Daily dose: Buffalo Bill rides in an auto, Heat Wave of '36, replacing corn-based ethanol, steroid use among high school athletes
In 1911, 27 automobiles of the Indiana four state tour came spinning through Champaign this morning, the first arriving at about 11:30 a.m., each filled with boosters for the Indiana auto industry. The cars circled around the Hotel Beardsley and a large number of local citizens were present to see the travelers who were covered in dust but perfectly happy. When the group stopped in Danville earlier the pilot car took aboard “Buffalo Bill,” who is showing in that city. They drove Col. Cody five miles outside the city and it is said that he enjoyed the stunt.
In 1961, Thomas P. Parkinson, University of Illinois graduate and former associate editor of Billboard magazine, has been appointed director of the University of Illinois Assembly Hall now under construction. Parkinson, 40, has more than 10 years of experience as a reporter, columnist and consultant in arena and auditorium management.
The heat wave of '36
From today's column ...
"Seventy-five years ago, East Central Illinois and most of the rest of the middle of the nation sweltered through the hottest month on record.
As the July 8, 1936, News-Gazette noted (after a day when the high was 104 and the low was 80), “It was hotter than Hell here Tuesday!” At noon, it was 101 degrees in Champaign; it was only
100 degrees in Hell, Mich.
From July 4 to July 15, 1936, temperatures soared past the 100-degree mark on 11 of 12 days. On the one day that it didn’t hit 100 degrees, July 9, the high was 99.
The peak temperature in Champaign-Urbana that month was 108 on the 14th (in Danville, it was 112 degrees). The hottest temperature recorded in central Illinois that month was 114 on the 15th in Bloomington. Peoria and Lincoln both recorded 113 that day, but Champaign made it to only 105.
Nationally, about 5,000 people died from the heat that month, including dozens in central Illinois.
Even today, 11 of the local daily record highs for July are left over from that scorching summer."
I got a call this morning from a charming gentleman, Henry Thornton, who still lives where he did 75 years ago -- in rural Potomac -- when he experienced that hot summer as an 11-year-old.
"That was one to remember," he said, recalling how he and his younger brother slept on the front porch, and not their second-floor bedroom, all of July. In the daytime they spent a lot of time at a nearby creek where there was a swimming hole.
The Thornton's farm had no electricity -- so no electric fan and no refrigeration -- he recalled. And it didn't take a lot of time for the ice to melt in the icebox.
There were fresh vegetables in the garden, he remembered, and it was frequently watered from a hand pump.
Mr. Thornton remembered that the previous winter was a particularly brutal one, with cold temperatures and lots of snow. The rivers and creeks in northern Vermilion County had 8 to 10 inches of ice.
Replacing corn-based ethanol
From The Denver Post ...
Biofuel grasses have the potential to replace corn-based ethanol as a method of producing ethanol within the U.S. Corn Belt, researchers from Colorado State University said today.
The CSU study, with help of collaborators from the University of Illinois, found that using biofuel grass species, such as switchgrass, in the same land area used to grow corn, could result in an increase in ethanol production, a reduction in nitrogen leaching into the Gulf of Mexico and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions caused from the Corn Belt in the Midwest region of the United States.
According to CSU, the research showed that by replacing corn ethanol, perennial grasses could increase the productivity of food and fuel within the region without causing additional indirect land use change.
Steroid testing of Illinois high school atheltes
From the Los Angeles Times ...
But the jury is out on whether it's had a similar effect on young athletes.
"We certainly hope so," said Dr. James Winger, a sports medicine physician at Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine.
"So much of the outcry in the last five to 10 years over the steroid problem ... has been in the name of young athletes and children, and making sure they're not running into health problems down the road. There have been some high-profile high school athletes who have taken drugs and had terrible consequences, including death," Winger said.
"We suppose a certain percentage of high school athletes are probably using, but what we know is a little different. The IHSA (Illinois High School Association) has been randomly testing, and the number of positive tests they're turning up is very low.
"It does appear that either (athletes are) not being caught or not using. On higher levels of competition, we favor not being caught because cheaters are several chemical levels ahead of the tests. On the high school level, we hope it's because they're not using," he said.
Though the results of the three years of IHSA drug testing are encouraging — 1,478 tests as of spring have yielded just two positive results that did not receive medical clearance — other figures are not.