Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 18, 2012

Indiana Gov. Daniels Endorses Romney for President

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is endorsing Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination that he has all but sewn up.

The Romney campaign announced the support from Daniels on Wednesday. That step that comes after Daniels declined for months to publicly support any of the Republican candidates, saying he wanted to stay neutral if Indiana's May primary ended up being contested.

The endorsement statement from Daniels echoed his message raising concerns about the federal debt that drew him attention as a possible GOP presidential candidate before he bowed out last year.

Daniels says Romney has proven that he understands the nation's challenges and "is prepared to summon Americans to the changes that will restore the American Dream.''

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 18, 2012

Chicago Symphony to Perform Rare Moscow Shows‎

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is performing in Russia for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union as part of U.S. efforts to improve relations between the two countries.

The orchestra's musical director - the world-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti - says Chicago was chosen not only for its fine orchestra but because it is the hometown of President Barack Obama.

Muti describes Chicago as "one of the symbols where all the people in the world look, hoping that the world ... can reach a future of peace and mutual understanding.''

U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul says the orchestra's visit will help bring together Russians and Americans.

The orchestra performs at the Moscow Conservatory on Wednesday, the first of three concerts in Russia.

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Categories: Music

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 18, 2012

Firefighters to Get Autism Awareness Training

Illinois firefighters and paramedics will begin getting special training to help people with autism and related disorders.

The new program will help them recognize the disorders and understand techniques to communicate. The online training will be free for first responders.

State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says the training is important for first responders to understand how someone with autism may respond in high stress situations like a fire.

The program was developed by staff at the Illinois Fire Service Institute and the Office of the State Fire Marshal to raise awareness among first responders.

Fire departments with 75 percent or more staff members who complete the training will be recognized with plaques and magnets for their fire trucks.

Download mp3 file
Categories: Health
Tags: health

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 18, 2012

Chicago Symphony to Perform Rare Moscow Shows‎

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is performing in Russia for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union as part of U.S. efforts to improve relations between the two countries.

The orchestra's musical director - the world-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti - says Chicago was chosen not only for its fine orchestra but because it is the hometown of President Barack Obama.

Muti describes Chicago as "one of the symbols where all the people in the world look, hoping that the world ... can reach a future of peace and mutual understanding.''

U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul says the orchestra's visit will help bring together Russians and Americans.

The orchestra performs at the Moscow Conservatory on Wednesday, the first of three concerts in Russia.

Categories: Music

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 18, 2012

Champaign Council Grants Final Passage to Stormwater Fee

After about two years of discussion, the Champaign City Council has signed off on a stormwater utility fee.

Starting next spring, residents will pay roughly $5 to $15 a month for storm sewer operation and maintenance. But larger properties with more impervious area, or buildings and pavement, will pay more.

Tuesday night's 7-2 vote came after two hours of discussion, including concerns from about 50 members of the city's religious community.

Rev. Claude Shelby of Salem Baptist Church asked council members to exempt churches. He said their financial support is far too shaky to be burdened with the fee.

"We have nothing to do with the act of God as far as the weather goes," Shelby said. "However, on the Sundays when God sends the rain, it runs in the sewers, or the snow, or what have you, many of or members are not there. If they're not there, their offerings are not there."

But council member Tom Bruno said the fee should be one of shared sacrifice.

"The problem, of course, with exempting segments of the society is someone else has to pick up and carry that weight," Bruno said. "And if we closed it at churches, and we defined it by people who believed in a God above, we would probably have constitutional problems."

The two 'no' votes came from Paul Faraci, who's concerned about the fee's effect on businesses, and Kyle Harrison, who says the cost won't be distributed evenly enough, and feels credits and tax breaks tied to the fee could go further. Both also opposed the fee in February's study session.

Members of the John and Washington Street watersheds also praised the plan, calling it the fair thing to do. Mayor Don Gerard says he knows the stormwater fee will help the city in the long run.

The Urbana City Council considers its own version of the stormwater fee at a Monday study session.

Meanwhile, with no discussion, the Champaign City Council unanimously passed a program for municipal electric aggregation. The city will negotiate with a Chicago-area consultant to seek out lower power rates for customers. The Urbana City Council approved the hiring a consultant for its aggregation program Monday night.

The council has also unanimously backed an intergovernmental agreement with Urbana and Normal to seek a 'Sole Source Aquifer' designation from the EPA for the Mahomet Aquifer.

Champaign City Manager Steve Carter said the University of Illinois and other nearby cities may also join the agreement and help share the cost.

The 'Sole Source' designation would make it harder for the EPA to approve a plan to store PCB's in the Clinton Landfill. The Urbana and Normal city councils both signed onto the plan Monday.

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Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 18, 2012

Firefighters to Get Autism Awareness Training

Illinois firefighters and paramedics will begin getting special training to help people with autism and related disorders.

The new program will help them recognize the disorders and understand techniques to communicate. The online training will be free for first responders.

State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says the training is important for first responders to understand how someone with autism may respond in high stress situations like a fire.

The program was developed by staff at the Illinois Fire Service Institute and the Office of the State Fire Marshal to raise awareness among first responders.

Fire departments with 75 percent or more staff members who complete the training will be recognized with plaques and magnets for their fire trucks.

Categories: Health
Tags: health

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 18, 2012

Champaign Council Grants Final Passage to Stormwater Fee

After about two years of discussion, the Champaign City Council has signed off on a stormwater utility fee.

Starting next spring, residents will pay roughly $5 to $15 a month for storm sewer operation and maintenance. But larger properties with more impervious area, or buildings and pavement, will pay more.

Tuesday night's 7-2 vote came after two hours of discussion, including concerns from about 50 members of the city's religious community.

Rev. Claude Shelby of Salem Baptist Church asked council members to exempt churches. He said their financial support is far too shaky to be burdened with the fee.

"We have nothing to do with the act of God as far as the weather goes," Shelby said. "However, on the Sundays when God sends the rain, it runs in the sewers, or the snow, or what have you, many of or members are not there. If they're not there, their offerings are not there."

But council member Tom Bruno said the fee should be one of shared sacrifice.

"The problem, of course, with exempting segments of the society is someone else has to pick up and carry that weight," Bruno said. "And if we closed it at churches, and we defined it by people who believed in a God above, we would probably have constitutional problems."

The two 'no' votes came from Paul Faraci, who's concerned about the fee's effect on businesses, and Kyle Harrison, who says the cost won't be distributed evenly enough, and feels credits and tax breaks tied to the fee could go further. Both also opposed the fee in February's study session.

Members of the John and Washington Street watersheds also praised the plan, calling it the fair thing to do. Mayor Don Gerard says he knows the stormwater fee will help the city in the long run.

The Urbana City Council considers its own version of the stormwater fee at a Monday study session.

Meanwhile, with no discussion, the Champaign City Council unanimously passed a program for municipal electric aggregation. The city will negotiate with a Chicago-area consultant to seek out lower power rates for customers. The Urbana City Council approved the hiring a consultant for its aggregation program Monday night.

The council has also unanimously backed an intergovernmental agreement with Urbana and Normal to seek a 'Sole Source Aquifer' designation from the EPA for the Mahomet Aquifer.

Champaign City Manager Steve Carter said the University of Illinois and other nearby cities may also join the agreement and help share the cost.

The 'Sole Source' designation would make it harder for the EPA to approve a plan to store PCB's in the Clinton Landfill. The Urbana and Normal city councils both signed onto the plan Monday.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 17, 2012

Wisconsin Gov. Uses Illinois as Argument Against Recall

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he's using Illinois and its many problems as an argument for keeping him in office.

The first-term Republican faces a recall election in June primarily because he restricted union bargaining rights for state employees.

Walker spoke to Illinois business groups in Springfield on Tuesday to defend his record. He said that unlike Illinois leaders, he has put Wisconsin on sound financial footing without raising taxes or worsening unemployment.

Walker told reporters the event was a campaign stop meant to show voters that his ouster could mean Illinois-style problems will hit Wisconsin.

Union members with a 20-foot inflatable rat protested outside. Inside, the crowd inside greeted Walker with extended standing ovations.

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Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 17, 2012

Indy Police Chief Resigns Over Mishandling of Blood Vial

Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski has resigned from his post over his department's handling of a blood sample taken from a police officer who was involved in a fatal 2010 crash.

Officials say Ciesielski submitted his resignation Tuesday, a day after the chief informed Public Safety Director Frank Straub that a vial of blood taken from Officer David Bisard following the August 2010 crash had been moved and not stored properly.

Mayor Greg Ballard says the mishandling of evidence erodes public confidence in the police department. He says he has asked the FBI to join the professional standards division in the investigation.

Officials say Ciesielski will remain with the department.

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AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 17, 2012

Wisconsin Gov. Uses Illinois as Argument Against Recall

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he's using Illinois and its many problems as an argument for keeping him in office.

The first-term Republican faces a recall election in June primarily because he restricted union bargaining rights for state employees.

Walker spoke to Illinois business groups in Springfield on Tuesday to defend his record. He said that unlike Illinois leaders, he has put Wisconsin on sound financial footing without raising taxes or worsening unemployment.

Walker told reporters the event was a campaign stop meant to show voters that his ouster could mean Illinois-style problems will hit Wisconsin.

Union members with a 20-foot inflatable rat protested outside. Inside, the crowd inside greeted Walker with extended standing ovations.

Categories: Government, Politics

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