InFocus

Late on April 15, Brandon Hole stepped out of his car at an Indianapolis FedEx facility. Armed with a rifle, he shot and killed four people outside before moving inside to kill four more. Then Hole, 19, turned the gun on himself.

That night wasn’t Hole’s first interaction with police. In March 2020, his mother called the police because she was worried her son would try to commit “suicide by cop.” Hole was placed under immediate detention and taken to a local hospital.

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with John Jackson of the SIU Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. Jackson remarks on President Joe Biden's first 100 days in office, and looks ahead at the challenges in front of his administration.

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City of Carbondale

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with newly named Carbondale Police Chief Stan Reno.

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SIU

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Dr. Sheila Caldwell. Caldwell was named SIU's inaugural Vice President for Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in April.

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SIU School of Law

SIU School of Law Dean Camille Davidson talks with WSIU's Jennifer Fuller about Law Day 2021.

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Southern Illinois University

SIU President Dan Mahony talks with WSIU's Jennifer Fuller about his nomination for the inaugural SIU Vice President for Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion... along with expectations for the coming summer and fall semesters amid COVID-19.

Keeping Your Computers Safe from Ransomware

Apr 22, 2021
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Thomas Jensen/Unsplash

On this edition of WSIU InFocus, we hear  about a local county that  had to pay tax dollars to a cybercriminal as ransom, to get their computer data back.  We will also hear from a local computer security expert about how to keep your computers and networks safe.

When it rains on Joe Rothermel’s central Illinois farm, most of the water drains into the nearby East Branch Embarras River. There, it begins a journey south through the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

When countries like China buy soybeans and grain, that journey might start in a port in the land-locked state of Oklahoma. 

Farmers in states like Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Colorado rely on a 445-mile water highway called the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System to ship their crops like soybeans and grain across the world. 

The Biden administration is fighting climate change in part by pushing for cars and trucks to be more fuel efficient and reduce emissions, but so far, that talk hasn’t landed in another mode of transportation: barges.

In light of more pressure to advance the cause of green energy, the future of the barge industry is unclear, and it could have a major impact on Midwestern rivers.

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. 


Farmers along the Missouri River won a mass action federal lawsuit last December against the Army Corps of Engineers for land damages they say are traceable to the agency’s management of the river. 

Safe Shawnee Hiking with Expert Hiker Shawn Gossman

Apr 16, 2021
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WSIU/Kevin boucher

Over the last several weeks, several hikers have sustained injuries after falling in the Shawnee National Forest.  On this edition of WSIU InFocus, we speak with hiking expert Shawn Gossman about how to enjoy southern Illinois' natural areas while staying out of the emergency room.

On normal days, the gym at this Indianapolis school would be filled with kids in phys ed classes. But last Saturday it was the scene of a pop-up vaccination clinic.

And the mood was just as up-beat. One nurse brought her husband to the KIPP Indy Legacy High School to get vaccinated — to cheers from everyone around.

At the entrance to the gym, volunteers used laptops to help people check in. Most got their shots without a wait. After all, community workers had pre-registered 200 area residents to make the experience as easy as possible.

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Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Chancellor Austin Lane, as the campus prepares for spring commencement, and looks ahead to the summer and fall semesters.

WSIU's Leah Lerner talks with organizers of "Collaborative Hope," a spring concert featuring choirs from John A. Logan College, Rend Lake College, and Southeastern Illinois College.

Sirrea Whittaker describes her dad as the life of the party, an outspoken Black man with a love for his Omega Psi Phi fraternity and a sprawling network of friends.

“And it sometimes was annoying, because like, you can go to the grocery store and you leave two hours later because he finds someone he knew,” says the 36-year-old working mother from Indianapolis.

His 5-year-old granddaughter describes him a little differently: "He was the man that gave me chocolate milk every night, when we spent the night."

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Carbondale / Carbondale

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry and City Manager Gary Williams about this year's budget process, federal stimulus money, and more. 

Medicaid Work Requirements May Be Gone For Good

Apr 5, 2021

It appears major changes may be coming to Medicaid, which insures around 70 million Americans and provides health coverage for low-income adults, people with disabilities and some children.

The Trump administration supported work or volunteer hours as a requirement for health coverage. The move was spearheaded by Seema Verma, then-director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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John Longmire

After 13 years as Executive Director of the Carbondale Park District, Kathy Renfro will retire on May 16, 2021.

The John A Logan College Board of Trustee’s has three openings and 5 candidates wanting a seat.

The League of Women’s voters and the Carbondale Public Library hosted a virtual candidate forum for the 5 candidates hoping to fill three board of trustee positions at John A Logan College.

SIU School of Law

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Sensei Enterprises President Sharon Nelson and Vice President John Simek about their upcoming Beatty Law and Technology Lecture with the SIU School of Law.

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An estimated 2% of Illinois adults have a gambling problem, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling. But it’s unclear which populations are most affected and at risk. 

The Illinois Department of Human Services launched a new study last fall aimed at collecting data on the issue of gambling disorders in the state. The agency has also issued several new grants to organizations and treatment providers across the state — aimed at raising awareness and removing barriers to treatment for those with gambling disorders.

The plant-based meat industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, but public perception is one of the biggest obstacles to more expansion.

Billion dollars companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are giving consumers other choices besides meat. Even Burger King is offering a vegan Whopper. Experts say the growth isn’t coming from vegetarians or vegans but from meat eaters occasionally choosing meat alternatives when shopping or eating out.

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Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Dan Mahony about the challenges of providing high-quality higher education at affordable prices. 

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SIU School of Law

Lawmakers in Washington are joining President Joe Biden in calling for immigration reform. In this episode of InFocus, Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU Law Professor Cindy Buys about the challenges in the immigration system, and what can be done.

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Illinois Treasurer

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, as his office crosses the $1 billion threshold for invsetments in the state.

COVID Vaccine Outreach Still Spotty In Latinx Community

Mar 10, 2021

Through grainy video on a recent Facebook live event, Missouri health director Dr. Randall Williams explained who was currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. A moment later, an interpreter from the Mexican consulate in Kansas City provided a translation.

The live stream was the consulate’s idea.

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Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Chancellor Austin Lane about the university's plans for in-person learning in the Fall of 2021, along with the announcement that SIUC will host in-person graduation ceremonies in May.

Segment One (Morning Edition, 3/9/2021):

Segment Two (All Things Considered, 3/9/2021):

Environmentalists in Illinois worry that having few regulations for coal-fired power plant demolitions will increase the chance for a toxic disaster when these facilities are dismantled.

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