pd58batch1-15482-ploy_1.jpgIn response to a massive personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage both at the national and state level, a woman in downstate Illinois has been using her sewing skills to help fill the gap. Dusty Cox-Medina of McDonough County has sewn hundreds of masks in the past few weeks to help her local essential workers.

Cox-Medina worked as a registered nurse until a tragic back injury disabled her. Being able to help out in this midst of the pandemic helps her feel connected to her former work.

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Surgical maskDue to the COVID-19 crisis, the country is facing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE): life-saving masks, goggles, gloves and other supplies health care workers need to keep themselves and their patients safe. To ensure the best care for Illinoisans during this time, Gov. JB Pritzker has partnered with in-state manufacturing and biotech companies to ramp up production of these supplies.

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Kraft Heinz Headquarters Chicago

Many of us grew up eating Velveeta, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Miracle Whip and of course, mac and cheese from a little blue box. But did you know that these products have Illinois roots? The Kraft Heinz Company got its start on Water Street in Chicago.

The history of Kraft goes back to 1903, when J.L. Kraft begin purchasing cheese at Chicago’s wholesale market and reselling it to local merchants. A short time later, four of his brothers joined him in this budding business. In 1909, the family-ran business incorporated to J.L. Kraft & Bros. Co.

The group obtained a patent for their revolutionary cheese processing method in 1919. The patent came in handy during World War I, when J.L. Kraft & Bros. Co. supplied tinned cheese to the U.S. Government to send to armed forces overseas.

Kraft utilized innovative advertising to promote products and was a pioneer in sponsoring television and radio shows.  Kraft Music Hall on radio and KraftTelevision Theatre helped prove the effectiveness of advertising on the then-new media.

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ILI RIPE ImageScientists at the University of Illinois have found a way to enhance yields by engineering a more efficient way for crops to convert sunlight into energy.

Researchers participating in an international study called Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency – or RIPE – have discovered that most crops on the planet experience suppressed yield potential as a result of a glitch in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into energy.

To combat the problem, scientists have developed a shortcut in the photosynthetic process that can make crops about 40 percent more productive. The study estimates that up to 200 million additional people could be fed with the production lost during photosynthesis in the Midwest.

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Alma Mater UIUC

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a flexible patch that monitors if you need to rehydrate.

The new device is placed on your forearm or lower back. It absorbs sweat and tests for glucose, lactate, chloride and pH levels to determine if you are overworking your body. Circles in the patch will change colors as they test your sweat. A smartphone app analyzes the color of the circles and determines the contents of your sweat.

The patches are designed for a single use and can monitor sweat for up to six hours.

Although the design is still a few years away from completion, it could be used to warn athletes or military personnel when they are nearing overexertion before it’s too late.

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