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O+ Fest Kicks Off In Chicago

posted September 2nd, 2015

An innovative festival that aims to provide healthcare services to artists kicks-off Thursday in Chicago.  The three-day O+ Festival features a mix of public art and live music at venues in the Pilsen neighborhood. Instead of money, the participating artists and performers are compensated with health and wellness services.  Jodie Kasen is the festival’s clinic director. She tells WDCB News some artists go years without seeing a doctor or dentist. The O+ Festival started in Kingston New York five years ago.  Kaden and group of volunteers decided to bring the concept to Chicago after attending the Kingston fest last year.  

House Vote Could Turn Tide Of Budget Stalemate

posted September 2nd, 2015

There could finally be some movement in the state budget stalemate today or tomorrow at the state capital. A possible override vote in the House could turn the tide to legislative Democrats or Governor Bruce Rauner. The State Senate already voted to reject Rauner’s veto of legislation that could force arbitration to settle contract talks with government worker unions. Kent Redfield is a retired University of Illinois Political Science professor. He tells WDCB News an override will illustrate how unified House Democrats really are. Redfield says it'll take 71 votes, and that's exactly how many House seats Democrats hold. He says there have been complaints Governor Rauner hasn't been engaged with lawmakers on the state budget, but on this particular bill Redfield says there has been intense engagement. Redfield says if the override vote fails, it could embolden Governor Rauner to push harder for his ‘Turn Around Agenda.’ He says at this point both the legislative Democrats and the first term Governor seem to think they are winning the budget battle.

Iran Nuclear Deal Looms Over Congress After Summer Recess

posted September 1st, 2015

Members of Congress will have a lot on their plate when they return from their summer recess a week from today.  One issue that sure to get a lot of attention on Capitol Hill is the Iran nuclear deal.  Lawmakers will likely begin debate of a Republican-sponsored “resolution of disapproval” as soon as they return.  If the resolution passes both chambers, President Barack Obama has said he would veto it.  North Central College political science professor Dr. Bill Muck tells WDCB News then there would be an attempt to override the veto, but a three-fifths majority is needed. Congress has to act by September 18th.  He says regardless of the outcome of the “resolution of disapproval”, the issue is likely to come up frequently during the 2016 election cycle.

Rep. Foster Calls For Action To Control Opioid Abuse

posted September 1st, 2015

There has been a lot of attention on efforts to combat the growing problem of heroin abuse in the Chicago area and around the state. Monday advocates for treatment, addicts, and their families gathered in Chicago to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day. U.S. Representative Bill Foster took part in a rally at Federal Plaza. He tells WDCB News heroin use and the abuse of opioid painkillers is a concern for everyone. Foster says heroin overdose has historically been thought of as an inner city problem, but in the suburbs and even rural areas of the state it has become a huge issue. Community leaders are working to draw attention to the devastating reality of drug abuse and Foster says he's committed to doing everything he can to make sure the government takes appropriate action. He wants to see more federal and state government spending to provide Naloxone to all first responders. The Aurora Democrat says if the overdose antidote drug is available over-the-counter deaths associated with opioid use could be significantly reduced.

New Documentary Captures Mountain Climbing Footage

posted August 31st, 2015

A new documentary tells the story of a group of climbers who defied extreme odds to make it to the top of the “Shark’s Fin” of Mount Meru.  Unlike Everest, sherpas won’t help climbers navigate the treacherous conditions in the Himalayas, which is where Meru resides.  Climber Jimmy Chin filmed the group’s attempts up the mountain and decided to turn the footage into a documentary.  He tells WDCB News the film began to take shape when he partnered with director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. The documentary,  MERU, opens in select Chicago theaters on Friday.

Lung Association Creates Program To Help Students Succeed

posted August 31st, 2015

The American Lung Association is working to eliminate a barrier to success for children as they head back to school. The organization launched its ‘Asthma Friendly Schools Initiative’ to coincide with the start of another school year. The Lung Association of Greater Chicago’s James Martinez says simple measures can help students with asthma are symptom free. He tells WDCB News the effect of the disease is astounding. Martinez says in 2008 children missed 10.5 million school days due to asthma. He says there are close to seven million children in the United States that suffer from the condition and it regularly affects their day-to-day lives. Martinez says the initiative offers training to prepare teachers and school workers to react if a student has an asthma attack. It also suggests frequent dusting in school buildings to reduce the risk for students with the breathing disorder.

100+ Cases of Mumps At U of I

posted August 28th, 2015

This is the first week of classes at colleges and universities around the state. Students at the University of Illinois flagship campus are dealing with more than the usual start of the school year jitters. The Champaign campus has confirmed just over 100 cases of mumps and expects the number to go higher. Dr. Nirav Shah is Executive Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. He tells WDCB News the department’s keeping tabs on the U-of-I. Shah says the situation isn’t too unusual, but there is an increased awareness of infectious diseases. He says other infectious diseases in the United States and around the world has heightened awareness. Shah says that has helped public health agencies to get out the message about the importance of vaccination and the work they do to monitor and evaluate disease outbreaks when they happen. There were just over 100 cases of mumps in Illinois last year. Shah says anyone connected to the U-of-I should get a booster of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine if they’ve only had two doses. He says it's possible the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes over time, but it could also be that it doesn't work as well in some people.

Capacity Auction Will Mean Higher Electric Bills

posted August 27th, 2015

You won’t find a key part of your electricity costs in your monthly bill, but you will notice an increase in the bottom line. The state recently completed the annual ‘power capacity’ auction for electricity generation companies. A watchdog group says an average customer will pay more each month as result of the auction. The Citizens Utility Board’s Jim Chilsen says an auction for central and southern Illinois has already created higher bills. He tells WDCB News it’s hard to understand, because Illinois has an abundant supply of power. Chilsen says Illinois is awash in electricity, the state is actually a net exporter of electricity. He says everyone learned the laws of supply and demand in Econ-101. Chilsen says you would think prices would be going down for consumers in the state, and instead there have been a series of rate increases. The auction rewards power companies that can meet power demand in any weather conditions. Chilsen says there’s no evidence that supply is or should be a factor in the ‘capacity cost’ during the winter months.

Turtle Island and Cyrus Chestnut Come Together For "Jelly, Rags and Monk"

posted August 27th, 2015

The string jazz ensemble, Turtle Island Quartet is joining forces with renowned jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut to celebrate the musical connections between Jellyroll Morton, Scott Joplin and Thelonious Monk.  The program titled “Jelly, Rags and Monk” will make its world premiere this Saturday at Ravinia.  Turtle Island Quartet founder David Balakrishnan tells WDCB News Chestnut really wanted to explore the evolution of ragtime and jazz. "Jelly, Rags and Monk" is part of the Turtle Island Quartet’s year-long 30th anniversary celebration.  The program will be performed for the first time ever Saturday Ravinia.

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