Reducing emergency room visits among elderly patients

By Jamie Friedlander

Nearly 45 percent of ER visits from nursing home residents on Medicare or Medicaid could have been avoided, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

These ER visits ended up “accounting for 314,000 potentially avoidable hospitalizations and $2.6 billion in Medicare expenditures in 2005,” CMS reported as part of an on-going effort to reduce ER visits with more preventative care.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago is one of three hospitals across the country working to lower the number of nursing home residents that end up admitted to the hospital after an ER visit. The initiative is part of GEDI WISE,  a Health Care Innovation Award funded by CMS, according to Dr. Jill Huded, a geriatric fellow at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Continue reading

Beating the beetle: Giving ash trees a second life

By Jasmine Sanborn

“Treecycling” is giving a second life to tens of millions of ash trees attacked by one small but powerful beetle.

Instead of chipping fallen ash trees into mulch or chopping them into firewood, groups such as the Illinois Wood Utilization team are promoting a practical approach – “even when you can’t save your tree, you can save its wood.” Continue reading

VIDEO: Drone interest takes off as regulation lags behind popularity

By Laura Furr

From the White House to Chicago’s suburbs, from Lollapalooza to Snapchat, unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones, have been making headlines.

And as drone technology becomes cheaper with user-friendly photo and video capabilities, interest in personal drone use has taken off. Continue reading

Wolves players, coaches in favor of outdoor game

By Sara Romano

Chicago Wolves defenseman Brent Sopel has fond memories of his childhood hockey days growing up in Calgary.

“I grew up with a rink in my backyard that my dad would flood for me every winter,” Sopel recalled. “Growing up in Canada, that’s all we wanted to do. We didn’t want to go to school, we wanted to play on the outdoor rink.”

Capturing that childhood nostalgia is a constant refrain, and a source of the popularity behind outdoor hockey games for both players and fans. Continue reading

Rising Dollar Exacerbates U.S. Trade Deficit

By Lucy Ren

The U.S. trade deficit went up 17.1 percent to $46.6 billion in December. Impacted by the strong dollar, exports decreased by 0.8 percent and imports expanded by 2.2 percent, the highest growth since March.

For all 2014, the U.S. goods and services deficit increased 6 percent to $505 billion. Exports rose 2.9 percent and imports declined 3.4 percent. Continue reading

VIDEO: Value-conscious shoppers driving consignment industry

By Marika Bastrmajian

The resale industry is a multi billion dollar industry having grown significantly in the last few years since the recent recession. Consignment shops, like Luxury Garage Sale, have seen an influx of both shoppers and sellers and as the industry continues to grow, value-conscious shoppers are given more options aside from traditional shopping.

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Sports talk paradox: as industry grows, on-air talent struggles

By Eric Clark

Broadcast journalists Ben Finfer, Alex Quigley and Mark Carman became victims of the cutthroat nature of the sports talk radio industry in December, losing their jobs at Chicago’s The Game 87.7 only nine months after its inception.

But they still believe the industry is as strong as it has ever been. Continue reading

Does Chicago’s homicide rate rise and fall with cold winter weather?

By Dean DeChiaro

There’s evidence to support the conventional wisdom that as temperatures in Chicago increase, so does crime. But that narrative usually focuses on spring and summer, when statistics show violent crimes, including homicide, occur most frequently. But do those summer patterns also hold true for a particularly mild winter?

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VIDEO: Grassroots group canvasses for Ramirez-Rosa in 35th Ward

By Adam Banicki

The Chicago City Council elections are weeks away and Reclaim Chicago volunteers are canvassing the streets seeking support for new progressive candidates.

Reclaim Chicago, a grassroots political organization, strives to elect new progressive candidates as the city’s officials. Its goal: to get corporate interests out of city politics.

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Netflix outage causes panic on Twitter

When Netflix users experienced outages Tuesday evening they turned to Twitter to make their own live stream drama.

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