In less than six weeks, Illinois voters will make their earliest trek ever to the polls in an election cycle. Last year state lawmakers pushed the primary election up to the first Tuesday in February. It was meant to give Illinois more of a say in the selection process for Presidential candidates. But is the move working? We get an early evaluation from Brian Gaines, a University of Illinois political science professor. He talked with AM 580's Tom Rogers.
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After nearly two years of work, the Coles County city of Mattoon snagged the $1.8 billion FutureGen experimental power plant project. FutureGen promises to revitalize the state's coal industry by using a combination of technologies to nearly eliminate pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. It also promises hundred of jobs for the area, beginning with construction work in 2010. But funding for the project is still uncertain. AM 580 has been covering the announcement.
Dan Fogelberg will long be remembered for songs like 'Longer' and 'Same Old Lang Syne', but a few years before he wrote and recorded those hits, he was a student at the University of Illinois, attracting crowds to a local coffeehouse. The Peoria native died Sunday at the age of 56. AM 580's Jeff Bossert talked with one of Fogelberg's earliest collaborators.
63 years ago this week, Germany was mounting its last major offensive in World War Two. Months later, the Nazis would fall and the guns of war would finally go silent in Europe. In the following decades, we heard about bits and pieces of the conflagration, hundreds of thousands of individual stories from those on the front lines. Now, one by one, those voices are also falling silent. AM 580's Tom Rogers let five area residents - four veterans (including Harold Cox, above-right) and a civilian -- tell their stories of the war's bloodiest battle.
Internet videos and blogs have become to of the easiest ways for anyone to promote a message about anything on the worldwide web. Some students at the UI's Urbana campus (like Jake Hendee, left) are now using these forums to give prospective students a better idea of student life. AM 580's Jeff Bossert reports.
Fast-growing video game manufacturer Volition, based in Champaign, pays recent college graduates - who are also experienced gamers - to test their games. Testing is a first, full-time job for many of the graduates. They are looking for flaws before the games hit the market. AM 580's Jeff Bossert reports for NPR's Morning Edition.
Six proposals for new health care facilities have been laid out in east-central Illinois in the past year - and a state board has turned down five - the sixth has yet to be heard. Anyone who wants to build a hospital, dialysis facility, nursing home or outpatient surgery center has to get permission from the state Health Facilities Planning Board, through what's known as a Certificate of Need. AM 580's Tom Rogers tells us that the process generates controversy elsewhere, though many here in Illinois still want to see it work.
One of the anchors of NPR's All Things Considered, Robert Siegel, started his career in college. As a student reporter, he anchored coverage of the student protests at Columbia University in 1968. Speaking with AM 580's Jeff Bossert during a visit to Champaign, Siegel says his first job not only allowed him to be informative, but let him fully understand a situation without being involved himself.
Not long ago, one of Ford County's landmarks was falling apart. But since then, two preservation groups have helped convert it into a museum that explains how the area was established. Those responsible for rehabbing the old Paxton water tower and pump house are getting a statewide honor. AM 580s Jeff Bossert reports.
Next to the county fair, one of the highlights of many a small towns summer used to be the Chautauqua. Traveling shows would come to Illinois towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and give people a chance to learn about the world they live in, all served up with a good dose of entertainment. The Urbana Park District wants to revive the Chautauqua as it celebrates one hundred years of managing the city's parks. AM 580s Tom Rogers talked with the people who have put together nearly a week's worth of events for the new Urbana Chautauqua. (far-left: the main Chautauqua tent in Urbana. right: a much earlier Chautauqua in Lithia Springs, IL.)