WILL - Focus - April 05, 2013

Coming up on Focus: Mad Men, The War on Drugs, and Bond….James Bond

Are you a fan of AMC’s “MadMen”? Who do you think is the best James Bond? Is it time for the US to end the war on drugs?  Find out more about what’s coming up next week on Focus and join our conversation.

MadMen Cast

Coming up next week on Focus, we’ve got a little something for everybody – from James Bond to gardening, we welcome you to join our conversation!

WILL - Focus - April 03, 2013

Homelessness a Concern in C-U

At homeless shelters in the Champaign-Urbana area, budget cuts due to the sequester are especially unwelcome. This hour on Focus, we talked about the unmet need for sheltering and rehabilitation services in the area and will hear from a mother who has been working for the last two years to get back on her feet.


(Duration: 51:29)

A new emergency shelter for the homeless recently started serving families in Champaign county, filling the unmet need for sheltering services for families with children. But funding for the shelter will likely dry up before the end of this year. Even with the new emergency shelter in operation, Nancy Hiatt, Executive Director for the Center for Women in Transition, says there’s a huge unmet need for sheltering and rehabilitation services in East Central Illinois.

This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Hiatt and Beverly Baker, the Director of Community Impact at the United Way of Champaign County. They’ll tell us about the challenges of providing shelter to families and to homeless men and women.  Host Jim Meadows also talks with one woman form Champaign who has been working to get back on her feet and recover from homelessness and drug addiction for the past two years. She’ll tell us about the stigma associated with being homeless and how difficult it really is to regain footing after losing everything.

Categories: Community, Poverty

WILL - Focus - March 29, 2013

Next Week on Focus: MLB Opening Day, Drones and The Lawyer Bubble

Do you love MLB Opening Day? Who’re you rooting for this season? Does the idea of drone technology scare you or excite you?  Find out more about what’s coming up next week on Focus and join our conversation.

Thursday on Focus, we'll talk about unmanned aerial vehicles.

Next week on Focus, we'll talk with the official historian for Major League Baseball and an Urbana man working with unmanned aerial technology for both journalistic purposes and to inspire high school students to study math and science. We'll also address the unmet need for homeless services in the area and talk about the growing disconnect between law schools and law firms in Illionis and why it matters. 

WILL - Focus - March 25, 2013

50 Years Later: Assembly Hall

What’s your fondest memory of Assembly Hall? A concert? A speech? Today on Focus, we remembered 50 years of the Hall with Fred Kroner, author of the new book “A Saucer Coming to Rest, A Half Century of Assembly Hall” and Kevin Ullestad, Assembly Hall’s Director.


(Duration: 55:01)

Assembly Hall

Assembly Hall has been the focus of attention since its inception more than a half century ago. With new plans to renovate the space, we remember the hall this hour on Focus. We’ll talk about how many people thought the funds should go to academics when the hall was first built and how some said the design was doomed to collapse. 

WILL - Focus - March 22, 2013

Coming up on Focus: Remembering Assembly Hall, Idioms and Stargazing

Are you fascinated by the stars? What is your fondest memory of Assembly Hall? How have our concerns about terrorism changed in the last decade?  Find out more about what’s coming up on Focus and join our conversation.

Assembly Hall

Coming up next week on Focus, we'll talk with one of the most well-respected researchers studying terrorism, an authority on idioms in the English language and with journalist Fred Kroner about his new book "A Saucer Coming to Rest, A Half Century of Assembly Hall." Find our more about what's coming up. 

WILL - Focus - March 20, 2013

Home Foreclosure in Illinois

Even though the economy is slowly starting to improve, Illinois still has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. Today on Focus, we talked about the problem and about new policies that are supposed to help solve it. We also talk with one community member working to help East Central Illinois families keep their homes.


(Duration: 50:17)

a foreclosed home

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.

WILL - Focus - March 13, 2013

East Central Illinois: Where Jobs are Created and Sustained?

Do you make it a point to shop and support locally owned stores and restaurants? It really does make a big difference to the local economy if you do. Today on Focus, we talked about economic development and new trends in the area.


(Duration: 50:26)

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.

Categories: Animals, Community, Economics

WILL - Focus - March 05, 2013

Curating Local History

Are you intrigued by the past? Do you have a favorite factoid about Champaign-Urbana history? Today on Focus, we talked about curating local history.


(Duration: 49:57)

Early American Museum, Museum of the Grand Prairie, Mahomet IL

During this hour on Focus, we’ll start by looking at history through the lens of a comic book. Amateur historian, artist and Associate Professor of New Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Kevin Hamilton has just published the comic titled, “A Place in Time, Two Paths to a Television Broadcast.” It chronicles a national television broadcast by Public Broadcasting Lab, the show that later turned into 60 Minutes, which originated in Urbana in 1968. He'll join us to talk about the comic book, what inspired it and why he thinks chronicling events like it give us unique perspective.

Timothy Cain who co-directs the UIUC’s Ethnography of the University Initiative, also joins the conversation. He’ll tell us about the project, how it archives hundreds of research projects every year and provides undergraduates the chance to research university history. We’ll talk about research that has uncovered facts about student sub-cultures and their influence on campus and community life and how displaying history can work to influence a sense of community. Barb Garvey, Assistant Director of the Museum of the Grand Prairie, also joins the conversation to talk about other local history projects and why they’re important.

Categories: Community, History

WILL - Focus - February 26, 2013

President Robert Easter and Chancellor Phyllis Wise

During this episode of Focus, we talked with University of Illinois President Robert Easter and Chancellor Phyllis Wise and addressed concealed carry on campus, unofficial St. Patrick's day and the controversy over Chief Illiniwek. 


(Duration: 50:25)


This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise and President Robert Easter. We asked them about the sequester and how it would affect the University and research efforts on campus, how the state's budget issues are affecting the university and if the UIUC will be getting a new mascot. 

We also want you to have the opportunity to interact directly with your leaders. Do you have questions for President Easter or Chancellor Wise? If we didn't get to them today, post to our Facebook page, tweet us @Focus580 or post in the comments section below. We'll be talking with the President and Chancellor again on Focus. 

Categories: Community, Education

WILL - Focus - January 22, 2013

International Adoption in Illinois


(Duration: 50:45)

Ben and Timmy McClelland

The Russian government recently instituted a controversial ban on adoptions to the United States. Outcry from both families in the middle of the adoption process with Russia and families who have previously adopted from the country has been harsh.

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