The theater department at University of Illinois Springfield is known for putting on thought-provoking and modern plays. The one premiering this weekend is no exception, called 'How I Learned to Drive' it follows the tale of a woman looking back at her adolescence, a time wrought with some pretty heavy issues. Rachel Otwell recently spoke with the director, Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson and actor and co-dramaturg Christina Craig:
State education officials are considering retaining a traditional college-readiness test for high school juniors but passing the cost along to school districts and possibly the students' families.
The move is one cost-cutting possibility after Illinois schools have seen close to $1 billion in cuts since 2009. Educators warn of more drastic cuts if lawmakers decide not to extend a temporary income tax hike set to expire at the end of 2014.
State board officials estimate it will cost $14 million for all high school
A detailed report on a fatal central Illinois plane crash could be ready soon, more than 18 months after a dozen skydivers jumped from the aircraft just before it went down.
The August 2012 crash in Taylorville killed pilot Brandon Sparrow, who stayed at the controls when the twin-engine plane stalled and began to roll. It took a steep dive and crashed just yards from an occupied home.
Tom Latson is an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. He tells The (Decatur) Herald & Review (http://bit.ly/1pZz3Xh ) that he expects his
An effort to change Illinois' income tax from a flat to a graduated structure is making headway in the General Assembly. The plan, where the more you earn the more you pay, has been revived after a setback last week.
When another proposal for a graduated income tax was up for debate last week, it was shot down before even getting to the floor. But Representative Christian Mitchell, a Democrat from Chicago, says his proposal is different: Its income-based tax brackets are lower than the previous version.
This weekend two openings will take place on the campus of the Springfield Art Association. One will combine the artworks of University of Illinois Springfield faculty in an exhibit called, Trigger: New Work by UIS Art Faculty. That will be in the new M.G. Nelson Family Gallery. The reception is on Friday, 5:30-7:30pm. The exhibit will run through April 25.
Environmentalists in central Illinois are calling for tougher regulations on the coal industry. They say coal companies are using land to profit, then leaving residents with a mess.
Director of the Sierra Club's Illinois Chapter Jack Darin acknowledges the regulations the state already has in place. He says the problem is Illinois' lax enforcement of those laws against coal companies.
"Unless they're held accountable for these actions, then what good are the strongest regulations that the state can write?" he said.
State environmental regulators say a former plastics plant in central Illinois where a 2004 explosion killed five people is now all but demolished and cleaned up.
The explosion at the Formosa Plastics plant in Illiopolis happened on April 23, 2004. Federal safety officials ruled a worker mistakenly opened a valve on a high-temperature reactor. The small town is 25 miles east of Springfield.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Kim Biggs tells The State Journal-Register in Springfield (http://bit.ly/1lrbXc1 ) that a couple of
An alert imposed after smoke was spotted at the Quad Cities Generating Station in western Illinois was lifted after eight hours.
Exelon Generation officials say the smoke was spotted Wednesday after a pipe released water onto an electrical system. Spokesman William Stoermer says Quad Cities Unit 2 had been removed from service Monday so workers could replace a valve. The unit was in being restarted when smoke was detected around 1:40 p.m. The alert was lifted around 9:30 p.m.
A group that wants to change the way Illinois draws its political districts says it has the signatures it needs to put a measure on the November ballot.
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports (http://bit.ly/1pPeAGA) that the group Yes! For Independent Maps announced Tuesday that it has nearly 350,000 signatures. The group needs nearly 300,000 signatures for voters to consider their plan.
That plan would amend the Illinois constitution to require state legislative
A group of Democratic lawmakers Wednesday introduced a long-awaited piece of legislation that would dramatically change the way schools are funded in Illinois for the first time since 1997. The sponsors call the measure the most comprehensive way to ensure equity across the state but say there's still work to do in gaining broad support on the regionally divisive issue.
An Illinois preservation group has put out its annual list of most endangered historic places. State funding may be a long shot, but enthusiasts are working to save a federal tax credit.
Among the ten endangered sites is a camp in Senator Pam Althoff's (R-McHenry) district. Camp Algonquin, in unincorporated McHenry County, is a rare relic of the open-air camp movement at the turn of the last century.
Althoff, a Republican from McHenry, says the community can save the camp if local advocates campaign effectively.
recently spoke with U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois about a bill he sponsored called The Equitable Access to Care and Health Act (EACH). The bill would allow individuals to opt out of mandatory health insurance by writing "sincerely held religious beliefs" on their tax return, along with a sworn statement explaining their objection.
Illinois is like most states when it comes to budget challenges. Leaders must decide how to use tax dollars to pay for a variety of services.
But Illinois ranks low when it comes to financial planning. Nancy Hudspeth says some changes are needed. She's the Associate Director of the Fiscal Futures Project at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
Hudspeth wrote an article on the subject that appears below:
Better fiscal planning tools could improve Illinois’ budget process
The City of Springfield may be looking at setting a mandatory retirement age for all new police hires. During Tuesday’s city council meeting, both the city’s mayor and police chief say they support a cut off at age 60.
Authorities in northeast Missouri say a school bus accident has injured nearly two dozen students.
The accident happened around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday north of Ewing in Lewis County. Missouri State Highway Patrol Lt. Brian Anderson says the bus rolled over into a ditch. Anderson says 18 students suffered minor injuries and five were more seriously hurt.
Nursing home advocates say they're relieved by Gov. Pat Quinn's budget address last week. The governor says state has already been cut enough.
Two years ago, Gov. Quinn announced drastic cuts to Medicaid, the state's healthcare program for the poor, disabled and elderly. Medicaid helps pay for nursing homes, so when the legislature followed through on these cuts, many facilities shut down or laid off workers.
Pat Comstock, with the Healthcare Council of Illinois, says these cuts persisted through last year. But this year, she says things are looking brighter.
Enchanted April is a play set nearly a decade ago about two English women who go off to Italy together for a vacation in an empty castle. They advertise for traveling companions, and the result is a story rich in self-awakenings that combine the unique personalities and life-experiences of four women. We recently spoke with two actors in the play which opens this weekend in Springfield, Carly Shank and Leigh Steiner.
The blue corduroy jacket worn by high school students in FFA, formerly the Future Farmers of America, is an icon of rural life. To the average city dweller the jacket is a vestige of dwindling, isolated farm culture, as fewer and fewer young people grow up on farms. The numbers tell a different story however. In spite of that demographic shift, a record number of kids are donning blue jackets this year.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting public comments on a plan to inject carbon dioxide beneath west central Illinois.
FutureGen Industrial Alliance wants to capture carbon dioxide from a coal-burning power plant in the Morgan County village of Meredosia, then inject it into underground wells near Jacksonville, about 20 miles to the east.
Four months ago, tornadoes whipped through Central Illinois, ravaging communities like Washington and Gifford. As the towns rebuild, some lawmakers want to give businesses a break when fixing up their properties.
Rebuilding after a natural disaster can be expensive; insurance money only covers so much. A proposal making its way through the General Assembly could help ease that burden on businesses, by providing a property tax break.
Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) says this would help stabilize local economies.