Bill Wheelhouse

Executive Editor/ Anchor/ Reporter/ State Week Host

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Regional
6:56 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Three Locals Among Those Charged With Medicaid Fraud

Credit ago.mo.gov

Three area residents are among more than two dozen Illinois residents who have been charged with health care fraud stemming from federal investigations.

Federal prosecutors Thursday announced charges against 29 people who allegedly abused a health care program funded by Medicaid. 

The program pays for personal assistants to help Medicaid recipients stay in their homes.   The Feds says the defendants allegedly submitted false claims for hours worked when they had other full time jobs, were in jail or the client was hospitalized.

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Health Desk
4:57 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

St. John's Hospital To Lay Off 43 Managers

Credit St. John's Hospital

St. John's Hospital in Springfield has announced it will lay off 43 managers over the next few months.  

President and Chief Executive Charles Lucore  says cutting management costs will help preserve the quality of patient care.  

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register quotes him as saying the decision was driven by financial pressures from the Affordable Care Act as well as the lower reimbursements.  

The 43 positions represent about 1 percent of the hospital's workforce.  

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Regional
9:00 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Juvenile Sex Trafficking Happening Here

Poster for Our Children Are Not For Sale awareness campaign.
Credit chicagodrugwar.info

When you hear about sex trafficking, often times what comes to mind is international smuggling of women. That may be happening, but there is also a problem of local teenagers getting used in sex trafficking within Illinois.

"Our Children Are Not For Sale" is the name of an awareness campaign to make people aware of what could be happening to homeless and runaway youth.   Bill Wheelhouse spoke with Stacy Sloan, Human Trafficking program manager at the Department of Children and Family Services.  She sheds some light on the issue.

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Regional
6:22 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Pike County State's Attorney Abruptly Resigns

Credit Pike County

The Pike County State's Attorney abruptly resigned yesterday, prior to a hearing regarding criminal charges against the Pike County Sheriff.

Media reports say that State's Attorney Carrie Boyd left a voice mail for the Pike County Board Chairman resigning. Boyd reportedly cited family and personal issues.

She had filed the charges against Sheriff Paul Petty.   Petty is charged with felony misconduct for allegedly ordering a body to be embalmed before a toxicology test could be performed in a 2012 heroin death.

A special prosecutor will be named for the case.

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Statehouse
6:56 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Legislative Recap: What Lawmakers Did & Didn't Do

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Illinois Legislature adjourned its spring session having passed a new state budget and other key measures, but leaving some business undone. Here's a look at what passed and what didn't:  
     BILLS SENT TO GOV. PAT QUINN:  
Budget: A roughly $35.7 billion budget for 2015 keeps funding flat for schools and most state agencies. Majority Democrats acknowledged the budget is ``incomplete'' because it postpones tough votes about whether to slash spending or find new revenue until after November's election.  

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Arts
11:09 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Amy LaVere at Bedrock 66 Friday Night

Amy LaVere at Donnie's Homespun Friday night. Part of the WUIS Bedrock 66 Live! series.
Credit amylavere.com

After making a name for herself in Memphis,  Texas native Amy LaVere comes to the WUIS Bedrock Stage this Friday Night.   She is appearing jointly with John Paul Keith and presenting their side project "Motel Mirrors".   From K-U-T in Austin.. David Brown talked with LaVere.

Amy LaVere along with John Paul Keith at Friday night's Bedrock show at Donnie's Homespun on Cook Street in Springfield.    The show starts at eight. Tickets available at bedrock66.com.     Tickets are $12 dollars.

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Education Desk
7:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

School Funding Discussion WUIS Education Desk

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

The way schools are funded in Illinois has been getting a lot of attention lately.  The WUIS Education Desk presents a discussion entitled "Transforming Our Schools:  A Panel On Education Funding" held recently in Decatur.   The panel includes State Senator Andy Manar, Warrensburg-Latham Superintendent Kristen Kendrick, Decatur Public Schools Director of Business Affairs Todd Covault, Center for Tax & Budget Accountability Director Ralph Martire and moderators Brian Byers of WSOY & Bill Wheelhouse, WUIS. The event was coordinated with the Education Coalition of Macon County.

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Regional
6:18 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Pike County Sheriff Enters NOT Guilty Plea

Pike County Courthouse
Credit Pike County

The Pike County sheriff has pleaded not guilty to a felony misconduct charge after prosecutors say he botched the 2012 death investigation of a woman who overdosed on heroin.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty's attorney filed a motion Monday to dismiss the case or appoint a special state's attorney.

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Regional
8:41 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Pike County Sheriff Charged With Misconduct

Pike County Courhouse
Credit Creative Commons

The Pike County sheriff is facing a felony misconduct charge for a 2012 death investigation of a woman who overdosed on heroin.  

Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty is also the county's coroner. He was charged after prosecutors say he didn't follow procedures for embalming the body of 47-year-old Shanda Lopez.  

Two other men were charged in connection with Lopez's death, including one who's accused of drug-induced homicide.

Authorities say Petty didn't draw blood for a toxicology screening before Lopez's body was embalmed.  

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Harvest Desk
7:45 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Illinois Groups Want Expanded Trade With Cuba

Credit Illinois Cuba Working Group

Back in 1999, then Governor George Ryan led a delegation to the island nation of Cuba.   Since that time, a number of Illinois Agriculture groups have been working to ease trade restrictions to the small nation.   The Illinois Cuba Working Group recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama hoping to expand trade opportunities between the nations.  

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Harvest Desk
7:17 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Schnucks Recalling Deli Item

Credit schnucks.com

Schnucks is recalling chicken salad because of possible listeria contamination.  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Saturday that Schnucks Kitchen of O'Fallon is recalling about 130 pounds of curry white meat chicken salad with walnuts due to possible contamination with listeria monocytogenes.  

The USDA says the product came in sealed three-pound bags and was produced April 24 before being shipped to Schnucks stores for deli distribution in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.  

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Regional
6:16 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Durbin Talks FutureGen With Energy Secretary

Power plant in Meredosia
Credit Bill Wheelhouse/WUIS

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says he met with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to discuss the FutureGen clean-coal project.  

Durbin said in a news release that he met with Moniz on Wednesday to discuss the department's commitment to the long-planned public-private project. Durbin said he stressed the importance he sees in keeping it on track.  

The department is providing $1 billion to the $1.68 billion project.  

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Regional
7:46 am
Tue April 29, 2014

BMW & Mercedes Recall Cars

Credit agrgeorgia.gov

Two  luxury automakers are recalling vehicles.

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Statehouse
7:14 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Public Hearings on Ill. Medical Marijuana Rules

Credit flickr/eggrole

Illinois health officials are planning two public hearings on proposed rules affecting patients who want to use medical marijuana.  

The state's medical marijuana program is a four-year pilot project. The rules under consideration affect how adult patients with specific health conditions will be able to buy marijuana.  

Hearings will be held in Chicago and Springfield. The Chicago hearing will be at the Thompson Center starting at 9:30 a.m. May 5. The Springfield hearing will be on the University of Illinois Springfield campus at 9 a.m. May 21.  

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Statehouse
6:23 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Rauner Supports Keeping Open Centralia Developmental Center

Rauner says Murray Developmental Center Should Stay Open
Credit wuis

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is differing with his opponent on whether a state facility should stay open.  Rauner says he supports keeping open a center for people with developmental disabilities in Centralia that his opponent is trying to close.  
 The Winnetka businessman faces Gov. Pat Quinn in the November election. He met with relatives of residents at the Murray Developmental Center on Saturday and told them they should have a choice in their family members' care.  

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Education Desk
11:17 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Aging Population Biggest Economic and Financial Challenge Ahead

Chris Farrell appearing in Springfield May 2.
Credit APM

Marketplace Economics Editor and Business Week columnist Chris Farrell says the aging of the population is the biggest economic and personal finance challenge ahead.  Speaking with WUIS Executive Editor Bill Wheelhouse, Farrell says people can expect to work longer in the years ahead.  

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Statehouse
7:24 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Illinois Medicaid Paying For The Dead

Credit Ill. Atty General

Gov. Pat Quinn is promising tighter controls after a review found that the Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people who were dead.  

Quinn told reporters Saturday he's not happy with the findings and the state is on track to recoup all of the money.  

The Associated Press learned of the mistakes from an internal state government memo it obtained Friday through the Freedom of Information Act.  

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Regional
6:17 am
Tue April 1, 2014

EPA Seeks Public Input on FutureGen in West Central Ill.

Future Gen Plant in Meredosia
Credit WUIS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting public comments on a plan to inject carbon dioxide beneath west central Illinois.

FutureGen Industrial Alliance wants to capture carbon dioxide from a coal-burning power plant in the Morgan County village of Meredosia, then inject it into underground wells near Jacksonville, about 20 miles to the east.  

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Statehouse
7:24 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Regulators: Illinois Sunday Car Sales Ban Bad For Competition

Credit autobizz.com

Federal regulators say Illinois' longstanding ban on Sunday automobile sales isn't good for competition and can be harmful to the marketplace.  

The Federal Trade Commission says the prohibition on Sunday automobile sales also makes it more difficult for drivers to shop around for the best deal.  

The agency issued the statement late last week in response to a measure introduced by state Sen. Jim

Oberweis, who wants to repeal the law that went into effect in 1983.  Oberweis asked the FTC to weigh in. Violators can face a $1,500 fine.  

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Education
7:25 am
Mon March 24, 2014

ISU President Out After Eight Months-Gets $480,000 Severance

New ISU President Larry Dietz
Credit Illinois State University

Illinois State University President Timothy Flanagan has resigned after eight months on the job.

Flanagan is being investigated by ISU police after a former campus employee accused him of assault.  

He stepped down during a special Board of Trustees meeting Saturday. The resignation took effect immediately.  

A statement on the university's website says Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Dietz was named to replace him. Dietz was given a three year contract to become the President. He had been a finalist a year ago in the search where Flanagan was selected.

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Election 2014
5:15 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Rochester Voters Will Decide Home Rule Question

Voters in four Illinois communities, including Rochester, go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to give their  town councils  more power. 

The villages want to become home rule communities, which gives them more authority to raise taxes and pass laws.  The Illinois Association of Realtors is against the change.   Association President Phil Chiles says if voters approve home rule, they could regret it later.

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Statehouse
7:21 am
Mon March 17, 2014

A Low Profile For Dan Rutherford

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Treasurer Dan Rutherford is remaining quiet in the final hours of his campaign for Governor.  He also plans on the unusual move of keeping the Election night party for his Illinois gubernatorial bid closed to reporters.  

Spokesman Brian Sterling says Rutherford will issue a statement Tuesday at a Pontiac location separate from his party.  Sterling declined to comment further on Sunday.  

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Statehouse
6:51 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Three of Four GOP Candidates Campaign Today

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Most Republican candidates running for Illinois governor are spending the last day before the primary election day traveling around the state. 

State Sen. Kirk Dillard plans to be in East Alton, Marion, Champaign and suburban Chicago on Monday. State Sen. Bill Brady's schedule includes stops in Springfield, Peoria, Urbana, Marion and Chicago. Businessman Bruce Rauner is wrapping up a three-day statewide tour and has a get out the vote rally Monday evening in Hickory Hills.  

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Statehouse
7:13 am
Wed March 12, 2014

GOP Candidates Face University of Illinois Admissions Question

The Republican contenders for governor are facing questions about their roles in a five-year-old admissions scandal at the University of Illinois.  

The scandal involved some politicians using clout to get students enrolled. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and state Sen. Kirk Dillard have acknowledged their names are on the list the University of Illinois maintained of lawmakers who called to check on applications. They were asked about it at a televised debate last week.  

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Health Desk
1:38 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

State Health Panel Wants To See Expansion Of Health Jobs

LaMar Hasbrouck, IDPH Director
Credit WUIS

A state panel has released nearly two dozen recommendations to deal with the increase in patients expected under the Affordable Care Act.  However, some of those ideas will be hard to get approved.

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Education
7:56 am
Thu March 6, 2014

University Of Illinois Trustees To Vote On Sex-Change Insurance

Credit University of Illinois

University of Illinois trustees are expected to vote Thursday on adding coverage for sex-change operations to the health insurance plan used by many students at the flagship campus.  

Many of the Urbana-Champaign campus' more than 40,000 students use the insurance and would see costs rise by 15 percent in the proposal is approved. Undergraduates would pay $291 a semester starting next fall. That's an increase of $37.  

But university officials say most of that increase is due to the federal Affordable Care Act rather than adding sex-change coverage.  

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Regional
6:28 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Dead Animals Lead To Animal Cruelty Charges

The Kane County sheriff's office says it arrested a suburban Chicago woman after finding 10 dead animals and others that were malnourished on a pair of farms.  

According to the Daily Herald (http://bit.ly/1ne0I7r ), the horse, pony and other animals were found on farms near Maple Park and in Hampshire in Kane County. The discoveries were made after someone called to report a dead horse at one farm.  

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Statehouse
6:15 am
Thu March 6, 2014

GOP Governor Candidates Argue Pensions

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Republican candidates for Illinois governor are arguing about pension reform and the state's finances in the second-to-last debate ahead of the March 18 primary.  

State Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, businessman Bruce Rauner  and Treasurer Dan Rutherford attended the debate Wednesday hosted by WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune.  

Brady is the only one who supported a recent pension overhaul that cuts benefits for state workers and retirees. Dillard voted against it, which has been the reason that several unions have endorsed him.  

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Statehouse
8:14 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Illinois Business Groups Say Deregulation Saved Consumers $

Business groups say utility competition has saved consumers money.
Credit AARP

A new report says electricity deregulation has saved Illinois customers up to $37 billion over the past 16 years.  

The report being released Monday by four business groups says the average household has paid $3,600 less overall than if the average annual electricity rates had stayed the same.  

Deregulation kicked in in 1998, allowing Illinois utilities to compete for business on the open market rather than being regulated monopolies whose rates were set. The utilities before deregulation both supplied and delivered electricity to customers, who had no other choices.  

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Statehouse
7:17 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Civic Federation Has Plan To Balance Illinois Budget

Credit Civic Federation

The Civic Federation is releasing a new proposal it says will balance Illinois' budget, eliminate its bill backlog and reduce taxes.  

The plan includes capping spending to help the state pay off its $5.4 billion backlog of unpaid bills over the next five years.  

It also would extend the state's temporary income tax increase by a year before reducing tax rates gradually, and calls for taxing pension and social security income.  

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