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

McDonald’s Corp. earnings fall

By Alysha Khan

Global fast food giant McDonald’s Corp. ended a year of struggling sales with a 21 percent drop in fourth quarter earnings, missing Wall Street’s expectations, and warned that it may take several months for its new strategies to translate to higher profits. The stock drooped. Continue reading

Despite protest, ICC allows Chicago area gas companies to hike rates

By Bethel Habte

Despite a visible and vocal opposition at a public hearing Wednesday, the Illinois Commerce Commission granted two major area gas companies rate increases after Jan. 28, by a vote of 3 to 1.

After reviewing Peoples Gas’s request to increase natural gas delivery system rates by $129 million, the commission approved a $74.8 million hike. North Shore Gas originally requested a $7.1 million increase, but the commission approved a $3.7 million increase. Continue reading

City aldermen call for hearing on affordable housing ordinance

By Stephanie Choporis

Chicago aldermen and representatives for the Chicago Housing Initiative are pushing for a February hearing to discuss an affordable housing ordinance before next month’s election.

At least four aldermen and more than 35 Chicago Housing Initiative representatives gathered for a press conference Wednesday morning at City Hall and criticized Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Ray Suarez (31st), who is also the chairman for the city’s committee on housing and real estate, for refraining from scheduling a hearing on the Keeping the Promise ordinanceContinue reading

The ‘Poverty Effect’ on Chicago Public School students

By Melissa Enaje

For the first time in history, more than half of public school students in the United States live in low-income households, according to a report from the Southern Education Foundation. Families with incomes at or below the federal poverty level struggle daily to make ends meet, even if they work. And that poverty greatly affects young peoples’ performance in school.

Continue reading

Initial Jobless Claims Down, Continuing Claims Up

By Lucy Ren

Initial jobless claims for the week ended Jan. 17 declined 10,000 from the previous week’s level, but the four-week moving average increased by 2.2 percent, and continuing claims for the week ended Jan.10 also increased.

The four-week moving average rose by 6,500 to 306,500 for the week ended on Jan.17. Continuing claims increased by 0.6 percent to 2.44 million. Continue reading

Revving up your winter run for safety

By Shanley Chien

As temperatures drop, so do the number of people running outdoors. People increasingly move their workouts to the gyms or other safe havens from Chiberia, but dedicated runners willing to brave freezing temperatures to clock in the miles should consider a few extra safety tips.

Liliana Zecker, associate professor of language and literacy at DePaul University and an avid Evanston runner, refuses to let cold temperatures prevent her from doing what she loves. Continue reading

Chicago startups aim to make impact on social issues

By Laura Furr

Chicago’s premiere social entrepreneurship program, Impact Engine, on Wednesday unveiled its new crop of startups aimed at resolving issues from student safety to the demand for recycled electricity.

For the third time since 2012, the 16-week accelerator program, partnered with the city’s tech-incubator, 1871, mentored entrepreneurs driven to create social change and a profit at the same time.

Jessica Droste Yagan, the program’s new CEO, said since Impact Engine’s start it has graduated 15 companies, which have earned $2.5 million in revenue.

“Impact investing is a real thing. It has a presence in Chicago,” Yagan told 275 community members and investors who had gathered. “We have really built a sizeable and energizable community.”

Community members and investors at Wednesday’s demo day said they felt this energy.
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