General Interest

Netflix outage causes panic on Twitter

When Netflix users experienced outages Tuesday evening they turned to Twitter to make their own live stream drama.

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Despite $10 million investment in arts education, experts say much work remains

By Taylor Mullaney and Phoebe Tollefson

When Jim Duignan began the Stockyard Institute in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood in 1995, he realized that the arts could enable kids to actually solve problems in their own communities.

“We could really be building work based on the young people’s questions,” Duignan said. “And whether it was spoken word, or whether it was building a radio station, or whether it was public art or whether it was doing walks….They came alive. They just came alive.” Continue reading

VIDEO: Homeless LGBTQ youth find unique home in Humboldt Park

By Rachel White

A free independent housing facility in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood offers a safe haven for the city’s homeless LGBTQ youth. One resident describes his life in foster care and on the streets before he found a home at a place called El Rescate.

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Rauner’s call for union reform stirs talk before state address

By Emily Hoerner

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner ignited conversation by sending a memo to the Illinois legislature, calling on lawmakers to prune union rights and government spending just two days before Wednesday’s State of the State address.

The memo prefaced the governor’s cost-saving measures, including state employee rule reforms that Rauner described in the memo as “fair to both state workers and taxpayers.” The note pointed out that federal workers are prohibited from striking and bargaining over wages, benefits and pensions. Illinois union workers are not.

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Chicago blizzard takes social media by storm

By Laura Furr

Chicagoans took to the snow-filled streets this week to capture the realities of the fifth-largest blizzard to ever strike the city.

The 19.3 inches of snow recorded at O’Hare International Airport, according to the National Weather Service, inspired nearly 100,000 Instagram photos using the popular hashtag #chiberia. Almost 3,000 Instagrams were tagged #chicagoblizzard as of Tuesday morning.

Some took to the video-looping app, Vine, to share their playful snow days, while others tweeted of both the struggles and the beauty Chicagoans see each winter.

Here’s how some Chicagoans made the best of the blizzard:

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VIDEO: Religious leaders pledge to increase black voter turnout in February’s mayoral election

By Courtney Dillard 

Ministers and community activists across Chicago have pledged to transport at least 100 congregations to the polls for early voting on Sunday, February 15. They announced the “Souls to the Polls” initiative Wednesday at Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church on the Near South Side.

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VIDEO: Going green can help save the green in your wallet

by Grace Eleyae

Making a home more energy efficient can benefit both your conscience and your check book, according to recent data released by the Illinois Association of Energy Raters. Smaller changes like replacing shower heads with their low-flow counterparts can significantly reduce monthly operating costs, and larger investments like adding solar panels can increase the value of your home up to 10 percent. Continue reading

VIDEO: A ride-hailing service with a personality

By Ezra Kaplan

Ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber have exploded into major metropolitan areas. The services allow non-professional drivers to connect with paying riders through a mobile app. From the convenience of a mobile phone, a passenger can request a driver pickup. Once in the car, the user experience is just like that of riding in a taxi, except, at the end of the ride, the payment is completed electronically with no money changing hands. Kyle Lovett is one of the many Lyft drivers getting Chicagoans to their destinations. Continue reading

2014 GED exam changes lead to major dip in Illinois test takers

By Emily Hoerner

Nearly 27,000 fewer Illinois residents tried for a GED certificate in 2014 than in 2013 after major changes to the high school equivalency exam, according to data by the Illinois Community College Board.

The new GED exam, introduced to test takers in January of 2014, is aligned with Illinois Common Core standards, said Jennifer Foster, the state GED administrator at the Illinois Community College Board. The new education requirements are more rigorous for participants, she said.

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Musical instruments on planes: If it fits, it flies

By Ezra Kaplan

Traveling artists will have an easier time flying with their musical instruments following a Department of Transportation rule change requiring all airlines to allow musicians to carry instruments just like any other piece of baggage.

“At DOT, we know how important instruments are to musicians and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that they are not damaged while being transported on airlines,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Continue reading