Sean Crawford

Chatham

Community Advisory Board, Ex-Officio

Sean has led the NPR Illinois news operations since the fall of 2009. He replaced the only other person to do so in the station's history, Rich Bradley. Prior to taking over the News Department, Sean worked as Statehouse Bureau Chief for NPR Illinois and other Illinois Public Radio stations. He spent more than a dozen years on the capitol beat.

Sean  began his broadcasting career at his hometown station in Herrin, Illinois while still in high school.  It was there he learned to cover local government, courts and anything else that made the news.  He spent time in the Joliet area as News Director and Operations Manager for a radio station and worked for a chain of weekly newspapers for two years.  Along with news coverage, he reported heavily on sports and did on-air play by play. 

Sean holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield. 

Teachers and administrators are working on new guidelines for art education in Illinois. Some schools have no art programs, while others have limited time to teach it. 

Not everyone plays the Illinois Lottery.  But the state's announcement that winners of more than $600 will have to wait for their prizes has caught the public's attention.   

Retirees will still get their state pension checks next month, despite the government being unable to pay the different systems that oversee benefits.  But the systems could still face a cash flow problem going forward. 

Dave Urbanek with the Teacher's Retirement System says It has happened before:

"You remember a few years ago, the state was in a similar position and didn't have enough cash on hand to pay all of its bills and delayed payments to the pension systems.  What we had to do in that instance was sell a certain amount of our investment portfolio."

Amtrak says it will stop train service on the route that runs through central Illinois starting October 17.

challengefuture.org

A new law will require schools to install carbon monoxide detectors.  The law stems from an incident last year. 

About 150 students and staff became ill at the North Mac Intermediate School in Girard..  Turns out it was a problem with the heating system.  A faulty exhaust pipe.  

A carbon monoxide detector would have alerted those in the building.   While the detectors are required for many structures, schools were left out.  

Seven people have died from a Legionnaires' Disease outbreak in western Illinois.   The cases all involve residents of the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy.  

It takes a lot to upstage Abraham Lincoln.  But if anyone could, it might have been Marilyn Monroe.

The actress visited the small east central Illinois town of Bement, in Piatt County, 60 years ago this week.  Bement is known for being the site where Lincoln and Stephen Douglas met to plan their famous debates.  But in 1955, it was Marilyn's town. 

A panel of lawmakers will weigh in Wednesday on the planned closure of two state facilities.  But the final decision rests with the governor. 

A Chicago alderman has proposed a penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks in that city.  There is also an effort to make that happen statewide.

You may be asking: How did Illinois get to this point?

University of Illinois employees won't see pay raises, at least until a state budget is finalized. 

Nearly a month into the new fiscal year, the university is still waiting to see the impact of budget negotiations.

It was 100 years ago this week that one of Chicago's most tragic events occurred.  844 people died in a horrific scene along the Chicago River.And yet, most have never heard of the Eastland Disaster.

Michael McCarthy is author of the book "Ashes Under Water: The SS Eastland and the Shipwreck That Shook America."  He said the event occurred on a misty Saturday morning in July 1915.

The fifth Wepner Symposium on the Lincoln Legacy and Contemporary Scholarship at the University of Illinois Springfield will advance the concept of Counter-Emancipation following President Abraham Lincoln’s death, and its connections to racial inequality in the United States today.

Springfield's new mayor is promising to work in a collaborative fashion to address the city's needs.  Jim Langfelder took the oath of office Thursday afternoon in a ceremony at Sangamon Auditorium.

He says his administration will be transparent and will work for all parts of the city.  He says his top priority is stabilizing the utility CWLP.  He also called for establishing wi fi downtown and developing a second water source.

Illinois could join a handful of states that allow cameras to be installed in the rooms of nursing home residents.  

A preservation group is weighing in on a battle over a state agency's future.  Landmarks Illinois says it’s concerned about Governor Bruce Rauner's plan to get rid of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. 

Despite a decline in unemployment in the past year, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says changes are needed to prevent the loss of jobs in the state.   

Starting this year, home sellers in Illinois need to provide more information to potential buyers. 

Illinois already requires disclosure of problems like asbestos, radon, lead paint... and even if a home was used as a meth lab.  Add to that list... issues with doors and windows.

Some may be warped or leak... and lead to bigger concerns.  

Illinois is reporting widespread flu activity earlier than most years.  Widespread means the flu is showing up statewide.  Illinois tracks people hospitalized for the flu. That number is above 200 with nearly half the cases in the week that ended December 13th. 

Illinois' Attorney General wants to speed up a state supreme court review of a pension law. But public employees are hoping to slow down that process.  

The gas tax is used to help pay for road and bridge repairs. But the revenue it brings in fails to keep up with demand.  

A new exhibit at the Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield showcases some of the most important documents related to Abraham Lincoln. A handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address and a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation are on display as part of what's titled "Undying Words." 

Illinois farmers will be trained how to properly apply fertilizer and other chemicals as a way to help prevent agricultural runoff. 

Deer-vehicle accidents in Illinois continue to decline.  Deer can be more than a nuisance. They can be dangerous when they venture on to roads.   

The director of the Illinois Secretary of State Police has died.  

Former Congressman Lane Evans dies

Nov 6, 2014
www.afscme31.org

A long-time former 17th District Congressman has died after a long fight with Parkinson’s disease. 63-year old Lane Evans died Wednesday at a nursing home in East Moline, according to his legal guardian.

Ebola has not just dominated the news recently, it has become a point of discussion in campaigns.  It came up in last night's U-S Senate debate, held as part of the public t-v program "Chicago Tonight."

U-S Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, says he favors close monitoring of passengers and quarantining those at high risk of exposure.

But he disagreed with his Republican challenger Jim Oberweis, a state Senator, on the need for a travel ban from certain countries.  

Illinois' declining manufacturing sector led to one candidate for congress calling for repeal of a controversial free trade deal.  The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, has been praised by those who see it as key to opening up new export markets.  But others say it has led to more outsourcing of jobs to other countries.  

Democrat Ann Callis of Edwardsville, who is seeking the 13th Congressional District seat, commented in a Tuesday debate in Springfield that she would support repealing NAFTA. 

Afterward, she walked back those comments:

The following is an op-ed written by University of Illinois Springfield Professor Kent Redfield for the U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs:

A former governor was convicted of public corruption a few weeks ago. What many Illinoisans probably found surprising wasn’t the verdict, but the fact that the governor was from Virginia. One wag tweeted, “That’s so Illinois!” When it comes to public corruption, Illinois is the punchline of every joke, even when the corruption is not our own. 

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