Stocks edge lower on disappointing earnings, political uncertainty

By Shen Lu

Stocks fell slightly on Thursday as political risks and higher-than-expected inflation at the wholesale level weighed on investors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average initially fell by as much as 144 points after major department stores reported disappointing earnings, but it later rebounded.

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Uptown summit brings together stakeholders in changing neighborhood

By Grace Austin

Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood faces challenges ranging from gang violence and homelessness to gentrification.

At the historic North Side neighborhood’s annual summit, State of Uptown, business owners, residents and local aldermen discussed how to maintain Uptown’s diversity and charm amid rapid development.

Photo at top: A mural by the “L” tracks shows the diversity of people and culture in Uptown. (Grace Austin/MEDILL)

Chicago independent booksellers join forces against Amazon

By Shen Lu

The arrival of Amazon’s new brick-and-mortar bookstore in Chicago has brought local independent booksellers together.

The Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Alliance is promoting a network of 24 bookstores, including feminist bookstore Women & Children First in Andersonville. Initial results of a recent marketing promotion have been positive, according to Lynn Mooney, co-owner.

The coalition hopes such efforts will attract more loyal customers who value a community bookstore with personalized service.

Photo at top: Women & Children First Bookstore has been in business in Chicago since 1979. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)

Chinese students flock to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

By Shen Lu

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign enrolls more Chinese students than almost any other university in the country.

The 5,629 Chinese students enrolled at the U of I make up more than half of the international student body, according to the university’s International Student and Scholar Services.

They have made significant economic contributions not only to the state’s flagship public university that has faced serious state budget cuts, but also the local economy.

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Meet the bike courier who delivers food as a career

By Tian Li and Shen Lu

What do you know about the person who delivers your sushi?

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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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Old Sears headquarters transitions into affordable housing

By Shen Lu

As Sears, Roebuck & Co. reports multibillion-dollar losses in sales and faces a seemingly fraught future, the prospects of its old headquarters on Chicago’s West Side are looking bright.

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Pop-up venture unites local businesswomen for extended success

By Allie Burger

Local businesswomen are working together under the philosophy that no one individual is stronger than the group.

The Boss Babe pop-up shop at Block 37 in the Loop has given seven female entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell their products brick-and-mortar style under the same roof.

Photo at top: Boss Babe has been extended from Jan. 1 through the end of May due to its continued success. (Allie Burger/MEDILL)

Last-minute tips for filing your tax return

By Shen Lu

Tick, tock. There is less than one week to go before the deadline to file your 2016 federal income tax return. If you haven’t yet done it, don’t panic. Experts say there is still time to get organized and file on time.

This year, taxpayers get a few extra days, until April 18, to file their returns and pay any taxes owed. That’s because the traditional filing day, April 15, falls on Saturday, and Monday the 17th is Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C.

Experts have some last-minute tips for procrastinators and for those expecting a refund.

Photo at top: Experts advise taxpayers to gather all their documents together before filing taxes. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)

Taxes and housing prices drive some Chicagoans out

By Yingcong (June) Fu

The third largest city in the U.S., Chicago has been seeing a slow population growth due to high tax rates and living expenses.

According to the census data by the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Chicago grew 0.9 percent to 2.7 million in the five years from 2010 to 2015, much slower than the growth rate of 2.2 percent in New York and 4.7 percent in Los Angeles.

It is even likely to be surpassed by Houston, the fourth largest city, where the population in the same period grew 8.9 percent to 2.3 million, just 400,000 behind Chicago.

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