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Roberta Lynch
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

AFSCME Members Authorize Potential Strike

Members of AFSCME, the biggest labor union representing Illinois state workers, have taken a big step toward a possible strike.

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Statehouse

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Members of AFSCME voted overwhelmingly to give the union's bargaining committee the power to strike. The union has been in a contract fight with Gov. Bruce Rauner for more than two years. Rauner has tried to impose his terms, saying they're a fair deal for both workers and taxpayers. Meanwhile, in the week following the governor's budget address, Rauner did little to support or defend his plan.

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Education Desk

A.D. Carson in studio
Ken Scar / Clemson University

A.D. Carson grew up in Decatur, graduated from Millikin University, and earned a master's degree here at the University of Illinois Springfield. He’s now a Ph.D candidate at Clemson University, where today he’s defending his dissertation -- a hip-hop project that’s gone viral.

One word of warning: The music in this story contains a racial term some listeners might find offensive, but it’s part of Carson’s scholarly work.

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Health+Harvest Desk

Among the rolling hills of ancient Africa, sometime around 8000 B.C., a dusty traveler was making gastronomic history, quite by accident.

Thirsty from a long, hot journey, the weary herdsman reached for the sheepskin bag of milk knotted to the back of his pack animal. But as he tilted his head to pour the warm liquid into his mouth, he was astonished to find that the sheep's milk had curdled. The rough terrain and constant joggling of the milk had transformed it into butter --- and bewilderingly, it tasted heavenly.

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Arts & Life

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This week we're joined by Allison Lacher & Jeff Robinson - two instrumental forces in bringing contemporary and provocative artwork to the central Illinois region. 

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Equity

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Champaign-Urbana is the only city in Illinois, other than Chicago, to have an official chapter of the Black Lives Matter organization. Evelyn Reynolds has been heading it.

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President Trump's counterterrorism adviser is under fire from his peers — and Sebastian Gorka is hitting back.

Just ask Michael Smith. He's a counterterrorism expert in Charleston, S.C., who specializes in online recruiting efforts and who has advised members of Congress on terrorism-related issues.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Members of AFSCME voted overwhelmingly to give the union's bargaining committee the power to strike. The union has been in a contract fight with Gov. Bruce Rauner for more than two years. Rauner has tried to impose his terms, saying they're a fair deal for both workers and taxpayers. Meanwhile, in the week following the governor's budget address, Rauner did little to support or defend his plan.

Yahya Abu Romman, a 22-year-old languages major, had just graduated from university. To celebrate, he planned a six-week trip to the U.S., where his brother, uncles and aunts and more than a dozen cousins have lived for years.

With good grades, an engaging personality and fluency in three languages — English, Arabic and Spanish — he had worked as a nature conservation ranger while studying, and had his pick of jobs with tour companies in Jordan, a strong U.S. ally.

The Los Angeles Zoo has officially announced its newest addition: a baby bongo.

Eastern bongos are striped forest antelopes, with large ears and horns. They are found in the wild in East Africa and are critically endangered according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which maintains the so-called red list of species facing extinction.

Only 75 to 140 wild bongos are thought to still live in Kenya.

The newly appointed Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is moving to scale back the implementation of sweeping privacy rules for Internet providers passed last year.

Chairman Ajit Pai on Friday asked the FCC to hit pause on the rollout of one part of those rules that was scheduled to go into effect next week. This marks the latest in his efforts to roll back his predecessor's regulatory moves.

As President Trump prepares a new executive order on vetting refugees and immigrants, one idea keeps cropping up: checking the social media accounts of those coming to the U.S.

In fact, such a program was begun under the Obama administration more than a year ago on a limited basis and is likely to be expanded. But social media vetting is a heavy lift, and it's too early to tell how effective it will be.

Officials in Los Angeles have asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents working in the city not to identify themselves as police.

In a letter addressed to the ICE deputy field office director who handles immigration enforcement, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, and president of the city council Herb Wesson wrote:

In recent days, several Republican lawmakers have faced crowds of constituents at town hall meetings around the country who are angry that they may be in danger of losing their health coverage.

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This I Believe Illinois

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This I Believe: The American Dream

This is the story of a couple of people who were not lucky enough to be born in the land of the free. Instead of accepting their fate, these two people, along with their families, accomplished a goal they never thought possible.

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The First 100 Days

President Trump's counterterrorism adviser is under fire from his peers — and Sebastian Gorka is hitting back.

Just ask Michael Smith. He's a counterterrorism expert in Charleston, S.C., who specializes in online recruiting efforts and who has advised members of Congress on terrorism-related issues.

The newly appointed Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is moving to scale back the implementation of sweeping privacy rules for Internet providers passed last year.

Chairman Ajit Pai on Friday asked the FCC to hit pause on the rollout of one part of those rules that was scheduled to go into effect next week. This marks the latest in his efforts to roll back his predecessor's regulatory moves.

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Illinois Edition: Weekdays Noon-1 PM and 7-8 PM

Rachel Otwell

A Talk With Springfield Activists Who 'Resist' Trump

Across the country, activists who say they stand in opposition to many of the Trump administration's goals are organizing. Many call themselves the ' Resistance ', a nod to terminology previously used by those living under authoritarian regimes. They've been key players in the Women's March on Washington (and in other cities), which has been called one of the largest demonstrations in the U.S.

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Illinois Issues

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Illinois Issues: Civil Asset Forfeiture Critics Complain Innocent People Pay

Disparate entities say laws in this area need to change at the state and national levels.

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Featured

Indiana's Claims About Its Medicaid Experiment Don't All Check Out

Indiana expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2015, with a few extra conditions that were designed to appeal to the conservative leadership in the state. The Federal government approved the experiment, called the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0 , and it is now is up for another three-year renewal. But a close reading of the state's renewal application shows misleading and inaccurate information is being used to justify extending HIP 2.0. This is important because the initial...

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