Erica reports on environment and energy issues for WFPL, which run the gamut from stories about the regionââââ

Political Patronage Allegations
5:57 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Metra CEO Memo Reveals More Madigan Involvement

House Speaker Mike Madigan

A memo by the former CEO of the Metra commuter rail service contends that Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan lobbied not only for a pay raise for an associate at the agency, but also sought employment for another person.

The memo by Alex Clifford was cited Thursday at a contentious legislative committee hearing on Clifford's resignation and a $718,000 separation agreement.

Clifford says in the memo that he was told before his ouster that he had damaged Metra and its future funding "by my refusal to accede to Speaker Madigan's requests."

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Irina Zhorov is a reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Wyoming. In between, she worked as a photographer and writer for Philadelphia-area and national publications. Her professional interests revolve around environmental and energy reporting and she's reported on mining issues from Wyoming, Mexico, and Bolivia. She's been supported by the Dick and Lynn Cheney Grant for International Study, the Eleanor K. Kambouris Grant, and the Social Justice Research Center Research Grant for her work on Bolivian mining and Uzbek alpinism. Her work has appeared on Voice of America, National Native News, and in Indian Country Today, among other publications. 

Arts
1:27 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

'Dreamgirls' At The Muni

Marisa Cook, Fania Bourn, & Kate VonDeBur

Springfield's Muni starts its run of Dreamgirls this weekend - the Broadway production was made especially famous by the movie starring Beyonce back in 2006. The local version features over twenty actors who are brand new to the Muni's stage. We recently spoke with cast members Fania Bourn, Kate VonDeBur, and Marisa Cook for this interview:

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Madhulika Sikka is Executive Editor for NPR News, a role she joined in January 2013. As Executive Editor, Sikka oversees all desks and reporters, and helps set the agenda for the entire News division.

Guns
8:28 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Ill. AG Objects To Call For Immediate Concealed Carry

The state of Illinois is asking a federal court to reject a push by gun-rights advocates to let the residents start publicly carrying handguns as soon as next week, rather than waiting months for implementation of a new concealed carry law.
 
Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office asked a judge Thursday to throw out the request filed in East St. Louis by Mary Shepard. Shepard filed the injunction a day after lawmakers lifted the last-in-the-nation ban.  The state argues Shepard needs to file a new complaint instead of a motion seeking an emergency hearing from a judge.

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Farm Bill
4:12 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

U.S. House Passes Version Of Farm Bill

Credit Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. House passed its version of farm bill legislation today. The revamped bill strips out funding for food aid and deals only with farm policy, exposing a hefty rift in decades-old alliances between urban and rural legislators and between food aid and farm policy interests.

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Education
2:41 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

School Safety An Ongoing Concern

A new Illinois law requires schools hold drills on what to do in the case of shooting.  More security measures could be on the way. 
The new law comes after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary last year put renewed focus on school security.  Emergency Management Agency Director Jonathon Monken says it will continue to be an issue and more legislation is expected:

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The Pharmacy
2:30 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Joshua Cox Featured In 6th Group Exhibition At 'The Pharmacy'

A shot from a previous work by Cox called "And the world formed itself around me."
Credit Johsua Cox

Joshua Cox is an artist and professor at Bradley University in Peoria. His works involve memories, especially related to his childhood growing up in central Illinois. He uses unique mediums to create alternate universes that transport his viewers utilizing life size, and temporary, artworks. Cox is the guest artist for The Pharmacy's Sixth Group Art Exhibition, where other area artists will also have their latest creations on display.

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

Potty Power

If there’s one thing I know about parents of toddlers, it’s this:  They would give their signed Michael Jordan basketball if their child would pee in the toilet.

Parents who’ve faithfully changed diapers for months run out of patience for this task which becomes more heinous by the week.  Changing the stinky diaper of a thirty-five pound toddler begins to feel just plain wrong.

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