Kristy Kennedy

John Roberts with his son Billy in a photograph taken shortly before the Homer Glen teen’s death because of a heroin overdose in 2010. Roberts subsequently co-founded the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization.
John Roberts

Not too long ago in the small town of Coulterville, police responded to a heroin overdose call. Once they arrived on the scene, all officers could do was wait out the more than 12 minutes it took for an ambulance to arrive.

In this rural area about 35 miles southeast of Belleville and home to about 950 people, ambulance response times can take eight to 14 minutes, says police Chief Jason Schlesinger. “It would have been a lot better” if his officers could have acted right away, he says. “That time lapse can cause death.”

WUIS/Illinois Issues

When historians look back on this time, they might well refer to it as the “Age of Food.”

Food appreciation is a hobby. Chefs are rock-star famous. Grocery stores carry exotic items once only available in restaurants. Blogs are devoted to every kind of cuisine. “Food porn” glamorizes images of food. In fact, so many people call themselves “foodies,” some chefs and critics are shunning the word.

Under the new Medicaid eligibility requirements, Oliver Wellman’s parents make too much money to qualify for the 24-7 nursing care he needs because of his tracheostomy, but not enough to be able to afford to pay for the care themselves.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Maria, the mother in a family of four living in Willowbrook, doesn’t want her real name or that of her family made public. A private, proud woman, Maria would rather keep her problems to herself and solve them herself.

But Maria is in a Catch-22 that might force her to quit her job. Her daughter needs expensive medical care, and Maria and her husband don’t make enough money to cover the costs but make too much to get help. Out of frustration, she shares her story.

Design for an offshore wind turbine and platform.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The wind off Lake Michigan is legendary. It most famously contributes to the “Windy City” image of Chicago, provided a name for an ill-fated 1975 football team called the Chicago Winds and was immortalized as the “hawk wind” in the first line of Steve Goodman’s song “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request.”

In fact, the wind blows across a largely uninterrupted expanse of 22,400 square miles of water, Lake Michigan, which is slightly smaller than West Virginia and larger than nine of the United States. 

Elizabeth Anvick and Caroline Fox of Bloomington had a commitment ceremony in 2003.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Don’t call Caroline Fox and Elizabeth Anvick of Bloomington a “nontraditional” couple.

They don’t care for the label because they see themselves as being pretty traditional, aside from the fact that they are both women. “Elizabeth and I are a plain-old, boring married couple,” Fox says. “We both work, go to church, have families that love us, do charity work and argue about who will take out the garbage.”

Fliers commemorate undocumented youth who committed suicide.
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Tears ran down Reyna Wences’ face as she described her despair. 

She talked about her efforts to be a good student and her desire to make her parents proud, to be worthy of all they sacrificed for her to get a good education, culminating with her 2009 graduation from a selective college-prep high school in Chicago. 

Day No. 1 at ChicagoQuest Charter School, one of 16 schools run by the Chicago International Charter School.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

When a student sits at Vickie Kimmel Forby’s desk and says he’s thinking about dropping out of Tomorrow’s Builders YouthBuild Charter School in East St. Louis, she makes sure there is a clear view of the bulletin board behind her.

On it are 23 obituaries of former students, most lost to murder. “I want them to reflect,” Forby says. “I have success stories all over, but there’s not a name they don’t know or a face they don’t recognize up there.” 

South fork of the Apple River in Jo Daviess County
Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards

Matthew Alschuler couldn’t believe his eyes. The South Fork of the Apple River near his home in Jo Daviess County was flowing in front of him, and it was the color of grape Kool-Aid.

His first thought last fall was of the nearby unfinished “mega-dairy” that was somewhat operational. “He’s done it again,” Alschuler says he thought. “We’d complained about previous discharges before, but this was just staggering. The guy doesn’t even have cows there yet.”

Patti Blagojevich
WUIS/Illinois Issues

News trucks with their bright lights clogged the street in front of the Blagojevich home as helicopters flew overhead.

Meanwhile, Patti’s brother, Richard Mell, noted that the street outside his bungalow was quiet. No one knew or cared where he lived. The Blagojevich girls — Amy, 12, and Annie, 5 — were coming for dinner to escape the media circus caused by their father’s arrest. “I made pot roast,” Richard says. “It was a nice warm environment.”

the former location of the Chicago Sun-Times
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Chicago Tribune executives won’t be surprised if their coverage of Barack Obama’s history-making inauguration sells out. 

More than a week after the November election, people still lined up in the Tribune lobby to buy a piece of history they could hold in their hands — a copy of the newspaper proclaiming Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. 

Television and radio reporters talked about the run on newspapers as a nod to nostalgia. This is no surprise. It is a scary time for newspapers.

Care worker Patty Bradburn works with a resident of the Lincoln Developmental Center.
Mark Pokempner

Sylvia Twardowski can expect to make about $28,000 this year as a caregiver for Illinoisans who are developmentally disabled. It's not a bad living. Except that she'll have to work 72 hours a week at three different jobs to achieve it.

"I have no life. Look at what it is costing me," the LaSalle woman says.