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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Wed Jul 16, 2014

Consumers Target Walgreens Over 'Toxic Products'; Public Pressure Grows Over Antibiotics Use In Livestock (VIDEO)

A small group of health advocates, dog owners and Walgreens customers in Chicago called on the nation’s largest pharmacy chain to remove products that, they say, contain harmful chemicals from its shelves.

"Many major retailers in the Chicago area such as Target, Bed Bath & (Beyond), even Walmart have taken direct action to begin to remove some of the worst toxic chemicals from their products, and unfortunately, Walgreens, the flagship of Illinois, has refused to make a commitment to take action on these products," said Lynda DeLaforgue, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois, which organized the Wednesday morning protest outside of the new Walgreens store at 410 N. Michigan Ave. in the Wrigley Building.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:37pm
Wed Jun 25, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Gun Shops, Phone Taxes & SROs

Progress Illinois provides some highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
4:57pm
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 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
4:39pm
Tue Apr 1, 2014

Revised Chicago Petcoke Ordinance 'Opens The Door' For More Dirty Facilities, Environmentalists Say

Environmentalists and Southeast Side Chicagoans are furious over recent changes made to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed ordinance to crack down on petcoke, claiming the revisions have weakened the legislation.

The mayor’s measure, initially introduced at March’s city council meeting, originally sought to ban new petcoke facilities from opening in the city and prohibit existing sites from expanding. But at the council’s zoning committee meeting Tuesday, the public learned the pending petcoke ordinance, co-sponsored by Alds. Ed Burke (14th) and John Pope (10th), has since been revised.

“That blindsided us,” Peggy Salazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force told Progress Illinois after the nearly two-hour committee hearing. “How can they provide us with information, an ordinance to review and evaluate … then when we get here to testify and speak [on] the ordinance, they give us something totally different than what we did all that work on? How can they do that? How is that allowed?”

The council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards agreed to defer consideration of the measure until its April 24 meeting to allow the public more time to review the substitute ordinance.

“I think there may be a few more items we can add,” Pope said before asking the committee to defer 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." 

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 Ellyn Fortino
3:01pm
Fri Mar 7, 2014

Southeast Side Chicagoans Continue Push For Full Petcoke Ban

   Residents of Chicago's Southeast Side say Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal introduced this week to ban new or expanded petcoke facilities in the city does not go far enough.

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