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

Winds farms are dotting the landscape across Illinois, and now wind energy is working its way into school curriculum.
 
A new Illinois Wind Energy Program is being offered in three Central Illinois school  districts, including Cuba Middle-Senior High in Fulton County. The program is free of charge through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Illinois lawmakers hope a report on the future of the Regional Offices of Education can be completed sooner rather than later.

A commission has been formed to complete the study. Its members were originally asked to submit recommendations by August.

But that would be too late for the next state budget because Illinois' fiscal year begins July 1.

It should be common sense that lying to police can get you in trouble. But an Illinois Supreme Court ruling says it can actually be a crime.

The case dates back to April 2007, when a LaSalle County Sheriff's deputy thought he recognized someone driving on a suspended license.

He got in his car and followed the woman home, but by the time he got there she was already going inside.

Emphasis - February 17

Feb 17, 2012

Rich Egger's guests are Dave King and Dennis & Ginny Samuelson. They talk about the Conservation Easement Program offered through Prairie Land Conservancy.

King, who is with Prairie Hills Resource Conservation and Development, said the program protects land from development for perpetuity.

Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln but it could just as easily be called the Land of Graft.

Illinois is the second most corrupt  state -- and Chicago is the city with the most public corruption -- according to a report released by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and  the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

The report said there have been more than 1,500 corruption convictions in the  federal district dominated by Chicago since 2010.

Photo by Sean Powers

Pending  approval by the Illinois State Senate, Bob Flider has been appointed as Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Flider served in  the Illinois House from 2003 until he lost his re-election bid in 2010. He served as mayor of Mt Zion from 1995 to 2003.

As a state legislator, the Democrat was a member of the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee.

Flider said he will work closely with agriculture  and agribusiness leaders to meet Governor Pat Quinn’s goal of  doubling Illinois' exports by 2014.

More than 100,000 people in all 50 states already have signed an online petition as part of a grassroots campaign on Change.org that demands Sallie Mae stop charging unemployed college graduates or other student borrowers a $50 fee for forbearance on their student loans.

Borrowers who can’t pay the extra $50 fee are put into default.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is indicating he wants the state to help more needy college students.  

Quinn will deliver his budget message on February 22. He is not releasing details yet, but said the state has to pay for priorities -- and he places higher education near  the top of his list.   

After a meeting with college and university  presidents, Quinn called for more money to go toward financial  aid. 

 "I think the Governor has to work with these leaders on investing in higher education, particularly scholarships for deserving  students,” Quinn said.

The panelists discuss a pair of plans to bring greater transparency to Illinois government.

One allows cameras and microphones in the state's trial courtrooms. Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride announced late last month he will allow the technology to be used on an experimental basis. The Illinois News Broadcaster's Association and other media groups have said for many years that this would be a way to improve coverage of the judicial system.

The Western Illinois Museum's first new exhibit of the year demonstrates how day-to-day life continued in this region during one of the nation's greatest challenges.

“Home Front: Life During the Civil War” will remain in display through May 26.

Curator Sue Scott and historian Bob Welch conducted the research for the exhibit, which is divided into four sections: agriculture of the period, home life, commemorating the war's soldiers, and the underground railroad.

Rushville will be required to spend little of its own money to replace more than 500 traffic control signs.

Mayor Scott Thompson said the county engineer has worked with the city on a grant application for nearly two years and the effort has finally paid off. The grant will cover 90% of the cost of replacing the signs and sign posts.

“It would have been virtually impossible for us to come up with the funds to do this on our own,” Thompson said. “Now we have the opportunity to do this, be compliant, and really for the cost of labor we're getting free signage.”

Western Hall on the Western Illinois University campus was filled over the weekend with farm machinery, toy tractors, and row after row of display booths. 

The occasion was the largest student-run farm expo in the nation. The Agriculture-Mechanization Show is organized by members of WIU's Ag-Mech Club.

President Mike Hoener said the businesses represented at the expo came from as close by as Illinois, Iowa and Missouri and from as far away as Ohio, Nebraska and the Dakotas.

Expenses will exceed revenues for the Macomb Park District this year, but its executive director said the loss can be absorbed.

The district projects it will spend around $1 million in its operating budget while taking in approximately $900,000. The operating budget covers just about everything the district does with the exception of capital projects.

Executive Director Ray Peterson said the district will rely on cash reserves to make up the difference.

A proposal that would allow people to make recordings of police passed out of an Illinois House committee.

Under current law it's legal to make a video of police. But if the recording captures sound, it's a felony that can land someone in jail for years.

Legislators approved the measure (HB 3944) despite objections from law enforcement.

Plans for a large-scale hog farm in southeast McDonough County are still up in the air.

Shamrock Acres LLC applied for a permit from the Illinois Department of Agriculture nearly 10 months ago.

Last fall's deadline for the department to decide on the permit came and went.  The department decided it needed more information from the owner,  Larry O'Hern

Photo from the City of Galesburg's website

Caterpillar has ruled Illinois  out of plans  to relocate a factory and 1,400 jobs from  Japan.

The  Peoria-based  heavy-equipment maker cited both logistical  problems  and ongoing concerns about the state's business climate.

Caterpillar laid out its decision in an e-mail to leaders in Galesburg and in Peoria County.   Those were among fewer than a dozen Illinois locations trying  to win the new plant.

If people are in need - starving, say, or in a burning home - it’s crazy to check IDs of those trying to help. And if you want to assist the rescue, you aid the rescuers, whether they’re Klan members or Sierra Clubbers. If you want to hurt the rescuers, you attack them - especially in the pocketbook - and ignore the people who need help.

Until leaders at Susan G. Komen reversed course last Friday, they’d planned to ignore women benefiting from Planned Parenthood exams they help underwrite because they’d rather hurt Planned Parenthood.

The Galesburg City Council needed a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Sal Garza to complete the sale of two lots on West First St.

Aldermen deadlocked over whether to sell the adjacent properties at 569 and 593 West First to the neighbors - Edgreal and Oletha Wallace of 597 West First -  or to St Mary's Square Living Center.

The Wallaces bid $200 for the first lot and $1,000 for the second.  St Mary's bid $325 for each with the bid contingent upon receiving both parcels.

The panelists debate whether journalists should be concerned about news makers using social media to circumvent reporters.

The starting point for the discussion is a New York Times piece by David Carr, who wrote about Rupert Murdoch's use of Twitter. Murdoch has only recently started tweeting and has used the platform to sound off on a wide variety of topics.

Some journalists fear news makers will use social media to eliminate the middleman - ie, reporters - and simply distribute their thoughts and information directly to the audience.

photo from US Forest Service

Macomb aldermen agreed to take steps designed to prevent an unwanted guest from making itself at home in the community.

The city will not allow campers to bring firewood in to Spring Lake Park unless it in shrink-wrapped bundles and certified by the USDA to be free of the Emerald Ash Borer.

Firewood that is not USDA certified would be confiscated and immediately burned.

City Forester Tim Howe said the EAB lays its eggs in firewood, and campers then help the destructive insect get around.

A proposal in the Illinois legislature  would prevent people with certain types of diabetes from driving  a school bus.

Studies  have shown that people with insulin-controlled  diabetes tend to get  into more crashes than other drivers. If  a person's blood sugar gets too  low, he or she can lose consciousness.

Such people are already barred from driving semi-trailers.

Representative Roger Eddy (R-Hutsonville) wants to take the existing restrictions on getting a  Commercial Drivers' License (CDL) and apply them to school bus drivers.

Opponents of a proposed large-scale hog farm in McDonough County can breathe a sigh of relief - at least for now.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture declined to issue a permit to South Morgan Acres, LLC, which would be built in the northwest part of the county. The state said it required more information about the farm.

In a letter sent to the owners on February 3, the Agriculture Department said:

“Our additional information request is as follows:

This semester's Sustainability Brownbaggers at Western Illinois University will begin by focusing on food-related issued.

Timothy Collins, Assistant Director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at WIU, helped organize the series. He said the first brownbagger is titled “Local Food Possibilities and Issues.”

In The Tri States

Feb 3, 2012

In The Tri States is a look back at the top stories and features from the Tri States Public Radio news department from the previous month.

In January 2012, Mitt Romney was initially named winner of the Iowa Republican caucuses, then a later count declared Rick Santorum the winner. Reporter Jason Parrott discovered paperwork errors in Lee County led to some of the confusion. The head of the Iowa GOP resigned as a result of the snafu.

Rich Egger's guests are author and historian John Hallwas and University Television's Roger Kent. They talk about the new series “Macomb's Historic Homes,” which UTV will begin showing on February 6.

Hallwas said they wanted to take a different approach to Macomb's history, and did so by focusing on residential life from through the years.

The largest public employees union in Illinois said Governor Pat Quinn is a hypocrite and its members took their complaint to the state Capitol one day after the governor gave his State of the State speech.

AFSCME said Quinn's announcements of new programs don't square with his stance that Illinois is too broke to afford union pay raises.

The  union represents prison guards, welfare counselors, and thousands of clerical and administrative state employees.

AFSCME said it's time for Quinn to change his mind  and pay the raises state workers were guaranteed.

Graphic from SRC.edu

Spoon River College has narrowed its presidential search to six finalists.

Their names are not being released yet. SRC said it wants to "protect the privacy and confidentiality of each person."

However, their identities will soon become known. The school said the finalists are scheduled to meet with the public during forums on the Canton and Macomb campuses on Wednesday, February 29; Monday March 5; Monday, March 19; Wednesday March 21; Monday March 26; and Wednesday March 28. The forums are scheduled to begin at 8:30am and 2:00pm.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn delivered his State of the State speech to the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. Here is the text of the full speech:

President Cullerton, Speaker Madigan, Leaders Radogno and Cross, Attorney General Madigan, Secretary White, Comptroller Topinka, Treasurer Rutherford, Members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests and fellow citizens of Illinois, I'm here today to report to you on the state of our state.

Unexpected alliances are possible when people look beyond “bi-partisan” confines and seek common ground, and this winter, unlikely allies re-formed to help save the Internet.

Conservative and liberal interests unified against Congress’s bills to regulate the Internet, reminiscent of an effective trend that grew out of the same dispute a few years ago.

Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza said the city is developing a strategy to avoid the same pension system headaches plaguing the state.

Illinois has billions of dollars in unfunded pension liabilities. While Galesburg's obligations are nowhere near those amounts, Garza is concerned that the police and fire pension systems are receiving less than 60% of what they should be getting from the city.

The city's IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) is at 90%, and Garza would like to bring the police and fire systems up to that level.

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