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Western Illinois University

WIU Reclassifies Employees Ahead of Layoffs

Western Illinois University recently went through a major reorganization of its employees. According to the Western Factbook, WIU employs around 1,600 people. Only 39% of those jobs were classified as civil service last fall. Jeff Brownfield, Executive Director of the State Universities Civil Service System, believes that figure should be higher.

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Reaction is coming in from lawmakers representing all corners of the state as it pertains to the vote to avoid another government shutdown as well as President Trump's announcement Friday to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) Released Thursday afternoon

The U.S. trade war with China has created a financial burden for farmers and companies that import Chinese goods. Consumers, on the other hand, have mostly been spared from the conflict.

That could all change if this month’s negotiations between the U.S. and China don’t go well.

Steve Swan

The demoliton of the three-story building at 629 Main Street is expected to result in traffic delays for the foreseeable future.

The U.S. trade war with China, now approaching a year, is often framed as hurting manufacturing and agriculture the most. But that’s mainly collateral damage in an international struggle over power and technology that has its roots in the Cold War, when China was still considered a largely undeveloped country.

The Prescription Drug Mystery

Feb 13, 2019

Recently I learned that I could get a necessary prescription medication cheaper if I didn't use my insurance.  I was happy – no more yearly forms to fill out, appeals to make, alternative drugs to try.  And then it dawned on me – I still had to pay my premium, but the insurance company didn't have to pay for my medication. Here is how it works for me. If I get my prescription through my coverage at OptumRx, my cost is $50 per month, and that includes  a detailed and lengthy approval process required by a nameless corporate entity who doesn't know me and whose concern is company profit. If I don't use the coverage, and purchase my prescription at a local pharmacy with an on-line discount coupon, my cost is $35 per month, no approval needed except by my trusted nurse practitioner Brenda Powell Allen.

City Administrator Cole O’Donnell said Keokuk will ramp up discussions about the future of City Hall as soon as it receives the financial settlement from its insurance provider following last week's fire. He is confident the discussions will not include two particular properties: the former Roquette America office building and the entertainment barge.

Iowa Democrats Propose "Virtual Caucuses"

Feb 13, 2019
Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

The first major changes to the Iowa Democratic caucuses were proposed Monday. Iowans who take part in the first-in-the-nation presidential nominating process would be able to do so virtually if the proposal is approved by a central party committee and the Democratic National Committee.

A new lobbying group says it plans to promote Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s agenda using secret money. It’s being run by a close Pritzker ally.


Courtesy John Gruidl

Google challenged non-profits in Illinois to come up with ideas to improve communities.  Around 170 organizations submitted ideas and ten winners were chosen.  One of those winners is the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, which is based in western Illinois. The IIRA received a $75,000 grant from Google and will get another $250,000 if it tallies the most votes in an online poll.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Turnout could be described as minimal for the Keokuk School District's special election this week. But the impact could be massive as there will now be more money available for infrastructure, transportation, and technology needs.

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Folk Weekend Live in Concert

Bigfoot Yancey, 7:00pm March 2, 2019 Vallillo/Holtz Performance Studio

Bigfoot Yancey is an Indianapolis-based band that has developed a sound that draws upon inspiration from various genres but always rooted in Americana and the blue collar sound that has defined many parts of this country for decades. In an era where more and more musicians are relying upon technology, Bigfoot Yancey strives to keep their music as raw and stripped down as possible. This allows the listener to fully engage with the music in a very real sense. Their live performances echo this...

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Harvest Public Media

U.S. REP. ROGER MARSHALL'S OFFICE

Held up over disagreements over federal food stamps, the first draft of the 2018 farm bill arrived Thursday, bearing 35 changes to that program, including starting a national database of participants.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

As agriculture intensified in the 20th century, summers in the Midwest became wetter and cooler.  An MIT study published this month looked at whether vegetation from crop production, rather than greenhouse gas emissions that are an established source of climate changes, could have driven these regional impacts.

Ben Kuebrich/Kansas News Service/Harvest Public Media

A new, widely debated federal mandate requires truckers to electronically track the number of hours they're on the road — a rule that is meant to make highways safer. But there is a big difference between hauling a load of TVs and a load of cattle destined for meatpacking plants.

DARRELL HOEMANN / FILE/MIDWEST CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING

Lawsuits filed in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas against the makers of the herbicide dicamba will be centralized in the federal court in St. Louis.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

In the coming months, Congress will map out how it will spend upwards of $500 billion on food and farm programs over the next five years.  The massive piece of legislation known as the farm bill affects all taxpayers -- whether they know it or not.

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TSPR wins a Regional Murrow Award

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