WBEZ | Lauren Chooljian http://www.wbez.org/tags/lauren-chooljian Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gone Fishing: Harsh winter brings lake temps down, but not for long http://www.wbez.org/news/gone-fishing-harsh-winter-brings-lake-temps-down-not-long-110690 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Phil%20Willink%201.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Philip Willink of Shedd Aquarium (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" /><a href="http://www.sheddaquarium.org/Conservation--Research/Conservation-Research-Experts/Dr-Phillip-Willink/" target="_blank">Dr. Philip Willink</a> stands at the shore of Chicago&rsquo;s 63rd Street Beach, looking out on to Lake Michigan.</p><p>&ldquo;So what do you see when you look at the lake?&rdquo;</p><p>He asks this question of anyone who joins him on his frequent trips to the shore. Willink is a senior research biologist at the Shedd Aquarium, and so he often visits the shoreline to check on the health of the lake.</p><p>&ldquo;Something I like to do is whenever I go out, I try to do as many things at once: monitoring invasive species, looking for endangered species and just sort of assessing the community on the Chicago Lakefront,&rdquo; Willink said.</p><p>And from the surface, it&rsquo;s impossible to see it all. According to Willink, at any given spot, there could be tens of thousands of fish swimming around: A little-known fact for many local swimmers. Another example: Willink said there are likely quadrillions of invasive zebra mussels and quagga mussels in Lake Michigan.</p><p>You can hear their dead shells crunch as you walk along the shore.</p><p>This year, Willink said, he&rsquo;s stumbled on a few species that he isn&rsquo;t as used to seeing, like Coho salmon, perch and bloaters&mdash;all fish that favor cooler, deeper waters.</p><p>&ldquo;When the bloater showed up it was like &lsquo;oh, okay, something&#39;s really going on,&rsquo; because I think in the past 10 years, I&rsquo;ve only caught one other bloater in a net,&rdquo; Willink said. &ldquo;So catching a half-dozen of them really meant that something different was going on.&rdquo;</p><p>On average, temperatures in Lake Michigan this summer have been much cooler than normal. According to data from the <a href="http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/webdata/cwops/html/statistic/statistic.html%20" target="_blank">National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration</a>, surface temperatures have been about 2.75 degrees Celsius below average. The managers of this data believe that&rsquo;s likely because of all the ice cover that came along last winter. The Great Lakes were at least 90 percent ice covered last winter, and that hasn&rsquo;t happened since 1994.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/avgtemps-m_1992-2013.gif" title="" /></div><p>Willink said all that cooler water encouraged fish that usually stay deep, deep down in the lake to swim up to the surface.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody thought it was a harsh winter, and we&rsquo;d have fewer fish. I&rsquo;ve actually found more this year,&rdquo; Willink said. &ldquo;It may very well be that Great Lakes fish like harsh winters, because after all, that was a much more typical winter.</p><p>But some other fishermen aren&rsquo;t so sure of that connection.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cpt%20rick%204.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Captain Rick Bentley, owner of Windy City Salmon Fishing Charters. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />Captain Rick Bentley is the owner of <a href="http://www.windycitysalmon.com/" target="_blank">Windy City Salmon Fishing Charters</a>. He takes groups fishing off Waukegan Harbor in Lake Michigan, so thriving fish make for better business. And he said this spring, the Coho salmon fishing was the best he&rsquo;s ever seen.</p><p>&ldquo;It was excellent. A lot of times in April, we&rsquo;re waiting for Coho to get here. They typically mass up in schools on the way extreme south end of the lake,&rdquo; Bentley said. &ldquo;But we had them right at the beginning of April when we started fishing.&rdquo;</p><p>Bentley said he remembers all the ice cover. It covered the harbor until April 10th, which he said is unusual. But he&rsquo;s not convinced the two things are related.</p><p>&ldquo;You need to have several of those winters in a row, and we really haven&rsquo;t had a winter like that in a while,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So whether it was due to the winter, we&rsquo;ll have to see about that.&rdquo;</p><p>According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lsa.umich.edu/pite/people/facultyassociates/ci.gadenmarc_ci.detail" target="_blank">Marc Gaden</a> of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Captain Rick Bentley may not get the chance to make that assessment. Gaden worked on this year&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.globalchange.gov/what-we-do/assessment" target="_blank">national climate change report</a> and he said all the research points in the opposite direction of the thermometer.</p><p>&ldquo;The downward trend is quite unmistakable since the 1970s. And so we&rsquo;ll see fewer and fewer winters where we&rsquo;ll have that significant amount of ice cover in the Great Lakes basin, that&rsquo;s clear from the trends. And the models of climate change scenarios suggest that&rsquo;s not going to change,&rdquo; Gaden said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/m2013_2014_ice.gif" title="" /></div><p>And in the decades to come, Gaden said that could, among many other things, make the lakes &ldquo;quite an inviting place to some of the invasive species that we&rsquo;re very concerned about like Asian Carp.&rdquo; According to Gaden, that warmer water could also lead to an expansion of species like sea lamprey, quagga and zebra mussels that are already in the lake.</p><p>Back at 63rd Street Beach, Willink said on the one hand, sometimes people tend to forget that the Great Lakes are always changing and they always have been: Fish, animals and plants have survived both warm and cold years before. And, he adds, it is hard to really know how one pattern will affect the ecosystem long term.</p><p>But since this has been an unprecedented rate of change, how the fish will respond is an open question.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gone-fishing-harsh-winter-brings-lake-temps-down-not-long-110690 Lucas chooses Chicago for his art, memorabilia museum http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/lucas-chooses-chicago-his-art-memorabilia-museum-110405 <p><p>Get your lightsabers ready: The George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is coming to Chicago.</p><p>George Lucas and the museum board announced Tuesday they had chosen Chicago as the home for the museum, beating out San Francisco and Los Angeles.</p><p>It all started more than four years ago, in a galaxy far, far away -- also known as George Lucas&rsquo; home of San Francisco. Lucas&rsquo; originally wanted to build his museum for art and movie memorabilia at Crissy Field, land owned by the Presidio Trust. But when his plans were rejected earlier this year, he began looking into other options.</p><p>In a statement, the Lucas Museum board says Chicago&rsquo;s proposed site by Soldier Field was &ldquo;significantly larger&rdquo; and closer to public transportation than the sites San Francisco was offering. The board also lauded Chicago&rsquo;s museum campus - the proposed site for the museum - as &ldquo;vibrant,&rdquo; and &ldquo;centrally located in a city renowned for its love of art and architecture.&rdquo;</p><p>Though he&rsquo;s from California, Lucas has his own personal connections to Chicago. Lucas&rsquo; wife, Mellody Hobson, is a prominent businesswoman from Chicago. The couple celebrated their wedding at Promontory Point along the Lake Michigan shore. The city closed down the entire park for the event.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been lobbying for major cultural institutions to move to or take root in Chicago. A mayoral-appointed task force last month recommended the Lucas museum be built along the lakefront, in the now-parking lots between Soldier Field and McCormick Place</p><p>Emanuel called landing the Lucas Museum a &ldquo;tremendous opportunity&rdquo; for the city. He&rsquo;s said in the past taxpayers wouldn&rsquo;t be footing the bill for the billion-dollar investment.</p><p>The mayor has also attempted to assure Bears fans that the Lucas museum won&rsquo;t keep them from tailgating before home games. Last month, he told reporters at an unrelated event that &ldquo;there&rsquo;s going to be tailgating. Full stop.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t thank George and Mellody enough,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;No other major American city has these type of cultural education institutions, with a great Northerly Island creating a vibrant, green museum campus - unparalleled in the United States.&rdquo;</p><p>In a statement, George Lucas says Chicago is the right decision for the museum, but the Bay area will always be his home.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ Reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian"><em>@laurenchooljian</em></a></p></p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 07:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/lucas-chooses-chicago-his-art-memorabilia-museum-110405 New rules of the road possible for Chicago pedicab drivers http://www.wbez.org/news/new-rules-road-possible-chicago-pedicab-drivers-110106 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 8.37.11 AM_0.png" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago pedicabs could soon have to follow new rules of the road, much to the dismay of many drivers. The City Council is set to vote Wednesday on a slew of new rules and regulations for bicycle rickshaws popular around Wrigley Field and downtown. It would be the first time the city sets any regulations on the growing industry.</p><p>Many pedicab drivers say they&rsquo;re for some regulation, but argue that the ordinance put forth by Ald. Tom Tunney (44) goes too far. Tunney&rsquo;s measure is years in the making, and requires pedicab drivers to get $250 annual licenses for their cabs, to buy insurance, post fare schedules, apply for &ldquo;chauffeur&#39;s licenses&rdquo; to drive the pedicab and other changes.</p><p>But it&rsquo;s the ban on driving on the downtown portion of Michigan Avenue and State Street, and rush hour restrictions in the Loop that has caused the most protest from drivers. At a joint City Council hearing Tuesday with the committees on License and Consumer Protection and Transportation and Public Way, many drivers testified that the bans would put a big dent in their finances, as downtown is not only where many of their patrons are, but it&rsquo;s where they want to be dropped off.</p><p>&ldquo;What health risk to pedicabs pose? What causes more traffic congestion - a double parked limousine? A 50 foot bus making a turn? Or a pedicab in a bike lane? Pedicabs should be part of the solution and not banned from downtown,&rdquo; Chicago Rickshaw owner Robert Tipton said.</p><p>Nikola Delic, owner of Nick&rsquo;s Pedicabs, is one of many drivers that argued that the ordinance discriminated against pedicab drivers.</p><p>&ldquo;If the horse carriages and cab drivers can pick up their fares in the downtown district, I don&rsquo;t see why the pedicabs wouldn&rsquo;t be able to do the same thing,&rdquo; Delic said. &ldquo;Because horse carriages are blocking the same amount of traffic as one pedicab [and] they&rsquo;re moving slower.&rdquo;</p><p>Drivers submitted a petition Tuesday with over 500 signatures. It requests that aldermen take the entire street restriction section out of the ordinance.</p><p>Tunney has said that he&rsquo;s open to changing portions of the ordinance, but the street ban is off the table.</p><p>&ldquo;The ordinance, I believe, will help legitimize the industry, increase public safety and improve the flow of traffic on our congested streets,&rdquo; Tunney said at the hearing. &ldquo;There are...many good and safe operators but we&rsquo;ve certainly had a few problems that this ordinance is designed to address.&rdquo;</p><p>Commissioner Luann Hamilton from the Chicago Department of Transportation said the department would support reducing the restrictions, and they aren&rsquo;t concerned by pedicabs riding on those streets.</p><p>Another sticking point for drivers is a rule that would cap at 200 the number of registered pedicabs allowed in the city. Drivers contest that this rule will kill off jobs, and that 200 is an arbitrary number, as there&rsquo;s no official measure for the number of pedicabs driving around the city. The ordinance would allow for the number to be changed by the licensing commissioner.</p><p>The ordinance sailed through the joint committee vote, with only two &quot;no&quot; votes from Ald. Ariel Reboyras and Ald. Brendan Reilly. Penalties for violating the act could range anywhere from $100 to $5,000, depending on the violation or number of infractions.</p><p>Other pieces of the ordinance:</p><ul><li>Drivers would have to get a doctor&#39;s note stating they&rsquo;re capable to operate a pedicab and pass a geography exam before receiving their &ldquo;pedicab chauffeur license&rdquo;</li><li>All drivers must be 18 or older</li><li>Pedicab operators must have a valid automobile driver&rsquo;s license - from Illinois or another state</li><li>Pedicabs aren&rsquo;t allowed on sidewalks</li><li>Pedicabs are only allowed to carry four passengers</li></ul><p>Tunney&rsquo;s ordinance does not set fares for pedicabs, regulate where they are able to park or designate certain places they can hang out and wait for fares.</p><p>If the ordinance passes the full City Council Wednesday, the new rules and regulations would take effect by June.</p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-23d1776b-b381-d33a-af9d-cc36336fa4bd"><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-rules-road-possible-chicago-pedicab-drivers-110106 Chicago's e-cigarette crackdown is officially underway http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-e-cigarette-crackdown-officially-underway-110101 <p><p>The city of Chicago&rsquo;s crackdown on electronic cigarettes officially begins Tuesday.&nbsp;</p><p>E-cigarettes, or vape pens, allow users to puff on nicotine vapor rather than real tobacco smoke. The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance in January that regulates the pens just like any other tobacco product. From now on, smokers won&rsquo;t be allowed to use any of these devices in the workplace or any enclosed public places like bars, restaurants, stores or sports venues.</p><p>The city policy also bans the distribution or sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and requires that stores keep them behind the counter, rather than out on the sale floor.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel backed the measure, and has been pushing restrictions on all forms of cigarette smoking - including boosting the cigarette tax and putting a prohibition on selling flavored tobacco products within a 500 feet of a school.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a long line of activities to protect our kids from both tobacco products, and more importantly, from the tobacco companies seeing [kids] as part of their bottom line. And they&rsquo;re not,&rdquo; Emanuel told WBEZ.&nbsp;</p><p>Opponents - including some aldermen - say e-cigarettes are safer than regular tobacco-burning cigarettes, and can actually help people quit.</p><p>The Food and Drug Administration issued a proposal last week that would extend the agency&rsquo;s tobacco authority to cover e-cigarette products, which would restrict companies from giving out free samples. It would also impose minimum-age and identification restrictions on e-cigarettes and keep them out of vending machines (unless they&rsquo;re in a facility that never admits kids) but it stopped short of regulating advertising.The proposed rule is now under a public comment period.</p><p>Dr. Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Public Health, said the proposal is a good first step--and a step in the right direction--but the city&rsquo;s ordinance goes even farther.</p><p>Choucair said if anyone sees people smoking e-cigarettes in Chicago where they&rsquo;re not supposed to, they can call 311 to file a complaint.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Flaurenchooljian&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHdY9Bg1Uv8cPtNPU3NCg2qmAExsQ">@laurenchooljian</a>&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 17:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-e-cigarette-crackdown-officially-underway-110101 Final phase of Ventra rollout suspended, developer apologizes http://www.wbez.org/news/final-phase-ventra-rollout-suspended-developer-apologizes-109094 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Ventra.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago commuters will be able to hold on to those old Chicago Cards and magnetic strip cards for a little while longer. Chicago Transit Authority officials announced the the final phase of the new <a href="http://ventrachicago.com/">Ventra </a>system&rsquo;s rollout will be suspended until a few of its problems are fixed. Chicago Cards and Chicago Card Plus were supposed to be phased out by November 15.</p><p dir="ltr">CTA President Forrest Claypool also said the agency won&rsquo;t pay the developer, Cubic Transportation Systems, any of the $454 million, 12-year contract, until the company meets three criterion: customer service wait times must be five minutes or less, processing times for the tap-and-go function of a Ventra card must be under two and a half seconds--99 percent of the time--and all readers and vending machines must be operational 99 percent of the time.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The bottom line is that too many of our customers are confused and frustrated and that&rsquo;s our fault,&rdquo; Claypool told members of the City Club at a luncheon Tuesday.</p><p dir="ltr">Cubic&rsquo;s head of North American operations, Richard Wunderle, was on hand to answer some questions as well.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This transition period wasn&rsquo;t our shining light, and for that I want to apologize to the riders of CTA,&rdquo; said Wunderle. &ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t our best effort but it will get better, so I apologize for that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Cubic isn&rsquo;t new to the public transit game: They&rsquo;ve got 400 fare-collection projects in operation across the world, including systems in Sydney, London and Washington, D.C. But the Ventra system marks the first time the company&rsquo;s tackled an open-fare, contactless card system; and officials say it&rsquo;s the first of its kind in North America.</p><p dir="ltr">Wunderle said Cubic engineers are already at work on a number of fixes to get things up to speed.</p><p dir="ltr">One issue that&rsquo;s drawn many complaints from CTA riders is being charged for multiple taps of their Ventra card at the turnstile. Officials say customers would tap their card, and after not immediately seeing a green &ldquo;Go&rdquo; signal, they&rsquo;d tap multiple times or move to a different lane. As of Tuesday, Cubic said they added a new &ldquo;processing&rdquo; screen to show riders the system is working before it lets them through. Engineers will also be upgrading the Ventra software over the weekend to try and bring processing times down on card readers to two-and-a-half seconds or less. CTA officials said that&rsquo;s happening 95 percent of the time--but the other 5 percent of the time, processing times varied from three to 10 seconds, sometimes more.</p><p dir="ltr">Claypool said the issue that&rsquo;s upset him the most is the long wait times for callers trying to reach a customer service agent, calling it a &ldquo;self-inflicted wound.&rdquo; The CTA chief said on one day last month, the center was overwhelmed with 20,000 calls. Some customers couldn&rsquo;t get through to an agent at all, while others waited, and waited - in some cases, for more than 30 minutes. Cubic has hired more customer service agents since then, and plans to expand further.</p><p dir="ltr">No timeline has been set for when the Ventra rollout will continue. Wunderle said he can&rsquo;t really give a &ldquo;best guess&rdquo; how long it will take the company to address the CTA&rsquo;s three benchmarks, only estimating &ldquo;weeks&rdquo; when pressed by a reporter.</p><p dir="ltr">Other interesting Ventra facts:</p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">The entire Ventra contract lasts 12 years: The two years allotted for engineering the system are almost up. The next 10 years of the contract will be for the service.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Cubic paid $92 million up front toward the transition: installing card readers, vending machines, call center operations, etc.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">CTA lawyers will be looking into how many fares they&rsquo;ve missed because of bus drivers waving people through when there seemed to be problems with the Ventra card</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">50 percent of CTA riders are now using Ventra cards</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Card readers will now display a &ldquo;low balance&rdquo; screen that lets customers know their Ventra card balance is under $10</p></li></ul><p dir="ltr"><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/final-phase-ventra-rollout-suspended-developer-apologizes-109094 Will Jesse Jackson Jr.'s personal items make the cut in Chicago's archives? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/will-jesse-jackson-jrs-personal-items-make-cut-chicagos-archives-108755 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-4e161ccb-5204-f385-5bc8-8aecb07f6ab8">For those who were interested in buying the furs or celebrity memorabilia once owned by former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., the opportunity was fleeting. &nbsp;Just three days after they were been posted on <a href="http://www.txauction.com/" target="_blank">TXAuction.com</a>, US Marshals yanked them, <a href="http://www.txauction.com/forms/USM%20Press%20Release.pdf?CFID=1089729&amp;CFTOKEN=3c87d548eb01990a-33A62555-5056-8125-308FE8E4057D2835&amp;jsessionid=2F0E7FF131365245A793B883F4B5D312.cfusion" target="_blank">after concerns over their authenticity.</a></p><p dir="ltr">While the US Marshals determine whether Jackson&rsquo;s belongings will return to the auction block, the capes and signed photographs of 80&rsquo;s actors and musicians have become the butt of jokes.</p><p dir="ltr">But will they make the cut in Chicago&rsquo;s historical archives? And how will these items be judged by the arbiters of Chicago political history?</p><p dir="ltr">There is only one place to start to answer that question:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagohistory.org/" target="_blank">The Chicago History Museum</a>, formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society.</p><p dir="ltr">John Russick, director of curatorial affairs at the museum, is the tour guide du jour for what he calls the &ldquo;cook&rsquo;s tour&rdquo; of the museum. Russick has a pretty big hand in choosing what lives on the four floors of the building on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, and its two additional storage areas across the state.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/brucelee.jpg" style="height: 201px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Bruce Lee memorabilia that Jesse Jackson, Jr. purchased with campaign dollars. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marshals)" />The top floor of the Clark Street building is like a well-organized attic. Hundreds of thousands of items are hidden from public viewing in cabinets or covered with big white sheets. Quarters are pretty tight. Only a small group of people could wind their way through the stacks of toys, dinnerware, political buttons and more. There&rsquo;s everything from a trophy made of melted dimes for Admiral George Dewey to a replica of Mrs. O&rsquo;Leary&rsquo;s cow that actually kicks.</div><p dir="ltr">Then down in the basement, more Chicago relics. On one side, in the sculpture storage room, carved heads and busts of all shapes and sizes stare you down as if you&rsquo;ve disturbed them. Around the corner, there are rows upon rows of more faces - many of them belonging to Abraham Lincoln - but this time, on hanging portraits. In another corner, costumes; in yet another, architectural models and maps.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says deciding what else to add to this vast collection is a pretty complex process.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Everything that happens in Chicago could be a great Chicago story,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But not everything is a great Chicago story, so we are charged with that - to try and figure out what stories, especially recent stories, are really going to wind up being important stories in the future.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There are a few criteria the museum staff must follow when they receive a donation or come across an item they might want to acquire.</p><p dir="ltr">First: Collecting in 2013 isn&rsquo;t the same as collecting when the museum was founded in 1856. Curators and staff ponder if the new item provides more insight into a story. Or might they already have something better in their massive collection so the museum isn&rsquo;t bursting at the seams?</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Badge.jpg" style="height: 236px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="A diamond-studded, gold star badge that was given to former first ward Alderman Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna from a group of constituents. Museum officials say this is the perfect material representation of political corruption. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />Second: Can this item evoke a larger story? Is there something that makes it more than just a costume or a document?</div><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not just here for researchers and scholars who want to tap into Chicago historical material,&rdquo; Russick explains. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re also here for citizens of the city who want to see objects that spark their imagination, that inspire them to look more.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">And Russick doesn&rsquo;t answer these questions alone. He&rsquo;s one of five curators that review possible items for the collection - and they&rsquo;ll also work with archivists, library staff and the collections department as things are processed and catalogued.</p><p dir="ltr">Take the Jesse Jackson Jr. items, for example.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick said he and his team talked it through, and decided in the end, the furs or signed photos, while intriguing, don&rsquo;t really tell the full Jackson story, or any other Chicago story, for that matter. The items ranged from a red cashmere cape with mink trim to Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson memorabilia.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We thought these might be evidence of some measure of personal style or even somewhat of maybe excess in his life, but it wasn&rsquo;t truly evidence of corruption or anything of that nature,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, he points to a gold, <a href="http://blog.chicagohistory.org/index.php/2013/02/a-star-with-a-storied-past/" target="_blank">diamond-studded sheriff&#39;s badge</a> that belonged to Michael &ldquo;Hinky Dink&rdquo; Kenna. He was one of two aldermen who represented the first ward in the late 1800&rsquo;s. Back then, the area south of the Loop was home to brothels, saloons and gambling halls. Kenna and Alderman &ldquo;Bathhouse John&rdquo; Coughlin profited from the schemes to keep them open.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says some constituents gave Kenna the star in 1897. And this, he says, is a great fit for the museum&rsquo;s collection. It&rsquo;s material evidence of a culture of political back-scratching, and it could even be used for research.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It has sort of the markings of a gift,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Even in our culture today, we would see that as sort of suspicious and I think that it sort of builds on story we already know about Kenna and his times and the notion of first ward politics.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says Jackson&rsquo;s personal items wouldn&rsquo;t fit in the collection in the same way. The items could end up at universities or political libraries or in someone&rsquo;s home, depending on the outcome of the auction.</p><p dir="ltr">Paul Green, director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University, says the museum is making the right call.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What would be the purpose of it?&rdquo; Green said. &ldquo;This is the stuff that got a guy sent to the slammer? &nbsp;You know, if we did that for everybody in Chicago and Illinois, we&rsquo;d have to turn Soldier Field into a museum and put a cover on it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">According to Green, Chicago politicians are conscious of the material legacy they&rsquo;ll leave behind.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We like to put our names on everything, you know, sooner or later, Millennium Park will be the Richard M. Daley Millenium Park. I&rsquo;m not wishing the mayor any ill but when he goes to great precinct in the sky, that&rsquo;s gonna happen.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But Green says, in this case, it&rsquo;s not the stuff that will secure Jackson&rsquo;s legacy in the city&rsquo;s history of corruption. &nbsp;And coming from a professor whose office could give the History Museum a run for its money, that&rsquo;s a significant statement.</p><p dir="ltr">Green&rsquo;s office walls are filled with signed photos of the last few mayors, and multiple keys to the city. He even has a picture of Kenna by his office door.</p><p dir="ltr">But Green says Jackson Jr.&rsquo;s story will survive without any relics. His story is one of a promising young politician whose future came to a <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/press-releases/2013/former-congressman-jesse-l.-jackson-jr.-sentenced-to-30-months-in-prison-for-conspiring-to-defraud-campaign" target="_blank">screeching halt by his own devices</a> - through illness or otherwise.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There will be some people who think government is all corrupt and filled with bad people and they&rsquo;ll do a little giggle and say, &lsquo;oh, there goes another one,&rsquo; but people who are a little more conscientious [might] think what pressures [might he] be under that we don&rsquo;t understand?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There is one thing about Jackson&rsquo;s loot that sticks with Green: The guitar that was supposedly signed by Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson. That&rsquo;s the item that brought the whole auction down after reports that it might not be real. Green says he&rsquo;s surprised Jackson would spend that kind of money and not get certification for his purchase.</p><p dir="ltr">The US Marshals are still checking to see if the guitar is real or not - and whether they&rsquo;ll repost Jackson&rsquo;s belongings is also still up in the air. The auction was supposed to pay into the $750,000 of campaign funds that Jackson and his wife Sandi, a former Chicago alderman, admitted to using on personal items. Jackson has also been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. &nbsp;His wife is sentenced to serve a year after that. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, The Chicago History Museum&rsquo;s John Russick says items can become more interesting over time. The twist in the auction story shows the Jackson saga isn&rsquo;t over - and something might give the items more historical significance down the road.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says curators aren&rsquo;t in any rush. As historians, they can wait.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ Reporter/Producer. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/will-jesse-jackson-jrs-personal-items-make-cut-chicagos-archives-108755 Who was 25-year-old Rahm Emanuel? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/who-was-25-year-old-rahm-emanuel-108327 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahm25yo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">As mayor of the city of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s days are anything but repetitive.</p><p dir="ltr">Some days, he crisscrosses the city for press conferences, packing in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-emanuel-still-cozy-city-council-107199">phone calls to aldermen</a> and business leaders on the way.</p><p dir="ltr">Other days, he&rsquo;s in meetings at City Hall, talking Wrigley renovations or budget fixes, or maybe even calling President Barack Obama to talk over top issues, and who knows what else.</p><p dir="ltr">He&rsquo;s known to try to squeeze in a <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324564704578626070625333886.html">workout</a> wherever he can, and sometimes, he commutes to work on the <a href="http://redeyechicago.tumblr.com/post/57525285278/our-mayor-really-gets-around">train </a>to mix things up a bit.</p><p>But 25-year-old Emanuel nailed down a pattern and stuck to it.</p><p>The year was 1984. Emanuel lived in Lakeview, near Waveland and Southport, in an old house converted into four apartments. He distinctly remembers his neighbors from that house: Emanuel was a graduate student at Northwestern University then, and would take the L back and forth to class every day.</p><p>As he recalls, there was just one restaurant by the Southport train station: a pizza place that sold pies by the slice.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d get off the train after school, get dinner, which was a slice of pizza, eat it walking home, and sit down and do my homework,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Is that pathetic?&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s two-bedroom apartment was on the second floor of the house. His rent: $330. And that included utilities.</p><p>&ldquo;You couldn&rsquo;t touch a parking space for $330 there today,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>His classes were at <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/magazine/spring2012/feature/in-your-face-sidebar/rahms-grad-school-days-at-northwestern.html">Northwestern</a>&rsquo;s School of Speech and Communications, where he studied mass communications and classical rhetorical theory.</p><p>Emanuel squeezed the master&rsquo;s program into nine months.</p><p>&ldquo;It was basically I wanted to do mental gymnastics for a year, &rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;When I had graduated [from undergrad] and started working, I was not done enjoying the life of the mind, so to say.&rdquo;</p><p>The mayor said 25 marked a critical point. He always knew he wanted to go to graduate school, but that year he realized it was now or never.</p><p>When he wasn&rsquo;t debating about Aristotle or Cicero, Emanuel dabbled in political work. He spent some of that year at the Illinois Public Action Council. He was also in the throes of then-Congressman Paul Simon&rsquo;s campaign for a U.S. Senate seat, where he worked alongside people like Lisa Madigan, David Axelrod and Forrest Claypool, to name a few.</p><p>And yes, he was still <a href="http://www.joffrey.org/node/2854">dancing </a>when he was 25 years old. Twice a week.</p><p>Emanuel was a serious dancer in his youth, even earning a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet. He passed it up to go to Sarah Lawrence. He says once the pressure was off to dance professionally, he wanted to get back to it.</p><p>Dance, Emanuel says, was important for discipline, as well as exercise.</p><p>But come on, besides all that, he must have been doing some socializing and dating as a twenty-something, right?</p><p>Emanuel says he&rsquo;ll keep most of those stories under wraps, but that his 25-year-old self was very much in the mindset of: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m gonna be single for the rest of my life.&rdquo;</p><p>There was one woman he dated that year. Emanuel says the relationship ended when she decided to move to Washington, D.C. for a job, and he wanted to stay in Chicago.</p><p>But amid all the pizza, Aristotle, politics and ballet, Emanuel&rsquo;s sights were already set on Washington.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to finish Northwestern,&rdquo; Emanuel said was the goal. &ldquo;And I&rsquo;m going to try and figure out how to one day work for a person who&rsquo;s going to be elected president.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/who-was-25-year-old-rahm-emanuel-108327 Year 25: Ernest Hemingway http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ernest-hemingway-108094 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hemingway25no2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s almost hard to believe that at just 25 years old, Ernest Hemingway was already writing one of the novels he&rsquo;s best known for: <em>The Sun Also Rises</em>.</p><p>Some have even called it his &ldquo;breakthrough&rdquo; work, while others say there&rsquo;s no amount of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-rises.html">analysis</a> that could convey its quality.</p><p>But then you crack the spine yourself, and you find a book full of complex characters trying to find meaning in their lives; a story of friends wading through drama and heartbreak, all the while drinking a leather bag of wine or two (or four) while they take in bullfights and fishing trips.</p><p>And then it all makes sense: These tales scream of life as a twenty-something.</p><p>Well, maybe not the bullfights.</p><p>We&rsquo;ve learned through the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/year25">Year25</a> series that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-105315">25</a> can be a pinnacle year, one that marks a period of great influence (positive or negative) by different places or people; one of big <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rick-bayless-25-106967">decisions</a>, some angst, maybe even serious <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25-0/year-25-dan-savage-105358">romance</a> or adventures that can put a person on a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-alpana-singh-25-105949">path</a> that shapes the rest of his or her life.</p><p>As it turns out, Hemingway&rsquo;s 25th year was full of all those things - and he put them right into his writing.</p><p>Of course, we can&rsquo;t ask the famed author what was going through his head at 25, or if he had any eureka moments or transitional conversations during that year.</p><p>But he did leave us with many works that give a sense of his life at that time. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/068482499X">A Moveable Feast</a>, for example, is almost a memoir of his life in Paris in the 1920s. Not to mention there are scholars all over the world that have devoted their lives to discovering his.</p><p>By 25, Hemingway had already been through a lot. He worked as a news reporter for the <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/hemingway/">Kansas City Star</a> for under a year. By 18, he was driving ambulances through Italy during World War I where he was seriously <a href="http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ernest-hemingway-wounded-on-the-italian-front">wounded</a> by a mortar shell.</p><p>He even experienced an earth-shattering <a href="http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/hemingway/agnes-von-kurowsky.html">heartbreak</a> - served up by a <a href="http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/u26j-RrGEEiEGDwx9R2Zgw.aspx">nurse</a> that he met while recovering from his injury.</p><p>Hemingway eventually married another woman, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/hemingwayadventure/paris.html">Hadley Richardson</a>, his first wife, and together they had a young son Jack.</p><p>By July 21, 1924, also known as Hemingway&rsquo;s 25th birthday, Jack was just over a year old. At the time, the family lived in Paris, France, and visited Spain in the summer to watch the bullfights. It was during this time when Hemingway mixed in with other famous Modernist writers and authors like <a href="http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/gertrude-stein">Gertrude Stein</a> -- people who would become a huge influence on his writing style.</p><p>&ldquo;[Stein] is the one who told him he should really spend time looking at Cézanne especially,&rdquo; said John W. Berry, Chairman of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park.</p><p>&ldquo;He talked all of his life about the impact that Cézanne&rsquo;s paintings had on his early writing -- where you kind of put the background in very low focus and then you focus on just a few things in the foreground and really treat them with great detail.&rdquo;</p><p>Stein became sort of an editor figure for Hemingway. As he wrote away the days and drank away the nights, Stein was there to tell him which pages to cut out and where to look for inspiration. Hemingway also published a collection of short stories just after his 25th year, called <em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-time.html">In Our Time</a></em>, which experts say was polished by Stein&rsquo;s editorial advice.</p><p>But it was <em>The Sun Also Rises</em> that really launched his career, according to <a href="http://lieslolson.com/">Liesl Olson</a>, director of the Scholl Center for American History and Culture at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The stories of carousing with friends, the incredibly detailed scenes of bullfighting -- those were all inspired by experiences of his 25th year.</p><p>Not every review was full of high praise when <em>The Sun Also Rises</em> was first published in 1926. He was panned by literary editor Fanny Butcher of the Chicago Tribune, a paper he read faithfully no matter where he lived.</p><p>&ldquo;What she wrote really mattered in Chicago,&rdquo; Olson said. &ldquo;She basically thought the novel was full of too much drinking, too much sex. It was sensational. It was about a group of twenty-somethings who didn&rsquo;t know what they were doing with their lives.&rdquo;</p><p>He also received a bad review from a critic close to his heart: His mother, Grace Hall Hemingway. She wouldn&rsquo;t even attend her book club meeting when the group was discussing <em>The Sun Also Rises</em>. According to Olson, Hemingway&rsquo;s mother sent a letter to him in Paris, saying, among other harsh things, &ldquo;you&rsquo;re prostituting a really great ability to the lowest ends.&rdquo;</p><p>Ouch.</p><p>Yet despite all that, the work he wrote at 25 became major bestseller, and it&rsquo;s never been out of print.</p><p>&ldquo;For all the twenty-somethings out there right now trying to do something big,&rdquo; Olson says. &ldquo;This is a really instructive moment.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 18:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ernest-hemingway-108094 Where was Rep. Aaron Schock at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-aaron-schock-25-107295 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP080205045166.jpg" style="float: right; height: 278px; width: 350px;" title="Rep. Aaron Schock in 2008. (AP/File)" />At 31, (soon-to-turn 32 in late May), Congressman Aaron Schock is the youngest participant of the Year 25 series.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a designation he&rsquo;s pretty used to. He was once the youngest Illinois state representative and school board president&mdash;at the same time.</p><p>At 25, Schock lived in an old house that was supposed to be condemned by the city of Peoria, Illinois.</p><p>But Schock bought it and flipped it himself when he finished college.</p><p>He was also a few years into his stint as an Illinois state rep, but that was only a part-time gig. Most of his days were spent in the private sector, working in real estate.</p><p>Schock says he had no idea as a 25-year-old that he&rsquo;d live most of his days in Washington as a federal lawmaker. But as he told WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian, he&rsquo;s pleased with how things have turned out so far.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is&rsquo; WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p><p><strong>More from this series</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25-0/year-25-dan-savage-105358" target="_blank">Dan Savage</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-senator-dick-durbin-25-107104" target="_blank">Sen. Dick Durbin</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rick-bayless-25-106967" target="_blank">Rick Bayless</a></p></p> Tue, 21 May 2013 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-aaron-schock-25-107295 Where was Rep. Tammy Duckworth at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-tammy-duckworth-25-107159 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/duck.png" alt="" /><p><p>At 25, U.S. representative <a href="http://duckworth.house.gov/" target="_blank">Tammy Duckworth</a> was just beginning her career as a helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard - a bit sooner than she originally expected.</p><p>Usually, she says, it was about a&nbsp; year-long wait before you could get into flight school.</p><p>But when she got the call in 1993 that a spot was open last minute at Fort Rucker, Alabama, she packed up her bags and left Chicago, reporting to duty just three days later.</p><p>That is, after a quick stop to the Justice of the Peace to marry her then-boyfriend.</p><p>&ldquo;I did not want to go to flight school and do something that dangerous and my husband not have rights in case I was injured or wounded or hurt,&rdquo; Duckworth said.</p><p>They had a full wedding ceremony later that summer.</p><p>So off she went, incredibly focused on becoming a helicopter pilot and not at all thinking about the office on Capitol Hill she sits in now.</p><p>The Illinois Congresswoman sat down with WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian in Washington, D.C., to tell the story of 25-year-old Tammy Duckworth.</p><p>She reflects on what flight school was like, some of her favorite memories from that year and how it got her where she is today.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought I would be commanding an assault helicopter battalion,&rdquo; Duckworth said. &ldquo;I have, you know a little ache in my heart when I think of my peers who are now at that point and I&rsquo;m not. But this is a pretty good gig I have now, too.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p><p><object height="300" width="400"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2F&amp;set_id=72157633495888176&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2F&amp;set_id=72157633495888176&amp;jump_to=" height="300" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400"></embed></object></p></p> Tue, 14 May 2013 13:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-tammy-duckworth-25-107159