Sean Crawford

Managing Editor / Illinois Edition

Chatham

Advisory Board Ex-Officio

Sean has led the NPR Illinois 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 NPR Illinois 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. 

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.

flickr/emilydickinsonridesabmx

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.  

SJ-R.com

WUIS' Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis about major road projects in the Springfield area, Illinois' stake in ethanol amid questions about it's environmental impact and the fitness boom continues with the opening of another new fitness center in the capital city.

You can also read the latest stories Tim is working on at SJ-R.com

Abraham Lincoln's final resting place will be off limits to visitors for a few months as repairs are made. 
The Lincoln Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield houses the former President, his wife and three of their four children.  

The state is investing more than 600 thousand dollars to restore interior finishes that have deteriorated over the years.  That includes plaster molding, paint, wall panels and plaques.  

The project will begin December first and won't be complete until early March.  The tomb will be closed to the public during that time.  

Rich Egger

Whether or not House lawmakers in Illinois vote on same sex marriage this week, those on differing sides of the issue have been working to make their case.

Supporters

The group Illinois Unites for Marriage has organized phone banks to target state representatives who’ve not made up their mind or who have not announced how they will vote.

IMA

A key Illinois business leader says the state is facing tough competition when it comes to keeping jobs.  Greg Baise is President of the Illinois Manufacturer's Association.  He says controversial legislation in Illinois that would offer tax breaks to certain firms is an effort to keep pace.

Among the firms, agribusiness leader Archer Daniels Midland, which wants to move it's corporate headquarters from Decatur to a larger city.  Illinois and other states are wooing the company with promises of tax incentives.

wikepedia

Few people these days can tell you much about former Illinois Governor Otto Kerner other than he spent time in prison.   But there was more to the man  who oversaw state government from 1961 to 1968.  This Saturday, an all day conference in Springfield will focus on Kerner, looking at his professional accomplishments, his trial and conviction and his private life.  

The event, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, will include journalists, politicians and even members of Kerner's family.  

milb.com

The Rally Squirrel hasn't retired, he's just caught up in litigation.  When a squirrel bounded through the batter's box during the St. Louis Cardinals' 2011 postseason, an array of Rally Squirrel merchandise quickly sprang up.  

The rodent and all that he wrought is barely a memory now, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a trademark dispute lingers at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, a discussion of the first half of the Fall Veto Session.

SDAT

Encouraging investment in Springfield's downtown is a key part of what the Sustainable Design Assessment Team hopes to accomplish.  

At the downtown farmer's market this Saturday, visitors can see display designs created by several architects.  They offer their vision of what downtown properties could become, with a focus on residential opportunities.

Data shows only 40% of 3rd grade students in Macon County are reading at grade level.  That same percentage applies to those in 11th grade.  1 of every 4 students also fails to graduate high school.  

The alarming statistics are similar to what many areas are facing.  The Education Coalition of Macon County is an initiative reviewing the problem and tying to find solutions.   That includes taking different approaches to what has become the standard for education.

Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki sent this memo out earlier in the day Tuesday, prior to the march and rally in support of same sex marriage at the statehouse:

The Rainbow Sash Movement has encouraged Roman Catholics to come to Springfield to “have a loud Catholic presence for marriage equality.” They have announced plans to gather at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 4:30 p.m. just before the 5:15 p.m. Mass to stand in the Cathedral and indicate that they are there to pray the rosary for “marriage equality.”

news.siu.edu

Mike Lawrence spent years as a journalist covering state government and politics before eventually working as the Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
In between,  he served as press secretary and senior policy advisor to former Governor Jim Edgar.

On this edition of State Week in Review, our panel previews the upcoming fall session of the Illinois General Assembly.  From pensions to same sex marriage to gun crime sentencing, we discuss what may or may not occur. 

Also, the impact of the federal shutdown on state government.   Our guest this week is Gatehouse Media's Doug Finke.

Afscme31.org

Henry Bayer is the Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.  The role puts the union leader in the middle of several battles over benefits and working conditions.  That includes the current dispute involving public pensions.

WUIS

Longtime residents of the Springfield area will recall the Concordia Theological Seminary.  For about 100 years, it taught those who would become leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  The seminary moved to Indiana in 1975.  

Today, the Department of Corrections uses the buildings for training.  The site also housed what was once known as Illinois State University, during Abraham Lincoln's time.

Archer Daniels Midland is on the lookout for a new home for its world headquarters.  And it's not being limited to the midwest.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ADM leaders met with Atlanta officials.

ADM has said it won't comment on sites in the running.   Other reports this week has the company looking at Minneapolis.  Chicago and St. Louis have also been mentioned as possibilities.

sancohis.org

Do you have an idea to show off the history of your community or a special location?  The Sangamon County Historical Society is offering to give money to local projects that create interest in the history of the county.  An online application is available for the grants of up to $1,000.   
Roger Whitaker is President of the Society.  Speaking on WUIS' Illinois Edition, he says the group has already helped other projects become a reality:

Millikin University

Millikin University in Decatur has a new president.  
Trustees at the school hired interim president Patrick White to take the post permanently. He began working in the interim position in July.  
The 64-year-old succeeds Rich Dunsworth, who also held the interim job after Harold Jeffcoat retired in January.  
White had worked as president of Wabash College in Indiana and says he's excited to make the Millikin position permanent.  

State Senator Andy Manar (D - Bunker Hill) is in his first term serving the 48th District.  It stretches from Springfield and Decatur south into Madison County.

Before he was elected, Manar spent time as Chief of Staff to Senate President John Cullerton and served as Chairman of the Macoupin County Board.

Manar sat down with WUIS' Sean Crawford to talk about some of the issues facing state government, including public pensions, tax incentives for ADM, education funding and how he was considered as a possible running mate to former gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley:

Is it worth it to leave one state for another due to taxes?  The National Center for Policy Analysis, a non partisan public policy research group, developed a way to help you determine the answer.  It's an online state  tax calculator.   Pam Villareal is a senior fellow for the Center. She spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford:

Want to try out the calculator?  Find it here.

flickr/TheNationalGuard

Along the plaza across from the Old State Capitol, in a former Osco store, you can find a tribute to the men and women who fought in Korea more than 60 years ago.

But the Korean War National Museum does more than simply honor veterans.  It attempts to educate visitors about the causes of the conflict.  Operating on donations, the museum shows videos and displays items that shows what life was like at that time for those too young to remember the war.

wikipedia

The legend of the Piasa "bird" goes back to the 1600's, when Marquette and Joliet saw a large painting near the Mississippi River where Alton is now located.  But what has been passed down through the years is different than what the original artwork was meant to convey.

Dr. Duane Esarey has researched the Piasa and he'll dispel the myths Wednesday during the state museum science series lecture.   He spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford and straightens us out on the subject.  He says it all goes back to the early explorers' description of what they saw:

nps.gov

Work is almost done on a massive, nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Carl Sandburg.  
The (Galesburg) Register-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1hhDqZx ) the statue of the Pulitzer-winning author and Galesburg native will be set up in the western Illinois community's public square.  
The piece depicts Sandburg with a guitar on his back and his books in one hand, along with his pet goat.  
The statue was commissioned by the Galesburg Public Arts Commission and is being designed by artist Lonnie Stewart.  

New figures released this week by State Farm say Illinois drivers are less likely to hit a deer in the next year.  The insurance company says drivers in the state have a 1 in 214 chance of hitting a deer in the next 12 months. That compares with a 1 in 162 chance last
year. Nationwide, the figure is 1 in 174.
 
Bloomington-based State Farm says Illinois drivers made 39,000 claims last year
for accidents involving deer. Nationwide, there were 1.2 million claims, down
about 3.5 percent.
 

Monica Eng/WBEZ

How well would you do living off $4.80 a day for food? 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is often the way some families get food. The SNAP Challenge is designed to illustrate what it's like to live off the allotment given to those who receive what are commonly called food stamps. 

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