This I Believe: I Believe in Car Stereos

Feb 26, 2021
Madeline Sievers midshot
Beatrice Bonner / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

I believe in car stereos. The stereo may be seen as a flashy accessory for an otherwise necessary means of transportation. But I believe a car stereo is the most important feature of the car. It is the heart of all socialization. Whether a touch-screen or good old-fashioned buttons, this modern music box is something of a magic trick. 


Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday announced $11 million in new infrastructure funding aimed at spurring economic development in underserved areas.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s vacated 22nd District House seat has a new occupant — the second replacement in four days — after Madigan asked his first choice to step down this week in an embarrassment to the normally fastidious Democratic boss.

This I Believe: I Believe the Cookie Monster Had it Right

Feb 25, 2021
Elizabeth Scherschel midshot
Beatrice Bonner / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

Chocolate chip. Pizzelle. Oatmeal raisin. Jan hagel. Shortbread. Camachile. Gingerbread. Stroopwafel. Coconut. Peanut butter. Nearly everyone likes a cookie, regardless of background, identity, or politics; thus, cookies can help bridge the gaps we’ve created in our communities. I believe cookies can bring us together.

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.

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

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.

Illinois residents who live in the 217 area code now need to dial a full 10-digit number when making local calls. The area code encompasses Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, and Quincy, and other parts of Central Illinois.

The change in dialing requirements corresponds with a new 447 area code being overlaid in the region on March 27.

City of Springfield Seal

The Illinois State Police have arrested Springfield Police Officer Taylor Staff after a criminal investigation following allegations of misconduct.

Springfield Municipal Center West
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

The Springfield City Council Tuesday night approved a $130 million budget for the fiscal year that starts next week.

To achieve a balanced budget, Springfield will dip into city reserves for $2.2 million and direct the fire department to reduce spending by $1.4 million.

Originally aired February 5, 2021.

Chad Graue is a virtual consultant and online trainer who works with farms and other businesses sell food online and grow their customer base. His first book Five Star Follow-up is coming out soon. Chad talks about this and more with Community Voices' Bea Bonner. / Wedding Spot

Originally aired January 25, 2021.

Aissa and Hank Norris are the owners of  the 1912 Barn in Niantic, Illinois. The 1912 Barn homestead has a rich history dating all the way back to 1851. In 2004 the homestead was sold to the Norris family. Since then the barn has been used for weddings, receptions, and more. Aissa Norris talks about this and more with Community Voices' Bea Bonner.

This I Believe: I Believe in the Butterfly Effect

Feb 24, 2021
Kheriss Turner midshot
Beatrice Bonner / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

Dear Kaysha Lynea:

It’s funny how two people can look exactly alike and know so little about one another. At once we shared everything: toys, a womb, and bedroom.. and now, next to nothing. At times I wonder if you would’ve played volleyball; how dynamic our duo could have been if you were a setter and I was an outside. How we would’ve had a chemistry that no one could touch. Or if we would have stayed up at night watching reruns of The Bachelor, placing our bets for who we believed would walk out with a wedding ring. Or if you would have enjoyed some of the same food combinations as me, like hot Cheetos and cream cheese. (don’t knock it until you try it.) 

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

This story has been updated to reflect Kodatt's resignation effective Wednesday morning.

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan's handpicked successor for the House seat he held for more than 50 years has stepped down from the General Assembly after just three days. 


In a visit to Springfield Tuesday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced forthcoming state aid for local governments struggling with rising natural gas prices and help for students and families struggling with food insecurity.

The Springfield Mayor's Youth Council will hold a Youth Town Hall on Wednesday February 24 to get insight from Springfield Youth. Participation is limited to middle and high school students while adults may only observe the meeting. Secretary of the Youth Council, Natalie McLaughlin discusses this and more with Community Voices' Bea Bonner.

This I Believe: Doing the Right Thing

Feb 23, 2021
Hunter Hobbs midshot
Beatrice Bonner / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

I believe in doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. Most people do what is right when they are being watched by their peers or someone of authority, but fewer do so when no one is there that can hold you accountable. This was made clear when I went to basic training during the summer.

Governor JB Pritzker today (MONDAY) signed a sweeping criminal justice bill that — among other reforms — will end cash bail in Illinois.

As Hannah Meisel reports, members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus draw a direct line from protests in the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor this past summer to the new law.

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan on Monday resigned from his role heading the state’s Democratic Party just one day after he told reporters he didn’t know when or if he might leave that job.

Illinois Housing Development Authority

Illinois housing officials are touting the success of their programs helping families hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the Illinois Housing Development Authority reported that in 2020 it dispersed around $325 million in rent and mortgage assistance grants to more than 56,000 households.

Media Literacy: An Antidote For Misinformation

Feb 22, 2021

Education experts call for combatting crazy conspiracy theories, baseless rumors of rampant election fraud and misinformation about COVID-19 with media literacy.

After participating in Black Lives Matter rallies and protests back in August, some of Virginia Boyle’s students came to her class at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School saying they heard BLM Chicago supported looting, and was it true?

This I Believe: I Believe in Lemonade Shakeups

Feb 22, 2021
Grace Mayes midshot
Beatrice Bonner / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

“Last call!”

The streets that were once filled with anticipating customers ten days ago were now deserted. I thought I would be relieved, but I was nostalgic. I could not believe it was over.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois


Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) on Sunday used his remaining political power to install a 26-year-old political protege to the House seat he resigned from last week after more than 50 years.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Governor J.B. Pritzker delivered a combined State of the State and State Budget address this week with proposals to fill the deficit left by the pandemic.  And after 50 years in the state legislature, former House Speaker Michael Madigan resigned his district seat.

Chicago Tribune State Government Reporter Dan Petrella joins the panel.

Abby Teaman midshot
Beatrice Bonner / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

There are those who find comfort in surrounding themselves with people who are similar to them. Others would rather be around people who have different perspectives because it helps them to learn more about their world and themselves. On a trip to New York City over Easter weekend when I was 15, I discovered which type of person I am.

School desks
Flickr user: dcJohn

For the second year in a row, the Illinois State Board of Education is seeking a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for standardized tests normally given during schools’ spring semester.

In certain areas, like St. Louis, the COVID-19 vaccine is in such short supply and demand is so high that people have looked to other locations to get their shots.  They've even taken to the road, driving three hours or more.  While the daytrip has paid off for some, it also raises ethical questions. 

A well-known sportswriter has a new book, telling the personal story of his grandson, who died from substance abuse.  And a deported veteran has been returned to Illinois -- for his burial. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

Robert Smith headshot

Originally aired January 28, 2021.

The following is a commentary from Dr. Robert Smith, Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Illinois Springfield.  

Originally aired January 28, 2021.

James Hamilton is co-owner and executive chef at Tacology 201. The cuisine served at the resturant is based on authentic Mexican street food. The menu includes interesting dishes such as Birria Ramen and Yuca Fries. Their new location is at 3266 W. Illes Ave. James talks about this and more with Community Voices' Bea Bonner.

Justin Fowler/State Journal-Register via AP

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has resigned the seat he’s held for the last 50 years effective Thursday.

This I Believe: Music is Stronger than MS

Feb 18, 2021
Haley Smith midshot
Beatrice Bonner / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

When my grandmother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it completely changed her life. She lived in fear of when she may forget who she was, but more importantly, who she loved. In 2016, my grandfather had a stroke, which sped up the time frame of my grandma’s memory loss.