WBEZ | News http://www.wbez.org/news Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Unmasking Ernie Banks http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/unmasking-ernie-banks-111480 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ernie.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>For baseball fans, the sound of Jack Brickhouse calling Ernie Banks&rsquo; 498th, 499th and most especially, the Chicago Cub&rsquo;s 500th home run is, euphoria. The week after Banks died at the age of 83, fans, fellow ballplayers and the media talked endlessly about his talent&mdash;and charisma.</p><p>&ldquo;He liked being out in the public, it was important to him, people would recognize him. And if they didn&rsquo;t recognize him right away they might because of the Cub jacket and Cub hat he always wore,&rdquo; sports writer Ron Rapoport said.</p><p>Rapoport first got to know Banks when he was a sports columnist for the <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em>. But says he didn&rsquo;t get to know the man until later in life, when both men were living in California.</p><p>&ldquo;He was wearing a mask. It was a good mask and he liked wearing it...but the mask wasn&rsquo;t the man,&rdquo; Rapoport said.&nbsp;</p><p>Rapoport said the man was thoughtful, reflective and complicated...and almost eloquent.</p><p>He used to clock how long it took Banks to remove the mask when they were out in public; said he averaged about 20 minutes.</p><p>Banks&rsquo; swing was natural, fluid, zen-like. But his public persona required coaching from the start.</p><p>&ldquo;Ernie&rsquo;s first important baseball job was with&nbsp; the Kansas City Monarchs of the old Negro Leagues where Buck O&rsquo;Neil was the manager. And O&#39;Neill used to tell him which restaurants to go to...not to be caught &ldquo;reckless eyeballing white women,&rdquo; Rapoport explained.</p><p>Banks eventually found his way with the Monarchs&mdash;then, Jackie Robinson happened. A few years later, when the Chicago Cubs chose to integrate, they went for Banks; but Banks didn&rsquo;t want to go.</p><p>&ldquo;I just felt comfortable playing in the Negro Leagues. I didn&#39;t know what to do or what to say; it was a learning process in learning how to get along...with white players,&rdquo; Banks told WBEZ in 2010.</p><p>Banks learned to say little to his teammates in the big leagues and, instead, made friends in the little leagues. During the offseason, teams would invite him to throw out the first pitch and meet the kids, but when he got there&hellip;.</p><p>&ldquo;They would look at me, they would start talking ...&rsquo;Oh, I thought he was white, he&rsquo;s black.&rsquo; Because of my name, they...they didn&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; Banks laughed.</p><p>Banks won back-to-back MVP titles and hit 512 home runs, but there were those who wished he&rsquo;d done more for race relations.</p><p>Former longtime WBEZ host Richard Steele shared that the subject frequently comes up at the Coleman Brothers Barber Shop on 62nd and Stony Island, a neighborhood gathering place. One of the brothers, James, is actually an old Army buddy of Banks--and as you might imagine, he&rsquo;s a fierce defender of his old friend.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a senior barber in there, Tommy, who&rsquo;s my barber, who knows how to get a rise out of Mr. Coleman. All you had to do is say something about Ernie Banks and Tommy would say, &ldquo;I hate to say it, he&rsquo;s kind of an Uncle Tom.&rsquo;&rdquo; Coleman would be furious and (14) he would say, &lsquo;Stop saying that! The man is a great baseball player, a great wonderful human being...I knew him in the Army...&rsquo;&rdquo; Steele recalled.</p><p>Banks became a household name around the same time as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But many said Banks didn&rsquo;t fight to get the salary the best player on the team deserved. His max salary was $65,000, while some of the white players he took on in home run derbies were making $100,000.</p><p>Lots of people thought Ernie&rsquo;s silence kept other black players from earning a fair wage. But he wasn&rsquo;t comfortable fighting for it--it wasn&rsquo;t his nature.</p><p>Nowadays, athletes&rsquo; paychecks are bigger--but so is the pressure to do and say more. Longtime WBEZ sports contributor Cheryl Raye Stout says that&rsquo;s unfair.</p><p>&ldquo;To say because you dribble a ball or you hit a ball or you dunk a ball that you&rsquo;re supposed to be a spokesperson is difficult. You can only do that if you feel comfortable in doing it,&rdquo; said Raye-Stout.</p><p>Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has never been much of a public speaker. But when a kid from Englewood becomes the star of his hometown team--he&rsquo;s expected to put an end to the violence he&rsquo;s witnessed.</p><p>Last December, Rose made his biggest social statement yet--without speaking. He wore a t-shirt bearing the phrase, &ldquo;I Can&rsquo;t Breath&rdquo; during a pre-game warmup. The phrase refers to Eric Garner&rsquo;s last words. The New York man died after a police officer placed him in a chokehold while arresting him for selling loose cigarettes. The demonstration drew mixed reactions--but Rose was glad people paid attention.</p><p>&ldquo;My biggest concern is the kids, I know what they&rsquo;re thinking right now, I was one of them kids. When you live in an area like that and you don&rsquo;t got any hope and police are treating you any way---I&rsquo;m not saying all our police (officers) are treating kids bad but, when you live in an area like that it gives you another reason to be bad,&rdquo; Rose said.</p><p>There will never be a shortage of people telling professional athletes what to do. And that&rsquo;s the real reason, Banks said, &ldquo;let&rsquo;s play two&hellip;&rdquo; He didn&rsquo;t want to leave the field.</p><p>&ldquo;When you&rsquo;re playing baseball, on that field, it&rsquo;s like your whole life, it&rsquo;s your world and you don&rsquo;t want to leave it. It was such a joy to be there, to be able to make decisions on your own: when to swing, when not to swing; when to run, when not to run. I felt this is the only place in the world where I could make my own decisions,&rdquo; Banks said.</p><p>I asked Rapoport if Banks didn&rsquo;t like what was under the mask--he said that wasn&rsquo;t the case at all.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;d want people to remember the mask, that&rsquo;s what he would want people to remember about him. And that&rsquo;s fair; he&rsquo;s earned the right to be remembered the way he wants to be, I think,&rdquo; Rapoport explained.</p><p>When WBEZ spoke with Banks back in 2010, Landmarks Illinois had just named the Hall of Famer a Legendary Landmark. Asked if he had any regrets, Banks explained he often searched his footsteps for them--but delighted in life&rsquo;s ups and downs. And then, ever the entertainer, he broke out into his friend Frank Sinatra&rsquo;s classic, &ldquo;My Way.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez" target="_blank">@katieobez</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/unmasking-ernie-banks-111480 Obama administration won't seek to end 529 college tax break http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-administration-wont-seek-end-529-college-tax-break-111466 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr bradley gorden backpacks.PNG" alt="" /><p><div class="storytext storylocation linkLocation" id="storytext"><p>Reversing what had been an unpopular approach, the White House says it is dropping the idea of ending a tax break for 529 college savings plans. Critics had called the proposal a tax hike. All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor 529 plans.</p><p>Money in 529 accounts is meant to grow along with future college students, and then be distributed to pay for education expenses without being taxed.</p><p>As <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/01/27/381783199/obama-takes-heat-for-proposing-to-end-college-savings-break">NPR&#39;s Tamara Keith reported</a> this morning, &quot;It&#39;s a pretty good deal, and one that&#39;s been around since 2001. But the White House says fewer than 3 percent of families use these accounts &mdash; and 70 percent of the money in them comes from families earning more than $200,000 a year.&quot;</p><p>Obama&#39;s plan had been to end the tax benefit for future contributions, replacing it with other education and tax proposals. But the idea drew bipartisan criticism, and the White House said today that it will now ask Congress to focus on &quot;a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support,&quot; along with proposals the president mentioned in his State of the Union speech.</p><p>NPR&#39;s Keith confirmed the reversal Tuesday. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/28/us/politics/obama-will-drop-proposal-to-end-529-college-savings-plans.html">The New York Times</a> reported the news today, saying that the president was &quot;facing angry reprisals from parents and from lawmakers of both parties.&quot;</p><p>The move comes a day after Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., <a href="http://lynnjenkins.house.gov/press-releases/reps-jenkins-kind-introduce-legislation-to-expand-strengthen-529-college-savings-plans1/">introduced a bill</a> that would expand college savings plans instead of limiting them.</p><p>Today, Jenkins said her bill would &quot;further promote college access and eliminate barriers for middle class families to save and plan ahead. It would also modernize the program by allowing students to purchase a computer using their 529 funds.&quot;</p><p>House Speaker John Boehner, who had urged Obama to keep the 529 plans intact, says he&#39;s glad the president &quot;listened to the American people and withdrew his proposed tax hike on college savings.&quot; He added, &quot;This tax would have hurt middle-class families already struggling to get ahead.&quot;</p><p>Aides familiar with the conversations tell NPR&#39;s Keith that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged preserving the 529 provisions today, as she traveled with the president on Air Force One from India to Saudi Arabia.</p><p>You can read about 529 plans at the <a href="http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/intro529.htm">SEC website</a>, as well as at the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/529-Plans:-Questions-and-Answers">IRS site</a>.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/27/381967958/obama-administration-won-t-seek-to-end-529-college-tax-break" target="_blank">via NPR</a></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-administration-wont-seek-end-529-college-tax-break-111466 To protect his son, a father asks school to bar unvaccinated children http://www.wbez.org/news/protect-his-son-father-asks-school-bar-unvaccinated-children-111464 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rhett-1_slide-c10ff261cacc06cbd89faaa50e63cda63bfc99b4-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Carl Krawitt has watched his son, Rhett, now 6, fight leukemia for the past 4 1/2 years. For more than three of those years, Rhett has undergone round after round of chemotherapy. Last year he finished chemotherapy, and doctors say he is in remission.</p><p>Now, there&#39;s a new threat, one that the family should not have to worry about: measles.</p><p>Rhett cannot be vaccinated, because his immune system is still rebuilding. It may be months more before his body is healthy enough to get all his immunizations. Until then, he depends on everyone around him for protection &mdash; what&#39;s known as <a href="http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth/2013/08/23/5-things-you-should-know-about-vaccines/" target="_blank">herd immunity</a>.</p><p>But Rhett lives in Marin County, Calif., a county with the <a href="http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2013/08/21/marin-vaccinations/" target="_blank">dubious honor of having the highest rate of &quot;personal belief exemptions&quot;</a> in the Bay Area and among the highest in the state. This school year, 6.45 percent of children in Marin have a personal belief exemption, which allows parents to lawfully send their children to school unvaccinated against communicable diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough and more</p><p>Carl Krawitt has had just about enough. &quot;It&#39;s very emotional for me,&quot; he said. &quot;If you choose not to immunize your own child and your own child dies because they get measles, OK, that&#39;s your responsibility, that&#39;s your choice. But if your child gets sick and gets my child sick and my child dies, then ... your action has harmed my child.&quot;</p><p>Krawitt is taking action of his own. His son attends Reed Elementary in Tiburon, a school with a 7 percent personal belief exemption rate. (The statewide average is 2.5 percent). Krawitt had previously worked with the school nurse to make sure that all the children in his son&#39;s class were fully vaccinated. He said the school was very helpful and accommodating.</p><p>Now Krawitt and his wife, Jodi, have emailed the district&#39;s superintendent, requesting that the district &quot;require immunization as a condition of attendance, with the only exception being those who cannot medically be vaccinated.&quot;</p><p>Carl Krawitt provided me with Superintendent Steven Herzog&#39;s response. Herzog didn&#39;t directly address their query, instead saying: &quot;We are monitoring the situation closely and will take whatever actions necessary to ensure the safety of our students.&quot;</p><p>Typically, a response to health emergencies rests with county health officers. During the current measles outbreak, we&#39;ve already seen that unvaccinated students at Huntington Beach High School in Orange County <a href="http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-students-exposed-to-measles-oc-20150120-story.html" target="_blank">were ordered to stay </a>out of school for three weeks after a student there contracted measles. It&#39;s one way to contain an outbreak.</p><p>But those steps were taken in the face of a confirmed case at the school.</p><p>When I called Marin County health officer Matt Willis to see what he thought of keeping unvaccinated kids out of school even if there were no confirmed cases, he sounded intrigued. &quot;This is partly a legal question,&quot; he said.</p><p>But he was open to the idea and said he was going to check with the state to see what precedent there was to take such an action.</p><p>Right now, there are no cases of measles anywhere in Marin and no suspected cases either. Still, &quot;if the outbreak progresses and we start seeing more and more cases,&quot; Willis said, &quot;then this is a step we might want to consider&quot; &mdash; requiring unvaccinated children to stay home, even without confirmed cases at a specific school.</p><p>Rhett has been treated at the University of California, San Francisco, and his oncologist there, Dr. Robert Goldsby, said that he is likely at higher risk of complications if he were to get measles.</p><p>&quot;When your immune system isn&#39;t working as well, it allows many different infections to be worse,&quot; Goldsby said. &quot;It&#39;s not just Rhett. There are hundreds of other kids in the Bay Area that are going through cancer therapy, and it&#39;s not fair to them. They can&#39;t get immunized; they have to rely on their friends and colleagues and community to help protect them.&quot;</p><p>Goldsby pointed to the number of people who, when facing a friend or family member who receives a challenging diagnosis, will immediately ask how they can help. &quot;Many families will say, &#39;What can I do to help? What can I do to help?&#39; &quot; he said, repeating it for emphasis. &quot;One of the main things they can do is make sure their [own] kids are vaccinated to protect others.&quot;</p><p>Krawitt has been speaking up about vaccination for a long time now. He told me about going to a parent meeting at his daughter&#39;s school just before the start of the school year, where a staff member reminded parents not to send peanut products to school, since a child or children had an allergy. &quot;It&#39;s really important your kids don&#39;t bring peanuts, because kids can die,&quot; Krawitt recalls the group being told.</p><p>The irony was not lost on him. He told me he immediately responded, &quot;In the interest of the health and safety of our children, can we have the assurance that all the kids at our school are immunized?&quot;</p><p>He found out later from a friend that other parents who were present were &quot;mad that you asked the question, because they don&#39;t immunize their kids.&quot;</p><p><em>This story was produced by </em><a href="http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth/">State of Health</a><em>, KQED&#39;s health blog.</em></p></p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/protect-his-son-father-asks-school-bar-unvaccinated-children-111464 Grading Rahm: Public Safety http://www.wbez.org/news/grading-rahm-public-safety-111462 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmmccarthy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel talked about reducing crime &quot;in every neighborhood.&quot; While homicides are down, are the gains shared by all Chicagoans?</p></p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/grading-rahm-public-safety-111462 Quinn had marijuana recommendations, didn't act http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-had-marijuana-recommendations-didnt-act-111456 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/3326238955_c9bec05717_z (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Newly released documents show former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn received recommendations on which businesses should receive lucrative medical marijuana licenses but did not act on them before leaving office.</p><p>Gov. Bruce Rauner&#39;s administration released the material to The Associated Press and other news organizations in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.</p><p>A Rauner spokesman says aides will review the evaluation process and forward their findings to the attorney general.</p><p>Quinn&#39;s administration had said he would issue the licenses by the end of last year. A Quinn spokesman said Monday that the former administration made &quot;substantial progress&quot; in evaluating applications but decided to hand it over to Rauner for &quot;proper review.&quot;</p><p>The documents appear to show the agencies made recommendations to Quinn around Dec. 25.</p></p> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-had-marijuana-recommendations-didnt-act-111456 Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, 1st black player in team history, dies http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-cubs-legend-ernie-banks-1st-black-player-team-history-dies-111451 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/banks_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Baseball&#39;s Chicago Cubs report that Hall of Fame shortstop Ernie Banks has died. &quot;Mr. Cub,&quot; who began his career in the Negro leagues, was the first black player for the team &mdash; eighth in the majors overall &mdash; and played in 14 All-Star games in his 19 seasons, all with the Cubs.</p><p>&quot;Forty-four years after his retirement, Banks holds franchise records for hits, intentional walks and sacrifice flies and in RBIs since 1900,&quot; <a href="http://m.cubs.mlb.com/news/article/107316594/beloved-mr-cub-hall-of-famer-banks-dies-at-83" target="_blank">MLB.com reports</a>. &quot;He likely holds club records for smiles and handshakes as well. ... His 2,528 games are the most by anyone who never participated in postseason play. Chicago never held him responsible for that and believed he deserved better.&quot;</p><p>Banks, who was 83, was named National League MVP in 1958 and 1959, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.</p><p>His back-to-back MVP awards were among the few given to players on losing teams, notes The <em>Associated Press</em>:</p><div><blockquote><p>&quot;Banks&#39; best season came in 1958, when he hit .313 with 47 homers and 129 RBIs. Though the Cubs went 72-82 and finished sixth in the National League, Banks edged Willie Mays and Hank Aaron for his first MVP award. He was the first player from a losing team to win the NL MVP.</p><p>&quot;Banks won the MVP again in 1959, becoming the first NL player to win it in consecutive years, even though the Cubs had another dismal year. Banks batted .304 with 45 homers and a league-leading 143 RBIs.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>The <em>Chicago Tribune</em> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-sullivan-ernie-banks-spt-0124-20150123-story.html" target="_blank">describes the outlook of Banks, who also was known as &quot;Mr. Sunshine&quot;</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Ernie Banks didn&#39;t invent day baseball or help build Wrigley Field. He just made the idea of playing a baseball game under the sun at the corner of Clark and Addison streets sound like a day in paradise, win or lose. ... He was a player who promoted the game like he was part of the marketing department. Not because he had to, but because he truly loved the Cubs and the game itself.&quot;</p></blockquote></div><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/24/379510352/chicago-cubs-legend-ernie-banks-1st-black-player-in-team-history-dies">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 09:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-cubs-legend-ernie-banks-1st-black-player-team-history-dies-111451 Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah dies http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-01-23/saudi-arabias-king-abdullah-dies-111448 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/King Abdullah.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-03c4e882-17c2-1d25-93e4-be52a7c6de4a">King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died at the age of 90. </span>His half-brother, Salman, has been confirmed as the new king. We&rsquo;ll take a look at his legacy and his successor with Joseph K├ęchichian, a senior writer for <a href="http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/dr-joseph-a-kechichian">Gulf News</a> and the author of several books on Gulf affairs.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/the-death-of-king-abdulla/embed?border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/the-death-of-king-abdulla.js?border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/the-death-of-king-abdulla" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: The Death of King Abdullah" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 09:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-01-23/saudi-arabias-king-abdullah-dies-111448 Advocates urge McDonald's to serve meat raised without antibiotics http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/advocates-urge-mcdonalds-serve-meat-raised-without-antibiotics-111441 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antibiotics mcdonalds.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Advocacy groups are urging McDonald&rsquo;s Corp to stop serving meat from animals fed antibiotics.</p><p>Members of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition and Rosenthal Group held a press conference at Sopraffina Caffe in the Loop Thursday to formally challenge the fast food giant to rethink its meat sourcing on the issue.</p><p>McDonald&rsquo;s Corp did not respond to requests for comment.</p><p>Leading the charge was Illinois PIRG, which launched the campaign along with its national parent in seven cities across the country Thursday.</p><p>&ldquo;This is part of a larger public health issue of antibiotic resistance,&rdquo; said Illinois PIRG advocate Dev Gowda. &ldquo;The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms and the practice of feeding antibiotics to healthy farm animals is leading to antibiotic resistance. Now 2 million Americans get sick each year and 23,000 die from antibiotic resistant infections&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a danger when people go to the doctor for routine infections and they get antibiotics, but sometimes they don&rsquo;t work. So it&rsquo;s a really scary situation for many families.&rdquo;</p><p>Joining him was Taryn Kelly of the Rosenthal Group which owns Sopraffina Caffes, Poag Mahone and Trattoria No. 10 in Chicago. Four years ago all of those restaurants began sourcing their meat exclusively from producers who do not use antibiotics on healthy animals.</p><p>&ldquo;It is hard work. It takes dedication and passion,&rdquo; Kelly said. &ldquo;You have to be passionate about the cause. And the more restaurants we can get on board the easier it will before us. That&rsquo;s why we are here urging a big player like McDonald&rsquo;s to get on board with us.&rdquo;</p><p>When asked how such changes in sourcing affected prices for consumers, Kelly pointed out prices on the menu boards at the restaurant which included an 8-inch sandwich filled with grass fed beef raised without antibiotics. It cost $8.99. A 12-inch sausage and pepperoni pizza for two costs $10.49.</p><p>National chain Chick-Fil-A has pledged to start sourcing its chicken from producers who don&rsquo;t use antibiotics within five years and local chain Hannah&rsquo;s Bretzel has already instituted those standards for all of its meat.</p><p>In a released statement Rosenthal group president Dan Rosenthal said, &ldquo;If McDonald&rsquo;s were to [demand meat raised without antibiotics from] its suppliers, it would be a game changer, and one that would help preserve these vital drugs for our kids and grandkids. We&rsquo;ve done it for all the meat we buy for our restaurants&hellip;it&rsquo;ll take time, but McDonald&rsquo;s can do it, too!&rdquo;</p><p>In 2003, McDonald&rsquo;s put in place a policy that would prevent the use of antibiotics for growth promotion but would still allow them for disease prevention among healthy animals. And they do not apply to all producers.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> @monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/advocates-urge-mcdonalds-serve-meat-raised-without-antibiotics-111441 US Steel to lay off more than 350 in East Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/us-steel-lay-more-350-east-chicago-111439 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/640px-Indiana_Harbor.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>EAST CHICAGO, Ind. &mdash; U.S. Steel says it will lay off more than 350 workers in East Chicago, Indiana, as it plans to temporarily close its tin mill.</p><p>Company spokeswoman Sarah Cassella tells <a href="http://bit.ly/1uyOONn" target="_blank"><em>The Times</em></a> in Munster that layoffs will begin in mid-March. She declined to comment on how long the plant will be closed for.</p><p>Cassella says low-priced tin product imports have hurt domestic business.</p><p>Steel industry analyst Charles Bradford says the effect on other area mills should be muted, with tin products making up only 2 percent of the steel market.</p><p>U.S. Steel has announced roughly 1,300 layoffs across the country this month. That includes the planned idling of plants in Ohio and Texas and the permanent shut down of a southern Illinois coke-making plant.</p></p> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-steel-lay-more-350-east-chicago-111439 Wildsounds: The conversation between a city and nature http://www.wbez.org/news/wildsounds-conversation-between-city-and-nature-111435 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/wildsounds.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>When environmental science professor Liam Heneghan moved to Chicago, he noticed something surprising.</p><p>The farther he got away from the city, the harder it was to find interesting habitats to study, because there was just a lot of farmland.&nbsp; He found less of the protected forest preserves or even parks you see inside the city limits.</p><p>&ldquo;Strangely, Chicago is the place you go, that you deliberately seek out if you want to do conservation in the midwest.&rdquo; Heneghan said. &ldquo;That blows my mind.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />So when Heneghan discovered a project that set out to record nature sounds across the world, he wanted to make sure cities were a part of it.&nbsp; He has been recording, alongside his students, in Chicago for about a year.</p><p>By listening to nature sounds in the city, researchers have learned the complex way that human noise makes animals change the way they sound; from insects that shift their pitch to be heard over traffic, to birds that sing at different times of day.</p><p>But Heneghan does not want the message of the recordings to be that people sounds are bad. He wants this project to help the rest of Chicago have that same experience he did when he first moved here.</p><p>When they listen, he wants them to notice how much nature is right here &mdash; outside their apartments and office buildings, beside highways and train lines.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h" target="_blank">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/wildsounds-conversation-between-city-and-nature-111435