WBEZ | Chicago winter http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-winter Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Scrapping for metal in the bitter cold http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/scrapping-metal-bitter-cold-109591 <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/coldman2.PNG" style="height: 460px; width: 620px;" title="Ulysses Bonilla travels by bike to look for scrap metal even on the coldest winter days. (WBEZ/Linda Paul)" /></div><p>On the day I met Ulysses Bonilla the thermometer had dipped to negative three, snow blanketed the ground, and the wind was whipping in every direction.<br /><br />I&rsquo;d come to this Chicago underpass looking for a guy I know who stays here.<br /><br />Ulysses was here because this is where he takes his short smoke breaks. Mostly he smokes discarded cigarette butts he finds on the sidewalk, but on a splurge day he actually buys cigarettes.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s a break from a routine he follows daily&mdash;rain or sleet, intense heat or severe cold. With a nylon-topped kiddie trailer lassoed to a bike, he makes his way around the alleys of Chicago collecting recyclables, including house wire, steel pipes, copper, and aluminum.</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/coldman.PNG" style="height: 221px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Chicagoan Ulysses Bonilla (WBEZ/Linda Paul)" />On a typical day he starts at 6 a.m. During his 10-hour work day he&rsquo;ll traverse 20 to 25 miles, roughly from North Avenue to Irving Park Road and Sheridan Road west to Kedzie. On a really good day his collection efforts may net him $30 to $40 at a recycling center or &ldquo;junkyard&rdquo; as he calls them.</div><p>The frigid day of our chance encounter, he&rsquo;d been at it three hours and figured his haul was worth maybe $13 or $14.<br /><br />In our little conversation he tells me about his life, where he sleeps at night, and about a business he dreams of starting ... you can hear that hope in the audio, above.<br /><br />When he wakes up in the morning, Bonilla never knows what &ldquo;junk&rdquo; he&rsquo;ll find or how much money he&rsquo;ll have at the end of the day. His biggest fear, he says, is uncertainty.</p></p> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 15:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/scrapping-metal-bitter-cold-109591 With all this snow, are we still in a drought? http://www.wbez.org/news/all-snow-are-we-still-drought-105764 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F80963211" width="100%"></iframe></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/IllinoisFarmSnow.jpg" style="float: right; height: 232px; width: 350px;" title="A snowy farm in Illinois. (Flickr/mmarcotte51)" />Chicago is gearing up for yet another winter storm that&#39;s already dumped more than foot of snow from Texas to Oklahoma. While you may think of the snow as a big hassle, farmers across the state are cheering.</div><p>For the first time in seven months, Sugar Grove farmer Steve Ruh is getting so much rain and snow that his field&rsquo;s drainage system is helping put moisture back into the waterways.</p><p>&quot;They&rsquo;re replenishing the creeks, and they&rsquo;ve actually replenished the Illinois and the Mississippi River enough where we&rsquo;ve been able to actually ship grain out via the river, which we haven&rsquo;t been able to do the last few months, because the water had been so low,&quot; he explained.</p><p>Ruh farms in total about 3,200 acres, just west of Aurora in Sugar Grove and at another farm near Champaign.</p><p>&quot;We&rsquo;re almost ahead of schedule as far as moisture,&quot; he said. &quot;But, we had a lot to make up for.&quot;</p><p>The National Weather Service says the Chicago area is about 2.65 inches above normal so far this year. Rockford is 2.95 inches.</p><p>State climatologist Jim Angel said even though the USDA Drought Monitor still shows part of the northern and western areas of the state in drought conditions, that likely hasn&#39;t taken into account recent rain and snow.</p><p>&quot;January was a very wet month,&quot; he said, adding that gave the topsoil a good soaking. &quot;It&rsquo;s that area two or three feet below that needs to get moisture and we&rsquo;re pretty close to that.&quot;</p><p>Angel, ironically, was at a conference today at Purdue University speaking to farmers about the weather. This is the time of year he travels around visiting farms, and he said he many farmers are optimistic about this year.</p><p>Steve Ruh is, too.</p><p>&quot;We are replenishing and today&rsquo;s heavy wet snow is definitely a Godsend,&quot; he said.</p></p> Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/all-snow-are-we-still-drought-105764 The Daybook: Brady, tax breaks, and breathing http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/daybook-brady-tax-breaks-and-breathing <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="336" width="512" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-13/AP101212054130.jpg" alt="" title="" />&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Healthcare Bill Illegal? </strong></p><p class="MsoNormal">This just in over the AP wire.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>More to come.</p> <blockquote><p style="" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal judge in Virginia has declared</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> the Obama administration's health care reform law unconstitutional.</span> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson is the first judge to rule</span> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">against the law, which has been upheld by two others in Virginia</span> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">and Michigan.</span></p><p style="" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"><span style="">V</span>irginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed the lawsuit </span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">challenging the law's requirement that citizens buy health</span> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.</span></p><p style="" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">He argues the federal government doesn't have the constitutional</span> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">authority to impose the requirement.</span></p><p style="" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Other lawsuits are pending, including one filed by 20 states in</span> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">a Florida court. Virginia is not part of that lawsuit.</span></p><p style="" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">The U.S. Justice Department and opponents of the health care law</span> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">agree that the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final word.</span></p></blockquote> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>&nbsp;</strong><strong>More from the Senate</strong></p><p class="MsoNormal">I love Congress.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The Republicans say they won&rsquo;t do anything at all until the top two percent of the country gets an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. The Democrats have decided to draw a line in the sand on this issue, outraged that rich people would actually want to <em>keep </em>their money.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Meanwhile, a bill to help 9/11 first responders deal with health issues from inhaling ash and toxins is spiked by GOP Senators, who need their tax cuts NOW, first responders be damned.&nbsp; Mark Kirk joined the Republican fillibuster, after supporting the bill as a member of the House.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Debate on the tax issue is expected in the Senate today. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>C&rsquo;mon guys. Get it together.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Rahm Residency </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Hearings begin today in the residency challenge to Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel. His opponents say he gave up his Chicago residency when he moved to D.C.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Sam Hudzik will have details on the case later this afternoon.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Tom Brady is a maestro.</strong></p><p class="MsoNormal">Full disclosure: I&rsquo;m not a Bears fan.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">That said, I&rsquo;m probably one of the few people in town who thoroughly enjoyed yesterday&rsquo;s game.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Brady grew up in the suburbs of San Francisco, watching the likes of Joe Montana and Steve Young.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Yesterday, the California kid looked like a bigger, stronger version of Steve Young who grew up in Alaska.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The NFL is a not only a quarterback&rsquo;s league, it&rsquo;s a <i style="">smart</i> quarterback&rsquo;s league.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Brady&rsquo;s mental command of the game is why he&rsquo;s won multiple super bowl rings and MVP trophies.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Would anyone be surprised if he added more to those tallies this year? Despite the heartbreak for Bears fans, that was truly one of the most impressive performances I&rsquo;ve seen by an NFL player in years.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Can you think of any better efforts?</p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong>The Weather</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">It looks like Tom Brady was pretty much the only one not bothered by the weather.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Flights are still cancelled at O&rsquo;Hare, and there&rsquo;s a massive lake-effect snow causing cloud that&rsquo;s basically hanging out over Northwest Indiana.<span style="">&nbsp; Things are brutal there.&nbsp; Multi-car pileup bad.&nbsp; </span>We&rsquo;ve got two of our more unfortunate reporters keeping their eyes out on things this afternoon, and we&rsquo;ll keep you posted on-air and online.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Oh, and if you haven&rsquo;t seen it, this is why the NFL game in Minnesota got moved to Detroit. This video is a must watch. Hey, at least we don't live in Minnesota, eh??</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><object height="385" width="480"><param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/IxuxNLf87_Y?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" name="movie" /><param value="true" name="allowFullScreen" /><param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /><embed height="385" width="480" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/IxuxNLf87_Y?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></embed></object></p></p> Mon, 13 Dec 2010 17:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/daybook-brady-tax-breaks-and-breathing