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WATCH: State Budget Forum - DeKalb

Watch the ninth Illinois Issues forum on the state budget and Illinois' financial future in DeKalb, Illinois. The forum is hosted by NPR Illinois and Northern Public Radio with support provided by AARP.

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Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois Issues: Land of Lincoln, New Jersey Compete For Worst Fiscal Condition

Illinois and New Jersey are in dire financial straits, but experts hope California's fiscal gains can be duplicated in those states now struggling. Nancy Hudspeth, who lived in Chicago for nearly 30 years, says she feels as if she escaped the state’s current fiscal problems when she left to pursue a teaching job in California two years ago. Before her move, Hudspeth spent six years analyzing Illinois’ finances with the University of Illinois’ Fiscal Futures Project. “At the time when I was...

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The state of Illinois has taken another step toward improving its financial situation, selling $1.5 billion in bonds to help pay down the backlog of overdue bills.

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Education Desk

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Health+Harvest Desk

Rasika, an Indian restaurant in Washington, D.C., has won just about every recognition possible. The Washington Post called it the No. 1 restaurant in the city. The chef has won a James Beard award — basically the Oscars of the food world. President Obama celebrated his birthday there — twice. And though the place has been open for more than a decade, it is only just now coming out with a cookbook.

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Arts & Life

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Equity

Since this past weekend, women and men have been sharing their accounts of sexual violence with the hashtag #MeToo. While many assumed the movement started with actor Alyssa Milano's tweet about Hollywood producer/mogul and alleged sex offender Harvey Weinstein, some are pointing out that a black woman named Tarana Burke used the same terminology for a project also mean to address sexual assault.

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Illinois Economy

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Buying shoes, a new computer or even toilet paper online can be convenient and cheap, but officials in cities across central Illinois say it’s taking a bite out of their budgets.

It may seem quaint in the age of Amazon, but Mark Peterson wanted to buy a power tool from a store. He says he went to a home improvement store a few times to try to buy it, but was told he’d be better off getting the tool from the store’s website because workers weren’t sure when a shipment would be coming in.

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Spain and the would-be breakaway region of Catalonia face a second showdown in days, with Madrid insisting that Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont categorically withdraw a declaration of independence or submit to direct rule for the semi-autonomous region.

If Puigdemont fails to meet a 10 a.m. (4 a.m. ET) Thursday deadline on an ultimatum to retract the declaration, the Spanish government has vowed to invoke Article 155 of the Constitution, allowing it to strip Catalonia of its self-governance.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Buying shoes, a new computer or even toilet paper online can be convenient and cheap, but officials in cities across central Illinois say it’s taking a bite out of their budgets.

It may seem quaint in the age of Amazon, but Mark Peterson wanted to buy a power tool from a store. He says he went to a home improvement store a few times to try to buy it, but was told he’d be better off getting the tool from the store’s website because workers weren’t sure when a shipment would be coming in.

If there's one thing President Trump's critics want from him, and he refuses to give up, it's his tax returns.

The returns didn't come up during Wednesday's hearing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. But the hearing was the first step in a process that could loosen Trump's grip on them.

If the next step goes the plaintiffs' way, the case could make the president's tax returns surface.

Editor's note: This story contains graphic language.

As women around the world tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault using the phrase "#MeToo," one prominent voice added her own harrowing account.

Four American soldiers were killed in action in Niger this month.

Their deaths made a few headlines at the time. But this week they are in the news again, with far more prominence, because of a bitter political debate over presidential condolence calls.

The sudden prominence of the soldiers' deaths — but in a way that highlights political tension and factual disputes, rather than honoring of sacrifice — has left some military advocates struggling for words and striving to redirect attention back to the original loss.

Since this past weekend, women and men have been sharing their accounts of sexual violence with the hashtag #MeToo. While many assumed the movement started with actor Alyssa Milano's tweet about Hollywood producer/mogul and alleged sex offender Harvey Weinstein, some are pointing out that a black woman named Tarana Burke used the same terminology for a project also mean to address sexual assault.

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Weed Killer Dicamba Eyed In Oak Tree Damage Across Iowa, Illinois And Tennessee

As soybean and cotton farmers across the Midwest and South continue to see their crops ravaged from the weed killer dicamba, new complaints have pointed to the herbicide as a factor in widespread damage to oak trees. Monsanto and BASF, two of agriculture’s largest seed and pesticide providers, released versions of the dicamba this growing season. The new versions came several months after Monsanto released its latest cotton and soybean seeds genetically engineered to resist dicamba in 2016. Since then, farmers across the Midwest and South have blamed drift from dicamba for ruining millions of acres of soybeans and cotton produced by older versions of seeds. Now, complaints have emerged that the misuse of dicamba may be responsible for damage to oak trees in Iowa, Illinois and Tennessee.

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Online Locator Tool Aims to Make Recycling Easier

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Hundreds Of Thousands Of 'Missing' Educators; A Hundred Thousand Homeless Students

We're doing things by the numbers this week in our weekly roundup of all things education. 167 of 1,113 public schools in Puerto Rico are open The island's secretary of education, Julia Keleher, told NPR Ed that she hopes the majority of public schools will be open by Oct. 23 after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. We visited two that are accepting students now , offering meals and comfort along with education. 48 percent graduation rate at some for-profit and virtual schools Two new...

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Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner's office

Illinois Issues: Coming Up In The Veto Session

*Editor's Note: This piece was published prior to Gov. Bruce Rauner's announcement he signed House Bill 40, the abortion bill. Commentary: A capital bill; spending cuts; a veto of the abortion bill? A look at some pending questions for the fall legislative session. When Illinois lawmakers return for their fall session next month, they, and by extension, taxpayers, will face tantalizing questions.

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Illinois Issues Forums

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

WATCH-LISTEN: State Budget Forum - Quad Cities

NPR Illinois and WVIK hosted the eighth Illinois Issues Forum on the state's financial health and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse on the Quad Cities community.

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Politics

If there's one thing President Trump's critics want from him, and he refuses to give up, it's his tax returns.

The returns didn't come up during Wednesday's hearing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. But the hearing was the first step in a process that could loosen Trump's grip on them.

If the next step goes the plaintiffs' way, the case could make the president's tax returns surface.

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Continued Interest

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The Recreational Marijuana Legalization Debate In Illinois

Some lawmakers say legalizing recreational marijuana should be on the horizon for Illinois. But they admit there are still details to work out.

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First Listen: Margo Price, 'All American Made'

When Margo Price released her knockout debut album, Midwest Farmer's Daughter, last year after a decade of personal hardship and industry rejection, country purists praised her outsider spirit and vintage tastes. Hailed a revivalist and a renegade, she earned instant comparisons to outlaw legends like Tammy Wynette, Emmylou Harris, and most notably, Loretta Lynn. As far as Cinderella stories go, it was a dream come true ... except that Price never set out to be a tribute act. She wants a...

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