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Contact the WDCB News Dept:

Phone: (630) 942-3700

Mailing Address

WDCB Public Radio - ATTN: News
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Suburbanization of Poverty Continues

posted March 6th, 2015

Over the past 15 years, the number of Chicago area children living in poverty has steadily increased. The children and family advocacy group Voices for Illinois Children’s annual ‘Kids Count’ report shows no indication of that trend changing. Larry Joseph is a lead researcher for the group. He says the effects of the "great recession" are only part of the story. Joseph tells WDCB News, the story is that numbers continue to climb. He says the extent and persistence of child poverty in Illinois and the nation as a whole not only reflects the lingering effects of the recession, but also long term economic trends. Joseph says child poverty rates are likely to remain high even as unemployment subsides. He says the report shows the continued impact of the suburbanization of poverty. The ‘Kids Count’ report says child poverty rates in DuPage County increased 137% since 1999. By comparison, statewide the rate of increase was just under 40%.

Criminal Justice Reform Commission Faces A Huge Task

posted March 5th, 2015

Governor Bruce Rauner pulled together a collection of experts, academics, and lawmakers to tackle one of the state’s biggest problems. The Criminal Justice Reform Commission’s 28 members will look at every aspect of the system from arrest to parole. Harold Krent is Dean of the Chicago Kent College of Law. He says the group faces a near herculean task. Krent tells WDCB News cutting the number of repeat offenders should be the top priority. He says what form that takes, whether it's job training, drug counseling, or something else he isn't sure. Krent says the Commission should look at studies from other states to identify the ways to keep people out of jail in the first place. The Governor says the Commission will look at ways to reduce the rate of imprisonment. That could lead to sentencing reform, but Krent says there have to be standards so one defendant doesn’t face much harsher punishment than another.

Cancer Prevention Advocates Concerned About Funding

posted March 4th, 2015

Cancer prevention advocates are joining a chorus of Illinois agencies and organizations questioning Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget.  According to the American Cancer Society’s Illinois Cancer Action Network the governor’s proposed spending plan would severely cut funding for a program that provides breast and cervical cancer screenings and referrals to women without insurance. Heather Eagleton is the government relations director for Illinois’ Cancer Action Network.  She tells WDCB News the program fills in the gaps for female residents without access to cancer screenings. Eagleton says given the state’s budget issues, she knew there might be some reductions. But she didn’t expect to the program to lose 70% of its state funding.

Chicago's 'Loop Link' Promises To Ease Congestion

posted March 4th, 2015

Chicago wants to make it easier for cars, buses, and bicycles to get across the Loop. The city’s Department of Transportation and the Chicago Transit Authority kicked off the ‘Loop Link’ project this week. Construction of the multi-faceted project begins later this month. The Active Transportation Alliance’s Kyle Whitehead says the goal is to ease congestion, especially during the morning and evening rush. He tells WDCB News the ‘Loop Link’ will address the problem of east-west travel in the business district. Whitehead says it will create dedicated bus lanes on Washington and Madison that connect to the transit stations in the West Loop. He says it will also help suburban commuters who need to get from Union Station and the Ogilvie Station to their jobs in a timely manner. He says the project is about making travel quicker, safer, and more convenient. Whitehead says this project will complement the current north-south transit corridor on Dearborn. Chicago expects construction on the ‘Loop Link’ will be complete by the end of the year; but Whitehead hopes commuters will begin to see the benefits of it this summer and fall.

(image courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority)

Political Implications Tied to Netanyahu Visit

posted March 3rd, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress later this morning.  He’s expected to criticize ongoing nuclear talks between the West and Iran.  Netanyahu’s decision to accept House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to speak in Washington has caused political tension in the U.S. and Israel.  North Central College political science professor Dr. Bill Muck tells WDCB News the build-up to today’s remarks have almost overshadowed the actual content of Netanyahu’s remarks. Monday, Netanyahu insisted the alliance between his country and the United States is ``stronger than ever”.  Obama has no plan to meet with Netanyahu citing Israel's March 17th elections and longstanding U-S policy to avoid appearing to play favorites in foreign voting.

Electric Deals Dry Up...But Energy Efficiency Is A Sure Thing

posted March 3rd, 2015

During the last the consolidated municipal election, many local governments sought approval for electric aggregation programs. Overwhelmingly voters backed those referenda. Over the past four years, the electricity market has seen a great deal of change and the competitive market offers fewer savings. The Citizens Utility Board says it’s still possible to save on your monthly bill. CUB’s Jim Chilsen tells WDCB News shopping for an energy supplier has become a roll of the dice. He says the watchdog group analyzed the region's electric market. Chilsen says researchers found the companies going door-to-door with aggregation deals are now charging about 23% more than they were is May, 2013.  He says more than 50 communities dropped out of electric aggregation programs last year, although many others are still taking part. CUB says energy efficiency programs on the other hand give consumers low or no cost options to enjoy savings on their monthly bill.

James Beard Awards Coming to Chicago

posted March 2nd, 2015

For the first time ever the James Beard Foundation chef and restaurant awards are taking place outside of New York.  This year’s ceremony will be in Chicago on May 5th at the Civic Opera House.  A couple weeks ago, the Beard Foundation revealed the semi-finalists for each award category … which include everything from outstanding chef to best new restaurant.  Amy Cavanaugh is the restaurant and bar editor for Time Out Chicago. She tells WDCB News moving the awards to Chicago for a year is a welcome change. Over 25 Chicago-area chefs, restaurateurs, bakers and bartenders were named as James Beard semi-finalists.  That list will be narrowed later this month when five finalists will be named for each category.

Nuclear Foe Questions Exelon's 'Clean Energy Plan'

posted March 2nd, 2015

Illinois gets just over half of its electricity from nuclear power, but Exelon says five of the state’s nuclear power stations are losing money. The company wants state lawmakers to approve what it’s calling the ‘Clean Energy Plan’ to help nuclear compete with solar and wind power. The proposal requires utilities to reward companies that generate power without creating carbon pollution Dave Kraft is Director of the Chicago based Nuclear Energy Information Service. He tells WDCB News no air pollution does not equal ‘clean energy.’ Kraft says NEIS thinks generating 6,000 generations of nuclear waste is not a particularly clean endeavor. He says the other renewable energy sources don't do that and they don't create carbon pollution, so to refer to nuclear energy as "clean" is ridiculous. Kraft says the nation’s other power companies have worked for more than two years to marginalize the renewable energy industry. Exelon says its nuclear plants won’t be able to compete with solar, wind and natural gas power without the state’s help.

Medicaid Funding Cuts Could Limit Services For All

posted February 27th, 2015

The Naperville based Illinois Hospital Association says its members will feel the sting of Governor Bruce Rauner’s plan to slash Medicaid. The Governor wants to cut $1.5 billion in funding for low income health care services. The IHA’s Danny Chun says the group wants to work with the Governor to insure Illinois continues to have a strong healthcare system. He tells WDCB News deep cuts would devastate communities across the state. Chun says it would have a dramatic impact on the services that hospitals are able to provide across Illinois. He says it would also have a tremendous negative effect on the economy in Illinois and in local communities where the hospitals are located. Chun says hospitals are an important part of the fabric of local communities. He says cutting $735-million in Medicaid funding to hospitals could force them to eliminate more than 12,000 jobs across Illinois.

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