Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 27, 2009

Arcola’s Raggedy Ann Museum To Close

The co-founder of the Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum in Arcola says it was a sad decision but a necessary one - the museum will close this summer and most exhibits moved to a museum in New York.

Joni Gruelle Wannamaker is the granddaughter of Johnny Gruelle, who was raised in Arcola and created the scruffy red-haired dolls in 1915. Wannamaker says she and her husband Tom left their jobs in Atlanta ten years ago to build the museum, but she says advancing age, declining attendance - and a drop in overall tourism in the Douglas County area -- forced the decision to close.

"We have done a lot of advertising over the years, advertising for Arcola and the surrounding area," Wannamaker said. "But perhaps there was a change at the Chamber of Commerce...I just don't know."

Wannamaker says she and Tom were impressed with the museum where the Raggedy Ann and Andy exhibits will be headed, the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester New York - the dolls are already in that museum's National Toy Hall of Fame. But Wannamaker says she and her husband are staying in Arcola.

Categories: Community, History, Recreation

AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 19, 2009

Illinois Marathon Gets Needed Volunteers, Could Use More

It didn't take long for organizers of the first-ever Illinois Marathon to find the volunteers they needed.

The marathon will be held on the streets of Champaign, Urbana and the U of I campus on the day before Easter. But local police said organizers needed to show by April 1st that they had 350 volunteers ready to help with traffic control, if they wanted to keep their special-events permits.

Marathon volunteer coordinator Mary Anderson says they issued the call for help on Monday, and by Tuesday night, they had enough volunteers signed up to ensure the race will take place. She says they're grateful for the response, but they could still use even more volunteers. Anderson says nearly 8-thousand runners have signed up for the Illinois Marathon and its related races --- and they'll need a total of 2-thousand volunteers. Volunteers will help staff the marathon and related events on Friday and Saturday, April 10th and 11th.

To volunteer to help on the Illinois Marathon, go to their website, www.illinoismarathon.com, and click on the volunteer link.



WILL - Illinois Public Media News - February 05, 2009

The End of “Pages,” an Omen for Bookstores

Many people in the Champaign-Urbana area had a soft spot for Pages for All Ages, a bookstore that welcomed local readers for more than 20 years to its single store, first in Champaign, then in Savoy. Pages abruptly closed its doors for good this week, citing the economy. It's not been an easy go for independent book retailers over the last few years, especially as Amazon and other Internet outlets joined Borders and Barnes and Noble as major competitors. The director of the American Booksellers Association, Avin Mark Donmitz, says Pages fell by the wayside as the group's other members are preparing for a difficult immediate future. He spoke to AM 580's Tom Rogers.

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WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 05, 2008

ELECTION 2008: East Central Illinois’ Day at the Polls

Most polling places in Champaign County already had voters lined up at 6 am, eager to be among the first voters in what would become a watershed election. That zeal continued through the day, and when all the votes were counted, the county and region posted near record turnout. AM 580's Tom Rogers recaps a hectic day that ended in history being made.

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Categories: Community, Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - October 09, 2008

Rural Issues and the Campaign: Small Town Entrepreneurs

Rural America has seen an exodus of residents and businesses for decades. But now it's evolving into a garden spot for entrepreneurs. Many don't have much of a choice - jobs in large companies or farms are drying up, and self-employment helps pay the bills. Still others (like Becky and Freddy Smith, left) get into business for love of their communities - they're helping small-town storefronts spring back to life. What can government do to help them out? AM 580's Tom Rogers reports on the challenges these rural entrepreneurs face, and what the presidential candidates want to do about it.

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WILL - Illinois Public Media News - October 06, 2008

Rural Issues and the Campaign: Ethanol Plants

AM 580 is joining with public radio stations across the country to look into how the Presidential race impacts rural residents.

The debate over alternate energy sources like wind and solar power is not only aimed at reducing dependence on natural resources like coal and natural gas. Driving cars and using other machines rely more on these sources. While John McCain stresses greater production of oil, and nuclear energy, Barack Obama speaks more of using alternates. One getting a lot of attention in recent years is ethanol. But lately, supply and demand have hurt the development of new facilities that produce it. AM 580's Jeff Bossert looks at how the state of the industry is affecting two rural Central Illinois towns and what the presidential candidates' energy policies could mean for their future.

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WILL - Illinois Public Media News - October 01, 2008

Possible Answers for Problems Facing Black Men

The words "at risk" are often pinned on African-American males for several reasons. They're considered less likely to finish high school, more likely to have been in prison, and subject to greater health problems and shorter life spans. Now, recently signed legislation has set up a state task force to study these problems and report on possible solutions. And for the past four weeks, Illinois' Task Force on the Condition of African-American Males has been gathering community input at town hall meetings around the state. The task force held one of its meetings in Urbana. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.

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WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 05, 2008

Unit 4’s “Great Schools, Together” project

Two years after voters in the Champaign School District rejected a tax referendum, the district is releasing the final draft of a new long-range strategic plan. A committee of community members has spent the past year working on the plan, which is meant to reflect the public's concerns about education in the Unit 4 district. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.

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Categories: Community, Education

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - August 04, 2008

New Energy Worries, New Vehicles

In small towns across the country, many people have decided that a cheaper way to get around is to leave the car in the garage and pile into the golf cart. Golf carts and other small slow-speed vehicles are becoming more appealing to people living in areas where traffic is low, but gas prices are high. In Illinois, several small towns are allowing golf carts on their streets --- while others are holding back. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.

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