WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Local Commentaries

The opinions expressed in these commentaries are not necessarily those of Tri States Public Radio or Western Illinois University. Diverse viewpoints are welcomed and encouraged.

Rich Egger

When I graduated from college in 1994, Elie Wiesel gave our commencement speech. I was excited to listen to a man whose books I read and whose words and life continually influenced how I thought about the world.

Rich Egger

On January 13th, in the basement of Spoon River College's Washington Street Campus, Adult Education Program Coordinator Cynthia Johnston patiently encouraged me as I struggled to read a paragraph aloud.

Beth Howard

I hate crowds. I avoid rock concerts and rallies. I shy away from situations or gatherings that might put me in harm’s way. Especially now, in today’s increasingly violent, gun-toting, backpack-bombing atmosphere, previously safe situations like going to an airport or a nightclub or a marathon have become tenuous, even terrifying. But when the Women’s March on Washington was announced, I ran straight to my computer and booked my flight to DC.

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

2016 was a hard year.  And while I am generally an optimistic person, I am not convinced that 2017 will be much better.  In fact, I am pretty sure it won't be.  Take a look at my desk and you can begin to understand why I am concerned and often feel overwhelmed. 

By Justin Sewell - https://www.flickr.com/photos/ianmalcm/31967726455/

A year ago my commentary was on The Force Awakens for a New Feminist Generation. After my annual holiday viewing of Rogue One with my son, I thought that I might continue the tradition of a Star Wars review, but then something happened.   One of my childhood Star Wars heroes died suddenly and I have been trying to fully express what that passing means for me. So instead of a review of Rogue One, my commentary is a review of Carrie Fisher and the life of a feminist princess.

At the end of the semester, my writing students reflect on the semester, revise their work, and attempt to mine instances of failure for valuable lessons. All semester, I have tried to reframe failure as one of our greatest teachers.  

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

3 years, 8 months, 1 week and 6 days.  Between April 6, 1992 and December 14, 1995 the most brutal conflict in Europe since WWII took place in Bosnia Herzegovina.   

Rich Egger

The other day I was observing a high school classroom. I listened as they discussed Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I love Alice. She likes to tell everyone she meets exactly how she feels, and yet she consistently shows us how she attempts to become part of the world around her, no matter what is going on.

Salimfadhley/Wikimedia Commons

I believe in magic.  The magic of words and books and music. The magic that happens in kitchens. The alchemy of cooking, and then the beauty of sitting at a table, being nourished by the food and the company. Being in community.

Politics bring out the best and the worst in people. Tuesday's election had been heated since the beginning. People on all sides are frustrated with what is happening in politics and ready for a change. People are concerned with how the campaigns were run and the way in which politicians function in this country.

Rich Egger

To paraphrase children's author Judith Viorst; It's been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.  

Rich Egger

I think that if I had to pick my first love it would be baseball. As a child, my walls were covered with pictures of ball players before they were covered with pictures of actors and musicians. I quickly found a love for Ryne Sandberg and the National League in my American League home state and from that point on became a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.

Michael Thompson

On Monday night, I walked my dog along one of our normal routes. It was unseasonably warm and windy. The sunset was the autumnal colors of changing maple leaves. It had been a long day—a day where, from the moment my alarm went off, I felt I should get an award for just getting out of bed and putting on pants.

Knox College

I hate yard signs.  I dislike them almost as much as I loathe those inflatable, blowie-uppy-thingys that people put in their yards for Halloween and Christmas. 

Rich Egger

This weekend I did something I never thought I’d do—I returned to my hometown and went to my high school’s Homecoming football game.  I graduated 26 years ago, and never really wanted to return to my high school. 

Intersectionality – A Not-So-Comic Experience

Sep 29, 2016

I love comic books.  As someone who is a part of three historically oppressed groups, I find it incredibly inspirational that someone who faces adversity can overcome it and fight for truth, justice, the American way, and to get revenge on the bastards that killed your parents. 

"Third Places" – The Heartbeat of a Community

Sep 21, 2016
Courtesy Ann Comerford

My grandfather owned a bar – Curly's in Decatur, IL – it is still there – different owners, different place. But it was a special place in our family and impacted my future in ways I only understood later in life.

On the first day of school for my children, and for me too, I ran into my fifth grade teacher, Judy Marshall, in the County Market parking lot. Mrs. Marshall instilled a passion for history and archeology in her students, introduced me to The Diary Of Anne Frank, had us memorize portions of The Gettysburg Address and The Constitution of the United States of America, and bolstered my love of art. 

Shane Balkowitsch/Wikimedia Commons

A little over 850 miles west of Macomb a war is being waged over something that is necessary to all life on earth.  Water. 

Emily Boyer

Last weekend I went to Minnesota. We arrived late Thursday night and my sister told me I had to meet her at Rice Park in St. Paul after 10 p.m. to play Pokémon Go because "that’s when the magic happens."

The Public Sphere of Past and Present

Aug 29, 2016
Rich Egger

This week I am honored to give the fourteenth annual John Hallwas Lecture on the Liberal Arts, which is sponsored by WIU’s College of Arts and Sciences. My talk, titled, “The Public Sphere of Past and Present, and the Place of the Liberal Arts,” will answer basic questions about the public sphere, including what it first was, what it is today, and why its long relationship with the liberal arts matters.

Commentary : Is World Peace Possible?

Aug 3, 2016
Beth Howard / http://theworldneedsmorepie.com/

Last summer, I left my home in Donnellson, Iowa and traveled around the world, baking pies in 9 countries as a way to promote cultural tolerance. I returned with the intention of writing a book about my experience.

Jason Parrott

In July 1984 I was 12 years old. Walter Mondale, a former senator from my home state of Minnesota, chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate for the 1984 Presidential election.

Rich Egger

I've been thinking a lot about choices lately.  My autonomic nervous system makes decisions each and every minute to keep me alive that I am only remotely aware of. 

Rich Egger

When we moved to Macomb 5½ years ago, Jack was getting ready to start kindergarten and Lucy wasn't even walking yet. Now, I have a child at Edison and a kindergartener at Lincoln (who once she started walking never looked back). On National Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to thank all the Macomb teachers who have touched the lives of my children.

The Value of a Diverse Curriculum

Apr 27, 2016
Rich Egger

This has been a difficult year, probably the most challenging I've had in my 23 year career at Western Illinois University.  In light of a politically manufactured budget crisis and the heightened scrutiny of programs that aren't perceived as giving the state a positive return on its investment, I've thought a lot lately about the value of higher education, and of public higher education in particular. 

Rich Egger

The day after the most recent round of bad news, I woke, mournful, and palmed my cup of coffee in silence.  I read Mary Oliver’s "Mindful," a poem that of late I have found to be of comfort. 

Why I Craft

Apr 13, 2016
Rebekah Buchanan

I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't crafting in some way. I recently found a latch hook rug of a cocker spaniel I made when I was seven or eight. Our house is littered with crafting projects I'm working on and ones I've completed. In a job that relies heavily on being intellectual, crafting has always been a way for me to engage in something creative.

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

Grief is a curious sensation.  To me it feels like a combination of hollowness and heaviness seeping into the cells of each and every muscle.   It sits across the tops of my shoulders and bleeds into the space behind my heart. 

The Challenges Faced by Women at WIU

Mar 31, 2016
Rich Egger

When I opened the Women's Center in 1986, I had a lot to answer for.  One male faculty member stormed into my office a week after we opened, demanding to know why we needed a Center.  Another wrote a scathing attack in the Courier.

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