WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Rich Egger

News Director

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.”

Ways to Connect

Shop Talk - April 10

Apr 10, 2012

The panelists discuss so-called "ag gag" laws, one of which was recently signed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

The bill makes it a crime to access an agricultural facility under false pretenses.  Illinois and Missouri lawmakers have considered similar legislation.

Critics of the bill say it is too broad because it does not define "false pretenses." Supporters say the law will protect farmers.

From guest commentator Byron Oden Shabazz:

As the US Supreme Court deals with President Obama's health care plan, here in western Illinois we are celebrating Minority Health Month as a reminder of our community's -- and the nation's -- commitment to educate all people about the need for comprehensive health care.

NTN Bower will continue to operate out of it current factory in Macomb while also expanding into a new $100 million facility to be built directly east of it.

“The new plant will be about 200,000 square feet and create 80 permanent fulltime jobs,” said Kunio Kamo, President, NTN Bower.

The company makes tapered and cylindrical roller bearings. Kamo said additional production lines will be installed in the new factory.

Emphasis - April 6

Apr 6, 2012

Rich Egger's guests are Sue Scott and Nancy Crossman, who are co-founders of the Cornfed Film Fest in Macomb.

The inaugural festival will take place April 13 - 15, 2012. The Western Illinois Museum, 201 S Lafayette St will serve as the Welcome Center where you can find tickets and information.

The theme is A Festival of Firsts. It will feature student films, directorial debuts, and many other types of "firsts."

The Illinois Firearm Owners Identification program has a heap of problems.

The findings are in a report released by the Illinois Auditor General, who said some of those problems put public safety at risk.

The report said Illinois State Police sometimes don't know if the applicant has a disqualifying mental health condition.

In addition, the state is supposed to retrieve the gun licenses once they're expired, but the audit found 70% of revoked registration cards never get back to the police.

Jurors in Illinois could soon take a more active role in certain types of cases.

The Illinois Supreme Court adopted a rule that said jurors can ask questions of witnesses in civil trials.

Warren Wolfson, who teaches at the DePaul Law School in Chicago and previously served 34 years as a judge, said he allowed questions in more than two dozen cases, but had little success convincing other judges to give it a try.

The panelists talk about a constitutional amendment in Mexico that would federalize criminal attacks on journalists.

The Citizen Media Law Project reports the amendment was recently approved by the Mexican Senate. It still needs to be approved by more than half of the country's 31 state legislatures. Even if it wins approval, the amendment offers no guidance on how it would be enforced.

Drug cartels have made Mexico one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists, who are routinely threatened, attacked, or killed if they report on crime.

Rich Egger

Macomb City Council members approved a 2.25% pay raise for many city workers but not without some debate over the city's matrix pay system.

The raises go into effect May 1 for all non-union employees, firefighters union personnel, and Teamsters union personnel.

City Administrator Dean Torreson said the matrix must be adjusted as part of the raises. Alderman At Large Dennis Moon disagreed.

A current series of US Postal Service stamps encourages people to think green. Meanwhile, Western Illinois University is using stamps to encourage people to think purple.

The university has printed sheets of stamps for first class letters and for postcards.  You can see the designs in the photo that accompanies this story.

Brad Bainter, WIU Vice President of Advancement and Public Services, said the stamps are a marketing tool, not a fundraiser.

It's been said the devil is in the details, and that's certainly the case as Western Illinois University prepares to tear down an old dorm.

The lowest bidder for the demolition of Wetzel Hall -- Dore & Associates Contracting, Inc of Bay City, MI -- is registered with the state of Illinois. But instead of filing a copy of that certificate as required by the bidding process, the company filed a copy of the cover letter that came with the certificate.

In The Tri States

Mar 31, 2012

A look back at the top stories and features from the Tri States Public Radio news department from March 2012.  

The proposed consolidation of the Abingdon, Avon, and Bushnell-Prairie City School Districts was soundly rejected during the March 20 Illinois primaries.  More than 80% of B-PC voters cast ballots against the idea and it was rejected by more than 74% in Abingdon. Only voters in Avon approved it.   The week after the election, reporter Jim Lenz took a look at what might be next for those school districts.

Emphasis - March 30

Mar 30, 2012

Rich Egger's guests are Mandi Green and Timothy Collins of Western Illinois University. They talk about WIU's 9th Annual Environmental Summit.

Collins, who is Assistant Director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, said there are numerous hot button issues among those who study sustainability, but two in particular stand out.

"Obviously energy is the one people feel the most because gasoline prices are around $4 per gallon," Collins said.

Shop Talk - March 27

Mar 27, 2012

The panelists discuss legislation in Illinois (SB 3773) requiring charities that receive state money to follow the state's Freedom of Information Act.

Financial statements and e-mails are among the items that would be subject to FOIA requests. Not-for-profits feel the plan would create confusion and burden organizations with extra work. In addition, they point out they are private entities.

The Illinois House approved a measure that would allow the Department of Natural Resources to charge an annual fee for admission to state parks.

Representative JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) said the legislation does not spell out how much should be charged, but she expected the annual fee will be about $25.

A report from a watchdog group said the campaign committee for Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) reimbursed him for stays at a hotel in Greece and a luxury resort in Miami.

Schock's campaign committee reportedly paid him more than $100,000 for such expenses during the 2010 election.

The study was issued by “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics." Director Melanie Sloan said “What Aaron Schock did crossed the line.”

The group also found 248 of 435  House  members used campaign funds to benefit themselves and family  members.

Improvements to the Dudley Street skateboard park in Macomb could be ready to roll this spring.

Macomb Park District Commissioners this week agreed to accept the low bid of $181,692.17 for the project. The new skate park will include ramps, rails, and more for beginning and intermediate skill level skate boarders.

Half-a-dozen skaters attended the meeting and applauded after commissioners vote 4-to-0 to proceed with the project. However, there will be no gain without a little pain.

After months of study, the Spurgeons building on South Main Street in Monmouth was selected to house artist studios and a retail shop to sell their work.

The choice was made by city representatives and members of ArtSpace, which is a non-profit arts development and consulting organization from Minneapolis.

The Spurgeons building has a limestone front and was built in 1940.

Photo from The Zephyr

Galesburg city council members approved a resolution in support of naming facilities, parks and streets in honor of notable women.

More than 50 women are listed in a document provided to aldermen. They are community organizers, athletes, artists, educators, and more from throughout Galesburg's 175 year history.

The document will be used when the city considers naming and renaming things.

Mayor Sal Garza said too few women have been recognized by the city.

Turnout was fairly light across west-central Illinois. The biggest snafu in the region happened in McDonough County, where Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes ran hair dryers out to a few polling places that had damp ballots. It's not known what caused the dampness. DeJaynes said she planned to speak to the vendor about the issue.

Shop Talk- March 20

Mar 20, 2012

The panelists discuss the retraction aired over the weekend by This American Life.

TAL in January aired an adaptation of storyteller Mike Daisey's one-man stage show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. The show looks into abuses at Apple factories in China.  It became TAL's most popular podcast, but host Ira Glass said he has since discovered Daisey fabricated certain people and incidents.

Aldermen unanimously agreed to donate $800 to the Cornfed Film Fest, which will take place April 13 - 15, 2012 in Macomb.

Film festival co-founder Sue Scott said $600 of the money will be spent on a "Welcoming Package" that will include a program that lists the movies and the community sponsors.

"We'll use a local printer. Our business partners will have special deals for ticket holders ... so we're really promoting the businesses as well as the festival," Scott said.

The Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats said “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” That pretty well sums up the thinking behind a concept often referred to as progressive education.

One of the concept's biggest advocates is Amy Valens. Her final year in the classroom is the subject of the documentary film August to June, which was screened at Western Illinois University.

Emphasis - March 16

Mar 16, 2012

Rich Egger's guest is Western Illinois University chemistry professor Thottumkara K. "TK" Vinod. They talk about "green" chemistry.

Vinod said green chemistry is the practice of creating chemical products with the least amount of adverse impact on the environment.

"By doing green chemistry, chemists are thinking of producing chemical products so that we don't have to deal with chemical waste at the end," Vinod said.

A watchdog group says Illinois is doing better at making government spending more transparent to the public, but more can be done.

This is the third year the Illinois Public Interest Research Group has studied state's openness to show where money is going.

I-PIRG's Brian Imus said in the Internet age, taxpayers expect increasing access to information. He said other states are doing a better job than Illinois.

A federal judge struck down part of Illinois' campaign finance law.

Judge Marvin Aspen said Illinois cannot enforce contribution limits on independent political action committees. Aspen issued his ruling on March 13.

Bill Knight - March 15

Mar 14, 2012

Most journalists occasionally are confronted by angry newsmakers (usually powerful ones). Some journalists get threatening calls or emails, rude posted comments or letters to the editor, and that’s about it. But this week, as the seventh annual Sunshine Week is underway, it’s appropriate to also note that some journalists are killed for being part of the handful of human beings whose job – whose calling – is to run toward danger.

Macomb City Administrator Dean Torreson this week gave aldermen an overview of the city's proposed new budget, which will go into effect May 1.

He said the budget includes money for fixing several streets. The money comes from a one-cent sales tax. Voters agreed in February 2011 to increase that tax from half-a-cent to a full cent.

"Our sales tax revenue has been coming it at the projected rate," Torreson said. "It did double so we're right on target there."

Shop Talk - March 13

Mar 13, 2012

The panelists talk about Sunshine Week, which is being observed this week.

Sunshine Week is described as a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. It's held to coincide with the March 16 anniversary of the birth of James Madison. Sunshine Week was launched by the American Society of News Editors in 2005.

Photo from the Illinois General Assembly website

Recording at a farm or livestock facility without the permission of the owner would be illegal under a proposal in the Illinois House.

Representative Jim Sacia (R-Winnebago County) sponsored the measure (HB 5143). He said farmers know what's best for their animals.

Photo from the University of Nebraska

Insect scientists say federal regulators need to take action against a growing pest problem in biotech corn.

They say corn rootworm has started to become resistant to Monsanto’s Bt corn, which is genetically engineered to resist the damaging and costly pest.

The 22 scientists expressed their concerns in a letter sent to EPA last week.

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