Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shimkus wearing UIS baseball uniform in Congressional Baseball Game

U.S. Congressman John Shimkus of Collinsville will take the mound at Nationals Park when congressional Republicans square off with their Democratic counterparts at 6:05 Central time Tuesday night.

He'll be trying to exorcise the demons from his last outing, when Republican members of Congress fell to Democrats 15-10 in 2009.

Shimkus, 52, who pitched junior varsity for West Point, said lawmakers take the seven-inning game seriously. "This isn't pansy ball," he said. "We're playing the best ball we can at our age. It's bragging rights for the whole year."

Shimkus will wear the uniform of the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars, who debut next spring.

The game was featured in a June 29, 2010, article in the Chicago Tribune.

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It's official: Gamble, UIS bid farewell

The University of Illinois Springfield and Kevin Gamble made official Gamble’s resignation as head basketball coach on Monday.

Gamble will be taking over a position with NCAA Division I Providence College in Providence, R.I., as the director of player development and video operations. Gamble, who was a member of Lanphier’s 1983 Class AA state championship basketball team and had an 11-year career in the NBA, was the first basketball coach in the fledgling UIS program.

“We thank Kevin for all he has done for UIS and the Springfield community,” UIS Director of Athletics Dr. Rodger Jehlicka said in a statement. “We want our coaches to achieve their goals both personally and professionally and coaching at the Division I level has always been one of Kevin’s dreams. We wish Kevin nothing but success and his family the best as they move east.”

Gamble was 130-79 as the Prairie Stars’ head coach and oversaw the program’s development from NAIA to NCAA Division II.

The news was featured in a June 29, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

UIS' Gamble takes job at Providence

Kevin Gamble, the only coach the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars men’s basketball team has ever had, said Sunday he has accepted the director of player development position at NCAA Division I Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.

Providence will announce the move today, according to Gamble.

Gamble, a Lanphier High School graduate, took charge of UIS’ new men’s basketball program in 2000. His career record at the NCAA Division II school was 130-79. The 2009-10 team was 11-13 overall and 7-11 in its first season competing in Division II and the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

UIS left the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and American Midwest Conference in 2009. Under Gamble, UIS won the AMC tournament during the 2005-06 season and advanced to the NAIA national tournament where it lost in the first round.

Gamble's decision was featured in a June 28, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

UIS announces performing arts season plans for Sangamon Auditorium

The University of Illinois Springfield announced today its 2010-2011 performing arts season at Sangamon Auditorium.

The season at Sangamon Auditorium will continue to feature three, distinct performing arts series.

This year’s UIS Broadway Series offers “A Chorus Line,” “Spring Awakening” “Legally Blonde” and “Mama Mia.”

The UIS Visiting Artists Series will feature the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Blues music legend Buddy Guy, Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary, a special evening with the New York Times Best Selling author David Sedaris, and a special theater event with screen and stage actor, Anthony Zerbe. Other performances will be “Drumline Live!,” Tango Buenos Aires, The King’s Singers, Hot Tuna Blues, and Arlo Guthrie: Journey On Tour, with special guest The Burns Sisters.

The UIS Family Series will feature events that focus on social awareness and the arts with performances targeted towards youth and families.

Series subscriptions for new and renewing subscribers are on sale now. Single tickets and Create Your Own series packages go on sale to the general public 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 23. Individual Broadway events go on sale approximately 6 weeks prior to each engagement.

The season was featured in a June 24, 2010, article in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier.

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New Sangamon Auditorium season down, but not out

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a folk singer! A blues legend! A public radio personality!

That’s right, Sangamon Auditorium has formally announced its 2010-11 season, featuring the usual mix of world music and dance, baby boomer nostalgia acts and other performers.

The schedule, however, is noticeably lighter than last season, with only 18 scheduled acts instead of 23. That’s two fewer Broadway series titles and three fewer shows in the Visiting Artists series.

“The economy has been pretty rough,” said Robert Vaughn, the director of Sangamon Auditorium.

That includes three performances of “A Chorus Line,” celebrating its 35th anniversary; “Spring Awakening,” the 2007 Tony Award winner; “Legally Blonde the Musical”; and “Mamma Mia!”

The season was featured in a June 24, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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US Senate approves US Attorney for central Ill.

A longtime federal prosecutor has been named the new U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois.

The U.S. Senate approved the appointment of James Lewis on Tuesday.

The 69-year-old has been both an assistant U.S. attorney and chief of the civil division for more than 25 years.

The New York native received his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1966. He's also worked as a law professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Lewis' nomination was featured in a June 23, 2010, Associated Press report.

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Cohen may face court, not ballot challenge

Scott Lee Cohen may have collected a hundred thousand signatures that he didn’t need.

The now independent candidate for governor filed over 133,000 voter signatures as part of his bid to unseat Gov. Pat Quinn. That’s more than 100,000 more than is required by state law, and may end-up being way more than needed as well.

Quinn’s campaign is content to let the Democratic County Chairman’s Association check and possibly challenge Cohen’s paperwork.

It’s common for political rivals to challenge the others’ paperwork. And it’s quite common for that tactic to work and knock a candidate out of the race.

But former state elections boss, and current University of Illinois at Springfield professor, Ron Michaelson said the sheer number of Cohen’s signatures has rendered that tactic pointless.

“Anyone who has any ‘Illinois smarts’ in politics understands that the more signatures you file the less likely it is that someone will object.”

Michaelson's comments were featured in a June 23, 2010, article by Illinois Statehouse News.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GLVC honors two UIS teams

The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball and women’s tennis teams earned Great Lakes Valley Conference team academic awards. The GLVC recognizes each team from a member institution that maintains a 3.30 grade-point average for the academic year.

The Prairie Stars’ volleyball team squad posted a 3.44 GPA while the women’s tennis team had a 3.42.

Sixty-six GLVC teams — 51 women’s and 15 men’s — earned the honor in the inaugural year of the award. Ten volleyball teams posted a GPA of 3.30 or better to lead all GLVC sports for the most teams represented. Women’s soccer followed with nine teams and women’s cross country had eight teams.

The awards were featured in a June 23, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

College students digging for piece of history at New Philadelphia site

Eight college students from across the country will spend five weeks at the New Philadelphia site near Barry, then move Saturday to the Illinois State Museum for five weeks analyzing their finds.

It's hand-on archaeology experience and, perhaps more importantly, a better understanding of the first community platted by an African-American.

The field school inspired John Schultz, a senior history major at University of Illinois Springfield, to focus on archaeology in graduate school.

"I wanted to learn how to do archaeology, and it's a very interesting story, a very important story. I learned a lot," Schultz said just before carefully wielding a shovel to lift sod to expand a dig site.

Schultz's experience was featured in a June 21, 2010, article in The Quincy Herald-Whig.

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Grant will help UI fund open-source textbook initiative

The University of Illinois will widen its foray into online, customizable textbooks with help from a federal grant.

The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs has been awarded a $150,000 grant to establish an initiative that provides open-source textbook access for Illinois students.

The grant is for all three campuses to share, so the head of the project, Charles Evans, the director of university outreach and public service, says the money is only a beginning.

He credited Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, with pushing for the Department of Education grant. Last year, Durbin sought a $300,000 appropriation for the UI and Benedictine University in Lisle to create two open textbook programs.

It's too early to say what the textbook will be about, but Evans gave an example of how different units could work together, from academic departments to the University of Illinois Press.

For instance, at all three campuses there is research in sustainability, he noted.

In Urbana, there are groups in engineering, in Liberal Arts and Sciences, and in Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The Springfield campus has faculty expertise in environmental sustainability, and Chicago has sources in both engineering and liberal arts.

The open-source textbook grant was featured in a June 21, 2010, article in the Champaign News-Gazette.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Two senate elections this November?

You might be voting for two U.S. senators in the November election instead of one.

A federal lawsuit is arguing that the appointment of Senator Roland Burris is temporary and needs to be replaced. An appellate court agrees. The court is ordering two senate elections take place in November. One to replace Burris for the last 8 weeks of his term and the second election to replace that person to serve in the next congress that will be inaugurated in January.

UIS Associate Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies Jason Pierceson is interviewed in this June 20, 2010, report by WICS-TV 20.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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Walk and talk at Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon

The public is invited to an open house for the Morton Site archeology dig at the Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve. An introductory lecture will be presented by Michael Conner, Associate Curator of Anthropology from Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown. The walk and talk will be on June 26 at 10 a.m. at the Alfred O. and Barbara Cordwell Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon.

Conner will discuss the significance of the Morton Site excavation, which has been investigated for three years in collaboration with researchers from Michigan State University. This dig is the latest in a series of digs on or near Emiquon since the 1930s. The most recent discoveries about this village site dating from A.D. 1300 will be introduced. Visitors will then take a short walk (or drive) from the Field Station to the Morton Site to view the activities of the scientists.

UIS’ Therkildsen Field Station is at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana, and Lewistown, near the Dickson Mounds Museum.

The Emiquon event was featured in a June 18, 2010, article The Aledo Times Record.

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Springfield's soccer community unites to watch World Cup

Ten years ago, riding on the successes of the men’s team at the University of Illinois Springfield (and previously the former Sangamon State University), soccer became one of the most popular sports to play in town.

Local high schools were winning state titles, and the YMCA soccer fields adjacent to UIS were full of shin guard-wearing kids and their parents.

The Springfield Men’s Soccer League was born about the same time, drawing players who hailed from all over the world.

UIS soccer was featured in a June 18, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Camp designed to win girls over to technology

Thirteen-year-old Ruth Ballenger of Springfield received her own computer to play with Thursday morning. The only problem — it was in pieces.

Ballenger and her partner, Shannon Tavenner, 15, of Paxton, had to take all of the components — such as the motherboard, hard drive, CD-ROM and RAM stick — and put them back together inside a computer lab at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Thirty minutes later, it was time to test the reassembled computer, and Ruth clasped her hands in nervous excitement.

“Yay, we’re the first ones!” she exclaimed after the start-up screen appeared normal.

The girls are among 24 middle school students participating in UIS’ Girl Tech 2010. The two-day camp, in its second year, aims to get girls interested in computer science and strengthen their technology skills.

“The idea is to start with the things that are fun,” UIS computer science instructor Mary Sheila Tracy said.

Girl Tech was featured in a June 18, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Girl Tech 2010 brings middle school girls to UIS

Young girls from all across Central Illinois are at the University of Illinois Springfield's campus for the "Girl Tech 2010" conference.

Lessons include building computers, creating 3-D animation and digitally editing videos.

Studies show the number of women pursuing college degrees in computer science, is falling drastically. Organizers say that interest in computers begins to fall with girls in middle school, so that is why this camp is for 7th-9th graders.

The camp runs Thursday and Friday.

Girl Tech was featured by WAND-TV 17 in a June 17, 2010, report.

Watch the story on WAND's website

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Music Notes: BeauSoleil Cajun concert at UIS

BeauSoleil with Michael Doucet will anchor an outdoor New Orleans-style party at 8 p.m. Friday at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Blending elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country, blues and more, BeauSoleil have performed at the Grand Ole Opry and the Newport Folk Festival.

The show includes dancing, dessert and an announcement of the 2010-11 season at Sangamon Auditorium. There’s also a pre-show Creole dinner, but that’s already sold out.

The concert will be in Parking Lot E on the University of Illinois Springfield campus. It’s just outside Sangamon Auditorium, where the event will move in case of inclement weather.

Tickets cost $22 and are available at the Sangamon Auditorium ticket office, by calling 206-6160 or visiting www.sangamonauditorium.org.

The event was featured in a June 17, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Obama takes on gulf coast crisis

As President Barack Obama toured the gulf coast for the fourth time Tuesday, a new poll by the Associated Press reviled the majority of Americans disapprove with how he’s handled the aftermath of the oil spill.

“If it doesn’t get fixed and it’s a big public problem the president is essentially going to take the blame,” said Chris Mooney, professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Mooney says crisis like this can often define a presidency for better or worse, depending how it’s handled.

Mooney's comments were featured in a June 15, 2010, report by WICS-TV 20.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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Campus campaign for the Women of Atenco

The University of Illinois Springfield in its first year as a Amnesty International student group hit the ground running in the fight for Human Rights. Started in August of 2009, they now have 12 paid members and can't wait for the fall semester to begin.

Where they can continue the work of Amnesty.

This year the group visited Senator Dick Durbin's office to push for the closing of Guantanamo and ended the school year with a campus campaign for the Women of Atenco.

The student efforts were featured in a May 2010 newsletter by Amnesty International.

Download a PDF of the newsletter (see page 3)

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Poll: Fewer people want Blagojevich behind bars

Fewer people want to see Rod Blagojevich convicted, according to a new poll.

The poll by Rasmussen shows 57 percent of registered Illinois voters want to see Blagojevich go to jail. The number is down from 79 percent in December of 2008, when the former governor was arrested.

Experts say the reason may be timing.

More people tend to feel a person is guilty when they are arrested, according to Jason Pierceson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Pierceson's comments were featured in a June 14, 2010, report by WCIA-TV Channel 3.

Read more and watch the story on WCIA's website

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Four Illinois students receive scholarship

Four Illinois high school students were named recipients of the Liberty Bank Scholarship for 2010.

The recipients will receive $4,000 towards tuition at the college of their choice. The scholarship will be awarded in $1,000 increments over four years. The Liberty Bank Scholarship Program celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and is impressed with the 2010 award winners.

One of the students receiving the award is Tori Marie Higgason (East Alton-Wood River Community High School) who will be attending the University of Illinois Springfield and majoring in Business Administration.

The scholarship was featured in an article on KSDK-TV's website on June 13, 2010.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lily Tomlin to perform 1st show for Central Illinois

It's taken more than 40 years for Edith Ann and Ernestine and Judith Beasley and Sister Boogie Woman to find their way to Central Illinois.

But here they come, en masse, to the University of Illinois Springfield Sangamon Auditorium this weekend, along with their manager, Lily Tomlin.

And that's the truth.

(Insert big fat raspberry here.) (Insert even bigger rocking chair here.)

"I don't know," she begins in an interview almost as entertainingly anecdotal as one of her Tony/Emmy-winning one-woman shows. "Do you think enough people will still care after all these years?"

What: "An Evening with Lily Tomlin"
Where: 7 p.m. Sunday
When: U of I at Springfield Sangamon Auditorium, Springfield
Tickets: $40 to $65
Box office: 800-207-6960

The performance was featured in a June 10, 2010, article in the Bloomington Pantagraph.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Season never ends for versatile Beck

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School senior Mallory Beck didn’t choose sports — at least not nearly as much as sports chose her.

Beck — The State Journal-Register’s Central State Eight Conference Female Athlete of the Year — kept both herself and the opposition busy. She was diagnosed with diabetes at age 6, and she has spent time talking to other kids on how to cope with the disease and live a normal life.

“They were all sorts of different ages, anywhere from 5 to 20, kids that are even older than me,’’ said Beck, who will play basketball and softball at the University of Illinois Springfield. “I’ve shared my experiences with them. I told them that anything’s possible. Don’t let it hold you back and keep you from what you’re capable of doing. It helps with my responsibility and leadership role . . . it motivates me to do more and never be satisfied.”

Beck was featured in a June 8, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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University grad fees often exceed actual costs

Thousands of students graduated from Illinois' public universities this spring - the culmination of years of work, countless hours and often sizable expenses, all spent in the name of furthering education.

But a final round of tuition payment isn't the only expense many graduates faced before collecting their diplomas: Roughly half of Illinois' public universities charged students for caps, gowns, tassels and other apparel at higher rates than the original cost to the schools.

Frequently, public and private universities charge several other fees per academic term. University of Illinois at Springfield, for example, charged students taking on-campus classes fulfilling the minimum full-time credit requirements almost $1,700 over two semesters for various fees.

The fees were featured in a June 8, 2010, article in the Chicago Daily Herald.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Legislative behavior and state spending: What the experts say

A series of political experts descended upon the University of Illinois Springfield to discuss a wide variety of political issues.

The 10th annual State Politics and Policy Conference's theme this year was "Political Scientists Meet Political Practitioners in the States. How can we help?"

ABC News Channel 20's Andrew Hansen went to the conference and talked to experts about legislative behavior and state spending.

The SPPC conference was featured by WICS-TV in a June 5, 2010, report.

Watch the story on News Channel 20’s website

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UIS professor named University Scholar 2010

Chris Mooney, professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield, was named University Scholar 2010 in an announcement Friday at the 10th annual State Politics and Policy Conference. Mooney helped organize the first conference.

This is the first time the conference has been held in Illinois.

Mooney’s honor was featured in a June 5, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Illinois Senate race: All insults, all the time

The candidates in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate races aren’t saying much about health care, the Gulf oil spill or even the economy.

Instead, they’re discussing who’s the least trustworthy.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk says Democrat Alexi Giannoulias is a “mob banker.” His allies compare Giannoulias to Tony Soprano and criticize him for wrongly claiming to still head a charity that’s actually defunct.

Illinois isn’t the only state where candidates have exchanged insults, although the race has turned nasty sooner during a time when Kirk and Giannoulias, both not well known statewide, should be introducing themselves to voters, said Christopher Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Mooney’s comments were featured in a June 5, 2010, Associated Press article.

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Five in running for top prize in medical innovation contest

Dr. Michael Schneider, a clinical geneticist at Springfield’s Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, wants to help doctors diagnose inherited conditions with an online database that improves upon the online search engines currently available to physicians.

Schneider, 51, is five months into the effort to create what he has called Wikiphen. He is collaborating with Sae Hwang, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Illinois Springfield.
“Wiki” refers to what he hopes will be a “collaborative, community effort” that links doctors and scientists across the world, and “phen,” referring to “phenotype,” or the physical characteristics a person develops from a combination of his or her genes and environmental factors.

Hwang’s collaboration was featured in a June 6, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Four ex-governors kick off political science conference

Former governors of four states in Springfield Thursday for a national political science conference said that academics have much to offer government leaders, especially now.

But, said former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, it has to be put in a way that’s understandable.

“Any help that a public official can receive from the academic world, I think, could be very positive,” Edgar told reporters before a two-hour panel discussion at the Old State Capitol, “but it’s got to be delivered in a manner that’s ... relevant.”

Edgar, the Republican governor of Illinois from 1991 to 1999, was joined by former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin, a Democrat who served from 1985 to 1991; former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening, a Democrat who served from 1995-2003, and former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican who was in office from 1999-2007.

Their panel kicked off the 10th Annual State Politics and Policy Conference, a three-day national event being held at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The SPPC Conference was featured in a June 4, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Former state governors weigh in on Illinois' financial issues

Illinois’ pocketbook was certainly one of the topics of conversations at the State Politics and Policy Conference, hosted by the University of Illinois Springfield.

While all the four former governor’s who attended a roundtable Thursday night at the Old State Capitol have certainly dealt with budgets before, never one that’s 13 billion dollars in the hole.

“It’s a very tough time to be governor. In fact I’m glad I’m not governor right now,” said former Ohio Governor Bob Taft.

His state is going to face an 8 billion dollar budget hole next year, because there won’t be any stimulus money. He says Illinois’ situation is hard to imagine.

The former governor's comments at the SPPC Conference were featured by WICS-TV in a report on June 3, 2010.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gamble may be interested in different opening at Providence

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Kevin Gamble is interested in the vacant coordinator of player development and video operations position with the NCAA Division I Providence College Friars, but a second position has opened up on the basketball staff at the Rhode Island school.

In addition to the coordinator of player development vacancy, Providence has an opening for an assistant coach. Pat Skerry resigned as a Providence assistant coach and was introduced Friday as an assistant at Pittsburgh.

Gamble said a week ago he was in discussions with Providence regarding its coordinator of player development and video operations position.

“Nothing is set in stone yet,” Gamble said Wednesday regarding that opening. “I’m still waiting.”

Gamble was featured in a June 3, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Blagojevich trial will spotlight worst elements of state's political culture

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's federal corruption trial will feature prosecutors feeding voters a steady reminder of the worst elements of Illinois' political culture — allegations that money, insider influence and personal interest drive public policy in this state.

For Democrats, the trial represents a long-feared day of reckoning after 18 months of a Blagojevich-fueled circus. The challenge is to weather months of testimony involving pay-to-play charges as the party tries to maintain its control of state government, led by Gov. Pat Quinn, who replaced Blagojevich as governor after twice serving as his running mate.

"I don't think it's going to be good for Democrats," said Christopher Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield. "Quinn inoculated himself pretty well from Blagojevich. But Blagojevich, himself, wrote the book on this. He's taught us how to take a person not associated in any way with taint and link them at the hip."

Mooney's comments were featured in a June 3, 2010, article in the Chicago Tribune.

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Lawmakers failing to make education funding choices

The general consensus is economically struggling school districts have three options: raise taxes, reduce expenditures and/or borrow money.

Illinois only has one option, according to many outside the Statehouse: raise revenues, specifically income taxes.

"They can dance around all they want, but they've got to," said Bill Phillips, an education finance professor at the University of Illinois Springfield. Phillips, also an education lobbyist and consultant, suspects that will happen after the November elections.

Phillips comments were featured in a June 2, 2010, article in the Peoria Journal Star.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Five UIS teammates will tee it up in the Ron Ghidina Memorial

The Stars are aligned for the Ron Ghidina Memorial Championship.

Five players from the University of Illinois-Springfield men’s golf team — led by Pekin native Shane McCafferty — will play in the third-annual event that begins Friday at Lick Creek Golf Course. And all five will call McCafferty’s house their home for the three-day weekend.

“My mom is freaking out about all these guys staying with us,” McCafferty said.

McCafferty, who will be a junior at UIS, had the lowest stroke average for the Prairie Stars last season. He counted 22 rounds in a 79.50 average, helped by a season-low 69. McCafferty’s best finish of the season was a tie for third at the UIS Invitational, where he shot a final-round 72 at Piper Glen in Springfield.

The addition of his four teammates gives the event more of a statewide field than it had in its first two years. Mark Klinger is from Arcola, Zach Szumanski hails from Byron and twin brothers Mike and Ryan McKillips are from Eureka, Mo.

The team was featured in a June 2, 2010, article in the Peoria Journal Star.

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Former Glenwood soccer star Egolf transfers to UIS

Former Chatham Glenwood High School soccer standout Erin Egolf has transferred to the University of Illinois Springfield, an NCAA Division II program, following an award-winning season at Division I Illinois State University.

Egolf was voted to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman women’s soccer team last fall. That couldn’t keep her at ISU. She transferred to and attended classes at UIS during the spring semester. Egolf said ISU “really didn’t work out.’’

“I loved the school and my teammates were great,” she said.

UIS coach Pete Kowall plans to utilize Egolf’s offensive talent.

“We were excited to have Erin transfer in midterm,” he said in a press release. “She will help us score goals and keep the ball in the attacking third.”

Egolf was featured in a June 2, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Editorial: Adjust how city hires police, firefighters

The following is a portion of a State Journal-Register editorial published on June 2, 2010.

"Mayor Tim Davlin once pledged to bring the percentage of minorities up to their proportion of the city’s population, which is roughly 15 percent. He made several efforts to try to boost the numbers, including appointing a University of Illinois Springfield administrator to spearhead those efforts in 2006.

'We need to get this up and running now,' Davlin said when he appointed UIS administrator Christopher Miller, who has since left the city. Today, less than 1 percent of the city’s firefighters are black and 4.6 percent of the city’s police officers are black, which is about the same as it’s been for years.

Although efforts at minority recruitment by Miller yielded significant improvement in the number of minorities taking the test, too many of them were stuck in the lower bands to make a big difference in the actual number of minorities in the police department."

Download a PDF of the editorial

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blagojevich faces the fight of his life

The day before Rod Blagojevich's world came crashing down, he stood before the TV cameras confident and defiant, as always, declaring he had nothing to hide, even as a giant political scandal was about to engulf him.

"If anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead," said the boyish, helmet-haired governor, looking jaunty in a black leather jacket and turtleneck.

As it turns out, the feds had done just that.

In the year and a half since his arrest, Rod Blagojevich has lost his job and become a political pariah and a comic punch line. But he's maintained the bravado that defined him as governor with repeated declarations of innocence that are vintage Blago: Confrontational. In the limelight. Never giving an inch.

"His ego won't allow him to give up the stage," says Kent Redfield, a professor emeritus of politics at the University of Illinois-Springfield. "He has this supreme confidence in his ability to win people over."

Redfield's comments were featured in a May 31, 2010, national Associated Press article.

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Area colleges: UIS signs four to volleyball team

Coal City High School’s Kellee Mahaffay, Plainfield South High’s Bianca Sanchez and junior college transfers and teammates Colleen Gentile and Samantha Krilich will play volleyball at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Gentile and Krilich played at Prairie State College, a junior college in Chicago Heights. Krilich, an all-around player and outside hitter, was a voted to the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association all-american second team. The Thornton Fractional South High graduate was a two year college starter. Gentile, a Thornton Fractional North product, was an all-region setter at Prairie State.

Mahaffay, who plays multiple positions, was a three-year starter at Coal City where she led the team in kills for two straight years.

Sanchez started for three seasons at Plainfield South and plays in the back row.

The new players were featured in a May 31, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Perks pad pay for Illinois university presidents

Illinois public university administrators’ salaries are increasing, but only slightly, and some top officials are returning part of their pay for scholarships and to pay for other projects during tough economic times, a survey of college contracts shows.

The State Journal-Register obtained most of the contracts under the state’s Freedom of Information Act after questions were raised several weeks ago about retiring University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Richard Ringeisen’s exit package. Under his agreement with the U of I, Ringeisen gets a year’s paid leave worth $273,500.

The survey of contracts and letters of appointment for all of Illinois’ 12 public universities reveals:

— Base salaries range from $620,000 for the new U of I president to $125,000 for the president of Chicago State University, although another $129,000 of his pay is put into a deferred compensation plan.

— The contracts often come with lucrative payouts when an administrator leaves the U of I system. For example, Michael Hogan, the new University of Illinois president, will earn a $225,000 retention bonus if he stays the full five years of his contract.

— Many contracts outline additional perquisites, ranging from a car and driver for the U of I president and chancellor at the University of Illinois Chicago to three club memberships for the UIS chancellor. A residence — in some cases two — is part of the packages, adding to the total compensation.

The contracts were featured in a May 30, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article

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