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.
So far in his time as Governor, Pat Quinn has granted nearly 1,000 clemency requests, reducing penalties for people convicted of certain crimes. In the batch he approved Friday, Southern Illinois University Former Board of Trustee Member Enoch Benson, former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Branden Jones, an armed robber and several former drug dealers were among those pardoned.
This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from Urbana Attorney and University of Illinois Law Lecturer Steve Beckett about what’s taken into consideration when deciding to either approve or deny a clemency request and who applies for it. Host Jim Meadows also talks with Beckett about the reasons someone would request clemency, why the Governor has the power to grant it and why it’s an issue that Fmr. Gov. Rod Blagojevich left so many cases sitting.
Every year in one of the graduate classes she teaches, University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum hosts a meal … prepared from a variety of different insects. She says the giant waterbugs have been very popular in the past.
But aside from eating an insect to try it, would you ever consider consuming insects for their protein as a regular part of your diet? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Berenbaum about entomophagy and if it will ever catch on in the United States. We’ll also hear about giant hornets, that can grow to be larger than your thumb, that have killed more than 40 people and injured more than 1,000 in recent months in An Kang, China.
When Sara and Micah’s oldest daughter Naima showed resistance to wearing dresses and playing typical “girl” games, they thought she was a tomboy who someday could be a lesbian. Then one day Naima told Sara she shouldn’t keep correcting people when they confused Naima for a boy.
Mary Beth Neebel left her job in the corporate world to start a small, independent bookstore in May 2006, and she’s never looked back. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Neebel about her store’s local author book signing series. She invites authors who write about central Illinois or are from this part of the state to do readings at “I Know You Like A Book,” her store based in Peoria Heights, Illinois. We’ll find out about some exciting titles that are new this fall. Kelly Strom, collections manager at the Champaign Public Library, also joins us. She’s got a long list of new titles out this fall that she’s excited to tell us about and has a few recommendations for readers of any age.
Continue reading for a book list!