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Statehouse
3:32 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Senator Wants Job Commitment From ADM

Sen. Andy Manar
Credit ilga.gov

New legislation would bring jobs to Decatur as a condition for Archer Daniels Midland Company to receive state incentives it wants to keep its headquarters in Illinois.
 
State Sen. Andy Manar introduced an amendment Thursday to require the company
to relocate at least 100 jobs from out of state to Decatur and hire at least 100
new full-time employees a year in the city for five years.
 
ADM announced earlier this year it will move its 100-employee global
headquarters out of Decatur. ADM is reportedly considering Chicago and other
cities.
 

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Historic Home
9:45 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Architecture Tours Planned At Dana-Thomas House

Credit springfield.il.us

A new Frank Lloyd Wright architecture tour is being offered at a Springfield historic site designed by the famed Illinois architect.  

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Regional
9:39 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Inmate Captured In Macon County

After a four-hour manhunt, authorities have recaptured an inmate who escaped from jail in Decatur just as he was to begin serving a prison sentence for aggravated battery.  
Schuyler McCoy escaped from the Macon County Jail at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday by identifying himself to correctional officers as a different inmate who was in the process of being released on bond.  
Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider says a search began as soon as officers realized the error. U.S. Marshalls took part.  

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Morgan County
9:36 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Federal Report Supports FutureGen

Credit Bill Wheelhouse/WUIS

A final recommendation is still pending but the U.S. Department of Energy has said in a report that the FutureGen project in Morgan County should go ahead.  
The agency released the final environmental study on Wednesday. It says the clean-coal project should receive $1 billion in federal funding. The State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/17uijEH) a final decision on if the $1.65 billion project should come by the end of the year.  

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Education
6:00 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Grade Deflation On School Report Cards

Illinois schools and school districts get report cards Thursday. Many will appear to have suffered a significant drop in student achievement. But state officials say that’s just because they’ve changed how students are evaluated.

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Health Desk
6:10 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Mammography In 3D

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; during the fall veto session, doctors traveled to Springfield to show state legislators how 3D mammography (the scientific term is tomosynthesis) works, and its benefits.
Credit File photo

  Illinois requires insurance companies to cover routine mammograms, but that doesn't necessarily include a new method of detecting breast cancer.

A mammogram is a low-dose of x-rays doctors use to spot breast cancer. An important tool, to be sure, but one that can result in false-positives.

Dr. Sarah Friedewald says that'll happen a lot less if women also get a 3D mammogram. Likewise, she says, the new technology makes it easier to spot abnormalities.

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Regional
4:58 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Inmate Escapes From Macon Co. Jail

Credit maconcountysheriff

A man about to be sent to prison for aggravated battery has escaped from the Macon County Jail in Decatur.  

The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports (http://bit.ly/1aISpvu ) that 25-year-old Schuyler McCoy escaped Wednesday and police have begun a search.  

Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider tells the newspaper that McCoy escaped around 1:30 p.m. after identifying himself to correctional officers as a different inmate who was in the process of being released on bond.  

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Halloween
8:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Carl Jones, Local Ghost Investigator

"A fairly recent one from the old Milton School house in Alton, photo taken by Danielle Spain, she felt something behind her and a cold chill, put camera over her shoulder and captured this dark shadow figure. " -Carl Jones

You may be queuing up some scary movies on Netflix to get into the spirit of Halloween this week. But for some, interests in ghosts lasts all year 'round. Carl Jones started the Prairieland Paranormal Consortium and teaches classes at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield about the paranormal.

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Halloween
7:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Ghost Hunters Look For Paranormal Evidence At The Hickox Home

Exterior of Virgil Hickox House
Greg Manfroi

The Springfield-area is home to numerous ghost-hunting groups that investigate hauntings year round. As you might imagine, after going on hundreds of paranormal explorations - investigators start to acquire a few scary stories. WUIS recently caught up with two area paranormal investigators who were on site at one of Springfield's most notoriously haunted locations. If the evidence captured from that night doesn't scare you, perhaps their tales of their own run-ins with ghosts will. 

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Statehouse
6:36 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Bipartisan Call To Work Together On Budget

Credit wnij

Two state senators say partisan bickering over the state's budget should be set aside for the sake of Illinois residents.  

Park Ridge Democrat Dan Kotowski and McHenry Republican Pam Althoff touted the results of a survey of Illinois residents at a Tuesday news conference in Chicago.  

Kotowski says both Democrats and Republicans want many of the same things out of the state's budget. That includes more of the state's budget being put toward growing businesses, ensuring public safety and improving infrastructure.  

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Nation/World
5:21 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Prison "Snafu" Forces Jackson To Spend Night In Hotel

An attorney for former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says an administrative problem forced the Illinois Democrat to temporarily leave a
federal prison where he was trying to begin his sentence early for illegally
spending campaign money.
 
The former congressman then spent Monday night at a hotel and reported to
prison again Tuesday morning.
 
C.K. Hoffler told reporters in Atlanta Tuesday that she was contacted by Bureau
of Prisons personnel and asked to pick Jackson up about two hours after dropping
him off at the North Carolina prison.

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Fiscal Focus
4:30 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Report: Deficit Expected Even If Tax Hike Stays

Credit flickr/borman18

  Even if Illinois keeps its higher income tax rate, a new report projects the state is headed toward deficit spending. 

Illinois residents are paying a 5-percent tax on their income. It's been that way since 2011.

According to a new report from the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs, that tax money helped balance Illinois' budget this year.

But economist David Merriman, who directed the project, says that won't last.

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Nation/World
2:59 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Fmr. Congressman Reports To Prison

Jesse Jackson Jr.

Former Illinois U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has reported to a North Carolina federal prison to serve a 2 1/2-year prison term for misusing campaign funds.  
Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke declined to offer details, including when Jackson reported to prison.  
Court documents were never clear about when Jackson must report. In her sentencing order written earlier this year, A federal judge in Washington said only that he would have to surrender no earlier than Nov.1.  

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Harvest Desk
10:45 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Income Up - Revenue Down At ADM

Credit ADM

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. said today that its third-quarter earnings more than doubled partly on increased profit margins on ethanol. But the Decatur-based company says its results fell short of last year when adjusted to exclude an inventory credit.  

Revenue fell 2 percent but beat analysts' forecasts.  
Net income was $476 million, or 72 cents per share, up from $182 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.  

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History
10:27 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Conference On Former Gov. Otto Kerner Saturday

Former Gov. Otto Kerner
Credit wikepedia

Few people these days can tell you much about former Illinois Governor Otto Kerner other than he spent time in prison.   But there was more to the man  who oversaw state government from 1961 to 1968.  This Saturday, an all day conference in Springfield will focus on Kerner, looking at his professional accomplishments, his trial and conviction and his private life.  

The event, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, will include journalists, politicians and even members of Kerner's family.  

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Farm Bill And SNAP
5:19 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Food Stamp Cut "Will Affect Our Population Big Time"

The future of SNAP, the program which funds what are commonly referred to as food stamps, is up for debate as Congress attempts to authorize a new Farm Bill. An increase passed by Congress in 2009 to food stamps expires at the end of the month.
Credit Darrell Hoemann/ Midwest Center For Investigative Reporting

  Food pantries and homeless shelters say they're beginning to notice repercussions of a reduction in food stamps that will take effect Fri., Nov. 1. A temporary hike in benefits that kicked as a result of the recession expires this week.

Individuals enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, could see their benefits cut by $11 a month. A family of four could see a decrease of $36.

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Regional
11:39 am
Mon October 28, 2013

'Lincoln' Artifacts Coming To Lincoln Museum

Daniel Day-Lewis, center, portrays the title character in "Lincoln." One of his costumes and the cabinet room set are among the items from the film to be displayed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Credit DreamWorks Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox

A piece of Hollywood is coming to Illinois. Director Steven Spielberg is sending props and sets from the movie “Lincoln” to be part of a new exhibit at Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

The museum will get two big sets: the Lincoln bedroom, and the cabinet room in which the president — played by Daniel Day-Lewis — argued for passage of a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery.

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Statehouse
11:35 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Old Union Pay Raises Still In Limbo

Rep. Lou Lang speaks with reporters in this April 2013 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Union workers are still fighting for raises they were owed starting in 2011, but have never been paid. A court has ruled in their favor, but the Illinois legislature is still debating whether to make good.

To finally settle the pay raise issue, lawmakers would have to come up with about $100 million.

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Sports
2:59 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

"Rally Squirrel" Trademark Fight Continues

The rally squirrel was seen as good luck for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals.
Credit milb.com

The Rally Squirrel hasn't retired, he's just caught up in litigation.  When a squirrel bounded through the batter's box during the St. Louis Cardinals' 2011 postseason, an array of Rally Squirrel merchandise quickly sprang up.  

The rodent and all that he wrought is barely a memory now, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a trademark dispute lingers at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  

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State Week
1:53 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Listen To State Week - October 25, 2013

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, a discussion of the first half of the Fall Veto Session.

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Hoogland
11:08 am
Fri October 25, 2013

'The Little Years' Play Merges Science, Stereotypes & Theater

 Stella Cole and Kevin Purcell join us to talk about a play that runs this weekend at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Called 'The Little Years' it explores the trials of a female math prodigy. Following her over the course of over 40 years, from the time she was a teen during the 1950s, the Canadian play explores what happens when a brilliant young mind goes to relative waste: 

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Regional
7:21 am
Fri October 25, 2013

No Round-The-Clock Gambling At Ill. Casinos

Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

The Illinois Gaming Board has decided not to allow the state's 10 casinos to operate around the clock.

Gaming board spokesman Gene O'Shea says the decision was announced during a meeting Thursday by board chairman Aaron Jaffe.

A casino trade group had hoped to get permission for casinos to stay open 24 hours a day instead of the 22 hours they can operate now.

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Pensions
6:15 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Quinn Not Ready To Talk Taxes

Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Though he supported Illinois' income tax hike in the past, Governor Pat Quinn is so far unwilling to take a stance on whether it should expire.

This fiscal year, Illinois is putting $6.8 billion toward pensions. An amount that's more than covered by how much money the state took in from a higher income tax rate -- the increase alone is projected to pull in almost $8 billion this year.

But that raises the question: how will Illinois function when the income tax revenues begin to decrease?

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Farmer's Markets
4:13 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

'Green Saturday' Promotes Farmer's Markets

You've probably heard of Black Friday - but what about "Green Saturday"? No? Well that's a day the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and genHkids, non-profits aimed at promoting agriculture, nutrition and the buy-local movement, have recently come up with. And this Saturday marks the kick-off - with the group urging Illinois residents to support the state's farmers by purchasing their produce.

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Harvest Desk
12:15 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

UPDATE: Sharing Sunshine State Citrus With Illinois Families In Need

UPDATE (Nov. 8)

The following is from the Central Illinois Foodbank:

The Springfield Rotary Club is working toward a goal of 2,000 pounds of citrus to be donated to Central Illinois Foodbank. The club currently is about half way to their goal and hopes the community will help them double their current total.

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Fall Festivities
12:12 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Pay To Get Lost: Corn Mazes A Popular Fall Activity

Aerial view of corn maze
Credit http://www.bomkespatch.com/

The fall is a time when farmers prepare to harvest the year's crop. Half a year's worth of preparation, planting and waiting all comes down to the moment when they bring in their paycheck. But there are several farmers and business people who have a different idea in mind:

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Regional
11:06 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Creating A Vision Of Downtown Springfield

This design shows a vision for what is known as the Kerasotes Building at Washington and South Sixth Street.
Credit SDAT

Encouraging investment in Springfield's downtown is a key part of what the Sustainable Design Assessment Team hopes to accomplish.  

At the downtown farmer's market this Saturday, visitors can see display designs created by several architects.  They offer their vision of what downtown properties could become, with a focus on residential opportunities.

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Veto Session
10:12 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Museums Lose Bid To Cut Free Days

Field Museum visitors are greeted by Sue, said to be the world's most complete skeleton of a T. rex.
Credit Paul Hudson via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Many Illinois museums will continue to have to offer 52 free days a year. That's after the Illinois House failed to override a veto of legislation that would have cut that number in half.

The museum proposal is one of the few actual vetoes lawmakers had to deal with during their veto session.

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Gambling
9:53 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Renewed Push For Casinos, But Regulators Still Worry About Chicago

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday heard from supporters and opponents of allowing more casinos in Illinois. But they're no closer to making a deal.

Gambling was a big issue earlier this year, but negotiations fell apart in May, at the end of the spring legislative session. Since then, attention has moved to other issues, like the state's underfunded pension systems.

On the table are five new casinos — in Chicago and its north and south suburbs, in Rockford, and in Danville. The plan would also allow slot machines at horse racetracks.

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Veto Session
7:08 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Legislators Skip Town Early

  Illinois legislators were supposed to meet this week for three days as part of the fall veto session; instead they left Springfield after only two.

Little was accomplished during that time. Despite competing rallies, the Illinois House did not vote on legalizing same-sex marriage, whether state agencies, including the state police, will receive additional money remains unsettled, and there was no action on Illinois' pensions, which are the worst-funded in the nation.

It can give the impression that legislators are not doing their jobs.

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