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Daily Whale Originals

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. 


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.


Allstate relocates 400 jobs to Chicago

Allstate Insurance Company on Tuesday announced it will be moving approximately 400 innovation jobs from its headquarters in Northbrook to space in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.  


Cook County to expand behavioral health services

Cook County Health & Hospitals System on Friday announced plans to expand behavioral health services offered by CCHHS, including the opening of a community triage center. The expansion is the county’s response to decreases funding for community-based services has had on communities, the Emergency Department, the Cook County Jail population and the county taxpayers.  


Chicago Small Business Center’s ‘On the Road’ series begins Saturday

The Chicago Small Business Center will host the first of the five expos that make up its 2016 Small Business Expo ‘On the Road’ series this Saturday at Kennedy King College. Saturday’s event will give entrepreneurs and small business owners the opportunity to meet with representatives of almost 40 government and non-profit agencies and learn about licensing, financing, and business planning.


Alvarez: I would not jeopardize prosecution to score political points

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez on Wednesday defended her handling of the criminal case against Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago Police officer who faces murder charges for the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The shooting garnered national attention after the public release last fall of a dash-cam video showing Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times.


Stagnant state reimbursement rates leave human service providers with funding challenges

Illinois Partners for Human Services, a coalition of over 850 service providers in the state, released a report on Tuesday revealing that state reimbursement rates in the majority of service areas have failed to keep up with increasing in the cost of living and other inflation rates.
The state’s failure to increase reimbursement rates has resulted in a decrease in reimbursement value. Service providers, consequently, have been unable to cover the costs of basic operational and administrative support needed to stay in business. 


Durkin calls for compromise on budget; asks Dem leaders to keep an open mind during negotiations

State House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (Western Springs) on Monday called on Democratic leaders in the Illinois General Assembly to look past political rhetoric and bring an open mind to future negotiations on the state’s budget.


Foxx: Judgment, not experience, should be deciding factor in state’s attorney’s race

Cook County state’s attorney candidate Kim Foxx on Thursday said the county needs a state’s attorney with better judgment than the current officeholder. 
Responding to a question about her lack of experience trying felony cases following a speech at the City Club of Chicago, Foxx argued that experience alone does not make a good state’s attorney. While acknowledging incumbent State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has been a prosecutor for 29 years and has extensive trial experience, Foxx contended, “It’s not her experience that has failed us; it’s her judgment.”


MWRD reduces tax liability for Cook County property owners

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board of Commissioners last week unanimously passed an ordinance to reduce taxes for wastewater and stormwater services by $3,391,347.
According to a release from the MWRD, the owner of a home with a market value of $200,000 will save an estimated $232.80 and will be reflected in the second installment of 2015 real estate tax bills that will be mailed to homeowners this July. The tax reduction was made possible by MWRD’s savings on bond transactions.