217 Today: U.S. trip to Taiwan may further strain relationship between U.S. and China

Friday, August 12, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker is re-upping his call for an apology from Republican rival Darren Bailey for once comparing abortion to the Holocaust.
  • The electric automaker Rivian plans to add a second shift at its Normal manufacturing plant by the end of next month, creating a need for even more hiring.
  • While gas prices are dipping as the summer comes to a close, it’s still a concern for Illinoisans.
  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature placed the iconic Monarch Butterfly on its Red List of Endangered species in July.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear from a U.S. Representative from Illinois who was part of the delegation that recently visited Taiwan.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Dave McKinney, Ryan Denham, Harrison Malkin, Jordan Mead and Mawa Iqbal.

217 Today: Federal judge holds Illinois Department of Corrections accountable for poor prison conditions

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The Illinois State Fair kicks off on Thursday in Springfield.
  • Leaders of a new clinic opening next month in Carbondale hope they can fill a need for residents in the region and in surrounding states.
  • Circuit judge elections don’t receive much attention, but they touch many lives. We look at the election for sixth circuit judge. 
  • The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District said there have been no additional cases of monkeypox connected to an infected worker reported last week at a Rantoul daycare facility.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how a federal judge in Chicago has entered an order of contempt against the Illinois Department of Corrections for its failures to provide healthcare for incarcerated people.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Jennifer Fuller, Harrison Malkin, Jim Meadows and Melba Lara.

217 Today: Providing free rides could help people in addiction recovery

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The FBI’s seizure of material from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home is becoming an issue in the Illinois governor’s race.
  • Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, says he was “stunned” by Monday’s news that federal agents had raided the home of former President Donald Trump.
  • Just a few days after issuing an apology for a 2017 video where he compared abortion with the Holocaust, Republican nominee for governor Darren Bailey is doubling down on those remarks.
  • Last weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas, Congresswoman Mary Miller reiterated her support for the “Safety and Opportunity for Girls Act,” a bill she introduced in February of 2021.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll look at the transportation challenges that people in addiction recovery face, along with efforts to mitigate these issues by providing free rides.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Dave McKinney, Hannah Meisel, Harrison Malkin and Darian Benson.

217 Today: Antagonism toward conservation efforts increases after Biden’s latest proposal

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Indiana recently joined other states bordering Illinois in banning most abortions – a move that Planned Parenthood of Illinois saw coming.
  • Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is rolling out the welcome mat to companies seeking to flee Indiana after the state’s near ban on abortions.
  • A judge has ruled in favor of six Illinois sheriffs in a lawsuit over the delayed transfer of inmates not fit for trial.
  • On Tuesday, the Champaign City Council will discuss a proposal from the Unit 4 School District to allow a high school varsity football game to be played at McKinley Field.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn why a new conservation proposal from the Biden administration has drawn ire in the agricultural community.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Dave McKinney, Eric Stock and Elizabeth Rembert.

217 Today: One school district is training current educators to fill special education openings

Monday, August 8, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Most abortions are now banned in the state of Indiana.
  • Only 22% of registered voters cast ballots in the June primary election, according to an Illinois State Board of Elections official.
  • A new study says even with less fertilizer, farmers can still maintain high crop yields.
  • The City of Danville and its firefighters finally have a new contract after more than a year of negotiations.  

In today’s deep dive, we’ll find out how one of the largest school districts in Illinois is filling its special education teacher shortage.

Reporting today contributed by Michael Puente, Dana Cronin and Peter Medlin.

217 Today: As the new school year draws closer, the IHSA sees a shortage of referees for high school athletics

Friday, August 5, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The Illinois State Fair in Springfield is less than a week away, and fair organizers aim to make this year’s event bigger and better.
  • A temporary sales tax reduction begins on August 5 in Illinois.
  • Central Illinois is expected to see more heat and humidity this weekend. How will that affect the power grid? 
  • The author of a new biography of Buckminster Fuller says the architect and futurist experienced a transformative moment as a young man in Chicago in the 1920s.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how high school football and volleyball seasons will get underway later this month, but the Illinois High School Association is seeing a shortage of athletic officials.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Sydney Wood, Harrison Malkin and Jane Carlson.

217 Today: As fentanyl devastates the nation, efforts to reduce its harm are met with resistance

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • A federal measure that would expand healthcare benefits for veterans is now headed to the President’s desk.
  • The amount of water in the Illinois and upper Mississippi rivers is increasing.
  • University of Illinois-owned Willard Airport won a grant from the Department of Transportation.
  • A biology professor at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington discovered a new species of lizard on a recent trip to Peru.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn about efforts to save lives from overdoses on the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Tim Shelley, Harrison Malkin, Eric Stock and Mitch Legan.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood.

217 Today: Biden administration to block conservative states from charging monthly premiums for Medicaid

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Parts of southern Illinois are recovering after a sudden storm dropped about ten inches of rain and hail in less than 24 hours.
  • Meteorologists say we should expect dangerous heat and strong storms in Central Illinois on August 3.
  • Comparisons between the Holocaust and abortion are putting Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey on the defensive.
  • The mayor of Champaign is thanking police and prosecutors for the arrest of a man who allegedly emailed her with threats of a mass shooting.  

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how a new Biden administration policy could put Medicaid expansion in some conservative states at risk.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Emily Hays, Reginald Hardwick, Dave McKinney, Jim Meadows and Dan Gorenstein.

217 Today: Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey struggles to unite his party

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Governor J-B Pritzker has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, and Illinois is a disaster area regarding the virus.
  • Updated COVID booster shots will be available in early September around the start of cold and flu season.
  • A group of therapists focused on healing those involved in gun violence in Champaign County has money to expand.
  • The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is cutting back on certain COVID-19 services due to an end in money earmarked for those programs.
  • Thunderstorms and heavy rain caused flooding to our south on Tuesday morning.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how Republican candidate for Governor Darren Bailey is having trouble getting endorsements and money from key figures in his party.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mark LeBien, Mawa Iqbal, Emily Hays and Dave McKinney.

217 Today: Indiana House to debate a bill that would heavily restrict abortions

Monday, August 1, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • An unusually tense process to select the next Democratic Party of Illinois chair ended Friday when its current chair withdrew her name from consideration.
  • The Democratic Party of Illinois has a new leader after an internal power battle settled this weekend.
  • Illinois’ share of a national opioid settlement with four pharmaceutical giants is $760 million.
  • The livelihood of Illinois’ state insect —the monarch butterfly —is under threat.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about efforts to severely restrict abortion in Indiana. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Hannah Meisel, Mawa Iqbal, Harrison Malkin and Michael Puente

217 Today: University of Illinois’ Summer Piano Institute returns for the first time since 2019

Friday, July 29, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois state lawmakers met on Thursday to discuss closing a loophole that allows people with revoked gun permits to still buy ammunition.
  • The developers of a multistate carbon capture pipeline this week submitted an application to build the Illinois portion.
  • A weekend-long effort to combat local gun violence starts on Friday.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear about the Summer Piano Institute, which is back at the University of Illinois for the first time since 2019.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Tim Shelley, Harrison Malkin and Jim Meadows.

217 Today: Donations and demand are increasing for groups that help pay for abortions

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Google is expanding In Chicago – it’s taking over the Thompson Center.
  • The state’s largest solar project could be up and running in Fulton County by 2025.
  • Illinois Congresswoman Mary Miller met in April with the head of a group called Iranian Americans for Liberty.
  • The second probable case of monkeypox has been reported in Champaign County, according to the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how groups that help pay for abortion services are playing a bigger role than ever after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Tim Shelley, Harrison Malkin and Dan Gorenstein.

217 Today: A growing movement among Native American tribes promotes controlling where and how they get their food

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Republican candidate for governor Darren Bailey is still refusing to answer questions related to last year’s Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
  • At least one person is dead following the historic rainfall across the St. Louis region on the night of July 25.
  • The University of Illinois has announced it will keep COVID-19 vaccine requirements this fall at all of its campuses. This comes two weeks after Governor JB Pritzker lifted his vaccine mandate for higher education.
  • Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren says the conference will be bold and aggressive as college sports goes through sweeping change.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about the effort across Native American tribes and communities for “food sovereignty,” or people having the right to control where and how they get food. 

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Hannah Meisel, Eric Schmid, Emily Hays, Mark LeBien and Lauren Hines.

217 Today: States cracking down on abortion have high maternal mortality rates and gaps in rural care

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is out of COVID-19 isolation after testing negative, he said in a tweet on Sunday.
  • The state of Illinois earned $445 million in tax revenue from legal marijuana sales last fiscal year.
  • A new coalition of small nonprofits aims to tackle gun violence in Champaign County.
  • The Champaign County Fair opened its gates Friday evening, welcoming its 169th anniversary after being canceled two years ago due to the pandemic. 

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how some physicians are sounding the alarm about the consequences of abortion restrictions on pregnant people in rural areas.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Alex Degman, Emily Hays, Sydney Wood and Aprile Rickert.

217 Today: Bus driver shortage leaves parents worried for upcoming school year

Monday, July 25, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is calling on the federal government to provide more vaccines for the monkeypox virus.
  • The World Health Organization — on Saturday — declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.
  • Congressman Rodney Davis has championed the Social Security Fairness Act since 2013. The bill has bipartisan support and would expand benefits for many Americans.
  • Republican Congressman Darin LaHood says the United States needs immigration reforms to make it easier to bring more skilled laborers into the country.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about uncertainty surrounding school bus routes for the upcoming school year.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Farah Yousry, Harrison Malkin, Tim Shelley and Peter Medlin.

217 Today: Collegiate esports programs grow across the country, including at Northern Illinois University

Friday, July 22, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois members of Congress were vocal supporters of the Right to Contraception Act, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
  • The Peoria-to-Chicago passenger rail route now has an initial price tag: $2.5 billion.
  • The Champaign County Association of Realtors says home sales declined by nearly 16 percent from June of last year, according to the association’s monthly report released this week.
  • Kids are back in the classroom at one Vermilion County school.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about what’s fueling the growth of collegiate esports programs at colleges like Northern Illinois University.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Tim Shelley, Harrison Malkin, Tinisha Spain and Peter Medlin.

217 Today: Although a drug discount program aims to help low-income patients, its misuse creates controversy

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Three Republicans from the Illinois Congressional Delegation voted against a measure to codify same-sex and interracial marriages.
  • Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said it’s time for a nationwide ban on assault-style weapons.
  • The University of Illinois leads the largest health study of box turtles in the world.
  • The Champaign County Fair kicks off tomorrow morning, starting with a horse show from the 4-H youth development program.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how a little-known drug discount program is critical to helping hospitals care for uninsured patients, but it’s been the center of controversy for years.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Eric Stock, Alex Degman, Harrison Malkin, Sydney Wood and Dan Gorenstein.

217 Today: New clinics aim to help patients suffering from long-term COVID-19 symptoms

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Another county resident – a man in his 70s – has died from COVID-19.  This is the fifth COVID-19-related death in July and brings the countywide death toll to 301.
  • Governor JB Pritzker ended COVID-19 vaccine mandates for higher education institutions, leaving the decision up to individual schools.
  • The CEO of the state’s economic development public-private partnership said he’s working to market the Central Illinois region to the site selectors who make decisions on where new businesses locate.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how new clinics are attempting to aid patients who continue to suffer from COVID-19 symptoms for weeks or months after their initial infection has passed.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Emily Hays, Tim Shelley and Steph Whiteside.

217 Today: ‘Living room’ approach aims to plug gaps in mental health services

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois State Police will start keeping clear and present danger reports to prevent some people from obtaining a Firearm Owners’ ID.
  • The Catholic healthcare provider OSF HealthCare will only cover fertility treatments for its married, opposite-sex workers.
  • The Urbana City Council is considering whether to allow a second plasma collection center to settle in the city at a former Save-a-Lot grocery store.
  • Last week, the Urbana and Champaign fire departments worked together to complete their bi-annual high-rise training session at Sherman Hall in Champaign.

 

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn about the “living room” approach – a potential solution to fill the need for more in-person mental health crisis services.

 

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Kristen Schorsch, Harrison Malkin, Sydney Wood and Emily Hays. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Tim Shelley, Emily Hays, Sydney Wood and Carter Barrett.

217 Today: Agriculture companies are paying farmers to capture carbon. Is it enough to fight climate change?

Monday, July 18, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger is previewing another public January 6th committee hearing for this week.
  • Season allergies have been getting worse. 
  • Jumping worms have made their way to pretty much every state in the Midwest in the last ten years, including Illinois.
  • An argument between two men from Urbana turned deadly in Champaign’s Campustown area over the weekend.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about carbon markets in the agriculture community and if they’re really helping the fight against climate change.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Shawn Allee, Dana Cronin, Eva Tesfaye, Reginald Hardwick and Dana Cronin.

217 Today: Some in Illinois still waiting for redress from cannabis industry

Friday, July 15, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Many doctors from Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin are now working out of a health center across the Illinois border.
  • In the aftermath of the Highland Park mass shooting over the Fourth of July weekend, Illinois politicians are sparring over gun legislation.
  • If your bicycle is parked at a University of Illinois bike rack, make sure to remove any bright orange stickers attached to it.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how the state of Illinois is giving out 200 new recreational cannabis licenses in an effort to make amends for racial discrimination in marijuana arrests.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Kristen Schorsch, Harrison Malkin, Sydney Wood and Emily Hays.

217 Today: In rural communities, LGBTQ farmers are becoming more visible

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois college students and people who work in higher education in the state will no longer face COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
  • Last week, Judge Lisa Holder White was sworn in as the first Black woman justice on the Illinois Supreme Court. She said her time as both a prosecutor and public defender has informed her philosophy.
  • Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is taking his political show on the road once again.
  • Federal money will be used to help improve access to food for people in Illinois. The Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University will receive $200,000 to address rural and urban “food deserts” across the state.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear about how LGBTQ farmers and the difference they’re making in rural communities.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Harrison Malkin, Dave McKinney, Herb Trix and Catherine Wheeler.

217 Today: A new law limits disposal of long-lasting chemicals in Illinois, but there are still challenges

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has appointed a new director of the state’s public health department.
  • Dr. Colleen McNicholas testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday on what her clinic has experienced since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
  • Black facilities workers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have taken a major step in their legal efforts to end racial harassment on the job.
  • On Tuesday, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District reported its first probable case of monkeypox.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker recently signed a new law limiting the ways so-called “forever” chemicals can be disposed of in the state, but the sheer volume of these chemicals continues to present significant challenges.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Kristen Schorsch, Mawa Iqbal, Emily Hays, Harrison Malkin and Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco.

217 Today: As many states move to restrict or ban abortions, an economic fallout and may be inevitable

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • President Joe Biden is praising Highland Park’s mayor and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker for their responses to last week’s July 4th mass shooting.
  • On Monday, the Urbana City Council voted to allow new jail construction within city limits.
  • The Dobbs ruling that reversed Roe v. Wade may also limit transgender people’s access to healthcare in the future.
  • Carle Hospital in Urbana, which serves several counties, reports that 46 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. Four people are in the ICU.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn about a study that looks at the potential impact of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on abortion rights.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Dave McKinney, Emily Hays, Sydney Wood and Dan Gorenstein.

217 Today: When children with sickle cell disease grow up, they face a system not designed for them

Monday, July 11, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • An Illinois lawmaker wants to prevent minors who have hurt themselves or others — or tried to — from legally buying guns.
  • Illinois is receiving nearly five thousand doses of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine from the national stockpile.
  • A new coal mine planned for southeast Champaign County is no longer moving forward.
  • Two more Champaign County residents have died due to COVID-19. Both victims were females in their 70’s.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll take a closer look at the challenges facing people with sickle cell disease as they move into adulthood.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Sonal Soni, Dana Cronin and Farah Yousry.

217 Today: Wheat prices are up this year, but farmers could lose money this harvest season

Friday, July 8, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois’ Republican candidate for governor blames the state for letting the alleged Highland Park shooter buy his guns.
  • The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is hiking financial support to foster parents and caregivers to offset the impacts of rising costs.
  • A week after the first Black woman was sworn in on the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois’ own high court welcomed its first Black female justice on Thursday.
  •  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin toured the Meta Data Center in DeKalb this week. Meta is the parent company of Facebook.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how wheat prices have skyrocketed since Russia invaded Ukraine, but because of drought, wheat farmers might not benefit.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Tim Shelley, Hannah Meisel, Jenna Dooley and Elizabeth Rembert.

217 Today: What state reforms could look like for community college students in no-credit developmental courses

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • A Lake County Judge is denying bail to Robert Crimo III while he awaits trial on charges that he killed seven people in a mass shooting in Highland Park on the Fourth of July.
  • Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey wants to scrap the state’s decades-old gun-permitting system.
  • The head of the Illinois State Police said there wasn’t enough evidence to stop the alleged Highland Park shooter from getting a Firearm Owners ID Card, or a FOID card.
  • The longest-serving justice on the Illinois Supreme Court will retire on Thursday.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how many students in Illinois colleges are placed in “developmental” or remedial courses. A new law looks to change that.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Dave McKinney, Alex Degman, Harrison Malkin and Peter Medlin.

217 Today: Why was the Independence Day gunman allowed to own firearms after a previous run-in with police?

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • A survivor talks about his experience at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park on July 4 that killed seven people and hospitalized two dozen more.
  • Alleged Highland Park gunman Robert Crimo III has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.
  • After hearing gunshots at the Independence Day parade in Highland Park, people fled to nearby stores for safety.
  • Another Champaign County resident has died of COVID-19 for the first time since a month ago. He was a man in his 80s. The coronavirus death toll in the county is now 297.

In today’s deep dive, a closer look at the shooter and gun allegedly at the center of Monday’s mass shooting in Highland Park.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Emily Hays, Alex Degman, Mawa Iqbal and Patrick Smith.

217 Today: Young women in Indiana are leading the fight to protect reproductive rights in the red state

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • One witness to Monday’s Highland Park parade shooting was marching in the event when she heard what she thought might be fireworks.
  • Governor JB Pritzker is calling gun violence a “uniquely American plague” after a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park that killed six people and wounded dozens more.
  • In a campaign video immediately after the Highland Park shooting, Republican candidate for governor Darren Bailey urged people to pray and then “move on” and celebrate the Fourth of July.
  • Custodians, assistant teachers and other support staff in the Champaign Unit 4 school district are all making at least $15 dollars an hour, starting this month.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how young women are leading the charge to keep reproductive rights alive in the neighboring state of Indiana.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Michael LeBien, Ryan Denham, Emily Hays and Michael Puente.

217 Today: Illinois chefs get creative with ‘Copi cakes’

Friday, July 1, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinoisans can expect some moderate tax relief starting Friday.
  • Environmental advocates are decrying the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision made Thursday that curtailed the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon emissions.
  • Republican candidates in Illinois who support former President Trump fared very well in this week’s primary election. That may not continue this fall.
  • The Big Ten Conference will soon reach from coast to coast.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how some restaurants are serving up Copi – known formerly as “Asian Carp” – as part of Illinois officials’ efforts to make the invasive fish more appealing to eat.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Tim Shelley, The 21st Show and Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco.

217 Today: U.S. healthcare providers face shortage of drug that doctors need to treat their most at-

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Democratic Governor JB Pritzker said he’s not gloating after candidates backed by his Republican billionaire nemesis lost.
  • The state of Illinois has a new tool to help law enforcement trace and track illegal guns.
  • It was a costly election cycle, especially for one race that garnered national attention.
  • The race for the Republican nomination in Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District remains too close to call.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how the U.S. is caught in a critical shortage of a drug that doctors need for some of their most vulnerable patients, known as “contact media.”

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Dave McKinney, Reginald Hardwick, Harrison Malkin and Dan Gorenstein.

217 Today: Mary Miller defeats Rodney Davis in the 15th Congressional District Republican Primary

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Downstate conservative Darren Bailey clinched a victory Tuesday night in his race for the Republican nomination for Illinois governor.
  • Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is already on the attack against his Republican opponent in November’s election, Darren Bailey.
  • Democratic voters in the 13th Congressional District have chosen former Biden aide Nikki Budzinski to represent the party in November.
  • Former teacher and entrepreneur Regan Deering from Decatur has won a close race in the Republican 13th Congressional District primary.
  • Republican Kathy Salvi won a 7-way primary for U.S. Senate. She’ll face Democrat Tammy Duckworth in November.
  • Attorney Thomas DeVore won the Republican primary for attorney general, while state representative Dan Brady won the GOP primary for secretary of state.
  • Savoy Mayor John P. Brown is the Republican nominee for Champaign County Sheriff in November. Meanwhile, Macon County Sheriff Jim Root will be on the November ballot in his bid for a second term.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how Mary Miller defeated Rodney Davis during a battle of incumbents in the 15th Congressional District Republican Primary.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Tony Arnold, Emily Hays, Jim Meadows and Alex Degman.

217 Today: As Illinois Republicans vote in Tuesday’s primaries, Trump’s endorsement looms large

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Tuesday is the final day to vote in the Illinois primary election. Polls are open until 7 p.m. Hear hourly election updates starting at 7 p.m. on WILL-AM 580.
  • Illinois Republican voters will choose on Tuesday whom they want to take on Democratic Governor JB Pritzker this fall.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union is concerned the Supreme Court ruling that upholds a coach’s right to pray with their team could lead to more efforts to inject religion into public schools.
  • As Illinois becomes an island of abortion access in the Midwest, a University of Illinois assistant dean shares advice on how abortion clinics can best serve new Hispanic clients.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about some of the contested races in Tuesday’s Illinois primary election with Statehouse reporter Alex Degman.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Dave McKinney, Eric Stock, Emily Hays and Jennifer Fuller.

217 Today: The effects of bird flu were felt nationally. For one Iowa county, it was devastating

Monday, June 27, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois congresswoman Mary Miller is under fire for a racist comment her campaign says wasn’t intended.
  • Former President Donald Trump endorsed Darren Bailey in Illinois’ GOP gubernatorial primary.
  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is calling for a special legislative session to further protect abortion rights.
  • The Party for Socialism and Liberation in Champaign County organized a Friday evening in downtown Urbana in support of abortion rights that drew more than 100 people.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about the latest national outbreak of bird flu that devastated one northwest Iowa county.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Harrison Malkin and Katie Peikes.

217 Today: Conspiracy theories about 2020 presidential election play pivotal role in the race to bec

Friday, June 24, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Gun-rights groups in Illinois are hopeful that a U.S. Supreme Court decision made on Thursday will open the door for more Second Amendment rights in the state.
  • Yesterday, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul met with Vice President Kamala Harris and other Democratic states’ Attorney Generals to talk about abortion rights.
  • Things are heating up less than a week until the primary in Illinois. For the 15th Congressional District, this means a weekend rally that will include former President Donald Trump and Congresswoman Mary Miller.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn what conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election could mean in the race to become the next Illinois Attorney General.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Harrison Malkin, and Patrick Smith.

217 Today: Title IX celebrates 50th anniversary of prohibiting gender-based discrimination

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The next House select committee hearing on the events of January 6th is set to begin Thursday at 2 p.m. CT.
  • The fish species known as Asian carp was given a new name in an effort to get more people to eat the invasive species.
  • Environmental advocates say the resources used to fund the rebrand of Asian carp as “copi” would be better spent on improved management of the state’s rivers.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about Title IX on its 50th anniversary.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Harrison Malkin, Dana Cronin, Tim Shelley and Rich Egger.

217 Today: Sickle cell disease creates barriers for men and women to access fertility treatments

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • A new report highlights the mountain of work ahead to make banking in Illinois more racially equitable.
  • There’s less than a week until the primary election, and the newly drawn 13th Congressional district is Democratic-leaning, but far from decided.
  • Conservative gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey is feeling optimistic about his campaign.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how sickle cell disease can affect fertility in both men and women and how many find they are unable to access fertility treatments to have children.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Harrison Malkin and Farah Yousry.

217 Today: Changing agriculture industry includes more science-focused jobs and workers without degrees

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger says he’s received a death threat for his role in investigating the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
  • Several Chicago-area counties have been lowered to a “medium risk” level for COVID-19 transmission based on benchmarks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • A recent book reveals how a gay couple concealed their relationship from the public eye but not their racism.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn about the changing agriculture industry, including how it’s creating jobs that are science-focused and more accessible to people without degrees.  

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Katie O’Connell, Mawa Iqbal, Harrison Malkin, Sydney Wood and Kate Grumke.

217 Today: Some states aren’t ready for the rollout of a national mental health crisis line

Monday, June 20, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has counted fifteen cases of monkeypox in Illinois this year.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the weekend finally recommended that children from six months up to five years old get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders came to the Mississippi River town of Burlington in southeast Iowa bordering Illinois to show support for striking C-N-H Industrial workers.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn about the rollout of a new three-digit mental health crisis number, and, if states are prepared.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Brian Moline, Jane Carlson and Carter Barrett.

217 Today: Norman Rockwell inspires an Illinois art exhibit through a modern lens

Friday, June 17, 2022

Today’s Headlines:

  • The Illinois Department of Public Health is confident there will be plenty of COVID vaccines available for children under 5 once the CDC recommends them.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has signed a pair of measures into law that will give sexual assault victims more recourse.
  • Police departments across the U.S. are facing staffing shortages. That includes Champaign.
  • Former President Donald Trump announced that he will stump for Congresswoman Mary Miller in the Quincy area next weekend.

In today’s deep dive, we head to Princeton, Illinois for a closer look at an art exhibition inspired by Norman Rockwell.

217 Today: Miller and Davis compare conservative credentials in the 15th Congressional District primary

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. However, it’s fate remains uncertain.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has signed a law requiring health insurance plans to cover continuous glucose monitors used by diabetes patients.
  • One Champaign community leader is offering more than thoughts and prayers in the wake of recent mass shootings.
  • Brad Uken is the newest member of the Parkland College Board of Trustees.

In today’s deep dive, a closer look at the Republican primary in the 15th Congressional District between incumbents Rodney Davis and Mary Miller.

217 Today: Sickle cell patients face systemic racism and a crippling disease

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is relaunching a land conservation program for farmers, ranchers and other landowners in 68 counties.
  • Caterpillar did not receive or request any incentives to relocate its world headquarters from Illinois to Texas.That’s according to a corporate spokesperson.
  • Champaign is hosting its annual Juneteenth festival at Douglass Park on Saturday.
  • The Parkland College Board of Trustees could fill the vacancy created by the death of former U.S. Representative Tim Johnson at its meeting Wednesday night.

In today’s deep dive, sickle cell patients face a double whammy: systemic racism and a crippling disease.

217 Today: Producers say a crossbreed of cattle and buffalo provides the best of both

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Likely Illinois Republican voters are still mostly in the dark about down-ballot races in the June 28th primary election. That’s according to a WBEZ-Chicago Sun-Times poll.
  • Forecasters are advising you to take precautions as central and southern Illinois bake under high heat and humidity.
  • This Sunday is Juneteenth, a day to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. Despite technically being a free state, slavery existed in Illinois.
  • The CDC rates the community level of COVID-19 in Champaign, Ford, McLean and 31 other Illinois counties as “high.” The agency advises people in those counties to wear masks at indoor public places and on public transportation.

In today’s deep dive, bison meat is lean, but the animals are hard to raise. That’s why some producers are raising Beefalo, a hybrid of buffalo and cattle.

217 Today: After implementing a new learning model, one Illinois middle school isn’t turning back

Monday, June 13, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Republican candidate for Governor Richard Irvin says he’s reassessing his campaign messaging less than three weeks before the primary election.
  • Two political action committees have a heavy hand in the 15th Congressional District Republican Primary between long-time incumbent Rodney Davis and first-time incumbent Mary Miller. 
  • Tune in to hear the January 6th committee hearings live Monday on WILL-AM 580.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll take a look at the new PDSA learning model one Illinois middle school is using with promising results. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Eric Stock, Harrison Malkin and Peter Medlin.

217 Today: Experts monitor health of peregrine falcons and tag three newly born chicks

Friday, June 10, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • On Wednesday, the House passed the Protect Our Kids Act, which would enact new gun control measures following the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.
  • A hedge fund founder and noted art collector is spending millions of dollars on the race for Illinois governor.
  • The Aurora Pride Parade will proceed as scheduled on June 12th, after the city nearly canceled the event.
  • Macon County is reporting three new deaths due to COVID-19. Since last Thursday, the county said it’s seen 300 newly confirmed coronavirus cases.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how experts from Chicago’s Field Museum recently traveled to Rockford to band three peregrine falcon chicks who were born on top of the former Rockford Register Star building.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Harrison Malkin, Adora Namigadde, Reginald Hardwick and Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco.

217 Today: As new mental health crisis line preps to go live, call centers deal with worker shortage

Wednesday, June 9, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois State Senator Sara Feigenholtz said she’s optimistic about the future of the state’s child welfare system despite an investigation showing the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services routinely leaves kids wrongly incarcerated in the Cook County juvenile jail.
  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker also defended DCFS after the WBEZ report but admits there are many challenges.
  • Prosecutors say Chicago native and R&B superstar R. Kelly deserves at least 25 years behind bars for sexually abusing women and girls.
  • Experts say more intense storms driven by climate change are boosting contamination risks for privately owned drinking water wells.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how a new mental health crisis line is set to go live across the country this July. Although call centers are preparing for the spike in calls, there are not enough workers to take on the influx.  

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Patrick Smith, Alex Degman and Jim Meadows.

217 Today: Chicago rap duo teaches students how to build rapping skills and confidence

Tuesday, June 8, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • As Illinois’ summer meals program gets underway, nonprofit groups and the Illinois Board of Education are hoping to extend a waiver that expires this month that’s made it easier for families to get food.
  • A recent study from the University of Illinois and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute estimates that gaining access to broadband increases worker salaries. 
  • Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth just returned from visiting Taiwan and South Korea where she promoted the strength of Illinois’ electric vehicle industry.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how a visit from a Chicago rap duo to a Champaign school taught students how to compose music and believe in themselves.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal.

Editor’s note: Illinois is poised to spend about $500 million dollars in federal and state money to improve broadband access. The podcast includes an incorrect dollar amount.

217 Today: Three of four Republican candidates in Illinois 13th District design campaigns after former President Trump

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Today, it costs more on average to fill up your car in Illinois than it would in Hawaii.
  • This summer at select schools in Champaign-Urbana, anyone 18 or younger can get a free meal.
  • Dolostone is a rock that was used in the construction of the State Capitol building in Springfield, and now it’s the official state rock of Illinois.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear how three Republican candidates for the 13th Illinois Congressional District are modeling their campaign after former President Trump, while one is choosing a more bipartisan track.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Jim Meadows and Harrison Malkin.

217 Today: Health problems from alcohol use soared in the Midwest during the pandemic

Monday, June 6, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • A coal plant in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan is slated to close this month after operating for almost a century. But local activists and officials say the plant will stay with Waukegan residents until its owner removes two “ponds” of coal ash from the shores of Lake Michigan.
  • Three candidates are in the running to become the next executive director of the Greater Community AIDS Project.
  • The national bicycle shortage continues to challenge local bike shops. Although the industry is slowly recovering, bike and bike part prices continue to increase.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how pandemic alcohol use has accelerated health trends already taking place in the Midwest.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Sydney Wood, Caroline Kubzansky and Natalie Krebs.

217 Today: Bilingual education helps students learn English while increasing their confidence and academic performance

Friday, June 3, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • In a Thursday night debate between the four 13th Congressional district Republican candidates, agriculture was a major topic of discussion.
  • Two cultural events are planned in the city of Lincoln this month – even after the city council denied a request for financial help.
  • The six Republican candidates for Illinois governor took part in a debate last night, and fundraising leader Richard Irvin was the target of the other candidates.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how a school in St. Louis is implementing bilingual education to benefit students who are learning English. The district administrators said the class has boosted students’ confidence and academic performance.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Harrison Malkin, Dave McKinney, Ryan Denham and Kate Grumke.

217 Today: Democratic candidates in Illinois’ 13th District debate gun control, gas prices, aid to Ukraine and inflation

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is responding to a report of violent conditions at Thomson Prison – a federal prison in northern Illinois – that’s been labeled as one of the deadliest prisons in the U.S.
  • Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed the office’s first-ever hate crime lawsuit under expanded authority approved four years ago.
  • Minors in Illinois no longer need parental consent or a judge’s waiver to get an abortion. The legislation that repealed Illinois’ parental notification law went into effect on Wednesday.
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is conducting a survey in rural Champaign County that aims to help close internet gaps in the area.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll recap last week’s 13th District Democratic debate in preparation for tonight’s debate involving the four Republican candidates for Congress in Illinois’ 13th District.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco, Jane Carlson, Emily Hays and Harrison Malkin.

217 Today: Wind energy industry finds sustainable ways to dispose of old turbine blades and repurpose them

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Today’s headlines: 

  • In Naperville residents, students led an “End Gun Violence Now” rally just days after the tragic murder of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
  • Parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids against COVID-19 are more likely to base that decision on their own research rather than consulting with a healthcare professional, according to a recent national poll by the COVID States Project.
  • Salt & Light – an Urbana nonprofit – is hosting a literacy-focused pajama party this week as part of an effort to give families easy ways to read and play with their kids.
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is endorsing 13th Congressional district Republican candidate Jesse Reising ahead of the June 28th primary.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll discover how the wind energy industry disposes its massive turbine blades at the end of their lifespan and what happens to the blades after demolition. 

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Peter Medlin, Cianna Greaves, Emily Hays, Harrison Malkin and Shahla Farzan.

217 Today: Black farmers in U.S. are in limbo after not receiving funds promised by the American Rescue Plan Act

Tuesday, May 31, 2022
 

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker will sign into law a measure funneling $700 million annually into Medicaid-funded nursing homes to improve their quality of care.

  • The Champaign Public Library’s new director starts this week, replacing the current director, Donna Pittman.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday that 15 Illinois counties are experiencing high rates of COVID-19 transmission, including much of the areas around Chicago and Peoria.  

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of engineers are listening to feedback on how they implement clean water rules, yet there are differing opinions that may not change much.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 has not fulfilled its promise to erase $4 billion of debt for farmers of color who have been historically discriminated against by the agency, leaving these farmers in limbo as to whether the money will be delivered.

217 Today is produced by Sydney Wood. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Sydney Wood, Jonathan Ahl and Dana Cronin.

217 Today: Scientists use wastewater to track the spread of COVID-19 and its variants

Friday, May 27, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Democratic candidates for Illinois’ 13th district David Palmer and Nikki Budzinski met Thursday night for a debate ahead of the June 28th primary.
  • Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth isn’t optimistic that any gun control legislation will pass the Senate this year, even after the school shooting in Texas this week.
  • The school shooting in Texas was top of mind for panelists at an Illinois House task force hearing Thursday. 
  • Rabid bats have been reported in both Champaign and Macon counties this month, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how researchers are using wastewater to track new variants of COVID-19.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Harrison Malkin, Mawa Iqbal, and Sebastian Martinez Valdivia.

217 Today: U.S. Representative discusses proposals that address gun violence after Texas mass shooting

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • After the school shooting in Texas, Democrats in Congress are once again calling on Republicans to help tighten gun control laws.
  • Illinois Republican lawmakers in Washington have condemned the mass shooting in Texas, but they’re defending gun rights.
  • While most students in Champaign Unit 4 schools are home for the summer, the district says it is staying vigilant after a gunman killed 19 students and 2 adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday.
  • State Senator Darren Bailey had some harsh words for Chicago Tuesday during a televised forum for Republican candidates for governor.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear from U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois about his proposals to curb gun violence after the recent mass shooting at a Texas school. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Maggie Strahan, Mawa Iqbal, Emily Hays, Alex Degman and The 21st show.

217 Today: One community college is fighting the stigma of addiction in its community

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Starting next month, the Illinois Department of Public Health will scale back the way it contacts people about COVID-19 infection.
  • The white gunman who killed 10 African Americans in a supermarket in Buffalo was motivated by hate according to police and a 180-page document he allegedly published online.
  • Illinois’ gardeners should be on the lookout for “Jumping Worms” – an invasive species that jumps into the air when startled.
  • The Illinois Baseball team starts Big Ten Tournament play Wednesday night in Omaha, Nebraska.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn what one Illinois community college is doing to fight the stigma of addiction in its rural community.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Caroline Kubzansky, Emily Hays, Indi Khera and Peter Medlin.

217 Today: CDC marks Champaign County community level of COVID-19 as high

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The Illinois Attorney General is warning people to look out for baby formula scams as the shortages continue.
  • A new analysis has found that crop insurance premium subsidies cost taxpayers nearly $40 billion over 20 years across states in the Mississippi River Basin.
  • Beginning in July, all letters, photos and other personal mail for Missouri inmates must be sent to a private, Florida-based company where it will be scanned electronically.
  • Health officials report nearly 600 active COVID-19 cases in Champaign County. Cases have been hovering between about 600 and 800 active cases per day for the past month.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll talk with an epidemiologist about the CDC moving Champaign County to a “high” community level of COVID-19.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Katie Peikes, Shahla Farzan and Emily Hays.

217 Today: A glitch in the Affordable Care Act led one family to file for divorce to get health insurance

Monday, May 23, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The Illinois Prisoner Review Board will have its first parole hearing in months next week after state senators rejected two nominees to the board and a third resigned.
  • Early voting is underway in Illinois until the June 28 primary.
  • The Champaign County History Museum observed its 50th anniversary since its founding in 1972 on Sunday.
  • COVID-19 community levels in Champaign County and much of Illinois continue to rise.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn about efforts to fix the so-called “family glitch” in the Affordable Care Act. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Caroline Kubzansky, Harrison Malkin, Sydney Wood, and the Tradeoffs podcast.

217 Today: Small broadband providers get rural customers connected in places telecom giants left behind

Friday, May 20, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • A new study confirms a method for reducing nutrient pollution from chemical fertilizer that is impacting recreational and drinking water across the Midwest.
  • The Illinois State Board of Education won’t be making any changes to federally mandated high stakes testing for now.
  • On Wednesday night, about 20 local cyclists embarked on a silent bike ride to honor those who have been killed or injured while biking on public roads.
  • Champaign Police and city officials Friday morning will honor officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll travel to western Kansas to see how some smaller companies are bringing high-speed internet to remote areas.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Dana Cronin, Susie An, Sydney Wood and David Condos.

217 Today: Two incumbent Republicans face off in the primary for Illinois’ 15th Congressional District

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a measure banning the sale and ownership of “ghost guns.”
  • The nationwide shortage of infant formula affects food-insecure families most because of state policy.
  • Early voting begins Thursday across the state for the primary election on June 28.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about a primary matchup between two incumbent Republicans in the race for Illinois’ 15th Congressional District. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Emily Hays and The 21st show.

217 Today: Some hospitals have stopped using race to inform patient care

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • More than half the children who prompted contempt orders against the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ director are still waiting for proper placement.
  • The Urbana Board of Education wants to explore converting its two Spanish dual-language programs into one, fully dual-language school, like International Prep Academy in Champaign. 
  • Both the Democratic and Republican candidates in the 13th Congressional District will take part in debates in the coming weeks.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn why some hospitals are moving away from factoring a patient’s race into measurements used to inform patient care.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Emily Hays, Reginald Hardwick and Farah Yousry.

217 Today: New section of Kickapoo Rail Trail is expected to be finished this fall

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois is spending $11 million dollars to shore up reproductive healthcare and family planning services statewide.
  • Chicago area-based Abbott Laboratories, which makes baby formula, says it expects its products to reach store shelves in about six to eight weeks.
  • Dining and facilities workers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are ready to strike if they don’t have a new contract by September.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll get details on the latest section of the Kickapoo Rail Trail which is expected to be finished by September.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Mawa Iqbal and Emily Hays.

217 Today: A new grain has potential to feed more people in a warming climate

Monday, May 16, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • In the race for Illinois Governor, Darren Bailey is trying to put some distance between himself and the rest of the Republican primary field.
  • Some parents are turning to donated breast milk as a substitute amid a major baby formula shortage.
  • Black farmers in the U.S. lost more than $300 billion worth of land in the 20th century, according to a new study.
  • Champaign County public health officials report just over 800 active COVID-19 cases in the county.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll take a closer look at the grain, kernza, and why some people think it could be a solution to feed more people in a warming climate.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Tim Shelley, Dana Cronin and Rachel Yang.

217 Today: Midwest citizens could be forced to travel for abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Friday, May 13, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • A new state audit outlines several failures at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
  • University of Illinois scientists played a role in capturing the first-ever image of the massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
  • A world champion soccer coach is the featured speaker at Saturday’s commencement ceremony on the University of Illinois Urbana campus.
  • A total lunar eclipse will be visible across the region on Sunday evening as the Earth, sun and moon align.

In today’s deep dive, we head to Kentucky to see how overturning Roe v. Wade would affect people in that state as well as Illinois just to its north.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Mark LeBien, Shalah Farzan and Aprile Rickert.

217 Today: Immigrant women face language and cultural barriers to pregnancy care in Central Illinois

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • President Joe Biden said Wednesday that it’s time to invest more in agriculture in Illinois and elsewhere because the war in Ukraine is cutting off a global food supply.
  • Student COVID cases are picking back up throughout the state of Illinois.
  • Illinois officials expect thousands more abortion patients each year to come to the state in the future if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
  • Students learn in both French and English at Urbana’s Yankee Ridge Elementary School.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll look at the complex language barriers some pregnant people in Champaign County can face and how advocates are trying to overcome them.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Peter Medlin, Sarah Fentem, Emily Hays and Carolina Garibay.

217 Today: Former Central Illinois U.S. Representative Tim Johnson dies at age 75

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Work continues unwinding some Illinois pension funds from Russian assets. 
  • Behavioral health co-responders will work with law enforcement in four Illinois cities as part of a slate of public safety bills Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law Tuesday.
  • Asian-American authors are visiting Champaign-Urbana schools all month for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
  • Middle Eastern and North African students at the University of Illinois are making plans to open a new cultural house in the fall.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll take a look back at the life and career of former U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson who died Monday at the age of 75.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Tim Shelley, Emily Hays, Neshmia Malik and Charlie Schlenker.

217 Today: Recent rains aren’t enough to erase drought conditions across the Great Plains

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • State Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman says she’ll retire in July after 48 years on the bench at every level of the judiciary.
  • The best-funded candidate in the Illinois Republican primary for governor Monday dodged questions about his support for Donald Trump and Roe v. Wade.
  • Supporters of abortion rights in Champaign-Urbana gathered Sunday to advocate for reproductive rights after the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.
  • Officials at the Champaign County Jail say they are moving inmates out of the downtown Urbana facility as they prepare for its closing.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how recent downpours haven’t been enough to erase drought conditions across the Great Plains. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Charlie Schlenker, Alex Degman, Luis Velazquez, Madison Holcomb and Elizabeth Rembert.

217 Today: Increasing gun violence raises issue of community-wide trauma among residents

Monday, May 9, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The Democratic Party of Illinois is applying to hold one of the nation’s first presidential primary elections in 2024.
  • OSF HealthCare allergist Dr. Neha Dunn says May is generally the worst time for pollen allergy sufferers.
  • A century-year-old tractor just became the most expensive tractor ever sold.
  • It’s been a year since the Cunningham Children’s Home in Urbana started its Caminos program to help unaccompanied children who have migrated from Central America.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll take a closer look at the problem of gun violence in Champaign-Urbana and how it affects how safe residents feel. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Caroline Kubzansky, Tim Shelley, Dana Cronin, Eunice Alpasan and Sydney Wood. 

217 Today: Upcoming New, Brews and Beatz event plans to discuss solutions to local gun violence

Friday, May 6, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Several abortion rights groups in Illinois are seeing an uptick in donations after the leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe v. Wade.
  • Older Latinos believe support from non-family members is important, according to a recent University of Illinois study.
  • The Danville Boys and Girls Club will be adding a bigger teen center to its building.
  • Leal Elementary School in Urbana plans to unveil a new mural this weekend.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear a preview of Illinois Public Media’s next News, Brews and Beatz event, discussing ways to reduce gun violence in Champaign-Urbana.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Luis Velazquez, Allison Silvestro, Zainab Qureshi and Reginald Hardwick.

217 Today: Leader of Planned Parenthood of Illinois reacts to leaked Supreme Court draft opinion

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois would become a “Midwest island of abortion rights” if Roe v. Wade is overturned. But, it wouldn’t have been that way a few years ago.
  • Illinois abortion rights supporters say they’re scared and angry… and they’re getting their marching shoes on.
  • Two Special Education programs serving Macon and Piatt Counties are combining for the next school year, spurring concerns over misinformation.
  • The six Democrats running for Congress in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District expressed concern and anger over the Supreme Court’s apparent decision coming soon on abortion rights.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear a conversation with the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois about the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Caroline Kubzansky, Emily Hays, Ryan Denham and Tim Shelley.

217 Today: Families of children with disabilities struggle to find care amid nationwide labor shortage

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Abortion will still be legal in the state of Illinois if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the federal protections enshrined by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
  • Many of the Republican candidates for Illinois governor are supporting the possible rollback of Roe v. Wade — with one notable exception. 
  • Urbana School District 116 is debating whether to keep police officers in its schools for another three years.
  • The Champaign City Council has given final approval for private security to patrol the downtown area on weekends for the rest of this year.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll look at the struggle some families face to find care workers with special skills to support their children with disabilities.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Hannah Faris, Tim Shelley, Emily Hays and Farrah Anderson. 

217 Today: A new historical marker in Illinois honors a worker killed protesting in the 1930s

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza wants to pay down the state’s pension liabilities more aggressively while building savings at the same time.
  • Educators around the state say students are over-tested, and they feel the state’s proposal to revamp its spring testing program is not a solution.
  • Chicago hip hop group Mother Nature brings mental health workshops to schools and colleges.
  • Masks are now optional on all Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District transportation and facilities, including the Illinois Terminal.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn the history behind a new historical marker in Illinois that honors a worker killed protesting in the 1930s.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Susie An, Emily Hays, Neshmia Malik and Peter Medlin

217 Today: Soil protection program unites climate change experts and farmers

Monday, May 2, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • There’s a debate over debates within the six-way Republican field for Illinois governor.
  • Champaign police say they’re increasing efforts to spread the word about new hiring incentives designed to attract more experienced officers to the force.
  • Elementary schoolers at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy spend one half-day per week on “fun” educational activities.
  • The Champaign and University of Illinois chapters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness recognized Mental Health Awareness Month yesterday with a candlelight walk.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about a program that finds common ground between climate change experts and farmers. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed byDave McKinney, Emilio Reyes, Emily Hays, Jacqueline Barba and Dana Cronin.

217 Today: Performance at Krannert this weekend pays tribute to civil rights movement through jazz

Friday, April 29, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • A new “report card” from the American Society of Civil Engineers has rated Illinois’ infrastructure a C-minus, and calls it “mediocre and in need of attention.”
  • A University of Illinois research team has discovered a new, faster chemical reaction that can help produce medicine.
  • A union representing graduate assistants and other employees at the University of Illinois held its third bargaining session with university administrators last night.
  • An in-person Illinois Marathon event is returning after two years of being canceled because of the pandemic, but it will be in a somewhat altered form.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear a conversation with University of Illinois associate professor of voice Barrington Coleman ahead of a performance Sunday night at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Champaign.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Caroline Kubzansky, Luis Velasquez, Madison Holcomb, and Neshmia Malik.

217 Today: Illinois Holocaust survivor reflects on importance of remembering what led to World War II

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a handful of measures yesterday he says addresses the state’s teacher shortage.
  • The Farm Bill which funds food and ag programs every five years is set to expire next year.
  • This week is International Dark Sky Week. Local organizers of the event say they’re trying to raise awareness about light pollution, which The International Dark Sky Association reports is increasing faster than ever.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear a conversation with Illinois Holocaust survivor Eric Blaustein who reflects on the importance of never forgetting what led to World War II.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Dana Cronin, Eva Bein and Hannah Alani.

217 Today: Home health aides are in high demand but hard to find

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • A prisoner advocacy group is demanding answers from the Illinois Department of Corrections after legionella bacteria was found in five facilities’ water supplies in March – but the state reported only two of them.
  • The president of the University of Illinois system is working from home after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Teacher salaries in Illinois have not kept up with inflation, according to the National Education Association.
  • The Champaign Urbana Public Health District has reopened its breast milk depot and dispensary.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll look at why it’s getting more challenging to recruit and retain home health workers.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Reginald Hardwick, Emily Hays, Neshmia Malik and Natalie Krebs.

217 Today: Northern Illinois man uses woodworking to help veterans in need

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Five Republicans running for Illinois governor shared a stage downstate last night with one empty chair.
  • A federal jury has convicted an Illinois correctional officer of beating an elderly prisoner to death.
  • Travelers are no longer required to wear masks in airports or train stations in Illinois.
  • A program designed to fight homelessness and food insecurity in Champaign County is expanding its efforts.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how one northern Illinois man is using his love of woodworking to help veterans in need. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed byDave McKinney, Rob Wildeboer, Emily Hays, Hannah Lonergan and Yvonne Boose.

217 Today: Pork producers resist attempts to change the way they raise pigs

Monday, April 25, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The National Science Foundation has given two groups of University of Illinois researchers awards totaling more than $40 million.
  • The Autism Program at the University of Illinois continues to provide an online summer camp for prospective students with autism.
  • Champaign-Urbana residents cheered as artist Langston Allston cut a ceremonial ribbon on Friday, officially unveiling the Urbana Free Library’s new mural at the Cunningham Township building in Urbana.
  • About 100 people gathered at Douglass Park in Champaign Saturday to celebrate the life and legacy of John Cleo Bud Johnson Jr, better known as Bud.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn why Midwest pork farmers are reducing the amount of money sent to their “checkoff” program, which is used for advertising their product.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Luis Velazquez, Jacqueline Barba, Eunice Alpasan and Jonathan Ahl.

217 Today: Higher ed expert discusses new budget’s impact on Illinois college students

Friday, April 22, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois has received its second bond rating upgrade in a year.
  • Illinois is uniquely positioned to help mitigate the effects of climate change with carbon sequestration.
  • A University of Illinois graduate is describing what it’s like to cover Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • About 40 protesters held a rally Thursday at Parkland College in Champaign to demand the firing of a former Champaign police chief from his teaching position.

In today’s deep dive, a look at how the new state budget will affect Illinois college students.

Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Dana Cronin, Reginald Hardwick, Madison Holcomb and Peter Medlin.

217 Today: University president discusses challenges facing small colleges after Lincoln College closure

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Champaign’s new police chief begins work in six weeks. City officials announced Wednesday that state police officer Timothy Tyler will take over the job on June 6.
  • University of Illinois campus police officers will take over patrols in the Campustown area of Champaign by October to help Champaign Police deal with a staffing shortage.
  • The superintendent of the Champaign County jail says the facility is under strain.
  • A rally is being held Thursday to demand that Parkland College fire a former Champaign police chief from his teaching position.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll speak with the president of Illinois Wesleyan University about how the closure of Lincoln College this spring underscores some of the challenges that small colleges and universities are facing.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Jim Meadows, Madison Holcomb and Charlie Schlenker.

217 Today: McLean County electric vehicle manufacturer CEO discusses plans to grow

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed next year’s state spending plan into law.
  • The city of Danville is making way for a new casino near Interstate 74 on the city’s east side after breaking ground Tuesday afternoon.
  • About 50 University of Illinois students marched in support of the Students for Justice in Palestine Monday night, after last week’s raid by Israeli police of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. 
  • Today kicks off the first day of Ebertfest – Champaign’s annual film festival named in honor of late University of Illinois alum and film critic Roger Ebert.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll a conversation with Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scalise about the McLean County company’s plans to retain and hire more workers as they scale up manufacturing.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Farrah Anderson, Neshmia Malik and Ryan Denham.

 

217 Today: New book highlights the shady past of Wild West lawman Wyatt Earp in Peoria

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Former Ukrainian ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is this year’s winner of the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government.
  • Champaign County is investing in interpretation services for immigrants who speak indigenous languages.
  • Champaign city council members will talk Tuesday about an agreement to give University of Illinois police authority over an area of Campustown currently patrolled by Champaign police.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn more about a book written about some of Peoria’s less savory characters — including Wild West lawman Wyatt Earp.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Emily Hays, Nour Longi and Tim Shelley. 

217 Today: Native American mascots remain in many high schools throughout Illinois

Monday, April 18, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Testimony is expected to continue Monday in the trial of two Illinois guards charged with beating a prisoner.
  • The ratification process has begun for a tentative agreement between The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 3700 and the University of Illinois regarding retroactive pay.
  • Little League Baseball is starting another season of play in Champaign-Urbana.
  • The number of active COVID-19 cases in Champaign County continues to rise.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll take a look at the continued presence of Native American mascots at many high schools across Illinois.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Robert Wildeboer, Zainab Qureshi, Emily Hays and Peter Medlin.

217 Today: Music director details Sinfonia da Camera’s season finale concert at Krannert

Friday, April 15, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois labor leaders want structural changes to the state’s unemployment benefits system.
  • Champaign County Crime Stoppers has raised its cash reward for tips involving guns and homicides.
  • A University of Illinois spokesperson says the university has reached a tentative agreement to provide clerical workers with retroactive pay starting from August 2021.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll speak with music director Ian Hobson about Sinfonia da Camera, the chamber orchestra in residence at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and its season finale concert Saturday night. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Emilio Reyes and Zainab Qureshi.

217 Today: New initiative aims to welcome more people of color to farmers markets

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • State lawmakers recently approved a measure waiving school fees for students experiencing homelessness and it’s waiting for the governor’s signature.

  • A proposal headed to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk would allow Illinoisans 18 and older to get credentialed for a school paraprofessional job.

  • Tenured and non-tenured faculty at Northern Illinois University picketed Wednesday to protest the university’s refusal to bargain with them.

  • As the Illinois legislative session ended last week, Senators from both sides of the aisle passed a bill to increase Black farm ownership in Illinois.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn about a new initiative that aims to welcome more people of color into farmers markets across the Midwest.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Caroline Kubzansky, Peter Medlin and Dana Cronin.

217 Today: Environmental advocates push back against campaign to expand Chicago-Rockford International Airport

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The National Weather Service says we could see severe weather Wednesday in the WILL severe weather coverage area. 
  • A proposal to ban ghost guns in Illinois is headed to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk.
  • An attorney for an Amazon delivery driver who was killed when a warehouse collapsed in a December tornado says there’s new evidence the structure wasn’t up to code.
  • The Unit 4 Board of Education has renewed its contract with the city of Champaign to place police officers in schools.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn why local environmental advocates are upset over a campaign ad touting the growth of the Chicago-Rockford International Airport.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Andrew Pritchard, Caroline Kubzansky, Rachel Lippmann, Emily Hays and Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco.

217 Today: Champaign Unit 4 board ratifies new contract after months of negotiations

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois lawmakers have expanded the state’s Medicaid program to provide coverage for more undocumented residents.
  • A group of tornado researchers at the University of Illinois recently returned from surveying tornado devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • Senior officials in the Biden Administration say the President today will move to make the E15 gasoline blend available across the nation this summer.
  • The Urbana City Council is asking residents how the city should use almost $13 million in federal COVID-19 money.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll speak with Illinois Newsroom reporter Emily Hays about the newly ratified contract between Champaign Unit 4 School District and the Champaign Federation of Teachers. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Mawa Iqbal, Eva Bein, Todd Gleason, Emilio Reyes and Emily Hays.

217 Today: Ford’s new electric F-150 pickup truck could push old-school drivers to go electric

Monday, April 11, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois lawmakers wrapped up their spring session a few weeks early this year to hit the campaign trail.
  • A portion of Interstate 72 could be named after fallen Champaign police officer Chris Oberheim, who was shot and killed last May while responding to a domestic disturbance call.
  • The Farmers Market Coalition has launched a new anti-racist toolkit.
  • Students gathered at the University of Illinois Arboretum Sunday to celebrate the Hindu festival Holi.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn about Ford’s efforts to transition its iconic F-150 truck from a gas guzzler to an electric vehicle and if it has the potential to convert rural drivers to electric.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Dana Cronin, Jacqueline Barba and Elizabeth Rembert.

217 Today: Backyard flock owners try to contain bird flu as infections sweep through the country

Friday, April 8, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Democrats say they’ve struck a budget deal and plan on passing it by the end of the day Friday.
  • The Champaign City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to remove the city’s licensing fees for massage businesses.
  • The Refugee Center continues to help its clients from Afghanistan to settle in Champaign-Urbana.
  • Some Black student leaders at the University of Illinois say they’re unhappy with the school’s response to Ku Klux Klan flyers that circulated around campus last week.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll take a look at how the highly contagious bird flu that’s spreading across the country is affecting owners of backyard flocks. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Eunice Alpasan, Luis Velazques, Nour Longi and Katie Peikes.

217 Today: Focus 580, WILL-AM’s long-running local call-in show, connected station to community

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois House Democrats are out with their budget proposal for the next fiscal year. It suggests putting more toward tax breaks and public safety than the governor wanted –nearly $1.4 billion instead of $1 billion.
  • Illinois’ Prisoner Review Board is operating with only six of its 15 seats filled.
  • The Champaign County Audubon Society has started taking local residents out into nature to bird-watch.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll look back at a longtime staple in the WILL-AM lineup … the Focus 580 talk show — for WILL’s 100th anniversary. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Alex Degman, Emily Hays, Eva Bein and Jim Meadows.

217 Today: WILL celebrates 100th anniversary with a look back at its first broadcasts

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois teachers and school staff who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are now eligible for paid sick leave for any virus-related days off.
  • The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is severely understaffed even as caseloads surge which means there are fewer investigators available to take on more cases.
  • Champaign teachers voted 76% to 24% to ratify their new contract rather than go on strike.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll take a look back at the beginning of WILL and its first broadcasts for the station’s 100th anniversary this week. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Caroline Kubzansky, Tim Shelley, Emily Hays and Jim Meadows.

217 Today: Listen to the voice of Langston Hughes recorded over 60 years ago

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Democrats in Springfield are floating new ways to help Illinois police as part of an anti-crime push.
  • As Champaign Unit 4 teachers and board members negotiate a new contract, parents are waiting to hear how the school day might change.
  • Health officials report that the number of active COVID-19 cases in Champaign County is 257. That’s up by nearly 90 cases from a week ago, but considerably lower than the peak of 7,000 cases in mid-January.

In today’s deep dive, we look back at a visit to the University of Illinois by the Black poet Langston Hughes that WILL broadcast in the late 1950s.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Dave McKinney, Emily Hays and Jim Meadows.

217 Today: WILL-AM celebrates 100th anniversary of first broadcast this week

Monday, April 4, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Democratic lawmakers unveiled a multi-billion-dollar spending plan last Friday to combat increased crime throughout the state.
  • Illinois Senate Democrats are proposing several measures to give people a collective $1.8 billion in tax breaks.
  • Two big Midwestern organizations are teaming up to feed refugees fleeing the Ukrainian war zone.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll take a look back at the early days of WILL-AM as the station celebrates the 100th anniversary of its first broadcast this week.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Caroline Kubsansky, Alex Degman, Dana Cronin and Jim Meadows.

217 Today: Inequities will worsen if Congress doesn’t restore COVID-19 funding, experts warn

Friday, April 1, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • The Illinois Senate approved a measure Thursday to pay vaccinated teachers and other public school workers for any time they took off related to COVID-19, such as a sick or exposed family member.
  • People who physically attack Illinois Department of Children and Family Services workers would face stiffer charges under a measure lawmakers approved Thursday.
  • Students from several Illinois colleges gathered yesterday on the University of Illinois campus to recognize this year’s Transgender Day of Visibility.
  • Plastic bags filled with rocks and flyers advocating for the Ku Klux Klan were found on the University of Illinois Urbana campus Thursday.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn why public health experts are warning that health inequities will worsen if Congress doesn’t restore funding to COVID-19 programs.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Caroline Kubzansky, Alex Degman, Madison Holcomb, Farrah Anderson and Farah Yousry.

217 Today: Russian invasion of Ukraine is just one reason for rising gas prices, Illinois expert says

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois Democrats are floating Chicago as a potential host city for their party’s 2024 national convention.
  • The Illinois State Board of Education plans to award $4 million in grants to increase the number of bilingual educators in the state.
  • Unit 4 reached a tentative agreement Tuesday night on a four-year contract with the Champaign Federation of Teachers to avert a strike.
  • The Boneyard Arts Festival is back for its 20th anniversary in Champaign County this weekend.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear from a University of Illinois economics professor why the Russian invasion of Ukraine is just one reason for rising gas prices. 

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Dave McKinney, Eunice Alpasan, Emily Hays, Hannah Lonergan and Brendyn Jones.

217 Today: Professors of history, religion and politics weigh in on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Champaign Unit 4 teachers have a tentative contract agreement with the district.
  • Incarcerated people in Illinois who are up for a possible early release will have to wait another month to get their cases heard because the board that deals with those requests no longer has enough members to meet.
  • There’s a bi-partisan push in Springfield to confront increasingly brazen retail shoplifting rings.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll hear from a panel of professors at Western Illinois University on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Emily Hays, Caroline Kubzansky, Dave McKinney and Rich Egger.

217 Today: Children of frontline healthcare workers saw the pandemic’s scariest moments

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • As Champaign teachers prepare for a possible strike, a Unit 4 Board of Education member explained the district’s side of contract negotiations at Monday’s school board meeting.
  • This year the annual debate over daylight saving time has lingered longer than usual after the U.S. Senate passed a bill recently to make the time change permanent.
  • Illinois lawmakers are advancing a bill that would create a state taskforce to look at the problem of missing and murdered women in Chicago.
  • Illinois is about to add a snake to its list of state symbols.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how the pandemic has affected the children of frontline health workers.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Emily Hays, Elizabeth Rembert, Mawa Iqbal, Caroline Kubzansky and Farah Yousry.

217 Today: Healthcare industry looks to blockchain to help securely share data

Monday, March 28, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Residents of rural Champaign County have a new chance to pay for home repairs too expensive for their incomes.
  • A new recreational space is coming to Champaign’s Garden Hills community this summer.
  • A building boom is underway in Danville as residents prepare for a new casino and other projects.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll learn how OSF Healthcare is hoping to use blockchain technology to securely share data.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Emily Hays, Hannah Lonergan, Reginald Hardwick and Tim Shelley. 

217 Today: Government reform advocates say Illinois needs further ethics reform after Madigan indictment

Friday, March 25, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois lawmakers Thursday gave final approval to spending $2.7 billion in leftover federal COVID aid to pay the deficit in the state’s unemployment insurance fund.
  • It’s looking to be a volatile season for farmers and consumers alike with inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine creating more uncertainty in global crop markets.
  • The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission is requesting funds to provide rental assistance to families affected by gun violence.
  • A group of local residents is demanding that a former Champaign police chief be fired from his position as a teacher at Parkland College.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll find out why government reform advocates say Illinois needs further ethics reform after the indictment of former House Speaker Michael Madigan.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Caroline Kubzansky, Tim Shelley, Luis Velazquez, Madison Holcomb and Dave McKinney.

217 Today: Families of frontline healthcare workers reflect on the impact of the pandemic

Thursday, March 22, 2022

Today’s headlines:

  • Farmers around the world are encouraged to plant more wheat this year to offset expected losses from Russia and Ukraine. But, that won’t be easy for farmers in the Midwest.
  • The Illinois House approved a measure to send $2.7 billion to the state’s unemployment trust fund from COVID relief money. The Senate must approve it Thursday.
  • New court filings allege threats of retaliation, cocaine use and more “extravagant” spending by Reditus Labs CEO Aaron Rossi.
  • At a classical music performance Tuesday at the University of Illinois’ Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Faure Quartet’s version of “The Great Halls of Kiev” drew a noticeable reaction from the crowd.

In today’s deep dive, we’ll look at the effects of the pandemic on the families of frontline healthcare workers.

217 Today is produced by Farrah Anderson. Reporting today contributed by Dana Cronin, Alex Degman, Eric Stock, Nour Longi and Farah Yousry.