Puerto Rican communities take matters into their own hands

By Joel Jacobs Medill Reports As Puerto Rico struggles with crushing public debt, an economic recession and natural disasters, many residents disillusioned with the local and federal government have taken matters into their own hands. For many of the approximately 3.1 million Puerto Ricans on the island, the strategy going forward is oriented around self-reliance.  […]

Over a month after deadly quakes, a Puerto Rican town is still reeling

By Joel Jacobs Medill Reports The town of Guánica in southern Puerto Rico is still reeling from a series of earthquakes that began in late December. The largest — a devastating 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck around 4:24 a.m. on Jan. 7 — was followed by a 5.6-magnitude aftershock a few hours after, and a 5.9 […]

How Chicago’s controversial TIF program took over a third of the city

By Joel Jacobs Medill Reports Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced reforms to Chicago’s controversial Tax Increment Financing program (TIF) earlier this month, promising transparency and more oversight. “For too long, the City’s TIF spending decisions have occurred in the shadows,” she stated in a press release. The press release also included a statement from Deputy Mayor […]

Six candidates compete in 12th District primary as committee plans appointment

By Joel Jacobs Medill Reports With the March 17 primary fast approaching, six candidates are vying to fill the 12th District House seat held by former State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, the Chicago Democrat recently appointed to fill former Illinois Senate President John Cullerton’s seat. The district consists of parts of Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Near North […]

$750 million INVEST South/West initiative kicks off in Austin

By Alison Saldanha and Joel Jacobs Medill Reports Loud applause rang through the Kehrein Arts Center auditorium in Austin on the city’s West Side as newly appointed Chicago Planning Commissioner Maurice Cox presented Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s new INVEST South/West initiative earlier this month. Residents and business owners, hopeful for an economic renewal, attended to hear […]

As ward redistricting approaches, where will jail inmates count?

By Joel Jacobs Medill Reports When Chicago politicians redrew the 24th Ward in 2011, it contained a notable addition — a narrow, hook-like appendage that extended over a mile south, widening at the bottom to include the Cook County Jail. As a result, jail inmates accounted for approximately one in six people in the new […]