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, 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.
Foreclosure rates in Illinois are beginning to fall, but many are still struggling to recover from the recession, especially those who were affected when the housing bubble burst. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about new foreclosure policies in Illinois meant to fast track the sale of vacant properties to help our local economies and families recover from the foreclosure crisis. As the state’s foreclosure rate remains stubbornly high, we’ll also examine how big of a problem foreclosures continue to be in East Central Illinois and talk with Reverend Eugene Barnes, the founder of Metanoia, a community group based in Champaign, who has taken it into his own hands to help struggling families keep their homes. Geoff Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Housing Services at DePaul University also joins us.
Next week on Focus, we'll talk with one of the pioneers in the reserach of happiness about how he got the pscyhological science community to take him seriously, how computers could soon change the way we talk about prescription side effects and how environmental groups came together to work with energy companies to write state regualtions for hyrdraulic fracturing.
According to a new report from the Milken Institute, Champaign-Urbana and Danville are both on the list of best performing small cities, but what does that really mean? The report shows Danville climbing in ranking while Chambana was slipping. During this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Vicki Haugen, President and CEO of Vermilion Advantage and Mike Kirchoff, President and CEO of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation.
We’ll talk about new development projects in the area, trends with unemployment rates and Danville’s retail resurgence. We’ll also talk about the health of the manufacturing industry in East Central Illinois, what’s ahead for the region and how we can keep local economies healthy in spite of state budget woes.
Monday, March 11 - My Name is Jody Williams
Have you been an activist? What causes matter to you?
Jody Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her campaign to eradicate landmines. But she wasn’t always an activist. Monday on Focus, we’ll talk with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams about her new memoir, “My Name is Jody Williams.” She’ll tell us about her life as an activist, why she’s spent her career advocating for freedom and human rights and what she really means when she uses the word “peace.”
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with John Breen, Tax Director at McGladrey LLP and Marty Verdick, Tax Partner at McGladrey LLP about the so-called fiscal cliff package that was passed in January and how it affects your bottom line. He also asks about the new Medicare surtax for 2013, which tax software to use when preparing your taxes on your own and when it’s a good idea to hire a tax preparer. Also in this episode of Focus – how to choose the best tax preparer for your needs, what questions to ask and the gray areas in the tax code. We also talk about new forms this year for same-sex couples in civil unions.
Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly evolving into a discipline that even the chief economist at Google has called “sexy.” This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Charles Wheelan, author of the new book “Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data,” about what we can learn from statistics and their growing role in our world today.
How many vacation days do you have in a year? Do you use them? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the idea of time poverty and overwork in America. Jon de Graaf, a documentary filmmaker, activist and the Executive Director of “Take Back Your Time,” an organization that challenges the idea that your job should be at the top of your priority list, joins the program. We’ll talk about something called Gross National Happiness and question why we devalue part-time work in the U.S. Deborah Stone, Director of Academic Human Resources at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will also be here to talk about the unspoken politics of taking time off from work and what to do about it.
On today's show, we turn our attention to the history of and issues surrounding Illinois’ pension debt. We’ll talk about how our state found its way into such a massive debt obligation, some of the issues lawmakers are working through right now in Springfield, and what might ultimately be the best way forward to meet that debt and sustain the state’s public pension system.
Nearly one out of every five children in Illinois is growing up in poverty, and in more than half of Illinois' counties, 1 out of every 4 kids experiences food insecurity. Nationwide, childhood poverty costs the country $500 billion a year, or 4 percent of GDP. In addition to the economic costs, there are high personal costs: children growing up in poverty face ongoing psychosocial stress that affects their health and development, from high blood pressure and impaired immune functioning to deteriorated connections in the brain. We’ll explore the effects of poverty on children, and what can be done to ameliorate those effects.