Wearing a gold jersey and gold shorts, Nojel Eastern stood out at a recent Evanston High School basketball practice. And not just because the senior and future Purdue Boilermaker is an ESPN Top 100 recruit.
While the rest of the team was dressed in the Wildkits’ black and orange practice uniforms, Eastern sported the gear given each week to the player with the best practice stats each week.
Although statistics have long played a role in basketball, the movement toward analytic technology has changed the way high school coaches and players view the game. But coaches are still learning how best to use this information, and a debate has begun regarding how much analytics should be used in high school basketball in Illinois.
As the price of low-income housing tax credits, or LIHTC, comes under pressure, market watchers fret over the future of these housing projects.
“It’s a real problem and it’s significant enough of a problem that people are trying to figure out different ways to accommodate and plan and prepare,” said Kevin Jackson, the executive director at Chicago Rehab Network.
The plans vary, from some states contemplating the creation of a reserve of credits to combat a shortfall, to other states discussing giving out more credits to developments. In both cases, the end result is fewer developments.
LIHTC, which is a dollar-for-dollar credit system that allows corporations to offset tax liability by directly investing in affordable housing projects, accounts for 90 percent of all affordable rental housing created in the United States, according to the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s website.
Such tax credits have come under pressure following President Donald Trump’s promise to drastically reduce the corporate federal-income tax rate to 15 percent from the current 35 percent. Members of Congress meanwhile are eyeing a rate in the 20 percent to 25 percent range.
“There is still demand for the credits. It’s just that the amount investors are willing to pay for tax credits has gone down because of the impact that the tax reforms would have on the rate of return,” said Dirk Wallace, a partner in the Dover, Ohio, office of Novogradac & Co. LLP.
“We ran some analysis, the drop is anywhere from a few cents to 17 cents per credit,” said Wallace in a phone interview.
This has affordable housing developers jittery.
“The states are talking about increasing the tax allocation and giving each developer more tax credits. Obviously that means they are going to award less deals in the future, so you might see a decrease in the affordable housing construction going forward. For us it means it’s a lot more competitive moving forward,” said Alex Pereira, a project analyst at UP Development LLC.
According to accounting firm Novogradac, the credits that are designed to subsidize 70 percent of costs in a low-income project could drop to 83 cents per credit if the corporate tax rate is lowered to 15 percent.
And credits that are designed to subsidize 30 percent of costs could drop to 81 cents per credit if the corporate tax rate is lowered to 15 percent.
“What they are trying to do is simplify the tax code. Instead of all these tax breaks and tax credits, they want to just lower the rate. But I think what some might not realize is what these tax breaks fund,” said Wallace. “So if you drop the corporate rate, projects may not get funded, and that becomes an issue.”
“If we don’t have LIHTC, what will we have to create affordable housing?” asked Jackson. “We always need to be working on finding resources and support for people of all incomes. We don’t want to lose what we have.”
Photo at top: Emerson Square Apartments in Evanston is a mixed-income rental community which benefited from a range of tax credits and grants. (Mindy Tan/MEDILL)
When I flip through my old journals, where I first began experimenting with storytelling, none of my characters look like me. Even as I can hear myself in their voices, I can see my insecurities in their descriptions: blue eyes, the opposite of mine; blonde hair, the opposite of mine; pale skin that is nothing like mine.
Growing up in suburban North Carolina meant that frequently, I was the only nonwhite person in the room. I was an anomaly, idealizing myself on paper by writing myself as white. It was only in high school that I recognized my own erasure and began fighting against the norms I had internalized.
The 10 women of Collaboraction’s newest production, ‘Gender Breakdown,’ tell tales of gender disparity in Chicago theater, but their stories resonate with anyone who has ever felt out of place in their own skin. If they had included every individual story, the show would be 91 million seconds long (that’s nearly three years). As the lights dim, the actors implore: “A theater is a place for seeing. See this.”
Molly Russell, 26 years old, who is new to Chicago, rides her bike from Lakeview down Lake Shore Drive to get downtown for school.
“I can just hop downtown with a really easy ride. No stress,” Russell said. “I’m really impressed by the transportation around Chicago. … It has not been quite as cold over the past couple of weeks so I have been trying to bike just to save money and get out and about.”
Rated as the No. 1 biking city in 2016, according to Bicycling Magazine, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city have made commitments to improving bike lanes and increasing access to bikes through bike-sharing programs like Divvy.
Pachinko, a uniquely Japanese form of gambling, is a popular sport in Japan. But interest in the game has been waning, particularly amongst younger players. Parlor operators are trying to revive interest by rolling out luxurious, air-conditioned parlors with uniformed staff, and the industry endeavors to introduce new games on a regular basis. Some parlor operators also offer non-smoking premises, widely considered a radical shift in this industry.
Photo at top: One of the many Pachinko parlors in Tokyo, Japan. (Mindy Tan/MEDILL)
Boasting the largest attendance of any U.S. auto show, 800,000-plus, the Chicago Auto Show, which ran through Monday, Presidents Day, displayed nearly 1,000 models of new and existing vehicles of major automakers. Attendees said they enjoyed the show because they can see new models that are coming out and be able to try them.
The Chicago Auto Show utilizes more than one million square feet in the McCormick Place to exhibit vehicles. (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
Ram’s truck test track, along with four other indoor tracks, take attendees on a ride on special lanes. (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
Samison, 85, who declined to give his last name, was an engineer in the Soviet Union. He said he comes to the show “out of interest.” (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
People take selfies during the show. (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
Kimberly Brown and her husband, Kirby Brown, check the trunk of a car. They plan to buy a car next year. (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
A sport-utility vehicle is popular among attendees although its doors are locked. (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
Attendees line up to take photos with Zach Miller, tight end for the Chicago Bears, who appears on the Toyota Live Stage. (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
Two kids experience virtual off-road driving on a special machine provided by Ford. (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
Electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles enjoy huge popularity during the show, but some attendees say they’re too expensive. This BMW i8 runs $141,695. “I can buy my house with this amount of money,” says one visitor. (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
Photo at top: The symbol of the Chicago Auto Show at the entrance of the exhibition halls. (Yemeng Yang/MEDILL)
It’s a sushi set displayed at a Tokyo KitKat boutique store, featuring a sushi omelet KitKat, a sea urchin sushi candy and a tuna sushi bar. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Starbucks Japan releases a special drink almost every month, including this chocolatey banana cocoa. The sweet New Year beverage easily found its fans at 460 yen ($4.08) for a tall-size cup, 90 yen higher than a regular latte ($3.28). The newest seasonal drink is cherry blossom. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Mochi, a traditional Japanese rice cake that usually comes in the form of fruity ice cream in the U.S., is a special holiday treat in Japan. Mitarashi dango is a type of rice dough skewered onto sticks and coated with a sweet soy sauce glaze. You can get a skewer for 80 yen ($0.71). (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Cheese, soy milk and black pepper are among the 56 chocolate flavors from Meiji’s contemporary chocolate boutique, 100% Chocolate Cafe. It’s hard to tell if consumers buy the chocolate squares for the flavors or the colorful and modernist package design. The price ranges from 200 yen to 300 yen per piece ($1.77-$2.66). (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Matcha lovers, Nanaya offers matcha gelato in seven levels of intensity. Level 7 is said to be the the world’s most intense green tea flavor. A scoop of matcha gelato costs 370 yen ($3.28), except Level 7, which costs 560 yen ($4.96). (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Turns out they are plum-flavored seaweed that tastes a little like sour skittles with a pinch of salt. Very unusual. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Trump candy anyone? Traditional hand-made cylindrical candies can be found everywhere in the country with various cute designs. This year, a Japanese company released a timely version of U.S. President Donald Trump. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Although black sesame is rarely known as a flavor in the West, it is extremely popular in East Asian countries, including Japan. Black sesame paste, along with red bean paste, is a common occurrence in traditional Asian desserts. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
At 8:30 on a Tuesday morning, Dani Muckley is already teaching her second workout class of the morning at River North’s Studio Three. Though this spin class will last only 45 minutes, she spent two hours choreographing moves and planning the music, logging each workout onto a PDF to ensure she doesn’t repeat a song or sequence.
When she started teaching cycling classes for cash as a law student, Muckley couldn’t have imagined that cycling would become her career.
But dissatisfied as a litigation attorney, she decided to take a chance on a fitness career. She sacrificed her salary and benefits to teach cycling.
“I could have done it for the rest of my life,” said Muckley said of her law career. “You can always just get through. But I didn’t want to just get through. I wanted to have something I look forward to.”
Muckley is an example of how Chicago’s booming boutique fitness industry has become a breeding ground for female fitness professionals. Continue reading →