All posts by annesnabes2020

Some young Midwesterners don’t align fully with Democrats or Republicans

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

MILWAUKEE — Stephanie Olsen does not align with a political party and sees too much “tribalism” in politics.

“I think identity politics is toxic,” said Olsen, a 30-year-old Milwaukee resident. “We’re just fighting against each other constantly. Really, if you actually talk to a human being, you probably agree on most things.”

I spoke with Olsen outside of President Donald Trump’s rally in Milwaukee earlier this year. Olsen was among a large group of people who couldn’t the enter the arena because it had filled up and watched the president’s speech on a big screen outside of the arena. No Trump supporter, she came to the rally because she is considering a political career and she wanted to “get to know the other side.”
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Mennonite and Amish farmers struggle with increasing rain in Illinois

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

ARTHUR, Ill. — Mennonite farmer Willis Kuhns said 2019 was “as frustrating as it gets.”

He started planting corn on his farm in Arthur in mid-April last year, but frequent rain halted the process.

“It would almost be ready to plant and then we’d get another rain,” Kuhns said.

Kuhns and his colleagues finally finished planting their corn late in the season — on Memorial Day weekend. The farm also grows soybeans, like many farms throughout Illinois and Iowa. It took until late June for Kuhns to finish planting the soybeans. That’s at least 30 days behind schedule for both crops, he said. Continue reading

Climate change has hit Beaufort, South Carolina, but only some vote on the issue

By Anne Snabes and Maura Turcotte
Medill Reports

BEAUFORT, S.C. — The sea along South Carolina’s coast line is growing ravenous.

In this sleepy coastal town at the bottom of the state, Tropical Storm Irma sent waves over the sea wall into a downtown park in 2017. Downtown businesses flooded with waist-high water. Nearly a year after the storm, the federal government reported spending nearly $64 million on South Carolina’s recovery efforts.

The damage from climate change is very likely to grow, scientists predict. The impact threatens areas of the state’s Lowcountry barely skimming above sea level — including Beaufort, South Carolina’s second-oldest city, home to longtime residents and retirees from the North.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that, if sea level rise is modest, the ocean will rise about 1.4 feet in an area south of Beaufort by the year 2100. In an extreme scenario, the ocean would rise by 10.5 feet, swamping much of eastern South Carolina.

South Carolina’s coast is struggling with the effects of climate change. (Maura Turcotte/MEDILL)

Residents recognize the rising sea and worsening storms. And yet there is no consensus among Beaufort residents — or in South Carolina more broadly — about whether action should be taken or even whether climate change should be a major issue in the Democratic primaries.

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Medicare for All attracts support for Bernie Sanders

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Corina Pittman, a college student with severe allergies, once bought two EpiPens that were each $200. She called this price “crazy.”

She is passionate about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal, which would end private health insurance and institute a single-payer health insurance system. That means the government would pay for everyone’s health care.

“I think it’s obviously ridiculous how much money we spend on health care,” said Pittman, who grew up in Pennsylvania and attends college in North Carolina. “My parents spend so much money on health care for our family.”
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‘No matter who wins’: South Carolina mayor calls for moderation, unity in primary

By Anne Snabes and Maura Turcotte
Medill Reports

Billy Keyserling, the mayor of Beaufort, South Carolina, governs over a small coastal city reflective of much of the state — largely Republican with some moderate Democrats.

Following Pete Buttigieg’s narrow win of more delegates in Iowa and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ victory in New Hampshire, the pressure on Keyserling’s state to deliver a clear front-runner with the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29 has intensified. South Carolina, hosting a more diverse electorate than Iowa and New Hampshire, will not only act as a bellwether for the South, but possibly for Super Tuesday’s 16 contests on March 3.

Keyserling has prioritized educating the public about Reconstruction and addressing environmental problems such as coastal flooding — two issues he sees as impacting political discussions in 2020 — since becoming mayor in 2008. He spoke to Medill Reports about the candidates’ takes on climate change, the importance of black voters to the primary and the similarities between the candidates.

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Art can be part of the scientific process, a climate scientist says

Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

Artists and designers can participate in the scientific method by talking with scientists, according to a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mika Tosca, who crosses worlds as a climate scientist and assistant professor at the SAIC, spoke at the annual meeting of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on November 7 about how artists can be involved in climate science. She said climate change is currently a “really unique problem.”

“It’s kind of this immediate existential crisis that we’re facing that we’re having a very difficult time communicating, visualizing and imagining,” she said. “Those are things that I think creative folks, like artists and designers, are really good at doing.”

Tosca teaches climate science to art students and said that artists want to be involved at the beginning of the scientific process. They are typically only involved at the end, when they help present and visualize scientific data.
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Can Thanksgiving be a healthy holiday? Yes, it can!

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

How can you stay healthy on Thanksgiving? For starters, don’t skip breakfast to save room for an extra slice of pumpkin pie.

And have a plan before you fill your plate with food, says Eileen Vincent, assistant director of Clinical Nutrition Research at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Vincent spoke with the Medill News Service about how to eat healthier on Thanksgiving, and she said her recommendations can apply to anyone.

Vincent recommended getting a good night’s sleep before Turkey Day and eating a meal in the morning, which both are ways to regulate your appetite. At the Thanksgiving meal, try to “mentally preorder” your food — or decide what to put on your plate before serving yourself. Vincent also recommended substituting some Thanksgiving dishes with healthier options. For example, green beans almondine is a healthy alternative to green bean casserole.
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Khumbu Glacier in Nepal offers clues to rapid retreat of ice

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

The Khumbu Glacier in the Himalayas retreated rapidly in the past, offering clues to how the glacier will behave in the future, University of Maine research suggests.

Laura Mattas, a master’s student at the university, conducted field research this summer on the Khumbu Glacier in Nepal. She presented her research this fall at the Comer Climate Conference, an annual meeting in Wisconsin of climate scientists from across the country.

According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, glaciers globally are retreating at “unprecedented rates.” A glacier can retreat by shortening in length or by thinning. In the Khumbu Valley, Mattas and her colleagues found moraines, which are rock and other sediment that were inside, on top of or below a glacier and that were altered by the glacier. The location of the moraines indicated that the glacier retreated quickly at some point since the last ice age. Mattas said that the glacier is able to undergo a “large and rapid change,” which means that it may also change rapidly in the future.

“If that’s the case, that’s a lot of meltwater that’s flowing down valley,,” she said. “Who knows if there’s the infrastructure to deal with” the surge. Continue reading

Busy schedules and upbringing deter some undergrads from getting the flu shot

By Anne Snabes
Medill Reports

College students balance busy schedules of attending class, completing assignments, maintaining a social life, and commitments to extracurricular activities or a job. Do students also set aside time to get the flu shot?

Some do, but many do not.

“Some people just can’t manage to find time in their schedule to come in to get a flu shot,” said Joan Holden, director of Loyola University Chicago’s Wellness Center.
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Thousands of Chicago protesters condemn Trump and his visit to Chicago

By Anne Snabes

Medill Reports

Thousands of Chicago area protesters chanted  calls and held up signs bearing phrases such as “Dump Trump” during President Donald Trump’s visit to the Windy City on Monday.

Trump spoke at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference and then attended a lunch fundraiser at Trump International Hotel and Tower. Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson boycotted the speech and Trump belittled his absence.

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