Sean Crawford

Managing Editor / Illinois Edition


Advisory Board Ex-Officio


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. 

Ways to Connect

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 -

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.

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.


Don Fullerton is associate director of IGPA for Urbana-Champaign and a member of the IGPA faculty. He is an expert on tax policy, energy and environmental policy issues. Julian Reif is an expert in health economics and policy.

They wrote the following op-ed.

Last year, the Panzier Lane bridge in Jefferson County collapsed while a truck was driving over it. The driver was unharmed, but as reconstruction began last month, officials estimated it will cost more than half a million dollars to repair.


Community Colleges do more than simply of for-credit classes.  They are a place where personal enrichment can be discovered. 

Jamie Stout is the Community Education Director for Lincoln Land Community College. She joined WUIS' Sean Crawford to talk more about some of the offerings, ranging from culinary classes to ghost hunting. 


Visitors to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum will have a rare opportunity to see some important historical documents and others items pertaining to the 16th president. 

"Undying Words - Lincoln 1858-1865" is a new exhibit that showcases the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment, the Gettysburg Address and more. 

"We wanted to focus on what was critical in Lincoln's life and in the nation's life.  And that comes down to his last 7 years," said James Cornelius, Curator of the Lincoln Collection.

Jeff Turner/flickr

WUIS' Sean Crawford talks with Tim Landis, Business Editor for the State Journal-Register, on our weekly business report. 

This week, we hear about foreclosure sales returning to normal levels in the Springfield area.  We also discuss a study of the Heritage River Trail from Petersburg to Decatur and what improvements could be made to help tourism and recreation. 

Also, a court-ordered deadline is fast approaching to clean up the former CIPS Icehouse at 918 E. Edwards St.

flickr/Curtis Albert

If you are in the mood to travel, you might think about far away distances.  But there are plenty of things to see right here in Illinois and the midwest.  That's the focus of a new segment on Illinois Edition on WUIS. 

Mary Bohlen and Mary Galligan write travel articles for the Illinois Times.  Their trips are within a day's drive.  They look for affordable, family friendly destinations.  From state parks to small towns to big city amenities.


The next president of the University of Illinois will be announced Wednesday.   The announcement will be made on all three campuses.  

Board chair Christopher Kennedy and other university officials will introduce the schools' choice to head the U of I.  A news release did not mention the choice.

President Robert Easter will retire next summer.  He has served in that role for 3 years after being on the faculty and serving as an administrator at the Urbana Champaign campus.   

Tim Landis headshot

On this week's WUIS/State Journal-Register Business Report, Tim Landis tells us about the Grain Belt Express transmission line project across central Illinois, efforts to save another historic building in Springfield and expansion of a senior living complex. 

flickr/Matty Ring

A newly released survey shows a majority of Illinois residents are satisfied with the performance of their local police department.  But the numbers also show differences of opinion along racial lines. 

The statewide survey shows overall, 7 of 10 people in Illinois give police good marks.  But African Americans are more split, with only about half giving a commendable rating.

flickr/United Soybean Board

Agricultural runoff is a problem in Illinois and many other farm states.  Nitrogen, phosphorous and chemicals help with yields, but too much winds up in the water supply.   That creates problems like algae growth that robs the water of oxygen, killing off aquatic life. 

Jean Payne represents fertilizer and chemical dealers in the state.  She says a training program will launch this winter in an effort to get farmers better educated on how to apply nutrients to their crops, including the best time for application and proper amounts. 


It was 100 years ago that community foundations began.  It was in Ohio.

"It was actually a banker from Cleveland who thought,there's all these charitable trusts being formed.  If we consolidated these it could be more efficient for philanthropy," said John Stremsterfer, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln.  

Based in Springfield, it serves Sangamon, Cass, Christian, Logan, Menard, Morgan, and Montgomery counties. The organization helps match donors with specific causes. 


Deer can be more than a nuisance. They can be dangerous when they venture on to roads.  

Illinois saw a one percent drop in the number of crashes in 2013,but there were still over 15-thousand accidents.  There was also a slight increase in injuries from those collisions and six people died.

Madison and Cook County led the way in the number of deer-vehicle accidents with well over 400 each.

A recent Mississippi River Bridge project at St. Louis has given the opportunity to take a look back in time.  Excavations took place near I-70 and the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge.

The research uncovered  information about a prehistoric civilization at the site.  But Dr. Claire Dappert, Historic Archaeologist at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, says a lesser publicized part of the project involves residential neighborhoods that existed about 100 years ago around the St. Louis National Stockyards.

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.


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.  


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.


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. 


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.

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.

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.” 

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: