Friday, April 11 at 11:00 a.m. central time, I’ll be hosting a Twitterchat with reporter Sean Powers @SeanCPow at the hashtag #WILLchat to talk about mental illness and the associated stigmas that exist in Illinois.
Johnny Watts started school at the University of Illinois after serving in the Army for six years. He says returning to the life of a student after serving in the military was a little daunting. He worried he wouldn’t be classroom ready, that other students would be far ahead of him in terms of coursework. But once he found a community of veterans to hang out with, he says it got easier. “It was nice when I found other vets to talk to. You kind of have your own language after being in the service,” he said. “And, then I had someone else besides my wife to talk to about school.”
Watts graduates this spring from the University of Illinois with a degree in electrical engineering, and is moving to southern California with his wife. She’s also a veteran who has been attending the University of Illinois. And, according to a new study from the Student Veterans of America, the Watts’ are among a large group of veterans who’ve taken advantage of the education benefits in the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
If you’ve been following the crisis in Ukraine and the fight for Crimea, do you have unanswered questions about why Russia is so invested? We do, and we wanted to get a better understanding of the historical context of the conflict. Kathryn Stoner, a political scientist who is a Senior Fellow at the Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, has prepared a reading list that she says go a long way in explaining the Russian perspective.
Continue reading to find her reading list and descriptions of the books and their authors.
Americans in 20 states, including Illinois once its new medicinal cannabis pilot program is fully functioning, can purchase medical marijuana to treat symptoms of diseases ranging from multiple sclerosis to glaucoma to HIV and AIDs, but the science behind why medical marijuana helps ease symptoms of some of those diseases is hazy. Because marijuana is a classified as a schedule 1 drug by the federal government, a category for drugs with no medical value and highly addictive properties, researchers have a very difficult time gaining access to marijuana plants in order to study them.
In this Focus interivew, Peter Hecht, author of the forthcoming book "Weedland," and clinical psychiatirst Suzanne Sisley, who works with veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the University of Arizona, join host Scott Cameron.
Director of Outreach for Get Covered Illinois Brian Gorman says young people are signing up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act's health care marketplace in the final days for enrollment, something that Illinois officials has been concerned about. He talked with Scott Cameron during this Focus interview about how many people have signed up so far. He says its important that the "extension" for enrollment announced yesterday by the Obama administration doesn't give people more time to start the process of enrolling; it only gives you more time to finish an already exisiting application for insurance.
Supriya Hobbs and Janna Eaves are painfully aware that they are surrounded by mostly male students in their engineering classes at the University of Illinois. That’s part of the reason they’re behind the new start-up Miss Possible Inc., a toy company with intentions to manufacture dolls for girls fashioned after historical figures like Marie Curie and Amelia Earhart.
“Most toys, especially dolls, are empty,” says Hobbs, “Entrepreneur Barbie wears a suit and has a smart phone; that makes her a CEO?”
This hour on Focus, Scott Cameron talks with Hobbs about the start-up, and why Hobbs and Eaves want girls to be interested in science and technology. We’ll also hear from Analisa Russo, part of the company Electroninks, which is bringing a gel pen to draw circuits to market this summer. Isabelle Cherney, a researcher at Creighton University, will tell us how the toys we play can have an effect on our perceived capabilities and our gender identity.
Then, we’ll switch gears at the end of the hour when Jake Kuebler of Bluestem Financial Advisors, LLC in Champaign joins us to discuss issues in personal finance.
We had a taste of spring weather earlier this week and according to Shane Cultra, who helps run Country Arbors Nursery in Urbana, there were lots of anxious gardeners who were more than ready to get outside. During this time in spring, before the ground is completely thawed, is a great time to take care of the gardening chores that don’t involve plating – taking leaves, mulching raised beds and pruning fruit trees and rose bushes.
This hour on Focus Cultra talks with WILL’s Lisa Bralts about getting ready for spring in the garden. We’ll hear this hour about building and starting to grow flowers and food in raised beds if you’re thinking about it, and as always, we welcome your questions about your lawn and garden!
Rodney Davis has represented Illinois’ 13th District in Congress since taking office in January of 2013. He narrowly won the seat after former Congressman Tim Johnson announced his retirement from politics. The district encompasses 14 counties in central and Southwestern Illinois.
The primary is Tuesday, March 18. Polls open at 6:00 a.m. and are open until 7:00 p.m. Davis has two challengers for the Republican nomination, and there are three democrats seeking the Democratic nomination. This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from all 6 of the candidates – Rodney Davis, Michael Firsching, Erika Harold, David Green, George Gollin and Ann Callis. You can find out more about the candidates and their positions on the issues here.
If you were going to create a town with fictional characters who could live anywhere in the world, where would those characters go when they go home? Your first inclination may not be central Illinois. After all, there are much more exciting places to set a novel. But Morton native and author Ryan Bartelmay says he wouldn’t think to write about characters living anywhere else. This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to when he talked with host Jim Meadows about his debut novel, “Onward Toward What We’re Going Toward.” We’ll hear about why he writes about cultures in small towns in the Midwest and will hear about a set of characters who make a living working at a pumpkin canning factory.
Non-fiction often gets a bad rap. They’re the books you have you read, the ones you were assigned for class or work. Non-fiction titles don’t commonly have a reputation for being the sort of reading you can get lost in. According to Mary Wilkes Towner and Carol Inskeep of the Urbana Free Library, the idea that non-fiction is non-readable is a myth. This hour on Focus, they join Scott Cameron. We’re making the case for non-fiction. During this hour, we’ll talk about different kinds of non-fiction and the idea that what we read says something about us as a person.
Since we know that lots of you are voracious readers, we wonder – do you prefer nonfiction? We’re working to compile a list of Focus fans’ favorite non-fiction titles, so please send us your favorites! We've compiled a list of good reads below. If you see somethihg missing, send it our way, and we'll add it!
Contine reading for our non-fiction reading list.