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4 Stories to Know About for Your 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. 17 Update

By Scott Sutton

Posted: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

1. Obama Calls for Changes to NSA Phone Surveillance
President Obama announced today that the NSA will no longer be eavesdropping on allied leaders’ phone calls, the first reforms to the agency since Edward Snowden’s revelations last year. However, the U.S. will continue to gather information on other governments through spying tactics, according to the Chicago Tribune. Watch President Obama’s full speechhere.

2. Sun-Times Ends Lease at Current Headquarters
Wrapport LLC, the parent company of the Sun-Times Media Group, has ended its lease in its headquarters located on the Chicago River at 350 N. Orleans St., according to Chicagorealestatedaily.com. The lease will officially terminate at the end of 2014, leaving the newspaper, who’s name is on the 23-story building’s exterior, less than a year to either renegotiate a lease or find a new building. No plans for a move have been announced.

3. White Sox Agree On Deals with Beckham, De Aza
The White Sox agreed to one-year deals with second baseman Gordon Beckham and outfielder Alejandro De Aza worth $4.175 million and $4.25 million respectively, according to the Chicago Tribune. Beckham is coming off a 2013 campaign in which he batted .267, while De Aza had career highs in hits, home runs, RBIs and runs.

4. City Launches Pothole Tracker
Yes, the City of Chicago now has a pothole tracker. The map, launched this week, shows where city crews have patched potholes in the seven days. They might want to make one for sidewalks, too, as our sister site, The Chicago Stumbler Tumblr blog, posts photos of poor sidewalk conditions in the city's neighborhoods.


Thursday, Jan. 16 Update

By Emily Brosious

Posted: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014

Chicago College Leaders Join Initiative for Low-Income Students
President Obama kicked off a new campaign today encouraging more low-income students to attend college. Chicago Tribune reports that more than 80 college presidents, including Robert Zimmer of the University of Chicago, Kenneth Ender of Harper College and Steven Bahls of Augustana College were expected to join the president in Washington for today's launch. According to White House officials, only 9 percent of U.S. students from families with incomes in the lowest 25 percent earn a bachelor's degree by age 25. That compares to 54 percent of students from families with incomes in the top 25 percent.

Nathan the Newspaper Narwhal
Taking a cue from Chicago Cubs new mascot, columnist Rex Huppke came up with a mascot to save his own struggling industry; Nathan the Newspaper Narwhal. While there have been numerous attempts to revive the newspaper industry, this would be the first time anyone's tried a mascot, Huppke told the Chicago Tribune. The Narwhal represents the noble status of newspapers and much like journalists, will eat pretty much anything that floats into its mouth, Huppke said. Unlike Clark the Cub, however, Nathan the Narwhal "has the good sense to wear a full set of clothes," he said. Dirty Red Line Train Photo

Chicago Leads in Bedbugs for 2nd Consecutive Year
According to a study by pest control company Orkin, Chicago ranked highest in bedbug infestations among U.S cities for the second year in a row. Los Angeles came in second and Columbus, Ohio was third. New York's bedbug ranking fell substantially from 10th place in 2012 to 17th in 2013. Orkin's rankings are based on the number of bedbug treatments performed from January to December 2013. Watch out for rust-colored stains on mattresses and sheets and sweet, musty odors, which are telltale signs of bedbug infestation, according to the CDC.

More Messy Red Line Cars
CTA Red Line riders have been sharing photos, reports and frustrations about the messy state of train cars. Apparently going without cleaning after a day's worth of rides, Red Line cars were filled with garbage clustered under seats and scattered across car floors. Have any photos of the poor conditions of the Red Line cars?
Tweet them to @redlineproject and we'll share them here and on Twitter, and credit you.

This Red Line train was full of papers and trash on Monday night (Photo/Emily Brosious)

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 Wednesday, Jan. 15 Update

By Lindsey Murphy

Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014

1) Archdiocese of Chicago Brings Forth Sex Abuse Documents
According to the Sun Times, the Archdiocese of Chicago is bringing forward nearly 6,000 pages of documents containing sexual abuse allegations by the clergy, in an effort to “bring healing to the victims and their families”. There have been allegations that the church has failed to report sexual abuse to authorities in the past. Once checked over by attorneys for personal information to be removed, the documents will be made available to the public.

2) Jesus the Homeless
A life-size sculpture, created by Canadian artist Tim Schmalz, of a homeless man lying on a bench, covered by a blanket with his bare feet poking out has said to be the homeless Jesus. With holes in the tops of the feet, it is depicted that the man was nailed to the cross some 2,000 years ago. According to the Tribune, sometime this spring, Chicago’s Catholic Charities is hoping to place a version of the statue either among the other street art displayed around the city, or on its own property, in an effort to keep Chicago’s poor and homeless in the public eye.

3) Maine West Coach Freed of all Charges
Michael Divincenzo, the head soccer coach at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, has been cleared of all charges in connection with a 2012 hazing scandal. The charges included misdemeanor battery for failing to report an alleged incident back in 2012 where older players were accused of pulling down the pants of younger players and poking them, the Chicago Tribune reports. Many were in attendance to support Divincenzo, who lost his job as head coach due to the allegations.

Dirty CTA Red Line Cars Photo

Trash on a Red Line train on Wednesday morning. (Photo contributed by @sputnikthedog)

4) CTA Failing to Clean Red Line Cars?
Severalfrequent CTA Red Line riders have been sharing photos and their frustrations about the train cars not being cleaned after a days worth of rides. Photos include, garbage piled under the seats and newspapers from days prior on the floors. Have any photos of the poor conditions of the Red Line cars? Tweet them to @redlineproject and we'll share them her and on Twitter, and credit you.

Still commuting? Read more news from our Twitter feed, RebelMouse page or subscribe to our mobile text news alerts.

 Tuesday, Jan. 14 Update

By Lindsey Murphy

Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014

1) Beanie Baby Creator Avoids Jail Time
After not paying income taxes on millions of dollars he had hidden in a Swiss bank account, Ty Warner, creator of the popular childhood toy Beanie Babies, avoided jail time and was sentenced to two years probation, according to the Chicago Tribune. Along with his probation, Warner, a Chicago native whose company blossomed in Westmont in the mid-1990s, has been ordered to complete 500 hours of community service and said he was “humbled by the ruling”.

2) Middle School Shooting in Roswell, N.M.
At least two children were injured in a shooting at a southern New Mexico middle school, reports The Huffington Post. The suspected shooter has been apprehended. Homeland Security was asked to help with the investigation, as there has been a lot of gang-related activity in the town in recent monts. Within a year since the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, there have been 23 other mass shootings in 17 states, reports the Telegraph.

3) Broadway Youth Center’s Future in Lakeview
DNAinfo reports that the Broadway Youth Center, a Howard Brown affiliate, may have its permit denied for it to operate in a local church in the 600 block of W. Wellington Ave. Neighborhood residents have argued that the community organization shouldn’t be on a residential street and it causes too many disruptions. After votes were counted, 41 residents voted to deny the center’s location and 21 voted for it.

4) Clark The Cub Debuts
The Cubs officially have a mascot, but some fans are less than impressed and have taken to social media. Clark the Cub made his debut Monday night as the Cubs’ first official mascot, with a focus on being more family-friendly, according to the Sun Times. With a young, cartoon-ish appearance, some fans -- and media -- poked fun at the bear. Deadspin's approach: posting a contest to “do something horrible to the Cubs’ new, perverted mascot”. Some very interesting results to this crowdsourcing.

Still commuting? Read more news from our Twitter feed, RebelMouse page or subscribe to our mobile text news alerts.

 Monday, Jan. 13 Update

By Jakub Rudnik

Posted: Monday, Jan. 13, 2014

1. Divers Still Searching for Woman Who Fell in Chicago River
The Chicago Police Marine Unit is still searching for the body of a 21-year-old woman who fell into the Chicago River just after midnight, according to the Chicago Tribune. She was trying to help a 26-year-old man she was with who had fallen into the water while lunging for his phone after it dropped on the riverwalk. That man died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital at roughly 3:14 a.m., and a 23-year-old man who was also with them remains hospitalized in stable condition.

Instagram: A rescue diver slides across the ice looking for survivors. (Video by Peter Nickeas/Chicago Tribune)

2. Firearm Seizures Down in 2013
According to RedEye, the Chicago Police Department said it seized 6,813 illegally possessed or used firearms in 2013, down from the roughly 7,400 firearms it seized in 2012. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called for a mandatory three-year minimum sentence on gun violations in Illinois. Check out the Red Line Project’s coverage of Chicago’s gun violence problem.

3. Chicago Woman Falls to Death in San Diego
An unidentified Chicago-area woman fell to her death in San Diego Sunday evening. According to Fox 5 San Diego, the 25-year-old was posing for a picture at Sunset Cliffs when she slipped and fell. A San Diego police officer told the Tribune that although there are fences, cement blocks and warning signs to prevent such accidents, “people still want to get that photo.”

4. Derrick Rose Back on His Feet
After undergoing surgery in November to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is off crutches and is expected to resume travelling with the team in the coming weeks, reports ESPN Chicago. The news comes a day after general manager Gar Forman said the team is “retooling,” not rebuilding, on CSN Chicago’s Bulls Pregame Live.

Still commuting? Read more news from our Twitter feed, RebelMouse page or subscribe to our mobile text news alerts.

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