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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

State Week: Will AFSCME Strike?

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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Statehouse

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.

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Education Desk

Which Colleges Might Give You The Best Bang For Your Buck?

1 hour ago

The cost of college is high and rising, while a bachelor's degree is practically required to get ahead.

It's hard enough for a family with means to get a student through school these days, let alone a low-income family.

So, are the immediate costs of college, and the loans that can follow, worth it?

Read More Education Stories

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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In 2010, Lester Packingham was convicted of having a Facebook account. That's a crime in North Carolina, which bars registered sex offenders from "accessing" certain social media sites, including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether that law violates the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. Packingham contends the statute, instead of being narrowly targeted, encompasses a "vast amount" of speech that is protected by the Constitution.

What Makes Mira Rai Run?

31 minutes ago

Mira Rai is perched on the edge of a couch in Kathmandu in a bright yellow Salomon windbreaker and track pants. The 29-year-old is recovering from knee surgery but looks as if she needs to jump off the couch and burn energy on a mountain trail.

Trail running is, in fact, what the Nepali athlete is known for — along with her unlikely journey from school dropout in a remote Nepali village to Maoist child soldier to national sports hero featured in children's books and depicted in murals.

Dentists Work To Ease Patients' Pain With Fewer Opioids

54 minutes ago

Firsts can be life changing — think about your first kiss, your first time behind the wheel of a car. But what about the first time you got a prescription for a narcotic?

James Hatzell, from Collingswood, NJ, is now a technology officer for a college addiction treatment program. He didn't realize it at the time, but that spring day of his junior year of high school — seven years ago — was a pivotal moment in his life.

Which Colleges Might Give You The Best Bang For Your Buck?

1 hour ago

The cost of college is high and rising, while a bachelor's degree is practically required to get ahead.

It's hard enough for a family with means to get a student through school these days, let alone a low-income family.

So, are the immediate costs of college, and the loans that can follow, worth it?

There are renewed efforts at the state level to pass so-called religious freedom bills. LGBTQ rights advocates believe that's because local lawmakers are anticipating support from the Trump administration.

In Alabama, there's a bill that allows adoption agencies that are religiously affiliated to hold true to their faith if they don't think same-sex couples should be parents. The psychiatric community has found no evidence that having same-sex parents harms children.

Tales of talented black students on majority-white campuses running through a racial gauntlet that has them questioning their brilliance, abilities and place are familiar to parents like me who have a college-bound child at home.

On Monday, the Senate will vote on Wilbur Ross' nomination as the U.S. commerce secretary. As required by the Ethics in Government Act, the billionaire businessman has reached an agreement with the Office of Government Ethics to sell off most of his holdings.

Down Baltimore's Greenmount Avenue, across from a hair braiding salon and a crab shack, the lights for the One Stop Auto Shop flash around the clock, much like shop owner Jerry Greeff's work ethic.

Greeff has been putting in his last days after working with cars for more than 40 years — and he's done quite well. In 2016, his business had $2.5 million in sales.

But he's been working long days for a long time.

"If a customer doesn't have their car, I feel bad for them," Greeff says. "They need their car."

President Trump announced Saturday afternoon that he would break from a decades-old tradition and skip the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner scheduled for April 29.

"I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!" Trump tweeted.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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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

There are renewed efforts at the state level to pass so-called religious freedom bills. LGBTQ rights advocates believe that's because local lawmakers are anticipating support from the Trump administration.

In Alabama, there's a bill that allows adoption agencies that are religiously affiliated to hold true to their faith if they don't think same-sex couples should be parents. The psychiatric community has found no evidence that having same-sex parents harms children.

On Monday, the Senate will vote on Wilbur Ross' nomination as the U.S. commerce secretary. As required by the Ethics in Government Act, the billionaire businessman has reached an agreement with the Office of Government Ethics to sell off most of his holdings.

READ MORE FIRST 100 DAYS STORIES

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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