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. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, rising COVID-19 positivity rates prompted Governor J.B. Pritzker to once again shut down indoor service for restaurants and bars in Will and Kankakee counties, and warned that the same might soon happen for the Metro East counties.  Local governments are becoming more worried about declining tax revenues due to the pandemic.  And energy company Exelon announced that it may have to close two of its nuclear plants.  

Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois and Kelsey Landis of the Belleville News-Democrat join the panel.

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Most Illinois school kids will start the school year with remote learning.  That’s according to an Illinois State Board of Education survey of administrators.

On this week's Statewide, a Black police officer talks about his feelings of having to do his job amid recent protests over racial justice. 

Students are moving back to college campuses, but are facing a lot of new rules designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.   And we bring you a report from the portion of Chicago with the highest rate of coronavirus deaths.  

Those stories and more on this episode.

Illinois was among the states helping re-nominate President Trump Monday as the Republican National Convention began in Charlotte, N.C.    

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The cancellation of the Illinois State Fair means nonprofits, who count on annual parking revenue during the ten day event, are missing out.

The Springfield Animal Protective League, adjacent to the fairgrounds, estimates a loss of as much as $30-thousand. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week saw the virtual Democratic National Convention, the decision to remove some controversial statues from the State Capitol grounds, and the death of former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson.

The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson joins the panel this week.

More schools are planning to start fall classes remotely.  We'll find out what might be different from the spring when there was an abrupt shift to online learning.

The college experience this year won't be what many students expected. We'll talk with some incoming freshmen. 

And we remember former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson. 

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

The site of a deadly race riot in Springfield has been added to the national African American Civil Rights Network.  Only 30 locations have received recognition. 

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Statues of two former Illinois leaders with ties to slavery will be removed from outside the state capitol building in Springfield.

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Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun had the honor of casting Illinois’ votes during the traditional roll call Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, helping nominate Joe Biden for president.   

The state has placed tighter rules on a portion of southwest Illinois after seeing more community spread of the coronavirus disease.  But Gov. J.B. Pritzker admits it might not be enough to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

The longest serving governor in Illinois history died Friday.  James R. Thompson was 84  Known as Big Jim for his stature (he stood 6'6"), he had a personality to match.  

Charlie Wheeler was already a veteran of the statehouse press corps when Thompson took office in 1977.  He would continue to cover Illinois government through Thompson's fourteen year tenure.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, the Illinois General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved Governor Pritzker's intent to fine business owners who don't enforce the state's COVID-19 mitigation orders.  Also, state Senator Terry Link has been charged with tax fraud.

Amanda Vinicky of WTTW's Chicago Tonight joins the panel.

This week on Statewide, many small colleges and universities were struggling before COVID-19.  Will the pandemic deal a final blow to more institutions?  

We also hear about the rise of home schooling.  And we look back to a time of lawlessness in southern Illinois, when prohibition era gangs went to war with each other and the Ku Klux Klan. 

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Illinois has awarded the first round of emergency funding to small businesses to help them during the pandemic.  

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When the pandemic hit this spring, there were immediate concerns over the basic needs of people and how to make sure those were being met. A joint effort between the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and United Way of Central Illinois came through in a big way.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Amid the pandemic, the state's ongoing budget woes received some attention this week, with uncertainty over federal aid to states and local governments.  Also, novel coronavirus positivity rates continue to slowly rise, prompting Governor J.B. Pritzker to issue new emergency guidelines for businesses, schools, and daycare centers.

WBEZ Public Radio's Tony Arnold and Capitol News Illinois' Peter Hancock join the panel.

Being admitted to a hospital can be traumatic any time.  But during a pandemic, hospitals are restricting visitors.  We'll hear about the effect it's having on patients and family members.

And are visitors to Chicago following the city's health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19? 

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican, announced Wednesday he has contracted the coronavirus disease.

NPR Illinois

The Hospital Sisters Health System has announced it is cutting about ten percent of its workforce in Illinois and Wisconsin.  The system operates St. John’s Hospital in Springfield and St. Mary’s in Decatur, along with other facilities.

Illinois Governor's Office

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said the five million dollar effort will use the slogan “It only works if you wear it.” 

Critics have said the system has been too punitive and too ineffective.  More than half of youth who are released end up getting in trouble again. 

Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton said change is needed.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, there were more calls for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan to resign due to a long-term bribery scheme involving energy provider Commonwealth Edison.  Also, Governor Pritzker issued new guidelines for sports as Illinois' COVID-19 numbers have been rising.

John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel.

As we near the 75th anniversary of atomic bombs being dropped on Japan, we learn about the Manhattan Project and work that was done in Illinois to usher in the atomic age. 

We also find out how the controversy over a retired University of Illinois mascot continues to this day.

Join us for this episode of Statewide.

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Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Monday stop in the county seat of Quincy was no social call.  Appearing at the Adams County Department of Public Health, he pointed out the numbers there are going in the wrong direction.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

While he denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any wrongdoing, Illinois Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is alleged to have participated in a wide-ranging bribery scheme involving energy provider Commonwealth Edison.  Illinois Republicans are calling for swift action on new ethics legislation.  Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot reacted to President Trump's declaration to send undercover federal agents to the city.

It was 105 years ago this week.  The S.S. Eastland was packed with passengers, and tied to a dock along the Chicago River, when things went horribly wrong.  The steamship tipped over on its side.  Hundreds died just feet from shore.  

It happened only three years after the Titanic, but even here in Illinois, many have never heard about the tragedy.  We talk with an author who has investigated what happened and why.  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is giving more time to those behind on rent or mortgage payments.  He’s extending a ban on evictions through August 22.  A moratorium was set to expire at the end of this month. 

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With just a few weeks to go before some schools are set to begin their fall semester, the Illinois Federation of Teachers issued a recommendation on Monday that called for students to begin the academic year learning remotely.  It is part of a larger union statement on the new school year.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, the major electric utility ComEd agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.  Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker adjusted some aspects of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson joins the panel.

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