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. 

After days of blasting President Donald Trump over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the two spoke by phone Monday.

Pritzker has been especially critical regarding the lack of supplies going to states.  But he said in their conversation, the president was “very responsive.”

This week's program focuses on the changes we're seeing as a result of the coronavirus.  From how schools operate to customers panic buying at grocery stores.   

We're all feeling stressed during this time and we'll hear some ideas on how to cope with anxiety.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

Nearly every week you see announcements of blood drives at businesses, churches, schools and other locations.  But with the current guidelines to stay home and close many of these locations, blood drives are being canceled at an unprecedented rate.  

That creates a big problem for the blood supply.

Governor J.B. Pritzker says the work of Illinois government will continue during the COVID-19 outbreak.  But changes are coming for many state employees.  

Following the confirmation of more COVID-19 cases in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker is ordering bars and restaurants closed to customers.

At the end of business Monday March 16, all establishments will be prohibited from having customers inside through March 30th.  

On this episode of Statewide, the spread of the coronavirus is dominating the headlines and causing numerous cancellations and other changes.  We'll learn about some of those.  Also, does wearing a mask help?  We'll hear from experts.

And an author of a new book on Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address talks about the importance of that speech and those who were in attendance that day in 1865.  Those stories and more on Statewide.

 

On this episode of Statewide, we hear how one Illinois town has fared since a major employer left.  Galesburg lost more than 1500 jobs in 2004 when a Maytag plant closed.  

We learn about a service broadcasting sports events specifically for the blind.

And the number of people leaving the state has local governments working to find ways to reverse the trend.  That and more on Statewide.

This week's lineup:

On the latest episode of Statewide, a new report examines the past and present of corruption in both Chicago and the State of Illinois.  It also ranks them compared to other governments throughout the country.  Spoiler alert: it's not a pretty picture. 

How are college students viewing this election season and what questions do they have for candidates?

And despite the same pressures faced by the newspaper industry as a whole, some individuals are making an effort to keep student papers keep printing.  

That and more on Statewide.

Cities are finding a way to improve high crime areas is to have police develop ties with residents.  In Peoria, a program where officers live in the neighborhoods has proven successful and is expanding.  We have a report.  

And we learn what Governor J.B. Pritzker said during his budget address.  Pritzker used the opportunity to also push for a graduated income tax. 

That and more on Statewide.

As the northern Illinois community of Aurora marks the one year anniversary of a deadly workplace shooting at the Henry Pratt Company, we find out how the city is remembering the lives lost that day.  

The gunman in that shooting had his firearm license revoked years earlier, but his weapons were never confiscated.  That has put more focus on getting guns away from individuals who are prohibited from having them.  We have a report.

And we hear the perspectives of two law enforcement officials, from much different communities.  That and more on this episode of Statewide.

High schools promote a four year college degree to students, often placing less priority on other options like vocational training, two year degrees and more.  We learn about a program in one community that is working to explain the different choices.  

More colleges and universities are making standardized test scores from the ACT and SAT scores optional when it comes to admissions.  

And we get a lesson on coyotes and why more are showing up in urban areas.  That and more on this episode of Statewide.

We'll find out why tearing down old structures doesn't have to mean sending a lot of material to the landfill.  Deconstruction is a process of salvage and re-use.  Hear how one city is embracing that approach.  

We'll talk with some Springfield area artists who put a face on the issue of homelessness. And we have a conversation about an effort to teach and celebrate statesmanship.

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

Authorities have now officially confirmed the identities of three people who died when a twin engine plane crashed in Sangamon County Tuesday afternoon.  The county sheriff's office Wednesday morning released a statement confirming the crash killed former Springfield Mayor Frank Edwards and his wife Cinda, the Sangamon County Coroner, along with John Evans of Glenarm.  A dog on board also died.  

There is still a lot of optimism regarding hemp as a cash crop in Illinois and other states.  But the first year since it became legal to grow shows there is still a lot of work to be done. We'll hear from some farmers.  

Are people from the midwest nicer than those in other parts of the country?  And how can you you measure it?  

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

This week, WBEZ Chicago reported on a 2012 email in which then-lobbyist Mike McClain priased a former state worker for having “kept his mouth shut on ... the rape in Champaign,” among other things.

As he marked a year in office, Gov. J.B. Pritzker talked with Brian Mackey about several issues facing the state, including his thoughts on marijuana.  

The minimum wage hike that just happened in Illinois also meant a pay boost for those under 18, but they will continue to be paid less than other minimum wage earners.  We have a report.

And Western Illinois University has struggled with enrollment, leading to financial problems.  But the interim President says he believes the dark clouds are lifting.  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

Illinois lawmakers did away with a requirement in 2019 that could have a big impact on those who want to be teachers.  We'll hear from one woman who says it has changed her life. 

With college debt skyrocketing, more high schools see the need to teach personal finance to students.  We'll visit one of those classrooms. 

And not many towns have a poet laureate.  We bring you a report from Aurora, a community that just named its first person to hold that title.  That and more on this week's Statewide.

Marijuana sales began with more than $3 million in sales on New Year’s Day. Backers of the law, however, say that news ought to take a back seat to the more than 11,000 pardons for past pot convictions Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a day earlier.

On last week's episode, we looked back at some of the stories we covered in 2019.  But with the new year upon us, we thought it would be a good time to look forward.  We discuss some of the issues you'll be hearing more about this year.

Starting with the new year, Illinois will expand privacy protections for people who use genetic testing kits. 

It would be difficult to overstate how consequential the past year was in Illinois government and politics. This week on State Week, the panel looks back at some of the top stories of 2019.

 

On our final episode of the year, we remember some of the top reports and conversations from 2019.   

On this show we tried to give an example of the type of journalism we bring you each week: coverage of public affairs, examining problems and solutions, inspirational stories and the voices that make up the state we call home.  

 

Our lineup:

 

 

Travel during the holidays can be stressful.  It can be even more so with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease in tow.

But the Alzheimer’s Association has some suggestions to make things go smoother and make sure all of the family can participate in activities. 

The Association's Media Relations Senior Manager Elizabeth Cook encourages planning ahead and allowing extra time. 

Victims of domestic violence are told to seek help.  But what happens when a child is violent toward parents?  A central Illinois couple says there's not enough support available.  We'll have a report.

We also hear about special education students being shipped out of state.  There are questions about the schools where they are kept at taxpayer expense.

And we hear how some people handle a holiday tradition: the political argument among family members. 

That and more on this week's Statewide.

This episode looks ahead to the new recreational marijuana law that will take effect the first of the year.  You might have questions and we will try to provide answers.  We'll also hear how marijuana growers are working to meet the expected demand.

A new biography tells the story of Lane Evans, the late Illinois congressman from the Quad Cities.  Evans died in 2014 from complications related to Parkinson's Disease.

And racism in a suburban school district has led to a concerted effort to rebuild trust.

That and more on the latest Statewide.

On this episode of Statewide, we learn why some colleges say there is too much emphasis on standardized tests in the admissions process.  There is a growing movement to drop the requirement or place less of a priority on scores. 

Is an historic home a good fit for you?  Many are bypassing newly built houses for ones that have more character.  But they can be a lot of work.  We'll find out more. 

And a new proposal threatens to end minor league baseball in some Midwest communities.   These stories and more on Statewide.   

As recreational marijuana is set to become legal in Illinois January 1, some parents are worried it sends the wrong message to kids.   We'll hear from experts and young people about ways for parents to have a dialogue on the subject.

Not that long ago, southern Illinois was known as a place where geese would spend the winter during colder weather.  But recently, that trek to the area has stopped.   We'll hear some of the reasons why.

And, a reporter shares her personal account of adoption and the risk she took to reach out to her biological family.

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

This week, we hear about a community once known as a "sundown town" because African Americans were warned to be out of the city limits by nightfall.  It can be difficult for towns to shake that history.  We hear from a reporter who spent time in one to see if things have improved today. 

A northern Illinois man shares his story of getting to know German POW's who were kept in the state during World War II.  

And we learn about a camp for kids with type 1 diabetes.  That and more on this episode of Statewide.

This week marks 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down.  In Illinois, there are two locations where pieces of the wall are on public display.  

You can see a chunk of the wall at a Chicago CTA station.  Or in a more relaxed setting in a peace garden at Eureka College in Woodford County.  The college is the alma mater of President Ronald Reagan, who gave the famous directive to Soviet Leader Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

More than 2,000 state employees report to work at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago's Loop.  But the building, constructed in the early 1980's, has a host of problems.  Repairs will be costly.  The State of Illinois is moving forward in an effort to sell the facility, which some say is an architectural gem.  We look at the pros and cons of the Thompson Center on this epsiode. 

Also, the tragic story of young women who suffered radiation poisoning working at an Illinois factory. That and more on Statewide.

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