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Lung Association Raises Questions About 'Vaping'posted August 27th, 2014
The American Lung Association of Greater Chicago is raising questions about an increasingly popular alternative to smoking. Electronic cigarettes allow users to inhale nicotine laced vapor and provide a similar sensation to smoking. Still the Lung Association’s James Martinez says there are issues with the technology. He tells WDCB News there are too many unknowns about e-cigarettes. Martinez says there are about 250 companies that make e-cigarettes, and none of them are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. There is no requirement that manufacturers disclose what is in the liquid they use to deliver nicotine. He says the unknowns are a great concern. Martinez says the US FDA hasn’t approved electronic cigarettes as a method to help people stop smoking. Initial research suggests using the devices may make it more likely that people will start smoking traditional cigarettes.
What S&P 500 Record Level Really Says About The Economyposted August 26th, 2014
For a time Monday, the Standard and Poors 500 index pushed through the 2,000 level for the first time ever. The Dow Industrials also saw strong gains in early trading. Diane Swonk is the Chief Economist at the Chicago based Miserow Financial. She’s hesitant to make too strong of a connection between the Wall Street and Main Street economies. Swonk tells WDCB News there continues to be a disconnect between economic growth and surging stock values. She says the linkages are a little more tenuous than they once were, and the market's strength reflects a lot of support from the Federal Reserve. Swonk says she doesn't like to draw too many conclusions from any short-term market moves, because they tend to be less accurate indications of the overall economy's stength. She says there is still a lot of work to be done to rebuild the nation’s economy. Swonk says corporate balance sheets are in great shape because companies have eliminated debt, but they haven’t started re-investing in the future.
City's Longest Running Music Festival Kicks Offposted August 25th, 2014
The headliners at many of the country’s big jazz festivals are rock and popular music acts. That won’t be the case this week for the Chicago Jazz Fest. The 36th annual event kicks off Thursday at Millennium Park and continues through Sunday. Jennifer Johnson-Washington is Jazz Fest Director at the Mayor’s office of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. She tells WDCB News this is an end of summer tradition in Chicago. Johnson-Washington says Jazz fans look forward to the Labor Day weekend and the concerts from their favorite artists. She says the event is also a great way to introduce new fans to the American artform. Johnson-Washington says the location in Millennium Park makes Jazz Fest a natural draw for tourists visiting the city. But she says the event also attracts jazz fans from around the world.
Are Illinois' Ballot Access Requirements Unfair?posted August 25th, 2014
Illinois voters will have plenty choices to make this November. The Illinois State Board of Elections certified the ballot on Friday. While several referendum questions made it on the ticket, two binding ballot measures didn’t make it. Also absent from the November fourth ballot, Green Party candidates. McCormick Foundation political scholar Shawn Healy and Citizen Advocacy Center executive director Maryam Judar joined WDCB News Reporter Gary Zidek for a roundtable discussion on ballot access requirements in Illinois.
Forest Preserve President No Longer Part Of Decision Making Processposted August 22nd, 2014
The DuPage Forest Preserve Commission hired Arnie Biondo to be the district’s Executive Director in December of last year. This week, Biondo announced he’s taking early retirement…but told the Daily Herald Forest Preserve Commissioners forced him out. At the same meeting the Commission announced plans to hire former DuPage County Court Administrator John Lapinski to fill the job. Commission President Dewey Pierotti says Biondo’s decision and the quick selection of a replacement came as a surprise. Pierotti tells WDCB News he didn’t take part in the decision. He says he had no input in the interviewing process and when the formal vote came Pierotti says he just went along with the others to make the decision unanimous. The Commission President says he met Lapinski one day before the vote, but as far as being a guiding influence on the hiring decision Pierotti says he took a very, very limited role. Pierotti is retiring from the leadership position he's held for nearly 20 years, but he remains Forest Preserve Commission President until the end of November. He says he didn’t know anything about the decision to hire a new Executive Director. Pierotti says he had no indication from Biondo that he was being pushed out the door or that he intended to take advantage of the district's recently approved early retirement plan.
Ridersharing App Says Legislation Could Force It Out of Illinoisposted August 21st, 2014
A technology company that has changed the way many people get around Chicago is speaking out against proposed regulations. Legislation on Governor Pat Quinn’s desk would put price controls and driver limitations on the ridesharing app Uber. Chris Taylor is the General Manager of Uber Chicago. He says the company supports regulations spelled out in an ordinance the Chicago City Council recently approved. But Taylor tells WDCB News the state legislation would limit Uber’s potential growth. He says it’s gonna make the safe, reliable transit that consumers love harder to access and less reliable because there will be fewer drivers out there, and is really just meant to protect the taxi industry. Taylor says the legislation is designed to make it difficult for Uber to operate in Illinois. He says if Quinn signs it into law the company will have to reconsider its future in the state.
Fermi's Dark Energy Survey Begins Second Seasonposted August 20th, 2014
The camera you took on vacation this summer probably captures images using fewer than 20 megapixels. The camera researchers are using for the ‘Dark Energy Survey’ uses nearly 30 times as many and can snap a picture of a galaxy eight billion light years away. Fermi-Lab’s Josh Frieman is the Dark Energy Survey director. He says the five year project is creating a detailed map of the southern sky in hopes of unraveling a universal mystery. Frieman tells WDCB News ‘Dark Energy’ is invisible so researchers have to study it indirectly. He says one way to probe dark energy is to measure the history of the expansion of the universe. The camera lets scientists look back in time one billion, two billion, even three billion years ago to see how fast galaxies and other celestial bodies are moving apart. He says if the Dark Energy Survey can measure that very percisely it will tell the team more about dark energy. Frieman says the project’s first season was a tremendous success. The team collected a vast amount of data that improves the overall understanding of the universe. On September first the ‘Dark Energy Survey’ will make all the information it collected last year available to researchers around the world.