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State lawmakers in Springfield say they’re still working to reach a budget compromise, with three weeks remaining in the legislative session.

With Illinois lawmakers struggling to agree on a state budget, the Illinois Senate unanimously passed a contingency plan … for dentists.

Illinois is literally two years behind in paying health insurance bills for state employees. It’s affecting doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers.

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Champaign News Gazette

Three University of Illinois football players are charged with burglary and robbery after what they claimed to be a prank on a fellow dormitory resident.

Three employees at two southern Illinois correctional facilities were recognized during an awards ceremony in Springfield Wednesday.

In a unanimous decision, Trustees have approved a plan to allow SIU Carbondale to borrow up to $35 million from SIU Edwardsville.

The Illinois Senate is plunging back into the ``grand bargain'' budget compromise with three weeks remaining in the legislative session.

The Senate voted to give local governments flexibility on paying debts. It's one of the few measures with bipartisan support in a package that's supposed to help break a logjam on a state budget deal.

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SIU Housing

A central Illinois man has admitted to committing bank fraud involving the construction of an apartment complex in Carbondale.

The U.S. attorney's office says 56-year-old Christopher Creek of Champaign pleaded guilty to submitting fraudulent requests for construction loans to the banks that financed the project for the Pointe at SIU.

A group of lawmakers is trying to boost the economy in Illinois' southernmost city.

This week, State Senator Dale Fowler, representatives with U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth as well as Congressman Mike Bost's office met with Delta Regional Authority Chairman Chris Masingill to talk about a proposed port terminal project for Cairo.

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The Mississippi River Bridge at Chester has re-opened.

The Randolph County Sheriff's office says the bridge that connects Chester and Perryville, Missouri is now open to traffic again.

The bridge closed last Thursday when water on the Missouri side covered the roadway.
 

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AARP

Nominations are being sought for those who donate their time and energy to improve the lives of others.

Fifty of Illinois' "unsung heroes" are being recognized for their work helping nonprofits, arts and culture, and small businesses in their communities with a special emphasis on those who can think outside the box and find creative ways to make Illinois a better place.

Illinois officials have released detailed plans for how they'll reintroduce a giant fish that was thought to be extinct from the state's waters.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that it's published a management plan for alligator gar, which includes goals and objectives.

A Chicago tax policy and research group is urging Illinois lawmakers to pass a full budget instead of ``piecemeal'' solutions in the final weeks of the legislative session.

The Civic Federation said Tuesday that to close an estimated $4.6 billion deficit Illinois needs spending restraints, increased revenues and borrowing for unpaid bills.

Northern Illinois University officials say there will be 150 staff position reductions as the school tries to cut expenses.

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File photo

The Williamson County Emergency Management Agency wants county residents to report any flood related damage to its office.

Officials are collecting damage assessments in case disaster recovery assistance would become available in the future.

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Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

A group of around 60 people took part in a pop-up demonstration during the noon hour Monday outside Congressman Mike Bost's office in Carbondale.

They were there to protest Bost's yes vote last week on the American Health Care Act.

The Democratic speaker of the Illinois House has appointed envoys to find areas of compromise on a state budget deal with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Speaker Michael Madigan said Monday that Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie of Chicago is one of four House Democrats who will seek common ground with the GOP administration on the state's first full budget since 2015.

Illinois state senators are debating whether to impose more regulations on student loan servicers.

The legislation would require the companies to get a state license to operate in Illinois.

Illinois is again at the center of a national movement involving the Equal Rights Amendment, 35 years after the state failed to ratify it.

SIU Trustees will decide this week whether to approve borrowing between the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses, and appoint a new chancellor for SIUC.

National Geographic

The May cover story for National Geographic Magazine is Genius.    Author and journalist Claudia Kalb delves into the issue exploring where geniuses come from.  And, what role does society play in their development or is genius simply a genetic lottery?  

WSIU's Jeff Williams recently talked with Kalb about those questions and more for this edition of In The Author’s Voice. 

Flooding
Jackson County EMA

The Union County Sheriff's Office and the the county emergency management agency wants residents in the Wolf Lake and Ware areas to consider evacuating until the Mississippi River falls to a safe level.

Officials say several sand boils were identified on the levee west of Wolf Lake. Local, state and federal agencies say their non-stop work to stabilize the sand boils appears to be successful, so far.

The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs is compiling a list of businesses that offer military discounts.

A 2015 law was designed to connect veterans and active duty service members with businesses interested in offering discounts and promotions.

A state audit found the Veterans' Discount Program was not implemented. The department responded that it wasn't developed due to staff turnover and other priorities.

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The Pittsburgh Marathon is this weekend.

Once again, WSIU's Reading Baseball contributor Pete Peterson will be taking part in the event's half marathon.

In this special commentary, Pete talks about getting more and more reminders about how unusual it is for a man of his "advanced" age to be running mile after mile.

Donald Trump
NPR

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday relaxing political restrictions on religious groups. Among other provisions, Trump directs the IRS to ease up on faith-based organizations who may have had their tax-exempt status threatened for supporting a particular candidate. NPR reporters annotate the order, adding context and analysis.

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Governor Bruce Rauner is less than thrilled with the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of the American Healthcare Act.

The State Board of Elections says hackers gained access to the information of 80-thousand Illinois voters — including their social security numbers and driver’s licenses.

Elections officials say hackers had access to Illinois’ system for nearly three weeks before they were detected. They did get access to personal information, but officials say that’s about it.

Attorneys for social service providers suing Illinois over lack of payment during the budget impasse have presented oral arguments before an appeals court.

The Pay Now Illinois coalition sued last year in Cook County seeking to force the state to honor contracts during the two-year stalemate. But, a Cook County judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying it belonged in a higher court.

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NPR Illinois

United Faculty, the union representing tenured and tenure-track professors at the University of Illinois Springfield, have been marching and chanting for a contract for three days.

They've been in negotiations for almost two years, and say the main sticking points are the retention and promotion policies, not salaries.

But Thursday, in her first public comments about the strike, Chancellor Susan Koch said money is an issue too.

Updated Road Closure List:

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Chicago Sun-Times

The head of Illinois’ child welfare agency is defending the decision to leave a toddler in a Joliet Township house where she was later found dead.

George Sheldon answered questions about the incident Wednesday at a state Senate hearing in Springfield.

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