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.  

https://www2.illinois.gov

Niurca Torres was born in Puerto Rico and lived in Miami where she worked as a real estate agent and ran a catering business. In 1995 she took the invitation to go on a road-trip with some new friends in an R.V. They were stopped by police in Henry County, and 1,100 pounds of cocaine were found to be along for the ride. The woman was convicted of trafficking a controlled substance and was ultimately given a 20 year sentence to serve. She's always claimed innocence, saying she did not know about the drugs

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Brighton Beach Memoirs is a play set in 1937 in Brooklyn, New York. It follows the inner-workings of a middle-class family. And it's a coming-of-age tale that mixes drama and humor, and focuses on a teen who is going through growing pains while also dealing with family conflicts.  We were joined by a few members of that production, director Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, and actors Liza Torrence & Diamond Dixon:

   

JoAnn Verburg

A Decatur native and poet is making his way to Springfield this weekend to share his writings. Jim Moore now lives in between Minneapolis and Italy, which makes for a unique perspective in his writing. He recently joined us for this chat:

On  Sunday, November 9 at 2 p.m. Moore will read his poems as part of the “Poets in the Parlor” series at The Vachel Lindsay Home in Springfield (603 South 5th St.).

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

For some people, paying to watch one Power Point presentation after another might sound insane. But with interesting topics covered at a brisk pace, plenty of refreshments and a snazzy name - such events are becoming popular around the globe.

WUIS/Rachel Otwell

Today, we wrap our series of spooky stories by local authors in honor of Halloween. Listen to Springfield writer Jessica Hagemann read an excerpt from her story titled, 'To Have & To Hold':

You can read the entire story HERE. This story contains adult language and themes that could offend some readers.

Tim Lloyd/St. Louis Public Radio

This story is the third part of A Teachable Moment, a three-part series that profiles how issues raised by events in Ferguson are being discussed in classrooms across the St. Louis region.

In Riverview Gardens High School’s library, students have formed small groups. For many of the kids here, peaceful demonstrations and at times violent clashes between police and protesters weren’t just on TV; they were down the street, around the corner or in their backyards.

SVYS

Music Director Gene Power says he's received a positive response to his plan for a first ever Chamber Music Program. 

"We had about 27 kids who were interested in being in chamber ensembles," he said.  A coach was hired to work with the students after regular practices. 

Power says it's part of a larger effort to bring more visibility to the organization which provides music opportunities for kids at the elementary and secondary school levels. 

The ensembles could also perform at events where live music might be proper, like a holiday party.

courtesy of Jill Barth

WUIS is wrapping up its series of scary stories, written by local authors and presented in honor of Halloween season. This second-to-last story comes to us from Jill Barth:

CLICK HERE to read the story.

WUIS

Sarah Beuning calls it the "snowball" effect. 

"Young Philanthropists is a giving circle at the Community Foundation for people who want to get involved in philanthropy at kind of an early level," she said.  "The more people who get together, the bigger impact we can have."

Every member gives $125 and the money is pooled and grants are awardedThe next round will be going out soon. A deadline of Nov. 3 is coming fast for those who work with children and want to apply. 

flickr/JoshuaRothhaas

What chemicals wind up in building materials?   And do they impact your health?   

Those are questions Jeffrey Saad has been asking.   He's deciphering the "recipes" that are used in construction.  The Chicago based architect with Perkins+Will says of the more than 82,000 chemicals registered in the U.S., only about 200 have been analyzed for their potential threats.  And only 5 are banned.

It was early September and Vincent Flewellen had just wrapped up his day teaching at Ladue Middle School.

“It was a pretty day,” Flewellen remembered. “I had a great day here at Ladue Middle School. I was really in a good mood.”

But Flewellen knew he could be in for a heavy night.

Less than four weeks had passed since Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown. And Flewellen, who is African American, was on his way to an event at Saint Louis University designed to help teachers unpack complicated issues of race and class.

flickr/locosteve

The future of Illinois’ business climate is one of the hottest topics in the governor’s race.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner toss it around like a hot potato - claiming credit for themselves while lobbing blame at the other guy.

But that hot potato represents real people - and real businesses. Plenty of examples can be found in what once was the fastest-growing county in the whole country.

You don’t have to spend much time in Kendall County before you find places still haunted by the economic downturn.

WUIS/Rachel Otwell

Here's our latest in the scary story series, listen to Susan Vondrak read her piece titled, "The Diviner":

You can read the story, HERE.

Ferran Salat Coll/TNC

It’s been a long time since you could say there were bison roaming the prairie in Illinois. The last ones were thought to have died off here or moved to other places in the 1800s. And while bison have still been raised here on farms, there haven’t been efforts for bison conservation in the state. That is, until now.

Cody Considine is an ecologist for the The Nature Conservancy at the Nachusa Grasslands. He joined us for this interview:

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Tom Irwin is one of Springfield's most successful, and certainly most visible, musicians. His songs have a timeless quality, often with a folksiness about them. On Sunday, he celebrates 20 years of playing once a week at Brewhaus bar in Springfield (617 E Washington St).  That event is from 7 to 10 pm, 10/25.

Irwin stopped by the WUIS studios to share these tunes and have a chat with us:

You can hear all the songs Tom Irwin performed for us in their entirety: 

americanwinterfilm.com

It’s been 50 years since the war on poverty was declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson, but Illinois still has about 15% of residents living in it – the same percentage living in poverty that half century ago. American Winter is a documentary made about families facing poverty, especially after the most recent recession. It’s being presented on the UIS campus Monday night, and a discussion will follow. It’s part of the university’s series on poverty.

ronnycox.com

His first big acting gig had him playing in a banjo duel (even though he's really playing guitar.) He went on to star in movies like Total Recall and Robocop, often playing the villain. But Ronny Cox says his greatest love is for music. He's bringing that passion to Springfield on Saturday, when he'll play a solo show at The Hoogland. Cox took some time to talk to us about his acting career, his greatest influences, and more:

flickr/dcjohn

Bet many of you didn’t know that the state of Illinois has the power to take over your local schools.

As in - fire school board members - even those you and your neighbors voted for. As in put a new superintendent in place. But two years ago - it did just that.

The state took over two school districts. One in East Saint Louis. The other in North Chicago...a low income and racially mixed suburb wedged between more the tony North Shore and Waukegan.

KOCH: You have to take actions when kids aren’t getting the basics. And that’s certainly what’s happening here.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

We have the latest from our series of scary stories by local writers. Millicent Bliesener tells us a bit about her background, and reads her entire story for us:

    

CLICK HERE to read the story.

Brad Schaive

Brad Schaive wants to make a few things clear about full contact armored fighting.  It's a sport and it's dangerous.   

Schaive would know.  He's a competitor.  He's traveled overseas to go up against some of the best in the world.  But now, the best are coming here. 

Battle of the Nations International Tournament of Chivalry will bring participants from the U.S. and five other countries to Springfield.  The event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Livestock Center is from 12-3 Saturday. 

UIS

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, it began a period of mourning that was emphasized in many communities as his funeral train made its way from Washington D.C. to Springfield.

The 17-hundred mile journey had an impact on the nation and certainly those who witnessed it.  But through various eyes, the passing of Abraham Lincoln was seen differently.  

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Shawna Mayer got a Masters in English from UIS, with a focus on creative writing. The life-long Springfield native submitted the following story, it kicks off a series we have collected from local writers for this Halloween season:

Hand in Glove by Shawna Mayer

WSIU

There’s a tug-o-war going on in Southern Illinois over how the state cares for its neediest citizens.  It’s playing out along a ribbon of small towns. But the outcome will determine  the future for many Illinois citizens with disabilities.

State Representative Charlie Meier is a farmer by birth - he tends 14 hundred acres with just one hired hand.

MEIER: We’re in Okawville, Illinois in my family kitchen.

MEIER: Built in 1907. My grandma drug all the logs home with a pack of mules for the house and the barn and then they were cut up here.

Corn Husking Can Still Be A Hands On Job

Oct 13, 2014

Dick Humes squinted and sweat as he moved down a row of corn. He sliced through the husk with a metal hook in his right hand, snapped the ear from its stalk with his left, and threw it over his shoulder into a wagon rolling alongside him.

Every other second, the corn hit the floor of the wagon with a thud. Humes was setting a steady pace for the men’s 50-and-older division at the 34th annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition.

Preview Of 'Beethoven Meets the Silk Road'

Oct 10, 2014
Rachel Otwell/WUIS

A tabla virtuoso is in Springfield. Sandeep Das has worked with greats like Yo-Yo Ma and Ravi Shankar. He will play with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, headed by Alastair Willis, on Saturday (CLICK HERE for more info.)

In this interview, UIS ethnomusicology professor Yona Stamatis speaks with Maestro Willis about the concert, called 'Beethoven Meets the Silk Road': 

History Series: Sousa In Springfield

Oct 9, 2014

Our history series continues with a look at the relationship between Springfield and John Philip Sousa. The stories are sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society. Performers include Tom Hutchinson and Eric Thibbodeaux-Thompson. 

And now, for something completely different...

CLICK HERE for The Sousa Archives at the Center for American Music at the U of I in Champaign.

 

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

If you think an art show needs the confines of white walls, like in a museum or other formal setting, think again. Warehouses, apartments, and storefronts are also display places for art. Alternative art spaces, as they are known, began gaining attention in the late sixties. To this day, they draw in audiences who desire art that’s challenging and cutting edge. While cities like New York and L.A. are known for them, you don’t have to go to a big city to check one out.

M.E.R.C.Y. Communities began helping homeless mothers and their children 15 years ago in Springfield. The work involved providing transitional and permanent housing, along with other services.

Fundraising and grants has helped cover costs.  But this year, word came that a federal HUD grant won't be renewed.   And unless that money is recouped, some services will be scaled back or eliminated.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

As election day nears, legislative races are hotly contested in some parts of the state. We preview those and look at the odds of a Republican take-over in the Illinois House or Senate. We spoke with the Daily Herald's Mike Riopell for this interview:

To read Riopell's story about legislative races, CLICK HERE.

 

With Curbside Composting, Food Waste Not A Total Loss

Oct 7, 2014

Wasting around 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. certainly has its drawbacks: It's not feeding people in need, it's expensive and it does a lot of environmental damage.

But across the country, cities, towns and companies are finding food waste doesn't have to be a total loss. In fact, it can be quite valuable – in making fertilizer, electricity or even fuel for cars, trucks and buses.

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