The 21st Show

Boeing In Crisis; Transgender Speech Clinic; Contacting Local Government Officials; Mendota Teachers Strike Update


Dozens of grounded Boeing 737 MAX airplanes crowd a parking area adjacent to Boeing Field Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Seattle. Elaine Thompson/AP

Boeing is still dealing with the fallout from the 737 Max 8 after two of the planes crashed before being grounded earlier this year. We talk about what’s next for the Chicago-based company. Plus, speech language pathologists in Central Illinois are helping transgender clients by providing techniques that focus on the resonance, tone and projection of their voices. Also, we talk about the new project GovBook, that's meant to help people get in contact with local officials from around the state. And, what’s happening in the north central Illinois town of Mendota, where teachers there have been on strike for the past week.

Boeing In Crisis

Earlier this year, the Boeing 737 MAX jet was grounded all over the world after Ethiopian Airlines 302 crashed shortly after takeoff. That accident marked the second time a 737 MAX had crashed in just five months. In total, 346 people were killed in those two tragedies.

Now, as the holiday travel season approaches, the jet is still grounded, and Boeing continues to face tough questions from families and members of Congress. The company has also lost billions of dollars and fired the executive in charge of its commercial airplane division.

David Schaper reports on transportation for NPR. Captain Dennis Tajer is a pilot and a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association: the union representing American Airlines pilots.

Boeing did not respond to our request for an interview, but directed us to this statement from Boeing Communications Director Chaz Bickers:

"In the regulatory process, Boeing informed the FAA about the expansion of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) to low speeds, including by briefing the FAA and international regulators on multiple occasions about MCAS’s final configuration. 

On MAX improvements - as our CEO mentioned today on the earnings call today: 'We completed the MCAS software update earlier this year, which addresses concerns found following the two MAX accidents and provides three additional layers of protection to prevent accidents like these from ever happening again. To date, we have conducted more than 800 test and production flights, totaling more than 1,500 hours, with the updated software, which incorporates feedback from across global regulators and MAX operators. Safety is our first priority as we work with regulators to return the MAX to service…..With the changes we’re making to the MAX software and the training that will be provided, we’re confident that the MAX will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.'

We will continue to work with our regulators and airline customers to communicate about the safety of the MAX as we approach the return to service to help address concerns."

Transgender Speech Clinic

For many of us, our voice can be a big part of our identity — especially if you happen to work in public radio — and at a basic level, it’s a huge part of how we express ourselves to the world. 

But, for some people who are transgender, their voice may not align with their gender identity or feel like an accurate reflection of who they are. 

That’s where gender affirming communication services may come into play. Speech language pathologists here in Central Illinois are helping transgender clients by providing techniques that focus on the resonance, tone and projection of our voices. 

Tricia Larkin is a clinical educator at Illinois State University’s Speech and Hearing Clinic. Clarion Mendes is director of clinical education in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Illinois. Kara Shutts is working with Tricia and her team at Illinois State University.

Contacting Local Government Officials

Maybe there’s a pothole on your street, and you’re not sure just exactly which person in local government is responsible for fixing it. Or maybe you want to file a Freedom of Information Act Request with the city but you don’t know who to email?

A new project called GovBook from The Chicago Reporter aims to make it easier for both journalists and everyday people to get in contact with local officials from around the state.

David Eads is senior editor of design and delivery at The Chicago Reporter, an investigative reporting outlet focusing on issues of inequality.

He recently spoke with Brian Moline about the tool.

Mendota Teacher Strike Update

The Chicago teachers strike has entered its eighth day, with thousands of CPS teachers in the nation’s third largest district taking to the picket lines again this morning. 

But there’s also another strike happening in the northern part of the state. The Mendota Education Association has been striking since Oct. 16. And classes in Mendota’s preschool and elementary buildings have been cancelled for the rest of the week. 

Peter Medlin is an education reporter at our partner station WNIJ in DeKalb. He provided us with another update on how negotiations are going between Mendota teachers and the school board.

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