediate, benefit.
State filings from yesterday (11/21) afternoon show Illinois' richest man, Ken Griffin, pitching in $250,000 to Rauner's campaign.
It's the second time this week Rauner received a donation worth a quarter of a million dollars.
Extended Here & Now Friday, November 22, 11am - 3pm
On Friday, November 22, 2013, in addition to the day's news, Here & Now will also track the events in Dallas on November 22, 1963 in close to real time. The series of special reports about that fateful day in Dallas will unfold over the course of Friday's Here & Now from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, mirroring the news as it was reported that day.
Dept. of Natural Resources employees have discussed adding cougars to the list of protected species in Illinois.
But in a phone interview with WUIS, IDNR spokesman Tim Schweizer said currently "it’s up to the landowner” to decide whether a potentially threatening animal should be put down.
That's what transpired Wednesday near Morrison, Ill., when a woman and her husband reportedly spotted the large male cougar hiding under their corn crib and asked Conservation Police to dispatch the cat.
Illinois unions are planning an intensive lobbying push in opposition to a developing plan to deal with the state's $100 billion pension crisis.
The ``We are One Coalition'' represents the state's major employee unions. The group sent an email to members about ``emergency call-in days'' next week and Dec. 2-3.
Members are being asked to call and visit lawmakers' offices and urge them to vote against pension bills that don't have union support. Legislative leaders are meeting Thursday to firm up a plan that could save close to $150 million over 30 years.
Minutes after Gov. Pat Quinn made gay marriage legal in Illinois, the Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield began a prayer service in response. Tuesday's service was formally called a prayer of “exorcism.” But the ceremony was more subdued than that dramatic word might suggest.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki was methodical, even dispassionate, as he led at least 200 of the faithful in prayer.
Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday signed same sex marriage into law in Illinois. Here are quotes and reaction to the bill signing. ___ ``It means we are able to say that we're a family and be recognized because we are like everyone else.'' _ Jen Dickie Rothke of Chicago, who has been with her partner for 13 years. They have a son together. ___ ``We are witnessing one of the most significant demonstrations of justice in Illinois history.'' _ Illinois Senate President John Cullerton. ___
What do Sangamon County employers see in the year ahead? The fall economic outlook survey shows they have a positive outlook about their individual business and sector, but not about the overall economy. As for jobs, nearly half expect employment rates to stay stagnant.
Illinois is now the 16th state to allow same-sex marriage. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law Wednesday in Chicago that makes the state the largest in the Midwest to legalize gay weddings. The law takes effect in June when county clerks can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Illinois allowed civil unions in 2011, but it was a bumpy road to same-sex marriage in President Barack Obama's home state.
State officials now say that at least 900 homes were either destroyed or badly damaged by Sunday's tornadoes. And that figure is likely to grow.
Patti Thompson is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. She says Wednesday the agency doesn't have anything close to a full count of the homes affected in Washington, which was hardest hit by the storms.
This has not been an easy week for the Washington, Illinois High School Football Team. Instead of just preparing for a playoff game this weekend, they have one of the largest distractions imaginable, an EF-4 tornado that hit their community.
The Washington Panthers are practicing at Illinois State University's Hancock Stadium in Normal getting ready for Saturday's Class Five-A Semifinal game in Springfield against Sacred Heart-Griffin. At least nine of the team lost their homes in Sunday's Tornado.
The bank JPMorgan Chase will pay Illinois' pension funds $100 million under a national settlement announced Tuesday. The payment is a result of the bank's misconduct leading up to the Great Recession.
Like a lot of investors in the last decade, Illinois' pension funds had a good chunk of change in mortgage-backed securities. Once the housing market collapsed and homeowners began defaulting, the value of those securities collapsed, too.
(AP) A fire chief says a blaze in a building that houses an Illinois state lawmaker's southwestern Illinois office is considered suspicious.
Edwardsville Fire Chief Rick Welle says no injuries resulted from Monday night's fire that damaged Rep. Dwight Kay's office.
The building also included an insurance site, consulting agencies and counseling services. Welle said it's unclear if any of the offices was specifically targeted, but that investigators haven't ruled out arson.
Illinois State Police and the state fire marshal's office are investigating.
Zach Baliva says it's become the norm for students to attend college with the help of hefty loans, and all that debt is becoming a serious obstacle for students and graduates. With the film 'Deferred' Baliva, a local documentarian, hopes to explore these issues. He recently joined us to talk about what inspired the movie and plans to get it off the ground:
(AP) _ Federal assessments of tornado-damaged property in Illinois are to begin Thursday.
Gov. Pat Quinn's office says Federal Emergency Management Agency assessments are necessary so the state can request federal assistance.
Five teams will look at damage to homes and businesses in Champaign, Grundy, Massac, Pope, Tazewell and Will counties. Sunday's tornadoes destroyed hundreds of homes and left six people dead in the state.
The governor's office says federal and state emergency officials will meet with
District 186 says it's working hard to hire more minority teachers and administrators. Still, the percentage of minorities in those roles is only half of what it should be according to a decades old desegregation order. And the Springfield branch of the NAACP says it's preparing for a potential lawsuit.
The mayor of the central Illinois community of Washington says more than 1,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed by strong storms.
Mayor Gary Manier says that figure includes homes that were totally destroyed as well as properties that received minor damage. Officials still haven't said how many people in the community have been affected by Sunday's tornado. Washington has about 16,000 residents and is about 10 miles east of Peoria.
November tornadoes seem out of place in Illinois. But weather statistics show they're not uncommon. Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel studied the years 1950 to 2010 and found nearly 70 tornadoes occurred in November. That's more than October or December.
But what made Sunday different was the outbreak that occurred.
"All our other outbreaks tend to happen in the springtime," Angel said. "So the ones in November tend to be single events, but this is by far the biggest number that we've seen in November."