Illinois Edition

On Intermission, returning Fall 2017

July 2017 marks Illinois Edition's fifth year of explaining Illinois.

There will be a brief intermission as Illinois Edition is refreshed for the next five years. We are adding reporters and updating features and welcome your input at feedback@illinoisedition.org. During this intermission, Here & Now will air until a refreshed Illinois Edition returns in the Fall.

The news in Illinois that affects you is delivered daily on Illinois Edition.  Politics, education, the arts and life -- it's Illinois.  Explained.  The newsmakers and people of Illinois that are making waves make the airwaves daily.

Listen to broadcasts on:

  • NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS, Springfield (central Illinois)
  • NPR Illinois | 89.3 IPA, Pittsfield (west central Illinois)
  • 580 WILL-AM, Urbana (east central Illinois)

Special segments air weekly:

Fridays

  • State Week, where the panel dissects the past week in Illinois politics and updates listeners with insider information from the state capital in Springfield.

Illinois Edition began airing on a daily basis in July 2012.

Doug Whitley, President of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, says the state's underfunded pension systems are wreaking havoc in other areas.  He says the growing cost of pension payments is forcing Illinois government to spend less on areas like education and infrastructure. 

This year marks the bicentennial of the birth for one of Illinois' most notable politicians.  But Stephen Douglas fell far short of his rival, Abraham Lincoln, in both height and the history books.   Douglas was more than simply a footnote in Illinois' past.  An exhibit underway at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum sheds some light on the Little Giant.  It includes items pertaining to Douglas.

James Cornelius is Curator of the Lincoln Collection at the facility and tells us more. 

Flickr/U.S. Military Academy at West Point

The economy has proven difficult for many.  But one group in particular, returning veterans, is finding it especially hard to locate work.  Meredith Colias of Illinois Issues magazine wrote about the problem in the latest edition. 

An Illinois House and Senate conference committee will meet tomorrow in Chicago as members try to work out a compromise on the state's pension problem.
Ten lawmakers, six of them Democrats, make up the panel.  It was formed after a pension deal eluded the General Assembly in the spring.  Republican Jil Tracy of Mount Sterling is among those given the task of coming up with a solution.

roe51.org

Regional Offices of Education have often been an overlooked area of government.  But the elected positions have unwillingly been in the spotlight over the last couple of years when Governor Pat Quinn tried to eliminate them.  A compromise with the legislature resulted in a consolidation of the offices that is underway now.  44 offices are required to drop down to 35.   In Sangamon County, an agreement was reached this month to merge with Menard County starting in 2015.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Midwest waterways are getting lots of attention this summer. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency have immersed themselves in the ecology of 100 streams from Ohio to Nebraska. It’s a first-of-its kind effort to understand how ag runoff is not just changing the water but affecting the critters that live there. Harvest Public Media’s Abbie Fentress Swanson joined a crew on a rainy day while they gathered water samples and searched for fish eggs on three streams in central Missouri.

Thomas Jefferson was more than a founding father.  He was an avid gardener.  We’ve learned more about Jefferson’s passion for gardening thanks to Peter Hatch and the various books he has written.

Hatch is the retired Director of Gardens and Grounds at Jefferson’s Monticello.  He’ll speak on the UIS campus Thursday night.  He also talked with WUIS’ Sean Crawford about Jefferson’s gardens….

ilga.gov

What will the special legislative session next week accomplish?

"Nothing," says Rep. Rich Brauer (R-Petersburg).  Brauer was a guest on WUIS' Illinois Edition Thursday.  He talks pensions, concealed carry, same sex marriage and the state budget:

UIS

UIS Associate Professor Jason Pierceson is the author of “Same Sex Marriage in the U.S.:The Road to the Supreme Court.”  The book recounts how the issue has evolved as we await opinions on two key cases.

Wikipedia

Before Gen. Benjamin Grierson won acclaim for his tactical raid that helped the Union forces take Vicksburg.  But before then, he was a music teacher in Jacksonville.  This weekend, the community’s annual event to honor Grierson takes place.   Plenty of free events that tie history and entertainment together are part of Grierson Days.

Ron Gray coordinates the festival:

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

My Farm Roots,  a series from WUIS and Harvest Public Media, tells Americans’ stories and memories of rural life.  Because when you hail from farm country, roots run deep.
Times are good on the farm right now, but that hasn’t always been true. Many of today’s young farmers grew up in the shadow of the farm crisis on the 1980's and watched as rural areas were ripped apart by debt and foreclosures.
Those hard times will always stay with them.  Today, an Iowa farmer tells his story:


newphiladelphiail.org

A series of public lectures in west central Illinois begins tomorrow night at the Kinderhook Lodge in Barry.  The series will discuss the Underground Railroad, Civil War military service, emancipation and safe havens, like the nearby historic town of New Philadelphia.

SpringfieldSliders.com

It’s Opening Night for the team that plays its home games at Robin Roberts Stadium on Springfield’s north side.  Sliders’ Director of Community Relations Bill Hill and Field Manager Pete Romero stopped by to talk about what’s in store this season and the future of baseball in Springfield.

Flickr

More than 2 million people a year visit Illinois state historic sites.  The locations play a big role in both state and local economies.   But they often lack political muscle.
So a more coordinated effort is underway to bring back the Historic Preservation caucus in the Illinois General Assembly.

Speaking on WUIS’ Illinois Edition, Chris Wills with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says there is a need:

Thinkprogress.org

Could Illinois be getting closer to legalizing the medical use of marijuana?  Dan Riffle is with the Marijuana Policy Project, which has lobbied state lawmakers to approve the law.  He was a guest on WUIS’ Illinois Edition with Sean Crawford. 

ler.illinois.edu

Are government workers underpaid?  Bob Bruno says his research shows in many cases, they are.  He authored a study that found when comparing comparable jobs in the public and private sector, those who work for government, including teachers, get the short shrift.    Bruno is a professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois.  

He told WUIS' Sean Crawford the purpose of the study and how he went about the comparisons:

Landmarks Illinois

The Fernwood Mausoleum is more than just the story of a dilapidated building.  It’s a sad result for those who thought that they would spend eternity inside the enclosure located in the Greene County town of Roodhouse.

But the future for the nearly 100 bodies still housed at the mausoleum remains uncertain, nearly a century after it was built.  Costly repairs are needed.  Ray Coons, with the Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association, is among those volunteers working to save the site.

The survey of employers find many have positive expectations for their own firms, but have a negative overall outlook for the coming year.  Ashley Kirzinger, Director of the UIS Survey Research Office, spoke with us about the findings:

The survey is sponsored by the University of Illinois Springfield's Chancellor's Office, the Center for State Policy and Research at UIS and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

Springfield Park District

Want to play golf at the Springfield Park District courses?  Previously, you had to call to find out tee times.  But a new website will allow you to find and book a tee time online.   Paul Loutzenhiser, the district's head golf professional and Lance Flury, the golf pro at the Pasfield course, talked with WUIS' Sean Crawford about it.  Lance says along with helping golfers get out on the links, it will benefit the park district.

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