Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Public affairs hall welcoming Springfield, Chicago, KC trio

Three journalists from Springfield, Chicago and Kansas City will be inducted into the Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois Springfield on March 6, the school announced recently.

Kansas City Star reporter Scott Canon, Chicago Tribune reporter Michael Hawthorne, and former State Journal-Register editor and reporter Mike Kienzler all graduated from UIS's public affairs program.

Canon, a 1982 alumnus, has covered local and international events and produced investigative pieces at the Star since 1989. He started his journalism career at the Champaign News-Gazette and the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Hawthorne, a 1989 graduate, is an investigative reporter at the Tribune. He and two colleagues were Pulitzer Prize finalists in 2013 for a series on the tobacco and chemical industries’ collusion to minimize safety standards in household furnishings. He has also worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch, Champaign News-Gazette and Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Kienzler, part of PAR’s first graduating class in 1973, spent close to 40 years with the Journal-Register, the state capital's daily newspaper, mostly overseeing government and election coverage as the metro editor. He retired in 2013, but continues to work on the Illinois State Historical Society Advisory Board.

This story appeared in the Sangamon Sun on February 27, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A look ahead at the UIS tennis, track and field and golf seasons

A fast look at the other UIS spring sports:

Women's Tennis: University of Illinois Springfield junior Jane Carter is enjoying another strong year.

The Prairie Stars' No. 1 player has an 8-2 singles record. Carter could very well earn All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honor for the third consecutive year. Carter, a native of New Zealand, was the GLVC Freshman of the Year in 2015.

Track and field:  2017 is the inaugural track and field season for the University of Illinois Springfield men's squad. The men's season kicks off with a road race March 11 in Florida.

It's year two for UIS women's team, which will compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Indoor Championships Feb.25-26 in Indianapolis. In their last outing, all seven UIS female athletes that competed in the Grand Valley State Big Meet set personal records. "We went from being the best of the slower teams to the back of the better teams with the good job that we did last weekend," UIS track and cross country coach Mike De Witt said.

Rochester High School graduate and UIS junior Krissy Finley ranks fourth in the 800 among GLVC runners.

Golf: Keep an eye out for University of Illinois Springfield senior men's golfers Talon Supak and Nathan Goecks.

Supak won a NCAA Division II Regional and became the first UIS golfer to qualify for the national championships last spring. He earned all-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors and was named to the Golf Coaches Association of America PING.

Goecks, was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Men's Golfer of the Week last October.

Three questions with UIS senior women's golfer Jocelyn Matsen. The Rochester High School graduate was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Women's Golfer of the Week in October 2016.

Five Key Dates To Catch The Stars:
March 17 – Baseball vs. Robert Morris University at UIS Field, 3 p.m.
April 1 – Tennis vs. Indianapolis at Washington Park, 2 p.m.
April 15 – Baseball vs. Quincy at UIS Field, 3 p.m.
April 22-23 – Women's golf hosts UIS Spring Invite at Panther Creek Country Club, all day
April 28 – Track and field in Illinois College Twilight Meet at Jacksonville, 5 p.m.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Softball: A look ahead at the UIS softball season

Here's a quick preview of the Prairie Stars' 2017 season.

UIS is coming off a 24-26 season last year. The Stars tied for eighth in the conference and missed receiving a spot in the GLVC tournament via a tiebreaker.

On the roster, Guthrie has added power to the lineup by bringing in sophomore first baseman/outfielder Morgan Edwards, junior utility player Makayla Walsh, junior pitcher/third baseman Ali Haesele.

In the polls The Stars were voted to finish eighth out of 16 teams in the GLVC preseason coaches poll released in January.

Staying aggressive Being aggressive on the bases is a priority for the University of Illinois Springfield softball team, resulting in the Prairie Stars being ranked first in stolen bases in the Great Lakes Valley Conference the past two seasons. They racked up 78 stolen bases in 93 attempts in 2016.

Sophomore infielder Haley Inman, who stole 21 bases, and senior catcher/outfielder Amanda Gosbeth, who had 19, return for the Stars. "We have some big power hitters, but we also have some kids that we recruited just because of their speed," UIS softball coach Shannon Nicholson Guthrie said.

The Stars lost 115 hits, 18 home runs and 46 runs due to graduation loss, but Guthrie is confident they can make up for it. "We have more left-handed batters so I think our hitting will be a little bit more dynamic," she said. "I think that'll really help our offense."

University of Illinois Springfield sophomore outfielder Madi Torry, a graduate of Glenwood High School, is one of only two returning softball players who appeared in all 50 games last year. Torry led the team in at-bats and hit .250 and stole 12 bases.

The senior second baseman and Chatham Glenwood High School graduate, BriAnna Edgar, is No. 3 on the team. "I'm always the person that has a smile on their face. I like to keep my teammates up and positive."

Sophomore pitcher, Jaycee Craver was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week several days before the 2016 season ended. Craver finished 10th in the conference in strikeouts with 121 in 164 innings. "You go from high school where it's just get strikeout after strikeout to this level where you have to realize you have to let your defense do work, and you have to trust your defense. The trust in team got a lot better because I realized I didn't have to do all the work."

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: A look ahead at the UIS baseball season

Here's a quick look at the Prairie Stars entering the 2017 season.

Last season, University of Illinois Springfield hit the fourth most home runs out of 16 baseball teams in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Prairie Stars hit 44 home runs en route to finishing 28-23 overall and 15-13 in the league.

There are three all-conference players on the roster: senior right fielder/left fielder Trey Hannam, sophomore catcher John Sechen and junior first baseman Michael Rothmund.

In the polls UIS was voted in the GLVC coaches preseason poll to finish sixth out of eight teams in the GLVC East Division.

The Stars went 0-2 at the conference tournament last May. What coach Chris Ramirez said "Looking back at the fall, I think we have the chance to once again have one of the better offenses in the GLVC. I think we have a chance to be even more powerful and more run producing offense. Our lineup has a lot more depth than it did last year."

A senior outfielder, Austin Muench is the Stars' leading returning hitter. He hit .350 in 2016, drove in 19 runs and led the team in stolen bases with 10. "Last year I started off terrible. I got benched early in the season. Then all of a sudden something clicked and I started hitting the ball like I should. Hopefully that keeps going this spring.

Aaron Kuper, a catcher last year, pointed something out. Midway through the season I really started getting in a rhythm."

A senior outfielder, Trey Hannam was a Great Lakes Valley Conference first-team pick last season.
He was among the conference leaders with 12 home runs and RBIs with 44. "(Last year) We split every (conference) series. We would show up to every conference weekend and win every first game, then we'd have a letdown the second game. I think this year we're going to have better leadership, and be able to keep the tempo and keep the foot on their throats."

Sophomore catcher John Sechen was voted to the Great Lakes Valley Conference second team as a freshman. He had a .462 on-base percentage and hit .346 for the third best batting average on the team. "Since I'm a catcher, it's highly recommended to do yoga. I'm more flexible than a lot of these guys. I went to a couple of free major league tryouts and I learned from major league tryouts that yoga is a huge deal when you catch because you have to be so flexible behind the plate."

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Softball: Stroup leads Stars

Erin Stroup had three hits, including two doubles, in the University of Illinois Springfield's 6-1 win against Findlay at the Lewis Flyers Dome Invitational Saturday.

The Prairie Stars' Morgan Edwards and Katie Wooldridge collected two hits apiece.

Teammate Amanda Gosbeth stole two bases and drove in a run in the first of two games for UIS. 

UIS' Jaycee Craver allowed one run and three hits in seven innings.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

UIS baseball players enjoy new class on national pastime

The University of Illinois Springfield is offering a course focused on America's pastime: baseball. 

Several UIS baseball players are enrolled this semester in Baseball: An Interdisciplinary Approach.

The class teaches baseball through economics, history, politics, technology and culture. "I said, 'Absolutely. Sign me up," explained UIS senior outfielder Trey Hannam. "We started off in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It really wasn't even baseball yet. Foul balls were hits back then, so it's really crazy to think about that. They even had an African-American playing back then in the 1800s."

The course counts for four credit hours. "We've talked about Babe Ruth and the Black Sox Scandal," Muench said. "Then it keeps going and makes it way up to modern day."

Sophomore catcher John Sechen is enjoying the historical perspective. "It is fascinating how the game of baseball has changed," he said. "If you look at the ball and what it used to be, it was nothing with laces. It looked kind of like a cricket ball. It didn't have any seams."

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

UIS student union about half done; January opening planned

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield voted 432-109 in April 2012 to raise fees toward the now $21.7 million estimated cost of a Student Union to be constructed south of the Main Quad and major academic buildings.

Opening is planned for January 2018.

Here are project highlights:

What will be included? -- The 50,000-square-foot center has two levels and a mezzanine. Features will include a lounge, game room, food-service operations, sports grill, convenience store, Welcome Desk, Student Leadership Center, meeting and conference rooms, and a ballroom; there also will be outdoor seating and fire pits. Starbucks plans a cafe on the mezzanine level.

Will it be open to the public? -- Yes. In addition to serving as a gathering place for students and faculty, the ballroom, conference areas and meeting rooms will be available for community events.

How is the building designed? -- Chief design firm Dewberry Architects of Peoria describes an "open" look with large, transparent spaces, outside terracing, multi-use areas, and a two-story open lounge. The center will have a "living roof" of vegetation -- likely wildflowers -- on a sloped membrane that also will provide insulation. The Student Union also will have a rainwater reclamation system.

Where does construction stand? -- The project is about 50 percent complete, with much of the exterior finished.

What will become of the existing Public Affairs Center? -- The university is considering new uses for the PAC, once the Student Union is completed.

The state of Illinois has no budget. Who is paying? -- An increase in student fees and other existing funds will cover approximately $13.7 million of the cost, with fundraising covering $8 million. Higher student fees take effect when the Student Union opens.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 26, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Dance Marathon helps benefit Children's Miracle Network

University of Illinois Springfield students got their groove on Friday night, to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network.

They took part in a dance marathon, as part of a fundraising campaign for St. John's Children's Hospital in Springfield.

The marathon features a number of different performances, and six families who benefited from the CMN also shared their stories throughout the night. "We do this because you know, we are trying to support our local children's hospital. We want to show that we're helping our community and show that we are here for these children," said Leanna Kehl, director of the dance marathon.

UIS Students have raised money for the campaign throughout the year.

This article appeared on Fox 55 on February 24, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Women's Basketball: Balanced Stars win season finale

Syerra Cunningham led four University of Illinois Springfield scorers in double figures Thursday night as the Prairie Stars closed their season with a 62-45 win over McKendree in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

It gave the Prairie Stars a 9-17 overall record, and they finished 3-15 in the GLVC.

Cunningham also grabbed 11 rebounds for UIS.

UIS built a 27-23 halftime lead, then stretched it to 45-33 after three quarters.

Caroline Kelty and Shelby Patterson added 13 points apiece for the Stars, with Kelty also getting six rebounds. Tehya Fortune hit three 3-point field goals and finished with 11 points for UIS.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 23, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Trockadero brings the laughs to classical ballet

For most people, ballet often evokes images of graceful women in large tutus flitting across a stage to tragically beautiful music.

But Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is putting that image on its head. The dance company, colloquially known as Trockadero or Trock, is made up entirely of men. And in an attempt to not take itself too seriously, the troupe performs many of the classic ballets everyone knows and loves, but does so as a parody.

The Trockadero is bringing its brand of ballet fun to Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield on Sunday.

The performance will include classical pieces that everyone knows, like Swan Lake and Don Quixote. There will also be another surprise element that will be announced the night of the performance.

Though nowadays, the Trockadero dance company is made up of very serious dancers, the origins of the troupe go back to the '70s with a group of amateurs who just loved dance. It used to be a group of men who loved dance and loved to get in drag, and they put on performances in a basement for a late night show. But the performances started to grow in popularity, so the men who were a part of it started taking on more traditional aspects of ballet, like hiring ballet mistresses and trainers.

"It started off as an amateur thing back in the '70s, but it's evolved so much that it's a very refined dance performance," said company dancer Alberto Pretto.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on Feburary 22, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UIS women's golf team finishes 11th in Texas

Senior Jocelyn Matsen led the University of Illinois Springfield to an 11th-place finish in the 15-team St. Edwards Invitational that concluded Tuesday at Onion Creek Club.

It was the first event of the Prairie Stars' spring schedule.

Matsen, a Rochester High School graduate, shot a 77 Tuesday after carding a 76 in Monday's opening round. Her 153 total was good for a 27th-place tie among 85 golfers.

UIS had a 319 total Tuesday after a 318 on Monday, with the Stars' 637 total just one stroke behind 10th-place Texas A&M-Commerce.

Other UIS scores included Maria Espinosa's 79 on Tuesday for a 160 total, tying her for 44th place. Teammates Brooke Hill and Sara Posada tied for 61st at 160, and Taryn Pittman finished 68th with a 166.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 21, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Making career connections at UIS

Thursday afternoon, hundreds came out to the University of Illinois Springfield for its Annual Career Connections Expo.

The expo is intended to bring students, alumni, community members and employers together to discuss career opportunities and build professional connections.

Organizers tell us this is the best chance for students to begin the process of landing a job.

"That opportunity to meet with someone face to face, to ask questions offline, to be able to get feedback about type of skills that employers are looking for, the type of experiences they are looking for, those conversations are truly valuable," Kristin Nisbet-White with the UIS Career Development Center said. "And we're hoping that students can come out and really gather that valuable information today."

The event is hosted by the career services office at UIS and Lincoln Land Community College.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 16, 2017.

Watch the story online.

UIS provides shuttle bus service to downtown

University of Illinois Springfield students have a new option to get to downtown nightlife on the weekends. Free rides between campus and the bars in the heart of Springfield on Friday and Saturday nights began in January.

A 16-person shuttle runs every hour between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., and riders must have a valid student ID. The plan is to have the shuttle run through the end of the semester in May.

The service gives students the chance to get off campus and enjoy downtown, said Student Government Association president Austin Mehmet.

The student organization is funding the service with $3,000, with Downtown Springfield Inc. and three local bars/nightclubs chipping in another $3,000, according to Mehmet.

In an emailed statement, a university administrator emphasized that the SGA is an independent organization that receives no state or university funds. "The University recognizes the Student Government Association's goal is to enhance the safety of their peers by arranging for safe and reliable transportation to and from downtown establishments during the weekends," wrote Clarice Ford, UIS interim vice chancellor for student affairs.

Mehmet said student reaction has been positive so far. "I think they're appreciative of the fact that we're trying to provide transposition to local bars without the risk of drunk driving or a $13 Uber ride both ways," Mehmet said.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 17, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Good for the soul: Food, fellowship on menu for UIS event

With a plate full of good food and surrounded by friends, University of Illinois Springfield junior Eric Hines said he felt back home Sunday night.

Hines was one of more than 50 people who came out Sunday for Soul Glo'/Soul Food at UIS. The event, organized by the school's diversity center, is part of UIS' African-American History Month series.

Hines, from Cicero, loaded up his plate with collard greens, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, fried catfish, candied yams and salmon croquettes. His first few bites did not disappoint. "This brings back memories of home," he said.

Justin Rose, student program adviser in the diversity center, said Nickey's Place, a new restaurant at White Oaks Mall, catered Sunday's meal. The event also featured an educational booth from Springfield's African-American History Center.

While soul food brings people together, Rose said, the event was much more than just providing a free meal.

"This event allows our student body to re-enact and teach others about fellowship and be communal with one another in a time when we need to be," he said.

Soul food, Rose said, is a cuisine traditionally prepared in the black community, with origins dating back to the era of slavery. Back then, he said, slaves would only get scraps, so they came up with different ways to make the leftovers taste better. "They were very innovative," he said.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 19, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Baseball: Stars' Hannam receives pre-season honor

University of Illinois Springfield senior outfielder Trey Hannam has been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Pre-Season All-Region Team. 

He was voted to the All-Midwest Region Second Team.

Hannam hit .338 last year and led UIS with 44 RBIs, 12 home runs and .618 slugging percentage.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 14, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

People in the News

Several area residents attending the University of Illinois Springfield received Outstanding Master's Thesis awards.

Michael Taylor, of Rochester, was honored by the history department; Keith Huddleston, of Springfield, was honored by the English and modern languages department; and Nathan Tarr, of Springfield, was honored by the political science department.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 16, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

UIS students raising money for Children's Miracle Network

University of Illinois Springfield students will be dancing the night away for a good cause on February 24.

UIS officials say students will host a dance marathon at the Recreation and Athletic Center on the school's campus from 4:00 p.m. through 12:00 a.m.

Members of the public are invited to participate as well. Registration fees are set at $5, and participants are asked to raise at least $20 by February 24.

Money collected through this event will benefit the Children's Miracle Network at HSHS St. John's Children's Hospital.

This story appeared on WAND TV on Feburary 15, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

UIS helping students, alumni find careers

On Thursday, the University of Illinois Springfield is holding its 19th Annual Career Connections Expo.

Officials say the expo is designed to help students, alumni and other community members a chance to find jobs and learn about various companies in the area.

More than 100 employers are expected to be at the expo.

"You can learn a lot more from a conversation and being able to ask questions. We love to see those moments happen where students and community job seekers are able to build that connection, ask questions, find out about the different ways they may be able to add value to a different company or organization, said Kristin Nisbet-White, with Employer Development.

The expo starts at 11:30 a.m. Thursday and will run through 2:30 p.m. at "TRAC" on the UIS campus.

This story appeared on WISC Newschannel 20 on February 15, 2017.
Watch the story online.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Susan Koch: Political environment offers classroom opportunities

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 11, 2017.

From its very beginning in 1970, the University of Illinois Springfield has embraced its location in the state capital of Illinois and the home of Abraham Lincoln, providing unique opportunities for students to examine, explore and experience politics and public affairs from a "front and center" vantage point.

In fact, thousands of UIS alums have used their undergraduate or graduate experience as a springboard for a rewarding public service career in state or federal government or in related professional pursuits. 

With a contentious presidential election and ongoing political strife in the Illinois statehouse, this particular academic year has offered unique educational opportunities, particularly for UIS faculty whose teaching and research is focused on these areas. 

Professor of political science Chris Mooney, an expert on state politics currently serving as director of the University of Illinois's Institute of Government and Public Affairs, is one of those faculty. 

"An election season like the one we've just experienced," says Dr. Mooney, "demonstrates that politics is a living, breathing organism. It heightens students' awareness of politics and government and serves as a very real reminder that politics has a real effect on people's lives.

"Our classes often include legislative staffers and other students with state government backgrounds who make the classroom experience better for everyone, and it's exciting for students to have public affairs practitioners speaking regularly in their classes." 

Dr. Magic Wade, assistant professor of political science, is relatively new to the university and recently helped develop courses for the new undergraduate major in public policy. 

"One of the things I appreciate about UIS is the ideological diversity of my students. Students in my classes represent a variety of points of view — both conservative and liberal, Democrats and Republicans," 

"What I try to model in our discussions is that Democrats and Republicans can sit in a room and have conversations that don't evolve into name-calling. In the current climate at the Illinois capital, things are very divided. That's not how things get done. Things get done by working across the aisle."

Read the entire column online.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Men's Soccer: Five recruits sign with Stars

University of Illinois Springfield men's soccer coach Adam Hall has added five players to the roster and two are transfers.

Parkland College midfielder Alex Zarco and Lincoln College midfielder Ahmadou Ndiaye have signed with the Prairie Stars.

Zarco was chosen as a National Soccer Coaches Association of America first-team All-American.

Midfielder Adrian Ortega, defender Harrison Dover and forward Steven Albers will be freshmen on the team.

Ortega played for the Chicago Fire Academy. The 6-foot-1 Dover is from Rochester, Michigan.

Albers is the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of Jacksonville's program.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 9, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Basketball: UIS hits 13 3s in win at Missouri S&T

Freshman Lijah Donnelly poured in six 3-pointers and 21 points to help the University of Illinois Springfield snap a six-game losing streak and beat Missouri S&T 87-75 Thursday in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game.

UIS sophomore Vince Walker drained five 3-pointers and scored 17 points. Senior Paxton Harmon added 16 points and seven rebounds. Junior Eddie Longmeyer collected 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

The Prairie Stars improved to 8-15 overall and 3-11 in the GLVC.

UIS got off to a slow start, falling behind 20-10. The Stars rallied and took a 33-32 lead on Longmeyer's jumper with 2:17 remaining in the first half and never trailed again.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 9, 2017.

Read the article online.

Oblique strategies: UIS Gallery exhibit pushes boundaries of ceramics

The current exhibit at the consistently innovative University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is not your grandmother’s ceramics display.

A series of evocative, colorful and otherworldly shapes, the elegant “Oblique Frontiers” offers hints of an alternate reality of tactile beauty and mysterious utility.

Artist Tyler Lotz is a professor of ceramics at the Illinois State University College of Fine Arts in Normal. His work has been displayed throughout the United States as well as in prominent exhibits in France, Poland and Korea.

Described by Lotz in an artist’s statement as being “influenced by both natural and mediated landscapes, a longing for the wilderness, and failed attempts to conjure personal experiences in the landscape,” the work in “Oblique Frontiers” is mesmerizing and indelible.

“I had never seen his work in person,” said UIS Visual Arts Gallery manager Allison Lacher. “When it arrived here I was very impressed. While we were hanging the show, I fell in love with it. I keep calling it a gorgeous show and a stunning show.”

Interestingly, one of the pieces featured in the show, ‘switchback,’ was identified by Lotz during his artist talk at Brookens Auditorium on Jan. 26 as being the one the artist was most unsure about. “That piece is easily my favorite,” Lacher said.

“Oblique Frontiers” will remain on display through Feb. 16.

This article appeared in the Illinois Times on February 10, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Cross Country: College Report

Alexandria Quarton, of Litchfield, finished 18th in the 3,000-meter run at the Tom Hathaway Distance Classic, which was hosted by University of Indianapolis and held at the ARC in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The University of Illinois Springfield freshman finished the race in 12 minutes, 6.28 seconds.

Team scores were not kept.

This story appeared in The Journal-News on February 9, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Bernard Schoenburg: Journalism Hall of Fame

An induction ceremony will be held March 6 to honor three new members of the Bill Miller Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame.

The PAR master's degree program at the University of Illinois Springfield - led for 19 years by the late Bill Miller - has alums who after working in their Statehouse pressroom internships have gone on to great success across the country and beyond.

One of the three inductees is Mike Kienzler, 68, of rural Athens, who was in the first PAR class in 1973. He retired in 2013 after nearly 40 years with The State Journal-Register, most of it spent as metro editor and deputy metro editor - with not a small part of that time spent answering my questions, because his is a great mind. His involvement in local history includes being founding, and current, editor of SangamonLink.org, the online encyclopedia of the Sangamon County Historical Society.

Also being inducted is Michael Hawthorne, 50, of Chicago, a 1989 PAR intern and investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, focusing on public health and environmental issues. Hawthorne participated in a story about harmful, ineffective flame retardants, promoted by tobacco and chemical industries, used in household furniture.

The third inductee is Scott Canon, 56, of Kansas City, Missouri, a 1982 PAR intern who has worked on the Kansas City Star since 1989, covering stories including the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, the school shooting in Columbine, Colorado, the start of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan in 2001, and tsunami recovery in Sri Lanka.

The induction ceremony, sponsored by the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, includes a 5:30 p.m. reception and 6:30 p.m. program March 6 at the Inn at 835, 835 N. Second St., Springfield.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 8, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Students, faculty discuss Trump policy at UIS forum

As lawyers in California debated President Donald Trump's travel ban, the University of Illinois Springfield held a town hall meeting to explore the implications of the president's actions on immigrants and refugees.

Organizers of the event said it was planned before they learned that the legal arguments would be presented at the same time.

More than 50 people, including students and staff members, attended the event, which was held in the lobby of Sangamon Auditorium.

Springfield resident Mike Dahmane graduated from UIS last year and works with the Illinois Innocence Project. When asked why he attended the event, he talked about his father, Abderrazak Dahmane, an immigrant from Tunisia who became an American citizen.

"He taught at this school. He was an English professor. He spoke three languages," Dahmane said. "When he became a citizen, it was one of the proudest days of his life. He lived the American dream. He pulled himself out of poverty"

Mike Dahmane's father died in 2004. If he were still alive, Dahmane is sure that he would be helping people who want to come to America to escape violence and terrorists. "He would be doing everything he could in his power to make sure that the good people who are escaping the terrorists that we so fear ourselves can come into this country legally and continue to live," Dahmane said.

Late last week on Friday, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle temporarily blocked Trump's order. On Tuesday, government lawyers asked a federal appeals court to restore Trump's executive order. They argued that the president alone has the power to decide who can enter the United States.

Several states, however, have challenged the ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations and argued that the move by Trump is unconstitutional. 

A ruling is expected later this week.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 7, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tony Bennett to perform at Sangamon Auditorium in June

Tony Bennett will come perform at Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield on June 3.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bennett has won 19 Grammy Awards and turned songs like "Steppin' Out With My Baby" and "Left My Heart In San Francisco" into American jazz standards.

He will celebrate his 91st birthday Aug. 3.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. performance will go on sale Friday. Prices range from $60-110.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 6, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Men's Basketball: Walker makes 7 3-pointers, sets UIS school record

After making his first shot from behind the arc, University of Illinois Springfield guard Vince Walker knew he was in that special place that all basketball players aspire to be. He was “in the zone”.

The former Ankeny guard went on to score a career-high 29 points in the Prairie Stars’ 92-76 loss at 25th-ranked Wisconsin-Parkside on Jan. 26.

He went 9-of-15 from the field, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range. The seven 3-pointers allowed Walker to set a single-game school record.

“My teammates got me going pretty early, and it was pretty easy from then on out,” said Walker, a redshirt sophomore. “It was just one of those nights when I was feeling good. The basket was looking pretty big.”

Walker has helped the Prairie Stars to a 7-13 record, including a 2-9 mark in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. He has played in all 20 games, including 17 starts.

Walker is the team’s third-leading scorer with a 12.8 average.

Walker averaged 11.5 points as a senior at Ankeny in the 2013-14 season. However, he missed the final three games after suffering a broken ankle when he slipped on some ice.

Walker then elected to play for Illinois Springfield when his father Bill Walker, a former Drake assistant, became the head coach of the Division II program in April of 2014. “I had no idea how it would go,” Walker said of playing for his father. “It could have gone a lot of ways.”

Walker played in only three games for the Prairie Stars before his first season ended due to the ankle injury that he sustained at Ankeny. He was granted a medical redshirt.

“The first surgery didn’t go as planned,” Walker said. “So the doctor had to go back in and re-fix it.” Walker saw action in 28 games last year, averaging 4.4 points in 13.8 minutes per game.

Walker, who turned 21 years old on Jan. 31, has also adapted to playing for his father. “It’s actually been a lot better than I thought it would be--to be honest,” he said. “I’m really happy to play for him. He gets on me when that’s what I need, and he praises me when I need to be praised. All around, it’s been good.”

This story appeared in The Des Moines Register on February 3, 2017.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Signing Day: Local athletes across Central Illinois commit

Wednesday was national signing day. Here at WAND News we are celebrating all local athletes in Central Illinois who have committed to playing a sport in college.

WAND News staff reached out to superintendents and athlete directors in our area asking for students information on where they signed to play sports.

Maroa-Forsyth High School -Calla Wickenhauser, UIS Softball
Mt. Zion High School -Erin Ripple, UIS Volleyball
Watseka High School -Taylor Bauer, UIS Volleyball
Rochester High School -Ali Bortmess, UIS Softball
Glenwood High School (Chatham) -Taylor Parriott, UIS Soccer
Shelbyville High School -Tyler Pasley, UIS Cross Country
Jacksonville High School -Steven Albers, UIS Soccer

This story appeared on WAND TV on February 1, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Dozens of local athletes make college commitments: LLCC, UIS gain area talent

Dozens of athletes from The State Journal-Register coverage have announced their collegiate intentions, with 10 choosing to play at NCAA Division I schools.

The University of Illinois Springfield men's soccer program signed a proven goal scorer in Jacksonville High School senior Steven Albers on Wednesday.

Albers holds the Crimsons' career scoring record. He scored 38 goals senior year and helped Jacksonville place fourth at the Class 2A state soccer tournament in November 2016.

Chatham Glenwood High School senior Taylor Parriott signed with the UIS women's soccer program on Wednesday. The forward has been a key varsity player for the Titans since freshman year.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 1, 2017.

Read the entire article online.