All posts by manasikaushik2017

Softest, squarest alpacas win ribbons at Wisconsin festival

By Manasi Kaushik

For an alpaca to win the WI Alpaca & Fiber Fest competition, it has to be square-shaped. Judges are looking at the body structure and proportions, in addition to the softness of the fleece.

“The best alpaca is one that just has a really nice feel to it,” said Vicky Telesko, owner of Love Me Alpacas in Kiel, Wisconsin. She is the “proud mama” of around 60 animals she raises for their fiber.

This is the fourth year for the non-profit festival in West Bend, Wisconsin. The winning alpaca owners are awarded ribbons and a title, both of which can mean bigger sales and better breeding options for their animals.

An alpaca from the Sugerland alpaca ranch in Durango, Iowa, at the WI Alpaca & Fiber Fest (Manasi Kaushik/MEDILL)

Brew Bike: First ever student-run coffee business at Northwestern University

By Manasi Kaushik & Michael Davis

A 19-year-old sophomore-entrepreneur, Lucas Philips, has founded the first ever student-run coffee business – Brew Bike – on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

The business started primarily as a bike operation, where Philips and his friends sold cold brew on a tricycle on “good weather days”, but with its recent expansion of a storefront at Annenberg Hall, operations and profits have escalated exponentially for Brew Bike.

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Signs in Chicago’s pedway fail to point the way

By Manasi Kaushik

Often reported on, hardly acted upon. That is the status of Chicago’s pedway system.

Though the pedway is essential to Chicago as it provides shelter to daily commuters from harsh weather, it’s easy to lose one’s way in this vast underground maze.

The Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic, Blair Kamin, blames the pedway’s inefficient signage that makes it inaccessible to many.

The Remedy brings smiles to ‘L’ riders at the Lake Stop

By Manasi Kaushik

The Remedy, a Chicago-based musical group from the South Side, performs at the Red Line’s ‘L’ stop to bring hope, happiness and joy to the lives of people.

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Opening Night of Chicago’s Flamenco Festival

By Manasi Kaushik

The opening night of Chicago’s month-long flamenco festival, Friday at Instituto Cervantes, was marked by an hour long performance by the Spanish danseuse, Anabel Veloso from Seville.

Veloso, who did a sequence of tientos tangos, solea and alegrias, enraptured the audience with her fluid, effortless and graceful movements and received a standing ovation from the cheering crowd.

Photo at top: Anabel Veloso at Instituto Cervantes (Manasi Kaushik/MEDILL)

Tiny horses assist in crucial therapy

By Manasi Kaushik

Jodie Diegel, a 50-year-old nurse at Rush Medical Center, talks about the power of animal therapy, which surpasses the healing effect of her nursing. Diegel is the founder and president of Mane in Heaven, a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic benefits to disabled and able-bodied children and adults through therapy with miniature horses.

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Hundreds protest Trump’s stance on deportation as he assumes presidency

By Manasi Kaushik

Hundreds gathered at the Daley Plaza on a  Friday afternoon to express their disappointment and anger as President Donald Trump was sworn into office.

“I came out here to tell Donald Trump that I don’t support his allegations about immigrants and am against mass incarcerations,” said Daysha Delvalle, a senior at Crane Medical Preparatory High School on the West Side.

Trump’s “firm” stance on immigration has been an integral part of his message since his 2016 campaign. He has pledged to deport all illegal immigrants who according to him are “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”

“If we only enforce the laws against crime, then we have an open border to the entire world, world,” said Trump in a speech outlining his immigration policy in Phoenix.

The protest largely revolved around the impact of deportation on the lives of American citizens as  demonstrators called for justice and liberation.

Jennifer Olivera, an 18-year-old high school student at Benito Juarez Community Academy said: “I am here for my parents who are undocumented immigrants. The possibility of their getting deported is beyond terrifying for me. But I am here for them, to tell them that I support them.”

Olivera was not alone in expressing her fear of having loved ones deported. Her friend and schoolmate Alanis Lucio, 18, said “I have people who are undocumented in my family and with Trump being our president, I feel terrified, oppressed and let down by the people of this country.”

While some expressed feelings of fright, others such as Cecilia Garcia expressed her feelings of anger and hurt.

“My husband was deported four years ago and since then I have been forced to play the role of both mom and dad to my five American citizen children,” said Garcia, a 41-year-old American-born Latino woman,  who works three jobs to make ends meet. “When my husband was here, I just worked part time and that money was for my own shopping.

“Now I can’t even think of taking an off.  I see this is an opportunity because Trump is an American citizen like myself and Melania is an immigrant like my spouse.

“ All he needs to do is revoke the IIRIRA Act which was meant to keep terrorists out but in reality has terrorized American citizen families.”

As the day progressed, the protesters marched out of the Daley Center toward the Trump tower hurling insults about the  newly elected president.



Photo at top: Protesters gather at the Daley Plaza to express their opposition to President Donald Trump’s position on immigration. (Manasi Kaushik/MEDILL)