Thursday, February 22, 2018

UIS prepares campus with active shooter training

The University of Illinois Springfield will be training students and faculty how to react to an active shooter.

The campus police department is holding an active shooter training class on March 2.

The class includes a video plus a question and answer session with University Police.

UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp said the campus must be prepared for anything. "I think that as many workshops and training that our staff and our police do, I think that every situation can be different and unique, so you do your best to plan and prepare," said Schnapp.

Later in the spring semester, UIS is planning an active shooter drill.

This story aired on Fox Illinois on February 21, 2018.

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Man acquitted in retrial for murder, arson in mother-in-law’s 1995 death

A former Naperville man who spent 22 years in prison for the 1995 death of his mother-in-law was found not guilty in a retrial Wednesday.

Following a seven-day bench trial, DuPage County Judge Liam C. Brennan found 61-year-old William Amor not guilty of murder and aggravated arson in connection with the death of Marianne Miceli, according to a statement from the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“This is the end of a nightmare for me,” Amor said in a statement released by the Illinois Innocence Project, which represented him. “I have fought to clear my name for the last 22 years and I am so grateful that I was able to have my day in court for the truth to be heard,” Amor said. “I am looking forward to starting the next phase of my life as a free man, no longer labeled as a murderer, for the first time in a long time.”

The Illinois Innocence Project is located at the University of Illinois Springfield.

This story appeared in The Chicago Sun-Times on February 21, 2018.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Democratic candidates for governor debate Wednesday at UIS

The six Democratic candidates for Illinois governor will meet in Springfield Wednesday night for a debate that will be broadcast live on the Internet and radio.

The debate featuring state Sen. Daniel Biss, Bob Daiber, Tio Hardiman, Chris Kennedy, Dr. Robert Marshall and J.B. Pritzker is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The event is sponsored by The State Journal-Register, News/Talk 94.7 and 970 WMAY, and UIS.

Moderators will be the SJ-R’s Bernard Schoenburg, WMAY’s Jim Leach and NPR Illinois’ Daisy Contreras.

The debate can be heard on WMAY radio or watched on or

The newspaper, radio station and UIS extended invitations to the two Republican candidates for governor — incumbent Bruce Rauner and state Rep. Jeanne Ives — to debate at UIS prior to the March 20 primary election. Ives accepted the invitation, but Rauner declined, so no debate will be held.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 20, 2018.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Women's Softball: Stars split 1-1 on opening day

Lakyn Wagoner’s two-run single in the second inning helped the University of Illinois Springfield to a 10-7 win against Missouri Southern.

The Prairie Stars fell behind 5-0. They took the lead with a six-run second inning.

Wagoner’s RBIs tied it at 5-all. Calla Wickenhauser’s sacrifice made it 6-5.

Wagoner and teammate Erin Stroup had two hits and a stolen base each.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on Feb. 17, 2018.

Men's Baseball: Stars’ Rothmund, Taylor hit homers

Michael Rothmund spotted the University of Illinois Springfield leads by hitting a home run in the sixth inning and scoring on a wild pitch in the eighth, but it wasn’t enough and Missouri Southern rallied to a 3-2 win.

Rothmund’s homer put UIS ahead 1-0. He put the Stars up 2-1 in the eighth.

The Prairie Stars’ Justin Revels struck out eight batters, gave up three hits and allowed one run in six innings.

Earlier in the day, UIS opened the season with a 6-2 loss to Maryville. Mason Coon hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and UIS closed the gap to 3-1. Cole Taylor’s home run in the eighth got the Stars within 6-2. Taylor hit 2-for-3 and has a stolen base.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 17, 2018.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Hundreds look for new careers at UIS

Over 125 businesses and organizations were at Thursday's Career Connection Expo at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The expo was co-hosted by Benedictine and Lincoln Land Community College, plus the community was invited.

Organizers said they expected over 500 job seekers to come through Thursday.

“It's important to have these types of events because it allows a number of employers to connect in one place that way job seekers don't have to run all over the county and all over the state, here you have 125 employers in one spot that you can talk to on the spot,” director of career development Kathyy Battee-Freeman said.

This is the 20th year UIS has held the career fair.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 15, 2018.

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Women's Basketball: Stars, Sangster swoop win from Hawks

University of Illinois Springfield’s Jasmine Sangster, Shelbi Patterson and Destiny Ramsey took control of the offense, leading the Prairie Stars to a 73-64 victory over Quincy on Thursday at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

The three combined for 51 of the Stars’ points.

UIS is 12-11 on the season and 6-9 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 15, 2018.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Women's Softball: A look at the Prairie Stars

Last season, University of Illinois Springfield closed the regular season on an 11-0 win streak. The Stars went 0-2 at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament. They finished 31-23 overall and 17-11 in the GLVC. The 31 wins was the third most in NCAA Division II history, five shy of the program-record 36 in 2012.

In the polls, the Stars are voted to finish seventh out of 15 team in the GLVC preseason coaches poll.

All-conference returners Junior pitcher Jaycee Craver and senior utility player Katie Wooldridge received all-GLVC honors last year. Craver was named to the second team. Wooldridge made the third team.

The top four in the Stars’ batting order are back: senior infielder/pitcher Ali Haesele, junior centerfielder Madi Torry, sophomore outfielder Lakyn Wagoner and junior first baseman/outfielder Morgan Edwards.

Edwards led the team with six home runs, had a .303 average and 31 RBIs. UIS fourth-year Shannon Nicholson Guthrie said, “We return a bunch a bats. Those are the top four that I see bringing the bulk of our power.”

The Stars have lots of experience in returning pitchers senior Rachel Goff, Haesele and Craver.
Guthrie said, “All of our predominant pitchers from last year came back, which is exciting. It is the first year since I’ve been here where we return our pitching staff like that. Our biggest depth is in the pitching circle and in the outfield. I think this is truly one of the most talented teams that we’ve had. It’s going to be a matter of putting it all together once you get out on the field.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 10, 2018.

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Men's Baseball: Michael Rothmund, Cole Taylor wield big bats for UIS baseball team

First baseman Michael Rothmund estimates he smashed a home run 430 feet during the University of Illinois Springfield baseball team’s spring break trip to Georgia last March.

“That was probably the farthest ball I’ve ever hit,” he said. “I got all of it.”

That’s not out of the ordinary for Rothmund. He was the national leader in home runs last season. “He has hit plenty well over 400 feet,” UIS baseball coach Chris Ramirez said. He was first in NCAA Division II with 24 home runs. He also ranked fifth nationally in slugging percentage. He was ninth in RBIs (68) and total bases (161).

Not to be outdone by Rothmund, Cole Taylor also wielded a big bat. It earned him a spot on the NCAA Division II All-America Third Team in his first season with the Prairie Stars. Taylor, who transferred from Parkland College, became the first UIS player to receive all-American honors.

The infielder from Fairmount, near Danville, ranked third in the nation in doubles. He ranked among the Great Lakes Valley Conference leaders in several offensive categories. He was first in doubles, second in hits and third in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and triples. He ranked fourth in home runs and sixth in RBIs.

Ramirez has a front row seat to one of the top offensive duos in the nation.

In January, Taylor and Rothmund were named Division II preseason All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper as they head into their senior seasons. They were both all-conference and all-region last year. “Those guys are baseball rats,” he said. “They talk hitting. They think hitting. They’re in the cage. They’re looking at video. They’re always trying to find their swing. I think that shows.”

The Stars have been known for their offensive firepower under Ramirez. Their .319 team batting average was first in the GLVC last season. They ranked 15th in the nation in home runs with 70. “Our team offense was top 25 in five or six offensive categories nationally, including home runs, runs scores, runs per game and doubles,” Ramirez said.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 10, 2018.

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Men's Basketball: UIS upsets Southern Indiana

The University of Illinois Springfield scored a big win as it beat Southern Indiana 79-70 in Great Lakes Valley Conference game Thursday at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS ended a two-game losing streak.

Freshman starter Collin Stallworth’s 3-pointer gave UIS its first lead. Freshman starter Aundrae Williams knocked down a jumper at the buzzer and UIS owned a 34-33 lead at the break. Two minutes into the second half, senior Eddie Longmeyer sank a 3-pointer.

UIS went ahead 39-37 and it led the rest of the way.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 8, 2018.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Black History Month celebrated in Springfield

February marks the beginning of Black History Month. Springfield started the month with a number of celebrations, Thursday an event was held at the Illinois State Library.

Another celebration was also held at the University of Illinois Springfield where students put together a candlelight vigil in honor of those who have passed away.

"To pay homage to those who came before them. Those who sacrificed for them to be in the position that they are today," UIS student Justin Rose said.

Participants were encouraged to say some words and light a candle in someone’s memory. "I look at it as a deeper connection to reach back and never forget where you came from,” Rose said.

Black History Month is the annual celebration of achievements by African Americans.

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 1, 2018.

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Mendota student an integral part of Mock Trial Club

The University of Illinois Springfield Mock Trial Club recently finished fifth among 28 teams during the 2018 Jayhawk Invitational hosted by the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

In achieving the fifth place finish, the team also broke all previous school records in mock trial competition.

The group of seven UIS students, which included 2014 Mendota High School graduate Jayde Schlesinger, Chance Austin of Rochester; Andrew Jarmer of Garden City, Kan. and Springfield; Courtney Johnson of Pewaukee, Wis.; Christopher Marbaniang of Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Shillong, India; Joseph Partain of Luka; and Mario Saucedo of Colima, Mexico, defeated four nationally-ranked teams to win the fifth-place title.

A total of 19 nationally-ranked teams took part in the invitational.

UIS had the highest CS score of any ranked team in the tournament, which means UIS faced some of the toughest competition in the tournament.

The team is coached by UIS alumnus Nathan Hoffman and attorney-coach Rex Gradeless, a UIS adjunct assistant professor.

This story appeared in the Mendota Reporter on February 1, 2018.

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