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When former Texas Gov. Rick Perry faces the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for his confirmation hearing on Thursday, his first test could be whether he remembers the name of the agency he's been picked to head.

If you think that you won't be touched by a Republican overhaul of Obamacare because you get health insurance through your job at a big company, think again.

Several of the law's provisions apply to plans offered by large employers, too (with some exceptions for plans that were in place before the law passed in March 2010).

When a solar company wants to test new technology, they bring their panels to the National Renewable Energy Lab near Denver. It's a place where federal scientists can measure how powerful and long-lasting solar panels are, so consumers know what they are buying.

"A lot of times maybe people don't even know how to evaluate new technologies appropriately. And so we have a lot of insight and knowledge into the market that can help with some of those decisions," lab engineer Chris Deline explained.

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President Obama's Final News Conference

16 hours ago

President Obama is holding his final news conference this afternoon at 1:15 PM Central Time. This address will preempt regularly scheduled programming.

With the focus on the Friday, January 20th Presidential Inauguration, there will be one connection between Washington D.C. and southern Illinois.  For the second inauguration in a row Mrs.  Elizabeth Byassee-Shore's Marion Junior High School Choir will perform on Saturday January 21st 2017.  Even though it has been a lot of work getting both the choir ready and taking care of the many administrative details required for a trip such as this, Byasee-Shore says it will be worth it.  On this edition of WSIU InFocus, we visit her classroom.

State Senator Scott Bennett says Democrats in his chamber supported a rules change last week to impose term limits on Senate legislative leaders as a show of good faith.

The Champaign Democrat says they're showing their commitment to imposing the ten-year term limits on leaders in both legislative chambers ... as part of a state budget package.

People
Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago State University is getting a whole new slate of leaders.

The school has struggled financially for the last few years due in part to the state's budget impasse.

Building
Franklin County

Franklin County voters will get a chance to decide if they want a sales tax increase to build a new courthouse.

The county's Board of Commissioners approved placing a one percent sales tax increase on the April 4th ballot.

People
Carbondale Police

The Carbondale Police Department is offering residents a chance to learn more about what its officers do during the upcoming Citizens Police Academy.

On Wednesday, state senators filed a package of bills designed to break the partisan logjam that's led to the state going more than 18 months without a budget. The first of those bills deals with changing the school funding formula, and the commission charged with accomplishing that task appears headed toward a compromise.

Ice
Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

Most communities reported light ice buildups on elevated surfaces such as trees, power lines and vehicles.

Power outages were reported across several communities in southern Illinois, especially in Jackson County, where at one point Friday afternoon, around 1,500 Ameren customers were without power.

People
Heartland Regional Medical Center

Heartland Regional Medical Center has selected a Marion native to become the facility's new leader.

Melisa Adkins will become the chief executive officer on February 13th.

The largest Illinois state employees union is preparing for a potential strike.

AFSCME executive director Roberta Lynch sent an email to union members telling them a strike authorization vote will take place in each local union sometime between January 30th and February 19th.

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WSIU InFocus

The Big Event
Benjy Jeffords / WSIU

The Big Event: A Saluki Day of Service is Coming April 1st

On April first this year some Carbondale nonprofit organizations will be swarming with students, staff and faculty volunteers doing a day of community service. It’s called The Big Event, a Saluki day of service.

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