WILL - Focus - December 04, 2013

What does Tuesday’s pension vote mean?

A bill to fix the state’s massively underfunded pension system is headed to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and former state senator Rick Winkel about what’s in the bill and what happens now.


(Duration: 51:42)

Tally of votes in the Illinois Senate Tuesday on the pension reform bill

Tuesday, the Illinois Legislature approved a history plan to eliminate the state’s $100 billion pension shortfall, considered the worst in the nation. The House voted 62-53 in favor of the plan, and the Senate approved the measure minutes earlier. The bill, however, passed with little support from East Central Illinois lawmakers.

How will it help the state’s budgetary woes and what will it mean for state employees? Does it violate the state’s pension protections spelled out in the Illinois constitution?  This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Illinois Public Radio’s Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and former Illinois State Senator Rick Winkel about what’s in the bill and what it means.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Focus - December 03, 2013

Growing urban agriculture

A lot of our food grows in expansive, rolling fields that make up the Midwest. But with more and more people living in cities, that is changing. This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from Will Allen, CEO of Milwaukee’s urban farming project “Growing Power.”


(Duration: 51:28)

Will Allen at Growing Power's urban farm in Milwaukee

After he retired from the NBA, urban farmer and author Will Allen returned to his roots. He was born to sharecroppers in South Carolina and grew up on a small vegetable farm. Today, he’s CEO of Milwaukee’s urban farming project, “Growing Power” and is working to help eradicate food deserts, places where it’s hard to find affordable, fresh produce. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Allen about the project and its mission to help more people, especially those living in cities, gain access to healthy food.

Then, during the second half of this hour on Focus, Meadows talks with Sam Wortman, an Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. Wortman studies urban agriculture and says projects like Allen’s are helping accessibility problems but warns that the model for how to create a sustainable urban agriculture system varies from place to place.

Categories: Agriculture, Food

WILL - Focus - December 02, 2013

Scott Tinker on the Switch Energy Project

This hour on Focus, we'll talk about our changing energy resources with Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology and State Geologist of Texas Scott Tinker.


(Duration: 51:46)

Scott Tinker

The way we power our lives is constantly evolving. Today on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Scott Tinker about fracking, his documentary "Switch" and his mission to educate the public about where our electricity comes from and the reality when it comes to try and make changes to what fuel keeps the lights on.

Tinker will be showing his film and speaking at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Tuesday, December 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Lincoln Hall Theater and will be giving a seminar on fracking on . Find more information at the link below.

Categories: Energy

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