Sam Dunklau

Reporter

Sam is a general assignment reporter.  Previously, Sam was a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working at the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.

Since 2015, he's been floating around the radio airwaves as a reporter, disc jockey, and station manager.  A multimedia journalism degree from Augustana College now rests comfortably under his belt. 

Ways to Connect

Domas Mituzas / via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Illinois brought in more tax money from gambling in the fiscal year that ended in June. That’s just one of several highlights from a new report released Monday.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Fall enrollment numbers at the University of Illinois Springfield dipped more than six percent this year compared to last, despite a larger freshman class. Overall attendance has been declining for the last few years.


via BlueRoomStream.com

Illinois' Department of Children and Family Services plans to put all 16,000 children in its custody on Medicaid health insurance. But at a hearing Tuesday, state lawmakers expressed skepticism, saying they’re worried those kids may fall through the cracks.

jawa9000 via Creative Commons / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A new survey of Illinois hospital nurses shows a large majority feel overworked, undervalued, and even unsafe.

via Google Streetview

Several people in the Chicago suburbs are suing two medical companies for allegedly releasing unsafe levels of a cancer-causing gas into their communities.


via Blueroomstream.com

State university officials were grilled by lawmakers Tuesday. At issue is a record of lucrative severance packages for outgoing administrators.


Illinois Central Management Services / IOCI

A package of bills signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker is aimed at helping newly-released Illinois prisoners find their way back into the democratic process.


Vaping360 via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

At least one person has died in Illinois, after they used an e-cigarette product that appears to have caused fatal breathing problems. The death may be the first vaping fatality in the nation.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The minimum salary a teacher can be paid in Illinois will soon increase. Governor J.B. Pritzker joined educators and activists to sign a wage increase plan into law Thursday.


landlordleaseforms via CC0 1.0

Immigrants to Illinois are now able to sue their landlords if they are evicted because of their citizenship status.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

In the wake of two high profile mass shootings this month, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office is making gun violence prosecutions a priority. A leader of the Illinois House, meanwhile, said new gun legislation will be on the table during the next legislative session.

Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood addresses the party faithful at the Illinois Republican Party's annual State Fair rally on Aug. 15, 2019.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Republican Party’s top brass says it’s optimistic about its chances in 2020. Officials rallied the base Thursday at the Illinois State Fair.

Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois, used with permission

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs is among the first Illinois officials to endorse a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, and he's backing Elizabeth Warren.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois’ medical marijuana program is getting a second wind. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a pair of bills on Monday expanding who can get a medical card, and when they can use it.


Lindsay Fox / via Flickr CC BY 2.0

At least three young people in Illinois have been sent to the hospital in recent months after having used e-cigarettes, also known as “vapes.” That’s according to an investigation by the state’s Department of Public Health.


Tom Irwin Music

Artists of all kinds often struggle to find inspiration for their work, but sometimes it strikes in unexpected ways. For singer/songwriter and columnist Tom Irwin, inspiration came from a diary he found. It was written more than 125 years ago by a young man who lived in the same Pleasant Plains farmhouse that’s been in his family for generations.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Ahead of the start of the Illinois State Fair next week, organizers say they’re optimistic about attendance and attractions. But the fair’s success is an open question.


Ruin Raider / via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the wake of an increase in roadside injuries and deaths among Illinois state troopers, Governor J.B. Pritzker has approved harsher penalties for those who break what’s known as Scott’s Law.


Jaclyn Driscoll

An unprecedented number of Illinois State Police troopers have been injured or killed this year at the hands of drivers who don’t move over when directed to. That’s prompted state and federal lawmakers to get tougher and more changes could be coming.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

A self-described unpaid volunteer for Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis’ campaign crashed a news call being held by a Democrat running for Congress in 2020. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan’s campaign called the incident “underhanded.”


Dr. Partha Sarathi Sahana / via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Kids across Illinois will be heading to school next month. For parents, that means checking off supply lists, calming those first day jitters, and even getting their kids vaccinated. Not everyone believes in that last one, which is why states like Illinois offer families exemptions for religious reasons.

via salvilaw.com

Illinois reached an agreement this week with a suburban Chicago cleaning facility that was releasing toxins into the air at unsafe levels. But attorneys representing residents who live near the plant aren’t happy with it.

via Google Maps

Springfield-based Land of Lincoln Goodwill is backpedaling on its recent decision to lay off a number of workers with disabilities. The move by CEO Sharon Durbin sparked broad criticism this week.


via Twitter

A hot and unusually wet summer has stretches of Illinois roads at the breaking point. Drivers are being warned to watch out for road buckling.


Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois farmers now have until July 15 to officially say they won’t be planting crops this year. A key deadline has been extended for claiming some types of crop insurance.

It's been one of the wettest springs in state history. Just last month alone, Illinois averaged more than five inches of rainfall, a whole inch above normal. It’s been so wet for so much of the planting season, farmers across the state haven’t had much of a chance to get their crops in the ground.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The Illinois State Armory is perhaps the largest state-owned building that no longer has a purpose. The 200,000-square foot behemoth was once a fixture of life and culture in downtown Springfield, and a central component to the State Capitol complex.

But, the more than 80 year-old building is a shell of what it once was. It’s fallen into disrepair.

That may soon change now that state lawmakers devoted $120 million from the latest infrastructure bill to fix up the place. 

Michael Kappel via Flikr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/?ref=ccsearch&atype=rich

If you’re driving this holiday weekend, you’ll be paying more to fill up your tank in Illinois.  A 19 cent per gallon gas tax increase went into effect this week. But Governor J.B. Pritzker claims the money is an investment.


via Illinois CMS

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is rejecting a push to take on Chicago’s pension debt. But local pension costs are a growing problem across the state.

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Illinois’ weed legalization law won’t take effect until next year, but the Illinois State Police is wasting no time. That agency is preparing to enforce new regulations surrounding legal cannabis.


Ratclimaa via Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

The age to buy tobacco products in Illinois will officially be raised from 18 to 21 next week. Supporters say the move is aimed at stopping young people from starting a bad habit.


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