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Four Stories for Your P.M. Commute 

Friday, April 18 Update

By Sade Carpenter

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014

1. Chicago Fire Department Workers Suspended for Fraud
A group of firefighters and paramedics have been suspended without pay for 30 to 45 days after falsifying mileage reimbursement claims, the Chicago Tribune reports. According to a report filed by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, 17 fire department employees were paid more than $35,000 in 2009 for mileage they never traveled. Ferguson’s report also cited alleged violations in the Department of Water Management.

2. Bike Cops to Patrol High-Crime Areas
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced a plan today to send bike patrol officers into South and West side neighborhoods with high violence. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, McCarthy said the bike patrols will give officers who were formerly on foot more mobility. “While these zones represent just about 3 percent of the geography of the City of Chicago, for the last three years they represented almost 20 percent of the robberies, shootings and murders that happen in our city,” McCarthy said.

3. Anti-Violence March Scheduled for Saturday
The South Chicago Peoples and Pastors Association is hosting an anti-violence march and prayer service Saturday, DNAinfo Chicago reports. Nonprofit organization Claretian Associates is organizing the event. "If we don't get ahead of all this violence taking place in the streets we are going to find ourselves having a violent summer," said Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore. "I think it is important to have neighborhood marches and rallies because it gives residents a chance to hear from victims and their families and the aftermath of a violent incident." March details:

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Begins at the Bubbleland Laundromat parking lot (9108 S. Commercial Ave.) & will end at the South Chicago Peoples’ Park (9100 S. Buffalo Ave.)

4. Chicago Park District to Renovate Playgrounds
The Chicago Park District will build or revamp 103 playgrounds across the city in 2014, according to the City of Chicago website. Yesterday Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials broke ground for new playgrounds at Murray Park, Lindblom Park and Kucinski-Murphy Park. The upcoming playground reconstruction is part of the Chicago Plays! renovation program, a five-year project dedicated to improving 325 parks throughout Chicago.

Still commuting? Read more news from our Twitter feed, RebelMouse page or subscribe to our mobile text news alerts. Or suggest an idea to us @RedLineProject.

Thursday, April 17 Update

By Emily Brosious

Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014

1. CTA Announces Red Line Bypass Initiative
The CTA announced plans for a $320 million rail bypass initiative north of the Belmont stop, RedEye Chicago reports. The roughly 150,000 rides that pass through the intersection just north of Belmont each day create a bottleneck effect with frequent delays. The bypass would speed up North Side Brown, Red and Purple Line train rides through the area. CTA may have to purchase – and demolish -- 16 buildings north of the Belmont intersection to rebuild the northern Red Line bypass.

2. Former Simeon Player Jabari Parker Heads to NBA
In a letter for Sports Illustrated, former Simeon High School basketball star Jabari Parker announced he’s leaving Duke University’s basketball team after just one season to enter the NBA draft. Parker said it was a very hard decision, but after losing in the NCAA tournament, his focus turned toward goals of playing in the NBA. Parker said he would miss his coaches and teammates, who had become “like brothers”. Despite the move, Parker said he plans to keep taking classes and  graduate from Duke while he’s in the NBA. “I was an honor student when I arrived at Duke, and I’d like to graduate as one,” he said.

3. Nixed Proposal to Deny Firearm Cards to Medical Pot Users 
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a proposal that would have barred medical marijuana patients from obtaining Firearm Owner’s Identification cards failed to move forward. Illinois officials posted preliminary rules for the implementation of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program that originally included a provision to prevent medical marijuana users from obtaining FOID cards. But that provision has been removed from the final implementation rules to be filed for review this week. The Illinois Department of Public Health expects to publish the official rules Friday.

4. A Grown Up Easter Egg Hunt 
This Sunday at Logan Square’s Longman & Eagle, adult Easter enthusiasts can share in all the egg-hunting festivities typically reserved for kids. DNAinfo Chicago reports that organizers of the fourth annual Adult Easter Egg Hunt will hide 3,000 hand-decorated eggs “in relatively plain sight” on public property between Kedzie and Sacramento Avenues and Logan Boulevard and Armitage Avenue. After the hunt, the entertainment will continue at Longman & Eagle with prizes, food, drinks and DJ sets.

Still commuting? Read more news from our Twitter feed, RebelMouse page or subscribe to our mobile text news alerts. Or suggest an idea to us @RedLineProject.

 Wednesday, April 16 Update

By Jakub Rudnik

Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1. North Side Red Line Stations to Be Rebuilt
Four CTA north branch Red Line stations will be completely reconstructed starting as early as 2017, according the Chicago Tribune. The Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations and deteriorating track will be rebuilt at an estimated cost of $1.13 billion. This plan is in addition to the reconstruction of the Wilson stop that is set to begin this year.

2. ComEd Requests Another Rate Increase
According to Crain’s Chicago, ComEd has filed a request with the Illinois Commerce Commission to boost rates by $275 million in 2015, increasing the average monthly utility bill by $3. The request comes as ComEd has asked the commission to accelerate part of the 2011 “smart grid” law that involves installing “smart meters” in all homes and businesses. ComEd increased delivery rates by $340 million for 2014, adding about $5.50 to the average bill.

3. Lake Shore Drive Reopened
Lake Shore Drive has been reopened in both directions after Chicago Police shut down a North Side stretch from Wilson to Foster after a suspicious package was reported Wednesday afternoon. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the police Bomb and Arson Squad used a robot inspected the package.

4. New System Aims to Reduce CTA Bus Bunching
A contract between CTA and New York-based transportation technology company Clever Devices was approved Wednesday that intends to reduce bus bunching in Chicago, according to Red Eye. Clever Device’s system allows central control workers to see bunching when it’s happening, and then to communicate with drivers on whether they need to speed up or slow down. The three-year, $13.4 million contract runs from June 2014 to June 2017, with implementation of the system taking as long as one year.

Still commuting? Read more news from our Twitter feed, RebelMouse page or subscribe to our mobile text news alerts. Or suggest an idea to us @RedLineProject.

 Tuesday, April 15 Update

By Lindsey Murphy

Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1. One-Year Anniversary of Boston Marathon Bombing
Nearly 2,500 people gathered in Boston today to mark the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. An invite-only, solemn ceremony took place at the Hynes Convention Center, not far from the marathon finish line where three people died and more than 260 were injured. Vice President Joe Biden was on hand at the convention center to honor the victims. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a flag-raising ceremony and moment of silence will take place at the marathon finish line.

2. Teen Fatally Shot Related to Teen Killed in 2012
A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed in Rogers Park early this morning while walking home. The boy was a cousin of Lil Jo Jo, a rapper who was gunned down on the South Side in 2012. His family said he was “just going to school and trying to get a job.” According to WGN Chicago, shootings in Rogers Park have killed two people and wounded nine in the last three months. 

3. Google Glass on Sale to Public for Today Only
For $1,500, you can buy your own pair of Google Glass today online. Demand has continued to grow for the new, wearable device, and this one-day sale aims to further stoke that. According to the Chicago Tribune, Google has nearly 2,000 developers testing the product, including 40 in Chicago. Google Glass responds to voice commands and can be used to read twitter posts, emails, or even browse the web via a tiny display in the corner of the right eye.  

4. Chicago the 4th Best City of Millennials to Live, Work, and Play
The folks at Niche, a data analysis firm for young adults, have ranked America’s top 25 cities for millenials to reside, putting Chicago at number 4. Niche’s findings were compiled by sifting through data from the U.S. Census, FBI crime rates and nearly 500,000 surveys from college students and recent graduates. Find the list here.

Still commuting? Read more news from our Twitter feed, RebelMouse page or subscribe to our mobile text news alerts. Or suggest an idea to us @RedLineProject.

 Monday, April 14 Update

By Emily Brosious

Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014

1. Late-Season Snowfall Predicted During Evening Commute
The National Weather Service predicts rain and snow showers will increase through the afternoon with a more focused band of snow developing late this afternoon and persisting through the evening. The band may produce a short-lived intense period of snowfall with visibility falling to around a mile. The bulk of snow falling across the Chicago area is expected during the evening commute. Motorists should be prepared for longer commute times and slushy roadways.

2. New Parking Meter Phone App
Crain’s Chicago Business reports a new cellphone app allowing Chicago drivers to pay for a parking meter or add time to their meter will kick off a pilot program on Tuesday. The ParkChicago app, available on iPhone and Android, will be piloted for two to three weeks in the West Loop neighborhood, from Madison and Halsted Streets to Racine Avenue -- including 279 metered spots. The app is free but drivers will be charged a 35-cent “convenience fee” for using the app for parking under two hours. Chicago Parking Meters – which leased Chicago’s 36,000 parking meters in a 75-year deal that began in 2008 – and the app vendor Passport Parking, Inc. will seek feedback from drivers and iron out any kinks before expanding the program.

3. Chicago Sun-Times Puts Reader Comments on Hold
The Chicago Sun-Times and other Sun-Times Media publications will temporarily stop running reader comments with their articles. Sun-Times managing editor Craig Newman released a statement today saying comment thread forums have devolved into a “morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behavior that detract from the content.” Newman said the Sun-Times is working to develop a new commenting system to increase the quality of commentary. In the meantime, readers are encouraged to connect with the Sun-Times via social media.

4. Ex-KKK Grand Dragon Suspected of Kansas-Area Jewish Center Murders
A man suspected of killing three people when he opened fire at two Kansas City-area Jewish centers Sunday has been identified as Frazier Glenn Cross, according to the Chicago Tribune.  Major civil rights groups called Cross a former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon with a long history of anti-Semitism. U.S. Attorney Eric Holder issued this statement today: “I was horrified to learn of this weekend’s tragic shootings outside Kansas City. These senseless acts of violence are all the more heartbreaking as they were perpetrated on the eve of the solemn occasion of Passover.”

Still commuting? Read more news from our Twitter feed, RebelMouse page or subscribe to our mobile text news alerts. Or suggest an idea to us @RedLineProject.

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