Illinois Public Media News

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 06, 2011

Teaching 9/11 History in the Classroom

As teachers prepare to talk about the history of the September 11, 2001 attacks to their students, Illinois Public Media's Sean Powers visited a group of freshmen at Oakwood High School, right outside of Danville. Their social studies teacher says he doesn't want them to forget about 9/11, even if they don't personally remember it.

(Photo by Sean Powers/WILL)

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Categories: Education, History

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 05, 2011

Memorial Grove a Tribute to 9/11 Victims

As people remember the 10-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Illinois Public Media's Tom Rogers looks at the 9/11 Memorial Grove inside Champaign County's River Bend Forest Preserve. He revisits the site, nine years after the first seeds at the memorial were sown.

(Photo by Tom Rogers/WILL)

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Categories: Environment, History

AP - Illinois Public Media News - August 29, 2011

Sept. 11 Panel Members Set Indiana University Talk

Eight members of the Sept. 11 commission will take part in an Indiana University program on the 2001 terrorist attack just days after its 10th anniversary next month.

University officials say those expected to take part in the program on Sept. 15 include commission chairman and former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean and its vice chairman, former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton. The school says the members will be together for the first time since the commission's report was released in 2004.

Hamilton says the commission's report shaped the country's response to the attacks in many ways and that the gathering in Bloomington will allow commission members to assess efforts to make the country more secure.

All but two members of the commission are expected to attend the two-hour public discussion.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - August 08, 2011

C-U Buildings on Preservation Group’s ‘40 Over 40’ List

The restoration of the clock and bell tower at the Champaign County Courthouse in Urbana is one of 40 success stories that a statewide preservation group is highlighting to mark its 40th anniversary.

Landmarks Illinois isn't taking credit for the entire list of 40 landmarks across the state. Instead, the group's president, Jim Peters, says they show what can be done when people in local communities pull together to save a piece of their history.

In the case of the Champaign County Courthouse, Peters said the county and local donors were able to both preserve the crumbling brick walls of the courthouse --- and rebuild a clock and bell tower that had been shortened by lightning strikes.

"I think people for decades have been trying to get the (courthouse) building restored, and the long-missing tower put back," Peters said. "So we thought that was just an amazing effort. So that kind of --- you know, it was emblematic of that grassroots effort, that stick-to-it-ivness - figuring out they wanted to do something, and just kept at it until it was accomplished."

Champaign's Orpheum Theater is also on Landmarks Illinois' "40 Over 40" list. Local preservationists reopened the old movie house as a children's museum in the 1990s. Other landmarks on the list include the old Chicago Public Library (now a cultural center), the old city hall and fire station in Pontiac (now operating as the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum) and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dana-Thomas house in Springfield.

Peters said most of the preservation efforts have one thing in common--- strong community support.

"What we wanted to focus on were grassroots efforts: community-wide efforts to either save a building, restore a building --- in some cases, even move a building to keep it from being demolished," he said. "You know, a community, a neighborhood group or a city itself."

Landmarks Illinois was founded in 1971 as the Landmarks Preservation Council. Its first project was an unsuccessful effort to save the Louis Sullivan-designed Chicago Stock Exchange Building. It claims the preservation of the old downtown Chicago Public Library building as the city's Cultural Center as its first major success. The group expanded its scope to cover Illinois in the late 1970s, and changed its name to Landmarks Illinois in 2006.

Peters said he hopes the "40 Over 40" list can inspire other communities to work to save their important historic buildings.

View a slideshow of some of the sites that made the list:

Categories: Architecture, History

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - July 22, 2011

Original Freedom Rider to be Honored in Champaign

A memorial service is scheduled Saturday in Champaign for the late civil rights leader, Rev. Ben Cox.

Cox passed away last month in Jackson, Tenn. at the age of 79. He spent years in the Champaign-Urbana area after going to the South in the early 1960s as part of the freedom rides.

Rev. Claude Shelby knew Cox. He is currently the senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church, where a memorial service will be held. He is also organizing the memorial. Shelby said Cox never shied away from being vocal about civil rights issues.

"I remember him as one who paved the way for the generations that followed him," Shelby said. "I was in total agreement with the messages that he gave."

Another longtime friend, Willie Summerville, said Cox left his mark on the community. Summerville, who was a music instructor in the Urbana School District for years, praised Cox's efforts in pushing for civil rights.

"We really, truly had a civil rights icon," Summerville said. "You know, maybe some people will regret that they didn't pick his brain even more while he was here."

Summerville is organizing a large choir performance for the memorial service with singers from area churches.

The memorial begins Saturday at 1pm at Salem Baptist Church on 500 East Park St. in Champaign.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - July 05, 2011

Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn’t Want to Be One

Hall of Fame slugger Hank Greenberg was known for more than his intimidating figure and prodigious home runs. The Detroit Tiger favorite also became a hero for those of the same faith. Illinois Public Media's Jeff Bossert talks to author Mark Kurlansky about the complicated life of the Jewish sports star.

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Categories: History, Sports
Tags: history, sports

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - July 01, 2011

Indiana College Says No to National Anthem

You will no doubt be hearing a lot of "The Star Spangled Banner " during Fourth of July parades and ceremonies. For some people, it is the sound track of national loyalty. But one small private college in North Central Indiana is pulling the national anthem from its sporting events. It says the anthem does not fit its religious outlook. As Illinois Public Radio's Michael Puente reports, critics of that decision are calling the college unpatriotic.

(Photo by Michael Puente/IPR)

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Categories: Education, History, Music

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - June 22, 2011

Champaign Sesquicentennial Celebration Ends with Thursday Night Bash

The last event in the city of Champaign's 150th anniversary celebration is an open family-oriented party Thursday night.

The city is using the brand-new Boneyard Second Street Basin development as the backdrop for what it calls a Unity Celebration. The first one-thousand attendees will be treated to free food, and there will be music, entertainment and games.

LaEisha Meadards is heading up the sesquicentennial events for the city. She says another highlight will require the help of as many Champaign residents as possible. "All of the visitors who come to the Unity Celebration will get together and take a community-wide photo," Meadards said. "It will be used as a commemorative item for city-related documents, and it will be on sale for the community at large."

During a dedication ceremony at 5:40, the city will also place a time capsule at the Boneyard commemorating a series of 150th-anniversary events that began more than a year ago. The Unity Celebration takes place tomorrow evening from 5:30 to 8:30 with the community photo at 6:10.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - June 13, 2011

WWII B-17 Makes Emergency Landing Outside Chicago

A World War II bomber made what appeared to be an emergency landing in a cornfield Monday and all seven people on board escaped before it was consumed by fire, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"The plane departed the airport, noted an emergency and the pilot made what appears to be an emergency landing, after which the plane was consumed by fire," FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said in an email. None of the passengers were injured.

The accident happened right after the plane took off from the Aurora Municipal Airport and the plane landed in an Oswego cornfield outside Chicago, Cory said. The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating the incident.

Jim Barry, who lives in a nearby subdivision, told the Chicago Tribune he heard a low-flying plane and looked to see it. The engine on the bomber's left wing was on fire, he said.

"Not a lot of flames, just more smoke than flames," Barry said.

The pilot reported a fire shortly after taking off, Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkle said.

"He attempted to make a return to the airport, but couldn't make it so he put it down in a corn field," Kunkel told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Firefighters from Oswego, Sugar Grove and Plainfield responded to the scene. Fire officials said they were having difficulty getting to the aircraft because of wet fields.

The B-17 Flying Fortress was made in 1944. Authorities say it is registered to the Liberty Foundation in Miami.

An email to the Liberty Foundation from The Associated Press seeking confirmation wasn't immediately returned.

(AP Photo/Bob Mudra via the Daily Herald)

Categories: History, Transportation

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - June 12, 2011

LIFE ON ROUTE 150: Racing Tradition Kept Alive in Farmer City

LIFE ON ROUTE 150: Racing Tradition Kept Alive in Farmer City

Traveling along Route 150, you've got to obey the rules of the road, but at one popular hangout in Farmer City, those same rules don't apply. Illinois Public Media's Sean Powers took a trip there for the wild and fast world of dirt late model racing as part of the series "Life on Route 150."

(Photo by Sean Powers/WILL)

Audio Slideshow of the Farmer City Raceway

Historical Photos of the Farmer City Raceway

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Categories: History, Sports, Transportation

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