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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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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

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

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

It's been another big week for voting laws — especially when it comes to the courts. More twists and turns are likely before the election. But for now, here's an update:

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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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Carter Staley / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

Officials with the Teacher’s Retirement System made a decision today that could add another $421 million to Illinois’ annual pension costs.

 

When Edgar Lee Masters wrote Spoon River Anthology in the early 1900's, it started as a series of poems printed in succession. They were later put into a collection and to this day, the book is taught in classrooms around the country and lauded for its critical and cutting look into what rural life was really like in Mid-America.

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.

When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau looked into the Mississippi-based regional bank BancorpSouth, it didn't just review thousands of loan applications. It sent in undercover operatives — some white, some black — who pretended to be customers applying for loans.

"They had similar credit scores and similar background and situations," says CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "Our investigation had found that BancorpSouth had engaged in illegal redlining in Memphis, meaning refusing to lend into specific areas of the city."

In Baton Rouge, La., people are using whatever tools they have to help their community recover from the flood.

That includes cameras.

Four photographers have been creating portraits of those affected. Their project, "Humans of the Water," focuses not on what people lost, but on what they saved.

One of those photographers is Collin Richie. He says documentary photography isn't typically his style. Most of his work involves snapping photos for weddings, magazines and corporate advertisements.

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

The White House announced today that President Barack Obama will expand the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating the world’s largest marine protected area.

The move quadruples the size of the monument from 50 miles to 200 miles. But it’s caused some controversy in Hawaii.

The University of Virginia is facing criticism for raising the cost of tuition for students over the last few years while at the same time, setting aside more than $2 billion in an investment fund.

Many major universities have these funds, but UVA’s is among the biggest for a public school. Today, the state legislature’s subcommittee on higher education will question top university officials about the fund, including President Teresa Sullivan.

Here are some of Sullivan’s remarks from her appearance before a Friday joint meeting of the Virginia State Legislature:

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

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

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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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In Baton Rouge, La., people are using whatever tools they have to help their community recover from the flood.

That includes cameras.

Four photographers have been creating portraits of those affected. Their project, "Humans of the Water," focuses not on what people lost, but on what they saved.

One of those photographers is Collin Richie. He says documentary photography isn't typically his style. Most of his work involves snapping photos for weddings, magazines and corporate advertisements.

It's 1989 in the new movie Southside With You, and two attractive young lawyers are going out for the first time. Were their names not Michelle and Barack, we might not be along for the ride. But they are, and the ride is sweet in the idyll constructed by first-time feature-writer/director Richard Tanne.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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

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.

If the popularity of quinoa has taught us anything, it's that Americans are increasingly open about exploring grains besides the familiar wheat and rice. Now, researchers at Tennessee State University are hoping consumers are ready to give another ancient grain a try: amaranth.

Amaranth was revered by the Aztecs in Mexico. Today in the U.S., it's mostly grown in people's backyards or on research farms, like an experimental field at Tennessee State University.

Health Desk

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.

Orientation at Arkansas Tech University this year included a surprising topic for a Bible Belt state that pushes abstinence-only in high school. Every freshman was shown a newly produced video in which real students talk about the struggle of an unplanned pregnancy, and the challenge of staying in school as a parent.

The burkini has had a controversial summer in France.

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