Sean Crawford

Managing Editor / Illinois Edition

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. 

Today, on Lincoln's birthday, we look back at an important moment in Springfield history. 

The date was April 19, 2005.  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum opened, six months after the Library began operation.  President George W. Bush spoke at the ceremony.  

This coming April will mark the 10th anniversary of museum, which has become one of Illinois' top tourist attractions as well as a place for people to learn more about the man whose name is on the building.  

flickr/RobertKuykendall

Criminal charges won't be filed involving the shredding of internal Springfield police documents.  But the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor called the conduct in the case "embarrassingly incompetent."

The special prosecutor took the case on in 2013. A news release issued Wednesday stated "The reality of this case is that once charges are filed, the prosecutor must be able to prove all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt."

Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Governor spoke to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on February 4, 2015. 

Jak Tichenor hosts the broadcast, with analysis from Rich Miller of Capitol Fax and WUIS' Amanda Vinicky.

Reaction from Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican Leaders Rep. Jim Durkin and Sen. Christine Radogno.

As Prepared for Delivery

 

Good Afternoon.

President Cullerton

Speaker Madigan

Leader Radogno

Leader Durkin

Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti

ilga.gov

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is likely to have disagreements with the new Governor Bruce Rauner.  Madigan is a Democrat and Rauner a Republican.

But following the Governor's State of the State Address, the Speaker says he and Rauner are on the same page when it comes to limits on spending:

As Prepared for Delivery

Also included: Policy Agenda and Conflict of Interest Timeline

 

Good Afternoon.

President Cullerton

Speaker Madigan

Leader Radogno

Leader Durkin

Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti

Attorney General Madigan

Secretary White

Comptroller Munger

Treasurer Frerichs,

Members of the General Assembly,

Thank you for your service.

To our distinguished guests and to the media, thank you for attending today.

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 PM CST SUNDAY... A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 PM CST SUNDAY. * TIMING...RAIN THIS EVENING WILL BECOME MIXED WITH SNOW OVERNIGHT...THEN CHANGE OVER TO ALL SNOW SUNDAY MORNING...WITH AREAS SOUTH OF I-72 TAKING THE LONGEST TO FULLY BECOME ALL SNOW. THE SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING. * ACCUMULATIONS...TOTALS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE BY SUNDAY NIGHT...WITH THE HIGHER AMOUNTS NORTH OF THE I-72 CORRIDOR.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has selected 54 year old Don Tracy, a Springfield attorney and businessman, to become Chair of the state's Gaming Board.   He would replace Aaron Jaffe.

A statement from the administration says Tracy has the background and experience to lead the board "dealing with an important industry in Illinois."

Tracy is a partner in the firm Brown, Hay and Stephens LLP.  He is also general outside counsel and part owner along with his siblings of DOT Foods, the nation's largest food re-distributor.

NWS

A winter storm will bring accumulating snow to the area Saturday night through Sunday evening. 

Current indications are for 7 to  9 inches of snow north of a Rushville to Danville line. 

Springfield could see 6 to 8 inches. 

Some blowing and drifting of snow will be possible Sunday afternoon and evening.

The National Weather Service points out the forecast for accumulation could change as new computer models track the storm.

flickr/brownpau

After being turned down for a video gambling license last year, the Springfield airport will try its luck again.

The Director of the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, Mark Hanna, says adding the gambling machines is an opportunity that needs to be explored.

"Just like any other non-aeronautical revenue opportunity, we feel we are doing the responsible thing in actually looking at all available sources of revenue that are out there to offset our expenses and tax burden," Hanna said.

Land of Lincoln Chorus

Things went so well with a December performance that the Land of Lincoln Chorus will return with "An Evening With Irving Berlin" this Friday night.  The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. 

Along with the music, Bob Grant will portray Berlin on stage.

"(Berlin) is quite a fascinating character," Grant said. "Even George Gershwin said that he was the greatest American composer."

chathamschools.org

The Ball-Chatham School District's superintendent is leaving to take a new job.   Carrie Hruby has been in the role since 2012. 

Hruby will become superintendent in O'Fallon's district starting this summer.  She made the announcement today in a letter to staff and parents.

Ratha Grimes from Sarasota, FL, United States - Flickr

More than 2,000 concealed carry permits have been issued in Sangamon County the past year.   Illinois allowed the carrying of concealed weapons a year ago.

The state was the last in the nation to adopt the change.  

Nearly 30 applications have been denied in Sangamon County and 8 permits revoked.  

Overall in Illinois, more than 91 thousand people have been given permits.

Elsewhere in the area, there are more than 13-hundred permits in Macon County and about 350 in Morgan County. 

flyspi.com

In an ever changing industry, Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport is keeping pace.  More travelers are taking flights in to and out of the facility.

Mark Hanna, Executive Director of the Springfield Airport Authority, said the most recent numbers show strong support for flights to Dallas and Florida. 

"We've had numerous conversations with Allegiant," Hanna said. He adds some of discussions have centered on potentially adding flights to Phoenix and Las Vegas, but it's too soon to say what will happen.

ilga.gov

Rep. Raymond Poe is battling a blood disease and is undergoing a bone marrow treatment in Texas. 

That meant he was unable to attend the Springfield inauguration ceremonies Wednesday, when the 99th General Assembly was sworn in. 

Instead, he took his oath at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. A news release says the oath was administered by Judge Michael Landrum of Texas’ 113th District Court in Houston.

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

  WUIS' Amanda Vinicky and Bill Wheelhouse hosted the broadcast from the Prairie Capital Convention Center Monday. 

Ill. State Museum

Near the small town of Gray, Tennessee in the northeast part of that state, some amazing discoveries have taken place.  Most of it in recent years.  Elephants, rhinoceros, red pandas, saber-toothed cats.  Fossils for all have been discovered at the Gray Fossil Site.  They date back around 5 million years.

Brent Bohlen

Freelance travel writer Mary Bohlen tells us about three indoor museums in St. Louis' Forest Park. 

The Missouri History Museum provides an up close look at several unique and important items with a 1904 World's Fair exhibit now underway.

The St. Louis Art Museum includes a modern art collection and works by Degas and Monet.

Millkin University Choir facebook page

Due to an illness, this event has been canceled 

Springfield gets a chance to see a wonderful choral performance Wednesday. 

The Millkin University Choir is starting its winter tour through several states and, once again, the first stop will be at the Central Baptist Church at 501 South Fourth Street. 

Various works will be performed, including material from the recent Vespers shows in the holiday season.
 

flickr/Frank Juarez

Illinois now requires new school construction to include storm shelters.

You can't predict when or where a tornado will strike, but supporters of the new law say schools should be more prepared. 

The law orders districts that take on new construction or remodeling to include a safe place for students to go in the event of a severe storm.  Not everyone agreed with the change.  

Starting this year, home sellers in Illinois need to provide more information to potential buyers. 
Illinois already requires disclosure of problems like asbestos, radon, lead paint... and even if a home was used as a meth lab.  Add to that list... issues with doors and windows.

Some may be warped or leak... and lead to bigger concerns.  

The Friends of Dr. Richard Eells House

Illinois' Governor has posthumously pardoned three men for their work with the Underground Railroad. 

The men all lived in west central Illinois and were convicted more than 170 years ago based on laws that prohibited helping runaway slaves.  Those laws remained in place even after Illinois abolished slavery in 1824.  

Peapod Labs/flickr

Illinois is reporting widespread flu activity earlier than most years.  Widespread means the flu is showing up statewide.  Illinois tracks people hospitalized for the flu. That number is above 200 with nearly half the cases in the week that ended December 13th. 

Of course, that fails to count those who have the symptoms but are recuperating at home.  

Chicago Botanic Garden

It's the most wonderful time of the year.  And Chicago is one of the top locations to visit for the holidays. 

Mary Galligan wrote about some of the most festive attractions in the latest edition of Illinois Times. 

From the Morton Arboretum and Chicago Botanic Garden  to the Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos, Navy Pier, Millenium Park and more.  Holiday light displays and events are sure to delight families.

Springfield public schools have seen higher than normal absences in the past week.  The district won't say if the absences are related to the flu, but local health officials say they are seeing more cases in the area.

District 186 reported last week, about 9 percent of students missed class.  The number was higher at Springfield High, where nearly 11 percent of students were out.  Lanphier had 14 percent absent.

Alternative programs in the district had the highest percentage of student absences.  

flickr/ Jannes Pockele

Americans' love affair with sweets is well known.  It also contributes to health problems like obesity, diabetes and even heart disease.  And where do most people get sugar in their diet?  From sweetened beverages, such as soda.  

That's led some health advocates to push for ways to reduce consumption.  In Illinois, a plan for a penny per ounce tax on the drinks came up last year.  However, it got a cool reception from lawmakers.  

 

The City of Springfield has reached a deal to have the former Esquire Theater demolished. 

The theater closed over a decade ago and the building has remained boarded up since then.  That's despite sitting along a busy stretch of MacArthur Boulevard near South Grand.   Alderman Joe McMenamin says the property's owner has agreed to tear down the building by spring.  The city's ordinance to begin fining vacant property owners was a factor.  He says the threat of fines also made potential buyers nervous:

Il. Supreme Court website - state.il.us/court

The Illinois Supreme Court is allowing a speedy review of a state pension overhaul that a lower court has declared unconstitutional.
 
The court issued an order Wednesday granting the government's request for an
expedited appeal.
 
The court says the government must file its initial argument by Jan. 12. The
other side _ a group of state employees, retired teachers and others _ must
respond by Feb. 27.
 
The case involves the pension fix lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn adopted last

Illinois State Museum

You might not realize it, but the lowly freshwater mussel can fill in some of the gaps of history.  Researchers are doing just that here in Illinois, seeing how mussel species have developed and in some cases, died off.  This type of research also shows the impact of changes in ecosystems.   

UIS Athletics

The University of Illinois Springfield released the following news release on Tuesday, announcing the addition of men's and women's cross country and track and field programs:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – University of Illinois Springfield Director of Athletics Kim Pate has announced the addition of men’s & women’s cross country and men’s and women’s track & field as new intercollegiate sponsored sports for the Prairie Star athletic programs.

The teams are slated to begin competition in the fall of 2015.

grainbeltexpresscleanline.com

A series of public meetings is underway in the area regarding a high voltage transmission line project.

The Grain Belt Express Clean Line is the name of a project that will transport electricity generated by wind power in Kansas to Illinois and other states.  It would run through west central Illinois, starting in Pike County and east into Macoupin, Christian and Shelby counties among others....then on to Indiana.

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