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.”

Ways to Connect

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.

Emphasis - March 2

Mar 2, 2012

Rich Egger's guest is Janine Cavicchia, Director of the Women's Center at Western Illinois University. They talk about Women's History Month.

The national theme for WHM is developed by the National Women's History Project. This year it's "Women's Education, Women's Empowerment."

High school teachers in the Schuyler-Industry School District will soon embark on a year-long assignment.

It's tied to the district's plans to begin a one-to-one program in the Fall of 2013. Every high school student will be provided with either a lap-top or tablet. The district is still deciding which device to use.

Superintendent Mat Plater said before the devices can be used by students, teachers must get comfortable with them and learn how to best use them in the classroom.

Illinois legislators are considering whether to revoke a benefit long enjoyed by state university employees.

Anyone who has worked in the state university system for at least seven years gets 50% off tuition for their children. Universities say tuition waivers help attract and retain quality employees.

Dave Steelman, who lobbies for Western Illinois University, said the majority of WIU employees using tuition waivers are relatively low-paid workers, such as clerks.

The recovery process is underway in Harrisburg following Wednesday morning's (February 29) strong storms that resulted in major damage and loss of life.

The Saline County Sheriff's office reports six people are dead and more than 100 injured as a result of the storms.

Storm victims are being transported to hospitals in Williamson County for treatment.  The sheriff's department reports more than 200 homes damaged or destroyed in Harrisburg along with 25 businesses, including the hospital.

Bill Knight - March 1

Feb 29, 2012

General Motors in mid-February announced its highest annual profits ever -- $7.6 billion in 2011 profits on revenues of $105 billion. That’s not only an increase of 62% from the year before, it’s just two years since GM reorganized under federal bankruptcy law – helped by $82 billion in taxpayer money.

Health Alliance and Humana have another chance to stay on the books as providers of health insurance for state employees in Illinois.

A  legislative panel paved the way for Illinois to settle a lawsuit with Urbana-based Health Alliance. The company sued last year after losing its state contract. State employees  represent a significant share of its customers.

Julie Hamos, Director of the Department of Healthcare and Family  Services, said as a condition of the settlement, the state is re-opening the  bidding for state employee health insurance providers.

The panelists discuss proposals in several states to reduce or eliminate funding for public broadcasting.

The public media magazine Current reports such funding cuts are being discussed in Rhode Island, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Idaho, and Kansas. In addition, there has been talk about slashing funding for Iowa Public Television.

By this time next week, Macomb could have some new rules in place to control large and loud parties.

Aldermen reviewed the four ordinances during their February 27 Committee of the Whole meeting.

The one that generated the most discussion concerns nuisance parties. Fifth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett asked about the section dealing with loud and raucous noise from parties. He wondered who made the determination.

“Is that at the officer's discretion?” Dorsett asked.

The US Department of Agriculture is confirming what gardeners in Illinois already knew: it has become warmer in the state during recent years.  

The change can be seen in the USDA's plant hardiness map that appears on the back of packages for seeds and plants. 

State climatologist Jim Angel said the previous map was based on a much colder period in Illinois history.

“Since then we've had some milder winters in the 1990s and the early 2000s, and that's reflected in the new map,” Angel said.

Emphasis - February 24

Feb 24, 2012

Rich Egger's guests are Sally Egler and Becky Parker of the Macomb Feminist Network. They talk about the winners of this year's Writing Women Back into History Award, which is presented by the MFN.

The honorees are Maria Dunstan, Judy Kohler, and Donna Werner.

All three worked on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment. In addition, Dunstan and Kohler are credited with helping McDonough County Hospital regain accreditation in 1974.

Democrats are telling the Illinois Supreme Court that Republican attempts to toss the legislative map are too little, too late.

In documents made public Thursday, February 23, the Democrats said the case was filed too close to next month's primary  election.

There have only been five new maps since 1970 so it's a small sample  size. But most of those cases were filed within two weeks of the new maps becoming law.

Macomb police say they do not suspect foul play in the death of a man who fell from a tombstone.

Police were called to St Paul Catholic  Cemetery Wednesday night, February 22, by friends of 28-year old Michael Farrell of Davenport, IA.

Witnesses told police Farrell climbed on a large tombstone. He then  fell ten feet and landed on his back.

He was pronounced dead a short time later at McDonough District Hospital.

The list of candidates to be Spoon River College's next president is down to five finalists. They come from across the country.

Interviews and public forums will be held during the next few weeks.  The forums will be held at 8:30 am and 2:10 pm at all four SRC campuses via the school's Interactive Video System:

February 29. Mr Curt Oldfield, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa. He was previously Dean of Instruction at SRC.

March 5. Ms Carol Davis, Vice President of Community Outreach at SRC.

Photo from Macomb School District website

We now know more about the resignation agreement between Daniel Watson and the Macomb School District.

The Board of Education during its February meeting approved the agreement. It breaks down as follows:

*$32,279.72 as compensation while he was still employed by the district during the current school year;

*$11,562.09 as front pay (minus deductions);

*A lump sum of $1,500.00 as compromise of claims.

Churches help people worship God, not institutions. States help people serve communities, not bureaucracies.

Four ordinances to regulate and control large and loud parties in Macomb are one step closer to being the law.

The proposals received first reading during the City Council's meeting on February 21. They cover issues such as nuisance parties, mass gatherings, and failing to disperse. They also provide new powers to the mayor in his role as liquor commissioner.

The ordinances were written by City Attorney Kristen Petrie. They are based on research she did on ordinances in other university towns in Illinois.

Pages