Sean Crawford

Chatham

Advisory Board Ex-Officio

217-206-6408

Sean has led WUIS' news operations since the fall of 2009. He replaced the only other person to do so in the station's history, Rich Bradley. Prior to taking over the News Department, Sean worked as Statehouse Bureau Chief for WUIS and other Illinois Public Radio stations. He spent more than a dozen years on the capitol beat.

Sean  began his broadcasting career at his hometown station in Herrin, Illinois while still in high school.  It was there he learned to cover local government, courts and anything else that made the news.  He spent time in the Joliet area as News Director and Operations Manager for a radio station and worked for a chain of weekly newspapers for two years.  Along with news coverage, he reported heavily on sports and did on-air play by play. 

Sean holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield. 

Illinois.gov

Former Illinois Senate President Phil Rock has died at the age of 78.

The Democrat from Oak Park served 14 years in charge of the Senate, the longest tenure in the chamber's history.  He left in 1993. 

In recent years, Rock published his autobiography "Nobody Calls Just To Say Hello."  In an interview with the Illinois Channel, he explained that title.

www.staterepevans33.com

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus plans to organize students to demonstrate over the holiday break if an agreement to end the budget impasse is not reached.

The protest subject will be MAP grants for lower-income students, which have not been funded this fiscal year because of the lack of a spending plan.

Senator Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat, is the chairwoman of the caucus. 

More people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2014 than during any previous year on record. The numbers have doubled in just the past 15 years.   

US CPSC

Illinois will soon become just the fourth state to require carbon-monoxide detectors in schools.

    

The law taking effect at the start of the year follows an incident that occurred in Macoupin County in central Illinois where about 150 students and staff members became ill at school. 

Many had to be hospitalized due to a furnace leak in 2014. 

No detectors were in place at the time, although they have since been installed. 

That happened in state Sen. Andy Manar's district. 

AFSCME

The state's largest public employee union remains at odds with Governor Bruce Rauner's administration on a new contract.  

Negotiators for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees have been meeting with the governor's staff about twice a month since the summer. But AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says there's been little movement toward a deal.  

"It shouldn't take this long. And this cloud of uncertainty shouldn't continue to hang over the heads of the men and women who serve our community every day," Lindall said.

Flickr user Brandon Blahnik / "House" (CC V 2.0)

Home prices are on the rise in Illinois.

The statewide median price of a home was up over 6 percent in October to 168-thousand dollars. But overall sales were down amid tighter inventory. 

The number of homes listed was down 10 percent compared to the same time last year.   

That means it's a good time to be a seller.  Homes are staying on the market fewer days … 68 now compared to 74 a year ago.

While the holidays tend to always see a decline in homes being offered, the state's realtors say the drop off in October was especially steep.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

The lack of an Illinois budget means public pension systems won't get their state contribution next month. That won't stop retirees from getting their checks.

However, there could still be an impact.

The funds get money from members, the state and in the case of the Teachers Retirement System, school districts.

Dave Urbanek is the TRS spokesman. He says another key is investment income. But some of those investments, like stocks and bonds, might have to be liquidated in order to send out future checks.

State of Illinois

The Illinois budget gridlock continues four months into the fiscal year. Downstate Republicans are finding themselves having to balance support for the Governor with constituent concerns.

One of those lawmakers is C.D. Davidsmeyer. He says he has his theories of when the General Assembly will negotiate a state budget.

Davidsmeyer says that would likely mean it will be worked out in December at the very earliest. He says little is happening that oculd move the situation toward compromise.

Katherine Johnson / Flicker

The Illinois State Fair ended in August.  But many who worked there are still owed money. 

 The annual Springfield summertime event  is a celebration of agriculture and more.  But this year, the state warned vendors they might have to wait to get paid.  Turns out, that wasn't an idle threat.  Tim Landis is a reporter for the State Journal-Register newspaper, which tallied up the outstanding bills.  Among them, paying the sculptor of the fair's most well known symbol: 

Heartland Alliance

The Illinois poverty rate hovers above pre-recession levels at about 14 percent, according to Census numbers released Thursday.

Meanwhile, income in Illinois is stagnant, according to numbers crunched by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance. 

This is likely a consequence of the state's budget woes, says Kimberly Drew, an economic security specialist at the alliance.

“Many of our anti-poverty programs are essentially imploding because they are not receiving funding,” Drew said. “And this has very real consequences in people's lives."

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