Sean Crawford

Director of Editorial / COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD, EX-OFFICIO

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. 

ALPLM

Governor JB Pritzker has named a new Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Board. Gary Johnson will take over the role effective immediately.

This week saw the release of video and other evidence of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 13 year old Adam Toledo.  Several top Illinois and city officials have weighed in.  Chicago's mayor promised a new policy on how and when officers engage in foot chases.  

Also, is the latest surge in coronavirus cases leveling off?

Our panel includes Rachel Hinton of the Chicago Sun-Times. 

The pandemic forced government to take action to prevent foreclosures and evictions.  But that intervention won't last forever.  We talk with researchers who have looked back at the 2008 housing crisis to see what lessons can be learned. 

Illinois remains behind on renewing firearm owner identification cards and concealed carry permits.  We'll hear why there's a backlog and what some are proposing to solve the problem.  

And a car John Dillinger used to make a daring escape has been brought home.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

Illinois will open vaccination elgibility to those 16 and older on Monday.  It's a big step in the vaccine rollout.  Illinois has also been setting daily records when it comes to administering the shots. 

But the state remains in a precarious position as cases and hospitalizations are headed in the wrong direction.  There's also the challenge of convincing more people to take the vaccine.   

Peter Hancock of Capitol News Illinois joins our State Week panel.  

Experts say the rate of food insecurity in Illinois has nearly doubled during the pandemic.  And the picture is worse in Black and Hispanic households with children.  We hear a report.  

Local health departments have had to change their strategy during the pandemic.  We talk with one administrator.  

And when Lincoln was killed in April 1865, the country was stunned.  An author tells us how people responded to the news.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

While the state announced a Bridge Phase for reopening Illinois, not so fast.  A rising number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has stalled the step toward a return to normalcy.  We provide a status update on the pandemic in Illinois.  

We also discuss redistricting.  No surprise that Republicans and Democrats are at odds over how to determine new legislative boundaries.   And Chicago Teacher's Union members are closely watching a bill on the governor's desk.  And they're not the only ones.

Heather Cherone of WTTW's Chicago Tonight joins the panel. 

Refugees fleeing war-torn countries have lived with stress and anxiety before.  For many, the pandemic has brought those feelings of uncertainty flooding back.  We'll hear from refugees, now living in Illinois.

We learn how an executive order signed by the governor to limit legal action against health care providers during the pandemic is having some unintended consequences.   And, how a man doing yard work discovered a civil war-era artifact that has proved to be a lucky find for a new museum.

Those stories and more on Statewide.

ALPLM

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum  issued a statement Thursday, announcing a split with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, which did fundraising and artifact acquisition for the facility.    

Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined tens of thousands in Illinois getting vaccinated.  But it happened on the same week COVID-19 cases are back on the rise, leading some to worry about a quick re-opening of the economy.  

The Governor also signed a major economic opportunity package from the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.  He also appears poised to sign a healthcare initiative to help Black and brown communities. 

We discuss that and more on this episode of State Week.

Mike Miletich, Capitol Bureau Chief for Quincy Media, joins the panel.

Many higher learning institutions, including community colleges, have seen a  drop in enrollment during the pandemic. While officials work to reverse that trend, some students say this has been an opportunity to re-think their future plans.  

And Illinois prisons began prohibiting in-person visits to slow the spread of COVID-19.  They have yet to change that policy.  

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

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This week, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he was optimistic that vaccine supply will allow the state to allow those 16 and older, outside of Chicago, to get their shots starting April 12.  The governor also laid out a new "bridge" phase as part of the Restore Illinois plan.  It's a step toward getting the state back to some sort of normalcy.  

A year ago this week, Illinois announced its first COVID-19 death.  Since then, more than 21-thousand  have died in the state.  Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker talks with us about his view of the past year and where we are now with the pandemic.

As vaccine rates rise, many people are considering plans for a vacation.  We'll find out what the travel industry sees in the second half of 2021.  

And, we hear about the products in the running for the coolest thing made in Illinois.  Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

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The University of Illinois Springfield could return to a more normal atmosphere in the fall if the pandemic trends continue in the right direction.  The university system has announced it plans to offer more in-person classes starting in August, citing the rising number of people getting vaccinated as a main reason. 

In a week that marked the one year anniversary of the pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he's cautiously optimistic as more vaccines arrive.  His administration even mentioned a return to holding conventions and trade shows this summer.   

Pritzker is also pleased that a windfall will be coming to the state as part of a federal coronavirus stimulus package.   How might the state use that money?

Our panel discusses where things stand in Illinois -- on the public health front and with the state budget.  

After a year of being extra careful to avoid the virus, individuals with other health problems are getting vaccinated.  But for some, it's not a free pass for life to get back to normal.  

Teaching civics can be difficult at any time.  Try it during a pandemic with remote learning amid a highly divisive time in our history.  We'll hear about the challenges.

Thsoe stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

On this episode, we discuss Congresswoman Robin Kelly, who becomes the new Illinois Democratic Party Chair, replacing Michael Madigan.  Gov. J.B. Pritzker supported her opponent and some view Kelly's ascension as a defeat for the governor.  

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has been outspoken about his own party.  It appears he'll face a primary challenge.  We discuss his political future.  

And Illinois continues to fall behind when it comes to its pension obligations.  We discuss it all on State Week. 

The vaccine rollout has been a difficult and confusing experience for many elderly residents.  But a 13-year old from Evanston has found a way to help people learn where to sign up.  He created a website.

Also, while restaurants are reopening, many employees remain unvaccinated and worried. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide. 

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Brian Mackey

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's legislative district seat saw not just one, but two replacements within a week.  And Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a large reform package dealing with crime and policing.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Rachel Hinton joins the panel.

On this episode, when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Black residents are less likely to get the shots than whites. We'll look at some of the reasons why and some possible solutions.

And Congressman Adam Kinzinger has become a regular on national talk shows for speaking out against his own party.  Kinzinger grew up in central Illinois and we'll hear what those who've known him the longest have to say about the Republican.      

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Governor J.B. Pritzker delivered a combined State of the State and State Budget address this week with proposals to fill the deficit left by the pandemic.  And after 50 years in the state legislature, former House Speaker Michael Madigan resigned his district seat.

Chicago Tribune State Government Reporter Dan Petrella joins the panel.

In certain areas, like St. Louis, the COVID-19 vaccine is in such short supply and demand is so high that people have looked to other locations to get their shots.  They've even taken to the road, driving three hours or more.  While the daytrip has paid off for some, it also raises ethical questions. 

A well-known sportswriter has a new book, telling the personal story of his grandson, who died from substance abuse.  And a deported veteran has been returned to Illinois -- for his burial. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

npr illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's combined State of the State and Budget Address (as prepared). 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

While Illinois expands eligibility to receive the new coronavirus vaccine, there are still questions about the speed of distribution so far.  Also this week, the state Republican party has a new leader.

Chicago Tribune Investigative Reporter Joe Mahr joins the panel.

justice.gov

The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois will leave at the end of the month at the request of the Biden administration.  

Karen Lewis took on the powerful as Chicago Teachers Union president.  She is credited with galvanizing the labor movement in the city and across the country.  Lewis died this week from cancer.  We'll remember her life and career.

And we'll hear what a report found about sexcual harassment among restaurant workers during the pandemic.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

More progress is being made in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, accompanied by more criticism of how it's been handled so far.  State lawmakers have been authorized to receive vaccinations as part of Phase 1B of the rollout, which puts them alongside more at-risk groups.

Capitol News Illinois's Jerry Nowicki joins the panel.

With the pandemic forcing certain businesses to close, the State of Illinois saw a drop in sales taxes, a key revenue generator.  But a new study from the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs shows other spending and federal aid helped make up some of the difference.  We'll get a status update on Illinois' budget.

And as COVID-19 has kept more kids learning remotely and away from their peers, there is evidence it's impacting their mental health.   

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Illinois marks one year since its first COVID-19 case, vaccine distribution remains on a slower pace than expected, while state and local officials try to determine just how much of an impact the pandemic has had on revenues.

NPR Illinois reporter Mary Hansen joins the panel this week.

This past week marked the anniversary of the initial COVID-19 diagnosis in the state.  The patient was in the Chicago area. 

As we note one year since the pandemic's arrival in Illinois,  we hear from a doctor who helped treat those first cases.  We'll also listen to the state's Public Health Director, Dr. Engozi Ezike, about what we've learned and what is still to be determined.  

We'll also get an in-depth look at why some say college campus police forces should be abolished.    Take a listen to this episode of Statewide.

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