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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:45pm
Wed Jul 20, 2016

Chicago Aldermen Approve Property Tax Rebate, Propose Sources Of Revenue For Schools

A group of Chicago aldermen proposed a package of ordinances Wednesday to generate revenue for the city's cash-strapped public schools.

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district has a $300 million budget gap, and schools are reportedly facing a 7 percent funding cut in the upcoming academic year.

"We've received some money from the state, but it's just not enough," Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said at a press conference before the council meeting with fellow aldermen, the Chicago Teachers Union and other education advocates.

"We need to find more progressive and more viable solutions to increase revenue so that all of our schools can be adequately financed, so that we can give quality teachers an opportunity to teach in our schools," he continued. "When I had a conversation with a principal yesterday, she was perplexed that she could not hire a 20-plus year veteran school teacher because she could not afford it. That's not right."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
6:38pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Debate Over Proposed Metal Recycling Facility In Pilsen Heats Up (VIDEO)

Debate about a proposed metal recycling facility in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood got heated Thursday morning when activists arguing for and against the new project squared off outside of Ald. Danny Solis' (25th) office.

The $30 million metal shredding facility, run by Pure Metal Recycling, is proposed for 15 acres of land near Cermak Road and Loomis Street near the South Branch of the Chicago River. It would be on the same block as Benito Juarez Academy, 1510 W. Cermak Rd., and a few blocks from another metal shredding facility, Sims Metal Management, at 2500 S. Paulina St.

Supporters of the project say it would bring much-needed jobs to the area and is slated to be an environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art facility.

But environmental activists claim the new facility would be at a high risk for fires and explosions and bring increased air and water pollution, soil contamination, truck traffic and noise pollution to the neighborhood.

“They’re saying they’re going to be totally unlike any other facility, and totally brand new and clean, but its like playing Russian Roulette by putting it next to a school,” said Jerry Mead-Lucero of the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO). “Maybe they’ll pull off this miracle and it’ll be unlike any other recycling facility. But if they don’t, it’s going to be awfully bad for the community. They’re taking too big of a risk.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:47pm
Wed Apr 30, 2014

Chicago City Council Passes Plastic Bag Ban, Petcoke Regulations

The Chicago City Council voted Wednesday to partially ban plastic shopping bags and put in place tougher regulations for petcoke facilities. Progress Illinois takes a look at the two issues as well as other highlights from the council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:04pm
Thu Apr 24, 2014

Chicago Plastic Bag Ban Clears Committee, Heads To Full City Council

A long-stalled proposal to crackdown on plastic carryout bags in Chicago unanimously passed out of the city council's environmental committee Thursday despite objections from industry groups that say the move will hurt businesses.

Approval of the Ban-The-Bag measure, spearheaded by Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), followed a comprise at City Hall this week to revise the ordinance so that restaurants and mom-and-pop stores can continue using plastic bags at the point of sale. Previously, the ordinance would have applied to retailers of all sizes.

Under the measure, Chicago restaurants and small, independent stores less than 10,000 square feet in size would be exempt. Small retailers, however, would have to comply with the plastic bag ban if they are part of a chain with at least three stores. 

"I'm very open to re-looking at this and adding even more players into it, but this is a huge step today for the city of Chicago," Moreno told reporters after the vote. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:34pm
Tue Mar 25, 2014

Debate Over Chicago's Proposed Plastic Bag Ban Heats Up

Chicagoans are up in arms over a proposal to crackdown on plastic carryout bags in the city.

The Chicago City Council's Committee on Health and Environmental Protection held a two-hour subject matter hearing on Ald. Joe Moreno's (1st) long-stalled plastic bag reduction ordinance Tuesday and debate over the proposal was fierce.

Moreno's ban-the-bag measure, which failed to move forward last year, originally looked to outlaw plastic bags in stores with more than 5,000 square-feet of retail space. But the new ordinance, introduced in the city council earlier this month, would apply to retailers of all sizes. Adding small stores to the mix was seen as a way to garner more support for the measure. 

Ald. George Cardenas (12th), who co-sponsored the new ordinance and chairs the environmental committee, said the proposal, which will likely see some additional tweaks, is slated for a committee vote on April 15.

"I think we're on the right side of being pro-environment," Cardenas told reporters. "I think we have to be on the right side of pro-business, and that's a balancing act." 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:43pm
Fri Jan 10, 2014

A Look At the Proposal To Ban Plastic Foam Food Containers In Chicago (UPDATED)

   Chicago Alds. George Cardenas (12th) and Ed Burke (14th) want to ban the use of Styrofoam and other polystyrene food service products in the city. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:10pm
Mon Jan 6, 2014

Pilsen Residents Push Back Against Proposed Metal Recycling Facility

Chicago's Zoning Board of Appeals granted Pure Metal Recycling more time on its application for a special use permit involving the company's attempt to open a large shredding facility in Pilsen.

In late December, an attorney for Pure Metal Recycling asked that the hearing be postponed until this month at the request of Ald. Danny Solis (25th), whose ward would house the proposed metal shredder. The Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) had requested that the aldermen ask for the delay, citing environmental community concerns. The next Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the matter is scheduled for January 17 at 2 p.m.

The company is seeking a special use permit to establish a $30 million metal recycling facility on 15 acres of land near Cermak Road and Loomis Street by the South Branch of the Chicago River. It would be nearly across the street from Benito Juarez Academy, 1510 W. Cermak Rd., and a few blocks from another metal shredding facility, Sims Metal Management, at 2500 S. Paulina St.

Some community members say the new scrap metal factory would be a step back when it comes to the recent environmental progress in Pilsen, such as shutting down the Fisk coal-fired power plant as well as cleaning up the H. Kramer copper smelting foundry and the former Lowenthal Metals site.

"There's no zero-emissions shredder," Nelson Soza of the community group Pilsen Alliance said in remarks after the December 20 meeting. "These metals are going to be particles that are going to fly into the air. These folks use water to suppress that, but there is no 100 percent assurance ... that this is going to be completely clean."

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