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. 

This week on Statewide, the new Illinois law that will make recreational marijuana legal will create a need for people to work in the industry.  We'll explain how some are getting training through a college program. 

We'll go to Stateville Correctional Center to learn about inmates making the best of their situation.  

And the kudzu vine is a scourge in the southern U.S.  Now, it's showing up here in Illinois.  But there are  individuals who are finding uses for the invasive plant. 

That and more on this episode.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

There's more information about the federal investigation into state Sen. Martin Sandoval, we dig deep on why Illinois' population is declining, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker's approval rating is high despite negative attitudes about the state.

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Illinois lawmakers approved the state’s recreational marijuana law earlier this year.  But a leading national advocate is already calling for additional changes.  

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's approval rating is strong in the latest Illinois Issues survey, conducted last month involving registered voters from across the state.  While more people see the state making progress, a majority of those responding still say the state is going in the wrong direction.  We'll break down the findings.

Also, a national marijuana advocacy group sees Illinois' recreational cannabis law as a big win - not just for the cause in Illinois, but across the country. 

And, a new report has recommendations for keeping teachers of color in the classroom.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

More details come out about FBI raids on the home and offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval. The Legislative inspector general is out with two reports about sexual harassment under House Speaker Michael Madigan's watch. And Planned Parenthood has been secretly building a new facility in Illinois near St. Louis.

This week, we hear from a Champaign-Urbana rap group whose members make their experiences with violence part of their music. 

We learn about a public service announcement depicting school shootings that is grabbing attention.  And that's the point.  Also,  we visit a small Illinois community that is the hometown of a world famous sculptor. 

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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As cooler weather arrives this fall, certain insects are looking to head indoors.  Among those bugs that want to share your home is a relative newcomer to Illinois. 

The brown marmorated stink bug has been showing up here since about 2010. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Federal agents raided the Capitol and district offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval. The director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum was let go. And state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, one of the "marijuana moms" is to be named Illinois' first "cannabis czar."

Many Illinois colleges and universities are struggling to attract and keep students.  The problem, along with what some are doing about it, is outlined in the Illinois public radio series Enrollment Exodus. 

On this episode of Statewide, we hear those reports from journalists throughout Illinois.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new report raises questions about the future profitability of casino gambling, one of the first people to say #MeToo in the context of Illinois politics is still looking for work, and the Illinois State Fair's claim of record revenue is not the whole story.

Illinois has several sleepy, small towns that travelers bypass as they motor along highways.  Only a few of these have figured a way to not only get people to stop, but to make their community a destination.  Casey, in eastern Illinois, was struggling like most others just a few years ago.  Then, Casey leaders started thinking BIG.  This week, we hear about the transformation and get some advice for other towns. 

In 2016, Illinois' voting system was hacked and personal information for tens of thousands of voters compromised. As we prepare for another presidential election, we find out what has been done to make the system more secure.

That and more on this week's Statewide.

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The eastern Illinois community of Casey has followed the lead of roadside novelties promising tourists a chance to see the world's largest (fill in the blank).

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Illinois is offering an incentive to those who have outstanding state tax debt in an effort to get them to pay up.  

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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.

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  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 was 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.   

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