Sean Crawford

Content Director/ Illinois Edition

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
10:16 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Sangamon, Menard, Logan, Christian, Mason Counties Added To Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

Emerald ash borerCredit U.S Department of AgricultureEdit | Remove

Twelve counties have been added to Illinois' emerald ash borer (EAB) quarantine, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

The new additions to the boundaries include seven counties where the tree-killing beetle was identified for the first time this year and five that are considered to be at risk of infestation.

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Politics
9:31 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

U-S Senate Candidates Differ On Ebola Response And More

Jim Oberweis (left) and Dick Durbin
Credit WTTW

Ebola has not just dominated the news recently, it has become a point of discussion in campaigns.  It came up in last night's U-S Senate debate, held as part of the public t-v program "Chicago Tonight."

U-S Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, says he favors close monitoring of passengers and quarantining those at high risk of exposure.

But he disagreed with his Republican challenger Jim Oberweis, a state Senator, on the need for a travel ban from certain countries.  

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Arts
1:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

What's New With The Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony? Quite A Lot

Gene Power
Credit SVYS

Music Director Gene Power says he's received a positive response to his plan for a first ever Chamber Music Program. 

"We had about 27 kids who were interested in being in chamber ensembles," he said.  A coach was hired to work with the students after regular practices. 

Power says it's part of a larger effort to bring more visibility to the organization which provides music opportunities for kids at the elementary and secondary school levels. 

The ensembles could also perform at events where live music might be proper, like a holiday party.

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Regional
7:38 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Young Philanthropists Keep Giving Back

Stacy Reed (left) and Sarah Buening
Credit WUIS

Sarah Beuning calls it the "snowball" effect. 

"Young Philanthropists is a giving circle at the Community Foundation for people who want to get involved in philanthropy at kind of an early level," she said.  "The more people who get together, the bigger impact we can have."

Every member gives $125 and the money is pooled and grants are awardedThe next round will be going out soon. A deadline of Nov. 3 is coming fast for those who work with children and want to apply. 

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Regional
4:51 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Making Buildings Healthier From The Inside Out

Credit flickr/JoshuaRothhaas

What chemicals wind up in building materials?   And do they impact your health?   

Those are questions Jeffrey Saad has been asking.   He's deciphering the "recipes" that are used in construction.  The Chicago based architect with Perkins+Will says of the more than 82,000 chemicals registered in the U.S., only about 200 have been analyzed for their potential threats.  And only 5 are banned.

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Education Desk
7:55 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Group Has A Goal Of Improving Access To Preschool In Macon County

Credit flickr: EdenJanineJim

Getting more kids into pre-school might not solve all the problems, but there is mounting evidence that it can help ensure a child gets off to a good start. 

However, some communities struggle to get more youngsters into early learning.  

The Education Coalition of Macon County has studied the issue there and found some pressing needs when it comes to early childhood education. 

Sarah Bjelland is the group's Research and Data Manager.

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Politics
2:27 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Stocks-Smith Says She's Staying Out Of Mayor's Race

Credit Stocks-Smith Campaign for Mayor 2011

The runner up in the 2011 Springfield mayor's contest issued a statement today saying she won't run for the office next year.  

Sheila Stocks-Smith indicated it's not the right time for her to make a bid.  Stocks-Smith finished second to Mayor Mike Houston in the last election. 

Her statement:

"After carefully thought, I have decided that this is not the right time for me to run for Mayor. Instead, I will continue to serve my community and influence positive change in Springfield through my social policy and program work and community activism.” 

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Election 2014
11:36 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

13th Dist. Candidates Talk NAFTA, Ebola During Springfield Debate

Democrat Ann Callis (left) and Republican Rodney Davis in a WUIS/AARP debate at UIS Tuesday, October 21.
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Illinois' declining manufacturing sector led to one candidate for congress calling for repeal of a controversial free trade deal.  The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, has been praised by those who see it as key to opening up new export markets.  But others say it has led to more outsourcing of jobs to other countries.  

Democrat Ann Callis of Edwardsville, who is seeking the 13th Congressional District seat, commented in a Tuesday debate in Springfield that she would support repealing NAFTA. 

Afterward, she walked back those comments:

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Education Desk
3:56 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Decatur Schools Say Employee Who Visited Africa Poses No Ebola Threat

Decatur Public Schools issued a statement today saying a staff member at MacArthur High, who traveled to Africa, has been cleared by a doctor.   The announcement came after concerns from parents over potential exposure to Ebola.  

The district says the individual was in South Africa, outside of the region where Ebola has been concentrated.  

The statement released says the staff member was deemed not to be at risk and after seeing their personal physician, was cleared to return to work. 

The district's statement follows:

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Sports
6:57 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Knights Of Another Sort...

Brad Schaive in full battle gear
Credit Brad Schaive

Brad Schaive wants to make a few things clear about full contact armored fighting.  It's a sport and it's dangerous.   

Schaive would know.  He's a competitor.  He's traveled overseas to go up against some of the best in the world.  But now, the best are coming here. 

Battle of the Nations International Tournament of Chivalry will bring participants from the U.S. and five other countries to Springfield.  The event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Livestock Center is from 12-3 Saturday. 

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Business
10:48 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Business Report: Former Restaurant Near Statehouse Up For Auction; Downtown Springfield Inc. Update

The former Baur's Restaurant
Credit HansenandYoung.com

On this week's WUIS / State Journal-Register Business Report, we discuss a one-time statehouse hangout that is on the auction block.  The former Baur's Restaurant is just south of the capitol complex. 

SJ-R Business Editor Tim Landis tells us the fact the auction has no minimum bid says something about the change in habits during legislative sessions.

We also discuss a judge's order that forces demolition of the Knox Flats building in Springfield and a financial update on Downtown Springfield Inc.

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History
8:05 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series To Focus On "Lincoln's Funeral"

Credit UIS

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, it began a period of mourning that was emphasized in many communities as his funeral train made its way from Washington D.C. to Springfield.

The 17-hundred mile journey had an impact on the nation and certainly those who witnessed it.  But through various eyes, the passing of Abraham Lincoln was seen differently.  

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Statehouse
3:57 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Kent Redfield: Curing Political Corruption One Candidate At A Time

The following is an op-ed written by University of Illinois Springfield Professor Kent Redfield for the U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs:

A former governor was convicted of public corruption a few weeks ago. What many Illinoisans probably found surprising wasn’t the verdict, but the fact that the governor was from Virginia. One wag tweeted, “That’s so Illinois!” When it comes to public corruption, Illinois is the punchline of every joke, even when the corruption is not our own. 

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Regional
9:04 am
Thu October 9, 2014

M.E.R.C.Y. Celebrates 15 Years Amid Financial Challenge

M.E.R.C.Y. Communities began helping homeless mothers and their children 15 years ago in Springfield. The work involved providing transitional and permanent housing, along with other services.

Fundraising and grants has helped cover costs.  But this year, word came that a federal HUD grant won't be renewed.   And unless that money is recouped, some services will be scaled back or eliminated.

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Archaeology
6:17 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

Golden Eagle Site Still Mostly A Mystery

Credit wikipedia/nyttend

An ancient site in present day Calhoun County is the source of intrigue among archaeologists.  Despite it's age and long known existence, little is known about the Golden Eagle site, near where the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers meet.   It features mounds with an earthen enclosure.  Some believe it was a trading center. But questions are plenty.

Jason King is Director of Research for the Center for American Archaeology in Kampsville. 

He's researching the site and will speak about that work at the Illinois State Museum's next Science Series lecture Wednesday night. 

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Health Desk
7:14 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Effort Underway To Gauge Sangamon County Health Needs

Credit rosmary/flickr

You have a chance to give your thoughts about public health in Sangamon County. 

Memorial Medical Center, St. John's Hospital and the Sangamon County Public Health Department are teaming up to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment.  Information is being gathered through five local forums starting this week and an online survey.

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Lincoln
1:46 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Mary Todd Lincoln And Spiritualism

Jean H. Baker
Credit Goucher.edu

In a nation devastated by the Civil War, spiritualism offered grieving families some hope of connecting with lost loved ones. It also gave women another outlet for their energy and influence in a society that sharply limited women’s roles.

Jean H. Baker, author of “Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography,” visits the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Sept. 30 to discuss spiritualism and attempts to contact the dead.

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Business
1:09 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Tim Landis: Bike Lanes, Medical Marijuana And Meat

Credit SJ-R.com

On this week's WUIS / State Journal-Register Business Report with Tim Landis, we discuss an effort by Magro's Meat Processing of Auburn to locate a store in Springfield.  Neighbors have rejected a plan for animal slaughtering in the area along Stevenson Drive.  Springfield's Planning and Zoning Board has also denied the request. 

Also, mixed reviews so far for bike lanes along a downtown street and a push to bring a medical marijuana dispensary to the city's downtown.

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

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Op-Ed
3:47 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Chris Mooney: More Evidence-Based Policymaking Needed

Chris Mooney
Credit IGPA

Chris Mooney is Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.  The following is an article he authored:

Prisons vastly are overcrowded. College tuition is rising fast. Roads and bridges are crumbling. Public pensions are on the verge of disaster.

Why is Illinois state government so inept? While public problems are inherently difficult to solve, Illinois seems to be particularly adrift these days.

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Business
3:58 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Illinois Unemployment Falls Again

Credit flickr/Simon Cunningham

Illinois unemployment fell in August to 6.7 percent, the sixth straight monthly decrease in the state's jobless rate, according to figures released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  

The latest figure represents a drop from 9.2 percent one year ago and marks the largest year-over-year decline since 1984. The last time the rate was lower than 6.7 was in July 2008, when it was 6.6 percent.  

There are 40,600 more jobs than one year ago, the department said.  

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Regional
6:39 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Teen Arrested For Threat Against Glenwood High School

A 17 year old was taken into custody this morning after school officials and Chatham police were alerted to a message posted on Twitter.

The teen, whose identity is not being released, was arrested at his home for making an electronic threat and aggravated battery of a police officer.  Chatham Sgt. Scott Tarter said an officer was scratched when making the arrest.

Few other details are available as the case remains under investigation.  Tarter described the threat as "general" in regards to violence, "but definitely directed at the school."

Business
4:18 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

White Oaks Mall Owner Now Part Of Legacy Pointe Outlet Project

Credit LegacyPointe.net

A major retail development planned near the Scheel's store in Springfield will now involve the company that runs White Oaks Mall.

Simon Property Group has joined with Global Outlet Management to build 80 outlet stores at MacArthur Boulevard and I-72.

It's being called a 50/50 partnership.  David Ober, with Global Outlet Management out of Hershey, Pennsylvania, says the two companies teaming up means the development will be opening next year.

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Regional
12:11 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

The Future Of Downtown Springfield Inc. In Jeopardy

A scene from the Old Capitol Art Fair in downtown Springfield
Credit flickr/Katherine Johnson

Without some help, Downtown Springfield Incorporated could cease to exist in just over a month.  The organization that helps put on events like the downtown farmer's market, blue and bar-b-q and serves as an umbrella group for various businesses is on the ropes financially. 

Victoria Ringer, Executive Director, says a 2012 Taste of Downtown event suffered from extreme heat, which kept patrons away.  After making up part of that loss, this year's outdoor blues show also lost money because of heat.

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Education Desk
4:17 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Unloaded Gun Found At Southeast High

Credit District 186

An unloaded gun was discovered at Southeast High School today.   District officials say the gun was not found on a person, but suspects have been detained.   An investigation is continuing.  

The district also says the discovery came after a tip was given to the school.  That prompted what's known as a soft lock down as a precaution.  

Increased security is planned for tonight.  Southeast hosts Chatham Glenwood in a football game this evening.
   
It was just over two weeks ago that a Lanphier student was arrested for bringing a loaded gun to school.

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Statehouse
5:55 am
Thu September 11, 2014

WUIS Archives: 9/11 Update

Credit WUIS/Brian Mackey

Everyone remembers where they were 13 years ago today, September 11, 2001. 

WUIS' Sean Crawford was preparing for a typical day covering state government and politics at the capitol building.  But as word of the terrorist attacks in New York spread, Illinois authorities made the rare decision to close state offices. 

The day changed America and how the State of Illinois operated.  Security increased in the years after.  New focus was put on preparedness efforts. 

From our archives, here is Crawford giving an update on 9/11 to Illinois Public Radio's Tom Rogers.

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Higher Ed
2:43 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

UIS Enrollment Hits All-Time High

Credit UIS.edu

Enrollment at the University of Illinois Springfield has surpassed 5,400 for the first time in the school's history.  300 more students are on campus this fall compared to a year ago.

The fall census of students eclipsed the previous record set four years ago with 5,431 students enrolled.  It also marks the fifth consecutive year that enrollment has topped 5,000.

 The number of international students increased more than 115 percent, to 827 this fall.  

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Business
1:15 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

WUIS/SJ-R Business Report: Residents Balk At Meat Processing; Uncertain Future Of Legacy Pointe

Credit SJ-R.com

The State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis explains residents are upset about a plan to open a meat market along Stevenson Drive in the old Eagle Supermarket building. The concern comes from a proposal to allow animal slaughtering on site.

Also, Legacy Pointe was supposed to have had outlet stores and a lot more by now.  The delay of development has led to questions about the project ever coming to fruition.  

And, Downtown Springfield Inc. could be running out of money as early as next month. What happened and will the city come to the rescue?

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Harvest Desk
9:03 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Heirloom Seeds Passed Down Through Generations

Steve Carlson handles some seeds of Trail of Tears corn. During the forced march in the 1830s from the southeastern U.S. to Oklahoma and Arkansas, Cherokee planted these seeds along the way. (Photo by Sarah Boden / Harvest Public Media)

Most vegetable seeds today are bred by seed companies to be hearty and easier to grow. They’re created by cross-breeding different varieties and selecting for specific characteristics. Heirloom seeds are different. Like your grandmother’s engagement ring, heirloom seeds have been passed down through generations. And today’s gardeners likely wouldn’t have access to For many of their favorite heirloom plants if it weren’t for the work of the Seed Savers Exchange.

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Science
12:30 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Science Lecture On Violent Past At Morton Village

Dr. Jodie O'Gorman at Morton Village
Credit http://mortonvillage.anthropology.msu.edu

The next Illinois State Museum Science Series lecture is this Wednesday night, Sept. 10. 

Dr. Jodie O'Gorman has been researching a 700 year old site in Fulton County called Morton Village.

It's where two groups met, lived and apparently fought.  While the site is a tranquil setting these days, evidence points to high rate of violent deaths.   Understanding how a migrant group called Oneota and local Mississippians got along, and sometimes didn't, is the focus of the work.

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Regional
7:46 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Side Trips Along The Mother Road: Rt. 66 Signs And Statues To Spotlight Towns

Credit Illinois Rt. 66 Scenic Byway

Traveling along Route 66 in Illinois, you pass a lot of small communities.  And when you pass them by, you are missing out on history. 

A new project will showcase some points of interest. A series of interpretive signs and two-dimensional iron statues are being placed in 9 areas. 

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