Rich Egger

Rich is the News Director at Tri States Public Radio. Rich grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago but now calls Macomb home. Rich has a B.A in Communication Studies with an Emphasis on Radio, TV, and Film from Northern Illinois University. Rich came to love radio in high school where he developed his “news nerdiness” as he calls it. Rich’s high school had a radio station called WFVH, which he worked at for a couple years. In college, Rich worked at campus station WKDI for three years, spinning tunes and serving at various times as General Manager, Music Director and Operations Manager. Before being hired as Tri States Public Radio’s news director in 1998, Rich worked professionally in news at WRMN-AM/WJKL-FM in Elgin and WJBC-AM in Bloomington. In Rich’s leisure time he loves music, books, cross-country skiing, rooting for the Cubs and Blackhawks, and baking sugar frosted chocolate bombs. His future plans include “getting some tacos.”

The O'Hern family in west central Illinois has long been involved in traditional farming. They grow corn, soybeans, and wheat, plus they raise cattle. In the last few years they have added another crop to their repertoire: medical marijuana.

Western Illinois University has laid off workers and eliminated vacant positions the past few years as it grappled with declines in revenues and student enrollment.  Yet the administration found the money to create a well-paid temporary position for one of its own.

New Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has said he will prioritize funding for the state's colleges and universities.  Nonetheless, the Western Illinois University administration has said more deep budget cuts might be necessary.

Two more members of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees say they will be leaving the board.

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees (BoT) has lost another member, and it appears as though his resignation is nearly two years late.

The University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) has asked the McDonough County State's Attorney's office to conduct a criminal investigation of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees, University President Jack Thomas, and other officers of the institution.

Julia Albarracin said she came to the United States in 1999 to attend graduate school at the University of Florida.  She now teaches political science at Western Illinois University.  Albarracin is also now an American citizen after being sworn in a few months ago, and she used her newfound status to cast her first vote in a U.S. election.

Teachers and some staff at Western Illinois University will begin the new year without a new contract.  They're in mediation with the administration and are working under terms of the previous contract, which expired over the summer.

The WIU administration blames the uncertainty caused by the two year state budget impasse for this year's drop in enrollment.

State spending on public higher education in Illinois has dropped precipitously during the past two years as the state has operated without a budget.  But the president of Western Illinois University said the school will not allow itself to be bogged down by the budget stalemate.

Researchers are trying to gain greater insights into why people experience different health outcomes.  A healthcare expert from Illinois believes those differences could be reduced through community coalitions.

Time is winding down on Illinois' stop-gap spending measure, which expires in early January. But many state lawmakers are in campaign mode so nothing is being done to complete a full budget for Illinois.

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas said the state's stop-gap spending measure helped the university for the fall semester, but he cautioned it's not designed to get any of the state's public universities through the entire fiscal year. 

In a letter to the campus community, WIU President Jack Thomas said around 110 university workers will receive layoff notices within the next week.

The Western Illinois University administration has met with employee groups several times in the past week, trying to find a way to save money while also saving jobs.

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees will wait until next month to vote on a massive budget cutting plan.  In a letter issued Tuesday to the campus community, WIU President Jack Thomas said he wants more time to come up with a proposal that threatens the livelihood of fewer people.

The state of Illinois has cut funding to higher education each year for more than a decade.  Those cuts combined with declining enrollment will cause some people to lose their jobs at Western Illinois University.

Public universities in Illinois find themselves in an odd situation.  A new school year is underway but the state has no budget for higher education, which means there is no state money coming in to the public institutions.