Sean Crawford

Chatham

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. 

The pandemic forced government to take action to prevent foreclosures and evictions.  But that intervention won't last forever.  We talk with researchers who have looked back at the 2008 housing crisis to see what lessons can be learned. 

Illinois remains behind on renewing firearm owner identification cards and concealed carry permits.  We'll hear why there's a backlog and what some are proposing to solve the problem.  

And a car John Dillinger used to make a daring escape has been brought home.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

Experts say the rate of food insecurity in Illinois has nearly doubled during the pandemic.  And the picture is worse in Black and Hispanic households with children.  We hear a report.  

Local health departments have had to change their strategy during the pandemic.  We talk with one administrator.  

And when Lincoln was killed in April 1865, the country was stunned.  An author tells us how people responded to the news.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

  Refugees fleeing war-torn countries have lived with stress and anxiety before.  For many, the pandemic has brought those feelings of uncertainty flooding back.  We'll hear from refugees, now living in Illinois.

We learn how an executive order signed by the governor to limit legal action against health care providers during the pandemic is having some unintended consequences.   And, how a man doing yard work discovered a civil war-era artifact that has proved to be a lucky find for a new museum.

Those stories and more on Statewide.

Our lineup:

  Many higher learning institutions, including community colleges, have seen a  drop in enrollment during the pandemic. While officials work to reverse that trend, some students say this has been an opportunity to re-think their future plans.  

And Illinois prisons began prohibiting in-person visits to slow the spread of COVID-19.  They have yet to change that policy.  

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

Our lineup:

A year ago this week, Illinois announced its first COVID-19 death.  Since then, more than 21-thousand  have died in the state.  Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker talks with us about his view of the past year and where we are now with the pandemic.

As vaccine rates rise, many people are considering plans for a vacation.  We'll find out what the travel industry sees in the second half of 2021.  

And, we hear about the products in the running for the coolest thing made in Illinois.  Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

  After a year of being extra careful to avoid the virus, individuals with other health problems are getting vaccinated.  But for some, it's not a free pass for life to get back to normal.  

Teaching civics can be difficult at any time.  Try it during a pandemic with remote learning amid a highly divisive time in our history.  We'll hear about the challenges.

Thsoe stories and more on this episode of Statewide.  

Our lineup:

The vaccine rollout has been a difficult and confusing experience for many elderly residents.  But a 13-year old from Evanston has found a way to help people learn where to sign up.  He created a website.

Also, while restaurants are reopening, many employees remain unvaccinated and worried. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide. 

Our lineup:

In certain areas, like St. Louis, the COVID-19 vaccine is in such short supply and demand is so high that people have looked to other locations to get their shots.  They've even taken to the road, driving three hours or more.  While the daytrip has paid off for some, it also raises ethical questions. 

A well-known sportswriter has a new book, telling the personal story of his grandson, who died from substance abuse.  And a deported veteran has been returned to Illinois -- for his burial. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

This week's lineup:

Karen Lewis took on the powerful as Chicago Teachers Union president.  She is credited with galvanizing the labor movement in the city and across the country.  Lewis died this week from cancer.  We'll remember her life and career.

And we'll hear what a report found about sexcual harassment among restaurant workers during the pandemic.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois will leave at the end of the month at the request of the Biden administration.  

With the pandemic forcing certain businesses to close, the State of Illinois saw a drop in sales taxes, a key revenue generator.  But a new study from the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs shows other spending and federal aid helped make up some of the difference.  We'll get a status update on Illinois' budget.

And as COVID-19 has kept more kids learning remotely and away from their peers, there is evidence it's impacting their mental health.   

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

This week:

This past week marked the anniversary of the initial COVID-19 diagnosis in the state.  The patient was in the Chicago area. 

As we note one year since the pandemic's arrival in Illinois,  we hear from a doctor who helped treat those first cases.  We'll also listen to the state's Public Health Director, Dr. Engozi Ezike, about what we've learned and what is still to be determined.  

We'll also get an in-depth look at why some say college campus police forces should be abolished.    Take a listen to this episode of Statewide.

  The heartbreaking story of Yingying Zhang is told in an award winning documentary.  It gives an intimate look at the University of Illinois student who was kidnapped and murdered in 2017.   

The film introduces viewers to Yingying through personal writings and shows the toll her death has taken on her family and friends.  We talk with the director.    

  The news hit like an earthquake in state government this week.  Michael Madigan, who was first elected Illinois House Speaker in 1983, stepped aside when it became clear he couldn't obtain the needed votes from his own Democratic members.  We look back at what happened and reflect on Madigan's career.

Remote learning has been a bumpy experiment for many teachers, students and parents.  We detail some of the problems it has exposed and some lighter moments from online schooling.

And, now that it's legal to grow, is hemp closer to becoming the cash crop many have touted?  

  Reporting on gun violence in Chicago primarily focuses only on those killed.  But shooting survivors often struggle to come to terms with what happened.  In some cases, it takes years to overcome the trauma.  Others never get past it.  A shooting survivor shares his story. 

Illinois was struggling to attract and keep teachers prior to last year.  The pandemic has made things worse.  We'll hear some possible solutions. 

  It has been a year since Illinois legalized recreational adult use cannabis.  And despite the pandemic, marijuana sales beat expectations.  We'll hear from a reporter who covers the industry about where it goes from here.

We'll also learn about a mental health crisis clinic in central Illinois.  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

Our lineup:

* Jennifer Fuller with WSIU interviews author Laurent Prenot about his book that chrionicles how many Illinois communities got their names. 

On this episode of Statewide, the Bergner's chain liquidated in 2018, the final chapter in a retail history that dated back to the 1800s.  For some communities, Bergner's was a an anchor store in a shopping mall.  In Peoria, where it all began, the name meant a lot more.  We'll talk with a Peoria journalist about Bergner's -- from its start through its heyday -- and how it all ended.

We'll also recall the holiday shopping traditions at the former Marshall Field's in Chicago. 

And we'll look back on the year in Springfield with various community leaders and their hopes for 2021 in the capital city.  

It was a foggy, rainy night December 13, 1977. The University of Evansville's men's basketball team boarded a planed, heading for an away game.  But soon after takeoff, the plane crashed killing all 29 people aboard.  We'll hear from those on the scene and a documentary about that tragic event. 

We'll also listen to a nurse, who explains the difficulty of doing her job in a pandemic. 

And Amanda Knox, who was exonerated after her wrongful conviction in a high profile murder case, talks with us about her experience and concerns about prosecutors, the court system and the media.    

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.  

An analysis of COVID-19 data shows not-for-profit nursing homes in Illinois have done a better job at controlling coronavirus infections and deaths than other facilities. But when it comes to choosing one over the other, it's not so simple.  

We'll also get caught up on a political scandal that has shaken Illinois politics. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.<--break->

This week's lineup:

The Illinois Senate Democrats will keep their new leader in the new year. Don Harmon of Oak Park became Senate President earlier this year when former President John Cullerton retired.

Harmon’s caucus supported him during a private meeting Thursday.  

The Senate Democrats saw a drawn-out internal battle to replace Cullerton, but ultimately Harmon was elected. Since then, however, the caucus seems to have united behind him. There has been more churn in other caucuses.

The pandemic has forced more students and teachers to go online.  That hasn't been easy.  But it's also a challenge for parents, juggling work and making sure their kids keep up with their studies.  A reporter shares her story.

We also look back at an incident in Springfield involving President John F. Kennedy, one year before his assassination. 

That and more on this week's Statewide.

Hospital beds across the state continue to fill with COVID-19 patients, and an investigation has been announced to look into the deadly breakout in the LaSalle Veterans' Home.  Michael Madigan says he has no intention of stepping down as House Speaker, although he may not have the votes needed to keep that position the next time the Legislature meets.

WBEZ's Dave McKinney joins the panel this week.

Illinois will borrow $2 billion more from the Federal Reserve to pay bills associated with COVID-19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday.

In a divided country, it's easy to point fingers and throw around blame.  Those who work in government are often targets.  But a new award will recognize those who do the public good.  Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar joins us to talk about the award named after him and the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon.

And we'll learn about two middle-aged white women, who refer to themselves as vandals, for taking it upon themselves to change the name of a park that honored a former slaveholder.  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

The coronavirus knows no age limits.  This week on Statewide, we bring you the story of Dani Kater,  McLean County's youngest victim.  Her family recalls a woman in her 30's with no underlying health conditions who passed away this month.

We'll also hear how the pandemic has made it more difficult for those battling addiction.  But also why some say treatment has prepared them for what was to come. 

And a conversation with the next Illinois Senate Republican Leader. 

A proposal to change Illinois' constitution was unsuccessful this week.  It would have shifted Illinois away from a flat income tax, where everyone pays the same rate, to a graduated system with higher rates for wealthier individuals.  The governor made it a cornerstone of his effort to improve the state's budget picture. 

Why did it fail and how will it impact J.B. Pritzker's political capital going forward?  

That story and more on this week's Statewide.

Will the coronavirus pandemic change how cities are designed in the future?  Some urban planners think so.  We'll hear their ideas.  

We'll learn why some parts of Illinois are doing better at handling COVID-19 than others. 

And, we'll find out what it's like to be a contact tracer.  It's considered a crucial job in maintaining public health, but workers can sometimes be the target of hostility.   

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

High school basketball in Illinois along with hockey and wrestling won't take place as scheduled as the state struggles against a resurgence of COVID-19.

  On this episode, we chat with some college freshmen about what their experience with higher education has been during the pandemic.  Some are questioning if they are getting what they pay for.

A doctor speaks with us about the latest COVID-19 numbers and what might lie ahead as colder weather approaches.

We also learn about individuals performing outreach in Chicago to prevent violence.   Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

 

Our lineup:

Illinois' plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine will initially target health care providers, first responders and those associated with vulnerable populations, like nursing home employees and residents.  But many uncertainties remain, including a timetable.

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