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 / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is once again under scrutiny, the Pritzker administration issues a budget warning, and Cook County judges reelect their leader.

On this episode of Statewide, many communities have seen the value of keeping and restoring their older theatres.  We take a trip to one town where the theatre is making new memories.  

We chat with Charlie Wheeler, the longtime journalist and professor who recently retired, for his views on statehouse reporting. 

And we learn why some women are turning to truck driving as a career.   That and more this week. 

66 year old Julie Bartolome bid a tearful farewell to her loved ones in the Chicago area as she was sent back to her native Phillipines last month.  Our reporter was there when the matriarch of the family lost her battle with immigration authorities after more than 30 years in the United States. "Stay healthy, eat well," her husband Edgardo said she told him. "Don't cry." 

Also, we learn about tax increment financing and the development tool widely used and sometimes abused.

And, a discussion on the historic Old Slave House in southern Illinois. 

That and more on this week's Statewide.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new report from NPR Illinois and ProPublica shows the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has protected the reputation of several members of the faculty accused of sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s tenure crossed the 100-day mark. She marked the ocassion by giving a speech laying out the city's significant fiscal problems, but stopped short of saying precisely what she wants to do to fix them.

This week, we recap an ongoing NPR Illinois/ProPublica investigation into complaints of sexual harassment on the University of Illinois' flagship campus.  Reporter Rachel Otwell details the findings.

After a deadly outbreak at the Quincy Veterans' Home, Illinois is taking steps to address Legionnaire's Disease.  But is the state on the right track?  An expert will join us.

And indications are that more mosquitoes could be in our future.  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

An investigative report released this week shows an atmosphere of bullying, intimidation, and sexual harassment in the Illinois statehouse.  Also, Governor Pritzker signed a new law raising the minimum salaries of teachers; a photo taken at a state senator’s fundraising event that showed two people staging a mock assassination of President Trump made national headlines; and Chicago’s new mayor is weighing her options on closing the city’s budget deficit.

WBEZ political reporters Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney join the panel.

A project based at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library seeks out documents written by the 16th president.  Discovering the items is only part of the work being done.  The Papers of Abraham Lincoln is in the process of making all of the finds available online.  We talk with the director.

Also, a new gambling expansion law will allow horse tracks to look more like casinos, with slot machines and other games being offered.  Is it enough to boost the sagging industry? 

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

NPR Illinois

  Power in Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's office has been too centralized and its environment has fostered an atmosphere that condones bullying, intimidation, hazing and long work hours with inconsistent direction, according to an investigative report released Tuesday.

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It’s estimated 1 in 5 Illinois households don’t use banks, mainly because they can’t meet the requirements of start-up costs and minimum deposits.   So they turn to payday loan operations, even for basic services like cashing a paycheck.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Democrats and Republicans gear up for next year’s election, the parties rallied in Springfield this week with events timed to the Illinois State Fair.

Former Illinois congressman Paul Findley passed away this month.  He waas 98.  Findley served 22 years in the U.S. House. We look back at his career - his successes and controversies. 

Also, this week we find out why some say a new requirement that students participate in active shooter drills could be doing more harm than good.  

And, a group of students in western Illinois are getting involved to get improvements made on a dangerous stretch of highway. 

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

As Illinois has lost more students to colleges elsewhere, certain schools have benefitted more from that change.  We'll look at why students are choosing to leave Illinois for their higher education.

Also, the Illinois River is a major shipping channel in the state.  But much of it will close next year while construction work takes place at locks and dams.  What will that mean for farmers? 

And, we'll introduce you to a clinic that helps pregnant women addicted to drugs.  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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It’s not uncommon for many Illinois farmers to ship much, or even all, of their commodities along the Illinois River.  So a plan to close the river in 2020 for lock and dam repairs could have a huge impact.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago announced Friday that state Sen. Tom Cullerton was under indictment for embezzeling from a local branch of the Teamsters union. He’s accused of collecting more than $274,000 in pay and benefits for “little or no work.” Cullerton denies the charges.

This week, we learn how thousands are kept in Illinois jails awaiting trial simply because they can't afford bail.  The Illinois Supreme Court is expected to make recommendations to improve the situation later this year.

Also, singer-songwriter Tom Irwin used an 1890's diary of a man who lived in central Illinois to develop his "Sangamon Songs" album.  Now, there's a play based on the man's life.  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, two separate political social media posts provoked heavy criticism, a campaign volunteer for Republican U.S. Representative Rodney Davis was caught posing as a newspaper reporter, and Governor J.B. Pritzker received high marks from Governing Magazine.

Bernie Schoenburg of the Springfield State Journal-Register and Chris Mooney, Political Science Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago join the panel.

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A Springfield meteorologist who made headlines across the country after refusing to go along with his TV station’s promotion of Code Red severe weather alerts has a new job.

Starting Monday, Joe Crain will oversee the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s public events.   

The wet spring in Illinois is reflected in the latest crop numbers that show Illinois' corn and soybeans are behind their normal pace.  We'll discuss what challenges remain in the growing season and what it all means for consumers.

Also, in the summer of 1919 a deadly race riot in Chicago was one of several across the country.  We look back at that incident in what's known as "Red Summer."  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

Sean Crawford/NPR Illinois

Less than half the corn and soybean crops in Illinois are in good to excellent condition, according to the latest crop progress report from the U-S Department of Agriculture.

That's fewer crops than usual doing well at this point in the year, and is due primarily to the wet spring that delayed planting for many farmers across the state.

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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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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.   

William Furry

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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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

Confederate Railroad official website

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

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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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