Illinois Edition

Weekdays at Noon and 7 PM

Illinois Edition is WUIS’ local news magazine covering the arts and issues of central Illinois.  Illinois Edition airs weekdays during the noon hour (and is replayed at 7 PM).  On Fridays, State Week airs from 12:30-1 PM.

WUIS News Director Sean Crawford hosts the program which is produced by Rachel Otwell.  

Sixteen teams from Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa played in a tournament at Little Cubs Field in Freeport this Memorial Day weekend. It's the eighth Pee Wee Classic since the field opened, and the diamond is the closest to-scale replica of Wrigley Field you can find. 

At least, that's according to its owner Denny Garkey.

Las Vegas in the 1970s

The politics of "tough on crime" were born of a culture of fear in the 1960s and '70s. In Illinois, that was exemplified by the public statements of then-Gov. Dan Walker, who both described aspects of Illinois prisons that are still problems today, while at the same time arguing for policies that would leave Illinois’ criminal justice drastically overcrowded.

Brent Bohlen

Just over the border into Indiana sits the town of Vincennes.  The relatively small community boasts a big name as its favorite son.  Comedian Red Skelton hailed from Vincennes and, if you visit, you can learn a lot about his life and career.  An interactive museum shows off props from some of his most favorite characters. 

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Tune in to this week's version of The Scene - Scott Faingold & Rachel are joined by special guest host, local singer/songwriter Tom Irwin.

Two things that may sound strange together: Broadway musicals and mental illness. Next To Normal isn't your average, kid-friendly show.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Central Illinois and other places in the Midwest can sometimes be isolating to those in the LGBT community - that is those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. But for the past five years in Springfield, Pride Fest has been drawing them together with their friends, families, and allies. Politicians, drag queens, and many others in between have been involved. 

Why Do Farmers Burn Their Fields?

May 18, 2015

Farmers burn their fields to remove plants that are already growing and to help the plants that are about to come up. These burns are often called “prescribed burns” because they are used to improve the health of the field.

What tools do farmers need for a burn?

To keep the fire contained, farmers need to clear away burnable matter around the edges of the field, which usually requires a lawn mower or larger machinery. The burn itself can be managed with some simple, specific tools.

Southtown Springfield at Walch Stained Glass Studio.
Rachel Otwell / WUIS / Illinois Issues

If you’re not sure what exactly “Southtown” is – imagine you’re driving down South Grand Avenue in Springfield toward Rochester.

Photo: Gary Price

This year marks the 40th anniversary since the fall of Saigon.  An event coming up tomorrow night will provide accounts of the war:

  • May 19, Vietnam: First Encounters

A panel discussion on the fall of Saigon in April 1975. Panel members include Tom Jones, a Navy Corpsman assigned to the Marines; Tom Bowman, an Army enlisted man; and two Vietnamese boat people, Patrick Lam and Pham Thien Khoc, an officer in the South Vietnamese Army. Moderated by Mark DePue, head of the presidential library’s Oral History Program.


Tune in this week. Scott Faingold of the Illinois Times and Rachel are joined by Yona Stamatis, a professor of ethnomusicology at UIS and violinist for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and her student, Christina Shao, who will play the song of the week:

Events & other items discussed this week include:

Just over a year ago, Tracy Dethlefs learned she has stage 1 breast cancer. Since then, she estimates she’s charted some 10,000 miles travelling from her farm near Loup City in central Nebraska to area hospitals for treatment. Every surgery, round of chemotherapy and radiation treatment was a road trip.

“Radiation treatments usually (take) only about 5 minutes (on) a day that they have to see you,” Dethlefs said. “But for a week, for seven weeks in a row, you’re driving every single day to the cancer treatment center. We’re about an hour away from cancer centers.”


If you live in Springfield, you may have noticed there's a lot of empty space downtown that goes unused. But some people are trying to change that, by rehabbing historic buildings and turning them into residential space or businesses. Illinois tops the lists of states that used a federal tax incentive to rehab buildings that are privately owned and on the list of historical sites. Projects last year include an overhaul of Chicago's Wrigley Building, and Peoria's Hotel Pere Marquette. Carol Dyson is a tax incentives coordinator and architect with the state's historic preservation agency.

Grow Springfield

Bringing together those who care about community gardens and urban farming is the goal of Grow Springfield.  A network of organizations are working to support existing community gardens and open opportunities for more.  

Lindsay Record with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Joe Eby of  the Springfield Urban League join us to talk more about Grow Springfield.  Record says it got rolling with a USDA grant:

Sangamon Auditorium

As the founder of The Byrds, Roger McGuinn is firmly established as an indisputable industry icon.

From his signature twelve-string Rickenbacker sound to his instantly recognizable vocals on hits like “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Eight Miles High” and “Mr. Tambourine Man," McGuinn didn’t just make music; he made history.

That feeling continues today as Roger offers concerts that are as mesmerizing and magical as ever. He delivers the gift of an evening with a master that is as intimate as it is spellbinding.

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund – a local government pension fund, is pushing an effort this year to get more of their members to help out others. We spoke with the head of IMRF, Louis Kosiba, about it:

For more info, click here.


Even if you're not a baseball fan, you are probably familiar with Jackie Robinson.  He broke the color barrier in the major leagues when he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  

But that was in the National League.  Can you name the first African American to play in the junior circuit? And did you realize one team waited 12 years after Robinson before putting a black player on the field?


It's time for THE SCENE! This week Scott Faingold and I are joined by Aaron Phillips, who is an integral part of the local hip hop scene and hosts Torch Tuesday nights at Bar None in Springfield. He told us much more though, so take a listen to this week's edition:

Events discussed this week include:


Springfield Mayor Mike Houston will leave office  Thursday, when his successor Jim Langfelder is sworn in.  

Langfelder won the primary in March and the April general election. 

Houston, who served two terms about 30 years ago, returned to city politics to win in 2011.  But voters denied his latest effort.  

Houston says he has told Langfelder that he will help him in the transition if asked:

"By the same token, I know he has a father who has served as mayor of Springfield for 2 terms, that he will be relying on very very heavily," he said.

May brings the final shows of the season for both the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony and the Civic Orchestra. 

It also marks the end for Music Director Eugene Power, as he will be leaving the area soon.  

The Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony will perform Saturday May 9 at Springfield High Auditorium.  The doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the concert is at 2 p.m. 

The Civic Orchestra performs Sunday May 17 at 4 p.m.  at the Hoogland Center for the Arts Theatre 3. 

As the number of farms hit with avian flu grows over 100 nationwide, regulators are implementing containment plans meant to stop the virus’ spread, spare millions of at-risk birds and thousands of poultry farms.

Farms in many states, including Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, are struggling to contain an active outbreak.

“A rapid response is extremely important in an infectious disease outbreak like this,” said Jim Roth, head of the Center for Food Safety and Public Health at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Govs. Dan Walker, left, and Bruce Rauner.
file / WUIS

If you follow state government long enough, you start to hear the same things over and over again. That holds even across four decades.

Last week, I produced an obituary for the late Gov. Dan Walker, who died at the age of 92. In listening to several of his speeches from 1975 and '76, I was struck by the similarities to the sorts of things we hear from politicians today — particularly Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Both of these men came in after unpopular tax hikes, and both downplayed their wealth with folksy images. So I'm asking the question: Are they essentially the same guy?

We've all heard how the United States was sent into a period of shock and grief when word of Abraham Lincoln's murder spread.  Newspapers reported it that way.  But what about the average American, North or South, white or black?

Martha Hodes set out to learn more from their letters and personal notations.  The NYU Professor wrote a book on the subject.  "Mourning Lincoln" brings their intimate thoughts to light in the months after Lincoln died.

Library of Congress

If you live in Springfield and ever pick up a newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch local TV- chances are incredibly slim that you don't already know about the Lincoln Funeral Recreation that will be done in town on  Saturday, May 2nd. But there's been a certain amount of confusion over what exactly will transpire. Will there be a train car that replicates the one which carried his body from D.C. to Springfield? (Answer: Yes, but it won't ride the rails as previously planned.) Where should you park and plan to enter at?

The Scene is Rachel Otwell & Scott Faingold telling you their picks for what to do this coming weekend and beyond. There will be no show next week, so this installment includes a few picks from the first weekend in May as well. Tune in:

Events discussed include:

April is known in some circles as "earth month" - a time for conservationists to spread messages about reducing waste and becoming better stewards of our world. A group called Sustainable Springfield is working to make people in the city more focused on waste reduction and recycling, among other efforts. On Wednesday night, Earth Day, it will honor local sustainable businesses with an event, something the group plans to continue. Harv Koplo is the treasurer of the group.

Amanda Vinicky interviewing Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Today marks Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's 100th day in office. He sat down in the Capitol for a one-on-one interview with WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky.

IL Heart Assoc.

The 2015 Springfield Heart & Stroke Walk is a family-friendly fundraiser for the American Heart Association. Participants build teams of walkers who raise funds on behalf of their workplace or a loved one who suffered from heart disease or the effects of a stroke. The Executive Leadership Team has a goal of raising $100,000 for the American Heart Association; walkers who raise at least $100 will receive a t-shirt and are eligible for other prizes.

Burpee Museum of Natural History

Freelance travel writer Mary Galligan's latest article in the Illinois Times focuses on Rockford and the museums based there. 

She visited the Rockford Discovery Center Museum, considered one of the top children's museums in the country. 

The Burpee Museum of Natural History has an impressive display of dinosaur exhibits.

Tune in to this week's version of The Scene:

Events discussed this week include:

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

A recent project combines the work of Springfield's most well-loved poet, the late Vachel Lindsay, with one of Springfield's favorite contemporary visual artists. A book titled, A Net to Snare the Moonlight collects over 15 children's poems by Lindsay and pairs them with artistic interpretations.