Public Affairs

Chicago’s mayoral race: maybe money can’t buy an election

By Alysha Khan

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s failure to win reelection outright has dominated the headlines, equally interesting is a look at the money all five candidates raised in the final weeks leading up the election.
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VIDEO: Parents continue to protest PARCC, push for HB 306

By Beth Werge

Called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the tests are supposed to gauge student achievement and readiness for college and careers. But parents and administrators alike are concerned for their students’ well being.

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Health survey yields shocking results about HIV workforce

By Dawnn Anderson

A recent health survey revealed a significant number of the HIV workforce is ill-informed about the virus. Of the 135 AIDS workers in Chicago who participated in the HIV Workforce Study, they scored 63 percent, equivalent to a “D” average.

More than 3,600 people participated in the study nationwide and scored 61 percent. Officials at the Black AIDS Institute say it is too early to determine whether one’s lack of knowledge will directly affect clinical practice regarding prevention and treatment.

“Before, it wasn’t incumbent of the HIV workforce to know about science and treatment, because medical doctors were initially charged with the task of informing the public,” said Anthony Guitierrez, BAI’s mobilization manager. Continue reading

Controversy over Lucas Museum continues

by Constantina Kokenes

Plans to build the large Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on Chicago’s lakefront near McCormick Place have been controversial since filmmaker George Lucas decided to place his museum in Chicago last June. Though lawsuits have been filed, the museum was not a major issue in this month’s aldermanic campaigns. Candidates for alderman in the 4th Ward, where the museum would be built, vary in their response to the museums.

The candidates touched on the issue during their campaigns before Tuesday’s elections.

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VIDEO: Dancing helps students balance school and social life

By Megan Kramer

From AP classes to college applications and part-time jobs to volunteering, four student captains of Auroris Dance Company at Niles North High School are juggling busy schedules as they near graduation.

While dance is yet another activity to fit into their schedules, the captains are finding that this shared passion is actually helping them prioritize their time, foster social lives and escape from stress. Continue reading

From Chinatown to Bloomingdale’s: Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year

By Kate Morrissey

Despite the snow that rattled rush-hour drivers Wednesday evening, the Phoenix Restaurant hosted a who’s who of Chinatown’s business and political leaders for one of the many celebrations of Chinese New Year happening across Chicago.

Chinese New Year, more accurately referred to as Lunar New Year, began Thursday, and, according to Raymond Chin, the chairman of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and Wednesday’s host, the parties can last up to a month. In Chicago the celebrations have spread beyond Chinatown’s borders and include a diverse community, which Chin said has contributed to Chinatown’s growth.

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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

Video: Chicago mayoral election through the eyes of a veteran activist

By Thomas Yau

On a cold Tuesday morning, 70-year-old Prexy Nesbitt goes from door to door to canvass votes for mayoral candidate Jesús “Chuy” Garcia.

The veteran activist, born and raised on the West Side of Chicago, is a strong critic of incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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Low gas prices offer spending, saving options for drivers in 2015

By Bethel Habte

With oil prices at historic lows, consumers could pad their pockets with money they’re saving at the pump. While many economists predicted stronger consumer spending in areas like retail with this gas windfall, drivers have other financial priorities in mind.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that the average U.S. consumer will spend nearly $550 less on gas in 2015 than in 2014. Meanwhile, a U.S. Department of Commerce report released this month showed that personal income increased $41.3 billion, or 0.3 percent, in December and a total of 3.9 percent in 2014 compared with 2.0 percent in 2013.

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10th Ward Residents Vote: Ban Pet Coke Now

By Sarah Kramer and Lizz Giordano

Residents of Chicago’s 10th Ward voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to ban the storage of petroleum coke, a byproduct of the oil refining process.

Nearly 86 percent of  voters favored the ban in Chicago’s Southeast Side 10th Ward. The referendum vote is non-binding, but it’s another loss for Koch Industries-owned KCBX Terminals Company, which has been engaged in a battle with City Hall over the handling of the dusty black piles. Continue reading