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DuPage Habitat For Humanity Ready for Next Projectposted January 30th, 2015
DuPage Habitat For Humanity will take another step in a construction project thisafternoon, but executive director Dave Neary wants the Wheaton-based non-profit to take a giant leap over the next three years. Neary joined the local Habitataffiliate almost two years ago. He says DuPage Habitat For Humanity hasaccomplished a lot in two decades. Neary tells WDCB News he believes the organization can do even more in the future. Friday, DuPage Habitat For Humanity will begin work on two additions to its 11-unit Pioneer Prairie sub-division in West Chicago.
Chicago Public Library Launches Mobile Hot-Spot Pilot Projectposted January 30th, 2015
The Chicago Public Library wants to make it possible for more people to go online, at home. The Library will start lending mobile hot-spots to patrons at the Brighton Park, Greater Grand Crossing, and Douglass branches next month. Library Commissioner Brian Bannon says a $400,000 grant from the Knight Foundation and $175,000 from Google made the program possible. He tells WDCB News 30% of Chicago residents don’t have broadband access at home. Bannon says the Chicago Public Library is the largest provider of free access to technology in the city. He says while branches see record breaking demand inside the walls of the library, CPL is increasingly trying to find ways to help people bring the internet home and give them more flexability for how they use it. Bannon says currently demand for internet access at libraries is so great that visitors are limited to two, one hour sessions a day. The ‘Internet-2-Go’ program has 100 hot-spot devices available at the three pilot locations, users will be able to keep them for three weeks at a time.
Task Force Releases Report on Fairgroundsposted January 29th, 2015
A new report is highlighting over 300 building code violations within structures on the DuPage County fairgrounds. The Real Estate Assessment Task Force was convened to analyze the best use of the 42-acre property once the DuPage Fair Association’s lease ends in 2020. The report ended up shining a light on a number of structural issues that raise questions about the short term future of the fair. DuPage County Board member Jim Healy says the report provided a lot of information and raised some important questions. He tells WDCB News right now the focus is on this year’s county fair. Healy says the county board will begin looking at the immediate future of the fair next week. He expects discussions on the long-term use of the fairgrounds to continue throughout the year.
Suburban Families Accounty For Half Of Region's Povertyposted January 29th, 2015
A social change think-tank is out with its 15th annual report on Illinois poverty. The Social Impact Research Center’s ‘Poor by Comparison’ report looks at each county’s numbers and calls for a renewed focus on changing the trends. Amy Terpstra says this year’s analysis illustrates the continued shift of families living in poverty from Chicago to the suburbs. She says the cost of living in the collar counties exacerbates suburban poverty. But Terpstra tells WDCB News there is also an emotional cost. She says she spends quite a bit of time talking with poor families in the suburbs and one of the first things they talk about is a sense of invisibility. Terpstra says they feel like nobody is paying attention to what they're going through on a daily basis. She says suburban leaders need to insure there are services to help residents move beyond poverty. In DuPage County nearly 19% of residents live below the federal poverty level or are identified as low income. In Kane County the number is nearly 27%.
DuPage Coalition Taking Steps to Reduce Drug and Alcohol Use Among Teensposted January 28th, 2015
A DuPage coalition established almost four years ago with a goal of reducing teen alcohol and drug use is getting ready to take action. DuPage’s Prevention Leadership Team was born out a need that emerged in 2011 as the county’s heroin numbers began to grow. The DuPage County Health Department’s Jordan Esser is manager of the 38-member Prevention Leadership Team. She tells WDCB News after years of collecting data and planning, the group is moving forward. The federal grant provides funding for five years. Esser says the Prevention Leadership Team will spend that time working on educational resources and policy recommendations.
IDPH Confirms Measles Case In Cook Countyposted January 28th, 2015
In 2013 there were fewer than 200 cases of measles in the United States, last year saw a more than threefold increase. Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Health confirmed a case in suburban Cook County, but says there is no clear link to the western states outbreak. Central DuPage Hospital Vice President of Medical Affairs, Dr. Kevin Most says the nation could see more than one thousand cases of the virus this year. He tells WDCB News there is a common factor in all of the cases. Most says he doesn't know of any cases where someone was vaccinated and got measles in this outbreak. He says the vaccine is a very efficient preventative measure that is 90% to 95% effective. Just 15 years ago, the public health community considered measles to be eradicated in the United States. There’s no indication the virus has mutated, Most says it has been virtually unchanged for a very long time. The state warns patients at the Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights January 12th and 13th may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Announces Programming For Historic Seasonposted January 27th, 2015
Monday, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra unveiled the schedule for its landmark 125th season. The CSO’s 2015-16 season begins in mid-September with a series of performances, including a free concert in Pritzker Pavilion on September 18th. New CSO Association president Jeff Alexander, who is entering his third week on the job, talked about some of the orchestra’s accomplishments from past 125 years. Alexander was chosen in September to replace Deborah Rutter, who led the CSO for eleven years. CSO music director Riccardo Muti talked about the organization’s history and its future. Muti introduced the CSO’s two newly appointed Mead Composers-in-Residence … Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek. Adams tells WDCB News he’s excited to come to Chicago to co-curate the CSO’s MusicNow concert series.
Website Creates A Way To Explore Transportation Dataposted January 27th, 2015
For years, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency on Planning has pushed for improvement and repair of the region’s transportation infrastructure. This week…it launched a website to illustrate the condition of roads, bridges, mass transit and more. ‘Mobility: Engine of our economy’ also shows residents and political leaders the areas that need attention. CMAP’s Tom Garritano tells WDCB News the best way for people to use the site is to just jump in and explore the data. He says the best thing people can do is to look at the roads section. It gives visitors a quick peak at an average days commute from 5:300 in the morning to 7:30 in the evening. Garritana says it provides a quick visualization of the hot-spots on the system. The regional planning agency hopes the online presentation will boost support for a statewide capital spending bill to meet future transportation needs. CMAP is proposing ‘Fund 2040’ to make a renewed commitment to maintain and modernize the region’s transportation infrastructure. Garritano says a quarter cent increase in the regional sales tax could help fund some of the needs outlined on the site.
Crude Price Hurts Some...Helps Mostposted January 26th, 2015
Most consumers are enjoying the six year low in gasoline prices, but there is another side to that coin. Over the past several months the price of oil tumbled on the world market and as result the energy sector’s taking a smaller bite out of consumer spending. Chicago based employment expert John Challenger says companies with large transportation costs are benefiting. But he tells WDCB News what is good for some, is bad for others. Challenger says more and more domestic energy has been found, drilled, and fracked and those industries are beginning to layoff workers. He says Slumberger recently announced it would furlough 9,000 workers. Challenger thinks even if the price inches up a little in the coming weeks, the travel and tourism industries will have a prosperous summer. He says the boost in discretionary income will likely get more people traveling this year.