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

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.

Shop Talk - January 31

Jan 31, 2012

This week's discussion is about KWQC-TV from the Quad Cities and a Scottish Terrier named Chief from Burlington.

Chief's owner said someone came into his yard and kicked the dog, causing severe trauma. The TV station planned to come down to Burlington to do a story but changed its mind after Chief died. That led to creation of a Facebook page called Justice for Chief, which was used to urge the station to do story reporting that there is animal abuser in the community.

Macomb's mayor hopes the city can “reinvigorate” its annual Heritage Days celebration.

Heritage Days is held the final weekend of June. It typically begins on Thursday at 5:00pm and concludes on Sunday morning with the fly-in and pancake breakfast at the airport.

Mayor Mike Inman said the Heritage Days committee is considering whether to extend the festival to include more activities on Sunday.

Illinois legislators face more bad budget news. 

A report from Chicago's Civic Federation said the massive backlog of unpaid bills is about to get much worse.

Illinois is expected to owe more than $9 billion by this summer. The figure is expected to continue rising and could hit nearly $35 billion within five years.

Civic Federation president Laurence Msall said the state must  act quickly.

Holiday decorations are on display just about anywhere you go this time of year. Most of the ornaments are mass produced. But if you look around enough, you just might find some made by true artisans.

Mike Newsad is one such artist. He has converted the garage at his home into a glass blowing studio. He's been busy in recent weeks making glass ornaments for the season

The State of Illinois is again making an effort to get more people to pay taxes they owe for on-line purchases.

It was an unwelcome surprise for many when they filled out their income taxes last year.  Illinois' forms specifically asked filers to come clean about how much they'd shopped on-line.

The requirement to pay state sales taxes on Internet purchases is nothing new but it wasn't well known.

Calling attention to it changed that somewhat. Illinois received an extra $11 million last year after adding the high profile line on the forms.  

The wintery weather is blamed for two fatal crashes in western Illinois.

One of the crashes happened on McDonough County Road 2000 East, just north of County Road 1700 North near Bushnell.

Illinois State Police said 14-year old Remington Neeley of Macomb was killed when the car she was riding in went out of control due to the snowy conditions Friday evening. The Chevy Impala left the road, became airborne, and struck a grain bin.

Emphasis - January 27

Jan 27, 2012

Rich Egger speaks with representatives from the Galesburg Civic Art Center, the West Central Illinois Arts Center in Macomb, and the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth.

Galesburg Civic Art Center

September  21 is the International  Day of Peace, which is also referred to as Peace Day. It's considered  a shared date for acts of peace.

For  example, the Philippine  military said it will declare a one-day truce  with communist rebels  to mark the International Day of Peace.

The  day was created  by the United Nations in 1981 and the first Peace Day  was celebrated  in 1982. The UN's General Assembly declared in 2002 that  September  21 would be the permanent date for the International Day of  Peace.

A  box of long-forgotten letters from  a west-central Illinois farm  house appeared to have value simply for  the old stamps on the  envelopes.

But as a Beardstown couple  started reading  through the letters, they uncovered a story from the  Civil War.  The letters between a husband and wife tell a tale of love and hardship.

Most  people who come across an abandoned car or discarded washing machine  see a piece of junk. Matt  Myers sees opportunity.

"There's an old car parked behind  the shop here," Myers said at his studio, Black Toad Forge, which  is just west of Macomb.

"I  don't see that like most people,  who see an old car. I see it as a pile  of metal that I can cut  apart and turn into anything I want."

 A large and growing number of Americans are poor or at risk of becoming poor as a consequence of the Great Recession, and many will struggle during a recovery, according to a white paper released last week by the national broadcaster whose appearance last week at the 20th annual Martin Luther King luncheon in Peoria was cancelled after some people complained that he’d criticized President Obama.

Parents, educators and legislators in Illinois will be better able to compare school performance thanks to a new state law signed by Governor Pat Quinn.

Until now, the report cards that are supposed to indicate how well schools are performing were often more than a dozen pages long and proved to be confusing to read.

They will be revised under the new law.  By the fall of 2013, they'll be slimmed down to two pages with colorful graphics.

State Senator Kim Lightford (D-Maywood) said they will also contain more information.

The Illinois Supreme Court said it will allow cameras into trial courtrooms.

Illinois was in the minority of states in not allowing broadcast media to cover trials.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride said Illinois media outlets will have to follow several pages of rules. Even then, there is no guarantee the technology will be allowed for all trials. The state's 23 circuit courts can decide if they want to allow cameras and microphones.

The competition is expected to be stiff for a manufacturing plant that Caterpillar reportedly plans to move from Japan to somewhere in the US. Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza said that is why the city is asking mayors, village presidents, and other leaders from five counties to write letters in support of the region.

“It's become highly competitive and these kind of projects are very scarce,” Garza said. “So we understand that we really do have to collaborate.”

He thinks it strengthens the bid for this project and perhaps others down the road if the region bands together.

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