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. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Over the past week, Democratic Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth weathered Republican criticism at the same time her name is being put forward, among others, as Joe Biden's potential running mate.  Governor J.B. Pritzker called on the Trump administration for a nationwide mandate for wearing masks to combat the coronavirus, while still not issuing such a mandate in his own state.  More revelations are showing just who received federal PPP money.  And House Speaker Michael Madigan calls for the removal of statues at the State Capitol building.

On this week's episode, we examine the economic blow of students leaving college towns and the health risks associated with their planned return.  

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, a Clay County judge ruled that Governor J.B. Pritzker did not have the authority to issue executive orders to combat the spread of the new coronavirus after his initial order expired.   Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned the city that there would be conseqences for those who flout precautionary measures.  Also, it's the start of a new fiscal year and several new laws went into effect July 1st.

WTTW Chicago Tonight's Amanda Vinicky joins the panel.

On last week's program, we discussed the often unknown history of slavery in Illinois.  Even more obscure are the personal stories of those enslaved in the state.  This week, we shed some light on who they were and what they went through.  

Also, the invasive Asian Carp has infiltrated and thrived in several midwest waterways.  A new plan to control and harvest the fish is getting underway.  

Those stories and more on this episdoe of Statewide.

Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow said Wednesday authorities have yet to determine why an employee shot and killed three co-workers last week at a Springfield manufacturer.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This Friday marked Illinois moving to Phase 4 of Governor J.B. Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan, along with guidelines for in-person school attendance in the Fall.  However, the governor says that the threat of COVID-19 remains and that restrictions could be tightened again if there is a resurgence of the disease.

Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business joins the panel.

A woman wounded in a workplace shooting in Springfield Friday died of her injuries, according to the Sangamon County Coroner.  Marsha Strumpher of Springfield, 54, had been hospitalized since the incident and died Saturday.  

As the state lifts more restrictions, moving to Phase Four of the Restore Illinois plan, there are worries about a spike in coronavirus cases.  Hear what some experts are saying.

A Bloomington nursing home was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak.  We learn more about what happened there.

And while Illinois lays claim to the Great Emancipator, its past also includes slavery. We'll get a history lesson.  That and more on Statewide.

IDNR

A black bear has been spotted several times this month in western Illinois.   And authorities are telling  the public to avoid getting too close or agitating the animal.  

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As the state gets closer to the Phase 4 stage of Governor Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan, there are still concerns over the possibility of a surge in COVID-19 cases along with calls to speed up the process.  Also, the state is making it easier to vote by mail for the upcoming election.

Sam Dunklau/NPR Illinois

The University of Illinois plans to reopen campuses for students this fall.  With some caveats.

As the economy continues to reopen, there remains concerns over another wave of COVID-19. But what metrics will be used to make that determination?  We discuss what health officials will be watching in the weeks ahead.

Juneteenth is gaining more acceptance as a paid holiday.  In the past, it has mostly been recognized among African Americans.  The recent focus on racial justice has brought it widespread attention. 

And the pandemic that has kept so many of us apart may be putting some children at risk. Those stories and more on Statewide.

Carter Staley/NPR illinois

A list of health and safety guidelines for getting students back in classrooms is scheduled to be released before the end of the month. It will provide rules and recommendations for more than 850 school districts resuming classes this fall.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

In the midst of nationwide protests and demands for police reforms, Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed their support for possibly requiring police officers to be licensed by the state.  Also, as Illinois continues to see a decrease in COVID-19 metrics in Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, other states are seeing a significant spike in cases and deaths.  Meanwhile, Governor Pritzker signed off on an uncertain state budget.

WBEZ's Tony Arnold joins the panel this week.

The recent marches and rallies for racial justice have taken place in major cities like Chicago and St. Louis. 

But they've also happened in communities notorious for lacking tolerance, including former "sundown towns" that put restrictions on African Americans.

We'll hear how one of those locations - Anna, Illinois - gained that reputation and how recent events have given reasons for optimism. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Protests and in some cities looting and destruction the past week in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police have taken place nationwide and in Illinois.  On this week's program, a discussion of the causes and consequences, and the reactions of the Governor and the Mayor of Chicago.

The Chicago Sun Times' Maudlyne Ihejirika joins the panel.

It has been an emotional and turbulent week in Illinois and across the country. 

While many have made their voices heard about issues like police brutality and systemic racism, others are picking up the pieces after vandalism and looting, often in communities of color. 

And the biggest question still looming is what happens next?  On this week's Statewide, we hear from those who say people and policies need to change.   

A longtime higher education leader will be the interim chancellor at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Karen Whitney will take over for Susan Koch, who is retiring at the end of the month.   Whitney will serve in the interim role while a national search is conducted for a permanent chancellor.

IIS

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he is worried the mass protests over police brutality happening across the country could spread the coronavirus. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois enters Phase Three of "Restore Illinois", Governor Pritzker is responding to  criticism and lawsuits surrounding his re-opening plan.  Meanwhile, the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its short special legislative session last weekend after passing a state budget. The panel also discusses a controversy over whether or not lawmakers will see their pay go up.

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel joins the panel.

This week, some employers are having difficulty reopening their businesses because many workers don't want to come back.  While there are health concerns, it also comes down to dollars and cents.  

Self-testing for COVID-19 could play a key role in fully reopening the economy.  But what are the concerns?  

Also, most rural hospitals have faced challenges preparing for the pandemic, even as they've seen fewer cases of the coronavirus disease. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

Mary Hansen/NPR Illinois

Reports across the country of retail workers being physically attacked for enforcing safety rules, like the wearing of face masks and social distancing, prompted Illinois lawmakers to take action.  A measure was passed getting tougher on those who commit such acts. 

Ted Schurter/SJ-R

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $40 billion state budget and a plan to address tax rates for a casino expansion during a whirlwind special session held amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois legislature gathered in Springfield for the first time in weeks for a short special session.  Among the issues facing lawmakers are further responses to the pandemic, rules for voting this November, and the state budget.

On this episode of Statewide, a task force has been created to figure out the best way to get students back to college this fall.  We talk with a higher education leader about what's at stake and the challenges ahead.

And, high school seniors missed out on traditional graduation ceremonies.  For valedictorians, that meant not being able to stand in front of their classmates and deliver an address.  But they still have things to say and we'll listen to a few of them.  

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Wednesday announced bars and restaurants can serve customers outside once the state takes the next step in his Restore Illinois plan.

They will still have to follow certain guidelines aimed at protecting patrons and staff.  

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan to slowly re-open the state's economy is facing resistance from several quarters.  Meanwhile, the Illinois Legislature is preparing for an abbreviated session in Springfield next week.

Mark Maxwell, Capitol Bureau Chief for WCIA-TV, joins the panel.

Illinois is a big state with a lot of different viewpoints.  On this episode, we focus on southern Illinois to find out how residents are coping with restrictions and public health recommendations.  

We'll hear a community showed support for a nursing home with dozens of cases of COVID-19 and more than twenty deaths. 

And coaches and athletes prepare all year for a season to begin.  But this spring left them wondering what might have been.

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

NPR Illinois

The farmer’s market summer season begins Saturday May 16.  The event will again take place on Adams Street, but organizers advise there will be changes. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzer announced a plan to re-open the state in stages and by region, depending on continued progress in limiting the spread of the new coronavirus.  

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel and reporter Bill Wheelhouse join the panel.
 

Pages