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

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.

Shop Talk - January 24

Jan 24, 2012

The panelists discuss Gatehouse Media's decision to have all of its newspapers laid out in one of two central locations.

Copy editors across Illinois are losing their jobs as a result of the change. The company's stock increased a full penny after the decision was announced.

It took a while but Macomb will finally receive money for a much-needed project on the city's northeast side.

Mayor Mike Inman said the city applied about a year ago for a Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) grant to finish a water main project along East Carroll Street. He said the state has notified the city that the more than $300,000 grant has been awarded.

Inman said people generally don't give much thought to water main projects until there is an issue with their service.

Illini West High School in Carthage will switch to an eight-block class schedule for the 2013-2014 school year.

Classes will meet five times every two weeks. Students will take four classes each day.

Teachers might have the most to learn during the transition.

Superintendent Kim Schilson said they will have to adapt to teaching 90-minute periods.

The district will offer teachers a great deal of professional development to ease the transition.

US Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) has  suffered a stroke and remains sedated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

His neurosurgeon believes the 52-year old senator has a very  good shot at making a full mental recovery.

Northwestern  neurosurgeon Dr. Richard Fessler said Kirk suffered a  "dry stroke,"  in which sections of the right side of his brain were  deprived  of blood.

An Illinois legislator has introduced a proposal that would ban drivers from using their cell phones. 

It's already illegal to text when you're behind the wheel, and some local ordinances only allow drivers to use hands-free devices for their phones.

Representative John D'Amico (D-Chicago) wants to go beyond those limitations.  He introduced a measure that would ban motorists from using mobile devices at all.

D'Amico acknowledged the idea might be unpopular with drivers who have become accustomed to making calls from the road, but he is standing by the proposal.

The McDonough County Historical Society now has some backing for its plans to clean up a cemetery that has been neglected for years.

Macomb aldermen approved a resolution of support for the rehab of the Old Macomb Cemetery on Wigwam Hollow Rd. The property is owned by the city.

The Historical Society is working to receive a grant from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The city's support could help with that endeavor.

Fifth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett said the city might be willing to do more if the grant comes through.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn confirmed he plans to close the  Jacksonville  Developmental Center and Tinley Park Mental Health  Center. 

Quinn's  office is calling the closures a "rebalancing."

The  Governor plans to move institutionalized patients with developmental  disabilities and mental illness to community-based settings.

In  a statement, Quinn said it will improve their quality of life.

Wikipedia

The  Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments this week in a case challenging  Cook County's ban on assault weapons.

Three gun owners say  they're law-abiding citizens and only use their firearms for recreation  and self-defense.

Edward  Ronkowski represents the men.  He told the justices the law was too  broad, and gave an example  of someone buying a rifle. The owner could  make sure he was in  compliance with the ordinance by verifying the gun  would accept  only a four-round clip.

WVIK Augustana Public Radio

Moline, IL – Western Illinois University pulled out all the stops to celebrate the opening of the first building for its riverfront campus in the Quad Cities. The ribbon cutting ceremony featured Governor Pat Quinn, a balloon drop with confetti, more money for the QC campus, an honor for a past president, and a new ice cream flavor.

The Ceremony

Governor Quinn said 1,400 students currently attend Western in the Quad Cities. But now with more space the university plans to increase enrollment to 3,000. The governor said that will boost the local economy.

Macomb, IL – When Western Illinois University engineering professor Rafael Obregon talks about his current project, he's reminded of the Wright brothers: "Before they were able to fly for the first time, there were a lot of trials that never [worked]."

Obregon's current project pairs him with a long-time collaborator, Dan Meyer of Innovative Design and Research Corporation in Rushville.

Illinois Republicans are amping up their push to repeal Illinois' income tax hike, which increased from 3% to 5% one year ago.

Republican legislative leaders marked the one-year anniversary of the increase by stacking $1,000 worth of groceries. They said that's the average amount Illinois families are paying in additional taxes since the increase.

"It's real money out of people's pockets, and we can't forget that," said Senate Minority leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).

Emphasis - January 13

Jan 13, 2012

Rich Egger's guest is State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb). They preview the Illinois legislature's 2012 session.

Lawmakers do not return to Springfield until January 30, which is later than normal. Hammond believes the legal battle over redistricting is part of the reason for the delay.

Hammond said the legislature must work to stabilize its finances. She pointed out Moody's lowered the state's credit rating late last week and Standard & Poor's has the state on a watch list.

Illinois regulators have  given Ameren Illinois permission to raise natural gas rates by about $32 million.

The Illinois Commerce  Commission said it will allow rates to rise by 1.2%  to 5.4%, depending where customers live. The rates would go up starting this month.

The Citizens Utility Board said it will appeal the decision.  Board executive director David Kolata pointed out the decision comes just  as Illinois faces the first real cold weather of winter.

CUB complained the rate increase is $2 million more than an administrative  law judge recommended last fall.

Carthage's Dollar General store will move to a new location. The site is at the intersection of Highway 136 and 1st Street. It's zoned P-1.

Mayor Jim Nightingale said, ”P-1's a very flexible zoning. But it wasn't covered under retail so they had to amend the P-1 to include retail.”

The city council chose to amend the zoning ordinance rather than re-zone the property. The change will give the council greater flexibility in the future.

The new site currently belongs to Prairieland Investment Group. The property is part of the former Robert Morris College campus.

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