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The Invasion of the Great Lakes

by Tyreshia Black 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Eco Youth Reporters program, conducted in conjunction with award-winning journalist Kari Lydersen and Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. The Eco Youth Reporters program is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation: – See more at: http://wethepeoplemedia.org/#sthash.SmjvPLB8.dpuf
tor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Eco Youth Reporters program, conducted in conjunction with award-winning journalist Kari Lydersen and Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. The Eco Youth Reporters program is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation: – See more at: http://wethepeoplemedia.org/#sthash.SmjvPLB8.dpuf

Eco Youth Reporters Tyreshia Black, Antonio Reed, Jasmine Hunt at the reflecting pool at the University of Notre Dame. Photo by Kari Lydersen.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Eco Youth Reporters program, conducted in conjunction with award-winning journalist Kari Lydersen and Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. The Eco Youth Reporters program is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation:

By pulling out a single strand of hair, your DNA instantly becomes environmental DNA or eDNA and this concept may help us save the Great Lakes from the potential devastation of the Asian carp. I didn’t understand this until I met Chris Jerde at the University of Notre Dame on a trip with my journalism classmates.

Jerde’s current job is to extract eDNA from water samples to search for a trace of Asian carp but this process can be used for other things to in the near future. He demonstrated by filtering water through special filters that captured algae and other microorganisms, allowing the eDNA to collect in sterile containers for testing.

“The process we use now will help us find the location of the carp, and in the future this process will help us figure out multiple species of fish,” Jerde said. “How many there are, and where they’re located, which is way better than counting them.”

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Asian Carp is a Man-Made Issue

by Jasmine Hunt 

Notre Dame’s environmental scientist Chris Jerde discusses invasive species with the Eco Youth Reporters. Photo by Kari Lydersen.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Eco Youth Reporters program, conducted in conjunction with award-winning journalist Kari Lydersen and Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. The Eco Youth Reporters program is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation:

Asian carp was seen as a quick and easy solution to help clean up some fish farm ponds near the Mississippi River. But as they have made their way toward the Great Lakes, they created a whole different issue. The Asian carp has a giant appetite: It eats everything, which means that it changed the food chain and natural rhythm of the rivers and lakes.

Asian carp has been around for awhile. With large mouths and the ability to filter feed, the carp were originally brought from China to clean up the lakes that serve as fish farms in Arkansas. The Arkansas floods in the 1970s caused the fish farms to break open and the Asian carp got into the Mississippi River. The Clean Water Act was passed in 1970 and people were focused on improving the water quality. So people knew Asian carp could be a problem. Asian Carp are found all over the world and there are many in Canada’s water sheds. 

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Chasing the “Blue Whale of Freshwater”

by Alicia Jacobs 

The Eco Youth Reporters pose during their tour of Notre Dame. Photo by Kari Lydersen.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Eco Youth Reporters program, conducted in conjunction with award-winning journalist Kari Lydersen and Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. The Eco Youth Reporters program is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation:

“The blue whale of freshwater” – that’s how Chris Jerde, research assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, describes Asian carp. Among the 185 invasive species in the Great Lakes, Asian carp has been the biggest problem. The various species of Asian carp open their mouths and eat “anything” in their path, as Jerde said, growing up to 100 pounds and leaving everything else behind to starve or just barely survive.

But no one can seem to find Asian carp.

That’s where Jerde’s eDNA test comes in. As Jerde showed us atthe Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility on a bright, hot, empty yet peaceful spot at St. Patrick’s Park, the eDNA test begins by filtering water through something that looks like a coffee filter. It sorts out the rocks and other things in the water, giving him a pure sample of organic particles. The eDNA test looks for DNA from fish and other organisms that he can trace. You can trace the DNA if an Asian carp has been in the water, even if you can’t physically find the fish.

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Exploring After-School Programs

by Bre Patterson 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with SGA Family Services and Luke O’Toole Elementary School, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood.

I’m a student at Luke O’Toole Elementary School and I participate in two after-school programs called ST Math and Achieve 3000. ST Math was developed in 1998 by the Mind Research Institute, a California-based non-profit education group, according to eschools news. ST Math is a program on the computer in which we work with a penguin character named “JiJi” who knows nothing. We can teach him everything we know. At the same time, we are playing a game and practicing our math.

The ST Math Program was started in 2009 in 14 Chicago Public Schools on the South Side. The schools where the program is active have an average of 89% African American, 11% Hispanic and 4% other students, while 98% of the students get a free or reduced lunch, according to a report written by Dr. Shawn Smith, chief area officer.

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Memories of R. Taylor

by Reginald Kizer 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

The Robert Taylor Homes, a South Side public housing complex where 27,000 people once lived on 92 acres, was a place where many people had life experiences. Its 4,300 units were home to residents who all were hurt when it was destroyed.

Now, the Robert Taylor Homes are nothing more than a book of memories—just a pile of dirt, bricks and cement. Since the Robert Taylor Homes are gone, the once-drawn-together residents have scattered all over Chicago. Some even went to live in the suburbs.
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Deadly Moves: Moving at Their Own Risk

by Beauty Turner and Brian J. Rogal

The Redevelopment of public housing creates new dangers
Nicole Wright thought her new home in Englewood would be safer than the Robert Taylor Homes. Last fall, her family was displaced from the dilapidated high-rise at 4037 S. Federal St., one of dozens demolished under the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation.

Her new neighborhood is filled with blocks where trees shade homes with big porches, and neighbors sit out and enjoy the pleasant weather. But this area is also plagued by drugs and gang violence. Like many relocated out of public housing developments, Wright had a teenage son, Kemp, 16. Teenagers can be dangerous for families leaving public housing, even if they are not members of a street gang. And gang members in Englewood looked upon the Wright family with suspicion.
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Dear Resident

by Patricia Johnson-Gordon 

Greetings, salutations and peace. Peace be unto you and us all as the threat of war looms on the horizon becoming more apparent with each sunrise and sunset.

The “One World” concept has come full circle from economics, where it started, to warfare, where it may likely end. Historically, there has never been an action by a single government that has the possibility of encompassing every people and culture on earth. But man has never had the capability of destruction that he has today.

This image depicts a mural which was painted on the walls of a building owned by the Tranquility Marksman Association, founded by the late Marion Stamps, a tireless crusader for the rights of Cabrini-Green tenants. The building stood at Clybourn Avenue and Division Street until it was demolished several years ago. Photo by Patricia Johnson-Gordon

Pray for peace as you go about your daily routine, despite the threat of war. In the month of February, part of our daily routine is the celebration of Black History Month.
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Ickes’ Homes New Managers

by Jacqueline Thompson 

The Woodlawn Organization (TWO), the new managers of the Harold Ickes Homes, is struggling to do a good job of managing the regular management-resident connections. Take, for instance, the monthly rent statements. I have regularly received mine five to ten days past the first of the month. I wait and hold on to my money order but it doesn’t come. I pay my rent and get a receipt without the rent statement to attach to my money order. I think, “Oh well. Maybe next month.”

In March, I got a statement with two months unpaid rent showing. Well, I know I paid February’s rent but I got nervous because if they made such a glaring mistake, how safe are your funds? By April 11, 2002 no rent statement yet. However, when I paid on the sixth of the month, TWO issued me a 14-day notice. Why? I wasn’t behind in paying rent. “Don’t worry,” the clerk said. “You’ve paid your rent. “It’s in your lease that after five days, without paying, you’re due a 14 day notice.” Read more »
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New Vincennes Plaza

by Beauty Turner Assistant Editor

I am sure many of our readers remember the story I wrote about Vincennes Plaza in the August 2000 edition.

Vincennes Plaza is a development that stands in the shadow of the new Lou Rawls Cultural Center on the dusty trails of 47th Street, also known as Tobacco Road.

Vincennes Plaza consists of 59 units of low-income housing in a five-story brick building that is home to many young single mothers and senior citizens.

In my last article, I described the Vincennes as a tourist attraction, a building that you might come across on the soggy streets of London. The building’s beautiful craftsmanship and graceful, elegant workmanship highlight the scenery of the plaza. Read more »

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Sinai Health Services

by Lorenzia Shelby 

Approximately a year and a half ago, the Sinai Health System started a new program called Sinai Senior services. They are offering their services free of charge to seniors living in the Chicago Housing Authority buildings and low-income dwellers in Chicago and surrounding communities, near or far, north, south, east, and west.

Men and women 55 years of age and older are welcome to participate in the Sinai Community Institute Program called Premier Years. You will have access to all the medical benefits and social activities they have.

The people living in CHA buildings and low- income neighborhoods are their first priorities. The healthy, sick and the reclusive. They want the seniors that are afraid to leave their apartments and the ones that fear standing on the corners waiting at the bus stops. Read more »

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