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

The University of Illinois is getting by with no new state funding, as the budget impasse continues in Springfield. U of I President Timothy Killeen says they can continue this way for a few more weeks --- but after that, there could be trouble.

Rachel Otwell // WUIS

When you think of a barbershop chorus, you probably picture men performing.  But plenty of women also join in the fun. The Sweet Adelines International Organization has been around for 70 years now.  One of the choirs, based in Springfield, has been hitting all the right notes:

courtesy of Kristin Wheeler

Love isn't always easy. Just about any couple that's been married for at least ten years will be quick to tell you that. It takes compromise and understanding, and sometimes - courage. The story of Jane Eyre is about that - but also a young orphan who goes on to be an independent and righteous woman, even though a patriarchal society makes that difficult.

Rachel Otwell // WUIS

This week we take some time to get to know two local figures in the hip-hop scene. Guests hosts are Aaron "Uncanny" Phillips, and Torch (of Torch Tuesday fame.)  Listen up!

Rachel Otwell // WUIS

The cover story from the Illinois Times that came out last Thursday is titled, "The high cost of budget cuts: When Illinois slashes social services, the vulnerable suffer." The author, Patrick Yeagle, joined me to talk about which social service agencies could disappear as a result of the state's budget impasse and proposed cuts. 

courtesy of Timothy Russell

If you are a longtime resident of Springfield who enjoyed the local bar and music scene in the late 70s and 80s - chances are you have heard the band Starry Eye. Timothy Russell had two members of his family in the band - and used to work for them on the production side as a kid. After his uncle's shocking death in 2013, he decided it was time to capture the band's history.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

For as much as we talk about him and the several things he has a part in ( ie: Black Sheep, F**k Mountain, Looming, South Town Studio...) it's actually pretty amazing Scott and I haven't had Brandon Carnes in-studio yet. He couldn't have come at a better time. This week, he tells us about Looming's record release show on Friday, his incredibly absurd and offensive project called Diaper Rash (which some would also call quality performance art), and what it's been like taking over Black Sheep in Southtown. Tune in! 

Tune into The Scene this week and hear pals and founders of the Downhome Music Festival in Springfield talk about how far their efforts have come over the past 5 years, and what you can expect if you attend this weekend. 


It takes a lot to upstage Abraham Lincoln.  But if anyone could, it might have been Marilyn Monroe.

The actress visited the small east central Illinois town of Bement, in Piatt County, 60 years ago this week.  Bement is known for being the site where Lincoln and Stephen Douglas met to plan their famous debates.  But in 1955, it was Marilyn's town. 

John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune

Black mold, crumbling plaster, leaking ceilings, broken stairs... A home with these problems probably doesn't sound like the ideal residence for a multimillionaire like Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. But that's exactly the issues that have cropped up after years of neglect at the Executive Mansion, aka the Governor's Mansion, in Springfield, which is 160 years old.

The heavily debated package is a point of contention among the candidates.

Hello friends. This week, Scott and I have decided to step back & reminisce over the birth and first months of this lil' venture. We both are wild about art &  culture in virtually all of its forms, and we know many of you are too!

Christopher Z. Mooney

You may be asking: How did Illinois get to this point?

Farm dog? Check.

Barn cats? Check.

Muddy work books lined up at the back door? Five checks.

We kick off our fourth season of “My Farm Roots” with the Renyer Family, five farm kids I had the pleasure of meeting last week.

Driving onto the Renyer farm, out in Nemaha County, Kan., I was struck by the many classic examples of a farm family. After being met by the family dog, a very sweet boy named Salty, I watched as the barn cats scattered and I met Leah coming out the back door, where the knee-high work boots were standing guard.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Last Friday night, I found myself back at a place I had visited several times before.  What was recently a since moved artist co-op on the corner of South Grand Avenue and Pasfield Street known as The Pharmacy is finding life as yet another incarnation. The bottom has become a tattoo parlor - the loft above is a new artist gallery and performance called The Studio. It's a collaborative effort of several creatives in the area. 

Farmers count on chemical herbicides to keep their fields weed-free. But an international panel of scientists who studied two of the most heavily used farm chemicals to determine whether they could cause cancer, said exposure to weed-killing chemicals could come at a cost. In the last few months, scientists brought together by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, considered glyphosate and 2,4-D.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Take a listen to The Scene with Scott Faingold of the Illinois Times and me! (And make sure you check out Scott's story about the proposed closure of the Illinois State Museum.)

Events discussed this week include:

Lydia Loveless started making her first album at the age of 17. She's been acknowledged as one of the best up-and-coming artists by both Spin and Rolling Stone magazines. Her songs are hard to classify. She is able to mix honky-tonk with a grunge/punk and even pop sound. The 24 year old is a huge pop fan, counting Prince and Ke$ha among favorites. She's on Chicago's Bloodshot Records and her newest album is called Somewhere Else.

Ra Joy  heads Arts Alliance Illinois, an advocacy group that represents hundreds of cultural groups and artists in the state. He was at the capitol this week with about 500 hundred other rally-goers, urging Governor Bruce Rauner and lawmakers to keep the Illinois State Museum open.

commons/wikimedia/Public Domain

It was 100 years ago this week that one of Chicago's most tragic events occurred.  844 people died in a horrific scene along the Chicago River.And yet, most have never heard of the Eastland Disaster.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Athens resident, Lisa Cannon, was only in her 20s when she first learned she had breast cancer.  At the time, she had everything going for her - she was a wife and mom, and was finding success as a photographer and graphic designer with her own business. After under-going treatment she went into remission. Two years later though, the cancer was back - in her spine and liver. She learned she had stage IV metastatic cancer.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Springfield has a great deal of Mexican and Asian restaurants - but it is lacking when it comes to some other ethnic foods. A relatively new African restaurant is bridging some of those gaps for local foodies with adventurous palates. Listen to the report:

Bee Hotels Give Native Species A Place To Call Home

Jul 14, 2015

A patchwork of bamboo and paper tubes, with diameters no bigger than a nickel, are stacked artfully inside a 4-by-4 wooden frame near the edge of a public hiking trail in Lawrence, Kan.

Organized by size, each hollow tube is about 8 inches long, designed as nests for Kansas’ wild bees. This structure is called a bee hotel.

Grow Springfield

On July 19, there's a chance to learn more about community gardens and growing in an urban setting. It's the third annual Roots to Rooftop Tour in Springfield.  5 locations will be spotlighted, including a rooftop garden at Maldaner's Restaurant.  

"Community gardens are a great way for neighbors to come together, create community and grow healthy food," said Joe Eby of Grow Springfield.

Hermann Tourism Office

The town of Hermann, Missouri is located approximately 180 miles away from Springfield, Illinois. 

In our latest midwest travel segment, Mary Bohlen wrote about the town with strong German heritage for Illinois Times. 

She tells WUIS' Sean Crawford there is a lot to see and do, but it's not necessarily a family destination.

Come along for the next episode of The Scene ... where Scott Faingold and I discuss Springfield's newest festival, Springfield's newest counter-festival to the new festival, one of our favorite cartoonists/artists - and much, much more!

Driving down a two-lane highway in rural Missouri, Matt Plenge squinted at a patch of gray clouds hanging low over his farm fields in the distance.

“Does it look hazy up there?” he asked. “We only had a 20 percent chance today. We shouldn't get any rain.”

Plenge, like most farmers, always keeps one eye on the weather. But this spring, it’s been his primary and constant concern.

With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, and the insurance marketplace in Illinois - more contraceptives are available at no cost to women who are covered under the plans. But there is still confusion when it comes to just what methods are included. 

Taste of Downtown was a festival that Springfield had put on for 15 years. But it's gone. In its place is the Bacon Throwdown & Music Fest, also hosted by Downtown Springfield Inc. Victoria Ringer heads the non-profit group. She joined us to talk about the new fest - which will feature bacon as the key ingredient to the food being offered from Springfield-area resturants.