Lee V. Gaines | WGLT

Lee V. Gaines

Lee V. Gaines is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, Crain’sthe Pacific Standard and the Marshall Project. She also recently completed a fellowship with Chicago non-profit journalism lab, City Bureau. 

Lee has more than six years of experience producing breaking news, magazine-length feature stories and investigative reports on subjects including education, the medical marijuana industry, criminal justice reform, social justice, local and regional politics, in addition to stories about Chicago’s thriving music and arts scene. 

A Rhode Island native, Lee began her career as a staff reporter for GateHouse Media New England covering the Boston suburbs.

Lee reports on education from Illinois Public Media as part of the Illinois Newsroom regional journalism collaborative.

Walk-up testing site
Christine Herman / Illinois Newsroom

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s saliva-based COVID-19 test has never operated under emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, despite prior claims that it did, an FDA spokesperson tells Illinois Newsroom.

U of I testing site
Lee V. Gaines / Illinois Newsroom

Marisa Hardwick isn’t surprised there are now more than twice as many cases of COVID-19 on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus than previously predicted by university researchers.

URBANA – About a thousand students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have tested positive for COVID-19 since twice-a-week coronavirus testing became mandatory for all students on Aug. 16.

Students walk past sign at U of I
Christine Herman / Illinois Newsroom

UPDATED 7:30 a.m. | About a thousand students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have tested positive for COVID-19 since twice-a-week coronavirus testing became mandatory for all students on Aug. 16.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued new restrictions Monday on international students planning to attend American colleges and universities this fall. The guidance from ICE states that international students are forbidden from taking a full online course load while residing in the U.S. The news comes as universities and colleges formulate plans to reopen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with some opting for a mix of in-person and online learning.

  URBANA – Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a saliva-based  COVID-19 test. 

During a webinar hosted Tuesday by U of I Chancellor Robert Jones and other university staff, Martin Burke, a U of I chemistry professor, announced that they had the capacity to test up to 10,000 people per day. 

As University of Illinois officials deliberate over how to reopen the Urbana campus this fall, a group of faculty members say they don’t believe the university can safely allow tens of thousands of students back into residence halls and classrooms this year. 

When Ralph Gray transferred from one prison in Illinois to another, he didn’t know the move would mean sacrificing access to an education.

Practicing yoga could lead to improved brain health, according to a University of Illinois review of the available research on how the practice affects the brain.

Prospective undergraduate students applying to the University of Illinois’ three campuses won’t be asked about their criminal histories until after they’ve been admitted.

The Illinois Department of Corrections has revised its publication review policy to include a centralized appeal process for incarcerated people who feel they’ve been unfairly denied access to certain reading materials.

Yuliana Quintana worries she won’t succeed in college because she didn’t have access to lab equipment, Advanced Placement classes, and other resources during her high school years.

Four swastikas were found on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus in the last two weeks. The hate symbols were found drawn or carved in two different residence halls, a library and a bathroom stall in the campus’ foreign languages building.

When Francisco Gamino arrived at Parkland College four years ago, he didn’t know how to balance work and find the time he needed to study.

This year, lawmakers approved a slew of new legislation intended to address Illinois’ teacher shortage. But Mark Klaisner, the new president of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, said school districts across the state are still struggling to fill open teaching positions.

Lance Pittman arrived at the Danville Correctional Center on Jan. 10 with multiple boxes of books, and bound printouts of articles and book chapters. Pittman coordinates a college in prison program called the Education Justice Project, which offers University of Illinois classes to a select group of men at the Danville prison. 

State lawmakers expressed outrage during a legislative hearing Thursday over the issue of affluent families from Chicago suburbs transferring guardianship of their children to another adult in order to qualify them for need-based financial aid they otherwise wouldn’t receive.

Dianne Gordon, a mom who lives in Champaign, knew something was wrong with her daughter Rory the minute she stepped off the school bus one afternoon in April. 

Illinois is now the third state to require graduating high school seniors fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA form.

Illinois is now the third state to require graduating high school seniors fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA form.

A new state law directs the Illinois Department of Human Services to create an online database with mental health resources that parents and school staff can use to help students.

The American Civil Liberties Union sent letters to eight Illinois municipalities last week urging them to repeal their panhandling bans. The nonprofit organization warned of legal action if community officials don't heed their warning.

The new director of the Illinois Department of Corrections said during a legislative hearing in Chicago on Monday that the agency plans to revise its policy regarding what books can and cannot enter the prison. 

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is cosponsoring legislation that would rollback one of the provisions of the 1994 crime bill. It’s called the Restoring Education and Learning Act— or REAL Act. The bill would restore Pell Grant eligibility to people incarcerated in state and federal prisons.

Illinois lawmakers plan to ask state prison officials why more than 200 books were removed from a colle

 

When she found out that staff at the Danville Correctional Center had removed more than 200 books from a library inside the prison’s education wing, Rebecca Ginsburg said she felt a pit in her stomach.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz says she’s concerned about how legalization could impact the juveniles she works with on a daily basis. She’s also concerned about how the state will address cannabis impaired driving.

 


Johnny Page saw something as a child that no young person should ever see.

“I witnessed my cousin being killed when I was maybe six, seven-years-old,” he said. Page said he was traumatized by the experience. He said he was overcome by a need to protect his family and friends. He became a fighter.  

Last summer, Chantil was forced to leave the townhome she shared with her two daughters and her mother in Des Plaines. (We’re withholding Chantil’s last name to protect her family’s privacy.) Her landlord wanted to sell the building, and Chantil had only about a month to find a new home. Landlords, however, kept turning her down because of her credit, and her income. Chantil makes $12 an hour at a department store.

Illinois could save millions of dollars on incarceration costs if the federal ban on Pell Grants for inmates was lifted, according to a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice. Pell Grants are awarded to low-income undergraduate students to help them pay for college.

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