Daisy Contreras

Former Reporter

Daisy reported for NPR Illinois from 2016-2019 when she moved to WGBH Boston to cover the 2020 election for The World. She graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting master’s  degree program at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she spent time covering the legislative session for NPR Illinois' Illinois Issues.  Daisy interned then researched for the Chicago Reporter.  She obtained an associate degree in French language from Harry S Truman College and a bachelor's degree in communications from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before coming to Springfield, Daisy worked in communication roles for several Chicago non-profits. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.

Ways to Connect

Ted Schurter / The State Journal-Register via AP

When one thinks of Route 66—we think of rock 'n' roll and family road trips. But for Black travelers, that experience was very different. It was one where their safety depended on trusted connections along the way. 

Route History, a souvenir shop and museum, opened in Springfield earlier this year to highlight contributions of Black-owned businesses in the city and along Route 66 during the Jim Crow era. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A community group wants the city of Springfield to take over the Pillsbury Mills Plant, tear it down and redevelop the site.

But, first, they want the city to make sure the area is closed off to trespassers.

Wikimedia Commons/user: Bogdan

Springfield City Council members Tuesday approved where pot shops can operate once it’s legal to buy and sell recreational cannabis January 1.  

Cannabis businesses would not be allowed to operate within 1,500 feet of churches, schools and parks. The zoning changes also expand where those shops could go and now includes S-3 zoning that would normally include retail shops and other areas of entertainment; B-1 zoning that includes businesses by highways; as well as B-2, I-1, and I-2 zoning. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

University of Illinois at Springfield students are pushing for more dialogue around racism on and off campus.

This is after photos of two UIS employees dressed up in Halloween costumes depicting a U.S. border patrol agent arresting a man wearing a sombrero were shared on Facebook.

Some argue the issue of racism is deeply rooted in the Springfield community.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Gambling has expanded throughout Illinois as the state struggles to catch up with its budget deficit. The lure of additional revenue brought support from local governments, businesses and unions. But not everyone is a fan, as some argue it takes advantage of the vulnerable among us.

One woman has spent the last two decades fighting against state-sanctioned gambling.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Springfield’s emergency winter shelter is set to open Thursday – one day earlier due to plunging temperatures. The building can accommodate up to 60 clients per night and has gone through some safety updates in preparation.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

A traveling exhibit showcasing artwork by Syrian refugees living at the Zaa'tari refugee camp in Jordan is now open in Springfield.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

In an historic move, the Illinois State Museum in Springfield returned 42 cultural artifacts to Australian indigenous tribes Wednesday.

Jennifer Linzer

Kristine Bunch was only 22 in 1996 when she was charged with the murder of her 3-year-old son, Anthony, who died in a house fire in Decatur County, Indiana. She was exonerated in 2012 after serving 17 years of a 60-year sentence. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Head Start workers at Springfield’s Urban League hope to resume contract negotiations with the non-profit organization that pays their wages. About a dozen workers rallied outside the Urban League’s administrative offices Wednesday afternoon. According to AFSCME union representatives -- talks have been stalled for about a month.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The Springfield Police Department and the Gateway Foundation launched a program Thursday meant to offer immediate help to people with drug and alcohol addiction.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

A group of local Hispanic residents received recognition Wed. for their contributions to the community.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

After Helping Hands of Springfield ended its effort to open a shelter and medical clinic for the city’s homeless, some community members say they worry about what that decision could mean for the city. The project fell through after major financial supporters stepped down and several community groups did not support the center's location on the east side. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Helping Hands of Springfield announced Thursday the non-profit is ending its effort to open a shelter and medical clinic for the city’s homeless.  

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The fate of a proposed medical clinic and emergency shelter to serve Springfield’s homeless and low-income residents is in doubt. Mayor Jim Langfelder is now trying to rebuild support for the project after council members publicly criticized him for what they call “lack of leadership.”

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Springfield’s millennials – those between the ages of 23 and 38 – say they see the city as a good place to live, but more can be done. A group met at a Citizens Club of Springfield event Friday to talk about what the city still needs. 

Hispanic Women of Springfield / Hispanic Women of Springfield

For the last five years, a group of Springfield women has partnered with the Springfield YMCA to bring the community an annual Hispanic Heritage festival with music and food. 

Aaron- Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Springfield City Council wants to make sure the city’s many video gaming parlors are playing by the rules. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Springfield-area youth left the classroom Friday morning to rally around climate change. They joined an international event known as the Global Climate Strike. 

(CC BY-NC 2.0) / Flickr: Dank Depot

Springfield’s City Council Tuesday debated rules for the sale of recreational cannabis, but some residents want the city to ban sales altogether. Under the new state-wide recreational cannabis law, cities and villages can allow the retail sale of the drug. Several cities, like Naperville, have already opted out.

Amtec Photos- Flickr: CC BY-SA 2.0 / <a href=http://www.amtec.us.com>Amtec</a>

The Illinois Department of Labor is gearing up to help business owners with the new ‘no salary history’ law, which takes effect Sept. 29. The measure prohibits employers from asking applicants what they made in a previous job. 

Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease / Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease

The state's Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) recently voted on recommendations by the Illinois EPA and the Pollution Control Board to update the state’s water regulations for the first time since the 1980s. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region / Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region

The local Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region has merged with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois. The Capital Region affiliate served Sangamon, Christian, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties.

Board president Brad Zara said the merger comes after years of financial struggles.  Zara spoke to reporter Daisy Contreras about the decision. 











This post will be updated. 

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) / Mike Mozart - Flickr

Springfield City Council members will likely vote next week in favor of restricting the use of e-cigarettes in public, work places and within 15 feet of entrances. 

UIS Survey Research Office

Sangamon County residents say they want to see more economic development and population growth. That’s according to a recent county-wide survey. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Springfield’s Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday approved the zoning change for a building on the east side that could become the proposed Center for Health and Housing. The center would provide emergency shelter, health and mental healthcare, and other services for those experiencing homelessness. The vote was 6 to 3 in favor to change the building’s zoning from industrial to office zoning.

The City of Springfield has grown. City council members Tuesday approved bringing into the city 51 acres of unincorporated land that is surrounded by city limits on all sides.  

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Springfield’s Planning and Zoning Commission will soon consider the location of a new Center for Health and Housing. The center would provide emergency shelter, health care and other services for those experiencing homelessness. But some homeowners near the proposed site say they’re opposed because they’ve been excluded in the early phases of the project.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Unlike other rural towns in central Illinois, officials in Beardstown say their population is growing. And they want to make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 census. 

For this week’s Illinois Issues, we look at the challenges to an accurate count and what’s at risk if not everyone participates.

Women Employed / Women Employed

Illinois job seekers will no longer have to disclose their previous salary. Wednesday Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a measure prohibiting employers from asking.