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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Oct 9, 2014

Striking Waukegan Teachers, School Board Remain At Odds Over Contract (VIDEO)

Progress Illinois provides coverage of the teachers strike in Waukegan, which entered its sixth day on Thursday. 

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
Mon Apr 28, 2014

Far Southeast Side Residents Decry Compromise On Petcoke Ordinance (VIDEO)

Members of the Southeast Side Coalition to Ban PetCoke took to the streets Saturday to push back against changes to a proposed ordinance to regulate petcoke piles in the city. They say the ordinance doesn’t go far enough in protecting their community from the dust particles that are making area residents sick. Some 200 protesters converged on Ald. John Pope’s (10th) ward office and KCBX Terminals, which stores the petcoke piles on the banks of the Calumet River, over the weekend in a call for a complete ban on petcoke piles.

Petcoke is a by-product from oil refineries that contains high concentrations of carbon and sulfur. Residents say high winds often blow the fine petcoke particles throughout the community often coating homes in black soot.

“If it falls short of removing the piles, it is not a good fix for our neighborhood,” said Marianne Blye, of the ordinance sponsored by Pope and Alderman Ed Burke (14th) and backed by the mayor.

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
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 Ellyn Fortino
Fri Nov 15, 2013

Southeast Side Residents Get Heated Over Petcoke Pollution At Illinois EPA Meeting

A Chicago community meeting the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) hosted to discuss a proposed construction permit for KCBX Terminals Company quickly escalated into angry shouting from Southeast Side residents fed up with the firm storing large piles of petroleum coke, or petcoke, near their homes.

KCBX, which is controlled by the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, stockpiles the petcoke, a byproduct of oil refining, along the Calumet River on Chicago's far Southeast side. The thick, powdery petcoke is sent to KCBX from a BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana. East Side and South Deering residents have been sounding the alarm for some time now that petcoke dust is blowing into their neighborhoods and getting into their homes.

"No one asked us if we wanted to have these piles dumped in the first place. They just did it," Southeast Side resident Sue Garza told the IEPA officials at the packed two-hour meeting, held at the East Side United Methodist Church. "We have been the toxic dumping ground here for over 100 years. We don't want it anymore."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Oct 10, 2013

Alderwomen, Health Care Advocates Urge City To Keep Breast Cancer Screening Program Open

A Chicago program that works to provide free mammograms to uninsured women may be at risk of being privatized or closed following the state's decision to terminate the city health department's grant funding for the effort over alleged mismanagement and quality of care concerns.

During a Thursday press conference at City Hall, a number of Chicago's African-American alderwomen, breast health advocates and unionized workers said it's crucial for the city to invest in the program in order to keep the program running and operated in-house.

Officials with the Public Health Organization, which has members who are patients and workers of the city’s Breast Health Program, said the city should continue funding the program while it invests in correcting the mismanagement and quality of care issues, which prompted the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to pull the $296,000 in Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program funds back in April.

The city's Breast Health Program program serves thousands of women each year, and it is specifically focused on working to reduce the breast cancer mortality rate among African-American women in Chicago, a rate that is 62 percent higher than white women in the city. The health advocates at Thursday's gathering said they are particularly worried that if the Breast Health Program ends, four mammography sites located in low-income, minority communities would close.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Mar 28, 2013

Nuclear Reactor Shutdowns Could Likely Decrease Community Cancer Rates, New Study Finds

The first ever long-term study examining the health impact idled U.S. nuclear reactors have on people living near the facilities found a significant drop in cancer incidents since the plant's closing, prompting researchers to call for further study of other populations near shuttered plants — including two in Illinois.  

In a 20-year period since the California Rancho Seco nuclear reactor closed, there were 4,319 fewer cases of cancer reported in Sacramento County, which has a population of about 1.4 million. The shuttered plant is located about 25 miles from the center of Sacramento city.

The cancer drops were most notable in women, Hispanics and children, according to Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, and co-author of the report published today in the Biomedicine International journal.

“The need here for more knowledge is great given how many reactors are near major population centers,” Mangano said on a conference call with reporters today. “The bottom line is clear. We need more information about the long-term impact of low level radiation from both idled and currently operating reactors.”

Quick Hit
by Brandon Campbell
Thu Aug 9, 2012

Illinois Barely Makes the Grade in Fighting Cancer

Is Illinois doing everything it can to help in the fight against cancer? Not quite, according to a new report from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Illinois is one of 16 states that earned mixed reviews after researchers measured policies aimed at improving cancer prevention and treatments. The Prairie State garnered praise for hitting the mark on four out of seven of the Cancer Society’s target issues, but they say there’s still room to improve.