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Daily Whale Originals

Illinois EPA to resume emissions test notices

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced the resumption of vehicle emissions test notice mailings the agency suspended in December due to the state budget impasse.

According to a press release from the state EPA, the agency’s vehicle emissions testing contractor has agreed to take responsibility for the printing and mailing of the test reminders. The contractor, Applus Technologies, Inc., will take on the new responsibilities at no additional cost to the state.

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Illinois metro areas experience unemployment rate increase in February

Unemployment rates in all of Illinois’ metropolitan areas showed a year-over-year increase in February, according to data the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security released Thursday.

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Chicago and regional partners seek to spur economic development through water innovation

Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week joined several leaders from the Chicago-area to launch “Current,” a water-focused research initiative designed to promote “water innovation” and economic development.

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Metra board approves $64.5 million increase for 2016 capital program

Metra’s board of directors on Wednesday approved a $64.5 million addition to its 2016 capital program, part of which will go towards the replacement of the Fox River Bridge on the Milwaukee West Line.

New additional capital program funding is the result of a $14 million federal grant and additional $11.3 million in federal funding increases, other new capital contributions and a $12 million transfer of funds from the 2015 operating budget. Metra’s revised 2016 capital program totals $251 million in projected spending, the agency explained in a press release Wednesday.

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Cook County partners with Chapin Hall to help end youth homelessness

Cook County is one of 22 communities from across the nation that will work with policy research center Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago to end youth homelessness.

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City kicks off second year of Food Truck Fests

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s Small Business Center this month began hosting its second season of “Food Truck Fests” at Daley Plaza and Willis Tower.

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Congresswoman Kelly sponsors high school art contest

U.S. Representative Robin Kelly on Thursday announced her sponsorship of the Congressional Art Contest and solicited submissions from high school students who reside or attend school in Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District.

Students have until March 31st to submit their artwork at one of several locations in the 2nd District. Kelly will host a reception to announce the winning entry and runners-up on April 9 and entries will be displayed at the Christopher Art Gallery at Prairie State College from April 13 to 18.

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Cruz’s wife makes campaign stop in Chicago

Heidi Cruz, the wife of presidential candidate Ted Cruz, appeared on her husband’s behalf at a City Club of Chicago event on Wednesday. The breakfast was one of several Illinois campaign stops Cruz plans to make for her husband before the March 15 primary.
 
Responding to critics of her husband’s conservative views, Cruz contended Ted’s positions are not extreme. She instead called them common-sense “American” principles dedicated to promoting security, growth and liberty. 
 

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Thousands take plunge for Special Olympics

Approximately 6,000 people participated in the 16th Annual Chicago Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Chicago at North Avenue Beach on Sunday morning.  For the second year in a row, the participants included Lady Gaga and her fiancé, “Chicago Fire” star Taylor Kinney. 
 

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Metra launches new onboard police unit

Metra on Thursday announced the launch of a new police unit created to patrol Metra’s 11 train lines. The unit will provide a visible law enforcement presence on trains in an effort to deter criminal activity.

According to a press release from Metra, the unit represents the first time the rail agency has dedicated full-time resources to onboard patrols. Six full-time officers will be assigned to the unit, and those officers will travel on trains in uniform and plain clothes to supplement the efforts of Metra police officers currently patrolling trains and platforms.

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