Sean Crawford

Director of Editorial / COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD, EX-OFFICIO

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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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The governor signed the measures in Chicago flanked by advocates who say the state must be a welcoming place for all.  

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Republicans are lining up to try to reclaim the seats won by freshmen U.S. Reps. Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood, there are fights over a suburban business emitting a cancer-causing chemical, the feds are inching up on the speaker, and more.

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The President and CEO of Land of Lincoln Goodwill has resigned, just a day after reversing a controversial decision to lay off disabled workers.  

This Saturday, July 20, marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.   Thousands of individuals contributed to that moment in history.  That includes an airplane engineer from Illinois, John Houbolt.  An Audible original puts the spotlight on him.  We talk with the author. 

Also , Andrew Carnegie is known for gifts that helped create libraries and other education opportunities.  You might not realize that he is also responsible for thousands of pipe organs given across the world, and here in Illinois.  A concert organist is on a mission to track down how many remain. 

That and more on this episode of Statewide.   

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Andrew Carnegie is remembered for his philanthropy.  The industrialist wound up giving away an estimated 90 percent of his fortune to causes like libraries and education. 

But less known was how he helped many churches and community centers obtain pipe organs. It exemplified his love of music and belief that musical expression uplifted the soul. 

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker canceled an upcoming performance by the band Confederate Railroad at the DuQuoin State Fair. 

Can the racial divide be overcome through a basketball tournament?  Al Klunick tells us he wants to try with a unique event where kids of different races play together on the same team.  It's one of the rules for the Community Unity tourney.  

This week marks 40 years since a baseball promotion in Chicago turned into chaos.  While some look back on Disco Demolition Night fondly (the team even celebrated the anniversary this season), others see darker motives.  We talk with the man who came up with the idea.    

And Gov. J.B. Pritzker stands by a decision to cancel a Du Quoin State Fair appearance by the band Confederate Railroad over concerns about the band's name and use of the Confederate flag in its logo.  What it could mean for the fair itself.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

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The band Confederate Railroad will play southern Illinois after all.  Just not at the Du Quoin State Fair.  

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants Illinois to help Chicago with its ballooning pension payments, which are squeezing other priorities in the state budget.

DNA testing in criminal cases goes to the Illinois State Police crime lab.  And in recent years, more evidence is being submitted.  That is helping add to a huge backlog that results in delays for victims, the accused and the justice system. 

Also, we find out what an Illinois survey on sexual harassment discosvered in the wake of the #MeToo movement.   

That and more on this week's Statewide.

On this episode, while President Donald Trump has rejected the scientific evidence of climate change, nearly half of his voters — many in Midwestern states — believe in global warming. This bucks stereotypes about a rural voting bloc that doesn’t care about the environment. However, don't expect all of them to use the term "climate change."

Also, a major warehouse fire is believed to have destroyed thousands of original master recordings, including many from the legendary Chicago rock and blues label Chess Records.   We find out why that matters.  

That and more more on this week's Statewide.

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When it comes to the battle against distracted driving, Illinois is taking it up a notch.   

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PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Jurors deliberated less than 90 minutes before returning a guilty verdict Monday at the federal death-penalty trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student who killed a visiting scholar from China after abducting her at a bus stop as she headed to sign an off-campus apartment lease.

Members of AFSCME Council 31 have a new  labor deal with the State of Illinois, according to the union. 

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Illinois is investing $29 million to try to get an accurate count in the 2020 Census. On the line are two seats in Congress and the Electoral College.

Officials with Western Illinois Unviersity will be looking for a new president after Jack Thomas announced his resignation.  Thomas' tenure was rocky at the school that has campuses in Macomb and the Quad Cities.  His replacement will deal with an institution still trying to rebound from a state budget impasse and enrollment declines. The WIU Board Chair gives his view of the situation.

We also check in on a new law requiring cursive writing be taught in schools. But just because kids are shown how to do it, will they use it once classes are over?   

That and more on this week's Statewide. 

Megadeth

The heavy metal band Megadeth announced today they are canceling most of their shows for the year following lead singer Dave Mustaine’s throat cancer diagnosis. 

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week signed a bill to make what he and activists say is the most progressive abortion-rights law in the country. But could Democrats risk a backlash by going too far? And what are they targeting next?

Our Education Reporter Dusty Rhodes examines what's wrong with the teacher pension system in Illinois and why it needs to be fixed soon.  

Also, gambling addicts are warning the state's gambling expansion will result in more compulsive bettors. And, the governor signs the most comprehensive abortion rights law in the country. That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko has been appointed to the position following a nationwide search.  

The heavy and frequent rains across the midwest has resulted in flooding here in Illinois and farmers being unable to get crops in the field.  But there has been another impact: bugs.  Specifically, flying insects like gnats and mosquitoes.  We talk with an entomologist about the swarms and how long they might last.

More casinos and legal sports wagering.  That's the result of a gambling package the General Assembly approved.  

And Steak n Shake, founded in Normal 85 years ago, is facing problems that put the future of the chain in doubt.  That and more on this week's Statewide.

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All the rain that has fallen in the midwest this year has led to flooding and kept farmers from fields.  But there's also another result: more flying insects.  

For many, being outside for even brief periods has meant fighting off swarms.  

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Governor J.B. Pritzker is calling in more reinforcements to help fight flooding.    

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Brian Mackey

Note: The show was taped during the noon hour on Friday, while debate and negotiations at the Statehouse were still ongoing.

On the final day of the Regular Legislative Session, lawmakers continued to work on finalizing the state budget, along with votes still to come on a constitutional amendment to switch Illinois to a graduated income tax, legalization of marijuana, expansion of gambling, and abortion legislation.  WTTW's Amanda Vinicky joins the panel.

A key argument against a graduated income tax, where those who earn more pay a higher percentage, is that individuals who have the resources will leave the state to relocate somewhere cheaper.  But the same was said when Illinois bumped up its tax rates under the flat tax system earlier this decade.  An analysis finds the number of higher income taxpayers actually went up.  

And, the invasive Asian carp have taken over several waterways in the midwest, threatening native species and throwing off the delicate ecological balance.  Could an industry based all the way on the east coast be at least part of a solution? 

We'll tackle that and more on this week's Statewide.

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Governor J.B. Pritzker has called up roughly 200 guard soldiers as near record crests are predicted along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.   The soldiers are being deployed to perform duties like sandbagging, levee reinforcement and potential rescue efforts.  

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NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan that could change how Illinois taxes income.   In the nearly 40 years the state has had an income tax, it’s been a flat tax.  That means no matter how much you earn, you pay the same percentage.

Now, Governor J.B. Pritzker and other advocates of a graduated tax say it’s time for a new approach.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly has just one week left in its spring legislative session, and the number of outstanding issues are beginning to pile up.

A graduated income tax constitutional amendment seems to be on track, but lawmakers are still hashing out details — and rounding up votes — on crafting state budget, funding an infrastructure program, legalizing marijuana, and expanding gambling.

Outside view of Decatur Memorial Hospital
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Decatur Memorial Hospital will become part of Memorial Health System, based in Springfield.  The announcement was made Thursday and is scheduled to take effect October 1, pending regulatory approval.

Six individuals were recently awarded the Order of Lincoln, a prestigious honor in Illinois to recognize contributions and achievements.  Among those singled out was columnist George Will.  We listen to his remarks.  

And 1919 was so violent, it was given the nickname "The Summer of Red."  An Illinois author joins us to look back on an Illinois race riot that year.

That and more on this week's Statewide.

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