Illinois

Heat Advisory
11:56 am
Mon July 11, 2011

Coroner: Heat blamed in southwestern Ill. death

(via Flickr/List)

The sweltering summer temperatures that have gripped the Midwest are being blamed in the suspected heat-stroke death of a 51-year-old man in southwestern Illinois.

Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn says Mitsunari Uechi was found unresponsive Sunday night in his Granite City mobile home by his live-in mother and later was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Nonn says the home's air conditioner wasn't working, and the man's body temperature was 104 degrees when he arrived at the hospital.

Illinois State Workers
2:37 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

Union asks arbitrator to decide on canceled raises for Ill. state workers

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A major state employee union has asked an arbitrator to decide whether Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn can cancel scheduled raises for thousands of workers.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees sought the ruling Thursday. Quinn announced last week he was canceling the $75 million in raises to help deal with the state's budget crisis.

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Illinois / Education
9:47 am
Wed July 6, 2011

Illinois drops writing from standardized exam

(via Flickr/albertogp123)

Illinois is down to just reading and arithmetic. Writing skills will no longer be tested during the state's standardized exams for high school juniors every spring.

The Chicago Tribune reports that eliminating the writing exams will save about $2.4 million amid the state's budgetary shortfalls.

Illinois had already dropped writing assessments for elementary and middle school students last year.

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Children's Health
5:19 pm
Tue July 5, 2011

Ill. state-backed health coverage for kids now has income cap

(via Flickr/rosmary)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Illinois had offered health insurance coverage to all children. But now there's an income cap to get the state-backed coverage - critics call it shortsighted.

As the name "All Kids" suggests, all children were eligible, but as of July 1, only families within 300 percent of the poverty level can apply.

That's an income cap of $67,000 for a family of four.

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Illinois State Workers
3:10 pm
Tue July 5, 2011

Quinn: Ready for court battle over canceled raises for Ill. state workers

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he's ready to go to court over canceling pay raises for nearly 30,000 state workers.

Quinn defended his decision to deny the raises by blaming the General Assembly for not appropriating the necessary money. He said Tuesday the state can't provide the increase unless lawmakers set aside enough money.

The raises are required under state government's union contracts.

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Illinois budget cuts
8:21 am
Tue July 5, 2011

Ill. Gov. Quinn's budget cuts to hospitals aren't set

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Reporting by Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

The cuts Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn made to hospitals probably won’t be the final deal. The administration is using the move in an effort to further its agenda.

Illinois reimburses hospitals when they take on low-income patients who are on Medicaid, and state law sets the rate hospitals are to be paid.

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Blagojevich trial
8:00 am
Tue July 5, 2011

Blagojevich to seek mistrial, unlikely to succeed

Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich was convicted of 17 out of 20 counts in his corruption retrial.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Reporting by WBEZ’s Robert Wildeboer used in this report.

Within the next few weeks, attorneys for ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will be asking Judge James Zagel for a mistrial. That’s unlikely to succeed, which means they’ll move on to a higher court. Still, Blagojevich’s testimony could cause problems for an appeal.

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Illinois public corruption prosecution
7:32 am
Tue July 5, 2011

Former Sen. gets credit for recent Ill. corruption prosecutions

Former Ill. Gov. George Ryan was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements to the FBI.
(via Flickr/myoldpostcards)

Reporting by Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Crawford used in this report.

Illinois has a reputation not only as a hotbed for public corruption, but also as a place where high ranking officials are prosecuted for misdeeds. Former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, who is known for his clashes with the GOP’s old guard, is partly to thank for that.

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Asian Carp / Food Banks
2:27 pm
Mon July 4, 2011

Invasive Asian carp: protien-rich offering for Ill. food banks?

Cleaning an Asian carp for food preparation.
(via Flickr/lsgcp)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

Asian carp - the invasive fish that's plagued Illinois rivers and is threatening the Great Lakes could soon become a staple at food banks.

Todd Main, with the state Department of Natural Resources, says there's more than two hundred million pounds of Asian carp swimming in the state's rivers.

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Illinois Death Penalty
4:08 pm
Fri July 1, 2011

Death row dies in Ill.

(via Flickr/neil conway)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Murderers convicted in Illinois will no longer be sentenced to death row as the state ban on capital punishment takes effect Friday.

It won't remain in place long if Republican Representative Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst has his way.

Reboletti says he will try pass a law reinstating the death penalty.

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