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Sarah Ostman is a graduate student in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

All Signs point to Rhymefest Running for 20th Ward Alderman

by Marah Eakin, A.V. Club Chicago After he alluded semi-coyly to a “big announcement” in a Tweet this morning, everyone’s all abuzz about what Rhymefest is up to. Sources (and the video he posted on YouTube) seem to suggest the rapper, born Che Smith, is about to announce a run for Alderman of Chicago’s 20th Ward. […]

West Side Church Turns Place of Strife into Blooming Garden

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West Side Church Turns Place of Strife into Blooming Garden

By Kelsey Duckett, AustinTalks.org Two years ago it was a foreclosed home with weekly drug deals and constant gang violence. It was boarded up, overgrown with tall grass and weeds, its siding falling off around broken windows. The house was a danger and an eyesore for Austin residents. Now, the former site of drug buys […]

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One West Side Group Provides Flood Clean-up, Jobs

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One West Side Group Provides Flood Clean-up, Jobs

A news report from Sarah Ostman, AustinTalks.org Rosemary Marsh was sure her home would withstand the heavy rains of July 23. The brick Keystone Avenue home she shares with her sister had never leaked before – and it had weathered many a storm over the past two decades. But when the 73-year-old peered down her […]

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FEMA Grants Available for West Side Residents, But Red Tape May Await

A news report from Sarah Ostman, AustinTalks.org For Austin residents whose homes flooded in the July 23 storm, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, President Barack Obama has declared Cook County a federal disaster area, opening the floodgates, so to speak, for clean-up dollars from Washington, D.C. The bad news is, getting […]

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West Side Residents ‘Hopeful’ That Help is on the Way after Recent Storms

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West Side Residents ‘Hopeful’ That Help is on the Way after Recent Storms

A news report from Sarah Ostman, AustinTalks.org Elias Valencia didn’t know it when the rain started, but the storm that hit Chicago July 23 would cost him dearly. It would be so expensive in fact, that he, like thousands of other residents, are looking to the federal government for help. At some point during the […]

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Misdemeanor Drug Offenders Could Lose Their Licenses

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Misdemeanor Drug Offenders Could Lose Their Licenses

People convicted of drug crimes in Illinois could face an automatic six-month suspension of their drivers’ licenses, a proposal that is drawing sharp criticism from drug policy analysts. House Bill 5720 would require drug offenders to stay out of the driver’s seat for a period of six months for the first offense and one year […]

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Transit Fares Well in Budget, But Slow Payments a Bigger Problem

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Transit Fares Well in Budget, But Slow Payments a Bigger Problem

While schools and nonprofits across Illinois brace themselves for the potentially devastating cuts proposed in Gov. Pat Quinn’s 2011 budget, officials in many of the state’s public transit agencies are seeing their budgets climb. But some say the increase provides little relief to their more immediate problem – a failure by the cash-strapped state to […]

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