Illinois | WGLT


Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas
Abe Lincoln (by Alexander Hesler) and Stephen Douglas: / Library of Congress

For all practical purposes Illinois embraced slavery at its founding in 1818, despite entering the Union as a non-slave state.  For example, Illinois' first governor, first lieutenant governor, and president of the state's first constitutional convention were all slaveholders.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Officials say skeletal human remains have been found by a person who was mowing grass at a home in Pekin.

Bart Everson, Flickr

The long, hot, violent summer  plaguing several Chicago south and west side neighborhoods continues.  

Last weekend alone, there were more than 50 shootings, nine of them fatal.

One of the victims was 32-year-old Nykea Aldridge, a cousin of Chicago Bulls player Dwyane Wade. A mother of four, Aldridge was killed in a gang crossfire as she pushed one of her children in a stroller along a city street.

Many in the city were still grieving the death the previous weekend of Abner Garcia, a 23-year-old Army veteran and volunteer who counseled teens against joining gangs.

Frerichs' Life Insurance Task Force Touring Illinois

Aug 17, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Some Illinois residents are speaking out in support of a bill to make it easier for people to receive life insurance benefits.

Children smiling in a classroom
Courtesy / YWCA of McLean County

Editors Note:  "Stretched Thin," is examining the effect of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies to put a human face on how the stalemate is affecting the daily lives of Illinois residents.

The YWCA offers services from the cradle to old age, but one of its biggest outreach efforts involves early learning programs for children.

YWCA of McLean County

Editors Note:  "Stretched Thin," is examining the effect of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies to put a human face on how the stalemate is affecting the daily lives of Illinois residents.
The McLean County YWCA is mandated by the state of Illinois to offer a variety of services to adult residents who are elderly or disabled. But in a Catch 22 for the agency, the state has not provided funding for these services for several months, according to Liz German, the YWCA's vice president for operations.


Editors Note:  "Stretched Thin," is examining the effect of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies to put a human face on how the stalemate is affecting the daily lives of Illinois residents. 

A growing number of human service providers are suggesting Illinois residents express their dissatisfaction in the voting booth over the state's nearly year-long budget impasse.

jelm6 / Creative Commons

Chicago has experienced a  70 percent increase in gun violence so far this year. What happens to the people left behind --the survivors -- and those who live in daily terror of the cross fires? 

Part Two of our series on Chicago's struggle with guns and gangs explores how a group called Chicago Survivors helps those left behind.

Bart Everson / Creative Commons

Chicago is looking ahead to what may be one of its most violent summers on record. Incidents of gun violence are already running 70 percent higher than last year.

Champaign Fires Police Officer

Apr 14, 2016
Daniel Schwen / Flickr via Creative Commons

Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb has fired an officer who was the subject of a series of lawsuits alleging excessive force.

Cowan Group / Flickr via Creative Commons

Illinois lawmakers have taken the first step toward eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor. A proposed amendment to the state Constitution could save a projected $1.6 million a year.

A house committee passed the proposal to the full House. An identical measure is pending in the Senate.

The lieutenant governor doesn't actually have to do much. The Constitution vaguely says whoever holds the office "shall perform the duties delegated to him by the Governor."

License Plate Windfall To End

Apr 13, 2016
Adle Mand / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Illinois House has passed a measure to suspend fines for drivers who are late renewing their vehicle license plates until the state can continue mailing reminders.

Police Give Citizens Look Inside Profession

Apr 11, 2016
Keith Allison / Flickr via Creative Commons

People will be able to get some idea what it's like to be a police officer at an event Saturday April 19th. The second Law Enforcement Education Summit is at Illinois State University's Horton Field House. Bloomington Police Chief Brenden Heffner says the event was so popular in it's inaugural year at the Armory, they are moving it to a bigger space. Chief Heffner says visitors had their favorites among the displays and demonstrations.

Lawmakers Consider Pitchfork Fishing

Apr 8, 2016
Victor / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Illinois legislature is regional mélange, comprised of legislators from the nation's third largest city, as well as lawmakers who represent rural areas that are geographically closer to Mississippi than they are to Chicago. That diversity was on display yesterday when the House took up legislation to regulate fishing. State Rep. Charlie Meier is Republican, and a proud farmer from Okawville, down in southwestern Illinois. He also, apparently, likes fishing. Which may be why the Dept. of Natural Resources asked him to sponsor legislation on its behalf. The goal: to add catfish to the list of fish that can be "taken by means of a pitchfork, underwater spear gun" or "bow and arrow." Naturally, this raised some questions. Democratic Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo asked.

Transgender Bathroom Access Measure Advances

Apr 5, 2016
Jack Stewart / Flickr via Creative Commons

Illinois lawmakers have given initial approval to a measure that would allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates, passports, and identification cards. Currently, people must first undergo surgery before changing their gender on documents. Legislation that advanced out of a House committee Tuesday removes that requirement. Maya Zimmerman says she would like to have sex change surgery, but she can't afford it.

Judge; McCullough To Stay In Jail

Apr 1, 2016
Chris Potter / Wikimedia Commons

Two Chicago attorneys appeared Friday morning at a hearing to ask a DeKalb County Judge to release Jack McCullough from prison immediately.

Peoria Welcomes Lion Cubs

Mar 15, 2016
Drew Avery / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Peoria Zoo is making preparations for the first public showing of three African lion cubs born in early December. The cubs will make their debut March 26.

No Money For Fairground Repairs

Mar 14, 2016
Vttend / Flickr via Creative Commons

A spending plan from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner outlines a $180 million backlog in repairs and maintenance for the state fairgrounds in Springfield and Du Quoin.

Pexels / Facebook via Creative Commons

It’s been 10 months since the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state’s last attempt at a pension overhaul. Legislators have yet to decide what to do about Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension debt … but they are beginning to weigh their options. One set of proposals would let employees collect their pension as a single payment when they retire. Brian Mackey has more.

Unknown /

As a federal spy agency weighs where to relocate in the St. Louis area, it now is being offered free land at two sites. Several top political leaders from the Missouri side of the region say 99 acres of no-cost land is now part of the effort to woo the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to north St. Louis. Illinois leaders are also offering free land near Scott Air Force Base and have pledged $115 million for transportation improvements. Two St. Louis County sites are also in the running.

Human Service Provider Makes Cuts

Mar 4, 2016
Virginia K. Schaefer / US Navy

A Bloomington human services provider is cutting back because of the states nine month long budget stalemate. LIFE-Center for Independent Living will no longer be open on Friday's, beginning today. LIFE-CIL is a not for profit that helps provide clients with services enabling them to live on their own. The organization serves about 2,200 in McLean, Livingston, Ford and DeWitt Counties.

Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner

Winter weather is causing cancelations. A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 9:00 p.m. for Bloomington-Normal: (this list will be updated)

McLean County Museum of History

ISU Black History Cultural Dinner

State Farm Insurance

The Normal Theater

Illinois State University

Children's Discovery Museum

Unit 5

Central Catholic High School
Calvary Catholic High School

Cornerstone Christian Academy

Kelly Lenz / Ka. Ag Network

  A new Purdue University study says grain bin entrapments and other confined space accidents on the nation's farms fell to their lowest level in a decade last year. The study shows 47 entrapments in grain bins and other confined spaces in 2015. That's 34 percent less than 2014's 71 entrapments and the fewest since 46 were recorded in 2006. Purdue says 25 people died last year in entrapments, down from 31 in 2014. Bill Field, a Purdue professor of agricultural safety and health, says many nonfatal entrapments go unreported each year because there's no mandatory national reporting system.

Shooting Victim Father Seeks Photos

Feb 16, 2016
Steven Z / Flickr via Creative Commons

The father of a 21-year-old Carbondale woman killed in a 2012 shooting has won a legal ruling to obtain photographs related to her death. The Illinois Attorney General's Office has ordered Illinois State Police to provide Larry Young with photos from its investigation of his daughter Molly's death at the home of her ex-boyfriend, a former Carbondale police dispatcher. Molly Young's case remains open after a special prosecutor couldn't determine whether a single gunshot to her head was an accident, suicide or homicide.

PAAR / Facebook via Creative Commons

A newspaper report says a man who's serving 15 years in prison for running an underage prostitution operation did so out of an apartment obtained with the help of the Peoria Police Department. The Peoria Journal Star reports Matthew Petrakis had been in close contact with the police department for months before his May 2015 arrest on prostitution-related charges.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

The McLean County Coroner has identified the man struck and killed by a train early Monday morning.

Steven Depolo / Flickr

Money keeps state government going. From services to employee paychecks. So, how does the State of Illinois function when it's piling up more bills than it can cover? Comptroller Leslie Munger says she is asked often if the state could run out of money.

Munger says, "Every single day we run out of money. We pay as much as we can on that given day and then we have to wait for the next day. So when we make decisions about how to pay our bills, we are looking at today do we pay foster care or do we send the education payment?"

New Law Targets Human Trafficking

Feb 4, 2016
United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking / Flickr via Creative Commons

A new law is requiring many Illinois businesses to post information about a human trafficking hotline in an attempt to curb what officials call ``modern-day slavery.'' The Illinois Department of Human Services says it's working with the state labor department and the attorney general's office to raise awareness of the problem. Under the law that took effect Jan. 1, businesses ranging from bars to truck stops to job recruitment centers must post the number for the National Human-Trafficking Resource Center hotline near a public entrance or other location where employees will see it.

John H. White / National Archives and Records Administration

A nonprofit research group says poverty rates in Illinois are up to three times higher for racial minorities. The Heartland Alliance's research arm released a report Wednesday outlining significant racial disparities for income, unemployment, birth rates and housing, among other things. The 44-page document is called ``Racism's Toll: Report on Illinois Poverty,'' and looks at institutional racism in the state. The report says unemployment rates are 1.4 to 2.4 times higher for minorities than for whites.

Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr

A federal jury has convicted a former Chicago official on all counts for taking bribes to steer $100 million in red-light camera contracts to a Phoenix company. Jurors returned with a guilty verdict on all 20 counts this afternoon. They began deliberating Monday.