Winter 2015

The Hidden Treasures of East Side

By Iacopo Luzi and Yushun Wang

Not many people know where East Side is, but since the 30s, the neighborhood has been home to one of the biggest steel production industries of the country. East Side is a neighborhood on the Illinois and Indiana border. It’s in the southern part of the city.

In the 80s, the plants all closed.

The decline of the Chicago steel industry had profound effects on the East Side community, and the population dropped by several thousand in recent decades. In 1982, the area became an official “enterprise zone,” with the hope to revitalize the local economy.
Two decades later, East Side has a reputation for being a dangerous place, but not everyone agrees with that.
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Olympic diver goes for a new title: Ph.D.

By Peter Dawson

Nine-time U.S. national diving champion Christina Loukas, 30, always thought preparing for two Olympic games would be the hardest challenge she would ever face.

Then she went to graduate school.

“Going to PT [physical therapy] school is harder than training for the Olympics,” Loukas said. “[The Games] are physical, but it’s only a set six hours of the day. But for PT school you’re there from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., then you go home and have to study from 5 to 11 p.m. It just never ends.”

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Better living through electricity — keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes

By Danielle Prieur

The only thing keeping Asian carp from escaping  into Lake Michigan is an  electrical barrier located along the river.

The barrier doesn’t actually electrocute the  fish, but repels them when they encounter the strong electrical field.

But some researchers are concerned about whether the barrier can withstand the movement of barges through the river.

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Forecasting future of Asian carp in Great Lakes: An Erie story

By Danielle Prieur

Imagine trying to fish for trout in Lake Michigan or other Great Lakes, like your grandfather and father did before you.

Fishing is a summer pastime on the lakes.

“You’d have to wear armor,” said Marc Gaden, communications director and legislative liaison for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in Ann Arbor, Mich.

He said this might be the only solution for fishermen if Asian carp get into the lakes.

Marc Gaden, communications director and legislative liaison for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, said this might be the only solution for fishermen if Asian carp get into Lake Erie.

Case in point: Lake Erie.

Last month, University of Michigan ecologist Hongyan Zhang and her team published a report on Lake Erie in the journal Transactions of the American Fisheries Society that predicted what would happen if the carp eventually made their way to Lake Erie. Continue reading

VIDEO: Illinois juvenile facilities to introduce tablet education system

By Jennifer Leonard

College prep classes inside jails and prisons are an often-discussed, but seldom realized subject. There’s either not enough spots for everyone interested to participate, or there’s not enough money to offer classes in the first place.

One Chicago tech startup wants to change that dynamic. Jail Education Solutions developed Edovo, an app technology that runs on tablets. Inmates can rent the device and pursue their individual learning goals at their own pace and at low cost. Continue reading

Where’s the World Cup video game this year?

By Nick Kariuki

Thousands will travel to Canada this summer to watch 24 national soccer teams compete across six cities for the World Cup title.

In the sports video game world, industry leader Electronic Arts Inc. takes the opportunity to release a new title of its licensed “FIFA” franchise. That means a game with all the latest rosters, visuals and simulated atmosphere in the future tournament venues.

Sorry. There won’t be that kind of game this year, either as a stand alone title or downloadable content to the already released “FIFA 15” title. Why? Because it’s a Women’s World Cup year.

In the sports game market, stand alone women’s sports games and add-on content remain underrepresented. High-profile appeals have been made by athletes, sports fans and gamers, with varied success. It doesn’t help that the stumbling block is the very first step women’s sports games just aren’t marketable. But should that prevent game developers from trying? Continue reading

VIDEO: Buddy Program connects Alzheimer’s patients with medical students

By Tanni Deb

Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center has developed a Buddy Program that connects first-year medical students with people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other related illnesses. Through the program, buddies meet with each other on a regular basis and build a relationship outside of the clinical setting. Reporter Tanni Deb spoke with Ben Ferguson, an Alzheimer’s patient, and his buddy, April Yu, to learn how they both benefit from the program.

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VIDEO: Tugboats, pushing along the Illinois economy

The Illinois waterways provide a cheap and efficient route for manufacturers to transport raw materials and products. Each year this industry contributes $6.4 billion to the state’s economy, according to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. The barges transporting the hundred of millions of tons of freight yearly depend on tugboats to get to the destination. The tugs push and pull the barges, sometimes one at a time, sometimes in packs of up to 15, from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.

Captain Teddy Long is with Calumet River Fleeting Inc. and has navigated these waterways for 35 years.

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VIDEO: ‘Mr. Singer’ develops a following among the pre-school set

By Tanni Deb

Musician Neil Firstenleit, who is also known as Mr. Singer, spends his time teaching at his own music school and performing for children at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  In the video below, he explains how he became so passionate about music, and why he is so devoted to sharing it with young people.

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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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