Senate Approves Aid For Low-Income College Students

Aug 20, 2015
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Among the casualties of the Illinois budget impasse are grants that help low-income students pay for college. On Wednesday, Democrats in the state Senate voted to address that.

Thousands of students take advantage of the so-called MAP grants to attend everything from community colleges to the U. of I.

Randy Dunn, the president of Southern Illinois University, says two-thirds of students at the Carbondale campus get help from the program.

"The average award for our students is significant," Dunn told a Senate committee. "This is not something that's chicken feed."

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner's November election victory landed his party a summer prize Illinois Republicans haven't had in dozen years --- the pride of having Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair. But Rauner's day of political revelry Wednesday ended with a stinging defeat.

Rauner didn't miss the opportunity to make a grand entrance to his first Governor's Day at the fairgrounds. He rode in on his black Harley.

Darrell Hoemann / Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

The University of Illinois is getting by with no new state funding, as the budget impasse continues in Springfield. U of I President Timothy Killeen says they can continue this way for a few more weeks --- but after that, there could be trouble.  

After a month and a half with no state budget, Killeen says the University of Illinois is coping, by relying on tuition revenue, and delayed state funding from last year’s budget, and re-directing some money from the administrative budget over to students in the classroom.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Thousands of Northern Illinois University students return to DeKalb this week.

A fleet of golf carts and 1,300 volunteers will greet nearly 3,000 residence hall students on Friday. Peak traffic usually takes place over the lunch hour.

For those trying to navigate the city that day, NIU Police Commander Donald Rodman has some advice:

Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation /

Supporters of a proposed bingo hall in southern DeKalb County will have to wait a little longer for the backing of county officials. 

Senator Kirk A No Show At State Fair

Aug 19, 2015

Illinois Republicans want to make sure Mark Kirk is re-elected to the U.S. Senate - in one of the most-watched races in the country.

But Kirk is absent from the traditional start of the campaign season--political days at the Illinois State Fair. Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider says he's not concerned about that.

Full Court Won't Rehear Blagojevich Appeal

Aug 19, 2015
U.S. Government

A full appellate court in Chicago will not rehear the appeal of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption convictions.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals posted a notice Wednesday indicating there would be no rehearing for the imprisoned Democrat.

Blagojevich had hoped the full court might overturn more of his 18 convictions than the five counts a three-judge panel tossed in July.

Blagojevich's only remaining option for more counts to be overturned is an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Storm Left 1,500 Without Power In Rockford

Aug 19, 2015
Flickr user Danny Hahn / "Rain" (CC BY 2.0)

Yesterday's storms left more than 1,500 Rockford residents without power at some point -- but most of the damage has already been fixed.

George Gaulrapp -- external affairs manager for ComEd -- says even when 291 people were still without power early yesterday, workers were able to resolve that outage in less than two hours with the help of recent system upgrades and power transfer devices. 

Gaulrapp says, if it weren't for those upgrades, ComEd wouldn't have been able to respond as quickly as they did.  

The top Democrat in the Illinois state senate says Governor Bruce Rauner’s latest all-in-one proposal won’t pass.

Governor Rauner wants Democrats to at least hold a vote on his package of policy ideas, which limit collective bargaining and workers compensation:

So he’s put all those ideas in one bill.

But Democratic Senate President John Cullerton says Rauner needs to be practical.

“There’s Republicans who don’t want to vote for those collective bargaining provisions in the Senate,” Cullerton said. “We’ve got two senators who are in union!”


The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services doesn’t want an outside monitor overseeing its operations. That’s despite the recommendation from an independent review of the agency.

An attorney for DCFS told a federal judge Tuesday the agency agrees with every other part of the expert’s often very critical report.