WBEZ | november2012 http://www.wbez.org/tags/november2012 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Investigation timeline: Do urban archaeologists ever take a look inside construction sites? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/investigation-timeline-do-urban-archaeologists-ever-take-look-inside <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS6793_8185623554_6cbbbafb31_b-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="750" src="http://embed.verite.co/timeline/?source=0An_OJm0YASWadE5zdE9SWFlXeTNoczlxYkFqODVxYVE&amp;font=PTSerif-PTSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;width=620&amp;height=750" width="620"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/about-curious-city-98756">Curious City</a>&nbsp;is a news-gathering experiment designed to satisfy the public&#39;s curiosity.&nbsp;People&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">submit questions</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">vote&nbsp;</a>for their favorites, and WBEZ reports out the winning questions in real time, on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/curiouscityproject">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#!/WBEZCuriousCity">Twitter&nbsp;</a>and the timeline above. &nbsp;</p><p>This round&#39;s winner is Linda Rudy from Chicago&#39;s Old Town neighborhood. Her question is:&nbsp;&quot;Do urban archaeologists ever take a look when streets are torn up for pipes, repairs, foundations?&quot; WBEZ midday producer Susie An will be diggin&#39; deep with this story, perhaps literally.&nbsp;</p><p>Got any leads? Comment below!</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 16:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/investigation-timeline-do-urban-archaeologists-ever-take-look-inside Daley’s nephew charged with involuntary manslaughter http://www.wbez.org/news/daley%E2%80%99s-nephew-charged-involuntary-manslaughter-104168 <p><p>A grand jury indicted Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s nephew Monday for his alleged role in the 2004 death of David Koschman. The 21-year-old victim was injured in a fight outside a bar on Rush Street and died in the hospital 11 days later.</p><p>Richard J. Vanecko, who is the the son of former Mayor Daley&rsquo;s sister, was charged with involuntary manslaughter Monday after a 6-month investigation. He allegedly punched Koschman in the face and departed the scene in a cab. The investigation, conducted by Cook County special prosecutor Dan Webb, also includes an inquiry into how the case was initially&nbsp;handled and why no charges were filed.</p><p>Nanci Koschman, David Koschman&rsquo;s mother, said the police detective she spoke to in 2004 blamed the incident on her son.</p><p>&ldquo;When that detective came in and said it&rsquo;s all your son&rsquo;s fault, it&rsquo;s all his responsibility, that&rsquo;s like a knife through a mother&rsquo;s heart,&rdquo; she said, tearing up repeatedly in a press conference Monday. &ldquo;He told me I&rsquo;d be impressed by the names of the people that were involved with the case, and that if I tried to sue, they would keep me tied up in court for years.&rdquo;</p><p>Koschman said when she realized there would be no investigation, she threw up her hands.</p><p>&ldquo;My dad used to have a saying to my sister and me, you can&rsquo;t fight City Hall. I never really thought that I was gonna go anywhere,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>But in April of this year, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin appointed Webb to the case.</p><p>&ldquo;Now at least I see that with a lot of good people behind you, good things can happen,&rdquo; said Koschman. She was accompanied by Locke Bowman, legal director of the Solange and Roderick Macarthur Justice Center at Northwestern Law School, and two attorneys from the People&rsquo;s Law Office.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the reasons Mr. Bowman and myself got involved in this case was because of the, to put it kindly, the irregularities in this investigation over an eight-year period,&rdquo; said Flint Taylor, partner at the People&rsquo;s Law Office.</p><p>&ldquo;The failures to properly investigate and to indict eight years ago speak volumes about the inadequacies of that investigation.&rdquo;</p><p>Mr. Vanecko&rsquo;s arraignment is set for December 10.</p></p> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 17:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/daley%E2%80%99s-nephew-charged-involuntary-manslaughter-104168 The great maple leaf mystery http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-12/great-maple-leaf-mystery-104161 <p><p>As WBEZ special investigations editor, Cate Cahan has doggedly pursued some of Illinois&#39; most <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/reporters-finally-get-look-inside-illinois-prisons-104129">intractable issues</a>. But earlier this week Cahan ran up against a real head-scratcher that hit close to home. Literally &ndash; the case in question began under a tree in her backyard.</p><p>And so Cahan arrived at the office on Monday with what she thought might be a telling piece of evidence: a seemingly once-beautiful maple leaf covered in pitch-black spots the size of quarters.</p><p>&ldquo;It looks like it got burned,&rdquo; said one WBEZ reporter. &ldquo;It looks sick,&rdquo; said another.</p><p>It was a disturbing sight, indeed.</p><p>Between <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/low-water-lake-michigan-could-cause-problems-shipping-industry-104121" target="_blank">low water levels</a>, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/what-does-drought-do-ranch-full-grass-fed-cattle-101629" target="_blank">extreme drought</a>, and the fact that it reached nearly 70 degrees on December 3, it wasn&rsquo;t a stretch to imagine that some environmental funny business might be behind the splotchy-leaf dragnet of 2012. Plus, Cahan recently experienced the loss of most of her garden to what she described as an oozing, yellow mold. So there was reason to be worried.</p><p>It turns out the coal-colored stain on our city&rsquo;s autumnal gem is a) harmless, and b) not all that unusual.</p><p>The black spots on maple leaves, aptly named tar spots, are evidence of the fungus known as&nbsp;<em>rhytisma.</em></p><p>&ldquo;It looks awful, and it makes people concerned,&rdquo; said Sharon Yiesla, plant clinic assistant at the <a href="http://www.mortonarb.org/" target="_blank">Morton Arboretum</a>. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s more of a cosmetic problem than a health problem. It makes the leaves look ugly.&rdquo;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6778_007-scr.JPG" style="height: 150px; width: 200px; float: right;" title="Maple leaf with tar spots (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" /></p><p>She did say tar spots have been showing up more frequently in the region in the last few years, but did not recommend any treatment for the fungus. The best thing to do is thoroughly rake up and dispose of the afflicted leaves, Yiesla said. Otherwise, the fungal spores that stick around all winter may float up onto the fresh leaves come spring.</p><p>The emerald ash borer, on the other hand, &ldquo;that&rsquo;s a more serious problem,&rdquo; Yiesla said. Ash borers have devastated the ash population in Michigan, and they&rsquo;ve been digging away at Illinois ashes since 2006. The larvae of the ash borer get under the bark of ash trees and gnaw away at it, slowly cutting off ash trees from their water supply at the roots. In just two or three years, your ash can be grass.</p><p>Yiesla said ash borers can be stopped if you catch them early &ndash; but catching them isn&rsquo;t easy. They make a small hole the shape of a capital D in the trees bark, but other than that, they&rsquo;re invisible. A weak-looking ash, loss of leaves, or a sudden influx of hungry woodpeckers (who dig under the bark to eat the borers) can all be telltale signs.</p><p>Salt damage from ice melters used on roads and sidewalks is another concern this season.</p><p>&ldquo;As cars are going by, you&rsquo;ll get it spraying up onto the needles of an evergreen, and it can do physical damage to the needles,&rdquo; Yiesla explained. &ldquo;But then it also gets into the soil, and can do some harm at the root level.&rdquo;</p><p>The salt in the ground makes it harder for trees to absorb water.</p><p>Water absorption is particularly pressing given this summer&rsquo;s drought, which will likely affect next year&rsquo;s plant growth.</p><p>&ldquo;We might see reduced growth, reduced flowering, and weaker plants,&rdquo; Yiesla said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not getting much additional rain this fall, and who knows what snow will come this winter.&rdquo;</p><p>In other words, maple leaves with black spots are the least of her worries.</p></p> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 12:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-12/great-maple-leaf-mystery-104161 Bigger not necessarily better for Big Bird’s ancestors http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-12/bigger-not-necessarily-better-big-bird%E2%80%99s-ancestors-104149 <p><p>For most of us, Big Bird is about as big as it gets when it comes to our feathered friends.</p><p>But for Peter Makovicky of the Field Museum, Big Bird is small stuff.</p><p>Makovicky is the Curator of Dinosaurs and Chair of the Department of Geology at Chicago&#39;s <a href="http://fieldmuseum.org/" target="_blank">Field Museum of Natural History</a>. He&rsquo;s spent the last few years researching giant bird-like dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period, called theropods. You might know them from Jurassic Park or elementary school coloring books. T-Rex and the infamous velociraptor are both theropods. And in case you missed the memo, scientists now believe <a href="http://phys.org/news/2012-10-canadian-fossils-feathered-dinosaurs-north.html" target="_blank">theropods had feathers</a>. (<a href="http://www.jurassicparkiv.org/" target="_blank">Jurassic Park IV</a>, anyone?)</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6773_Khan-scr.jpg" style="height: 234px; width: 200px; float: left;" title="Skeleton of the small oviraptor Khan from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. The short, deep skull bears a parrot like beak. (Field Museum)" />A couple years ago Makovicky and Lindsay Zanno of North Carolina State University did a study showing that <a href="http://phys.org/news/2010-12-meat-eating-dinosaurs-carnivorous.html" target="_blank">many theropods are actually vegetarians</a>. So much for the <a href="http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lh4x81XKTF1qaekpeo1_500.jpg" target="_blank">cruel velociraptor stereotype</a>.</p><p>The pair&rsquo;s latest research focuses on the evolutionary patterns of those fearsome herbivores.</p><p>&ldquo;The research that [we] did was to use dinosaurs to investigate the bigger evolutionary question of how animals become herbivorous,&rdquo; said Makovicky. Scientists had hypothesized that as species&rsquo; evolved to become plant-eaters, their body mass would also grow.</p><p>Big vegetarians not ringing a bell? Step away from <a href="http://www.peta2.com/blog/americas-next-top-vegetarian-model/" target="_blank">America&rsquo;s next top vegetarian model</a> and instead imagine an elephant, or a brachiosaurus, or a snuffaluffagus (not totally real, but <a href="http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/File:BirdandSnuffy.jpg#file" target="_blank">still a relevant example</a>). The broad theory about evolutionary mass and herbivory says that the bigger some herbivores get, the easier it is to take in all those leafy greens.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a lot harder to digest plants than meat,&rdquo; Makovicky explained. &ldquo;You have to intake the plants, and they have to sit in your gut for a long time and ferment for you to get as many calories out of them as from meat. For them to sit in a gut for a longer time, you essentially get a longer and larger gastrointestinal tract.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-live/photos/000/005/cache/giraffe_549_600x450.jpg" target="_blank">Precisely</a>.</p><p>But Makovicky&rsquo;s and Zanno&rsquo;s study, published Wednesday in the <a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1751/20122526.abstract" target="_blank"><em>Proceedings of the Royal Society B</em></a>, shows the vegetarians in the bunch did not consistently evolve to get bigger. Or, as the article title states, there is &ldquo;No evidence for directional evolution of body mass in herbivorous theropod dinosaurs.&rdquo;&nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6775_PeteInField-scr.jpg" style="height: 313px; width: 280px; float: right;" title="Peter Makovicky digging for dinosaur fossils. (Field Museum)" /></p><p>To find out that such evidence didn&rsquo;t exist, Makovicky and Zanno broke down the evolutionary trees of three different theropods who shifted to plant-based diets during the same time span, about 125 million to 65 million years ago. Evolutionary trees, or phlogenetic trees, are graphs that show the relationships scientists infer between evolving species over a period of time.</p><p>When Makovicky and Zanno analyzed the trees of their chosen theropods, they found that some of the bird-like giants got bigger, others smaller over different periods.</p><p><strong>Chickens of the Cretaceous</strong></p><p>The theropods Makovicky and Zanno studied were no slouches in the looks department. Makovicky called them &ldquo;oddballs.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t look anything like your traditional view of a dinosaur,&rdquo; he said. The egg-thieves (oviraptorosaurs) are often depicted sitting on nests. They had a beak with a sliding jaw joint and a parrot-like head, sometimes with a bulge on top.</p><p>The scythe-lizards (therizinosaurs) were toothless, with a small head atop a long neck and squat body. Unlike the massive flamingos you might be picturing, though, they had thick limbs. And the ostrich-mimics (ornithomimosaurs) have a name that speaks for itself. Think of them as the giant chickens of the Cretaceous age.</p><p>All of these lizardly curios had feathers and are thought to be close relatives of current-day birds, and they lived in China, Mongolia, and what is now western North America.</p><p>Makovicky and Zanno conducted three tests based on the three theropod species, which they selected because all became herbivores during the Cretaceous period.</p><p>The first test showed that overall, the dinos in question got bigger over time. That was was scientists expected, a tendency that would be called &ldquo;directional evolution of body mass.&rdquo;</p><p>But when Zanno and Makovicky did a second test in which they broke down the evolutionary trees of each species and studied the branches of the trees, some of the branches got bigger while others got smaller at different times. That made it seem far less likely that any overall growth was consistently linked to the transition to herbivory.</p><p><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2310676873_e8168d5610%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 373px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="A rendering of a therizinosaur from the early Cretaceous (Flickr/Cryptonaut)" />In their third test, they focused on two theropod lineages that occurred over the same period and in a similar location. That allowed the researchers to observe that the changes in size over time track each other, meaning that when one of the species got smaller, so did the other. The logical conclusion from this observation was that some environmental factor experienced by both species was more important than diet in determining the evolutionary direction of their sizes.</p><p><strong>Bigger is not always better. But why?</strong></p><p>What would make a recent convert to vegetarianism benefit from shrinking?</p><p>Makovicky and Zanno&rsquo;s research can&rsquo;t say for sure. Competition with other dinosaurs could be a factor. For herbivores living around a slew of other herbivore species, there could be advantages to focusing on a specialized dietary niche that larger feathered friends couldn&rsquo;t access. Makovicky also said smaller animals tend to reach maturity and reproduce at earlier ages. When the creatures ended up in environments with less abundant resources, evolving to smaller sizes could have been a way to stabilize the population.</p><p>The simultaneous changes in multiple species from one environment could also result from the nature of the geologic record.</p><p>&ldquo;You might have [geologic] environments that preferentially preserve small things,&rdquo; said Makovicky. The ups and downs in size could reflect shifts in what was mostly likely to be preserved, rather than in the actual sizes of the creatures.</p><p>The layman&rsquo;s take-away from Makovicky and Zanno&rsquo;s research is probably still the Big Bird bottom line: these theropods were huge, and they tended to get ginormous.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s definitely capacity to grow very large as a herbivore, almost as large as a T-Rex,&rdquo; said Makovicky. &rdquo;In some of these environments these animals would have been bigger than any of the carnivores around. But the fact that they are herbivorous alone doesn&rsquo;t explain their body size evolution.&rdquo;</p><p>Some of the biggest specimens were found right at the end of the Cretaceous, which was the era of big dinosaurs in general: &ldquo;Everything got bigger,&rdquo; Makovicky said.</p><p>The environment for everyone - right up until that pesky extinction problem made the news - seems to have turned body mass into an asset. The reason for that grand trend is one of the <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/09/dinosaurs-not-that-big-scientists" target="_blank">big questions dino experts are still struggling to answer</a>.<br />&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 18:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-12/bigger-not-necessarily-better-big-bird%E2%80%99s-ancestors-104149 Low water in Lake Michigan could cause problems for the shipping industry http://www.wbez.org/news/low-water-lake-michigan-could-cause-problems-shipping-industry-104121 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS3818_The Cuyahoga River Today7.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Local ports could run into problems if water levels in Lake Michigan keep going down. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake is 28 inches below the long term average &ndash; and still falling.</p><p>For each inch the lake decreases, cargo ships are forced to lighten their loads. The tonnage left behind ranges between 50 and 300 tons per inch, depending on the type of freight.</p><p>&ldquo;Hopefully we&rsquo;ll see them rise before they go down much lower. Each drop is a concern to everyone in the industry,&rdquo; said Tony Ianello, Executive Director of the Illinois Port District. He said lake levels are always fluctuating, but even normal fluctuations affect shipping costs. Ianello said suppliers pay in extra trips to amount to the same total shipping numbers; down the chain, the price tag could hit consumers. Most shipping in and out of Chicago&#39;s ports is for commodities like grains, many of which are directly linked to the cost of food.</p><p>Precipitation in the Michigan-Huron region in November was nearly 70 percent below the monthly average, and the Army Corps projects Lake Michigan could fall to record lows in the coming months.</p><p>&ldquo;Long term loss of water levels is no good for coastal habitats, but it&rsquo;s also no good for people who like to recreate, swim, and use our Great Lakes shorelines,&rdquo; said Joel Brammeier, President of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. But Brammeier said no one knows for sure whether the lakes are undergoing a long term loss, or a fluctuation.</p><p>A <a href="http://cdm15025.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p267501ccp2/id/3405/rec/8" target="_blank">2009 study</a> of the loss of water in the Great Lakes links the long term decline to human manipulation of the St. Clair River, and to changes in climatic factors including temperature and precipitation. The St. Clair River, which connects Lake Huron with Lake St. Clair near Detroit, has been <a href="http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pubs/fulltext/1985/19850006.pdf" target="_blank">dredged periodically since the mid-1800s</a>; some researchers say this accounts for over a foot of permanent loss in Lakes Michigan and Huron.</p><p>The two lakes hit their record low in 1964, and peaked again in 1986. Even following 2012&rsquo;s scorching summer, the lake hasn&rsquo;t gone below1964 levels. But the Army Corps projects that by December 30, the water will go down another three inches.</p><p>Meanwhile, the Mississippi River could be facing a complete shutdown of cargo shipping through the passage between St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois. Last week the Army Corps&rsquo; Missouri River Basin division began limiting the flow of water through a dam in South Dakota in order to preserve water in that northern region; the Missouri is a key tributary to the Mississippi at St. Louis. Because water levels were already low, the reduced input means 180 miles of the Mississippi could become impassable for barges by mid-December. Immediate solutions to the impending crisis for the river shipping industry are not clear.</p><p>The short-term solution for Lake Michigan is precipitation. If the region has another warm, dry winter, the great lake could keep disappearing before our eyes.</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 15:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/low-water-lake-michigan-could-cause-problems-shipping-industry-104121 Shallow water changes the scene for urban fishermen http://www.wbez.org/news/shallow-water-changes-scene-urban-fishermen-104094 <p><p>As the Great Lakes experience near-record low water levels, fishermen in the Chicago area are running into problems.</p><p>The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports November water levels in Lake Michigan were 28 inches lower than the long-term average.</p><p>&ldquo;You know the place called the horseshoe?&rdquo; said Igor Danilishen, who has fished at Chicago&rsquo;s Montrose Harbor for decades. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a great big island in the middle of this horseshoe. We used to fish there. We don&rsquo;t fish there anymore. Because it&rsquo;s too shallow, yeah. It&rsquo;s ducks and geese there instead of fish.&rdquo;</p><p>The low water also affects industrial fisheries and cargo shipping.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG-20121118-00117.jpg" style="width: 280px; float: right;" title="Low water levels in Lake Michigan mean the 'horseshoe' at Montrose Harbor is too dry for fishing. (Igor Danilishen)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">The Army Corps says the lake region received about 13 percent less rain than usual this year.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The agency projects lake levels could hit record lows in the coming months.</div><p>&ldquo;It not only affects the fishing in a negative way, it&rsquo;s the whole ecological system,&rdquo; said fisherman Steve Ciszewski, who grew up in Chicago and comes in from the southwest suburbs to fish. &ldquo;Boy, we could use the water.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/shallow-water-changes-scene-urban-fishermen-104094 Nannies and housecleaners speak up about abuse http://www.wbez.org/news/nannies-and-housecleaners-speak-about-abuse-104092 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/5622030128_eb1192c8de.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new national report suggests many household workers are subject to low wages and dangerous working conditions. <a href="http://www.domesticworkers.org/pdfs/HomeEconomicsEnglish.pdf/" target="_blank">The study</a>, co-sponsored by the Center for Urban and Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, surveyed more than 2,000 nannies, caregivers and housecleaners in 14 metropolitan areas. Authors say it is the first national statistical report on home workers.</p><p>The study found that nearly a quarter of domestic workers are paid less than their state&rsquo;s minimum wage, and 65 percent of those surveyed lack health insurance. Only 4 percent reported being provided with health insurance by their employers. The report also revealed a high likelihood of injury and exposure to chemicals on the job. And 36 percent of live-in workers and 19 percent of all workers said they&rsquo;d been threatened, insulted, or verbally abused by an employer.</p><p>The vast majority of domestic workers are women.</p><p>&ldquo;Some of them are working for $1.42 an hour and they&rsquo;re working 24-hour days,&quot; said Lisa Thomas, who helped administer related surveys in Chicago. &quot;I didn&rsquo;t realize that this was going on.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Thomas, who has worked in home care for 21 years, said she had been verbally harassed on the job and worked without benefits for many years. But, she said,&nbsp;she was surprised and horrified to hear about female live-in workers who said they were often afraid to complain about conditions. Thomas said many thought they might lose their jobs or be deported.</p><p>&ldquo;A majority of them were living in fear,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Thomas is working with the Chicago Coalition of Household Workers (CCHW) to advocate for a domestic workers bill of rights similar to one passed in New York in 2010. The coalition is based at the Latino Union of Chicago, an organization that advocates for the rights of day laborers.</p><p>&ldquo;We participated in the survey to get a better sense of the problems going on and have it verified,&rdquo; said Elisa Ringholm of the Latino Union. Over the last year members of the coalition traveled to California to work with organizers there on a bill of rights. California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed that bill in September.</p><p>&ldquo;Domestic workers are not considered workers,&rdquo; said Ringholm. Most domestic workers do not have a legal right to a minimum wage, overtime, or workers compensation. &ldquo;Those are the kind of things that we want to change in Illinois.&rdquo;</p><p>State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-8th) of Chicago says he plans to introduce the bill in January. In 2011 the Illinois Senate voted down a <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=68&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97" target="_blank">domestic workers rights bill</a> sponsored by Silverstein; the new bill will include the input of the Chicago coalition.</p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 17:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/nannies-and-housecleaners-speak-about-abuse-104092 What's one thing you can get only in Chicago? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/whats-one-thing-you-can-get-only-chicago-104083 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rainbow cone heather quintal.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/investigation-timeline-whats-one-thing-you-can-get-only-chicago-103303">Brenda Guzman asked Curious City</a> to find at least one &quot;thing&quot; you can get in Chicago that you cannot get anywhere else. She says she&#39;s open to interpretation: It can be an object, a food, an experience, a statistic, etc. What do you think? We&#39;re over-achievers and are trying to find not just one thing, but as many as we can. Add your insight via the form below and there&#39;s a chance we&#39;ll include your submission in a song! &nbsp;</p><p>But! Before you start adding Garrett&#39;s popcorn and the like, we challenge you to do a little bit of homework. Ask yourself:&nbsp;</p><ul><li>Can the thing I&#39;m suggesting be experienced or procured outside of Chicago? In the case of Garrett&#39;s, they actually have locations outside Chicago, plus you can ship their popcorn virtually anywhere. In the case of the Chicago Cubs or White Sox, they play games all over the country, so that wouldn&#39;t count, either. Don&#39;t be afraid to get specific. What <em>would </em>count is something along the lines of eating a Chicago-style hot dog at the United Center while watching the Chicago Bulls.</li><li>Does this thing only exist within the Chicago city limits? We hate to elbow out the suburbs and surround areas, but we gotta draw a line somewhere. For example, the Lake Michigan lakefront wouldn&#39;t count because Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan have that, too.&nbsp;</li><li>Has this suggestion been made already? If so, don&#39;t post it. So far we received and verified (to the extent that we can verify) the following suggestions via the WBEZ Facebook page:&nbsp;</li></ul><ol><li>Nonsensical rivalry between the Cubs and Sox. They don&#39;t even play in the same league!</li><li>Jibaritos</li><li>Polish sausage at <a href="http://www.jimsoriginal.com/jimsoriginal/Locations.html">Jim&#39;s</a></li><li>Pizza pot pie, a la Chicago Pizza &amp; Oven Grinder Co.</li><li>A President of the U.S. who calls Hyde Park his home</li><li>Nighthawks and American Gothic</li><li>Sather&#39;s cinnamon rolls</li><li>Buckinham Fountain</li><li>Anish Kapoor&#39;s Cloud Gate sculpture</li><li>A 75-year-long parking meter contract</li><li>Rainbow Cones</li><li>Kartemquin</li><li><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/chicago-has-most-gang-mem_n_1236341.html">The most gang members of any city </a></li><li>The beginning of Route 66</li><li>The nation&rsquo;s worst traffic congestion</li><li>Harpo Studios</li></ol><p>Have at it!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="640" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/embeddedform?formkey=dERCVS1QdV9uUEhrcVJ4SmQ5NTk1RHc6MQ" width="580">Loading...</iframe></p><p><script type="text/javascript" src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0Ai7E2pZ6aCZtdERCVS1QdV9uUEhrcVJ4SmQ5NTk1RHc&transpose=0&headers=1&range=A%3AB&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"vAxes":[{"title":"Left vertical axis title","useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":"pretty","viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":"pretty","viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"titleTextStyle":{"fontSize":16},"title":"Chart title","booleanRole":"certainty","sortColumn":0,"animation":{"duration":500},"page":"enable","sortAscending":false,"pageSize":10,"annotations":{"domain":{"style":"line"}},"hAxis":{"title":"Horizontal axis title","useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":"pretty","viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},"width":450,"height":600},"state":{},"view":{"columns":[0,{"label":"Your suggestion","properties":{"role":"annotation"},"sourceColumn":1}]},"chartType":"Table","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 13:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/whats-one-thing-you-can-get-only-chicago-104083 Investigation timeline: What role does the city play in resettling refugees? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/investigation-timeline-what-role-does-city-play-resettling-refugees-104050 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rogers park photo erik allix rogers.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="750" src="http://embed.verite.co/timeline/?source=0An_OJm0YASWadHQwSFRYZHloWC1wRGJtQUtNMTN5bEE&amp;font=PTSerif-PTSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;hash_bookmark=true&amp;width=640&amp;height=750" width="640"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/about-curious-city-98756">Curious City</a>&nbsp;is a news-gathering experiment designed to satisfy the public&#39;s curiosity.&nbsp;People&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">submit questions</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">vote&nbsp;</a>for their favorites, and WBEZ reports out the winning questions in real time, on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/curiouscityproject">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#!/WBEZCuriousCity">Twitter&nbsp;</a>and the timeline above. &nbsp;</p><p>This round&#39;s winner is Lowell Wyse from Chicago&#39;s Rogers Park neighborhood. His question is:&nbsp;&quot;Does city government actively participate in resettling international refugees, and does it designate certain neighborhoods for this purpose?&quot; WBEZ North Side Bureau reporter Odette Yousef covers a lot of immigrant issues and knows the many communities of Rogers Park well. She&#39;ll be taking on this story in the coming weeks. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Got a lead to share? Comment below!&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 15:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/investigation-timeline-what-role-does-city-play-resettling-refugees-104050 Christian activist feuds with suburban park district over a nativity scene http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/christian-activist-feuds-suburban-park-district-over-nativity-scene-104049 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/2105928599_347c483aff.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A controversy over a holiday display in a suburb west of Chicago could have a simple resolution: a little paperwork.</p><p>In early November, Christian activist Jim Finnegan offered to donate a large nativity to the Arlington Heights Park District. The town&rsquo;s annual holiday display includes a Christmas tree and dreidels, but Finnegan was not satisfied.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like the difference between Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas,&rdquo; said Finnegan, who lives in Barrington and used to be a resident of Arlington Heights. &ldquo;We stand up for what the true meaning of Christmas is, and that&rsquo;s the birth of Christ.&rdquo;</p><p>In addition to being the only current member of the Illinois Nativity Scene Committee in the western suburbs, Finnegan is a board member at the Illinois Family Institute and a co-founder of a group that advocates against abortion rights in Ireland.</p><p>When the park district said they didn&rsquo;t want Finnegan&rsquo;s nativity, he called up his lawyer, Tom Brejcha of the Thomas More Society. The <a href="https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/about/" target="_blank">Thomas More Society</a> is a Chicago-based law firm that represents people who oppose same-sex marriage and abortion.</p><p>Finnegan and Brejcha are both connected to a group in Springfield that advocated successfully to place a large nativity scene on the state capitol five years ago. In the 1980s, Finnegan was involved in a battle over the nativity scene in Chicago&rsquo;s Daley Plaza that resulted in <a href="http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=19882197700FSupp1497_11966.xml&amp;docbase=CSLWAR2-1986-2006" target="_blank">a lawsuit</a>.&nbsp;That nativity scene went up this month without a hitch. Finnegan said the various nativity scenes he has advocated for were paid for by an anonymous donor.</p><p>The pair sent a letter Nov. 20 indicating that Finnegan&rsquo;s first-amendment rights were being violated.</p><p>But Timothy Riordan, the attorney for the Arlington Heights Park District, said Finnegan had simply never filled out an application for a permit. Instead, he asked the district to accept a donation of a nativity they didn&rsquo;t want.</p><p>&ldquo;In our view there&rsquo;s no real controversy,&rdquo; Riordan said.</p><p>He sent Finnegan&rsquo;s lawyer an application for a park use permit on Nov. 26.</p><p>&ldquo;He wanted to donate the nativity scene to the park district,&quot; Riordan said. &quot;The park district indicated it wasn&rsquo;t interested in accepting that donation. The park always had a holiday display and just didn&rsquo;t think it was consistent with the display they&rsquo;d had in the past. If you want to use a park for any purpose, there&rsquo;s a form.&rdquo;</p><p>Finnegan said Tuesday that he plans to apply for a permit to place the nativity in a different part of the same park.</p><p>&ldquo;I trust that the story will have a happy ending,&rdquo; Brejcha said. &ldquo;I congratulate Arlington Heights on having a beautiful park display. It&rsquo;s a positive step that they may be hospitable to the nativity scene after all.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 15:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/christian-activist-feuds-suburban-park-district-over-nativity-scene-104049