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Illinois Redistricting Referendum Won't Appear On Ballot

The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled a voter referendum seeking to change the system Illinois uses to draw political boundaries is unconstitutional, meaning it can't appear on the November ballot.
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Illinois Edition - Weekdays Noon-1 PM and 7-8 PM

Dave Shaw

The Scene Visits Springfield's Production Of Godspell

This week, we bring you an audio post card from a Godspell rehearsal, it opens this weekend at the Hoogland in Springfield.
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Election 2016

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The Week In Politics

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

Trending Stories

Steve Moses / flickr.com/smoses

Developments At Cahokia: On Mass Graves & 'Beaded Burials'

A new study done on one mound in particular at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville shows that human remains interred there, which are around 900 years old, belong to both men and women. It was previously thought the mound was for elite warrior men. That means there are new implications to be explored.
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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 players rose to stand for the national anthem at the 49ers-Packers game on Friday night, 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick pointedly remained seated.

His gesture was to protest the treatment of African Americans and minorities in the United States, as he told NFL.com after the game. Kaepernick has remained sitting during the anthem "in at least one other preseason game," according to the site.

Mississippi law enforcement has charged a local man with two counts of capital murder after two nuns were found dead in their home on Thursday.

Sister Paula Merrill and Sister Margaret Held, both 68, worked as nurse practitioners providing medical care at a clinic in Holmes County, one of the poorest in the country.

Their bodies "were discovered after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in Lexington, Mississippi, about 10 miles from where they lived," as The Associated Press reported.

One of America's most distinguished men of letters says he believes that speech, not evolution, has made human beings into the creative, imaginative, deliberate, destructive, and complicated beings who invented the slingshot and the moon shot, and wrote the words of the Bible, Don Quixote, Good Night Moon, the backs of cereal boxes, and Fifty and Shades of Grey.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Remember the toucan in Costa Rica who had its upper beak hacked off by a perpetrator who was never found?

Well, here's an update to a story we first told you about last year. And, spoiler alert — it has a happy ending.

Local residents brought the bird to a nearby animal rescue center. And thanks to its dedicated workers, amazing doctors and engineers, the toucan now has a prosthetic beak.

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Panelist Round

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

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

Italy has started to bury its dead following a devastating earthquake on Wednesday that killed at least 290 people and left whole towns in ruins. The country has declared Saturday a national day of mourning for the quake's victims.

Reporting from a state funeral in the town of Ascoli Piceno, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley described a community overcome with grief. She said the service was held in a gymnasium, where 35 caskets were laid out. "People cried and held each other," Eleanor said.

Bangladeshi police say they have killed the suspected "mastermind" of an armed attack on a café in the capital last month that left at least 22 people dead.

They say two other suspected militants were killed in the standoff. As top counterterrorism official Monirul Islam told The Associated Press, "police sharpshooters raided a two-story house in Narayanganj district near the capital, Dhaka, after receiving a tip that Tamim Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi-born Canadian, and others were hiding there."

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Featured

WhatsApp Will Start Sharing Data, Including Phone Numbers, With Facebook

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET with detail on limiting spamThe messaging service WhatsApp is changing its privacy policy for the first time since being bought by Facebook in 2014. The app will begin sharing some of its data and phone numbers with the social network. It will also start testing how businesses, too, can talk to its users, for instance by offering flight or shipping or banking notifications.More than 1 billion people use WhatsApp around the world to stay connected — it was exactly the...
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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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NPR Illinois State Week logo (Capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to change the way Illinois' legislative districts are drawn.

Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

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.

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

Second grader Caedmon Craig is attempting to write in cursive and he's being helped by his mom. But a lot of erasing is happening at this kitchen table in Prattville, Ala. This school year Caedmon will be writing in cursive for the first time. For now he's only required to write his cursive letters separately, but he's ready for more.

"I think joining them is easier than separate," he says. "Because you don't have to do that much."

Let's say you have invites to two parties that advertise "free drinks!"

At the first party, there's simply an open bar. At the second party, though, you have to bring in your tax return, fill out a long form, and register to receive a cocktail grant in a given amount based on your annual income.

Once those funds are drained, you can then become eligible for vouchers to pay for further beverages up to a predetermined limit.

Which party sounds like more fun? Which will be better attended? And which one is likely to be more expensive for the hosts?

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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One of America's most distinguished men of letters says he believes that speech, not evolution, has made human beings into the creative, imaginative, deliberate, destructive, and complicated beings who invented the slingshot and the moon shot, and wrote the words of the Bible, Don Quixote, Good Night Moon, the backs of cereal boxes, and Fifty and Shades of Grey.

Art can enlighten, soothe, challenge and provoke. Sometimes it can transform a community.

Case in point: a 5.5-square-mile island called Naoshima in Japan's Seto Inland Sea.

Once upon a time, the biggest employer on Naoshima was a Mitsubishi metals processing plant. Actually, it's still the biggest employer, just not nearly as big as it once was.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and in The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

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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The Pain Of Police Killings Can Last Decades

Aug 25, 2016

In recent months, the nation has witnessed how questionable police shootings of African Americans can spark anger and unrest across a community. But long after the demonstrations end, the streets go quiet and the cameras leave, families of those killed have to find ways to cope with their loss. And that's a private struggle that can last for decades and across generations.

Cordero Ducksworth has lived that struggle. He was 5 years old in 1962, when his father, Army Corporal Roman Ducksworth, Jr., was shot to death by William Kelly, a white Taylorsville, Miss. police officer.

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.

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

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

The U.S. Department of Agriculture took a largely symbolic step to help struggling dairy farmers this week. It announced that it will buy $20 million worth of cheese and give it away to food banks. The USDA is doing this, it says, to help "reduce a cheese surplus that is at a 30-year high."

Trust the Italians to meet disaster with food.

While nobody is making light of Wednesday's earthquake that struck Amatrice, a small town in the Appenine mountains about 70 miles as the crow flies from Rome, several independent efforts have sprung up to use the town's signature dish — spaghetti all' amatriciana — to help relief efforts.

Health Desk

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Nigeria is the English-speaking world's Scrabble superpower. Africa's most populous nation is home not only to the global Scrabble champion, but team Nigeria ranks as the world's top Scrabble playing nation — ahead of the U.S. in second place.

Not 1,000. Not 50. Not even 10.

Zero.

"There have so far been no laboratory confirmed cases of Zika virus in spectators, athletes or anyone associated with the Olympics," the World Health Organization said Thursday on its website.

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