Jacob McCleland

Jacob spearheads KRCU’s local news effort. His reporting has been heard on NPR’ Morning Edition and All Things Considered, PRI’s The World, and Harvest Public Media. In addition to reporting, Jacob directs KRCU’s team of student reporters and producers.

Jacob graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2000 with degrees in Anthropology and Spanish. He spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama where he worked on sustainable agriculture projects and hosted a weekly agriculture radio program.

A coalition of ninety environmental groups and over twenty community leaders in Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky are urging President Obama to block the Army Corps of Engineers from completing a $165 million  levee project in Missouri’s bootheel.
Geologists with Indiana University and several other Midwestern schools have identified widespread seismic activity along an “underappreciated” seismic zone in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois. 

The seismic zone is named after a small Missouri town --- but it’s not New Madrid.

Cairo may become the home of one of Illinois’ 22 medical marijuana grow operations.

Area 51 Growers, based in New Athens, Ill. and Sikeston, Mo., has reached an agreement with the city to install a $4 million medical marijuana cultivation facility on 10 acres of municipally-owned land.

Citizens of Cairo are planning to establish a memorial for the victims of a botched bank robbery.

Anita Grace and Nita Jo Smith were both murdered in May. A surviving bank employee was seriously injured.

Monica Smith, the director of the Cairo Public Library, is planning to place two inscribed pink granite benches in a park near First National Bank in honor of the two women who were killed. She also hopes to plant a tree with a marker to honor the surviving bank employee.


A contentious non-binding referendum to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Johnson County, Ill. failed at the ballot box Tuesday night. Fifty-eight percent voted NO to the proposition which would have asked the county board to pass an ordinance that would prohibit the controversial oil and gas extraction technique.


The debate over hydraulic fracturing is heating up again in rural Johnson County, Illinois.

A group of residents there - including a member of the county commission - has come out against a resolution that will appear on the ballot next month to ban fracking on their turf. 

Kris Pirmann and a handful of other Johnson County residents stand outside the county commission office in Vienna, Ill., a town of about 1,400 people tucked into southern Illinois’ rolling hills near the Shawnee National Forest. 

“Southern Illinois. I grew up as a Navy brat. I moved all over the place, and southern Illinois was always the place where family was that we could come back to as home,” Pirmann said.

Voters in Johnson County, Illinois will have a chance to voice their opinions about hydraulic fracturing at the ballot box. 

A group of Johnson County citizens submitted 1,001 signature to county officials on Thursday to put a non-binding resolution on the March 18 primary ballot that asks if fracking should be banned within the county. They only needed to gather 374.


Some Southern Illinois residents are concerned about hydraulic fracturing related water quality, chemical trade secrets and the size of fines levied on the industry.  

The comments came from among the 175 present at an Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ public hearing on fracking last night at Rend Lake College in Ina. A six-member panel listened to a range of public comments about the IDNR’s proposed fracking regulations.