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Health Desk
7:47 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Federal Health Care Subsidies Could Be At Risk For Illinois Residents

Credit flickr/ThomasAnderson

The U.S. Supreme court has agreed to take up a case that could put the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy. But health care advocates in the state are still urging residents to check out their options as the second enrollment period for Obamacare is underway.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether federal subsidies can be given to residents in states, like Illinois, that did not create their own online marketplaces. In the meantime, subsidies to help cover the cost of insurance will still be available.

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State Week
5:24 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Listen to State Week - November 14, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

A look ahead at the upcoming Veto Session, the aftermath of the results in the Governor's race, and the race for Treasurer is still too close to call.

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
4:06 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Springfield School Officials Prepare For Ferguson Decision

District 186 administrators received this memo to prepare teachers to handle any reaction to the decision of the grand jury regarding the Ferguson police officer who killed Michael Brown

The grand jury decision is expected any day now in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. In anticipation of that announcement, Springfield school officials have issued instructions on how to handle students' reactions.

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Statehouse
1:23 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne Dies

Credit Alan Light/Flickr

CHICAGO (AP) -  Jane Byrne, Chicago's first and only female mayor, has died at the age of 80. Byrne's daughter, Kathy, says her mother died Thursday at a hospice in Chicago. With Byrne's election in 1979, she became part of Chicago history. And she was part of the city's lore because of a big reason why she was elected: Voters blamed the sitting mayor, Michael Bilandic, for what they saw as the city's slow reaction to a blizzard.   

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Culture
11:13 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Africans In Central Illinois Host Cultural Event To Combat Ebola

Braimah Kanu & Munah Jallah
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

The group "Africans in Central Illinois" and  Grace United Methodist Church  are hosting an event on Saturday night at 5 at Southeast High School. It will raise funds for Doctors Without Borders  in the fight against Ebola and include dance, a fashion show, music, and a silent auction. We spoke with Munah Jallah and Braimah Kanu about it:

CLICK HERE for a piece about the event in the Illinois Times.

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Health Desk
6:41 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Veterans Clinic May Be Named After Lane Evans

A bipartisan effort to name a veterans facility in Galesburg, Illinois, after the late Lane Evans is underway.  
 U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos introduced legislation Thursday in Congress to name the Galesburg Veterans Affairs clinic after Evans.  

The former congressman from Illinois died last week at age 63 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. Evans had fought for veterans' rights during his 24 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

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Statehouse
9:16 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Race Affects Opinion Of Police In Illinois

Credit flickr/Matty Ring

A newly released survey shows a majority of Illinois residents are satisfied with the performance of their local police department.  But the numbers also show differences of opinion along racial lines. 

The statewide survey shows overall, 7 of 10 people in Illinois give police good marks.  But African Americans are more split, with only about half giving a commendable rating.

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Harvest Desk
8:07 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Reducing Pollution From Farm Fields Through Education

Credit flickr/United Soybean Board

Agricultural runoff is a problem in Illinois and many other farm states.  Nitrogen, phosphorous and chemicals help with yields, but too much winds up in the water supply.   That creates problems like algae growth that robs the water of oxygen, killing off aquatic life. 

Jean Payne represents fertilizer and chemical dealers in the state.  She says a training program will launch this winter in an effort to get farmers better educated on how to apply nutrients to their crops, including the best time for application and proper amounts. 

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Let's Talk Kids
5:35 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Let's Talk Kids - "Another Season"

Credit mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

When an older child leaves home for college or career, second born children often blossom in one way or another.  Parents would do well to be prepared.

Two families I know are experiencing this phenomenon right now.  In one family, an older sister left for college in August.  She’d been a challenging teen, but her younger sister was more compliant. 

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Illinois
2:40 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

How Illinois Might Have Looked

Credit Graphic courtesy of Kenneth Olson, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Illinois became a state in 1818, but figuring out its shape was not a simple process. While most people hear Illinois and think Chicago - it could have been without the city, if not for advocacy and politics. An article in the current edition of Illinois Issues magazine (and below) explores the issue. Rachel Otwell sat down to talk with the author, Eliot Clay, about it:

 

'How Illinois might have looked' by Eliot Clay

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Higher Ed
2:22 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

U Of I President Gets Raise, Bonus In Final Year

Robert Easter
Credit uillinois.edu

University of Illinois trustees have voted to give President
Robert Easter a raise and a $180,000 bonus as he works his last year before
retirement.
 
The bonus and 3.5 percent pay raise were approved by trustees on Thursday at
their regular quarterly meeting in Chicago. The university says the bonus was
based on performance targets set by trustees in education, research and other
areas.
 
The raise will increase Easter's base pay from $462,375 a year to $478,558. His

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
11:39 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Meet Dynamo Duo Hank & Cupcakes

Credit Javier Ortega // hankandcupcakes.com

The story behind the combo that goes by Hank and Cupcakes is a global one - one that brought a couple together through their mutual love of music and a stint in the Israeli army band. They are now based in Brooklyn and are on tour for their newest album, 'Cash 4 Gold'. Their music is hard to define - but it is heavily anchored in pop and electro sounds - though they manage to play without synthesizers or guitar.

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Education Desk
5:55 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Pleasant Plains Teachers Picket Amid Negotiations

Teachers in a central Illinois school district are picketing in an effort to gain parents' support as contract negotiations stall.  
 The State Journal-Register reports  teachers in Pleasant Plains held signs Wednesday that read ``Let's work together for kids'' and ``Make it better.'' The teachers have been working under an expired contract for nearly three months and negotiations over a new contract began in April. The district had 1,300 students and 88 teachers last year.  

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Computer Glitch Fixed
9:11 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Drivers' License Facilities Back, Open For Business

Credit Creative Commons: Chris He, 2009

  Drivers' license facilities across Illinois are up and running again this morning, following a computer glitch that disrupted services much of Wednesday.

Driver's license facilities operated old-school yesterday, using paper forms whenever possible, because their computers were down.

Turns out the problem was like so many others in life: miscommunication.

The mainframe computer in Springfield "wasn't properly communicating with and recording data entered from the computer terminals at the facilities," said Sec. of State spokesman Henry Haupt.

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Regional
7:50 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

It's Community Foundation Week

John Stremsterfer
Credit CFLL

It was 100 years ago that community foundations began.  It was in Ohio.

"It was actually a banker from Cleveland who thought,there's all these charitable trusts being formed.  If we consolidated these it could be more efficient for philanthropy," said John Stremsterfer, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln.  

Based in Springfield, it serves Sangamon, Cass, Christian, Logan, Menard, Morgan, and Montgomery counties. The organization helps match donors with specific causes. 

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Harvest Desk
3:39 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Sangamon, Pike Among Top 10 Counties For Deer-Vehicle Accidents

Credit flickr/JoeShlabotnik

Deer can be more than a nuisance. They can be dangerous when they venture on to roads.  

Illinois saw a one percent drop in the number of crashes in 2013,but there were still over 15-thousand accidents.  There was also a slight increase in injuries from those collisions and six people died.

Madison and Cook County led the way in the number of deer-vehicle accidents with well over 400 each.

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Harvest Desk
1:57 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Medical Marijuana Licenses Could Be Issued Before Year's End

Credit flickr/dankdepot

The more than 370 applications to operate medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries in Illinois are being whittled down.  Licenses could be awarded before the end of the year.

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Illinois Government
12:47 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

State Police Repairing Leaky Roof

Credit flickr/Robert Kuykendall

Illinois State Police are fixing a leaky roof over an evidence room in a building near their downtown Springfield headquarters.  

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/14dewuJ ) that if the roof isn't fixed, evidence collected in criminal investigations may be damaged. The state police have signed off on a contract worth about $250,000 to fix the roof. Bidding documents state that it's ``an emergency purchase.''  

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
11:32 am
Wed November 12, 2014

New Ken Bradbury Play Explores Lincoln's Last Hours

Phil Funkenbusch (left) & Ken Bradbury
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

It's not all that often that a play begins at the end - but that's exactly the case for a new work by Illinois author Ken Bradbury. In the one-act, one-man play, titled The Last Full Measure - Bradbury explores what Lincoln may have been thinking near the end of the his life. The play premieres at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday and runs through the weekend. It will be performed by actor Fritz Klein - one of the foremost Lincoln impersonators.

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Arts & Culture
11:13 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Locals Want To Keep Russian Poet Out Of Prison & Make His Work Known

Ethan Lewis (left) & Mike Mheidze
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has fallen out of the media spotlight here in the US to some extent, but not for one local man named Mike Mheidze. He grew up in the former Soviet Union and has lived in Springfield for 20 years now.

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Election 2014
5:54 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Race For Ill. Treasurer Remains Undecided

Mike Frerichs (left) and Tom Cross
Credit PeoriaPublicRadio

There are still thousands of votes yet to be counted in the race for Illinois State Treasurer. The contest between Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs is shaping up to be the closest in Illinois history. Currently, Cross holds a 500 vote lead over Frerichs -- one one-thousandth of a percentage point, and still too close to call.

But Cross' campaign alleges some voters who cast provisional ballots voted more than once. Cross' campaign manager Kevin Artl says his team saw the same names coming up twice in lists provided by the Cook County Clerk's office.

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Opposition Softens Some
5:04 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Most Illinois Residents Oppose Tax Hike

Credit flickr/jmorgan

A hike in Illinois’ income tax rate will begin rolling back at the end of this year, and a majority of Illinois voters are alright with that.

A new poll shows 56-percent of voters oppose making the increase permanent.

Respondents to the survey, which was done before the election by the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University, were asked that question fairly directly.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch Illinois
12:25 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

After Ferguson -- A Look At Obstacles Facing Young Black Males

"Isaiah Milton, 10, at a memorial for his 19-year-old cousin Jeremiah Shaw, who was shot to death in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago."
Credit Photograph by Alex Wroblewski

The shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has brought to national attention the obstacles that many young black males face - including racial profiling and a world where media portrayals of their peers are often less-than-flattering. Maureen McKinney took a look at the topic in Illinois. She joined Rachel Otwell for this interview: 

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Criminal Justice
12:09 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Prisoner Claims Innocence, Needs Organ Transplant & Seeks Clemency

Niurca Torres
Credit https://www2.illinois.gov

Niurca Torres was born in Puerto Rico and lived in Miami where she worked as a real estate agent and ran a catering business. In 1995 she took the invitation to go on a road-trip with some new friends in an R.V. They were stopped by police in Henry County, and 1,100 pounds of cocaine were found to be along for the ride. The woman was convicted of trafficking a controlled substance and was ultimately given a 20 year sentence to serve. She's always claimed innocence, saying she did not know about the drugs

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Regional
6:57 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Hearing On Transmission Line That Would Come Through Region

An effort to bring a high voltage power line across Illinois and other states is getting a discussion tonight (Monday) in Missouri. 

That state's public service commission begins hearings on a request by Clean Line Energy partners to build a high voltage power line from wind turbines in Kansas to Illinois, Missouri and Indiana.      The  plan would bring the lines near Hannibal then through Pike, Greene and Macoupin  counties among others in central Illinois.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
6:11 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Lukewarm Ideas On Property Tax Freeze

Bruce Rauner, in his first appearance since being elected, held to his pledge to freeze property taxes, but he says he'll form a task force to figure out how.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

When he was a candidate, Bruce Rauner promised that if elected, he would freeze property taxes. Now that he's won the race for governor, he's holding off on details about how.

It was a campaign promise that struck a chord.

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Science
5:36 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

Lecture On Late Victorian East St. Louis

Dr. Claire Dappert

A recent Mississippi River Bridge project at St. Louis has given the opportunity to take a look back in time.  Excavations took place near I-70 and the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge.

The research uncovered  information about a prehistoric civilization at the site.  But Dr. Claire Dappert, Historic Archaeologist at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, says a lesser publicized part of the project involves residential neighborhoods that existed about 100 years ago around the St. Louis National Stockyards.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:18 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Madigan Wants To Split Lincoln Library, But Why The Rush?

A wax model of Pres. Abraham Lincoln and his family greet visitors to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Credit ill.gov

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is reviving his end-of-session effort to make the Springfield-based Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum its own state agency. As first reported by the website Capitol Fax, the Speaker filed new legislation Thursday.

The last minute move by House Speaker Madigan in late May to separate the Library from the Historic Preservation Agency y seemingly came out of nowhere, and pretty much went nowhere. The plan passed the House, but went no further before the General Assembly adjourned.

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State Week
1:52 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Listen to State Week - November 7, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, a recap of the results of the Mid-Term Elections.

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Theater
11:25 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Neil Simon's Brighton Beach At UIS

(L-R) Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, Diamond Dixon, & Liza Torrence
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Brighton Beach Memoirs is a play set in 1937 in Brooklyn, New York. It follows the inner-workings of a middle-class family. And it's a coming-of-age tale that mixes drama and humor, and focuses on a teen who is going through growing pains while also dealing with family conflicts.  We were joined by a few members of that production, director Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, and actors Liza Torrence & Diamond Dixon:

   

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