Just in time for Christmas, dino SUE gets a new home

Staff reports

 

SUE, the iconic T. rex who held the coveted spot on the Field Museum’s main floor until February, will finally be on display in a new home this holiday season.

The skeleton had been removed from Stanley Field Hall tomake room for the museum’s new Titanosaur cast, Maximo. But, on Dec. 21, SUE’s new suite will open, debuting a brand new habitat to museum visitors.

The biggest and most complete T. rex skeleton in the world, the skeleton that had been on display had, nevertheless, grown out of date given new scientific understanding of T. rex anatomy. So, since coming down, scientists and museum workers have been updating SUE’s skeleton to match the latest science.

One of those updates will be the addition of a set of bones across SUE’s abdomen called gastralia that helped the T. rex breathe, according to Pete Makovicky, the museum’s curator of dinosaurs.

SUE will now live in the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet in a 5,100 square foot suite filled with interactive displays that mimic the environment an actual T. rex would have lived in.

Among those displays will be “cutting-edge animations showing how SUE would have interacted with other dinosaurs and what the landscape would have looked like,” said Jaap Hoogstraten, Director of Exhibitions, in a press release.

The move has been in the works for quite some time, said Field Museum president Richard Lariviere, in a press release.

“We’re excited to finally complete our decades-long plan to put SUE in a proper scientific context alongside our other dinosaurs and offer an experience that really shows off why SUE is widely considered the greatest dinosaur fossil in the world,” said Lariviere in a press release.

SUE’s new environment “will give visitors a glimpse of the world SUE lived in,” said Hoogstraten in a press release. The new display will also explain how SUE made it to Chicago.

“People will also get to learn about SUE’s discovery and the things scientists have learned about SUE over the last few decades—there’ll be lots of new information and experiences that we weren’t able to get across with the old display,” said Hoogstraten, in a press release.

“This is the biggest, scariest, and most impressive SUE’s ever looked,” said Lariviere, in a press release.

 

Reilly nixes Spire for now over community concerns

Staff reports

After months of speculation, Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly rejected the 400 N. Lake Shore Drive development, also known as the Spire Site.

In late October, Reilly announced that he would reject the proposal after the developers failed to consider any community concerns. This is a setback for a development that has been in the works for over a decade, but it does not mean the project is dead.

“As you know, I joined with SOAR to host a community meeting on May 15 to review the developer’s proposal,” Reilly wrote in an email to constituents. “The meeting was very well attended and we received a tremendous amount of community feedback. My staff catalogued all of the community input from that meeting and we created a list of priority issues that needed to be addressed during my negotiation process with the developer.”

Reilly said he sent the developer a “detailed memo” in August enumerating community concerns, and that their reply did not address any of those issues.

 

“Unfortunately, several weeks later, Related Midwest provided me with a response that did not adequately address any of the major concerns about their proposal,” he wrote.

Reilly said the community had concerns about the hotel use, the tall podium base of the buildings, traffic concerns and security concerns along the Riverwalk and at DuSable Park.

However, the alderman said the project is not dead because Related Midwest may still address the issues at some point in the future, allowing development to move forward.

“In the event the developer chooses to address the legitimate concerns regarding their proposal, my office will be sure to provide all impacted neighbors with an update,” he said.

Reilly then listed exactly what must be addressed.

  • Access to the site via East North Water Street must be significantly restricted
  • Proposed hotel use should be eliminated
  • Podium height and bulk must be reduced
  • Make greater use of the Lake Shore Drive access ramp system and below grade parking system to manage deliveries, services vehicles and pick-up/drop-offs.
  • Developer must assemble a security plan for the Riverwalk and DuSable Park
  • Elimination of the proposed Ogden Slip Public Esplanade

 

Disability Summit focuses on benefits from disabled workers

Ben Lumicao, a senior attorney with Allstate, talks with Jill Houghton at the Fourth Annual Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit.

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

 

Business leaders from across the city met in October for the fourth annual Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit, a daylong meeting of breakout panels and discussions on how to better include disabled workers into the workplace.

The Chicagoland Business Leadership Network and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce presented the summit, bringing together hiring professionals to discuss things like mental health in the workplace, online accessibility and best practices for disability recruitment.

Rob Hitchcock, the president of government and consumer solutions for the Health Care Service Corporation welcomed attendees and said there are ample opportunities for disabled workers.

“We’re struggling to fill open positions,” Hitchcock said. “We view this as a wonderful opportunity to recruit and get talent into our organizations, and I know many of you feel the same way.”

The summit did more than focus on employers and their needs. At one point, the conversation turned to the disabled employees themselves.

“We’re going to talk about the power of owning your identity and the power of the beauty that exists within us.” said Jill Houghton, president and CEO of Disability: IN. “One in five of us have a disability. And it’s cool.”

Houghton said disabilities have workarounds and disabled people don’t need to be labeled as differently abled or special because there is nothing wrong with being disabled.

Suhail Tariq, one of the panelists, echoed this sentiment with his own experiences at work. He said he can compete with coworkers who are not disabled because he is willing to work hard.

“I am no different than any of you guys,” Tariq said. “We’re no different than anyone else. It’s just hard work. I like my mantra to my executive committee, which is, ‘You may through a certain way get to the end goal, but I’ll get to the end goal too, the way I am comfortable doing it, and if I need any help because of my disability, then I will raise my hand.’”

Panelist Ben Lumicao, an attorney for Allstate, said open dialog about abilities is welcome because the days of ignoring a disability are over—and that’s a good thing.

Another panelist, Shannon Maher, a recruiting programs specialist with Exelon, said the challenge is two-sided, as disabled workers need to own their disability and recognize it, just as much as employers do.

“We bring many talents to the table because of our disabilities,” she said.

Innovation Awards highlight local tech talent

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

 

On Monday evening, Chicago Innovation recognized a host of Midwestern ideas at the 17th annual Innovation Awards.

Among the recipients, the Bra Lab won people’s choice for designing better brassieres, the Adler Planetarium won the collaboration award for their work with high school students and Ballot Ready won the Social Innovator award for their work on an elections app.

Besides the specialty awards, general Chicago Innovation Awards went to Abbott, Advanced Valve Technologies, Cameo, Ensono, Farmer’s Fridge, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Sterling, UPshow, Sittercity and Molex. Neighborhood awards went to Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center, Aspire and Lakeview Pantry. Up and comer awards went to Catalytic, Codeverse, Esquify, ExerciseBuddy, GuardianVets, Jlobit, Parker Dewey, PanaceaNano, Truss and Unanimous AI.

The event, at the Harris Theater in the New Eastside, was a chance to celebrate some of the people behind innovative ideas and inventive companies.

The evening was kicked off by Mayor Rahm Emanuel who praised the city as itself an up and comer for technology firms.

“We have more women innovators than any other city,” Emanuel “But that’s only the beginning of where we need to go.”

The mayor explained that Chicago businesses should recruit young talent from the city’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) schools programs in order to encourage kids and to keep talent local.

“If we do that, then to Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo and London I have one word, watch out. Chicago is coming for you,” Emanuel said.

Transit Tees launches LOOP: The Elevated Card Game, an urban adventure game

Staff reports

 

Chicago-based Transit Tees, an official manufacturer of Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) products announces the debut of LOOP: The Elevated Card Game, an adventure game based on the elevated commuter train.

 

The game is designed to capture the commuter experience on Chicago’s train system in an engaging way for two to seven plays, any age from 9 and up. The object of the game is for the player to discard all the cards in hand while navigating the L train system.

 

Along the way players—as riders—must negotiate buskers, train preachers, manspreading commuters, rush hour crowds and other everyday train hassles like forgotten fare cards, falling asleep on the train, sitting in a weird puddle or going to the wrong airport.

 

“Chicago transit riders are true urban warriors,” said Transit Tees owner and founder, Tim Gillengerten. “They encounter and deal with many obstacles in their daily commute and, in our opinion, have an ‘elevated’ ability to navigate our train system. We would joke around the studio about all the hilarious, and not so hilarious, things that happened to us on the ‘L’ and came up with the brilliant idea to merge art, design and all that’s irreverent about living in and getting around a big city in creating Loop: The Elevated Card Game.”

 

Just in time for the holidays, Loop: The Elevated Card Game will be available Nov. 15 online and at both Transit Tees locations in Wicker Park, 1371 N. Milwaukee Ave. or in Andersonville at 5226 N. Clark St. The game will sell for $20.

 

A free public launch event will be held Nov. 15 from 6-9 p.m. in conjunction with the sixth Anniversary of Transit Tees’ Wicker Park location. Guests will be the first to play the new LOOP card game, preview other holiday gift ideas, and enjoy light bites and refreshments from Antique Taco and Revolution Brewery. No RSVP is required.

Conceived and designed at the Transit Tees design studio in Wicker Park, LOOP: The Elevated Card Game is the first game created by the locally owned and operated company that designs and produces more than 100 original local and transit-themed apparel, housewares and accessory products each year. In fact, the LOOP game and ‘L’ Stop Cards are based on the design of Transit Tees’ popular Transit Magnets, which now include all 185 unique ‘L’ stops in the transit system represented in square magnet form.

“The transit system’s signage, maps, and colors are the epitome of contemporary artwork and remind us of game play action.” said artist Tom LaPlante, who spearheaded this project at Transit Tees’ in-house design studio. “The graphic look of the LOOP game is inspired by the look, shape, colors, and icons of the Chicago’s ‘L’ system.”

Transit geeks will especially appreciate LOOP’s technical authenticity: all the Transfers are accurate, and all Stops include the precise coordinates on Chicago’s grid. Each deck also includes an iconic ‘L’ Map Card with interesting facts about the train system and its history. Now, daily commuters, tourists and Chicago buffs alike can learn how to navigate and ride the CTA through playing the LOOP game.

For more information, visit www.transittees.com or call 773-227-1810.

Chicago Innovation Awards recognize Midwest creativity

By Jesse Wright |

Staff Writer

 

Midwestern ingenuity will be honored at the annual Chicago Innovation Awards on Oct. 29 at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St.

This year’s awards show will feature a keynote talk imagining Chicago’s place in the future of tech led by Chris Gladwin and Penny Pritzker. The presentation will outline a plan to transform Chicago into one of the world’s tech hubs.

Executive Director Luke Tanen said the awards show was born out of a desire to show Chicago as a competitive hub of innovation by co-founders Tom Kuczmarski and business journalist Dan Miller.

“They were finally tired of Silicon Valley getting all the credit for innovation and they wanted to do something to shine a light on Chicago,” Tanen said. “They wanted to make sure that when people think about innovation that it does not just mean high tech and it does not just mean start-ups.”

Tanen said the awards recognize “high tech, low tech and no tech.” There are plenty of submissions to consider. He said 519 innovators were nominated for 25 awards this year. Despite the array of ideas and innovations, Tanen said there are some common traits.

“There are certain trends that we see in Chicago that might be unique to Chicago,” he said. “For instance, we see more B2B (business to business) innovations rather than B2C (business to consumer) innovations.”

Long term sustainability sets Chicago innovators apart, Tanen said. Unlike some tech startups, Chicago innovators seek to solve real, existing problems.

Tanen explained that Chicago Innovation judges look hard at business models and measurable, quantifiable outcomes, so there isn’t a lot of guesswork when it comes to which companies will be successful. “The winners rely on strong business models,” Tanen said. “There are not a lot of companies that are trying to get a whole bunch of users and then trying to monetize later.”

The winners won’t be announced until the awards event, but Tanen said food development is hot right now. “There was a higher than average amount of innovations in the food industry,” he said.

A regular source of innovation is healthcare and Tanen said education is another popular field for innovators in the Chicago area. He explained this is because innovators tend to look for problems to fix. “If those challenges exist, then you’re going to see people who want to address them,” Tanen said.

Tickets can be found at the event website, chicagoinnovation.com.

 

Streeterville police focus on noise in Sept. CAPS meeting

Sgt. Anthony Dombrowski addressed a CAPS meeting in September. Photo by Elizabeth Czapski

Sgt. Anthony Dombrowski discussed theft, ridesharing and street performers with residents at the September Community Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meeting in the 001st District.

 

According to Dombrowski, pickpockets are very effective, and theft made up more than half of the district’s crime from Aug. 10 to Sept. 13.

 

Dombrowski said pickpockets tend to go to crowded locations such as a restaurants where people aren’t focused on their personal safety.

 

Theft, he said, is better than robbery, where violence can occur.

 

Thieves also target people whose valuable items are visible.

 

“You should try to be as circumspect as possible with your personal possessions,” Dombrowski said. “I would say 50 percent of our robberies are because people are exposing their cell phone.”

 

A resident asked about fake Uber and Lyft drivers in the city.

 

Dombrowski said fake Ubers and Lyfts are most often out during the late night and early morning, looking for intoxicated people to victimize. During the day, real Uber and Lyft drivers are victimized when drivers open their car doors and people come into the car and steal items, he added.

 

Passengers should look at the car’s stickers and verify the driver’s identity before getting into the car, Dombrowski said.

 

Dombrowski said he doesn’t think fake Uber and Lyft drivers are a big safety concern as long as the passenger is taking common sense precautions.

 

A resident raised concerns about the bucket beaters downtown. The resident said they bought a decibel meter and measured 100 decibels near the bucket beaters, which they said could harm hearing.

 

Dombrowski said dealing with this issue is challenging. “The municipal code is very clumsy and very difficult to enforce,” he said. The noise is irritating to many who live and work in the area, but at the same time, the bucket beaters receive a lot of monetary support from people downtown, he said.

 

Dombrowski said people who are not affected by loud street performances think it’s “charming.” He said the solution is unclear, but being able to quantify the level of noise is “wonderful” and suggested the resident contact the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

“These different lifestyles, these different activities are clashing with people that wanna live a normal life in downtown Chicago. Where’s the balance in that? I don’t know,” he said.

Streeterville officers vow to crack down on drug sales, seek help from residents

By Jesse Wright | Staff Writer

 

On Thursday, CAPS police officials told Streeterville residents they were cracking down on drug dealers and buyers in the area.

 

Officer Thomas Baker said officers are trying to make cases against drug distribution networks as opposed to people merely carrying illicit substances. However, he said, police need assistance from residents.

 

“Our biggest thing is, we obviously need help from the community, especially when you guys see everything,” Baker said.

 

The police action comes amid community concerns that drug activity is getting worse. One resident said open sales along Chicago Avenue are becoming problematic. Baker suggested forming block clubs and said police could help.

 

“We can train you, if need be, if you have a community room available,” he said. Baker explained block clubs could create email and phone trees to channel information to police regarding problematic areas. The result, Baker said, would be safer communities.

 

“We will train you to harden the target, to make it more secure for yourself and others to walk through and be safe day and night,” he said. Hardening a target means making an area safer.

 

A private security officer in the audience said drug dealers are selling to students, starting fights and criminally trespassing on the property of the Chicago Avenue McDonald’s where he works. He said despite arrests, drug sellers return after light sentencing with little consequence.

 

Baker said police would soon hold meetings with the city attorney to find ways to more effectively stop drug sellers from loitering near a methadone clinic in the area.

 

Sergeant Christopher Schenk said residents safely taking pictures of drug deals and illicit activity could help arresting officers.

 

“I don’t want you to put yourself in harm’s way,” Shenk said. “I have to say that. But if they have photos or anything they can take, or information that could help us out, that would be great.”

 

He said there have been photos that have helped investigations.

 

An audience member asked if students buying the drugs were being arrested. Without buyers, she pointed out, drug dealers would not be on the street.

 

Schenk said officers would arrest anyone who violated the law.

 

“Whoever breaks the law, and if there is a victim who can sign complaints or if there is an ordinance we can sign, we are more than happy to (make an arrest). Justice is blind,” Schenk said. “I don’t care if you are Caucasian, African American, Asian — justice is blind.”

 

The officers added that anyone who has crime tips or would like more information can contact law enforcement for non-emergency situations at 312-742-5778 or CAPS.018district@chicagopolice.org.

 

The next CAPS meeting is set for 6 p.m. on Oct. 4 at 115 W. Chicago Ave.

 

Sgt. Christopher Schenk addresses the Streeterville CAPS meeting Sept. 6.

New Eastside News launches Streeterville paper, Streeterville News

Staff report

Published September 5, 2018

The New Eastside News, a free monthly Chicago neighborhood paper, is launching a Streeterville paper this month.

Since 2012, the New Eastside News has been providing hyperlocal news to New Eastside and the Lakeshore East neighborhood. Publisher Elaine Hyde, a former resident of New Eastside, said she plans to continue that tradition with a Streeterville print newspaper and website.

“We provide news so relevant and useful to the local reader they just have to read our paper to know what’s going on around them,” Hyde said. “It’s not the sensationalist click bait we see so often now.”

The Streeterville News will be an upbeat source of information for newcomers, introducing them to area bars, restaurants and entertainment. Local news coverage will also provide value to longtime residents.

The newspaper will include popular features such as Doorperson of the Month, CAPS reporting, business profiles, reader contests and neighborhood news. The free publication will be distributed in residential mailrooms, grocery stores, retail establishments and hotels.

“It’s time Streeterville got a dedicated local news source.” 

For information about New Eastside News and Streeterville News, contact Elaine Hyde at 312-690-3092 or elaineh@neweastsidecommunity.com

Reilly seeks feedback on Aon project

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) is looking for feedback on the redevelopment of the highest floor of the Aon Center into an observatory and restaurant.

The project will turn the highest floor of the Aon Center—in the heart of New Eastside at 200 E. Randolph St.—into an attraction projected to draw more than two million visitors annually.

The proposed space will be accessible by a glass-enclosed external elevator on the Northwest corner.

Reilly co-hosted a community meeting with the Chicago Loop Alliance earlier this year at The Mid-America Club to discuss plans with residents. More than 100 community members attended.

“Neighbors raised concerns related to increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic, privacy and safety,” Reilly said in an emailed statement.

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