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Home Sales Down But Prices Are UPposted October 22nd, 2014
Numbers are down, but prices are up. That’s what the latest data from the Illinois Association of Realtors says about the Chicago metro area. Aurora based realtor Mike Drews is President-Elect of the professional organization. The Association’s numbers show a nearly nine percent drop in sales, but the median price jumped nearly eleven percent compared to September 2013. Drews tells WDCB News despite the regional numbers the Fox Valley market is still going strong. He says the housing industry is still stronger than it was in the last three or four years. Drews says there are still a lot of first time buyers in the market and realtors are seeing the inventory of foreclosurers and short-sales starting to shrink as well. He says the Chicago Metro data doesn’t reflect what’s happening in the various communities throughout the six county area. Drews says real estate is a truly local industry, and the regional, state, and national numbers often don’t reflect that fact.
Illinois' 11th Congressional Race Difficult to Predictposted October 21st, 2014
The battle for Illinois’ 11th Congressional District was expected to be among the most competitive races in the state. And with just two weeks to go before Election Day, it’s still unclear whether incumbent U-S Representative Bill Foster or Republican challenger Darlene Senger has the advantage. Benedictine University political science professor Dr. Phil Hardy says it will be interesting to see what impact the governor’s race has on other races. He tells WDCB News there could be a number of split-ticket voters this election. Hardy believes Foster has a slight advantage two weeks before Election Day. But he says there are number of factors in play in the 11th District, which used to be a Republican stronghold until Democrats redrew its boundaries three years ago.
Fall Colors Ready to Peakposted October 21st, 2014
If you’re hoping to enjoy some fall color before winter weather becomes a reality, this week might be your best opportunity. Ed Hedborn is the plant records manager at the Morton Arboretum and official color scout for the Lisle-based property. He says weather plays a big role in determining what colors will emerge and when they’ll show up. Hedborn tells WDCB News given the area’s recent weather, this week could be the peak period for color. Hedborn says Illinois’ fall color season traditionally lasts until mid-November.
DuPage Health Dept Coordinates Bigger Basket Brigade Programposted October 20th, 2014
An annual DuPage County health department program designed to train volunteers and first responders what to do in a public health emergency is taking on added significance this year. Emergency response procedures are getting a lot of attention these days as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention re-evaluates the country’s Ebola guidelines. DuPage Emergency response coordinator John Miller tells WDCB News the county’s Basket Brigade initiative serves as a training exercise for medicine distribution, while also providing Thanksgiving meals to local families in need. The Basket Brigade program has been recognized by FEMA as an innovative practice and is now being adopted by other communities around the country.
Oakbrook Man Donates $50,000 To Fund Narcan Programposted October 17th, 2014
DuPage County’s program to train police and other first responders on how to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose is getting a financial boost. Oakbrook’s Ed Heil donated $50,000 to the county’s “Narcan”program. Heil’s grandson, Connor Kelly died from a heroin overdose. DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin allocated $100,000 in the current budget to combat the county’s growing heroin problem. He tells WDCB News this donation is an important part of the community’s response. Cronin says the county's committed to do whatever it takes and getting the community involved with respect to this particular problem is the most effective way to combat it. The county’s “Narcan” program has a total price tag of about $25,000. Heil’s donation will fund it for the next two years, and Cronin plans to seek additional donations to insure it continues in the future.
Crime Commission Targets Illicit Video Gamingposted October 17th, 2014
The Chicago Crime Commission’s efforts to combat organized crime date back to Al Capone and the prohibition era. The anti-crime group’s latest target is a high-tech incarnation of an age old problem, gambling. Commission Vice President Art Bilek says investigators have seen a growth in illegal video gambling machines throughout Cook County. He tells WDCB News the Crime Commission thinks there are mob ties to the “sweepstakes” machines. Bilek says there's no investigation into who puts the machines in a business. He says the Commission certainly thinks behind the curtain there lurks organized crime, just like there has always been in gambling devices dating back to the 1920s. Bilek says the illegal machines work just like those that ARE state regulated. But he says the machine owner and the owner of the business where it’s located split the take and don’t pay any state or local tax.
HotHouse Coming Backposted October 16th, 2014
For decades … local music fans with eclectic tastes knew they could turn to HotHouse. Marguerite Horberg established the original HotHouse venue in Wicker Park in 1987, it would later move to the south Loop. In 2006, HotHouse’s board of directors’ ousted Horberg from the very organization she built. And a year later the venue closed its doors. Horberg reacquired the HotHouse name last year. She tells WDCB News she’s working to rebuild the legacy of alternative cultural programming that began almost three decades ago. Horberg hopes to have new HotHouse venue in the next 18 months. In themeantime, she’s celebrating the return of HotHouse with the first ever “Old and New Dreams” Festival which starts Friday night in Hyde Park.
Emanuel's Second Term Now More Likelyposted October 16th, 2014
Re-election would now appear to be Rahm Emanuel’s to lose. Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis announced she won’t challenge Emanuel. Lewis is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. College of DuPage Political Science professor Dr. David Goldberg says Lewis posed a legitimate threat to Emanuel’s chances for a second term. He tells WDCB News the former White House Chief of Staff is now in the position to hold the office as long as he wants. Goldberg says that's what he thought when Emanuel was first elected to the Mayor's office and his opinion didn't change until the Mayor clashed with the Chicago Teacher's Union. Goldberg says with Lewis' withdrawl from the race it seems again that Emanuel has the job for as long as he wants it. Chicago City Council member Bob Fioretti has already announced he plans to challenge Emanuel. Goldberg says the second ward Alderman doesn’t have the same fund raising ability and name recognition that Lewis brought to the race.