Public Affairs

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.

Continue reading

Women’s coalition questions mayoral candidates about economics, violence

By Kate Morrissey

Anne K. Ream, a member of Chicago Women Take Action, said none of the mayoral candidates, who spoke at a recent forum organized by the coalition, could walk away without understanding the organized power of women in Chicago.

Ream said that she thinks three of the candidates have potential but that her coalition must hold them accountable on issues such as minimum wage increases and domestic violence. Continue reading

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

VIDEO: “Chuy for Chicago” campaign targets young voters

By Rachel White

Engaging Millennials in the electoral process has been a difficult task for many candidates running for office.  One mayoral candidate has made targeting young people a focal point of his campaign.

Continue reading

First measles case confirmed in Illinois

By Margaret Anderson

Measles, a disease once eradicated in the United States, but recently emerged at Disneyland, is now in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health revealed Tuesday.

The patient, who has not been identified, became ill in mid-January and is now in recovery, said Melaney Arnold, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health. Continue reading

Report offers lifeline out of deficit hole

By Meredith Wilson

The recent study by the Fiscal Futures Project of the University of Illinois dangled the state over a 2016 operating budget deficit of $9 billion, a black hole $3 billion deeper than previously anticipated.
But, buried in the same report are solutions to yank it back from the brink. Continue reading

Charlie Hebdo ‘survivors’ issue’ quickly sells out in Chicago

By Yanqing Chen, Ellen Kobe, Meghan Tribe and Andersen Xia

Dozens of people lined up at two Chicago-area newsstands hoping to get one of the copies of the “survivors’ issue” of French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo (WARNING: Cover image may be offensive to some) before dawn Friday morning. Within minutes, both City Newsstand in Portage Park and Chicago-Main Newsstand in Evanston sold out the 12 copies made available to the public. Continue reading

City Council acts to limit pet coke storage in Chicago

By Sarah Kramer

The Chicago City Council acted Wednesday to limit the amount of petroleum coke entering the city and set daily storage limits on the Southeast Side facilities. The ordinance calls for these limits to be set by the City Council by March 31.

“Passing this ordinance is the new step in our continuing process to make clear that no one gets to make profits at the expense of the health, welfare and quality of life of Chicagoans,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement.

Petroleum coke, commonly referred to as pet coke, is a byproduct of the oil refining process. KCBX Terminals Co. currently operates two storage facilities in Chicago: the North Terminal, between 100th and 106th streets, and the South Terminal, between 108th and 112th streets. Both terminals sit on the banks of the Calumet River.
Continue reading

Experts cite Ebola’s indirect cost, urge public-private partnerships

By Jin Wu

Chicago health care and economic experts said the indirect cost of Ebola is enormous and partnerships between public and private sectors could be a solution for “the market failures” in Ebola prevention and treatment.

Dozens of people attended a public conversation called “The Cost of Health Crisis” Wednesday night at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library, discussing about the economics of pandemics, in this case, Ebola. Continue reading

Event to examine aftermath of 2013 school closings on displaced students

By Taylor Mullaney

Two groups that explore public education in Chicago will join forces Thursday night at the University of Chicago Logan Center to discuss what happened to children displaced by the closings of 50 CPS schools in 2013.

The School Project plans to screen “Chicago Public Schools: Closed” as the second segment of its six-part documentary Web series. After the screening, the UChicago Consortium on Chicago School Research is scheduled to present its recent findings on where children affected by the closings are today. A panel discussion will follow.  Continue reading