Public Affairs

Chicagoans react to unlikely federal charges against Ferguson cop

By Dawnn Anderson

In reaction to reports that authorities lack a strong case against Darren Wilson, many Chicagoans say they wouldn’t be surprised if the former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer escaped civil rights charges in last summer’s shooting death of Michael Brown Jr.

Despite an ongoing investigation into Brown’s death, sources say it is unlikely that Wilson will be charged with the federal crime of depriving the unarmed 18-year-old man of his civil rights. In Chicago, a sample survey revealed Tuesday that many weren’t expecting to hear anything differently. 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.

Continue reading

Women’s coalition questions mayoral candidates about economics, violence

By Kate Morrissey

Anne K. Ream, a member of Chicago Women Take Action, said none of the mayoral candidates, who spoke at a recent forum organized by the coalition, could walk away without understanding the organized power of women in Chicago.

Ream said that she thinks three of the candidates have potential but that her coalition must hold them accountable on issues such as minimum wage increases and domestic violence. Continue reading

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

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