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Cantigny Celebrats 60 Years As a Public Spaceposted July 30th, 2015
Chicago Tribune publisher Robert R. McCormick lived on a sprawling 500-acre Wheaton property known as Cantigny for just over 35 years. When he died in 1955, the newspaper owner left instructions for the estate to be turned into a public space for the education and recreation of local residents. Cantigny is celebrating its 60th anniversary as a public park today. Cantigny executive director Matt LaFond tells WDCB News the property has changed a great deal over six decades, especially the last ten years. Cantigny is commemorating the park’s anniversary and McCormick’s legacy with a series of free programs Thursday.
Com-Ed Launches Mobile CARE centersposted July 30th, 2015
The region’s electric utility is in the fourth year of a five year program to help customers get through a financial hardship. At this time of year Com-Ed’s CARE program not only helps keep the lights on, it also makes sure people stay cool during periods of high heat. Com-Ed Vice President of External Affairs Fidel Marquez says the company allocates $10-million a year to the program. He tells WDCB News the on going Illinois budget stalemate has put access to the state’s energy assistance program, LI-HEAP on hold. Marquez says demand will increase because the Li-HEAP funds are at least suspended for now. He says those funds were serving an important need across the state and they're currently not available. Marquez says Com-Ed set up a number of satellite service centers in Chicago and the collar counties this week to help people access its CARE program. The program isn’t exclusively for low-income residents…but you do have to prove financial hardship to access the CARE funds.
Chicago High School Offers College Funding Assistanceposted July 29th, 2015
A high school on Chicago’s westside is making connections with universities and colleges to assist students in reaching the next level. North Lawndale College Prep launched the Phoenix Pact earlier this year. The scholarship fund helps financially disadvantaged students pay for college. Courtney Bishop is a coordinator at North Lawndale College Prep. She tells WDCB News the pact helps qualified students pay tuition that might ordinarily be out of their price range. North Lawndale College Prep’s Phoenix Pact currently has agreements with 15 partner colleges. The initiative will help over 40 students attend college this coming fall.
Divide Remains Over Iran Nuclear Dealposted July 29th, 2015
Has Iran earned the right to be trusted? That was the question put to Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday at a hearing in Washington, where he was grilled by lawmakers skeptical of the nuclear agreement with Iran. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have spent the past two weeks criticizing the deal with Iran. North Central College political science professor Dr. Bill Muck specializes in international politics. He tells WDCB News some of the loudest complaints have come from candidates running for President in 2016. Kerry told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, if Congress rejects the deal, Iran will go back to enriching uranium and there is no way the country would return to the negotiating table.
Lockport Mayor Creates 'Peoples Exhibit' To Keep Museum Openposted July 28th, 2015
Lockport’s Mayor isn’t taking the state’s decision to close the Illinois State Museum without a fight. The State closed the Lockport Museum and Gallery as the financial crisis and budget stalemate continues. Workers packed up the items that were on display and closed the doors on July first. Mayor Steve Streit tells WDCB News it all happened without even a phone call from the Governor’s office. He understands the state has a budget crisis, but the least the state could do was call before it closed the museum. Streit says he could've kept it open, at least through the city's summer art series by extending the city's insurance to cover the exhibits. He says the state says lack of insurance is why it closed the museum so quickly. The mayor wants artists in the region to fill the museum with paintings, sculptures, and other pieces. More than 170 people brought work to the museum Sunday, the first day of what Streit’s calling the ‘people’s exhibit.’ He hopes to keep the Lockport Museum and Gallery open indefinitely.
Planning Underway For a Grand Re-openingposted July 27th, 2015
This has been a tough year for the DuPage Children’s Museum. In the first week of January, a water pipe burst and damaged exhibits on both floors of the downtown Naperville building. Museum President and CEO Sarah Orleans has never doubted the facility would be back, and now she’s planning a grand re-opening on September 19th. Orleans tells WDCB News this ended up being a much larger project that first thought. She says workers had to take virtually everything out of the building, repaint, put in new flooring, and fix some of the things museum staffers didn't really like about the building. Orleans says there was a frustrating entryway to the museum, and the disaster recovery provided an opportunity to redesign and rethink it. Orleans says the total cost of damage, clean-up, and recovery will be just over $3-million. Insurance will cover most of the expenses, and Orleans says generous donors have stepped up to make up the difference. The grand re-opening is set for Saturday September 19th.
Coalition Works To Educate Patients And Doctorsposted July 27th, 2015
Before the first Illinois patients are able to buy medical marijuana, nearly two years of the state’s four year pilot project will have passed. State licensed growers expect to have their first crop available for sale at authorized dispensaries in October. Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago President Kurt Florian says a newly formed group is working to educate patients and doctors. The Cannabis Patient Advocacy Coalition includes several health advocates and patients groups. Florian tells WDCB News CPAC will also work for an extension of the pilot project. He says at this point there isn't even any product available to patients, so it would make sense to extend the pilot program for an additional period. Florian says that would allow the state, doctors and patients to see how the Medical Marijuana program really works and what effect it has on the conditions covered by the law. The Epilepsy Foundation joined the coalition in light of the fact that Illinois added the seizure disorder to the list of qualifying conditions. Florian says there is ample evidence components of marijuana are a viable treatment for Epilepsy.
Watchdog Praises Obama's Prison Visitposted July 23rd, 2015
President Barack Obama has put a new spotlight on the push to reform the nation’s criminal justice system. This month, Obama became the first sitting President to visit a federal prison and he called for changes to sentencing for non-violent crime. Jenny Vollen-Katz is the Executive Director of the John Howard Association. The Chicago based watchdog group is pushing for reform at the state and federal level. She tells WDCB News prison systems are reaching crisis levels. Vollen-Katz says the war on drugs has led to so much over incarceration and over penalization of social issues the nation needs to address. She says lengthy prison sentences have become the only tool the country turns to and now it must explore other options. The Illinois prisons currently house about 47,000 inmates in a system designed for 32,000 people. Vollen-Katz says as result of the overcrowding the prisons can’t offer programs to reduce the chance of a person returning to prison again and again.