In 1987, CIPS unearthed a coal tar pit in Taylorville, Illinois. Despite being used in numerous consumer products, coal tar is extremely toxic. But despite the risks to the community, CIPS failed to deploy the proper environmental protections, and the town was exposed to coal tar dust and toxic fumes. Shortly afterwords, numerous children developed rare cancers, including neuroblastoma.
The botched cleanup was the cause of these cancers. Cost-saving choices made on the day of the cleanup resulted in ineffective measuring being taken to control the toxins. This lead to neighborhoods being poisoned. While that might seem obvious in hindsight, proving a major corporation was responsible would prove far more difficult. But private investigator and former Springfield alderman Bill Clutter was part of the fight to do just that. In his new book, “Coal Tar: How Corrupt Politics and Corporate Greed are Killing America’s Children,” Clutter shares the saga of fighting both CIPS and the Illinois EPA to prove just how dangerous coal tar really is.
During our discussion of his book, Clutter shared that the Taylorville is just one of many towns dealing with coal tar. Because coal gasification (the process that creates coal tar) was so common in the early 20th Century, coal tar pits are also common. Franklin, Indiana is currently dealing with a similar situation to what Taylorville went though. And a similar cancer cluster in Morgan City, Louisiana helped proved coal tar was the likely culprit in Taylorville as well. One bright point is Illinois has tighter regulations for cleaning up these sites because of the Taylorville case.
Before becoming involved in the Taylorville case, Clutter was a politician in Springfield. He shares local history from his time on the city council, and gives an inside look at the political machines that dominated the city and state during the 1980s and 90s. It also helps showcase how corporations gain influence over the regulators that are supposed to be watching them. CIPS relationship with the Illinois EPA was a large part of the difficulties the Taylorville families faced in getting justice.
Although Clutter was ultimately successful against CIPS, he doesn’t sugar coat how difficult the fight was. Even with a strong community group pushing for answers, and their lawyer Tom Londrigan waving his fee, pursuing the case was still an extremely expensive and lengthy process.
Clutter’s book was published by Investigating Innocence Media. You can purchase the book on his website, or on Amazon. Proceeds from the book will help go to Investigating Innocence, a nonprofit that helps fight wrongful convictions.
You can watch our full discussion in the player above.
The Simpsons are no longer what they were: This fan managed to make a graph to find the moment they lost its grace
The Simpsons is, perhaps, the most famous series in the history of television. Virtually everyone knows Springfield’s favorite yellow family and has followed his adventures for years and years. In fact, decades. But as we know, nothing lasts forever and that was precisely what happened with the show’s grace: it’s over, although the episodes keep coming out.
At what point did the Simpsons stop being cool?
The truth hurts, we know, but it’s time to face it: The Simpsons stopped being good a long time ago. And in fact, Sol Harris, a fan of those, found the terrible truth, and that is that currently there are already more bad chapters than good ones. Ouch.
He also graphed the whole series – a lot of free time, but thank you – to know at what time and with what events he began to lose his “spark” that we love so much. That’s how things were:
I re-watched The Simpsons and charted its decline.
(Based on my episode ratings out of 10). pic.twitter.com/JFkvVlFiOB
— Sol Harris (@solmaquina) June 23, 2017
Do you agree? At least we can say that the movie is good, and The Simpsons will always occupy a place in our hearts.
Bookstock coming back to Jacksonville for its third year
The Jacksonville Public Library will be hosting its third annual Bookstock concert this weekend, September 22nd. Melanie Devaney, Chad Elliott, and Ben Bedford will be performing during the afternoon. There will also be a children’s concert in the morning with Kevin Farris, Duke Otherwise, and Mike Lockett. Bookstock will also include a craft market for children this year. In addition to selling items, kids can learn about running their own businesses.
These concerts are free to the public, and are part of the Friends of the Library Book Sale. This is one of their major fundraisers. That sale will be going on all day.
Illinois State Fair to Host Inaugural Corn Dog Kickoff Party
The State Fair might still be months away, but the festivities are already gearing up. On June 9th, the Fair will be hosting its inaugural Corn Dog Kickoff. This event will feature live music, fair food, giveaways, and many other activities. Broseph, one of the hottest up-and-coming bands from the Midwest, will also be playing from 12:00 to 2:30 PM.
There is a new 3K walk and 5K run this year. The races will trace through some of the fairgrounds’ most prominent attractions, including the Conservation World and the world’s fastest dirt track. Registration is currently underway and costs $25 per race with a free t-shirt for those who sign up before May 23rd. 100% of the proceeds from the race will benefit the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation. Registration can be done online: https://secure.
The Corn Dog Kickoff Party will be held from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM and is free of charge. The State Fair Box Office will also be open that day from 9 am – 1 pm. Attendees can purchase tickets to the fair’s Grandstand Summer Concert Series or our exclusive Stage Side pre-concert parties.
The 2018 Illinois State Fair will be from August 9th to 19th. Stay up to date with all the latest news and announcements from the Illinois State Fair by connecting with us via Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.