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Dark Energy Survey Produces New Mapposted April 17th, 2015
Fermilab scientists, who are part of an international research team investigating why the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate, are starting to see results. Researchers involved with the “Dark Energy Survey” unveiled the first map created using the data obtained by an advanced camera that was built at Batavia-based Fermilab. The international research team is trying to learn more about dark energy and its relationship to the expanding universe. Fermilab scientist Dr. Scott Dodelson tells WDCB News the images of galaxies being captured by the new advanced camera are from billions of years ago. Dodelson says not much is known about dark energy, but it could hold the key to understanding why the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. The Dark Energy Survey is in year two of a five year plan.
Governor Pulls The Plug On 'Quit Line'posted April 17th, 2015
Illinois smokers that want to kick the habit won’t find any help from the state’s ‘Tobacco quit-line.’ Governor Rauner eliminated funding for the service as part of an effort to close a more than $1-billion gap in the current state budget. Matthew Myers is President of the Washington based campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. He says the ‘quit-line’ saw a 240% increase in calls in the weeks just before Rauner eliminated the funding. Myers tells WDCB News the move will end up costing Illinois more than it saves. He says last year 18,000 people died from smoking related illnesses in Illinois and the state spent more than $5-billion on smoking related healthcare costs. Myers says helping thousands of Illinois residents quit smoking is not only good public health policy, it's critical for the state's financial health. He says the decision to eliminate funding for the state’s ‘quit-line’ is dangerous on many levels. Myers says there is clear evidence that when people have access to quality support services they are much more likely to successfully quit smoking.
DuPage Really Is A Cool Countyposted April 16th, 2015
DuPage County is stepping up its commitment to preserving and improving the environment. The County’s Green Government Council kicked off the ‘Cool DuPage’ campaign as part of the Sierra Club’s national ‘Cool Counties’ program. DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin says the plan is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in the next 15 years. He tells WDCB News the program continues the county’s tradition of caring for the environment. Cronin says it's a pretty significant challenge for the county, especially considering that it's one unit of local government in the geographic region that has many governments. Still he says the 'Cool DuPage' program expects to be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have solid data to support the reduction claims. Cronin says the plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions won’t just be good for the county’s air quality, it’s also a benefit for the county budget. He says energy efficiency will save money, but it may require a greater initial investment.
Push For Higher Minimum Wage Continuesposted April 15th, 2015
Last year the Chicago City Council approved a measure to gradually increase the city’s minimum wage to 13-dollars-an-hour by 2019. But a coalition of low wage earners is continuing the push for a $15-an-hour wage today. Local membersof the “Fight for 15” campaign are holding a rally at the University of Illinois Chicago this afternoon. Columbia College adjunct faculty member Brianne Bolin is the lead organizer for the first ever Chicago Art, Education and Justice Festival, a companion event to the “Fight for 15” rally. She tells WDCB News Chicago’s increase still falls short of a living wage. The “Fight for 15” campaign started in 2012 as an effort to increase fast food worker salaries. Over the past two and a half years the coalition has expanded to include other low wage earners including adjunct college instructors.
Business Owners Push Their Agenda In Springfieldposted April 15th, 2015
The state’s business community took the opportunity to meet with decision makers Tuesday. With lawmakers back in Springfield for the balance of the legislative session, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce hosted ‘Employer Action Day’ at the Capitol. Todd Maisch is the President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber. He tells WDCB New the event is a chance to advance the business agenda. Maisch says first and foremost the Chamber members want lawmakers and the Governor to restore fiscal stability to the state. He says the current budgetary issues have eliminated the business community's faith in investing in Illinois if the state can't get its finances in order. Maisch says for small businesses the minimum wage is a top priority, taxes and workers compensation are primary concerns for large companies. He says the labor agenda had priority for 10 years and the Chamber hopes a Republican Governor will give business equal consideration.
Two High Profile Candidates Throw Their Hats Into 2016 Ringposted April 14th, 2015
Florida Senator Marco Rubio became the latest Republican to enter the 2016 race for President. He joins a group that includes Senators’ Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, that crowd is expected to get bigger over the next few months. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy on Sunday. Right now she’s the only Democrat to officially enter the race. College of DuPage political science professor Dr. David Goldberg tells WDCB News Clinton’s presence is a deterrent to many high profile Democrats. President Barack Obama isn't planning to endorse his former Secretary of State Clinton for president any time soon. White House press secretary Josh Earnest says the president is staying out the race because other friends of his may also run. Although Earnest didn't mention any one by name, that could include Vice President Joe Biden, who is mulling whether to enter the race.
Traveler Frustration Evident In Airline Business Reportposted April 14th, 2015
More people are flying for business and pleasure, but that doesn’t mean they’re enjoying the experience. The annual customer satisfaction report from Wichita State University says 75% flights are late, more luggage is getting lost, and travelers are filing more complaints. Joe Schwieterman is a transportation studies professor at DePaul University. He tells WDCB News the airlines are making money again…despite dismal customer satisfaction numbers. Schwieterman says industry watchers have known for a while that one way the airlines are making more money is by packing more people onto airplanes, but it does ramp up the stress level on the airplanes. He says delays, lost luggage and add-on fees have a compounding effect on customer satisfaction. Schwieterman says consumers should get used to paying more fees in exchange for lower basic airfares. He says the increased pressure in the cabin means airlines will need to make sure frequent fliers are happy because they represent day-to-day revenue.
Chicago Area Drivers Enjoy Lower Gas Pricesposted April 13th, 2015
Typically at this time of year, Chicago area drivers are dealing with a seasonal spike in gasoline prices. That hasn’t been the case in recent days. The AAA Chicago Motor Club says the average pump price is about $2.50 a gallon. The AAA’s Beth Mosher says that’s more than a dollar lower than this time last year. She tells WDCB News there was a price spike in February, but it doesn’t reflect a long range trend. Mosher says prices are coming back down from that, but the region still has to switch over summer blend gasoline and there could be a short term price increase associated with that. The AAA thinks this summer will see relatively low gas prices and increased travel as result. Refineries should complete the changeover to summer blend gasoline within the next few weeks. Meanwhile, a report from the AAA shows those efforts to curb 'texting and driving' haven’t been successful. Researchers put cameras in 1600 cars to capture the behavior of teen drivers. Mosher says the problem is worse than most people thought, distracted driving contributed to 60% of crashes in the study group. She says the teens knew there was a camera in their car, but that didn't stop them from using their cellphone, texting, and doing all sorts of things that no one should be doing while they're behind the wheel. Mosher says that's especially true for young drivers who don't have the experience to recover when they begin to lose control of their car. Experts still think they can be successful in changing driver behavior, but it will be similar to the years long campaign to make drunk driving socially unacceptable.