Black Gold

By Rebecca Fanning
Medill Reports

Ed Hubbard has been dreaming up worm businesses since before he could drive. Now the 54-year-old has turned that passion into a business, transforming Chicago’s food waste into valuable soil one crawler at a time.

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Salvadoran immigrants fret as future of special protection status in peril

By Mariana Alfaro
Medill Reports

The Salvadoran consulate in Chicago is tucked away in a small office above a Chick-Fil-A and a mattress store, in a building next to the State and Lake train stop in the heart of the Loop. On a wintry morning, the consulate’s waiting room was packed, as usual, with Salvadorans — young, old, men and women dressed in their Sunday best, although it was Tuesday, Nov. 14 — waiting for appointments with their country’s representatives.

This time around, though, there was an added pressure in the air.

On Nov. 3, the United States was set to begin removing protections from immigrants under the Temporary Protective Status program — removing deportation protections from nearly 300,000 Haitians and Central Americans. Nearly two thirds of these immigrants are Salvadoran.

The administration has already removed TPS protections from Nicaraguan and Haitian immigrants. However, the White House announced it would take more time to decide the fate of 57,000 Honduran immigrants living in the U.S. under these protections, and has yet to make an announcement regarding the fate of Salvadoran TPS recipients.

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Beyond the itch: The real cost of bed bugs

By Sydney Boles
Medill Reports

Andrea Sturm was teetering on the edge of homelessness in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood when the bed bugs came. Too itchy to focus, furious at her landlord for allegedly neglecting the problem, Sturm sprayed her apartment with alcohol to kill the pests. Then she lit a cigarette.

The burn marks covered her thighs in mottled purple knots.

She must have spilled alcohol on her clothes in her frenzy.
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Prominent Chinese Environmentalist Ma Jun Visits Chicago

By Siobhan Neela-Stock
Medill Reports

M

a Jun, a prominent Chinese environmentalist and former journalist, achieved the unimaginable in 2013.

He, along with 25 other NGO partners, convinced the Chinese government to release real-time online monitoring data on the 12,000 largest factories operating in China. This was the first time this information had been made accessible outside of the government.

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Ice Monster Number One

By Rebecca Fanning
Medill Reports

It’s noon on a sunny Thursday in October and “Diver Dave” Oliva is sprawled on a black inner tube wearing only a speedo; his mask and snorkel leave a wet mark on the concrete beside
him. He waves to passersby, some seem to know him, others just wave back, amused. Behind him, cars speed down Lake Shore Drive, rushing north from the bustling Loop.

“You’re late,” he says to me when I arrive. “And where’s your swimsuit? Water’s never been this warm in October before.”

Mike Tschantz-Hahn slides over a partially frozen Lake Michigan. (Steve Hernan)

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Former Marine Uses Lessons He Learned in the Military to Thrive in the Business World

By Xinyi (Ethel) Jiang
Medill Reports

Before starting 3rd Coast Imaging, Inc., veteran George Chrisopulos was an electronics communications technician in the Marine Corps. His time in the military prepared him for life after the Marines.

“When I was a marine, everything was on paper, and we had to have three copies. And every single file cabinet had to match the other file cabinet exactly,” said Chrisopulos.

That attention to detail has served Chrisopulos well in his printing and imaging business. And he’s not alone. According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau in April 2017, 2.52 million businesses were majority-owned by veterans, and the top service for veteran-owned firms was professional, scientific and technical service.

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A female tattoo artist makes her mark, beating the boys at their own game

By Hannah Wiley
Medill Reports

Emily Fong started tattooing professionally when she was 19 years old. Now, at 21, she’s overcome gender stereotypes and doubts about her youth to become an accomplished artist.

Fong’s career started when she decided that her childhood love for drawing was something she wanted to pursue as a career, specifically in the tattoo industry.

“My mom wasn’t interested in me going into this industry at all, and so I kind of held back on it,” Fong said. “I started looking at colleges and going in that direction. But when it started getting close to that time for me to make that jump into college, I just didn’t want to do it.”

After tattooing professionally for two years, Fong has built a strong clientele in both her home city of Portland and Chicago.

Working at Metamorph Tattoo Studios in Wicker Park, Fong accepts clients on a walk-in and appointment basis. Her style ranges from geometrical lines to mosaic flower work.

PHOTO AT TOP: Emily Fong works on a custom-designed piece for a client (Hannah Wiley/Medill)

‘Fake news’ about flu shot

By Yvaine Ye
Medill Reports

Baby boomers, Gen X-ers and millennials hardly ever agree with each other on the same issue, but more than half of them have found common ground on the flu vaccine. They are not fans.

More than 7,000 people died as a result of flu and flu-related disorders such as lung disease from 2010 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus also sent approximately 2 million people to the hospital in the same time period. Sure, everyone hates getting the flu, but only 43 percent of U.S. adults received a flu shot last year.

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B-Sides Coffee and Tea spins tunes and brews coffee for the South Side

By Xinyi (Ethel) Jiang
Medill Reports

Kevin and Karen O’Malley, Beverly residents and music lovers, are thrilled to be part of the community on a small business level.

The couple opened B-Sides Coffee + Tea on the South Side of Chicago. The shop, located near the 99th Street Metra depot, is a throwback, decorating its walls with old album covers and spinning music from the sixties, seventies and eighties on a turntable.

The coffee shop caters to a steady stream of commuters, as well as parents picking up their children from the nearby grammar school.
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Speakers Call for Chicagoans to Break the Silence on Gun Control

By Xinyi (Ethel) Jiang and Jinitzail Hernandez
Medill Reports

Politicians and 11 different community organizations came together to appeal for gun control at the Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago on Oct. 9.

 
The event was held as a vigil for the shooting victims in Las Vegas and as a rally against the National Rifle Association. Speaker after speaker called for Chicagoans to break the silence, oppose the NRA and promote gun reform like the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

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