Focus

WILL - Focus - May 09, 2013

Let’s TALK Kids

This hour on Focus, we’re going to T.A.L.K. about kids with Baby TALK Founding Executive Director Claudia Quigg about the Baby TALK model, her organization and her new book. 

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(Duration: 51:29)

Claudia Quigg founded Baby TALK in the late 1980’s in Decatur after having children of her own and realizing that even though she had a supportive group of friends, she needed advice and access to resources. Today the organization has a presence in 36 states and Canada and has more than 100 programs in operation in Illinois communities. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Claudia about why the earliest years of life, from birth to age 3, are so important and what resources her organization provides in East Central Illinois. We’ll also talk about the memories and lessons she’s taken away from working with families for more than three decades and about her new book "Let's Talk Kids: Becoming a Family." 

Claudia writes a weekly column for the Decatur Herald-Review and has a weekly radio segment that airs on NPR member station WUIS in Springfield at 7:55 on Thursday mornings.


WILL - Focus - May 08, 2013

Colony Collapse Disorder

Before 2006, scientists referred to colony collapse disorder as autumn collapse or spring dwindle, it was normal for a hive or two to die. But as bees have started disappearing en masse, there’s been more and more research into what’s really happening. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with entomologist May Berenbaum about new findings that help scientists understand why bee colonies worldwide are collapsing.

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(Duration: 51:31)

The US Agriculture Department said yesterday that the honey bee population declined by more than 30 percent last winter, continuing a decrease in honey bee numbers that began in 2005. That’s a problem as more than 20 billion dollars worth of annual harvests rely on bees for pollination. No one really knows exactly why bees are disappearing, although many speculate it’s due to what scientists are calling colony collapse disorder. Researchers have pointed to pesticides, stress and microbial organisms  as possible causes but conclusive answers have so far been elusive.

David Burns caring for his beesThis hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with May Berenbaum, Professor of Entomology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign about colony collapse disorder, what it is, and what might be causing it. According to new research, high fructose corn syrup could also play a role. We’ll also hear from David Burns, a Master Beekeeper and owner of Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in Fairmount.

Are you a bee keeper? Are you a concerned farmer or gardener? We want to hear your story. Post in the comments section below! 

Categories: Environment

WILL - Focus - May 07, 2013

Going Cashless?

Did you get stung by the Schnuck’s debit card security breach? Second guessing how often you pay with plastic? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about what it would be like to live in a cashless society.

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(Duration: 51:38)

Fewer and fewer people are regularly carrying cash. Carrying cards seems easier, and paying with plastic leaves a handy electronic record to track where your money goes. But with lots of questions circling about cyber-security and a security breach that compromised more than 5,000 debit/credit card users in the area, isn’t there a huge advantage to paying with cash money? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about money, currency and what it would be like to live in a world without cash. David Wolman, author of “The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers – and the Coming Cashless Society” and Professor of Finance Charles Kahn join us. Kahn is a consultant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and has written about payments economics and identify theft.

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WILL - Focus - May 06, 2013

Tax Policies and Illinois’ Fiscal Crisis

Are you tired of hearing how broke the state is? Do you have a suggestion for solving the problem? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the state’s deficit and tax policy.

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(Duration: 51:15)

According to the Fiscal Futures Project at the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, Illinois is currently ranked in last place out of all 50 states for its bond ratings. Legislators at the statehouse have made some progress towards passing reform to try and solve Illinois’ massively underfunded state pension system but even if reform is passed, the state has a long way to go to get back in the black. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Ralph Martire, Executive Director at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability about Illinois fiscal health and what could help improve it.

Think you can balance the budget? Check out this calculator from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Crain’s Business Chicago and the Institute for Work and the Economy.

Martire is speaking at the Champaign Public Library in the Robeson Pavilion room on Thursday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Focus - May 03, 2013

Coming up on Focus: Bees, Illinois Fiscal Crisis and The End of Money

Next week, we’ll learn more about colony collapse disorder and how its affecting bees and our agriculture systems and will talk through the Illinois budget crisis. Join our conversation!

Coming up next week on Focus, we’ll talk about the state’s fiscal crisis, what it would be like to live in a world without cash and new research that helps scientists understand more about colony collapse disorder.

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WILL - Focus - May 03, 2013

Talk with the Managers

What’s in the future for public media? How is the sequester affecting WILL? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Illinois Public Media General Manger Mark Leonard and Station Manager Bob Culkeen. We welcome your questions!

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(Duration: 51:36)

Station Manager Bob Culkeen and General Manager Mark Leonard

This hour on Focus host Jim Meadows talks with Illinois Public Media’s head honchoes. Bob Culkeen and Mark Leonard will be here to discuss programming changes taking place this summer, the health of your public media station and new ideas we’re cooking up at WILL.


WILL - Focus - May 02, 2013

Record Sales Continue to Climb in US, Illinois

“Vinyl sounds warmer….it’s about the experience….I like the crackle….” Do you enjoy listening to music on a turntable? We’ll talk about music in the 21st century and if vinyl’s “comeback” really means anything to the future of the music industry.

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(Duration: 51:35)

a stack of records

According to Nielsen Soundscan, a company that tracks the sale of music in the US, vinyl sales are up by 35% over the same time last year; nearly two million vinyl albums have sold so far in 2013. Nielsen says their data shows that vinyl sales started climbing in 2007 and have kept on going ever since. Interesting considering music hasn’t been released solely on vinyl albums for decades... This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the resurgence of records and record stores and will talk about what makes old-fashioned records so appealing in an era largely defined by digital culture. 


WILL - Focus - May 01, 2013

Itty-Bitty Technology; Big Potential

Think about the size of a lady bug. Now, think 1,000 times smaller than that, and we’re talking about the size of a red blood cell. Go another 1,000 times smaller, and that’s how big a nanometer is. What can you do with something that small? We’ll find out this hour on Focus.

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(Duration: 51:24)

This image shows a nanoparticle with atomic resolution. It is a projection image of the nanoparticle where darker atomic columns represent Se columns while the brighter columns are Cd (atomic structure has been partially overlayed to highlight the at

Nanotechnology works to understand the physics, chemistry and biology of nanoscale objects. Simply put, it’s the study of things that are very, very, very small. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about nanotechnology and developments being made when it comes to nanomanufacturing here at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Irfan Ahmad, Executive Director of Nanoscale Science and Technology at the UIUC and Engineering Professor Placid Ferreira, who studies nanotechnologies and manufacturing, will be here. We’ll talk with them about how certain elements behave quite differently on the nanoscale than they do in larger quantities and how that opens the doors to virtually limitless possibilities. Cell phone in a made to order size? It’s could happen.

There are also health concerns and risks many are worried about when it comes to using nanotechnology. We’ll talk those over too during this hour on Focus.

Categories: Technology

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