WBEZ | News http://www.wbez.org/news Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sheriff Dart to investigate unlicensed rehab centers http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-dart-investigate-unlicensed-rehab-centers-111938 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/pr follow.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is vowing to investigate whether unlicensed rehab centers in Chicago are breaking any criminal laws.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">As WBEZ recently reported</a>, some of the people who end up at these unlicensed residences are heroin addicts who are sent to Chicago from Puerto Rico. &nbsp;They are told to expect well-appointed treatment centers with nurses and pools. Instead they often wind up in rundown residences, and when they don&rsquo;t get the care they need, some of them end up homeless or in jail.</p><p>Dart said he was disgusted to learn of the practice.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">Puerto Rico exports its drug addicts to Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no one in good conscience on the other end, in Puerto Rico, who could say they&rsquo;re doing anything other than dumping hapless people in a foreign country,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;These folks are being misled at best &hellip; and the places they&rsquo;re being steered to, you wouldn&rsquo;t send anybody to in good conscience.&rdquo;</p><p>At least two people mentioned in WBEZ&rsquo;s recent story wound up in Cook County Jail.</p><p>Dart said one of the men, who used the alias Manuel, spent 50 days in the jail, for a cost to taxpayers of more than $7,000.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s expensive because once they find there&rsquo;s no services here, it&rsquo;s not as if they just hop back on the plane, no they&rsquo;re-one way tickets. And it&rsquo;s not as if they can go to plan B, there was no plan B. For many of them there&rsquo;s no family around either, so what&rsquo;s going to happen, they&rsquo;re going to end up in our hospitals, they&rsquo;re going to end up in our jails,&rdquo; Dart said.</p><p>While Dart saved his strongest words for those responsible in Puerto Rico, he also said local agencies need to step in.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t imagine there are not some criminal violations that are involved if you purport to be something that you&rsquo;re not and you end up harming people as a result of that,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re pushing our lawyers that we have in our office to see what it is that we can do.&rdquo;</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/554/not-it">This American Life: Not It!</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>He also thinks other local agencies could do more.</p><p>&ldquo;I understand we are under all sorts of cuts throughout the state and the city and so on, but I thought at a minimum we would be having some cursory analysis of the different types of entities that put themselves out as treatment facilities,&rdquo; Dart said.</p><p>But the state and the city both say they aren&rsquo;t responsible.</p><p>Chicago mayoral spokesman Adam Collins said the city&rsquo;s health department looked into the story and determined that it was a state issue, because the state&rsquo;s Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse is responsible for licensing treatment centers.</p><p>But the director of that department, Theodora Binion, said her department doesn&rsquo;t get involved until someone applies for a license.</p><p>&ldquo;The city has jurisdiction over the actual buildings, what can happen in a building,&rdquo; Binion told WBEZ&rsquo;s <a href="https://soundcloud.com/morningshiftwbez/sets/morning-shift-april-23-2015">Morning Shift</a>. &ldquo;Zoning is not our area, nor is the building itself&hellip;. That would come from the city.&rdquo;</p><br /><p>But she said they are &ldquo;hoping to identify&rdquo; the people coming from Puerto Rico so as to help them get proper treatment.</p><p>&ldquo;Even though our jurisdiction &hellip; is fairly limited, we can talk to the people that are there and give them information about how they can get legitimate help,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Some of these residences are in Ald. Scott Waguespack&rsquo;s 32nd Ward.</p><p>Waguespack said such unlicensed, unofficial residences exist in a sort of legal gray area between the city and state. Still, he said the city should be doing more to make sure these places are up to snuff.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s pretty amazing that [the city] would try and push it off on the state,&rdquo; Waguespack said.</p><p>Waguespack said he will look at what is already in the zoning code for ways to &ldquo;rein in these businesses so they can&rsquo;t operate above the law.&rdquo; He also said he would explore ways the city could help the people being sent from Puerto Rico.</p><p>Waguespack also called on state officials to draft a law or policy that allowed Illinois government to regulate the centers.</p><p>While most officials said there is more the city or state could be doing to help, they were especially critical of the government of Puerto Rico for allowing - or even sanctioning - the practice.</p><p>Dart said they were an example &ldquo;of people at their absolute worst.&rdquo;</p><p>In a recent <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/554/not-it?act=1">interview on This American Life</a>, Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla acknowledged his state was giving heroin addicts one-way tickets to Chicago. But he insisted the addicts were getting good treatment here.</p><p>Since it has been revealed that often isn&rsquo;t the case, Padilla thus far has refused to do another &nbsp;interview explaining what he plans to do now.</p><p><em>Adriana Cardona-Maguigad contributed to this story. Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-dart-investigate-unlicensed-rehab-centers-111938 Large provider of Chicago mental health services, C4, is closing http://www.wbez.org/news/large-provider-chicago-mental-health-services-c4-closing-111937 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/c4 screencap.PNG" alt="" /><p><div><em>Updated at 7:23 p.m. 2/24/2015</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A large provider of mental health services in Chicago says it will have to close its doors at the end of May.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="http://www.c4chicago.org/">Community Counseling Centers of Chicago</a>, known as C4, served over 10,000 people each year. The organization&#39;s president, Eileen Durkin, blames the closing on the botched implementation of a new billing system at the organization. Multiple staff say the organization has been mismanaged under Durkin. They point to poor communication and financial choices.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Counselor Max Beshers suspects the closure will have a ripple effect in the community.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to lead to more substance abuse, more conflict and violence in families, definitely more people going to the emergency rooms that are already overloaded and unfortunately more people being arrested and incarcerated,&rdquo; Beshers said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Durkin says the staff will be working hard to place all their current clients in new services at other organizations. But the closing happens as the Chicago mental health infrastructure is already in crisis. Last week WBEZ reported skyrocketing ER visits. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emergency-room-visits-mental-health-skyrocket-chicago-111890">From 2009 to 2013, ER discharges for psychiatric care increased by 37 percent.</a></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Rebecca Lorentzen said transitions are particularly hard for mental health services. She works with youth at C4. &ldquo;We may be one of the only stable, consistent adults in their lives, and now for reasons out of our control we are saying we have to end that,&rdquo; she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lorentzen said it will be difficult to connect clients immediately with community services,&nbsp; &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not hopeful. That&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s frustrating.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>WBEZ will update this story as more information becomes available.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a></em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/large-provider-chicago-mental-health-services-c4-closing-111937 Mayor Emanuel taps CTA director to be chief of staff http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-emanuel-taps-cta-director-be-chief-staff-111935 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/forrestclaypool.jpg" style="height: 190px; width: 140px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Then-Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool speaks to the media outside the Cook County Board President's office at city hall Friday, June 30, 2006. Claypool was named Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Chief of Staff. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)" />Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has named the head of Chicago Transit Authority to be his new chief of staff.</p><p>Emanuel said Friday morning that Forrest Claypool will replace Lisa Schrader, who is leaving after two years. The mayor&#39;s office said Claypool&#39;s replacement at the CTA would be named in coming weeks. Claypool will take the job after Emanuel is inaugurated for his second term. The mayor won re-election earlier this month.</p><p>Claypool also served as chief of staff to former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and was superintendent of the Chicago Park District. Emanuel lauded Claypool as being a &quot;world-class manager.&quot;</p><p>Claypool has a reputation for being a reformer. A Democrat, he made an independent bid for Cook County assessor in 2010, although he lost to the Democratic Party candidate.</p></p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 08:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-emanuel-taps-cta-director-be-chief-staff-111935 Lawmakers fast-track bill on Obama library, Lucas museum http://www.wbez.org/news/lawmakers-fast-track-bill-obama-library-lucas-museum-111931 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/springfield_0_3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; The Illinois Legislature quickly approved a bill Thursday to ensure that Chicago has legal authority to use public park land as potential sites for Barack Obama&#39;s presidential library and film producer George Lucas&#39; proposed museum.</p><p>The legislation comes amid a controversy mostly centered on whether the city can build the Star Wars creator&#39;s museum, which is supported by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, on formerly submerged lakefront property. A lawsuit filed by Friends of the Parks argues that the city need state approval and has no authority to hand over the land because it&#39;s technically a protected waterway.</p><p>It also comes a week after the advocacy group&#39;s president &mdash; a vocal opponent of both projects, yet strongly supported by the mayor &mdash; abruptly resigned. The group didn&#39;t immediately return phone messages seeking comment Thursday, and Gov. Bruce Rauner&#39;s spokesman declined comment.</p><p>The bill would clarify state law to expressly allow Chicago to construct museums on park land, or &quot;formerly submerged lands.&quot; Supporters said the bill, quickly approved Thursday in the House and Senate, is aimed at eliminating any questions over the city&#39;s authority to go ahead with plans for both projects.</p><p>The proposal also would specifically allow the construction of &quot;presidential libraries&quot; on public park land, as long as the public can access the grounds &quot;in a manner consistent with its access to other public parks.&quot; Obama is expected to soon choose a site in Chicago, New York or Hawaii for his library, though local park advocates oppose a bid from the University of Chicago, where Obama taught, to build it on park district property.</p><p>Still, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, said the legislation is equally about plans for Lucas&#39; Museum of Narrative Art. The proposed project, which estimates have placed at costing about $400 million, would be built on land that is currently a parking lot near Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears.</p><p>Some members of a House committee considering the bill questioned why state approval was necessary for either project, especially because a location hasn&#39;t been selected for the presidential library.</p><p>&quot;Aren&#39;t we putting a cart in front of the horse?&quot; said Rep. Luis Arroyo, a Chicago Democrat.</p><p>But in a nod that the legislation was mostly focused on Lucas&#39; project, Sen. Matt Murphy noted there was &quot;more involving this legislation than the presidential library.&quot;</p><p>Emanuel commended senators for approving the bill, saying it makes clear they agree with the city&#39;s position &quot;that a presidential library and other museums enhance park land for the benefit of the public.&quot; He urged the House to follow suit. The Barack Obama Foundation added that the legislation was a &quot;welcome development.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawmakers-fast-track-bill-obama-library-lucas-museum-111931 Emanuel announces more FAA meetings on O'Hare noise http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-announces-more-faa-meetings-ohare-noise-111927 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/plane.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>After a quick trip to Washington this week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city will hold two more public hearings before a new runway opens at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport. But the Northwest Side community group that&rsquo;s long protested the noise problems is calling the mayor&rsquo;s move &ldquo;insufficient.&rdquo;</p><p>Many Northwest Side residents--mainly those who hail from the 39th, 45th, 41st and 38th Wards--have complained about loud noise since flight patterns changed at O&rsquo;Hare in 2013. Another new runway is set to open in October of this year.</p><p>While in Washington, Emanuel met with Federal Aviation Administration Administrator, and former colleague, Michael Huerta. In a statement, Emanuel said that after sharing Chicagoans concerns, the FAA agreed to increase the number of public meetings about the new runway from two to four.</p><p>&ldquo;The residents who live near O&rsquo;Hare deserve every opportunity to share their thoughts and views about O&rsquo;Hare with federal officials, and I&rsquo;m glad the FAA has agreed to hold more public meetings,&rdquo; Emanuel said in a statement.</p><p>But Jac Charlier, co-founder of the <a href="http://www.fairchicago.org/">Fair Allocation in Runways (FAiR) Coalition</a>, said he and his neighbors haven&rsquo;t had that opportunity.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m glad that Mayor Emanuel traveled all the way to Washington, D.C. to meet with the FAA, [but] FAiR coalition has asked 13 times for Mayor Emanuel to travel all the way to Chicago&rsquo;s Northwest Side to meet and hear and speak directly with the residents who are being impacted,&rdquo; Charlier said.</p><p>Charlier said four hearings isn&rsquo;t enough for the tens of thousands of residents who are affected by this problem. He said that FAiR has heard from aldermen, a few members of Congress and suburban officials; and the group has two pieces of legislation working their way through Springfield--but still, no sit down with Mayor Emanuel.</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s office said the city will spend approximately $120 million insulating 4,700 residences over the next three to five years, and that it will add more noise monitors in the affected areas.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-announces-more-faa-meetings-ohare-noise-111927 Zion residents want body cameras for police officers http://www.wbez.org/news/zion-residents-want-body-cameras-police-officers-111926 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/policebodycams_ap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>ZION, Ill. &mdash; Residents of the northeastern Illinois city of Zion are calling on all of its officers to be equipped with body cameras following the police-involved shooting death of 17-year-old Justus Howell.</p><p>The Chicago Tribune <a href="http://trib.in/1OFfLCW" target="_blank">reports</a> about 150 people attended a city council meeting Tuesday in Zion, where more than two dozen members of the Zion-Benton Ministerial Association made the plea for body cameras.</p><p>Pastor Robert Williams of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, a member of the association, said the ministers also would like the city to hire a community liaison officer who can assist in communication between the police department and the community.</p><p>Mayor-elect Al Hill and new members of the city council are expected to consider the group&#39;s proposal at the next meeting.</p></p> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/zion-residents-want-body-cameras-police-officers-111926 Lawsuit filed against Chicago police over stop-and-frisk http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-filed-against-chicago-police-over-stop-and-frisk-111923 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/chicagopolicefile.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Police Department officers have routinely violated the constitutional rights of minority residents who have not committed any crime with stop, question and frisk encounters, a federal lawsuit claims.</p><p>The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court on behalf of six African-American residents of Chicago and seeks class-action status. It names the city of Chicago, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and 14 unnamed officers.</p><p>The lawsuit alleges the street stops have led to constitutional abuses, including unlawful searches and seizures as well as excessive force.</p><p>&quot;This stop-and-frisk policy was borne out of policing that is not correct,&quot; said plaintiffs&#39; attorney Anthony Romanucci. &quot;It&#39;s unconstitutional, it&#39;s illegal, and it&#39;s improper. Other cities across this country have brought similar lawsuits, and have had good results.&quot;</p><p>A spokesman for the city&#39;s Department of Law did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday seeking comment on the lawsuit. Spokesman John Holden told the Chicago Tribune that officials were still reviewing the lawsuit and had no comment.</p><p>According to plaintiff Gregory Davis, police officers stopped him in July while he waited in his vehicle for a family member to come out of a drug store. The lawsuit alleges officers asked Davis, 58, why he was sitting there and demanded his driver&#39;s license and insurance information. It also alleges Davis was stopped without probable cause three months later as he drove through an alley in his neighborhood. The officers took Davis&#39; license and registration and made him wait 20 minutes while doing a background check. He received no charges or citations.</p><p>In a study released last month, the American Civil Liberties Union said Chicago officers last summer conducted more than 250,000 stops of people who weren&#39;t arrested.</p><p>The report based on police department data found that the practice was employed at a rate that was four times as high as New York &quot;at the height&quot; of officers&#39; use of the practice there.</p><p>The ACLU also said that almost three-fourths of those stopped were African-American, though they make up about a third of the city&#39;s population.</p><p>Police officials responded to the study by saying the department prohibits racial profiling and other &quot;bias based policing.&quot; They said over the last three years the department has improved training to ensure police officers are aware of that policy and comply, including requiring more detailed documentation and adding more supervision.</p></p> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 09:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-filed-against-chicago-police-over-stop-and-frisk-111923 Red light camera ban passes House http://www.wbez.org/news/red-light-camera-ban-passes-house-111922 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/redlightcamera.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; The Illinois House has approved a proposed ban on red light cameras in certain communities.</p><p>The legislation would take away the authority of non-home-rule municipalities to use red light cameras after Jan. 1, 2017. It was approved Wednesday with a vote of 79-26. The measure now heads to the Senate.</p><p>The proposal came in response to investigations into whether the devices hurt drivers.</p><p>Bill sponsor Republican Rep. David McSweeney of Barrington Hills says the cameras are seen as a revenue generator for communities instead a way to make intersections safer.</p><p>McSweeney says there&#39;s &quot;growing evidence that red light cameras actually do more harm than good.&quot;</p><p>Eight Illinois counties currently have the authority to use red light traffic cameras.</p></p> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 08:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/red-light-camera-ban-passes-house-111922 Changes in taxi industry leave cab owners underwater http://www.wbez.org/news/changes-taxi-industry-leave-cab-owners-underwater-111920 <p><p>If you were looking for a good return on investment in the last few years, it was hard to beat a Chicago taxi medallion. Medallions, which are city-issued licenses to operate cabs, increased in value at least fivefold between 2006 and 2013. But now after huge shifts in the industry, many owners are deep underwater on their medallion loans, and some say they&rsquo;re nearly worthless.</p><p>&ldquo;I haven&rsquo;t written a new taxi loan in well over nine months? Ten months?&rdquo; said Charlie Goodbar, an attorney and taxi fleet owner. &ldquo;The access to capital&rsquo;s disappeared.&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago limits the number of medallions to roughly 7,000. Without those metal plates affixed to the hood, a taxi cannot operate in the city. Goodbar has facilitated hundreds of medallion sales over the years. But today, would-be buyers are finding it nearly impossible to find loans to purchase medallions.</p><p>&ldquo;I probably have put together at least 20-30 percent of all transfers, at some point probably more than half,&rdquo; said Goodbar. &ldquo;And as a market-maker, and as a license broker, and as an attorney, and someone who&rsquo;s in the lending business, how in good faith can I make a market when I can&rsquo;t value the asset or value cash flow?&rdquo;</p><p>Disruption in Chicago&rsquo;s taxi industry &mdash; both from the entry of competing rideshare services, and changes to city policies affecting medallion owners &mdash; have turned the business model on its head in just two years. At one time, investing or lending in a medallion purchase was a sound business decision, because cab owners could make a good living.</p><p>&ldquo;It was a way for an immigrant family to move up the social ladder and economic ladder through the use&nbsp; of leveraged financing in the taxi industry, and a lot of hard work,&rdquo; said Goodbar.</p><p>But today, Goodbar said it&rsquo;s nearly impossible to find a bank willing to lend money for a medallion purchase, and so the avenue that many immigrants once took is increasingly closed off.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" height="233" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Taxi%20medallions%202.0.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" width="350" /></div><p>You can tell by looking at the numbers. Between 2011 and 2013, when the market was robust, an average of 30-40 medallions changed hands monthly. But starting in February of 2014, that number dropped sharply, and never recovered. In 2015, only seven medallions were transferred in the first three months.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no buyer in the market,&rdquo; said Shyam Arora, a medallion owner. &ldquo;So it&rsquo;s a piece of garbage.&rdquo;</p><div id="responsive-embed-taximedallions">&nbsp;</div><script src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/taximedallions/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-taximedallions', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/taximedallions/child.html', {} ); }); </script><p>Arora is one of those immigrants who found success in the taxi industry. He came from India in 2002 and bought a medallion a few years later. Today, he has three. He and his son drive two of the cabs during the day, and he leases the third. At one time, he had as many as four drivers for his small fleet &mdash; but those days seem long ago.</p><p>On a recent early morning, he took one of his cabs to a city-owned site on the South Side for an annual taxi inspection.</p><p>&ldquo;This inspection process is stressful, very stressful,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>This day, he was especially nervous. The car is a 2010 Toyota Prius with a whopping 313,000 miles on it. Arora knew inspectors would be looking for even the smallest flaw to take it out of operation.</p><p>&ldquo;Yesterday I spent $200 to the mechanic and the day before yesterday I paid $100 for detailing,&rdquo; he recounted.</p><p>He also got the engine cleaned, and drove an hour out to the suburbs just to pick up a small paint marker that he could use to cover minor exterior nicks. Altogether, he estimated spending $500 to get the car in tip-top shape &mdash; about three days&rsquo; earnings.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m losing nowadays, every day, in my business,&rdquo; said Arora. Three months ago, he fell behind on his mortgage and medallion loan.</p><p>Arora explained that most of his income comes from leasing his taxis to other drivers, rather than driving his own cab. But amid a shortage of taxi drivers in Chicago, he&rsquo;s struggled to find people to use his taxis. That&rsquo;s meant his vehicles sit empty about one-third of the time, while he still foots the bill for their medallion loans, the car payments, taxi affiliation fees and other expenses.</p><p>Even when Arora does have drivers, he said it&rsquo;s gotten much more difficult for them to find passengers. He blamed rideshare companies like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar for stealing business.</p><p>&ldquo;When you don&rsquo;t get a customer for an hour, the [taxi] driver gets so frustrated, he goes to Starbucks or he goes home,&rdquo; explained Arora.</p><p>Arora would love to sell his medallions and be done with it. But he knows he won&rsquo;t find a buyer at a good price. Plus, he&rsquo;s facing the same dilemma that homeowners once did during the recent housing crisis. Many borrowed significant sums of money against their homes as housing values increased, only to find themselves underwater on those loans once the market settled.</p><p>Similarly, Arora and many other owners borrowed heavily against their medallions while they increased in value. Arora said that helped his family get through the recession.</p><p>&ldquo;Medallions were the source of feeding everybody &mdash; every expense we have,&rdquo; he explained.</p><p>But now, he owes $600,000 against his medallions, and he knows that nobody will buy them for anything close to that amount.</p><p>Arora believes his only way out may be a loan modification. Goodbar says medallion lenders have every reason to cooperate.</p><p>&ldquo;There will be shakeout in the market, the lenders will have to work with the borrowers,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;because I think the last thing a large medallion lender wants is a bunch of medallions sitting in a drawer.&rdquo;</p><p>Arora hopes that&rsquo;ll be true in his case, because he wants to stay in the taxi business.&nbsp; Otherwise, he&rsquo;s looking at filing for bankruptcy.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/changes-taxi-industry-leave-cab-owners-underwater-111920 More than 1,000 local nurses plan a strike http://www.wbez.org/news/more-1000-local-nurses-plan-strike-111915 <p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">The nurses say it&rsquo;s not about money. They want to eliminate &ldquo;rotating&rdquo; shifts as long as 12 hours. Jan Rodolfo is with National Nurses United, the union that&#39;s been in contract negotiations with the hospital since last fall.<br /><br />&ldquo;We think it (the long shifts) lead(s) to medication errors,&rdquo; said Rodolfo. &ldquo;We know it leads to nurses falling asleep while they&rsquo;re driving on the way home.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">The nurses union said their members want more staff and supervising nurses instead of managers. They said the hospital is looking at that option to lower costs. UCMC officials released a statement saying that, with average salaries at more than $100,000 a year, their nurses already make more than most local hospitals pay. Hospital official said they&rsquo;ll have skilled replacement nurses in the event of a strike.</p><p>The union says more than 1,500 nurses would go on strike beginning April 30th if negotiations break down. The next bargaining session is set for Thursday April 23rd.<br /><br />Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews">@yolandanews</a> &amp; <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/106564114685277342468/posts/p/pub">Google+</a></p></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-1000-local-nurses-plan-strike-111915