Lester: Planned Parenthood sees spike in appointments after election
Planned Parenthood's Aurora health center is expanding hours and taking on extra appointments as it sees a spike in calls from women concerned about changes after Donald Trump takes office.
The Aurora center alone reports a 75 percent increase in online appointments for annual exams between Nov. 9, the day after the election, and Nov. 16, compared to the same time last year. Online appointments for birth control increased 56 percent in the last eight days, compared to the eight days before. Trump has promised to defund Planned Parenthood and ran on a vow to overturn Obamacare, under which insurers provide birth control for free.
"We are trying our best to accommodate patients and get them in," Brigid Leahy, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Illinois, tells me.
Planned Parenthood officials point out any potential changes aren't imminent.
"The president-elect won't be inaugurated until Jan. 20. And the wheels of government aren't something that turn immediately," Leahy said. "We want to make sure women are not feeling panicked."
In the meantime, she said, women should make sure to enroll in a health insurance plan by the Jan. 31 deadline, as well as sign up for their annual exam.
Leahy said no matter what might happen, Planned Parenthood will "keep providing care for the patients who need it."
The number of homeless residents in Aurora, Elgin and greater Kane County declined from 474 in 2007 to 355 in 2016, says a new report by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
That 25 percent drop mirrors a trend in Illinois, where homelessness dropped 25 percent in the same period.
HUD officials attribute the decrease in part to the Obama administration's 2010 implementation of a comprehensive strategy to reduce homelessness. Other suburbs aren't in the report, which is based on data from homeless assistance programs receiving federal help.
'Father Pat' dies
A longtime pastor beloved during his tenure at several suburban parishes died last week at age 65.
The Rev. Patrick Cecil served at St. Zachary Parish in Des Plaines from 1984-91, St. Mary in Buffalo Grove from 1992-96, St. Patrick in Wadsworth from 1996 to 2010, and most recently at St. Mary of the Woods Parish in Chicago. "He loved playing golf and he was very Irish," said the Rev. Martin Zielinski, a longtime friend and a history professor at Mundelein Seminary.
Services were Saturday, with Cecil's burial at Maryhill Cemetery in Niles.
Turkey testicles get coated in batter at the Parkside Tap's annual Turkey Testicle Festival in Huntley.
- Daily Herald File Photo
A local delicacy
While I have a pretty good sense of adventure, as a Daily Herald cub reporter years ago, I'd breathe a sigh of relief each year when I wasn't selected to cover Parkside Pub's annual Turkey Testicle Festival.
The Huntley institution batters and deep fries more than 1,000 pounds of testicles to feed to an expected 5,200 patrons at the festival, which is in its 34th year.
Those in our newsroom who've tried them say they taste much like chicken gizzards. This year's festival is Wednesday, with doors opening at 9 a.m. Admission is $10. See www.parksidepubhuntley.com/ttf//.
Oprah Winfrey's iconic show was meant from the start to appeal to women in the suburbs, says WBEZ's new podcast, in which Winfrey tells the behind-the-scenes story of the show. The three-part "Making Oprah" series is hosted by Jenn White and produced by Colin McNulty. Find a link to the series at www.wbez.org.
While it might seem people are more divided than ever, the Rev. Corey Brost of Arlington Heights says he's had an unusual number of requests to participate in interfaith events -- including three on Sunday in Mount Prospect, Waukegan and Buffalo Grove. There's another one at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Temple Chai in Long Grove.
When he speaks, Brost has a simple message: "It's not about religious tolerance, it's about valuing religious traditions that are different and seeing that our nation is stronger because of religious diversity."