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A 65-year-old LaSalle County resident has died from the West Nile virus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. This is the first human death related to the virus reported in 2018. 

University of Illinois Springfield

It was announced on Tuesday that Innovate Springfield, a business incubator and social innovator that started four years ago, is now partnered with the University of Illinois Springfield.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Public health advocates and some state lawmakers spurned Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto a bill that would have raised the legal tobacco age to 21.

Rauner axed the bill last Friday, though his own Department of Public Health supported it. While he called smoking “detrimental” in his veto message, the governor said Illinois couldn’t take the risk of losing tobacco sales tax revenue to neighboring states.

flickr/medicalmarijuana-information.com

Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure on Tuesday that will allow medical cannabis to be used as an alternative treatment for conditions often treated with opioids, such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s and more.

Are Illinois residents able to readily and fairly access healthcare and education? Is there equal opportunity for economic growth?

Explore these topics and more with NPR Illinois at the Election 2018: Seeking Solutions Forum in Carbondale, Illinois at The Varsity Center. The forum is August 30th with light refreshments being served at 5:30 PM and the discussion beginning at 6.

The panelists will be answering questions from the moderator and from the audience during the one-hour question and answer forum. 

EpiPen
CC BY-SA 3.0

The EpiPen can be a lifesaver in cases of extreme allergic reactions, but there is a shortage of them across the country and Illinois is being impacted. 

https://admissions.illinois.edu/commitment

The University of Illinois today announced a new financial aid program designed to make enrollment at its Urbana-Champaign campus more affordable for middle-class students. They’re calling this program Illinois Commitment, and Kevin Pitts, vice-provost for undergraduate education, says the goal is to persuade families they really can afford to send their kids to the state’s flagship university.

 

“Illinois Commitment pledges to cover tuition and mandatory fees for all students who have a family income below $61,000 per year,” Pitts says.

Bruce Rauner
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner last week vetoed three pieces of legislation, earning the ire of immigration advocates and some lawmakers.

Katherine Coffey

Bedrock 66 Live! presents a double bill of garage rock and soul from two legends of the genres. Opening the show Wednesday night at 8 pm at Bar None (245 S. 5th St. Springfield) will be Atlanta's The Woggles. 

Rodney Davis
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Recent ratings from political analysts downgraded the likelihood that two Republican Congressmen in Illinois will win re-election.

In an off-presidential year, it’s no secret that candidates from the president’s party have a tougher time winning races. That’s one reason a project from the University of Virginia Center for Politics moved the re-election campaigns of Congressmen Rodney Davis and Randy Hultgren one notch closer to a toss-up.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Illinois and Springfield officials gathered in the capital city Sunday to dedicate a new plaza celebrating the state’s 200th anniversary.

The pedestrian walkway spans a block between the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Illinois Executive Mansion.

Wikimedia Commons

A new law mandates the Illinois Department of Public Health to begin screening babies for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, a neurodegenerative disorder linked to infant death. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new poll shows J.B. Pritzker leading Bruce Rauner in the Illinois gubernatorial race.  Also, there is uncertainty over the future of the Southern Illinois University system.  WSIU Public Radio's Jennifer Fuller joins the panel.

Sean Crawford hosts our weekly roundup of reports and conversations from in and around Illinois.

Photo by Tom Zittergruen on Unsplash

Farm towns in Illinois have been shrinking for decades, and the trend doesn’t show signs of reversing.

By 2025, rural counties with populations of less than 10,000 people will see 7.4 percent of their residents leave, while counties with populations between 10,000 and 25,000 will lose 5.4 percent. That’s according to projections from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Forum organizers on stage for photo
Lizzie Roehrs / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

Panelists in Rockford discuss the challenges faced by small businesses - including economic growth and workforce needs. 

The National Weather Service / The National Weather Service

This year marks the 25th anniversary of what was known as the Great Flood of 1993. State Climatologist Dr. Jim Angel covered the flood -- which affected Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. 

teacherpensions.org

A national study released this week comparing general school funding dollars with the amount spent on staff benefits singled out Illinois — and not in a good way.  

NPR Illinois is hosting the award-winning journalist and co-host of Here & Now, Jeremy Hobson in Springfield for a conversation about the 2018 Election.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, John Lucas and his granddaughter, McKenna, bet on Saber Rattler at the Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville.

"If she wins this, it'll be the third race in a row she's won," says Lucas as they watch the horses round the final stretch of the track. Saber Rattler came in second.

Lucas has been visiting the track outside of St. Louis a few times a year since the 1980s, traveling across the Illinois border from O'Fallon, Missouri.

Lucas has noticed the steady downturn in fortunes for the track.

Sangamon Valley Collection, Lincoln Library

It's been 110 years since the 1908 Race Riot erupted in Springfield. The violence and its aftermath inspired the founding of the NAACP, the prominent civil rights organization. A number of groups in the city recognized and remembered the violence and lives lost in a series of public events earlier this month. There are also plans to ensure more recognition in the future of a violent period many residents say deserves more attention.

Google Maps

Big changes are in store for Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora. 

Anne Burke
Illinois Supreme Court (via uis.edu)

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke is calling for a new investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Church authorities are doing just that, but Burke says the matter cannot be left to the Catholic heirarchy.

police tape
flickr/ Tony Webster

Illinois police officers who want to seek mental health care can now do so without jeopardizing their jobs.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, political rhetoric at the Illinois State Fair.

This episode of Statewide includes:

Home construction slowdown, synthetic marijuana, trolls in the woods, and more.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Thousands of Illinois Democrats met Thursday in Springfield for the party’s annual state fair brunch.

Candidates repeated familiar attacks on Republicans. But some say they need to do more.

Panelists in Alton, Illinois discussed why Illinois residents may be looking to move to bordering states. 

Questions from the audience ranged from recreational cannabis to property taxes. 

NPR Illinois news director Sean Crawford moderated a panel including:

Sangamon County Jail

Update: Congressman Rodney Davis said Levi Lovell, the staffer who was fired, was not sent by him, nor does he believe his campaign sent him, to Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan’s event at a Springfield bar last Wednesday.

In an interview last week, Londrigan said it is common to see political operatives affiliated with the Davis campaign at her events. On Monday, Davis said he too sees trackers at his gatherings but does not know who they are with.

“Those are some of the things, unfortunately, that are a part of politics today," said Davis. "I’d rather it not be part of politics. I’ve been screamed at so loud by supporters of those who are opposed to me that they’ve spat on me in the streets of Springfield. That’s not something we should condone and I certainly don’t condone the behavior of my former employee either.”

Davis has apologized for the incident. 

Lovell was released on bond on Thursday. The Sangamon County State’s Attorney said criminal charges have not been filed at this time.  

Previous story: The Field Director for U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis was arrested last night for aggravated battery at a campaign event for Davis' opponent.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

Republicans held their annual rally at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield Wednesday with a message of party unity.  Bruce Rauner still holds the top office in state government. But as he pushes for re-election, he’s trying to appease conservatives who feel betrayed and whose support he needs to win a second term.   

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