Ryan Denham

Ryan Denham started his career as a copy editor and later business and city government reporter at The Pantagraph in 2006. He later worked for WJBC radio in Bloomington. He now works in website development for Illinois State University and is a freelance reporter for WGLT.

Editor's note: This is part of a five-story series reported at the Housing Action Illinois conference in Bloomington on Oct. 24-25. The stories ran Wednesday, Oct. 30, on WGLT's Sound Ideas.

Enrollment declined at Illinois community colleges again this fall, driven in part by a strong economy and low unemployment.

A Central Illinois lawmaker said he’s encouraged by first steps taken by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the its director’s pledge to “re-focus on safety.”

A 9-year-old accused of setting a fire that killed five people in Goodfield struggled Monday to understand the murder and arson charges against him during his first court appearance.

The chair of the Federal Election Commission said Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis was trying to “intimidate” her by asking for an ethics investigation into her public criticism of President Trump.

Democratic congressional candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan said she supports the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump and doesn’t think it should stop other work from getting done in Washington, D.C.

The Democrat-controlled House is moving ahead with its impeachment inquiry, prompted by President Trump asking the Ukrainian president for an investigation of his political rival.

The retail giant Amazon announced Thursday it plans to buy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian as part of a larger effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

With the public clamoring for action to reduce gun violence, Congress may soon create a federal grant program that would offer incentives for states to pass so-called “red flag” laws. Those make it easier to take firearms away from unstable people.

Illinois has a teacher shortage, and policymakers are trying some big ideas to fix it. That includes raising the minimum teacher salary and getting rid of the Basic Skills Test requirement.

UPDATED 5:15 p.m. | Illinois State University freshman enrollment jumped nearly 5% this fall—its largest freshman class in 33 years.

Kathleen O’Gorman spent her summer on the front lines of America’s broken immigration system.

An economist with the American Farm Bureau visiting Normal this week said the trade dispute with China has shown how “dangerous” overreliance on one customer can be.

RYAN DENHAM / WGLT

A child welfare expert at Illinois State University said she’s encouraged by the latest attempts to better fund and reform the state’s troubled Department of Children and Family Services.

Twenty years ago, Adam Kinzinger was a college kid navigating the politics of the McLean County Board, pushing for fiscal discipline, evening meeting times, and merging the Bloomington Election Commission into the county clerk’s office.

Greg Snodgrass started at Steak ’n Shake as a bus boy in 1979 in Bloomington-Normal.

Behind a tall security fence and countless coded keypads, the future of the Delavan economy is growing under bright lights.

UPDATED 4:05 p.m. | Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan conceded Wednesday in her closely watched race against U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis after it became clear his 2,700-vote lead would hold.

The federal government’s top mass transit official stopped in Bloomington on Friday to tout $12 million in grants won by Connect Transit and other Illinois agencies which she says will help chip away at the country’s aging fleet of buses.

The first drug court began in 1989 in Miami, offering those with addiction issues an alternative route through—and hopefully out of—the criminal justice system.

Health care, trade, and the tax overhaul are three of the biggest issues in the race for the 13th Congressional District between incumbent Rodney Davis and challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

UPDATED 4:10 p.m. | The Catholic Church in Illinois has been sued by four people who claim they were sexually abused by priests and that the church protected the priests by concealing the abuse.

Democratic candidate for governor JB Pritzker unveiled his higher education plan Wednesday during a stop at Illinois State University, pledging to spend millions more on financial aid for low-income students and those considering out-of-state schools.

Illinois’ public universities have finished tallying up their student bodies for the new school year, and once again it’s a mix of winners and losers.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

A semipro baseball team. A band performing at the Castle Theatre. A mom visiting to watch her son play college football. A family reunion. An author writing a book about historic Route 66.

They’ve all stayed at Kevin Lewis’ house—one of the top Airbnb destinations in Bloomington-Normal. Lewis turned his 103-year-old bungalow on Locust Street into a short-term rental property, first as a way to make some extra money during a financial slump. Almost two years later, he’s still doing it.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin called Tuesday for tougher regulations on e-cigarettes, especially the “insidious” marketing of flavored products to children.

Flanked by doctors and public health officials, the senior Democratic senator from Illinois said he wants to ban flavored e-cigarette products and standardize regulations on how e-cigs are sold — including where and the minimum age of customers.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin criticized Republicans on Thursday for rushing to deliver a sweeping overhaul of tax laws before Christmas—a package that the senior Illinois Democrat says gives too much away to wealthy Americans and large corporations.

Facebook is facing tough questions in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Did Russians use social media to sway the election? Why is there so much fake news? Why isn’t Facebook more transparent?

Democratic candidate for governor JB Pritzker said Thursday he knows the difference between running a business and running government and is experienced in both, unlike the two other wealthy businessmen—Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump—who’ve struggled in their transition to public office.