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.

NECCO wafers are a polarizing candy. Some online haters have compared the brittle sugar disks to chalk, or antacid tablets. But now, the company that makes them could soon close shop — and that's brought out some of the candies' very loyal fans.

At Sugar Heaven in Somerville, Mass., David Sapers points out that there is a lot more NECCO on his shelves than just those controversial wafers. NECCO buttons and NECCO Sky Bars share shelf space with the classic wafers at his store.

Last December, Deb Wiese bought hearing aids for her parents, one for each of them. She ordered them online from a big-box retailer and paid $719 for the pair. But her parents, in their 80s and retired from farming in central Minnesota, couldn't figure out how to adjust the volume or change the batteries. They soon set them aside.

"Technology is not only unfamiliar, but unwelcome" to her parents, Wiese says. "I don't know what the answer is for people like that."

It is so common that it likely will have happened at least once somewhere in the United States by the time you finish reading this sentence. But it took more than 230 years for it to happen to a senator in office.

On Monday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., became the first sitting senator to give birth, challenging Senate leaders to face just how ill prepared they may be to accommodate the needs of a new mother.

When Melanie McNeil roused her 8-year-old great-grandson, Byron Ridenour-Wright, out of bed in Ohio last fall, and loaded him onto a bus bound for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, she didn't have high hopes for lunch.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Medical marijuana outlet lobby
HCI Alternatives

What's often called synthetic marijuana has led to three deaths in Illinois and sickened dozens in recent days. It has some in the medical cannabis industry concerned. 

When Josephine Majani came to, she was on a hard hallway floor in the Bungoma District Hospital in Bungoma, Kenya.

Majani heard nurses yelling: "I saw them carry the baby away. They screamed at me, 'Why have you delivered on the floor? Who is going to clean up all this blood? Get up. Get your things and go back to the delivery room.' I was helpless."

Majani has no memory of being slapped, she says, but when she regained consciousness her cheeks stung. She did as she was told. She struggled to her feet and followed nurses back to the room to deliver the placenta.

Craft bourbon distillers have been growing for the past several years as drinkers rediscover heritage and new styles of brown liquor drinks. Some might call it a boom. But many distillers have seen the boom-and-bust cycle of liquor popularity before and are exploring ways to hedge their bets against another bust.

Andrew Buchanan walks through Hartfield & Co. Distillery, a small, relatively new operation located in a former seed storage warehouse in Paris, Ky.

The Australian government has ordered a review of its lucrative sheep export trade after some 2,400 sheep died last summer on a ship headed to Doha, Qatar.

Video of sheep gasping and dying in sweltering temperatures was captured by a whistleblower on board the Awassi Express, and aired by 60 Minutes Australia on Sunday.

A big part of Washington D.C.'s plan to get its HIV rate down is to get more uninfected people on PrEP, a two-medicine combination pill that's also sold under the brand name Truvada.

It's not often that chicken skin ignites an international controversy, but leave it to a competitive cooking television show to do just that.

MasterChef UK judge Gregg Wallace found himself in the spotlight following the airing last week of an episode in which he criticized contestant Zaleha Kadir Olpin's rendition of a classic Malaysian dish, chicken rendang. "I like your rendang flavor, that's like a coconut sweetness," he said. "But the chicken skin isn't crispy. It can't be eaten, but all the sauce is on the skin I can't eat."

An international coalition of brain researchers is suggesting a new way of looking at Alzheimer's.

Instead of defining the disease through symptoms like memory problems or fuzzy thinking, the scientists want to focus on biological changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer's. These include the plaques and tangles that build up in the brains of people with the disease.

But they say the new approach is intended only for research studies and isn't yet ready for use by most doctors who treat Alzheimer's patients.

Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota went on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday and defended embattled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

"We'll nitpick little things," Rounds said. "He has too many people on his security detail. It may add up to more than what the previous guy did. ... We said we had to have regulatory reform. We've got it. Scott Pruitt is a big part of that. He's executing what the president wants him to execute."

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

The federal agency that trains, tests and certifies the physicians who read X-rays and diagnose the deadly coal miners' disease black lung said today it was not consulted by Kentucky lawmakers in the 14 months they considered a new law that mostly limits diagnoses to pulmonologists working for coal companies.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on April 5, 2017 and has been updated.

In a suspected chemical weapon attack, like the one in Syria over the weekend, children are the most vulnerable targets. They are more likely than adults to die from chemical agents and to suffer injuries. If they survive, they also suffer from the physical and mental trauma of the attack for far more years than adults simply because they have more years left to live.

In American farm country, a grass-roots movement is spreading, a movement to keep more roots in the soil. (Not just grass roots, of course; roots of all kinds.) Its goal: Promoting healthy soil that's full of life.

I met three different farmers recently who are part of this movement in one way or another. Each of them took me to a field, dug up some dirt, and showed it off like a kind of hidden treasure.

"You can see how beautiful that soil [is]," said Deb Gangwish, in Shelton, Neb. "I'm not a soil scientist, but I love soil!"

It was an appropriate week for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade expert to address a gaggle of Nebraska farmers — even if their responses tended toward frustration.

Ted McKinney arrived in Omaha on Wednesday, the day China threatened to impose tariffs on 106 U.S. products including major exports like soybeans, beef and corn. China’s move came after the Trump administration’s attempt to reign in China’s abuse of intellectual property rules by proposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

If the proposals become reality they could undermine a stagnant farm economy, and not just in Nebraska. “We have bills to pay and debts we must settle and cannot afford to lose any market,” Kansas Farm Bureau President Richard Felts said in a statement.

For days, the Washington world waited for the presidential tweet that would end the troubled tenure of Scott Pruitt, the high-profile and high-maintenance administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It was hard to imagine anyone surviving an onslaught of stories like those recounting Pruitt's living large on several continents — with eye-popping costs for travel and security.

Alongside tamales and maybe empanadas, arroz con pollo is one of the most beloved dishes in Latin America. Every country has a version of this one-pot meal that finds chicken cooked on a bed of seasoned rice. The Latino consensus is that Caribbeans prepare it best, and it's a tossup between Cuba and Puerto Rico over who makes it best. (I especially enjoy how Dominicans do it because I can spike it with the nation's electric mojo de ajo).

As allegations mount of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt violating ethics policies and misusing taxpayer money, President Trump has repeatedly defended him. "Scott is doing a great job!" he said in one tweet.

Pruitt is one of the administration's most high profile members, and is often lauded as one of its most effective.

"Administrator Pruitt has fearlessly executed President Trump's regulatory reform agenda, there's no doubt about that," says Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance.

Benjamin Hynden, a financial adviser in Fort Myers, Fla., hadn't been feeling well for a few weeks last fall. He'd had pain and discomfort in his abdomen.

In October, he finally made an appointment to see his doctor about it. "It wasn't severe," he says. "It was just kind of bothersome. It just kind of annoyed me during the day."

The doctor, John Ardesia, checked him out and referred him to a nearby imaging center for a CT scan, or CAT scan as it used to be called. The radiologist didn't see anything wrong on the images, and Ardesia didn't recommend any treatment.

Enter to win The One-Bottle Cocktail by Maggie Hoffman

Apr 9, 2018

April 2018 Giveaway

Every month, The Splendid Table helps listeners equip their kitchens, stock their pantries, and fill their bookshelves.

This month, one (1) winner will receive one (1) copy of The One-Bottle Cocktail by Maggie Hoffman. The book has a retail value of $22.00.

Enter before April 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time, by submitting the form below.

The Impact Of Pruitt's EPA Rollback

Apr 8, 2018

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Transgender runners who qualify can take part in the Boston Marathon as their identified gender, according to Boston Marathon officials.

The issue has garnered attention following a profile in Canadian Running of three transgender women signed up for the race.

Comments to the article included reservation from readers that the elevated testosterone levels would potentially bump other women from the race, who would otherwise have qualified.

At some point, you or a woman you know has likely looked through a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves. The book was revolutionary when it was first published in the early 1970s. It taught women about their own anatomy and sexuality at a time when talking frankly about sex was considered — well, unladylike.

Life Doesn't Go On After The Mudslides In Sierra Leone

Apr 8, 2018

In the early hours of Monday, August 14 last year, Samuel Senessie woke up to one of the most powerful rainstorms he had ever seen. Water cascaded down the steep slope of Sugarloaf mountain, a precipitous peak on the edge of Sierra Leone's tropical seaside capital, Freetown, where Senessie lived in a small concrete home with his family.

Robots have arrived at Bill and Carol Shuler's farm near Baroda, Mich., and life has taken a turn for the better.

"It absolutely changes your lifestyle. It gives you a life!" says Bill Shuler.

For decades — for the entire time that Bill and Carol have been married, in fact — the Shuler family's routine was practically set in stone: Get up at 3:45 a.m., clean the barn, feed the cows and milk them. Then get breakfast and take care of other work around the farm. At 3 p.m., go back to the barn to feed and milk the cows again.

Louisiana's shrinking coast faces a new threat. In addition to sinking land, rising sea levels and erosion — a tiny bug from the other side of the globe is killing off marshes.

Last week, the state issued an emergency quarantine.

Down near the mouth of the Mississippi River, roseau cane is everywhere. It grows tall and bright green, as far as the eye can see. But about a year and a half ago, people noticed that large swaths of it were dying.

Our tummies are teeming with trillions of bacteria — tiny microbes that help with little things, like digesting food, and big things, like warding off disease.

Those same microbes may have another purpose: waging war against worms.

By the time Ann Marie Owen, 61, turned to marijuana to treat her pain, she was struggling to walk and talk. She was also hallucinating.

For four years, her doctor prescribed a wide range of opioids for transverse myelitis, a debilitating disease that caused pain, muscle weakness and paralysis.

The drugs not only failed to ease her symptoms, they hooked her.

When her home state of New York legalized marijuana for the treatment of select medical ailments, Owens decided it was time to swap pills for pot. But her doctors refused to help.

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