Illinois Olympians 2022 Beijing Winter GamesThe Olympics are one of the most viewed international sporting events to date. Throughout its continuance, there has been longstanding Illinoisan representation. Over the years, numerous Illinois athletes have earned the opportunity to compete with equally talented opponents. Illinois produces solid and motivated contenders who make their home state very proud. This year, seven Illinoisans will be competing on Team USA in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Games. They include:

Megan Bozek – A Buffalo Grove native, Bozek has been making remarkable strides in the hockey world. From serving as team caption of her college team, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and helping them attain D-1 national championship titles to winning four gold medals and two silver medals while competing in the World Championship. As a 2014 Olympic medalist, she returns to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

Jason Brown – Raised in Highland Park, Brown has been figure skating since he was three years old. He has participated in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games in which his team received a bronze medal, and he finished in ninth place on the individual level. He is currently set to participate in the figure skating singles event at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

Jesse Compher – At only 22 years old, this Northbrook native has been presented with two medals in the World Championship and is now taking part in her first Olympic Games. As an active member of the Colorado Avalanche organization, she continues to train and hone her hockey skills as she prepares for the 2022 Winter Games.

Kendall Coyne-Schofield – From Palos Heights, Coyne-Schofield is a three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic medalist. She is also the recipient of eight consecutive World Championship medals. With her dedication to hockey and good sportsmanship, she earned the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award in 2016 and continues to flourish in the sport she loves at the 2022 Winter Games.

Savannah Harmon – Harmon was born and raised in Downers Grove. As the recipient of a silver medal during the 2021 World Championship, Harmon will be participating in the hockey event at her first Olympic Games this year.

Alexa Knierim – With Addison roots, this figure skater is a two-time Olympic medalist. One of these medals was presented to her team recently during the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. She partakes in the event for figure skating pairs.

Abbey Murphy – Starting her career at six years old with the help of her neighbor, this Evergreen Park local became a three-time member of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s Select Team and skated in three IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships in which she won two medals. Shortly after, she joined the U.S. Women’s National Team and was presented with a silver medal as a result of her display of athleticism at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship. At an astonishing age of only 19 years of age, Murphy is making her mark in hockey history by playing in the 2022 Winter Games.

Tune in to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games and root for your fellow Illinoisans.

Newspaper clipping that says "Business Booms"Illinois is leading the Midwest, and is among the top ten states nationally, in business startups, according to recently-released data from the Business Formation Statistics Report.

The Business Formation Statistics are produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and a number of economists affiliated with other accredited federal agencies. BFS collects and presents accurate data concerning new emerging businesses and startup applications across the states. The Business Formation Statistics Report for Illinois reflected outstanding statistics in the year 2021. This agency began collecting information in 2004, and since then, it has recently documented Illinois as having its highest-ever number of business startups.

Within 2021, Illinois became the center of 198,827 business startups. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 to the end of 2021, there was a 69% increase in business startups and entrepreneurship. As a result, Illinois ranked first in the Midwest in respect to startup creation. According to the statistics, Illinois was rated as the leading Midwest state due to having more than 40,000 startups than its closest ranked state, Ohio.

In addition, Illinois was recognized as the sixth state for highest number of business startups in 2021. Illinois followed closely behind Florida, California, and Texas. Overall, on a national level, Illinois placed eighth in startup creation growth. The drastic 69% increase from 2019 to 2021 in entrepreneurship in Illinois is profoundly telling of its residents’ desire to propel forward and contribute to the replenishing of the economy. It is quite noteworthy to acknowledge Illinois’ placement as the largest state among the top ten leading states for startup growth in the United States.

Plate of duckGrace Goudie, an Illinois native, advanced to the season finale of “Chopped” following her latest win in the competition. She will soon face-off against the remaining competitors to see who will take home the $25,000 cash prize.

Goudie began her culinary journey as a teenager, waiting tables prior to studying journalism and food science at the University of Missouri. She attended the prestigious Culinary Institute in Napa, California, and participated in the Accelerated Culinary Arts Program. Following her graduation, she worked at a number of restaurants, then returned to the Chicago area.

Goudie later received the opportunity of a lifetime. She was hired by Thomas Keller, a chef known for his exceptionally high standards and accolades, to work in his restaurants as a sous chef at Ad Hoc and later at French Laundry, a three Michelin-starred restaurant.

Having to impress the renowned judges of “Chopped” is not the only challenge with which Goudie is familiar. Her participation was urged by her mother, who is currently fighting a battle with lymphoma, but despite having to beat out the contenders with an unconventional ingredient – fish heads – she was able to rise above the competition and put herself among the finalists.

Goudie is now an executive chef of the breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant Scratchboard Kitchen in Arlington Heights, her first restaurant which she opened during the COVID-19 pandemic. At just 30 years old, she brings pride to cooks throughout Illinois by sharing her skills with the world on Facebook and YouTube. Her website features recipes and tutorial videos for chefs to try techniques and dishes from the comfort of their own home.

The season finale of “Chopped” will air Feb. 1 on the Food Network.

GetzToday is National Whipped Cream Day, and the sweet treat has its origins right here in Illinois. The cold has returned again, and hot drinks topped with whipped cream are a great way to keep warm. While the day falls on the birthday of the late Aaron “Bunny” Lapin, who founded “Reddi-wip”, true credit for one of the most popular dessert toppings goes to Charles Getz, who was a graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign during the Great Depression.

Getz discovered that milk infused with pressurized carbon dioxide began to foam. At the time, Getz was conducting research on food preservation, but he quickly understood the potential of his discovery. Working in collaboration with Chemistry professor George Frederick Smith, Getz experimented with the foaming milk and determined that nitrous oxide was ideal for the process, as carbon dioxide created a bitter taste. From this process, portable whipped cream as we put on our desserts today was born.

Afterward, Getz patented the method, which George Frederick Smith, with help from his brothers, Allyne H. Smith and Clarence Smith, used to develop a product called Instantwhip, the first aerosol whipped cream, in 1933. The product proved successful in restaurants, ice cream shops, and soda fountains. Building off their success, the Smith brothers decided to found a larger business.  

In 1934, Smith used Instantwhip whipped cream to launch the company Instantwhip Foods with his brothers in Ohio. They initially sold the whipped cream in cans that could be returned and refilled. They mostly sold their products to restaurants or ice-cream parlors. The company still exists today and sells many other products, including coffee creamer and yogurt under the name of Instantwhip Foods.

In 1948, Reddi-Wip would be founded by Aaron “Bunny” Lapin, who patented the specific spray nozzle and sold their product directly to consumers. Many attribute the invention of aerosol whipped cream to Lapin, even though Getz and Smith discovered the process in the 1930s. As you put whipped cream on your hot chocolate this cold January day, you can thank Charles Getz and his research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

IllinoisstatehoodOn Dec. 3, 1818 Illinois entered the union as our 21st State. At the time, the estimated population of total European settlers and Native Americans was around 35,000. The treeless prairie was very different from the adjacent forests of Kentucky and Tennessee, and was still largely unsettled. Most of the early Illinois settlers remained in the southern part of the state, where they built homes and farms near the trees that grew along creek and river bottoms. The southern part of the state, known as “Little Egypt,” was mainly settled by migrants from the South, who had traveled there via the Ohio River.  Eventually, a few farmers took on the task of plowing the prairie and discovered that the soil was richer than expected. The development of heavier prairie plows and improved access to wood and other supplies, accessible through new shipping routes, encouraged more farmers to head north.

In 1819, Vandalia became the new state’s first capital, and over the next 18 years, three separate buildings were built to serve successively as the capitol building. In 1837, the state legislators representing Sangamon County, under the leadership of state representative  Abraham Lincoln, succeeded in having the capital moved to Springfield, where a fifth capitol building was constructed. A sixth capitol building was erected in 1867, which continues to serve as the Illinois capitol today.

The state experienced rapid population growth almost immediately. The 1820 census counted 55,211 Illinois residents, a gain of 16.2% from 1810. Since then, Illinois has gained population in every decennial census, although the rate of growth has slowed. As of 2020, the state is approaching 13 million residents. Since 1840, the center of population in Illinois had shifted to the north. Chicago, once a remote hamlet, rapidly emerged as a bustling city. Today, Illinois is one of the most dynamic and diverse states in the nation and it all began in Dec. 1818.