Sean Crawford

Content Director/ Editor/ Anchor/ Illinois Edition Host / Reporter

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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Arts
10:48 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

42nd Street At The Little Theatre On The Square

Credit thelittletheatre.org

Sullivan, Illinois is quite a distance from Broadway.  But this small east central Illinois community is the unlikely home of the only professional theatre between Chicago and St. Louis.   The Little Theatre On The Square has been home to quality productions for nearly 60 years.  

Starting this week, another great show is on the schedule and it features Springfield's own Gus Gordon.  He'll play Julian Marsh in 42nd Street.  

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Statehouse
3:22 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

ALPLM Legislation Won't Be Called For Senate Vote This Spring

Credit ALPLM

Any change in oversight for the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will have to wait.   Legislation that would have taken the facility away from the authority of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has stalled in the Illinois Senate.  

Rikeesha Phelon, a spokesperson for the Senate President, says the measure won't be called this spring.  This decision comes after calls for more study.  The plan could be revived in the fall session, following the election later this year.

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Arts
8:00 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Theatre In The Park New Season Begins

Theatre In The Park
Credit Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau

If taking in the arts in the great outdoors interests you, check out Theatre in the Park at Lincoln's  New Salem State Historic Site in Petersburg. The Diary of Anne Frank kicks off the new season Friday night, the first of 6 performances.

Kari Catton is Executive Director of Theatre In The Park.  "It's a piece of history that I believe everybody should know about.  And when we choose our plays out there, we do think about 'Would Abraham Lincoln like to have seen this play?"

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Regional
12:10 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Film Recounts The Lincoln Memorial Garden Designer's Life

Jens Jensen in the Lincoln Memorial Garden planning process
Credit Lincolnmemorialgarden.org

Jens Jensen's work continues on more than 60 years after his death.  The influential  landscape architect is remembered as a conservationist.  His vision is on display at Lincoln Memorial Garden in Springfield, which he designed.  

On Wednesday June 4, a screening of the film "Jens Jensen: The Living Green" will take place at UIS in Brookens Auditorium at 7 p.m.

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Lincoln
8:45 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Effort To Mark Historic Trees At Oak Ridge Cemetery

Credit flickr/DavidWilson

You can take a "Spirited Stroll Into The Past" this Saturday afternoon at Oak Ridge Cemetery.  The Lincoln Monument Association has an event that is designed to raise funds to mark historic trees at the site.   

From 1-4 p.m.,  you can tour and hear about some of those trees, visit the newly renovated Lincoln's Tomb and hear the Springfield Municipal Band perform.  Ice cream and cake will be sold.
 

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Business
3:11 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Unemployment Falls In Springfield, Decatur

Credit Photo Credit http://www.innov8social.com @Innov8Social

Unemployment in the Springfield metro area last month dropped to its lowest level in 6 years.   The rate of 5.7 % is below both the state and national averages.   

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the Springfield area added 2,000 jobs last month, mostly in construction, educational and health services and retail.

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Business
5:25 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Survey Finds Positive Economic Outlook In Sangamon County

Credit Flickr/JimParker

Sangamon County employers have a positive outlook about the economy.  The University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office polls businesspeople twice a year for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. 

This spring's results mark the first time since 2012 that expectations were as high.   However, just over half of  those responding expected employment to stay the same in the county in the next year.     

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Business
4:54 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Business Report: Esquire Theater Future, Ross Isaac Closes And Joe Rogers' Chili To Re-Open

The Esquire Theater in Springfield
Credit CinemaTreasures.org/Norman Plant

Tim Landis, Business Editor of the State Journal-Register, joins WUIS' Sean Crawford for this week's business report.

They discuss how the clock is ticking for the former Esquire Theatre property at MacArthur Boulevard and South Grand Avenue, news involving a pair of restaurants and a court weighs in on Ameren's big project for a transmission line across central Illinois.  

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Sports
8:45 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

UIS Announces First Athletics Hall Of Fame Class

The SSU Prairie Stars soccer team of 1986-87 won the NAIA national championship, and went on to defeat powerful UCLA in the World Collegiate Championship. There they placed second in the world, after losing to the University College of Dublin, 1-0.
Credit library.uis.edu

UIS has a new Athletics Hall of Fame and the first class of inductees have been announced.   The inaugural class includes longtime Athletic Director and soccer coach Aydin Gonulsen.  

His 1986 NAIA National Champion men's soccer team was also selected.  Gonulsen also had two other national titles at UIS.  

Other inductees include soccer player Elias Shehadi, tennis player Carla Mills and Harold Christofilakos, a friend of the Prairie Stars who was a charter member of the school's booster club.    

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Health Desk
5:23 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Mumps Case Involving District 186 Employee

Credit District 186

Springfield District 186 says an employee had a confirmed case of mumps.  The district was notified late Friday.  Officials say the employee had NOT been in contact with any students during the time of being contagious.  

The employee has not been identified, nor the location where they work.  Staff who were in contact with the individual have been notified.

District 186 says a majority of students have received the mumps vaccine.  It says if mumps are confirmed in a school, parents of those kids without immunizations would be notified.  

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Transportation
9:13 am
Fri May 16, 2014

"Curb Your Car" Next Week

Credit Tejvan Pettinger/flickr

The Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission wants you to leave the car at home next week.  Instead, think about biking, walking, running or using the bus.  

Curb Your Car Week begins Monday and several business are offering incentives. There is also a group ride from Washington Park on Wednesday morning, May 21.  A night ride that goes through downtown is on Saturday May 24.

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Education Desk
11:05 am
Wed May 14, 2014

WUIS Engage: Chris Farrell Discusses The Impact Of Education On The Economy

Chris Farrell
Credit Marketplace

On May 2, WUIS held an engagement event at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.  It featured Chris Farrell, Economics Editor for the Marketplace programs and Business Week. 

He touched on several education related topics and gave his views. 

"I think education and local economic development are two sides of the same coin," Farrell said. "When someone says what should we do to grow our economy, simply say education."

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Science
6:21 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Raise A Cup To The "Black Drink"

The yaupon holly, or Ilex vomitoria
Credit US Fish and Wildlife Service/public domain

Imagine a caffeinated concoction that, when ingested, resulted in bouts of vomiting.  You might prefer to stick with your gourmet coffee.

But the "Black Drink" as it is known was part of a ritual. The vomiting was done for purity.  It turns out, early societies imbibed.  Even the Cahokia civilization about 1000 years ago.  That's roughly 500 years earlier than records of consumption elsewhere.  Research has found residue in ceremonial cups that confirm the Black Drink was used at Cahokia.

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Education Desk
5:10 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Pre-K Teacher Named Educator Of The Year

Dee Dee Duffy
Credit Horace Mann

Dee Dee Duffy has been teaching in District 186 for 25 years.  Monday she was honored as the 2014 Horace Mann Educator of the Year.  Duffy is an Early Start Pre-Kindergarten teacher at the Early Learning Center. 

Also, Nichole Heyen, principal of Lincoln Magnet Middle School, was named Administrator of the Year. She's been in District 186 for 14 years.

Both were honored at a luncheon ceremony. 

The program has been in existence since 1998.  An independent panel makes the selections. 

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Education Desk
4:33 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

District 186 Backs State Funding Change

Credit WUIS

Springfield District 186 is endorsing a change in state funding that would benefit the district.  Area Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat, is pushing the idea to re-work how the state doles out money to schools.  Manar says it would provide more equity between wealthy and poor districts.

Springfield public schools would receive nearly 6 percent more under the change. A statement from District 186 says an increase in funding would allow teaching positions to be restored and technology upgrades. It also says it could help avoid future budget cuts.

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Business
8:28 am
Thu May 8, 2014

New Chamber President Says He Will Keep A Local Focus

Chris Hembrough
Credit GSCC

Chris Hembrough said he wasn't looking for a new job.  He's been the Executive Director of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters for the past 7 years.

"I wasn't looking around, but sometimes opportunities come your way, especially when trusted folks give you a lead of advice. So I threw my hat in the ring," Hembrough said.

Hembrough was selected as the new President and CEO of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, starting July 1. 

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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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