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Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake In Central Italy Kills At Least 247 People

Updated at 12:50 a.m. ET on Thursday:Officials in Italy say the death toll has risen to 247. The Associated Press quotes the country's civil protection agency, after it announced updated figures about 27 hours after the earthquake struck. Urgent search efforts continue.Original Post:A powerful earthquake shook central Italy overnight on Wednesday, killing more than 150 people, according to Italy's prime minister, and destroying large swaths of several towns. Victims are still being pulled...
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Election 2016

As Donald Trump has focused the messaging of his presidential campaign in recent weeks, he's centered on one key attack on Democrat Hillary Clinton: The suggestion that the Clinton Foundation was a pay-to-play front that enabled Hillary and Bill Clinton to trade government access and favors for money.

Updated at 7:10 p.m. ET

Like a lot of people's grandmothers, Flonzie Brown-Wright keeps a candy jar in the living room of her single-story home, which is also adorned with potted plants and family photos.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Who Will Sit On The Electoral College From Illinois

Illinois voters go to the polls on November 8, but they won't official cast the votes for the next President. Both state parties have decided the handful of people who will have that privilege.
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Illinois Issues

John Owens

Illinois Issues: Historic Dilemma

Efforts to preserve historic buildings in low-income and inner-city neighborhoods throughout the state face challenges — like the lack of access to financing and restoration projects taking a back seat to more pressing issues in the community.
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As Donald Trump has focused the messaging of his presidential campaign in recent weeks, he's centered on one key attack on Democrat Hillary Clinton: The suggestion that the Clinton Foundation was a pay-to-play front that enabled Hillary and Bill Clinton to trade government access and favors for money.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Barbie at the Louvre?! Sacré bleu! But it's true — the impeccably dressed blonde bombshell has her very own exhibition in Paris. As a '70s feminist, I've always disparaged that doll — a wasp-waisted, clothes-horse, sex pot. But for all the Barbie lovers out there, I paid a visit to the lavish exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre Palais.

A surprising ingredient — gas relief drops designed for infants — may be contributing to the contamination of medical scopes and putting more patients at risk of infection, according to a small but provocative study.

Researchers in Minnesota unexpectedly found cloudy white fluid inside several colonoscopes and gastroscopes after they had been disinfected and deemed ready for use on the next patient.

Amanda Vinicky

An overhaul of the retirement benefits Illinois gives state employees, public school teachers and university workers has been the subject of talks between state leaders in recent months. Gov. Bruce Rauner said so Wednesday, but he sounded uncertain as to what will come of it.

In the blink of a few thousand likes and shares, Texas teacher Brandy Young's homework policy gained the viral notoriety normally reserved for tip-shaming.

Earlier this month, Young informed parents of her Godley Elementary second-graders of her policy for the year: no homework.

Dave Shaw

This week, we bring you an audio post card from a Godspell rehearsal, it opens this weekend at the Hoogland in Springfield. 

For such a commonplace bodily function, the sneeze has messed with our minds (and noses) for centuries. It will kill us, it won't kill us. We'll have bad luck, we'll have good luck. Watch out for Satan, he's wily and knows how to get into your nasal membranes. Did you have too much to eat? Are you sad? Do you have a weak heart?

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Featured

Berkeley's Soda Tax Appears To Cut Consumption Of Sugary Drinks

The nation's first "soda tax" on sugar-sweetened beverages, which went into effect in Berkeley, Calif., last year, appears to be working.According to a new study, consumption of sugary drinks — at least in some neighborhoods — is down by a whopping 20 percent.That estimate results from what Kristine Madsen, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health, calls a "perfect natural experiment." In the fall of 2014, voters in Berkeley and San Francisco, on...
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Statehouse

albatross
Michael Sale / Flickr.com/michaelsale (cc-by-nc)

State Week: Measuring Albatrosses

Republicans and Democrats gathered in Springfield this week for party meetings and rallies at the Illinois State Fair. Republicans mostly avoided mentioning presidential nominee Donald Trump, preferring to focus on Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Democrats, meanwhile, were happy to embrace Madigan, and tried to tie Republicans into an embrace of Trump, too. Both parties are hoping the other side's top politicians will become an albatross around the necks of down-ballot candidates.
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Amanda Vinicky

An overhaul of the retirement benefits Illinois gives state employees, public school teachers and university workers has been the subject of talks between state leaders in recent months. Gov. Bruce Rauner said so Wednesday, but he sounded uncertain as to what will come of it.

Amanda Vinicky

  Jesse White’s days as the Illinois Secretary of State may be coming to a close.

albatross
Michael Sale / Flickr.com/michaelsale (cc-by-nc)

Republicans and Democrats gathered in Springfield this week for party meetings and rallies at the Illinois State Fair. Republicans mostly avoided mentioning presidential nominee Donald Trump, preferring to focus on Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Democrats, meanwhile, were happy to embrace Madigan, and tried to tie Republicans into an embrace of Trump, too. Both parties are hoping the other side's top politicians will become an albatross around the necks of down-ballot candidates.

Education Desk

Karen Bridges

Education Desk: Busing To 'Forge Friendships'

Forty years ago, during the summer of 1976, school officials in Illinois’ capital city were in federal court, arguing about how to desegregate Springfield schools. Roger Bridges was one of more than a hundred plaintiffs in the lawsuit, but he emerged as one of the architects of the desegregation plan ultimately chosen by Judge James Ackerman. The plan is still in use today. As families get set to send their kids back to school, we asked Bridges to remind us why some of our youngest students will be taking the bus.
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In the blink of a few thousand likes and shares, Texas teacher Brandy Young's homework policy gained the viral notoriety normally reserved for tip-shaming.

Earlier this month, Young informed parents of her Godley Elementary second-graders of her policy for the year: no homework.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On a Saturday morning, a group of adults gather in a circle in an elementary school classroom on the campus of Gallaudet University. Each wears a name tag — and on that name tag is a common sexual term: "Ejaculation." "Orgasm." "Condom."

One by one they introduce themselves by the name on their tag. Not in spoken words, but in American Sign Language (ASL).

These are parents and caregivers who have — or work with — children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The moms and dads are bashful at first, but after signing for a few minutes, they're laughing at themselves.

Arts & Culture

The Scene With Performance/Chat From Springfield Band Our Lady

This week Scott and Rachel are joined by Our Lady, one of the most well known and active bands out of Springfield. They are part of the Black Sheep scene and it brought them together. On Friday their new full-length comes out, a release show will go down at Black Sheep.
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Barbie at the Louvre?! Sacré bleu! But it's true — the impeccably dressed blonde bombshell has her very own exhibition in Paris. As a '70s feminist, I've always disparaged that doll — a wasp-waisted, clothes-horse, sex pot. But for all the Barbie lovers out there, I paid a visit to the lavish exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre Palais.

Texas Bookseller Picks 3 Summer Reads

13 hours ago

Julia Green of Front Street Books in Alpine, Texas, recommends Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig, City of Women by David R. Gillham and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

It has been three years since The Office wrapped, and actor John Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert, is still feeling lucky. Landing a role on the NBC comedy series had been an unfathomably big break for the actor, whose previous work had been in a series of commercials and off-Broadway plays.

Equity

UIS Professor Studies Transgender Rights & The Law

Earlier this year Illinois Issues reported on the transgender community in Illinois and whether advocates say there are enough anti-discrimination and supportive policies in place. Illinois saw its own debate over whether transgender people should be able to use the bathroom they feel represents their true gender when a trans student in Palatine went to court over their desire to use the locker and bathrooms that matched their gender - not their biological sex as represented on their birth...
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Recently, on a hot summer morning with cumulus clouds towering overhead, black cattle grazed in South Florida fields, dotting the horizon along with clumps of palm trees. At the Big Cypress Reservation, Moses Jumper is a tribal elder and owner of nearly 300 head — and a fourth-generation cattleman.

One of the most surprising stories of the Olympics, which end on Sunday, was the unseeded Monica Puig's improbable march to the gold medal in women's singles tennis. Puig's win captured Puerto Rico's first-ever gold medal in the Olympics, and set off massive celebrations across the island. It was a big-ass deal.

Michelle Scott, 38, has been arrested at least five times from 2000 to 2007 in Florida, according to court records. Most of her charges stem from stealing cars or some other type of theft. Since her last arrest, Scott has struggled to pull her life together. The mom of a 12-year old boy and an adult daughter, Scott, who is black, struggles with depression, and currently lives in a homeless shelter working less than 20 hours a week as a housekeeper. Because of her criminal history, stable jobs and housing are hard to come by.

Illinois Economy

flickr/Phallnn Ool

Business Report: Springfield Health Care Jobs; Rail Work Grant; Lincoln Home Repainting

NPR Illinois' Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.
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Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Assoc.

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

On this week's report:

* Enos Park Artist in Residence - Springfield Art Association and Enos Park Neighborhood Association have asked for more than $80,000 in Tax Increment Financing assistance to buy a home and launch the program with the goal of artists eventually going out on their own and opening shops, buying homes etc.

elevator down arrow
Eric Skiff

In 2008, the Great Recession helped to tip Illinois into a fiscal crisis it still hasn't recovered from. A new report from Standard & Poor's found that another even moderate recession would mean big trouble for the state's budget. ​

Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn sat down with Sean Crawford to talk about it. 

SJ-R

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

Harvest Desk

The Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe sits on one side of a noisy street in a lower-middle-class neighborhood of Mumbai, India, not far from the city's swanky new international airport.

Nestled among rolling hills and grazing cows, Elmore Mountain Bread in central Vermont is quintessentially pastoral. The setting is apropos, given the owners' recent decision to start grinding their own flour by stone — a veritable step back in time.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Health Desk

A surprising ingredient — gas relief drops designed for infants — may be contributing to the contamination of medical scopes and putting more patients at risk of infection, according to a small but provocative study.

Researchers in Minnesota unexpectedly found cloudy white fluid inside several colonoscopes and gastroscopes after they had been disinfected and deemed ready for use on the next patient.

For such a commonplace bodily function, the sneeze has messed with our minds (and noses) for centuries. It will kill us, it won't kill us. We'll have bad luck, we'll have good luck. Watch out for Satan, he's wily and knows how to get into your nasal membranes. Did you have too much to eat? Are you sad? Do you have a weak heart?

To a mathematician, it's a violent explosion that shoots out missiles of hot, wet air, slamming a turbulent cloud of moisture into anybody or anything that crosses its path.

To the rest of us, it's a sneeze.

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