Illinois Edition

NPR Illinois midday program the 21st is featured describing its first year growth, behind the scenes work, and mission to grow its service to you.

Show poster
David Landis / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys return to Springfield Friday, November 18, 7:30 PM with guest Jukebox Casanova opening at Bar None in downtown Springfield.  

Details & Tickets


Amanda Vinicky

There wasn't supposed to be an election for a statewide constitutional officer this year, but Democrats essentially foisted one, following the sudden death of Republican Judy Baar Topinka. That's led to an expensive, competitive race for comptroller this year --- a race that could show who's winning the war of public opinion in Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's battle for Illinois' future.

Who knows what would have happened had Democrats held onto the governor's office in 2014?

Screenshot

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk says he apologized, and that apology was accepted, so it's time to move on from a controversial comment he made at last week's debate minimizing his opponent's family legacy of military service. The Republican gave an interview to public radio on Wednesday; click below to listen to the bulk of it.

All this week, Decatur resident Brittanie Brooks has worn dresses and skirts.

Her No Pants challenge is an awareness campaign (check for the #NoPantsForOvarianCysts and #NoPantsForOvarianCancer hashtags on social media) for Illinois' Ovarian Cyst Awareness Week, which began Sept. 11 and goes through Sunday.

A conservative-backed organization says it will continue efforts to topple the Illinois law limiting campaign contributions, after a judge ruled the law constitutional.

The law caps how much individuals, corporations, and political action committees can give.

Committees controlled by the legislative leaders are subject to caps too, but only in the primary. There's no limit on what they can give to candidates during the general election.

Liberty Justice Center attorney Jacob Huebert says the law is set up to help the leaders maintain power.

Photo provided by Cathy Wilhite

Hot air balloons have dotted Illinois skies this summer at various festivals and they'll fly again this weekend over Lincoln.

NPR Illinois' Amanda Vinicky spoke about the tradition with organizer Cathy Wilhite, the President of the Logan County Alliance.

The balloons take flight in Lincoln on Friday and Saturday nights. You can watch, accompanied by a soundtrack from live bands.

Carnival rides, a variety of food and beer, petting zoo, and kite demonstrations take place throughout the day.

Amanda Vinicky

A new foundation has been created to raise money for Illinois State Fair infrastructure.  Questions have already been raised about how the private entity will intermingle with government.

State Sen. Matt Murphy
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Even before the November election, the makeup of Illinois legislature is changing.

Eric Mason, an 18-year-old Lanphier graduate, was recognized by the Illinois State Fair for overcoming incredible odds to become a high achiever.
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

After 163 years, the Illinois State Fair is always adding traditions. New this year is the Hometown Hero Award, recognizing people who "perform selfless acts, overcome incredible odds and reach milestone achievements."

The inaugural winner is a teenager Eric Mason.

Eric just graduated from Springfield's Lanphier High School. And on Saturday, he left to begin college at Stanford University. That means he won't be around to partake in the glory, like joining the Grand Marshal to lead the Illinois State Fair Parade on Thursday, that comes along with being the "hometown hero."

Steve Brown

 As Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan ran the show for Illinois’ delegation last week at the Democratic National Convention.

Madigan took some time before the convention wrapped up to sit down in Philadelphia with Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and WBBM radio's Craig Dellimore.

They touch on everything from term limits to Donald Trump, to the state budget and the November election. 

Illinois State Museum in Springfield
Lisa Ryan / WUIS - Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner closed the Illinois State Museum last fall, citing the lack of a state budget. The museum in Springfield reopened over the weekend and is now charging a five-dollar admission fee. The Dickson Mounds site is also open to the public again. 

Amanda Vincky at work in her office
CARTER STALEY / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

NPR Illinois' Amanda Vinicky has been reporting on the politics at the Statehouse for about a decade, but this past year has presented a whole new set of challenges. Her stories covering the budget stalemate have been broadcast by multiple Illinois public radio stations and occasionally across the nation. Watch what a day is like covering the capitol with Amanda Vinicky. 

Amanda Vinicky

For only the second time this year, Gov. Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders are set to meet, Tuesday, in Springfield.  It comes as Illinois' historic budget stalemate yawns into May, with two weeks left in legislators' regular session schedule.

These "leaders' meetings" are private, but NPR Illinois Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky had the chance to get some perspective about where the leaders stood going into the confab. 

flickr/picturesofmoney

Because of the lack of a budget, social services providers have not been getting paid for some of their work, even though they have contracts with state to continue providing these services. Some are now suing Illinois.

These organizations help the state's most vulnerable populations. But they are also businesses that have to make payroll, keep the lights on and balance their books for yearly audits. 

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Some see a recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling on public employee wages as a potential key to ending the state’s budget impasse.

Rachel Otwell sat down with Past Due host Jamey Dunn to talk about the case.

This Sunday is the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment banned slavery in America. 

To commemorate the event, The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will display a copy of the amendment signed by Lincoln. 

Giorgio Niro / UIS Alumni magazine

Every day brings news about the Middle East, and its complex political, religious and economic systems.

WUIS

Tune in this week. Scott Faingold of the Illinois Times and Rachel are joined by Yona Stamatis, a professor of ethnomusicology at UIS and violinist for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and her student, Christina Shao, who will play the song of the week:

Events & other items discussed this week include:

Native American culture is known for being particularly in tune with the natural world. This has translated to a long tradition of treating ailments with plants and herbal remedies. A presentation on Tuesday afternoon at SIU’s Pearson Museum in Springfield will feature multicultural educator, Arloa Wheeler. She’ll talk about medicine and Native American culture, and recently joined WUIS to tell us about it. 

The presentation is Tuesday noon to 1.

The popular comedic play, Greater Tuna, takes two actors and thrusts them into the world of a fictional Texan town. The actors play a host of characters, who come together and create a world ripe with low-brow and politically incorrect humor. The play opens in Springfield at the Hoogland Center for the Arts Friday night. WUIS was recently joined by the cast members Rich McCoy and Darin Harms to talk about it: 

This weekend through next week, two motion picture classics from 1962 will alternate screenings at the Lincoln Theater 4 in Lincoln, Illinois - To Kill a Mockingbird and Lawrence of Arabia.   Bob Meyer talks with independent theater owner David Lanterman about the two movies' enduring appeal and the advantages of screening great films of the past alongside the latest Hollywood releases.

Donna Lounsberry/Hoogland Center for the Arts

The Hoogland Center for the Arts starts its fall lineup of performances with the popular musical Gypsy.

The Hoogland's executive director, Gus Gordon, is also directing this production.

Gordon and leading lady Devin Dinora joined us on Illinois Edition to talk about the show they're calling the most ambitious of 2013:

Harvard University

Harvard professor and author John Stauffer is considered an authority on Lincoln and the Civil War.

His latest book charts the evolution of the wartime ballad "Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Stauffer discussed the origin of the tune Thursday at the Lincoln Presidential Museum.  The museum is wrapping up its summer series of book discussions.

http://www.route66filmfestival.net
www.route66filmfestival.net

The film festival held in Springfield each fall has expanded its calendar of events to include "mini-screenings" this summer.

Route 66 International Film Festival board member Thea Chesley joined Peter Gray on Illinois Edition to discuss the short films her group is now sharing with moviegoers - in a setting that's more casual than conventional: