Chicago education tech company targets rural Illinois schools

By Taylor Mullaney

When Ryan Hoch started teaching Algebra II in St. Louis five years ago, he found that his students were vastly unprepared for the futures they wanted.

“When they got to my class their junior year, 90 percent of my students told me that they wanted to go to college,” Hoch said. “They had specific universities in mind, like [Missouri], [Saint Louis University], WashU, different schools that were tough to get into. But then their average ACT was a 15, and the average GPA was a 2.5.”

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Diners react to possible Chipotle price hike

By Alysha Khan

During the last quarterly earnings call, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. executives warned that if the price of beef continued to rise, the chain may have to raise its prices. We took to the streets of Chicago to talk to Chipotle customers about the potential hike.

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Solis’ run-off challenger files for a recount in the 25th Ward

By Andersen Xia

Aldermanic challenger Byron Sigcho filed a petition for a vote recount in the 25th Ward, wishing to push incumbent Alderman Danny Solis under 50 percent of vote and into a runoff.

“We see that it’s like one or two votes that each precinct only has to take to swift the election and to get the incumbent out of the runoff,” Sigcho said Tuesday, adding that he wants a recount to ensure all votes are counted.

According to the unofficial summary report released by the Chicago Board of Elections, Solis, so far, has 50.95 percent of the vote to meet what he needs to retain his alderman’s seat. However, there are only 70 votes separating him and Sigcho, who finished second in the Feb. 24 election. Continue reading

Oil prices freeze the Illinois fracking boom

By Holly LaFon

Illinois may have missed the fracking boom, as oil prices simmer near $50 a barrel. But a heated drama to reclaim the gold rush is playing out downstate with a cast of environmental activists, big oil, farmers, politicians and Saudi Arabians.

Only one company, Strata-X signed up to apply for a permit to drill in Illinois to date. The boomtown era of just three years ago eroded rapidly over the past six months as oil prices lost half their value. Continue reading

New Chicago Steel coach learns on the job

By Ryan Lund

Dan Boeser had a lot to think about during the nearly nine-hour bus ride between Bensenville, Ill. and Lincoln, Neb.

A former assistant coach with the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel, Boeser was named the team’s head coach and general manager on Feb. 11, after former coach Scott McConnell and the Steel mutually agreed to part ways, according to a statement released by the team.

“I was notified by ownership that I was taking over, didn’t have any practice time and basically just hopped on a bus for Lincoln for a two-game road trip,” Boeser said.

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Obama still ‘optimistic’ as judge delays expansion of immigrant orders

By Christine Smith

 President Barack Obama expressed  optimism–shared by some immigration experts–that a Texas judge’s ruling to delay the expansion of the president’s executive order that would grant children of undocumented immigrants a temporary reprieve from deportation will be eventually be overturned.

Although Texas U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued a preliminary injunction Feb. 16 to prevent the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a component of President Obama’s immigration action that was set to start accepting applications on Feb. 18, Obama said Wednesday he remains confident about his immigration policy. Continue reading

Islamic poet takes audience on journey through death, afterlife

By Meghan Tribe

Boonaa Mohammed took the stage on Wednesday night at Loyola University Chicago alongside a wooden coffin covered in a clean white sheet. He rhymed and rapped, ushering the crowded auditorium from “the bugs and maggots” of their graves to 50,000 years of celestial trial for their deeds and, ultimately, through the gates of Jannah, the eternal paradise for Muslims. Continue reading

VIDEO: Citizen Scientists Catch Clues about Star Formation

By Lizz Giordano

Citizen scientists are leading astronomers to new clues about star formation.

Citizen scientist volunteers discovered the more than 900 mysterious bright yellow objects that became the subject of recent paper in the Astrophysical Journal. Continue reading

Chicago minority business creating surge in job growth

By Yinmeng Liu

The doorbell rang as customers buried under woolly overcoats shuffled in.  Chicago’s chilly February air swept into the bakery with them, instantly diluted by the warm smells of sweet potato pudding and fresh-baked hardough breads. Michael Hume regarded the newcomers quietly through thin silver spectacles. He is an American-born Jamaican of medium built with a gentle smile.

Hume owns The Caribbean American Bakery, a quaint and homey place on West Howard Street that sells Jamaican style baked products to retailers and the wholesale market. His father started the business in 1982 when no Jamaican bakery existed in Rogers Park. Over the years, Hume established a solid customer base in the neighborhood. Continue reading

McDonald’s Corp. experiments with touch screen menus

By Andrew Fowler and Alysha Khan

Across the country, McDonald’s Corp. is rolling out Create Your Taste, the chain’s new way to customize your burger with a touch screen. Executives say the new initiative could potentially lift sales and bring in more customers.

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