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Soybean Prices Hit A 10-Year Low

Farmers are entering their 5th year of low crop prices and now soybeans have reached a 10-year low, in part due to Chinese tariffs. Economists say this could be a pivotal year for farmers in Illinois and across the country.

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'Union Alternatives' Woo Illinois Teachers

Ten days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public sector employees who choose not to join unions no longer have to pay reduced fees to cover collective bargaining. And already, a crusade to persuade teachers to drop union membership has hit Illinois. The campaign sends teachers tantalizing offers from so-called "union alternatives.” For example, the organization called MyPayMySay touts the Association of American Educators , which offers liability insurance and promises no political activity.

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Education Desk

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Illinois has traditionally used a competitive grant process to parcel out money for preschools. In the past, that competition was limited to programs that had a history of getting state funds. But this year, after the legislature appropriated an extra $50 million for preschools, the Illinois State Board of Education threw the competition open to all programs.

Once applications were reviewed and ranked, preschools around the state were shocked to learn they wouldn’t be getting the state funding they expected. Some weren’t funded because their grant applications scored below ISBE’s threshold; others weren’t funded simply because the appropriated amount couldn’t cover the demand.

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Statehouse

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois politicians react to President Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel get into a Twitter fight over the anti-violence protest that brought the inbound Dan Ryan to a halt.

And J.B. Pritzker's campaign runs an ad with claims widely described as false.

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Health+Harvest Desk

Farmers are entering their 5th year of low crop prices and now soybeans have reached a 10-year low, in part due to Chinese tariffs. Economists say this could be a pivotal year for farmers in Illinois and across the country. 

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Equity

'Unsilence' Helps Communities Address Taboo Topics

Jul 9, 2018
Luke Adams

The separation of families at the US-Mexico border has caused many to voice outrage over what they see as an inhumane policy. Dozens of children separated from their parents have been placed in shelters in the Chicago area, part of a group of around 2,000 separated children placed across the country.

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Illinois Economy

Construction sign at Broadway and Adams in Springfield
Sam Dunklau

Experts say billions in a multi-year plan won't go far enough to address infrastructure repairs and upkeep.

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Dan Rutherford greets supporters.
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Monday is day two of state Treasurer Dan Rutherford's three-day tour of Illinois. He's meeting with supporters to say he's officially running for governor. Rutherford has been laying the groundwork to run for years, making the formal announcement one of the least surprising events in Illinois politics. So we asked reporter Brian Mackey to find something about Rutherford's announcement that was surprising.

The sponsor of same sex marriage legislation is facing a backlash for not calling it for a vote before the General Assembly adjourned on Friday.  

 

Gay rights activists praised Rep. Greg Harris in 2011 for helping pass Illinois' civil unions law.

Some of those same activists are now criticizing him for how he's handled a measure to legalize same sex marriage.

Harris was tearful when he announced just before the House adjourned its spring session that there would be no vote because he didn't believe it could pass.

For Whom The Bells Toll

May 31, 2013
www.carillon-rees.org

Carillonneur Robin Austin calls Thomas Rees one of his “great heroes”.

Last fall the Springfield Park District chose Austin to succeed Karel Keldermans, who played the 67-bell instrument dedicated to Thomas Rees for 35 years.

This week Robin Austin follows in the footsteps -or on the foot pedals - of the Keldermans family.  It will be his first year as host of the city’s annual International Carillon Festival.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois has the worst funded pension system in the nation, and lawmakers have until today to do something about it.  The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn by midnight.  After that, it requires extra votes to get legislation to the governor's desk. Pensions are not the only thing left.  Plenty of other big-ticket policy issues are also unresolved.

                                                                      

The Illinois Senate overwhelmingly rejected legislation on Thursday that would curtail government employees' and teachers' retirement benefits.

It raises the question of whether lawmakers will do anything to address Illinois' indebted retirement systems before they adjourn Friday night.

The pension-cutting legislation passed the House at the start of month.

But when it got a vote in the Senate yesterday, it didn't just fail - it plunged.  The Senate vote was 16 to 42.

  We’ve brought you interviews with new Springfield school board members over the past couple days. Today we speak with Donna Moore about her background and goals for district 186:

Dynamic Patterns Theatre

Famed poet Emily Dickinson dedicated herself to documenting the joys and sorrows of life in the 1800s.

This month actor Sherri Mitchell brings Dickinson's life and work to the stage in Springfield and Jacksonville.

Mitchell joined Peter Gray on Illinois Edition to talk about her one-woman production, The Belle of Amherst, and what it's like to transport audiences back to the 19th century:

For information about Jacksonville performances May 30-June 2, CLICK HERE

Sheila Simon
Illinois.gov

The Illinois Senate has approved a multi-faceted change to the state's election laws. The legislation is almost as notable for what it does not do, as for what it does.

The proposal would make dozens of changes to state law, including online voter registration. But until Wednesday, the legislation also would have changed how Illinois gets a lieutenant governor.

Amanda Vinicky

Even as the legislative session winds down -- its last day is Friday -- there's no agreement on a solution to the state's pension problem.   

It's not like the problem came out of nowhere.  The $100 billion dollars of unfunded liability accumulated over decades.

And legislators have been talking about what to do about it for years.   Especially this session.

The House and Senate each passed legislation to cut Illinois' costs by reducing state employees and teachers' retirement benefits.  But both measures are stalled in the opposite chamber.

Another key component of the Illinois state budget moved through the General Assembly on Wednesday. The Democrats' spending plan prevents what could have been steep cuts for schools, but Republicans say students outside Chicago are getting shortchanged.

  Democrats are approving mostly level funding for elementary and high schools in Illinois. That's significant because education spending, like most areas of the state budget, has been cut in recent years. And Gov. Pat Quinn's budget proposal said even deeper cuts would be necessary.

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Community Voices

 Jacob Bouldin interviews with Siri Kakumani
Katie Buck / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

PodCamp: K-9 Police Officer Interview

Hello, this is Siri Kakumani for the 2018 NPR Illinois Podcamp. K-9 officer Jacob Bouldin and his partner in service, Dagz, came in to talk about his occupation and why he wanted to become a K-9 police officer. In his job he and his dog sniff out narcotics and objects including evidence in investigative cases and are located in Chatham, Illinois.

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Social Action - Thanks for Sharing!

 John Kelker with Adam Schnell
Katie Buck / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

PodCamp: Leading Springfield to a Better Future with Volunteer Work

Hello, I’m Adam Schnell for the 2018 NPR Illinois PodCamp. John Kelker is the head of the United Way, a company that volunteers and helps out other nonprofit companies.

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NPR Illinois Hiring - Sales AEs

NPR Illinois is hiring Sponsorship Account Executives . Seeking candidates with track records of success and the passion to innovate and sustain the public media mission. Sponsorship AEs will secure funding primarily from businesses, but also foundations and individuals to support the public journalism of NPR Illinois and the Illinois public radio network through sponsorships and acknowledgements in digital, broadcast and print media.

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Featured

Luke Adams

'Unsilence' Helps Communities Address Taboo Topics

The separation of families at the US-Mexico border has caused many to voice outrage over what they see as an inhumane policy. Dozens of children separated from their parents have been placed in shelters in the Chicago area, part of a group of around 2,000 separated children placed across the country. On July 21st, a Chicago non-profit group called Unsilence plans to hold a " human rights treasure hunt " in the city with a goal of provoking conversations about this and other issues that go...

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Illinois Issues

NPR Illinois 91.9 | UIS

Online Shopping Court Decision Brings Uncertainty To Illinois

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on online shopping left two things clear – consumers who buy online will have to pay sales tax on more items, and some states will see more money from those online purchases.

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Politics

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Folk Alley Presents: Kevin Gordon

Singer-songwriter Kevin Gordon stopped by Folk Alley recently for a session taping at Beehive Productions. Joined by Steph Graham on bass, Gordon performed material from his latest album, Long Gone Time . About this song, "Following A Sign," he told us: "This song is unusual for me, because I usually write about real people I've known. I heard the voice of the imagined woman telling her story in this song while reading a couple of different things around the same time: revisiting the Doris...

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NPR Illinois Classic | 91.9-2 HD

Classical Music Captures A Young Wife's Anxiety In 'On Chesil Beach'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR6DWDfMDlM The film On Chesil Beach opens with a cocksure Edward, played by Billy Howle, mansplaining the blues to his new wife, Florence, a classical violinist played by Saoirse Ronan . It's a snapshot of the young couple's relationship, which disintegrates throughout the course of the film due to mismatched expectations and fears of intimacy. Director Dominic Cooke, a veteran of theater making his feature film debut with this Ian McEwan novella adaption,...

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