Category Archives: News

Joliet Kid Makes Good: John C. Houbolt (1919-2014), Space Flight Engineer for Moon Missions

Last week a local legend passed away at the ripe old age of 95. A former NASA engineer who played a key role in developing the technology and mission strategy for the Apollo moon landing missions, John C. Houbolt was … Continue reading

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Teaching Climate Change through Literature

A somewhat interesting article from yesterday’s NY Times about literature-and-environment courses that are beginning to address issues of climate change. Unfortunately, the author didn’t know about Prof. Gary Wolfe’s groundbreaking seminar here at Roosevelt this spring, “Sustainability in Film and … Continue reading

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Pete Seeger, Legendary Musician and Activist, Dies at Age 94

Last night I had trouble sleeping, and found myself tossing and turning in the wee hours. When I got up to get a drink of water hoping to settle myself down, my night owl spouse solemnly greeted me with sad … Continue reading

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Verlyn Klinkenborg Publishes Final Column for “The Rural Life” in the NY Times

One of my favorite journalists, commentator and essayist Verlyn Klinkenborg, published the final piece for his long-running column, “The Rural Life,” in today’s New York Times. His wise and observant prose-poems about his small farm and the nature that inhabits … Continue reading

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Film Noir Star and Joliet Native Audrey Totter Dies at Age 95

I’m a big fan of obituaries, and always read them with great fascination. This week there was a dandy story of an elegant lady from my hometown of Joliet who passed away at the ripe old age of 95. Despite … Continue reading

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Love Canal: a Still Unfolding Legacy of a Toxic Waste Community Disaster

This week the New York Times features a “retro report” on Love Canal, one of the most infamous environmental disasters in US history and the incident that spurred the creation of the EPA’s Superfund program. Far from a closed book, … Continue reading

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IL EPA Hears Southeast Side Residents’ Complaints about Petcoke Piles along Calumet River

Last Thursday the Illinois EPA held a contentious public meeting on Chicago’s SE Side to hear residents’ concerns and complaints about the massive piles of petcoke — a waste by-product of tar sands oil refining done in nearby Whiting, IN … Continue reading

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The Recycling Divide in Chicago

Chicago likes to tout itself as a green city on the rise; just take a look at its official Environment and Sustainability webpage, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel states the laudable goal of making it the “greenest city in the world.” … Continue reading

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Piles and Piles of Petcoke: Environmental Justice along the Calumet River

Today’s Mike Nowak Show on WCPT features a segment about the petcoke controversy in the Calumet Region of Chicago’s far South Side. This waste by-product from the refining of oil from the tar sands of Canada has been piling up … Continue reading

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“Artifacts & Illuminations” Wins 2012 Nebraska Book Award

In the spring of 2012, my essay “Unearthing Urban Nature,” an analysis of scientist-writer Loren Eiseley’s investigations and representations of urban and suburban landscapes, was published in the critical anthology Artifacts and Illuminations: Critical Essays on Loren Eiseley, edited by … Continue reading

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