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Local News Coverage:

  • Morning Edition: Mon.- Fri. 4:00am- 9:00am with Morning Edition Host and Reporter Emily Boyer.
  • Afternoon Edition: Mon.- Fri. 4:00- 4:30pm with News Director Rich Egger.

Local New Updates also at 5:35pm and 6:35pm Monday- Friday.

If you're sick of hearing people say "nothingburger," "impactful," "drill down," and "pre-owned," you're not alone. Those are just a few of the words and phrases newly-banished for "over-use, mis-use and general useless-ness" by the language guardians at Lake State Superior State University in Michigan.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas gave a State of the University address at the start of the new school year.  At the time, he said the state of the university was "okay." Now, with the fall semester in the books, Dr. Thomas said the school's situation is improving.

Brian Mackey

A new law allowing public funding of abortion in Illinois will take effect as scheduled on January 1, 2018. That's after a judge on Thursday ruled against anti-abortion groups who sued to block it.

Rich Egger

Teachers and some staff at Western Illinois University will begin the new year without a new contract.  They're in mediation with the administration and are working under terms of the previous contract, which expired over the summer.

John Lovretta / Burlington Hawkeye

Ben Trane was found guilty Friday morning of child endangerment, sexual exploitation of a child by a counselor, and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. He is the former owner of Midwest Academy, a boarding school for troubled teens that was located near Keokuk.  He will be sentenced in about eight weeks.

Jury deliberations will resume Friday morning in the criminal trial of Ben Trane. He is the former owner of Midwest Academy, a shuttered boarding school in Lee County for troubled teens, who is charged with sexual abuse and child endangerment.

John Lovretta / Burlington Hawkeye

Ben Trane testified for nearly 3 ½ hours Wednesday afternoon in his criminal trial in Keokuk. He’s accused of sexual abuse and child endangerment during his time as owner of Midwest Academy, a shuttered boarding school for troubled teens in Lee County.

The Lee County Board on Tuesday accepted the resignation of County Attorney Clinton Boddicker, who is stepping down after being appointed a District Associate Judge in southeast Iowa. Boddicker told the board that his successor should be Assistant County Attorney Ross Braden.

In the midst of the national #metoo phenomenon, Illinois women wrestle with their own experiences.

TSPR Rich Egger

The West Central Illinois Arts Center is a not-for-profit group completely run by volunteers. Next year marks a significant milestone for the Arts Center, which will celebrate a decade of owning its building on Macomb's courthouse square.  

Brian Mackey

With roughly three months to go until Illinois' primary election, there are seven men seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to be governor of Illinois.  One of the key questions facing primary voters: To counter the vast wealth of incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, do Democrats need their own billionaire at the top of the ticket?

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker  was selected to be first on the March primary ballot among the seven candidates

Illinois lawmakers acted quickly last month in response to sexual harassment allegations at the statehouse.  But several female legislators say this isn't a quick fix.  They say the process was rushed and not enough thought was given to explore alternative options.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, says the new policies were not inclusive of everyone affected by the issue—such as legislative staff and lobbyists. She says she hopes newly formed legislative task forces in the House and Senate will resolve this concern. 

John Lovretta / Burlington Hawkeye

The sexual abuse and child endangerment trial of Ben Trane enters its 6th day Tuesday in the south Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk. Jurors heard from seven witnesses Monday, including state employees and law enforcement agents who investigated Midwest Academy.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Questions about the future of the former Unitarian Church in Keokuk were settled Wednesday morning when the operator of a large, yellow backhoe started crunching the building's brick exterior with a giant metal claw. The city said a clean demolition was the most feasible option, compared to trying to salvage aspects of the more than 125-year-old structure.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Denise Timmins sat up from her chair and walked in front of the newly seated jury at about 3:00 p.m. Wednesday in the south Lee County Courthouse's district courtroom. She proceeded to read the criminal charges against Ben Trane and then begin her opening statement.

The criminal trial of Ben Trane began Tuesday morning with a standing-room only crowd of roughly 85 potential jurors in the second floor courtroom in the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk. At the end of the day, the selection process was not complete and the jury pool was significantly smaller.

TSPR Emily Boyer

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visited Macomb where he did a little Christmas shopping before meeting with county leaders.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The city of Keokuk said Wednesday afternoon that the demolition of the former Unitarian Church would get underway as soon as the firm hired to tear down the building is ready. This comes roughly 48 hours after a judge dissolved the temporary injunction blocking the demolition of the vacant, run-down church at the corner of 4th and High Streets.

In another step to help prevent more overdose related deaths, the state of Illinois rolled out a 24/7 opioid and substance addiction helpline Tuesday.

Rich Egger

Brief ceremonies were held around Illinois -- including at the McDonough County Courthouse and Macomb City Hall -- to mark the start of the state's bicentennial year. 

Jason Parrott / TSPR

The former owner of Midwest Academy said the shuttered boarding school near Keokuk has no money and no assets. Ben Trane said he had to sign everything over to his landlord shortly after the school closed in early 2016.

Courtesy

Michael Greenwald won Tuesday's run-off election for the 5th Ward seat on the Keokuk City Council with 85 votes, defeating Steve Rairden, who received 34 votes.

Courtesy of WIU Visual Production Center

Ada Bair, CEO of Memorial Hospital in Carthage, said the Rural Health Coach Program started with an internship partnership between her hospital and Western Illinois University.  She said the goal of the program is to train students and community members who can help improve the coordination between medical care providers and patients.

Communities across Illinois lacking access to fresh food will soon be tracked. This initiative, which goes into effect mid-2018, will attempt to solve more than one issue in these affected areas. 
        

A group of state lawmakers and anti-abortion groups sued the state of Illinois Thursday. They’re trying to block a new law that will allow state money to pay for some abortions.

Rich Egger

The Board of Education agreed to issue $6 million in Working Cash Bonds to pay for three construction projects.  Superintendent Patrick Twomey said the bond issue will not alter the district's tax rate.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

A member of the Lee County Board says he's frustrated by the rising cost to repair one of the county's courthouses. Ron Fedler is even suggesting that residents should be allowed to vote on future improvements.

Gov. Reynolds today expressed confidence in Iowa’s privately-managed health care program for the poor and disabled, even as thousands of Medicaid patients are being pulled out of the new system.     

One of three for-profit companies managing the program, AmeriHealth Caritas, has dropped out.   Another company, AmeriGroup, can’t absorb some of AmeriHealth’s 215,000 patients.

As a result, at least 9,000 patients are going back to the traditional state-run Medicaid program, at least until AmeriGroup can build up capacity. 

The head of the Iowa Department of Corrections briefed Gov. Reynolds today on an increase in violent crime in the state that he called shocking.  

Statistics from a national survey show that from 2006 through 2016, Iowa was one of only two states in the country where the incidence increased for all four categories of violent crime, including homicide, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault.  

At the same time, the recidivism rate is on the rise for perpetrators of violent crime. 

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