Lovie Smith at the podium.
Vashoune Russell for Illinois Public Media
August 30, 2016

Smith Looks Forward To College Atmosphere For Opener

The Fighting Illini football team opens its season this Saturday at Memorial Stadium against Murray State.  First-year head coach Lovie Smith is no stranger to season openers, but for the last 20 years those openers have taken place in NFL stadiums.


School hallway.
WUIS
August 30, 2016

Illinois Issues: Rewriting The Rule Book

A law going into effect in Illinois next month will ban zero-tolerance policies in schools and turn suspension and expulsion into disciplinary options of last resort. Districts throughout the state are taking different approaches to prepare for the changes.


Justine Siegal throws batting practice to Cleveland Indians catchers during baseball spring training Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, in Goodyear, Ariz.
Mark Duncan/Associated Press
August 29, 2016

Normal Coach Is Changing The Face Of Professional Baseball

Justine Siegal said she started her career patch playing tee ball, like many kids do. But at age 13, when she was told by her baseball coach to play softball instead, she refused to quit - and still hasn't left the game. The newest member of the Normal Cornbelters coaching staff, she's also scouted big leaguers, and pitched batting practice to major league hitters.


Graph showing Illinois' statewide video gaming machine count, 2012-2016
WNIJ & summer 2016 data visualization course, Department of Computer Science, Northern Illinois University (Mohammed Jaffer Ali)
August 29, 2016

Video Gaming Reaches New Heights In Illinois

Video gaming machines have been popping up in Illinois bars and restaurants for nearly four years. For the most part, the increase in gaming machines and in revenue across the state has been steady. There are nearly 24,000 video gaming machines in Illinois, and the amount played over the last few years is in the billions of dollars -- with a b. 


A picture of the emerald ash borer
USDA Photo Service
August 29, 2016

Emerald Ash Borer Continues Destruction

The emerald ash borer continues to devastate ash trees in Champaign and surrounding areas.  The City of Champaign has removed about one third of the ash trees on its property since the insect was first found in the city in 2006.


The board of the Illinois Teachers Retirement System, which serves more than 400,000 teachers outside of Chicago, voted to lower its expected rate of return on investments Friday in Springfield.
Seth Perlman/AssociatedPress
August 26, 2016

Illinois’ Pension Payment Expected To Increase By $400M

Illinois' contribution to the state's largest public-pension fund is expected to increase by more than $400 million next year after the board overseeing the account, trustees with the Teachers' Retirement System, lowered its expected rate of return on investments. The move could lead to higher taxes or massive cuts to education and social services.  Gov. Bruce Rauner says this could have a devestating impact on Illinois' current budget structure.


Mike Frerichs
(Sean Powers/WILL)
August 26, 2016

New Law Makes Insurance Companies Find, Pay Beneficiaries

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to force insurance companies to locate beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance policies and pay them money they're owed. Democratic Treasurer Michael Frerichs says his office has identified more than $550 million in unpaid benefits owed to Illinois residents.


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