May 19, 2022

Ellen DeGeneres, Ending her Talk Show; WNBA Superstar Leaves Nike for Puma; $1M Lottery, Scholarships Offered to Vaccinated Ohio Citizens; Chicago Woman not Protected Despite Vaccine; Free Weekly Film Screening by the Chicago International Film Festival

Ellen DeGeneres is Ending her Talk Show

Ellen DeGeneres has announced that she is planning to end her long-running daytime talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” in 2022, according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR). 

“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged — and, as great as this show is, and as fun, as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” DeGeneres told THR in an interview published Wednesday.

The Ellen show is currently in its 18th season and has won 64 Daytime Emmy Awards. According to the report, the show will wrap after Season 19. The news of DeGeneres ending her talk show comes after a pandemic-impacted season. The show went on a break when DeGeneres was diagnosed with COVID-19 in December. Last summer, staffing changes were also made after some producers were called out for creating a toxic work environment.

DeGeneres spoke about the adverse reports saying that she was taking “responsibility” and that she was “sorry” anyone had a negative experience behind the scenes when her show returned in September for the Season 18 premiere. However, DeGeneres told THR that her show’s issues are not the reason for her ending the show, but it has impacted her decision.

“If I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season. So, it’s not why I’m stopping, but it was hard because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I see a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me, and I’m like, ‘OK, this is hilarious.’ 

Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing, and then it just didn’t stop. And I wasn’t working, so I had no platform, and I didn’t want to address it on [Twitter], and I thought if I just don’t address it, it’s going to go away because it was all so stupid,” she said.

One of the hardest parts of her decision is that she will be missing her staff, DeGeneres said.

“Listen, this is my family. They’ve become my best friends,” she added. “I come to work, and I laugh every single day.”

WNBA Superstar Leaves Nike for Puma

On Wednesday, it was announced in a joint release with Puma and various other outlets that Breanna Stewart, 26, of WNBA’s Seattle Storm, is leaving Nike and has signed with Puma, with her first signature shoe underway. According to records, Stewart will become the first WNBA player with her signature shoe in the last decade and only the 10th overall.

“For Puma to be able to put the signature element out there, respect me enough where they think that I deserve a signature shoe, is something that’s super exciting,” Stewart told Nick DePaula of The Boardroom and ESPN.

“Hopefully, we can make a really dope shoe that a lot of people will like: male, female, young, old, basketball, non-basketball type of thing. I’m just really excited to get the respect that women’s basketball deserves and bring another to a whole another level,” said Stewart.

The basketball world has been excited to see the next women’s signature shoe, but Stewart said that the shoes” release is still 12-18 months out. Though relatively common on the NBA side with 18 men’s players currently with a signature shoe, only nine players in the WNBA’s 25-year history have had one.

Stewart will be the first women’s basketball player to have been offered her signature shoe built from scratch since 2010 when Candace Parker’s signature TS Ace Commander by Adidas was released. Stewart will be involved in the colors, design, naming, and messaging, ESPN reported.

“[It is] definitely going to be a low top,” she said via ESPN. “Going to have a cushion for the Achilles and all the people in the Achilles family. Then, I was thinking, ”Oh, maybe I can make it eco-friendly.” It’s going to be exciting. I think that cool colorways are definitely going to come. Something where you can rock it on and off the court.”

During her first season in WNBA, she was awarded Rookie of the Year and made her first all-WNBA team and all-defensive team. She was a four-time NCAA champion at UConn. She also has won the finals MVP and WNBA league MVP in 2018.

$1M Lottery, Scholarships Offered to Vaccinated Citizens of Ohio

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has come up with an unorthodox incentive to encourage all Ohioans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He announced that the state is giving away full scholarships to vaccinated adolescents aged 17 and younger and offers a $1M lottery for vaccinated adult Ohio Citizens. Around 4.2 million Ohioans had completed the vaccination process as of Tuesday. 

Adults who have been administered with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and are at least 18 years old, may join a lottery that will provide a prize of $1 million each Wednesday for the next five weeks. The drawings will be done by the Ohio Lottery, and the funds will come from existing federal pandemic relief dollars, the Governor said.

The state will also give five full four-year scholarships to an Ohio public university, which will include tuition, books, and room-and-board, to all vaccinated Ohioans who are under the age of 18 through a random drawing.

The pool of names for the drawing will come from the Ohio Secretary of State’s voter registration database that is publicly available, according to DeWine. Those who are not in the database can sign up for the drawings on the official state webpage. 

DeWine acknowledged this incentive might be regarded as a waste of money, but he believed that the real waste is a life lost due to COVID-19 when the vaccine is already available for anyone who wants it.

The Governor reported a sharp drop in the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, and he is pleased by the high vaccination rates among people 65 and older. He also reiterated that the vaccine is a tested and proven weapon that should be availed by all Ohioans ages 12 and older.

“It’s time to end the health orders. It’s been a year. You’ve followed the protocols,” DeWine said. “You’ve done what we’ve asked. You’ve bravely fought this virus.” He added: “There comes a time when individual responsibility simply must take over.”

Suburban Chicago Woman not Protected Despite Getting Vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccines are not working for everyone. People who are taking drugs to fight cancer may have those drugs blocking the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Suburban Chicago woman, Pati Weddington is being treated for leukemia, a cancer of the blood-forming tissues, from what started to be a small lump on her cheek. She is now in remission and has been doing well. This year, she was administered two shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, then she learned of an alarming news.

“When I went to my doctor, she did a blood test, and she found out I had no antibodies. My body didn’t let it occur,” Weddington said.

Her doctor concluded that the drug Ibrutinib, which Weddington is taking to fight leukemia, works against the vaccine. Ibrutinib is referred to as a BTK inhibitor.

“At this time, we know that some blood cancer can be immunosuppressive, so that can cause a low antibody response. BTK inhibitors may cause further inability to produce antibodies to COVIS-19. This is an active area of investigation,” said Doctor Lee Greenberger, Chief Scientific Officer of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“She said they’re finding that Ibrutinib is blocking the vaccine from forming antibodies against COVID-19,” Weddington said.

According to Doctor Sajal Tanna of the Northwestern Medical School, it is common for vaccines to be less effective on people with compromised immune systems. And researchers are looking for more explanations.

“The questions that are being answered by these studies are what are the antibody effects on these patients who have these cancers and are on these therapies,” Tanna said. “What is the response like? What is immunity like? Then once we know that answer, we can look into how we can boost that immunity even further.”

Health experts recommend that people like Weddington with compromised immune systems protect themselves by masking up and take some comfort in the fact that more and more of the general population are getting vaccinated, putting the vulnerable like her less at risk.

Chicago International Film Festival Offers Free Weekly Film Screening

From May 26 to September 29, beginning at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday, a selection of 19 films will be available for one day only on Chicago International Film Festival’s streaming platform. It will be a free weekly series of feature films from around the world that will be offered as part of Cinema/Chicago’s annual Summer Screenings Program.

“We’re thrilled that Summer Screenings has returned for 2021 and will be available to film lovers across the U.S. for the first time,” said Vivian Teng, Cinema/Chicago Managing Director. “For this program, we have always valued the opportunity to collaborate with our cultural partners across Chicago, and we’re excited to once again join forces to take audiences on a global cinematic journey all summer long.”

According to a statement from Cinema/Chicago, all screenings are free and open to the public. Sixteen days in advance of each screening, a limited allotment of tickets will be available to reserve each Monday.

Here is the list of 2021 Summer Screenings program of free movies:

May 26: We Wanted More – Tickets available: May 12
June 2: Toklomati – Tickets available: May 17
June 9: Gold – Tickets available: May 24
June 16: With Drawn Arms – Tickets available: May 31
June 23: Champions – Tickets available: June 7
June 30: Nadia, Butterfly – Tickets available: June 14
July 7: Breaking Ice – Tickets available: June 21
July 14: The Shiny Shrimps – Tickets available: June 28
July 21: Knuckle City – Tickets available: July 5
July 28: You Are My Passion – Tickets available: July 12
August 4: Sumodo: The Successors of Samurai – Tickets available: July 19
August 11: Zen in the Ice Rift – Tickets available: July 26
August 18: Baseball Girl – Tickets available: August 2
August 25: The Australian Dream – Tickets available: August 9
September 1: Puskás Hungary – Tickets available: August 16
September 8: The Ice King – Tickets available: August 23
September 15: We Are Champions – Tickets available: August 30
September 22: The Missed Round – Tickets available: September 6
September 29: Martha & Niki – Tickets available: September 13