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Chicago News Roundup for January 2008

A Latin American plaza springs up in Chicago

The Old Town School of Folk Music bustles daily with students carting instruments to classes and echoes of percussive flamenco stepping or drum circles piecing out African beats. But at midweek, the lobby of the main concert hall becomes a Latin American plaza, the traditional center of folk life and community commonplace.

If you missed its winter kickoff, the 12th season of La Pena continues every Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. through March 12, with free, ticketed shows consisting of two sets every night for a full-bodied showcase of music and dance spanning the trans-continental diversity of Latino culture.

[via Chicago Tribune]

Roast pig provides Filipinos in Chicago with a taste of home

The temperatures were the coldest in a year and the windchill factor was 20 degrees below zero, but Amante Enad stood in the back yard of his Wheeling home roasting pigs — seven of them — over a charcoal fire.

“It doesn’t matter how cold it is,” Enad said last week as he held his hands over a sizzling 50-pounder to avoid frostbite. “I will do it.”

[via Chicago Tribune]

Chicago bid leads Web site’s rankings

Around The Rings, a Web site devoted to Olympic coverage, gave Chicago a slim lead in its first rankings of the seven bids for the 2016 Olympics. Evaluating the bids in all categories, including ambience, accommodation, legacy, transport and cost, ATR gave Chicago 79 of a maximum 110 points, with Rio de Janeiro (77), Madrid (77) and Tokyo (74) close behind. Chicago scored highest, with 8 of 10 possible points, on accommodation, ambience and transport. The International Olympic Committee will choose finalists in June and the host city Oct. 2, 2009.

*Olympic sprint champion Justin Gatlin has appealed his four-year doping suspension in an attempt to return to the track for the Beijing Games in August.

[via Chicago Tribune]

Rolta India buys Chicago-based IT consulting firm for 45 mln usd

MUMBAI (Thomson Financial) - Rolta India Ltd, the software services company, said it has acquired Chicago-based IT consulting firm Broech Corp for about 45 mln usd and added that it expects the transaction to be accretive to shareholder value this fiscal year.

Broech, which is doing business as TUSC, will continue to be led by its three founders — Rich Niemiec, Joe Trezzo and Brad Brown.

It was inevitable. After years of outsourcing IT and software to India companies over their have grown to the point where they can by American companies.
[via Forbes]

Suburbs distrustful of massage businesses

At a time when massage-therapy franchises are knocking on suburban doors, Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said he no longer wants to take any chances with the booming profession.

Troubled by two recent incidents of alleged illicit activity, Johnson plans Tuesday to ask the Village Board to ban establishments that offer only massages, limiting the treatments to such locations as a hotel, spa or health club.

Because illicit activity never happens in hotels? Sounds pretty stupid to me.
[via Chicago Tribune]

Lawmakers pass mass-transit bill 3 days before drastic cuts, fare increases

SPRINGFIELDAfter nearly a year of anxiety for close to a million riders, lawmakers on Thursday approved tax increases to stop looming service cuts and most fare hikes for Chicago’s ailing mass transit system while providing free bus and train rides to senior citizens.

Transit leaders waved off Sunday’s so-called doomsday even as they noted it will be up to two months before they figure out how to provide free rides on the CTA, Metra and Pace for people 65 and older.The measure solves public transit funding for now, with a price tag of $530 million. On April 1, the sales tax will increase by a quarter-cent per dollar in Cook County and twice that in the suburbs. And Chicagoans are expected to face higher taxes on home sales.

The sales tax in Chicago is now even more insanely high. Thank the Internet for mostly tax-free shopping. And mostly better prices anyways. If only I could get tax-free groceries delivered from Indiana.
[via Chicago Tribune]

Chicago gets a Restaurant Week, maybe two

Gee, thanks! After I whined last May that Chicago needs a Restaurant Week — the kind of attractively priced meal promos already in place in New York, Boston, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. — the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau has announced that, next month, we’re getting one.

And, thanks to a hardy band of independents, we’re getting another one.

[via Chicago Tribune]

Chicago estimates Games will generate $2.5 billion in revenue

This story contains corrected material, published Jan. 17, 2008.

Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid team expects to generate $2.5 billion in domestic revenue to help operate the Games, about $1 billion more than some of its top rivals.

[via Chicago Tribune]

Chicago Olympics to cost city an estimated $900 million

“When the Games come to the United States, you see a spike in television revenue, sponsorships, advertising and ticket sales,” said Patrick Ryan, chairman and chief executive of the bid team.

Chicago’s bid team unveiled some of their financial projections for the first time Tuesday, when the bid team made public the in-depth application document Chicago filed recently with the International Olympic Committee.

[via Chicago Tribune]

Pedestrian Killed In Northwest Side Crash

CHICAGO — A car struck a pole, then struck a pedestrian in the Albany Park neighborhood Tuesday morning on the Northwest Side, police said.

A motorist and a pedestrian were seriously injured when a car struck a light pole in the Albany Park neighborhood Tuesday morning on the Northwest Side.


Bollingbrook man charged with W. Loop murder

A 23-year-old Bolingbrook man was due in bond court Friday after being charged with the murder of a 28-year-old man near a West Loop nightclub in August.

Bryant Buckhanan of the 1400 block of Schoenherr Ave. in the southwest suburb was charged with murder Thursday evening after being arrested without incident Wednesday at 200 N. Pulaski Rd. in Chicago, according to Harrison Area police Sgt. Robert Cesario.

[via Chicago Sun-Times]

‘Freakonomics’ researcher examines Chicago’s sex trade

A two-year study of the economics of prostitution in Chicago found the women were forced to service police officers, worked more during holidays like July 4th and varied pricing based on their customer’s race, according to a preliminary paper presented by the researchers.

University of Chicago professor and “Freakonomics” author Steven D. Levitt and sociology professor Sudhir Venkatesh of Columbia University organized a two-year study of street-level prostitution in the Roseland and Pullman neighborhoods. The study, which ended in May, also included Washington Park for about 8 months after police began a crackdown and the regular prostitutes moved their activity 6 miles north.

I hear Elk Grove is a good place to find prostitutes.
[via Chicago Tribune]

Where Chicago-area diners can taste Africa

The rise in African restaurants in Chicago and at least one suburb is largely due to a growing African immigrant population and increased curiosity among non-African diners.

“More and more people are out experimenting with different dishes,” said Abebe, whose restaurant serves dishes from a variety of African nations. “And I find more and more people have developed a taste for spicy food and spices in general. In my opinion, in the next 10 years we will be seeing more African foods — even African fast foods in America.”

[via Chicago Tribune]

Chicago plans bottled water tax

CHICAGO — In her neverending effort to maintain her health and appearance, Jill Walker credits bottled water with improving her digestion, maintaining her skin’s elasticity and keeping her away from sugary soda.

The Chicago resident drinks a bottle in the morning after her workout. She tosses another into her bag to take to the office and finishes two more with dinner.

While I think anymore taxes are too much I also think it can be ridiculous the amount of water bottles we can go through. Just find a way to refill bottles and you’ll save a lot of money as well as the environment. [via Detroit Free Press]

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