Bill Wheelhouse

 

Bill is a former general manager, economy reporter, Harvest correspondent and Statehouse Bureau Chief for NPR Illinois.  He has won several awards including the Associated Press Best Investigative Reporter. 

Bill traveled to Cuba in 1999 with then-Governor George Ryan and provided coverage of that trip from Havana. He has reported on national political conventions in 1988, 1996 and 2000. He has also contributed reports to NPR and other syndicated radio programs.

Bill moderated the weekly public radio talk show State Week after Rich Bradley retired. He served as an adjunct professor in the Public Affairs Reporting graduate program at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Prior to arriving at NPR Illinois, he worked as a news director at the public radio station in Macomb and worked in both commercial radio and television.

Bill served two terms as President of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and is a past president of the Illinois Associated Press Broadcast Advisory Board. He was a member of the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated.

He is a 1981 graduate of Rushville High School and a 1985 graduate of Western Illinois University. In 1999 he earned a Masters Degree in Political Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Having retired in 2016, Bill has rejoined the NPR illinois News Department to temporarily help cover the pandemic and its aftermath. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, the major electric utility ComEd agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.  Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker adjusted some aspects of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Over the past week, Democratic Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth weathered Republican criticism at the same time her name is being put forward, among others, as Joe Biden's potential running mate.  Governor J.B. Pritzker called on the Trump administration for a nationwide mandate for wearing masks to combat the coronavirus, while still not issuing such a mandate in his own state.  More revelations are showing just who received federal PPP money.  And House Speaker Michael Madigan calls for the removal of statues at the State Capitol building.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, a Clay County judge ruled that Governor J.B. Pritzker did not have the authority to issue executive orders to combat the spread of the new coronavirus after his initial order expired.   Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned the city that there would be conseqences for those who flout precautionary measures.  Also, it's the start of a new fiscal year and several new laws went into effect July 1st.

WTTW Chicago Tonight's Amanda Vinicky joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This Friday marked Illinois moving to Phase 4 of Governor J.B. Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan, along with guidelines for in-person school attendance in the Fall.  However, the governor says that the threat of COVID-19 remains and that restrictions could be tightened again if there is a resurgence of the disease.

Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As the state gets closer to the Phase 4 stage of Governor Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan, there are still concerns over the possibility of a surge in COVID-19 cases along with calls to speed up the process.  Also, the state is making it easier to vote by mail for the upcoming election.

Poynter Institute

In the midst of protests this week, there were plenty of messages sent along on social media about looting.  In some areas, those messages were just outright wrong. 

There were many incidents of vandalism and looting across Illinois. There were also false reports.  In some towns, the violence was non-existent. Some posted and passed along rumors of busloads of people coming to towns to loot. They were not.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois enters Phase Three of "Restore Illinois", Governor Pritzker is responding to  criticism and lawsuits surrounding his re-opening plan.  Meanwhile, the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its short special legislative session last weekend after passing a state budget. The panel also discusses a controversy over whether or not lawmakers will see their pay go up.

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel joins the panel.

via Blueroomstream.com

Expanded voting-by-mail is coming to Illinois. Governor J.B. Pritzker said Friday he will sign the expanded voting measure into law.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois legislature gathered in Springfield for the first time in weeks for a short special session.  Among the issues facing lawmakers are further responses to the pandemic, rules for voting this November, and the state budget.

Rep. Darren Bailey (R, Xenia) is escorted out of the temporary Illinois House chamber at the Bank of Springfield Center, after members voted to remove him for not wearing a face mask in accordance with updated House rules on May 20
Ted Schurter / ILCA Pool Photo

A lawmaker who portrays himself as an outsider found himself on the outside Tuesday. A group of protestors, meanwhile, made their voices heard as state lawmakers convened for the first day of a special legislative session.

IBHE

Colleges and universities in Illinois want their campuses to be open to students in the fall, after classes were forced online in March due to COVID-19.    A state panel is going to recommend the best approach for the fall semester.

BoS Center Facebook page

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, along with other legislative leaders, are "ready to convene" a special session as early as next week, according to letters sent to lawmakers and shared with the media.

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

  Governor Bruce Rauner has been in office one year this week and gave a series of short interviews in Springfield this week.  And with more than 100 people shot in Chicago in the just the first two weeks of 2016, the governor says the solution to the violence is passing his pro-business, anti-union agenda.
Gatehouse Media's Doug Finke joins the panel.

Bill Wheelhouse is retiring after over 20 years at NPR Illinois. 

mrlib.org

Tim and Bill chat about the recent spate of business closings downtown & elsewhere.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel escalated their war of words this week, with Rauner saying that before he'll help the Chicago public schools he expects Emanuel to agree to his pro-business agenda.  Mike Riopell, political editor for the Daily Herald, joins the panel.

Blue Ice
RL Boston

Springfield would like to get its coal for CWLP at a lower price.  Bill and Tim talk about how that could affect an area coal mine.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, a look back at the past year in Illinois state government and politics.  WUIS News Director Sean Crawford and Illinois Issues Editor Jamey Dunn join the panel.

PBS Great Lakes

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, the panel reflects back on some memorable people and events in Illinois state politics and government over the past few decades, how things have changed, and how things have stayed the same.

Tim Landis talks about the re-location plans for Barney's Furniture and the possibility of free wi-fi in downtown Springfield.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois' budget crisis won't be resolved this year.  Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders are sticking to their respective positions, and this week House Speaker Michael Madigan didn't attend a meeting that focused on discussion of term limits and other aspects of Rauner's demands.  WBEZ Public Radio's Tony Arnold joins the panel.

Wednesday is the first day on the job for the new Director of Downtown Springfield Incorporated.  Stott sat down with Bill Wheelhouse and talked about her plans and challenges ahead.

In the past, DSI funded itself through a couple of major downtown festivals each summer.  Stott says that may have to change:

skyzone.com

Bill and Tim discuss the spring opening of Sky Zone in Springfield.    Also ridership down on Amtrak and update on a couple of construction projects on this week's business report.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

During a speech in Chicago this week, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was asked about the prospects for new taxes, while Governor Bruce Rauner said that he expects the budget stalemate to continue into the spring.   Despite the budget impasse, an agreement was made to send some money owed to Illinois municipalities, as well as to the lottery and Secretary of State.  Matt Dietrich of RebootIllinois.com joins the panel.

loc.gov

On this week's business report, Tim Landis talks with Bill Wheelhouse about some renovated apartments coming on the market in downtown Springfield.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

After more than six months, Illinois' governor met with the four top legislative leaders to discuss the state's budget impasse. No progress was made, but all agreed to meet again someday soon. Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the panel.

National Egg Quality School

Tim and Bill chat about an old concept coming to Springfield... Starting a small business in an incubator.
 

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

The release of a police video documenting the fatal shooting of a black teen by a white Chicago police officer – more than a year after the incident – has led to murder charges, protests, accusations of a cover-up, and questions about political interference with the original investigation.  Also, Monday marks the candidate petition filing deadline for the March primary elections.  WBEZ's Tony Arnold joins the panel this week.

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

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner said he wants to prevent Syrian refugees from entering Illinois, the state Supreme Court heard arguments concerning a Chicago pension law, and a citizens' initiative to end gerrymandering gained momentum.   Kurt Erickson of Lee Enterprises joins the panel.

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