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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Illinois First Lady Kicks Off Executive Mansion Overhaul


Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday at the governor’s mansion in Springfield. The Rauners are raising $15 million privately to finance a restoration of the 162-year old building.


Beyond long-delayed repairs, the plans call for a small art gallery and an educational exhibit for school children. Diana Rauner said she looks forward to helping out with a new garden.


“For me, the most important thing personally is we’ll have a vegetable garden in the back. I love to garden, and of course we have such a great agricultural tradition,” she said, “so maybe we’ll even grow a little corn back there. We’ll see.”


Records of who has donated are not yet public, but Diana Rauner said the group will release that information once the project is over.


When the Rauners are in Springfield, they stay at a house on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, which the first lady called “rustic.” She said work on the Executive Mansion should be done before the Illinois bicentennial celebration in August 2018.

Tom reports on statehouse issues for NPR Illinois. He's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield. He graduated from Macalester College. Tom is from New York City where he also did stand-up and improv and wrote for the Awl and WNYC public radio.
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