Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

'Facing Homelessness', Finding Grace, Dignity

An exhibit by Springfield artists featuring portraits of people experiencing homelessness wrapped up last week. The watercolors, photographs and mixed-media portraits were of clients of Helping Hands – a men’s shelter on Washington Street just east of downtown.

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The Illinois State Capitol circa 1860
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

Illinois General Assembly Has Long History Of Leadership Fights

Last weekend, lawmakers elected Don Harmon to be president of the Illinois Senate. It’s been described as a bitter fight, but it has nothing on some of the conflicts from Illinois’ past, including one particularly “discreditable row” from the year 1857.

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Community Voices

Three smoke stacks from Springfield's City Water, Light and Power sit on the lake.
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

City Water, Light and Power Budget Assumes Coal Plant Closures

Springfield utility officials presented their budget to aldermen Thursday. Utility leaders said the spending plan would change little if the city decides to shutter much of its coal plant.

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Megan Blair speaking at a news conference where Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill to cap the cost of insulin.
​​​​​​​Illinois Office of Communication and Information

New Law To Cap Insulin At $100 Per Month

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Friday intended to bring down the cost of insulin.

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Eating Crow With 'Miss Peregrine' — And Enjoying It

1 minute ago

I'm going to eat a little crow.

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When the first U.S. case of a new coronavirus spreading throughout China was confirmed last week in Washington state, public health workers were well prepared to respond, building on lessons learned during the outbreak of measles that sickened 87 people in the state in 2019.

The final moments of Friday afternoon are slipping away at Eastern High School in Lansing, Mich., as announcements echo through the halls.

As students stream through the doors, teacher Dee Halstead is rolling her supply cart to the library. Her workday is just ramping up.

"This is my classroom on wheels," Halstead said. "It's my laptop and all of the papers I need to give the students and my flash drive so I can print off this exam."

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The Complicated Legacy Of Kobe Bryant

1 hour ago

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Mortar Attack Damages Part of U.S. Embassy Compound In Baghdad

A mortar attack landed a rare direct hit on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad's Green Zone on Sunday night, damaging buildings and reportedly leaving at least one person with minor injuries. Iraq's prime minister condemned the strike, saying it could turn the country into a battlefield and complicate efforts to get the U.S. to withdraw troops from Iraq. "I heard the explosions and then the 'take cover' warning — the sirens that sound from the embassy," NPR's Jane Arraf reports from Baghdad...

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Arts & Life

Eating Crow With 'Miss Peregrine' — And Enjoying It

1 minute ago

I'm going to eat a little crow.

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Education Desk

Courtesy of Marcus Chatfield

Listeners may have heard some of our series on Illinois special education students being sent out of state, many to “behavior modification” programs. One response we got was from Marcus Chatfield, currently working toward his PhD at the University of Florida. He has written two thesis papers on such programs.

Chatfield has been interested in this topic since the 1980s, when he was placed in the Straight Incorporated center in Springfield, Virginia, as a teenager. Straight Incorporated was a massive drug treatment program that operated 43 centers across 18 States until 1993, when it shut down facing investigations documenting abuse and multimillion dollar judgments in several lawsuits.

 

Chatfield spoke with our education reporter.

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Equity & Justice

University of Illinois Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield professor Jason Pierceson recently published an encyclopedia detailing LGBTQ politics. It includes profiles on candidates, officials and activists; a timeline of events;  government documents; speeches; and court cases. Pierceson recently talked about the two-volume work with reporter Maureen McKinney, as well as the Trump administration's handling of LGBTQ issues. 

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Health+Harvest Desk

Salty Cracka via Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Recreational cannabis has been legal in Illinois for just under a week, and the state estimates consumers have already bought nearly $11 million worth of product. But the legal industry is only just getting started.

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Illinois Economy

BigThingsInASmallTown

The eastern Illinois community of Casey has followed the lead of roadside novelties promising tourists a chance to see the world's largest (fill in the blank).

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Statehouse

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

State Sen. Don Harmon is now president of the Illinois Senate. Meanwhile, state officials say more than 500 non-citizens were inadvertently registered to vote.

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Politics

Paranoia is the best strategy for political campaigns when it comes to digital security. After all, who can forget the massive hack of the Hillary Clinton campaign's emails during the last presidential election and its embarrassing consequences?

The reelection campaign of Maine Sen. Angus King took this to heart. Lisa Kaplan, King's digital director, regularly sent out fake emails to her staff to "see who would click on them." Those emails during the 2018 campaign looked real — but they were not.

Shortly before winding down Monday night's arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz addressed the elephant in the room: whether potential testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton would alter the course of the proceeding.

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The 2020 Grammys: How Much Weight Can One Awards Show Carry?

Ann Powers: Here we are, Rodney, to talk about one of the weirdest, most emotionally fraught and repressed, most resistance-fueled yet frequently deluded awards shows I can recall seeing in recent years: the 2020 Grammy Awards. Let's start with Lizzo, not quite the spirit of the night that I expected her to be. "This is the beginning of making music that moves people again," the flute-wielding dynamo exclaimed when picking up an early statue, the only one she took during the televised...

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Opera For Newbies: Busting Myths And Belting High Notes

We've been starting this new year off with genres of music you might not listen to, or that you say you're not a fan of — so far, we've covered jazz , country and deep house . One of those styles of music people love to say they hate is opera, so we asked NPR's resident opera expert Tom Huizenga to explain what he loves about the music and to soothe some common opera-related anxieties. On what to love about opera Well there's a lot to love about opera. For one thing, it's one of the most...

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