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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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.”

High schools promote a four year college degree to students, often placing less priority on other options like vocational training, two year degrees and more.  We learn about a program in one community that is working to explain the different choices.  

More colleges and universities are making standardized test scores from the ACT and SAT scores optional when it comes to admissions.  

And we get a lesson on coyotes and why more are showing up in urban areas.  That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker focused on corruption in his State of the State address this week, a day after former state Sen. Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty to soliciting bribes for doing his job.

We'll find out why tearing down old structures doesn't have to mean sending a lot of material to the landfill.  Deconstruction is a process of salvage and re-use.  Hear how one city is embracing that approach.  

We'll talk with some Springfield area artists who put a face on the issue of homelessness. And we have a conversation about an effort to teach and celebrate statesmanship.

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

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The following are the Governor’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

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Authorities have now officially confirmed the identities of three people who died when a twin engine plane crashed in Sangamon County Tuesday afternoon.  The county sheriff's office Wednesday morning released a statement confirming the crash killed former Springfield Mayor Frank Edwards and his wife Cinda, the Sangamon County Coroner, along with John Evans of Glenarm.  A dog on board also died.  

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State Sen. Don Harmon is now president of the Illinois Senate. Meanwhile, state officials say more than 500 non-citizens were inadvertently registered to vote.

There is still a lot of optimism regarding hemp as a cash crop in Illinois and other states.  But the first year since it became legal to grow shows there is still a lot of work to be done. We'll hear from some farmers.  

Are people from the midwest nicer than those in other parts of the country?  And how can you you measure it?  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

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More fallout from the “rape in Champaign” email: Ag Director John Sullivan is out.

As he marked a year in office, Gov. J.B. Pritzker talked with Brian Mackey about several issues facing the state, including his thoughts on marijuana.  

The minimum wage hike that just happened in Illinois also meant a pay boost for those under 18, but they will continue to be paid less than other minimum wage earners.  We have a report.

And Western Illinois University has struggled with enrollment, leading to financial problems.  But the interim President says he believes the dark clouds are lifting.  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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This week, WBEZ Chicago reported on a 2012 email in which then-lobbyist Mike McClain priased a former state worker for having “kept his mouth shut on ... the rape in Champaign,” among other things.

Illinois lawmakers did away with a requirement in 2019 that could have a big impact on those who want to be teachers.  We'll hear from one woman who says it has changed her life. 

With college debt skyrocketing, more high schools see the need to teach personal finance to students.  We'll visit one of those classrooms. 

And not many towns have a poet laureate.  We bring you a report from Aurora, a community that just named its first person to hold that title.  That and more on this week's Statewide.

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Marijuana sales began with more than $3 million in sales on New Year’s Day. Backers of the law, however, say that news ought to take a back seat to the more than 11,000 pardons for past pot convictions Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a day earlier.

On last week's episode, we looked back at some of the stories we covered in 2019.  But with the new year upon us, we thought it would be a good time to look forward.  We discuss some of the issues you'll be hearing more about this year.

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Starting with the new year, Illinois will expand privacy protections for people who use genetic testing kits. 

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It would be difficult to overstate how consequential the past year was in Illinois government and politics. This week on State Week, the panel looks back at some of the top stories of 2019.

On our final episode of the year, we remember some of the top reports and conversations from 2019.   

On this show we tried to give an example of the type of journalism we bring you each week: coverage of public affairs, examining problems and solutions, inspirational stories and the voices that make up the state we call home.  

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Legal marijuana is coming January 1 — what will that look like in Illinois? Will there be enough supply to meet demand? And what will happen to the black market?

Victims of domestic violence are told to seek help.  But what happens when a child is violent toward parents?  A central Illinois couple says there's not enough support available.  We'll have a report.

We also hear about special education students being shipped out of state.  There are questions about the schools where they are kept at taxpayer expense.

And we hear how some people handle a holiday tradition: the political argument among family members. 

That and more on this week's Statewide.

Travel during the holidays can be stressful.  It can be even more so with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease in tow.

But the Alzheimer’s Association has some suggestions to make things go smoother and make sure all of the family can participate in activities. 

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Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx personally filed paperwork that led to vacating and expunging the marijuana convictions of more than 1,000 people.

This episode looks ahead to the new recreational marijuana law that will take effect the first of the year.  You might have questions and we will try to provide answers.  We'll also hear how marijuana growers are working to meet the expected demand.

A new biography tells the story of Lane Evans, the late Illinois congressman from the Quad Cities.  Evans died in 2014 from complications related to Parkinson's Disease.

And racism in a suburban school district has led to a concerted effort to rebuild trust.

That and more on the latest Statewide.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot abruptly sacked CPD Chief Eddie Johnson this week, accusing the department veteran of lying to her over the details of an incident in which he was found slumped over the steering wheel of his government vehicle. Johnson denies wrongdoing.

On this episode of Statewide, we learn why some colleges say there is too much emphasis on standardized tests in the admissions process.  There is a growing movement to drop the requirement or place less of a priority on scores. 

Is an historic home a good fit for you?  Many are bypassing newly built houses for ones that have more character.  But they can be a lot of work.  We'll find out more. 

And a new proposal threatens to end minor league baseball in some Midwest communities.   These stories and more on Statewide.   

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Bringing a university presence to the downtown area has been under discussion for years.  But the latest concept dwarfs what has been on the drawing board previously. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

For our Thanksgiving-week episode, we take a step back from the day-to-day workings of state government to go deep on the federal investigation swirling around one of Illinois' most powerful people.

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 re-cap the series from earlier this year and hear from journalists throughout Illinois.  

This week's lineup:

* Sean Crawford talks with Jenna Dooley of WNIJ, who served as coordinator for the series.  She gives an overview of the problem and what the reporting uncovered.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune collaborated on a story that revealed the extent to which Illinois schools are using "seclusion rooms" — essentially solitary confinement — to handle children who cause trouble, mostly in special education classes.

As recreational marijuana is set to become legal in Illinois January 1, some parents are worried it sends the wrong message to kids.   We'll hear from experts and young people about ways for parents to have a dialogue on the subject.

Not that long ago, southern Illinois was known as a place where geese would spend the winter during colder weather.  But recently, that trek to the area has stopped.   We'll hear some of the reasons why.

And, a reporter shares her personal account of adoption and the risk she took to reach out to her biological family.

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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