The 21st Show

How To Talk About Tornadoes; Childhood Well-Being In Illinois; Chicagoan Climbs Mount Everest


Repair and cleaning efforts begin on a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and cutting off access to utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. John Minchillo/AP

For almost two weeks, there were reports of at least 8 tornadoes across the country. Many of those were here in the Midwest. Why this is happening, and how can we talk to kids about it? Plus, a new report from the Erikson Institute looks into early childhood well-being. And, we'll speak with Alex Pancoe, a Highland Park native who recently got back from climbing Mount Everest during a deadly climbing season. 

When it comes to the weather, this spring has not been an easy one. Just last week, authorities linked the death of at least seven people to tornadoes. And the federal government has reported more than 500 tornadoes in a 30 day period, which they say may turn out to be unprecedented.

Many of these tornadoes have touched down here in the Midwest, in places like Indiana and Ohio and closer to home in with reports near Joliet and Peoria. So what do we need to know about this extreme season of storms? And how should we be talking to our families about it?

Eric Snodgrass is the Senior Atmospheric Scientist at Ag Nutrien. Leandra Parris is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Illinois State University.


There are more than 840,000 kids in Illinois who are under the age of five. And, nearly one in five of those kids live in poverty. So what tools do they need get a good education, and what stands in their way? It might depend on which county you live in.

That’s according to a new report from the Erikson Institute. It looks at how well children are developing across the state while also evaluating the different risks they face in their communities. Researchers looked at how everything from housing costs to overdose deaths to violence, can impact kids, their education and their future.

The report is called “Risk And Reach.” It also focuses on how many resources are available in each county and includes policy recommendations to help different counties across Illinois.

For more on this report, we were joined by Cristina Pacione-Zayas. She’s the director of policy at the Erikson Institute, an education organization focused on early childhood development.


Alex Pancoe has climbed some of the world’s tallest peaks. And the native of Highland Park recently summited the tallest of them all – Mount Everest  – just a couple weeks ago.

But he happened to be there during one of the busiest and deadliest climbing seasons on record at Mount Everest.

Every year, an average of 5 climbers die making the journey. This year, though, the number of deaths has about doubled.  

Alex was with us to discuss what may account for this rise and discuss what it’s like to journey up Mount Everest.

Story source: WILL