Illinois

The Illinois State Police is supporting legislation that would fingerprint applicants for the Firearm Owners Identification card.

Two professional basketball players said it's only fair to allow college athletes to seek sponsorships and other lucrative deals if colleges and universities are profiting at the same time.

Spencer Tritt

Postcards for the 2020 Census go out next month. But schools are already using past census data to illustrate trends and teach students the importance of an accurate count.

The census dictates billions of dollars in federal funding. That includes education funding for special ed, after-school and a plethora of other programs.

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.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced an amendment to the Illinois Constitution meant to transform the way legislative district boundaries are created here.

A group of Illinois lawmakers and health care advocates want the state to more equitably provide money for low income hospital patients.

Illinois lawmakers are considering a proposal to give students mental health days away from school.

The legislation would allow children in kindergarten through twelfth grade who have mental health issues the opportunity to take up to five days off during the school year.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has fired a transportation company after learning it shackled a young foster child for several hours.

Connie Kuntz

Housing sales are up in the Rockford area for the fifth straight year, as is the average selling price. Conor Brown is the CEO for Rockford Area Realtors. He said, "The average sales price record that we've kept is $149,000."

He said the sales and price increases are cause for celebration, but he also expressed concern for the lack of housing stock for first-time home buyers.

Peter Medlin

Early voting is open in Illinois. But five minutes before it opened on February 6, election integrity actually just sounds like a long receipt being printed out by a voting machine. That’s because it is. It has every race, every candidate, every party. 

And since voting starts less than five minutes from this moment...it all reads zero. 

“All of the numbers have to match every day,” said Jessica Rugerio, a deputy clerk in DeKalb County.

They compare the numbers to the paper ballots, no app required. 

Guy Stephens

The second season of legal hemp growing is coming in Illinois. State experts are sharing what they know -- and don’t -- as more people express interest in growing it. 

A new University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign survey finds most students who experience sexual misconduct don’t tell anyone. 

Campus officials say the findings of the Spring 2019 Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct are a signal that they need to do more to encourage victims to come forward.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas is retiring from the bench after nearly 20 years. The judge, who has led careers in both law and athletics, plans to practice privately at a personal injury firm in Chicago.

pixabay

The decreased purchasing power of Chinese markets as a result of the coronavirus is creating further uncertainty for Illinois farmers. 

The Chinese economy entered a downturn as a result of fears of the coronavirus. That’s creating doubt as to whether China will be able to fulfill its promises to increase purchases from the United States as part of the newly negotiated trade deal. Illinois farmers rely on Chinese purchases of their crops and livestock. Eldon Gould, a hog farmer in Maple Park explained his concerns.

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.

Maggie Kasicki

On this week’s podcast: Maggie Kasicki talks to host Peter Medlin. She teaches English as a Second Language at Rockford University. She also volunteers at schools across Rockford teaching cross-cultural education. They also talked a lot about her traveling, but specifically about how she travels culturally. There's no Holiday Inn, no continental breakfast. Maggie gets straight-up embedded.

 

Sharing Experiences In Illinois Law Enforcement In Large And Small Communities

Feb 7, 2020

The Illinois Humanities series “The Country and the City: Common Ground in the Prairie State” addresses issues affecting both rural and urban Illinoisans. As part of the series, we get two perspectives from Illinois communities nearly 400 miles apart.

Carla Redd is an assistant deputy chief with the Rockford Police Department. Rockford is a historically industrial, ethnically diverse city near Illinois' northern boundary.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to elbow Iowa and New Hampshire out of the way in future presidential elections — so Illinois can seize the starring role in the primaries.

Illinois Senators overwhelmingly override Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s veto of a sales tax exemption Wednesday, a day after member of the House did the same. It’s the first time that’s happened during Pritzker’s time in office.

Guy Stephens

Aurora’s downtown is transforming into what some are calling an “arts district.” 

Melissa Mercado is the executive director of the Fox Valley Music Foundation. It runs The Venue, a performance space located in the heart of downtown Aurora.

The Venue opened in 2019.  Mercado said the atmosphere of the 200-seat listening room is casual. Most sit around tables, and food and drink are available, and the offerings are intentionally eclectic.

Jenna Dooley

U.S. Senators voted to acquit President Trump on two articles of impeachment. In DeKalb, protesters gathered to voice their concern with the trial itself. 

The intersection known as “Peace Corner” is busy, but not usually this noisy. Protesters scheduled the gathering well before the Senate votes -- knowing the likely outcome of an acquittal.

But David Barrow says the public rally shows that many Americans are not satisfied with how the trial unfolded. Specifically, some calling out the decision not to call witnesses.  

Illinois lawmakers grilled state officials Tuesday about significant problems with health care for thousands of kids with ties to the Illinois child welfare system.

A high score on the SAT or ACT is no longer required for admission to more than a dozen four-year colleges and universities in Illinois. As of last week, that includes Northern Illinois University, which will now accept a high school GPA of 3.0 for admission.

 

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Western Illinois University, and many private colleges had already adopted similar policies. They’re all part of a growing movement.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is defending his handling of harassment and assault complaints against former state Rep. Jack Franks.

Courtesy of the Forest Preserve of DuPage County

Recent encounters between coyotes and humans have put the canines in the public eye. We have details on why these animals seem to be popping up in more populated areas. 

Earlier this month, one animal was captured in Chicago and sent to a wildlife rehabilitation center, while another remained on the loose. Despite the extensive news coverage, one question still remains. What brought them downtown?

An audit is criticizing cybersecurity practices at the Illinois State Board of Elections, but the board is taking issue with some of the findings.

Peter Medlin

Students are taping drywall they hung a few weeks ago. The sound of hammers and saws echo from another room. 

 

“This house here was built last year at Guilford. You were in that class, right?” said Jack Turner. He’s the construction manager at Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity. “Yeah, so they built the house last year.”

  

The student he just spoke to is in a construction class at Guilford High School. The class works both semesters and builds one house per year. 

 

A day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for a massive culture change over corruption in Illinois, state lawmakers were considering how to make that happen — especially when it comes to local units of government.

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.

Illinois today joined Virginia and Nevada, in filing a federal lawsuit to get the Equal Rights Amendment on the books now that it’s been ratified by enough states.

Virginia on Monday became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, but President Trump’s administration is trying to block it from being added to the Constitution.

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