City officials keep quiet about status of park permits for NFL draft

By Taylor Hall

Chicago Park District officials are staying mum on the NFL’s permit status after announcing the league had not yet obtained necessary permits to create a public site for the upcoming three-day draft in Grant Park.

After announcing April 8 that the NFL had not secured the appropriate permits for its outdoor fan festival , Park District and City officials have not provided any updates. The NFL’s Draft Town is scheduled to take place April 30 through May 2.

“That’s information I cannot release to you. You can go on the website and email from the FOIA,” said Denise Reed-Burton,  Park District coordinator for special event & media permits, regarding the site. “I can’t give you any information at all. The only person that can speak to that permit is the person whose name is on the permit”

Medill Reports has submitted a Freedom of Information request for the information.
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First Midwest profit jumps after acquisitions

By Yimian Wu

Helped by recent acquisitions, First Midwest Bancorp Inc. posted solid first quarter earnings with improved expense control and net interest margin. Shares went up 3 cents to $17.44.

In the first quarter ended March 31, the Itasca-based bank holding company earned $19.9 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, a 12 percent increase from $17.7 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter of 2014. The Bloomberg consensus estimate was 26.4 cents.

First Midwest increased its quarterly dividend 1 cent to 9 cents per share.

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Oil price rebound continues despite boost in oil supply

By Lucy Ren

Oil prices rose slightly on Wednesday despite a government report showing a spike in oil supply in the U.S. in the most recent week.

U.S. crude inventory rose by 5.3 million barrels to 489 million in the week ended April 17, marking the highest level of supply in at least the last 80 years, according to the Energy Information Administration report. Oil inventory has risen 28 percent since January,

Analysts differ on the long-term outlook for oil prices.

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Drop it like it’s hot? Chipotle shares sink on disappointing sales

By Taylor Hall

Chipotle shares sank more than 7 percent Wednesday, despite reporting earnings that topped expectations. The company reported its smallest sales growth among year-old restaurants in the first quarter since 2013.

So-called comparable restaurant sales among stores open at least 13 calendar months rose just 10.4 percent, falling below consensus expectations of 11.5 percent growth. The company also lowered its revenue outlook for 2015.

Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells blamed pork supply shortages and adverse weather for the sales slump during the company’s earnings conference call Tuesday. Continue reading

Buffone interview displays toughness and winning personality

By Sam Fiske

Up until his final days, legendary Bears linebacker Doug Buffone related more to the hard-working people of Chicago than any type of celebrity.

“We had more in common with the fan,“ Buffone said of he and his teammates in a phone interview with Medill Reports last Thursday. “We’d work our asses off, [the fan would] work his ass off.”

Buffone, 70, died Monday at home in Chicago. Buffone played all 14 of his NFL seasons with the Bears and is widely considered the team’s best linebacker not in the Hall of Fame. His 186 games played are fifth all-time in franchise history, and his 24 career interceptions are the most by any Bears linebacker. Continue reading