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. 

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, a discussion of the first half of the Fall Veto Session.

SDAT

Encouraging investment in Springfield's downtown is a key part of what the Sustainable Design Assessment Team hopes to accomplish.  

At the downtown farmer's market this Saturday, visitors can see display designs created by several architects.  They offer their vision of what downtown properties could become, with a focus on residential opportunities.

Data shows only 40% of 3rd grade students in Macon County are reading at grade level.  That same percentage applies to those in 11th grade.  1 of every 4 students also fails to graduate high school.  

The alarming statistics are similar to what many areas are facing.  The Education Coalition of Macon County is an initiative reviewing the problem and tying to find solutions.   That includes taking different approaches to what has become the standard for education.

Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki sent this memo out earlier in the day Tuesday, prior to the march and rally in support of same sex marriage at the statehouse:

The Rainbow Sash Movement has encouraged Roman Catholics to come to Springfield to “have a loud Catholic presence for marriage equality.” They have announced plans to gather at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 4:30 p.m. just before the 5:15 p.m. Mass to stand in the Cathedral and indicate that they are there to pray the rosary for “marriage equality.”

news.siu.edu

Mike Lawrence spent years as a journalist covering state government and politics before eventually working as the Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
In between,  he served as press secretary and senior policy advisor to former Governor Jim Edgar.

On this edition of State Week in Review, our panel previews the upcoming fall session of the Illinois General Assembly.  From pensions to same sex marriage to gun crime sentencing, we discuss what may or may not occur. 

Also, the impact of the federal shutdown on state government.   Our guest this week is Gatehouse Media's Doug Finke.

Afscme31.org

Henry Bayer is the Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.  The role puts the union leader in the middle of several battles over benefits and working conditions.  That includes the current dispute involving public pensions.

WUIS

Longtime residents of the Springfield area will recall the Concordia Theological Seminary.  For about 100 years, it taught those who would become leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  The seminary moved to Indiana in 1975.  

Today, the Department of Corrections uses the buildings for training.  The site also housed what was once known as Illinois State University, during Abraham Lincoln's time.

Archer Daniels Midland is on the lookout for a new home for its world headquarters.  And it's not being limited to the midwest.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ADM leaders met with Atlanta officials.

ADM has said it won't comment on sites in the running.   Other reports this week has the company looking at Minneapolis.  Chicago and St. Louis have also been mentioned as possibilities.

sancohis.org

Do you have an idea to show off the history of your community or a special location?  The Sangamon County Historical Society is offering to give money to local projects that create interest in the history of the county.  An online application is available for the grants of up to $1,000.   
Roger Whitaker is President of the Society.  Speaking on WUIS' Illinois Edition, he says the group has already helped other projects become a reality:

Millikin University

Millikin University in Decatur has a new president.  
Trustees at the school hired interim president Patrick White to take the post permanently. He began working in the interim position in July.  
The 64-year-old succeeds Rich Dunsworth, who also held the interim job after Harold Jeffcoat retired in January.  
White had worked as president of Wabash College in Indiana and says he's excited to make the Millikin position permanent.  

State Senator Andy Manar (D - Bunker Hill) is in his first term serving the 48th District.  It stretches from Springfield and Decatur south into Madison County.

Before he was elected, Manar spent time as Chief of Staff to Senate President John Cullerton and served as Chairman of the Macoupin County Board.

Manar sat down with WUIS' Sean Crawford to talk about some of the issues facing state government, including public pensions, tax incentives for ADM, education funding and how he was considered as a possible running mate to former gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley:

Is it worth it to leave one state for another due to taxes?  The National Center for Policy Analysis, a non partisan public policy research group, developed a way to help you determine the answer.  It's an online state  tax calculator.   Pam Villareal is a senior fellow for the Center. She spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford:

Want to try out the calculator?  Find it here.

flickr/TheNationalGuard

Along the plaza across from the Old State Capitol, in a former Osco store, you can find a tribute to the men and women who fought in Korea more than 60 years ago.

But the Korean War National Museum does more than simply honor veterans.  It attempts to educate visitors about the causes of the conflict.  Operating on donations, the museum shows videos and displays items that shows what life was like at that time for those too young to remember the war.

wikipedia

The legend of the Piasa "bird" goes back to the 1600's, when Marquette and Joliet saw a large painting near the Mississippi River where Alton is now located.  But what has been passed down through the years is different than what the original artwork was meant to convey.

Dr. Duane Esarey has researched the Piasa and he'll dispel the myths Wednesday during the state museum science series lecture.   He spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford and straightens us out on the subject.  He says it all goes back to the early explorers' description of what they saw:

nps.gov

Work is almost done on a massive, nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Carl Sandburg.  
The (Galesburg) Register-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1hhDqZx ) the statue of the Pulitzer-winning author and Galesburg native will be set up in the western Illinois community's public square.  
The piece depicts Sandburg with a guitar on his back and his books in one hand, along with his pet goat.  
The statue was commissioned by the Galesburg Public Arts Commission and is being designed by artist Lonnie Stewart.  

New figures released this week by State Farm say Illinois drivers are less likely to hit a deer in the next year.  The insurance company says drivers in the state have a 1 in 214 chance of hitting a deer in the next 12 months. That compares with a 1 in 162 chance last
year. Nationwide, the figure is 1 in 174.
 
Bloomington-based State Farm says Illinois drivers made 39,000 claims last year
for accidents involving deer. Nationwide, there were 1.2 million claims, down
about 3.5 percent.
 

Monica Eng/WBEZ

How well would you do living off $4.80 a day for food? 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is often the way some families get food. The SNAP Challenge is designed to illustrate what it's like to live off the allotment given to those who receive what are commonly called food stamps. 

Willie Nelson has been forced to pull out of the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival and three other shows due to a shoulder injury.  
Nelson's publicist said Wednesday that the 80-year-old country music star is under a doctor's orders to rest his shoulder for a week, meaning he'll miss shows in Carmel, Ind., Charlotte, Mich., Springfield, Ill., and Saturday's appearance at the festival hosted by Zac Brown in Nashville, Tenn. The individual dates have or will be rescheduled.  

Campaign for Better Health Care

The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, is among the most controversial domestic policy laws in history.  And it remains so just days before the next phase launches October 1.   At that time, a window opens allowing comparative shopping for coverage. 

While the debate in Washington continues, we wanted to take a closer look at the law and what it will mean for those who are uninsured and those who already have coverage. 

Congressional website

The U.S. Marshals service is suspending a high-profile auction of clothing and memorabilia belonging to convicted former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. because of questions about the authenticity of some items.  
The agency said Friday that it was scrapping the online auction because of questions about a guitar purportedly signed by Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen.  
The service says it will ``conduct a secondary review'' of the items out of ``an abundance of caution.''  

Springfield Diocese

A priest who formerly served at a Jacksonville church is under investigation for sexual misconduct.   The Springfield Diocese issued a statement saying the Reverend Robert "Bud" DeGrand has temporarily withdrawn from the ministry.   He most recently was involved with parishes in east central Illinois in Sigel, Neoga, Green Creek and Lillyville.

thewitwerfiles.com

D.L. Dennis set out to write a book about a century old chapter in his family's history as well as the history of one west central Illinois town.  The Witwer Files follows his grandfather's time as marshal in the Greene County community of Hillview.  In 1915, Witwer shot and a killed a man and was brought up on charges of murder.  He was eventually acquitted.  

It was 50 years ago this month that a young George Harrison, a virtual unknown, traveled from Great Britain to the United States.  He was coming to visit his sister, Louise, who had moved with her husband to the southern Illinois town of Benton.  

George spent a couple of weeks in that area.  He bought a classic guitar, later used on Beatles' recordings.  He also did a radio interview and camped out in the Shawnee National Forest.  

SIU School of Medicine

Imagine taking a pill before going to a concert to help protect your hearing.  Or taking one afterwards to restore it.  That day may be sooner than you think.  

Dr. Kathleen Campbell, Director of Audiology Research at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, has patented a treatment.  It's currently undergoing a clinical trial. 

Campbell's treatment involved D-methionine, an amino acid. 

Illinois Times

It costs more to go to college these days.  And the way many afford it is to take out loans.  Paying that money back can be more difficult that most realize. The average college student leaves school with more than $26,000 of debt and a growing number are defaulting on their loans. 

Zach Baliva wrote the cover story on the topic in the current edition of the Illinois Times.  He is also hoping to make a documentary film about student debt.

Springfield Diocese

A priest found handcuffed in a church rectory in Springfield last year is returning to the ministry.  The Springfield Diocese issued a statement today saying Father Thomas Donovan will serve as a chaplain to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton.  

Sean Crawford/WUIS

You don't have to be old to give to worthy causes.  In fact, there is a group in the area known as the Young Philanthropists, which provides grants for various needs in the community.  All you have to be is over 21 years old and you can join simply by giving 125-dollars a year.  

Micah Roderick, on the Steering Committee of the Young Philanthropists, and Stacy Reed, Vice President of Programs with the Community Foundation for the Land Of Lincoln, spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford:

waymarking.com

Jameson Jenkins was Abraham Lincoln's neighbor.  The site of his former home is located in the Lincoln Neighborhood.   While Jenkins is far less well-known than the future president who lived a few doors away, he is nonetheless an interesting figure in history.  

WUIS' Sean Crawford spoke about research being done with Lincoln Home National Historic Site Superintendent Dale Phillips and Site Historian Tim Townsend on Illinois Edition:

Randy Eccles / WUIS

Kelly McEvers has spent the past few years covering the Middle East for NPR.  But she has local ties. She was born in Lincoln and her parents still live in the area.  

McEvers visited the WUIS studios and spoke with our Bill Wheelhouse about her lasting impressions from covering areas like Iraq and Syria....

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