September 14, 2012

Children’s Health

Malcolm Hill, M.D., Pediatrician, Carle Physicians Group

Host: Craig Cohen

Our guest will be Dr. Malcolm Hill, pediatrician from Carle in Urbana. Dr. Hill can respond to a range of concerns, anything from vaccinations and common childhood illness, to coping with minor bumps and bruises.  Any problem you might discuss with your own family doctor is welcome on this show.

September 13, 2012

Talk To The Candidate - John Bambenek, (R) IL 52nd State Senate District

John Bambenek, Republican Candidate for the Illinois Senate from the 52nd State Legislative District

Host: Craig Cohen

In the coming weeks, Focus will provide you with the opportunity to speak directly with the candidates in the 13th Congressional District race, and the 52nd State Senate District race. We'll begin with the Republican running for the Illinois Senate from the 52nd District, John Bambanek. He faces Democratic incumbent Mike Frerichs this November. (Frerichs will appear on the program October 1st).

September 12, 2012

The Environment and Human Health and Well-Being

William Sullivan, Professor / BLA Curriculum Committee Chair Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois

Frances Kuo, Associate Professor, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, College of ACES, University of Illinois

Host: Craig Cohen

Research in recent years has indicated a possible connection between people's health and well-being, and the environment around them. From elderly people tending to live longer when they live close to a park, to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder displaying fewer symptoms afer spending time in nature. And then there are people who live in urban settings, without trees and grass. Research has indicated they tend to be more violent and aggressive.

So is it as simple as the more trees around you, the healthier, more productive, and happier you are? Or do we just happen to seek out places to live and work that reflect the personalities we already have, so peaceful, socially engaged people seek out trees, while more aggressive, intense people naturally prefer a big city? Are there other factors at play? Just what is the connection between our environment and our ability to interact, learn, and live healthy?

September 11, 2012


Garret Keizer, contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine, contributing writer to Mother Jones, recent Guggenheim Fellow

Host: Craig Cohen
Privacy Book Cover

In his book Privacy, Garret Keizer begins by noting how the word “sharing” today has almost everything to do with personal information, and almost nothing to do with personal wealth. Keizer sees a link between shrinking personal privacy and a growing gap between rich and poor. He maintains privacy has long been thought of as a value that came along with the growth of the middle class, and now that the middle class is shrinking, so, naturally, is privacy. We’ll discuss what privacy means in 21st century America – and just what sort of impact political, economic, or cultural influences have on it. From concerns over security to the rise of technology designed to make our lives easier, but requiring more and more access to information we once considered personal, is there even room for such privacy anymore?

September 10, 2012

Can Technology Serve Social Justice?

Virginia Eubanks, Department of Women’s Studies at the University at Albany, author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age

Host: Craig Cohen

As the online world developed in the 1990s, so did a belief that such technology, if distributed evenly across communities, could be a vehicle for social equality – that if everyone had the same access to the same information, it would put everyone on an equal footing.

Virginia Eubanks believed that, and saw the web as that great equalizer, and a fundamental social justice issue in American cities. She built her career around the idea. By the early 2000s, she concluded she was wrong. We’ll welcome your questions for Virginia Eubanks, author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Digital Age. Eubanks will present a free lecture on this topic at the Champaign Public Library on Wednesday, September 12th at 5:30 p.m. (That event is sponsored by the proposed Center for Digital Inclusion at the Graduate School for Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois).

September 07, 2012

Why Does the World Exist?

Guest: Jim Holt.

Author Jim Holt is not satisfied with the regular responses to the question "Why are we here?" There are many more possible answers, says Holt, than the old God versus the Big Bang debate would suggest. This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to a conversation with Holt about his new book Why Does the World Exist? He'll talk about his correspondence with philosophers, physicists, and a Buddhist monk in his quest for big answers.

September 06, 2012

The Affordable Care Act: What Is In Effect, What Is Yet To Come

Claudia Lennhoff, Executive Director, Champaign County Health Care Consumers

John Katsinas, Manager, Barham Benefit Group, Champaign

Host: Craig Cohen

Perhaps no single issue has been more politicized the last four years than health care. After more than a year of especially rancorous debate and discussion in Congress, and in town halls across America, this country’s health care system began an overhaul through passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. That law has set a number of changes in motion – not the least of which is a requirement for most Americans to have health insurance, or pay what the Supreme Court ruled this summer amounts to a tax. The Affordable Care Act has also addressed everything from providing relief to seniors who faced a Medicare prescription drug “donut hole,” to providing Americans under 26 with a chance to remain on their parents’ health insurance, to new regulations ensuring patients aren’t dropped from coverage due to pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act is designed do more in the coming years, including funding for state Medicaid programs geared towards preventive care, and the establishment of insurance exchanges, state to state, in 2014.

We thought it would be helpful to provide an hour in which we walk through what is and is not in the legislation, what is and is not already in place, and what it all means for your personal health care. We welcome any questions you have about the health care system, as we seek to take the politics out of it, and focus instead, on how the system works, and what you, as a health care consumer, ought to know about it.

September 05, 2012

Is School Too Easy?

Dr. Christopher A. Koch, Illinois State Superintendent of Education

Ulrich Boser, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Co-author of CAP study

Host: Craig Cohen

We often wring our hands over failing schools, and worry about drop-out rates, and students who just can't catch up. But public policy does not as often focus on those students who excel, and seek stronger academic engagement. According to a recent report released by the Center for American Progress, student surveys conducted over the last three years by the Department of Education’s National Assessment of Education Progress indicates school may, in fact, be too easy for a lot of students. Among the findings:

•37% of 4th graders say their math work is "often" or "always" too easy;
•57% of 8th graders say their history work is "often" or "always" too easy;
•39% of 12th graders say they rarely write about what they read in class.

Is it possible that, after years of aggressive efforts to push for standardized testing in public schools, we’ve created an environment of “teaching to the test” that has resulted in some students simply not being challenged? How does classwork today compare to 10, 20 or 30 years ago? And what about “grade inflation?” What message do we send to students who can earn GPA greater than 4 on a 4 point scale? In short, is school, for some, truly, just too easy?

September 04, 2012

Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love

There are many reasons to purchase goods or services from one company over another: price, quality, and convenience. But sometimes, the decision is a moral one; we seek out businesses we believe support or represent our world view – or avoid those that defy it. (The debate earlier this summer over Chick-Fil-A was a demonstration of both).

At the heart of such decisions is whether we deem a company to be socially responsible. But how do you really know? How can you be sure that a reputation is accurate and deserved? And what if the truth is mixed – what if a company leads on one ethical precept, but falls short on another?

Journalist Fran Hawthorne has contemplated these questions, and set out to uncover whether some of the most beloved, trusted companies who have built up a socially responsible reputation really live up to the hype. In the book Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love, Hawthorne takes us behind the scenes of companies with powerful brand loyalty, companies like Tom’s of Maine, Starbucks, and Apple. Along the way, Hawthorne finds out why these companies have earned seemingly unflagging devotion from socially conscious consumers. And she calls out the companies and consumers alike with a provocative question: Is it really about being socially conscious, or just looking like you are?

September 03, 2012

The 20th Century Exodus: The Triumphant Life and Journey of the Jewish in Our Community

A radio documentary special  by Urbana University Laboratory High School students.

Growing up in Champaign as one of a handful of Jewish children in town, Ruth Kuhn Youngerman enjoyed friendships with people from a variety of faiths. The Jewish community was small and close-knit, led by Jewish storeowners such as the Sterns, Lowensterns and Kuhns who helped develop commerce in downtown Champaign and Urbana.

Yet Jewish residents were integrated and accepted in the community, said Youngerman, who was born in 1914, the same year that the first Jewish temple was built at State and Clark streets. When her grandfather, Kuhn’s Department Store founder Joseph Kuhn, died, they called him the best “Christian” in the community, Youngerman said. “In other words, they were saying he was like them, that they (Jews) were good people.”

Urbana University High School students interviewed Youngerman and 13 other leaders of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish community for a new radio documentary, The 20th Century Exodus: The Triumphant Life and Journey of the Jewish in Our Community.

Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2