Laura Kennedy

Features Reporter/All Things Considered Host

Reporter, content producer and All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. Presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.

Astonishingly pale and a tad goth, Kennedy tends to sizzle if left in the sun too long.

In her spare time Kennedy nurtures her worrisome passion for cashmere, plays zither in her imaginary garage band, Dowager Hump, and sits slack-jawed in front of the television watching Turner Classic Movies.

Ways to Connect

Jack / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Twin Cities Ballet celebrates 35 years of performing The Nutcracker ballet in Bloomington/Normal.

John Picken / Flickr via Creative Commons

We plant trees, we nurture them along, and we watch them grow through the season, putting down roots in our gardens and our hearts.  So when the day comes that the tree fails, we're faced with a painful truth:  It has to come down.

Golly G Force / Flickr via Creative Commons

You can put hours and hours of training into a dog, and still the loveable canine will occasionally misbehave. So what gives?  What does it mean when dogs seem to forget their training to free range their behavior? 

Selena N.B.H. / Flickr via Creative Commons

There's nothing like a movie that can make your mouth water. It's fun to savor movies involving food and cooking, luxuriating  in the morsels created, finding inspiration -- but never paying the price of too many calories.

Habitat for Humanity of McLean County.

Habitat for Humanity of McLean County ReStore is renovating its current space and has just implemented a project to expand the square footage.

Hiltrud Moller-Ebertha / Flickr via Creative Commons

When the growing season is done, that's the time to make plans for the future of your garden -- that's the time to collect seeds. Careful collection and storage of seeds in the fall ensures new plants for the spring, said Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow.

Larry Kanfer / "A Prairie State Of Mind"

Photographer Larry Kanfer celebrates the Heartland in his new book, A Prairie State of Mind.  The serene beauty and remarkable contrasts of the prairie cycle through the season's in Kanfer's book. 

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Tom Ashbrook, an award-winning journalist who has covered stories all over the world, came home last week to central Illinois.   Based in Boston at WBUR, Ashbrook was the guest this past Friday for the 2016 GLT's Radio Faces.  He's currently the host of NPR's On Point, though his resume includes forays into  Alaskan oil fields as a surveyor, and a producer of international editions of vintage Chinese Kung Fu movies.  

Rexness / Flickr via Creative Commons

Some stunning holiday decor will help the children and families of The Baby Fold in Normal with The 23rd Annual Festival of Trees, Nov. 18 - 20.

Carnat Joel / Flickr via Creative Commons

It's been a pretty mild fall, particularly in the Midwest, so there's still time to get some loveliness into the ground before winter gets here.  Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow, has a few suggestions.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

On this Veterans Day, Americans  across the country are honoring those who served.  A visit to the Illinois State University Archives reveals  some of the various ways those associated with ISU served their country, including  how the first president of the university risked his life in battle, and how the university's first librarian helped document the activities of students turned soldiers.

Geoff Hughes / Heartland Theater

Peel back the flesh of The Homecoming  and you'll find a dangerous family dynamic that plays out to a shocking conclusion. Heartland Theater in Normal is currently staging this masterpiece of contemporary drama by Harold Pinter, who carefully charts the tumultuous inner workings of a working class English family.

Kendra Paitz

The latest exhibition at the University Galleries in Normal allows contemporary women artists to explore the legacies of the writers who inspire them. It's Strange Oscillations and Vibrations of Sympathy, currently on view. Very much in the vein of inspiration, the title of the show was written by one writer, underlined by another and used to inspire a work of art.

ravas51 / Flickr via Creative Commons

Acne is not just for teenagers.  It can develop on cats, as well.  It's a surprisingly common feline skin disorder that's a component of a much larger syndrome of complex feline allergic skin diseases, said  Dr. Matt Fraker from the Prairie Oak Veterinary Center in Normal.  

Clare Black / Flickr via Creative Commons

With the end of Daylight Savings Time, our bodies are expected yet again to adapt to a shift that could disrupt our sleep-wake cycle for days.  Even though the time shift happens only twice a year, many people suffer from ongoing sleep problems that can critically impact our health.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

A pair of artists shared not only studio space but a creative impulse in creating works that are currently on display at heartland Community College.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr via Creative Commons

Having raspberry bushes in your backyard is a real bonus -- they produce a healthy and delicious treat that's versatile in the kitchen.  But, according to Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow, keeping the plant healthy in the yard takes some work.

Gordon Vayo

A Twin Cities native is the runner-up in the World Series of Poker, which wrapped up play early this morning in Las Vegas. 

j van cise / Flickr via Creative Commons

Many, many years ago, prairie grasses covered much of the Midwest.  The grasses lost the battle to cultivated crops -- corn, wheat, soybeans.  But now everyday gardeners are trying to bring prairie grass back where it belongs.

mcfarlandmo / Flickr via Creative Commons

Season seven of The Walking Dead just started, returning a terrifying vision of a zombie apocalypse to the small screen.  It's quite a departure from TV 40 years ago, when the supernatural was often depicted as funny and cute, like on the show, Bewitched.  At least that what it seemed on the surface. 

MillsBaker / Flickr via Creative Commons

While you're lining up flu vaccinations for yourself and your family, don't forget about the furry members of your family.  The highly contagious canine flu that's infected thousands of dogs, leading to some deaths, is expected to return this season.  This time, forewarned is forearmed, said Dr. Matt Fraker from the Prairie Oak Veterinary Center in Normal.  You can take steps to protect your pet from H3N2.

Kim McCord

Being a rock musician isn't just a young person's game.  An Illinois State University music professor wants to help people of all ages live the rock n' roll dream.

Debroah Carr Senger

A noted local medium and ghost tour guide has just published a book about the lively dead of the Twin Cities.  Deborah Carr Senger is the author of Haunted Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, just available on Arcadia History Press.

Ray Johnson

Our attention is going to the leaves this time of year as they change into their glorious colors of autumn.  But Ray in Bloomington isn't concerned with the changing hues, but with some mysterious holes that have appeared in the leaves of his otherwise healthy Canadian Red Cherry tree.

Harry Pherson / Flickr via Creative Commons

The mother of all roads is turning 90 this year.  To celebrate nine decades of travel across the wide open spaces of America, Route 66 lovers are converging on the Twin Cities later this week.  The 2nd Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference is Thursday through Sunday, featuring a variety of speakers, historic tours and more.  

Illinois Shakespeare Festival

Witches and ghosts populate the plays of William Shakespeare, so it's natural that they'll be called upon to headline in what's become a new Halloween favorite in the Twin Cities.

John Schattel

Late bloomers can add some delightful color to our yards this time of year.  But a sudden turn in the weather can put the flowers in danger. Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow, said you've got to have your plant in the right space to avoid such problems.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

A hometown musician has returned to the Twin Cities to share an extraordinary musical instrument that, despite a series of unfortunate events, he managed to bring back to life.  Last year, GLT's Laura Kennedy produced a story we called 'How Do You Mend A Broken Harp?' It detailed the long road that musician Ted Nichelson took to restore a rare 86-year old Lyon and Healey harp.

White Chapel Press

Today is World Mental Health Day.  It's also the birthday of Rhoda Derry, who was born in 1834 and is the subject of a new biography entitled 44 Years in Darkness:  A True Story of Madness, Tragedy and Shattered Love.   A local author relates the painful tale of the Illinois woman who suffered through decades of mental illness and disfiguring self-abuse while institutionalized.  

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The Normal Editions Workshop  is celebrating 40 years of work.  A professional print research facility located within the School of Art at Illinois State University, the workshop exists to bring students together with visiting artists so that they may collaborate on projects.

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