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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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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Historic Preservation
6:47 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Landscaping Changes Aim To Bring More Visitors To Old State Capitol

It's been the town square of Springfield since it was built.  But the Old State Capitol grounds has taken on a varied look through the years. 

And an effort is underway to do something different and better.

A lawn party is being held this Saturday afternoon from 5 to 7 at the site to raise money for beautifying the grounds.   

While the location is teeming with history, from it's role as the home of state government, to it's ties to Lincoln and later, Obama, something is still missing.

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Springfield Mayor's Race
11:16 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Alderman Is 4th Candidate To Announce For Springfield Mayor

Gail Simpson
Credit Alderman Gail Simpson Facebook page

    A member of Springfield's city council says she is running for mayor.  Alderman Gail Simpson, who is African American, says the community is too segregated, and she is better equipped than the other candidates to fix that problem. 

“I have a concern with a total part of this city – it’s not just the east side, because there are residents on the south, east, and north side that don’t have a voice. You know – they’re two cities,” Simpson said. 

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Education Desk
4:27 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Statewide School Webinar Planned For Next Week

Credit SethSawyers/Flickr

An internet event next week is aimed at reaching out to parents in the state. 
The Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois PTA have teamed up to offer their first Back To School webinar on Tuesday September 9.   It will feature the state superintendent and others giving parents more details about changes in schools.  That includes new learning standards and tests.

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Science
6:26 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Look At The Stars: Research And Parties At UIS

Eta Carinae nebula
Credit Marc VanNorden/flickr

The popular star parties resume this Friday night on the University of Illinois Springfield campus, weather permitting.  They are hosted by Dr. John Martin, Associate Professor of Astronomy/Physics. 

Visitors are asked to arrive between 8-10 p.m. at the UIS Observatory on the roof of the Brookens Library. 

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Regional
8:14 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Jimmy Carter To Speak At Illinois College Next Month

Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter is coming to Jacksonville next month.    Carter will speak on the campus of Illinois College October 14.  

The visit is part of the Phi Alpha lecture series.    The college's spokesman Todd Spann says more details will be released later.

President Carter will turn 90 years old next month.  He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for human rights work.  He served one term as president from 1977-1981.

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Business
12:43 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

WUIS/SJ-R Business Report: Casey's Expansion; Parsons In Court; Farmland Prices Fall

Tim Landis
Credit SJ-R.com

This week, State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis tells us about the growth of Casey's General Stores and the company's plans for the future. 

We'll also get an update on the case against THR and Associates founder Jeff Parsons and the decline in farmland prices.

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Business
10:56 am
Tue August 26, 2014

WUIS/SJ-R Business Report: Ameren Gas Upgrades; Carpenter St. Underpass; Pease's Design Change

Tim Landis
Credit SJ-R.com

Ameren has begun a huge upgrade of gas lines that could take a decade to complete. 

The State Journal-Register's Tim Landis tell us while the company says it's needed, consumers will be paying for the work. 

The start of construction on an underpass along Carpenter Street is part of Springfield's rail relocation.  A groundbreaking was held for that project in the past week. 

Also, Pease's Candy is known for the pink box it's had since the 1930's.  But the packaging is getting a bit of a facelift.  

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Statehouse
6:17 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

Rep. Poe To Undergo Stem Cell Transplant

Rep. Raymond Poe (R-Sherman)
Credit ilga.gov

An area lawmaker says his prognosis is good as he battles a blood disease.

Republican House member Raymond Poe of Sherman will go to Texas for a three week treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS.   He'll have a stem cell transplant to replace bone marrow. That's the same procedure Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts underwent.

"They said there's an 80 percent chance.  They're very successful," he said. "They do more than 200 a year.  And so that's what we're gonna go do.  And the nice thing is it's a cure, it's not just a treatment."  

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Education Desk
5:53 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Next U Of I President To Make More Money

Credit flickr/creative commons I love butter

An employee of the firm helping the University of Illinois search for a new president says the school should expect to pay a salary in line with its status as a top university.

Data that Laurie Wilder of Parker Executive Search presented Wednesday to members of the university's search committee made clear that will likely mean paying more than current President Bob Easter earns.  

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Business
7:27 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

WUIS/SJ-R Business Report: The Future Of The Esquire Theatre; Slowing Downtown Spfld. Traffic

Tim Landis
Credit SJ-R.com

On this week's WUIS/State Journal-Register Business Report, Sean Crawford talks with the SJ-R's Tim Landis about efforts to re-develop property along MacArthur Boulevard that was the home to the Esquire Theatre.  One developer has pulled out and nearby residents have their ideas on what should happen there.

The discussion also centers on downtown Springfield traffic.  It's on the minds of businesses and residents in that area.  There's a plan to slow things down and make it more pedestrian friendly.   

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Election 2014
1:53 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Rodney Davis Says "Do Nothing Congress" Criticism Unfair

Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville)
Credit RodneyDavis.house.gop

Congressman Rodney Davis says despite pundits calling attention to what might be an historic low for passing bills, this congress can point to some key accomplishments. 

"Just a few months ago, we were able to pass a long term farm bill that had been held up by political, partisan purposes," he said.    "That bill also saved taxpayers $23 billion in unnecessary spending, got rid of direct payments and made sure that those who need food assistance are going to get food assistance."

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Education Desk
9:09 am
Tue August 19, 2014

WUIS Education Desk: Springfield Mayoral Candidates Talk District 186

The mayor of Springfield has no authority over the public school district.  But with so many campaign promises dependent on growing the city's tax base and population, District 186's image is pertinent in the race.

Those who have announced a bid for mayor include the incumbent Mike Houston, Sangamon County Auditor Paul Palazzolo and City Treasurer Jim Langfelder.

The WUIS Education Desk asked all three candidates about their views of the district, including how to deal with revenue problems.  

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Regional
3:29 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Rochester Body Identified

Skeletal remains discovered in Rochester last month have been positively identified as those of a Decatur woman.

The Sangamon County Coroner, Cinda Edwards, says DNA  testing confirmed the identity as 43 year old Tracy Trimby.   Relatives were notified a couple of weeks ago, but the name had been withheld from the public until now.  

The remains were found when someone was cleaning out the shed on July 19.  
Police say Trimby's name was not on any lists of missing people. Authorities believe her death was a homicide because items in the shed were stacked on her.

Election 2014
3:55 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Callis Says Plenty Of People Worried About Jobs, Economy

Ann Callis
Credit WUIS

Ann Callis says she has talked to people throughout the 13th congressional district during her campaign and one theme comes through loud and clear.

"It all comes down to jobs. People want good, livable wage jobs," she said.  The Democratic candidate stopped in Springfield Wednesday to attend party events in connection with the Illinois State Fair.  

"(People) worry about their future.  I hear from college students. They worry about student loans.  From people that have graduated, they worry about student loan debt."

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Regional
4:43 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Police Searches More Likely For Minority Drivers In Springfield

Credit flickr/JasonRojas

A new report finds signs of racial bias in data collected about police searches during traffic stops in Illinois.  

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois released the report Wednesday.   It suggests police are nearly twice as likely to ask blacks and Latino drivers to consent to vehicle searches during traffic stops than they are to ask whites. But white drivers are about 50 percent more likely to have contraband found during such a search. 

Springfield numbers are similar to the statewide findings. 

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Mayor's Race
4:47 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Langfelder Says Springfield Needs Better Jobs

Jim Langfelder

Economic growth in Springfield is expected to be a top issue in the race for mayor next year.   Jim Langfelder is among those running for the position.  The current city Treasurer says Springfield needs to find ways to bring in more high paying jobs to go along with retail expansion:

"It's great to see Scheels.  I think that was an anchor that helped spur development along MacArthur (Boulevard). I grew up in that area and went to school in that area.  So I have seen the deterioration from what it once was. What I would like to see are professional jobs being created," he said.

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Arts
11:11 am
Tue August 12, 2014

A Lifelong Love Affair With The Arts

Credit SAAC

Penny Wollan-Kriel will retire at the end of next month as Executive Director of the Springfield Area Arts Council.  But she won't give up her connection to the arts community. 

'I am definitely staying back.  I do not want to be someone looking over the shoulder of the new Executive Director," she said.  "I will continue my involvement in the arts and with children."

She is a Springfield native who grew up dancing. Her  connection to the arts goes back to her childhood. Wollan-Kriel has spent a combined 17 years with the arts council. 

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Regional
2:09 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Around For A Century Or More

Wrigley Field

This Saturday, the Illinois State Historical Society will honor several businesses, municipalities, libraries and non-profits that have been around for 100 years or more. 

It's am impressive list, ranging from Wrigley Field and the Great Lakes Naval Base to the Illinois School for the Deaf and the country's oldest Dodge dealership.

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Politics
8:34 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Candidate Interview: Paul Palazzolo Says Springfield Should Target Growth

Paul Palazzolo

It won't happen until 2015.  But the race for Springfield mayor is on.  So far, three candidates have announced they will seek the office.  Among them, the Sangamon County Auditor Paul Palazzolo.  He says if he's elected,  a major focus will be on growing the population. 

He says the city's medical district and other assets could help him reach his goal.  His target is to boost the number of residents from the current 117-thousand up to 124-thousand by the end of the decade.  

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Business
7:01 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Springfield Tourism: More Than Just Abe?

Cars on display at the Route 66 Mother Road Festival
Credit VisitSpringfieldIllinois.com

Historic sites. Abraham Lincoln. Food. Location. 

Whatever drives people to Springfield, the capital city is rebounding when it comes to tourism. 

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