Sean Crawford

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 is likely to enter August without a full-year budget for Fiscal Year 2016, which began July 1. The longer the impasse continues, the more the impact will be felt. 

Most Illinois residents may be busy with their summer and less focused on the state budget, since schools are expected to open on time. State workers also are getting paid.

Republican State Rep. Tim Butler says the ongoing fiscal fight will boil over in more ways:

WUIS

Illinois could join a handful of states that allow cameras to be installed in the rooms of nursing home residents. 

Supporters say it would give families peace of mind to have electronic monitoring of the care their loved ones receive. But there are also concerns, especially when it comes to privacy.

"Nursing homes, a lot of people tend to forget ... that is their home," Hinsdale Republican Representative Patti Bellock said.

Supporters say the cameras would only be installed when the resident or family agrees. They would also have to cover the cost. 

Illinois Department of Corrections

DNA helped exonerate more than 300 people in the U.S. Among the most recent was Christopher Abernathy, who was freed last week from a northern Illinois prison. He served almost 30 years for rape and murder. 

The Illinois Innocence Project, based at the U of I Springfield, provided DNA testing in that case. Its founder, Larry Golden, says he's seen a change in how people view the justice system and its mistakes in the past two decades.

Illinois is reporting widespread flu activity earlier than most years.  Widespread means the flu is showing up statewide.  Illinois tracks people hospitalized for the flu. That number is above 200 with nearly half the cases in the week that ended December 13th. 

Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography / "Fizzy Purple Grape Soda" (CC v. 2.0)

Another attempt to tax sugary drinks is expected in the upcoming Illinois legislative session. Drinks like soda and even some juice have been linked to obesity, diabetes and other problems. 

Elissa Bassler, with the Illinois Public Health Institute, says a plan that came up in the past year would have imposed a penny per ounce tax on the drinks.  She says the new measure will be similar:

"It's a big idea and it takes some time for people to wrap their arms around it."

WNIJ

You might notice roads and bridges in need of repair as you drive around this holiday weekend. But revenue from a key funding source, the gas tax, has been declining.  It's charged per gallon of gas purchased. U of I professor Don Fullerton says it was created on a simple concept:

"The more you drive, the more gas you use.  The more you ought to have to pay for the road. It's sort of a benefit principle of taxation."

Improved mileage in vehicles means less gas is being used. Fullerton says change is needed to keep up with demand:

Agricultural runoff is a problem in Illinois and many other farm states.  Nitrogen, phosphorous and chemicals help with yields, but too much winds up in the water supply.   That creates problems like algae growth that robs the water of oxygen, killing off aquatic life. 

Jean Payne represents fertilizer and chemical dealers in the state.  She says a training program will launch this winter in an effort to get farmers better educated on how to apply nutrients to their crops, including the best time for application and proper amounts. 

A newly released survey shows a majority of Illinois residents are satisfied with the performance of their local police department.  But the numbers also show differences of opinion along racial lines. 

The statewide survey shows overall, 7 of 10 people in Illinois give police good marks.  But African Americans are more split, with only about half giving a commendable rating.

Deer can be more than a nuisance. They can be dangerous when they venture on to roads.  

Illinois saw a one percent drop in the number of crashes in 2013,but there were still over 15-thousand accidents.  There was also a slight increase in injuries from those collisions and six people died.

Madison and Cook County led the way in the number of deer-vehicle accidents with well over 400 each.

An internet event next week is aimed at reaching out to parents in the state. 

The Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois PTA have teamed up to offer their first Back To School webinar on Tuesday September 9.   It will feature the state superintendent and others giving parents more details about changes in schools.  That includes new learning standards and tests.

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