Harvest Desk

 

Issues of food, fuel, and field affecting Illinois.

It's a well-intentioned effort to provide men with some of the same financial protection from birth control costs that women get. But a new Maryland law may jeopardize the ability of thousands of consumers — both men and women — to use health savings accounts.

The Maryland law, which took effect Jan. 1, mandates that insurers cover vasectomies without requiring patients to pay anything out-of-pocket — just as they must do for more than a dozen birth control methods for women.

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. 

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The same people who pushed the smoking ban through in Illinois a decade ago were back in Springfield Tuesday, and they want the state legislature to bump up the legal tobacco age from 18 to 21.

Stethoscope
Pexels / pixabay

An effort is underway in Illinois that would let the terminally ill choose to end their life.  

Pamplet on concussions
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

A new plan in Illinois aims to end youth tackle football programs with the goal of preventing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repetitive brain trauma. 

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

 

Farmers and state officials in Illinois are worried about potential cuts to a federal land conservation program. It pays landowners to set aside land for things like wildlife habitat. 

  

Summary  

Katie Buck / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

President Donald Trump’s administration has been in power for a year now. “State of Trump” is our series discussing what’s changed in the state and what might be ahead.

Diane Doherty is the executive director of the Illinois Hunger Coalition. She talks about federally funded programs for low-income individuals — such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — and their future in 2018.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Update: February 7, 2018 - A memo sent out to all Capitol Complex employees detailed Legionella bacteria testing came back positive in four of the 300 preliminary test results. The memo says tests are ongoing and final results are expected to come out in another two weeks.

According to Dave Druker, spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office, two of the positive tests came from the Computer Center at 201 West Adams. A women's bathroom in the Howlett Building also tested positive. Druker says a flushing program has been ongoing there since before these results came out. The fourth positive test came from the Capitol building's south end, where a humidifier has been shut off as a precaution. Another set of 300 test results are expected to come out in about fourteen days. 

Dylan Blake

During his first year in office, President Donald Trump has rescinded or repealed many of his predecessor’s policies aimed at curbing climate change and protecting the air and water from pollution.

Those rollbacks — along with funding cuts to state environmental protection agencies — have concerned Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC).

“We’ve seen that whether it’s in Flint, Michigan, or… the lead in water in East Chicago, Indiana, these are issues states can’t necessarily deal with on their own,” Walling said. If Illinois were faced with an environmental crisis, it may not have the resources needed to address it.

Katie Buck / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Health centers in Illinois are forming partnerships with local food banks to offer fresh fruits and vegetables to some patients. With an estimated 1.5 million residents in the state classified as food insecure by the U.S. census, could this be a key approach to improving food access?

In a decision that may have sweeping effects, a judge has allowed an 11-year-old Illinois girl to use medical marijuana at school.

flu shot
Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson / U.S. Air Force

Several areas throughout Illinois are experiencing heightened flu activity and one preliminary report shows the flu vaccine may only be 10% effective.  

After 22 years at the helm of The Splendid Table, Lynne Rossetto Kasper is retiring from the show at the end of 2017. In this video, Lynne looks back at the show's humble beginnings, how the food world has changed during those decades, and some of her favorite guests along the way.

Affordable Care Act Enrollment Deadline December 15

Nov 29, 2017
U.S. Capitol Building illustration
Illinois Newsroom RJC

Open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act ends Dec. 15 in Illinois. There’s confusion around this year’s sign up, due in part to the shorter enrollment period. Here are six things you should know.

They Comfort Strangers, So No One Dies Alone

Nov 24, 2017

When patients are near death, and don't have loved ones to be with them, David Wynn and Carolyn Lyon rush to the hospital.

"They have no one for various reasons, you know, they've outlived family, they've never married," Lyon says.

For about six years, Lyon has been comforting patients in their final hours at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif.; for Wynn, it's been about nine years.

Alex Proimos
Flickr Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0

During the more than two years that Illinois went without a state spending plan, hospitals, dentists and other health care providers waited months or even years to get paid for services to state employees and Medicaid patients.

Football players on sideline
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

A 2015 state law required high schools to develop concussion response procedures to protect student-athletes from further injury, but smaller schools may be at a disadvantage.

In a normal year, Kevin Bradley, a professor of weed science at the University of Missouri, would have spent his summer testing new ways to control a troublesome little plant called water hemp.

This has not been a normal year.

As soybean and cotton farmers across the Midwest and South continue to see their crops ravaged from the weed killer dicamba, new complaints have pointed to the herbicide as a factor in widespread damage to oak trees.

Monsanto and BASF, two of agriculture’s largest seed and pesticide providers, released versions of the dicamba this growing season. The new versions came several months after Monsanto released its latest cotton and soybean seeds genetically engineered to resist dicamba in 2016. Since then, farmers across the Midwest and South have blamed drift from dicamba for ruining millions of acres of soybeans and cotton produced by older versions of seeds.

Now, complaints have emerged that the misuse of dicamba may be responsible for damage to oak trees in Iowa, Illinois and Tennessee.

When Sarah Scantling went into labor this summer, she had to drive 30 miles and across state lines.

Three years earlier, the only maternity ward where she lives in Pemiscot County, Missouri closed down. Scantling had to choose between a handful of other hospitals in the region between 20 and 70 miles away. She chose to give birth in the hospital in Dyersburg, Tennessee.

Intel Free Press / Flickr

Vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for children. In 2011, the most recent data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, 11.5% of children ages 1 through 4 died in a car accident.  There are measures parents can take to keep their young children safe. However, a new survey shows that many are not.  

More than one-quarter of serious cases of nursing home abuse are not reported to the police, according to an alert released Monday morning by the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The health insurer Aetna is facing criticism for revealing the HIV status of potentially thousands of customers after it sent out a mailer in which information about ordering prescription HIV drugs was clearly visible through the envelope's clear window.

For example, in a letter sent to a customer in Brooklyn, N.Y., the window revealed considerably more than the address. It also showed the beginning of a letter advising the customer about options "when filling prescriptions for HIV Medic ... "

Illinois Issues: The Rural Exodus

Aug 10, 2017
Chumlee 10 / Flickr

Analysis: What should be done to respond to loss of rural population?

To see this month's total solar eclipse, the first one to be visible from the contiguous United States in nearly 40 years, all Donald Liebenberg will have to do is open his front door and step outside.

"It's a really special treat to be able to have one in my driveway," says Liebenberg, who has trekked to Turkey, Zambia, China and Pukapuka, a remote island in the Pacific, to see past eclipses.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed spending $275 million to upgrade defenses against an invading force. The enemy? A fish. Specifically, Asian carp that are threatening to break through to the Great Lakes.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Craft Brew glasses on tasting board
theNerdPatrol / Flickr

Several breweries from across the state will compete during a new attraction at this year's Illinois State Fair. 

It has become a rite of summer. Every year, a "dead zone" appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an area where water doesn't have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it.

This story was co-published by NPR and ProPublica.

Four days after Marie McCausland delivered her first child in May, she knew something was very wrong. She had intense pain in her upper chest, her blood pressure was rising, and she was so swollen that she barely recognized herself in the mirror. As she curled up in bed that evening, a scary thought flickered through her exhausted brain: "If I go to sleep right now, I don't know if I'm gonna be waking up."

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