Let's Talk Kids
12:00 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Connectedness

From our first breath, we seek connection. Newborns blink against the bright lights, then scan their surroundings until they catch sight of their parents' faces. Their eyes light up as they fix their gaze on a loving countenance, investing themselves in this growing bond.

They use their hearing in the same way, listening through the noisy din to recognize the sounds of familiar voices they have come to know already. 

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FY14 Budget
10:17 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Comptroller Tells Lawmakers To Get Thrifty

Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, wearing the designer dress she purchased at Goodwill.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' stack of overdue bills is smaller, thanks to stronger-than expected tax revenues.  But as lawmakers begin finalizing a new state budget, one of the state's chief fiscal officers is cautioning lawmakers to get thrifty.  

Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's wearing a purple, long-sleeved knit dress.  It's by St. John's, a designer label whose dresses retail for about $800. Topinka brags she got it for $7 at Goodwill.

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Sexual Education
10:05 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Bill: No More Abstinence Only Sex Ed In Schools

Schools that have sexual education classes would have to go beyond "abstinence-only" under a measure Illinois legislators sent the governor. The plan seeks to ensure students are getting medically accurate and age appropriate information.

                                                       

The measure does not require schools to offer sex ed courses.

But if they do ... the legislation mandates that middle and high schools include information about birth control.

Senator Linda Holmes is a Democrat, from Aurora:

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District 186
5:02 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

AG Says Springfield School Board Violated Open Meetings Act

 Former superintendent Walter Milton’s separation agreement with District 186 violated open meeting laws, according to an opinion by the state’s Attorney General. The previous school board decided to part ways with Milton during the winter before his contract was up. So, the members approved a severance plan worth over $175,000 and agreed to pay health and dental insurance.

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Disaster Preparedness
12:06 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Springfield's New FEMA-Funded Emergency Text Alerts

The text alert program is run by a technology company out of Idaho, which has trademarked AlertSense and sells it the communication service to government entities around the country
Credit http://alertsense.com/Home/AlertSense

Residents in the Springfield area can now sign up to have alerts about severe weather and other emergencies sent right to their phone.

The city received a $10,000 grant to set up the new system.  The money comes through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, which distributes federal funds to city and county governments for public safety programs and disaster preparedness tools.

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As Senior Editor at NPR, Uri Berliner oversees coverage of business and the economy. He has supervised and edited much of NPR's work on the financial crisis, the auto industry, energy and the workplace. Berliner has helped to build Planet Money, a prize-winnng multimedia team that covers the global economy.

Until recently, Berliner also edited NPR's sports coverage and was part of a team that won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Kurt began his radio career at 16 as weekend disc jockey at KOLS-AM/KKMA-FM (now KMYZ) in Pryor, Okla. He gradually began doing news work at his home town radio station. Kurt studied journalism at Oklahoma State University, serving two terms as managing editor of "The Daily O'Collegian." He returned to his radio roots while at Oklahoma State, working first as a part-time news producer, then as Morning Edition host at KOSU. Kurt left the station in 1990 returning to Pryor to be a part of a new business, ViaGrafix, that developed computer training videos. He eventually sold his business to attend seminary at The Iliff School of Theology in Denver and Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Okla. He served as minister of communications for St.

Pensions
5:45 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

House: Senate Plan Only Knocks 5-Percent Off Pension Debt

Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), left, and Rep. Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) say an analysis shows the Senate's pension bill saves about half of what was originally projected.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

A state pension overhaul backed by government employee unions may save only half of what advocates had promised.  That underscores an ongoing battle between the House and Senate over pensions, with only ten days left in the legislative session.  

 

There's general agreement on this much: that Illinois' public pension systems have $100 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities.  That's a fancy word that basically means "debt."

It's a big number that's getting Illinois in trouble with bond houses and eating into the state's budget.

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Harvest Desk
1:36 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Rural Development In The Farm Bill

Staunton, Ill., Mayor Craig Neuhaus (left) checks out the town’s new water plant with Hank Fey, a public works director.
Bill Wheelhouse / Harvest Public Media

As Congress fiddles with major farm legislation, there’s a portion of it that gets very little attention. Some say it is a difference-maker for job creation in small rural communities,and provides a boost those towns need. 

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Severe Weather
1:01 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Downtown Hannibal, MO Cleans Up After Powerful Storm

Brick shops in Hannibal Historic District among those blown apart by high winds
Credit Dominic Genetti

Monday night's severe storms stopped the presses of the local newspaper in Hannibal, Missouri. A widespread power outage prevented the Hannibal Courier-Post from getting a print edition to readers.  Reporters there, including Dominic Genetti, used the internet and social media to provide news updates on damage caused by 90 mile-an-hour winds.   As Genetti told Peter Gray on Illinois Edition Tuesday, two funnel clouds were reportedly spotted just outside of town last night:

Full interview with Genetti on Hannibal, MO storm damage

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