Public Affairs

Sorry exporters, a strong dollar is golden in U.S.

By Lei Xuan

“The world is in a currency war,” says A. Gary Shilling, president of the New Jersey-based consultants A. Gary Shilling & Co.

His reasoning is simple and global: “Many central banks are chopping interest rates to push their currencies down. They all hope to spur exports to offset internal weakness.”

A moderate depreciation of currency is, indeed, especially good for countries who rely heavily on exports. A weaker currency makes export goods cheaper in foreign markets. Continue reading

Fed minutes: ‘many’ favor delaying interest rate hike

By Lucy Ren

The majority of the participants at the January Federal Open Market Committee meeting leaned towards delaying the interest rate hike, according to the FOMC’s January meeting minutes released on Wednesday.

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VIDEO: Holiday lures young adults to church but ministry makes them stay

By Meg Rauch

A Pew Research Study says that one-third of adults under 30 in the U.S. do not identify with any religion. A Catholic Church in Chicago is bringing more young people back to mass and getting them involved in their faith.  Continue reading

VIDEO: Obama to designate Pullman as first national monument in Chicago

By Adriana Cargill

President Obama will arrive this Thursday in the Pullman Historic District to officially designate the neighborhood as the first national monument in Chicago. Pullman will join the ranks of the Statue of Liberty  in telling the nation’s story.

George Pullman is a controversial 19th century railroad industrialist who created an experimental town to house his workforce. Most of the original buildings are still standing today. Pullman’s company town played an important role in labor history and early African American civil rights history.

Many neighborhood residents are elated about the designation but others remain skeptical.

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VIDEO: Chicago ordinance against puppy mills may hurt small pet shops

By Adam Banicki

Story updated on Feb. 19 with details about federal lawsuit.

The Chicago City Council voted 49-1 to ban the resale of certain animals in an attempt to rid the city of puppy mills.  The ordinance goes into effect next month.

Owners of small neighborhood pet shops, such as Jim Sparks who owns Park Pet Shop in Mount Greenwood, feel it unfairly targets their sales of properly cared for animals.

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President to dedicate Pullman Park as Chicago’s first national monument

By Matt Yurus

President Barack Obama heads home Thursday to designate America’s next national monument: Chicago’s historic Pullman Park, a site that was home to unprecedented advances in industrialization and impacted African-American and labor history.

In 1879, George Pullman, the man who gave America the luxurious Pullman railcar, built his factory and America’s first “company town” on the Far South Side of Chicago. Continue reading

VIDEO: Immigration plan on hold because of federal court ruling

By Mathias Meier

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez says a federal judge’s decision to temporarily block President Obama’s executive action on immigration may delay but won’t prevent efforts at reform.

This story followed Gutiérrez on the road while he spoke to immigrants planning to apply to the program and has his reaction when he heard about the legal decision to stop it.

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Experts: Rauner reform panel should include formerly incarcerated

By Dean DeChiaro

Academics and policy wonks said this week they were encouraged by the creation of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, but called on the governor to bolster its credibility and efficiency by including formerly incarcerated people among its appointees.

The commission, which Rauner created by executive order last week, has a mandate to examine ways to reduce the state’s prison population by 25 percent in the next 10 years through a largely holistic approach that considers a range of issues in the criminal justice system.

To fully understand those issues, experts said, the commission needs to hear from those who know them best.

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Electronic health records help the healing

By Mary Lee

Ocean-themed décor splashes the walls of La Rabida Children’s Hospital in a room filled with bright, plush chairs contoured like the candy Dots. But perky colors can’t erase the worry on Maria Gallegos’ face as she sits in the room waiting for her 6-year-old daughter to finish her appointment.

She’s lost count of the routine check-ups after dipping in and out of hospitals since her daughter’s conception. Born seven weeks premature, Lindsey championed through multiple surgeries including a tracheostomy, which helped her breathe; and a gastrostromy (G-Tube), which channeled nutrients through her body via an inserted tube. At eight months old, Lindsey and her twin Mackenzie were diagnosed with Achondroplasia dwarfism, a form of short-limbed dwarfism. Continue reading

Archbishop Cupich celebrates first Ash Wednesday in the Loop

By Ellen Kobe

Archbishop Blase Cupich presided over Mass Wednesday, giving ashes to guests at St. Peter’s in the Loop.

Cupich was installed as the leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago in November, and this service marked the start of his first Lenten season in the city.

Beginning at 6 a.m., hundreds of people filed in and out of St. Peter’s. Nylon coats shuffled and boots squeaked on the marble floor as people entered the lobby with clean foreheads. They went to one of six stations in the lower auditorium, and within minutes, left with a cross of dark ashes above their eyebrows.
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