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Weekend Tour Highlights Energy Efficient Homesposted July 25th, 2014
The increasing cost of staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter has many people looking for ways to make their homes more energy efficient. This weekend the Illinois Green Building Council is giving Chicago area residents a chance to get some ideas. The Council’s Jason LeFleur says the ‘Green Built Home Tour’ highlights the energy saving aspects of 17 homes from Crystal Lake to Chicago’s Southside. He tells WDCB News the homes are scattered across the metro area to allow people across the region to sample building and design innovations. LeFleur says there are common elements that many of the homes on the tour share so visiting just a few will give people a number of efficiency ideas. He says visitors will see a number of technologies that can be implemented in other homes. LeFleur says all the homes on the tour were built…or in some cases are being built to meet national energy efficiency standards. This year’s ‘Green Built Home Tour’ includes several “zero energy” homes that produce more power than they need on a monthly basis.
Reform Advocate Downplays Appellate Court Rulings on ACAposted July 24th, 2014
A pair of contradictory appellate court rulings raise new questions about the Affordable Care Act. One court ruled against federal subsidies in states without a health insurance marketplace, the other ruling came down in favor of the credits. Jim Duffett is Executive Director of the Illinois Campaign for Better Health Care. He tells WDCB News the decisions shouldn’t have an immediate effect on anyone in Illinois. Duffett says anyone who currently has health insurance and is currently receiving tax credits will continue to receive them. He says it's important for Illinois residents to rest assured those benefits will continue. Duffett thinks opponents will continue to mount attacks on the federal health care law for many years to come. Ultimately, he thinks some changes are needed for the law; but it offers a good framework for insuring better access to care.
Report Documents A Surge In Childhood Povertyposted July 23rd, 2014
More Illinois children are living in what researchers say are ‘areas of concentrated poverty.’ The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count report shows more than 20% of the state’s children live at or below the poverty line. Larry Joseph is a researcher at Voices for Illinois Childern. He tells WDCB News the annual report points to a troubling trend. Joseph says in 2012 the child poverty rate in Illinois was 23%...up from 16% in 2005, before the start of the recession hit. He says analysts continue to see the lingering effects of the economic downturn on children and families in every part of the state. The Kids Count report estimates 347,000 Illinois children live in neighborhoods where the poverty rate is more than 30%. Joseph says growing up in poverty can adversely affect a child’s health, academic achievement, and possibility for economic success as an adult.
Leaders Discuss Current And Future Water Issuesposted July 22nd, 2014
Leaders in Chicago took part in a one-day clean water summit Monday. The Water Environment Federation and World Business Chicago hosted the event as part of its ‘Great Water Cities’ series. Federation President Sandra Ralston says the summit looked at issues of fresh water supply and the importance of infrastructure to support clean water. She says Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made updating water mains and antiquated sewer lines a priority. Ralston hopes the summit will get people and communities to change attitudes about water. She says more and more of the country is realizing that when groups talk about waste water, it's not really waste. Ralston says it's still a valuable resource that must be recovered, treated and re-used. Ralston tells WDCB News people across the country need to be much less cavalier about water supplies. She says serious drought in Texas and California illustrate the challenge of meeting demand in many regions of the country.
Oberman Floats Possibility Of Metra Fare Increaseposted July 21st, 2014
Metra’s new Chairman is ready to have a difficult discussion with the agency’s board of directors and the general public. Martin Oberman says it’s possible commuters could face a fare hike next year, but he says the agency hasn’t proposed an increase. This is part of Oberman’s first budget process since becoming Chairman. Kirk Dillard is the new Regional Transportation Authority Chairman. The RTA provides oversight for all of the region’s transit providers. Dillard tells WDCB News Metra needs to work through some issues before it raises fares. He says clearly Metra has had some service issues over the past year. Dillard says even though many of those issues were weather releated, the agency needs to clear up the problems befor it asks riders like him to pay more. Just three years ago Metra imposed its biggest fare increase on rider. Both Oberman and Dillard say they favor small incremental increases rather than sporadic and large hikes.