Hunters in southern Illinois are officially shut out of tens of thousands of acres of federal lands thanks to a partial shutdown of the federal government. Fishermen looking to troll Rend Lake for crappies found closed campsites managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week. The closures are a setback to the region. Southern Illinois has economic challenges and the area's recreation helps local businesses.
When lawmakers return to Springfield for their fall session later this month, they'll be weighing requests from several international companies that want tax breaks for keeping their headquarters in Illinois. But Gov. Pat Quinn is throwing cold water on that idea.
Most of the tax-credit attention has gone to agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Company, which wants up to $24 million keep its global head office in Illinois. But lawmakers have also heard requests from Zurich Insurance, based in Schaumburg, and OfficeMax, based in Naperville, and there are others.
The University of Illinois Springfield One Book reading program last fall put the tale of Indian slum dwellers in the hands of students, staff, faculty and community members.
Katherine Boo is the author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.
"I hope that when you read a book like this, you're not seeing the people of Annawadi as some remote 'other', but that you're recognizing how much people have in common... there's so much human 'connective tissue' in this world." - Katherine Boo
Gov. Pat Quinn says he will veto any legislation with special tax breaks to get Archer Daniels Midland Company to keep its global headquarters in Illinois until lawmakers address the state's pension crisis. In an interview with The Associated Press, Quinn says it's ``the wrong time'' to talk about tax incentives for any company. The Chicago Democrat says the best thing the Legislature can do to help ADM or other businesses is address Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension shortfall. He wants lawmakers to act when they meet later this month.
The federal government's partial shutdown is worrying some Illinois state workers and retirees. That's because recipients of various state health insurance programs need to get documents from the IRS by a late October deadline in order to prove that their dependents should still be eligible to receive coverage. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/1btoZUS ) the ongoing government shutdown means that the IRS isn't providing the federal transcripts.
Senate President John Cullerton says any tax-incentive package to get Archer Daniels Midland Company to keep its headquarters in Illinois should include something to make up for the loss of jobs in Decatur.
ADM announced last week it was moving its global headquarters _ and 100 jobs _ out of Decatur. The company is asking the state for $20 million in tax breaks to keep its headquarters in Illinois. Chicago officials have said the city is in the running.
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/156Z8gp )
A property tax referendum may be posed to Springfield voters next year, if a group of parents gets its way. The group says it'll campaign on the issue from a grass roots angle, even though board members aren't convinced the timing is right to raise taxes. School board vice president, Adam Lopez, is one who says the board needs to work on other issues first.
The project, founded by Ann Libri, started simple by collected clothing and school supplies for students growing up in unstable environments. This year, the project is kicking off a pilot program with ten students that will teach life skills and provide meals, tutoring, school supplies, and clothing. Libri says she hopes the project will continue to grow and assist the hundreds of homeless children in Springfield's district 186.
We recently interviewed Libri, and the Springfield city treasurer, Jim Langfedler, who is also an advisor to the project:
By Robert Holly/Midwest Center For Investigative Reporting
The U.S. Department of Agriculture was forced to send home tens of thousands of employees because of Tuesday’s government shutdown.
As a result, the agriculture department and its nearly two dozen agencies are operating at limited capacity – or not at all.
But even though important agencies such as the Farm Service Agency and the Risk Management Agency will be shut down almost entirely, agriculture officials said that Midwest farmers and producers won’t be affected that much.
The president of the Illinois Senate says he's backing a compromise pension reform plan that could save $138 billion by 2043. Chicago Democrat John Cullerton tells The (Springfield) State Journal-Register (http://bit.ly/1btBYG2 ) that he's working to build support for the still-unfinished proposal being developed by a pension reform committee. Cullerton hopes lawmakers can begin to act on the plan during the upcoming Oct. 22 veto session.
The federal government's partial shutdown is worrying some Illinois state workers and retirees.
That's because recipients of various state health insurance programs need to get documents from the IRS by a late October deadline in order to prove that their dependents should still be eligible to receive coverage. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/1btoZUS ) the ongoing government shutdown means that the IRS isn't providing the federal transcripts.
Lawmakers say an early prison release law doesn't need changing despite a mistake in which a parolee now charged with murder was not properly monitored.
Joshua A. Jones was set free in May five months early. He was charged with a Decatur murder three months later. Documents and Associated Press interviews show Jones was supposed to be electronically monitored but was not. State prison officials say an employee faces discipline.
Gov. Pat Quinn has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to hear his appeal of a ruling that his veto of money for lawmaker salaries was unconstitutional. Attorneys for Quinn filed a motion with the court Wednesday. They say the case deserves an ``expeditious and conclusive'' ruling by the state's highest court. Quinn vetoed money for paychecks in July because he was angry legislators hadn't addressed Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis. House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton sued, saying his action was unconstitutional.
Vachel Lindsay is one of Springfield's most well known historical figures, considered the father of "singing poetry" - he was known as the Prairie Troubadour and was one of the most celebrated poets of his time. But a lesser known aspect of the writer is the utopian vision he had for the future - influenced by his own political brand of socialism. These ideas became a novel called 'The Golden Book of Springfield.'
A Jacksonville native will have a cameo performance on one of the hottest television shows in the country: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'. She's 4 years old, has dark hair, and her name is Smokey. Smokey the black lab is a resident of the Jacksonville fire house, where she helps out by assisting fire-safety classes for children. She won a national contest that had people vote for the country's best fire-house dog. Todd Warrick who works for the fire department and trains Smokey recently told us all about it:
As Archer Daniels Midland plans to move its headquarters out of Decatur, state lawmakers are considering whether to award tax breaks to keep the agribusiness giant in Illinois.
At a legislative hearing in Chicago, representatives of ADM told lawmakers they wanted incentives worth $1.2 million a year for up to 20 years. In return, the company would keep its headquarters in Illinois, likely in Chicago.
One lawmakers says it's "essentially blackmailing the state."
Work is almost done on a massive, nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Carl Sandburg. The (Galesburg) Register-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1hhDqZx ) the statue of the Pulitzer-winning author and Galesburg native will be set up in the western Illinois community's public square. The piece depicts Sandburg with a guitar on his back and his books in one hand, along with his pet goat. The statue was commissioned by the Galesburg Public Arts Commission and is being designed by artist Lonnie Stewart.
A day into the federal government shutdown, it's already turning into campaign fodder for next year's election.
Congressman Rodney Davis is facing competition from both sides as he aims to hold onto his central Illinois seat. The Taylorville Republican is looking at a primary challenge from former Miss America Erika Harold; three candidates are trying for the Democratic nomination: University of Illinois physicist George Gollin, U of I social policy analyst David Green and former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.
More than 69,000 people visited Illinois' new health insurance marketplace by late Tuesday, the first opportunity to comparison shop for coverage through a system that's a key piece of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. But people hoping to enroll weren't getting much further, as the federally run website experienced glitches and delays.
At a health center on Chicago's west side, workers said their goal for the day was to get just one person enrolled, but none of the people who came in were
Gov. Pat Quinn says the launch of the health insurance marketplace marks a ``historic'' day that will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans. Quinn spoke at a press conference in Chicago on Tuesday, the same day the marketplace opened in Illinois and other states. But the federal website where people enroll was experiencing some glitches. Consumers couldn't get beyond initial screens, and some reported waits of 20 minutes on a hotline set up to assist them. Quinn says glitches are part of any new endeavor.
The newest leader in state government says he doubts pension reform will become reality during the upcoming fall veto session. Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says it's not right to vote for something that's close to ideal just because there is fatigue surrounding the issue.
"The issue needs to be done, but we need to do it right," Durkin said. "But I am not going to just wave the white flag out of expediency because people have been worn down or they're tired of the issue and want to get it off their plates."
Heritage grains are trendy. Walk through a health food store and see packages of grains grown long before modern seed technology created hybrid varieties, grains eaten widely outside of the developed world: amaranth, sorghum, quinoa.
But there’s another grain with tremendous potential growing on the Great Plains: millet.
A mix of established and emerging poets and writers will make their way to Springfield this month for the UIS Creative Writing and Publishing Series. The series, free and open to the public, kicks off on Thursday at 7pm with a reading from an author whose poetry explores feelings about his own brother's suicide. Meagan Cass is with the English department at the university and helps organize the series, she joined us for this interview:
The federal government shutdown means public servants across Illinois will be sent home today.
At times like these, National Parks are considered a luxury, so Springfield's Lincoln Home National Historic Site would be closed. But air traffic control and weather forecasting are considered critical, so they'd keep going.
Public safety jobs are supposed to be exempt, too. But U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, the top federal prosecutor for Central Illinois, says he'll have to send a quarter of his attorneys home and a majority of the support staff.
New figures released this week by State Farm say Illinois drivers are less likely to hit a deer in the next year. The insurance company says drivers in the state have a 1 in 214 chance of hitting a deer in the next 12 months. That compares with a 1 in 162 chance last year. Nationwide, the figure is 1 in 174.
Bloomington-based State Farm says Illinois drivers made 39,000 claims last year for accidents involving deer. Nationwide, there were 1.2 million claims, down about 3.5 percent.