Chicago Youth Stands Against Gun Violence

By Lauren Baker

For the past five years, Chicago has been painted as a war zone where gun violence has taken over the city. Friends and family members have lost loved ones to the epidemic of gun violence. A local west side high school sees the impact that gun violence has had on its community and has decided to take a stand for a safer Chicago.

A sign is posted on a car in the North Lawndale neighborhood. (Medill/ Lauren Baker)

Gig Economy Meets Chorerelief App To Connect With Customers

By Beixi(Bessie) Xu

Chorerelief is a Chicago based company that connects customers and workers who do chores and small projects such as cleaning and handy work around the home. It now serves more than 17 hundred users across the country, and most of its customers are in the Chicago and New York City areas.

Customers can use this mobile app to set their own price, own time and add photos and different locations. These selections will screen different providers and call the nearby workers in less than 30 minutes.

​Photo at top:Victoria Diouf(left) is talking to worker Cesar Ledezma(right) and his helper Selene Tub(middle), they are helping her clean the apartment. (Beixi Xu/MEDILL)​

Bombobar uses social media to attract customers

By Beixi(Bessie) Xu

Bombobar is a walkby window in the heart of the West Loop neighborhood. It serves customers doughnuts, coffee, gelato and more. Bombobar is active on all social media platforms. It has 23,000 followers on Instagram, 17,425 followers on Facebook and 2,129 followers on Twitter. Vivid photographs attract customers from all over the country.​

According to Jennifer Falbo, general manager of Bombobar, it serves 1,000 doughnuts week days, and 3,000 doughnuts on weekends. It also sells 2,000 hot chocolates a week. Be prepared to stand in line because of the social media effect, there is usually a 45 minute to one hour wait on weekends.

​Photo at top:Customers from Atlanta are taking selfies in front of the wall.(Beixi Xu/MEDILL)​

Evanston High School Student fosters entrepreneurial spirit with ChoreBug

By Mike Davis

Avante Price smiles when classmates call him “ChoreBug.” Being a 16-year-old with his very own business, Price understands the importance of self-promotion.

The Evanston High School junior and founder of ChoreBug, a service that takes odd jobs off the to-do list, grew from a small landscaping business. Now, Price has 25 contracted workers and is operating almost daily in Evanston.

ChoreBug offers services from yard work, cleaning, moving, and even babysitting, all for $25 and under. In the future, Price hopes to expand outside Evanston.


Photo at top: ChoreBug helps trim the to-do list.(Mike Davis/MEDILL)

Street performer brings music, joy to Lincoln Park

By Xufei Geng

Families and children at the Lincoln Park Zoo are greeted daily by a street musician who sings, plays the guitar, and shares small children’s instruments so that her young audience can participate in the music.
Nancy Namest began performing in Lincoln Park following the death of her long-time partner, and says the children’s enjoyment is all the payment she needs.

Photo at top: Several kids join Nancy for a song. (Xufei Geng/MEDILL)

Chicago Math and Science Academy robotics team wins big

By Stephanie Rothman

The Chicago Math and Science Academy’s robotics team, the Robotitans, won a prestigious national award at a competition in St. Louis that attracted some 15,000 high school students.

Roshaan Sidiqui, 17, won the Dean’s List award, named after the founder of the engineering nonprofit “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” or FIRST. The award adds to the more than 30 already earned by the Robotitans since the team started four years ago.

Through Robotitans, team members say they learn important skills besides engineering, including team-building, networking and leadership.

Photo at top: Robotitan member Roshaan Sidiqui, 17 adjusts the team’s award winning robot. The Robotitans are Chicago Math and Science Academy’s high school robotics team. (Stephanie Rothman/MEDILL)

Chicago fights back: Guns against guns

By Jane Bodmer

In response to the city’s violence epidemic, many Chicagoans are turning to a complicated solution: fighting guns with more guns.

According to State Police, Chicagoans were issued 60 percent more gun permits in 2016 than in 2015. A total of 212,000 Chicagoans are legally licensed to own a gun, and 38,712 Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) cards were issued in 2016.

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Chicago vintage clothing store caters to offline shoppers

By Xufei Geng

In Chicago, US#1 Vintage Clothing is known for its unique items, each with its own history and story, acquired over the owner’s 40 years as a vintage collector. In the age of online shopping, the store is decidedly offline, and owner Dominique Darabi intends to keep it that way.

Photo at top: Vintage boots from all over the country are among the unusual collections at US#1 Vintage. (Xufei Geng/MEDILL)

Rogers Park mac and cheese spot regrouped and reopened

By Mike Davis

Sometimes success forces businesses to take a step back. That’s what happened to the Midnight Mac and Cheeserie in Rogers Park.

After a crazy opening weekend in which owner and chef Antony van Zyl ran out of mac and cheese three days straight, he decided it was time to expand. Since then, he’s doubled the dining area, the kitchen space, and even hired more people.

Van Zyl didn’t anticipate the crowded start from day one.

“You have to build your business, you have to fight to get it going,” van Zyl said. “And that’s the way things normally work…it didn’t quite work that way.”

The Midnight Mac and Cheeserie operates daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Photo at top: The Midnight Mac and Cheeserie re-opens in Rogers Park after a busy first weekend. (Mike Davis/MEDILL)

Chicago fast-food workers continue call for a $15 minimum wage

By Wenjing Yang

Deshawn Bell, 35, is a fast food worker in Chicago. He has been working at a McDonald’s restaurant for the past ten years and struggles to make ends meet. He joined a march on May 23rd in downtown Chicago that drew 1,500 demonstrators from across the nation to call for a $15 minimum wage. The march was organized by the union-backed advocacy group ‘Fight for $15’ and was timed to send a message the day before the McDonald’s annual stockholder meeting.

McDonald’s Corp. had revenue of $24.62 billion in 2016. Every year, the company and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people, but has long been a target of complaints about the wages it pays those workers.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based fast food giant increased its hourly wages to $1 above local minimum wage at corporate-owned restaurants in 2015.

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