General Interest

500,000 revelers expected downtown for the 60th St. Patrick’s Day parade

By Christine Smith

Dust off your greenest attire, lads and lassies. St. Patrick’s Day is upon us once again.

With the holiday under a week away, Chicago prepares to go Irish for the day when it hosts its 60th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade this Saturday. Continue reading

Facebook class brings older adults into the 21st century

By Emily Hoerner

Older adults in Chicago’s Norwood Park neighborhood are jumping into the 21st century to learn a new skill: Facebook.

With Facebook’s popularity garnering 890 million daily active users as of December 2014, according to the company’s website, the social network is arousing the curiosity of older adults. Continue reading

Indiegogo Life crowdsources for unsung Chicago heroes

By Laura Furr

1871’s new crowdsourcing partner, Indiegogo Life, unveiled its platform to honor everyday Chicago heroes Tuesday night at the Merchandise Mart to a crowd of 73 startup creators and activists.

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VIDEO: How Chicago organizations help youth combat dating violence, sex trafficking

By Tanni Deb and Grace Eleyae

On this edition of Medill Newsmakers, we discuss what some Chicago organizations are doing to educate young men on how to combat teenage dating violence and sex trafficking. Featured organizations are members from the Allied Against Violence Project, an anti-domestic violence program that empowers teenage males to build healthy relationships; the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, a group educating youth to combat sexual exploitation; and Her Story Theatre, which showcases plays to raise awareness for social change for both women and children.

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Wikipedians are Editing the Gender Gap

By Lucy Vernasco

If you walked by room 613 at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago’s Flaxman Library on Saturday, you heard the sounds of furious typing and laughter as a diverse group of students and Chicago residents discussed feminism and the internet. Continue reading

Illinois remains lethargic on medical marijuana

By Ezra Kaplan

Marla Levi is a 52-year-old Chicagoan with multiple sclerosis. With the support of her doctor, she applied and was accepted into the state-funded Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. This means that she qualifies and has a medical need for medical marijuana. It has been nearly three months since she got her papers but she has yet to fill the prescription.

The law that allows medical marijuana also stipulates that it must come from the state. But Illinois hasn’t grown any marijuana.

Sound like a Catch-22?

It is.

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GMOs: The scarlet letters of the grocery aisle?

By Shanley Chien

You walk down the aisles at Whole Foods spotting milk, cookies, pasta, and a variety of other products with the “Non-GMO Project Verified” label. The label tells you the foods don’t contain genetically modified organisms  – GMOs.

But the image of a butterfly sitting on a blade of grass shaped like a check mark subconsciously reassures you that this product is “safe.” After all, if it’s safe enough for a butterfly, it’s safe enough for you and your family. You put it in your basket, perhaps because people like Dr. Oz and food blogger Vani Hari of Food Babe tell you GMOs are unhealthy.

GMOs add to the nutritional value and preservation of foods and most scientists vouch for their safety. But critics abound.

“We have the whole government working against us,” Hari said in an interview on the Carolina Connection Talk Radio. “They don’t want Americans to figure out that these could be causing health issues, that they haven’t been tested, and they are increasing pesticide and herbicide use.”

Organizations and advocacy groups such as the Non-GMO Project, Dr. Oz, Food Babe, and other anti-GMO crusaders say GMOs are unnatural and unhealthy, according to their websites. Continue reading

Social media creates solidarity for those affected by eating disorders

By Lucy Vernasco

Tweets lit up the emotional landscape for people affected by eating disorders. The messages surged through an hour session Sunday to kick off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Social media outlets have become conversation spaces for providing support and a community oasis for those who the know the toll disordered eating can take on people’s lives. So on Sunday night, Adios Barbie, a media outlet celebrating healthy body image, hosted a party – the third annual #AdiosED twitter party. Body-image activists served as  “panelists” participating from their laptops included Sharon Haywood, Melanie Klein, Melissa A. Fabello, Dagan VanDemark and Gloria Tepiliuelia.

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VIDEO: SitStayRead improves its “reading-to-dogs” literacy program

By Courtney Dillard

Man’s best friend can also make a pretty good reading teacher. At least according to SitStayRead, a literacy program in Chicago Public Schools. It uses dogs to help kids improve their reading skills by having young people read books aloud to patient canine listeners.

Jamese Linton, a second grader at Milton Burson Math and Science Specialty School enjoys the weekly visits of the dogs each Wednesday. “We get to read, we get to write,” she said. “We always get to pet the dogs and give the dogs treats.”

This year the organization is partnering with Loyola University to introduce new curricula for its first-through-fourth grade programs. Continue reading

VIDEO: Candidate for 20th Ward Alderman says he was shot at

By Daniel Brown

A candidate for 20th Ward alderman who is in a runoff against the incumbent, Willie Cochran, says someone fired a gun at him a few days before the election. He describes what happened, who he thinks did it and why.

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