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 chicken business has been very, very good to Donnie Smith, the former chief executive of Tyson Foods. Now Smith, 58, wants to share his wealth — and his fervent belief in the power of chickens — with subsistence farmers in Musanze, a poverty-stricken district of Rwanda.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Orphanages are falling out of favor.

Ever since the horrific conditions in Romanian orphanages were widely publicized in the 1990s – naked children tied to cribs in overcrowded wards — there's been a movement in the international aid world to shut down orphanages completely.

But according to UNICEF, there are still 2.7 million children living in orphanages worldwide.

So what if someone tried to set up a good orphanage — a place where parentless kids could thrive? What would it look like? And what could it tell us about the basics of child rearing?

Medicaid home care aides — hourly workers who help elderly and disabled people with daily tasks like eating, getting dressed and bathing — are emerging as the latest target in the ongoing power struggle between some conservative lawmakers and organized labor.

If you've ever seen someone with testicles get kicked in the groin, then you probably know that male genitals — often portrayed as a symbol of male strength and virility — aren't actually that tough.

But can testicles — or rather, the sperm they produce — be harmed by something as seemingly innocent as a pair of briefs?

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

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The Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo, Calif., houses one of the largest collections of birds eggs and nests in the world. As part of our summer road trip collaboration with Atlas Obscura, we explore the collection and meet the scientists who run the foundation.

Healthy women with normal pregnancies can opt to have labor induced without worrying that the decision will make a cesarean section more likely, according to a major study published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

The Southern California Gas Co., or SoCalGas, has agreed to pay $119.5 million in a settlement with several government entities over the company's massive methane natural gas leak in 2015 and 2016.

The settlement still needs to be approved by the courts.

Several states are questioning the cost of using pharmacy middlemen to manage their prescription drug programs in a movement that could shake up the complex system that manages how pharmaceuticals are priced and paid for.

In a shaded stream in the middle of Berlin's rambling Tiergarten park, fisherman Klaus Hidde lowered himself into the water recently. Several children stood on a platform above him and watched him wade in, wearing high rubber overalls. Hidde pulled a netted trap out of the water and shook it in the air.

"There's too few," Hidde says, shaking his head.

After more than three months, the volcanic eruption on Hawaii's Big Island appears to be slowing.

Geologists at the Hawaiian Volcanic Observatory say the flow of lava from a crack in the earth at the foot of the Kilauea volcano has greatly diminished in recent days. It was lava from that vent, Fissure 8, that ran toward the coast in a molten river, inundating two seaside communities and reshaping the island's southeast coast.

That doesn't mean the event is over. Tina Neal, the scientist in charge of the observatory, noted that eruptions like this typically wax and wane.

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On Saturday, July 29, a speeding bus ran over a group of students waiting on the side of the road in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Two students died. Ten others were critically injured. And a protest was launched that, at least for a few days, dramatically changed the flow of traffic in a country where some 20,000 people die in road accidents each year – and where drivers of buses, cars and rickshaw cycles disregard lanes and rules in a crazy quilt of intermingling vehicles. What's more, some drivers may not even have a license.

Tangier Island is disappearing. It lies 16 open-water miles from the closest mainland town in Virginia. The island loses around 15 feet of coastline per year, due to rising sea levels and erosion.

Tangier Island, and its 450 residents, vaulted onto the national stage after an interview the mayor and some town residents gave to CNN. In it, they asked President Trump for help in saving the island. Eighty-seven percent of island residents voted for Trump, who has previously called climate change a “hoax.”

Despite a dip in shootings and murders for the year, Chicago suffered one of its bloodiest weekends in recent history last weekend. Police say 33 shootings occurred between Friday and Sunday nights, fueled mostly by gang violence. The incidents left a dozen people dead and dozens wounded. Now, the city's mayor and police superintendent say the city's residents who live in troubled areas of the city should do more to help stop the bloodshed.

The violence occurred between 6 p.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. Sunday night. Nearly 70 people including several children were wounded.

Since Zika emerged as a threat to babies, it has been a mystery exactly how much of a danger the mosquito-borne virus poses to children.

But now, the largest study to follow kids who were exposed to the virus in the womb is providing more answers.

The study involved 1,450 babies who had been exposed to the virus, and who were 1-year-old by February 2018. Six percent were born with birth defects, and 14 percent developed problems that could be blamed on the virus by the time they turned 1, the study found.

Taking a genetic test in your 20s or 30s could, indeed, affect your ability to get long-term-care insurance later — or at least the price you'll pay. And people who are considering enrolling in Medicare after age 65 would do well to read the fine print of the sign-up rules. Readers have insurance questions on these topics this month, and we have answers:

Q: Can getting a genetic test interfere with being able to buy long-term-care insurance in the future? If you do get a plan, can the insurer drop you after you find out the results of a genetic test?

Each year, Dylan Jennings harvests wild rice from the lakes and rivers near his home in northern Wisconsin. He and a partner use a canoe, nosing carefully through rice beds and knocking rice kernels into the boat's hull using special sticks.

"It's a really long process," he says. "It starts with identifying the area where you are going to go ricing and knowing those areas in a very intimate way."

Resources are wearing thin as wildfires burn in 11 western states. Firefighters are getting an international assist from Australia and New Zealand. Teams from the two countries spent the weekend in Idaho training before being deployed to the West Coast to battle flames in California, Oregon and Washington.

Before they hit the fire lines, the 140-member team got an orientation and some last-minute training at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

The antipsychotic drug Seroquel was approved by the FDA years ago to help people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious mental illnesses. But too frequently the drug is also given to people who have Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. The problem with that? Seroquel can be deadly for dementia patients, according to the FDA.

Lisa Iezzoni was in medical school at Harvard in the early 1980s when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She started experiencing some of the symptoms, including fatigue, but she wasn't letting that get in the way of her goal. Then came the moment she scrubbed in on a surgery and the surgeon told her what he thought of her chances in the field.

"He opined that I had no right to go into medicine because I lacked the most important quality in medicine," Iezzoni recalls "And that was 24/7 availability."

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

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BuzzFeed host Tracy Clayton recently asked her Twitter followers to share a picture that they had uploaded to social media — one in which they looked great, but were actually going through a very difficult time.

The tweet went viral. An outpouring of smiling snapshots, accompanied with heart-wrenching behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

Mankaprr Conteh is one of the hundreds who responded. She remembers when the picture she shared was taken, two years ago, when she was 22. She was in the Caribbean.

The Battle for the Beach

Aug 6, 2018

The world is running out of sand. And it’s a problem.

Here’s how Vincent Beiser, writing for Wired, puts it.

The Real Estate We're In

Aug 6, 2018

Home prices and rents are skyrocketing, especially in urban areas. Wages are stagnating.

“The national median rent [rose] 20 percent faster than overall inflation in 1990–2016 and the median home price 41 percent faster,” according to the State of the Nation’s Housing report, produced by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Changing Autos, Changing Climate

Aug 6, 2018

The Trump administration wants to relax fuel efficiency standards. But some states are fighting back.

From Reuters.

Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo has announced that she is stepping aside as CEO after some 12 years at the helm.

Nooyi plans to stay on as chairman until early 2019. The company's board announced Monday that it elected Ramon Laguarta, president of the company since 2017, to succeed her as CEO. PepsiCo prides itself on tapping its leadership from within — every other chief executive has come from its own ranks.

Joël Robuchon, one of the most accomplished and decorated chefs in history, has died at age 73, after a career devoted to injecting new creativity into French cooking and exploring other cuisines. Robuchon had cancer; his death was confirmed on Monday by a spokeswoman at his company in Paris.

Robuchon won more than 30 Michelin stars — more than any other chef in the world, according to his website. His company operated more than 20 restaurants from New York to Bangkok.

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