Cyclists use pedal power to make a difference for the homeless

By Jiayan Jenny Shi and Xufei Geng

Mas Contractor, owner of the non-profit Bike4Life bicycle shop in Logan Square, learned long ago the power of helping others.

“My grandfather used to always say you need to help one person in the world,” Contractor said. “If you can help one person, then you did your deed.”

Two years ago, Contractor and a group of fellow cyclists decided to do some good deeds for the homeless.

On a recent Saturday, more than 100 cyclists volunteered to deliver food to homeless people in some 20 locations around the city.

Photo at top: Bike4Life founder Mas Contractor talks to volunteers before they deliver food.(Jiayan Jenny Shi/MEDILL)

Logan Square teens preserve their Latino culture

By Alissa Anderegg and Stephanie Rothman

Logan Square is a trendy, up-and-coming neighborhood that has seen thriving new businesses and rising rents. But gentrification is pushing out the Latino population that has lived there for decades. According to U.S. Census data, in the last 15 years, Logan Square has seen the most Latino displacement of all 77 Chicago neighborhoods.

Young teens at the Logan Square Neighborhood Association are getting involved to try to preserve their culture in the face of gentrification. These teenage activists are speaking out against the changes that are directly affecting their families, neighbors and local businesses.

Photo at top: An installation dedicated to the heritage of Logan Square families is on display at the XingonX Cultural Festival, sponsored by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

Nonprofit bike collective gives back by educating cyclers

By Angel Idowu and Jane Bodmer

One nonprofit bike shop is not only giving back, but also teaching members of its community to be self-sufficient cyclists.

The Recyclery, a nonprofit bike shop in Rogers Park, repairs and donates used bikes to local nonprofits. It also hosts a variety of youth programs and “open shop” hours where community members are free to bring in their bikes and learn to fix them on their own. Through collaboration and education, the Recyclery has become a gathering place for Chicagoans interested in cycling.

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Chicago experts weigh in on pope’s call to dispose of nuclear weapons


By Katie Karalis

In light of the “mother of all bombs” dropped on an ISIS target in Afghanistan last Thursday, academics and nonviolence strategists alike are in agreement with Pope Francis’ call to the international community to adopt forward-looking strategies to promote the goal of peace and stability, questioning not only the existence of nuclear weapons but also the doctrine of deterrence.

“What Francis is doing is continuing a drift in recent Catholic moral thinking toward peace, which started with John XXIII, said Father John T. Pawlikowski, professor of social ethics and director of the Catholic-Jewish studies program at Catholic Theological Union. “I wouldn’t say that it’s an advocacy of total passivism, but it’s certainly moving away from not only nuclear weapons but just war as an instrument of security and survival.”

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Muslims see mug shot of woman forced to remove hijab as ongoing issue

By Ben Trachtenberg

In the wake of DuPage police releasing a mug shot of a Rafath Waheed without her head scarf, many in the Muslim community said they felt insulted by the lack of sensitivity to their religious customs and say this is just one example of an ongoing problem.

“I think that’s a huge violation of her independence,” said Shapla Shaheen, 21, of Naperville. If you’re obviously wearing something that’s covering yourself and you’re doing that purposefully, and somebody forces you to take it off, it’s taking away your choice. I think that’s disrespectful.”

Shaheen, a Muslim who has worn hijab since high school, said wearing the garment gives her a personal connection to God that is very important to her.

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White Sox Fans Have Low Expectations for 2017 Season

By Jennifer Lee

As the city of Chicago still seems to be celebrating the Cubs’ World Series title, their cross-town rivals are being over-shadowed yet again. White Sox fans have suffered through some rough seasons after a successful bid for the championship in 2005, and this year doesn’t look like it’s going to be much different.

Photo at top: Personalized commemorative bricks outside Guaranteed Rate Field. (Jennifer Lee/MEDILL)

Signs in Chicago’s pedway fail to point the way

By Manasi Kaushik

Often reported on, hardly acted upon. That is the status of Chicago’s pedway system.

Though the pedway is essential to Chicago as it provides shelter to daily commuters from harsh weather, it’s easy to lose one’s way in this vast underground maze.

The Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic, Blair Kamin, blames the pedway’s inefficient signage that makes it inaccessible to many.

Chicagoans preserve their Cambodian heritage

By Peter Jones

Khemarey Khoeun will become the first Cambodian-American woman to hold office in the U.S. after being elected to the Skokie Park District Board last Tuesday.

Cambodians first began arriving in Chicago as refugees escaping the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Years later, the Cambodian community in Chicago continues to maintain its traditions and culture.

In Uptown, the Watt Khmer Metta Temple provides a peaceful place for Cambodians to gather and pray. The National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial preserves the turbulent history of Cambodians and ensures that future generations will not forget their heritage.

Photo at top: Cambodian monks pray at the Watt Khmer Metta Temple in Uptown. (Peter Jones/MEDILL)

Little Village shop owners blame Trump administration for drop in sales

By Jiayan Jenny Shi

Rosy’s bakery, one of the most famous bakeries in Little Village, is among many small businesses in the neighborhood saying they face decreasing sales because of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. ICE agents are patrolling 26th street in this Mexican immigrant majority neighborhood, some residents say they are afraid of going out on the streets.

Photo at top: Hot bread is ready for sale at Rosy’s Bakery in Little Village April 6. (Jiayan Jenny Shi/MEDILL)

Last-minute tips for filing your tax return

By Shen Lu

Tick, tock. There is less than one week to go before the deadline to file your 2016 federal income tax return. If you haven’t yet done it, don’t panic. Experts say there is still time to get organized and file on time.

This year, taxpayers get a few extra days, until April 18, to file their returns and pay any taxes owed. That’s because the traditional filing day, April 15, falls on Saturday, and Monday the 17th is Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C.

Experts have some last-minute tips for procrastinators and for those expecting a refund.

Photo at top: Experts advise taxpayers to gather all their documents together before filing taxes. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)