Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Man wrongfully convicted of attempted murder exonerated after death

A wrongfully convicted Illinois man will be exonerated decades after he died in prison.

The Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield said the person granted clemency will be Grover Thompson, who was convicted after the 1981 death of a Mount Vernon woman.

Grover decided to rest in the lobby of a Mount Vernon post office during a bus journey to see family in Mississippi while, at the same time, a man broke into the home of 72-year-old widow Ida White, hid in her shower and stabbed her.

The Innocence Project says Lt. Paul Echols, a now-retired member of Carbondale’s police department, ended up getting a confession to the crime from Tim Krajcir, who it says was “sometimes mistaken for a dark-complexioned man”.

Krajcir has a history of sex crimes dating back decades and admitted to killing nine people, police say.

This is the first posthumous exoneration in Illinois history and the 21st nationwide.

This story aired on WAND on January 14, 2019.

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UIS Student Union celebrates one-year anniversary

The University of Illinois Springfield's Student Union celebrated its one year anniversary since its opening in 2018.

The Student Union serves as the center of students' social and organizational activities.

"This building is such an amazing piece of this campus now and has really changed how students interact and have a good time on this campus and connect with one another," Executive Director of the Student Union Ann Comerford said.

Some of the one-year celebration activities included license plate personalizations, giveaways, a DJ and a game show.

This story aired in WICS Newschannel 20 on January 14, 2019.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Men's Basketball: Peyton Allen, Cole Harper pave way for UIS victory

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team overcame a long drought in the second half and escaped with the 81-70 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over Maryville on Saturday at the TRAC.

A couple of Chatham Glenwood High School grads quickly fueled a 7-0 run to grab the lead for good.

UIS senior guard Cole Harper ended the rut with a jumper and junior teammate Peyton Allen reclaimed a 68-66 advantage with a 3-pointer with 5 minutes 2 seconds remaining. It was Harper’s first appearance since he twisted his left ankle on Jan. 2. He finished with three points, three rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench. Allen contributed 15 points for UIS, which snapped a two-game skid and improved to 10-5 overall and 3-2 in conference play.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 12, 2019.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Women's Basketball: UIS guard Sangster tabbed Player of the Week

University of Illinois Springfield’s Jasmine Sangster earned Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week after leading the women’s basketball team to a 84-73 victory over McKendree University on Saturday.

She scored 33 points, shooting 11 of 16 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3-point range while going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. That was the highest single-game performance since Dec. 10, 2014.

Sangster, a junior guard, averages 14.2 points per game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 7, 2019.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Susan Koch: Career development at UIS

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 January 5, 2019.

As the new year begins, college students across the country will soon return to their studies following the winter break. More than 20,000 of those students will begin their final semester at the University of Illinois, including about 1,500 whose hands I’ll proudly shake on the University of Illinois Springfield commencement stage in May.

According to the Pew Research Center, a college degree is worth more today than ever before in terms of employment prospects, higher salaries and job satisfaction; but managing the transition from college to career can be intimidating.

Fortunately for UIS students, that’s exactly where Kathyy Battee-Freeman, Director of the UIS Career Development Center, can help.

With a background including degrees in Human Resources, Career Counseling and Applied Psychology and with more than 18 years of Career Development experience, Battee-Freeman and her team provide essential resources for students, faculty and employers to ensure the college-to-career transition has a positive outcome for all.

“Our first goal is to serve as a partner with students to develop tailored, realistic career strategies and obtainable goals,” says Battee-Freeman. “Starting with Freshman Orientation, we work with students throughout their educational experience — providing individualized counseling to help clarify goals and aspirations, connecting students to resources both on and off campus, and helping them develop skills such as resume writing, using digital job search tools like LinkedIn, interviewing and presenting themselves professionally — all so important for a successful transition from college to career.”

Jodi Weiss, CEO of EverythingSmart (a career strategy organization), advises students to plot their career roadmap throughout the college experience.

For this reason, Battee-Freeman and Career Center staff also partner with UIS faculty to integrate career readiness components across the curriculum — elements tailored to specific programs and majors.

Professor Hilary Frost, Director of the Global Studies program at UIS, is one such faculty partner.

Dr. Frost begins her Freshman Seminar by engaging students in a self-assessment to determine what kinds of careers might be a good match for their interests. She then takes her students on a “field trip” to the Career Development Center where they learn about services offered, interpret results of their assessment, and explore opportunities and networks that will lead toward career goals during their college experience.

“The UIS Career Development Center is key to a successful college experience,” says Dr. Frost. “It provides a strategic bridge between the theoretical ideas of the classroom and the working world.” “Over many years collaborating with the Center, I’ve learned what employers in my field are seeking from new college graduates (e.g., language skills, international experience and intercultural communication skills),” she adds. “I’ve developed my courses accordingly to ensure students build those skills. This ultimately enables students to truly put their education to work.”

A third strategic partner is the employer, and the Center maintains relationships with employers, large and small, throughout Springfield and beyond.

A special opportunity will occur next month when the UIS Career Connections Expo is held in The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC). This annual event, scheduled for February 14th, draws more than a hundred employers and several hundred job-seekers.

Read the entire column online.

Women's Basketball: Sangster dominates off the bench for UIS

Jasmine Sangster went 11-for-16 from the field and 8-for-8 from the foul line for 33 points in 27 minutes off the bench to lead the University of Illinois Springfield to an 84-73 victory over McKendree at the TRAC.

The Prairie Stars shot well from the field, shooting 27-for-50 for 54 percent. UIS also went 7-for-16 from 3-point territory and 23-for-29 from the foul line.

Lauren Ladowski was the only other player in double figures for UIS, scoring 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the line. Ladowski also dished out six assists. Tehya Fortune added seven points and six rebounds.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 5th, 2019.

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Men's Basketball: Stars gear up for GLVC run

The University of Illinois Springfield extended its winning streak to seven games in the last battle before GLVC play resumes, defeating Lincoln Christian 101-77 at TRAC.

 The Prairie Stars collected the ninth win of their season but suffered a costly loss with 1:19 remaining in the first half, when senior Cole Harper went down with a twisted left ankle. Harper was assisted off by the medical staff and was seen on crutches after the game.

 “Cole’s situation really puts a cloud on the win,” said UIS head coach Bill Walker. “I haven’t seen any x-rays, but I’d say he’s going to miss three or four games.”

Harper had scored only three points when leaving with the injury but had grabbed a team-high six rebounds and three assists in the first half.

The UIS bench stepped up big in the loss of Harper with 20 points, led by Bahari Amaya’s nine.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 2, 2019.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Men's Basketball: Peyton Allen, UIS claim sixth straight win

A long break didn’t disrupt University of Illinois Springfield’s torrid offense.

UIS junior guard Peyton Allen manufactured a game-high 25 points and the Prairie Stars captured their sixth straight win 89-81 at Missouri Western State University on Sunday.

UIS (8-3) has scored at least 80 points in five of its last six games. Allen, a Chatham Glenwood High School graduate, also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds while going 8 of 19 from the floor and 9 of 11 from the free throw line in the non-conference matchup.

Gilwan Nelson posted 16 points, followed by Vince Walker (15), Aundrae Williams (12) and Bahari Amaya (11). Fellow Glenwood graduate Cole Harper had three points in 30 minutes of action. 

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 30, 2018.

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Local kids learn new basketball moves from UIS players

Local kids are ending 2018 by learning some moves on the basketball court.

This is the second year for the University of Illinois Springfield's holiday basketball clinic.

More than 100 kids were a part of the clinic, learning from UIS basketball players.

Coaches said it's a great way to get one-on-one time with their littlest and biggest fans. "Some of these kids come to our camps in the summer, so there's a lot of familiar faces and they know our players so that makes it fun and we see friendly faces at the games throughout the year," Head Women's Basketball Coach Mark Kost said.

UIS coaches said the holiday clinic also helps parents get their kids out of the house during Christmas break.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on December 31, 2018.

Watch the story online.