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Nuf Said: Will Violence Finally Stop?

by Cornelius Jordan 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood:

The young journalists at an event for the youth media project Nuf Said on Oct. 27 talked about violence and how they could get shot any day. In a video screened at the event in Pilsen, a girl named Cookie told her story: how people get killed in our communities, and how they can’t build new houses without the windows getting blown out or busted. In the video, “Cookie’s Story,” produced by Community TV Network, she tells us how she saw someone die when she was only seven years old. At the end of the video, her friend started rapping about violence to teach people about violence and that they should stop the killing.

Youth from Community TV Network led the discussion after the video, and asked the participants if they have had similar experiences to Cookie’s story. Everyone agreed that they had, describing different problems in the communities, including violence, disrespect from police and politicians, poor schools and even litter.

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Emanuel Removed From Ballot, Candidates’ Education Plans

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The Illinois Appellate Court threw Chicago’s mayoral election into chaos Monday when it said that Rahm Emanuel, until recently President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, did not meet the requirement for residency in Chicago and therefore could not run in the February contest. Emanuel has vowed to appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Emanuel was ahead of his rivals in terms of fund-raising and in some polls of the race, so his departure from the field would make the campaign difficult to predict.

Today’s development makes the plans of Emanuel’s rivals suddenly more important. Last month, several mayoral candidates – excluding Emanuel – outlined their plans for the Chicago Public Schools system during the Forum on Education at Walter Payton College Prep High School.

Chicago Mayoral candidate Miguel De Valle, talking about more recess time for kids as part of his education plans for the city, if elected mayor. Looking on are his rivals, Gery Chico and Carol Moseley Braun, during the Mayoral Forum on Education at Walter Payton High School on December 15, 2010. Photo by Mary C. Johns

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Mayoral Candidate’s Plans for Low-income people and Ex-offenders

by Quintana Woodridge 

Chicago mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins told Residents’ Journal in an interview that she felt a sense of responsibility to run for mayor, and she would carry the voice of the people into decision making of the city.

If elected mayor, Watkins said the people of Chicago can expect an “open government with transparency,” Watkins said during a visit to Residents’ Journal’s offices.

Chicago Mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, talking to Residents' Journal reporter Quintana Woodridge, on January 1, about her plans to service low-income people of the city, if elected Mayor this February 22. Photo by Mary C. Johns

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Emanuel’s Anti-Crime Plan for Chicago if elected Mayor

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Chicago mayoral contender Rahm Emanuel recently introduced his plan to “put more police on the beat, and keep kids, guns and drugs off the street.”

Emanuel’s anti-crime agenda includes adding 1,000 new cops to the neighborhoods that need them most without pulling them from other parts of the city. He intends to fund this initiative with the use of $25 million of “excess” Tax Increment Financing or TIF money.

A police officer holds a touting sign of current Mayor Richard M. Daley, during a police protest outside the Chicago Police Headquarters, to oust their boss, Superintendent Jody Weis, on September 19, 2010. Photo by Mary C. Johns

Emanuel’s plan also would add 250 new cops on the streets over a three-year period.

Emanuel claims that he will also cut bureaucracy, crack down on abuse of police sick leave—by “medical abusers” who earn full pay but leave fighting crime to their colleagues—and expand the Chicago Police Cadet program to get uniformed officers who are working desk jobs back on the street.

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Federal Housing Programs on the Chopping Block

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Advocates for federal government programs for the poor are warning that deep cuts to the housing voucher program may be coming. The co-authors of a report from the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said late last year that housing programs for the poor may be slashed by the new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives

New House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and other U.S. House Republicans will begin re-writing funding bills for 2011, with a goal of making substantial cuts.

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Uranium: A Hidden Tragedy

by Terrance Lacey Jr 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood:

Elsie Begay didn’t know her floor was killing her, because it was made of uranium waste. Uranium is a dangerous element that is radioactive and naturally occurs in soil in Utah and New Mexico, as we learned at an event at the University of Chicago in October 2010.

Like many Navajo, Begay didn’t know that uranium was in her backyard and that the radioactivity in her home was higher than it is supposed to be because of the uranium.

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Bowling Excursion

by Terrance Lacey Jr 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood:

On Dec. 1, 2010, a group of us from the Urban Youth International Journalism Program group at the non-profit Imagine Englewood If… went to Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Entertainment Center, which includes a skating rink and bowling alley run by the Chicago Park District, at 1219 W. 76th St.

When I first got there, I was eager to interview, and I was ready to bowl.

Aaron Myles, who has been working at the bowling alley for two months, is an expert bowler. He had been coming there to skate and bowl since he was a kid. His highest score is 287. He loves bowling, he loves his job, and he is a “people person,” he said.

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Under Pressure: Students and Teachers on Stress

by Otis Brown 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program:

Hey, have you ever thought life would be easy? Well it’s not. Even for young people, there is a lot of stress and pressure put on our shoulders.

As a student, it becomes hard to learn and focus because of all the things that occur in a classroom: fighting, loud talking, people talking to friends or even getting smart with the teacher. Add all these things up and they can really throw you off task.

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Cabrini Rowhouses Update

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The Chicago Housing Authority said last month they have not made a final decision about the fate of 300 public housing row houses at the Cabrini Green public housing complex.

A police patrol car strolls past many vacant row-houses, located on Cambridge Street, at the Cabrini-Green public housing complex in June 2010. The row-houses were still awaiting the Chicago Housing Authority's decision to continue to rehabilitate them or not. Photo by Mary C. Johns

“There currently aren’t any definite plans for the remaining, non-rehabbed row houses. At this time, there is a working group in place to analyze and make a recommendation on the future of the remaining row houses,” states an e-mail from CHA spokesperson Matt Aguillar.

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