Friday Forum

WNIJ's Friday Forum features  in-depth interviews with state officials, community leaders, and others whose decisions influence your life. You can hear it every Friday during Morning Edition on 89.5 FM and WNIJ.org.

Most Freedom of Information Act requests come from people outside of the journalism field.

"We get requests every single day from regular citizens who are interested just in knowing what the government is up to," according to Annum Haider, civic engagement coordinator with the Better Government Association. "They are trying to get more information to be more engaged."

Jessi LaRue

When it comes to innovation, we remember the name that came out on top – no matter how good the “other” product was.

Cyrus McCormick gained fame for his wheat reaper, but few people remember John Manny.

When it comes to barbed wire, the name of Joseph Glidden springs to mind, along with his partner Isaac Ellwood. But not as many people are aware of the significance of Jacob Haish in the industry.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

About 20 Illinois lawmakers so far have announced they are leaving the state legislature. For some, it's effective immediately. For others, it means they will not run for re-election -- and the list keeps growing.

But is this kind of turnover normal in Springfield?

State Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, recently announced he will not run again this coming term. He served for more than a decade in the Illinois Senate after he retired from a 33-year career in law enforcement. So, Bivins says, he thought 11 years was long enough for him to serve as a state senator.

Carl Nelson

She's not sure how long she'll be in the office, but NIU Acting President Lisa Freeman says there's plenty to accomplish. Among her priorities are providing employee raises and zeroing in on the latest student recruiting tactics.

To-do list for temporary role

Flickr User Democracy Chronicles/CC 2.0

Conflict of interest is a hot topic of discussion in modern politics, particularly with the rise of big money and hyper-partisanship. But it’s usually brought up in the context of the legislature and executive branches. However, the judiciary has its own complications.

At the national level, the Supreme Court was intended to be a more moderating influence. These justices are appointed for life and don’t have to face the pressure of running for a new term.

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