Regional
8:38 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Transmission Line Gets ICC Approval

General corridor for the project
Credit Ameren

Regulators have signed off on a new transmission line that'd cut through central Illinois.   The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/15024Oj ) the Illinois Commerce Commission approved all but 30 miles of Ameren's Illinois Rivers Project during a meeting Tuesday.  
The $1 billion, 380-mile transmission line would run through 19 counties, traveling from Quincy to the Indiana border. It'd affect about 8,400 landowners.  

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Originally from Milwaukee, Hilary Stohs-Krause has called Lincoln, Nebraska home for the last several years. She's a multimedia reporter and producer for NET News (Nebraska NPR/PBS), focusing on minority communities, women's issues and rural life.

Pensions
5:03 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Pension Returns Up; Problems Remain

Credit Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' largest public pension fund hit a major low in 2012, its rate of return was less than one percent.  But an early analysis shows the last fiscal year was better than expected. The success isn’t expected to make much of a dent in Illinois’ nearly $100 billion dollar pension liability, however, which lawmakers thus far have failed to tackle.   

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Sadie Babits is Boise State Public Radio’s news director. She has nearly 15 years of experience working in public radio from hosting shows to reporting and editing.  Sadie got her start in public radio at BSPR as a student reporter while attending Boise State University. She became the station’s first news director years later.  She feels honored to lead the state’s premier public radio newsroom and to work with a talented team.

Tim Lloyd grew up north of Kansas City and holds a masters degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Prior to joining St. Louis Public Radio, he launched digital reporting efforts for Harvest Public Media, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded collaboration between Midwestern NPR member stations that focuses on agriculture and food issues.  His stories have aired on a variety of stations and shows including Morning Edition, â

Politics
12:07 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Champaign Dem Joins Growing 13th District Field

David Green of Champaign
Credit https://www.facebook.com/david.green.98892615

Another Democrat is joining what is becoming a crowded field of candidates for Illinois' 13th Congressional District seat. David Green of Champaign said Monday that he will run in the Democratic Party primary. He joins University of Illinois physicist George Gollin and retired Edwardsville judge Ann Callis. Green is a 63-year-old social policy analyst at the University of Illinois' Center for Prevention Research and Development. He told The News-Gazette in Champaign that he's anti-war and hopes to appeal to leftists and anti-war libertarians.

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Hannibal Hydrant Project
10:21 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Hannibal's Hydrants Get Some Custom Paint

Some rusty, faded fire hydrants in Hannibal, Missouri are getting creative touch-ups.

Julie Rolsen owns a gift shop in the Mississippi River town and also runs a bed and breakfast.  This spring, city leaders granted Rolsen permission to launch the "Hannibal Hydrant Project".

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Direct To Disney
9:04 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Springfield-Orlando Flights To Take Off In November

Allegiant Air will begin flying to Orlando from Springfield's airport this fall.
 
The low-cost carrier says the non-stop flights from Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport will begin November 22. They're scheduled to depart twice a week.
 
The State Journal-Register reports the airline is offering a special discounted round-trip rate of $99 until Thursday.  After that, fares will cost $69 each way.
 

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Pensions
8:34 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Few Details On Pension Progress

Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook)
Credit ILGA.gov

A panel of ten Illinois lawmakers has been working this summer to find a solution to Illinois' pension problem.  With an unfunded liability of about 100-billion dollars, payments to the public pension systems are taking up a larger chunk of overall state government spending. 

WUIS'  Sean Crawford spoke with Representative Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat and one of the leaders in the push to change how retirement systems are funded. 

Recent meetings of the committee have occurred in private, making it difficult to determine progress.  But Nekritz says she's hopeful:

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Ranked 50th
7:24 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Illinois' Education Funding Under Review

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois ranks 50th among the states in the share of education funding that comes from state government. The formula used to distribute that money dates back to the '90s.

On Monday afternoon, a group of state senators began working on an update.

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