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Chicago Vs. Downstate - The Illinois Divide

There’s a civil war of sorts under way in Illinois – pitting Chicago against much of the rest of the state. This dispute is one of politics and policy and it has even led to a resolution being filed by a group of Republicans that would split Illinois into two separate states.

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Vinyl prominently displayed in the new Dumb Records location.
Brandon Smith / NPR Illinois

Vinyl: The Quiet Storm of Music

Music streaming (both subscription-based and ad-supported) accounted for 75% of music revenue during 2018.With this increase in music streaming, physical albums sales have experienced a sharp decline during this period. Physical as well as digital album sales now account for less than 20% of album sales with track sales accounting for 6% of music revenue. During this decline we have witnessed a surprising increase in one area. That would be the sale of vinyl records.

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Unpacking Pritzker's Tax Proposals

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Unpacking Pritzker's Tax Proposals: MCO Tax

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he’s counting on new taxes to help close the state’s 3.2 billion dollar budget hole. NPR Illinois reporters are taking a closer look at some of his ideas. First up, Jaclyn Driscoll breaks down the biggest chunk of revenue in Pritzker’s proposal - a tax on health insurers.

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Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Tensions were high at last night’s (5/6) Springfield district 186 school board meeting as the 

  new board was seated and a president and vice president were appointed.

The meeting started with goodbyes for the previous school board members.

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.

sps186.org

 A Springfield school board race that was too close to call is now over. Katharine Eastvold announced today she has conceded in the race for subdistrict five. She lost by one vote to Donna Moore. A partial recount found that votes had been counted accurately. Eastvold says she considered asking a judge for a full recount but did not find enough evidence to warrant that move. A supporter of Eastvold had used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover election documents. But Eastvold says those documents failed to turn up information to justify dragging out the contest.

  Community gardens are cropping up in urban areas across the country. They’re a way for those without the yard space to grow their own food. Kemia Sarraf is the founder and president of the local group gen H Kids, which stands for Generation Healthy. She tells WUIS’ Rachel Otwell about how the group is bringing a new community garden to Springfield:

CLICK HERE for more information or email George@genHkids.org to register for a garden plot.

Court Gives AG More Time For Concealed Carry Appeal

May 3, 2013
facebook.com/lisamadigan

The U.S. Supreme Court is giving Illinois’ attorney general more time to decide whether to appeal a ruling that the state’s ban on the public possession of firearms is unconstitutional.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan now has until June 24 to ask the high court to hear the case.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found Illinois’ prohibition on the carrying of concealed firearms unconstitutional in December.  

It ordered lawmakers to pass legislation to legalize concealed carry by June 9.  The 30-day extension granted by the court Friday does not affect that deadline.

  Katharine Eastvold lost her run for Springfield school board by a single vote about three weeks ago. But she’s not quite done fighting for the seat. A partial recount earlier this week found the votes had been accurately recorded. Donna Moore was declared the winner by only one vote in subdistrict 5. But it’s not yet over. The next step says Eastvold is working with her lawyer to determine whether there’s enough evidence to warrant asking a judge for a full recount.

 The funerals for five people murdered last week in Manchester are over, but donations are still being sought to offset those costs.

The victims were five family members, including two small children. Services took place at the Mackey Daws Funeral Home in the town of Roodhouse. Justin Daws is the funeral director there. He says the burials also occurred this week – though payments have yet to be made. Daws says the area in west central Illinois is tight-knit and he will wait indefinitely for funds from the victim’s family to come in:

A plan that will leave state employees and teachers with reduced retirement benefits made it out of the Illinois House Thursday, potentially paving the way for the pension overhaul that has thus far eluded lawmakers.  But it also ignites a face-off between two of the state's top Democrats — with the potential to keep a pension overhaul as elusive as it's ever been.

Illinois' legislators have less than a month before they're scheduled to adjourn.  The Speaker of the Illinois House made some predictions about what will — and what may not — happen before then.

A measure to legalize same sex marriage in Illinois already got state Senators' approval.

But the Speaker of the Illinois House says there's not enough support for it to pass in that chamber.

Mike Madigan said in March that gay marriage was a dozen votes shy in the House. 

The Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday approved a massive overhaul of state pensions. It's the first time the House has passed such a plan after more than a year of negotiating and many failed attempts.

Its also the first time Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, put his full support behind a specific proposal.

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Analysis & commentary on the events that made news this past week in Illinois state government & politics.

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Arts & Life

Such heaps of praise have piled up for Irish writer Sally Rooney, there's a danger of suffocation from avalanching expectations. At 28, the Trinity College Dublin graduate has published two novels, Conversations with Friends (2017) and Normal People, both to the sort of excitement that more typically greets new hand-held electronic devices.

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Education Desk

CollegeDegrees360 / flickr.com

Illinois lawmakers today rejected legislation that could have made it easier for former felons to apply for college. Popularly known as a “ban the box” bill, it would have prevented colleges from asking about criminal history on basic application forms.

Once a student is admitted, colleges would still be allowed to consider criminal history for housing and participation in campus activities.

 

But State Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore), said it was still dangerous.

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Equity & Justice

Heartland Alliance

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says Illinois will begin covering gender reassignment surgeries under Medicaid.

Most states  provide health care related to gender-transition.  Illinois was one of last 10 holdouts. 

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Health+Harvest Desk

Courtney Clark

She’s battled cancer 3 times and a brain aneurysm.  And yet, Courtney Clark keeps a positive outlook on life.  The author will speak in Springfield at the Women’s Power Lunch Against Cancer, sponsored by the Simmons Cancer Institute, on April 12. 

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Illinois Economy

Willy Lange: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

As Illinois considers legalizing sports betting, state and national sports leagues are asking for a share of the money. But not everyone is on board with the idea.

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Statehouse

Sexual Harassment
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Some Illinois lawmakers want more protections for employees who are sexually harassed in private sector jobs. 

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Politics

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The French are hopeful they can save the cathedral, which has stood for eight centuries. Democratic presidential contenders are releasing their tax returns. Data show U.S. measles cases are surging.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

What does the arrest of Julian Assange mean for the role that WikiLeaks might play in future election interference targeting the United States?

National security officials say they're confident that foreign activity will continue through 2020, but no one knows how familiar it may look, how much it may evolve — or whether a WikiLeaks without Assange could play a similar role.

The answer, cyber-observers say, is probably yes ... but.

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When A Nurse Is Prosecuted For A Fatal Medical Mistake, Does It Make Medicine Safer?

A former nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., was arrested and charged with reckless homicide and abuse in February for making a medical mistake that resulted in an elderly patient's death. Criminal charges for a medical error are unusual, patient safety experts say. Some are voicing concern that the move sets a precedent that may actually make hospitals less safe by making people hesitant to report errors. The nurse, RaDonda Vaught, pleaded not guilty. Her next...

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The X from NPR Illinois - “stream-only” until new transmitter complete

Listen: Beck and Pharrell Team Up For 'Saw Lightning'

It sort of stood to reason that after winning multiple Grammys this decade — including one for Album of the Year — Beck would retire to the cushy corners of modern alt-rock. As a testament to that, he even collaborated with Cage the Elephant earlier this year. But Beck, ever the disruptor of standards, took a pivot into left-field. He's announced a new album, Hyperspace, as well as a new single, "Saw Lightning" today. It's due out, according to a press release, "at an as yet undetermined...

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NPR Illinois Classic - “STREAM-ONLY” UNTIL NEW TRANSMITTER COMPLETE

From A Piano Virtuoso, An Album For Beginners

No composition seems too difficult for pianist Lang Lang . But on his latest solo record, Piano Book , the 36-year-old known for his finger-twisting virtuosity is exploring something simpler: Beethoven's "Fur Elise," Debussy's "Clair de Lune" and other pieces that accompanied him in the first few years of a lifelong love-affair with the instrument. YouTube "I think every piano student started with this piece," Lang Lang says of "Fur Elise." "But actually, this is not just a ringtone. This...

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