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News Around Illinois – December 9, 2019

Interstate 74 ramp signs in Champaign County.

Survey Collects Travelers’ Opinions On Illinois Highways

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois officials want travelers’ opinions on the state’s transportation systems. An online survey that opened this week and runs through Dec. 31  asks travelers to weigh in on everything from cleanliness of Illinois roads to other drivers’ behavior. The Illinois Department of Transportation says the annual survey has been done since 2001. The agency says the information collected is vital to improving the transportation system. – Associated Press

State Board of Education Will Help Fund School Safety Programs

DEKALB – The Illinois State Board of Education will help school districts fund safety-related projects. The grants are meant to prioritize under-resourced Tier 1 and 2 school districts. These safety improvements can be anything from high-tech upgrades like x-ray machines to professional development. The Illinois Association of School Boards recently passed a resolution to advocate for legislation providing similar grants for School Resource Officers. – Peter Medlin, WNIJ News

Rapper Juice WRLD Dies After  Medical Emergency In Chicago

CHICAGO — Chicago-area Rapper Juice WRLD has died at age 21 after what authorities describe as a “medical emergency” at Midway International Airport. The artist was named top new artist at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards in May. Chicago police are investigating. An autopsy is planned for Monday. The artist got his start on SoundCloud and then became a streaming juggernaut. He rose to the top of the charts with the Sting-sampled hit “Lucid Dreams.” He was from the Chicago suburb of Homewood where he stood out as a talented high school musician. – Associated Press

SIU Reports Spike In Enrollment Applications For Next Year

CARBONDALE — Officials at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale say they’re already seeing an increase of applications for the next school year. The Southern Illinoisan reports the school has received 27% more freshman applicants than during this time last year. More than 2,600 students have been admitted, which is an increase of 21% over the same time last year. School officials credit fresh recruitment efforts, including the addition of a recruiter in St. Louis and new campus visit programs. Interim Provost Meera Komarraju says it’s too soon to say if the applicants will mean a bigger incoming class in the fall.  – Associated Press

Illinois Power Company Hires Goats To Clear Out Brush

HILLVIEW — An Illinois power company turned to a herd of goats to clear a steep, rocky plot of land so crews could reach electric lines. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports the 50 goats spent about about two weeks earlier this year chewing dense honeysuckle bushes and poison ivy down to the nub for Ameren Illinois on a 4-acre area near the Greene County village of Hillview. The company’s construction services director says he was skeptical at first but was amazed at how quickly the goats cleared the section. – Associated Press



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Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director for the Illinois Newsroom. He started at WILL in October of 2019 after serving as News Director for WKAR in East Lansing, Michigan. Previously, he was a news producer and manager at the NBC station in Dallas, where he won 7 Emmy awards. Born in Vietnam, Reginald is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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