Thursday, May 23, 2013
Hear Angel Olsen peform selections from her superb sophomore album, Half Way Home in the Soundcheck studio.
Friday, April 12, 2013
How are New York and Chicago fighting gun violence? The Brian Lehrer Show and WBEZ Chicago co-host a special call-in, live in both cities to discuss how the NYPD and CPD are trying to curb guns -- and how communities are reacting to different policing strategies. Listen to full audio and read a transcript of highlights now.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Improv comedy puts uncertainty on center stage -- performers usually start by asking the audience for a prompt, then they make up the details as they go. But two actors in Chicago are taking this idea to its absolute limit, and finding ways to navigate the unknown.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Aleksandar Hemon talks about his first book of nonfiction, The Book of My Lives, about growing up in Sarajevo, moving to Chicago just as war broke out in Sarajevo, leaving him no way to return home, and about starting a new life and family in this new city. He writes of his love of two different cities, the bonds of family, the joys of soccer, and the feelings of displacement.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Mayor Bloomberg was on a bit of a victory lap after his political action committee, Independence USA, helped Illinois politician Robin Kelly, a gun control advocate, win a hotly contested Democratic congressional primary.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Elected to Congress in 1995, Jesse Jackson Jr. served Illinois's second district for seventeen years until his resignation last November. Chicago-based political consultant Delmarie Cobb worked for both Jesse Jackson Jr. and Jesse Jackson Sr. in the 1980s and 1990s.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
(Lauren Chooljian - Chicago, WBEZ) Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to make a deal with diesel truck owners in the Chicagoland area: give up your truck, and the city will give you a voucher that covers around 60 percent of the cost of a new electric one.
Officials say the project could help with air quality and even quieter streets across the city. By next spring, fleets in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties will be able to apply for the program.
“The city is encouraging companies to invest in electric vehicles in order to incrementally improve Chicago’s air quality while helping to advance these emerging transportation technologies,” Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein said in a statement. “By offering a voucher at the point of sale, rather than as a post-sale rebate, we hope that more companies will be encouraged to participate in the program.”
But not all drivers are jumping at the chance to trade in their truck. Phil LaPalermo, co-owner of All Ways Paving and Plowing, says he's not sure there's an electrical vehicle out there that can compare to the power of a diesel truck. LaPalermo said he likes the idea of using alternative energy sources, but the diesel engine is what keeps his fleet plowing and paving streets all over the city and suburbs.
"We’re hauling a lot of weight, and we’re making a lot of runs throughout the day. They’re very dependable and you get high mileage. I mean a diesel engine, you could get three to 400 thousand miles on a diesel engine," he said.
Samantha Bingham, CDOT Environmental Policy Analyst, said while the plan might not work for plows or pavement trucks, it would be great for a bakery delivery truck.
"There is no silver bullet when it comes to alternative fuels or traditional fuels," Bingham said.
Chicago Department of Transportation officials said they have enough federal funding to support about 250 vouchers to start. According to Joe Schwieterman, transportation professor from DePaul University, the city would need a couple thousand or so to really make a statistical change on emissions.
"At the same time, I think the city's going to show that we're this Midwest Rust Belt town, and we're gonna adopt technologies that you know other cities in the region aren't doing," Schwieterman said.
City Hall has used federal funding for other green initiatives in the past, including the installment of 202 electric vehicle charging stations.
Listen to the radio story below.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Shemkia Copeland's latest album, 33 1/3, evokes not only the revolutions per minute of LPs, but also her current age, and the record is filled with songs that don't hold back on opinions or emotions. Hear Copeland perform live in the studio.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The top contender for buzziest newcomer in hip-hop this year is Chicago's Chief Keef, the recording moniker of 17-year-old Keith Cozart. Chief Keef has steadily built a local following through a slew of mixtapes and viral music videos, notably "Bang," "I Don't Like," and "3Hunna," which each racked up millions of downloads and views online.
Rapper Pusha T (one-half of the duo the Clipse) stumbled upon the video for "3Hunna" on the website Worldstar Hip Hop and in turn brought the ascendant Keef to the attention of fellow Chicago native Kanye West.
West was entranced by the youngster's aggressive flow and true-to-life imagery that depicts the often violent and bleak circumstances of Chicago's South Side. When West and his G.O.O.D. Music collective remixed the track "I Don't Like" with Keef’s verse intact, Keef was catapulted from local star to the national stage. Since then, Chief Keef has since inked a deal with Interscope Records and kicked off a myriad of performances including 2012’s Lollapalooza music festival. Chief Keef's major label debut is slated for November 2012.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Formerly a foreign war correspondent, Chicagoan John Gunther drew on his background to write the 'Inside' travel series, which included Inside Europe (1936), Inside Asia (1939), Inside Latin America (1941), and here, Inside Africa.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Sometimes we’re madly in love with our candidates, but sometimes that love fades. That's been the case for Hermene Hartman, an Obama supporter from Chicago.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Here's a little update on how prevalent "dooring" accidents are: very.
When we reported on NYC's new initiative to stop taxi passengers from hurting cyclists by reminding people not to open the car door when a bike rider is passing, we mentioned that Illinois is -- we think -- the only state to track dooring accidents as its own category. The Illinois Department of Transportation didn't get back to us with a request for dooring data, but Chicago writer Steven Vance did and he has access to IDOT's Data Mart, their online transpo data distribution site. He generously sent over the dooring data for Chicago, but also crunched the numbers on his site, Grid Chicago.
The results are pretty shocking. In 2011, one in five bike crashes were caused by dooring.
- In 2010, there were 127 reported dooring crashes, for a rate of 0.35 doorings per day. Doorings made up 7.25% of all reported bike crashes.
- In 2011, there were 344 reported dooring crashes, for a rate of 0.94 doorings per day. Doorings made up 19.7% of all reported bike crashes.
- In 2012, up until August 29, 2012, there were 132 reported dooring crashes, for a rate of 0.55 doorings per day. Data for non-dooring crashes is incomplete and excluded.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
NFL referees have managed to do what public sector employees in Wisconsin and teachers in Chicago couldn’t: Inspire near-unanimous public sympathy for the demands of organized labor.
Monday, September 24, 2012
James T. Farrell, the creator of Studs Lonigan, is often thought of as a crude, dogged, naturalist writer; it's refreshing to hear the author speaking, in this recording from 1952, of what truly obsesses him: literature.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Chicago teachers uncomfortable with a tentative contract offer decided Sunday to remain on strike, insisting they need more time before deciding whether to end an acrimonious standoff with Mayor Rahm Emanuel that will keep 350,000 students out of class for at least two more days.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
WBEZ has taken a deep dive into Chicago's transportation history and uncovered some items that were once on the city's wish list.
- in the 1950s, the city considered tearing down the Loop "L" because it was thought the "iron girdle" was retarding the expansion of the central business district
- a grade-level rail line (Ravenswood) was going to be lowered into an open "cut" in the ground
- the west leg of the Red Line -- which now terminates at 95th Street -- was supposed to go to 119th Street
Want to see more transit what-ifs? Check out New York's lost subways.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Early yesterday morning, the public school teachers of Chicago went on strike, and in the hours since, we’ve heard a lot about contracts, salaries, city government, and unions. And of course, we’ve also heard both sides mention the students, but in very different contexts.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Ester Fuchs, professor of international and public affairs and political science at School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University and former advisor to Mayor Bloomberg, explains what the Chicago teachers strike tells us about the national conversation about education, and what it means for New York City teachers.
Monday, August 27, 2012
We like to keep our eye on bridges here at TN. Especially new bridges and new techniques for building them. That could be anything from new ways to finance megaprojects, the politics behind tolling, or engineering feats like floating a bridge down a river and hoisting it in place.
Building a bridge offsite and transporting it to it's final location saves money when it is possible. Similar construction techniques are credited with completing the Lake Champlain, NY bridge ahead of schedule (see video.) This weekend we got word of a mini-milestone in that trend.
On Saturday, Chicago says the city in partnership with the state and several railways, installed the largest truss bridge ever built off site and moved into place fully assembled. A truss bridge is what most people think of as the classic railroad bridge, it looks like a steel cage over the roadway forming box or triangle shapes on the sides for support.
Here are a few shots courtesy of the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the press release with background on the project below.
400-FOOT RAILROAD BRIDGE ROLLED INTO PLACE ACROSS TORRENCE AVENUE
Believed to be Largest Truss Bridge Ever Moved into Place after Assembly
A nearly 400-foot-long, 4.3-million-pound railroad truss bridge was rolled into place
A nearly 400-foot-long, 4.3-million-pound railroad truss bridge was rolled into place over Torrence Avenue near 130th Street today, and is believed to be the largest truss bridge ever to be moved into the place after being assembled off site.
The new bridge for the Chicago South Shore and South Bend commuter rail line is a key project in the $101 million reconfiguration and grade separation of the intersection of 130th Street and Torrence Avenue, which part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago infrastructure program.
It is also a part of the CREATE project – a partnership between U.S. Department of Transportation, the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and the nation's freight railroads – to invest billions in critically needed improvements to increase the efficiency of the region's passenger and freight rail infrastructure.
“The moving of this new truss bridge is an incredible feat of construction and engineering,” said Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gabe Klein. “It also demonstrates the strength of the CREATE partnership between government, the railroads and other stakeholders to bring complicated projects like these to fruition to improve the quality of life for Chicago-area communities.”
The goal of the 130th and Torrence grade separation project is to eliminate the two at-grade crossings of the Norfolk Southern tracks with the two roadways to improve the traffic flow of all modes of transport at this complicated intersection.
The project will include the lowering of both roads to fit under the new bridges to be built for the Norfolk Southern freight tracks. The new truss bridge, put in place today, goes overthe freight tracks. The entire intersection reconstruction project includes: six new bridges (railroad, roadway, and pedestrian/bicyclists bridges); a mixed-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists; retaining walls; drainage system; street lighting; traffic signals; roadway pavement and extensive landscaping.
Today, the project General Contractor, Walsh Construction, used four Self-Propelled Mobile Transporters (SPMTs) to relocate the fully assembled 4.3 million pound, 394-foot-long, 67- foot-high truss bridge from its assembly site to its final position on the new bridge piers a few hundred feet away. It is believed to be the largest truss bridge ever assembled then moved.
A truss bridge is one whose load-bearing superstructure is composed of a truss, which is a structure of connected elements forming triangular units.