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Music
10:27 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

Nightsounds' Favorite Albums Of 2014

Credit Todd Gehman (flickr.com/pugetive)

Elbow
The Take Off and Landing of Everything »

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1975 - 2015
10:31 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

WUIS Just Turned 40

A 1976 panel from "State Week in Review." From left: Bill Day, Illinois Issues; Ed Armstrong, The State Journal-Register; Burnell Heinecke, The Chicago Sun-Times; Rich Bradley, WSSR (now WUIS); and Bill Miller, director of the Public Affairs Reporting program at what was then Sangamon State University.
Credit WUIS

A new radio station came into the world at noon on January 3, 1975. The first voice broadcast on WSSR-FM was that of Dale Ouzts, director of broadcast services for Sangamon State University, reading technical specifications about the station. Next was a newscast from Rich Bradley, who would continue to be the station's news director for 35 years.

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State Week
5:02 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Listen to State Week - Jan. 2, 2015: The State Year In Review Edition

Clockwise from top left: the late Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, the Illinois Capitol, Gov. Pat Quinn, Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, and state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady.
Credit WUIS

This week, Daily Herald political editor Mike Riopell joins the regular panel to look back at some of the top stories in state government and political for 2014, and what's ahead in the new year.

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Statehouse
4:30 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Hamos To Resign Next Week

Julie Hamos
Credit ilga.gov

The director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services says she'll resign Jan. 9 as Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner prepares to take office.  

Julie Hamos is a former Democratic state representative who oversees the state's $18 billion Medicaid program. She released a statement Friday about her resignation. She says leading the department has been ``one of the most fulfilling jobs'' she's ever had _ ``as well as the hardest.''  

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Regional
2:01 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Sangamon County Homicides Up In 2014

Sangamon County has seen a slight increase in homicides in 2014.   The State Journal-Register (http://bit.ly/13NaFns ) reports seven homicides were investigated in the past year, compared to five in 2013. Police made arrests in five of the 2014 homicide cases.  

Chief Deputy Joe Roesch of the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office says investigators spent weeks working on the first homicide. Three people were eventually arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 31 shooting death of 24-year-old Justin Sharp.  

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Education Desk
5:55 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Illinois School Construction Will Require Storm Shelters

Credit flickr/Frank Juarez

Illinois now requires new school construction to include storm shelters.

You can't predict when or where a tornado will strike, but supporters of the new law say schools should be more prepared. 

The law orders districts that take on new construction or remodeling to include a safe place for students to go in the event of a severe storm.  Not everyone agreed with the change.  

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Business
3:52 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

New Law Requires Home Sellers Disclose Door, Window Problems

A "sale pending" sign is pictured on a house. (Dan Moyle/Flickr)

Starting this year, home sellers in Illinois need to provide more information to potential buyers. 
Illinois already requires disclosure of problems like asbestos, radon, lead paint... and even if a home was used as a meth lab.  Add to that list... issues with doors and windows.

Some may be warped or leak... and lead to bigger concerns.  

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Illinois Issues - Editor's Note
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Illinois Issues Initiative' Reporters And Their Beats

Jamey Dunn
Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative."  Here are the beats:

ILLINOIS ECONOMY
Bill Wheelhouse

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Past Due' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  Beats allow a reporter to learn the events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative."  Here are the issues:

PAST DUE
Jamey Dunn

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Illinois Issues - Economy
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Economy' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2009 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note: 
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

ILLINOIS ECONOMY
Bill Wheelhouse 

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Leadership' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative."

ILLINOIS LEADERSHIP
Politicians:  Just Like Us
Amanda Vinicky

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Education Desk' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

EDUCATION DESK
Dusty Rhodes

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing 'The Scene' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

THE SCENE
ARTS AND CULTURE
Rachel Otwell

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Code Switch Illinois' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

CODE SWITCH ILLINOIS
Maureen Foertsch McKinney

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

No. 42 - What Will Bruce Rauner Do?

Bruce Rauner
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

“I just wanna save our state,” Bruce Rauner says in a matter-of-face tone, his wife Diana’s hand resting on his khaki-clad knee. He shakes his head side-to-side, at once casual but firm: “I’m not runnin’ ’cause I want a political career.”

This is the Bruce Rauner you likely have “met” on your television screen. He’s friendly. Pragmatic. Warm. A family man.

Normal. Just like you. Except that this guy, uninterested in a political career, was in the midst of spending more than $27 million to launch one.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

The Fifth Inning - Illinois' Economic Recovery Is Just Warming Up

Mark Selvaggio, President of Selvaggio Steel in Springfield says workers compensation cost and unpredictable tax environment are slowing manufacturing.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

For fans of baseball, the midwinter tradition is underway — counting down the days until the pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

When evaluating Illinois’ recovery from the recession, James Glassman uses a baseball analogy. The head economist for commercial banking with JP Morgan Chase says Illinois has only reached the fifth inning in the recovery.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Paying To Keep People Out Of Prison

Illinois has a clear ambition for what it would like to do with members of its criminal class, and it’s right there in the name of the state agency set up to deal with them: the Department of Corrections. But there is a wide gap between ambition and practice. This is not to blame the department: politicians enacted the policies that have swelled the prison population, and politicians are largely responsible for the dire financial condition of the state that has squeezed agencies like the DOC.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Direct Democracy Yields Minimum Results

We’ve all had this experience: you’re asked a question, give your opinion, then watch your interlocutor ignore the answer.

If you didn’t care what I thought, why’d you ask?

That would be a fair question among the 2,339,173 Illinois voters who cast a ballot in favor of a higher minimum wage in November.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'State Of The State' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2011 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's note: 
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

STATE OF THE STATE
CAN GOOD GOVERNMENT ABIDE GOOD POLITICS?
Brian Mackey

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Illinois Issues - Ends And Means
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

How To Address High Property Taxes? Look To The Past.

Charlie Wheeler
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Property taxes are excessively high and oppressive and the legislature should do something about it.

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, explaining his call for a property tax freeze, whatever that means?

Lame duck Gov. Pat Quinn in his budget address last spring, urging lawmakers to send every homeowner a $500 refund check?

Good guess, but nope.

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Statehouse
5:47 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Rauner Pitches In $10 Million To Push Agenda

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner funneled record-setting amounts of his own money to win November's election. Paperwork filed with the state late in the afternoon on Wed., Dec. 31 shows he isn't stopping there.

Rauner is capping off 2014 with a massive infusion of cash into his campaign fund. He reports about $20 million in the final days of December, from just five contributors.

As with his campaign for governor, Rauner's biggest contribution to himself, comes from himself. The private equity investor gave another $10 million to his "Citizens for Rauner" fund.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
5:16 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Voices In The News 2014

Credit WUIS

  As we get ready to welcome 2015, we thought we’d take a few minutes to reflect on the past year in Illinois state government and politics. Most of the action was in the campaign for governor, in which Bruce Rauner became the first Republican to win that office since the late 1990s. Here now are some of the voices that made news in 2014.

Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale: “If you’re a Democrat or an independent, there’s no action coming up on your side of the ballot on March 18. Come on over to ours and save your state.”

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Statehouse
5:15 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

State Pension Payment Set To Go Up In 2015

Credit WUIS/Brian Mackey

The new year will see an increase in the amount Illinois pays into the state's five publicly-funded pension systems.  

The State Journal-Register in Springfield reports (http://bit.ly/13TU5CI) Illinois' auditor general on Wednesday released a report by the state actuary showing a more than $680 million increase in pension payments in 2015 to $7.5 billion.  

The report doesn't explain the increase. However, it noted three of the five pension systems lowered the estimated rate of return they expect from investments.  

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Statehouse
4:27 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Fmr. Lawmaker Rosemary Mulligan Dies

Rosemary Mulligan
Credit ilga.gov

The brother of former state lawmaker Rosemary Mulligan says she has died after her health suffered in recent months.  

Stephen Granzyk says the 73-year-old Republican died Tuesday, months after moving into a retirement community in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines.  

Mulligan represented the Northwest suburbs in the Illinois House from 1993 to 2013. She was considered a social moderate with expertise in the state's human services budget and the disabled.  

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Regional
12:15 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

West Central Ill. Men Given Posthumous Pardons For Underground Railroad Work

Dr. Richard Eells House in Quincy
Credit The Friends of Dr. Richard Eells House

Illinois' Governor has posthumously pardoned three men for their work with the Underground Railroad. 

The men all lived in west central Illinois and were convicted more than 170 years ago based on laws that prohibited helping runaway slaves.  Those laws remained in place even after Illinois abolished slavery in 1824.  

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Health Desk
6:48 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Springfield Hospitals Competing For Trauma Patients

Credit northwestern.edu

Both of Springfield's major hospitals will be offering trauma care starting New Years Day.   

The State Journal Register reports that HSHS St. John's Hospital will compete with Memorial Medical Center in offering trauma care.  In the past the hospitals alternated annually providing care to those seriously injured. 

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Statehouse
6:38 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Quinn Gives Disabled Vets More Tax Breaks

Credit flickr/jmorgan

Illinois veterans with disabilities will be eligible for more property tax exemptions under a law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn.  

Quinn signed the measure Tuesday. It takes effect immediately.  

The new law allows veterans with disabilities and their spouses expanded property tax exemptions. Disabled veterans will also see an increased homestead exemption to $100,000 from $70,000.  
 In a statement, Quinn says the law will help ensure that veterans aren't ``burdened by overwhelming property taxes.''  

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Statehouse
6:17 am
Tue December 30, 2014

New Law Allows Driving Without A Sticker

Credit Secretary of State's Office

Motorists may drive without an up-to-date vehicle registration sticker under a law that takes effect Thursday.

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New Law
5:31 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Revenge Porn Bill Signed Into Law

Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, is sponsor of Illinois' new revenge porn law.
Credit ilga.gov

Taking a bad breakup to the Internet could result in a felony conviction. Gov. Pat Quinn Mon., Dec. 29 signed a law intended to protect against so-called "revenge porn."

Illinois already makes it illegal to distribute explicit sexual images or videos taken without permission, but Sen. Michael Hastings, a Democrat from Tinley Park, says there was a loophole for photos or videos that were taken with consent -- say by romantic partner -- then later publicly distributed without permission.

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
12:14 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

UI Chancellor Responds To Salaita Report

Phyllis Wise, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Credit news.illinois.edu

Here is Chancellor Phyllis Wise's full statement in response to the report of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure's analysis of the university's handling of Steven Salaita's dismissal:

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