* Fire officials put Empress Casino damages at $340 mil
* Illinois Poverty News Weekly
* Steel plant closing ‘cuts deep’
But now the company that owns the steel plant - ArcelorMittal, the fourth owner - has decided to close it, and Burress; his dad, Don; and about 285 others are out of a job. Layoffs started Feb. 20, and now only 25 workers are still in the plant, left for “asset protection,” says Duane Calbow, vice president of United Steelworkers Local 7367 and chairman of the Putnam County Board.
* Ford’s Chicago plant set to make new vehicle
* Local group finding support in creation of ‘green’ jobs
* Kettles of cash
The Salvation Army has rolled out its red kettles for holiday fundraising since 1891. But it has never had a year as successful as 2008. At a time when need was skyrocketing, so was generosity.
Donations across the country reached $130 million, up 10 percent from 2007. That’s the biggest single-year jump since 1997. The collection in the Chicago area remained steady at $14.7 million.
* Urban League’s nextOne program developing minority business dreams
* Health centers get $15.2 mil in stimulus funds
* Crusaders Central Clinic Association of Rockford to receive $555,180 through federal stimulus plan
.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said in a statement Friday that 36 centers in Illinois will use the money to make a number of changes, including expanding their hours and the services they provide.
Durbin said the support for health centers will create jobs in low-income areas.
* 14th District lands another $10 mil in stimulus funding
Congressman Bill Foster announced the money will come via the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. That means communities receiving the money must put it toward energy efficiency, conservation or renewable energy efforts. Examples of eligible projects include conducting energy efficiency building audits, installing or retrofitting street lighting or traffic signals with energy efficient bulbs and creating energy efficient transportation programs such as bus rapid transit.
As far as the stimulus package overall, even Foster said the gap between the goals of the stimulus and how states are administering the funds is wider than he’d hoped.
“There’s a difference between how effective the state governments are being about distributing the money,” Foster said. “And I think I’ll leave it at that.”
* Federal Stimulus Money Flowing To O’Hare
Other transportation will also benefit when the stimulus money comes in. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $1.3 billion for Amtrak projects nationwide, of which $80 million will be invested in Illinois.
* Chicago transit: Ideas to reach 1 billion rides a year
While his views may be shared by many, what sets Renn apart is that he gathered his thoughts into a comprehensive proposal that won a Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce contest aimed at growing transit use to 1 billion rides a year in the region. For his effort, Renn won the first-place prize of $5,000.
* Region’s transportation wish list gets review
* DuPage funnels $5.2M to fix distressed homes
County officials recently accepted DuPage’s share of federal funding from the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act in the form of a $5.2 million check.
* Some newspaper negativists fail to reveal conflicts of interest
Randy Siegel is president of Parade Publications and a co-founder of the Newspaper Project.
* Friends gather to help support convicted Daley aide
Thomas Breen, Sanchez’s attorney, said the event was to help Sanchez, not strictly to help pay for legal bills.
“Since the verdict, many, many calls have come in, in support of Al,” Breen said by phone. “It was with my blessing that, if his friends want to assist him in light of the verdict and the loss of his pension, that they should. It’s for Al.”
* Olympic “Memorandum” Falls Short, Activists Plan IOC Protest
The deal was ostensibly struck between Chicago 2016, the organization Mayor Daley put together to oversee the games, and the Outreach Advisory Council, a group put together by Chicago 2016. Think of it as Mayor Daley negotiating with himself.
* Finance committee approves 2016 minority-contract deal
* USOC clears issue haunting Chicago 2016 bid
* Chicago spruces up for key IOC visit
* City to turn on fountains, protests for Olympic visit
In addition to the various sites of planned venues, the IOC delegation will see two Millennium Park fountains in all their glory — unusual for this time of year.
The IOC is also going to see something that’s been part of the landscape here for as long as anyone can remember: protests. Citizens groups like “No Games Chicago” and disgruntled police union officials, angry over pay, plan to make their voices heard.
* Daley: Cop union ‘unfair’ to Olympic bid
* Daley: ‘No affect’ of police picket on Olympic bid
Daley told reporters Saturday that the Olympic bid is a vision for Chicago that’s bigger than him or the union. He says officers can demonstrate, but “it won’t have any affect.”
* Ruling for cops could cost city big
The ruling comes as nose-diving revenues tied to the prolonged recession threaten to poke a $200 million hole in Mayor Daley’s 2009 budget.
Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue says cash damages can and should be substantial.
“Our members have been harmed by not being able to use their comp time because it’s at the discretion of the commander to approve or deny,” Donahue said.
* Firefighter suicides: Chicago officials investigating increase with eye on prevention
* Parent Survey: School Safety Information Scant
Twenty-nine Chicago Public Schools students have been murdered since September. But most district parents reached in a survey said they’ve never received public-safety information about their local schools.
* Are Charter Schools Public? Some Parents Don’t Know
It’s been almost 12 years since Chicago opened its first charter school. But a report out Friday says many parents in the district still don’t know that the city’s charter schools are public and free.
* Honors Students Also Struggle at Robeson High School
* UI will try to avoid large tuition increase
* Community should rally to try to save, reform Irish parade
* St. Patrick’s Day: South Side Irish parade may march into the suburbs
* Southland towns consider salt-buying consortium