US Army Captain Luis Montalván was a highly decorated member of the US military when he returned home from two tours of duty in Iraq. The trauma he encountered overseas, however, started to take its toll as he settled back into his life stateside. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Montalván about his struggle to return to civilian life after his time in the service and how Capt. Montalván’s relationship with his service dog “Tuesday,” restored him both psychologically and spiritually.
All this week, WILL presents the work of University High School students in the series, “The Changing Military.” An hour-long documentary will air at 10am during Focus on Veterans Day, November 11. To launch the series, David Dickey and student producer Sunjay Koshy join Jim Meadows on Focus tomorrow, Monday, November 4 to talk about the documentary, how it was produced and explain the long-standing relationship between WILL and Uni High. Leading up to Veterans Day, the shorter documentary features will air all next week during Morning Edition with Jeff Bossert at 6:35 and 8:35 and again during Focus at around 10:50.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Frank Tavares, who for years was the “voice of NPR." Often cited as the most heard voice on public radio, Tavares read the underwriting announcements for the news network. We'll hear from him this hour about his public radio roots in Illinois and his work with the Journal of Radio and Audio Media, an communication journal for which he is a founding editor.
Host Jim Meadows also talks with Tavares about his new fiction book of short stories, "The Man Who Built Boxes."
When Brenda Koenig founded the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots festival, she wanted to inspire a place where people could dance, tell stories and enjoy the rich tradition sense of community that she says folk music creates. As a folk musician and fiddler herself, she says appreciating how the audience is enjoying the music, not being “the musician” in the spotlight is vital to performing folk music. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Koenig about why she and 80 volunteers put in the work to organize the festival. We’ll also hear from Matt Winters, a member of the C-U Folk and Roots Festival’s steering committee, about what’s new this year at the festival.
Then, during the second half of this hour on Focus, we’ll check in with author, banjo player and music researcher Stephen Wade. Wade is author of the book “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” which documents the contributions to folk music made by everyday people – from prisoners to housewives to farm laborers. Meadows talks with Wade about going back to the communities where he did his research for the book. We’ll also hear a few banjo tunes and talk with Wade about why he’s dedicated his life to folk music.
Are you a folk music fan? What do you like about it? Maybe you’re a volunteer for the festival, why do you dedicate your time? Post a comment in the comments section below or find us on Facebook.
Woodturning has been an art since around 1300 BC when the Egyptians first developed a two-person lathe, but it’s only been popular in the United States for the last few decades. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about woodturning and the satisfaction of making something tangible.
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.