Illinois Public Media News






AP - Illinois Public Media News - August 08, 2012

George Ryan Gets Early Prison Release Date

A lawyer for George Ryan says the ex-Illinois governor is eligible to be released from federal prison on a work release program.

Ryan could be released to a halfway house as soon as Jan. 30. He will be required to get a job - or be appointed to one - and he will be free to work during the day, but he'll have to return to the facility at night.

Former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson is Ryan's attorney.

"This is a program that's widely available for federal prisoners," Thompson said. "It's nothing special for Gov. Ryan."

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said it is time for Ryan to get out of prison.

"I never felt he was a threat to society if he was walking on the streets," Cullerton said. "I think he, obviously, served a lot of time for his offense."

News of Ryan's release comes just days after a federal court struck down another one his legal appeals, but Thompson said his client is grateful.

"Any person would be grateful for any chance at even partial freedom and the chance to integrate back into society," Thompson said.

George Ryan has already served five years of a six-and-a-half year prison sentence for corruption. Thompson said they will continue appealing those convictions.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - August 07, 2012

Former Illini Holder Advances At Olympics

Former Illini Nikkita Holder is one of three Canadians advancing to Tuesday's semifinals of the women's 100-meter hurdles at the London Olympics.

The 25-year-old Holder advanced on Monday with a qualifying time of 12.93 seconds. According to a CBC report, Holder said it wasn't her best time. "I'll get through on time and fine tune something for the semifinal," she said.

Holder will compete alongside her teammates Jessica Zelinka, who finished 2nd in her heat, with a time of 12.75 seconds. Another Canadian advancing to the semifinals is Phylicia George, who also 2nd in her heat, at 12.73 seconds.

Americans qualifying for the women's 100-meter hurdles semifinals are Lolo Jones (12.68 seconds), Kellie Wells (12.69 seconds) and Dawn Harper (12.75 seconds).

Alina Talay of Belarus had the fastest time with 12.71 seconds.

UPDATE: Holder finished 6th in the 100 meter semifinals with a 12.93 seconds, and won't compete in the finals later Tuesday. The USA's Dawn Harper finished 1st in the semis with a mark of 12.46.

Categories: Biography, Education, Sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - August 05, 2012

Senator Kirk Releases Video on Recovery from Stroke

Sen. Kirk Releases Video on Recovery from Stroke
Sen. Kirk Releases Video on Recovery from Stroke

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has released a second video message detailing his recovery after a January stroke, saying he's in contact with his office several times a day and has climbed 145 flights of stairs.

The three-minute video was released Sunday. It's his second since he began rehabilitation.

The video shows scenes of the Republican senator walking up stairs with help and speaking from his Fort Sheridan home. His office says he recently completed a 9-week mobility study at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. During the study he walked nearly 15 miles and climbed stairs.

In the video, Kirk says he's in touch with his office several times daily and is helping Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin find a replacement for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald who's announced his resignation.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - July 06, 2012

First Auditor General of Illinois Dies

Illinois' first Auditor General has died. Robert Cronson was 87 years old when he passed away earlier this week at St. John's Hospital in Springfield.

The uditor General position was created when the state's Constitution was redrafted, in 1970.

It was an outgrowth of a scandal from the '50s. Then, Illinois had an elected, statewide Auditor of Public Accounts, a position held by Orville Hodge.

"He made off with a couple of million dollars," said current Auditor General Bill Holland. "And back that that was a lot of money. That's a lot of money today."

Holland, who is only the second man chosen by the legislature for the position, has been in office for 20 years. Before him, there was only Cronson, who was appointed Auditor General in 1974.

Holland credits Cronson with setting a standard of professionalism for the office.

"My work, over the last 20 years, has in large part, built upon the early years in which the office was first being organized," Holland said.

In a 1975 edition of the "Illinois Issues" magazine, Cronson identified himself as "bipartisan."

In the published interview, Cronson said policy wasn't his purview. He called the Auditor General's office a "fact-finding agency." He is quoted saying "It is our job to make these audits and operational reviews and investigations, and then report the facts to the legislature."

The Auditor General is responsible with monitoring state spending, and checking to see that agencies comply with federal and state laws and regulations.

A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, July 8 from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at the Kirlin, Egan and Butler Funeral Home in Springfield, with a eulogy set for 7 p.m.

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Categories: Biography, Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - July 06, 2012

Jesse Jackson Jr. Requires In-patient Treatment

The office of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., said Thursday that the Chicago Democrat's medical condition is more serious than staff initially thought or believed.

"Recently, we have been made aware that he has grappled with certain physical and emotional ailments privately for a long period of time," an emailed statement said.

It said Jackson is being evaluated and treated at an in-patient medical facility, and his doctors believe he will be there for an extended period of time, followed by outpatient treatment.

"We ask that you keep Congressman Jackson and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult period," the statement concluded.

This is the first update on Jackson's health in over a week, when his staff said he was on medical leave and being treated for "exhaustion."

The once-rising Democratic star has faced accusations that he signed off on a pay-to-play offer aimed at winning a U.S. Senate appointment from ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Jackson has never been charged and has denied wrongdoing, though the House Ethics Committee is investigating.

In addition, the congressman acknowledged a private marital issue.

Long known for a near-perfect voting record in the U.S. House, Jackson has missed more than 70 straight votes.

Meantime, Jackson's Republican opponent in the November election said the public deserves to know more about the congressman's health.

"My heart goes out to him - keep him in our thoughts and prayers for a good, quick recovery," Brian Woodworth said Thursday.

But on the other hand, Woodworth said, Jackson's office is not being specific enough.

"Somebody who had a stroke like Senator Kirk - it's assumed he's going to be out for a long time. Somebody who's having hernia surgery, you're going to be out for a couple days," Woodworth said. "So, for the public to understand what's going on with the representative, I think there's an obligation to be more open. And that's all I'm saying."

The Second Congressional District, which stretches from Chicago's South Side to past Kankakee, is overwhelmingly Democratic.

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