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.

A white Christmas came to parts of the United States. But in northwest Pennsylvania, the skies really packed a wallop.

NPR education reporter Elissa Nadworny went home to Erie for the weekend and found herself in the middle of an epic snowstorm when the lake effect parked a band of snow over the city of 100,000.

The storm dumped more than 4 feet of snow in 30 hours – and it's still going.

Science can just knock me to the floor.

Sometimes it's the revelation of some previously unseen phenomena. Other times, it's a new way to see something you thought you already understood. Then there are the times when connections pop up between things you never imagined to be connected.

And sometimes, it's all of them at once.

Many rural businesses and farms will benefit from the tax overhaul passed Wednesday by Congress. But there’s a catch: If the changes fail to spur economic growth as intended, programs that rural areas rely on could be on the chopping block.

One provision in the massive bill, which President Trump has yet to sign into law, allows small business owners to deduct 20 percent of their business income. It also expands the deduction for small business investment — a popular provision among farmers, who can write off the cost of things like a new tractor.

Americans Love Spices. So Why Don't We Grow Them?

Dec 26, 2017

Nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves are probably ramping up in importance in your spice cabinet right about now — the classic flavors of the winter season. But while you might be shopping for local ingredients for your favorite recipes for eggnog or maple-glazed ham, the odds are that the spices you're using were imported from the other side of the world.

Lior Lev Sercarz thinks spices should be local, too.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There's a race on. The way to win is to eradicate a human disease. That's only been done once before - smallpox. This year, two diseases got tantalizingly close, but unexpected roadblocks have popped up. NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff reports.

Dr. Howard Bennett creates elaborate Lego sculptures, juggles squishy balls during office visits and transforms exam gloves into water balloons, but it's his booger and fart jokes that crack up even his grumpiest pediatric patients.

"Kids of any age are curious about their bodies," the pediatrician writes in his latest book, The Fantastic Body: What Makes You Tick & How You Get Sick, "especially if what they're learning about is gross! That's why kids laugh hysterically if someone tells a booger joke or lets out a big, juicy fart in class."

In a year of anti-refugee sentiment in many corners of the world (and especially in the U.S.), one former refugee and first-time candidate ran for office — and won.

Twenty-three years before Wilmot Collins became the mayor-elect of Helena, Mont., he was a refugee from Liberia. He stood in a long line at the port of Monrovia, Liberia, waiting for a cargo vessel to carry him away from the country's civil war.

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Regular sprinkles — you know, the ones coated in wax and lacking in flavor — can be found at any grocery store for a dollar or two.

Gourmet sprinkles, on the other hand, go for up to $20 a bottle. For example, that could be 8 ounces of tiny sugar rods, coated in silver and gold and mixed with miniature rice paper cutouts of unicorns and Christmas trees.

Elizabeth Butts is a cake decorator in Katy, Texas. When she couldn't find some very specific shades of blue, green, and black sprinkles for a baby shower cake, she decided to make her own sprinkle mix.

Carl Luepker was 10 years old when he first noticed his right hand twitching slightly when he played piano. It was like it had a mind of his own.

When he was 12, doctors diagnosed him with a degenerative nerve disease called dystonia. The disorder causes nerves in the brain to misfire, causing uncontrolled muscle spasms that get worse over time.

"Feminism" was the most looked-up word in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary in 2017.

We've profiled some extraordinary women in Goats and Soda this year who should be cited in the dictionary's definition. They pursued their goals in the face of poverty, war and prejudice.

3 Months After Irma, The State Of Barbuda

Dec 23, 2017

In early September, Hurricane Irma cut a path of destruction across the Atlantic. Barbuda is among the tiny islands in the Caribbean that suffered some of the worst damage. Freelance journalist Anika Kentish provides a sense of how Barbuda is doing.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RAY SUAREZ, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The U.S. foster care system is overwhelmed, in part because America's opioid crisis is overwhelming. Thousands of children have had to be taken out of the care of parents or a parent who is addicted.

Indiana is among the states that have seen the largest one-year increase in the number of children who need foster care. Judge Marilyn Moores, who heads the juvenile court in Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, says the health crisis is straining resources in Indiana.

As an Indian-American, I don't immediately associate Bollywood films with food — mostly because the characters in many Bollywood movies are too concerned with dance numbers and melodrama to be bothered by what's for dinner. So, when I came across the new cookbook Bollywood Kitchen, I feared it might have been written by someone who knew nothing about Indian culture and only a bit about Bollywood, "curry" and naan.

Advent Calendars Now Offer Treats For Grown-Ups

Dec 23, 2017

For kids who celebrate Christmas, there is something irresistible about an Advent calendar. In households where treats are doled out sparingly, knowing that you'll be getting one chocolate a day for 24 days in a row feels like a kind of miracle.

But eventually, those kids grow into adults who can buy their own candy whenever they want and the traditional Advent calendar loses its childhood appeal.

Editor's Note: This story was updated on Dec. 29 to reflect the new closing date for the exhibition.

At first glance, it seems like a charming exhibition: Ten old-fashioned suitcases, with a miniature diorama in each. The models, with their meticulously detailed furnishings, remind you of dollhouses.

Then you spot snaking tangles of exposed wires, rubble-strewn streets and blasted chandeliers. A child's tricycle is gritty, covered in dust.

The president is a "narcissist." He is "paranoid." He is "bipolar."

No, not President Trump.

These labels were applied to Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Theodore Roosevelt, respectively. And the list goes on. John F. Kennedy had psychopathic traits, according to one academic study. And Abraham Lincoln apparently experienced suicidal depression.

It may sound like the plot of a movie: police find a young man dead with stab wounds. Tests quickly show he'd had Ebola.

Officials realize the suspects in the case, men in a local gang, may have picked up and spread Ebola across the slum. These men are reluctant to quarantine themselves and some – including a man nicknamed "Time Bomb" – cannot even be found.

This scenario actually unfolded in the West African country of Liberia in 2015. And what followed was a truly unconventional effort by epidemiologists to stop a new Ebola outbreak.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

At this time of year, bright red plants seem to pop out of nowhere, suddenly appearing in grocery stores, windowsills, your co-worker's cubicle.

DEVIN DOTSON: Today we're talking about poinsettia.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The end of the year is a time of holiday gift giving, and finding just the right gift can sometimes feel like an impossible task. But folks at an animal eyeball lab say that a gift they've just received, partly thanks to NPR, has made this the "best Christmas ever."

It's a massive whale eye, probably from a blue whale, and the story of how it ended up at the lab starts in the 1960s.

The first time I heard about Caga Tió, or Tió de Nadal, my family was getting settled into our life abroad in Barcelona this fall. A new friend's teenage daughter was telling us about the Catalan traditions she celebrates in school.

"During Christmas, there's a log that you feed scraps of food, and then he poops presents when you hit him with a stick and sing a song!"

Then she sang:

Leah Bahrencu's kidneys and liver shut down. Samantha Blackwell spent a month in a coma. Cindel Pena suffered heart failure. Heather Lavender lost her uterus.

Children all over the United States will have a big decision to make on Christmas Eve: Would Santa Claus prefer a chocolate chip cookie for a snack or perhaps a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

The Grinch's psychological problems have been pretty well analyzed. He has anger and empathy issues, not to mention sociopathic tendencies. No wonder he tried to steal Christmas.

But what about the Grinch's defining physical disability: a heart that was "two sizes too small"?

For many of the estimated 170,000 children who go online for the first time each day, the virtual universe will offer new possibilities to connect with the world — and access to unbounded knowledge and services.

But the virtual world can also present dangers. And kids who don't yet have the awareness to navigate the Web safely could fall prey to those threats.

Laurence Chandy, UNICEF's director of data, research and policy, says that while a third of all Internet users are kids, consumer protections don't always have children in mind.

A day after President Trump said the Affordable Care Act "has been repealed," officials reported that 8.8 million Americans have signed up for coverage on the federal insurance exchange for 2018 — nearly reaching the 2017 number in half the sign-up time.

That total is far from complete. Enrollment is still open in parts of seven states, including Florida and Texas, that use the federal HealthCare.gov exchange but were affected by hurricanes earlier this year.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Medicine.

About Atul Gawande's TED Talk

Surgeon Atul Gawande says doctors used to know and do everything themselves — like craftsmen, or cowboys. But those days are over. He argues for creating systems where clinicians all work together.

About Atul Gawande

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Medicine.

About Joseph Ravenell's TED Talk

Many black men trust their barber more than their primary care doctor, if they even have one. Physician Joseph Ravenell wants to turn barbershops into a place where men can access basic health care.

About Atul Gawande

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