Rachel Otwell

Rachel's reports focus on the arts, community, and diverse culture. She produces NPR Illinois' original program, Illinois Edition. She also hosts The Scene, which airs on Thursdays and features cultural happenings in the central Illinois region.

She's a graduate of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois Springfield. While working toward that degree she spent a session covering the state legislature for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio with a focus on fracking. Rachel also holds degrees from UIS in Liberal & Integrative Studies, Women & Gender Studies, and African-American Studies. She's tutored Rwandan refugees in Ohio, volunteered at a Kenyan orphanage,  served as an activities assistant at a nursing home, and volunteered at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. 

Rachel started a career in public media in 2011 when she interned for the National Public Radio program Tell Me More with Michel Martin in Washington, DC. Her reports have also appeared on NPR's Weekend Edition, NPR's All Things Considered, NPR's Morning Edition, WorkingNow.org, and 51%.

Even though a state budget was finally passed earlier this summer, the process for paying allocated funds is not automatic. Social service agencies are waiting for money owed to them by the state.

C/O EAGLE FORUM & JENNIFER LEE

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of  sex. 
—   The proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

This story will begin with an ending. In an Illinois Issues edition that came out in 1982, author Diane Ross wrote something about the last day of the Illinois General Assembly spring session that sounds eerily relatable to the present:

A website that popped up this month asks a question as its URL: arethereanywomenrunningforilgovernor.com.

It then very simply answers it with a bright red "NO." A group of professional women in the state are behind the effort to draw attention to the issue.

Among them is Kady McFadden. She helped create a new website to highlight the lack of women candidates for governor. 

Across Illinois - social service providers are having to make cuts. The head of one shelter says without a state budget, its future is bleak.

This year at the Grammys - Chicago native Chance The Rapper took home multiple awards, including one for Best New Artist. But another Chicago based group took home its first win, though the category it took the Grammy for goes a little more under the radar.

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