WBEZ | News http://www.wbez.org/news Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en This American Life: The problem we all live with http://www.wbez.org/news/american-life-problem-we-all-live-112547 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/tal_pwalw.jpg" alt="" /><p></p> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 13:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/american-life-problem-we-all-live-112547 One dead, thousands without power after storms http://www.wbez.org/news/one-dead-thousands-without-power-after-storms-112537 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/lolla_evac.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Severe storms around Chicago Sunday left one person dead and thousands without power.</p><p>A man was killed and more than a dozen injured in Wood Dale when a tent where people had sought shelter during a brief storm blew off its moorings and collapsed on some of the crowd at a festival.</p><p>Mike Rivas, Wood Dale deputy police chief, said three people were seriously injured. Fifteen people were transported to hospital and others slightly injured were treated at the scene and released, Wood Dale police said in a statement posted on Facebook.</p><p>The fatality was identified as Wood Dale resident Steven Nincic, 35.</p><p>The incident happened at midafternoon when a sudden storm brought high winds, hail and rain to the annual Prairie Fest, Rivas said.</p><p>&quot;People sought shelter under the tent and then it hit,&quot; he said of the storm.</p><p>The tent was ripped from its moorings and fell on some people, said Craig Celia, a spokesman for Wood Dale, which is about 25 miles northwest of&nbsp;Chicago. The remainder of the festival&#39;s final day was canceled, he said.</p><p>The&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;area was hit by two waves of storms on Sunday that brought high winds, rain and hail.</p><p>A spokesperson for ComEd said around 17,900 people were without power Monday morning, down from a peak of 95,000. The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation received 730 reports of downed trees, and will be adding extra crews to pick up smaller branches and debris.</p><p>The popular Lollapalooza music festival in&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;Grant Park briefly shut down Sunday afternoon due to the weather, then resumed less than an hour later. Organizers ended the final day of the festival 30 minutes early Sunday night when another storm hit the area. Some 89,000 fans safely exited the grounds after the weather alert, the festival promoter said.</p><p>Sandee Fenton is director of publicity for C3 Presents, Lollapalooza&#39;s promoter. She says they&#39;re &quot;disappointed to end the festivities early,&quot; but &quot;safety always comes first.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 08:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/one-dead-thousands-without-power-after-storms-112537 Ebola vaccine hailed as 'Game Changer' in fight against the virus http://www.wbez.org/news/ebola-vaccine-hailed-game-changer-fight-against-virus-112536 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/gettyimages-465767054-22_custom-ac47fdbbb7bce665fbab3fe81bb9cc874c66ebde-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Doctors Without Borders is calling it a &quot;champagne moment.&quot; The World Health Organization says it&#39;s a &quot;game changer.&quot;</p><p>In a small trial, an experimental vaccine protected 100 percent of participants who were at high risk for the virus. Although the results are preliminary, they offer new hope of finally stamping out the virus in West Africa &mdash; and preventing the next epidemic.</p><p>&quot;There was nothing, nothing against Ebola that could protect people,&quot; says Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director general at the World Health Organization, who helped to lead the trial. &quot;This is the very first intervention against Ebola.&quot;</p><div class="bucketwrap internallink insettwocolumn inset2col " id="res428079008"><div class="bucket img"><div class="bucketblock">&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>The vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Previous studies showed it was safe. In April, WHO and Doctors Without Borders started testing its effectiveness in Guinea. The trial is ongoing, but the team published initial results Thursday in <em>The Lancet</em>.</p><p>The vaccine stops Ebola in its tracks, Kieny says.</p><p>&quot;When we talked with our colleagues who are responding to Ebola [cases], they told us, &#39;It&#39;s strange. There are many cases in a community. And we vaccinate, and the cases seem to disappear.&#39; &quot;</p><p>In fact, there are so few cases in Guinea right now that Kieny and her team couldn&#39;t use the standard method for testing a vaccine. The team had to come up with a whole new design for the trial. The strategy uses what&#39;s called ring vaccination.</p><div class="bucketwrap internallink insettwocolumn inset2col " id="res428173999"><div class="bucket img"><div class="bucketblock">&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>When a case crops up, the team rushes to the person&#39;s home. Then&nbsp;they give the vaccine to the people are at very high risk of getting Ebola &mdash; those who are close to the sick person.</p><p>&quot;So this can be the neighbors, the family, the coworkers,&quot; Kieny says. &quot;This forms what is called a ring. These are the people that form the community around the case.&quot;</p><p>Over the past few months, Kieny and her team identified about 4,000 people in these so-called rings who were eligible for the vaccination. They divided them up into groups. Half got vaccinated immediately, and the others had to wait three weeks for the shot.</p><p>The results were striking. In the group that got the vaccine immediately, no one got Ebola.</p><p>&quot;No cases anymore. Finished zero,&quot; Kieny says. &quot;So this provides an estimate of efficacy, of course, of 100 percent.&quot;</p><p>That sounds amazing &mdash; even unbelievable. And it actually is, Kieny says.</p><p>The problem is there were only 16 cases of Ebola<strong> </strong>in the group that didn&#39;t get the vaccine immediately. That&#39;s way too small of a number to say how well the vaccine works, she says.</p><p>But statistical analysis suggest the vaccine&#39;s efficacy is at least 70 percent, Kieny says. That protection level is still good enough to stop the spread of the disease.</p><p>&quot;I think it is very encouraging to see these very positive, preliminary results of this vaccine trail from Guinea,&quot; says Dr. Jesse Goodman, infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University, who once lead vaccine development at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.</p><p>Goodman says we need to be cautious about the study. More data are needed to nail down the vaccine&#39;s efficacy. And there were a few issues with the design of the experiment that could have skewed the results.</p><p>&quot;But nonetheless,&quot; he says, &quot;the strength of the difference between the groups that were vaccinated early and late suggests strongly to me that this vaccine is working.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/07/31/428017319/ebola-vaccine-hailed-as-game-changer-in-fight-against-the-virus?ft=nprml&amp;f=428017319" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ebola-vaccine-hailed-game-changer-fight-against-virus-112536 Pell grants for prisoners: An old argument revisited http://www.wbez.org/news/pell-grants-prisoners-old-argument-revisited-112533 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/19407321_h38274460_slide-f233a67d0018562a34b055551e5caa2a8c778feb-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&#39;s an old and controversial question: Should federal Pell grants be used to help prisoners pay for college?</p><p>Tomorrow, at a prison in Jessup, Md., Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are expected to unveil a program to do just that. The new plan would create a limited pilot program allowing some students in prison to use Pell grants to pay for college classes.</p><p>The key word there is &quot;limited&quot; &mdash; because there&#39;s only so much the administration can do. To understand why, we have to go back to November 1993.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>The Crime Bill</strong></span></p><p>The era of Three Strikes had begun, and lawmakers in Washington were in a bipartisan race to prove they were tough on crime.</p><p>U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, introduced an amendment that would ultimately ban prisoners from receiving Pell grants. Her argument then: &quot;Because prisoners have zero income, they have been able to step to the front of the line and push law-abiding citizens out of the way,&quot; she said on the Senate floor (though Pell grants go to any and all who apply and meet the criteria).</p><p>Letting prisoners use federal dollars to pay for college, Hutchison insisted, just isn&#39;t fair. &quot;It is not fair to taxpayers. It is not fair to law-abiding citizens. It is not fair to the victims of crime.&quot;</p><p>Two decades later, Hutchison wants to be clear: She&#39;s not opposed to prison education. She just doesn&#39;t think federal Pell grants should pay for it.</p><p>&quot;I think it should be a state priority and a state initiative,&quot; she says.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>&#39;Guys Were Having Study Groups&#39;</strong></span></p><p>Tyrone Werts says he watched lawmakers debate the crime bill on TV from his prison cell.</p><p>Werts had been convicted of second-degree murder for his role in a deadly robbery. At the age of 23, he arrived at Graterford Prison in Pennsylvania.</p><p>&quot;My reading scores was like second grade. My math skills was second, third grade,&quot; he says.</p><p>Behind bars, Werts studied. He earned his GED, then his bachelor&#39;s through a prison education program with Villanova University. It was paid for with Pell grants.</p><p>&quot;Graterford, when we had Pell grants, was actually like a college or university,&quot; he says. &quot;The arts flourished. Guys were having study groups. They were at the table, writing papers.&quot;</p><p>But Werts says that stopped when the money dried up.</p><p>After nearly 37 years in prison, Werts&#39; sentence was commuted. Now, he works for Temple University&#39;s Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and helps released prisoners re-enter society.</p><p>&quot;I see a marked difference between those guys who went to college in prison and those guys who didn&#39;t go to school,&quot; he says. &quot;They think totally different.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR266.html">A 2013 study by the RAND Corp. </a>found that education behind bars greatly reduces the likelihood of a former prisoner committing another crime.</p><p>But federal law still prohibits Pell grants for prisoners. Only Congress can roll back the law.</p><p>That said, the Education Department does have one option: It can waive certain rules for <a href="https://experimentalsites.ed.gov/exp/index.html">research purposes</a> and, thus, extend Pell grants to a small number of prisoners.</p><p>Think of it as an exception to the rule &mdash; not rewriting the rule itself.</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/07/30/427450422/pell-grants-for-prisoners-an-old-argument-revisited?ft=nprml&amp;f=427450422">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/pell-grants-prisoners-old-argument-revisited-112533 Chicago's plastic bag ban is full of holes http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-31/chicagos-plastic-bag-ban-full-holes-112530 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/plastic bagsDay Donaldson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On August 1, Chicago joins the more than 130 cities and counties in the US with bans on plastic bags.</p><p>Chain stores more than 10,000 square feet in size will no longer be able to offer customers those flimsy plastic bags we&rsquo;re all used to.</p><p>There are three types of bags that are OK under the new law and two of them are technically plastic. So, what&rsquo;s going on here?</p><p>Joining us to sift through what&rsquo;s under the ban &mdash; and whether the new law is good to begin with &mdash; are two people on opposite ends. Jordan Parker is an environmentalist and executive director of Bring Your Bag Chicago and Jonathan Perman represents the American Progressive Bag Alliance, the trade association for manufacturers and recyclers of plastic bags and plastic film.</p></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-31/chicagos-plastic-bag-ban-full-holes-112530 Northwest Indiana steel industry not out of the woods yet http://www.wbez.org/news/northwest-indiana-steel-industry-not-out-woods-yet-112527 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 6.59.22 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s not easy to find the <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/great-lakes-cafe-gary">Great Lakes Cafe</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">The greasy spoon is tucked behind an urban jungle of tall grass and railroad tracks near the lakeshore of Gary, Indiana.</p><p dir="ltr">On the menu, the five-egg Steelworker&rsquo;s Omelet hints at the cafe&rsquo;s regulars.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re right across the street from U.S. Steel,&rdquo; said Jessica Quezada, whose father Michael Klidaras has owned the restaurant since 1994. &ldquo;We have this big complex here with a few refractories and a couple of other companies. We&rsquo;re very lucky to be here.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">And the folks working inside the massive Gary Works across the street are lucky to have jobs, for now.</p><p dir="ltr">More than 700 workers have been laid off at the site &mdash; U.S. Steel&rsquo;s largest plant worldwide &mdash; this year alone. There are rumblings that there could be more to come at all five major steel mills in Northwest Indiana.</p><p dir="ltr">At the Great Lakes Cafe, retired U.S. Steel worker Malcolm Maxwell worries about the ripple effects.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It would be very devastating not just in Gary but all of Northwest Indiana,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You know, you think about other people.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">People like Bob Tribble, an electrician at the Gary Works for 22 years.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of talk on the shop floor. It does concern us that there&rsquo;s a possibility of layoffs,&rdquo; Tribble said.</p><p dir="ltr">Union salaries in the mills can range from $50,000 to $100,000, and he says replacing that would be tough.</p><p>&ldquo;These are pretty good jobs. They pay a livable wage with insurance, with pensions. So these jobs are pretty hard to come by,&rdquo; Tribble said.</p><p dir="ltr">Northwest Indiana produces more steel than any other part of the country.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.steel.org/~/media/Files/AISI/General%20Docs/Factsheet-Job_Engine.pdf">An industry group</a> says for every one job, steel creates seven other jobs in the local economy.</p><p dir="ltr">During its heyday in the 1950s and &lsquo;60s, more than 100,000 people worked in the mills in this region. Today, it&rsquo;s about 20,000.</p><p dir="ltr">The domestic steel industry has long experienced booms and busts, but it&rsquo;s been especially slow coming back from the Great Recession.</p><p dir="ltr">Analysts say that&rsquo;s due to a strong dollar, the falling price of oil, and foreign imports.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We have a right to protect the house we live in from people who want to burn it down or take advantage of us,&rdquo; said U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky, a Democrat from Merrillville.</p><p dir="ltr">Visclosky, who represents Northwest Indiana, has spent 30 years fighting against so called &ldquo;steel dumping.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s when foreign manufacturers flood the market with low-cost steel.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://visclosky.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/visclosky-offers-steel-amendment-to-trade-promotion-authority">Last month Visclosky helped pass legislation</a> that makes it easier for American steel companies to prove they&rsquo;re being hurt by the practice.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have to be bankrupt, we don&rsquo;t have to be out of business to prove injury. That&rsquo;s a huge advantage to the industry,&rdquo; Visclosky said.</p><p dir="ltr">But not everyone buys that excuse.</p><p>&ldquo;They always like to blame somebody else. The biggest importer of steel is the U.S. steel industry,&rdquo; said longtime steel analyst Charles Bradford of New York City.</p><p dir="ltr">He says imposing tariffs on foreign steel companies let&rsquo;s U.S. producers off the hook.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It tends to relieve the companies from a lot of pressure on improving their facilities,&rdquo; Bradford said.</p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="http://www.steel.org/">American Iron and Steel Institute</a> disputes this. It says companies have invested millions in technology while also reducing costs.</p><p dir="ltr">But just this week, <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/united-states-steel-corporation-reports-2015-second-quarter-results-300120204.html">U.S. Steel reported a 2nd-quarter loss of $261 million</a>. Steel giant <a href="http://www.platts.com/latest-news/metals/pittsburgh/arcelormittal-to-make-final-wire-rod-shipment-21837750">Arcelormittal will soon shutter one of its wire rod facilities in South Carolina</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">At ArcelorMittal&rsquo;s three plants in Northwest Indiana, workers worry they could be next. The company already laid off 300 workers here in January.</p><p>Jose Cortez has worked at an ArcelorMittal plant in East Chicago for 12 years.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s always talk about shutting this down or shutting that down,&rdquo; Cortez said. &nbsp;&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not sure what the company specifically intends to achieve with that, but there&rsquo;s always a little bit of that during contract time.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The current contract expires September 1. The United Steelworkers of America is in talks with both ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel.</p><p dir="ltr">Cortez says he&rsquo;s already saving money just in case.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve worked since I was 15. I have never been without a job. You&rsquo;d just have to make do,&rdquo; Cortez said.</p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau Reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">@MikePuenteNews</a></em></p></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 06:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/northwest-indiana-steel-industry-not-out-woods-yet-112527 Rauner v. Rauner? The fight over child care http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-v-rauner-fight-over-child-care-112525 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RAUNER VID.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Ounce of Prevention, an organization headed by Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner, is asking the state&rsquo;s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to look at the new child care requirements.</p><p>On July 1<em>,</em> Gov. Bruce Rauner drastically restricted the number of families who can get child care assistance, as the budget impasse continues. Ounce of Prevention has criticized the rule since.</p><p>&ldquo;As many as 90 percent of people who are going to apply for childcare are not going to be eligible and that&rsquo;s really creating a disincentive for low income families to find employment,&rdquo; said Ounce&rsquo;s Ireta Gasner.</p><p>Ounce of Prevention, along with four other advocacy organizations, wrote the letter to JCAR. Gasner says Diana Rauner is aware of everything that Ounce has done and &ldquo;the work moves forward, so I think that kind of speaks for itself.&rdquo;</p><p>The governor&#39;s office did not provide a comment.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her<a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h"> @shannon_h </a></em></p></p> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-v-rauner-fight-over-child-care-112525 Black business' slow flight from Bronzeville http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/black-business-slow-flight-bronzeville-112524 <p><p>Bronzeville played a huge part in African-American history. When the Great Migration began a century ago, black Southerners flocked to the South Side neighborhood, which stretched between State Street and the lake, from 22nd Street to 63rd Street.</p><p>These migrants transformed the area into a black population center and a nexus of black culture. On the business side, a mass of black consumers supported black-owned restaurants, shops and other enterprises.</p><p>It&rsquo;s this commercial &nbsp;history that attracted the attention of Clare Butterfield, who lives on the north end of the neighborhood and sent along this question:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I wondered where those shops went. &hellip; There&rsquo;s just not a lot of businesses there. And they&rsquo;re not black-owned for the most part. So that was question: Where did they go? What happened to them?</em></p><p>We found several reasons behind the dispersal of Bronzeville&rsquo;s black commercial might, from demographics to a changing business climate. But Clare herself touched on a possible explanation, too, one that&rsquo;s both common and controversial: Perhaps legalized segregation had an upside for black Chicagoans otherwise hurt by discrimination and, when that segregation ended, the business climate took a hit.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Business in the heart of Bronzeville</span></p><p>The neighborhood&rsquo;s status as a vibrant commercial center is undeniable, according to <a href="http://www.thehistorymakers.com/sites/production/files/styles/bio_photo/public/Reed_Christopher_wm.png" target="_blank">Christopher Robert Reed</a>, an emeritus professor of history at Roosevelt University and one of <em>the</em>&nbsp;go-to scholars on black Chicago. (He also grew up in Bronzeville, his father owning a three-chair barber shop in the neighborhood until a fire destroyed it in the 1970s).</p><p>&ldquo;The State Street corridor was a commercial center for black Chicago,&rdquo; Reed says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been likened to a black Wall Street.&rdquo;</p><p>This activity happened in the context of persistent racial segregation in Chicago. The primary instruments that kept blacks in Bronzeville and the rest of Chicago&rsquo;s &ldquo;Black Belt&rdquo; were restrictive covenants, private legal agreements that barred whites from selling their homes to blacks. Until the covenants were ruled unconstitutional in 1948, discrimination crowded black families of all economic stripes into too few residential units. This created a critical density of black consumers and, the theory goes, one that kept black-owned businesses viable.</p><p>But there&rsquo;s danger in presenting life or business in Bronzeville as a happy Jim Crow fest: Segregation did breed business ingenuity, but it also bred discriminatory practices. That led to some surprises in the neighborhood&rsquo;s composition. For one, Chicago&rsquo;s whites kept blacks out of white neighborhoods, but that didn&rsquo;t stop whites from operating their own businesses within Bronzeville. <a>In</a>&nbsp;the seminal book <em><a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo3638645.html" target="_blank">Black Metropolis: </a><a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo3638645.html">A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City</a></em>&nbsp;authors St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton found that, in 1938, Bronzeville blacks owned and operated 2,600 businesses while whites had 2,800.</p><p>And, there&rsquo;s more. The area&rsquo;s black businesses were smaller and older than their white counterparts, and they only received less than a tenth of all the money spent by black consumers within the area.</p><p>Business cycles, too, were unkind. Reed says from the 1920s on, blacks did own businesses on 35th Street, but these operations &ldquo;were hurt tremendously by the Great Depression that started in 1930.&rdquo;</p><p>Even after the worst of the Depression passed, segregation had put the black business community on unsure footing, as black owners couldn&rsquo;t compete with whites when it came to securing capital. Steven Rogers, who teaches black entrepreneurship at Harvard University, says there&rsquo;s always been a dearth of support by mainstream financial institutions.</p><p>&ldquo;In the 1940s when we saw blacks in the business world, the only support that black-owned businesses had was through guerrilla financing, that&rsquo;s self-financing, or family,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t see that institutional support that we saw with white-owned companies. And the reality is when that happens, when that&rsquo;s in existence, you won&rsquo;t see the prosperous businesses as we see in the white communities.&rdquo;</p><p>And that left black businesses of the past last century much more vulnerable.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Spread far and wide</span></p><p>There are no data that show clear pre- and post-1948 numbers of black-owned businesses, but it&rsquo;s clear that blacks began to disperse in the 1950s because of the lifting of covenants. At the same time &ldquo;urban renewal&rdquo; (often derided as &ldquo;Negro removal&rdquo;) was underway.</p><p>&ldquo;The expansion of Lake Meadows, Prairie Shores, Michael Reese Hospital, Mercy Hospital and the Illinois Institute of Technology led to the displacement of thousands of black families from State Street east over to the Lake from 26th Street south to about 35th,&rdquo; says Reed. &ldquo;This was a devastating blow to black demographic unity and it affected businesses operations adversely on 35th Street.&rdquo;</p><p>The bottom line, Reed says, is that &ldquo;the customers had moved away.&rdquo;</p><p>The erosion of a concentrated customer base plays into changes that took place in Scott&rsquo;s Blue <a>Book</a>, a black business directory that contained an array of listings &mdash; everything from sausage-makers to dentists. As desegregation continued, the tone of the books shifted from unabashedly pro-black to more race-neutral in the 1960s.<a name="presentation"></a></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://wbez.is/1LRR1t5" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Blue%20Book%20Comparison%20presentation%20THUMB.png" style="width: 100%;" title="" /></a></div><p>And there was another transformation, one that gets to Clare&rsquo;s observation about Bronzeville&rsquo;s present-day businesses not being black-owned.</p><p>&ldquo;What happened to the businesses happened to a lot of businesses in America, once the economy was transformed by the global economy&rsquo;s dominance,&rdquo; Reed says.</p><p>35th Street faced competitive trends similar to those faced by other commercial strips in Chicago, to the point where, today, 35th Street includes multinational companies: McDonald&rsquo;s, Chase Bank, Subway and Popeye&rsquo;s, to name a few. (<a href="http://popeyes.com/franchise/international/areas-available.php" target="_blank">Yes, Popeye&rsquo;s is international!</a>)</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Survivors of segregation and then integration, too</span></p><p>The Depression, a global economy and urban renewal played their roles in undercutting or dispersing Bronzeville&rsquo;s black-owned businesses. As we&rsquo;re answering Clare&rsquo;s question about what happened to them, it&rsquo;s fair to point a brighter side: Some of these businesses stayed put.</p><p>Among the survivors are black-owned Seaway Bank and <a href="http://www.isfbank.com/">Illinois Service Federal</a>, a savings and loan that&rsquo;s been around since 1934. The latter issued home loans when commercial banks shunned black customers.</p><p>Illinois Service Federal chairman Norman Williams also happens to be president of <a href="http://www.unityfuneralparlors.com/" target="_blank">Unity Funeral Parlors</a>, a black-owned South Side business that started in 1937.</p><p>&ldquo;My father came to Chicago as an insurance executive,&rdquo; Williams says. &ldquo;This was an entrepreneurial idea that came to him that he hoped his family would be able to continue.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams&rsquo; father turned out to be right. For decades, few white funeral homes served blacks, and many of the funeral homes survived a more integrated era.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Continuing legacy</span></p><p>Black businesses are no longer clustered in an area like the Black Belt, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean they don&rsquo;t exist. The basic pattern was that black businesses moved into the neighborhoods that black people moved into.</p><p>&ldquo;Black Chicago has always been recognized as the crown jewel of black-owned businesses throughout the country,&rdquo; says Harvard&rsquo;s Steven Rogers. &ldquo;The black business community in Chicago is responsible for some historic events in our country.&rdquo;</p><p>Historic events like &hellip; helping finance the elections of the city&rsquo;s first black mayor and the country&rsquo;s first black president.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">More about our questioner</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/preferredheadshot3.png" style="float: right; height: 322px; width: 290px; margin: 5px;" title="(Photo courtesy of Clare Butterfield)" />Clare Butterfield grew up in Central Illinois but has been in Chicago for 30 years, having lived on the North, West and South sides.</p><p>She&rsquo;s called Bronzeville home for the past 10 years, and, following our reporting, appreciates a reminder that urban renewal programs deeply affected her neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;I&#39;ve seen the memorial marker on State Street north of 35th that mentions that IIT displaced a row of black businesses there,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Some of the businesses got swept out along with the housing, and that should have been more obvious to me.&rdquo;</p><p>Clare is just one of many questioners who&rsquo;ve asked about some of the least comfortable parts of Chicago history.</p><p>&ldquo;It&#39;s hard for white people to ask these questions,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;partly because we don&#39;t want to be interpreted as critical, when we mean to be sympathetic (however imperfectly), and partly because we&#39;re probably not going to like what we learn: more examples of injustice and the use of power by people like us, first to force people into a neighborhood and then to force them out of it.&rdquo;</p><p>The only way out, she says, is affirm that these things happened and, when we can, show, too, how &ldquo;some entrepreneurs persisted and thrived in spite of everything they had to navigate.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>.&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/black-business-slow-flight-bronzeville-112524 #TheEmptyChair amplifies conversation about sexual assault http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/theemptychair-amplifies-conversation-about-sexual-assault-112522 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CK9bKN8WUAE47aV.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/07/35-women-and-theemptychair.html">cover story</a> of this week&#39;s <em>New York</em> magazine is getting a lot of attention.</p><p>It features 35 women seated in chairs and one empty chair. The women are all dressed in black, looking straight ahead with both hands resting on their knees. It is a stark image, and all the more compelling because each of them is openly and by name accusing Bill Cosby of horrendous acts. Some say they were drugged and raped; others recount stories of narrowly escaping sexual assault.</p><p>But what has really hit a nerve is the empty chair in the photo. The chair has sparked a powerful conversation online, including a viral hashtag <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23TheEmptyChair&amp;src=tyah">#TheEmptyChair</a>.<br /><br />NPR&#39;s Renee Montagne spoke to <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/authors/137975988/hanna-rosin">Hanna Rosin</a>, author of <em>The End of Men: And The Rise of Women</em>, about the significance of the hashtag and how it&#39;s shedding light on a movement of people speaking publicly and frankly about experiences with sexual assault.</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><strong>On the symbolism of the empty chair</strong></p><p>It serves so many purposes. First, it&#39;s a rebuke, like a classic rebuke. You know, here ... history, America, the patriarchy, whatever you want to call it, has made it difficult for women to speak their truth. So there&#39;s a chair that represents silence, something that didn&#39;t happen. It&#39;s also the opposite of that, which is an invitation, you know: &quot;Come sit in this chair.&quot; ... Social media, the hashtag &quot;EmptyChair&quot; basically is saying, &quot;All of you, it&#39;s time to speak up now. Walk up to this chair, sit down like the rest of us. There&#39;s a sisterhood here, waiting to greet you and share your stories.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the visual effect of the cover</strong></p><p>This is technically a story about Bill Cosby, but when you look at the cover, visually it transmits something different. There are women of all ages, ranging from 40 to 80; there are women of all races on this cover. There are women of all visual styles; they&#39;re all wearing black, but they&#39;re not wearing the same dress. ... So what this is saying is assault can happen to anyone. Here&#39;s a historical archive, not just of Bill Cosby&#39;s actions, but of women who have been assaulted generally.</p><p><strong>On what struck her about the hashtag</strong></p><p>I guess what struck me is the phenomenon that you can trace people&#39;s stories back to them. You know, Twitter is completely public. This is not a private forum for women to gather together. This is not one woman sort of clearing her throat and bravely coming forward. This is people under their own names, under their Twitter handles, saying this happened to me or a version of this happened to me or even just cheering the women on.</p><p><strong>On whether #TheEmptyChair moment will last</strong></p><p>I think this moment is going to last. ... [It] is unresolved and very interesting and, right now, intention. I&#39;m not talking about the Bill Cosby story anymore. ... The way this story has come out, apart from the Cosby story, is sexual assault on campus. And right now I think you have this moment where woman feel simultaneously very vulnerable. ... There&#39;s been so much news about sexual assault on campus. That&#39;s a story that really has invigorated the feminist movement in the last couple of years. On the other hand, women also feel empowered. ... The best <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/columbia-student-who-carried-mattress-everywhere-ends-protest/">example of this is Emma Sulkowitz</a>, a recent graduate of Columbia University. ... She wants people to pay attention to her abuse. ... She&#39;s also owning her abuse, turning it into art, really identifying herself with it and using it to make a statement.</p><p><strong>On how #TheEmptyChair connects to issues of sexual assault on campus</strong></p><p>The cover and the empty chair tie this whole story together. Because the cover is historical &mdash; you see that the women are a bit older. And then the empty chair ties into social media &mdash; that taps into the sexual assault on campus movement. So you&#39;ve got ... a kind of feminist history put together from beginning to right now.</p></p> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/theemptychair-amplifies-conversation-about-sexual-assault-112522 CPS budget cuts hit special education students http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-budget-cuts-hit-special-education-students-112512 <p><p dir="ltr">Phillip Cantor got called into an emergency meeting last week at the school where he teaches&mdash;North-Grand High School on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side. The district&rsquo;s central office had just sent over the budget for the coming school year.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We had some cuts at our school, but seemed to be doing better than other schools in our area,&rdquo; Cantor, who&#39;s chair of the Science Department, said. &ldquo;And then we realized when we got further into the budget, we were losing $318,000 specifically for special ed services.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">It would mean the school would have to cut about three special education teachers or six full-time aides.</p><p dir="ltr">Cantor said there&rsquo;s no way it would work.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re barely meeting the kids&rsquo; requirements now,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month, Jesse Ruiz, the vice president of the School Board who at the time was leading the district interim CPS CEO, announced that more than 500 special education teachers would be laid off districtwide. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the cuts, which included special ed, &ldquo;unconscionable and intolerable.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The move, he said, came after Chicago Public Schools conducted an 18-month review of services and staffing for students with special needs and found that even as enrollment in special ed was declining, the number of staff was increasing.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The long-term goal is for more students with unique learning needs to be able to receive services at their neighborhood schools,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">But the district has kept pretty quiet about how it&rsquo;s going about making changes to how special education is delivered.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When we looked more closely, there was a line in the budget that said All Means All pilot,&rdquo; Cantorsaid. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">If you haven&rsquo;t heard of All Means All, you&rsquo;re not alone. The district made no formal announcement about it and some of the 102 schools now in the pilot didn&rsquo;t know they would be part of it until their budgets came. Last year, about two dozen schools were part of the program.</p><p dir="ltr">Internal district documents provided to WBEZ outline how the All Means All program is designed, and it&rsquo;s complicated, but boils down to what some call &ldquo;student-based budgeting for special education.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Principals get a lump sum amount for special needs students instead of specific staff positions. If that sounds familiar, it&rsquo;s because that&rsquo;s the way the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principals-get-more-flexibility-likely-less-money-budget-107560">rest of Chicago schools have been funded</a> for the last few years. &nbsp;Principals get a lump sum for each student and then they decide what to do with it.</p><p>The internal document about All Means All did not list the actual per pupil amounts for students with special needs. CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner provided the following chart to WBEZ.</p><div><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-07-30%20at%2012.11.46%20AM.png" style="width: 100%;" title="" /></div><div><p dir="ltr"><em>*CPS refers to students with special needs as &ldquo;diverse learners&rdquo;. They get a base amount under the main student-based budgeting formula, reflected in the Column 2. Column 1 includes the flat amounts per student for additional special education services under &ldquo;All Means All.&rdquo; Added together, in Column 3, is the total amount a school will get for a student with special needs in each category. These amounts are being used at just 102 schools this year. The remaining 500-plus schools will continue to be staffed under the old formula, where the Board provides positions based on enrollment and need.</em></p><p dir="ltr">The system is meant to give principals more flexibility and bring the funding formula for special education in line with the formula for all students in CPS. Student-based budgeting is something many urban districts are using now. In theory, money follows students, creating a more equitable formula.</p><p dir="ltr">But its roll out in Chicago was not well-received, in part because it came at a time of financial crisis and at many schools, the total amount of funding has not been enough to cover existing programs and staff.</p><p dir="ltr">But having money follow students gets more complicated with special education, Cantor points out. That&rsquo;s because you can&rsquo;t easily change a student&rsquo;s schedule. It&rsquo;s dictated by a legal document called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a process for changing IEPs, you can&rsquo;t just change it,&rdquo; Cantor said. &ldquo;It has to be done at a meeting with the parents with parent&rsquo;s permission.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Rod Estvan, education policy analyst with the disability-rights group Access Living, said there&rsquo;s a reason special education is expensive. Those IEPs outline, down to the minute, when students should be working with trained adults, like social workers, speech therapists, and certified teachers. The students may be deaf or dyslexic or have one of many conditions that make it harder for them to learn.</p><p dir="ltr">Federal law dictates students in special education must also be spending as much time as possible in regular classrooms. Creating schedules that fulfill both requirements can be a nightmare for principals.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;These are not easy choices that are being thrown down on principals to make,&rdquo; Estvan said, noting that many principals do not have any background in special education.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;CPS will, over the course of the school year, be forced to reallocate additional staff to schools and open positions,&rdquo; Estvan predicts. &ldquo;Whether or not they can fill them or not is another question that late in the year.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">District spokeswoman Emily Bittner said the district is working closely with principals at these 102 schools on scheduling special needs students most efficiently. She said an 18-month review of special education found that the number of students with special needs in district-run schools declined 3.4 percent over the last five years, but staff serving them increased 13 percent.</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr"><strong>LISTEN</strong><em>:CPS Cheif Education Officer Janice Jackson&nbsp;special education cuts won&#39;t hurt students</em></p><p dir="ltr"><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/217623452&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_user=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month, in announcing the cuts, then CEO Ruiz said the changes coming with All Means All would save $42.3 million.</p><p dir="ltr">Bittner said CPS would make sure schools have enough staff to work with special needs students and will absolutely meet all students&rsquo; IEP requirements, as outlined by law. She said the overall funding for special education is decreasing by five percent and still remains 14 percent of the district&rsquo;s total budget.</p><p dir="ltr">But some still are worried that the shift in the formula could still give principals and staff mostly bad choices.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think that&rsquo;s going to lead to a lot of pressure on principals and teachers to do the wrong thing in order to get services for their kids,&rdquo; said Kristine Mayle, financial secretary for the Chicago Teachers Union and a former special education teacher. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re already hearing they&rsquo;re trying to take kids out of self-contained classrooms and put them into regular ed classrooms. I fear that across the district, kids are going to be moved into placements that are not appropriate.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The All Means All program also includes a financial bonus for schools who successfully transition students out of special education or move more kids into mainstream classrooms. Bittner said the intent is to better prepare special needs students for life beyond school, when the same services aren&rsquo;t guaranteed.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS is in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-emanuel-warn-deep-cuts-layoffs-school-district-112301">a financial crisis</a> and it&rsquo;s looking everywhere to cut costs. Nothing is off-limits. Not even special education.</p><p dir="ltr">But Cantor, the teacher at North-Grand, thinks that&rsquo;s a big legal risk that could cost the district in the long run.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to become more expensive when they do this because parents are going to sue,&rdquo; Cantor said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s going to be massive lawsuits. There&rsquo;s going to be massive settlements. We&rsquo;ve seen this over and over in the city. It&rsquo;s this short-term managerial thinking that&rsquo;s going lead to long term costs for the city.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Right now, CPS can&rsquo;t really afford any more unexpected costs.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-budget-cuts-hit-special-education-students-112512