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Ridersharing App Says Legislation Could Force It Out of Illinoisposted August 21st, 2014
A technology company that has changed the way many people get around Chicago is speaking out against proposed regulations. Legislation on Governor Pat Quinn’s desk would put price controls and driver limitations on the ridesharing app Uber. Chris Taylor is the General Manager of Uber Chicago. He says the company supports regulations spelled out in an ordinance the Chicago City Council recently approved. But Taylor tells WDCB News the state legislation would limit Uber’s potential growth. He says it’s gonna make the safe, reliable transit that consumers love harder to access and less reliable because there will be fewer drivers out there, and is really just meant to protect the taxi industry. Taylor says the legislation is designed to make it difficult for Uber to operate in Illinois. He says if Quinn signs it into law the company will have to reconsider its future in the state.
Fermi's Dark Energy Survey Begins Second Seasonposted August 20th, 2014
The camera you took on vacation this summer probably captures images using fewer than 20 megapixels. The camera researchers are using for the ‘Dark Energy Survey’ uses nearly 30 times as many and can snap a picture of a galaxy eight billion light years away. Fermi-Lab’s Josh Frieman is the Dark Energy Survey director. He says the five year project is creating a detailed map of the southern sky in hopes of unraveling a universal mystery. Frieman tells WDCB News ‘Dark Energy’ is invisible so researchers have to study it indirectly. He says one way to probe dark energy is to measure the history of the expansion of the universe. The camera lets scientists look back in time one billion, two billion, even three billion years ago to see how fast galaxies and other celestial bodies are moving apart. He says if the Dark Energy Survey can measure that very percisely it will tell the team more about dark energy. Frieman says the project’s first season was a tremendous success. The team collected a vast amount of data that improves the overall understanding of the universe. On September first the ‘Dark Energy Survey’ will make all the information it collected last year available to researchers around the world.
Regulators Host Hearing On Greenhouse Gasesposted August 19th, 2014
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed pollution standards call for Illinois to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a third in 16 years. The change prompted the state’s utility regulators to have the first in a series of greenhouse gas hearings Monday. Illinois Commerce Commission Chair Doug Scott wants to make sure the guidelines don’t impact price and supply of energy in the state. He tells WDCB News the hearings are also a chance for regulators, power companies, and consumers to talk about the change. Scott says the commission wanted to bring everyone together to talk about the proposed changes. He says regulators talked with the participants about the different aspects of the proposal and what it will mean for Illinois utilities and consumers. Scott says Illinois is already ahead of the curve. Nearly half of the state’s power comes from nuclear that doesn’t contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Illinois also adopted targets for renewable energy generation to aid in the transition away from coal fired power plants.
DuPage Finalizes Plans For Innovation Incubatorposted August 18th, 2014
Chicago has created several start-up incubators to help new businesses get off the ground. Entrepreneurs looking for work space and business services no longer have to travel into the city to take their idea from the back of a napkin to reality. Nic Zito is Business Services Director at DuPage County’s economic development agency ‘Choose DuPage.’ He says the agency created the new "Rev-3 Innovation Center" to help emerging companies. Zito tells WDCB News the center has a lot to offer. He says Rev-3 is a combination incubator, accelerator, and co-working space. Zito says it has co-working space, open collaboration space, private offices and tools for physical manufacturing. The Rev-3 Innovation Center is focused on manufacturing start-ups. Zito says it will give entrepreneurs office space and access to 3-D printing technology to facilitate product proto-typing.
Air and Water Show Welcomes Back A Crowd Favoriteposted August 15th, 2014
Another weekend of sunny skies and mild temperatures promises a great backdrop for one of Chicago’s annual summer celebrations. The 56th annual Chicago Air and Water Show takes to skies along the lakefront Saturday and Sunday. This year sees the return of the Navy Blue Angels. Federal budget cuts sidelined the Blue and Gold jets and other military demonstration teams last year. The Mayor’s Office’s Mary May says the line-up offers great entertainment from start to finish and is a great investment for the city. She tells WDCB News last year, the two day show had a $48-million economic impact. May says it's a fabulous show that attracts people to the city from throughout the region and they stay in hotels, eat at restaurants and visit other attractions. She says the Air and Water Show is a great way to show off the city. May thinks North Avenue beach is the best place to watch the show, but people will line the lake front from the museum campus to Montrose Harbor. She says wherever you watch, mass transit is the best way to get to the Air and Water Show.
'Consent Searches' Suggest Police Profiling Continuesposted August 14th, 2014
For the past 10 years, police across the state have collected racial information for every traffic stop they make. As part of the process police also must report when they seek a driver’s consent to search the vehicle. American Civil Liberties Union Illinois spokesman Ed Yohnka says an analysis of the numbers raises new concerns. The data suggests the request to search is the new manifestation of racial profiling. He tells WDCB News ‘consent searches’ are a problem. Yohnka says it's just time to ban 'consent searches' in Illinois. He says the Illinois State Police conduct more of the searches than any other law enforcement agency in the state, and their 'consent search' rate and 'hit' rate for finding contraband are really poor. Yohnka says Governor Pat Quinn could end the practice today with the stroke of a pen. The ACLU says Chicago police are four times more likely to ask to search an African American or Latino driver’s car. The same data says searching a white motorist is twice as likely to reveal contraband.