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Taste of Chicago Competes With Other Local Music Festsposted July 6th, 2015
The Taste of Chicago kicks off later this week. In addition to a giant selection of food, the annual summer celebration also features a variety of live music. Weezer, The Chieftains and Trombone Shorty are among the headliners at the five day festival. Erin Bauer is the music programmer for the Taste of Chicago. She says her focus is on putting together a diverse line-up that will appeal to a wide audience. Bauer tells WDCB News it’s become more difficult in recent years because of the growing number of large … multi-day music festivals in Chicago. The Taste of Chicago starts Wednesday and ends on Sunday.
Business Community Ready For More Late Paymentsposted July 6th, 2015
Questions remain about what bills the state can and cannot pay until lawmakers and the Governor reach a budget agreement. The stalemate could leave businesses across the state wondering how to make ends meet while they wait to get paid. Todd Maisch is CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. The business group has been a staunch supporter of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. Maisch tells WDCB News the Illinois business community knows it will have to deal with late payments. He says businesses are more concerned that Illinois get a good reform package together with a reasonable budget. Maisch says while there is concern and uncertainty about what impact the state budget will have on their bottom line, but they are more concerned about real structural reforms and a genuinely balanced state budget. He says the reality is late payment has become the norm in Illinois over the past decade, so this really isn’t anything new. Maisch says lawmakers have to reform Medicaid and the state’s pension systems before they look at new revenue.
Wheaton Prepares For 100th Independence Day Paradeposted July 3rd, 2015
Independence Day parades will be stepping off all over the Chicago-area tomorrow morning. The city of Wheaton will be celebrating its 100th Fourth of July parade. But there is some uncertainty regarding the exact origins of the parade. LifelongWheaton resident Dave Loiacono has MC’d the parade for the past several years. He tells WDCB News organizers have determined there have been at least 100 Fourth of July parades because one long-time Wheaton business has participated in that many. An estimated 70,000 people come watch the Wheaton parade every year. This year’s parade steps off near downtown Wheaton at 10 am.
Peoples Resource Center Braces For Ripple Effectposted July 3rd, 2015
The People's Resource Center doesn’t expect to see a direct impact from a state government shutdown or a smaller state budget. The Wheaton based agency doesn’t rely on state funding for its food pantry or job training programs. But PRC Executive Director Kim Perez says its clients do count on the state for childcare, medical, and other services. Perez tells WDCB News the state could force people into a financial shell game. She says they're moving money they would be using for food to pay for childcare, and so they no longer have the budget to put food on the table. Perez says as result the PRC food pantry could see increased demand for its service to help more people just get through the month. She says families that seek services from the Peoples Resource Center don’t have financial wiggle room…so every change comes at the expense of another. Perez says state service cuts will allow more people to fall through larger cracks in the system and make the PRC safety net even more important.
U.S.-Cuba Relations Take Significant Step Forwardposted July 2nd, 2015
The United States and Cuba will be reopening embassies in each other's capitals later this month, marking a historic restoration of diplomatic relations between the Cold War foes. Wednesday, President Barack Obama said the development is another demonstration that the U.S. doesn't have to be imprisoned by the past. North Central College political science professor Dr. Bill Muck tells WDCB News the developing relationship between the two countries may be more symbolic than anything else at this point. Obama and Cuban leaders are also calling for an end of the decades-long trade embargo. But House Speaker John Boehner says the U.S. shouldn’t engage with Cuba until the country’s people enjoy freedom.
Chicago Workers See Minimum Wage Increaseposted July 2nd, 2015
Minimum wage workers in Chicago got a pay raise Wednesday. The city’s rate increased to $10 an hour, in the first of a four stage process to push the base pay rate to $13 an hour by 2019. ‘Action Now’ is an advocacy group for working families that has worked to make the increase a reality. Executive Director Katelyn Johnson says the increase amounts to $3500 a year for Chicago’s minimum wage workers. But she tells WDCB News there is still more to do. Johnson says New York is likely to get 15, St. Louis is moving toward $15 an hour and Seattle and Los Angeles are drafting plans to increase the minimum wage to $15. She says other major cities are blazing past Chicago and it's frustrating because workers here deserve a living wage as well. Johnson hopes the Chicago minimum wage increase will prompt Illinois to approve a statewide hike. The city estimates the increase will directly affect about 200,000 workers, but Johnson says it will have a ripple effect and raise pay for many more people.
U.S. Supreme Court Wraps Up Sessionposted June 30th, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court released the last of its decisions for the current session. Monday the court upheld the use of a controversial capital punishment drug and a voter registration system in Arkansas and Arizona. Justices rejected E.P.A. rules to control mercury emissions from coal fired power plants. The ruling last week on marriage equality, still has advocates and court critics talking. Harold Krent is the Dean of the Chicago Kent College of Law. He tells WDCB News the same-sex marriage decision could have an unintended consequence. Krent says if you read the majority decision, there is very little that would distinguish the right it identifies from one of plural marriage. He says given the increasing role of Muslims and continued role of Mormons in U.S. society, he could see a time in the next 25 years when plural marriage might gets its day in court. Krent says criticism of the Supreme Court is nothing new, but he says calls to change the system for appointing justices is just political bluster. He says the court has become more moderate, but the system isn’t broken.
This June Is One For The Record Bookposted June 30th, 2015
This month has been great for your garden, not so much for a picnic. Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel says the rainfall total for June not only set a new record, it smashed the old record. June of 1902 was the previous high water mark, with a statewide average of just over 8 inches. By last Saturday Illinois already had 8.9 inches, and Angel says with more rain falling that number will be higher. He tells WDCB News this month’s record reflects a much larger pattern. Angel says Illinois has seen across the board, very wet conditions over the past two or three decades. He says that's pretty consistent with what expert thought would happen because of climate change. Angel says warming the atmosphere accelerates the hyrologic cycle as well. He says the increased rainfall across the state has already affected the state’s largest industry, agriculture. Farms are now spending more on systems to quickly drain standing water, and that raises concern about fertilizer run-off.
Chicago Author Will Run With the Bulls ... Againposted June 29th, 2015
Chicago author Bill Hillmann received international attention last summer after a video of him getting gored by a bull went viral. Despite the experience, Hillmann is returning to Pamplona next week to run with the bulls again. The Little Village resident hopes to clear up some widely held misconceptions in his new book, “Mozos: A Decade Running With the Bulls of Spain”. Hillmann tells WDCB News nobody should run with the bull unless they’re aware of the true dangers. “Mozos: A Decade Running With the Bulls of Spain” will officially be released later this week.
Government Shutdown Seems More Likelyposted June 29th, 2015
State lawmakers didn’t meet Friday, or over the weekend and they don’t plan to be in session today. The lack of action comes despite the fact that there is no budget in place for the fiscal year that begins on Wednesday. Governor Rauner vetoed most of the spending plan Democrats in the General Assembly passed because it spends more than the state expects to collect. Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky tells WDCB News at this point it appears a state government shutdown is inevitable. She says the sense is it takes a massive catastrophe or crisis to get lawmakers to take difficult votes or to get voters interested enough to push legislators to make a decision. The lack of a budget won’t have an immediate effect on state government services. Vinicky says the first state payroll doesn’t go out until July 15th and state employees are expected to keep working after the start of the fiscal year, for now.