Experts: Rauner reform panel should include formerly incarcerated

By Dean DeChiaro

Academics and policy wonks said this week they were encouraged by the creation of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, but called on the governor to bolster its credibility and efficiency by including formerly incarcerated people among its appointees.

The commission, which Rauner created by executive order last week, has a mandate to examine ways to reduce the state’s prison population by 25 percent in the next 10 years through a largely holistic approach that considers a range of issues in the criminal justice system.

To fully understand those issues, experts said, the commission needs to hear from those who know them best.

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Momentum growing to legalize sports gambling

By Kulwant Saluja

The notion that American sports fans could legally gamble on sporting events would have been deemed absurd even a year ago.

But once a taboo subject, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s shocking pro-gambling comments in a Nov. 13 op-ed piece in the New York Times, has stimulated discussion on the subject, prompting other pro leagues and state legislatures to re-consider their stance on legalized sports betting. Continue reading

Potbelly Corp. stock rises after profitable quarter

By Alysha Khan

Potbelly Corp. stock jumped 12.85 percent to $16 – the highest since June – after the company swung to a profit for the fourth quarter, beating analyst expectations.

Sharon Zackfia, equity research analyst at William Blair, maintained an outperform rating for the stock, stating in a research note that the company “still represents a near 40 percent discount to its peer group,” even after the surge in price.

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Electronic health records help the healing

By Mary Lee

Ocean-themed décor splashes the walls of La Rabida Children’s Hospital in a room filled with bright, plush chairs contoured like the candy Dots. But perky colors can’t erase the worry on Maria Gallegos’ face as she sits in the room waiting for her 6-year-old daughter to finish her appointment.

She’s lost count of the routine check-ups after dipping in and out of hospitals since her daughter’s conception. Born seven weeks premature, Lindsey championed through multiple surgeries including a tracheostomy, which helped her breathe; and a gastrostromy (G-Tube), which channeled nutrients through her body via an inserted tube. At eight months old, Lindsey and her twin Mackenzie were diagnosed with Achondroplasia dwarfism, a form of short-limbed dwarfism. Continue reading

Archbishop Cupich celebrates first Ash Wednesday in the Loop

By Ellen Kobe

Archbishop Blase Cupich presided over Mass Wednesday, giving ashes to guests at St. Peter’s in the Loop.

Cupich was installed as the leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago in November, and this service marked the start of his first Lenten season in the city.

Beginning at 6 a.m., hundreds of people filed in and out of St. Peter’s. Nylon coats shuffled and boots squeaked on the marble floor as people entered the lobby with clean foreheads. They went to one of six stations in the lower auditorium, and within minutes, left with a cross of dark ashes above their eyebrows.
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VIDEO: Nazi bomber lands at Museum of Science and Industry

By Beth Lawrence

This month the Museum of Science and Industry is offering a rare and up-close look at a piece of history that’s usually out of reach. The German Stuka, one of only two remaining in the world, normally hangs in the rafters. For now, the museum has landed the bomber on its main floor to be viewed, cleaned and scanned with new 3D technology.

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VIDEO: Donation assists the older adult programs at the Greater Chicago Food Depository

By J’nelle Agee

The Greater Chicago Food Depository just received a one million dollar donation that will directly assist its older adult programs.  The funds will help the depository produce one million meals this year.

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VIDEO: Social media creates new outlet for cyber bullying

By Mariel Turner

With the popularity of social media apps like Instagram and Twitter, cyber bullying has become a growing concern for many Chicagoans. Some have already experienced the painful attacks firsthand. But victims of cyber bullying are fighting back and new legislation passed last December may further curb online harassment.    Continue reading

Chicagoans waste 55 million pounds of food each month

By Sarah Kramer

Picture your fridge – the leftovers from last night’s dinner, the half-finished meal from the corner deli, the bag of avocados trucked in from California, the loaf of multigrain bread slowly getting stale.

How much of the food in your fridge and the rest of your kitchen at this moment will you eat before you throw it out? If you’re anything like most Americans, you throw out at least a quarter of everything that comes through your kitchen. Continue reading

Extension denied: Pet coke piles must be covered by June 2016

By Sarah Kramer

The Chicago Department of Public Health denied a request on Monday to extend the deadline for covering the piles of petroleum coke stored at terminals along the Calumet River on Chicago’s Far South Side.

Koch Industries subsidiary KCBX Terminals asked the city in December to allow an 18-month extension – with a new deadline of December 2017 – for completion of the 1,000-foot-long enclosure to cover the pet coke storage piles. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the public health department have mandated that the piles be fully covered by June 2016. Continue reading