ISP Still Vetting Instructors
6:53 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Gun Trainers Waiting For Concealed Carry Curriculum

Credit Susan Stephens/WNIJ

There are now 54 concealed carry instructors approved by the Illinois State Police. Anyone who wants to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon has to put in sixteen hours in the classroom and shooting range with an official instructor.

         

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Statehouse
6:33 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Metra Panel To Meet In Chicago

Credit commons.wikimedia.org

A state panel charged with coming up with reforms for Metra and other Illinois public transit agencies is set to have a second public hearing.
 
The Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force meets Wednesday in downtown Chicago.
 
Gov. Pat Quinn formed the group in August after allegations about political hiring at Metra. He's called for an overhaul of the commuter rail agency, PACE and other transit agencies.
 

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Colin Fogarty fell in love with public radio as a 19–year–old student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He launched his life in radio as a board operator at WMUB, where he spun records for "Mama Jazz." He was always a news junky, but he got hooked on reporting when he covered a 1992 campaign rally. Colin ran across the quad, stuck a microphone in then-Senator Al Gore's face and asked a question. When Gore actually answered, Colin knew he had found his calling.

Harvest Desk
6:09 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Largely Unpopular, Direct Payment Subsidies Persist

Farmer Bill Wendel says he doesn’t need his direct payments, sometimes known as “welfare for farmers.”
Credit Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Congress is bitterly divided on food stamps and other issues contained in the farm bill, but both political parties agree on something: the $5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called Direct and Countercyclical Payments has got to go.

The program shells out to farmers and land owners regardless of need or loss. It’s a hold-out from a farm bill that promised an end to subsidies and it’s holding on only because Congress is so dysfunctional.  

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Julie Rose has been reporting for WFAE since January 2008, covering everything from political scandal and bank bailouts to homelessness and the arts.  She's a two-time winner of a national Edward R. Murrow Award for radio writing. Prior to WFAE, Julie reported for KCPW in Salt Lake City where she got her start in radio.  Before that, she was a nonprofit fundraiser and a public relations manager in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It took a few career changes, but Julie finally found her calling in public radio reporting because she gets paid to do what she does best â

Health Desk
3:51 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

ACA Insurance Plans May Be Cheaper, But At What Cost?

Credit flickr

  Although the grand opening of the Affordable Care Act is only a week away, Illinois is still waiting on the federal government to approve the insurance plans that will be available through it.  Even so, the governor today announced it will cost less to get coverage than originally expected.

Illinois submitted 165 different insurance plans to the federal government. Until the feds sign off on them, it's impossible for someone looking to buy insurance from the Obamacare "marketplace" to know how much they should plan to spend.

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History
11:39 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Dillinger's Death Mask Going On Display In Springfield

A plaster mask cast from the face of gangster John Dillinger after his death is going on display in Springfield.  
The Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation museum in Springfield will display the mask from Thursday to Saturday, and has extended its visitor hours this weekend.  
They say the mask is one of four cast from the face of the Prohibition-era gangster.  

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Harvest Desk
11:26 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Sticker Shock - It's Not Just On New Tractors Anymore

Some estimates peg the market for used farm equipment in the U.S. at more than $100 billion annually, about five times the amount spent on new equipment each year.
Credit The Knowles gallery/flickr

Buying a new farm tractor costs almost as much as a new home in a decent suburb.  

Shelling out $200,000 or more for shiny new John Deere, Case IH, New Holland or other name brand horsepower to work the fields of a 21st century Midwestern farm isn’t unusual, farmers and dealers say.

What seems more unusual, to newcomers to farm economics at least, is that those shiny new models aren’t the hottest selling big iron on many dealers’ lots.  That would be the used tractors that were traded in when the new models rolled off the dealers’ flatbed trucks.

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Education
10:19 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Testing Teachers Causes Unexpected Racial Division

Nearly all the students at south suburban Roosevelt Elementary School in Riverdale, IL, are African American. Principal Shalonda Randle says she’s made deliberate efforts to hire more teachers of color because her students identify with their success.
Credit Odette Yousef/WBEZ

Across the nation, states are considering ways to make teaching a more selective profession. The push for “higher aptitude” teachers has often come from the nation’s top education officials. “In Finland it’s the top ten percent of college grads (who) are going into education,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said to an audience of educators in Massachusetts last year. “Ninety percent don’t have that opportunity.”

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Harvest Desk
9:21 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Obamacare Could Be Tough Sell In Rural Areas

Bob Bernt and his wife, Kristine, have gone without health insurance for the last 20 years, and don’t plan on buying coverage to meet the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare,” takes a big step forward Oct. 1 when new health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment. Rural families are more likely to qualify for subsidized coverage, but reaching them to sign up will be part of the challenge.

So, will farm country take advantage of new health insurance subsidies? That’s the question in Nebraska.

Almost 200,000 Nebraskans don’t have health insurance. Nearly half of them are spread across the state’s rural areas.

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