News

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
WUIS/Illinois Issues

This week Rahm Emanuel was re-elected Mayor of Chicago, which (like the state itself) is facing a huge budget deficit.   Also, Governor Rauner declared the Illinois Supreme Court part of a "corrupt" political system.   WBEZ's Lauren Chooljian joins the panel for discussion of these and other topics on this edition of the program.

Tornado Kills One in Northern Illinois

Apr 10, 2015
Gilbert Sebenste NIU/WNIJ

One person was killed and an unknown number injured when a massive tornado tore a path across northern Illinois Thursday. The area hit hardest is the small DeKalb county town of Fairdale, near the intersection of I-39 and Highway 72.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he choose to award business tax credits to uphold Illinois' trustworthiness with companies, but the Republican's critics are calling it "beyond the pale."

Social service organizations are still reeling from the unexpected news they received a week ago that Gov. Rauner was immediately cutting off their state grants. No longer would there be money to bury the indigent. Funding for The Autism Program, eliminated. Funding stripped from addiction prevention. Cuts totaling $200 million.

Let Freedom Ring March

Apr 9, 2015

Bells rang out as students made their way from President Abraham Lincoln's home to the Old State Capitol. 

April marks the month that both Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated.

I talked with one of the parent educators from Jefferson Middle School; Monica Walls Butler says it's important for young people to know their history. 

Amanda Vinicky

Gas station owners are worried that lawmakers will pass an increase to the motor fuel tax to bring in more revenue.

David Smith owns gas stations along the Illinois border. He says Illinois' higher taxes cause most drivers to fill up outside of the state.

"At one of our Missouri stations near the border of Missouri and Illinois, we sell for example 170,000 gallons of gas per month," Smith said. "However at our Illinois-based border station just a few miles away on the Illinois side, we only sell about 70,000 gallons per month."

Tune in to this week's version of The Scene - with Scott Faingold: 

  Events discussed this week include:

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Winter can be wicked, but the softer days of spring follow as a comfort.  The hyacinth peeking out of the thawing earth demonstrates that universal truth that joy follows pain, sun follows rain, and some satisfying resolution follows most every difficult experience.  If life teaches us anything, it should be to hope for better days.

Michael Schleuter / schleuterphoto.com

Maggie Duckworth, a resident of St. Louis who has an engineering degree and designs costumes, says ever since she was a kid - she's been fixated on outer space. "I've probably been interested in outer space since my first word, which ... was saying 'home' while pointing up at the stars." Duckworth says her parents regularly exposing her to Star Trek at a young age was also an inspiration. Now, she is one of 100 finalists as part of the Mars One project, which aims to send a group of four people to colonize Mars by 2022.

About 30,000 cases of Sabra hummus sold nationwide is being recalled due to a possible Listeria contamination.
 
 Listeria is a food-borne illness that can cause high fevers and nausea in minor cases, but the infections can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems and young children, along with causing miscarriages in pregnant women.
 
     The Sabra Dipping Co. is a joint venture of PepsiCo and Strauss Group.
 
     The recalled products include:
 
     Sabra Classic Hummus in 10-ounce sizes with UPC/SKU 040822011143 / 300067
 

Can you really know someone you've never met?  Chris McDonald developed a bond with a man who lived a century ago through reading letters he had written, many from the front lines of World War I. 

McDonald worked with the family of Kent Dunlap Hagler to publish the works, which are far more literary than most teenagers could accomplish, now or then.  The book "Three Lying Or Four Sitting - From The Front In A Ford" takes its title from Hagler's time with a military ambulance unit.  It's references how many could be transported at a time.  

State of Illinois

The state official who led an investigation into political hiring under former Governor Pat Quinn's administration is resigning.

Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza is stepping down this month, after more than four-and-a-half years investigating allegations of misconduct in the governor's office, 40 state agencies and public universities.

Much of what Meza's office does is kept secret, like investigations that don't produce findings of wrongdoing. Even some of those that do can be kept confidential.

Langfelder campaign

Springfield's next mayor will be Jim Langfelder.

Langfelder defeated Paul Palazzolo 55-45 percent. Langfelder, who has served as City Treasurer, will replace Mike Houston.  Only about one third of registered voters turned out in Springfield. 

Frank Lesko topped Rianne Hawkins for City Clerk.  

Misty Buscher, a banker, won for Springfield Treasurer.  She beat city alderman Frank Edwards. 

Springfield councilman Sam Cahnman lost his bid for re-election in Ward 5 to Andrew Proctor.  

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Illinois has been "smoke free" since 2008, when a state law banned anyone from lighting up within 15 feet of public places and businesses. Now legislators are considering broadening where smoking is prohibited.

I recently saw a bumper sticker that read "At Least I Can Still Smoke In My Car." Not for long, if a measure that recently got the approval of a Senate committee continues to advance.

The proposal would forbid adults from smoking if anyone under the age of 18 is in the car; doing so would trigger a $100 fine.

You've probably heard of programs meant to grant wishes to chronically ill children - but now some adults in Springfield who are nearing the end of their lives are getting similar treatment. Through Memorial Medical Center's "Sharing Wishes Fund", those in hospice care are eligible for getting a wish granted - something to check off their bucket list. It could be a hot air balloon ride, or something as simple as a pizza dinner with family and friends.

Hillard Family photo in field
Tonya Hilliard

Last year, Illinois was one of a handful of states that lost population. More than 90,000 people moved elsewhere.  It became a campaign issue for Governor when then candidate Bruce Rauner criticized the state's lack of friendliness to business. And it has others  throwing up caution flags.   The numbers don't mean mean there is a crisis, or even a real clamor, to leave the state.                     

courtesy of Oxygen

 

Springfield native Calise Hawkins will be featured in Funny Girls, a new comedy series premiering tonight on the Oxygen channel. Starring six female comics, it’s part reality show, part stand-up showcase, and -- unlike a lot of things on television these days -- it’s not a competition.

“We’re not in this to bash each other and, like, step on each other," Hawkins says. "We’re just living our lives and being in the same field at the same time."

What made her think she could do this?

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Neandertal_adam_ve_kad%C4%B1n_modeli,_Almanya.png

The debate over the role of Neandertals in the ancestry of modern people is the longest running controversy in human evolutionary studies and one of the oldest in science.

By the first decade of the current century, analyses of morphology, behavior, neuroanatomy, and genetics strongly supported a model indicating that Neandertals were a separate biological species from modern humans and represented our cousins but not our ancestors. Neandertal genomic data have changed this picture. 

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois struggles with its prison population in part because of its political culture. For decade, policymakers enacted greater and greater penalties for lesser and lesser crimes.

Will Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has convened a new commission to reduce Illinois' prison population, have the political courage to follow through on recommendations that may well come back to bite him in future campaigns? Commission member and Loyola University criminologist David Olson joins me to talk about what it'll take.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Tuesday is the day Springfield decides who will be its new mayor. The race is between Paul Palazollo, currently the Sangamon County Auditor, and Springfield City Treasurer Jim Langfelder. Political writer for The State Journal-Register, Bernie Schoenburg, has been following city politics for over 20 years. He tells us why the candidates have been talking trash (literally) and what he thinks each could excel at, and where they could fall short.

Credit flickr/eggrole

Illinois residents have petitioned the state to add more than 20 medical conditions to the medical marijuana program, including anxiety, migraines, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.  

The Associated Press obtained the petitions through a Freedom of Information Act request. Names of petitioners were blacked out to protect patients' privacy. Individuals identifying themselves as veterans of Vietnam and Iraq asked that PTSD be included, adding emotional pleas for help.  

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

 Gov. Bruce Rauner has issued his first two pardons since becoming governor nearly three months ago.
 
 The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports over the weekend
that the pardons by the Republican went to Neil Hebert and Michael Sullivan.
Rauner rejected 57 other clemency petitions.
 
 The 43-year-old Hebert was convicted of theft in Champaign County when he was
20. He served two years of probation. The News-Gazette says Sullivan was
convicted of burglary in Cook County in 1979.
 

flickr/dnak

State Rep. Monique Davis wants to give prisoners access to condoms.

Incarceration leads to a greater risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV, so she proposed selling condoms for prisoners to buy with their own money.

"If we can decide we're going to cut the spread of AIDS in Illinois, and we're going to have all different kinds of programs to do this, then that reduces the health care costs that Illinois has to spend," Davis said.

Her proposal failed in committee.

Tammy Duckworth

Much of the focus of this week's political news centered on Washington D.C.  U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mark Kirk.   And with the upcoming retirement of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, there are questions whether Senator Dick Durbin will continue as Minority Whip after 2016.  Also, the latest on beleaguered former Congressman Aaron Schock.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel to discuss those and other topics on this week's edition of State Week.

Save Abandoned Babies Foundation

Some adoption rights advocates have a problem with a proposal in the Illinois legislature. It would change the Safe Haven law, which allows parents to drop off newborns at certain locations anonymously.

A new plan by Sen. Heather Steans would help protect the parents' identity even more by creating a foundling birth certificate, which would leave off information about the parents.

Bruce Rauner at Illinois Chamber forum.
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner has spent much of his first few months in office talking about labor unions. He’s shared not only policy proposals, but also his ideas about the history of the union movement. I wrote about the state of labor in the April edition of Illinois Issues magazine and decided to take a closer look at one the governor’s theories.

dougshotwellandtherighthandband.bandcamp.com/

Tune into this week's version of The Scene - where I'm joined by Scott Faingold of the Illinois Times, per usual: 

Items discussed this week include:

A new exhibit in Springfield brings together items related to the killing of President Lincoln, which happened 150 years ago this month.

The exhibit is called "A Fiendish Assassination." It includes artifacts from President Lincoln's assassination, which took place on April 14, 1865.

James Cornelius is the curator for the exhibit.

"The goal is to make people realize that it was a public event that was horrifying and yet magnetic in its power," he said.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

High holy days for a number of world religions are celebrated this time of year.  The Jewish Passover, the Buddhist Theravada New Year, the Baha’i Ridvan, and the Hindu observances of both Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti.

The names of these holidays may seem foreign to many of us, but they represent significant family practices, based on centuries of beliefs and traditions.  More familiar may Easter—the highest holy day for those who practice the Christian faith—also observed this time of year, and celebrated by many Americans.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Johnny Molson & Mary Young  are fixtures in the local community theater world. They'll be heading to Michigan to perform in a competition hosted by the American Association of Community Theatre. They joined us to talk about the production they'll be competing with, called Talley's Folly, which you can also catch over the weekend at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield:

As new bio-technology and research make more and more information available to patients with cancer, they and their families often confront new and challenging decisions. Some risk factors for cancer can be inherited. Many have been linked to gene mutations. In some cases, people choose not to know if they carry any of the genes. Others choose to learn they carry a marker for cancer and must make the difficult decision of how to respond. Some increase screening, others undergo preventive surgery while they're healthy.

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