Illinois Edition

Weekdays at Noon and 7 PM

Illinois Edition is the news magazine covering the news and culture of IllinoisWeekdays at noon and  7 PM. 

Sean Crawford hosts.  Produced by Rachel Otwell.  

Ways to Connect

Artists Document Farmland's Transition To Wetland

Oct 12, 2015
Rich Egger

The Emiquon Corps of Discovery describes itself as a group of volunteers trained to analyze with the mind of a scientist, see with the eyes of an artist, and speak with the words of a poet. And that's what they've done for 10 years on the 9,000 acre Emiquon Nature Preserve along the Illinois River near Lewistown.

As the budget gridlock continues, downstate Republicans are finding themselves having to balance support for the Governor with constituent concerns.

One of those lawmakers is C-D Davidsmeyer.

'SamJam: Unplugged on the Prairie' is inspired by its namesake, Sam Oswald. Sam was born with an illness that is not known by many - and can result in a host of issues including spine damage and tumors. The disease is called Neurofibromatosis, or N.F. At the age of 30, Sam, from Carlinville, has waged many battles against the illness, and maintains a positive attitude.

In order to grow massive amounts of corn and soybeans, two crops at the center of the U.S. food system, farmers in the Midwest typically apply hundreds of pounds of fertilizer on every acre they farm. This practice allows food companies to produce, and consumers to consume, a lot of relatively cheap food.

Matt Turner/Flickr

The Sangamon County Historical Society is bringing back the popular cemetery walking tour this fall. “Echoes of Yesteryear: A Walk through Oak Ridge Cemetery” will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, October 11 at Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1441 Monument Avenue in Springfield. (The last tour begins at 3:15 p.m.) The rain date is Sunday, October 18.

“The walk will provide visitors with a glimpse into the history and heritage of Springfield,” said Mary Alice Davis, president of the Sangamon County Historical Society.

The Legacy Project

Learning about the past to change the future: it's a goal of many academic institutions. But when it comes to the LGBT community - not enough has been done to memorialize and honor figures who've been overlooked due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. That's the opinion of Victor Salvo - founder and director of The Legacy Project.

Throughout the cropland of the Midwest, farmers use chemicals on their fields to nourish the plants and the soil. But excess nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients can wash off the fields and into streams, rivers and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.

New tools can help farmers monitor their soil and water so they can become part of the solution to this widespread problem.


It's perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the Illinois State Fair.  And due to the state budget gridlock, no payment has been made to the sculptor.


There is a lot of repetition going on at the state capitol these days.  And it has a political purpose.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

By now, most people probably have a sense that things at the Illinois Statehouse have gotten downright nasty, even if it’s not completely clear what all the fighting is about—or, how it’s playing out behind the scenes.

To reveal the parts of the fighting that the public doesn’t get to see—the squabbling and cynical gamesmanship—we wanted to pull back the curtain.

Rachel Otwell // WUIS

Time for a very special edition of The Scene. Jeff Williams started the band N.I.L.8 30 years ago while a high-schooler at Lanphier here in Springfield.  He joins us and talks about his art show coming up this weekend at The Pharmacy, plus his personal take on the local punk scene and how it's changed over the past three decades.

Landmarks IL

Illinois has a wide variety of historic places. From Chicago to the prairie land, architects have long been inspired by an array of landscapes and urban places. Every year, Landmarks Illinois recognizes some of the rehabilitation projects that have successfully restored fascinating and important sites in our state.We were joined by the President of Landmarks Illinois, Bonnie McDonald, to talk about some of them: 


Have you ever had a secret haunt you? Something you would never tell a soul? Or maybe just a crush you don't want anyone to know about - or a weird quirk you'd rather keep to yourself. Frank Warren wants to know. He came of age in Springfield and he now travels the world with his collection of secrets, perhaps the largest in the world.

Chicano culture is the inspiration for much art, be it musical, literary, or visual. Eric Garcia has been drawing from his roots as an artist who often addresses stereotypes about Mexican-Americans and a largely forgotten history of colonization.

The Demand For Medical Cannabis In Illinois

Sep 16, 2015

Legislation creating Illinois’ medical marijuana law took effect at the start of 2014, but nearly two years into it, no product has been sold.  In Wednesday’s report on the opening of one of the first cultivation sites, we heard about one of the companies growing the state’s first crop of medical cannabis.  Now we hear about those hoping to benefit.

State Prepares To Harvest Medical Marijuana

Sep 15, 2015
flickr/James St. John

This fall, the first crops of medical marijuana products are on track for shipment to distribution centers across Illinois.  Thousands of the cannabis plants have spent the summer growing in a few cultivation centers, nearly two years after state law made it legal.

It's that time again. Can you believe it!? Well you better... Because it is... Here we go:  

Farmers and agriculture officials are gearing up for another round of bird flu this fall, an outbreak they fear could be worse than the devastating spring crisis that hit turkeys and egg-laying hens in the Midwest, wiped out entire farms and sent egg prices sky-high.

The potential target of the highly pathogenic avian flu this fall could be broilers, or meat chickens, as the outbreaks have been triggered and carried by wild birds, which will be flying south in great numbers this fall through several U.S. flyways.

Back in June of this year - a young white man walked into an historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a fixture in the local civil rights movement there. The man proceeded to take part in a bible study, and then shoot 9 people dead.  The event has added to the national dialogue concerning race and violence in this country. 


State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis talks with us about the planned closures of a longtime tavern and a comedy club.   And we hear about changes coming to the MacArthur Park Apartments:

Illinois Times

If you are into power trips, you can’t find a better place than central Iowa.

Illinois State Musem

It's been a contentious topic whether or not to close the Illinois State Museum. The governor has called for closing all the facilities in the state's museum system as a way to save money for a state budget that's very much in the red.

Meanwhile, many say that plan is short-sighted. The museum houses a variety of objects and artifacts that tell the story of our state. It also contains an expanse of fine art that has been donated over the years.

Pana, Illinois used to be known for its flowers . It was called the City of Roses , and at one point there were over 100 greenhouses there. Things have changed over the decades, though. In the city of 5,500 - about a third of people live below the poverty level. The town that was a mecca style for florists and had a bustling down-town has gone through the changes many small towns in the Midwest have seen - businesses have closed and drug-use has escalated.

Prometheus Books

Businesses strive to be more efficient.  Often, that comes at the expense of jobs.  But Peter Wenz sees a way all can benefit. 

In his book Functional Inefficiency, he examines how some of the most labor-intensive sectors also are inefficient.  But they employ people and, in turn, help the overall economy.

We talked more with the author, who is also a Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Midwest Travel: Religion And History Meet In Nauvoo

Aug 31, 2015
Matt Turner/Flickr

A covered wagon pulled by a yoke of oxen appeared on the path in front of us. Nearby several young children walked by on stilts, a brass band tuned up for an outdoor concert and the Mississippi River rolled along, glittering in the sunshine. That’s when my husband and I knew that our visit to historic Nauvoo was a trip back in time.

Despite the U.S. being reliant on China for exports, many Americans have a hard time understanding what is taking place with the world's largest economy. 

We figured it was a good time to bring in Roy Wehrle, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Illinois Springfield. 


The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will generate a lot of attention this week. But, 15 years earlier another storm directly affected Northeast Illinois. This Friday will be 25 years since the Plainfield tornado that killed 29 people and devastated the Will County community. College of DuPage Meteorology 
professor Paul Sirvatka still studies the storm.

All it takes is four simple notes and a snap of the fingers to bring to mind the vision of the Addams family. The family was created as the opposite of the American ideal, with their obsession of all things weird and morbid. And yet, they are a lovable group of weirdos. The family is honored as the stars of a modern musical, and it's being performed at The Hoogland in Springfield. It opens on Friday and runs next weekend too. (More info here.)

Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2015 FOX Broadcasting

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and guess that the majority of public radio listeners aren't also huge fans of "reality" T.V. Running with that assumption, I'm also going to guess not everyone reading this has already heard of Chicago's Tommy Walton. Well let me tell you...

On this week's report Tim and Bill discuss some hi-tech jobs coming to Springfield, a drop in soybean prices and some big piles of rubble.