Illinois Edition

Weekdays Noon-1 PM, rebroadcast 7-8 PM

The news in Illinois that affects you is delivered daily on Illinois Edition.  Politics, education, the arts and life -- it's Illinois.  Explained.  The newsmakers and people of Illinois that are making waves make the airwaves daily.

Listen to broadcasts on:

  • NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS, Springfield (central Illinois)
  • 89.3 IPA, Pittsfield (west central Illinois)
  • 580 WILL-AM, Urbana (east central Illinois)

Special segments air weekly:

Mondays

  • P-Units, parent from around the state chat with host Rachel Otwell about issues of the day affecting parents and their children, as well as age-old dilemmas.  From discipline, to how to talk about complicated news items, through tips on saving money and keeping a clean house -- hear from parents with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

Thursdays

  • The Scene, which explores the arts across Illinois; from cultural happenings to the artists and musicians.

Fridays

  • State Week, where the panel dissects the past week in Illinois politics and updates listeners with insider information from the state capital in Springfield.

Illinois Edition began airing on a daily basis in 2012.

The Scene With Photographer David Brodsky

Apr 28, 2016
brodskyphotoart.com

This week The Scene is joined by guest host David Brodsky, who often takes pictures of unwitting subjects. You can find a profile piece about him here. A collaborative show will include his work, it's called Translations and opens on Friday night. Take a listen to learn more:

This week we talk about an upcoming art show at The Pharmacy gallery in Springfield featuring the work of longtime friends and artists Wendy Allen & Carol Bridges who both create unique and colorful pieces using textiles. Both women are inspired in part by their own sense of spirituality... Tune in!

Harrison Chancy and Joseph Hurst
Illinois Department of Corrections

A Sangamon County judge has declined to give a group of Illinois prisoners a new parole hearing — at least for now.

The case has to do with a formal process for assessing how much of a risk certain prisoners pose. The Department of Corrections was supposed to have this risk-assessment tool in place by 2013. But three years later, it’s just now beginning to roll it out.

A pair of the state’s longest serving inmates have sued over the delays.

United States Congress

Another Illinois politician is facing potential prison time. This time it's Dennis Hastert, a former Republican Illinois Representative who served as the US Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007.  Hastert, now 74 years old, grew up in northern Illinois and spent time as a high school teacher and wrestling coach before making his way into politics. A hush money case that surfaced about a year ago and dredged up allegations of prior sexual abuse has him in the national spotlight.

flickr/Ben Salter

Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Tim Landis:

Rachel Otwell

It's now close to a year since Illinois had a budget in place. The impasse has led to increased attention for what many consider a financial crisis. On Sunday, comptroller Leslie Munger announced pay for the legislature and its constitutional officers will be delayed, as have many payments for vendors and service-providers . The amount of unpaid bills is nearing $8 billion. Meanwhile, some members of the legislature are trying to pass a measure that would cease their pay as well - and make it contingent on passing a "balanced budget."

Shakespeare400Chicago.com

William Shakespeare comes alive this year in Chicago, as the city celebrates the poet and playwright’s legacy, marking the four centuries since his death in 1616 with a fabulous international arts festival.  With more than 850 events in venues across the city, the Shakespeare 400 Chicago Festival offers exciting plays, operas, art exhibitions, dance and even cuisine that will make his works come to life. You’ll want to brush up on your Shakespeare and plan a Chicago visit this spring or summer, when many events are scheduled.

Aubrey Fletcher knew she wanted to work on a dairy farm ever since she was a little girl.

“I do remember my mom asking, ‘Are you sure that’s what you want to do?’” Fletcher recalls.

Fletcher knew the work was tough, she grew up milking cows every day. After college she and her husband wanted to return to his family farm, but it wasn’t making financial sense.

“The farm couldn’t necessarily  provide both of us with salaries,” says Fletcher. “So we thought, ‘Why not take our premium milk and take that a little further?’”

Rachel Otwell

A student at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana was charged with murder this week, after she turned herself in and showed authorities the body of a newborn in her back-pack. Authorities say Lindsay Johnson - 20 years old from Monee - suffocated her son last month after giving birth to him in a dorm bathroom.

Rachel Otwell

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Each year over 500 people in central Illinois who are victims of sexual violence are given counseling, legal and medical advice and support, and even clothing if needed, all at no charge to them. That’s through Springfield's Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault – in the state there are 28 other similar groups, all part of a state coalition.

WUIS

Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Tim Landis:

c-uphd.org

In Illinois, House bill 6073 would make it so transgender people can change the sex designation on their birth certificate without having to have reassignment surgery. Proponents of the measure say it's a needed change since not all trans people want the surgery, and many who do can't afford it. 

Kari Bedford / jirwinmusic.com

It's a family affair this week as Tom Irwin and son John Irwin join us in the studio. They tell us about their current musical projects and share a tune, recorded live, as the song of the week! Tune in:

Events discussed this week include:

christieblizard.com

Christie Blizard is an artist and professor from San Antonio, Texas. She's in Springfield setting up an installation in the alternative art space on the Springfield Art Association's campus, known as the Demo Project. Blizard spent 2015 making several appearances in the crowds holding signs for the Today Show & Good Morning America. (You can find some of those here.) A reception for her show called 'The Sex of Life' is planned for Friday night.

mergerecords.com/ivy-tripp

Katie Crutchfield, a.k.a Waxahatchee, has - much to her own surprise, become an indie-rock darling with national recognition. Her newest album, Ivy Tripp, has been critically acclaimed (ie: here &  here), as have her previous two records. The name of the project comes from a creek in Alabama – which is Crutchfield’s home state. 

Stateville Correctional Center
Google Maps

Last December, the state of Illinois tentatively agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over the treatment of prisoners with mental illness. But changes to mental health at the Department of Corrections have been slow in coming, in part because Illinois has gone more than 9 months without a budget.

Local artist Wendy Allen along with Carol Bridges, an artist from Indiana, have a show and workshops coming up in Springfield, including a talk about "The Intersection of Art and Spirituality" at The Pharmacy in Springfield on Wednesday. Both work with textiles and have colorful artwork that celebrates various spiritual aspects and lives of women.

Springfield is the seat of state government, yet one of the more influential grassroots groups in Illinois has no official presence in the city.  The Illinois League of Women Voters wants to change that. 

Jack McCoullough has been serving a life sentence for a 1957 kidnapping and murder. He was convicted in 2012 — more than 50 years after the crime happened.

Last week, the local prosecutor told a judge that he reviewed evidence showing McCoullough did not commit the crime. Now age 76, McCullough is hoping to get out of prison.

wikimedia

This week, authorities in Illinois are finalizing the results of this month’s primary elections.

Turnout was record-setting, and that left an unknown number of voters disenfranchised by ballot shortages and long waits at the polls. But officials say they don't believe there was any nefarious intent.

The Scene: Vachel Lindsay & Contemporary Poetry

Mar 30, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

This week we talk about a "SlutWalk" planned for this weekend, and Nikki Overcash joins us to discuss one of Springfield's literary heroes and ways to celebrate National Poetry Month in town (click here for a list of those events.) Tune in!

Amanda Vinicky

It had been a long time coming, but Illinois' pilot program for medical marijuana has finally kicked off last November. It's been slow growing for the industry so far, and there are many restrictions.  The business HCI Alternatives has two medical marijuana dispensaries in the state now. 

Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Tim Landis.

When Rivers Can't Be Controlled, Farmers Are Left In Limbo

Mar 29, 2016

Driving along rough and muddy gravel roads next to what was once a rich soybean field, farmer Adam Thomas gazes out on an upended mess of tubes, wheels and hoses from a nearby farmer’s irrigation system.

Brian Mackey / WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday struck down another attempt to control the cost of government pension benefits.

This time it was Chicago city employees and retirees whose pensions were being targeted. The retirement system for one set of workers is projected to be insolvent in about a decade.

In 2014, the Illinois General Assembly changed the rules, but in Thursday's 5-0 ruling, the Supreme Court found that unconstitutional.

Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey spoke with his colleague Amanda Vinicky about the decision.

Spirituality is a topic not often discussed on the radio, or in the mainstream media as a whole. Yet it's something that's a major part of many people's lives. Even those who are agnostic or atheist may be interested in hearing about various religions - the ways they differ, and also what they have in common. Some may choose to buck religion, but still want to hold onto some aspects of spirituality.

During the season of Lent, many Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays. Fish, though, is considered fair game, so the Friday night fish fry has become an annual tradition at churches across the country.

With the move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba and President Obama's visit to the country, we remember a trip an Illinois governor took there nearly 17 years ago.

flickr/Mark Goebel

Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

Rachel Otwell

In some schools around the state - fewer art classes are being taught. Meanwhile, art advocates say they help students creatively problem solve and art is crucial for a well-rounded curriculum.

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