Demands for rent control and affordable housing took center stage, Monday, in the St. Pius V Church basement, as residents of Pilsen and Little Village rose one by one to voice concerns at Pilsen’s Community Town Hall on Rent Control and Property Taxes.
The Town Hall, conducted both in Spanish and English, focused on lifting the statewide ban on rent controls as residents fight to stay in their homes. The presence of State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss (D-9) and State Representative Theresa Mah (D-2), co-sponsors of SB2310, Repeals the Rent Control Preemptive Act bill, gave community members the opportunity to meet with their elected officials.
Pilsen and Little Village community members line up before the Town Hall meeting that focused on lifting the rent control ban. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Rosa Esquivel, a Pilsen Alliance Board Member, welcomed the crowd.(Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
“One of the reasons that working and middle class families are being priced out of their homes is because the assessments of those properties are unfair,” Abdelnasser Rashid, of Our Revolution Illinois, said. “The homes of working and middle class families are being overvalued – some people pay more than they should, some people pay less than they should. It’s unprofessional and it is going beyond industry standards.” (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
“We can bring rent control to this city. we can bring a policy that’s been passed in cities across this country that is working to keep families in their homes,” said Jawanza Malone of the Lift the Ban Coalition, igniting a room full of cheers and applause. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
“I introduced the [Lift the Ban Bill] and I looked at my watch,” State Senator Daniel Biss said. “It wasn’t long before I got a phone call from the head lobbyist from the realtors. And he sounded nervous. He said, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ and I said, ‘Oh, yes. Oh, I’m sure.'” (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
“I’ve been working really hard to come up with other pieces of legislation that are immigrant friendly and tenant friendly,” said State Representative Theresa Mah (D-2). “One of the bills that I just filed last Friday is an immigrant tenant protection act, which will prevent landlords from using information about anyone’s citizenship status against them. I hope that will move through the legislature this session.” (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Town Hall attendees applaud commuinity member testimonials and Lift the Ban Bill support from State Senator Daniel Biss and State Representative Theresa Mah. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Rebecca Kim and Isaac Carrasco, from DePaul University, laid out the impact of gentrification and proposed solutions in a presentation at the Town Hall forum. “With the power of organizing, we can be heard,” Kim said. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Resident Al DiFranco addresses his concerns about property tax increases in Chinatown, Bridgeport, Canaryville and Pilsen. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Simone Alexander, a resident of Little Village explains how rent control legislation can ultimately support long-standing property and homeowners despite rising property taxes. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
PHOENIX, Ariz. – A chorus of voices and the echo of drums engulfed the sunbathed amphitheater at the Heard Museum this month as dancers from American Indian and Canadian First Nations gathered for the 28th Annual World Championship Hoop Dancing Contest.
The dances emerged from tribal healing ceremonies. Now, hoop dancing has grown from its traditional roots into a broader and more public celebration. Individual dancers manipulate colorful hoops with their bodies – often transforming as few as four to as many as 50 hoops into designs coordinated with intricate footwork set to the rhythm of drums and voices. Judges calculate scores based on precision, timing, showmanship, creativity and speed.
Participants in every division – Tiny-Tot, Youth, Teen, Adult and Senior – participate in the Grand Entry to commence the 28th Annual World Championship Hoop Dancing Contest at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Competitors from 36 American Indian and Canadian First Nations gathered for this year’s contest. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Competitors in the Tiny-tot division all danced together. The youngest participant was 1-years old. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Members of the Southern Drum provide the rhythm, singing and accompaniment for the dancers at this year’s contest. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Apaolo Benally, of the Diné Tribe, takes some time on the grassy knoll to prepare for his hoop dancing routine. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Some 5,000 people attended the two-day competition on Feb. 9 and 10. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Kwan Jemu Lopez, of the Pojoaque Pueblo Tribe, mingles with Ella Bearsheart, of the Sioux Tribe, on the contest sidelines. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Reigning Youth Division champion, Kailayne Jensen of the Navajo and Maricopa Tribes, dances her routine. Kailayne successfully defended her title in this year’s competition. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Apaolo Benally executes his routine before a crowded field of spectators. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Rito Lopez Jr., of the Pima, Apache, Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa tribes works numerous hoops into his routine. Hoop Dancers use as few as four to as many as 50 hoops for their dances. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Rito Lopez Jr. walks out of the competition ring following his routine. He earned second place in the Youth Division. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Jolene Vigio, director of the Pojoaque Pueblo dancers, brought 10 tribal youth to compete in this year’s competition. They first began competing in 2013 and their members start dancing at five or six years old. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Mersais Sanchez, one of the 10 dancers from the Pojoaque Pueblo Tribe, races the clock as she executes her routine. Judges calculate their scores based on precision, timing, showpersonship, creativity and speed. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Aubrianna Talachy of the Pojoaque Pueblo tribe leaps into a backflip during her hoop dance routine. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Loud applause greets the finale of Talachy’s routine. (Nathan Ouellette/MEDILL)
Pachinko, a uniquely Japanese form of gambling, is a popular sport in Japan. But interest in the game has been waning, particularly amongst younger players. Parlor operators are trying to revive interest by rolling out luxurious, air-conditioned parlors with uniformed staff, and the industry endeavors to introduce new games on a regular basis. Some parlor operators also offer non-smoking premises, widely considered a radical shift in this industry.
Photo at top: One of the many Pachinko parlors in Tokyo, Japan. (Mindy Tan/MEDILL)
It’s a sushi set displayed at a Tokyo KitKat boutique store, featuring a sushi omelet KitKat, a sea urchin sushi candy and a tuna sushi bar. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Starbucks Japan releases a special drink almost every month, including this chocolatey banana cocoa. The sweet New Year beverage easily found its fans at 460 yen ($4.08) for a tall-size cup, 90 yen higher than a regular latte ($3.28). The newest seasonal drink is cherry blossom. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Mochi, a traditional Japanese rice cake that usually comes in the form of fruity ice cream in the U.S., is a special holiday treat in Japan. Mitarashi dango is a type of rice dough skewered onto sticks and coated with a sweet soy sauce glaze. You can get a skewer for 80 yen ($0.71). (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Cheese, soy milk and black pepper are among the 56 chocolate flavors from Meiji’s contemporary chocolate boutique, 100% Chocolate Cafe. It’s hard to tell if consumers buy the chocolate squares for the flavors or the colorful and modernist package design. The price ranges from 200 yen to 300 yen per piece ($1.77-$2.66). (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Matcha lovers, Nanaya offers matcha gelato in seven levels of intensity. Level 7 is said to be the the world’s most intense green tea flavor. A scoop of matcha gelato costs 370 yen ($3.28), except Level 7, which costs 560 yen ($4.96). (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Turns out they are plum-flavored seaweed that tastes a little like sour skittles with a pinch of salt. Very unusual. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Trump candy anyone? Traditional hand-made cylindrical candies can be found everywhere in the country with various cute designs. This year, a Japanese company released a timely version of U.S. President Donald Trump. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Although black sesame is rarely known as a flavor in the West, it is extremely popular in East Asian countries, including Japan. Black sesame paste, along with red bean paste, is a common occurrence in traditional Asian desserts. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)
Ahead of the January release of his second album, Heartbreak Hits, singer and funk-rock free spirit Theo Katzman took the stage at Evanston’s SPACE this month. Katzman plays guitar and drums in the successful band Vulfpeck and was joined onstage by bassist Joe Dart of Vulfpeck and independent singer-pianist Joey Dosik and Evanston native Julian Allen on the drums.
Even without the full Vulfpeck family, they kept the crowd rockin’ with Katzman’s songs. Clad in aviators and a denim jacket, he deftly juggled lead vocal duty while switching between the guitar and drums. He ripped through a handful of tracks from his upcoming record, including “My Heart is Dead” and “Plain Jane Heroin,” While Dosik also played selections from his recent Game Winner EP.
(From left) Joey Dosik, Joe Dart, Theo Katzman and Julian Allen brought infectious funk to SPACE with Katzman’s music. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Katzman and Joe Dart showed off the musical chemistry they’ve honed in Vulfpeck and as music students before that. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Joey Dosik accompanied Katzman and played several of his own tracks, including an extended version of “Game Winner.” (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Katzman peels off a mesmerizing solo. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
The versatile Katzman relinquished lead vocalist duties to Dosik for a turn on the drums later in his set. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Katzman gave listeners a thorough taste of what they should expect from his forthcoming second solo album. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Katzman cut his teeth and honed his licks at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where Vulfpeck formed. The band’s sound bears more of a jazz and soul influence than Katzman’s solo work, but both share a rich musicality and powerful arrangements – heavy in horns, rich in piano chords and infectious with fretwork.
In addition to producing two albums and four EPs since 2011, the band made headlines with Sleepify, a completely silent album that Vulfpeck fans streamed while they slept. They used the reported $20,000 worth of royalties to finance an admission-free tour in late 2014.
You can pre-order Katzman’s upcoming record on Kickstarter and buy Vulfpeck’s The Beautiful Game, which was released on October 17, via Bandcamp.
Photo at top: Theo Katzman playing a rollicking solo set at Evanston SPACE. (Grant Rindner/MEDILL)
Maureen Reid, 44, lost her vision when she was 27 because of type 1 diabetes.
Today she works as a job placement counselor at the Chicago Lighthouse, a non-profit organization that assists visually impaired people all over the country.
She agreed to be followed by Medill Reports during the month of May. This photo essay shows how Reid lives a full life.
44-year-old Maureen Reid is blind. She lost her vision when she was 27 years old because of diabetes complications. Today she works at the Chicago Lighthouse, a non-profit that helps and assists visually impaired people. She is a job placement counselor. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Gaston is Maureen’s best friend. He is a 19 month old Labrador. They spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week together. They came together two months ago and the dog still has a lot to learn about Maureen and her habits. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
“I have a mental map inside my mind to figure out where I have to go and where I am. Even though my hearing is not excellent, I pay attention to all the sounds around me. And when I don’t know where I am, I can always ask someone,” says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Maureen is married to Tom. They met each other on a dating website. “Our first date was a blind date in every way,” says Maureen laughing. During the weekend, Maureen and Tom go to Jewel Osco for their weekly grocery shopping. (Iacopo Luzi/MEDILL REPORTS)
“My hands are my new eyes. With them I can perceive everything around me and understand where I am and what I am doing. I always prefer to use them because I can feel what I touch. I hate when people try to help me holding them. I know that they want to be kind with me but I’m feeling like I lose control of myself,” says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Maureen and Tom go out for Trivia night every Monday. One of the games requires recognizing faces of famous people. Tom describes every face to Maureen and she is able to tell him who they are. They often win the Trivia game. (Iacopo Luzi/MEDILL REPORTS)
Maureen likes to knit. On Sundays she goes to a knitting club hosted in a coffeehouse at Loyola. “It relaxes me and it’s also a good moment for little talks with my friends”, says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
“Even though I lost my vision, I decided to live my life as much as I could. I didn’t want to stay just at home crying for my condition. Obviously, sometimes it is tough, but being blind motivated me to go out from my comfort zone and change my life. In the end, It’s never over, if you don’t want! ”, says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Photo on top: Maureen together with her dog Gaston on the CTA (Iacopo Luzi/MedillReports)
La Perla is an old neighborhood just outside the northern historic city wall of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Stretching about 600 meters along the Caribbean Sea, the neighborhood is tucked between Calle Norzagaray and Fort San Cristobal.
La Perla has been an infamous neighborhood since its early days. In the 19th century, it was the site of a slaughterhouse and home to people — slaves, the homeless and non-white servants — who were required to live outside the city walls.
La Perla’s dwellings were among the first homes built on the waterfront. Today the seaside around Old San Juan is largely home to beautiful restaurants, walkways and hotels catering to tourists, but the hard scrabble neighborhood of La Perla continues to occupy some of the island’s most spectacular coast.
The Altai Mounts of western Mongolia may be concealing secrets amid the splendor. The breathtaking alpine landscape could hold clues to how abrupt climate change might have impacted our ancestors— and how it may impact our descendants.
This summer, a team of scientists, students and historians trekked through the hills and valleys of the Altai in Mongolia’s Bayan-Ölgii Province looking for traces of the last ice age.
“Everything’s immaculately preserved here,” said Aaron Putnam, currently an assistant research professor with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York. Evidence of the enormous glaciers that covered the landscape can be found in gentle slopes, scuffed bedrock and spectacular valleys of the region— if you just know where to look.
Medill News Service reporter Sarah Kramer embedded with the team as they traversed the countryside and climbed into the Altai region, collecting rock samples that could provide insight into some of the most pressing questions in climate science: how and why did the last great ice age end. And what can that tell us about our future? Several stories are in the works and we will keep you posted.
Reporter Sarah Kramer astride a Bactrian camel at a tourist outpost in the Gobi. For about $2 USD, those driving across the Gobi Desert can stop and ride camels and horses saddled with traditional Mongolian tack. The team enjoyed the jaunt, but decided to use horses to carry field research equipment up Tsagaan Gol Valley. (Credit: Caleb Ward)
Three gers sit side-by-side at an outpost in the Gobi. While many Mongolians still live in the traditional nomadic tents, the gers pictured serve as shops and cafes for travelers making their way across the country. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Batsuuri Jagvaral, a driver for the expedition, drinks milk tea inside a ger cafe. Also pictured: Chantasaldulan, better known as “Chackie”— camp cook and unofficial “den mother.” (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Archaeologist David Putnam sets up his tent with the help of a curious group of Kazakh children from a nearby cluster of gers. Mongolia is home to roughly 100,000 ethnic Kazakhs, making them the largest ethnic minority in the country. Aaron Putnam, David’s son, led the expedition to Mongolia. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Two cars from the expedition cross a narrow bridge across the Tsagaan Gol, or White River. The river’s opacity is due to the fine silt glaciers create as they grind against bedrock, which then flows downstream from the highest reaches of the Altai Mountains. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Aaron Putnam takes field notes while the team collects boulder samples from the Altai. The samples will be sent to the lab at the University of Maine, where Putnam and his students will analyze them for isotopes that help date the retreat of the Altai glaciers. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
University of Maine PhD candidate Peter Strand (left) and undergraduate Caleb Ward collect a sample from the top of a large glacial erratic boulder. Erratics are boulders that ancient glaciers carried far from their source and then dropped on another landscape as the ice retreated. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
The sampling process, up close: the team drills small, shallow holes in the rock, then inserts metal wedges and shims. They then hammer the wedges into the rock, cracking off a small piece of the top surface of the boulder. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Tomor Batbold, cook’s assistant and son of one of the drivers, leads a pack horse through a high valley on the way to the team’s most remote campsite, high in the area tentatively christened as the Tsagaan Gol Valley. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Tomor and Pagamsuren Amarsaikhan, a recent graduate of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, warm up by the fire the morning after a cold, rainy night in the valley. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Strand sits atop a ridge created when the glacier behind him last stabilized, possibly during the Little Ice Age hundreds of years ago. The rockiness of the ridge and the lack of vegetation indicates that the feature, known as a moraine – a ridge of material left by a glacier – is relatively new on the landscape. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Strand makes detailed field notes that describe each boulder the team samples. He records the precise longitude, latitude, elevation and size, among other measurements and qualitative notes. The team’s work in Mongolia over the next few years will provide research for Strand’s Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Maine. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
The group gathers on a rainy afternoon inside a rented dirt-floor cabin to hear the father-son duo of Aaron and David Putnam entertain with traditional American folk music. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
The Altai Mountains tower above the lake Khoton Nuur after a recent snowfall. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Hayley Wolcott, an undergraduate at St. Andrews University in Scotland, examines a small Mongolian grayling on the shores of Khoton Nuur. She joined the expedition to assist the research of Olaf Jensen, assistant professor at Rutgers University, Department of Marine & Coastal Sciences. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Ancient peoples, likely shamans, used stone tools to peck figures of animals into the polished bedrock slopes of the Altai, possibly during the Bronze Age or earlier. Pictured here are yaks, deer, ibex, horses and an Argali sheep. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
The field research team after a long day. From left: Strand, Jagvaral, Bat-Erdene Barulkhaajav, Baatar, Chantasaldulam, Tomor, David Putnam, Wolcott, Tanzhuo Liu, Aaron Putnam, Ward. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
While the scientists collect rock samples, Kazakh horsemen often come to investigate the team’s work. Bayan-Ölgii, the far western province in which the team worked, is 88 percent Kazakh. Many families from the Central Asian ethnic group settled in Mongolia after being forced into diaspora by the expansion of the Russian Empire at the end of the 19th century. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
The view from just above the Khoton Nuur campsite, on a ridge designated Biluut 2. In the distance we see Biluut 1, then Khoton Nuur and more Altai peaks in the background. (Sarah Kramer/Medill)
Kramer wades in Khyargas Nuur, a salt lake in Uvs Province. Ward wades out farther in the distance. (Credit: Tsetsenbileg Bavuu)
Medill embedded reporting scholarships are supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corp. of New York.
Photo at top: Reporter Sarah Kramer astride a Bactrian camel at a tourist outpost in the Gobi. For about $2 USD, those driving across the Gobi Desert can stop and ride camels and horses saddled with traditional Mongolian tack. The team enjoyed the jaunt, but decided to use horses to carry field research equipment up Tsagaan Gol Valley. (Credit: Caleb Ward)
According to IBIS World, by January 2015, there are more than 35,000 offline florists and more than 3,000 online flower shops in U.S. In spite of this strong competition, with only a few thousand dollars invested to start the business, Chicago-based Flowers for Dreams LLC was profitable even in its first year.
The 2-year-old Chicago’s online flower store Flowers for Dreams made more than one million dollars in revenue since it was founded. In 2014, it gained more than $100,000 in profit and a quarter of it, $33,608, was donated to 12 charities. It doubled the number in 2013. Its past Valentine’s Day sales was six times of last year’s Valentine’s Day sales, according to Steven Dyme, co-founder of the business. Continue reading VIDEO: Chicago online florist finds efficiencies, and customers→