Harvest Desk
5:36 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Becky Doyle: Always A Farmer

As state secretary of agriculture, Becky Doyle and Gov. Jim Edgar, center, ride through the 1991 Illinois State Fair.
Credit State Journal-Register

This is the next installment of the My Farm Roots series from the WUIS Harvest Desk. 

In 1986, Becky Doyle was helping her husband run the family’s hog farming operation. She also had a sidelight business of marketing gift baskets made from Illinois products. But that wasn’t enough: Doyle decided she would make a run for the Illinois House.

“I was young, naive and thought I could run as a Republican in a district where it was 11:4 Democrat,” Doyle said.

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Pensions
6:11 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Business Group Refuses Comment on Bond Accusation

An influential group of business executives is declining to comment on the possibility it helped to lower Illinois' credit rating. But public employees’ unions are calling for an investigation.

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago — and one of its leaders, former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner — were early leaders of the charge to do something about the state's underfunded pensions.

Fahner's been one of the most vocal advocates of doing not just something, but something major, to bring down the state's pension costs.

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Political Patronage Allegations
12:26 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Ethics Panel Votes To Investigate Madigan's Metra Role

House Speaker Michael Madigan's request to be investigated by the Legislative Ethics Commission is being granted.

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Fermi National Accelerator Lab
11:49 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Giant Electromagnet Reaches Fermilab After 3,200 Mile Journey From New York

Muon g-2 ring inches down Boughton Road in Chicago's west suburbs Thursday night
Credit https://www.facebook.com/Fermilab

It's 50 feet wide, weighs more than 15 tons and took a month to get to Batavia, Illinois.

A gigantic electromagnet ended its tedious journey early Friday at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where it will be used to study blazing-fast particles. 

But getting the massive gadget from New York to the lab wasn't so fast.

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Arts & Community
11:46 am
Fri July 26, 2013

'Rock The Arts' Event Pairs Music And Art In Springfield

Chris Maxey & Jennifer Snopko

An event featuring art, music, and kids activities tomorrow (Saturday 7/26) will highlight the need for support of the arts from the community. The Prairie Art Alliance's Gallery II, located in Springfield's Old State Capitol Plaza, will have art on display and right outside musicians will perform. Rachel Otwell recently spoke with planners of the event, musician Chris Maxey and Prairie Art Alliance interim executive director Jennifer Snopko:

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District 186
11:29 am
Fri July 26, 2013

"Sharefest" Brings Make-Overs To Springfield Schools

Called "Sharefest" - this weekend over one-thousand volunteers will gather to tear up carpet, paint walls, and generally improve the appearance of Jane Addams and McClernand elementary schools. McClernand is in the Enos park neighborhood, Jane Addams is on Springfield's north-west side.

Both were chosen to make-over based on the income level of students' families. Last year nearly 90% of students at McClernand came from low-income homes. 67% of students at Jane Addams came from low-income families. 

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Springfield City Government
8:16 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Interview: Alderman Cory Jobe On Push To Release Council Tapes

Ward 6 Ald. Cory Jobe supports Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards' push to make tapes of closed session available to the public
Credit https://www.facebook.com/cory.jobe.7

Springfield residents may soon know more about events this spring that led to the abrupt resignation of city attorney Mark Cullen and retirement of Police Chief Robert Williams.

On Tuesday, July 30th, the City Council will decide whether to release the audio recording and transcript of a closed-door meeting about the shredding of police internal affairs files. 

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Let's Talk Kids
11:00 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Unexpected Gifts

A family of five I know has had a heck of a year.  They’ve lost a grandfather, suffered the loss of a job, and now struggle with the serious illness of their mother. 

This family’s three children have missed out on the carefree days of youth in the last year.  Instead, they’ve attended a funeral and mourned the loss of one who played a significant role in their lives.

They’ve listened in as their parents strategized about how to make do with less in the face of a lost salary.

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Pension Reform
7:28 am
Thu July 25, 2013

As Chicago Schools Stumble, A Look At Shifting Pension Costs To Downstate Districts

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks with school district officials in this 2011 file photo
Credit cityofchicago.org

Chicago Public Schools continue to face severe budget problems.

The district is laying off staff and cutting programs.

Those reductions are due in part to its pension obligations.

Tony Arnold reports on how Chicago Public Schools’ struggling pension system could actually be used as a model for every other school in Illinois.

In this year alone - Chicago Public Schools says it’s a billion dollars in debt.

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Agrees To Serve Six Months In Prison
5:17 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Former IL Lawmaker Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge

Former Rep. Connie Howard (D-Chicago) leaves the federal courthouse in Springfield after pleading guilty to a single count of mail fraud.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  A former state legislator is the latest in a string of Illinois politicians to come under federal scrutiny for misconduct.  Wednesday,  longtime Rep. Connie Howard pleaded guilty to mail fraud.  

Though she'd served since 1995, Connie Howard is no longer a member of the House. 

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