Soil erosion on a farmland
Lynn Betts / USDA
June 06, 2016

Illinois Facing Most Severe Erosion In Two Decades

Illinois is losing topsoil – the layer of surface dirt that’s rich with nutrients and vital for food production. And the problem of erosion on Illinois farms is serious: In 2015, roughly one-fifth of Illinois’s farmland lost more soil than it made. Austin Keating has more.

In this Jan. 27, 2016 file photo, Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, attends a joint session of the General Assembly at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.
Seth Perlman/Associated Press
April 11, 2016

Madigan Introduces Education Funding Amendment

The Democratic House Speaker's legislation states that education is a fundamental "right'' - as opposed to "goal'' - and that the state has the "preponderant financial responsibility'' for funding schools.   If approved, the amendment would appear on ballots in November.

Harvest activity just south of Rantoul, Ill., on Sept. 26, 2014.
Darrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
April 01, 2016

Why Didn’t An Illinois Professor Have To Disclose GMO Funding?

The private fund-raising arms of public universities, called foundations, are coming under scrutiny around the country.  Watchdogs have found questionable spending that’s led to resignations and legal challenges to their privacy.  In the course of reporting on a University of Illinois professor,  Monica Eng of WBEZ discovered a different way foundation privacy practices are raising questions.  

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, attends a State Dinner hosted by Cuban President Raul Castro, right, at the Palace of the Revolution, Monday, March 21, 2016, in Havana, Cuba.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press
March 23, 2016

Durbin, Bustos Push For Trade With Cuba After Delegation Visit

Democratic Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and 17th District Congressional Democrat Cheri Bustos were among those who traveled to Cuba with President Obama this week.  Durbin says he witnessed a 'spirit of cooperation' that he hadn't seen before in the island countrry. The two are pushing for the end to the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba.

Lynn Rohrscheib inspects her soybean fields.
Courtesy of Lynn Rohrscheib
March 21, 2016

The 21st: Trade With Cuba, & STEM Education

Before the embargo - U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba were worth about $600 million a year - in today’s prices.  Others estimate Cuba is a $1.2 billion market for agricultural exports if the embargo and other trade barriers are lifted. Today on The 21st we explored what an open Cuba would mean for Illinois. Also, how a team of Illinois State University researchers and a turtle are changing STEM education. 

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