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. 

Daily feed

In the midst of a global pandemic that has shut down much of society, concerns remain about getting enough people tested. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday said Illinois is testing about 4-thousand people per day.  He expects that number will be at 10-thousand in the next ten days. 

Nonprofit organizations are being stretched thin during the coronavirus pandemic.  The Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and the United Way of Central Illinois are overseeing the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Greater Capital Region of Illinois.    

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A 174 year old educational institution in the area will soon close its doors permanently. 

The board of MacMurray College in Jacksonville voted unanimously Friday to shut down at the end of the spring semester in May.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and the number of confirmed cases and deaths in Illinois increases, the state faces a growing medical, social, and economic crisis.  Governor J.B. Pritzker is urging people to abide by his "Stay at Home" order and calling on the federal government for more help.

A crisis can sometimes bring out the best in people.  And it can also lead them to rise above and find ways to keep going.

On this week's Statewide, we hear about volunteers working to help those on the front lines of health care, teachers working through obstacles to comntinue educating students and artists getting even more creative.  Those stories and more on this show.

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Sarah Albracht got an early warning about the spread of the coronavirus.  The Springfield woman is the wife of a doctor at Springfield Clinic.

“As we were watching other countries, you start crunching numbers and realize we’re going to have some shortages and a crisis here as well,” she said.

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Illinois is extending its income tax filing period, days after the federal government did the same. 

Both Illinois and federal income taxes will have the same deadline – July 15.

Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Just a few weeks ago, Governor J-B Pritzker offered up a spending blueprint for Illinois.  But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic was on the radar. 

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After days of blasting President Donald Trump over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the two spoke by phone Monday.

Pritzker has been especially critical regarding the lack of supplies going to states.  But he said in their conversation, the president was “very responsive.”

AlexChirkin/https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en

Those wishing to donate medical supplies to local health facilities will be able to do so starting this week. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinoisans voted in the primary election as COVID-19 continued its spread across the state.

This week's program focuses on the changes we're seeing as a result of the coronavirus.  From how schools operate to customers panic buying at grocery stores.   

We're all feeling stressed during this time and we'll hear some ideas on how to cope with anxiety.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

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Nearly every week you see announcements of blood drives at businesses, churches, schools and other locations.  But with the current guidelines to stay home and close many of these locations, blood drives are being canceled at an unprecedented rate.  

That creates a big problem for the blood supply.

University of Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois is canceling commencement ceremonies at all campuses this spring due to concerns over COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Following the confirmation of more COVID-19 cases in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker is ordering bars and restaurants closed to customers.

At the end of business Monday March 16, all establishments will be prohibited from having customers inside through March 30th.  

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Governor J.B. Pritzker says the work of Illinois government will continue during the COVID-19 outbreak.  But changes are coming for many state employees.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois takes drastic steps to slow the spread of coronavirus disease, including banning sporting events and other large gatherings. Meanwhile, politicians are deciding how to campaign amid a global pandemic with just days to go before Illinois’ primary election.

On this episode of Statewide, the spread of the coronavirus is dominating the headlines and causing numerous cancellations and other changes.  We'll learn about some of those.  Also, does wearing a mask help?  We'll hear from experts.

And an author of a new book on Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address talks about the importance of that speech and those who were in attendance that day in 1865.  Those stories and more on Statewide.

Sean Crawford/NPR Illinois

UPDATE 3/15: In a message to the campus community, Chancellor Susan Koch called on departments to prepare to have employees work remotely, if possible.  "I am directing all deans, directors and division heads to begin working with employees to create alternative work arrangements to allow the option to work from a remote location, if appropriate; adopt a flexible or compressed work schedule; and/or establish rotation among staff for on-site work," Koch wrote. "These measures will support continued campus operations while at the same time allow for the flexibility employees will need to ensure the well-being of themselves and their families."

Sean Crawford/NPR Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield students are scheduled to return from spring break next week.  But the university is still considering whether or not to hold classroom instruction.  

On this episode of Statewide, we hear how one Illinois town has fared since a major employer left.  Galesburg lost more than 1500 jobs in 2004 when a Maytag plant closed.  

We learn about a service broadcasting sports events specifically for the blind.

And the number of people leaving the state has local governments working to find ways to reverse the trend.   That and more on Statewide.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House voted this week to ban red-light cameras in some of the state’s communities, but the legislation leaves out Chicago and some of the biggest suburbs.

Meanwhile, reproductive health activists lined up behind a push to bring comprehensive health and sexual education to all public school kids in Illinois, from grades K-12.

On the latest episode of Statewide, a new report examines the past and present of corruption in both Chicago and the State of Illinois.  It also ranks them compared to other governments throughout the country.  Spoiler alert: it's not a pretty picture. 

How are college students viewing this election season and what questions do they have for candidates?

And despite the same pressures faced by the newspaper industry as a whole, some individuals are making an effort to keep student papers keep printing.  

That and more on Statewide.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker presents his budget to the General Assembly, WBEZ reports on another trove of emails to and from Speaker Michael Madigan's top aides, and former Gov. Rod Blagovich gets an early release from prison.

Cities are finding a way to improve high crime areas is to have police develop ties with residents.  In Peoria, a program where officers live in the neighborhoods has proven successful and is expanding.  We have a report.  

And we learn what Governor J.B. Pritzker said during his budget address.  Pritzker used the opportunity to also push for a graduated income tax. 

That and more on Statewide.

Governor Pritzker's remarks as prepared for delivery:

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week a bipartisan group of Illinois lawmakers introduced a constitutional amendment that would create an independent commission to draw the boundaries of legislative districts.

As the northern Illinois community of Aurora marks the one year anniversary of a deadly workplace shooting at the Henry Pratt Company, we find out how the city is remembering the lives lost that day.  

The gunman in that shooting had his firearm license revoked years earlier, but his weapons were never confiscated.  That has put more focus on getting guns away from individuals who are prohibited from having them.  We have a report.

And we hear the perspectives of two law enforcement officials, from much different communities.  That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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On Lincoln’s Birthday – the presidential library and museum in Springfield that bears his name announced a new sculpture that will honor his legacy.

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Susan Koch, who took over the top role at the University of Illinois Springfield in 2011, announced Friday she will retire effective June 30.  She said she wants to spend more time with family. 

“It is a bittersweet decision.  I love the chancellor role and it’s been an absolute delight to work with students and faculty, staff, donors and members of the community,” Koch said.  “But you come to a point in your life where you start thinking about some other things.”

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