Midwest Farmers and Ethanol; Concealed Carry Shootings; Drinking Fountain Quality

June 26, 2018

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Washington.

Evan Vucci/AP

On the 21st: The EPA's decision not to expand summer sales of ethanol, and why some farmers are upset about it. Plus, we talked with the Chicago Tribune about concealed carry licenses. And, how safe are the drinking fountains at public parks and beaches?


Despite the warm feeling President Trump has about Scott Pruitt — that was earlier this month — some Midwest farmers, and others who support them, are upset with the Environmental Protection Agency over its decisions on ethanol.

We’ve checked in throughout the year with farmers across Illinois about how they’re faring — and feeling — about the Trump Administration. Mostly, we’ve talked about trade. Today, we’re discussing ethanol, President Trump and Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA.

Kicking off our discussion today, we were joined by Grant Gerlock — he’s a Harvest Public Media. Grant has been covering Pruitt’s Midwest tour and speaking with farmers in Nebraska. Len Corzine also joined us; he's a 5th generation farmer from Assumption, Illinois, straight south of Decatur. Len is also the former President of National Corn Growers Association.

And—

Each year, thousands of Illinois residents attend concealed carry classes and apply for licences. In Illinois, about 2 percent of the adult population — more than 265,000 people — have concealed carry licenses.

Since Illinois became the last state to allow concealed carry licenses four years ago, it is estimated that there have been nearly 40 shootings by people with a CCL license. This is a number the Illinois State Police is not keeping track of, so it’s hard to say exactly how many shootings there have been.

Why is almost nothing known about dozens of these concealed carry shootings across our state? Who’s keeping track of this data and why is it so important we start doing so?

That’s the questions posted by Chicago Tribune reporter Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas. She is the reporter behind a Chicago Tribune investigation into these concealed carry shootings and she was on the line with us.

Plus—

If you’re like me, you’ve been trying to do your part for the environment by not using plastic bottles. But when you’re out running or at the beach, that means using water fountains. That’s especially true for kids at camp all summer. But, what do we know about how safe that water is? Actually — not a lot.

WBEZ Chicago reporter Monica Eng started to look into this a couple of years ago as part of their regular series Curious City. And through that she discovered dangerously high levels of lead. The result of those findings is that the Chicago Park District may be turning off nearly half of its fountains - almost 1200 - due to unsafe levels of poisonous lead.

To talk to us more about her investigation - and to help us understand the answers we got when we posed this question to other park districts outside of Chicago - Monica was on the phone with us from WBEZ.