Wednesday, March 30, 2011

UIS professor will have a ringside seat to U.S. Supreme Court argument

Only a handful of states offer public financing where candidates who take public money are prohibited from raising private cash. Michael Miller teaches political science at the University of Illinois Springfield. He's studied what some call "clean election" funding. The argument before the nation's high court is those who raise their own campaign cash have less incentive to spend more if their opponents are publicly financed because the opponents can get matching funds.

"So they feel like the unintended consequences of this law is to curb their spending. The phrase they use all the time is these programs chill my speech," said Miller.

Miller's research found privately funded candidates often wait until the final days to make big ad buys so that it's too late for matching funds to arrive for the other side. He says it shows public financing doesn't deny free speech.

"It's more accurate to say public funding seems to affect when they say it," he said.

Miller says if the court rules against the matching funds provision, it could make it even harder to get candidates to sign up for public funding.

The story was featured by WUIS Public Radio in a March 28, 2011 report.

Read the story online

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GLVC honors Stars' Watson

University of Illinois Springfield junior Aubrey Watson has been named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week.

The Auburn native gave up five hits and had two strikeouts over eight innings in a 1-0 win against Quincy Saturday. It was her first career shutout.

Watson has an earned-run average of 1.87. She has 24 strikeouts in 13 appearances and a 1-2 record. Her 33 2/3 innings pitched ranks second for the Stars.

The award was featured in a March 30, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the story online

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UIS Tennis: Stars' doubles give foes trouble

During this season of ever-changing weather, practice schedules change from minute to minute.

“The school should give an allowance to Jane (Brown) for all the texts she sends saying we have practice at noon, then no we have practice at 4,” University of Illinois Springfield tennis player Druvinka Moraes said. “We don’t have tennis courts at school, so we have to organize to come here (to Washington Park). I don’t have a car, so I depend on teammates.”

Tennis players count on each other off the court and on the court more than you’d think. It is an individual sport and emphasis typically is placed on singles play. But doubles competition plays a role, too.

“The doubles play really sets the tone for the match because that gets our team pumped up,” UIS senior Josh Patrick said. “If we win two out of three doubles, we go on to singles thinking we can win.”

The team was featured in a March 30, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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SJ-R sues state police, UIS over records

The State Journal-Register on Tuesday sued Illinois State Police and the University of Illinois Springfield in Sangamon County Circuit Court, alleging in separate lawsuits that public records have been illegally withheld.

The newspaper sued UIS to obtain records showing what actions by coaches of the women’s softball team prompted their forced resignations in the spring of 2009. The newspaper first asked for records in May 2009 and asked again in January of last year, when changes to the Freedom of Information Act took effect that were supposed to increase government transparency.

A team member collected a $200,000 settlement after her attorney wrote a letter to top university officials titled “Sexual Assault and Battery By UIS Softball Coach.” The university redacted the entire contents of the letter, including the attorney’s name, in a copy given to the newspaper. The university has said that federal law designed to protect student privacy bars disclosure.

The newspaper has consistently told the university that it need not disclose the student’s name.

The story was published in a March 30, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Library to hold Internet and job searching courses

Anne Godman, who is completing her master's degree at the University of Illinois Springfield with an emphasis in human resources and public relations, will conduct Internet and job searching classes in April at the Chatham Area Public Library.

Introductory Internet classes will be held from April 4 to April 13 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and will cover e-mail and Internet resources and search techniques. Advanced Internet classes will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 18 and April 20.

The classes were featured in a March 29, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the story online

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On campus: Catching up with local athletes at college

AUBREY WATSON (Auburn) is 0-1 with a 2.72 earned run average for the University of Illinois-Springfield softball team. In 18 innings, she’s allowed 17 hits with 19 strikeouts and a .233 opponents batting average.

ON CAMPUS is a regular feature of The State Journal-Register to update the collegiate accomplishments of former high school athletes from Springfield and the surrounding area.

Watson was featured in a March 29, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the story online

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Federal approach could be model to cut number of government units

A state senator is looking to the federal government for a model on how to reduce the glut of local governments in Illinois.

Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, wants to create a commission that will recommend governments to be consolidated or eliminated.

University of Illinois Springfield political scientist Chris Mooney said the proliferation of small government units makes it difficult for anyone to monitor their activities.

“Very few people know what these people are doing,” Mooney said. “There is a lack of accountability. There is an opportunity for nepotism and hanky-panky. They’re certainly not all corrupt, but when you get so many of them, people don’t notice what’s going on.”

Mooney's comments were featured in a March 27, 2011, article by The State Journal-Register.

Read the story online

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Monday, March 28, 2011

No gender discrimination at UIS, athletic director says

University of Illinois Springfield athletic director Rodger Jehlicka says he isn’t worried about complaints that the athletic department has violated Title IX, the federal law barring gender-based discrimination.

“UIS is the most compliant Title IX school I have worked at,” said Jehlicka, who has announced his resignation effective in August.

Jehlicka said he has worked at four colleges during the past 31 years. Before that, he said, he worked for 11 years at high schools subject to Title IX, which became law in 1972 and applies to institutions that receive federal funds.

Barbara Hayler, a former UIS professor of criminal justice, accused the university of treating male and female athletes differently in a Title IX complaint she filed with the U.S. Department of Education last year.

The story was published in a March 26, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

Read the story online

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No school has ever lost aid due to Title IX violation

Title IX sex discrimination complaints like the one filed against the University of Illinois Springfield aren’t uncommon, but the toughest penalty for violating the act — revocation of federal aid to a school — has never been imposed.

According to the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., 416 formal athletic complaints were filed with the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education in the five-year period ending Dec. 31, 2006.

Over that period, OCR initiated only one compliance review of a school’s athletics program, the center found.

Anyone can file a Title IX compliant, and the OCR can investigate any school where it believes there may be Title IX problems.

The law requires a school to have a procedure set up to address gender discrimination complaints, whether or not it has ever had a complaint filed against it.

The story was published in a March 26, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

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UIS coach disputes discrimination complaint

University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball coach Marne Fauser and a former player have their own versions of what transpired over the course of the 2009-10 season.

One thing is certain. Six players and the coach parted ways after the 2009-10 season, when Fauser opted not to renew the athletic scholarships of Jeanell Randolph, Natalie Bertucci, Susan Coryell, Rachael Follmer, Erin Glogovsky and Kelly Thompson.

Barbara Hayler, a former UIS criminal justice professor, filed a federal gender discrimination complaint about the UIS sports program in August. UIS has agreed to revamp the way it handles discrimination complaints and to investigate allegations of unequal treatment of male and female athletes.

The story was published in a March 26, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winand to talk quilting Saturday

The meaning of quilting in African American women’s culture will be discussed during a presentation at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at the Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site, 603 S. Fifth St., Springfield. The event is free and open to the public.

“Quilting as Art and Narrative” will be presented by Dr. Angela Winand, assistant professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Winand will use photographs of quilts to illustrate her presentation. Light refreshments will follow the program.

The event was featured in a March 24, 2011 article by The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online

The importance of campaign-finance reform in one graph

The graph comes from Michael Miller (UIS political science professor), and it shows the difference that clean-election funding of the sort you see in Arizona and Maine makes in campaigns.

The context for Miller’s post is that the Supreme Court is considering a case that could wipe out clean-election programs all across the country. The specific charge being brought against the policy is that it unfairly restricts candidate speech because it increases funding to clean-election candidates when their opponents spend enormous sums against them. How does this restrict speech?

Miller's work was spotlighted in Ezra Klein's Washington Post blog on March 23, 2011.

Read the blog online

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Lake of Trash: Volunteers haul away thousands of pounds of garbag

Over the past several weeks, volunteers with Living Lands and Waters, a traveling nonprofit environmental group specializing in river and lake cleanup, hauled in more than 10,000 pounds of plastic bottles, basketballs, tires, appliances, and even a prosthetic leg found floating in McKellar Lake.

College students from across the country gave up their spring break vacations to help the organization clean up trash in Memphis.

"I'm almost certain that if people knew what was going on out here, they would think twice about what they throw away and where they throw it away," said Edward Bempong, who volunteered with a group from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The UIS Alternative Spring Break group's efforts were featured in a March 24, 2011 Memphis Flyer article.

Read the article online

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U. of I. OKs 6.9% tuition hike

University of Illinois trustees said they walked the line between staying level with inflation and keeping tuition affordable when they approved a 6.9 percent tuition increase for this fall's freshman class.

New students at the Urbana-Champaign campus will pay $11,104 tuition each year, while UIC students will pay $9,764 and students at the Springfield campus will pay $8,670.

"I don't think we need to choose between being an excellent, outstanding university and being an accessible university," said board Chairman Christopher Kennedy.

The increase was featured in a March 24, 2011, article in the Chicago Tribune.

Read the article online

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

UIS agrees to investigate alleged unequal treatment of athletes

The University of Illinois Springfield has agreed to revamp the way it handles discrimination complaints while also investigating allegations of unequal treatment of male and female athletes.

The changes took place a month after athletic director Rodger Jehlicka submitted his resignation and six months after the U.S. Department of Education received a complaint alleging violations of Title IX, a federal law requiring that women and men be treated equally by educational institutions that receive federal funds.

Among other things, the university will adopt a grievance procedure so students and employees will know how to file complaints about alleged discrimination, according to a Feb. 15 resolution passed by the University of Illinois board of trustees. The resolution also outlines a timeline for investigating allegations and a list of changes that will be made.

The story was published in a March 23, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

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Letter: MAP situation is aggravating

The following letter to the editor was published in a March 23, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

"I am writing to bring to light yet another despicable act by the state of Illinois.

My husband, a 35-year-old student at the University of Illinois Springfield, received an e-mail Thursday relaying information that the state has significantly moved up its application date for Illinois MAP grants. Any application received on or after Monday, March 21, would not be considered. I have a couple of problems with this."

Read the letter online

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All 4 mayoral candidates meet in broadcast debate

A broadcast debate Tuesday, for the first time since the primary, brought all four candidates for Springfield mayor to the same forum.

Frank Kunz, who has skipped several other forums, joined Mike Houston, Mike Coffey Jr. and Sheila Stocks-Smith in the hour-long event. The debate was broadcast live on WICS-TV and WMAY-AM.

The debate at Brookens Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield was broadcast live on WICS-TV and WMAY-AM. WICS news anchor Jerry Lambert was moderator. Panelists included Katie Heinz of WICS, Jim Leach of WMAY and Chris Wetterich of The State Journal-Register.

The debate was featured in a March 23, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online

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Monday, March 21, 2011

"Expanding Your Horizons in Math, Science, and Technology" conference

The "Expanding Your Horizons in Math, Science, and Technology" conference took place on Saturday, 19 March, at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls from all over the central Illinois area were invited to attend these seminars.

Dozens of female professional are recruited to conduct workshops in which the young girls get to experience various activities, showing them what it is like to work in these fields. Various technological careers showcased included architecture, engineering, nursing, forensics, and veterinary medicine.

The story was featured by WAND-TV in a March 20, 2011 report.

Read the story online

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Candidate forums remain on schedule

Tuesday, March 22

*Mayoral debate, 7 to 8 p.m. at Brookens Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield. It will be carried live on WICS-TV and WMAY-AM. WICS news anchor Jerry Lambert will moderate, and a media panel will include Katie Heinz of WICS, Jim Leach of WMAY and Chris Wetterich of The State Journal-Register. Questions from viewers and listeners will be presented by Jessica McGee of WICS. Rebroadcasts on WICS at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 26, and 10:35 p.m. Sunday, March 27.

Friday, March 25

Citizens Club of Springfield mayoral forum, Hoogland Center for the Arts, 420 S. Sixth St. Coffee at 7:30 a.m., forum begins at 8 a.m. Rich Bradley, retired news director of WUIS-FM, will moderate a media panel that will include Matt Dietrich, editorial page editor of The State Journal-Register, and Patrick Yeagle of Illinois Times. Free, open to public.

The debate schedule was published in a March 19, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online

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Friday, March 18, 2011

UIS women's golf finishes round in 11th

University of Illinois Springfield freshman Caitlin Osborn shot a 9-over-par 81 Thursday to tie for 26th place after one round of Northern Illinois University’s Snowbird Intercollegiate tournament at Pebble Creek Golf Club.

The Prairie Stars shot a team total of 354 and are last out of 11 teams. St. Leo (Fla.) University, which got a 71 from first-day medalist Jordan Hatch, leads the team standings at 301.

The team was featured in a March 18, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the full article online

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

UIS collaborates with a university in Africa

We are happy to announce that the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) is partnering with the University of the Gambia (UTG) to provide capacity building and develop a longterm partnership and mutual understanding of common and country-specific environmental health issues in the Gambia and the United States.

UIS's mission statement eloquently highlighted the need for scholarly collaboration among professionals at local, regional, state, national, and international communities. Thus, unsurprisingly, the UIS has collaborations and links with thirty-three universities in thirteen countries world-wide.

The partnership was featured in the Illinois Environmental Health Association's March 2011 newsletter.

Read the full newsletter online

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Health Care and Race

Learn about race, class and ethics in 21st century health care in a free presentation by Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen, a U.S. Delegate for the Virgin Islands.

The event will be Monday, March 28, in partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine on 801 Rutledge St. A reception begins at 6 p.m. in the Pearson Museum on the second floor, followed by a presentation in the south auditorium at 7 p.m.

Christensen is chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and watches over the health care of minorities.

The event was featured in a March 17, 2011, edition of the Illinois Times.

Read the full article online

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The high cost of 'convenient' tickets

Walk up to the Sangamon Auditorium ticket office and a main floor ticket for Celtic Woman’s April 18 performance will cost $64. If you buy online, you’ll pay an additional $3.50 convenience fee, a $1 administrative fee and a $4 processing fee — $8.50 in all.

Bob Vaughn, the director of Sangamon Auditorium, said he was able to negotiate the convenience fees down when Tickets.com’s contract was recently up for renewal.

He also defended the $4 processing fee, saying Sangamon Auditorium lost money on its ticket office. He said each ticket sold cost the venue an average of $2.38 — including labor, printing, postage and credit card fees the venue has to pay.

Vaughn's comments were featured in a March 17, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the full article online

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UIS continues to resist disclosure of coaches' conduct

The Illinois attorney general’s office has said that the University of Illinois Springfield must make public portions of a 2009 letter from an attorney who represented a student-athlete who was paid $200,000 to settle allegations of inappropriate behavior by former coaches of the women’s softball team.

It’s not clear, however, whether UIS will comply.

The quest for information began in the spring of 2009 with a records request from The State Journal-Register, which wants to know what conduct led to the coaches’ forced resignations and the subsequent settlement.

“We are reviewing the (attorney general’s) opinion and considering the university’s options before making a response,” said Derek Schnapp, UIS spokesman.

The story was published in a March 17, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

Read the full story online

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UIS incident involves coach, parent and athletic director

The University of Illinois Springfield’s campus police department is investigating allegations of harassment involving the school’s outgoing athletic director, a controversial coach and a former player’s parent, who is also well known to the U of I system for his activism.

All three – athletic director Rodger Jehlicka, women’s basketball coach Marne Fauser and parent Mark Thompson – are named in a campus police report detailing alleged confrontations that occurred in The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC) after a Feb. 17 game. Fauser sought an order of protection against Thompson for alleged stalking, but the court refused, stating that the alleged evidence was not a basis for an order of protection.

The incident was reported in a March 17, 2011, article in the Illinois Times.

Read the full story online

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Bernard Schoenburg: UIS' Mooney honored

Congratulations to CHRIS MOONEY, professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield and the U of I’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs, on being named the first Honorable W. Russell Arrington Professor in State Politics.

Mooney, a national expert in the field of state politics and policy who focuses on legislative decision making, legislative leadership and morality policy, was selected for the honor from candidates at all three U of I campuses. The professorship, which is part of the IGPA, is named for Arrington, who served in the legislature from 1945-73, became the Senate’s leader and was considered the father of the modern General Assembly in part for building up the operation with adequate staff.

The late Arrington’s son MICHAEL ARRINGTON and former Gov. JIM EDGAR, an Arrington admirer, were involved in the efforts to fund the professorship. JIM PAUL, assistant director of the IGPA, said the goal of $500,000 needed for an endowed professorship was nearly reached.

Mooney, who has the honor for a five-year renewable term, said the chair comes with a research support fund of $10,000 to $20,000 per year. His first project is conducting a series of interviews to determine how lawmakers think about cause and effect in public policy.

At UIS since 1999, Mooney is founding editor of a national journal called State Politics and Policy Quarterly.

Mooney was featured in a March 13, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article

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Mayoral debate on WUIS radio

A debate among candidates for Springfield mayor will be carried live from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight on WUIS radio, 91.9 FM.

Only people with tickets can attend the debate at the Illinois Association of Realtors building, 522 S. Fifth St. Also hosting the event are Capital Area Association of Realtors, Downtown Springfield Inc., the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the University of Illinois Springfield.

Bill Wheelhouse of WUIS radio and Bernard Schoenburg of The State Journal-Register will moderate.

The preview was published in a March 14, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

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Efficiency commission accused of being inefficient

Sangamon County’s planned Citizen’s Efficiency Commission probably will have to break up into smaller groups if it wants to operate efficiently, a University of Illinois Springfield business professor said.

The goal of the 23-member panel, which is to be created after the April 5 election, is to find ways for local governments in Sangamon County to work together and save tax money.

But it’s probably too big to live up to its name, said Dyanne Ferk, associate dean of the business college at UIS. That means subcommittees might have to do much of the spadework, she said.

“The literature on the performance of groups is that if you get over 12 people, they aren’t very productive in reaching a decision,” Ferk said. “With 23 people, it will take a while to get a consensus.”

Voters approved creation of the Citizens Efficiency Commission in November. It will be made up of representatives from all of the taxing districts in Sangamon County, and members will look for more efficient ways to deliver government services. Suggestions could include joint purchasing or even governmental mergers.

Ferk's comments were featured in a March 14, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Statement of Economic Interests

If you receive a Statement of Economic Interests form . . .

Some University employees are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests form under the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act. The Office of the Secretary of State will mail the forms to required filers today, March 14. If you receive one of these forms in the mail:

Submit the completed form to the University of Illinois Ethics Office by April 22, 2011. The University Ethics Officer will review and forward all completed Statements to the Secretary of State by the May 2, 2011 deadline.

Send the form via campus or US mail to University Ethics Office, Human Resources Building Room 20, One University Plaza HRB 20, Springfield, IL 62704-5407.

If you have questions about:

Criteria for Filing
Call the Ethics Help Line at 866-758-2146 or visit the University Ethics Office Web site at www.ethics.uillinois.edu/statements/index.cfm.

Illinois Governmental Ethics Act
Call the Secretary of State’s Office at 217-782-7017.

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Fed rule could have 'major chilling effect' on online instruction

A proposed federal rule could cripple many online education programs.

Colleges that offer online instruction nationwide would have to get approval from every state in which they operate, or those online courses could be shut down, after the Education Department (ED) proposed a controversial rule that has drawn the ire of educators and distance-education organizations.

The regulation, known as the state-authorization rule, is scheduled to take effect July 1.

It would force colleges and universities that receive federal aid to prove they are certified to operate in every state in which they have online students—a mandate, educators said, that comes at a high cost and could cripple many burgeoning online education programs.

The rule was first proposed in October, leaving schools about nine months to comply with the federal regulation.

“It will be impossible for most colleges and universities to comply by the deadline,” said Raymond Schroeder, director of the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Center for Online Learning, Research, and Services. “As a result, students will be hurt. One has to wonder what will happen to those students who are halfway through a program, or in their last summer term when their university is forced to pull out in July.”

Schroeder added that state governments could see schools’ efforts to comply with the new rule as a potential “revenue source” and “charge fees beyond what universities can possibly afford.”

Schroeder's comments were featured in a March 10, 2011, eCampus News article.

Download a PDF of the full article

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brian Mackey: UIS wins local Broadway tug-of-war

Will Springfield support two competing Broadway series?

When Broadway in Springfield announced this week that it would move its remaining shows from the Prairie Capital Convention Center to Sangamon Auditorium and exit the market at the end of the season, that question seemed to have been answered with a clear “no.”

That was the conclusion of Todd Rossi, an executive with the series.

“It’s been a little bit tougher than anyone would have liked as far as overall sales,” he said.

The reality, however, is more complicated.

The failure of the Broadway in Springfield series appears to come down not to the appetite for theater among the people of Springfield but instead to the cost of trying to stage a theatrical show in a multi-purpose arena.

The series was created by Chicago-based Theatre Council Productions, which had programmed the Broadway series at Sangamon Auditorium from 2005 through last season.

Last year, Sangamon Auditorium management decided it wanted more of the profits from the Broadway shows and took the booking and production duties in-house.

“I do value their role in small markets, but we just don’t need that since I came on board here,” said Bob Vaughn, the director of Sangamon Auditorium. He used to program the Broadway series at his previous job, and so “with the cuts in state appropriations and the economy,” he felt he couldn’t go on sharing profits with an outside promoter.

The Broadway Series was featured in a March 10, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Rockford Christian's Obee signs with Illinois-Springfield

Rockford Christian coach Kevin Obee never imagined that he would have the opportunity to coach his son, Kynan, on the high school level.

That all changed four years ago when Kevin took over the boys soccer program.

On Wednesday, before a gathering of about 35 people in the school’s library, Kevin Obee watched with pride as Kynan signed a letter-of-intent to play soccer at the University of Illinois-Springfield.

“It’s been a privilege for me as a coach to have him all four years and as a father, I am proud of his accomplishments,” said Kevin Obee, who told the audience a couple of stories about his son’s progression from playing soccer as a 5-year-old to high school.

The 5-foot-8 senior midfielder made his decision after visiting UIS three weeks ago and is excited about the opportunity.

“When I visited, I enjoyed my experience with the guys and I liked the coach,” said Kynan Obee, who was second in the area in scoring with 22 goals and 16 assists as a senior. “I know it will be more intense and very physical because I will be going up against faster guys.”

UIS’s men soccer team, which included seven freshmen, finished with a record of 1-14-1 last year.

Obee, a four-year all-conference player, was a member of the 2010 Illinois Olympic Development Program state team.

He holds the school’s scoring record of 34 goals in a season and finished with 72 goals and 48 assists for his career. As a senior captain, he was a first-team selection for All-State and All-Midwest.

Obee, who carries a 3.24 grade-point average, plans to major in business.

The signing was featured in a March 10, 2011, article in the Rockford Register Star.

Download a PDF of the article

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

High school students experience life "Under the Dome"

From lobbyist to press secretaries there are thousands of government related jobs in Springfield. Tuesday, high school students from around the state got a good look at life inside the capitol. The visit will help them make important decisions about their futures.

Whether they are politicians or policy makers, many who report to work at the statehouse each day got their start at UIS. “I graduated UIS back in 1974,” said Representative Wayne Rosenthal, (R) 98th District.

The "Under the Dome" event was featured in a March 8, 2011, report by WICS-TV 20.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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Jones leaving UIS to coach soccer at Millikin

Chad Jones left the Millikin University men’s soccer program for the University of Illinois Springfield, and one year later he’s headed back to Decatur.

Millikin introduced Jones, a Decatur native, as its new head men’s soccer coach Tuesday. The 1994 Millikin graduate was an assistant for the NCAA Division III Big Blue in 2009 and from 2000 to 2001.

“It was an opportunity for me and my family,” said Jones, who commuted from Decatur to Springfield. “It was a job that I didn’t go out and seek. I had them contact me and it was just a good situation. I was an assistant there before. It was just a good fit for me being from there. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Jones coached the Stars to a 1-13-1 overall record and 1-11-1 Great Lakes Valley Conference mark in his only season at UIS.

Jones was featured in a March 9, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article

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Broadway series pulls out of Prairie Capital Convention Center

The Broadway in Springfield series is moving out of the Prairie Capital Convention Center — and then calling it quits.

“It’s been a little bit tougher than anyone would have liked as far as overall sales,” said Todd Rossi, an executive with the series. “After analyzing it, Springfield really cannot support two competing Broadway series.”

The last two shows of the Broadway in Springfield season — “Monty Python’s Spamalot” (May 17) and “Fiddler on the Roof” (June 20) — will be presented at Sangamon Auditorium on the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield.

Next season, Springfield will again have just one Broadway series, at Sangamon Auditorium.

Chicago-based Theatre Council Productions originally was hired in 2005 to program the Broadway series at Sangamon Auditorium.

By the end of last season, however, auditorium management decided it wanted more of the profits from the Broadway shows and took the booking and production duties in-house.

Not wanting to give up the years it had spent promoting shows in Springfield, Theatre Council decided to continue its series under the name “Broadway in Springfield,” renting space at the convention center.

The move was featured in a March 9, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Variety of groups schedule forums for city election candidates

Monday, March 14

From 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Illinois Association of Realtors building, 522 S. Fifth St., candidates for mayor are to be in a debate put on by the Capital Area Association of Realtors, Downtown Springfield Inc., the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the University of Illinois Springfield.

Bill Wheelhouse of WUIS radio and Bernard Schoenburg of The State Journal-Register will moderate. Because of limited seating capacity, free tickets will be required for attendance. Information about tickets is available from the chamber’s Josh Collins at 525-1173 or jcollins@gscc.org.

Tuesday, March 15

Midtown Rotary Club is hosting a luncheon and mayoral forum at the Inn at 835, 835 S. Second St.

It is not yet determined if enough space will be available to open the event to the public, said Bill Stokes, a board member of the club. The forum will key on issues of health and human services, and the moderator will be Amanda Vinicky, Statehouse bureau chief for WUIS-FM/Illinois Public Radio.

The lunch begins at 11:45 a.m., with the forum expected to be from about 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 22

There will be a mayoral debate from 7 to 8 p.m. at Brookens Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield. It will be carried live on WICS-Channel 20 and WMAY, 970 AM, said WICS managing editor Rebecca Clark.

More details will be available later, including where free tickets will be available. Kunz said he plans to participate in this debate.

Information on UIS associated debates were published in a March 8, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article

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Tuesday's Teutopolis-Pittsfield supersectional at UIS a sellout

The University of Illinois Springfield athletics department announced Monday that all available tickets have been sold for Tuesday night's Class 2A Springfield Supersectional boys basketball game.

The game between Teutopolis and Pittsfield high schools is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Recreation and Athletics Center on the UIS campus. The facility seats approximately 2,500.

The sellout was featured in a March 8, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Job growth key to population growth in Springfield and elsewhere

Springfield economic development officials say they don’t know why Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana grew faster and more substantially over the past decade.

Development leaders from those similarly sized central Illinois communities said their population increases probably were linked to job growth or continued stability at employers such as State Farm Insurance, Mitsubishi, Illinois State University and the University of Illinois.

Sangamon County

Unemployment rate: 7.1 percent*

Top employers: State of Illinois, Memorial Health System, St. John’s Hospital, Springfield Public Schools, University of Illinois Springfield, Springfield Clinic, Illinois National Guard, City of Springfield, SIU School of Medicine and AT&T.

The numbers were featured in a March 6, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Springfield's LPGA Classic faces search for new sponsor

Springfield’s status as a stop on the LPGA Tour could be uncertain at best when the State Farm Classic comes to a close June 12 at Panther Creek Country Club.

Everyone involved acknowledges the difficulty of finding a new sponsor — or network of sponsors — to fill a seven-figure monetary void. Bloomington-based State Farm Insurance will end its 19-year role as title sponsor of the women’s golf event, which began at The Rail Golf Club in 1976.

Dyanne Ferk, associate dean of the business college at the University of Illinois Springfield, agreed that companies are being much more cautious in committing to sponsorships. Part of it, Ferk said, is the evolution of many businesses from regional to national to global.

“Businesses look at every penny going out and want to know the return on their investment,” Ferk said. “Also, as they become more national and global in their perspectives, there’s more competition for a limited pot of money for advertising, philanthropy and nonprofit things.

“In a small market like Springfield, we don’t always fare as well. It’s tough, especially with this economy. The fact is, sometimes it’s tougher to justify a sports event.”

Ferk's comments were featured in a March 6, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Former UIS employee charged with theft

Sangamon County authorities Friday filed a theft charge against a former University of Illinois Springfield employee.
Lois “Jill” Bohn, 60, of Decatur was placed on administrative leave Sept. 27 and resigned from the UIS Office of Development Sept. 29.

Bohn has been charged with one count of felony theft for allegedly taking $5,692 from the University of Illinois Foundation between Jan. 15, 2010, and Aug. 30, 2010. She allegedly submitted travel vouchers and received payment for meetings that never occurred.

No court date has been set because Bohn is ill and unable to appear, authorities said.

The story was reported in a March 5, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Laketown students hear from educator and philanthropist

When visiting author Greg Mortenson asked students at Laketown Elementary School Thursday to list some of the things they have that children in Afghanistan and Pakistan lack, dozens of hands shot into the air.

The kids were well aware that they have more luxuries -- their list included Wii video games, television and lots of clothes.

Mortenson, who has established more than 140 schools and another five dozen temporary refugee schools in the two countries, described some of the difficulties children in that region of the world encounter when they try to get an education.

He said he’s seen children write in the dirt with sticks because they don’t have any school supplies. Some walk three hours just to get to the nearest school, he said.

Mortenson delivered a talk at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium Thursday night. Before that, he stopped at Laketown Elementary.

Mortenson's visit was featured in a March 4, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hair today, unprocessed tomorrow

March 9, the University of Illinois Springfield Engaged Citizenship Common Experience Speakers Series presents the documentary, Natural Women, and a discussion with filmmaker Cindy Hurst. Natural Women chronicles the journey of a diverse sampling of African-American women who decided to wear their hair in its natural state. Also interviewed are Psychologists Dr. Na’im Akbar and Dr. Kobi Kambon, fathers of the African/Black psychology movement. This program was coordinated by UIS student organization “Kinky & Curly: Natural Hair Empowerment Club,” whose purpose is to reconstruct societal definitions of beauty, while celebrating natural uniqueness, and co-sponsored by the UIS Diversity Center and Women’s Center.

Natural Women
Wednesday, Mar. 9, 7pm
Brookens Auditorium, UIS
lower level of Brookens Library
206-6245
Free

The event was previewed in a March 3, 2011, article in the Illinois Times.

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UIS women's golf team hopes to pick up where it left off

At the college level, golf has a split season where teams play in the fall and spring.

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s team is hoping to pick up where it left off when the spring schedule opens Friday at the Lewis Shootout at Aguila in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Stars broke the school record for team score on back-to-back days last October at the UMSL Triton Invitational at Gateway Golf Links in Madison.

“We ended the fall on a fantastic note,” UIS women’s coach Nichole Inkel said. “We were beating teams in our conference.”

However, UIS doesn’t have quite the same look it had in the fall. One of the Stars’ top golfers, junior Mallorie Cummings, is academically ineligible.

Inkel admits the loss of Cummings struck a blow.

Sophomore Abby Vorreyer, freshman Caitlin Osborn and Cummings were UIS’ Nos. 1 and 2 golfers just a few months ago.

“At the end of the fall, Abby and Caitlyn had an 85 average,” Inkel said. “Mallorie had an 86 average. Kelsey Blake’s low round was an 89. If Abby, Paige (Luker) and Caitlyn can shoot around the 80 and 83 range, we’ll be just fine.”

Freshman Brittany Stout replaces Cummings in the lineup.

The team was featured in a March 2, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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