All Charges Against Former Rep. Aaron Schock Dropped; Tornado Season; U of I’s Black Chorus

March 07, 2019
 

Former U.S. Rep. speaks to reporters at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, Wednesday, March 6, 2019. Schock has agreed to repay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and to campaign committees in exchange for prosecutors dismissing his felony corruption case.

Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

On The 21st: Federal prosecutors have dropped all charges against former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock. As long as he pays back the IRS and stays out of trouble for six months, he’ll walk free with a clean record. Plus, tornado season is on the way although really, they can hit any time of year. We’ll check in with the town of Taylorville to see how they’ve recovered after a tornado hit their community last winter. And the U of I’s Black Chorus joins us. They’ve been on campus since 1968 and they’re singing at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts this Sunday. 

Aaron Schock once represented central Illinois in Congress. He was just 27 when he first took office and for years the Republican Party saw him as a rising star.

You might remember that six years later, Schock was in the news for another reason: a corruption scandal. And as more reporting came out, the list grew longer and longer whether it’s decorating his office like Downton Abbey, or using taxpayer money to fly on private jets with wealthy donors.

In late 2016 he was charged on 24 counts including wire fraud, making false statements, and theft of government funds. But yesterday the story took another turn: federal prosecutors have agreed to drop all of the charges. Instead, Schock will pay some fines.

Chris Kaergard is the Peoria Journal-Star’s associate political editor. Christopher Mooney is the with the University of Illinois’ Institute for Government and Public Affairs. 

Plus -- 

Sunday’s violent tornado in Lee County, Alabama is being called the deadliest twister in nearly six years. Twenty-three people were killed, all this despite, being well-forecasted.

So now many onlookers are wondering what went wrong. But also, what went right. Especially as tornado season is beginning here in Illinois.  

Mike Crews knows about some of these issues first hand. He’s the Fire Chief in Taylorville, where dozens of people were injured after tornadoes hit Christian County last winter. Eric Snodgrass also joined us. He’s a principal atmospheric scientist at Nutrien Ag Solution and the former the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Illinois’ Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

And -- 

The University of Illinois Black Chorus has been on campus since 1968. Founded originally by four students, they’ve since grown to dozens of members - and they regularly perform the music of African-Americans across all genres.

Black Chorus is also a one-credit class. In addition to performing, students learn more about the history and people behind the songs they sing.

This week, the Black Chorus is hosting a symposium on Black Sacred Music on the Urbana campus. And it will all culminate in a concert this Sunday at 5 pm, at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

They stopped by our studios to tell us more about it and to perform some music. Brianna Tyler is the TA and a master’s student in music education. Mikayla Odom and Jerry Baffour are seniors. Mikayla is majoring in psychology, Jerry’s majoring in business and they’re the president and vice president of the chorus, respectively.