WSIU News Morning Update (3/2/2021)

2 hours ago

Dan Klefstad and Leah Lerner report this morning's news for March 2nd.

US Capitol Building
Credit: Liam James Doyle | NPR / NPR


FBI Director Christopher Wray is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Jan. 6 insurrection, domestic extremism and other threats. Watch the hearing live at 9 a.m.

Belleville News-Democrat

A new survey of Illinois school districts shows most are continuing to have trouble filling open teaching positions with qualified teachers and even more are having difficulty hiring substitute teachers.

It’s a problem that has existed in the state for many years and one that experts attribute to a variety of factors, such as low pay and the difficulty in attracting new teachers to work in certain parts of the state.

Courtesy of Camp Ondessonk

Thousands of children across Illinois missed out on outdoor opportunities through summer camp last year, when COVID-19 caused the cancellation of hundreds of camps and activities in 2020.

This year, camp directors say they're determined to get kids back outside.

Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker signed a criminal justice omnibus bill backed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Monday, Feb. 22, abolishing cash bail, overhauling police certification and reforming use-of-force standards among numerous other provisions.

Pritzker signed the legislation, House Bill 3653, during an event at Chicago State University alongside members of his administration and lawmakers from the Black Caucus.

Capitol News Illinois · Illinois' Teacher Shortage

Former Illinois Lawmakers Face Federal Charges

Feb 26, 2021

One former member of the Illinois General Assembly was indicted, along with his two sons, on charges of tax evasion this week, while a second former lawmaker pleaded not guilty in a separate case that alleged he committed federal tax fraud, among other charges.

SIU Salukis

Saluki Athletics and the SIU Foundation Friday launched a four-year, 25 million dollar fundraising campaign to raise money to support the future of the department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The goal is to raise private funds to support the mission of the SIU Athletic Department through June 30, 2024.  

UPDATED: Officials Announce Federal Vaccination Site at Chicago’s United Center

Feb 26, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

State and federal officials on Friday announced a new federal mass COVID-19 vaccination site will be opening March 10 at the United Center in Chicago.

The new site will prioritize access for seniors and be open to any Phase 1B-plus eligible residents throughout the state, which now includes those 16 years of age or older with underlying conditions.

A statewide program dedicated to restorative justice is launching in Southern Illinois.

Human service provider Arrowleaf is one of 80 participants in the program, with efforts focused on Alexander and Pulaski counties. The R3 program is funded by marijuana sales, with a mission of restorative justice.

CEO Sherrie Crabb said the first step is hiring staff for the program, and says the organization is looking for those already in the area, including those seeking re-entry into the workforce.

Carbondale Police

Three people face charges in connection to a shooting incident in Carbondale Thursday evening.

WSIU Staff

Social Justice movements like Black Lives Matter have changed the way Americans think over the last several months. February is Black History Month, and we'll bring you opportunities to learn more about history and culture, as well as ways to get more involved in equity and diversity initiatives.

WSIU News Morning Update (2/26/2021)

Feb 26, 2021

Dan Klefstad and Leah Lerner report this morning's news for February 26th.

Commentary: The Black and White Dividing Line

Feb 26, 2021
Associated Press

As Black History Month winds to a close, WSIU contributor Pete Peterson takes a personal look at the black and white racial dividing line in America.

Indiana News Connection

New data show a big drop of just over 9% in the number of Indiana students applying for federal student aid this year, and experts say that could mean a big red flag for college enrollment.

Carbondale Police Department Adopts 10 Shared Principles For Policing
Benjy Jeffords / WSIU

The Carbondale Police Departmen

State Announces Phase 1B Expansion, But Appointments Still Limited

Feb 25, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinois residents 16 years of age and older with underlying conditions are now able to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in the state’s latest expansion of vaccination Phase 1B.

The expansion includes people aged 16-64 with conditions such as obesity, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, smoking, heart conditions, chronic kidney disease, cancer, solid organ transplant, sickle cell disease, pregnancy and persons with a disability, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

WSIU Radio is experiencing a temporary reduction in the quality of the audio for some of our NPR programs.  We are working to resolve the issue.  We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.

WSIU News Morning Update (2/25/2021)

Feb 25, 2021

Dan Klefstad and Leah Lerner report this morning's news for February 25th.  

Author Gary DeNeal reveals his inspiration for writing A Knight of Another Sort—in particular, the way in which his family’s personal connection to the Birger gang sparked a lifelong fascination with southern Illinois’ history.

Pritzker expecting to hit 100,000 daily vaccines in mid-March

Feb 24, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday the state expects to be receiving up to 100,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine daily by mid-March, up from the approximately 60,000 it is currently receiving on average.

That’s counting only the already-approved Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines, and is not including a potential dosage spike that is expected occur if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week.

Hemp Production Drops Slightly in 2020

Feb 24, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock

Industrial hemp production declined slightly in 2020, the second year of legalized production in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that 2,392 acres of industrial hemp, or 87 percent of the acres planted, were harvested during the year. That was down from just over 2,800 acres in 2019.

Law Enforcement Groups Respond to Landmark Criminal Justice Reform

Feb 24, 2021

Law enforcement groups have decried the Monday signing of a massive criminal justice reform bill into law by Gov. JB Pritzker, referring to the legislation as anti-police with provisions that will lead to unintended consequences.

House Bill 3653, referred to as the “Safe-T Act,” ends the use of cash bail by 2023 and grants increased state oversight of police agencies statewide, among other provisions. Law enforcement and Republican lawmakers opposed the legislation, citing problematic language in some provisions, while maintaining support for the law’s intent.

Madigan’s Handpicked Successor Resigns After Serving Three Days

Feb 24, 2021

Edward Guerra Kodatt, who was appointed Sunday to replace Former Speaker Michael Madigan, resigned abruptly Wednesday after Madigan and Chicago Ald. Marty Quinn issued a statement Tuesday night urging Kodatt to step down in light of unspecified “alleged questionable conduct.”

WSIU News Morning Update (2/24/2021)

Feb 24, 2021

Dan Klefstad and Leah Lerner report this morning's news for February 24th.  

Capitol News Illinois photo by Tim Kirsininkas

Gov. JB Pritzker announced a low-interest loan program Tuesday to help alleviate the unprecedented financial burden from soaring utility costs for certain Illinois municipalities and their residents.

The extreme weather that devastated Texas’ electrical grid last week has resulted in skyrocketing natural gas prices in Illinois directly linked to frozen natural gas wells in Texas and Oklahoma.

Author Steve Berry's latest installment in his Cotton Malone series is out today (2/23/21).  WSIU's Jeff Williams recently talked with Berry about "The Kaiser's Web" for this edition of In The Author's Voice.

State Announces New Federal Funding to Feed Low-Income Students

Feb 23, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock

Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday announced new federal funding to expand the state’s food assistance program for school-age children who would normally receive free or reduced-price meals.

Pritzker said the additional funds to the existing Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program will help feed 200,000 more children, for a total of about 1 million children who will receive assistance this school year compared to about 764,000 children who received P-EBT benefits the previous school year.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 Continue on a Steady Decline

Feb 23, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Hospitalizations and positivity rates for COVID-19 in Illinois continued on a steady decline Tuesday, decreasing for the 13th straight week.

As of Monday night, the state reported 1,488 individuals were in the hospital with COVID-19, including 361 in intensive care unit beds and 172 on ventilators.

Darren Bailey Campaigns In Marion For Illinois Governor
Benjy Jeffords / WSIU

Republican Darren Bailey made a stop in Marion Tuesday kicking off his campaign for Governor.

After announcing his campaign for Governor Monday night Darren Bailey hit the campaign trail Tuesday stopping in Marion, Highland and Bloomington.