Ward 2 Ald. Shawn Gregory speaks at a news conference Friday addressing recent gun violence in Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Springfield Mayor, Local NAACP Head Defend Ald. Gregory After Video Of Fight

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder and Teresa Haley, president of the Springfield and Illinois chapters of the NAACP, voiced support for Ward 2 Ald. Shawn Gregory after a video was published of him in a fight.

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Briana Rodriguez, who works at Ascend Springfield, talks about the effort to unionize.
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Springfield Marijuana Dispensary Workers Look To Unionize

Employees at a cannabis dispensary in Springfield are voting on whether to unionize. Workers at Ascend Springfield’s downtown location said Wednesday that lax COVID-19 precautions and a lack of guaranteed sick time during the pandemic pushed them towards organizing.

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Community Voices - Weekdays at Noon, Saturdays at 5 pm

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CV - Investing in the Creative Economy

The Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln produced this Next 10 Extra panel to discuss investing in the arts to develop Springfield's economy.

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Dozens of tables with equipment for COVID-19 vaccinations sit in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Not Getting Their Shot: Black Residents Lag In COVID-19 Vaccinations

Illinois has given more than two million vaccinations. But Black residents are less likely to get the shots than their white peers, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data. As of Feb. 22, 4% of Sangamon County’s vaccine doses have gone to Black residents, who make up 13% of the county’s population, according to census numbers.

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On his flight home from Iraq, Pope Francis admitted he's happy to have left the Vatican for several days after feeling "imprisoned" during COVID-19 lockdowns. The pope also said he's not afraid of critics that don't support his decision to open Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Before embarking on his journey, Francis was warned about contracting the coronavirus or contributing to the spread, especially with cases on the rise in Iraq. To mitigate these concerns, the pope and his travel entourage were vaccinated before making the trip.

Republicans in the Georgia Senate have narrowly approved an omnibus voting bill that would end no-excuse absentee voting 16 years after Republicans first enacted it.

The legislation, SB 241, would make a number of sweeping changes to Georgia's election code, most notably cracking down on who is eligible to vote by mail.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Biden administration is granting temporary protected status to over 300,000 Venezuelans in the U.S., providing legal status to individuals who have fled the country — a shift in U.S. policy.

In India, a U.S. citizen was arrested and prosecuted for allegedly breaking lockdown rules and spreading the coronavirus at the gathering of an Islamic revivalist movement. Now, he's coming back home.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says he won't run for re-election. This follows him being criticized by some in his base for not challenging the presidential election results.

The trial against the police officer charged with killing George Floyd commences in Minneapolis this week. Jamiles Lartey of The Marshall project explains why convictions in cases like this are rare.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The CDC released new guidance that allows people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to resume some pre-pandemic activities, like gathering indoors with other vaccinated people without wearing masks.

Democrats hold narrow majorities in the House and Senate and moderates in their caucus are already having an outsized impact. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin got concessions in the COVID-19 bill.

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Why Scientists Are Infecting Healthy Volunteers With The Coronavirus

Researchers in England are deliberately exposing volunteers to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The goal is to speed up the development of new vaccines and treatments. But exposing people to a potentially fatal disease with no particularly effective therapy strikes some as unnecessary, if not unethical. Human challenge experiments differ from other studies of COVID-19 in a very important respect. "The main difference is the control," says Christopher Chiu , an infectious disease...

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Arts & Life

What more is there to say about Frida Kahlo?

She died in 1954 at age 47. By now she's a cottage industry. Her face (that unibrow, the red lips, the scores of self portraits) reproduced on mugs, matchbooks, pandemic masks, of course tote bags.

Fans can recite her story: The terrible accident when she was 18 — a bus/tram collision in Mexico City smashing her body, and creating a lifetime of surgeries and pain.

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Education Desk

U of I Sued Over Handling Of Sexual Misconduct Claims

Feb 25, 2021
Travis Stansel / Illinois Public Media

Two former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students are suing the University of Illinois for failing to protect them from a professor they say was violent and exploitative. The lawsuit, filed last month in the Illinois Court of Claims, alleges the university focused on generating income from Chinese students at the cost of protecting students.

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Equity & Justice

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The  Illinois Legislative Black Caucus succeeded earlier this month in ushering in legislation that would, among other things, end cash bail. If signed by Governor Pritzker, Illinois would be the first state to completely end the use of money bonds. 

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Illinois Economy

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Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

Ahead of Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address next week, Republican lawmakers are calling on his administration to preserve tax credits for businesses — especially ones Pritzker himself helped negotiate during his first year in office. 

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Some Democratic Illinois lawmakers want to adopt more comprehensive sex education standards for K-12 schools to ensure students have a firm understanding of the importance of consent, the consequences of sharing underage sexually explicit material, and knowing when an action is considered sexual abuse.

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Politics

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says he won't run for re-election. This follows him being criticized by some in his base for not challenging the presidential election results.

Democrats hold narrow majorities in the House and Senate and moderates in their caucus are already having an outsized impact. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin got concessions in the COVID-19 bill.

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET

The Biden administration said Monday that it will allow many Venezuelans who are already in the country illegally to remain because of the humanitarian and economic crisis in the socialist South American nation that is an adversary of the U.S.

Carrying out a promise President Biden made on the campaign trail, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas granted Temporary Protected Status to an estimated 320,000 Venezuelans.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

For the first time in his nearly 16 years on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts has filed a solo dissent. In it, he bluntly accused his colleagues of a "radical expansion" of the court's jurisdiction.

At issue was a case brought by two college students at Georgia Gwinnett College who were repeatedly blocked from making religious speeches and distributing religious literature on campus. They sued the college, claiming a violation of their First Amendment free speech rights.

The new team President Biden has picked to run the Justice Department will come into focus this week, as Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland awaits a confirmation vote and two more presumptive leaders prepare to face questioning in the Senate.

Lisa Monaco, a national security expert, and Vanita Gupta, a longtime civil rights advocate, will appear before the Judiciary Committee Tuesday in their bids to serve as deputy attorney general and associate attorney general, the department's second and third in command.

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Andra Day On Portraying BilIie Holiday And The Enduring Strength Of 'Strange Fruit'

The song "Strange Fruit" was written by a man named Abel Meeropol in the 1930s — but it will forever be associated with Billie Holiday. The lyrics vividly describe a lynching, and this haunting protest song is central to the new movie The United States Vs. Billie Holiday . The Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day plays the title character. The role is Day's acting debut, but she has already won a Golden Globe for her performance. "Andra Day'' is actually her stage name, a tribute to Holiday...

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