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NPR is marking the 50th anniversary of its first on-air original broadcast.  The network's All Things Considered debuted on May 3, 1971.

SALINA, Kansas — Ebony Murell and a few interns meticulously sort 99 kinds of silphium. It’s a wild relative to a sunflower. And the biologists at The Land Institute — an outfit devoted to finding out how science can make farming more planet-friendly — want to unravel the plant’s secrets for tolerating bugs and diseases.

“We don’t know what all of these traits mean in terms of plant defenses,” Murell said. “Any or all of them could matter.”

David Hightower

The Snake Alley Festival of Film (SNAFF), like many events, was cancelled last year because of the pandemic. But organizers said this year the "Crookedest Film Festival in the US" will be returning August 5-8.

Illinois has reduced its bill backlog to just under $4 billion — a far cry from the nearly $17 billion high seen just after the state’s two-year budget impasse presided over by former Gov. Bruce Rauner.

But the state’s top financial officer, Comptroller Susana Mendoza, said now is not the time to become complacent.

Courtesy the City of Monmouth

The city demolished the former Maple City Dairy building this year. Now city leaders are discussing how the downtown site might be re-used.

In the months before the state-run veterans’ home in LaSalle saw a massive COVID-19 outbreak that eventually killed more than a quarter of the facility’s residents, leaders at the state agency that oversees the home obscured its inner workings from Gov. JB Pritzker’s office, a top Pritzker staffer told lawmakers on Thursday.

It’s been a year since COVID-19 descended on U.S. meatpacking plants. In that time, nearly 60,000 workers have gotten sick, and more than 300 have died. That’s led to pushes at the state and federal levels to institute stronger protections for workers in U.S. facilities. While advocates are still navigating efforts to protect workers now, some are already thinking about preventing future outbreaks.

A new tourism campaign aims to help rebuild Illinois' economy as more of the state's population becomes vaccinated. Advocacy groups say tourism recovery will help Illinois stay competitive nationally and globally after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The multistate "Time for Me to Drive" campaign is set to launch later this week, as Morning Consult reports 69% of Americans polled say they are comfortable taking a road trip.

David Hightower

One of the Burlington City Council’s goals for this year is to address housing issues in the community. 

A rare coronavirus mutation can affect COVID-19 testing reliability, new research from Washington University has found.

Identified in a handful of St. Louis patients last year, the mutation may make it harder for certain commercial tests to detect an infection. But researchers emphasize that the vast majority of COVID-19 tests target multiple regions of the coronavirus genome, increasing the chances of spotting the virus if it’s present.

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SALINA, Kansas — Ebony Murell and a few interns meticulously sort 99 kinds of silphium. It’s a wild relative to a sunflower. And the biologists at The Land Institute — an outfit devoted to finding out how science can make farming more planet-friendly — want to unravel the plant’s secrets for tolerating bugs and diseases.

“We don’t know what all of these traits mean in terms of plant defenses,” Murell said. “Any or all of them could matter.”

It’s been a year since COVID-19 descended on U.S. meatpacking plants. In that time, nearly 60,000 workers have gotten sick, and more than 300 have died. That’s led to pushes at the state and federal levels to institute stronger protections for workers in U.S. facilities. While advocates are still navigating efforts to protect workers now, some are already thinking about preventing future outbreaks.

High Farm Incomes Lead To Rising Land Values

May 7, 2021

Farmers and investors seeking to expand are paying more for agricultural land in the Midwest. 

The value of good cropland in Corn Belt states like Iowa and Indiana has increased about 10% since last fall, according to Randy Dickhut, the senior vice president of real estate operations for Farmers National Co. 

Levees protect people, towns, and agriculture from flooding. But two years ago, parts of the Missouri River and its tributaries reached record crests, and many levees failed. Now there’s a rare effort to build a levee higher to better defend one southwest Iowa town. 


Midwest Farmers Survey Damage From Cold Snap

Apr 28, 2021

As farmers across the Midwest surveyed the damage from last week’s cold snap, some Iowa farmers discovered they lucked out, while others are hoping to offset losses.

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