Statewide

On this episode, we sit down with the top Democrat and Republican in the Illinois House to hear their thoughts on the state's budget picture and what they think needs to happen.

Malls were struggling before the pandemic.  We hear how some are trying to attract new shoppers and why others say fewer retail spaces may be the answer.

We also track down a statue off the beaten path in northern Illinois.  

Listen to this week's Statewide.

Our lineup:

On this episode, we take a look at a new law that caps interest rates and fees on payday loans.  While some say the lenders use predatory practices, others say the problem is rooted in systemic racism.  

We'll also hear from an expert on why southern Illinois could have less representation when Illinois loses a congressional seat.  

And we hear about a central Illinois sheriff wanting to purchase an armored vehicle for law enforcement and why some are against the idea.  

Illinois state government was rocked last year when the utility Commonwealth Edison admitted to a bribery scheme.  It even led to the downfall of long-time House Speaker Michael Madigan.  While there have been promises of ethics changes since then, it remains uncertain what can get done in the final weeks of the legislative session.

We also learn about a podcast focused on baseball's famous homerun race of 1998 - and the steroid scandal that would follow.  

Those stories and more on this week's 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:

  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:

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.

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.

  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 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.

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.

  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:

As voters continue to cast ballots in Illinois, a key part of the state's financial picture is being decided.  A constitutional amendment that would swap Illinois' flat income tax for a graduated tax, with a different rate for higher earners, is seen as a way to shore up Illinois' budget.  But how much would it help the state?  And what happens if the proposal fails?   We'll have a discussion.

We'll hear about the brief time Illinois had a graduated tax and why that changed.

Also, a reporting investigation has uncovered more details about COVID-19 outbreaks in Illinois - where they've occurred and some of the reasons why.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

On this week's episode, while we are in the midst of election season, more newspapers are choosing to forego the traditional political endorsement process.  There are different reasons for the decision, We'll hear from an Illinois editor about why her paper has followed this trend.   

Billed as an improvisational comedy enterprise, Second City has launched careers of some of the biggest comedians in recent decades.  Now, it's up for sale.  We'll have a report from Chicago. 

And have you noticed more stinkbugs in recent years?  The invasive pest can be damaging to crops and they want to spend the winter in your home.  Those stories and more on Statewide.

On this episode of Statewide, we examine the worries over how COVID-19 could impact homeless shelters as the weather turns colder.  Also, after more than six months in a pandemic, COVID fatigue has set in for many.  We'll get some tips for how to deal with the stress.

We'll learn about equine therapy helping veterans facing emotional trouble. And an update on a courthouse, slated for demolition, but mired in a court battle. Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

On this episode of Statewide, outdoor dining has allowed many restaurants to survive during the pandemic.  But what will happen as the temperature drops?  We'll have a report.

Former Gov. George Ryan explains how he came to the decision to put a hold on the death penalty in Illinois.  And, we'll tell you about a grassroots movement to shed more light on police work.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

This week on Statewide, we take a look at the growing problem of food insecurity.  It's an issue in big cities and small towns and the economic hardships created this year have made it worse.  We'll learn about some efforts being made to help.

And, with many schools going remote, that's left working parents in a bind when it comes to finding child care and being able to afford it.  

That and more on this episode.

On this episode, we recall Chicago's own Steve Goodman, the songwriter who died 36 years ago this month.  He left behind a catalog of work, but is probably best known for the song played after a Chicago Cubs home victory - "Go Cubs Go."  

Also, we find out how misinformation about the coronavirus can spread so rapidly.  And, a southern Illinois couple tells their account of growing up amid segregation.  

That and more on this week's Statewide.

The coronavirus disease can lead to physical problems. But emotional ones as well. On this episode, we hear from those who have contracted COVID-19 and what they've experienced.

Learning more about Emmett Till, from his cousin who grew up around him.

And beer that tastes like southern Illinois.  That and more on this week's Statewide.

 On this week's Statewide, a Black police officer talks about his feelings of having to do his job amid recent protests over racial justice. 

Students are moving back to college campuses, but are facing a lot of new rules designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.   And we bring you a report from the portion of Chicago with the highest rate of coronavirus deaths.  

Those stories and more on this episode.

 

Our lineup:

More schools are planning to start fall classes remotely.  We'll find out what might be different from the spring when there was an abrupt shift to online learning.

The college experience this year won't be what many students expected. We'll talk with some incoming freshmen. 

And we remember former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson. 

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

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