Sean Crawford

Director of Editorial / COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD, EX-OFFICIO

Chatham

Sean has led the NPR Illinois news operations since the fall of 2009. He replaced the only other person to do so in the station's history, Rich Bradley. Prior to taking over the News Department, Sean worked as Statehouse Bureau Chief for NPR Illinois and other Illinois Public Radio stations. He spent more than a dozen years on the capitol beat.

Sean  began his broadcasting career at his hometown station in Herrin, Illinois while still in high school.  It was there he learned to cover local government, courts and anything else that made the news.  He spent time in the Joliet area as News Director and Operations Manager for a radio station and worked for a chain of weekly newspapers for two years.  Along with news coverage, he reported heavily on sports and did on-air play by play. 

Sean holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield. 

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Brian Mackey

This week saw a continued rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the state, and ten out of the eleven regions in the Restore Illinois Plan will be under stronger mitigation measures by the end of the weekend.  There has been a record volume of early voting and voting by mail in the state ahead of Tuesday's election, and many eyes are watching Democratic Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride’s bid to retain his seat.

Ray Long of the Chicago Tribune joins the panel.

Will the coronavirus pandemic change how cities are designed in the future?  Some urban planners think so.  We'll hear their ideas.  

We'll learn why some parts of Illinois are doing better at handling COVID-19 than others. 

And, we'll find out what it's like to be a contact tracer.  It's considered a crucial job in maintaining public health, but workers can sometimes be the target of hostility.   

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

IDPH

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announce indoor service at bars and restaurants will be prohibited in Region 3 starting Sunday at 12:01 a.m.  It's an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, which is surging again in much of Illinois. The region is the ninth to have such mitigations imposed in recent days.

Pexels/pixalay

High school basketball in Illinois — along with hockey and wrestling — won't take place as scheduled as the state struggles against a resurgence of COVID-19.

IDPH

The Illinois Department of Public Health Friday announced 51 counties are considered to be at a warning level for spread of the coronavirus disease.

A county enters the warning level when two or more risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.

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Brian Mackey

This week, the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations prompted Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health to impose increased mitigation measures in regions around the state.  State officials also revealed their plans for distributing a vaccine when one becomes available.  The election is just over a week away, and the ballot referendum on moving the state to a graduated income tax continues to be a focus of attention.

On this episode, we chat with some college freshmen about what their experience with higher education has been during the pandemic.  Some are questioning if they are getting what they pay for.

A doctor speaks with us about the latest COVID-19 numbers and what might lie ahead as colder weather approaches.

We also learn about individuals performing outreach in Chicago to prevent violence.   Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

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Illinois' plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine will initially target health care providers, first responders and those associated with vulnerable populations, like nursing home employees and residents.  But many uncertainties remain, including a timetable.

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Brian Mackey

This week, the pandemic saw a resurgence with a rapidly rising statewide positivity rate and a record number of new coronavirus cases in a single day.  Amid the state's growing budget woes, tax revenues from legal marijuana sales continue to bolster state coffers.  And the two candidates vying for Illinois' 13th congressional district seat ramped up their criticisms of each other.

Mark Maxwell of WCIA-TV joins the panel.

 

As voters continue to cast ballots in Illinois, a key part of the state's financial picture is being decided.  A constitutional amendment that would swap Illinois' flat income tax for a graduated tax, with a different rate for higher earners, is seen as a way to shore up Illinois' budget.  But how much would it help the state?  And what happens if the proposal fails?   We'll have a discussion.

We'll hear about the brief time Illinois had a graduated tax and why that changed.

Also, a reporting investigation has uncovered more details about COVID-19 outbreaks in Illinois - where they've occurred and some of the reasons why.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

Official photo

Republican Representative Mike Bost of Murphysboro says he was tested after experiencing a mild cough and loss of taste and smell. 

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Brian Mackey

This week, Illinois Republicans expressed outrage at the decision to put an Illinois House committee investigating House Speaker Michael Madigan on hold until after the November elections.  Meanwhile, the public's vote on Governor J.B. Pritzker's proposal to move Illinois to a graduated income tax draws nearer, and this week the governor  released his proposals for criminal justice reform.

A.D. Quig  of Crane's Chicago Business joins the panel.

On this week's episode, while we are in the midst of election season, more newspapers are choosing to forego the traditional political endorsement process.  There are different reasons for the decision, We'll hear from an Illinois editor about why her paper has followed this trend.   

Billed as an improvisational comedy enterprise, Second City has launched careers of some of the biggest comedians in recent decades.  Now, it's up for sale.  We'll have a report from Chicago. 

And have you noticed more stinkbugs in recent years?  The invasive pest can be damaging to crops and they want to spend the winter in your home.  Those stories and more on Statewide.

Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow said Friday the investigation into the shooting June 26 has yielded little information that points to why the gunman killed three co-workers at the plant on Stevenson Drive before fatally shooting himself later. But he reiterated that the victims were likely targeted based on the suspect’s actions.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Questions about the connection between Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and a bribery scheme by energy giant Commonwealth Edison continues to create problems for the Speaker.  Republicans claim a House investigative committee is protecting Madigan, and representative Stephanie Kifowit announced she intends to challenge his position as the leader of the chamber.

The Chicago Sun Times' Rachel Hinton joins the panel.

On this episode of Statewide, we examine the worries over how COVID-19 could impact homeless shelters as the weather turns colder.  Also, after more than six months in a pandemic, COVID fatigue has set in for many.  We'll get some tips for how to deal with the stress.

We'll learn about equine therapy helping veterans facing emotional trouble. And an update on a courthouse, slated for demolition, but mired in a court battle. Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

Prairie Heart Institute

One year ago this week. Sherry Barr got a call that would change her life.  Her husband, the former Sangamon County Sheriff Wes Barr, had died of a heart attack while working on his boat.  It came as a  shock, seemingly without warning.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor Pritzker's administration warned that if its proposed graduated income tax vote fails, income taxes on everyone in the state will have to be raised.  Also, with the continuing extensions of the statewide eviction moratorium, landlords are facing problems paying their mortgages.

WBEZ's Michael Puente and reporter Hannah Meisel join the panel.

On this episode of Statewide, outdoor dining has allowed many restaurants to survive during the pandemic.  But what will happen as the temperature drops?  We'll have a report.

Former Gov. George Ryan explains how he came to the decision to put a hold on the death penalty in Illinois.  And, we'll tell you about a grassroots movement to shed more light on police work.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

State of Illinois

More than three weeks after a region of the state was forced to stop indoor bar and restaurant service, those restrictions are being lifted.   Governor J.B. Pritzker says Region 7 has seen its coronavirus positivity rate drop and will return to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker told state government agencies to prepare for across the board budget cuts.  The Big Ten sports conference declared that they will hold games this fall, putting pressure on Governor Pritzker to allow all Illinois students to play.

WBEZ's Kate McGee and WSIU's Jennifer Fuller join the panel.

This week on Statewide, we take a look at the growing problem of food insecurity.  It's an issue in big cities and small towns and the economic hardships created this year have made it worse.  We'll learn about some efforts being made to help.

And, with many schools going remote, that's left working parents in a bind when it comes to finding child care and being able to afford it.  

That and more on this episode.

NPR Illinois

Amid growing calls to allow contact sports to resume this fall, Illinois’ governor Tuesday appeared to double down on postponement of the seasons.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, a special Illinois House committee began investigating House Speaker Madigan’s alleged role in a decade-long bribery scheme involving Commonwealth Edison.  Meanwhile, Senate President Don Harmon's office was subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney.  And billionaire Ken Griffin is spending money to fight the proposed graduated income tax amendment.

The Chicago Tribune's Jaime Munks and Professor of State Politics at the University of Illinois at Chicago Chris Mooney join the panel.

Officials have announced two confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s Disease at the Pontiac Correctional Center.

On this episode, we recall Chicago's own Steve Goodman, the songwriter who died 36 years ago this month.  He left behind a catalog of work, but is probably best known for the song played after a Chicago Cubs home victory - "Go Cubs Go."  

Also, we find out how misinformation about the coronavirus can spread so rapidly.  And, a southern Illinois couple tells their account of growing up amid segregation.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

Sean Crawford/NPR Illinois

Despite a global health threat and concerns of students taking a gap year, enrollment on the University of Illinois Springfield campus saw only a slight decline.  That gives hope the school might be able to weather the disruption brought on by the pandemic.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, confirmed cases of the new coronavirus have spiked on university campuses throughout the state.  Meanwhile, many kids are beginning the new school year with virtual, remote learning only.  And the Illinois House has created a committee to look into possible wrongdoing by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Illinois Newsroom's Lee Gaines, WNIJ's Peter Medlin, and WGLT's Dana Vollmer join the panel.

The coronavirus disease can lead to physical problems. But emotional ones as well. On this episode, we hear from those who have contracted COVID-19 and what they've experienced.

Learning more about Emmett Till, from his cousin who grew up around him.

And beer that tastes like southern Illinois.  That and more on this week's Statewide.

Illinois unemployment offices have been closed to public access since the stay at home order was put in effect earlier this year. 

But Governor J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday there was another safety reason for keeping the doors locked.

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