Sing your way to better health

Some research has shown that singing can boost immunity. Other research has found singing can help stave off moderate dementia. OSF doctor Alina Paul suggests it is possible to sing your way to better health.

Bernd Everding/Pixabay

by Tim Ditman
OSF Healthcare

CHAMPAIGN - Alina Paul, MD, has been singing for as long as she can remember. She added guitar while in boarding school in India.

Dr. Alina Paul
Alina Paul, MD
Fast forward to 2023, and the family medicine physician at OSF HealthCare finds herself singing for patients who request it to brighten their day.

“It has changed the way I treat patients,” Dr. Paul says with conviction. “Singing and playing guitar is medicine. It’s medicine for the soul.”

Hearing those tunes is not just a temporary respite for the person in for a checkup. Dr. Paul says research has shown singing can have long-term health benefits.

The benefits

· Pain levels, physical and mental, can decrease. For people suffering from anxiety and depression, singing can increase the level of endorphins, the “feel-good hormone,” as Dr. Paul puts it. This brings them out of a dreary mood.

· Some research has shown that singing can boost immunity by increasing the level of the antibody immunoglobulin A. This antibody helps fight respiratory and other infections, Dr. Paul says.

· It helps your lungs perform better.

“We’re using our lungs to sing. We take deep breaths. Certain movements of the chest wall help with lung function,” says Dr. Paul.

· Other research has found singing can help stave off moderate dementia, Dr. Paul says.

“That’s amazing,” she says.

“We see a lot of patients with dementia. When you incorporate singing or even sing to them, their memory seems to improve. They’re happier,” Dr. Paul adds.

· Dr. Paul says singing can increase oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone.” This can help with social bonding and a sense of belonging.

· Singing can also improve public speaking skills, especially if you sing in front of others. Simply put, the more you use your voice, the more comfortable you are with it.

Keep your well-being in mind

Dr. Paul says there are some obvious, but important health matters to keep in mind if you pick up singing.

· If singing causes your lungs or throat to hurt, take a break. If minor symptoms persist, go to an urgent care. For things like difficulty breathing, chest pain or loss of consciousness, call 9-1-1.

· If you are sick, don’t sing – or do much else – around others. When we say words, our mouth spews microparticles that can carry diseases. And when you’re sick, you should be resting and recovering.

· Be kind to your neighbors, like in an apartment building. Don’t sing loudly at all hours.

How do I start?

Don’t feel like you have to run out and join a choir, Dr. Paul says. And don’t worry if your vocal skills aren’t Grammy worthy.

“Don’t take it as an exercise. Don’t do it because you have to. Do it because you want to do it,” Dr. Paul advises.

Try singing while in the car or shower. Do karaoke with friends. You don’t even need music. Try belting out your favorite song acapella while cleaning the house. Dr. Paul says closing your eyes can help focus the activity.

“Anybody can sing. Make a point to sing. It’s like meditation. It’s very beneficial,” Dr. Paul says.

Free Dental Day in Tolono

TOLONO - Tolono Family Dental is hosting a free dental day on December 15. Located at 101 N Watson in Tolono, the practice is offering x-rays, exams, and simple cleaning services for anyone who does not have a dental insurance plan or on limited/fixed budget.

Tolono News "We are ready to give back to the community," they wrote on Facebook. "If you are on a limited income or don't have insurance please come by our office on December 15th from 2-4 pm!"

Walk-ins are welcomed at the event, but registration in advance is recommended. For more information call (217) 485-5760.

Keep an eye on amount of caffeine you consume, too much can be fatal

Samer Dabou/PEXELS

by Tim Ditman
OSF Healthcare

URBANA - A new lawsuit claims a caffeinated drink at Panera contributed to a man's death.

Legalities aside, the issue of what people - especially young people - put in their bodies is something to be aware of, says Michael Broman, PhD, MD, an OSF HealthCare cardiologist. In fact, it’s one he thinks about daily.

“My children are 8 and 10. I don’t allow them to have caffeine except under my supervision and only in very small doses,” Dr. Broman says sternly.

Caffeine basics

Dr. Broman says energy drinks, when consumed properly, can provide the desired energy boost. A college student studying for a test, for example.

But it’s caffeine consumption that you must be aware of.

Caffeine also causes dependence. As a person uses more and more over time, they start to miss it when they don’t have it. They can withdraw from caffeine. That’s one of the most worrisome side effects, especially in kids. If a child is using a lot of caffeine and they stop, they can have attention problems and headaches. It can affect their performance in school and athletics.
Dr. Michael Broman
OSF HealthCare Cardiologist

“Caffeine has clearly been linked to adverse events and toxicity when given at a high enough dose,” Dr. Broman says.

The effects of caffeine will vary from person to person. Some will be more sensitive to caffeine due to genetics. Others may be able to break down caffeine more quickly, meaning less sensitivity.

Generally though, Dr. Broman says taking in too much caffeine could lead to your heart racing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chest pain and high blood pressure. You may also feel hyper and not able to sit still.

“Caffeine also causes dependence,” Dr. Broman adds. “As a person uses more and more over time, they start to miss it when they don’t have it. They can withdraw from caffeine.

“That’s one of the most worrisome side effects, especially in kids. If a child is using a lot of caffeine and they stop, they can have attention problems and headaches. It can affect their performance in school and athletics.”

What to know

Here’s the formula to remember: Dr. Broman says for children and adolescents, limit daily caffeine consumption to 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. (You can easily find a pounds to kilograms converter online.)

For example, if a high school student weighs 120 pounds (or around 54 kilograms), they would want to stick to 135 milligrams of caffeine per day. One PRIME Energy drink has 200 milligrams of caffeine. A 20-ounce bottle of Coca Cola has 57 milligrams. Caffeine content in coffee can vary. So be vigilant about your health and seek out the numbers. Check the product label or look up the product online before you swing by the drive thru or go to the store.

Photo: Lisa Fotios/PEXELS
The formula, though, doesn’t mean two bottles of Coke or a half swig of PRIME per day will yield no consequences for a 120-pound teenager. Rather, Dr. Broman recommends people under 18 not ingest caffeine regularly at all. Parents, teachers and coaches should watch what young people are drinking. Make the energy drink or soda a once-in-a-while treat. Water flavored with fresh fruit can be an alternative or talk to a dietitian about what’s right for you.

“A lot of these caffeinated beverages are marketed and flavored to taste good for children,” Dr. Broman says. “The drinks may also be in the store displays right next to the non-caffeinated beverages. They can look almost the same. So, it’s often difficult for a young person to figure out, ‘Is this beverage caffeinated? Is this one non-caffeinated?’”

And remember, everyone reacts to caffeine differently. Like any other ailment, know your health history and how your body responds to things. If you have significant symptoms from a caffeine overdose, call 9-1-1 and take an ambulance to the emergency department.

“People with prior cardiac conditions are way more likely to have very dangerous side effects from the use of caffeine,” Dr. Broman says.

Inaugural girls' eight-team SJO Country Financial Shootout next Saturday

Mahomet-Seymour's Reese Gallier and Hannah Creel move into position for a defensive rebound around Urbana's Janae Hall during their game last month. The Bulldogs are one of eight teams to play in the 1st Annual SJO Country Financial Shootout on December 16.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

ST. JOSEPH - St. Joseph-Ogden will host an eight-team girls' basketball shootout on Saturday, December 16. The first varsity contest tips off at 1 pm with Breese Central vs Pleasant Plains. Three hours later, the Spartans take the floor against Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond at the four-game event sponsored by Drew Arteaga Country Financial Insurance.

Addison Seggebruch and the Spartans play their Shootout game at 2 pm next Saturday against AL-AH. The upcoming shootout is the first hosted by SJO and Country Financial for girls. The event is a perfect tune-up for St. Joseph-Ogden, who will play at the State Farm Classic later this month.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

All the varsity games will be played in the Main Gym, while JV games will be in the school's practice gym. The junior varsity contests are slated to begin approximately two hours prior to the start of varsity matches.

"The matchups this year are exciting," says Justin Franzen, Activities Director at St. Joseph-Ogden and the event organizer. "We are not just hoping to get fans from all of these schools, but we hope to get overall basketball fans to this event."

Franzen said he hopes the place in hopping next Saturday.

"We hope basketball fans, parents, and students come out and support their teams," he said. "All of the JV games will be played in our practice gym, and all of the varsity games will be played in the main gym. As always, we hope the bleachers will be full and fans enjoy the experience."

All-day admission is $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for students with their student ID. Tickets are good for all eight contests at the shootout.

Breese Central, ranked #2 (MaxPreps) in Class 2A, is currently 8-0. The game between the Lady Cougars and #17-ranked Pleasant Plains (7-5) will be the game basketball fans won't want to miss.

After beating St. Joseph-Ogden last month, the Cardinals have played an early season schedule not for the faint of heart. They have chalked up victories over Moline, Edwardsville, Springfield Southeast, and Quincy Notre Dame.

~ Player Watch List ~
Breese Central:
Cece Toennies and Taylor Trame

Pleasant Plains:
Anna Weber

Richland County:
Kyrstin Weiler

Kaitlin White

Claire Seal, All-time leading scorer

SJO: Addi Seggebruch, Addison Frick, Addy Martinie

Sophia Musselman

Kylie Waldinger and Reese Gallier

Win or lose, participating players and coaches will leave with some nifty swag.

"From our Country Financial sponsorship, we are providing a free pullover to the head varsity coach and the head JV coach, and each JV and Varsity player will receive a free t-shirt as well," Franzen added. "This is our first 'Annual" girls basketball shootout we have hosted here at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

"We are glad to get the chance to do this for the players, coaches, and fans. We hope everyone has a great experience."

SJO Country Financial
Shootout Schedule

Adi Fraase grabs a loose ball for Pleasant Plains in November. The Cardinals will be back on the Main Gym floor to face Breese Central next week. The senior finished 3-for-4 from the free-throw line during her last visit to SJO.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks


1:00 PM:
Breese Central vs. Pleasant Plains

2:30 PM:
Richland County vs. Fieldcrest

4:00 PM:
ALAH vs. St. Joseph-Ogden

5:30 PM:
Eureka vs. Mahomet-Seymour

Junior Varsity

11:00 AM:
Breese Central vs. Pleasant Plains

12:30 PM:
Richland County vs. Fieldcrest

2:00 PM: 
ALAH vs. St. Joseph-Ogden

3:30 PM: 
Eureka vs. Mahomet-Seymour

Prep Sport Notebook | Catching up on area scores and performances

Undefeated St. Joseph-0gden basketball top seed at State Farm tournament

BLOOMINGTON - The SJO boys basketball team is seeded #3 in this year's edition of the State Farm Holiday Classic basketball tournament. Last year's small school champs was one of six schools that received #1 seed votes. The Spartans (5-0) open tournament play on December 27 against East Dubuque at Normal West.

The top seed went to Aurora Christian with four first-place votes. Normal University High secured one vote and is the #2 seed. El Paso-Gridley, the #4 seed, received one vote. St. Joseph-Ogden received three first-place votes from a poll of head coaches, the media, and committee members.

Spartan girls draw tough first round seed

BLOOMINGTON - The St. Joseph-Ogden girls basketball team is back in the field of competition at the State Farm Holiday Classic. Senior Addison Frick and the Spartans (2-3) play their first game 20 days from today against #4 seed Bishop McNamara (7-1) at Normal Community.

This year's top small-school girls seeds are Camp Point Central/Augusta Southeastern in the #1 position and Paris at #2. The Panthers beat the Tigers in last year's championship game, 36-32. Galena earned the #3 spot, and Bishop McNamara was voted #4 in the poll given to coaches, media around the state, and committee members.

SJO is scheduled to play at 10:30 am on the Wednesday after Christmas.

Cornjerkers post second win of the season

Hoopeston Area 52 - Armstrong Potomac 45
GIBSON CITY - Owen Root scored 14 points in Bismarck-Henning's win over Armstrong-Potomac. Mason Rush and Kendrick Sigerill scored 11 points each. Root and Sigerill led the team on the boards with six rebounds apiece. Wyatt Eisenman chipped in eight points and tallied three of the team seven steals at the GCMS Thanksgiving Tournament.

Spartan girls suffer home loss

Paris 44 - St. Joseph-Ogden 38
ST. JOSEPH - Three SJO players tallied double figures in the scorebook, but it was enough to surpass their extended meeting with the visiting Tigers on November 11.

Junior Katie Erickson led the Spartan effort with 12 points in the overtime effort. Addison Frick connected drained three treys and a jumper for ll points and Addisyn Martinie contributed ten points in the loss.

Tigers' season starts with road loss

OLYMPIA FIELDS - The Urbana boys' varsity basketball team lost their road opener to Manley at Rich Central, 76-72.

Seggebruch leads Spartans in first win of the season

St. Joseph-Ogden 61 - Tuscola 47
ST. JOSEPH - SJO's A-Team came together rolling over the visiting Warriors for their first win of the season. Addison Seggebruch scored a team-high 14 points on her home court on November 11. Addisyn Martinie finished with 12 points, and Addison Frick rounded out the top three scorers with 10 points. The Spartans made nearly half their total points from outside the arc, hitting nine three-pointers in the non-conference game.

Sicily Moss led Tuscola's effort with 16 points across all four frames. The loss broke a four-game win streak for the Warriors and remains their only loss as of today.

Going to the hospital? Here's what you should consider taking with you

Photo: Stephen Andrews/Unsplash

by Tim Ditman
OSF Healthcare

URBANA - You’re coming to the hospital to give birth. You’ve had a hip replacement and now will have a hospital stay to complete rehabilitation. There are a lot of things swirling through your mind, notably thoughts like “Am I going to be OK?” Questions like “Where is my toothbrush?” are probably on the backburner. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a “hospital essential items” checklist now.

Kurt Bloomstrand, MD, sees these scenarios plenty while providing care in the emergency department at OSF HealthCare. He says a hospital will provide basic toiletries, blankets, food and clothing like a gown and socks. But some people prefer their own toiletries, clothes and snacks.

Other things to do and bring:

• Write down your health information: health insurance, medications, medical history, name of your primary care provider, allergies and legal documents like power of attorney and a do not resuscitate order. Have an identification like a driver's license, too.

“Some people in the emergency department are not able to tell us their health information given what they’re presenting for. So, it’s so valuable to have basic health information written down,” Dr. Bloomstrand says. He adds that knowing your health information allows providers to care for you properly. You can also bring legal forms to your provider anytime to be added to your medical record.

• Bring other items essential to your well-being: eyeglasses, contacts, hearing aids, dentures and a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) for sleeping. Bring cases and batteries for these items, too.

• When choosing clothes, opt for loose-fitting and short-sleeved garments.

“If you have an IV, a short-sleeved shirt is much better to access it than a long-sleeved shirt,” Dr. Bloomstrand says. “You can bring a robe to cover up.”

• For moms giving birth, bring your birth plan in written form. Pack a few pairs of clothes for you and your baby.

“Babies notoriously spit up on their clothes,” Dr. Bloomstrand said.

• The hospital can provide diapers, wipes and a breast pump. But, you can bring your own if you prefer a certain type.

“Not only can you use your breast pump, the people at the hospital can teach you how to use it.

What babies don’t need at the hospital: rattles, books and toys. Save those memories for home.”

• Don’t overdo it with personal items and food. This can cause your room to get cluttered and create a trip hazard. Have someone who can take unneeded items home.

• Don’t bring valuable items.

Dr. Bloomstrand says a phone is OK to keep in touch with loved ones. But other electronics and jewelry should stay home.

Hospitals have security, but like any other place, there is a chance for theft.

Giving it his all

ST. JOSEPH - St. Joseph-Ogden's Davin Alvarez gives his all to try and roll Clifton Central's Giona Panozzo on his back in the second period of the 150-pound match on Tuesday at St. Joseph-Odgen High School. Alvarez battled valiantly in an exciting match but lost via pin halfway through the third period. The Spartans went on to win the dual meet, 40-35. Alvarez was back on the mat almost an hour later in another fiece battle with Oakwood's Grant Brewer. Brewer's experience proved too much for the Spartan junior, who lost by technical fall, 16-1. More Spartan wrestling photos and news are coming soon.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Brazelton notches 2 wins for SJO on Tuesday

Holden Brazelton
ST. JOSEPH - St. Joseph-Ogden's Holden Brazelton tries to roll Clifton Central's Kayden Cody to his back in the third period of their 138-pound match at Tuesday's marathon triangle meet. Brazelton, a finalist in last February's state tournament, defeated Cody by Major Decision, 15-1. After a half dozen exciting matches, the Spartans defeated the visiting Comets by a narrow 40-35 decision. Brazelton picked up his second win in the team's next match against the Oakwood-Salt Fork Coop, defeating Jack Ajster, 9-2.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Sports Page | Spartans win Toyota of Danville Classic title

ST. JOSEPH - Last Saturday, St. Joseph-Ogden (4-0) won their fourth-consecutive Toyota of Danville Classic title. Piling on 26 points in the first quarter, the Spartans went on to defeat Oakwood with a total-team effort, 74-42. Here is a look at some of the players and moments that made it possible.

Athletes featured in this edition are Tanner Jacob (tournament MVP), Logan Smith, Coy Taylor, Tanner Siems, Luke Landrus and Tim Blackburn-Kelley from St. Joseph-Ogden. Oakwood's Brody Taflinger and Carson Dudley, who led his team with 15 points, are also included.

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

In a time not long ago, before the popularity of online photo galleries and dwindling advertising revenue, newspapers routinely told stories and reported on newsworthy events through photo pages. Full-size 22x17 pages are available for matting and framing for an impressive display in your home or office. Order yours here.

Santa Claus is making an early stop in St. Joseph this Saturday

ST. JOSEPH - St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Family will host a "Holly Jolly Christmas" from 7-10 am at the St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Station on Saturday.

The family-friendly event will have various craft tables, a hot cocoa bar with all the fixings, and a cookie decorations station with cookies from nearby Casey's.

"We add a little more fun each year!" Vickie Reese told The Sentinel yesterday. "This year is the 75th Anniversary of the Fire Department so we are showcasing that achievement on a special tree this year."

Best of all, Santa Claus will stop by at 10 am in his firetruck sleigh to greet all the children and guests. Kids will receive a gift bag after the visit from St. Nick.

"We have some surprises that aren’t on the flyer," Reese said. "After the kids see Santa, they will get a special Firetruck gift bag that has some take-home crafts, reindeer food, and the Santa’s Helper fire helmet.

A Pancake and Sausage breakfast will be served from 7am-9:30am by members of SJS Fire Family. A photographer will also be on hand to take family portraits from 8-9:30 am.

This is the third 3rd year the Fire Family has hosted the Holly Jolly Christmas event. It would have been the fifth, but the Covid pandemic postponed one year and canceled it in another according to Reese. For more information, see the flyer below.

Winning & pinning, Spartans and Tigers tangle at quad meet

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Urbana's Jaylan Goines ties up St. Joseph-Ogden's Corbin Smith during their 190-pound match at Saturday's Quad Meet at St. Joseph-Ogden High School. Goines scored six points for his team after securing the match by pin in 33 seconds on the Spartan junior. Despite the loss, SJO went on to win the match, 58-21.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library comes to Champaign County

URBANA - The Imagination Library, founded by Country music legend and humanitarian Dolly Parton, is now available to Champaign Country residents. Funded by Parton and the Dollywood Foundation, who cover much of the overhead costs and administration needs, the cost for books and postage is taken care of by local programs, the United Way of Champaign County.

Each month, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library mails a high-quality, age-appropriate book to all eligible registered children at no cost to the family. Books are carefully selected and mailed addressed with the child's name.

Photo Cottonbro Studio/PEXELS

Parents who read to their babies and young children lay the neurological pathways in the brain for building effective language use as well as reading and writing proficiency.

Eligibility is open to all children under the age of 5 who live in Champaign County, Illinois. Books are sent monthly until the child turns five years old and as long as they live within the covered geographic area.

Some titles include Baby! Talk!, Pudgy Pat A Cake, Who Says Quack?, and Look at the Animals for kids born this year to In Our Garden, Wild Horses, You Can Be ABC, Wonder Walker, and I’m Not Scared, You’re Scared for children in the the age four to five group.

The Champaign County program is funded by donors via the Community Impact Fund and The State of Illinois. Parton's initiative has gifted over 224,249,899 books since its start in 1995 in Parton's hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee.

Studies have shown that kids whose parents or guardians read to them regularly during their early years perform better academically as they progress through the educational system. It is never too early or too late to read to children.

Parents interested in registering the children can follow this link to register today. The first book should arrive approximately eight to twelve weeks after registraion and will arrive monthly.

St. Joe Santa 5K Run/Walk Race on December 16

Sara Meyer poses for a photo with The Grinch after running in the inaugural event called the "Ho Ho Ho 5K" in 2018. Hundreds of Santas are expected at this year's race, bringing a sleigh-full of holiday cheer.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

ST. JOSEPH - Fire up the hot chocolate. Once again, it is that time of year for the cheery faces of Santas making their way through the streets of St. Joseph. Over 380 runners and walkers participated in last year's event, and this year's event could be even larger, with 161 runners already committed to participate on December 16.

There is still plenty of time for runners to sign up online at Race registration closes on December 13 at 11:59 CST.

St. Joseph mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges
St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges helps hand out medals and greets runners crossing the finish line at the Ho Ho Ho 5K in December of 2018. There were more than 300 participants and nearly that number in spectators, family members and well-wishers along the 5k course the first year.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

The event's race swag will include a Santa hat and beard, red long sleeved Santa race shirt, and a commemorative race medal for all participants.

After the race, this family-friendly event features a lot of warm smiles, good music, milk & cookies, and delicious hot chocolate. There will also be plenty of opportunities to have a picture or two with Santa & The Grinch at the annual community holiday event.

The St. Joe Santa 5k Run/Walk is a non-profit organization that organizes fun events to raise money for benefit local charities, while promoting health and fitness.

Related Sentinel articles
• • • •

1st annual Santa HO HO HO 5k Fun Run/Walk a success

On the way home from a marathon/half marathon race in Indianapolis, Max Painter and members of his running group lamented how the event was the last race they would run in 2018.

During the discussion fellow runner Brenda Hixon suggested the possibility of taking another road trip. Maybe to Chicago or running in Indy again at either city's Santa Hustle. The group of avid runner decided they would indeed run one more race before the end of the year.

St. Joe Santa 5k is set for December 21

If you live in St. Joseph, don't be surprised if you wake up four days before Christmas and see hundreds of fit-looking Santas running through the village. No, these Kris Kringle knockoffs won't be looking for lost reindeer or handing out early holiday presents to those who've been extra nice this year. The red shirts will be running in the 2019 St. Joe Santa 5K run/walk on December 21.

Third installment of holiday 5K held in St. Joseph goes virtual

While the Coronavirus pandemic has put the kibosh on a lot of events, it is not stopping Brenda Hixson from raising money for the St. Joseph Food Bank. The St. Joe Santa 5K will run on - online that is.

Proceeds from the race in past years was given to help support the local St. Joseph food bank pantry managed by the St. Joseph Methodist Church in partnership with the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

• • • •

Photo Gallery | Urbana wrestlers try to earn a couple of wins

Malachi Hutchison wrestles Kendrick White during their 137-pound match at the St. Joseph-Ogden quad meet on Saturday. Despite a strong showing, Hutchison lost by pin and the Tigers went on to drop the early season match to their Big 12 rival. Official results were not available at this time.

All photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

National Labor Relations Board issues new rule that is hailed a win for workers

by Brett Peveto
Illinois News Connection

CHICAGO - The National Labor Relations Board recently issued a rule change that may have wide-ranging impacts for workers and businesses.

The update to the joint employer rule would require parent companies to negotiate collective bargaining agreements with employees even when using a staffing agency or subcontractor.

It also means franchisors and franchisees can both be held liable for unfair labor practices.

This replaces a Trump-era rule change that made it easier for companies to avoid a finding of joint-employer status.

Brian Petruska - general counsel with the mid-Atlantic regional organizing coalition of the Laborer's International Union of North America - said the rule change is a win for workers.

"It means that the employees' right to organize still is meaningful," said Petruska, "even in this modern world we live in with layers and layers of LLCs and corporations who are now defining the workspace."

The rule change now faces legal challenges including from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which filed suit against the board in federal court.

In a statement on its website, the Chamber says the rule change will "create chaos and more legal confusion that will harm both employers and workers."

The NLRB rule establishes that two or more entities may be considered joint employers of a group of employees when more than one entity possesses the authority to control employees' essential terms and conditions of employment.

The board says this change is more in line with established common-law agency principles.

Petruska said he sees opposition to the updated rule coming from a number of industries including restaurants, construction and hotels.

He also said the franchise business model will no longer insulate the parent company from labor issues.

"Now," said Petruska, "the fact that they have that control may cause them to be embroiled in local labor disputes that the franchisees are having with their employees."

The new rule will go into effect next February.

Illinois high school seniors already facing a challenge applying for college financial aid

Michael Wysmierski/Pixabay

by Joe Ulery
Illinois News Connection

CHICAGO - Illinois high school seniors have new hurdles to overcome to get to college. High school students are waiting several extra weeks to get their hands on a newly designed Free Application for Student Aid. You might know it better as FAFSA.

The delay in the current process puts students behind when applying for financial aid.

Tabitha Jackson, senior seminar instructor for CICS Longwood High School, works with seniors at the charter school in Chicago. She said FAFSA has always been an Achilles heel, but the delay -- combined with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to repeal affirmative action -- has further exacerbated the process.

"It's so frustrating and it's so hurtful to let a student know, 'Because of who I am, I may not have some additional support or some additional support benefits of being able to go to this school,'" she said. "My question is to my students: 'If affirmative action stops at this level, what's next?'"

Jackson added a lot of students don't want debt, and financial aid helps determine which college they can afford. The 2024-25 FAFSA form is expected to be available by the end of 2023.

The cumbersome conditions coincide with a downward trend for high school seniors who are participating in career and college aid counseling.

Doug Keller, partnership lead with San Francisco-based YouthTruth, said its Class of 2022 Survey underscores troubling findings from respondents.

"We found that there's significant declines among particular student groups and their participating in counseling about how to pay for college -- specifically, among Hispanic or Latinx students, multi-racial and multi-ethnic students and boys," he explained.

Keller said the largest gap is among American Indian, Alaskan and other Indigenous students, with a 14% gap between those who want to go to college and those who expect to attend.

Coping with violent trauma from the past during the holiday season

by Paul Arco
OSF Healthcare

ROCKFORD - The holidays are typically a time for joy and celebration with loved ones. But for some survivors of violent crime, the holidays can also be filled with stress, anxiety and memories of not-so happy times.

“For other folks it can be the holidays that triggers something because maybe you’ve lost a loved one to gun violence or you witnessed losing that person and you’re going into the holidays and yes, it happened 20 years ago; that doesn’t mean you’re not going to have the symptoms and side effects of that loss,” says Therasa Yehling, manager for the OSF Strive Trauma Recovery Center at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford.

Therasa Yehling

Yehling says those side effects include anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a trauma such as gun violence, assaults, domestic violence, human trafficking and armed violence or robbery in which they are the victim or witness.

The events causing the trauma could have occurred two weeks ago or 10 years ago. There is no expiration date on the grief that happens as a result of violent crime, Yehling adds.

“When we talk to people we actually try to get a full picture of the trauma in their lifetime," says Yehling. "We’re finding that some people have had a lot of trauma starting in their childhood all the way up. Really then, a new traumatic event can stir up all the old stuff that maybe we’ve never dealt with and the symptoms of trauma have rendered that person almost catatonic and they can’t function.”

Yehling offers several basic tips for violent crime survivors during the holidays.

  • Trust your grief and your healing
  • Experience the grief and don’t run from it
  • Say no to things that make you uncomfortable and form healthy boundaries
  • Create new traditions
  • Make a list of things you’re grateful for this year
  • Do something kind for someone else

If none of those things seem to help or if these feelings are interrupting daily activities Yehling says it’s time to seek professional help as soon as possible. She does warn that seeking support will also mean doing a deep dive into what’s causing your feelings.

“I think people have to understand that if someone is going to talk about something very traumatic, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking – it is important that they talk to someone who can help them through that process, therapeutically," says Yehling. "Otherwise you’re helping them to relive it and that’s about it.”

Yehling adds that our expectations of having the perfect time with family during the holiday season are often unrealistic. While that can be stressful enough, it becomes worse when you add the complexities of being a survivor of violent crime. Yehling encourages family and friends to go slowly and give their loved one the time and space they need to get through the holidays.

“I just think whether you have trauma or not everyone needs to be gentle and kind and supportive,” Yehling says.

For more information on help for survivors of violent crimes, visit OSF HealthCare.

Key Takeaways: 
  • The holidays can trigger emotions for survivors of violent crime.
  • Violent crime includes gun violence, assaults, domestic violence or robbery.
  • Side effects include anxiety, depression or post-traumatic disorder.
  • Ways to cope include saying no to things that make you uncomfortable, create new traditions or do something nice for someone else.
  • If nothing else helps, seek professional help as soon as possible.

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