Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition," "Weekday," and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Arts
2:23 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Sandburg Statue In Galesburg To Be Unveiled Soon

Carl Sandburg
Credit nps.gov

Work is almost done on a massive, nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Carl Sandburg.  
The (Galesburg) Register-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1hhDqZx ) the statue of the Pulitzer-winning author and Galesburg native will be set up in the western Illinois community's public square.  
The piece depicts Sandburg with a guitar on his back and his books in one hand, along with his pet goat.  
The statue was commissioned by the Galesburg Public Arts Commission and is being designed by artist Lonnie Stewart.  

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Obamacare Politics
6:59 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Early Campaign Fodder

Congressman Rodney Davis, a Republican from Taylorville, issued a statement says is "ready and willing to work with my colleagues" until the government reaches a funding agreement.

  A day into the federal government shutdown, it's already turning into campaign fodder for next year's election.

Congressman Rodney Davis is facing competition from both sides as he aims to hold onto his central Illinois seat. The Taylorville Republican is looking at a primary challenge from former Miss America Erika Harold; three candidates are trying for the Democratic nomination: University of Illinois physicist George Gollin, U of I social policy analyst David Green and former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.

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Health Desk
6:13 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Busy First Day For Illinois Health Exchange

Credit GetCoveredIllinois

More than 69,000 people visited Illinois' new health insurance marketplace by late Tuesday, the first opportunity to comparison shop for
coverage through a system that's a key piece of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. But people hoping to enroll weren't getting much further, as the federally run website experienced glitches and delays.
 
 At a health center on Chicago's west side, workers said their goal for the day
was to get just one person enrolled, but none of the people who came in were

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Health Desk
3:55 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Quinn Says Health Marketplace Launch "Historic"

Gov. Pat Quinn

Gov. Pat Quinn says the launch of the health insurance marketplace marks a ``historic'' day that will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans.  
Quinn spoke at a press conference in Chicago on Tuesday, the same day the marketplace opened in Illinois and other states.  
But the federal website where people enroll was experiencing some glitches. Consumers couldn't get beyond initial screens, and some reported waits of 20 minutes on a hotline set up to assist them.  
Quinn says glitches are part of any new endeavor.  

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Statehouse
1:43 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Durkin Doubtful Pension Changes Will Happen This Fall

Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs)
Credit ilga.gov

The newest leader in state government says he doubts pension reform will become reality during the upcoming fall veto session. Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says it's not right to vote for something that's close to ideal just because there is fatigue surrounding the issue.

"The issue needs to be done, but we need to do it right," Durkin said. "But I am not going to just wave the white flag out of expediency because people have been worn down or they're tired of the issue and want to get it off their plates."

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Harvest Desk
12:08 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Millet Could Be The Next Trendy Grain

Millet, long an ingredient in bird feed, could be the next food to capitalize on the heritage grain trend.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Heritage grains are trendy. Walk through a health food store and see packages of grains grown long before modern seed technology created hybrid varieties, grains eaten widely outside of the developed world: amaranth, sorghum, quinoa.

But there’s another grain with tremendous potential growing on the Great Plains: millet.

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English & Writing
10:47 am
Tue October 1, 2013

UIS Writing Series Kicks Off

"The first public reading by Matt Rasmussen will take place on Thursday, October 3 at 7 p.m. in the Lincoln Residence Hall Great Room at UIS."

A mix of established and emerging poets and writers will make their way to Springfield this month for the UIS Creative Writing and Publishing Series. The series, free and open to the public, kicks off on Thursday at 7pm with a reading from an author whose poetry explores feelings about his own brother's suicide. Meagan Cass is with the English department at the university and helps organize the series, she joined us for this interview: 

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Regional
9:12 am
Tue October 1, 2013

There's Less Chance You'll Collide With A Deer

New figures released this week by State Farm say Illinois drivers are less likely to hit a deer in the next year.  The insurance company says drivers in the state have a 1 in 214 chance of hitting a deer in the next 12 months. That compares with a 1 in 162 chance last
year. Nationwide, the figure is 1 in 174.
 
Bloomington-based State Farm says Illinois drivers made 39,000 claims last year
for accidents involving deer. Nationwide, there were 1.2 million claims, down
about 3.5 percent.
 

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