WBEZ | Springfield http://www.wbez.org/tags/springfield Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 'Right to Try' measure passes Illinois House http://www.wbez.org/news/right-try-measure-passes-illinois-house-111878 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/medicine_flickr_epSos .de_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; The Illinois House has approved a measure that would grant greater access to experimental drugs for terminally-ill patients.</p><p>Rep. Greg Harris is the chief sponsor of the legislation. The Chicago Democrat and other backers of establishing a &quot;Right to Try&quot; Act in Illinois say it gives those who have exhausted conventional treatments a chance at drugs that have only passed the first phase of federal testing and increases patient choice.</p><p>The measure passed with a vote of 114-1. It now moves to the Illinois Senate.</p><p>The lone &quot;no&quot; vote was Rep. Al Riley. The Democrat from suburban Olympia Fields says that he agrees with the concept of allowing more options for the terminally-ill but had concerns about safety.</p></p> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/right-try-measure-passes-illinois-house-111878 Morning Shift: Where comedy meets radio http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-03-20/morning-shift-where-comedy-meets-radio-111738 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/France1978.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/France1978" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/196833505&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Springfield Week in Review</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">There&rsquo;s one week left before Illinois lawmakers take their two week spring break and there&rsquo;s still work to be done. In the meantime, governor Bruce Rauner is having a hard time convincing democrats to pass his budget proposals. And, it looks like gun rights advocates are renewing their call for expanded conceal carry. Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky joins us with a look back at the week in Springfield and what we can expect next week.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/AmandaVinicky">Amanda Vinicky</a> is an Illinois Public Radio reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/196833498&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Cook County Forest Preserves unveil master plan for restoration</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We&rsquo;ve all seen him. That jogger wearing nothing but running shorts as soon as it gets above 36 degrees. The rest of us might wait a bit longer to strip down, but we&rsquo;re still dying to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. One of the favorite places folks in the Chicago area make that happen is the Cook County Forest Preserves. Last week, the Forest Preserves and the Prairie Research Institute unveiled&nbsp;<a href="http://fpdcc.com/preserves-and-trails/plans-and-projects/natural-and-cultural-resources-master-plan/">a plan</a> to restore and expand tens of thousands of acres of green space. Arnold Randall, the General Superintendent of the Cook County Forest Preserves joins us to talk about the plan.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;Arnold Randall is the General Superintendent of the <a href="https://twitter.com/FPDCC">Cook County Forest Preserves</a>.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/196833493&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">March Madness arrives</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">It&rsquo;s the first official day of spring. It&#39;s also the first full weekend of the NCAA men&rsquo;s basketball tournament. Brackets will be busted and hearts will be broken. And WBEZ&rsquo;s Katie O&rsquo;Brien says it&rsquo;s time to unravel claims that March Madness is a drain on workplace productivity.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/katieobez">Katie O&#39;Brien</a> is a WBEZ reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/196833484&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Where comedy meets radio</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">When comedian and radio host Tom Scharpling and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster teamed up to create a radio show, it wasn&rsquo;t an immediate success - despite being called &ldquo;The Best Show on WFMU.&rdquo; But the cult show found a long life and the duo&rsquo;s comedic stylings continued to gain fervent fans. The duo has been on the road and came through Chicago on Thursday. They share the secret to their success together on the Morning Shift.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/scharpling">Tom Scharpling</a> is a comedian/writer/director and former host of the Best Show on <a href="https://twitter.com/WFMU">WFMU</a>.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="https://twitter.com/jonwurster">Jon Wurster</a> is the drummer of the band Superchunk and former host of the Best Show on <a href="https://twitter.com/WFMU">WFMU</a>.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/196833479&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Cristina Pato brings bagpipes into an orchestral setting</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The bagpipes aren&rsquo;t only for men in kilts. And they&rsquo;re not just from the British Isles. Cristina Pato has been wowing the world for years with her gaita-a small version of the bagpipes from the region of northwest Spain called Galicia. Pato is in town to play with the Chicago Sinfonietta, including a U.S. premier of a jazz and tango-inspired work she commissioned for gaita, piano, and orchestra. She joins the Morning Shift to blow the bagpipe and break musical barriers.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/CristinaPato">Cristina Pato</a> is New York based musician.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 07:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-03-20/morning-shift-where-comedy-meets-radio-111738 What Rauner faces as he takes the oath of the Governor's office http://www.wbez.org/news/what-rauner-faces-he-takes-oath-governors-office-111378 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP657471973521.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Bruce Rauner gets to show Illinois what he&rsquo;s got starting Monday. He&rsquo;s taking the oath of office as the state&rsquo;s next governor with many big challenges facing Illinois. Here are some key questions and answers about what&rsquo;s been going on in Illinois politics since November&rsquo;s election.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s Rauner been up to since he won election?</strong></p><p>One of the best ways to see what kind of governor Rauner will be is to see who he&rsquo;s hiring. For instance, Rauner is appointing Leslie Munger to be the state&rsquo;s comptroller, after the death of Judy Baar Topinka. Munger is a former executive at Unilever who ran a failed campaign for state representative last year. Rauner also hired the former attorney for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, someone whom Rauner says he intends to model as Illinois governor. During the campaign, Rauner, a Republican, frequently talked about having to be the state&rsquo;s best recruiter for hiring people to manage state government.</p><p><strong>What challenges will Rauner face from day one?</strong></p><p>Right off the bat, Illinois has a budget hole. Rauner has said that hole was created by Democrats who have used accounting gimmicks. Despite the lack of resources, Rauner has insisted the state could get by with lower income taxes. Those tax rates dropped on Jan. 1, meaning cash is staying in workers&rsquo; paychecks - and not going toward the state budget.</p><p>Agencies that have been in the headlines recently that have an impact on child welfare or overcrowded prisons rely on that budget, and directors at those agencies have highlighted the cuts that would have to happen if the lower tax rate continues.</p><p>That&rsquo;s all on top of an ongoing pension obligation debt that Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s office has estimated tops $100 billion. Labor unions filed a lawsuit over a measure that saves the state money, but reduces retirement benefits of state workers. That lawsuit is still pending before the state Supreme Court. The justices&rsquo; decision could have a major impact on state spending for the foreseeable future.</p><p><strong>How will Rauner&rsquo;s management style fit in with the political culture in Springfield?</strong></p><p>Rauner&rsquo;s tagline throughout his campaign was to &ldquo;Shake up Springfield.&rdquo; But it&rsquo;s not yet clear how far he will take that phrase - or if he will recruit people with government experience in Springfield to be leaders in his administration. Republicans have taken a liking to Rauner since he&rsquo;s brought the state party money, organization, messaging and now power.</p><p>Several Democratic lawmakers have said they&rsquo;re still trying to get a grasp of what kind of governor Rauner is going to be, but seem open to working with him. If much legislation is to get passed, they&rsquo;ll have to work with Rauner: Democrats have a supermajority in both the House and Senate, meaning they could override a potential veto on a bill.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/what-rauner-faces-he-takes-oath-governors-office-111378 Can new GOP Illinois governor deliver on the hype? http://www.wbez.org/news/can-new-gop-illinois-governor-deliver-hype-111335 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP586490258547.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Bruce Rauner became a Republican rock star when he unseated a Democratic governor in left-leaning Illinois, pledging to run Barack Obama&#39;s home state in the mold of GOP darlings Scott Walker and Mitch Daniels. But as he takes office this month, many are wondering: Can he deliver on the hype?</p><p>There are reasons to believe the answer is no, and that Rauner&#39;s victories may have ended on Election Day. Unlike Walker in Wisconsin and Daniels in Indiana &mdash; governors Rauner has called his role models &mdash; he inherits a state with deep financial problems and a Legislature that&#39;s overwhelmingly Democratic. That could make achieving his top priorities, such as closing the state&#39;s multibillion-dollar budget hole and switching public employees to a 401k-style retirement system, far more difficult.</p><p>But Rauner and others insist that Illinois&#39; first divided government in more than a decade won&#39;t mean four years of gridlock, but rather produce the kind of chemistry needed to end years of legislative near-paralysis.</p><p>If so, Illinois could be a notable outlier in an increasingly polarized nation of red and blue states, and could also help Republicans solve the mystery of how to become relevant again in a place that&#39;s been trending strongly Democratic.</p><p>&quot;People have cherry picked (businesses) from us and laughed at us for many years,&quot; said Republican state Sen. Bill Brady. &quot;I think now people are looking at us with a cautious but also optimistic eye.&quot;</p><p>Heightening Rauner&#39;s predicament is Illinois&#39; history of putting off major issues that other states tackled during the recession. Thus, the state now has the nation&#39;s worst-funded public pension system, slower-than-average job growth, billions in unpaid bills and the worst credit rating.</p><p>The political dynamic is now changed, either for better or worse.</p><p>With a Republican in the governor&#39;s office, GOP lawmakers will at least have an incentive &mdash; some would say mandate &mdash; to put &quot;yes&quot; votes on major initiatives rather than just uniformly opposing, and Democrats may have to compromise more.</p><p>&quot;I think they&#39;ll be very productive,&quot; said former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady.</p><p>But first, Rauner has fences to mend. The multimillionaire private equity investor spent the year-long campaign ripping Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and the powerful leaders of the Illinois House and Senate, calling them &quot;career politicians&quot; who drove the state into a &quot;death spiral.&quot;</p><p>Rauner, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton made nice during a two-hour meeting shortly after Election Day. Rauner also been calling every member of the Legislature, saying he wants to get to know each one personally.</p><p>Many are skeptical. Among them are labor leaders, several of whom Rauner singled out by name during the campaign as contributing to the state&#39;s financial ruin. The unions are gearing up for a fight should Rauner move to weaken their bargaining power, as Daniels and Walker did in Indiana and Wisconsin.</p><p>&quot;Bruce Rauner has made it very clear he&#39;s very hostile to organized labor,&quot; said Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 1.</p><p>Yet Balanoff, who was one of those Rauner accused of &quot;owning&quot; state government and the Democratic Party, said his union has worked with GOP governors in the past.</p><p>Rauner himself has seemed to be lowering expectations. After telling voters during the campaign he had a plan to simultaneously lower taxes and increase spending for education, he now says the state&#39;s finances are far worse than he was led to believe. It could be a way to give himself some wiggle room while pinning blame for unkept promises on the Democrats who preceded him.</p><p>Kirk Dillard, a former top GOP state senator, said Rauner could also benefit from his friendship with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a relationship nurtured during Emanuel&#39;s pre-mayoral days as an investment banker.</p><p>The state&#39;s biggest city controls &quot;a huge block of (Democratic) votes&quot; in the General Assembly, noted Dillard, who added that Quinn and his Democratic predecessor, now-imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, had rockier relationships with City Hall.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s a huge plus&quot; for Rauner, Dillard said.</p><p>And while both Democrats and Republicans wonder if Rauner will be in over his head because he&#39;s never held public office before, supporters say he&#39;s navigated state and local government in pushing education reform, working sometimes with Emanuel on the issue. After a recent governors&#39; session at the White House, Rauner noted that it wasn&#39;t his first visit, telling reporters he&#39;s &quot;known a number of presidents.&quot;</p><p>Dillard says he is realistic about what Rauner can accomplish.</p><p>&quot;Gov. Rauner needs to keep his commitments to voters,&quot; Dillard said. &quot;And if he can&#39;t deliver on all of them, he needs to make it clear that it&#39;s the Democrats that are preventing him from doing so.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 11:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/can-new-gop-illinois-governor-deliver-hype-111335 Unions sue to stop Chicago pension overhaul http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-sue-stop-chicago-pension-overhaul-111239 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/city hall chicago flickr daniel x o nell.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Current and retired city workers and their labor unions have filed a lawsuit arguing a law overhauling Chicago&#39;s pension systems is unconstitutional.</p><p>The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court also asks a judge to stop the law from taking effect Jan. 1.</p><p>Chicago has the worst-funded pension system of any major U.S. city.</p><p>Legislation approved last year seeks to eliminate a $9.4 billion unfunded liability in two pension systems by increasing contributions and cutting benefits. It would affect about 57,000 laborers and municipal employees.</p><p>The plaintiffs are 12 current and former workers and four unions, including AFSCME Council 31 and the Illinois Nurses Association.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the law is constitutional. He says the changes are needed to ensure pension funds remain solvent and retirees receive benefits.</p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-sue-stop-chicago-pension-overhaul-111239 Rauner declares victory, Quinn concedes http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-declares-victory-quinn-concedes-111047 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rauner-celebration_0.png" alt="" /><p><style type="text/css"> <!-- .audio { color: #000000; font: 11px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .body { color: #000000; font: 13px Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .byline { color: #003366; font: 12px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .bytitle { color: #003366; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .byttl { color: #003366; font: bold 10px/12px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .headline { color: #000000; font: bold 20px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .newlinkcolor { color: white } .photo { color: #696969; font: 9px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .storylink { color: #003366; font: bold 12px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .tabletitle { color: #663333; font: bold 11px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .textlabel { color: #663333; font: bold 11px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .video { color: #000000; font: 11px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } p { color: #000000; font: 13px Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif }--> .eln-subhed-table { background-color: #fff; color:#333; font-family: "Raleway",Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-weight: bold; } .eln-state { display:none; } .eln-bodyregular, .eln-bodyreg-bar { color:#333; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; } .eln-bodyreg-bar { background-color: #f8f8f8; } .eln-office-name { font-family: "Raleway",Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; color:#444444; } .eln-date { color:#999; font-family: "Raleway",Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; } span.eln-bodyregular { font-size: 12px; }</style> <p><em>UPDATED Nov. 5, 3:38 p.m.</em></p><p>Republican businessman Bruce Rauner has unseated Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, ending Democrats&#39; 12-year grip on the state.</p><p>The matchup between the Winnetka venture capitalist and the Chicago Democrat was among the most competitive and costly nationwide. Rauner&#39;s win helps the GOP complete a near-sweep of Midwest governorships.</p><p>With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Rauner had a nearly 5 percentage point lead over Quinn. Rauner declared victory on election night, but Quinn said Tuesday night he&#39;d wait for all votes to be counted.</p><p>On Wednesday, Quinn conceded the race and said it was clear his campaign didn&#39;t have the votes to overcome Rauner&#39;s lead.</p><p>Quinn first became Illinois governor in 2009 in the wake of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich&#39;s corruption scandal. He narrowly won in 2010 over Republican state Sen. Bill Brady.</p><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/calls-aimed-election-judges-dissuade-attendance-111061">Dirty trick&#39; robocalls dissuaded Chicago election judges from polls</a></strong></p><p>Quinn had pushed issues affecting everyday people. He also reminded voters how he navigated Illinois out of crisis after the two previous governors went to prison. He tried to paint Rauner as an out-of-touch multimillionaire.</p><p>Rauner countered by saying a vote for Quinn would support politics as usual.</p><p>He began his run with a statewide push for term limits, then focused on a federal lawsuit scrutinizing hiring under Quinn and the incumbent&#39;s support for make a tax increase permanent.</p><p>The Winnetka businessman on Wednesday named the leaders of his transition team. He says his running mate, Wheaton City Council member Evelyn Sanguinetti, will serve as chairwoman. The team also includes several senior campaign staff.</p><p>In an emailed statement Rauner says he&#39;s &quot;committed to assembling a diverse and talented team to drive results&quot; for Illinois.</p><p>Rauner spent Wednesday in meetings and didn&#39;t have any public appearances planned.</p><p>Spokesman Mike Schrimpf says the lack of a public schedule was out of respect for Quinn and because Rauner wants to take &quot;a methodical, thoughtful approach.&quot;</p><p><strong style="font-size: 18.3999996185303px; text-align: center;">Election results</strong></p><script language="JavaScript" src="http://hosted.ap.org/elections/2014/general/by_race/IL_15989.js?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS"></script></p> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 11:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-declares-victory-quinn-concedes-111047 Midterm 2014 Illinois election results http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-2014-illinois-election-results-111012 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/vote_0.PNG" alt="" /><p><p><a href="#governor">Governor</a> | <a href="#senate">Senate</a> | <a href="#house">House</a> | <a href="#statewide">Statewide</a> | <a href="#general-assembly">General Assembly</a> | <a href="#local">Local</a></p><div id="gov"><a name="governor"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Governor</span></p></div><div id="senate"><a name="senate"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Senate</span></p></div><br /><div id="house"><a name="house"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">House</span></p></div><br /><div id="statewide"><a name="statewide"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Statewide elections</span></p></div><br /><div id="stateleg"><a name="general-assembly"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Illinois General Assembly</span></p></div><br /><div id="local"><a name="local"></a><p><span id="cke_bm_239S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:22px;">Illinois local elections</span><span id="cke_bm_239E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p></div><script type="text/javascript" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/scripts/pym.js"></script><script> var pymGov = new pym.Parent('gov', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/gov/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymSenate = new pym.Parent('senate', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/us_senate/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymHouse = new pym.Parent('house', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/us_house/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymStatewide = new pym.Parent('statewide', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/statewide/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymStateleg = new pym.Parent('stateleg', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/state_sen_house/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymLocal = new pym.Parent('local', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/local/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); </script></p> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-2014-illinois-election-results-111012 2014 Election Coverage: Citizens, here's your homework! http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973 <p><p>We&rsquo;re trying to make it a little easier for you to stay up-to-speed this election season. This is a hub for Illinois voters to study up on the issues and candidates before voting on (<a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/votinginformation/earlyvotinglocations.aspx" target="_blank">or before</a>) Nov. 4.</p><p>On election night, we&#39;re hosting a live watch party in Chicago with hosts Niala Boodhoo and Melba Lara. If you can&#39;t make it to the party, join us that night <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZPolitics">@WBEZPolitics</a>&nbsp;to get the latest updates.</p><p>Here&#39;s who we&#39;ll have covering races on election night:</p><ul><li><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">Tony Arnold</a> will cover Democratic incumbent <a href="https://www.quinnforillinois.com/00/" target="_blank">Illinois Governor Pat Quinn</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">Lauren Chooljian</a> will cover Republican gubernatorial challenger <a href="http://brucerauner.com/" target="_blank">Bruce Rauner</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">Michael Puente</a> will cover Democratic incumbent <a href="http://www.dickdurbin.com/home" target="_blank">Illinois Senator Dick Durbin</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews" target="_blank">Yolanda Perdomo</a> will cover Republican Senate challenger <a href="http://www.jimoberweis.com/" target="_blank">Jim Oberweis</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/katieobez" target="_blank">Katie O&#39;Brien</a> will cover the 10th congressional district race between Democratic incumbent <a href="http://schneiderforcongress.com/" target="_blank">Brad Schneider</a> and Republican challenger <a href="http://doldforcongress.com/" target="_blank">Bob Dold</a>.</li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Election Coverage<a name="elections"></a></strong> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#heygov" target="_self">Hey Gov</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#debates" target="_self">Full Debate Audio</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#links" target="_self">Links You Need</a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="350" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/55986159&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#elections" target="_self">Election Coverage</a> |<strong> </strong><strong>Hey Gov<a name="heygov"></a> </strong>|<strong> </strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#debates" target="_self">Full Debate Audio</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#links" target="_self">Links You Need</a></span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hey%20gov%20crop.PNG" style="height: 272px; width: 620px;" title="(WBEZ/Tony Arnold)" /></div><p>WBEZ reporters Al Keefe, Tony Arnold and Patrick Smith traveled <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/hey-gov-illinois-politics-road-trip-110657">around the state of Illinois</a> to understand <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/hey-gov">what&#39;s on the minds of voters</a> this November for the <strong>Hey Gov </strong>series.&nbsp;</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/health-problems-facing-rural-and-urban-poor-illinois-110959">The health problems facing Illinois&#39; urban and rural poor</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/state-government-could-take-over-school-district-near-you-110943">How state government could take over your school</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/battle-over-state-facility-personal-political-110925">Picking up the pieces after budget cuts shut down a center for people with disabilities</a></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#elections" target="_self">Election Coverage</a> |<strong> </strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#heygov" target="_self">Hey Gov</a><strong> </strong>|<strong> Full Debate Audio<a name="debates"></a></strong> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#links" target="_self">Links You Need</a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="250" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/55878303&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#elections" target="_self">Election Coverage</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#heygov" target="_self">Hey Gov</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#debates" target="_self">Full Debate Audio</a> | <strong>Links You Need<a name="links"></a></strong></span></p><ul><li><a href="http://www.elections.il.gov/votinginformation/RegistrationLookup.aspx" target="_blank">How to vote</a></li><li><a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/votinginformation/earlyvotinglocations.aspx" target="_blank">Early Voting Locations </a></li><li><a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/2014elections/Pages/110414Candidates.aspx" target="_blank">Nov 4, 2014 Candidates (Suburban Cook County)</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/2014elections/Pages/AllReferenda.aspx" target="_blank">Nov 4, 2014 Ballot referenda </a></li><li><a href="http://www.elections.il.gov/infoforvoters.aspx" target="_blank">Other voter information</a><br />&nbsp;</li></ul></p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973 State government could take over a school district near you http://www.wbez.org/news/state-government-could-take-over-school-district-near-you-110943 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/artworks-000080958261-4swa0x-original.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>UPDATED Nov. 7, 2014</em></p><p>Ask Illinois residents what&rsquo;s most important to them and their families, and education is likely to be right up there&mdash;often at the top of the list.</p><p>So it&rsquo;s no surprise that citizens expect high educational standards from government (and solid financing). But most prefer their state involvement at arms length.</p><p>But the fact is Illinois, has the power to take over local schools. They can fire elected school board members and put a new superintendent in place.</p><p>Two years ago, it did just that. The state took over two school districts, one in East Saint Louis and the other in North Chicago, a low income and racially mixed suburb wedged between more the tony North Shore and Waukegan.</p><p>Chris Koch is the superintendent of all Illinois schools, and he explains it this way:&nbsp; &ldquo;You have to take actions when kids aren&rsquo;t getting the basics. And that&rsquo;s certainly what&rsquo;s happening here.&rdquo;</p><p>The school district in North Chicago had problems that read like a Dickens novel: 80 percent of kids not meeting state learning standards, burdensome debt, and school board meetings that sometimes collapsed into chaotic screaming matches.</p><p>State intervention has helped North Chicago reduce its debt. But the district is still operating on a deficit. The district superintendent there says he expects to run out of cash in four years.</p><p>But overall, education policy watchers say the takeover has been a win so far, with some private money is coming in and state superintendent Koch taking a personal interest in the people there.</p><p>But even with those positives, there is no endgame in sight.</p><p>That&rsquo;s something that worries Kenneth Wong, a professor at Brown University who&rsquo;s been watching school takeovers across the country. He says North Chicago is typical of school takeovers by state government.</p><p>&ldquo;What I&rsquo;m seeing also is the absence of an exit strategy,&rdquo; Wong says. &ldquo;That is, they rush into direct intervention, but then oftentimes there is a lack of details.&rdquo;</p><p>For his part, Koch doesn&rsquo;t seem worried about an exit strategy in North Chicago just yet. The finances and academics are still too bad.</p><p>&ldquo;We really have to be there, I think, for the longer duration,&rdquo; Koch says. &ldquo;Because you don&rsquo;t want it to go back into its prior state and that could easily happen particularly with the precarious financial situation they&rsquo;re currently in.&rdquo;</p><p>Koch is also turning his attention to other failing districts around the state.</p><p>He&rsquo;s pushing legislation that would lay out the steps needed for Illinois to intervene in failing districts.</p><p>House Bill 5537 singles out districts on state academic watch, which means they have to show better test scores, and higher attendance and graduation rates.</p><p>Ben Schwarm lobbies in Springfield on behalf of school boards and he&rsquo;s going up against Koch when it comes to state takeovers.</p><p>&ldquo;The idea of anyone, especially an appointed body, having the authority to remove from office elected officials based on the decisions they made certainly isn&rsquo;t generally the way democracy works in Illinois or in our country,&rdquo; Schwarm says.</p><p>Koch&rsquo;s bill is moving in an election year in which the candidates for governor have been campaigning mostly about how best to finance education instead of education policy.<br /><br />Koch&rsquo;s actions in North Chicago provide a window into incumbent Democratic Gov. Quinn&rsquo;s strategy for failing schools.<br /><br />Republican candidate Bruce Rauner hasn&rsquo;t talked specifically about state takeovers. But he advocates for more charter schools statewide, especially for failing districts.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not fair for parents to be stuck in a school that is failing and not fitting their kids&rsquo; needs,&quot; Rauner says. &quot;We need to create options and choice, especially for lower income families that can&rsquo;t afford to move.&rdquo;</p><p><em>This story has been updated: The districts that legislation the Illinois State Board of Education supports are located all over Illinois &ndash; not just in Chicago&rsquo;s south suburbs. A spokeswoman for ISBE emphasizes that the state does not intend to take over all school boards in districts that are failing in the state, and says the legislation is not intended to make it easier for the state to take over failing schools. Instead, it&rsquo;s meant to spell out steps that the state would have to take in order to remove the school board of a failing district.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/state-government-could-take-over-school-district-near-you-110943 Battle over state facility is personal, political http://www.wbez.org/news/battle-over-state-facility-personal-political-110925 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/mdc.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Kathryn Groner, 26, has lived at the <a href="https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=58719">Murray Developmental Center </a>for eight years.</p><p>The Murray Center is a state-run institution for people with developmental disabilities - things like cerebral palsy and autism. It&rsquo;s a circle of single-story residential cottages on a grassy campus in Centralia, Illinois, about an hour east of St. Louis.</p><p>Groner lives in a big room with one other woman. The area around her bed is filled with firefighter memorabilia and dolls. She&rsquo;s obsessed with firemen and calls people &ldquo;butthead&rdquo;--affectionately.</p><p>Groner is friendly and funny and completely there.</p><p>But she also has what her mom calls &ldquo;meltdowns,&rdquo; times when she tries to hurt herself, badly.</p><p>&ldquo;I hardly ever show these to people,&rdquo; her mom Judy Groner says as she presents a picture of Kathryn with a bruised and battered face. &ldquo;Broken nose, day after day.&rdquo;</p><p>When she has a &ldquo;meltdown&rdquo; Kathryn bashes her head against the wall as hard as she can, or slams her knees up into her face or bites her forearms.</p><p>&ldquo;And afterward she would say to me &lsquo;Mom, you better go and grab the frozen vegetables,&rsquo; because that&rsquo;s what I would put on her bruises afterward. And that was our life. She was going to kill herself by hitting her head so much if I didn&rsquo;t have a place like [Murray].&rdquo;</p><p>Judy Groner says the decision to place her daughter in Murray was the hardest - and best- &nbsp;decision she and her husband had ever made.</p><p>Before that they had struggled for years to keep Kathryn happy and safe at home, putting a helmet on her and lining her bedroom walls with corrugated cardboard. But eventually it became impossible.</p><p>She says Murray is a Godsend, and Kathryn is thriving. She&rsquo;s down from multiple &ldquo;meltdowns&rdquo; a day to about one a week.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why Groner was devastated when, two years ago, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced he would be closing Murray and moving its 250 residents out to group homes in the community.</p><p>&ldquo;We will provide individualized care, and achieve savings for the people of Illinois,&rdquo; Quinn said in his 2012 budget address.</p><p>The announcement was horrible news to Murray residents and their guardians, and they immediately mobilized to fight the closing. But other disability advocates were ecstatic.</p><p>The decision was part of the &ldquo;Rebalancing Initiative,&rdquo; which also included plans to close the Jacksonville Developmental Center --that center has already been shuttered--and two other unnamed developmental centers. The initiative earned Quinn the President&rsquo;s Award from an advocacy group called the ARC of Illinois.</p><p>Tony Paulauski, the executive director of the ARC of Illinois, says institutions like Murray are outdated and bad for residents. They warehouse people with developmental disabilities, while group homes in the community give people a chance for fuller, normal lives, he says.</p><p>In Paulauski&rsquo;s ideal world, every one of the state&rsquo;s institutions would close and all of the residents would settle into smaller homes.</p><p>&ldquo;Community living is much more individualized, and presents a much higher quality of life. A much healthier, safer life,&rdquo; Paulauski says.</p><p>And he says it helps the bottom line.</p><p>&ldquo;You can serve three people in the community for the cost of one person in the institution,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Depending on who you talk to, that would either mean a savings for the state or it would allow the state to help more people. More than 20,000 people are on the state&rsquo;s waiting list for some kind of developmental disability service. Advocates say moving people out of expensive institutions will allow people to come off that list.</p><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>A room of his own</strong></span></p><p>Eddie Fleming lived in the Jacksonville Developmental Center until it was closed in 2012.</p><p>Now he lives in a gracious four-bedroom home in Springfield. He has two roommates, both former Jacksonville residents, but he has his own room.</p><p>He clearly loves his new home. He has control over the money he makes at a part time job picking up trash and has used that money to fill his bedroom with electronics - two stereos, a TV and a karaoke machine.</p><p>Fleming and his roommates get along famously, they smoke cigars on the porch and help cook delicious dinners.</p><p>Their services are provided by the Individual Advocacy Group, which manages the property and provides workers. But the lease is in Fleming and his roommates&rsquo; names. This is their home.</p><p>The people from IAG who work with Fleming say he has flourished since the move from Jacksonville, and they paint a grim picture of the services or lack of them he got from the state-run institution. Fleming, they say, is a testament to the benefits of community living.</p><p>One of the bedrooms in Fleming&rsquo;s house is an office. But when they first moved in, in 2012, there was a fourth roommate. Early on he and Fleming got in a fight over the TV. It got smashed and the cops were called. That fourth roommate was taken away by police and moved somewhere else.</p><p>That sort of volatility - and response - is what terrifies Murray parents like Judy Groner. They say that kind of police contact is traumatic, and what if, they fret, the police who come don&rsquo;t know how to deal with a person with developmental disabilities and hurt their loved ones?</p><p>The state only requires one worker in each four-person group home at one time, although IAG leaders say they usually have at least two workers.</p><p>Judy Groner says there is no way one or two workers could safely help Kathryn if she started having a meltdown. Especially if they were also responsible for three other people at the same time.</p><p>&ldquo;I always kid, I say she&rsquo;s like the incredible hulk and it takes five people to try and hold her, she&rsquo;s that strong and powerful,&rdquo; Groner says. &ldquo;The community just isn&rsquo;t set up for someone like her yet. And I just feel so bad because I want her to be able to leave Murray someday but it has to be on her terms, when she&rsquo;s ready.&rdquo;</p><p>But many researchers say the evidence doesn&rsquo;t support this fear. Instead, they say people with the highest needs, people like Kathryn, are the ones who benefit the most from a move to the community.</p><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>&lsquo;Down here he just doesn&rsquo;t seem to care about that&rsquo;</strong></span></p><p>Beyond the struggle over care, the fight ito keep Murray open is political and geographical.</p><p>The fight over Murray pits those of us upstate against everyone down there - at least that&rsquo;s how the people in Southern Illinois see it.</p><p>And it has a lot of Democrats and Republicans reversing their typical battle lines.</p><p>The strongest political ally of the Murray center is State Rep. Charlie Meier, 108th.</p><p>He&rsquo;s a farmer by birth, and a small government Republican.</p><p>And yet he&rsquo;s dedicated his life to keeping this big, government run institution open.</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s the governor. A Democrat elected with the support of unions. And here he is pushing to eliminate 550 union jobs.</p><p>Paulauski of the ARC sees that as a sign of Quinn&rsquo;s political bravery.</p><p>&ldquo;Here you have a Democratic governor, strong support from these state unions. And then on the other side you have Republicans all of a sudden saying we need to keep these facilities open. This is where waste is in the Illinois disability system,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>But Meier says it&rsquo;s not about politics, it&rsquo;s about geography.</p><p>&ldquo;Centralia, most of it sits in Marion county and that is typically one of the five highest unemployment areas in the state. Those 541 jobs are the equivalent of 80- to 100,000 jobs in Chicago. Can you imagine if he tried to eliminate 80,000 jobs in the Chicago area? But down here he just doesn&rsquo;t seem to care about that,&rdquo; Meier says.</p><p>One thing people on both sides of the Murray fight agree on is that state government is there to help its most vulnerable citizens.</p><p>It may be the only thing they agree on.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer/reporter. Follow him on twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 06:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/battle-over-state-facility-personal-political-110925