Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its warning to consumers Friday to stay away from all types of romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region because of an E. coli outbreak that has infected at least 61 people in 16 states.

The agency had previously instructed people not to eat chopped and bagged romaine lettuce from the area. But the new warning includes whole heads of romaine in addition to all of the packaged products.

A startup company in California is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to advise fire departments about how to plan for earthquakes and respond to them.

The company, One Concern, hopes its algorithms can take a lot of the guesswork out of the planning process for disaster response by making accurate predictions about earthquake damage. It's one of a handful of companies rolling out artificial intelligence and machine learning systems that could help predict and respond to floods, cyber-attacks and other large-scale disasters.

Malibu Moves To Ban Single-Use Plastic

Apr 20, 2018

In terms of environmental impact, there are alternatives to plastic straws — glass, paper, metal even. But each one had its particular flaw in the eyes of Robert Morris, who owns the Paradise Cove restaurant in Malibu, Calif.

"I've tried paper, but they just don't work as well with our cocktails, and we've had paper straws in the past for years, but pasta straws are just better and take less time to decompose," Morris said.

It's a problem that has come seemingly out of nowhere. Over the last five years a worrisome number of low-income countries have racked up so much debt they are now at high risk of being unable to pay it back — with potentially devastating consequences not just for their economies but for their citizens, many of whom are already living in extreme poverty.

A disability rights group in Texas sent out a survey last month, trying to figure out how many of its members became disabled by gun violence. The group, ADAPT of Texas, says it's an effort to collect data that will help inform Texas lawmakers about how they should legislate guns.

Bob Kafka, an organizer with ADAPT, says when gun violence occurs, particularly mass shootings, the public tends to have a pretty limited discussion about what happens to the victims.

The U.S. Geological Survey released a report Wednesday predicting that there could be dire consequences if a major earthquake hits the second-largest fault in Northern California.

The USGS simulated a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the Hayward Fault, which runs up and down the East Bay Area through Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont and Milpitas. The results show that an earthquake of that scale could kill up to 800 people and cause more than $100 billion in total damage.

A few months ago, I wrote a check for $12,000 but couldn't figure out exactly why.

The payment was to secure a place for my mother at Sligo Creek Center, in Takoma Park, Md. It's a nursing home and rehab center owned by Genesis Healthcare.

My mother was about to be discharged from Holy Cross Hospital, in nearby Silver Spring, after a fall. Medicare wouldn't pay for her rehabilitation care.

Where other chefs might see kitchen trash, Tim Ma finds treasure — for his culinary creations, and his bottom line.

The spring thaw is upon us, and parched western states will be watching closely as snows melt and rivers rise. Fancy satellites monitor water levels in the biggest rivers, but they don't spot the smaller streams and waterways that feed into them. Now, some Colorado scientists have hit on a new way of tracking those smaller streams — inspired, by Pokemon.

Tainted, chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz., is the source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 53 people in 16 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lower-income countries get a lot of old stuff from the U.S. and Europe. Used cars and buses and trucks, for instance, roll onto ships to be resold at their destination.

But you'd be surprised at what might be inside these vehicles. Two photocopiers plus two TVs can typically fit in a car. A bus might carry six to nine refrigerators, two to four washing machines, 20 TVs and maybe a few DVD players. A truck might hold up to 50 refrigerators and 50 TVs.

In the struggling canned goods industry, Pacific Coast Producers is a survivor, taking some 700,000 tons of fruit grown by California farmers each year and canning it for sale in supermarkets and large institutions such as hospitals.

This year the company, based in Lodi, Calif., is facing another challenge that promises to make turning a profit that much harder: President Trump's tariffs on steel imports.

Over the past 125,000 years, the average size of mammals on the Earth has shrunk. And humans are to blame.

That's the conclusion of a new study of the fossil record by paleo-biologist Felisa Smith of the University of New Mexico.

Novelist Richard Powers lives in a house perched on a hillside, just on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "It's very much a tree house," he says with a laugh. "That's why I live here."

His latest book, The Overstory, brought him to the old growth forests of Tennessee. The novel follows the lives of nine different people, all determined to save ancient trees from destruction. Their lives become entwined as they fight to save virgin forests, with unforeseen consequences.

The U.K. plans to ban plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday at a meeting of Commonwealth nations.

"Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world," May said in a statement, in which she called the U.K. government "a world leader on this issue."

If someone were to tell you their job was a burden, you might feel sorry for that person.

So when Consolata Agunga told me, "I feel good because I have the burden of serving my people," I was puzzled.

How can a burden make you feel good?

It's getting easier to find top-notch, handcrafted whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and other spirits made in the U.S. With more than 1,500 craft distillers across the country, the American spirits movement is on the rise, and in Vermont, the industry is booming.

Over the past 15 years, the number of licensed distilleries in the Green Mountain State has increased nearly tenfold: from just three to more than 24, according to Vermont's Distilled Spirits Council.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Most people are familiar with some form of triage: When you go to an emergency room, you first sit down with a triage nurse who records your symptoms, takes your vital signs and assesses the urgency of your medical need.

As of Thursday, that's happening over the phone for 911 callers in Washington, D.C., where triage nurses now sit alongside 911 dispatchers to help field calls.

You may think of Dubai as the most wildly opulent place in the world, a city in the desert with both indoor tropical rainforests and ski slopes. But there’s a fascinating and important other side to it - Old Dubai, where migrants and refugees from all over the Middle East and beyond have come for safety or opportunity. Arva Ahmed was raised there by parents who came from India, and is passionate about leading food tours in her hometown as a way to tell stories while making you salivate.

When food lovers travel it's often to find and enjoy a very specific food, dine at a well-known restaurant, shop at a popular market, or discover the origin point for a certain cuisine. But have you ever wondered about the lasting effect that our food-centric travels have on the people and economy of the places we visit? Dr. Lucy Long not only thinks about, she researches the results as part of her work with Bowling Green State University and the Center for Food and Culture (CFC).

Recently, we had a guest named Jorge Gaviria, who is a corn tortilla evangelist. Francis Lam talked with him about corn tortillas, and it got us more excited about corn tortillas than we'd ever felt before. Since then, we realized that flour tortillas have lost a lot of love. So, we wanted to give them equal time in the Great Tortilla Debate.

America's Test Kitchen discovers Wisconsin spicy cheese bread

Apr 19, 2018

Wisconsin is a state that prides itself on cheese, cheese production, and cheese loving. So, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that a fan favorite snack at a famous famers market in Madison, Wisconsin is bread baked with chunks of cheese inside. Managing Producer Sally Swift talks with Tucker Shaw, from America’s Test Kitchen, about the spicy, cheesy treat and how to make it at home. You can bake the Cook’s Country recipe for Spicy Cheese Bread.

Gene therapy is showing promise for treating one of the most common genetic disorders.

Results of a study published Wednesday show that 15 of 22 patients with beta-thalassemia who got gene therapy were able to stop or sharply reduce the regular blood transfusions they had needed to alleviate their life-threatening anemia. There were no serious side effects.

Pamplet on concussions
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

A contentious proposal that sought to ban youth tackle football in Illinois is dead, for now. 

The words "dog" and "fog" sound pretty similar. Yet even a preschooler knows whether you're talking about a puppy or the weather.

Now scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., have identified a two-step process that helps our brains learn to first recognize, then categorize new sounds even when the differences are subtle.

The wild battle in Arkansas over dicamba, the controversial and drift-prone herbicide, just got even crazier. Local courts have told some farmers that they don't have to obey a summertime ban on dicamba spraying that the state's agricultural regulators issued last fall. The state has appealed.

Each night, all over the ocean, swarms of animals wriggle and kick their way from deep below the waves to feed at the surface. Each creature is tiny — less than a centimeter long, and sometimes much smaller — and there are trillions of them.

New research suggests this nightly migration might be helping mix the ocean on a grand scale, sending columns of water down as the animals swim up. It's a radical idea, and one that is just starting to take hold among scientists who study the oceans and who have long assumed that wind and waves, not animals, are the drivers of ocean-mixing.

After decades of intense effort, an effective vaccine against HIV is not on the horizon — and, some say, may never be possible. So some AIDS researchers are going passive.

As in passive immunization.

Active immunization is what an effective vaccine does. It stimulates the recipient to make antibodies that protect against a disease. Passive immunization involves the direct injection of antibodies extracted from survivors of a particular infection.

Last Christmas, Matthew Bamsey was in Antarctica with a giant item on his wish list.

As a systems engineer at the German Aerospace Center, Bamsey was hoping the greenhouse he had helped design would arrive at Neumayer Station III, Antarctica, around Dec. 25. His gift was a bit late — icy weather delayed the greenhouse's arrival until Jan. 3, but he didn't mind. After three years of preparation, it was fine that it got there eventually.

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