Experts predict that in the next 20 to 30 years, a growing United States will need 30 to 60 percent more water. Growth will be even more explosive in other parts of the world, and the need for clean, usable water may someday be a staggering political issue. AM 580's Tom Rogers spoke with University of Illinois professor Mark Shannon, who's watching that potential crisis unfold.
Illinois Public Media News
Eating organic food is not only considered healthy -- some companies believe selling it can be very profitable. Once limited to farmers' markets and small shops, organic food is now sold by some of America's largest companies. Organic milk, meat, fruits and vegetables are earning some retailers millions of dollars, others a lot less. AM 580's Terrell Starr talked with retailers of all sizes to discuss the competitiveness of this growing industry.
In most Illinois counties, it's possible for a town to impose its own rules on zoning and new construction on land that's miles outside of the city limits. It happened last year in Champaign County. Such practices worry many rural residents and county officials. But efforts to limit such agreements through legislation are underway in Springfield. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
With the proposed FutureGen power plant on hiatus, it's unclear which path so-called clean coal research will take next. FutureGen was to turn coal into hydrogen before burning it to generate electricity, and to inject the resulting carbon dioxide deep into the ground - all at one single plant near Mattoon. But as AM 580's Tom Rogers reports, other projects using portions of that technology are already taking root.
An accident in her teens left Arley McNeney with only partial use of her legs, but it led her to success in wheelchair basketball. That experience provides the background for the University of Illinois graduate student's first novel entitled "Post." McNeney played with Canada's national wheelchair basketball team, which won a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics. Now, her novel is shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize in the "best first book" category. AM 580's Michael Koliska spoke with McNeney off the court during the National Women's Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Champaign.
The story of the Tuskegee Airmen began as an experiment and ended by proving the ability of many African-American servicemen. The military's first black pilots withstood animosity to fight America's enemies overseas while continuing to fight racism on the home front. The next in our series looks at the paths taken by two of the first members of the Army Air Corps' 99th Pursuit Squadron. Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul was the first training ground for these officers. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke with the widows of two men, Bill Thompson and Ellsworth Dansby, who helped pave the way for many others.
A six foot long cake loaded with historical pictures and live music highlighted Urbana's 175th birthday celebration at Lincoln Square Village. History was the theme -- and not just in edible form. Historians tell us that Urbana's founding fathers had a name before they even found a perfect location for the city. The Zoo Theatre Improv Group (R to L: Sean Whitsitt, Aubrey Wachtel and Brian Hagy) has put its spin on the unusual founding of Urbana, and how it might have been when Abraham Lincoln came to Urbana for the very first time.
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has made it official -- he's pulling federal funding from the FutureGen clean-coal plant slated for Mattoon. He favors several smaller projects using the same technology. Meanwhile, members of Illinois' Congressional delegation hope they can convince congress or the President to return to the original plan. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
Shane Cultra (left) is seeking his fourth term as state representative for east-central Illinois' 105th District. But for the first time, the Onarga Republican has some competition. Champaign School Board President David Tomlinson hopes to defeat Cultra in the primary. In this House district, the Republican nominee is considered the likely winner in November. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
Herb Whitlock (left) served 20 years of a life sentence before being released from prison Tuesday. His co-defendant, Randy Steidl, was set free in 2004. In both cases, the men were released after prosecutors decided they didn't have enough time to get a case together by the deadline imposed by judges. The release of both men makes the 1986 deaths of Dyke and Karen Rhoads in Paris, Illinois an unsolved double-murder. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke with Chicago Tribune reporter Hal Dardick, who has followed the story since 2005.