The 21st Show

Why An Illinois Town May Go Bankrupt; Seafood Grown In the Midwest; Teens Joining Organ Donor List


Hombre Tangencia (JOP)l/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

On the 21st: Why the town of Harvey may be approaching bankruptcy. Plus, scientists have been looking into ways to grow seafood, right here in the Midwest. And, a new Illinois law is prompting some 16 and 17-year olds to add their names to the organ donor list.

Illinois passed a state budget last week. It was done on time and appears to be balanced. It's a far cry from what happened for the past two years, when a budget impasse plunged our state into a fiscal crisis.

But some municipalities are still in trouble, for reasons that go much further back than this most recent budget crisis. The towns of Harvey and North Chicago are running low on cash and could be facing bankruptcy. And it has to do with an issue that the state has had to deal with a long time: pension debt.

We were joined by Liz Farmer. She’s a staff writer covering public finance for Governing Magazine in Washington, D.C. We also spoke with Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation in Chicago.


If you went out to dinner this weekend, maybe you scanned the menu to see where some of the items were from. Oysters from Maine, salmon from Washington—but did any of you see shrimp from Indiana?

Well, turns out it is possible to get Midwest seafood.Scientists and farmers are exploring ways to raise saltwater fish like shrimp in landlocked states like ours, and it may not only be more sustainable, it could mean big dollars.

RDM Shrimp has been raising Pacific white shrimp many miles from that ocean, in the town of Fowler in Northwest Indiana. One of its owners, Karlanea Brown, joined us on the show. Joining us from Indiana’s Purdue University was their Aquaculture Research Manager, Bob Rode. Finally, we spoke with Nathan Grider, Aquaculture Project Specialist at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


Are you an organ donor? More than 60% of people living in the state are, but until just a few months ago, you could only sign up if you were 18 and older.  But under a new law that took effect this year, teens 16 and 17-years-old can choose to donate their organs through Illinois’ database.

Illinois now joins the vast majority of other states in doing this - we had been one of three that hadn’t allowed teenagers to join the organ donor list. Now that it’s allowed, more than 16,000 teenagers have added their names to the list.

So how is this affecting people who are waiting for organ transplants? Kevin Smunt is the President of the Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network. He joined us from Itasca, a suburb northwest of Chicago. Jacob Lenzini also talked with us. He’s a 17-year old graduate from Maine South High School in Park Ridge, just Northwest of Chicago.


Story source: WILL