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Illinois Supreme Court

There's a last-minute push to unseat one of Illinois' Supreme Court justices. That's difficult to do -- a sitting judge doesn't have to win a race. He just has to get 60-percent of voters' to agree to his retention.

Tim Lloyd/St. Louis Public Radio

This story is the second part of A Teachable Moment, a three-part series that profiles how issues raised by events in Ferguson are being discussed in classrooms across the St. Louis region. 

From pulpits to protests, a wide cross section of St. Louis’ religious leaders has been deeply involved with demonstrations following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9. And for some teachers at religious schools in St. Louis, talking with students about the protests in Ferguson and Brown’s death is about more than education -- it’s a matter of faith.

Hannah Meisel/WUIS

This story first ran in the October 2014 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

wikipedia

The University of Illinois says it is evaluating the condition of the new basketball court inside the State Farm Center after several inches of storm water backed up inside the arena.  

The university said on its athletics website that the water covered the floor about 3 a.m. Tuesday due to a blocked storm-drain line after a heavy rain.  

The school said that if the court can't be fixed the university will ``secure an alternate playing surface'' in time for the season that begins next week. It wasn't clear if that would mean buying a new surface.  

Amanda Vinicky

Lisa Madigan was the first woman elected to be Illinois' Attorney General, in 2003. After flirting with a run for governor, Madigan, the daughter of House Speaker Michael Madigan -- is instead seeking a fourth term as the state's top lawyer. Amanda Vinicky starts off this extended interview asking Madigan what she has accomplished that makes her deserving of another four years.

Grocery store hiring part of the better jobless rate,  Bunn-O-Matic buys building on west side and a chance to save an 1840's home from the wrecking ball on today's WUIS-State Journal Register business report.

 

Wiki Commons

Last year, we collected scary stories from local authors. In the spirit of Halloween (so-to-speak) - here is the archive for you to revisit or check out for the first time. We begin with the story below, the rest can be found under this post. Enjoy!

                                        * * * * * * * 

Amazon Inc. says it plans to open its first facility in Illinois next year in a move that would create 1,000 jobs.  

The announcement comes a week from election day as Governor Pat Quinn touts economic growth and his Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, has criticized the slow growth of employment in Illinois.

The company made the announcement about the $75 million project on Tuesday. The jobs figure would be reached by 2017.  

A prosecutor-turned-private attorney has returned to the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago to take its No. 2 job.  

Joel Levin served for 28 years as a federal prosecutor in California, Wisconsin and Illinois. In Chicago, he helped prosecute former Illinois Gov. George Ryan for corruption. He entered private practice in 2008.  

Another Ryan prosecutor is Chicago's current U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon. Fardon announced the 60-year-old Levin's appointment as first assistant U.S. attorney Monday.  

flickr/JoshuaRothhaas

What chemicals wind up in building materials?   And do they impact your health?   

Those are questions Jeffrey Saad has been asking.   He's deciphering the "recipes" that are used in construction.  The Chicago based architect with Perkins+Will says of the more than 82,000 chemicals registered in the U.S., only about 200 have been analyzed for their potential threats.  And only 5 are banned.

It was early September and Vincent Flewellen had just wrapped up his day teaching at Ladue Middle School.

“It was a pretty day,” Flewellen remembered. “I had a great day here at Ladue Middle School. I was really in a good mood.”

But Flewellen knew he could be in for a heavy night.

Less than four weeks had passed since Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown. And Flewellen, who is African American, was on his way to an event at Saint Louis University designed to help teachers unpack complicated issues of race and class.

Brett Levin / Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22/6044203012/in/photolist-nRM8aA-nRM9cA-6W3y3x-iSCMSX-ad77YL-ombQ4H-3cF2NM-8hAiN6-6W7Bsm-csFVES-grKEtn-9ZSWDs-fArP8e-niwAQi-89m25F-9ZT3kf-9ZQc52-n8xZJj-9ZT3Q3-9ZSikY-9ZPp8z-9ZSj83-csFRxN-ff

Illinois'  O'Hare Airport is one of five in the nation where travelers from West Africa must undergo extra screening for Ebola. But now the state has additional guidelines to prevent the virus' potential spread. What to do is the latest disagreement in an already adversarial race for governor.

Even as New Jersey releases a nurse forced into quarantine upon her return from Sierra Leone, Gov. Pat Quinn is standing by a similar policy for Illinois.

flickr/locosteve

The future of Illinois’ business climate is one of the hottest topics in the governor’s race.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner toss it around like a hot potato - claiming credit for themselves while lobbing blame at the other guy.

But that hot potato represents real people - and real businesses. Plenty of examples can be found in what once was the fastest-growing county in the whole country.

You don’t have to spend much time in Kendall County before you find places still haunted by the economic downturn.

WUIS/Rachel Otwell

Here's our latest in the scary story series, listen to Ted Morrissey read his piece titled, "Planes":

 

You can read the story, HERE.

flickr: EdenJanineJim

Getting more kids into pre-school might not solve all the problems, but there is mounting evidence that it can help ensure a child gets off to a good start. 

However, some communities struggle to get more youngsters into early learning.  

The Education Coalition of Macon County has studied the issue there and found some pressing needs when it comes to early childhood education. 

Sarah Bjelland is the group's Research and Data Manager.

Secretary of State's Office

Immigrant rights groups say Illinois needs to improve its program for issuing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. The program started last December.

When Illinois created a special drivers license for people without permission to be in the country, supporters said it would make the roads safer. In order to get one, an applicant has to have auto insurance and pass a driving test.

As of the end of September, more than 64,600 people had succeeded. But activists like Martin Torres, with the Latino Policy Forum, say others are being held up.

Bruce Rauner and Pat Quinn
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner met for their third and final debate this week. As in previous debates, both candidates spent much of their time attacking each other and dodging questions they didn't want to answer.

Rauner campaign

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is distancing himself from the resignation of longtime Chicago Sun-Times Springfield reporter Dave McKinney. McKinney quit Wednesday, blaming the Rauner campaign for "intimidation and interference" in his reporting.

Earlier this month, the Sun-Times published a story detailing allegations of Rauner's former associate, who said Rauner threatened her and her family after a soured business deal.

Stocks-Smith Campaign for Mayor 2011

The runner up in the 2011 Springfield mayor's contest issued a statement today saying she won't run for the office next year.  

Sheila Stocks-Smith indicated it's not the right time for her to make a bid.  Stocks-Smith finished second to Mayor Mike Houston in the last election. 

Her statement:

"After carefully thought, I have decided that this is not the right time for me to run for Mayor. Instead, I will continue to serve my community and influence positive change in Springfield through my social policy and program work and community activism.” 

Major cuts are coming to Springfield's Benedictine University.    The school is laying off three quarters of its full time employees, cutting out undergraduate education and getting rid of its sports programs.  The school will no longer focus on the traditional student market, but instead will make its focus on adults.    The campus issued a statement last night.    Springfield branch campus President Michael Bromberg tells WUIS that 75 of the 100 full time workers will be laid-off next year when the school ends its traditional programs for students who are just out of high school.

Charlie Parr website

Friday Oct. 24,  Bedrock 66 Live welcomes Charlie Parr to Springfield.    

Parr grew up in Minnesota and he's a throwback.  His style of folk and blues will be on display this evening at Donnie's Homespun.   

Sean Burns talked with Parr about his musical influences and how he approaches his craft:

The show begins at 8 p.m.  More details at Bedrock66.com.

Oberweis for US Senate

The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate has switched his stance on same-sex marriage.

Only a few Republican members of the General Assembly voted for Illinois' law that has, since June, allowed two men or two women to marry one another.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis wasn't one of them. He voted no.

But the Sugar Grove Republican, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, says he would go along with a federal law permitting same sex marriage.

Here's how he answered a question about it Wednesday's debate.

WUIS/Rachel Otwell

Here's our latest in the scary story series, listen to Susan Vondrak read her piece titled, "The Diviner":

You can read the story, HERE.

Ferran Salat Coll/TNC

It’s been a long time since you could say there were bison roaming the prairie in Illinois. The last ones were thought to have died off here or moved to other places in the 1800s. And while bison have still been raised here on farms, there haven’t been efforts for bison conservation in the state. That is, until now.

Cody Considine is an ecologist for the The Nature Conservancy at the Nachusa Grasslands. He joined us for this interview:

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Tom Irwin is one of Springfield's most successful, and certainly most visible, musicians. His songs have a timeless quality, often with a folksiness about them. On Sunday, he celebrates 20 years of playing once a week at Brewhaus bar in Springfield (617 E Washington St).  That event is from 7 to 10 pm, 10/25.

Irwin stopped by the WUIS studios to share these tunes and have a chat with us:

You can hear all the songs Tom Irwin performed for us in their entirety: 

RUMC

Chicago's infectious disease network has mobilized for the first time, transferring two O'Hare International Airport travelers from Liberia to hospitals for monitoring.  

One, a child, is in isolation in stable condition Wednesday at University of Chicago Medical Center after getting sick en route to O'Hare Tuesday.  
Officials say there have been no confirmed Ebola cases in Chicago and there's no threat to the public.  

IDOT

A federal judge has ordered a court-appointed monitor to investigate hiring at Gov. Pat Quinn's Department of Transportation.  

Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier told attorneys Wednesday that the monitor would help compliance of a decades-old political hiring ban.  

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by an anti-patronage attorney in April alleging improper hiring practices.  

Attorneys for Quinn's administration had said a separate monitor wasn't necessary and a state inspector general had completed a detailed probe and changes were made.  

IDOT

Attorneys are returning to court in a federal lawsuit over hiring in Gov. Pat Quinn's Department of Transportation.
 
 Anti-patronage attorney Michael Shakman has asked for a court-appointed monitor
of hiring as part of a lawsuit filed in April. He's said it would ensure the
administration complies with bans on political hiring for nonpolitical jobs.
 
 Quinn's attorneys have argued a monitor isn't necessary. They've said Quinn's
response to allegations of political hiring in the Department of Transportation

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Illinois' declining manufacturing sector led to one candidate for congress calling for repeal of a controversial free trade deal.  The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, has been praised by those who see it as key to opening up new export markets.  But others say it has led to more outsourcing of jobs to other countries.  

Democrat Ann Callis of Edwardsville, who is seeking the 13th Congressional District seat, commented in a Tuesday debate in Springfield that she would support repealing NAFTA. 

Afterward, she walked back those comments:

flickr/borman18

  The race for Illinois governor is one of the most expensive match-ups in the nation. A new report shows that most of that comes from relatively few donors.

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