Illinois

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Back in March 2020, Taylor Boelte was finishing up her nursing clinical shift when the hospital told her she wasn’t allowed to come back. Not just her, all nursing students had their clinicals cut short as COVID-19 spread across the country. 

 

“Clearly the hospitals weren't prepared, and we weren't really expecting for COVID to have this impact,” said Boelte. “It just kind of came all quickly but I don't really remember there being like a huge panic beforehand. I think it all just came at once.”

 

The Winnebago County Health Department reported Wednesday that COVID-19 vaccination is proceeding smoothly. 

Public Health Administrator Sandra Martell said among the different health care systems, more than 10,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered. During a COVID-19 update livestreamed on WREX, Martell announced 104 new cases.

"And unfortunately, we have lost two additional of our community residents, which brings our total death count to 380," she said.

U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois underlined Wednesday his decision to vote for impeachment against President Donald Trump. He said the January 6 attack on the Capitol was the culmination of years of misinformation and admitted he was unsure who else in the GOP would vote for the measure. 

“If there was not a sense of fear among many of my friends out here about political ramifications, there would be a lot more," he said in a call with reporters on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, I think this is a vote that doesn’t need politics, but unfortunately, is infected by it.”

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood Votes To Impeach Trump

Jan 13, 2021

Illinois 14th District Congresswoman Lauren Underwood said she was at the Capitol when it was breached. She called the deadly attack "an infuriating and un-American disgrace." She said President Donald Trump incited the insurrection and directed violence towards the United States Congress, a separate but equal branch of government. 

"There should be no historical sanctuary for those who ignited the fire," Underwood said.

Connie Kuntz

The University of Illinois Extension wants you to know your trees. They are offering a winter tree identification webinar series. Christopher Evans is a forestry and research specialist with the Extension and he is teaching the class. He said the classes are free and "totally open to anyone."

"As long as they're interested in learning about trees and willing to listen to me talk for an hour, they are welcome to take it," he said. "There is no age limit."

Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-16) says he will vote in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump. He was among the first to comment on Tuesday's moves in Congress to remove the President from office, sending out a news release just as discussions got underway in the House of Representatives. 

https://www.facebook.com/BlackDoctor.org/

Vaccinations for COVID-19 are underway in Illinois, but not everyone is eager to take the shot. A recent virtual town hall meeting answered questions and tackled concerns for the Black community.

“Making It Plain: What Black America Needs to Know About COVID-19 and Vaccines” was moderated by health experts, faith leaders and several organizations. The event was hosted by the Black Coalition Against COVID-19. 

Some may ask why a conversation was needed specifically for the Black community. 

State Veterans Affairs Director Resigns in Aftermath of Deadly COVID-19 Outbreak

Jan 11, 2021
Credit Blueroomstream.com

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia announced her resignation Monday following a contentious House committee hearing on the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home that has killed more than a quarter of the facility’s residents.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve our veterans,” LaVia said in a news release announcing her resignation. “I’m proud of our accomplishments and I look forward to assisting the interim director in any way possible as the department continues its work to serve our heroes.”

Spencer Tritt

Illinois made it a high school graduation requirement this year for seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

Parts of Illinois are due for a "felt" earthquake. Those are magnitude 3 or 4 earthquakes -- big enough that you can feel them. That's according to Philip Carpenter. He's a professor with the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences at Northern Illinois University and a registered professional geologist in the State of Illinois.

"If you look at the historical record, we get one of those about every 10 years or so," he said. "Now we did have a couple of very small quakes -- one in 2012 and one in 2015 -- but those weren't like the Lily Lake Quake of 2010."

Fermina Ponce.

Welcome to this week's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week features one of Aurora's deputy poet laureates, Fermina Ponce.

Taylor Leach

This Week: Another edition of Student Teachers’ Lounge! Host Peter Medlin talked to Taylor Leach, who has experienced the pandemic as both a student and as a teacher. She just graduated with a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University and finished up student teaching at Kingston Elementary School in Genoa, Illinois.

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco

A federation of Illinois labor unions says closing the Byron and Dresden nuclear stations would devastate workers and communities in the state.

 

 

 

An updated report issued by the Brattle Group for the Illinois AFL-CIO says the closures would cost the region thousands of jobs and millions of dollars. Pat Devaney is the treasurer for the organization.

 

 

https://pixabay.com/

Your education doesn’t have to stop when you graduate. The Lifelong Learning Institute at Northern Illinois University has upcoming online sessions for those who have an appetite for knowledge.

Jason Klein, the director of P-20 initiatives at NIU, said that absorbing knowledge keeps us young. 

What Happens If A School Loses 75% Of Its Revenue?

Jan 7, 2021
Byron CUSD 226

Last summer, Exelon announced its plans to close nuclear power plants in Byron and Dresden. Buster Barton, the Superintendent of Byron’s School District, said taxes from the Byron plant accounted for around 75% of the district’s revenue.

So, what happens if that goes away? What happens when a school loses that much money?

 

If you’ve been outside or just looked out your window, you may have seen a frosty or icy display of winter weather. Depending on where you live, that's hoar frost or rime ice. They look a lot alike. The major difference is how they're formed.

Jessie Crow Mermel is an educator and naturalist with Severson Dells Nature Center. She said when conditions are cold, clear and calm, hoar frost "forms like dew."

Restore Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health and Governor JB Pritzker announced guidelines for the next stage of COVID-19 vaccine distribution across Illinois – Phase 1B. According to a news release, it comes building on guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

https://www.robinleegarbermusic.com/

Many musicians lost out on live performance gigs due to COVID-19 but one northern Illinois artist found ways to keep the music playing for herself -- and others.

Under pandemic restrictions, folk and jazz musician Robinlee Garber’s paid gigs turned into non-monetary internet shows. 

Spencer Tritt

During the pandemic, schools are seeing a significant teacher shortage, especially a lack of substitutes. They typically see a surge of subs and new teachers in January as winter graduates enter the job market.

But in 2021, it’s unclear if that boost will come for Illinois schools suffering staff shortages due to COVID-19.

ilga.gov

A new state law will limit the amount some insurance plans charge for prescription insulin.

Susan Schubert

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week's segment features poet Susan Schubert.

Schubert is a member of A-Town Poetics in Aurora. She is a published author with two memoirs available on Amazon. They are “The Way I Remember It: A Memoir of a Trip to Europe 1971” and “My Place of Dreams: A Love Story.”

Schubert has won accolades for her short stories and photographs.

Frozen Pipes A Concern As Temperatures Drop

Jan 1, 2021
Pixabay user GWizUk

Freezing pipes are a potential problem as Illinois enters the winter months and residents leave for the holidays.

The freezing water can expand and cause catastrophic damage to a plumbing system if precautions aren’t taken. Bryan Faivre is the director of utilities and transportation for the City of DeKalb. He said when people turn the heat down when leaving for vacation, it’s important to keep in mind what areas are getting that heat.

Staff at Pine Acres Rehabilitation & Living Center

Illinois nursing home residents are restricted from having visitors because of COVID-19 but volunteers from Northern Illinois University found other ways to engage with seniors at one local center.

Dementia residents of DeKalb’s Pine Acres Rehabilitation & Living Center were used to interacting with NIU students before the pandemic. One way they did this was through the Music and Memory program.  

815 Outside is a consortium of nonprofit and public agencies dedicated to inspiring people to explore the great outdoors.

Spokesperson Ann Wasser -- also the director of Severson Dells Nature Center -- said they are offering a bingo-based challenge throughout all of January and February and it's called the 815 Outside Winter Challenge.

Connie Kuntz

An Illinois state agency announced the 2021 theme for its 34th annual Poster, Poetry and Prose contest.

Kristi Morris is the environmental education coordinator for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. She explained the topic for its upcoming contest.  

“The theme is 'Fight Food Waste: Our Environment Can't Be Replaced,'” Morris said. “And it is based off our new curriculum units that we just partnered with the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.” 

Therese Oldenburg

Nature at the Confluence opened its doors in 2017. Before that, the land at the Illinois site just south of the Wisconsin border in South Beloit was mostly dirt because it was a dumping area. Now it’s cleaned up, has beautiful trails and scenic views of Turtle Creek and the Rock River.

How To Properly Recycle Christmas Lights

Dec 28, 2020
Pixabay user bluartpapelaria

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is reminding residents to take care when disposing Christmas lights. 

James Jennings is the manager of the waste reduction and compliance section. He said they are recyclable but shouldn’t be put in a regular curbside bin. That’s because in a regular recycling stream they could gum up the works.

Spencer Tritt

A new Illinois law going into effect in 2021 is meant to safeguard student data from breaches and ransomware.

With this update to the Student Online Personal Protection Act, parents will be able to review and correct their kids’ data held by schools or operators of online services who work with the school.

Parents can also request data be deleted in some cases. State Rep. John Carroll was a co-sponsor of the act.

On a special Christmas Day edition of Teachers’ Lounge: Rod Genandt. He’s been teaching 4th grade at Forreston Grade School for over 40 years in his hometown of Forreston, Illinois. He’s taught kids, he’s taught the kids of those kids and maybe even the kids of those kids before all is said and done.

He talked to host Peter Medlin about that, about the lack of men teaching grade school, how to create a safe and comfortable classroom for kids in a time it’s so hard to feel safe and comfortable.

Connie Kuntz

Welcome to this week's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week's episode features Christopher D. Sims. 

Sims is from the West Side of Rockford and first shared his poetic gifts onstage at Haskell Elementary School thanks to Dorothy Paige-Turner. 

Rooted in Black joy and celebration, his poems wind through the landscapes of this country's past and present. He hopes they will inform, engage and entertain. Sims, who originally wrote rap and hip-hop lyrics, said his poetry has a bebop cadence.

Here’s his poem "Kwanzaa."

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