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

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. 

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.

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. 


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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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."  

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.

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.

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."

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.  

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.


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."


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. 

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.


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. 

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.

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.

Historic sites. Abraham Lincoln. Food. Location. 

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


A longtime aide to top Democratic officials in Illinois has died.   Gene Callahan passed away Monday morning at the age of 80 at his Springfield home.   Callahan worked for Alan Dixon, Paul Simon and Sam Shapiro. 

In an interview with the Lincoln Presidential Library's Oral History Program in 2011, Callahan talked about he was most proud of during his time in government:

13th District candidate for Congress Ann Callis has invited the new Veterans Affairs Secretary to visit VA facilities in the district.

Callis, a Democrat,  sent a letter to Robert McDonald this week.  In it, she specifically mentions facilities in Springfield and Decatur along with St. Louis' John Cochran Hospital. 

Langfelder campaign

Springfield City Treasurer Jim Langfelder has announced he will run for Springfield mayor next year.  The son of former mayor Ossie Langfelder says the theme of his campaign is simple:

"You should do what's best for the city.  That's what it's all about.  That's how I ran the treasurer's office, to do what's in the best interest, protecting city funds, putting in safeguards and changing the way we do business in the treasuer's office.  And if you do that, everything else takes care of itself," Langfelder said. 


If you thought last month was unseasonably mild in Illinois, you were correct.  In fact, it tied the record for the coolest July. 

State climatologist Jim Angel says this July matched the one in 2009 for cool temperatures.  
The statewide average was 70.3 degrees, a big departure from what is usually a hot and sticky time in the midwest.


University of Illinois Springfield Athletics unveiled a new logo and brand identity today.   It will be phased in over the next 3 years on athletic uniforms, beginning with the men's basketball and baseball teams. 
The tagline "Rise Here, Rise Now" was also introduced.

You'll begin seeing it more in marketing, including plans to hang a banner in the White Oaks Mall and a billboard along Sixth Street.

A new professional vocal ensemble will hold its first concert Sunday in Springfield.  The Gloriana Chamber Choir features several who teach music and voice as well as others. 

The Conductor and Artistic Director Dr. Elizabeth W. Zobel of Blackburn College is the founder and she spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford about the endeavor. 

The choir performs at 4 p.m. Sunday August 3 at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield.  The performance will feature English music. 


You may know the story of the war between the states.  But what is often overlooked is the emotional drama the period had on those who lived through it.

The musical "The Civil War" brings that part of the story to the stage in downtown Springfield starting Thursday night. 

"It's not a history lesson, although you learn a lot," Co-director Phil Funkenbusch said. "It's really a concert theatre piece."

"Instead of telling the story of the Civil War, it's really telling the stories about the people involved in the war."


The University of Illinois Springfield has announced Shannon Nicholson will be the school's new softball coach. 

Nicholson is from Chatham.  She spent the past six years at Illinois State, most recently as the pitching coach there.

“Being a head coach at such a great Institution is a true privilege and I can’t wait to get started," Nicholson said in a news release. 

If you love Elvis, get ready for the next Springfield Muni production.  All Shook Up begins a 3 week run Friday night.

We had a chance to speak with Jacob Deters, an SHG grad who plays "Dennis", Glenwood grad Sophie Lanser, who portrays "Natalie/Ed" and the director Anna Bussing.  It's her first time directing, but she's been part of the Muni family for years, first appearing as a kid on the lakeside stage. 

Deters and Lanser also give us a sample of the dialogue and perform a song.