Illinois

Obituary
9:23 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Trailblazer With Sense Of Humor, Dies At 70

State comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, shown in this state photo, died December 10 from complications of a stroke at the age of 70.
Credit via Illinois Comptroller website

(Updated 3:54 p.m., Wed., Dec. 10 with more reaction.)

Judy Baar Topinka, a leading figure in Illinois politics for decades, died suddenly Wednesday morning. Topinka, the state comptroller, won re-election to a second term in that office in November. Her office says she suffered a stroke. She was 70 years old. 

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'Pop' Culture
10:12 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

This St. Louis-Area Bottler Sells Soda The Old-Fashioned Way

A case of Ski in returnable bottles rolls out a delivery chute at the side entrance of the Excel Bottling Company in Breese, Ill.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The motto of the Excel Bottling Company in Breese, Ill., is “Good Things Don’t Have To Change.”

And they really mean it.

Here, on the corner of Broadway and Clinton streets, four generations of the Meier family have been selling soda for nearly 80 years.

They make it the old-fashioned way -- with pure cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup -- using  vintage bottling equipment that was already “secondhand” when it was purchased in 1936.

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NPR Story
10:45 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Raw Tape: Watch First Quinn/Rauner Debate

Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Bruce Rauner met Wednesday in Peoria for the first debate of the fall election season.

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 4:38 am

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner met for the first formal debate of the general election season Thursday in Peoria. The panel included Illinois Public Radio/WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and Illinois Issues Executive Editor Jamey Dunn.

Watch or listen to the full debate:


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On The Trail
9:24 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

Bost's Speechifying Becomes Target -- And Asset -- In Nationally Watched Illinois Contest

Democrats are using Illinois state Rep. Mike Bost's impassioned floor speech from 2012 to paint him as an ill-tempered extremist, while Republicans say it showcases his passion for his constituents.
Credit Mike Bost's campaign

On the surface, Mike Bost and Moses don’t have that much in common. But some not-so-flattering political ads may create a different impression.

Bost – a Republican state representative from Murphysboro – is engaged in a highly competitive race against U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, for the 12th congressional district seat. It’s become vigorous enough to force the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to spend lots of money to paint Bost in a bad light.

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Medical Marijuana in Illinois
2:58 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Illinois Entrepreneur Hopes For Medical Marijuana License

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new industry has a Metro East entrepreneur moving forward with plans for a medical marijuana operation, even though there is no guarantee of being granted a license by the state of Illinois.

Mitch Meyers is a partner with NCC LLC, which stands for Nature's Care Company. She says the company has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a potential cultivation center and dispensary near Marissa in St. Clair County.

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Illinois Constitutional Amendment
6:19 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Illinois Voters To Consider Constitutional Amendment On Crime Victims' Rights

A proposed amendment to the Illinois state Constitution would protect crime victims' rights, but some say it's not necessary.
Credit (via Flickr/alancleaver_2000)

Illinois voters will consider this November whether to amend the state constitution over rights for crime victims.

Victims already have certain rights, including: to be told about court dates, to attend trials and to give impact statements.

But some advocates believe a constitutional amendment is needed to better protect these rights.

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Belleville Native
2:56 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Alan J. Dixon: Former U.S. Senator From Illinois Spent A Lifetime In Public Service

Alan J. Dixon
Credit Wikipedia

Updated with tentative funeral arrangements.

Alan J. Dixon, a two-term Democratic senator from Illinois and long-time figure in Illinois politics, died today. According to a report in the Belleville News-Democrat, Mr. Dixon had had heart problems for the past two years and had recently been in Barnes-Jewish hospital. "He came home on Thursday and he was in good spirits," Jeff Dixon, the senator’s son, told the News-Democrat. "We had dinner with cold Budweiser followed by a glass of red wine."

Mr. Dixon was 86. He would have turned 87 on Monday.

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Ballot Issues Set
1:26 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

Illinois Legislature Passes Wait-And-See Budget

Credit (via Flickr/jglazer75)

No one says the $35.7 billion 2015 budget approved by the Illinois Legislature late last week is balanced. As the Belleville News Democrat reported, “Democratic Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Senate budget negotiator, described the plan as ‘incomplete’ but the best lawmakers could do this session.

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U.S.
1:10 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

In Illinois, A Town That's Half-Destroyed But Filled With Hope

Washington, Ill., is full of both optimistic signs and lots of construction crews as the town rebuilds after a half-mile-wide tornado devastated the area in November.
Alan Greenblatt NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Washington is just starting to rebuild.

Much of the central Illinois town was wiped away by a half-mile-wide tornado in November. In all, 1,108 homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable — a huge share of the housing stock in a city of 15,000.

"Early on, people were asking me how long it was going to take to rebuild the city, and I said we'll do it in a year," says Mayor Gary Manier. "That was wishful thinking."

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Politically Speaking
4:23 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Politically Speaking: U.S. Rep. Shimkus On Ukraine's Future and GOP Primary For Illinois Governor

Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics. 

We’ve broken another barrier on the show: U.S. Rep. John Shimkus is the first political figure from Illinois to be a guest on the podcast. The Collinsville Republican has represented large areas of southern Illinois since 1997 and plays a major role on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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