JacksonSouth Loop

Four at 4 Graphic

4 Stories to Know About for the P.M. Commute

Editor's note: The Red Line Project has launched a new feature called Four @ 4, a mobile digest of top aggregated news stories for your afternoon commute. The features are posted at 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Feel free to suggest a link or story by writing us @RedLineProject.

Friday, Jan. 10 Update

By Scott Sutton

Posted: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014

1. Former Alderman Sentenced to 10½ Years for Bribery
A federal judge sentenced former Chicago Ald. Ambrosio Medrano to 10 ½ in prison for his role in a 2010 medical contract bribery scheme, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The 61-year-old was previously convicted of accepting bribes in the 90’s, for which he served 2 ½ years in prison and faces another sentencing of up to five years in a separate fraud case on Monday. He is the only former Chicago alderman to be convicted twice on counts of corruption.

2. December Jobs Report Shows Unexpected Slow Growth
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that employers added only 74,000 jobs nationally during the month of December, well short of the 200,000 jobs economists had predicted, according to the New York Times. The report did show encouraging news, however, as unemployment fell to 6.7 percent. That’s the lowest since November 2008. Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics charts.

3. Potholes to be Filled Seven Days a Week Through April
Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued an order to crews today to begin filling potholes seven days a week through April, DNAInfo Chicago reports. The order comes after a report released by the city’s general inspector said that between 2010 and 2012 the Department of Transportation had failed to fill a 26 percent of the city’s potholes within a week of them being reported.

4. Alternative Rock Back On Chicago’s Airwaves
Listeners expecting to hear adult hits may have been surprised this morning when they tuned into 101.1 FM to find hard hitting alternative rock playing. According to the Chicago Tribune, the switch comes after last week’s announcement by Cumulus Media that the group would be taking over WLUP-FM 97.1 along with long time alt-rock station WIQI-FM 101.1. The deal includes a format and owner switch for 87.7 FM as well, which had been home to Chicago’s alternative rock for the past several years.

 Thursday, Jan. 9 Update

By Emily Brosious

Posted: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014

1.  Illinois Lags Nationally in Job Creation
Moody’s Analytics put Illinois in dead last place for job creation this year. Though national job creation is on an uptick, with 2.6 million jobs projected to generate in 2014, Pew Research Center projects Illinois’ job growth is to be at just 0.98 percent. This is well behind states like North Dakota and Arizona, with job growth projected at 3.57 percent and 3.08 percent, respectively.

2. Emanuel Seeks to Retool City Gun Laws
At a press conference today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel indicated he would not fight Monday’s federal court ruling that found Chicago’s ban on gun stores to be unconstitutional. Instead, Emanuel said he is seeking six months to rewrite the city’s gun ordinances and “Create a comprehensive set of restrictions on the sale of firearms to ensure that illegal guns don’t find their way into the hands of criminals or straw purchasers.”

3. Speed Cameras Miss Revenue Targets
Chicago’s speed cameras near schools and parks issued over a half-million warnings to city drivers last year. Still, the cameras fell well short of revenue estimates. WBEZ reports the speed cameras brought in just 2 percent of the $15 million predicted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration in 2013.

4. Illinois Flu Rates Among Nation’s Highest
Widespread flu activity in Illinois, including the H1N1 “swine flu” strain, has claimed seven lives, including six in Cook County. Health professionals say the H1N1 strain tends to target young and middle-aged adults, rather than senior citizens. Generally healthy people are coming down with very-serious flu related illness statewide, some requiring life support.  Officials say the best way to protect yourself is to get a flu vaccination, which includes immunizations for the different H1N1 strains.

Where can you get your flu vaccination? See our Chicago flu shot locator. For the national report, see this CDC graphic:

Flu Map Photo

 Wednesday, Jan. 8 Update

By Lindsey Murphy

Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014

1) Third Anniversary of the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting
On Jan. 8, 2011, Gabrielle Giffords, a United States Representative from Arizona was shot in the head outside of a Safeway supermarket where she was holding a campaign event. Today marks the three year anniversary of the shooting and although she is still working immensely on her recovery, Time reports that she is celebrating her survival by sky diving in the same state she used to represent.

2) 13,000 Concealed-Carry Gun License Applications Approved
In connection with yesterday’s Four @ 4 stating a judge ruled Chicago’s handgun sales ban unconstitutional, more than 13,000 applicants for concealed-carry gun licenses were approved by the Illinois State Police today, Chicago Tribune reports. Applications were made available on Sunday and continue to flood in.

3) Students Return to CPS
After being bundled up inside for the last two days, Chicago Public School students finally return back to their teachers and friends in the classroom, reports Chicago Sun-Times. School has been out of session since Monday due to the temperatures reaching below freezing.

4) Dennis Rodman Sings Happy Birthday to Kim Jong Un
Before leading his team of former NBA stars in a game in North Korea for what he says and Huffington Post Chicago reports is part of his “basketball diplomacy” with the North that is criticized in the United States, Dennis Rodman sang “Happy Birthday” to the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, just days after his public outburst on CNN’s “New Day.”

 Tuesday, Jan. 7 Update

By Lindsey Murphy

Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014

1) Record Low for Fire Deaths in 2013
With such an uproar surrounding the temperature plummet, record-breaking news from the city’s bravest went unnoticed. DNAinfo Chicago reported on Tuesday that the city had a record low for fatalities due to fire in 2013, with only 16 deaths, which is far from the city’s highest of 206 in 1963.

2) It’s a Heat Wave …
And after 37 consecutive hours of sub-zero temperatures, we’re back in positive digits. Here are a few photos of the cold spell from our friends at Gapers Block. Nice knowing you, #ChiBeria.

3) Judge Rules Chicago Handgun Sales Ban Unconstitutional
This one snuck through the news on Monday with all of the hysteria over #Chibera: A federal judge ruled Monday that the city’s 2010 handgun ordinance is unconstitutional. This could open the way for gun stores to open in Chicago by the end of the year, Chicagoist reports. Bonus read: The Red Line Project wrote about the city’s gun laws in its Out of Control: Chicago Gun Violence project in 2013.

4) Your Food Costs the Number Degrees it is Outside
With Chicago residents apprehensive about baring the outdoors in the coming days of sub-zero temperatures, restaurants have been looking for creative ways to draw in a crowd. According to the Eater, most places are discounting their hot drinks and spiced ciders, as well as giving away free soup, but La Madia of 59 W. Grand Ave. is taking it a step further. Order any one of their wood-fired pizzas today and be charged only what the temperature is outside.

Bonus reads for that long, cold commute home:

  • Potholes and Streetlights Won’t Fix Themselves
    Chicago residents are given the opportunity to report potholes in need of repair, or burned out streetlights by calling 311, where the Department of Transportation is then scheduled to service each and every one. However, according to DNAinfo Chicago, in the last three years, CDOT “did not repair potholes reported to 311 within seven days 26 percent of the time, and did not repair reported streetlight outages within four days 24 percent of the time.”
  • NATO 3 Trial Set to Begin
    Prior to last year’s NATO Summit, which took place on May 20, 2012, three men were arrested in connection on 11 counts, 2 of which including terrorism charges, after they were allegedly planning to build Molotov cocktails, also known as a “poor man’s grenade”, to bring to the protest, according to Chicagoist. After being held in Cook County Jail for the last year, the trial for the three men is said to begin this week.

 Monday, Jan. 6 Update

By Jakub Rudnik

Posted: Monday, Jan. 6, 2014

Belmont Stop Blizzard 2014 Phot

The Belmont El stop on Sunday afternoon had near-zero visibility. (Photo/Lindsey Murphy)

1. Snow, Temps Leave Illinois in a State of Disaster
After winter storm “Hercules” dumped over a foot of snow on Illinois and wind-chill temperatures reached as low as 50-below zero Monday, Gov. Pat Quinn has declared Illinois to be in a state of disaster and has activated the Illinois National Guard. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel—tanned from a family vacation to Indonesia—was asked where he had been during the storm just two questions into his press conference.

2. One of the Coldest Days in Chicago’s History?
CBS Chicago reported that the temperature of 16-below zero recorded at O’Hare is a record low for Jan. 6 in Chicago, but that today is not among the 15 coldest days in the city’s history. Chicago’s most frigid day came Jan. 20, 1985, when the temperature dropped to 27-below zero.

3. CTA Struggles
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, four people were injured this morning in a CTA bus crash in Beverly, and 14 Metra riders were hurt as a commuter train hit a “bumping post,” according to Crain’s. Several media outlets reported that every El line except the Pink Line experienced delays this morning, and the CTA Twitter feed was still reporting delays on multiple lines throughout the afternoon.

4. #ChiBeria
As the temperature dropped, some Chicagoans took it upon themselves to test the elements. On Jan. 5, a substitute teacher sent a picture to CNN of a T-shirt he washed that froze stiff in just five minutes in the elements. Mick Swasko with RedEye spent the day doing a series of alcohol-related experiments. It wasn’t a surprise that the glass bottle of Bud Light exploded, but how about ice forming in the shot of vodka?

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