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Quick Hit
by Progress Illinois
10:28pm
Thu Apr 17

Happy Easter & Passover From Progress Illinois

Progress Illinois will be taking a short break for the Easter and Passover holidays. 

We will not be publishing Friday, April 18. We will begin publishing again regularly on Monday, April 21.

Enjoy the holidays!

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
9:11pm
Thu Apr 17

Madigan's Office Investigating Herbalife Pyramid Scheme Allegations

Miguel Calderon thought he was part of the American Dream when he heard about Herbalife. You put your money to work to make more money, he believed. He started with an $11,000 investment, using his savings that he earned while working at Abbott Laboratories.

But every time the Waukegan resident asked why all of his efforts for the nutrition and diet company failed to yield any profits, he was told he needed to invest more. By the time he realized there were no profits to be had, he had invested more than $20,000 in what a Latino advocacy group says is a pyramid scheme that preys on immigrants, in particular.

"Herbalife knows Latinos are easily victimized because they face barriers in language, and culture and legal status,’’ said Julie Contreras, president of the League of Latino American United Citizens of Lake County. “We came out and supported Attorney General Lisa Madigan in her election, now we want to see her support our community.’’ Read more »

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
8:32pm
Thu Apr 17

CTU Releases Editorial Cartoon Blasting Rauner For 'Hypocrisy'

The Chicago Teachers Union released an editorial cartoon Thursday blasting Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner for the "hypocrisy of [his] campaign for governor as he hides behind his wife." Earlier this month, Rauner's campaign began running a TV ad touting the venture capitalist's Democratic wife. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:29pm
Thu Apr 17

Schneider, Enviros Discuss Lake Michigan Oil Spill; Great Lakes Infrastructure Initiatives

In the wake of the BP oil spill in Lake Michigan, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL,10) met with local elected officials and environmental leaders in Highland Park to discuss ways to better protect and revitalize the Great Lakes region.

"Our needs are really very basic," Highland Park Mayor Nancy Roterin told the congressman on Thursday. "Keep our water clean and help us improve access to the beaches. [And] whatever you can to do to prevent these oil spills and the things like what happened at Whiting."

Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:59am
Thu Apr 17

CPS Students Want State Lawmakers To Fix 'Broken' School Discipline Policies

A group of Chicago students is ratcheting up the pressure on state lawmakers to get behind "common-sense" school disciplinary policies.

Students leaders with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) argue zero tolerance discipline policies have resulted in zero gains in schools across the state. Dozens of students demonstrated at the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) downtown headquarters Wednesday morning before marching to the Thompson Center to call on state officials, including Gov. Pat Quinn, to fix "broken" school discipline policies across Illinois. The group wants state lawmakers to set limitations on the use of disciplinary actions that eat up classroom learning time and have a disproportionate impact on students of color.

"Students want to stay in school. Students want to learn, and they want discipline (policies) that make sense," said Jose Sanchez, VOYCE's Safe Schools Consortium coordinator. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:22pm
Wed Apr 16

Chicago Activists To Demand A Stop To Deportations On May Day

Activists participating in the upcoming May Day workers' march and celebration in the city of Chicago will deliver a clear message to President Barack Obama — two million deportations is too many.

May 1, or May Day, is an international day of honoring workers. Since 2006, an annual May Day rally has been held in Chicago, highlighting immigrant rights as an important aspect of the workers' rights debate.

Thousands of people attended last year'sMay Day event in the city to rally for comprehensive immigration reform legislation, which is now stalled in Congress.

This year, the main message is about deportations. The goal is to "try and keep the pressure on the [Obama] administration to do everything that's in their power to defer action to a broader group of immigrants working here in the United States, and do that quickly," said Susan Hurley with Chicago Jobs with Justice.

"We have approached or passed a milestone of 2 million people being deported [under the Obama administration], and that's just too many families being separated," she added. "It's got to stop, and if we can't get legislation that will fix our broken system, then we need to back off the deportations until we can get that legislation."  Read more »

Quick Hit
by Public News Service
12:57pm
Wed Apr 16

Analysis: 64,000 Long-Term Unemployed Illinoisans Still Without Work

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - New data shows how the reauthorization of federal unemployment assistance could help 64,000 Illinoisans.

When federal long-term unemployment benefits ended in December, according to the analysis from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, 74,000 Illinois workers immediately lost their temporary help. Jay Rowell, the department's director, said 86 percent of them still were without work one month later.

"This seriously undermines the idea that unemployment insurance discourages people from finding employment," Rowell said. "To get unemployment, you had to have been working and lost your job through no fault of their own. So these were people who were working before, have been looking for work, and just haven't been able to find it."
  Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:05pm
Tue Apr 15

On Tax Day, Activists Urge Illinoisans To Support A Graduated Income Tax (VIDEO)

Considering taxes are on the minds of many today, activists gathered outside of a downtown Chicago post office to campaign for a graduated income tax rate in Illinois.

“This flat tax that people in this state are burdened with right now is totally unfair and makes the poor and middle class pay more in taxes than people who can really afford it,” said Bob Gallie, a volunteer for A Better Illinois.

Gallie was one of a handful of activists with the statewide coalition who passed out literature in Federal Plaza, 230 S. Dearborn St., Tuesday afternoon, urging people to support a “fair” tax, which would implement higher tax rates for those with higher income levels, and lower rates for people who bring in less income.

With the use of the group's Illinois Fair Tax Calculator, activists were able to show people passing through the plaza that they could likely save money on their taxes if the state had a progressive tax rate. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:43pm
Tue Apr 15

Illinois Social Service Providers Brace For A 'Tough' Budgetary Year

The philanthropic and non-profit community in Illinois is bracing itself for what is expected to be a "painful" budgetary year.

"It's going to be tough," said Valerie Lies, president and CEO of the Donors Forum, a member association working to strengthen the state's philanthropic and non-profit sector. "I feel like we haven't even started to dig ourselves out, and I think [this] gubernatorial election will be an important one." Read more »