Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 01, 2011

Caterpillar: Tax Vote Sign of Illinois Dysfunction

Caterpillar Inc. says this week's vote by Illinois lawmakers that killed a package of tax breaks for several companies was a bad signal to send. Illinois is trying to convince the heavy-equipment maker to build a new factory in the state.

Caterpillar's Jim Dugan told The Associated Press that Tuesday's vote was a product of the state's "rudderless, dysfunctional business climate.''

The tax package was intended to hold onto Sears and several financial exchanges that have threatened to leave Illinois.

Peoria-based Caterpillar plans to move about 1,000 jobs from Japan to a North American location still to be decided.

Illinois officials have said they've talked to the company about possibly building the plant in the state. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 01, 2011

Ebert Says Show Going on Hiatus at End of Year

Movie critic Roger Ebert says the public television program "Ebert Presents: At The Movies'' will go on hiatus at the end of December.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic wrote on his blog Wednesday that the move is necessary to allow the public television stations that carry the show to plan their programs for the beginning of the new year.

Ebert wrote that although it is distributed by American Public Television to all 50 top markets, he hasn't been able to line up additional funding for the show.

The show is hosted by Associated Press movie reviewer Christy Lemire and Mubi.com film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.

Ebert wrote that he and his producer wife, Chaz, really believe in the show and its mission to "provide an intelligent place for the discussion of movies.

Categories:

AP - Illinois Public Media News - November 30, 2011

Ill. State Police Settle Wrongful Conviction Suit

Ill. State Police Settle Wrongful Conviction Suit

The Illinois State Police agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a former death row inmate who spent almost two decades in prison for the 1986 murders of a newlywed couple before a judge released him because of flawed evidence.

Categories: Criminal Justice
Tags: crime

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 30, 2011

Greater Community AIDS Project Marks World Aids Day in Champaign

Greater Community AIDS Project Director Mike Benner

World AIDS Day in Champaign is Thursday, Dec. 1, and it is being marked by a free showing of the documentary "We Were Here." The film is about the fight against AIDS when it first appeared in San Francisco's gay community 30 years ago. The 5:30 PM showing at the Illinois Terminal Building is sponsored by the Greater Community AIDS Project (GCAP).

Illinois Public Media's Jim Meadows spoke with GCAP's director, Mike Benner about the services they provide, and Benner's own experiences as a person living with HIV. GCAP provides support services for people with HIV and AIDS in a ten-county region, including low-cost housing, food assistance and emergency financial aid. The agency is funded by government grants and private donations raised mostly through local fund raising events. One of them is coming up Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Levis Faculty Center on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana. The GCAP 2011 Holiday Gala Fundraiser will feature dinner, live music and an auction.

Download mp3 file
Categories: Community, Health

AP - Illinois Public Media News - November 30, 2011

Prosecutors Want Blagojevich to Spend Two Decades in Prison

Attorney's for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich say he's a "tragic figure" who should receive a light sentence for his corruption convictions. But prosectuors want a federal judge to give Blagojevich 15 to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced next week.

Both sides outlined their arguments in court filings Wednesday. Blagojevich is set to be sentenced Dec. 6.

Prosecutors say a heavy sentence is required because former Gov. George Ryan's 6 1/2- year sentence clearly wasn't long enough to deter Blagojevich and others from engaging in public corruption. They also point out that Blagojevich won office on a pledge to clean up corruption.

Blagojevich's lawyers say his sentence should fall under the federal guidlines of 41 to 51 months in prison.

Prosecutors say Blagojevich engaged in criminal activity even after he had been interviewed by the FBI, when he knew he was under investigation, and when many of his closest advisors had already been indicted and convicted. They say Blagojevich has a law degree and knew he was committing crimes and yet, to this day, he insists he did nothing wrong.

Prosecutors also argue that Blagojevich should get a heavier sentence than Tony Rezko.

Rezko is the former Blagojevich fundraiser who was given a 10 1/2-year sentence just last week for his role in the corrupt administration. Prosecutors say, as governor, Blagojevich bears more responsibility in the conspiracy than Rezko, who was a private citizen.

And unlike Blagojevich, Rezko provided valuable cooperation after he was convicted. Prosecutors also point out that Blagojevich spent seven days on the stand telling stories that the jury ultimately found to be lies.

Furthermore, Rezko had no part in Blagojevich's attempts to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat because he was already in prison by that time in 2008.

Prosecutors say Blagojevich still hasn't accepted responsibility for his actions.

But in their Wednesday court filing, the ex-governor's lawyers paint him as a "tragic figure" who has undergone a precipitous fall from being Illinois' executive, to an "impeached, unemployed criminal defendant, abaondoned by all of his advisors and friends; a figure drawing public ridicule and scorn."

His lawyers conclude by saying "despite a strong and seemingly defiant exterior, no one is more acutely aware of the tragedy that has become his life's work and aspirations as is Mr. Blagojevich himself.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - November 30, 2011

More Illinois Parents Opting out of School-Required Vaccines

More Illinois parents are opting out of some school-required vaccinations for their kids, according to a new study by the Associated Press.

The study says the rate of vaccine exemption is 5.3 percent in Illinois, making it one of eight states where more than five percent of public school kindergartners do not get all the vaccinations that are required for attendance. Alaska had the highest rate, at nine percent.

Dr. Kenneth Soyemi works in the infectious disease department at the Illinois Department of Public Health. He said parents seek exemptions for some vaccines for medical, religious and, in states that allow it, philosophical reasons. Soyemi said kids who don't get vaccinated could make diseases like measles and whooping cough harder to contain.

"Presuming children are not vaccinated in the school, if measles comes into the school, it's going to spread like wild fire," Soyemi said.

The survey also found more than half of all states have seen at least a slight rise in vaccine exemptions in last five years. Illinois is one of 10 states where the rate of vaccine exception increased more than 1.5 percentage points.

Categories: Government, Health, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - November 30, 2011

Ill. Supreme Court to Consider Abortion Dispute

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to consider a dispute over whether the state must begin enforcing a law requiring parents to be notified before their children can obtain an abortion.

The law dates back to 1995 but has never been enforced because of various court actions.

It would require doctors to notify the guardians of a girl 17 or younger before she has an abortion. There are exceptions for emergencies and cases of sexual abuse, and girls could bypass the notification requirement by going to a judge.

Opponents claim it violates the privacy, equal protection and gender-equality clauses of the Illinois constitution.

The Supreme Court said Wednesday that it will hear arguments on whether to start enforcing the law.

Categories: Government, Health, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 30, 2011

City of Champaign Releases List of Finalists for Police Chief

The city of Champaign has revealed the four finalists vying for the top job with its police department.

Those being considered as the next Champaign police chief are Urbana Assistant Chief of Police Anthony Cobb; Oak Forest, Illinois Chief of Police Gregory Anderson; St. Louis, Missouri Police Lieutenant Colonel Antoinette Filla; and East Lansing, Michigan Police Captain Kim Johnson.

The police force in Champaign has faced heavy criticism in the last few years over police-community relations, specifically in the African American community.

There have been new calls for a citizens police review board in the wake of the 2009 police shooting death of teenager, Kiwane Carrington. A number of citizens also allege officers used excessive force when arresting two African American youths in the last couple of months.

Two of the people being considered to head the police department - Cobb and Johnson - are African American.

Current Police Chief R.T. Finney announced last summer that he was retiring, and Deputy Chief Holly Nearing will take over him on an interim basis starting next week.

The four finalists will be interviewed Dec. 7 - 9. They will also take part in a public forum Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7pm at the city building. Champaign Human Resources Director Chris Bezruki said the new police chief is expected to begin work in February or March.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 30, 2011

Budget Deal Keeps State Facilities Open

(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)

A budget deal reached among Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and lawmakers will keep seven state facilities open and preserve nearly 2,000 jobs at those locations, at least for now.

The agreement saves the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, the Jacksonville Developmental Center and other facilities.

The plan won General Assembly approval Tuesday. Gov. Quinn had targeted a handful of developmental centers, prisons and psychiatric hospitals for shutdown after the legislature failed to provide enough money to keep them operating. Quinn's budget director, David Vaught said layoffs were only considered as a last resort.

"It's very important in a time of recession," Vaught said. "We've lost 20 percent of our state employees over the last eight or nine years. We have the lowest state employee ratio to population of virtually any state. I think one may be tied with us. We are right down at the bottom. We are not overstaffed in state employees."

The plan involves shifting money, although no additional spending was added to the overall budget. The deal will prevent shutdowns and layoffs through the end of the fiscal year in June. Vaught noted that some positions could be lost through attrition.

Vaught said the agreement also calls for reducing state payments to a variety of special-purpose funds. The state's $55 million contribution to the workers' compensation fund, for instance, would be cut by $10 million. About $95 million that ordinarily would go to pension systems would instead be diverted to preventing the closures.

There would be enough reductions that some services in the Department of Human Services could get some additional money, Vaught said. The biggest beneficiaries would be community mental health services, which would get $30 million, and substance abuse programs, which would get $28 million.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 29, 2011

ADM Asks Employees to Stay Home Because of Broken Water Main

The Archer Daniels Midland Company is asking all non-essential employees who work in the company's Decatur office to work from home on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

The company's trading floor will be open, and all trading floor employees should report to work in the office.

Other ADM employees are being asked to report to the corporate office building only on an as-needed basis.


Page 496 of 799 pages ‹ First  < 494 495 496 497 498 >  Last ›