General Interest

VIDEO: Religious leaders pledge to increase black voter turnout in February’s mayoral election

By Courtney Dillard 

Ministers and community activists across Chicago have pledged to transport at least 100 congregations to the polls for early voting on Sunday, February 15. They announced the “Souls to the Polls” initiative Wednesday at Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church on the Near South Side.

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VIDEO: Going green can help save the green in your wallet

by Grace Eleyae

Making a home more energy efficient can benefit both your conscience and your check book, according to recent data released by the Illinois Association of Energy Raters. Smaller changes like replacing shower heads with their low-flow counterparts can significantly reduce monthly operating costs, and larger investments like adding solar panels can increase the value of your home up to 10 percent. Continue reading

VIDEO: A ride-hailing service with a personality

By Ezra Kaplan

Ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber have exploded into major metropolitan areas. The services allow non-professional drivers to connect with paying riders through a mobile app. From the convenience of a mobile phone, a passenger can request a driver pickup. Once in the car, the user experience is just like that of riding in a taxi, except, at the end of the ride, the payment is completed electronically with no money changing hands. Kyle Lovett is one of the many Lyft drivers getting Chicagoans to their destinations. Continue reading

2014 GED exam changes lead to major dip in Illinois test takers

By Emily Hoerner

Nearly 27,000 fewer Illinois residents tried for a GED certificate in 2014 than in 2013 after major changes to the high school equivalency exam, according to data by the Illinois Community College Board.

The new GED exam, introduced to test takers in January of 2014, is aligned with Illinois Common Core standards, said Jennifer Foster, the state GED administrator at the Illinois Community College Board. The new education requirements are more rigorous for participants, she said.

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Musical instruments on planes: If it fits, it flies

By Ezra Kaplan

Traveling artists will have an easier time flying with their musical instruments following a Department of Transportation rule change requiring all airlines to allow musicians to carry instruments just like any other piece of baggage.

“At DOT, we know how important instruments are to musicians and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that they are not damaged while being transported on airlines,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Continue reading

VIDEO: CTA bids farewell to oldest model rail cars

By Janel Forte

With a push for modernization within its fleet, the CTA is retiring its oldest model of rail cars – the 2400 series.CTA held a fan-fare studded final ride for the cars, which had been in service for 38 years. The train took its final laps around the Loop and its original routes before being taken out of service.

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Charlie Hebdo ‘survivors’ issue’ quickly sells out in Chicago

By Yanqing Chen, Ellen Kobe, Meghan Tribe and Andersen Xia

Dozens of people lined up at two Chicago-area newsstands hoping to get one of the copies of the “survivors’ issue” of French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo (WARNING: Cover image may be offensive to some) before dawn Friday morning. Within minutes, both City Newsstand in Portage Park and Chicago-Main Newsstand in Evanston sold out the 12 copies made available to the public. Continue reading

Initial Jobless Claims Down, Continuing Claims Up

By Lucy Ren

Initial jobless claims for the week ended Jan. 17 declined 10,000 from the previous week’s level, but the four-week moving average increased by 2.2 percent, and continuing claims for the week ended Jan.10 also increased.

The four-week moving average rose by 6,500 to 306,500 for the week ended on Jan.17. Continuing claims increased by 0.6 percent to 2.44 million. Continue reading

Chicago startups aim to make impact on social issues

By Laura Furr

Chicago’s premiere social entrepreneurship program, Impact Engine, on Wednesday unveiled its new crop of startups aimed at resolving issues from student safety to the demand for recycled electricity.

For the third time since 2012, the 16-week accelerator program, partnered with the city’s tech-incubator, 1871, mentored entrepreneurs driven to create social change and a profit at the same time.

Jessica Droste Yagan, the program’s new CEO, said since Impact Engine’s start it has graduated 15 companies, which have earned $2.5 million in revenue.

“Impact investing is a real thing. It has a presence in Chicago,” Yagan told 275 community members and investors who had gathered. “We have really built a sizeable and energizable community.”

Community members and investors at Wednesday’s demo day said they felt this energy.
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Event to examine aftermath of 2013 school closings on displaced students

By Taylor Mullaney

Two groups that explore public education in Chicago will join forces Thursday night at the University of Chicago Logan Center to discuss what happened to children displaced by the closings of 50 CPS schools in 2013.

The School Project plans to screen “Chicago Public Schools: Closed” as the second segment of its six-part documentary Web series. After the screening, the UChicago Consortium on Chicago School Research is scheduled to present its recent findings on where children affected by the closings are today. A panel discussion will follow.  Continue reading