News

William Holland was first appointed as auditor general in 1992.
Lane Christiansen

The search for a new state Auditor General has begun in earnest.

The Auditor General serves as Illinois governments' top internal investigator. It's a job that Bill Holland has held for more than two decades. But last month, he announced he's stepping down.

A bipartisan legislative commission says it's accepting applications for his replacement.

Lydia Loveless started making her first album at the age of 17. She's been acknowledged as one of the best up-and-coming artists by both Spin and Rolling Stone magazines. Her songs are hard to classify. She is able to mix honky-tonk with a grunge/punk and even pop sound. The 24 year old is a huge pop fan, counting Prince and Ke$ha among favorites. She's on Chicago's Bloodshot Records and her newest album is called Somewhere Else.

Cigarette vending machine converted to art dispenser.
Amanda Vinicky / WUIS - Illinois Issues

If you were to draw lines pointing in from Champaign, Springfield, Indianapolis and Effigham, they'd meet in Tuscola. The town's population of less than 5 ,000 may well double on weekends, when shoppers from all over central Illinois flock to its outlet mall.

Chad Kainz

The state may still be far from a budget deal, but the General Assembly was able to pass several criminal justice reforms in the spring legislative session.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

News Analysis — Six months into the new administration, we finally have a sense of what Gov. Bruce Rauner’s top priority really is.

artsalliance.org

Ra Joy  heads Arts Alliance Illinois, an advocacy group that represents hundreds of cultural groups and artists in the state. He was at the capitol this week with about 500 hundred other rally-goers, urging Governor Bruce Rauner and lawmakers to keep the Illinois State Museum open.

alastairwillis.com

The Conductor of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra is getting an early exit from his contract. Alastair Willis will remain on as a conductor through this season.

A note to symphony supporters says the ISO Board has agreed to accept Willis' request because of his desire to balance the demands of his international performance schedule. Willis is in the third year of a five year contract.     

A statement from the ISO Board President Carolyn Yockey says their goal is have candidates for the job conducting next year's symphony performances.

 

Illinois Issues is going digital.  Digital only.  Well, digital and broadcast.  Which means August will be the last printed magazine version of Illinois Issues.

It has been a big year for Illinois Issues. Last spring, the magazine merged with Springfield NPR affiliate WUIS. The combination brought with it several opportunities.

flickr/dborman

As Illinois' $36-billion budget remains in limbo, the state's top political leaders have been focusing on a much smaller number: roughly $250,000 in spending. That's roughly how much Illinois is set to spend this year paying legislators a raise. Republicans and Democrats both say the focus over pay is a distraction, while at the same time denouncing each other for enabling what they claim to be excessive salaries.


A nationwide survey recently published found that Illinois school districts typically don’t mention gay, lesbian and transgender students in their anti-bullying policies.

Justin L. Fowler/The Journal Register

Tim chats with Bill about saving the iconic seal from the remnants of the Bel Air Motel & an Emerald Ash Borer infestation at the State Fairgrounds.

Amanda Vinicky

Republican legislators can expect the money they've received from Gov. Bruce Rauner to keep flowing, if the governor holds true to his word.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is approaching three months in office.  He unseated Mike Houston and took over the role his own father, Ossie Langfelder, held for two terms - from 1987 to 1995. While the new mayor hasn't been in office long - he's had time to make appointments, and is working on initiatives like high speed rail, wind energy, and residential development downtown. He spoke with us about all that and more - and starts this interview telling us how the transition of administrations has been so far:  

WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants the legislature's help in making two big changes to the state's constitution, but the Illinois House Speaker isn't on board. It's one of various causes of gridlock at the state capitol.

commons/wikimedia/Public Domain

It was 100 years ago this week that one of Chicago's most tragic events occurred.  844 people died in a horrific scene along the Chicago River.And yet, most have never heard of the Eastland Disaster.

With still no agreement on a state budget for the fiscal year, questions remain over even a temporary spending plan for the next month.  However, state workers are still receiving paychecks while awaiting a ruling from the state Supreme Court.  Ed Cross, Capitol Reporter for WAND-TV joins the panel.

Our next-door-neighbor state has legally ended its relationship with the curriculum associated with Common Core. 

http://themissouritimes.com/19496/state-abandons-common-core-testing/

#thingsthathappenedwhileiwasonvacation

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Take a listen to this week's episode of THE SCENE. Scott & I are joined by Adam Nicholson, a local fixture in the arts world, especially when it comes to lit. He has an endeavor underway called Sala where he hopes to help artists network and get their art heard and seen by art-lovers and potential clients. (Click here for more about that initiative.) Here it is:

Events discussed this week include:

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / WUIS / Illinois Issues

My attorney husband says that no matter how thin the pancake, it always has two sides.

This notion guides me in my work with families as I’m forced to admit that each influence on the family system can have both a positive and a negative effect.

Case in point: the use of technological communication in the home.

I often rail against the dangers of overuse of digital devices by both parents and children. I worry that this practice is reducing parent-child interaction and rewiring children's brains at a cost to their social and emotional development.

cityofchicago.org

Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn talks with University of Illinois Chicago political science professor Dick Simpson about Chicago's budget situation and why it matters even if you don't live there.

Illinois now has an official state vegetable: corn.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed it into law today without fanfare.

However, he's scheduled to attend an annual sweet corn festival this evening in Chatham, a suburb of Springfield. Local elementary school students had promoted making sweet corn the state vegetable as a class project.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Athens resident, Lisa Cannon, was only in her 20s when she first learned she had breast cancer.  At the time, she had everything going for her - she was a wife and mom, and was finding success as a photographer and graphic designer with her own business. After under-going treatment she went into remission. Two years later though, the cancer was back - in her spine and liver. She learned she had stage IV metastatic cancer.

EIU.EDU

Budget cuts at Eastern Illinois University now include furlough days for 222 employees.  

The Mattoon Journal-Gazette and (Charleston) Times-Courier reports (http://bit.ly/1gCETAy ) that EIU President David Glassman sent a letter to the university community on Wednesday detailing the furloughs.

Last month Glassman sent an email letting employees know that layoffs were possible in July.  

flickr/xlibber

Happy hour drink specials will make a comeback in Illinois under legislation signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.  The discounted drink specials have been banned in Illinois since the late 1980s over concerns about excessive drinking and impaired driving.  

The measure signed Wednesday allows drink specials up to four hours each day and up to 15 hours a week. But it doesn't allow volume specials like two drinks for the price of one or mega drinks. It also prohibits deals after 10 p.m.  

Picture of Zylinska family
Magdelina Zylinska

Nearly half of Illinois children in households headed by single women live in poverty — compared with just over a quarter of children in households headed by single men.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Springfield has a great deal of Mexican and Asian restaurants - but it is lacking when it comes to some other ethnic foods. A relatively new African restaurant is bridging some of those gaps for local foodies with adventurous palates. Listen to the report:

public domain

Not so long ago, prior to 1999, Illinois considered bobcats a threatened species. Come winter, hunters will be able to harvest the cats.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is an avid hunter -- of birds. No word on if that hobby contributed to his decision to sign a new law, authorizing bobcat hunting.

His office sent word of his signature without comment.

Bee Hotels Give Native Species A Place To Call Home

Jul 14, 2015

A patchwork of bamboo and paper tubes, with diameters no bigger than a nickel, are stacked artfully inside a 4-by-4 wooden frame near the edge of a public hiking trail in Lawrence, Kan.

Organized by size, each hollow tube is about 8 inches long, designed as nests for Kansas’ wild bees. This structure is called a bee hotel.

Grow Springfield

On July 19, there's a chance to learn more about community gardens and growing in an urban setting. It's the third annual Roots to Rooftop Tour in Springfield.  5 locations will be spotlighted, including a rooftop garden at Maldaner's Restaurant.  

"Community gardens are a great way for neighbors to come together, create community and grow healthy food," said Joe Eby of Grow Springfield.

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