News

A sex trafficking researcher is urging community members to take action to help thwart victimization.

“We have awakened to this issue of sex trafficking,” says Jody Raphael, a professor at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, who has investigated the sex trade in Illinois for about the past 15 years. “We really need to have some activism going in our communities.”

The recent boom in apartment construction in areas of north Chicago and around the Loop threatens  to displace middle and low-income Chicagoans from homes and apartments.

Construction has been big business in Chicago. Over 8,700 new apartment units are expected to be completed by 2016. But new development is clustered around north Chicago and the Loop, rather than poor neighborhoods.

An inmate at the Illinois Department of Corrections has filed a class-action lawsuit alleging systematic abuse by hundreds of prison guards and administrators.

The named plaintiff is Demetrius Ross, an inmate at the Illinois River Correctional Center. Illinois River is a medium security prison in Canton, about 30 miles outside Peoria. Ross alleges that members of a special IDOC unit known as “Orange Crush” conducted violent, humiliating shakedowns in at least four prisons.

Members of the Illinois General Assembly’s Latino Caucus are calling for increased blood donations from Latinos because they are more likely to have the type in highest demand.

While the Latino population makes up 17 percent of the Illinois population, just an estimated 4 percent are blood donors, says Margaret Vaughn, who is government affairs direction for the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Donors.

Two recent studies indicate that capping the size of settlements awarded in medical malpractice cases may have far less impact on health care than previously thought.

New dads get depressed, too. And they should be evaluated and treated for post-partum mental health issues just as mothers are.

That’s according to the author of a recent Northwestern (University) Medicine study, which is the first of its kind to focus on the effects on children of fathers with post-partum depression, according to a university release. Many previous studies have looked at the impact of post-partum depression in mothers and the interactions between parents.

A federal initiative seeks to make school meals more nutritious while boosting local economies. However, Illinois school districts have barely cracked the surface in competing for these dollars.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Farm to School program aims to link locally sourced food to free K-12 lunch and breakfast programs by providing grants for research, planning, nutrition education, technical staff, conferences and implementation. The program has been awarded $5 million nationwide annually since 2010.

Brass rail outside the Governor's office
Amanda Vinicky / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The pink slips started coming in January.

Employees hired at Democrats’ discretion over the past dozen years were losing their state jobs — an early rattle in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s promised “shakeup” of state government, accompanied by other corresponding rattles, including waves of appointments naming Republicans to take the ousted workers’ places.

Sen. Andy Manar speaks in front of student
Senate Democrats

There he was, then-Gov. Jim Edgar, appearing before a joint session of the General Assembly, imploring members of the GOP-led House and Senate to raise the state income tax, lower property taxes and level out the disparities between rich and poor school systems in Illinois.

It was 1996, and Edgar was coming off a re-election where he trounced Democratic Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch by attacking her plan to fix the state’s school-funding inequities.

Car mounted license plate reader
Garrett Brnger / WUIS / Illinois Issues

It doesn’t take much time at all, fractions of a second, to be marked and mapped, recorded and reported.

The automatic license plate reader cameras don’t look like much — just a pair of strobe lights on the back of a squad car, or maybe a cartoon character, depending on whom you ask.

The Funeral Train

May 1, 2015
Lincoln's funeral train
Library of Congress

 A Mourning Country Stood Watch As The Body Of The Slain President Returned To Springfield

Overgrown Tinley Park Mental Health Care Center sign
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Dawn Kelly takes seven medications daily to treat her bipolar disorder. She has been on the meds since her 2011 diagnosis. Had it not been for a switch over from one Medicaid plan to another, the 40-year-old mother, who lives in East Peoria, would likely be dead.

New Governor Continues To Fill Board, Agency Head Jobs

May 1, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner has chosen a new head of the Illinois Lottery, and filled top spots on boards and commissions.

The governor picked B.R. Lane to be superintendent of the Illinois Lottery. Lane has worked in the gaming industry. She was manager of regulatory compliance for gambling equipment company International Game Technology, which makes video poker and slot machines.

Executive Inspector General Steps Down

May 1, 2015

The state official who led an investigation into political hiring under former Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration is resigning.

Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza stepped down last month, after more than four-and-a-half years investigating allegations of misconduct in the governor’s office, 40 state agencies and public universities.

Much of what Meza’s office does is kept secret, like investigations that don’t produce findings of wrongdoing. Even some of those that do can be kept confidential.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

  In a few days, Springfield will culminate a months-long observation of the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln with a historic re-enactment of his funeral procession. The procession, including a re-creation of the original Lincoln hearse, horse-drawn carriages and military and civilian Civil War re-enactors, will wend its way from the railroad station where the slain president’s body arrived, past the Old State Capitol and his home and eventually end at his tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Features a pair of authors published by Twelve Winters Press, JD Schraffenberger and Rachel Jamison Webster. A longer excerpt of Rachel’s interview is availabe in issue 8.1 of Quiddity. Also featured in this episode is poet and 8.1 contributor Charlotte Pence reading a poem “Lemons Are Not Nipples” from her debut collection Many Small Fires (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) Author and spouse Adam Prince discusses the poem with Charlotte. Closing out the show is the 2014 Linda H.

flickr/dborman

A top official with Gov. Bruce Rauner's office confirms, Illinois will restore $26 million in funding for a tobacco quitline, programs for autistic children and other social service grants. Projections show the state is taking in more money than expected.  While some cuts will remain, the windfall frees up money to reverse the cuts Rauner made with little warning on Good Friday, in early April.
 

The news has Joanne Guthrie-Gard beaming -- one of those "couldn't wipe it off her face" smiles. "I'm ecstatic. I'm so excited," she says.

ALPLM
ALPLM

While other agencies are bracing for budget cuts, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum could get everything it's asking for in next year's budget.

ALPLM could receive a boost of $2 million more than it's expected to spend in the current budget year, according to Gov. Bruce Rauner's spending proposal.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Cuts the governor is proposing for next year's budget are a concern for transportation officials.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's plan includes $20 million worth of cuts to Amtrak. Laura Calderon, the director of the Illinois Public Transportation Association, says that means about six million trips will be eliminated downstate.

"This impact is not just on transit. It has a much broader impact on the economy, on the schools, on the universities," she said. "It really does hit everyone."

Dan Walker sign
file / WUIS/Illinois Issues

A former governor of Illinois has died. Dan Walker ran the state for one term in the 1970s. A Democrat, he focused much of his brief political career on fighting members of his own party.

At a time when most Democratic politicians in Illinois were cogs in a massive political machine, Dan Walker was a nobody.

Several mayors from around the state say the millions of dollars the governor thinks they have stored up doesn’t exist. Gov. Bruce Rauner has called for halving the portion of the state income tax shared with local governments, called the Local Government Distributive Fund, and said those governments can tap millions in cash reserves. But the mayors warn that if the governor moves ahead with his plan, vital services — like police and fire — would be cut, and municipal workers would be laid off.

The mayors were at the state capitol Wednesday to lobby against Rauner’s proposal.

The mayor of the East Central Illinois town Danville is still hoping to cash in on bringing a casino to the city.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer says he's talked about gaming expansion with Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"We're very hopeful as we go through this legislative session that as they start talking about alternatives to reductions, and look at revenue opportunities, the gaming expansion bill including Danville will be one of those," Eisenhauer said.

Dan Walker at the 1973 Bud Billiken Day Parade
John H. White / National Archives

Former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker has died. The Democrat led the state from 1973 to 1977.

Walker came to fame in 1971 by literally walking the length of Illinois.

He spent much of his time fighting the Democratic machine. In Illinois in the 1970s, that meant fighting Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.

Illinois Issues

Former Illinois Governor Dan Walker died early Wednesday at his home in Calfiornia.   He was 92.  His son confirmed the news to the Associated Press.

Walker served only one term as governor, from 1973-1977.  But he left his mark on Illinois politics.  His decision to walk the state in 1971 lifted him to the Democratic nomination.  But he battled with his own party, including the Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. The infighting led to his defeat in the next primary and set the stage for Republicans to control the Governor's Mansion for a quarter century. 

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

A proposal in the Illinois Senate would make sure students are completely recovered before returning to athletics or the classroom.

Each year, there are 200,000 concussion-related emergency room visits for children and teenagers in the U.S. For one Chicago lawmaker, that’s not just a statistic.

Both of Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul's kids have sustained concussions. Raoul says his teenage daughter, Mizan, is still recovering from one she received one when she was playing basketball in January. At first, nobody realized it was a concussion.

Listen to the WUIS broadcast of the 12th Annual Lincoln Legacy Lectures, recorded at UIS Brookens Auditorium in October - a presentation of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.  Hosted by Barbara Ferrara.

The UIS Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series calls on scholars and policy experts to talk about issues that engaged Abraham Lincoln and the citizens of his era, and issues that are still timely today.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner made an appearance Tuesday at an Illinois Department of Transportation hearing on infrastructure needs.

IDOT is traveling all over the state to build support for a new construction program, and Rauner used his own travel experiences as an example.

As is often good practice when giving a speech, the governor started his remarks with a joke.

Tim Landis talks about the efforts of Brandt in Beijing on this weeks WUIS/SJR Business Report.

Wild birds are believed to be behind the first major widespread outbreak of bird flu in the United States, with the virus confirmed in the animals in 10 states. Here are some questions and answers about how wild birds remain healthy even when carrying the virus and spread it to backyard and commercial flocks of chickens and turkeys. 

HOW DID THE VIRUS ARRIVE STATESIDE? 

Mike Frerichs at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

A scholarship program run by the state treasurer's office is on hold. For about a decade, the treasurer's office has given out scholarships. It's a program associated with the Bright Start college savings program.

Treasurer Michael Frerichs ordered an independent review upon taking over the office in January. The report found there aren't proper rules to determine how the treasurer should award the scholarship money.

On top of that, he says there was no follow up. Only about half of the scholarships have been used.

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