Friday Forum

WNIJ's Friday Forum features  in-depth interviews with state officials, community leaders, and others whose decisions influence your life. You can hear it every Friday during Morning Edition on 89.5 FM and WNIJ.org.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A very important election issue isn’t on the ballot. It involves finding enough judges or inspectors to make sure election days run smoothly. In this week's Friday Forum, WNIJ's Katie Finlon looks at the efforts involved in filling those seats.

County and municipal officials already are starting to recruit election judges (the Illinois title) or inspectors  (the Wisconsin term) for next year’s election cycle. Some say it can be difficult to fill those necessary roles in all of their precincts.

USDA

The USDA has designated large swaths of DeKalb County as food deserts — areas that have a significant number of low-income households that also lack easy access to supermarkets. A relatively high number of households without vehicles are located more than half a mile from a supermarket.

The Feeding America Network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries nationwide reports that more than 13 percent of DeKalb County residents are food insecure. That’s nearly 14,000 people.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Five DeKalb-area panelists took part in an Illinois Issues discussion earlier this week about the effects of the two-year Illinois budget impasse and the state’s financial future. That’s the subject of this week's WNIJ Friday Forum.

Illinois was without a state budget for two years. That ended in early July when lawmakers overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto.  It was a huge relief to schools, social service agencies, and programs that rely on state funding. But celebrations were tempered by the reality of the state’s fiscal situation.

WNIJ

The issue of human trafficking in northern Illinois is gaining interest among activist groups. They say Rockford ranks second in the state for cases of sexual exploitation. On this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jessie Schlacks takes a closer look at this “underground business.”

The industry can be so discrete that people don’t even realize they’re being trafficked.

“One day at the pool they saw me there and my vulnerability,” recalls Katariina Rosenblatt. “They recruited me into what I call ‘false friendship.’ That was the beginning of the grooming process.”

USDA Agricultural Research Service

Hunting is an activity that crosses state lines, with hunters looking for the best spots for game, and game not even having a concept of political boundaries. But a disease is infecting deer herds in both Illinois and Wisconsin, and it could pose a threat to hunters. 

Chronic Wasting Disease is a malady that’s existed among deer in the region for more than a decade. It was first detected in southern Wisconsin around 2002. Since then, infected herds have spread to at least 19 counties.

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