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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
8:03pm
Fri Jun 6, 2014

Renewable Gasoline From Wood: A Transportation Fuel Of The Future?

An innovative process to convert wood waste directly into renewable, high-octane gasoline has been developed successfully at the Des Plaines-based Gas Technology Institute (GTI), a non-profit that researches and develops energy technologies.

The recently-developed technology was crafted over a four-year period at GTI's gasification campus as part of a public-private pilot project supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) integrated biorefineries program.

At GTI's pilot plant, some 700 tons of woody biomass, such as mill and logging residue, were gasified and about 10,000 gallons of gasoline were produced.

"Gasification has a very checkered past," explained Jim Patel, president of the California-based biomass gasification company Carbona Corporation, a partner of the DOE-backed project. "People have made promises of gasification technology but (there have not been) too many successes. Here, we've proved that gasification works. We can clean up the gas, and the gas can be converted into gasoline." 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:37pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Illinois Congressmen Denounce Ryan Budget At Medicare Roundtable (VIDEO)

Illinoisans in support of strengthening Medicare, Social Security and other crucial programs denounced the Ryan Budget at a roundtable discussion in Wheeling Tuesday afternoon, calling the GOP-backed fiscal blueprint a "highway to hardship" for senior citizens, disabled individuals and the poor.

U.S. Reps. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,08), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,09) and Brad Schneider (D-IL,10) hosted the talk about “keeping Medicare healthy” with their constituents and members of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) also held a roundtable discussion on the topic in Aurora with representatives from the organization. 

Back in April, Republicans in the GOP-led House approved the chamber's controversial fiscal year 2015 budget drafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI,1). Duckworth, Schakowsky, Schneider and Foster voted against the budget.

"I'm proud to stand up to Representative Ryan and his desire to spend taxpayer dollars on corporate tax breaks at the expense of working families and seniors," Duckworth said at the discussion, held at the Wheeling Pavilion Senior Center. "We're going to keep fighting him every step of the way."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:22pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Report Sheds Light On Taxpayer Subsidies For Restaurant CEO Pay

Some of the largest corporate members of the National Restaurant Association have pulled in hefty taxpayer subsidies for CEO pay at the same time the industry lobbying group has advocated against measures to increase the minimum wage for workers, a recent report from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies shows. Progress Illinois takes a look at the report's findings.

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
8:49pm
Wed Apr 23, 2014

Chicago Environmentalists Take Fight To Doorstep Of 'Worst Corporate Polluters'

Grassroots groups from all over Chicago’s progressive landscape came together for a Climate Convergence on Earth Day, chanting for environmental and economic justice. The activists marched to corporations they say are the worst environmental offenders to deliver cease-and-desist orders, including Boeing Co., JPMorgan Chase Bank, and the British Petroleum oil company.

“If we do not have immediate change, we will face climate catastrophe by 2050,’’ said Jackie Spreadbury, an organizer with Global Climate Convergence Chicago. She called for people, planets and peace over profits as the rally began in front of the State of Illinois Center Tuesday, The event included speeches and protest songs like “This Land is Your Land’’ and original songs tailored to the event.

“The forces against us are strong, so fight not just these ten days, but every day,’’ she said, referring to the 10 days of action GCC has scheduled through May 1, or May Day. The May Day event is a march from the historically significant Haymarket Square to the ICE building on Congress Street to fight for immigration rights. Click through for more details and check back with Progress Illinois for coverage of Chicago's May Day events.

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
1:37pm
Mon Apr 21, 2014

Foster Pushes Back Against Federal Immigration Detainee Quota

Imagine a criminal justice system that required police to make sure 34,000 people filled its cells every night, regardless of crime, severity or conviction.

While that sounds improbable, it is exactly how the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement goes about its business following a 2009 Congressional mandate. Under the requirements, the agency must fill 34,000 detainee beds in its system every night at an annual cost of $2 billion to taxpayers.

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11), along with U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, (D-FL,21), praised the Obama administration’s recent letter opposing the requirement last week, and put renewed energy behind their fight to end ICE detention quotas. Earlier this year, the two legislators introduced a measure to make undocumented immigrants more aware of their rights and set up an Office of Legal Access Programs. The legislation is called the Immigrant Detainee Legal Rights Act  H.R. 3914.

“The budget issues are not lost on either party,’’ Foster said, noting that a policy based on need rather than an arbitrary quota could cut the cost of detentions by $1.4 billion. “That’s why we have bipartisan support.’’

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
7:13pm
Tue Apr 1, 2014

Race For Illinois Treasurer Heats Up

The General Election is not for another seven months, but the nominees for Illinois treasurer are wasting no time in taking jabs at each other. Progress Illinois takes a look at the race for treasurer that pits State Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) against State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego). 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:18pm
Thu Mar 13, 2014

Chicagoans, Aldermen Clash On $55 Million TIF Subsidy For McCormick Place Hotel

The Chicago City Council last week agreed to allocate up to $55 million in tax increment financing (TIF) funds for the development of a new Marriott hotel adjacent to the McCormick Place convention center. Progress Illinois details some of what proponents and opponents have to say about the project.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:15pm
Wed Mar 12, 2014

Housing Activists Call For Better Living Conditions: ‘Building Owner Is A Slumlord’ (VIDEO)

St. Edmund's Village Apartments, a South Side housing complex subsidized by the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, is infested with bed bugs, rodents, and mold, according to one tenant and a group of housing activists who protested outside of the nonprofit’s board meeting in the Loop on Tuesday.

The building’s owner, Rev. Richard Tolliver, is a slumlord, the activists allege. He is president and CEO of St. Edmund’s Redevelopment Corporation, which purchased the complex in 1999. He was also appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve on the Low-Income Housing Trust Fund’s board of directors.

“The building is crawling with bed bugs, roaches, rats ... it has leaky windows, mold, busted pipes and the management is no good,” said Janet Wilson, 43, a resident at St. Edmund's for more than 13 years. “The mayor has a slumlord on his team.”

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