It's been 19 years since Dyke and Karen Rhoads were found stabbed to death in their burning home in Paris, Illinois. A year later, two men were convicted of the murders and sentenced to prison. Last year, a series of state and federal legal maneuvers led to the release of one of those men. But prosecutors still call Randy Steidl (left) a suspect. AM 580's Jeff Bossert looks at the latest efforts to re-examine his case -- while Steidl seeks to clear his name.
Illinois Public Media News
After two summers with relatively few cases, the West Nile Virus has made a comeback in Illinois. So far this year, West Nile illness has been confirmed in 242 Illinois residents, eleven of whom have died. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports on current research into how the the mosquito-borne virus spreads.
The former US Senate Majority Leader and negotiator in the Northern Ireland peace accord visited the UI Law School, saying it will take a self-governing Iraq before the US government can again focus on other priorities, including terrorism. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke with Mitchell on his principle of letting the democratic process take its course.
Eastern Illinois University consumer sciences professor James Painter (left, holding drink) has produced a film that he says counters Morgan Spurlock's popular documentary Super Size Me, in which he falls ill eating nothing but McDonalds food in portions offered by the fast food chain. Painter's point is that limiting your serving portions -- even portions of fast food -- is the key to maintaining your health. He spoke with AM 580's Jeff Bossert.
What may be the first scientific conference devoted to the health benefits of walking is taking place on the UI campus. The three-day "Walking for Health" conference builds on years of research showing that moderate exercise like walking can be as beneficial as more strenuous exercise. AM 580's Jim Meadows took a walk with one of the organizers of the conference. Kinesiology professor Weimo Zhu (left) says there are still plenty of things that walking researchers want to know.
For 32 years, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District operated on the University of Illinois campus without a fatal accident. But in the last year, buses have struck and killed two students on campus. As AM 580's Kate Pokarney reports, that leaves many people wondering how to keep future accidents from happening.
The day after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, a medical team from Illinois was ordered to help out. A doctor and nurse from Urbana say the ten days they spent treating evacuees was harrowing but a valuable experience they can draw upon in future emergencies. AM 580's Jeff Bossert reports. (Left: A member of Illinois' medical relief team catches some sleep at LSU's Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, which doubled as a field hospital.)
Winning a "Genius Grant
Imagine getting a call telling you that a private foundation admires your work - and you're admired so much that the foundation is giving you $500,000 to keep working, no strings attached. University of Illinois chemistry professor Todd Martinez (left) got that call last week - and today Martinez is being announced as one of 25 recipients of the half-million dollar MacArthur Fellowship grants. AM 580's Tom Rogers talked to him.
This year's observance of the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington were low-key in Champaign-Urbana. University of Illinois law students planted small flags on the lawn outside their building. Meanwhile, before a small audience at Smith Hall, faculty members of the School of Music improvised on the hymn "Amazing Grace" for exactly 17 minutes -- the time between the two attacks on the World Trade Center. AM 580's Tom Rogers talked with Karl Kramer, director of the UI School of Music, and musicians Chip Stevens, Ron Bridgewater and Chip McNeill.
Rebuilding New Orleans seems like a daunting task when America is still trying to get its head around the enormity of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. But a University of Illinois urban planning professor says plans have to start now, even before the area's residents eventually begin to stream back into the city. AM 580's Tom Rogers talked to him.