Sean Crawford

News Director/ Editor/ Anchor/ Illinois Edition Host

217-206-6408

Sean has been News Director for WUIS since the fall of 2009. He replaced the only other person to hold that title in the station's history, Rich Bradley. Prior to taking over the News Department, Sean worked as Statehouse Bureau Chief for WUIS and other Illinois Public Radio stations. He spent more than a dozen years on the capitol beat.

Sean  began his broadcasting career at his hometown station in Herrin, Illinois while still in high school.  It was there he learned to cover local government, courts and anything else that made the news.  He spent time in the Joliet area as News Director and Operations Manager for a radio station and worked for a chain of weekly newspapers for two years.  Along with news coverage, he reported heavily on sports and did on-air play by play. 

Sean holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield. 

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Harvest Desk
7:50 am
Wed May 7, 2014

It's Farmer's Market Season!

Fresh bread and baked goods from Central IL Catering at the 2013 Illinois Products Farmers Market
Credit Il Dept. of Agriculture

The first of Springfield's farmer's markets will open tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon at the state fairgrounds. 

The Illinois Products Farmer's Market is across the from the grandstand and features a bevy of local and state products, from food to beer, wine and more. 

Kendra Schilling is the market manager. 

With the growth of farmer's markets, Schilling says Springfield has yet to reach a tipping point for demand.

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Statehouse
9:00 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Former Lawmaker Says Change Is Needed In State Budgeting

Rick Winkel
Credit IGPA

Rick Winkel served in the legislature from 1995 to 2003.  Now he is Director of the Office of Public Leadership at the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs. 

He wrote a recent op-ed that criticizes how budgeting is done.  He said more transparency is needed, including data that is easier for people outside of government to understand.

"When that data is available and provided openly, understandably so it's concise and legible and put in a format that's consistent," he said.  "Opening up the process before decisions are made and afterward."

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Arts
11:55 am
Thu May 1, 2014

There's Faith In The Arts At Springfield's Liturgical Festival

A bronze and silver kiddish cup by Joy Stember
Credit Springfield Art Association

The spiritual side of arts will be on display this weekend and early next week in Springfield.  It's the 20th year for the Liturgical Arts Festival.  It runs May 3-7 with a lineup that includes music, visual arts and more.

It's open to the public.  You don't need to be a member of a congregation. 

"Most of art history and music comes from the church," said Sally Schaefer, President of the Festival. "Not many years has it been secular focused.  At this time, we want to celebrate that rich heritage."

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Education Desk
8:15 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Professor Says Higher Ed Spending Brings Long Term Benefits

Walter McMahon
Credit IGPA

Illinois budget cutting has targeted higher education for more than a decade.   But a professor who has studied funding for colleges says it actually leads to more state financial problems.
 

Walter McMahon is a Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Illinois.  He says more investment would serve the state well in the future.

McMahon's column below on higher education spending is part of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs' Illinois Budget Policy Toolbox.

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Education Desk
6:01 am
Thu May 1, 2014

New District 186 Superintendent Starts Today

Jennifer Gill
Credit WUIS

Jennifer Gill assumes her duties as Springfield District 186 Superintendent today.  Gill is a native of Springfield and has worked as a teacher, administrator and building principal in the district.

More recently she served as Director of Teaching and Learning at McLean County Unit 5 in Bloomington Normal.

This is her first job as superintendent.  She inherits a district facing annual budget deficits and disagreement over whether or not to try for a tax referendum.  She'll also have to work with a board that has previously fought publicly over a variety of issues.

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Business
5:54 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

New Springfield Chamber CEO Announced

Chris Hembrough
Credit Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce has announced the next President and CEO of the organization.  Chris Hembrough will assume the duties in July. 

Hembrough has served as Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2007.  Before then, he managed Fink's Superior Cleaners for 5 years.  

Hembrough is 1981 Griffin High graduate.  He also starred on the football field, going to the University of Miami and playing on that school's 1983 national championship team.

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Environment
11:41 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Earth Friendly Event In Springfield This Weekend

Lake Springfield
Credit flickr/Denny Armstrong

The tradition of Earth Day Springfield continues Saturday April 26 with a festival designed to showcase what the city has done to become more "green."

"The biggest initiatives that Public Works is pushing for right now is cleaning up the city," said Abby Walden with the office.  "Whether that's making sure people are getting rid of their trash correctly, recycling...  as well as being responsible for how we use our material.  For instance, instead of just throwing it away maybe finding a consignment shop or an organization that can use it."  

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Statehouse
9:04 am
Wed April 16, 2014

The Vanishing Millionaire Tax

Brian Gaines
Credit IGPA

House Speaker Michael Madigan pulled his plan for a so-called "millionaire tax" last week.   The plan would have raised taxes on those earning $1 million or more a year, with the proceeds going to schools.  It would have required a constitutional change. 

Professor Brian Gaines has studied the idea.  He's with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.  He called Madigan's change of heart a bit surprising:

Brian Gaines' essay on the "millionaire tax" -

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Statehouse
8:08 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Quinn, Rauner At IEA Conference - Full Audio

Credit WUIS

Republican Bruce Rauner and Democratic Governor Pat Quinn made their first joint appearance of the campaign when they took the stage Friday at an Illinois Education Association meeting in Chicago. More than 1,000 people were in attendance. 

The two answered questions and also took political jabs at one another. IEA President Cinda Klickna moderated the question and answer session.  

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Health Desk
5:40 am
Mon April 14, 2014

"Making Sense Of Obamacare" Lecture At UIS

Prof. Ted Marmor
Credit Brandeis.edu

Ted Marmor has studied the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  The author and Professor Emeritus at Yale sees both good and bad with the new law.

"My overall view is simple. That it's a very confusing piece of legislation, not very well explained," he said.

"It perpetuates the cost and complexity of American medical care. But it makes some improvement in the availability of health insurance and the protection of some Americans from being devastated by expensive hospital stays and expensive pharmaceutical treatment."

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Higher Education
3:34 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

UIC Faculty Authorizes Second Strike

Main administration building at UIC
Credit flickr/DanielXONeil

The faculty union at the University of Illinois-Chicago says its members have voted to go ahead with a second strike if negotiations with the university fail to yield an agreement.

The University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty said in a news release that its members voted Wednesday night to authorize a strike on April 23. The union staged a two-day strike in February.  

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StARS Event
11:06 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Students Showcase Their Work At UIS Symposium

Credit UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield campus will give examples of what students have been up to at the upcoming  Student Arts and Research Symposium (StARS).  

From research to art projects, it's all on display. 

"It's an extremely supportive environment," said senior Brianna Werner.  "Both from faculty and other students.  Students come and do class projects at the (symposium). They'll take pictures with you. Take pictures of your posters."

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Science
5:56 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Author Explains The Demise Of The Passenger Pigeon

It's hard to believe that in the early 1800's, roughly 40 percent of the birds in North America were passenger pigeons.  Yet, a century later, the species was hunted to extinction.  The last one died in captivity in 1914.

Naturalist Joel Greenberg has written about this cautionary tale.  He will give the Illinois State Museum's Science Series lecture Wednesday in Springfield. His book is titled "A Feathered River Across The Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight To Extinction."

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State Government
8:41 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Is Cap And Trade A Financial And Environmental Solution For Illinois?

Prof. Don Fullerton
Credit University of Illinois

An Illinois professor says state government could improve it's financial predicament and lower greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.  

Don Fullerton is proposing what's known as a "cap and trade" program where a limit is placed on emissions. 

Going above the level would cost money for operations like coal fired power plants.  But even he admits it's unlikely to happen anytime soon. 

Read Fullerton's proposal in the article below:

Taxing Waste, not Work: Cap-and-Trade as a Revenue Source

By Don Fullerton

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Budget
10:40 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Expert Says State Of Illinois Needs Better Financial Planning

Nancy Hudspeth
Credit IGPA

Illinois is like most states when it comes to budget challenges.  Leaders must decide how to use tax dollars to pay for a variety of services. 

But Illinois ranks low when it comes to financial planning.  Nancy Hudspeth says some changes are needed.  She's the Associate Director of the Fiscal Futures Project at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. 

Hudspeth wrote an article on the subject that appears below:

 

Better fiscal planning tools could improve Illinois’ budget process

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Business
4:18 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Business Report: Chamber Search, Grocery Aisles Go "Local" and Gold's Gym

Tim Landis
Credit SJ-R

The State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis discusses the bankruptcy of Gold's Gym, which plans to remain open. 

Also, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce's search for a new Director and Shop N Save's plans to "localize" its stores. 

Read the latest stories from Tim in the SJ-R.

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Lincoln
9:47 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Lincoln Tomb Set To Re-Open

Credit wikipedia

Oak Ridge Cemetery is the 2nd most visited cemetery in the U.S.  The main reason is Abraham Lincoln.   The 16th President, his wife Mary and three of their four sons are interred there.

Since last fall, visitors could go see the tomb and stand outside.  But the interior was closed off for maintenance work.  It re-opens on Tuesday April 1.

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Regional
8:26 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Annual Figure Skating Event In Springfield This Weekend

You don't need to leave the Springfield area for a great ice show this weekend.  The Springfield Figure Skating Club puts on the annual Spotlight On Ice performance at the Nelson Center.   This year's program is titled "Give Our Regards To Broadway" with music from Broadway shows.  Kids and adults will perform.

"You usually have to go to bigger, metropolitan type areas to see ice shows," Club board member Monica Polistina  said.  "So we're really excited that this is a hidden jewel in the capitol city to have Spotlight on Ice."

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Arts
9:15 am
Thu March 27, 2014

New Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony Exec. Director

Elle Pressly
Credit WUIS

The Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony has a new Executive Director. 

Elle Pressly is a clarinetist who majored in music at the University of Illinois.  She now teaches music education in the Jacksonville School District.

Her new role will become full time when the school year ends.  It will involve marketing, fundraising and handling the day to day operations of the SVYS.  

The organization provides orchestral instruction to area youth,  as young as 3rd grade.  

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Statehouse
4:39 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Full Audio: Governor Quinn's 2014 Budget Address

Credit wuis

Governor Pat Quinn delivered his annual budget address before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. 

Read a transcript of the Governor's remarks here.

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Business
5:28 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Business Report: Hy-Vee Hiring, High Speed Rail and Farmland Prices

Tim Landis
Credit SJ-R

On this week's WUIS / State Journal-Register Business Report,  hundreds have been hired to work at the new Hy-Vee store on Springfield's MacArthur Boulevard.  But we still don't know an opening day for the store.  And, a Girard grocery store that's been in place for a century changes hands. 

WUIS' Sean Crawford also talks with the SJ-R's Business Editor Tim Landis about work getting closer on the Carpenter Street underpass and what, if anything, can we read into farmland prices flattening out in 2013.

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Sports
4:42 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Wierzba Out As UIS Men's Basketball Coach

Ben Wierzba
Credit UIS Athletics

The University of Illinois Springfield is looking for a new men's basketball coach.   The school announced today that Ben Wierzba's contract won't be renewed. 

He spent four years leading the Prairie Stars finishing with an overall record of 39 wins and 69 losses. His career as head coach was highlighted by leading the program to a 15-13 record in his second year in 2011-12 as the team finished 12-6 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Athletic Director Kim Pate says a search for a replacement will begin immediately. 

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Statehouse
4:14 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Plan Would Expand Use Of Medical Marijuana

Credit BrettLevinPhotography/flickr

Legislation that would allow minors and those with epilepsy to use medical cannabis in Illinois is one step closer to law.  

A Senate committee passed the proposal on Tuesday without opposition.  

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State Budget
6:15 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Sin Taxes Won't Solve Illinois' Budget Troubles

Prof. Julian Reif
Credit IGPA

When Illinois lawmakers are in need of more revenue, they often turn to sin.  

Sin taxes, that is. 

Those are taxes placed on items that can be considered undesirable, like cigarettes, alcohol or gambling.  

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Regional
5:36 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Kincaid Mayor Arrested Again

The small Christian County town of Kincaid has been in the news for the wrong reasons. 

The village's police chief is accused of having village employees work on his house on government time. 

And the mayor, Doug Thomas, has been arrested for a second time for violating an order of protection.  Thomas was taken into custody at the village hall Thursday morning. Thomas was taken to the Christian County jail.

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Arts
5:23 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Classical Guitar Takes The Stage At Millikin

Credit Mid America Guitar Ensemble Festival

This weekend, Decatur will play host to some pretty serious guitarists.  It's the annual Mid America Classical Guitar Ensemble and it will be held at Millikin University.  It's mainly for those who study classical guitar at a college level.

While those students will have a chance to learn, they can also perform.  And there are opportunities for the public to hear some tremendous musicians.

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Sports
12:23 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

A Chat With UIS Athletic Director Kim Pate

Kim Pate
Credit UIS Athletics

The University of Illinois Springfield has come a long way with athletics in the past decade.  Now a Division II school, UIS has added 6 programs in that time.   That brings the total of teams to 11. 

Yet, the expansion has also brought criticism from those who question if sports are part of the school's mission.

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Health Desk
11:57 am
Tue March 11, 2014

State Panel Approves Memorial-Passavant Affiliation

Passavant Area Hospital
Credit Passavant Hospital

The affiliation of two area health care organizations is a step closer to becoming a reality.  Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville plans to join Memorial Health System, which oversees three other hospitals including Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

Tuesday, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board unanimously approved the change.   
Ed Curtis, Memorial's CEO, says the affiliation is on target to take effect April first.  Afterward, he says patients won't notice an immediate difference in how they access health care:

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Science
10:54 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Science Lecture Looks At Early Spanish Exploration Of Interior U.S.

Credit Ill. State Museum

This month's Illinois State Museum Science Lecture Series will focus on early Spanish exploration of what would become the United States.   Dr. Kathryn Sampeck is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University.

She has been doing archaeological research in the southeast to get a better idea of those expeditions and how they changed history.    

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Election 2014
8:43 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Interview With U.S. Senate Candidate Jim Oberweis

Jim Oberweis
Credit Oberweis for US Senate

Voters this month will decide the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.  It's a race between two suburban businessmen, Doug Truax and Jim Oberweis.

The Oberweis name is recognizable for the Illinois based dairy business the candidate started and still owns along with an investment firm.

Oberweis,  67, is also known for his previous five failed campaigns.  That included unsuccessful attempts to run for U.S. Senate. He won a state Senate seat in 2012. 
 

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