News

Bruce Rauner and Pat Quinn headshots
brucerauner.com, quinnforillinois.com

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner are getting ready for their third and likely final televised debate.  

Monday night's debate comes as the two candidates are locked in a neck-and-neck contest for governor.  
 It's being hosted by the League of Women Voters of Illinois and broadcast by WLS-TV in Chicago.  

Quinn and Rauner have gotten personal and at times nasty in other candidate forums as they duel over economic plans and dispute school funding plans.  

The Papers Of Abraham Lincoln

With the rise of computers and electronic communications, educators have all but written off penmanship. And kids who don’t learn to write cursive tend to have trouble reading cursive. 

Last week, I went around torturing teenagers. I handed them a copy of a letter, written on stationery from the Executive Mansion and dated April 5, 1864. The letter is addressed to Mrs. Horace Mann.

It was especially challenging for 18-year-old Edwin Robles. 

“I’m sorry, I’m really bad at cursive. Like horrible at it," Robles said. "Why? Is this like a test?”

Earlier Than Ever

Oct 20, 2014

Pres. Barack Obama visited Chicago Sunday, to encourage Illinois residents to vote, and to do it early. Early voting begins today, and runs until just before election day. That could change campaigns' strategies, or expand the electorate.

It used to be that campaigns geared up for one day: Election Day. Starting in 2006, Illinois residents were given the option of casting an early, in-person ballot. That used to last for a two-week span. Not this election. Voters have from today until Nov. 2 to vote early.

Look for people to take advantage of it.

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

Education funding was among the disagreements between gubernatorial candidates Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner in a debate this week in Chicago.  Meanwhile, spending on political ads continues to increase.

Davis, Callis Respond To Negative Ads

Oct 17, 2014
Mike Thomas/WILL

The candidates for the 13th Congressional District squared off in a debate at the WILL studios in Urbana.  Republican incumbent Rodney Davis  and Democratic challenger Ann Callis promoted themselves as problem-solvers ready to reach across party lines.

They concurred on some issues, like forming a bipartisan commission for Social Security reform.

On immigration reform, Callis responded to a tweet from an undocumented college student, and noted what she was told during a visit to the University of Illinois.

ronnycox.com

His first big acting gig had him playing in a banjo duel (even though he's really playing guitar.) He went on to star in movies like Total Recall and Robocop, often playing the villain. But Ronny Cox says his greatest love is for music. He's bringing that passion to Springfield on Saturday, when he'll play a solo show at The Hoogland. Cox took some time to talk to us about his acting career, his greatest influences, and more:

 The Illinois Department of Public Health has activated a hotline to answer the public's questions about Ebola.  

Department Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck announced the hotline Thursday. It will be managed by staff from the Illinois Poison Center who will be able to answer questions about the virus and the state's response.  
 The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Operators will answer questions about how Ebola is spread, who's at risk, when someone should go to a doctor and other topics.  

The hotline number is 800-889-3931.  

WSIU

Landowners in southern Illinois' Wayne County are suing the state, saying its lengthy process before issuing permits for high-volume oil and gas extraction is costing them money.  

The lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of seven households names Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller.  

A state legislative panel is trying to sort out rules for how developers would deploy hydraulic fracturing, or ``fracking,'' under an Illinois law approved last year.  

Ferguson demonstrators
Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio

The idea of requiring police to wear body cameras has been a hot topic after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. On Friday, a group of Illinois lawmakers will take up the issue.

Advocates of body cameras say they can clear up the muddle of facts that often accompany police shootings, like the one in Ferguson. They also say police will be on better behavior if they know they're being watched.

Decatur Public Schools issued a statement today saying a staff member at MacArthur High, who traveled to Africa, has been cleared by a doctor.   The announcement came after concerns from parents over potential exposure to Ebola.  

The district says the individual was in South Africa, outside of the region where Ebola has been concentrated.  

The statement released says the staff member was deemed not to be at risk and after seeing their personal physician, was cleared to return to work. 

The district's statement follows:

flickr/dcjohn

Bet many of you didn’t know that the state of Illinois has the power to take over your local schools.

As in - fire school board members - even those you and your neighbors voted for. As in put a new superintendent in place. But two years ago - it did just that.

The state took over two school districts. One in East Saint Louis. The other in North Chicago...a low income and racially mixed suburb wedged between more the tony North Shore and Waukegan.

KOCH: You have to take actions when kids aren’t getting the basics. And that’s certainly what’s happening here.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Worry represents our deep investment in our offspring whose health and happiness mean the world to us.  But there’s a steep cost to worry if it robs us of our enjoyment of our children.  A worried parent may be so consumed with fear that she’s unavailable to be present with her kids. 

A worried mom can’t celebrate her son’s learning to walk for fear that he’ll fall.  A worried dad feels sick at his daughter’s graduation, agonizing about her leaving for college.  Each development calls up a whole new set of troubles to anticipate.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

We have the latest from our series of scary stories by local writers. Millicent Bliesener tells us a bit about her background, and reads her entire story for us:

    

CLICK HERE to read the story.

More than 570,000 Illinois residents have registered to participate in an international earthquake drill on what Gov. Pat Quinn has proclaimed Great Shakeout Day.
 
 The Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill will take place around the world on
Thursday morning.
 
 The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is asking residents in homes, schools
and other places to take a minute to drop, cover and hold on. It is an action
they are advised to take during an actual earthquake.
 

Brad Schaive

Brad Schaive wants to make a few things clear about full contact armored fighting.  It's a sport and it's dangerous.   

Schaive would know.  He's a competitor.  He's traveled overseas to go up against some of the best in the world.  But now, the best are coming here. 

Battle of the Nations International Tournament of Chivalry will bring participants from the U.S. and five other countries to Springfield.  The event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Livestock Center is from 12-3 Saturday. 

abrahamlincolnonline.org

The man who ran the school during Abraham Lincoln's time in New Salem is getting an honor in Kentucky.

A historical marker commemorating the life of an early 19th century educator who was a longtime friend of Abraham Lincoln will be unveiled next week in Greensburg, KY.  

The Kentucky Historical Society says the marker is in honor of William Mentor Graham, who was born in Green County and taught at Greensburg Academy before moving to Illinois. There he taught Lincoln arithmetic and grammar, and Lincoln lived with Graham for six months in 1833.  

Lisa Madigan
Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

This story first appeared as Illinois Issues' State of the State column in the October 2014 edition of the magazine.

HansenandYoung.com

On this week's WUIS / State Journal-Register Business Report, we discuss a one-time statehouse hangout that is on the auction block.  The former Baur's Restaurant is just south of the capitol complex. 

SJ-R Business Editor Tim Landis tells us the fact the auction has no minimum bid says something about the change in habits during legislative sessions.

We also discuss a judge's order that forces demolition of the Knox Flats building in Springfield and a financial update on Downtown Springfield Inc.

UIS

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, it began a period of mourning that was emphasized in many communities as his funeral train made its way from Washington D.C. to Springfield.

The 17-hundred mile journey had an impact on the nation and certainly those who witnessed it.  But through various eyes, the passing of Abraham Lincoln was seen differently.  

Jacksonville Feels The Cut From State Government

Oct 14, 2014
http://jacksonvilleinstitutions.wordpress.com/

No surprise: Illinois’ finances are in trouble.  And the fix will likely involve some painful cuts.

While we told you about the fight to save one southern Illinois institution, in this segment we look at what happened when the knife came down on another Illinois town, Jacksonville. 

For almost 50 years Jacksonville, Illinois was home to a Capitol Records plant. It was built in 1965 - at the height of Beatlemania.  At its peak Capitol employed more than 1 thousand people.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Former president Jimmy Carter made a stop in Jacksonville Tuesday and spoke to over 2,000 people about his quest for peace and human rights. He spoke in a crowded gymnasium at Illinois College. 

His appearance coincided with the school's new initiative called 'Pathways to Peace' in which students and faculty will study the Middle East, and have participants travel to Dubai and the West Bank.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Shawna Mayer got a Masters in English from UIS, with a focus on creative writing. The life-long Springfield native submitted the following story, it kicks off a series we have collected from local writers for this Halloween season:

Hand in Glove by Shawna Mayer

WSIU

There’s a tug-o-war going on in Southern Illinois over how the state cares for its neediest citizens.  It’s playing out along a ribbon of small towns. But the outcome will determine  the future for many Illinois citizens with disabilities.

State Representative Charlie Meier is a farmer by birth - he tends 14 hundred acres with just one hired hand.

MEIER: We’re in Okawville, Illinois in my family kitchen.

MEIER: Built in 1907. My grandma drug all the logs home with a pack of mules for the house and the barn and then they were cut up here.

WUIS

Republican Bruce Rauner and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn will debate for a second time as they battle to become Illinois' next governor.

Amanda Vinicky

As Illinois begins to allow people with certain diseases to use cannabis as medicine, the state will be running afoul of federal law.

It may be spring before patients will be able to buy medical marijuana (the application process is going on now). Whenever it happens, the state will be in tricky territory: the federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal drug.

That raises challenges, like: can an business in the cannabis industry deposit money in federally-regulated banks?

Amanda Vinicky

Children across Illinois had the day off from school Monday in honor of Columbus Day. Despite soggy weather, both Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican rival Bruce Rauner celebrated by walking down State St., for Chicago's Columbus Day parade. In an age when campaigns are increasingly high-tech, Amanda Vinicky took to the streets to find out why so many politicians spend so much time pounding the pavement.

Candidates have less than a month left to complete their missions. Grasping for your attention, and convincing you to vote for them on election day.

Corn Husking Can Still Be A Hands On Job

Oct 13, 2014

Dick Humes squinted and sweat as he moved down a row of corn. He sliced through the husk with a metal hook in his right hand, snapped the ear from its stalk with his left, and threw it over his shoulder into a wagon rolling alongside him.

Every other second, the corn hit the floor of the wagon with a thud. Humes was setting a steady pace for the men’s 50-and-older division at the 34th annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition.

Quincy Public Library

Union members at a public library in western Illinois have voted to go on strike amid tough contract talks.
 
A business representative for the Machinist union, Ross Miller, says the 32 members at the Quincy Public Library voted Sunday night to reject contract terms
and to strike. There's a five-day waiting period before they can begin any strike.  
 
The Quincy Herald-Whig (http://goo.gl/GuBQEh) cites Library Board President Jeff VanCamp as saying he's ``disappointed'' by the union move. He says he
thought the contract offer was ``generous.''
 

Both of the major party candidates for governor say Illinois should put more money into education. But neither are ready to embrace a controversial plan that would change how state money is distributed to schools.

There's been an uproar in some Chicago suburbs lately, over a proposal that's already passed the Illinois Senate. Under it, many districts there would see cuts in state funding, because they're in wealthier areas.

Hannah Meisel

Illinois' ability to change retirement benefits of government workers is limited because of a provision in the state Constitution. But what about trying to make that a non-issue, by doing away with that clause?

Article XIII, Sect. 5 of the Illinois Constitution is direct: pension benefits, it says, "shall not be diminished or impaired."

Nevertheless, a law passed last year cuts benefits for current workers and retirees. Whether that squares with the Constitution is currently the subject of a lawsuit.

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