500,000 revelers expected downtown for the 60th St. Patrick’s Day parade

By Christine Smith

Dust off your greenest attire, lads and lassies. St. Patrick’s Day is upon us once again.

With the holiday under a week away, Chicago prepares to go Irish for the day when it hosts its 60th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade this Saturday. Continue reading

Facebook class brings older adults into the 21st century

By Emily Hoerner

Older adults in Chicago’s Norwood Park neighborhood are jumping into the 21st century to learn a new skill: Facebook.

With Facebook’s popularity garnering 890 million daily active users as of December 2014, according to the company’s website, the social network is arousing the curiosity of older adults. Continue reading

Indiegogo Life crowdsources for unsung Chicago heroes

By Laura Furr

1871’s new crowdsourcing partner, Indiegogo Life, unveiled its platform to honor everyday Chicago heroes Tuesday night at the Merchandise Mart to a crowd of 73 startup creators and activists.

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Supreme Court justices are skeptical of pension reform arguments

By Meredith Wilson

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — During oral arguments Wednesday, Illinois Supreme Court justices  found fault with Senate Bill 1, a law to alleviate the state’s financial burden of public employee pensions.

Justice Robert Thomas interrupted the attorney for the state, Solicitor General Carolyn Shapiro, several times, asking her about the basic facts of her briefs and the culpability of the state in the pension crisis.

In particular, Thomas hammered Shapiro about the extent of the state’s emergency powers, which she contended could be invoked  to trump a constitutional clause protecting pensions.

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Economists support Yellen’s caution

By Lucy Ren

Speculation about how much lower the unemployment rate can go has been upgraded by last week’s report showing 5.5 percent, which supplied the public with more hope for achieving full employment. So why is the Federal Reserve still holding back from an interest rate hike? A random sampling of economists finds considerable support for Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s caution.

“Slack means that there are significantly more people willing and capable of filling a job than there are jobs for them to fill,” explained Yellen in a speech in March 2014. She declared that “judging how much slack there is in the labor markets” is one of the most important questions that the Fed officials consider when making monetary policy decisions. She reiterated that priority in Congressional testimony late last month.

The recent unemployment rate matches the lower bound of some economists’ concept of “full employment.” In the Fed’s latest economic projections released in December, 17 Fed officials projected the longer-run normal unemployment rate to be in the range of 5 percent to 5.8 percent. The threshold is significant as it represents the nonaccelerating inflation rate of unemployment, or NAIRU–the rate below which the economy puts upward pressure on wages and thus on the cost of living. Continue reading

VIDEO: How Chicago organizations help youth combat dating violence, sex trafficking

By Tanni Deb and Grace Eleyae

On this edition of Medill Newsmakers, we discuss what some Chicago organizations are doing to educate young men on how to combat teenage dating violence and sex trafficking. Featured organizations are members from the Allied Against Violence Project, an anti-domestic violence program that empowers teenage males to build healthy relationships; the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, a group educating youth to combat sexual exploitation; and Her Story Theatre, which showcases plays to raise awareness for social change for both women and children.

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Wikipedians are Editing the Gender Gap

By Lucy Vernasco

If you walked by room 613 at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago’s Flaxman Library on Saturday, you heard the sounds of furious typing and laughter as a diverse group of students and Chicago residents discussed feminism and the internet. Continue reading

Giving up the ghost: critics step into spotlight to stay relevant

By Karin Vandraiss

In January, Jonathan Gold of the LA Times became the latest restaurant critic to make headlines by revealing his long-protected persona to the public.

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Review: Chicago Slam Works presents ‘Redlined’

By Antoinette Isama

Chicago Slam Works House Ensemble brings the nooks and crannies of Chicago to light through literary theater. “Redlined: A Chicago Lyric” uses poetry and movement to paint brutally honest portraits of why many have a love/hate relationship with the city. Directed by J.W. Basilio, the cast of J. Evelyn, Rashaad Hall, Shelley Elaine Geiszler, Frankiem Mitchell, Dru Smith and Teagan Walsh-Davis put faces to the names of what makes up the city through the CTA Red Line and the characters that ride it.

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Illinois remains lethargic on medical marijuana

By Ezra Kaplan

Marla Levi is a 52-year-old Chicagoan with multiple sclerosis. With the support of her doctor, she applied and was accepted into the state-funded Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. This means that she qualifies and has a medical need for medical marijuana. It has been nearly three months since she got her papers but she has yet to fill the prescription.

The law that allows medical marijuana also stipulates that it must come from the state. But Illinois hasn’t grown any marijuana.

Sound like a Catch-22?

It is.

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