Beyond Chicago

Trash mountain highlights recycling and waste for NU’s Earth Day festivities

By Jia You

A gray and chilly April morning didn’t deter Lizzy Conger from waving and shouting “Recycle!” to the passers-by,  costumed in her suit made of hundreds of plastic bags. She revved up the recycling mantra for Earth Day at Northwestern University’s Evanston campus on Wednesday. Behind Conger loomed a pyramid of white plastic bags filled with used cardboards, half-eaten pizza and all the junk a campus collects every day.
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Of Coca-Cola, apples and freedom

As U.S.-Cuba relations undergo historic change, Cubans in Chicago tell their stories

By Patrícia Gomes

On a recent Friday night of single-digit temperatures in Chicago, the 90 Miles Cuban Café in Logan Square is in full swing. The waiters’ movement between the two dining rooms and kitchen seems like an uninterrupted dance: full trays in, empty trays out. The walls are filled with photos of Cuba and front pages of Cuban newspapers – both from a time before relations with the U.S. ground to a halt after revolution swept Communists into power on the island nation in 1959.

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Speak Out: An In-Depth Look at Rape in South Africa

By Mariel Turner

Charlene Smith was enjoying a typical night at home, nearly 17 years ago, when one stranger changed her life forever.

“On April 1, 1999 I was raped in my home by a knife-wielding man.”

Smith, a journalist from Johannesburg, said the rape and stabbing attack left her traumatized, fearful and suddenly aware of the horrors South African women face every day.

“I needed drugs to sleep and tranquilizers for those times when I became fearful or tearful,” wrote Smith in an article in the Mail and Guardian.

“The rates in South Africa are so significant. There is so much rape. The figures show the incident of rape is declining, and that’s not true. What’s happening is that women are giving up on talking,” Smith said during a Skype interview last month.

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Education funding formula gets second look

By Phoebe Tollefson

The 2015 reincarnation of a contentious bill that came out last spring, which would shift money away from wealthier school districts and move it into poorer ones, has entered the Springfield pipeline, but opposition and confusion about financial impact means the next steps will be slow.

Senate Bill 1 amends the state education funding formula with the aim of providing more money to districts with low-income, special education and English language learning students. Supporters of the legislation say it’s needed to address major district-by-district educational inequalities in Illinois. Continue reading