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« Chicago News Roundup for Tuesday August 14, 2007
» Chicago News Roundup for Saturday and Sunday August 18-19, 2007

Chicago News Roundup for Thursday and Friday August 16-17, 2007

New tourism campaign changing due to unintended gang sign

As state tourism officials launched their new “Live Passionately” campaign Wednesday, a spokeswoman said they hoped a hand sign used in the marketing effort would “catch on and become a part of culture, especially here in Virginia.”

It turns out that the sign already has a following - among a gang called the Gangster Disciples that started on Chicago’s South Side and now has a presence in a number of U.S. cities.

LOL if only it had really caught on, what a day it would have been for GD.
[via Daily Press]

No-show alderman is ward’s inside joke

[via Chicago Sun-Times]

Pace bus route, Bears shuttle cut

Commuters who have used an express bus route between the Southwest Suburbs and Downtown Chicago will have to find a new way to get to work starting Friday, and football fans won’t be boarding Pace’s Bears Shuttle for the Aug. 25 game at Soldier Field, as service cuts ordered by the suburban bus agency start to kick in.

Route 835 South Suburban Express, which operates between the Worth, Chicago Ridge and Oak Lawn Metra stations and Downtown via the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate Highway 55), is the first of 23 poorly performing routes Pace axed because of a $50 million budget shortfall. Pace will start cutting the other 22 routes Sept. 29.

As well as many regular routes that people relied on to get to work.
[via Chicago Tribune]

Patches of light in dim outlook for housing

Even after a government report Thursday that said housing starts fell 6.1 percent in July from the previous month, to the slowest pace in more than 10 years, local developers said they are pressing ahead with projects, despite deepening concerns over difficulties in obtaining a mortgage.

“Traffic at sales centers remains good, we are signing purchase contracts, and people still are looking for a new home,” said Alan Lev, a partner in the Belgravia Group, which builds condos, apartments and townhouses in Chicago.

[via Chicago Tribune]

BP to reconsider permit on refinery

Responding to a groundswell of protests from politicians and the public, BP and Indiana regulators agreed Wednesday to reconsider a permit that allows the Midwest’s largest oil refinery to significantly increase the amount of toxic waste dumped into Lake Michigan.
“There will be a day when water is more important than gasoline,” said David Ullrich, a former top EPA official who directs the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, an advocacy group formed by the region’s mayors. “Even if everything is legal here, the question is whether it’s the right thing to do.”

[via Chicago Tribune]

W. Chicago gets sales tax break

Gov. Rod Blagojevich this week signed a bill into law that will exempt West Chicago from paying a quarter-cent sales tax to the DuPage Water Commission and save the city more than $500,000 a year.

West Chicago has long been one of DuPage County’s few communities that do not buy Lake Michigan water, choosing instead to treat well water. However, the city’s businesses have remained subject to a quarter-cent sales tax that finances the Lake Michigan water agency, which distributes lake water to 25 DuPage towns and two private utilities.

Lawmakers approved a bill this year to make West Chicago an “excluded unit” from the water commission. This would allow West Chicago to join other towns that are at least partly inside DuPage’s boundaries but do not pay that sales tax, either because they buy Lake Michigan water from other sources or because they have other safe water sources. Those communities are Schaumburg, Burr Ridge, Hanover Park, Streamwood, Bolingbrook, Aurora and Bartlett.

[via Chicago Tribune]

Downtown restaurants bringing new options to suburbs

When the company that owns Yorktown Center in Lombard decided to modernize the 40-year-old mall, improving dining options was a high priority.

Bob Long, president of Long/Pehrson Associations, and a group of staff traveled around Chicago and its suburbs visiting 200 restaurants, examining their menus and eating out to test for consistency. Eventually 14 new restaurants were selected, many of them with established locations in the city including Adobo Grill, Ra Sushi, Emelios Tapas and D.O.C. Wine Bar.

[via Chicago Suburban News]

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« Chicago News Roundup for Tuesday August 14, 2007
» Chicago News Roundup for Saturday and Sunday August 18-19, 2007