Chronic wasting disease was first discovered in deer in the Rocky Mountains in the 1960’s. Since then, its spread to the Midwest, Canada and a few eastern states, and there has been ongoing debate about the best ways to keep the disease from infecting more deer. CWD, which is 100% fatal and incurable in deer populations and has been in Illinois for the past decade. According to new research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the state is doing something right when it comes to managing the disease. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, a wildlife veterinary epidemiologist for the Illinois Natural History Survey, and Jan Novakofski, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and a Professor of Animal Science, about the disease, how it affects deer and why we should be concerned with keeping it from spreading. We’ll also talk about managing diseases that have epidemic potential in wildlife populations.
Personality tests inform hiring selections, career paths, dating options and any number of other decisions in business, academia and culture. But what do personality tests actually measure, and do our personalities change over time? Why do we seem to love to taking personality tests so much? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Professor Brent Roberts about the science, popularity and limits, of personality tests. We’ll also hear from Cindy Harris, a human resources manager, from the International Society of Arboriculture. The Champaign based organization says using the “True Colors” personality test has been really helpful in their workplace culture.
Pet ownership overall in the United States is down in recent years, and according to research by the American Veterinary Medical Association, that might have something to do with the economy. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with veterinarian Sally Foote about the cost of pet ownership. We’ll hear from her about how she tries to make sure animals receive the care they need without putting unnecessary financial strain on families. Dr. Foote also talks with host Jim Meadows about pet insurance and if it can be worth it.
Often times when pets become too costly, families take them to animal shelters for other families to adopt. This hour on Focus, Jane Dallas, an adoptive dog owner, also joins us to talk about the process and some of the do’s and don’ts when bringing a shelter dog into your home.
Storytelling is an art, but telling scary stories is a skill all its own. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with two people intimately involved with what it means to craft and share a tale meant to thrill, surprise and terrorize.
For the first half of this hour on Focus, Camille Born joins host Jim Meadows to talk about the history behind Champaign-Urbana’s ghost stories. According to some, there’s a blue ghost who haunts Clements Cemetery in Urbana and the spirit of a former police officer killed during prohibition lingers in downtown Champaign. Then, we’ll hear from Illinois native and fiction author Brandon Massey about writing horror stories. Meadows also talks with Massey about his forthcoming novel "In the Dark."
Born is hosting walking tours for the Orpheum Children's Science Museum as a part of their "After Dark" series where she tells several ghost stories on location in Champaign, and the University of Illinois' Spulock Museum is also hosting a ghost story event this weekend. Find more information here.
Read more to see a video of Camille telling a story not heard on air in our studios!
Five years ago, meth arrests were as low as they had ever been in Illinois with right around 400 seizures per year. This year, however, authorities expect nearly twice that many. Even though national rates of meth usage are down, it’s on the rise in east central Illinois. The state had the fifth most methamphetamine lab seizures in the country last year, behind only Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky.
Over the course of the last few decades, Major League Baseball salaries have increased substantially, and sought after players have much more bargaining power today than they did a generation ago. During this hour on Focus, host Jeff Bossert talks with Daniel Gilbert about his new book Expanding the Strike Zone: Baseball in the Age of Free Agency. We’ll examine baseball’s growing global influence and how the labor struggles within professional resonate throughout our society.
Gilbert is an Assistant Professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also a Red Sox fan. Don’t hold that against him.
Almost 25 years ago, Eastern Illinois Head Football Coach Dino Babers got his start coaching as a running backs coach at EIU. More than two decades later, he’s back as head coach and looks like he’s on track to lead the Panthers to their second run at the FCS Bowl playoffs in two years. For the first half of this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Babers about his approach to coaching, the pressure placed on student athletes and his strategy as the team approaches the back half of their schedule for this season.
Then, in the second half of this hour on Focus, Meadows talks with Sheldon Turner. Turner grew up on the East side of St. Louis and says if he wouldn’t have had the mentors he did, he wouldn’t be where he is today. We’ll hear from Turner about Champaign School Districts “Operation Hope” program and about why Turner thinks athletics are so important to character building. Turner was recently named "man of the year" by Central Illinois Busniess.
Now's the time of year to start cleaning up the garden and raking leaves in the yard. University of Illionis Extension horticulture expert Sandy Mason says, that means it's a perfect time to start a compost pile if you haven't already. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Sandy about composting and what should be on your fall gardning to-do list.
Tatyana McFadden and IntelliWheels Marissa Siebel and Josh George on engineering a better wheelchair
Sunday, Tatyana McFadden won the Chicago Marathon breaking a course record and becoming the first wheelchair athlete to win three major marathons in a year. In less than three weeks, McFadden will compete for a fourth title at the ING New York City Marathon. During this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Tatyana about why she’s fond of marathons, how she’s preparing for her upcoming race in New York and where she keeps her race medals. McFadden was born in Russia and spent the first 6 years of her life walking on her hands in an orphanage. During this interview, we also hear from her about how that has contributed to the upper-body strength vital to her racing success.
Then in the second half of the program, Meadows talks with IntelliWheels’ Marissa Siebel and Josh George about mobility and innovation. Currently, the company makes geared wheelchair wheels that make it easier for people with less upper body strength to get around, but recently they have been working on prototypes for more active users. George, who took third place this past weekend in the men’s wheelchair division of the Chicago Marathon, is an athlete in residence for IntelliWheels and will test them when they’re ready.
It’s starting to show that Governor Pat Quinn is up for reelection next fall. He’s answering more reporter questions and is making it seem like he's serious about sorting out the state's pension issues. Have lawmakers made any progress? In preview of next week's veto session in the Illinois legislature, host Jim Meadows talks with political reporters Amanda Vinicky of Illinois Public Radio and Tom Kacich of the News-Gazette about Governor Quinn’s focus on the pension problem. We'll also talk with Kacich about the status of the farm bill and how current negotiations regarding the government shutdown and the debt ceiling affect political debate and discussion in Illinois.
Then, Meadows talks with Representative Jim Durkin, new Minority Leader for the Illinois House of Representatives about the Republican agenda for the upcoming legislative session.