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Rachel Otwell // WUIS

Kevin Bradford is one of the founders of Black Sheep, the all-ages, punk music venue on the corner of South Grand Ave. and 11th Street in Springfield.  It’s at the center of a plethora of indie and DIY activities in Springfield’s once-blighted Southtown neighborhood. 

Three years ago, the first video gaming machines popped up in Illinois bars, restaurants, and truck stops. 

Blue Ice

Sep 18, 2015
Blue Ice
RL Boston

Dye sublimation process printed directly on high quality aluminum with white gloss base. 

Blue ice off sets the white steam, ice and snow on a bitter winter day at CWLP on Lake Springfield. 

Photography / Metal Print

10 x 15

Market Value: $150

Currently on Show

Contact the artist for more information.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

Even though family schedules are busier than ever, parents and children still manage to spend time together.  The challenge lies in making those minutes productive and purposeful

Case in point:  time spent in the family roadster. First up is morning drive time.  It’s a great chance to look forward to the day, reminding kids of friends they’ll see and activities they’ll enjoy.  We can also use this time to offer encouragement for challenges, like a dreaded exam or a tough social situation.

PostSecret

Have you ever had a secret haunt you? Something you would never tell a soul? Or maybe just a crush you don't want anyone to know about - or a weird quirk you'd rather keep to yourself. Frank Warren wants to know. He came of age in Springfield and he now travels the world with his collection of secrets, perhaps the largest in the world.

Crayons and children's books
Donnie Nunnley

Limits on who is eligible for this Welfare-to-Work program sparked intense debate in Springfield.  But the fight isn’t over. 

Wikimedia Commons

Families with babies, from birth until they're three years old, are eligible for state assistance to help their children learn and grow. It's called early intervention. But without a budget, Illinois stopped paying the therapists who provide these services. Now, the comptroller and the governor's administration says they've come up with a way to pay again, even though Illinois still has no budget in place.

When Tamiko Schaefer's baby Daniel was about six months old, she started noticing something.

Tom Davidson / Creative Commons via flickr.com/88100135@N02

The Donald's stance on immigration has kept him atop the polls, but it presents dangers for Republicans in a state with a growing Latino electorate.

Illinois State Board of Education

Today, Illinois became the first state to release results of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers -- or PARCC -- assessment. It's the new standardized test linked to the Common Core. 

Judge Orders State To Pay For Seniors' Home Care

Sep 16, 2015

A federal judge has ordered the State of Illinois to fund Medicaid services for seniors living at home rather than at a nursing facility during the budget impasse.

Cindy Cunningham is with two providers who asked the court to force payments.

She says Wednesday's order will help caretakers who have taken out personal loans to keep their companies afloat.

"We’ve been without payments since July. Our houses are on the line. Our businesses are on the line," she said.

  Suspended payments for early intervention services will resume, even though Illinois still has no budget. 

Early intervention is just that -- therapists intervening in disabled children's lives when they're infants or toddlers.

Chicagoan Naomi Shapiro's 8-month old has a genetic disorder.

"He received physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, hearing therapy and soon he'll start developmental therapy," she says.

Therapy she says has little Leor Braun smiling, and responding to his own name.

ericjgarcia.com

Chicano culture is the inspiration for much art, be it musical, literary, or visual. Eric Garcia has been drawing from his roots as an artist who often addresses stereotypes about Mexican-Americans and a largely forgotten history of colonization.

The Demand For Medical Cannabis In Illinois

Sep 16, 2015
www.facebook.com/HanksRHero?

Legislation creating Illinois’ medical marijuana law took effect at the start of 2014, but nearly two years into it, no product has been sold.  In Wednesday’s report on the opening of one of the first cultivation sites, we heard about one of the companies growing the state’s first crop of medical cannabis.  Now we hear about those hoping to benefit.

" by US Department of Education / Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org

Illinois students will get a hint about how they scored on the PARCC test — the standardized test based on the Common Core — when statewide results are announced tomorrow. State officials have warned that scores will be lower than with previous tests. But U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says it’s time for an honest assessment.

  Birds from out of state are once again welcome within Illinois' borders. They'd been banned from fairs and exhibitions.

If you noticed the price of eggs going up this summer - there's a reason. Several states' bird populations were hit -- hard -- by avian flu. Wild birds, captive ones, and commercial and backyard poultry. But no cases were detected in Illinois.

Agriculture officials here reacted by trying to keep visiting birds, like chickens, out of places like the Illinois State Fair.

State Prepares To Harvest Medical Marijuana

Sep 15, 2015
flickr/James St. John

This fall, the first crops of medical marijuana products are on track for shipment to distribution centers across Illinois.  Thousands of the cannabis plants have spent the summer growing in a few cultivation centers, nearly two years after state law made it legal.

Tennessee Department of Human Services

Just how much assistance the state should give low-income parents to help them pay for daycare has been a hot issue throughout the budget debate. Now, a state lawmaker's take on it has gone viral; with 4.2 million YouTube views and counting. I'm Amanda Vinicky with The Players - your look into who's who in Illinois Politics and what they're up to.

nasda.org

The four lane highway between Springfield and Taylorville should be complete by next year.  Bill Wheelhouse and Tim Landis chat about that on this weeks SJR/WUIS Business Report:

flickr

Public employee and retiree health care benefits may be the next casualty of the state budget impasse.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' junior, Republican Senator Mark Kirk -- opposes the nuclear deal with Iran. But the state's senior U.S. Senator Democrat Dick Durbin, has been key in sheparding it through Congress. That's provided grist for the D.C. rumor mill.

  A survey of homeless shelters shows 90 percent of them are denying services because they're getting no state funding during a political feud.  

Policy director for Housing Action Illinois Bob Palmer says most agencies are spending down reserves, borrowing money and using furloughs in hopes the gridlock will break soon; in other cases, such as a shelter in Olney, they've closed down completely.

Amanda Vinicky

It's been years since the last long-term federal transportation program. But with Congress back in session Tuesday, Illinois' senior U-S Senator is making a push for it to get done by the end of the month.

Federal transportation projects have been stuck in stop and go traffic.

Lawmakers pass a temporary authorization, allowing construction to move ahead until the red-light of a deadline; then another temporary measure, another stop … and go ... and stop ... and go.

Illinois repealed capital punishment in 2011. Four years and scores of horrific crimes later, a state legislator wants to bring it back. 

Sen. Bill Haine. D-Alton, was against Illinois' abolishing capital punishment a few years ago, in 2011; after all, he's a former Madison County prosecutor. Haine says since then, times have changed that have only buttressed his position. 

This week, House Speaker Michael Madigan chastised two of his Democratic members after a failed attempt to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of a union bill.  Mike Riopell of the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald joins the panel this week.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

While the rest of us watched from afar, the people of Charleston, South Carolina mourned the loss of friends and neighbors who died in the iconic Mother Emanuel Church in June.  The violence hit home for them in a way it didn’t touch the rest of us.

Part of my family lives in that beautiful city, including four of my grandchildren.  On the morning of June 18, my daughter and son-in-law explained the atrocity to their children as best they could with their assurances about keeping them safe.  But the children were naturally troubled. 

Chelsea Laliberte
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois now has a law meant to address what's been called an epidemic of heroin abuse in the state. But it did not come easily.

Lawmakers spent more than a year holding hearings and negotiating over how best to address the state's heroin problem.

construction zone
dmitri_66 / flickr.com/dmitri66

Illinois residents may be aware of the state’s budget deficit and the severe underfunding of its public pension systems. But a new report from the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs identifies the state’s future infrastructure funding needs as a so-called third deficient.

Illinois Issues: Urban Flooding

Sep 10, 2015
Center for Neighborhood Technology

Heavier rainfalls and sprawling development have left outdated sewers struggling to keep water out of streets, businesses and homes. 

Illinois Lottery

With Illinois Lottery suing the state over unpaid prizes, Democrats in the Illinois Senate have a plan to address the problem. 

Amanda Vinicky

The U.S. Supreme Court will not get the last word on Illinois’ attempts to cut government pension costs; a 2013 pension law is dead, for good. There'd been a slim possibility the law would have another big day in court.

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