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Associated Press / NPR

Pope Francis says contraception might be acceptable for women threatened by the Zika virus. 

John Peller with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago says that’s given him hope that the exception might extend to other communicable diseases.

“We’re glad to see that the Pope is opening the door to condom use in a public health emergency and we think it’s really high time that the church recognized the role that condoms can have as a critical public health tool,” Peller said. 

"Poinsettia" by Flickr User fine_plan / (CC BY 2.0)

Poinsettias are sold by the millions every year, almost all of them between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As popular as these holiday flowers are, there still may be a few things about them that could surprise you. Here are five fun facts about poinsettias we wanted to share.

1. Poinsettias are named after that dog, the pointer

WNIJ

The unprecedented budget stand-off between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders topped the list of Illinois' most important news stories in 2015.

The Associated Press' Top 10 features a number of political scandals and leadership issues, including the legal troubles facing former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.

Cheap Trick Wins A Place In Rock Hall Of Fame

Dec 18, 2015
Junko Kambara / cheaptrick.com

The 2016 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have been named and the roster skews heavily toward classic rock, with Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Chicago and Steve Miller among the acts chosen by the nominating committee.

The rap group N.W.A, possibly getting a boost from the biopic Straight Outta Compton, will also be inducted into the Rock Hall on April 8, at a ceremony to be held in New York.

University Of Illinois

One of the many ways Star Wars has changed the movie industry since the first movie came out in 1977 is through special effects. 

Much of the industry standard in special effects even today has its roots in the original Star Wars trilogy of the late 1970’s and early 80’s.

That’s according to Julie Turnock, a professor of media and cinema studies at the University of Illinois Urbana campus. She spoke with Illinois Public Media's Brian Moline this week.

Susannah Lohr / St. Louis Public Radio

Depression very early in life can affect the way a child’s brain develops.

A new study by researchers at Washington University is the first to link early childhood depression to physical changes in the developing brain.

A Different Spin On Pantry Items

Dec 16, 2015
"closet supplies" by flickr user (Osseous) (cc by 2.0)

Office manager Beth Schewe at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship says, the Welcome Essentials Pantry began in the summer of 2014, when members of the church raised awareness about household needs. She says members of the community have experienced financial hardships. They said they were unable to keep basic household items in their homes, so they began collecting items to help the community with this problem.

DeKalb Library Closes For Six Weeks

Dec 2, 2015
DeKalb Public Library

The DeKalb Library's new addition will be open for business January 18, 2016. Pastor Leroy Mitchell and Library Director Dee Coover will speak at the soft opening ceremony, with a day of activities planned. A magician will perform and members of the Black Male Initiative at Northern Illinois University will read to the children throughout the day.

Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Radio

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and your refrigerator is filled with leftovers from the big meal. You might just warm them up and eat them as they are … or you might get a bit creative. 

Jessica Gorin has some suggestions on the topic.

Thanksgiving Origins: From Lincoln To Football

Nov 26, 2015
Flickr user Tim Sackton / "Thanksgiving Turkey [327/366]" (CC v. 2.0)

You may have heard part of the story of the first Thanksgiving. But, according to a northern Illinois historian, you likely haven’t heard the whole story.

If you attended primary school in the U.S., you probably heard the traditional first Thanksgiving story … that native people and European pilgrims sat down together for a large feast and got along just fine for the most part.

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