News

The Suitcase Junket official show poster
David Landis / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

“Not everyone can pull off the one-man-band gambit without lapsing into schtick, but Amherst’s Matt Lorenz has it all down to an art. the songs are what you remember.”
-The Boston Globe 

MikeMozart/flickr

Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

Midwest Travel: Explore The Titanic In Peoria

16 hours ago

Ever since Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet stood on the bow in that blockbuster movie, crowds have flocked to exhibits dedicated to all things Titanic. Swinging a trip to museums in Southampton, England, or Halifax, Nova Scotia, would be a stretch, but your heart can go on with a day visit to Peoria. 

Wikimedia Commons

After last year’s historic violence in parts of Chicago, a group of state legislators are once again pushing for tougher gun possession laws.

The proposal would ratchet up minimum prison sentences for people who illegally carry a gun.

The ACLU of Illinois opposes the legislation in part because it says it would target the act of carrying a gun, not shooting it.

Courtesy of Sen. Karen McConnaughay

On Wednesday, state senators filed a package of bills designed to break the partisan logjam that's led to the state going more than 18 months without a budget. The first of those bills deals with changing the school funding formula, and the commission charged with accomplishing that task appears headed toward a compromise.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week saw the inauguration of a new session at the Statehouse - the 100th General Assembly.  Will this new term be able to solve Illinois' long-standing budget crisis?  Chris Mooney, Director of the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs, and Lee Enterprises' Dan Petrella join the panel.

U.S. Department of Justice press conference
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show including:

  • DOJ Finds Civil Rights Abuses in Chicago Police Department
  • As City Prepares to Borrow $1.2B, Mayor Asks Moody’s to Withdraw Ratings
  • Kurt Vonnegut Artwork Finds New Home at Chicago Veterans Museum

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court considered a case Thursday that asks whether not-for-profit hospitals have to pay property taxes.

The Scene Visits 'Heathers: The Musical'

Jan 12, 2017
Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week Rachel and Scott visit The Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield during a rehearsal for Heathers: The Musical, which opens this weekend and is for three days only. It's based on the movie, a cult hit from the eighties, which stars Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. 

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

 Jamey Dunn is leaving the position of Illinois Issues editor. In this week’s Illinois Issues report, she reflects on her time working here and covering state government. 

Michael Madigan being sworn in at UIS
Ted Schurter / State Journal-Register (Pool Photo)

Michael Madigan was re-elected speaker of the House Wednesday in Springfield. It was the opening day of the 100th General Assembly, and Madigan used the occasion to call for a focus on economic growth.

Illinois Senate
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois state legislators opened a new two-year session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. Amid the ceremonies and celebrations, the focus remains on the political stalemate that's left Illinois without a budget for more than 18 months.

House members of the 100th Illinois General Assembly sworn in at the University of Illinois Springfield
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show including:

  • Madigan Wins Speaker’s Office, As Senate Sets Leadership Limits
  • New Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx Talks Reform Plans
  • Tiger Woods-Designed Golf Course in Jackson Park Gets Green Light

Family dinner conversations flow with the casserole to cement a family together like few other activities.

Meg Conley, a writer for the Huffington Post, focuses on topics related to raising children.  A recent article of hers inspired me.  In it, she shared a practice she and her husband have implemented around family dinners.

In an effort to reconnect each evening, they ask the same three questions at dinner:  How were you brave today?  How were you kind today?  And how did you fail today?

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

State Rep. Michael Madigan on Wednesday will seek his 17th term as speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. He's not expected to have any trouble winning.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his fellow Republicans have spent years vilifying Madigan. But lately the party has gone further, trying to sway House Democrats away from re-electing Madigan as their leader.

Republican interference in the House Democratic leadership election is not just a departure from political norms. It's also a huge departure from Illinois history.

Amanda Vinicky at the statehouse
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show including:

  • Amanda Vinicky reports Springfield, Lawmakers Adjourn for Good, Without a Budget
  • The Purpose of the Presidential Farewell Speech
  • The Airport Security Balancing Act

Courtesy of Illinois General Assembly

Flint, Michigan's discovery of lead-laced drinking water has inspired Illinois lawmakers to look for similar problems here. A measure approved by the General Assembly last night would require schools and child care centers to test for lead in water from drinking fountains and kitchen taps.

Maryam Moustofi / St. Francis of Assisi Church
Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

We visit a historic Springfield location, the St. Francis of Assisi Church. It was built after nuns decided to create a sanitarium to treat tuberculosis patients out in the country side -  it now includes a healing center of a different sort, The Chiara Center. We learn what that is, plus we talk with Maryam Mostoufi, the new president of the local interfaith organization. She was also the first  female Muslim to be inducted into the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Matt Jones, Peter Baroni, Jehan Gordon-Booth
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Chicago confronts an increasing murder rate, the Illinois legislature is trying to take on the root causes of violence in some of the state's most traumatized communities.

John CUllerton and Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Details of a massive, bipartisan compromise meant to end Illinois' budget stalemate emerged Monday in the Illinois Senate. But the plan has been put on hold.

Phil Ponce and Amanda Vinicky
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show including:

  • Illinois Senate budget deal has slim chances.
  • What to expect from President Obama's farewell address.
  • Chicago Bears future.

Wikimedia / Damonsacks

Health reporter for The State Journal-Register, Dean Olsen, has been looking at the hurdles in place when it comes to healthcare access, many as a result of the state's budget problems. 

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois legislators return to Springfield Monday. Disagreements between Democrats and Republicans have left state government without a full budget for more than 18 months — though Senate leaders are now said be trying to hammer out a compromise.

Record store
Todd Gehman (flickr.com/pugetive)

I think there were less blockbusters and outright bowl-you-over releases in 2016, so in lieu of longer album reviews, more brief synopses of albums and highlighting some great songs we shared during the year....in no particular order.

Andy Shauf - “The Party”                     

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois legislators are returning to Springfield for the final few days of lame duck session. Will there be a grand compromise? And what's the deal with the Illinois Republican Party's interference in the Democratic race for speaker of the House?

borken piggy bank on classroom desk
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The state’s ongoing budget impasse has hit community colleges particularly hard, with funds to these schools and the students who attend them drastically reduced. The Illinois Community College Board is distributing $3 million in emergency aid, divided among seven campuses.

Office of Sen. David Luechtefeld

A new law designed to relieve the statewide shortage of teachers and substitute teachers was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner today. The legislation was sponsored by State Senator Dave Luechtefeld, a Republican. He taught  history and government at Okawville High School for more than 30 years, so it’s hard to argue with him about what it takes to be an educator. That’s probably why the bill he sponsored passed unanimously in both chambers of the Illinois legislature.

kids in gymnasium
The Outlet

The Outlet in Springfield is a non-profit organization that mentors fatherless male youth ages 8 thru 22 and helps them make responsible decisions and explore their talents. It also hosts events meant to bridge the gap between police and the community at large.

colonnade on UIS campus
University of Illinois Springfield

University of Illinois employees will receive a 2 percent raise in March after the school had to put pay increases on hold for the last two years.

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