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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Undocumented Immigrants Face Long Wait For Licenses

This is the second full year in which Illinois has offered driving privileges to people who are in the country illegally. The Illinois secretary of state’s office and immigrant advocacy groups say the program is generally working well, with one major sticking point: application comes with a waiting time of six months.

“There is concern about the long wait for interview appointments,” says Fred Tsao, with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “We’d all like to find a way to get more people served more quickly.”

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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Health Care Providers Often Miss A Chance To Educate Mental Health Patients

More than half of surveyed mental health patients reported that no health care providers had told them to exercise or reduce their intake of dietary fat, a recent study out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported.

Among those surveyed were patients with diabetes, and 30 percent of those reported the lack of health information, even though the American Diabetes Association advises doctors to “counsel all patients with diabetes or at high risk of diabetes about physical activity and healthy dietary choices,” a news release from UIUC states.

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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Bill Aims For Illinois To Follow States With Right-to-try Experimental Drug Laws

Terminally ill patients would be allowed to try experimental treatments under legislation proposed in the General Assembly. 

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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Muslims, Latinos Overrepresented In Crime News, UIUC Study Reports

Travis Dixon

National television news may overrepresent terrorists as Muslims or immigrants accused of crimes as Latino. 

Using media archives from the University of California at Los Angeles from 2008 to 2012, University of Illinois professor Travis Dixon found that breaking news on cable and national network news often disproportionately broadcast stories that portrayed terrorists as Muslim and immigrants accused of crimes as Latino, but also underrepresented African-Americans as both victims and perpetrators of crime. 

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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

2015 Kids Count Details Poverty’s Damaging Effects

Local human service agencies, school districts and municipalities report that child poverty has become a long-term problem for their communities, says a contributor to a new assessment of children’s quality of life in Illinois.

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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Disease Carried By Cats Puts Muskrats, Minks At Risk

A cat-borne parasite appears to be on the loose in central Illinois in a greater capacity than scientists anticipated. 

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found minks and muskrats carrying an antibody for the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, a disease commonly spread through cat feces. 

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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Poor Women More Likely To Have Unplanned Babies

Women who are the poorest are five times more likely to have an unplanned birth as opposed to wealthy women, according to a recent study.

The Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institute prepared the report comparing sexual activity, contraception use and abortion rates between different economic levels. Women who were the poorest had the greatest number of unintended pregnancies, while abortion rates were highest for the most affluent, according to researchers. 

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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Pullman Site Designated As A National Monument

Credit The White House

The Pullman Historic District, a Chicago site, is one of the nation’s three newest national monuments, and President Barack Obama made a visit to his hometown to make the announcement about the designation. The model factory town of Pullman, established by industrialist George Pullman, is considered the first planned industrial community in the United States. Now part of Chicago’s south side, it was also the site of major civil and workers’ rights achievements.

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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Study May Show What Keeps Minds Sharp

It’s another kind of fountain of youth: Northwestern University scientists say they may have discovered physical traits that could explain why some elderly people maintain sharp minds well into their golden years.

Around 30 study volunteers over 80 years old demonstrated superior memory retention during tests compared with those their same age — or even fellow participants 20 to 30 years younger. They are called SuperAgers. 

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Noteworthy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

North America’s Largest Collection Of South Asian Comic Books At UIUC

Librarian Mara Thacker
Credit L. Brian Stauffer / University of Illinois news bureau

In 2012, a librarian at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign approached Mara Thacker, South-Asian studies librarian, with a question. David Ward had been building the collection of comic books and graphic novels and asked for recommendations to expand the collection into foreign comics. Already a fan of Indian popular culture, Thacker suggested comics from India and its neighbors.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Illinois Labor – Its Historic Rise And Gradual Fall

A World War II poster urging cooperation between management and labor.
Credit The Federal Government Via Northwestern University

In retrospect it seems obvious. Of course the fight to topple organized labor would eventually have to come to Illinois. It was only a matter of time. Labor’s perpetual weakness in the deep-red South would never be enough. And once the vanishing industrial base sufficiently enfeebled labor in the red states of the rust belt, the dwindling number of fat targets made a blue-state offensive inevitable.

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Now A Necessity

School Districts Throughout Illinois Are Creating Foundations To Fill In Budget Gaps

Every spring, the students at Mount Carmel High School in Wabash County put on a musical. They’ve done The Music Man, Oklahoma!, The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast — and  every show has sold out. 

For Kim Mandrell, music director at MCHS, selling out was both good news and bad news. The school’s auditorium was built in 1963, and its wooden seats were crumbling. 

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economy
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Rural Food Deserts

Increasingly, Small-town Grocery Stores Are Shutting Down

Tom Hunt couldn’t justify continuing seven-day work weeks in the central Illinois community of Pawnee without a return on his investment.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Judges’ Attitudes

 

Survey Contrasts Illinois Judges’ Opinions Against Those Of Three Decades Ago

 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Convict To Community And Back Again

How Can Illinois Stop The Prison Revolving Door?

Marquis Harmon is devoted to helping ex-prisoners find jobs as they transition back into the community. Harmon believes in second chances — because he’s been there. With two felony convictions, he is still struggling to get back on his feet. But with family support, education and a desire to succeed, he’s on the path to regaining some of the ground he’d lost in the correctional system.

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People
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Rauner Selects More Agency, Board Heads

George Sheldon

Gov. Bruce Rauner picked a Democrat from Florida to head the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. 

George Sheldon was secretary of Florida’s Department of Children and Families from 2008 to 2011. He was credited with bringing reforms and transparency to the agency. Sheldon went on to serve as an assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama.

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People
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Obituaries

Janet Otwell

Janet Otwell

  A former director of the Illinois Department on Aging and former president of the Illinois League of Women Voters died February 23. She was 83. Otwell, who was a Democrat, was appointed to head the Department on Aging in 1984 by then-Gov. Jim Thompson, a Republican. She served in the job for seven years. Otwell went on to serve as Midwest director of AARP. During her time with the League of Women Voters, she coordinated political debates and lobbied unsuccessfully for approval of the Equal Rights Amendment by the Illinois legislature.
 

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People
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Schock Resigns Amid Controversies

Aaron Schock

After weeks of bad press and a looming ethics investigation, Republican Congressman Aaron Schock resigned from office at the end of last month. 

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Illinois Issues - Ends and Means
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Redistricting Reformers Spring Back Into Action

Charles N. Wheeler III

News Analysis - “In the Spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love,” wrote Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1835.

Today, though, chances are a lot of young men and women and folks of all ages are caught up in more than romance, as April brings with it municipal elections across Illinois and a cornucopia of sports highlights, including NBA and NHL playoffs and the start of the 2015 baseball season.

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Higher Education
9:37 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

UIS Chancellor: Higher Ed "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" Financially

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch says if a proposed 31% state budget cut to higher education occurs, it would hamper the school's ability to carry out its mission. 

"It would be severely damaging," Koch said.  She added she is hopeful the eventual budget won't hit UIS so hard.  But she also expects less state support in the coming year.

"The reality is at this point we don't know where things will end up."

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Election 2016
2:41 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Duckworth Distances Herself From Blagojevich

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth talks about her U.S. Senate campaign on Tuesday in Springfield.
Credit Lisa Ryan

Republicans are making an issue of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth's ties to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, now that she's running for U.S. Senate.

In 2006, then-Gov. Blagojevich appointed Duckworth to head the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. Duckworth says she is proud of her time at the VA and says she is separate from the currently imprisoned Blagojevich.

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Education Desk
1:06 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Students Perform & Present Research At STARS Symposium

(L-R) Michael Lotspeich, Irina Mason & Kylie Gilmore

Every year, students at UIS get together to give presentations and performances related to technology, the arts, and research. It's called the Stars Symposium. This year, the event is on Thursday and Friday on the Springfield campus. We were joined by students Irina Mason, Kylie Gilmore & Michael Lotspeich to talk about it: 

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Regional
12:12 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

National Conventions Coming To Springfield WUIS-SJR Business Report

Tim Landis

Tim Landis talks with Bill Wheelhouse about 10 national conventions coming to Springfield this year:

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Criminal Justice
12:10 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Proving Actual Innocence & Overcoming Trauma To Help Others

(L-R) Larry Golden, founder of the IIP, exoneree Angel Gonzalez, IIP att. Lauren Kaeseberg & IIP volunteer Kiran Desai

Today, we have the story of a man who spent 20 years in prison for a rape that DNA evidence later would prove he didn’t commit.

We also hear from a woman in a different case – she was raped and accidentally helped put the wrong man behind bars.

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economy
11:42 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Youngest Baby Boomers Have Held Nearly A Dozen Jobs

Those born at the tail end of the baby boom (1957-1964) have held an average of 11.7 jobs between the ages 18 to 48.    The Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that almost half of the jobs come before the person was 24.     I fall into the category and between the ages of 18 to 48  I held 10 jobs.   At least six of them came between the ages of 18-24.

Take a look at some of the stats.

Statehouse
7:41 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Despite Budget Deal, Black Caucus At Odds With Governor

Gov. Bruce Rauner is seen in this 2014 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Editor's note appended.

Last week’s short-term budget fix underscores tensions between some Democratic lawmakers and the new Republican governor. House and Senate Democratic leaders urged their members to support the appropriations, but many didn’t. Some Hispanic legislators and members of the Legislative Black Caucus voted against the budget legislation, which funded programs several of them said were important to their respective constituents.

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Politics
3:47 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Jil Tracy Won't Try For Congressional Seat

Jil Tracy

A former State Representative and Lieutenant Governor candidate from Quincy says she won't seek an open congressional seat. 

Jil Tracy issued a statement today that says she won't try for the Republican nomination in the 18th congressional district.   

Tracy left her position in the Illinois House to team up with Kirk Dillard as he ran unsuccessfully for Governor last year.    

Tracy indicated she talked with her family about a political bid to replace Aaron Schock and decided against it.  

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Statehouse
3:13 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Two Decades After Crash, Willis Family Gets TV Show

A promotional photo for Meet The Willis Family - Credit TLC

(Information in the following story is from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://chicago.suntimes.com/)  

A new TV show is set to focus on the grandchildren of a couple who lost six kids in a 1994 van crash linked to the investigation and conviction of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan.  

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the show about the Tennessee-based Willis family will premiere May 5 on TLC.  

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U.S. Senate
2:27 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Duckworth Announces A Run For U.S. Senate

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth used a YouTube video to announce her candidacy.
Credit Tammy Duckworth

U.S Sen. Mark Kirk will face a challenge from Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who announced Monday she'll run for the seat. It's unknown who else will vie for the spot, but it's already expected to be a tight race.

Duckworth, who was elected to the U.S. House in 2012, took to YouTube to declare her candidacy.

"I'm running for the U.S. Senate in 2016 because it's time for Washington to be held accountable, and to put Illinois' families and communities first," she said in the video.

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Regional
7:23 am
Mon March 30, 2015

APL Takes Aim At Stray And Feral Cats

Credit APL

Spring is here... and love is in the air.

But that's not necessarily a good thing when it comes to stray and feral cats.  This is the time of the year when unwanted litters wind up at the Animal Protective League in Springfield.  Last year, about 1,000 animals were brought to APL.  Only about half are adopted.  The no-kill shelter has launched an effort to help the situation.

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