Sean Crawford

Managing Editor / Illinois Edition

Chatham

Advisory Board Ex-Officio

217-206-6408

Sean has led WUIS' news operations since the fall of 2009. He replaced the only other person to do so 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. 

Ways to Connect

Passavant Area Hospital

Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville could soon be affiliated with Memorial Health System, which already oversees hospitals in Springfield, Taylorville and Lincoln.
The Passavant Board has agreed to partner with Memorial, pending regulatory approval.

Illinois State Museum

Iowa and Illinois have a lot in common, but look below the surface to see some important differences.  That's what paleontologists have been doing for decades.  Their work has resulted in the discovery of fossils that show prehistoric giant camels and mammoths once called Iowa home.  That work and more will be part of a lecture Wednesday night in Springfield. 

Chris Widga, Assistant Curator of Geology at the Illinois State Museum, will deliver a presentation "Recent Adventures in Iowa Paleontology." 

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The snowstorm that dumped several inches on Illinois has moved out of the state.  But high winds and extremely cold temperatures make for another night of dangerous conditions.   Interstates have slick spots from where blowing snow has covered the road.  Many secondary roads are in much worse shape.  
Ann Schneider, Illinois' Transportation Secretary, says her agency has been advising the public to avoid driving...

"And so it's still very treacherous for motorists and we strongly encourage motorists if they don't have to travel, please don't. Stay home," Schneider said.

The amount Illinois must pay to keep pace with its pension systems should grow less than 2 percent next year but still total nearly $7 billion.  

A state actuary's report that Auditor General William Holland released Tuesday says taxpayers must pay $6.86 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1. That's up about $100 million from this fiscal year.  
Lawmakers adopted a reform plan in early December for the five pension systems to cut a $100 billion debt. But it doesn't take effect until June 1 and has been challenged in court.  

Northwestern Illinois officials want to team up with their Iowa counterparts to woo a Boeing plant that could bring more than 8,500 jobs to the Quad Cities.  

The (Moline) Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1c7choJ ) the Bi-State Regional Commission sent a letter to the two states' governors asking them to promote a regional bid for the multibillion dollar assembly plant.  
The letter was signed by community leaders in Moline, Rock Island, East Moline and Rock Island County in Illinois along with Iowa officials from Davenport, Bettendorf and Scott County.  

hcfta.org

This Friday through Sunday at the Hoogland, The Holly and the Ivy takes the stage.  WUIS' Sean Crawford spoke with Aasne Vigesaa, who plays Margaret Gregory and also serves as co-director.

The Holly and the Ivy is a captivating Christmas tale with a difference. Browne’s play, set in 1940s Norfolk, England, begins on Christmas Eve and slowly unfolds over 24 hours, during which time secrets are revealed, skeletons are wrenched out of closets, and lives are changed forever.

Should the University of Illinois Springfield become smoke free?   The campus allows smoking outdoors, away from entryways.  But some want to see lighting up banned completely.

A task force has been talking with those who live and work on the campus, as well as those who visit.  

Illinois State Archaeological Survey

This month's Illinois State Museum science lecture will focus on the Secret Lives of Paleoindians.  Dr. Thomas Loebel of the Illinois State Archaeological Society will present his research on these early inhabitants of North America and show that there was more to their societies than simply being nomadic hunters.  

He's completed digs throughout the mid west including Illinois and Wisconsin and says much has been learned...

Advocates who pressed for same-sex marriage to become legal in Illinois are now sponsoring forums to help gay and lesbian couples understand the law.

Equality Illinois'  Director of Public Policy, Randy Hannig, says he already has been "flooded" with questions from couples who want to marry.

'We're using it as an opportunity to educate," Hannig said.  "We did the same thing three years ago after the civil unions law was signed."

WUIS

A hearing Tuesday afternoon in Springfield will explain improvements to the  3rd Street rail line.
Springfield leaders breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced rail traffic would be consolidated along 10th Street.  They had concerns of more and faster trains traveling through the heart of downtown.  But while the 10th Street corridor is being revamped, the  trains won't wait.  That means safety improvements are needed along 3rd Street.

The Sangamon County Coroner has released more details on the cause of death for the Menard County State's Attorney.   Kenneth Baumgarten, who lived in Petersburg, died Friday night .  He was 55.

Coroner Cinda Edwards says after a review of medical documents,  her office has determined the cause of death for Kenneth Baumgarten to be Pulmonary Embolism.  She also says the death will be certified as accidental due to an injury Baumagarten sustained early in November.

Judy Carmichael.com

Judy Carmichael has been to Springfield many times.  She came often as a child to see relatives.   But the renowned jazz pianist has never played a show in the city.  That is, until this Friday night.   Judy Carmichael, who also hosts the program Jazz Inspired that airs here on WUIS, will perform at the Sangamon Auditorium.

She's known as an accomplished stride player and her shows include original work as well as that of such legends as Count Basie, Fats Waller and Gerhswin.

Gov. Pat Quinn is set to get about $74,000 in back pay now that Illinois lawmakers have finally approved a pension deal.  

The governor used his line-item veto power this summer when he halted legislators' salaries, saying they shouldn't get paid until they addressed the nearly $100 billion pensions crisis. He also stopped accepting his own paychecks.  
A judge disagreed with Quinn in September and the comptroller began issuing checks to lawmakers. But

svys.org

Eugene Power says working with young musicians allows him to see their musical journeys.  He's taught high school band and has worked with youth in other settings.  Recently, he was named the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony music director and conductor. 

"You can be involved with music in many, many ways throughout your entire life," Power said. "And that's what I like to see... students kind of catch fire with that and carry it with them."

WUIS' Sean Crawford talks with Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey moments after state lawmakers voted to approve pension legislation. 

Kevin Peraino has written a book about Lincoln, but it's on a topic few have tackled.  "Lincoln In The World" examines Lincoln's foreign policy and his influence around the world.  

Peraino is qualified in this area, having served as a foreign correspondent for Newsweek. 

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Earlier this week, legislative leaders announced a deal to bring a pension overhaul before the full chambers. It is estimated to save $160 billion over the next 30 years.  Illinois has the nation's most underfunded retirement systems.

On Friday, the leaders' staff sent around the memo below that highlights changes for public employee pensions.  Lawmakers are expected in Springfield to vote on legislation Tuesday, December 3.  Employee unions have already indicated opposition and if it passes, a legal challenge is likely.

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The City of Springfield could be close to settling a lawsuit over destruction of police records.  Springfield Mayor Mike Houston has filed an ordinance that would settle the case for $102,964.10.

Aldermen could vote on it Tuesday night.  The proposal says Calvin Christian, who filed the suit, would receive about $30,000 while his attorneys would get much of the remainder.  Christian took the city to court after documents he had sought under the Freedom of Information Act were destroyed.  The city would admit no wrongdoing under the deal.

It's likely you or someone you know have struck a deer.   While it seems as though they are always wandering into the road, the actual number of deer-vehicle accidents was down last year.  

State Farm Insurance has already predicted another decline based on claims filed.   The company attributes the expected decline in accidents to a smaller deer population and increased driver awareness.  It says Illinois drivers have less chance of hitting a deer than the national average.  

In Sangamon County last year, there were 335 accidents, 75 fewer than the year before.  

Former area congressman Paul Findley has donated his congressional papers and other artifacts from his career to his alma mater, Illinois College in Jacksonville.  

The official transfer took place in the Paul Findley Congressional Office Museum on the campus.  

SJ-R

WUIS' Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Tim Landis about outlet malls planned for Springfield.  Are there enough shoppers to support all the stores?

We also discuss an expansion for Springfield Clinic and the shutdown of the final unionized mine in the state of Illinois.


What do Sangamon County employers see in the year ahead?  The fall economic outlook survey shows they have a positive outlook about their individual business and sector, but not about the overall economy.  As for jobs, nearly half expect employment rates to stay stagnant.  

npr

The mayor of the central Illinois community of Washington says more than 1,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed by strong storms.  

Mayor Gary Manier says that figure includes homes that were totally destroyed as well as properties that received minor damage. Officials still haven't said how many people in the community have been affected by Sunday's tornado. Washington has about 16,000 residents and is about 10 miles east of Peoria.  

Sean Powers/Illinois Public Media

November tornadoes seem out of place in Illinois.  But weather statistics show they're not uncommon.   Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel studied the years 1950 to 2010 and found nearly 70 tornadoes occurred in November.  That's more than October or December. 

But what made Sunday different was the outbreak that occurred. 

"All our other outbreaks tend to happen in the springtime," Angel said.  "So the ones in November tend to be single events, but this is by far the biggest number that we've seen in November."

UIS

The story of the Gettysburg Address began long before that day Abraham Lincoln stood at the speaker's platform and delivered those famous 272 words. 

150 years ago next week, Abraham Lincoln delivered a 272 word speech that has become known as one of the greatest in history.  Tuesday, November 19, marks the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. 

On Monday, the day before, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will host events to honor the occasion. 

A top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan is telling Illinois lawmakers to be ready for a special session in Springfield in December.
 
Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes told Democrats in an email Wednesday that a ``possible'' session could begin Dec. 3. He told lawmakers to ``keep other days that week available.''  

The week spotlights these groups that help connect philanthropists with various causes.  Locally, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln manages 126 funds with a total of $17 million in assets. 

illinois.gov

Sheila Simon will wrap up her term as Lieutenant Governor in just over a year.   The Democrat and daughter of late U.S. Senator Paul Simon is taking on another challenge.  She's running for Illinois Comptroller. That means Simon faces incumbent Republican Judy Baar Topinka.  The attacks are already underway. 

Topinka questions Simon's interest in the job, saying she only chose to run for this office after earlier plans to try for Attorney General were scuttled when Lisa Madigan chose to stay put.

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Cahokia Mounds in the metro east area was the site of a large and sophisticated Native American city a thousand years ago.  There's a lot of research being done there and Wednesday night you can hear more about it. 

The Illinois State Museum's Science Series lecture features Bill Iseminger, an assistant Site Manager at Cahokia mounds.  

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