Rich Egger

Rich is the News Director at Tri States Public Radio. Rich grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago but now calls Macomb home. Rich has a B.A in Communication Studies with an Emphasis on Radio, TV, and Film from Northern Illinois University. Rich came to love radio in high school where he developed his “news nerdiness” as he calls it. Rich’s high school had a radio station called WFVH, which he worked at for a couple years. In college, Rich worked at campus station WKDI for three years, spinning tunes and serving at various times as General Manager, Music Director and Operations Manager. Before being hired as Tri States Public Radio’s news director in 1998, Rich worked professionally in news at WRMN-AM/WJKL-FM in Elgin and WJBC-AM in Bloomington. In Rich’s leisure time he loves music, books, cross-country skiing, rooting for the Cubs and Blackhawks, and baking sugar frosted chocolate bombs. His future plans include “getting some tacos.”

In a letter to the campus community, WIU President Jack Thomas said around 110 university workers will receive layoff notices within the next week.

Durbin.senate.gov

The senior U.S. Senator from Illinois says the nation is locking up too many people for far too long. He hopes to change that soon.

Democrat Dick Durbin has worked with Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa on the sentencing reform and corrections act.

Durbin says the act would ease mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses that don't involve guns, gangs, or violence. He says he believes the U.S. overreacted with the war on drugs and other "get tough on crime" measures.

Representatives from across the higher education spectrum gathered at Western Illinois University in Macomb to urge the state to provide funding for colleges and universities. But just hours afterward, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure (SB 2043) that would have funded MAP grants and provided at least a bit of income for the schools.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University hopes a decrease in tuition rates will increase its enrollment numbers.

The three-percent tuition decrease goes into effect next fall. It’s only for new students.

In addition, western will no longer charge out-of-state students a higher tuition than in-state students.

Western Budget Director Matt Bierman says the University hopes to make a splash.

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees will wait until next month to vote on a massive budget cutting plan.  In a letter issued Tuesday to the campus community, WIU President Jack Thomas said he wants more time to come up with a proposal that threatens the livelihood of fewer people.

“When I look at the personnel, it almost brings tears to my eyes to look at what we’re having to do here,” Dr. Thomas said in an interview with Tri States Public Radio.

Rich Egger / WIUM/Illinois Public Radio

The state of Illinois has cut funding to higher education each year for more than a decade.  Those cuts, combined with declining enrollment, will cause some people to lose their jobs at Western Illinois University at the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses.

Peoria Public Radio

Residents in an Illinois Congressional district will soon have representation again in the U.S. House. 

The seat in the 18th district has been vacant since Republican Aaron Schock resigned at the end of March amid spending scandals. The special election to replace Shock is Thursday.

That's a rarity. Elections are usually on Tuesdays.

McDonough County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes has overseen elections for 15 years. This is her first Thursday election...and she's not alone.

AIRSS

Illinois lawmakers return to work this week, and one of the decisions they face is whether to pass a school funding reform plan.

David Ardrey, executive director of the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, says it’s important to keep the issue in the forefront until the state’s school funding system is changed.

“I don’t think this conversation is going to go away,” Ardrey said. “Will it pass this year? I don’t know. Will it pass in this state some day? I think it will.”

The new state treasurer is in the middle of an extensive review of how the office is managed.

Democrat Mike Frerichs says he brought in “outside eyes” to make sure the office is operating efficiently. 

U of I Extension

Advocates for better healthcare in Illinois’ rural areas say one problem is a lack of doctors. But they believe a long-running program is making a difference. 

The Rural Medical Education Program is offered through the University of Illinois at Rockford. The school says the program graduated more than 260 students since 1993. Most of them went to practice in rural communities.

Margaret Vaughn, who is the executive director of the Illinois Rural Health Association, says the program is a big help.

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