News

Posthumous Honor

Aug 1, 2015

Henry Gerber in Chicago in 1924 set up the country’s first chartered advocacy organization for gay rights — the Society for Human Rights. In June, Gerber’s Chicago home received designation as a National Historic Landmark, one of about 2,500 recognized.

The house is the second LGBT site in the nation to receive the historic site designation, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The first is the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / WUIS / Illinois Issues

She grew up the most feminine of little ladies, preferring tea parties to softball, keeping her ruffled dresses pristine even during school recess.  I recently ran into this woman and seeing her took me aback.  Her hair up in a ponytail, she was wearing jeans and a hockey jersey.

It seems she’s the mom of three boys, ages 11, 13 and 15, all serious ice hockey players.  They share a passion for this sport that has their mom shivering on the ice in some cold arena three evenings each week and every weekend for much of the year.

The month of July has come and gone and there is still no agreement between the Legislature and Governor Rauner on a state budget for the current fiscal year.  Kent Redfield, emeritus professor of Political Science at UIS, joins the panel this week.

Hello friends. This week, Scott and I have decided to step back & reminisce over the birth and first months of this lil' venture. We both are wild about art &  culture in virtually all of its forms, and we know many of you are too!

flickr/Benjamin Goodger

It's been 30 years since Illinois' mandatory seatbelt law took effect.   The latest numbers estimate that 95 percent of the state's motorists are using their safety belts. The goal is to try to persuade that other five percent:

State Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says males in their early 20's are primarily the ones who still don't buckle up.   

UIS

The National Park Service has added the 1840s-era Strawbridge-Shepherd House to its National Register of Historic Places. The Sangamon County home was restored by the Elijah Iles House Foundation and is located on the southern edge of the University of Illinois Springfield campus. It was officially listed on June, 8, 2015.

James Welt, who graduated from UIS in May with a master’s degree in history, led the effort to have the house added to the registry. He spent more than 200 hours researching and writing a proposal, which was submitted to the National Park Service.

Christopher Z. Mooney
IGPA

You may be asking: How did Illinois get to this point?

Illinois Issues: The State's Climate Is Changing

Jul 30, 2015
Patty Sullivan / WUIS - Illinois Issues

Illinois'  future summers could be as hot as Texas.

Farm dog? Check.

Barn cats? Check.

Muddy work books lined up at the back door? Five checks.

We kick off our fourth season of “My Farm Roots” with the Renyer Family, five farm kids I had the pleasure of meeting last week.

Driving onto the Renyer farm, out in Nemaha County, Kan., I was struck by the many classic examples of a farm family. After being met by the family dog, a very sweet boy named Salty, I watched as the barn cats scattered and I met Leah coming out the back door, where the knee-high work boots were standing guard.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Governor Bruce Rauner and Illinois’ biggest state-employee union have agreed to a two-month contract extension.

The union, known as AFSCME, represents 38,000 men and women — a significant share of the state workforce.

Its contract expired on June 30, but the latest "tolling agreement" will keep workers on the job through at least the end of September.

Professor Maria Krysan
University Of Illinois At Chicago

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major opinion on housing discrimination. It determined that violations of the federal 1968 Fair Housing Act could occur even if intent to discriminate is not shown.

Meanwhile, the federal Housing and Urban Development administration announced new regulations that clarify the expectations of the act, which aims to limit racial bias in housing. They demand that cities and towns across the country analyze housing patterns for signs of racial discrimination and report the findings.

Flickr/aka_kath

The state fair in Springfield and the Du Quoin State Fair are scheduled to begin in August. But if there is no state budget in place, it's unclear how entertainment and vendors would be paid.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Last Friday night, I found myself back at a place I had visited several times before.  What was recently a since moved artist co-op on the corner of South Grand Avenue and Pasfield Street known as The Pharmacy is finding life as yet another incarnation. The bottom has become a tattoo parlor - the loft above is a new artist gallery and performance called The Studio. It's a collaborative effort of several creatives in the area. 

Flickr/aka_kath

Gov. Bruce Rauner is moving ahead with plans to hold the Illinois State Fair next month, despite the fact that there is no budget in place to pay for it.  

uis.edu

University of Illinois employees won't see pay raises, at least until a state budget is finalized. 

Nearly a month into the new fiscal year, the university is still waiting to see the impact of budget negotiations.

House Speaker Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Amid Illinois' ongoing budget battle, there was a rare moment of bipartisanship on Tuesday. Members of the Illinois House have voted to block a pay raise for themselves.

Lawmakers are scheduled to get an automatic pay hike this year, and Gov. Bruce Rauner has been relentlessly criticizing Democrats for not voting to block it.

House Speaker Michael Madigan — after recently refusing to talk about it — sponsored the legislation to prevent the pay raise. But he says it's still just another of Rauner's "diversionary" issue.

hilton.com

Spingfield's "skyscraper" will be changing labels at the end of the year.  Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse chat about the transition of the Springfield Hilton on the Business report.

Farmers count on chemical herbicides to keep their fields weed-free. But an international panel of scientists who studied two of the most heavily used farm chemicals to determine whether they could cause cancer, said exposure to weed-killing chemicals could come at a cost. In the last few months, scientists brought together by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, considered glyphosate and 2,4-D.

Il. Supreme Court website - state.il.us/court

Illinois may not be done with the 2013 law reducing state employees’ pensions after all. The Attorney General appears to be readying to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

ilga.gov

A state lawmaker who represents a large number of government workers says he remains against efforts to bring in an outsider to help negotiate a new union contract.  

Republican house member Tim Butler of Springfield says the matter should be decided in talks between the Rauner Administration and the union known as AFSCME.  He voted this spring against allowing an independent arbitrator to get involved:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

A new report details urban flooding problems in Illinois.  The report from the Department of Natural Resources says damage from urban flooding (flooding on higher ground outside a flood plain) cause more than $2 billion worth of damage between 2007-2014 in Illinois.

Several people commenting on my story last week: “Why Are Women Poor?” wrote that women in the story would not be in poverty if they had been married.

More political posturing this week, but there seems to be little or no progress on resolving the state budget impasse as Illinois still has no legal spending plan in place.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Take a listen to The Scene with Scott Faingold of the Illinois Times and me! (And make sure you check out Scott's story about the proposed closure of the Illinois State Museum.)

Events discussed this week include:

Mitsubishi Motors says it plans to stop U.S. production at its facility in central Illinois and sell the plant.
 
Dan Irvin, tthe company's North American spokesman, said Friday that the Japanese automaker reviewed its global supply chain and decided it was necessary to end production at the plant and find a buyer.

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS/Illinois Issues

On Tuesday evening, Apple DeWeese was sitting in the front porch swing with her dad, Aaron, trying to explain how she's feeling about starting school.

"I'm not really excited," she said. "Mostly scared."

What's there to be scared of?

Officials with Mitsubishi Motors aren't confirming Japanese media reports saying the automaker will stop making vehicles at its central Illinois factory and try to sell the plant.  

Mitsubishi spokesman Dan Irvin based in Normal wouldn't comment beyond saying the company continually reviews its supply chain to make sure it remains competitive.  

Japan's leading business newspaper, the Nikkei, reported the news. Kyodo News also reported the plant will close. Both cited unnamed sources.  

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' unemployment rate continues to drop. That would seem to be good news, but the governor sees a dark cloud in that silver lining.

For the past 16 months, Illinois' unemployment rate has continually declined. The latest figures show numbers falling in every metro area. Statewide, the rate's 5.9-percent.

Good news for the economy, right? Not necessarily, says Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / WUIS / Illinois Issues

A funny story involves an elderly Florida couple.  The wife hears a news report that an erratic motorist is driving the wrong way on Interstate 75.  She immediately calls her husband who she knows is traveling on that highway.  She tells him to be careful because there’s a driver going the wrong way on the interstate.  “One driver!” he yells, “Why, there’s HUNDREDS of them!”

Perspective means everything.  Especially in families, the way parents see their children—and interpret what they see—determines the reality of that child’s experience.

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