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 connection between Middle Eastern and Mexican food goes all the way back to the Moors, and is well-known in culinary circles. Al pastor tacos are just a pork version of the shawarma spits that Lebanese immigrants brought with them to Mexico City in the 1930s. In nearby Puebla, a wrap called tacos árabes — Arabic tacos — uses a flatbread that's halfway between pita and lavash. Kibbe (fried meatballs made from bulghur wheat) is popular in the Yucatán, thanks to Syrians who settled in the Peninsula over the past century.

In a rare show of congressional cooperation, Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate announced a two-year budget deal Wednesday that would increase federal spending for defense as well as key domestic priorities, including many health programs.

Stop Crying! Tear-Free Onions Are Here

Feb 8, 2018

Using onions to explain away crying is a familiar gag. On The Brady Bunch, housekeeper Alice answers the phone and cries as the caller tells her a sad story. After hanging up she says, "Darn onions," holding up the offending allium. And Rowlf the Dog sang on The Muppet Show, "I never harmed an onion. So why should they make me cry?"

In one week, outdoor enthusiasts converged on two very different trade shows in two cities. The Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show in Denver, Colo., and the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa., offered a portrait of a complex and divided American conservation movement.

The divisions began with the overtly political. The Outdoor Retailer show changed locations this year over a bitter dispute about public lands policy.

More than a dozen states oppose the Trump administration's proposal to open up nearly the entire U.S. coastline to offshore oil leasing. Federal officials will get public feedback on the plan in Sacramento on Thursday. The Interior Department says it takes local concerns into account — as happened in a recent controversial move with Florida — but states have no direct say, since the leasing would take place in federally controlled waters.

Kate Bowler's new memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason And Other Lies I've Loved, is a funny, intimate portrait of living in that nether space between life and death. In it, she shares her experiences with incurable stage 4 cancer and gives advice on what not to say to those who are terminally ill.

Bowler is also the host of Everything Happens, a new podcast.

A Call For Immunization

Feb 8, 2018
Mary Cullen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

With more cases of vaccine-preventable disease in Illinois, doctors say shots should not be skipped.

As hosts of the public radio show, The Dinner Party Download, Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano helped listeners learn how to "win your dinner party."  They have now authored the book "Brunch Is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party." They talk to Francis Lam about why you should opt for a dinner party, not brunch (unless you are a new parent.)

The Trump administration has released its first assessment of the impact of the president's decision to reinstate the "Mexico City policy," which cuts off U.S. aid to international groups unless they promise not to provide or promote abortion, even with non-U.S. funding sources.

The review finds that so far practically all grantees have agreed to those conditions. But opponents of the policy caution that the administration's statistics offer too incomplete a picture to draw conclusions about the policy's impact.

Greg Harris speaking at a subcommittee meeting
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Democrats in Springfield are pushing ahead with a plan hospitals say can’t come soon enough. It’s worth billions of dollars for treating some of the state’s most vulnerable people. 

More than three months after President Trump declared the nation's opioid crisis a public health emergency, activists and health care providers say they're still waiting for some other action.

The Trump administration quietly renewed the declaration recently. But it has given no signs it's developing a comprehensive strategy to address an epidemic that claims more than 115 lives every day. The president now says that to combat opioids, he's focused on enforcement, not treatment.

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

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have built makeshift shelters on steep, sandy hills in Bangladesh. They've fled what the U.N. has called ethnic cleansing in neighboring Myanmar.

Now they face a new danger in the unplanned camps that sprawl over 3,000 acres: The monsoon season is expected to start in April.

The eccentric, angelic, villainous and beguiling characters populating the teeming novels of Charles Dickens — whose birthday is today — are constantly inviting one another to tea. Not all of them, however, drink tea. Some prefer coffee.

A harmless preference, you might say.

Alabama filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday against OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma LP claiming the drug company is fueling the opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing prescription painkillers.

The state alleges that Purdue failed to accurately portray the risks and benefits of opioids, which enabled doctors to widely prescribe them in the treatment of pain. Alabama becomes the latest in a flood of lawsuits by states, counties and cities against drug makers in response to the opioid crisis.

Our blog often features stories about efforts to improve life for this planet's 7 billion inhabitants: how to make sure everyone has access to clean water and power, medical care to stay healthy, enough income to feed their kids, education for the children so they can fulfill their potential.

It won't be long before South Korea kicks off its grand turn on the world stage, but the specter of illness is already haunting the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Organizers have removed some 1,200 security personnel from their posts and quarantined them in their rooms after several dozen tested positive for norovirus.

A Japanese farm introduced a new crop this winter: an organic banana with a peel that's thin enough to eat. In a nod to this appealing outer covering, Setsuzo Tanaka, the banana's inventor, has named his creation the Mongee ("mon-gay") banana — which means "incredible banana" in Japanese.

Four months after having her second baby, Jessica Porten started feeling really irritable. Little things would annoy her, like her glider chair.

"It had started to squeak," she says. "And so when I'm sitting there rocking the baby and it's squeaking, I would just get so angry at that stupid chair."

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Some major food companies are accusing Big Chicken of colluding to fix the price of broiler chickens over a 10-year period.

In just three weeks, two grocery retailers and the country's two biggest food distribution companies have filed lawsuits against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim's Pride, Koch Farms, Sanderson Farms and others.

On the 40th floor of a new Denver skyscraper, overseeing workers in hard hats and orange vests, construction manager Michael Bjes touts some of the measures that will make this building energy efficient: Energy Star appliances, LED lights, "water efficient toilet fixtures throughout the entire building."

Chris Junior Anaekwe had an idea. In his home state of Anambra in southeastern Nigeria, there was a filthy gutter full of bottles and cans and trash, all covered in black gunk.

And he thought it would be a good idea to convince the local kids — local teenagers who contributed to the mess — to clean it up.

Good luck with that!

If you've ever tried to catch an Uber on a rainy day during rush hour or after the ball drops on New Year's Eve, you're familiar with dynamic pricing. That's when the price of a ride costs more or less depending on the demand for drivers.

The pricing strategy has long been used by other sectors of the travel industry, such as airlines and hotels, to balance supply and demand, and last month, a luxury restaurant in London rolled out a similar model.

A little electrical brain stimulation can go a long way in boosting memory.

The key is to deliver a tiny pulse of electricity to exactly the right place at exactly the right moment, a team reports in Tuesday's Nature Communications.

"We saw a 15 percent improvement in memory," says Michael Kahana, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and an author of the study.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated on Feb. 6 at 3:49 p.m. ET

Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they've identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, a cluster that was first uncovered by NPR 14 months ago.

As you clutch a cuppa for a bit of winter warmth, spare a moment to consider the elaborate process that goes into producing that seemingly simple sip of tea.

In the biggest tea-growing region in India, the hazards alone range from red spider mites to herds of wild elephants.

Grower Tenzing Bodosa, a native of Assam, fights the former and unusually invites the latter.

From the large Bodo tribe and widely known by his first name, Tenzing stands beside the vermilion flames of a brick oven that provides the heat for a drying contraption erected in his backyard.

Comprehensive health care coverage for more than 800,000 low-income people in New York and Minnesota, who pay a fraction of the typical cost of a marketplace plan, may be in jeopardy after the federal government partially cut funding this year.

To say that Michael Cimarusti is obsessed with fish would be a severe understatement. Cimarusti is the Executive Chef at Providence in Los Angeles and Connie & Ted's in West Hollywood, both featuring an extensive fish- and seafood-centric menu. Last year, he also opened his own seafood market called Cape Seafood and Provisions.

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