View Locations of found radiation from Japan in IL in a larger map

The map above depicts the locations highlighted in the following story where trace amounts of radiation from Japan have been found in Illinois - Will County and Springfield, Ill.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

Trace amounts of radiation from Japan have shown up in Illinois. But state officials say there's no reason for concern.

Minute levels of radioactive materials have been detected in both northern and central Illinois.  The state's Emergency Management Agency says radioactive iodine was found in grass clippings in Will County and in an air sample collected at a lab in Springfield.

Lower gas taxes lure drivers to Mo.

Mar 28, 2011 | Flickr

With lower state taxes on gasoline, among others, Missouri is easily undercutting its border mate, Illinois, when it comes to the price to fill up.

One of the cardinal rules about interstate travel through the Midwest: "gas up before you hit Illinois." Illinois levies a hefty 42 cents per gallon tax on gasoline, among the highest gas taxes in the country.

Check out more of this feature on the Missouri-Illinois border wars for cheap gasoline by our own Adam Allington. It aired on Marketplace Morning Report earlier today.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says the size of the evacuation zones around the six nuclear power plants in Illinois should be reviewed.

Kirk and fellow U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin held a forum Friday with a panel of four nuclear experts that resembled a congressional hearing to talk about safety in Illinois in the wake of the disaster in Japan.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Sen. Dick Durbin says he wants answers from nuclear experts about the safety of some of Illinois' aging nuclear plants in the wake of the crisis in Japan.

The Democrat says he and fellow U.S. senator, Republican Mark Kirk, will host a forum in Chicago on Friday that will include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

(via Flickr/Rob Lee)

Illinois tax collectors have a message for residents who skirt sales taxes online and out of state: Start paying up.

The cash-strapped state will step up enforcement this year of the decades-old "use tax," which applies to many items bought online or in another state.

The state offers a guide to taxpayers who didn't keep receipts and want to pay their share. Someone making $50,000 annually, for example, would be expected to pay $27 in "use tax."

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

Administrators of a southwestern Illinois school district say financial problems have forced them to lay off or not renew the contracts of 71 employees, including more than five dozen teachers.

Cahokia School District 187's board made the move during a special meeting Monday night.

The laid-off workers include 62 teachers, two teachers' aides, a school psychologist and a social worker.

(via Flickr/Anderson Mancini)

The number of broadband Internet connections in Illinois has exceeded the number of phone landlines for the first time.

comedy_nose / Flickr

The Cahokia School Board will meet tonight to decide whether to lay off up to 70 teachers because of a budget deficit.

School officials have said that lower tax revenues and delayed state payments have left Cahokia's budget about $1 million in the red. Brent Murphy, president of the Cahokia Federation of Teachers, says he hopes that reducing instructors and other staff is not the only solution.

(via Flickr/Cast a Line)

Action on releasing information about Illinois gun permits is being postponed until a court finishes reviewing the issue.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office said Friday it will halt all procedural steps on its ruling that the names of people with Firearm Owner Identification cards should be made public.

A Peoria court has issued a restraining order barring release of the information.

Gov. Pat Quinn says he plans to seek higher fees on power generator Exelon Corp. to ensure the safety of Illinois nuclear power plants in the aftermath of Japan's nuclear crisis.

Quinn says he met with state emergency management officials on Wednesday to discuss the safety of the state's 11 nuclear reactors.

He says the events in Japan show the need to review the safety of the plants.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Updated 4:10 p.m. March 17, 2011 with Gov. Quinn's comments.

Gov. Pat Quinn says he opposes a package of budget cuts proposed by Illinois Senate Republicans.

The Chicago Democrat said Thursday the "foolhardy" cuts would kills jobs and weaken the economy just as Illinois recovers from a recession.

The Republican plan includes cuts to education, health care and local government. They estimate the savings at $6.7 billion.

The two biggest pieces are the most difficult.

(via Flickr/seannaber)

An Illinois Senate committee has voted to raise cigarette taxes by $1 a pack and use the money for construction projects around the state.

Senators split along party lines Wednesday, with nine Democrats supporting the increase and six Republicans opposing it. The measure now goes to the full Senate.

Democrats say the cigarette tax could replace other sources of construction money that are tied up in a legal dispute. They also say it would cut state health costs by discouraging smoking.

Republicans argue the increase would disproportionately fall on the poor.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

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

Illinois State Republican lawmakers continue to push for a rollback of the recently passed income tax increase, but still haven't given their list of cuts to make up the difference. Senate Democrats are calling their bluff.

Flickr |neil conway

The Illinois Supreme Court is considering a case that could determine whether the state can pursue wages earned by prison inmates.

Lawyers presented their arguments Tuesday.

Inmate Kensley Hawkins has saved about $11,000 during his 21 years in prison by squirreling away the income he makes as a furniture assembler. He makes about $75 a month.

(via Flickr/Robert Scoble)

Updated 2:12 p.m. March 11, 2011 to include information. has made good on its threat to cut ties with Illinois affiliates because of a new law requiring the online store to collect sales taxes.

Amazon notified its Illinois partners Friday that it will stop doing business with them on April 15. It calls the tax law "unconstitutional and counterproductive.

(via Flickr/

Illinois consumers may find themselves paying sales taxes on some Internet purchases under a new state law.

The law says sales taxes must be charged when people buy from online retailers through an Illinois-based partner. For instance, an Illinois business might sell products through

Online businesses generally don't charge state sales taxes. Illinois customers are supposed to pay it directly to the state, but they rarely do.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Pat Quinn says he will act this week on a bill that would abolish executions in Illinois.

Quinn said Monday that he's "going to act" this week, but not Tuesday. He said there's still information he wants to read and research he wants to do before acting on the legislation.

The legislation reaches Quinn after former Gov. George Ryan dramatically cleared the state's death row in 2000.

(via Flickr/{N}Duran)

The company that makes Skippy peanut butter is recalling two of its spreads that may be contaminated with salmonella.

No illnesses have been linked to the recall of the Skippy reduced fat creamy and reduced fat chunky brands.

Unilever United States Inc. did not specify how many jars have been recalled. They are packaged in 16.3 oz. plastic jars with used-by dates of May 16-21, 2012.

View Larger Map

A map of the location of Elm Farms in Okawville, Ill., where the incident occurred.

Updated 10:18 a.m. March 7, 2011 with services details (see below)

Some sad news out of Okawville, Ill. today as KMOV reports about an incident that killed two young men.

So, what happened?

(via Flickr/Cast a Line)

Updated 4:07 p.m. March 1, 2011 with statement from Illinois State Police

The Illinois State Police released a statement this afternoon in disagreement with the Attorney General's recommendation:

"The Illinois State Police respectfully disagrees with the recent opinion of the Attorney General's Public Access Counselor (PAC) regarding the release of names of Firearm Owner Identification cardholders. The Department intends to request that the PAC issue a binding opinion so that the issue may be resolved through the judicial process."

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

A new Illinois law is supposed to clamp down on state government's habit of overspending. But, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn waited until after his budget presentation to sign it.

(via Flickr/Cast a Line)

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

School officials say Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's decision to slash school transportation spending could hurt instruction, even though he wants to increase the amount the state spends per pupil.

The budget Quinn unveiled in Springfield yesterday cuts $95 million from the state school busing fund.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn gave his annual state budget address today in Springfield.

Join us tonight at 7 p.m.  for a broadcast the full address on 90.7 FM or online here.

You can also follow along and read the full text of the Governor's address here.

So far, here are some reactions to Quinn's budget:

Illinois - 2010 U.S. Census Population Data


The U.S. Census Bureau released Illinois population and demographic data today.

Why is this important? Among other reasons, the data can be used to re-draw federal, state and local legislative districts.

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold used in this story.

Illinois legislators are preparing to debate a plan that would combine two elected offices into one.

The proposal would change the state Constitution, combining the Treasurer's office and the Comptroller's office. Both deal with the finances of Illinois, the treasurer with investments and the comptroller is in charge of dispersing the state's money.

(via Jenna Dooley, WUIS)

Winter hats mingled with stovepipe hats at the center of a nationwide effort to honor Abraham Lincoln and set a world record.

Hundreds of people gathered Friday in Springfield to recite the speech Lincoln gave when he left for the White House. At the same time, people across the country read the speech in hope of setting a new mark for the most people to read a document aloud simultaneously.

Lincoln delivered his heartfelt goodbye exactly 150 years ago.

An Illinois lawmaker is pushing to raise the state's minimum wage to more than $10 an hour - higher than anywhere else in the United States.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. with comment from Ameren Missouri.

A new report suggests that power plants in Illinois and Missouri are among the nation’s top emitters of mercury pollution.

Mercury can cause serious health problems for both wildlife and people who eat contaminated fish.

The look of the Illinois license plate has changed substantially over the years - just look at that blast from the past above for proof - but a pending bill in the Illinois Legislature would push the cosmetic transition to a "for-profit" level.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that SB1360 would allow corporate sponsors to put their logos on license plates as a way to create revenue for the state.

via Flickr/alancleaver_2000

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

A plan to collect money from Illinois tax deadbeats produced more than expected.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office said Monday that offering delinquent taxpayers a chance to pay up without punishment brought in $314 million. It was originally expected to produce about $250 million.

Experts believe much of that overdue tax money would have been collected eventually. The amnesty program simply brought it in faster.