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

The Illinois Department of Revenue said it is prepared to move swiftly on decisions about which not-for-profit hospitals deserve tax breaks.                                            

The state had held off making any decisions since fall while it, hospitals and consumer health advocates negotiated to determine how much charity not-for-profit hospitals must provide in order to get out of paying property taxes.

But they failed to reach an agreement by Governor Pat Quinn's March 1 deadline so the department will resume issuing rulings.

Emphasis - March 2

Mar 2, 2012

Rich Egger's guest is Janine Cavicchia, Director of the Women's Center at Western Illinois University. They talk about Women's History Month.

The national theme for WHM is developed by the National Women's History Project. This year it's "Women's Education, Women's Empowerment."

High school teachers in the Schuyler-Industry School District will soon embark on a year-long assignment.

It's tied to the district's plans to begin a one-to-one program in the Fall of 2013. Every high school student will be provided with either a lap-top or tablet. The district is still deciding which device to use.

Superintendent Mat Plater said before the devices can be used by students, teachers must get comfortable with them and learn how to best use them in the classroom.

Illinois legislators are considering whether to revoke a benefit long enjoyed by state university employees.

Anyone who has worked in the state university system for at least seven years gets 50% off tuition for their children. Universities say tuition waivers help attract and retain quality employees.

Dave Steelman, who lobbies for Western Illinois University, said the majority of WIU employees using tuition waivers are relatively low-paid workers, such as clerks.

The recovery process is underway in Harrisburg following Wednesday morning's (February 29) strong storms that resulted in major damage and loss of life.

The Saline County Sheriff's office reports six people are dead and more than 100 injured as a result of the storms.

Storm victims are being transported to hospitals in Williamson County for treatment.  The sheriff's department reports more than 200 homes damaged or destroyed in Harrisburg along with 25 businesses, including the hospital.

Bill Knight - March 1

Feb 29, 2012

General Motors in mid-February announced its highest annual profits ever -- $7.6 billion in 2011 profits on revenues of $105 billion. That’s not only an increase of 62% from the year before, it’s just two years since GM reorganized under federal bankruptcy law – helped by $82 billion in taxpayer money.

Health Alliance and Humana have another chance to stay on the books as providers of health insurance for state employees in Illinois.

A  legislative panel paved the way for Illinois to settle a lawsuit with Urbana-based Health Alliance. The company sued last year after losing its state contract. State employees  represent a significant share of its customers.

Julie Hamos, Director of the Department of Healthcare and Family  Services, said as a condition of the settlement, the state is re-opening the  bidding for state employee health insurance providers.

The panelists discuss proposals in several states to reduce or eliminate funding for public broadcasting.

The public media magazine Current reports such funding cuts are being discussed in Rhode Island, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Idaho, and Kansas. In addition, there has been talk about slashing funding for Iowa Public Television.

By this time next week, Macomb could have some new rules in place to control large and loud parties.

Aldermen reviewed the four ordinances during their February 27 Committee of the Whole meeting.

The one that generated the most discussion concerns nuisance parties. Fifth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett asked about the section dealing with loud and raucous noise from parties. He wondered who made the determination.

“Is that at the officer's discretion?” Dorsett asked.

The US Department of Agriculture is confirming what gardeners in Illinois already knew: it has become warmer in the state during recent years.  

The change can be seen in the USDA's plant hardiness map that appears on the back of packages for seeds and plants. 

State climatologist Jim Angel said the previous map was based on a much colder period in Illinois history.

“Since then we've had some milder winters in the 1990s and the early 2000s, and that's reflected in the new map,” Angel said.

Emphasis - February 24

Feb 24, 2012

Rich Egger's guests are Sally Egler and Becky Parker of the Macomb Feminist Network. They talk about the winners of this year's Writing Women Back into History Award, which is presented by the MFN.

The honorees are Maria Dunstan, Judy Kohler, and Donna Werner.

All three worked on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment. In addition, Dunstan and Kohler are credited with helping McDonough County Hospital regain accreditation in 1974.

Democrats are telling the Illinois Supreme Court that Republican attempts to toss the legislative map are too little, too late.

In documents made public Thursday, February 23, the Democrats said the case was filed too close to next month's primary  election.

There have only been five new maps since 1970 so it's a small sample  size. But most of those cases were filed within two weeks of the new maps becoming law.

Macomb police say they do not suspect foul play in the death of a man who fell from a tombstone.

Police were called to St Paul Catholic  Cemetery Wednesday night, February 22, by friends of 28-year old Michael Farrell of Davenport, IA.

Witnesses told police Farrell climbed on a large tombstone. He then  fell ten feet and landed on his back.

He was pronounced dead a short time later at McDonough District Hospital.

The list of candidates to be Spoon River College's next president is down to five finalists. They come from across the country.

Interviews and public forums will be held during the next few weeks.  The forums will be held at 8:30 am and 2:10 pm at all four SRC campuses via the school's Interactive Video System:

February 29. Mr Curt Oldfield, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa. He was previously Dean of Instruction at SRC.

March 5. Ms Carol Davis, Vice President of Community Outreach at SRC.

Photo from Macomb School District website

We now know more about the resignation agreement between Daniel Watson and the Macomb School District.

The Board of Education during its February meeting approved the agreement. It breaks down as follows:

*$32,279.72 as compensation while he was still employed by the district during the current school year;

*$11,562.09 as front pay (minus deductions);

*A lump sum of $1,500.00 as compromise of claims.

Churches help people worship God, not institutions. States help people serve communities, not bureaucracies.

Four ordinances to regulate and control large and loud parties in Macomb are one step closer to being the law.

The proposals received first reading during the City Council's meeting on February 21. They cover issues such as nuisance parties, mass gatherings, and failing to disperse. They also provide new powers to the mayor in his role as liquor commissioner.

The ordinances were written by City Attorney Kristen Petrie. They are based on research she did on ordinances in other university towns in Illinois.

The panelists discuss the problems the Society of Environmental Journalists have encountered in recent years with the US EPA.

The SEJ says the federal agency asks for questions in writing ahead of time, it wants to know what kind of story the reporter is working on, and it's slow to respond to requests for information. The journalism group says the EPA rarely makes available the expert who could be most helpful with the story.

Photo from Macomb School District website

The Macomb School District has severed ties with the boy's head basketball coach who is accused of sexual abuse.

The Board of Education on February 20 approved a resignation agreement with Daniel Watson. Under the agreement, his resignation took effect December 19, 2011. He will be paid to cover the time period from mid-August to December 19.

Watson was placed on administrative leave in mid-August, just a few days after Illinois State Police announced his arrest.

Superintendent Alene Reuschel would not say how much money Watson will receive.

A study by the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs provides some new ideas on what can be done about the state's soaring pension expenses.

Report co-author Jeffrey Brown said it's important to look for savings while at the same time maintaining a retirement package that's competitive.

The kitchen table can be considered the meeting place of the family. A group in Galesburg want to expand on that idea and make the kitchen table the meeting place of the community.

The Knox Prairie Community Kitchen (KPCK) formed last year. Organizers felt there was a need to provide meals in Galesburg and to build a greater sense of community.

Cook Laura Lytle said the food need was evident one night when she noticed a KPCK diner trying to stretch his meal by setting aside a portion for another time.

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.

Pages