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PI Original
by Anthony Burke Boylan
2:12pm
Wed Jul 9, 2014

Transportation Officials, Chicagoans Discuss Ways To 'Redefine' Lake Shore Drive

North Lake Shore Drive, one of the most iconic stretches of road in America, needs major updates and improvements to accommodate increased use, according to local planning officials. Progress Illinois details the happenings at a meeting held Tuesday to discuss ways to "Redefine The Drive." 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:32pm
Wed Jul 2, 2014

Report: 10 Percent Of Illinois Beach Water Samples Have Unsafe Bacteria Levels

Hitting the beach this Fourth of July holiday?

A recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) suggests that swimmers take precautions to avoid getting sick from beach water that might be contaminated.

The NRDC's annual "Testing the Waters" report showed that 10 percent of water samples taken last year from 49 monitored Illinois coastal beaches and beach segments — all located in Cook and Lake counties — tested positive for high levels of bacteria from human or animal waste.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:09pm
Wed Jun 11, 2014

Tax Fairness Groups Rally Against Walgreen's Potential $4 Billion Tax Dodge (VIDEO)

Tax fairness activists rallied outside of the Walgreens downtown Chicago flagship store Wednesday morning in protest of possible plans by the nation's biggest pharmacy chain to move its corporate address from Illinois to Switzerland, a "tax haven."

Toting signs reading "Walgreens, don't shortchange America," about 20 activists called on Deerfield-based Walgreen Co. to remain an Illinois company and drop a potential plan to reincorporate itself offshore through a maneuver called a "corporate tax inversion." The move could cost U.S. taxpayers $4 billion in lost tax revenue over a five-year period, shows a new report released ahead of today's protest by Americans for Tax Fairness and Change to Win Retail Initiatives.

"If Walgreens relinquishes Illinois roots by becoming a Swiss company, it will not only be a betrayal of the people of the great state of Illinois, it will undermine critical taxpayer-funded services that we all rely on," stressed William McNary, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois. "If Walgreens moves it corporate address offshore, it will still take advantage of all the benefits it gets from operating in America. It will still get the $72 billion in annual sales that we give them every year. It will still get the $16 billion that we as taxpayers give them for Medicare and Medicaid."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:38pm
Mon Jun 2, 2014

Manufacturing, Green Infrastructure Co-Ops Offer Job Opportunities For Chicago Youth

Several Chicago youths are taking part in efforts to increase democracy in the workplace while tackling economic and environmental issues in their neighborhoods through the use of innovative business cooperatives owned and controlled by workers.

Young people from the city's Austin and Rogers Park communities discussed their involvement with cooperative businesses, which are entities owned and managed collectively by workers, at a 2014 Worker Cooperative National Conference held over the weekend at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In the West Side neighborhood of Austin, an impoverished community struggling with high rates of unemployment and crime, students at the manufacturing-focused Austin Polytechnical Academy launched a business cooperative at their school last year called Mech Creations, which makes trumpet mouthpieces. And on the city's far North Side in Rogers Park, which also faces issues of unemployment and crime, young people are participating in a worker cooperative focused on green infrastructure called Grassroots Ecology. The North Side youth-focused cooperative started building green infrastructure, including rain gardens and barrels to mitigate flooding, in 2012 and plans to incorporate as a limited liability company with cooperative by-laws this fall.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:49pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Ridesharing, Guns, Sweatshops, SROs & $15 Minimum Wage

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

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:32pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Report: $15 Chicago Minimum Wage Would Lift Up Struggling Workers, City's Economy

A proposal to hike Chicago's minimum wage to $15 an hour would not only be a boon for many low-wage workers but also the city's economy, according to a new report by the Center for Popular Democracy.

"Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would promote economic stability among Chicago workers, economic vitality in their neighborhoods and economic growth throughout this city," said Connie Razza, director of strategic research at the center, which works both locally and nationally to build "the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda."

The new report comes ahead of Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, during which aldermen with the Progressive Reform Caucus plan to introduce an ordinance for a citywide hourly minimum wage of $15 an hour. The ordinance was developed with members of Raise Chicago, a coalition of community and labor groups advocating for a higher hourly wage floor in the city. Chicago's current minimum wage is $8.25 an hour, the same as the base hourly wage in Illinois and $1 more than the federal level. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:29pm
Thu Apr 17, 2014

Schneider, Enviros Discuss Lake Michigan Oil Spill; Great Lakes Infrastructure Initiatives

In the wake of the BP oil spill in Lake Michigan, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL,10) met with local elected officials and environmental leaders in Highland Park to discuss ways to better protect and revitalize the Great Lakes region.

"Our needs are really very basic," Highland Park Mayor Nancy Roterin told the congressman on Thursday. "Keep our water clean and help us improve access to the beaches. [And] whatever you can to do to prevent these oil spills and the things like what happened at Whiting."

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