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5:23 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Clemency Sought For Illinois Abolitionists

The home of Dr. Richard Eells in Quincy
Credit greatriverroad.com

Illinois' lieutenant governor is seeking clemency for Illinois abolitionists convicted for fighting slavery.  
The Carbondale Democrat's office is working with historians and experts to identify men and women around Illinois who were convicted of violating slavery laws.  
Slavery was abolished in Illinois in 1824, but laws prohibited people from harboring or helping slaves.  

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Conference Committee
5:33 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Stalemate On When Pension Stalemate Must End

Democratic legislators Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) prepare to begin the General Assembly's conference committee hearing on pensions.
Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Gov. Pat Quinn's office says his July 9 deadline for a pension overhaul stands, even though the leader of a special legislative panel formed to come up with a solution says there's no way to meet it.

It was a similar story about this time last year. 

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Health Desk
11:48 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Feds Delay Won't Impact Illinois Health Marketplace

Illinois officials say the one-year delay in a central requirement of President Barack Obama's health care law will have no direct impact on the new online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop for coverage.  
A spokesman for Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace is on track to begin enrollment on Oct. 1. Mike Claffey says consumers can expect a range of affordable health care options.  

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Illinois
9:17 am
Wed July 3, 2013

George Ryan: "Freedom's A Great Thing"

Former Ill. Gov. George Ryan

A cheerful, joking George Ryan has spoken outside his home after the former Illinois governor was released from home confinement.  
 Ryan spoke Wednesday afternoon in Kankakee, saying he felt good, physically and mentally.  
 Wednesday ended more than five years in federal custody for corruption. In January, he was released from an Indiana prison and moved to confinement at his home.  
 Ryan says he feels ``wonderful'' and that ``freedom's a great thing.''  
 Ryan says he's writing a book but didn't elaborate.  

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Business
9:16 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Illinois Chamber President Urges Pension Overhaul

Doug Whitley

Doug Whitley, President of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, says the state's underfunded pension systems are wreaking havoc in other areas.  He says the growing cost of pension payments is forcing Illinois government to spend less on areas like education and infrastructure. 

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Economic Development
7:27 am
Wed July 3, 2013

City Council OKs Jefferson Crossing TIF Plan

Site along Veteran's Parkway approved for future shopping center and city park
Credit Google Maps

Developers who've been planning for years to build a shopping center and gas station at a busy intersection on Springfield's northwest side say they could break ground on the project next month.

The Jefferson Crossing redevelopment plan got final approval from aldermen Tuesday night.  The City Council agreed to set aside $9.2 million dollars in future tax revenues to reimburse builders.  The funds will come from a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District set up in 2007 specifically for the project.

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Montford Point Marines
7:00 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Springfield Vet Honored for World War 2 Service In Segregated Unit

DeLoyce McMurray served in the Marine Corps during World War II. He and more than 19,000 other African Americans became known as "Montford Point Marines" — named for the location of their segregated boot camp.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was in Springfield Tuesday, presiding over a ceremony to honor a World War II veteran.

Four days after DeLoyce McMurray graduated from high school, he joined the Marines. But instead of training at Parris Island, McMurray was sent to Montford Point. That's where the segregated Marine Corps trained its African-American recruits.

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Concealed carry
6:45 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Quinn Rewrites Gun Bill; Critics Question Motive

Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) shepherds his concealed carry legislation, HB183, through the Illinois House on the final days of session in May.
Credit Chris Slaby/WUIS

With a week to go before a deadline requiring Illinois allow people to carry guns in public, Gov. Pat Quinn today vetoed the legislation that would have authorized concealed carry.  The Democrat claims he's concerned about public safety, but he's already under fire by critics who say it's a political stunt. The measure's sponsor has already filed paperwork to override Quinn's changes.

Illinois is the only state in the nation without some form of concealed carry.

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Education
4:40 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Focus Groups Will Meet Re: Search For 186 Superintendent

District 186 has chosen a search firm to find the next permanent superintendent. Walter Milton left earlier this year and Robert Leming has temporarily taken his place. The search firm School Exec Connect plans to accept applications until October, provided an ideal candidate is not found before then, says Springfield public school board president Chuck Flamini. He says the next step the search firm plans is organizing focus groups that will meet publicly:

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Statehouse
3:38 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Lawmakers Will Address Concealed Carry Next Week

Lawmakers are being called back to Springfield to consider Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed changes on a concealed carry bill.
House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman Steve Brown said Tuesday the House
will convene in regular session July 9. Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman says senators will join them. 
That's the day Illinois must meet a court-mandated deadline to legalize concealed carry.
Quinn used his amendatory veto power Tuesday to make significant changes. But the bill's sponsor intends to call for an override.
 

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58th Annual National Tom Sawyer Days
11:38 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Becky Thatcher House Re-Opens In Hannibal, MO

Credit Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

The 58th Annual National Tom Sawyer Days celebration starts Wednesday in Hannibal, Missouri.

The festival runs through the weekend with events honoring Samuel Clemens' literary work, including the town's "Tom and Becky" lookalike contest for kids.

A site in downtown Hannibal dedicated to Becky Thatcher - and the real woman who inspired the fictional character - has just re-opened to visitors following a major restoration effort.

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Statehouse
11:30 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Governor Changes Concealed Carry Measure

Gov. Pat Quinn says he wants to change concealed carry legislation because it has ``serious flaws'' and was inspired by the National Rifle Association.  
The Chicago Democrat held a news conference in downtown Chicago on Tuesday to announce that he's using his amendatory veto power to add ammunition limits, bar guns in establishments serving alcohol and says local governments should be able to enact their own local laws in some cases.  

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History
9:40 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Stephen Douglas Exhibit On Display

Stephen Douglas

This year marks the bicentennial of the birth for one of Illinois' most notable politicians.  But Stephen Douglas fell far short of his rival, Abraham Lincoln, in both height and the history books.   Douglas was more than simply a footnote in Illinois' past.  An exhibit underway at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum sheds some light on the Little Giant.  It includes items pertaining to Douglas.

James Cornelius is Curator of the Lincoln Collection at the facility and tells us more. 

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Concealed Carry
7:25 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Rep. Phelps: Quinn To Rewrite Concealed Carry Bill

Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg)
Credit ilga.gov

The sponsor of Illinois' concealed carry bill says Gov. Pat Quinn will use his amendatory veto powers to rewrite the measure.
 
Democratic State Rep. Brandon Phelps says the governor's office told him Quinn would issue the amendatory veto on Tuesday.
 
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson declined to give details about Quinn's decision, saying only that "the governor will act in the interest of public safety.''
 

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Gun Countdown
7:02 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Quinn Says Conceal Carry Action "Imminent"

Credit Mark Holloway via Flickr

  Illinois is quickly approaching a federal court's deadline of July 9 for the state to have a concealed carry law.

Every other state has some type of law that lets an average person carry a gun in public. But not Illinois where only those in certain professions can - namely police, retired law enforcement and security guards on the job.

Illinois is under a court order to lift that ban.

Legislators crafted a plan for how they want it done.   Now everyone's waiting for Gov. Pat Quinn to take action.

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Higher Education
3:12 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Raises For Most University Of Illinois Employees

University of Illinois President Robert Easter
Credit photo courtesy of University of Illinois Board of Trustees / University of Illinois

  University of Illinois employees are set to receive pay hikes this year, and just how much will depend on their performance.  The school's leader says he's trying to provide a more stable financial environment for staff, even in the face of the state's unstable finances.  

In a letter to employees*, University of Illinois President Robert Easter says competitive compensation is essential to recruit and retain top faculty and staff.  And yet, he writes, "we must recognize the many uncertainties and challenges before us."

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Statehouse
3:12 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Quinn To Act "Very Shortly" On Concealed Carry

Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll make a decision on whether to sign a concealed carry bill ``very shortly.''  
Illinois faces a July 9 deadline to legalize carry of weapons after a federal appeals court found Illinois' ban unconstitutional. But Quinn has given few hints about what he'll do, even after lawmakers asked him to make a decision quickly to they can plan next steps.  
Quinn could veto the measure which outlines who can carry. Quinn declined to give details Monday after signing a school safety bill. He says a decision is ``imminent.''  

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Regional
1:57 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Vets Having Trouble Getting Jobs

Credit Flickr/U.S. Military Academy at West Point

The economy has proven difficult for many.  But one group in particular, returning veterans, is finding it especially hard to locate work.  Meredith Colias of Illinois Issues magazine wrote about the problem in the latest edition. 

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Community
10:32 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Artist On The Plaza: Local Performers In Downtown Springfield

Every spring and summer, local artists can be seen performing in the plaza outside of the old state capitol in Springfield. We speak with Sheila Walk, who tells us about the Artist on the Plaza events which happen twice a week:

CLICK HERE for more information on the Artist on the Plaza events on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in downtown Springfield.

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Harvest Desk
8:38 am
Mon July 1, 2013

My Farm Roots: A Cowboy At Heart

Once an average suburban Colorado kid, Trent Johnson spent years ranching and now owns storied cowboy outfitter Greeley Hat Works.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

This is the fourth installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Trent Johnson didn’t grow up on a farm, but he was always enamored with the cowboy lifestyle.

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Health Desk
5:36 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Rehab Program Helps Cancer Survivors Fight

Occupational therapist Wendy Schmitz-Johnson and patient Verna Stallone
Credit WUIS/Peter Gray

Some cancer survivors struggle with pain, fatigue and other crippling symptoms following aggressive treatments such as radiation.

A nationwide program now offered in Springfield connects patients with occupational therapists who can help speed the healing process.

Peter Gray reports from the WUIS Health Desk. 

[LINKS to more information about oncology rehab can be found below]

63-year-old Verna Stallone of Springfield was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.

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Harvest Desk
5:14 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Corn Crop On Target Despite Wet Spring

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers will come through with the predicted corn crop despite the Midwest's wet spring that delayed planting.  
Some states _ including Michigan, Nebraska and Texas _ planted more corn than expected, which will make up for the loss in Iowa, the nation's leading corn producer.  
Friday's annual acreage report is based on farmer surveys, and surprised farmers, analysts and commodities traders. Many expected the number of corn acres planted to fall by about 2 million acres.  

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Playhouse On The Square
11:16 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Jacksonville Playhouse Brings "Rainmaker" To Town

Rich McCoy, Michelle Dearing and Jeromy Rees in "The Rainmaker"
Credit dynamic patterns theatre

Central Illinois audiences with the recent drought still fresh in their minds may be able to sympathize with the characters of "The Rainmaker". 

The story of a midwest farm family and a man promising to quench their land's thirst comes to Jacksonville and Springfield this weekend. 

Director Rich McCoy and actors Michelle Dearing and Evan Rumler joined Peter Gray on Illinois Edition to talk about the show:

CLICK HERE for Jacksonville tickets

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The Legacy Theatre
10:44 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Sunset Boulevard: Locally Produced Musical With Film Noir Style

Cynda Wrightsman in her role as Norma Desmond
Credit The Legacy Theatre

Sunset Boulevard is a musical that almost never was. It went through multiple failed plans before Andrew Lloyd Weber - who also wrote the music for The Phantom of the Opera - took the story line of a movie from 1950 and made it a Broadway hit. And now, the musical is coming to The Legacy Theatre in Springfield - the first time it will have a run in the city.

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Regional
10:37 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Sangamon County Survey Findings

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch (standing) addresses a Springfield Citizens Club meeting Friday that unveiled a new countywide survey. The citizen survey is a joint project of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and the United Way of Central Illinois.

While most say the county is a good place to live, work and raise kids, it's not all a rosy picture.  It found crime is a concern, most want better roads and additional events like outdoor festivals and farmer's markets.  But overall, the reviews were positive. 

Dr. Ashley Kirzinger is Director of the University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office which called and asked residents more than 100 quality of life questions.  She says it was surprising to find younger people have a brighter outlook for Sangamon County.

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Programming
10:04 am
Fri June 28, 2013

New Programs: new shows, moving shows

  Starting July first, WUIS' programming schedule will be changing. Below is a list of the changes.   See the full printable schedule

NEW WUIS PROGRAM MOVES

 

M-F 11-Noon

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Illinois Symphony Orchestra
6:47 am
Fri June 28, 2013

ISO's New Performance Lineup

ISO Music Director Alistair Willis
Credit www.alistairwillis.com

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra has announced its new season.

Music Director Alastair Willis says the season that starts in October will include appearances from the Illinois Shakespeare Festival and young cellist Julie Albers.

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Education Budget
4:28 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Despite Level Funding, Quinn Says Pensions Still Squeezing Schools

Gov. Pat Quinn

After years of state budget cuts, Illinois schools will get roughly level funding under legislation signed into law Thursday. But Governor Pat Quinn says it's still not enough.

Earlier this year, Quinn said Illinois' budget problems meant the state had to reduce school spending. But lawmakers decided not to cut the education budget, in part because Illinois collected more taxes in April than it anticipated.

The extra money will go to elementary and high schools, community colleges, and public universities. It also funds MAP grants for needy college students.

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Same sex marriage
2:04 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

What The DOMA Rulings Mean For Illinois

Gay rights activists hold a press conference before the end of the legislature's spring session, demanding the same sex marriage bill get a vote in the Illinois House.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Expect a raucous time at this weekend's annual Pride Parade in Chicago.  Gay right activists will celebrate the death of "DOMA," or the Defense of Marriage Act.  Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling declaring the Act unconstitutional is a major victory for advocates, who had a disappointing spring in Illinois.  The House of Representatives adjourned in late May without taking a vote on a measure to legalize gay marriage in the state.   Activists say they're hopeful the federal ruling will put additional pressure on state legislators to pass a law.  For the meantime, figuring out just what the r

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Jacksonville Fatal Fire
12:57 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Mother, Two Sons Killed In Mobile Home Fire

The Morgan County Coroner says a mother and her two young sons were the victims of a fatal fire early Thursday morning.  Coroner Jeff Lair says smoke inhalation is blamed for the deaths of Kayla Perry and her two sons, 4-year-old Christopher and 7-year-old Joshua.  The family's mobile home caught fire around 1 am Thursday.  Neighbors placed the 911 call, and area firefighters say they arrived to find the residence fully engulfed in flames.  A cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The state fire marshal has been called to investigate.  

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