Israel’s Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea are dying – What is being done?

By Karyn Simpson
Medill Reports

ISRAEL – The Dead Sea is dying. So is Israel’s Sea of Galilee – the country’s only surface-level source of freshwater. The effort to save these sacred and historic lakes involves a convoluted mix of religious tradition, tourism and technology.

Over the past several decades of carving out an oasis from the desert, Israel has pushed back countrywide water scarcity through desalination, conservation, efficient use of the country’s limited freshwater, and wastewater treatment and reuse. Today, approximately 80 percent of Israel’s drinking water comes from desalination plants, meaning that even as Israel enters its sixth consecutive year of drought, the country should continue to have a stable supply of drinking water for its residents.

The main concern surrounding the drought is the health of Israel’s two natural, above-ground bodies of water, the freshwater Sea of Galilee and the saltwater Dead Sea – both sacred to residents, if for entirely different reasons. While the Dead Sea is valued particularly because of its contributions to Israeli tourism, the Sea of Galilee holds special import in religious history and because many residents remember when it was the country’s main source of water.

“The Sea of Galilee, for all the people in Israel, is emotional – 100 percent emotional,” said Arnon Eshel, who works at Sapir, the water pumping station for the Sea of Galilee. “We come here, we see the Sea of Galilee as it looks now, we are in totally depression.”

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Loyola-Chicago defeats Indiana State 3-1 in conference matchup

By Kristen Keller
Medill Reports

Loyola University-Chicago beat Indiana State Friday night, winning the match three sets to one in this Missouri Valley Conference contest.

The Loyola Ramblers needed a win after hitting a five-game losing streak that got them out of the top six in conference rankings. Following this home match, they moved their way back in, currently tied for the last spot with Missouri State. Continue reading

What the world can learn from Israel’s water reuse programs

By Karyn Simpson
Medill Reports

Negev Desert, Israel – A country that is 70 percent desert faces a unique challenge in finding sustainable water sources, but by treating and reusing approximately 90 percent of its wastewater, Israel has done just that.

The small country is light years ahead of the rest of the globe – the next closest competitor is Spain, which reuses around 30 percent of wastewater, according to Dr. Jack Gilron, head of the department of desalination and water treatment at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research.

Yet Israel’s success in wastewater treatment and reuse likely won’t translate effectively to other countries.

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“Everything changes after today” – Chicago moves forward after historic Van Dyke verdict

By Javanna Plummer and Becky Dernbach
Medill Reports

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a “statement of interest” Friday opposing a consent decree to reform the Chicago Police Department, one week after the conviction of white police officer Jason Van Dyke for second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the 2014 death of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

As the Department of Justice announced its formal opposition to the consent decree, Van Dyke’s defense attorney, Daniel Herbert, said he planned to appeal the verdict. However, many Chicago residents and elected officials expressed hope that the guilty verdict could be the beginning of wider police reform after decades of scandals in the CPD.

The consent decree covers comprehensive reforms that include use of force and force reporting, accountability and transparency, training, and crisis intervention,

At the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, activists were stunned by the historic verdict and vowed further change. Continue reading

Northwestern battles to 1-1 draw against hometown foe DePaul

By Nicholas Hennion
Medill Reports

Northwestern University simultaneously continued both a winning and losing streak after a 1-1 draw against Chicago opponent DePaul University last Tuesday.

The Wildcats are now winless – with a draw or a loss – in their last eight games (including Friday’s loss to Rutgers) against all opponents this season and haven’t picked up a win in over a month. On the flip side, the Wildcats are unbeaten – either a win or a draw – in the last five games against Chicago opponents over the past year.

Head Coach Tim Lenahan said the budding rivalry between the Wildcats and DePaul’s Blue Demons absolutely brings out the best of both sides.

“It’s always a fight,” Lenahan said. “The records go out the window and whether it’s UIC, Loyola or DePaul, it’s always a battle.” Continue reading

NGO says U.S. support needed in fight for Arab minority rights in Israel

By Aqilah Allaudeen
Medill Reports

The closing of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s diplomatic office in Washington D.C. last month and President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year serve as stark reminders of deteriorating ties between the two sides.

Jafar Farah, the founder and director of The Mossawa Center, a non-profit advocacy center for Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel based in Haifa, said that the harsh policies taken by the U.S. also led to the passing of the Jewish Nation-State Law in Israel. The law made the right to exercise self-determination in the State of Israel unique to the Jewish people, established the state’s official language as Hebrew while demoting Arabic to a “special status” and regulated the use of Arabic in state institutions.

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UNI volleyball tops standings in MVC mid-season rankings

By Kristen Keller
Medill Reports

The top six teams in the Missouri Valley Conference are battling to keep their spots and make it to the conference tournament in Springfield, Missouri, Nov. 22 to 24 as the teams enter the midway point of the season.

The MVC has traditionally placed multiple teams in the NCAA tournament, doing so 10 times in the past 12 years, according to Ryan Davis, the assistant commissioner for communications at the MVC.

University of Northern Iowa

The Panthers of Northern Iowa is one of only three schools from the MVC to ever be ranked in the NCAA, and this year, they reached as high as No. 17 in the AVCA poll. This group of women were the only team from the MVC to be ranked at any point of the season, receiving votes in the most recent poll released on Oct. 8.

Currently, Northern Iowa is undefeated in conference play with a record of 9-0, and sit at 13-6 overall for the season. They also lead the conference in kills per set with 14.87 and assists per set with 13.97, which also ranks the group eighth nationally.

As it gets closer to the end of the season, the Panthers will look to junior outside Karlie Taylor, who currently leads the MVC in kills per set with 4.9. Northern Iowa is also led by redshirt-junior setter Rachel Koop with 807 assists.

Illinois State University

This group of women rallied together to currently rank second in the conference with a record of 7-1. Not only are they third in the conference, but the Redbirds rank No. 1 in the conference for overall hitting percentage with a .240.

Leading Illinois State’s offense is freshman middle Marissa Stockman. This young player leads the conference with a .364 hitting percentage. Along with that, she tallied 72 blocks and 147 kills overall.

Stockman is not the only player making an impact for the Redbirds. Sophomore setter Stef Jankiewicz currently sits at third in the conference for assists with 758 while senior libero Courtney Pence heads the defense, racking up 393 digs so far this season.

Bradley University

The Bradley Braves sit in fourth currently with a conference record of 6-2. Although the team only sits in third place, it leads the MVC in four different categories and is ranked fifth nationally in digs per set.

Senior libero Yavianliz Rosado sets the tone for the Braves’ defense with 5.62 digs per set, which ranks her second in the conference in that category. Also leading this Bradley team is senior outside Erica Haslag, who currently has 283 kills on the season, and senior setter Hannah Angeli, who controls the offense with 720 assists on the season.

“Our big goal for this season is to rebuild and make the conference tournament,” said Bradley head coach Melissa Stokes. “Once you get to the conference tournament, it becomes a whole new season. Anyone can make a run for it.”

Valparaiso University

Sitting at 5-3 in conference play, the Crusaders sit at the top of the conference in almost every category. Overall, the team holds a record of 18-5.

Sparking up the Crusaders’ lineup is sophomore middle Peyton McCarthy. She currently leads the MVC in total blocks with 95 and blocks per set with 1.25. Sophomore Rylee Cookery leads the backrow defense with 416 digs, which is also good enough to lead the conference.

Brittany Anderson, a sophomore setter, sets the offense up for this young team, earning 897 assists for the season. With those numbers, Anderson ranks eighth nationally for assists in Division 1.

Drake University

Currently holding a record of 5-4 in conference play, Drake lands the No. 5 spot in the conference. When it comes to team statistics, the Bulldogs rank second in the conference for total team kills.

One of the main contributors to Drake’s offense is senior outside Cathryn Cheek, who leads the team with 227 kills and 46 blocks. Setting up the team’s offense is junior Paige Aspinwell with 528 assists. While Aspinwell and Cheek take care of the offense, sophomore libero Kylee Macke contributed 341 digs so far this season to lead the defensive effort.

Missouri State University

The reigning MVC champions moved themselves up to the sixth spot in the conference standings. Following a slow start to the season, the Bears are making a comeback as the season begins to dwindle down.

Leading the way for this young team is freshman outside hitter Amelia Flynn. She currently leads the team in kills with 235 and is second on the team in digs with 182.  Freshman setter Chloe Rear also contributes to the offensive efforts, recording 657 assists during  her first season of play. On defense, senior libero Emily Butters shines for the Bears, recording 387 digs on the season, which is good enough for a fourth place ranking in the conference.

Four teams won’t make it to the conference tournament, and if the standings remain the same, Loyola-Chicago, Evansville, Southern Illinois and Indiana State will be the ones left out. As teams start to clinch their spots, these 10 teams will fight for one of those six coveted spots in the MVC tournament.

Photo at top: UNI currently leads the MVC rankings heading into the final few weeks of play. (UNI Volleyball’s Facebook page)

10th District candidates debate gun control and climate change among contentious topics

By Alexis Shanes
Medill Reports

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-10th) called for crossing the partisan divide on everything from health care to immigration reform during a debate Sunday with GOP opponent and computer consultant Douglas Bennett.

Schneider added that he is part of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to “fight for the values and priorities of our community” and identify common ground between parties for policy solutions moving forward.
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“Dancing for community” at the 65th Annual Chicago Powwow

By Katie Rice
Medill Reports

Poised on their toes, the dancers pivot around the room to a thrumming drum beat. Jingling bells accompany their movements as feathers sway from fans, regalia and headdresses in a whirl of color and texture.

The celebration echoes far beyond the gymnasium of DePaul College Prep High School into the balmy October afternoon.
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DASH diet helps pregnant women control weight gain

By Colleen Zewe
Medill Reports

Many pregnant women struggle with weight gain, but those who begin pregnancy overweight or obese risk developing diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious prenatal conditions that can cause harm to their unborn babies.

Many of these women fear harming their unborn babies if they gain too little during pregnancy. But a recent Northwestern medical study helped pregnant, overweight women limit their weight gain, and found that obese or overweight women can safely restrict their calories to prevent health conditions without causing harm to themselves or the baby.
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