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, investigations began into the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the La Salle Veterans' Home investigation, while Michael Madigan continued to lose support for his role as House Speaker in his own caucus amid the ComEd bribery scandal.

Rachel Hinton of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the panel.

ilga

The Illinois Senate Democrats will keep their new leader in the new year. Don Harmon of Oak Park became Senate President earlier this year when former President John Cullerton retired.

Harmon’s caucus supported him during a private meeting Thursday.  

The Senate Democrats saw a drawn-out internal battle to replace Cullerton, but ultimately Harmon was elected. Since then, however, the caucus seems to have united behind him. There has been more churn in other caucuses.

An analysis of COVID-19 data shows not-for-profit nursing homes in Illinois have done a better job at controlling coronavirus infections and deaths than other facilities. But when it comes to choosing one over the other, it's not so simple.  

We'll also get caught up on a political scandal that has shaken Illinois politics. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

This week's lineup:

The pandemic has forced more students and teachers to go online.  That hasn't been easy.  But it's also a challenge for parents, juggling work and making sure their kids keep up with their studies.  A reporter shares her story.

We also look back at an incident in Springfield involving President John F. Kennedy, one year before his assassination. 

That and more on this week's Statewide.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Hospital beds across the state continue to fill with COVID-19 patients, and an investigation has been announced to look into the deadly breakout in the LaSalle Veterans' Home.  Michael Madigan says he has no intention of stepping down as House Speaker, although he may not have the votes needed to keep that position the next time the Legislature meets.

WBEZ's Dave McKinney joins the panel this week.

Brian Mackey

Illinois will borrow $2 billion more from the Federal Reserve to pay bills associated with COVID-19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday.

This week, a Michael Madigan confidant and three others were indicted in an alleged bribery scheme that prosecutors say also involved the powerful House Speaker, known as Public Official A in federal documents. 

Madigan again denied he's done anything wrong and he's not been charged.  But more House Democrats have publicly pulled their support for him, making it seem less likely he can win another term in the leadership post in January.  There have also been calls for him to resign as the state's Democratic Party Chairman. 

Our panel discusses Madigan's future and whether his long tenure in politics is about to end.  

In a divided country, it's easy to point fingers and throw around blame.  Those who work in government are often targets.  But a new award will recognize those who do the public good.  Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar joins us to talk about the award named after him and the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon.

And we'll learn about two middle-aged white women, who refer to themselves as vandals, for taking it upon themselves to change the name of a park that honored a former slaveholder.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

In a divided country, it's easy to point fingers and throw around blame.  Those who work in government are often targets.  But a new award will recognize those who do the public good.  Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar joins us to talk about the award named after him and the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon.

And we'll learn about two middle-aged white women, who refer to themselves as vandals, for taking it upon themselves to change the name of a park that honored a former slaveholder.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

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Brian Mackey

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker admonished Illinoisans who continue to flout COVID-19 mitigation measures and warned that he soon may have no choice but to order another stay-at-home directive.  Meanwhile, the Pritzker administration is left with a huge budget problem to deal with, especially with the failure of the governor's proposed graduated income tax amendment.

Dan Vock, reporter and author of the States of Crisis newsletter, joins the panel.
 

The coronavirus knows no age limits.  This week on Statewide, we bring you the story of Dani Kater,  McLean County's youngest victim.  Her family recalls a woman in her 30's with no underlying health conditions who passed away this month.

We'll also hear how the pandemic has made it more difficult for those battling addiction.  But also why some say treatment has prepared them for what was to come. 

And a conversation with the next Illinois Senate Republican Leader. 

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Brian Mackey

The election saw disappointing results for Democrats at the state level, especially the failure of Governor J.B. Pritzker's proposed change to a graduated income tax.  And House Speaker Michael Madigan is under increasing pressure to step down as head of the state Democratic party.

The State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg joins the panel.

A proposal to change Illinois' constitution was unsuccessful this week.  It would have shifted Illinois away from a flat income tax, where everyone pays the same rate, to a graduated system with higher rates for wealthier individuals.  The governor made it a cornerstone of his effort to improve the state's budget picture. 

Why did it fail and how will it impact J.B. Pritzker's political capital going forward?  

That story and more on this week's Statewide.

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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.

PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION / VIA FLICKR.COM/PAHOWHO (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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.

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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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