WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Rich Egger

News Director

Rich is the News Director at Tri States Public Radio. Rich grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago but now calls Macomb home. Rich has a B.A in Communication Studies with an Emphasis on Radio, TV, and Film from Northern Illinois University. Rich came to love radio in high school where he developed his “news nerdiness” as he calls it. Rich’s high school had a radio station called WFVH, which he worked at for a couple years. In college, Rich worked at campus station WKDI for three years, spinning tunes and serving at various times as General Manager, Music Director and Operations Manager. Before being hired as Tri States Public Radio’s news director in 1998, Rich worked professionally in news at WRMN-AM/WJKL-FM in Elgin and WJBC-AM in Bloomington. In Rich’s leisure time he loves music, books, cross-country skiing, rooting for the Cubs and Blackhawks, and baking sugar frosted chocolate bombs. His future plans include “getting some tacos.”

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In The Tri States

Mar 31, 2012

A look back at the top stories and features from the Tri States Public Radio news department from March 2012.  

The proposed consolidation of the Abingdon, Avon, and Bushnell-Prairie City School Districts was soundly rejected during the March 20 Illinois primaries.  More than 80% of B-PC voters cast ballots against the idea and it was rejected by more than 74% in Abingdon. Only voters in Avon approved it.   The week after the election, reporter Jim Lenz took a look at what might be next for those school districts.

Emphasis - March 30

Mar 30, 2012

Rich Egger's guests are Mandi Green and Timothy Collins of Western Illinois University. They talk about WIU's 9th Annual Environmental Summit.

Collins, who is Assistant Director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, said there are numerous hot button issues among those who study sustainability, but two in particular stand out.

"Obviously energy is the one people feel the most because gasoline prices are around $4 per gallon," Collins said.

Shop Talk - March 27

Mar 27, 2012

The panelists discuss legislation in Illinois (SB 3773) requiring charities that receive state money to follow the state's Freedom of Information Act.

Financial statements and e-mails are among the items that would be subject to FOIA requests. Not-for-profits feel the plan would create confusion and burden organizations with extra work. In addition, they point out they are private entities.

The Illinois House approved a measure that would allow the Department of Natural Resources to charge an annual fee for admission to state parks.

Representative JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) said the legislation does not spell out how much should be charged, but she expected the annual fee will be about $25.

A report from a watchdog group said the campaign committee for Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) reimbursed him for stays at a hotel in Greece and a luxury resort in Miami.

Schock's campaign committee reportedly paid him more than $100,000 for such expenses during the 2010 election.

The study was issued by “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics." Director Melanie Sloan said “What Aaron Schock did crossed the line.”

The group also found 248 of 435  House  members used campaign funds to benefit themselves and family  members.

Improvements to the Dudley Street skateboard park in Macomb could be ready to roll this spring.

Macomb Park District Commissioners this week agreed to accept the low bid of $181,692.17 for the project. The new skate park will include ramps, rails, and more for beginning and intermediate skill level skate boarders.

Half-a-dozen skaters attended the meeting and applauded after commissioners vote 4-to-0 to proceed with the project. However, there will be no gain without a little pain.

After months of study, the Spurgeons building on South Main Street in Monmouth was selected to house artist studios and a retail shop to sell their work.

The choice was made by city representatives and members of ArtSpace, which is a non-profit arts development and consulting organization from Minneapolis.

The Spurgeons building has a limestone front and was built in 1940.

Photo from The Zephyr

Galesburg city council members approved a resolution in support of naming facilities, parks and streets in honor of notable women.

More than 50 women are listed in a document provided to aldermen. They are community organizers, athletes, artists, educators, and more from throughout Galesburg's 175 year history.

The document will be used when the city considers naming and renaming things.

Mayor Sal Garza said too few women have been recognized by the city.

Turnout was fairly light across west-central Illinois. The biggest snafu in the region happened in McDonough County, where Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes ran hair dryers out to a few polling places that had damp ballots. It's not known what caused the dampness. DeJaynes said she planned to speak to the vendor about the issue.

Shop Talk- March 20

Mar 20, 2012

The panelists discuss the retraction aired over the weekend by This American Life.

TAL in January aired an adaptation of storyteller Mike Daisey's one-man stage show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. The show looks into abuses at Apple factories in China.  It became TAL's most popular podcast, but host Ira Glass said he has since discovered Daisey fabricated certain people and incidents.

Aldermen unanimously agreed to donate $800 to the Cornfed Film Fest, which will take place April 13 - 15, 2012 in Macomb.

Film festival co-founder Sue Scott said $600 of the money will be spent on a "Welcoming Package" that will include a program that lists the movies and the community sponsors.

"We'll use a local printer. Our business partners will have special deals for ticket holders ... so we're really promoting the businesses as well as the festival," Scott said.

The Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats said “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” That pretty well sums up the thinking behind a concept often referred to as progressive education.

One of the concept's biggest advocates is Amy Valens. Her final year in the classroom is the subject of the documentary film August to June, which was screened at Western Illinois University.

Emphasis - March 16

Mar 16, 2012

Rich Egger's guest is Western Illinois University chemistry professor Thottumkara K. "TK" Vinod. They talk about "green" chemistry.

Vinod said green chemistry is the practice of creating chemical products with the least amount of adverse impact on the environment.

"By doing green chemistry, chemists are thinking of producing chemical products so that we don't have to deal with chemical waste at the end," Vinod said.

A watchdog group says Illinois is doing better at making government spending more transparent to the public, but more can be done.

This is the third year the Illinois Public Interest Research Group has studied state's openness to show where money is going.

I-PIRG's Brian Imus said in the Internet age, taxpayers expect increasing access to information. He said other states are doing a better job than Illinois.

A federal judge struck down part of Illinois' campaign finance law.

Judge Marvin Aspen said Illinois cannot enforce contribution limits on independent political action committees. Aspen issued his ruling on March 13.

Bill Knight - March 15

Mar 14, 2012

Most journalists occasionally are confronted by angry newsmakers (usually powerful ones). Some journalists get threatening calls or emails, rude posted comments or letters to the editor, and that’s about it. But this week, as the seventh annual Sunshine Week is underway, it’s appropriate to also note that some journalists are killed for being part of the handful of human beings whose job – whose calling – is to run toward danger.

Macomb City Administrator Dean Torreson this week gave aldermen an overview of the city's proposed new budget, which will go into effect May 1.

He said the budget includes money for fixing several streets. The money comes from a one-cent sales tax. Voters agreed in February 2011 to increase that tax from half-a-cent to a full cent.

"Our sales tax revenue has been coming it at the projected rate," Torreson said. "It did double so we're right on target there."

Shop Talk - March 13

Mar 13, 2012

The panelists talk about Sunshine Week, which is being observed this week.

Sunshine Week is described as a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. It's held to coincide with the March 16 anniversary of the birth of James Madison. Sunshine Week was launched by the American Society of News Editors in 2005.

Photo from the Illinois General Assembly website

Recording at a farm or livestock facility without the permission of the owner would be illegal under a proposal in the Illinois House.

Representative Jim Sacia (R-Winnebago County) sponsored the measure (HB 5143). He said farmers know what's best for their animals.

Photo from the University of Nebraska

Insect scientists say federal regulators need to take action against a growing pest problem in biotech corn.

They say corn rootworm has started to become resistant to Monsanto’s Bt corn, which is genetically engineered to resist the damaging and costly pest.

The 22 scientists expressed their concerns in a letter sent to EPA last week.

Emphasis - March 9

Mar 9, 2012

Rich Egger's guest is Mary Warnock, Chairperson of the Macomb Area AARP's Creative Elder Options committee. They talk about the new edition of the Senior Services Directory for McDonough County.

Copies of the booklet are available at Macomb City Hall, the Macomb YMCA Senior Center, and McDonough District Hospital. It can also be found on the Macomb AARP's website.

The Director of the Office of Public Safety at Western Illinois University will soon have more time to spend with his family and on his motorcycle.

Robert Fitzgerald will retire from his position as OPS director on March 31. He said there comes an age and a time when things must be turned over to the younger people.

“After 40 years in law enforcement … I have no regrets,” Fitzgerald said. “It was a good time for me financially and in my career for me to leave.”

Fitzgerald was charge of public safety at WIU for 15 years. 

As gas prices ignited, a visit to New Orleans raised almost as many questions as Republican presidential contenders’ accusations against President Obama. (“Stop,” they scream of the far-from-perfect chief executive, or, “Start”, apparently willing to blame Obama for everything from Gary Oldman not winning an Oscar and tornados hitting downstate Illinois to Google’s new privacy policy and Los Angeles acquiring a “nuke” – Albert Pujols.)

The McDonough County courthouse will take the first step toward becoming a “secure courthouse.” Sheriff Rick VanBrooker said the county is a bit behind the times when it comes to security. He said a new video monitoring system will close the gap.

The county is advertising for bids. VanBrooker would like to have a battery of 18 cameras to monitor entrances, hallways, stairwells and the courtrooms.

Cost is a consideration but not the only one.

Macomb aldermen unanimously approved four new ordinances designed to control large outdoor parties.

City leaders said the ordinances do not ban large gatherings such as the Wheeler Street block party. In fact, Sixth Ward Alderman Timn Lobdell said the city encourages social gatherings. He said the ordinances are about common sense.

"You're responsible for those who are at your property," Lobdell said. "Whether you rent the property or own the property, you are the legal, responsible party for that property and everything that happens on it."

Shop Talk - March 6

Mar 6, 2012

This week's topic is about a survey of Americans' trust of news sources.

The Poynter Institute reports the survey was commissioned by Craiglist founder Craig Newmark. A polling firm interviewed 1,001 people. Land line phones and cell phones were called.

The survey found newspapers are the most trusted source of news -- 22% of respondents considered newspapers to be credible.  21% chose cable and network news.

The Illinois Green Party's state convention drew the party faithful to Macomb March 3-4. But the Greens will need to attract many more true believers if they hope to make an impact.

Around 40 people took part in the convention in the Sandburg Theater at Western Illinois University. The empty seats far outnumbered the party members.

Nonetheless, Illinois Green Party Chair Phil Huckelberry believes most Americans have a lot more in common with the party than they might realize. He called the Greens the “majoritarian” party in the US.

The Macomb Community Garden is looking forward to growing this year -- growing crops and growing membership.

An informational meeting will be held Wednesday, March 7 at 7:00 pm in the Community Room at Macomb City Hall.

Chairman John Miller said the garden provides an opportunity for those who want to garden but cannot do so at home because of poor soil, too much shade, or some other issue.

In The Tri States

Mar 2, 2012

A look back at the top stories and features from the Tri States Public Radio news department from February 2012. 

During the month, Caterpillar ruled out Galesburg or any other site in Illinois for a plant being relocated from Japan. The company eventually chose to build in Georgia.

Monmouth hired a new police chief, a northeast Missouri man was convicted of murder, and the Macomb School District cut ties with a former teacher accused of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. 

The Illinois Department of Revenue said it is prepared to move swiftly on decisions about which not-for-profit hospitals deserve tax breaks.                                            

The state had held off making any decisions since fall while it, hospitals and consumer health advocates negotiated to determine how much charity not-for-profit hospitals must provide in order to get out of paying property taxes.

But they failed to reach an agreement by Governor Pat Quinn's March 1 deadline so the department will resume issuing rulings.

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