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Stories written by Jon Graef
I am a graduate school student currently studying journalism
In Chicago, A Slowly Building Beninese Community

In Chicago, A Slowly Building Beninese Community

Dieu Donne, a Beninese immigrant who lives in Chicago’s South Side, emigrated to the states because he wanted an opportunity to earn a better education.

New 2012 Budget Approach Leaves Illinois Arts Organizations In Fiscal Limbo

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New 2012 Budget Approach Leaves Illinois Arts Organizations In Fiscal Limbo

For Illinois arts organizations, there’s some good news and some bad news in Gov. Pat Quinn’s new 2012 budget proposal.

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Arts Organizations Hang Tight As Illinois Arts Council Finalizes Budget

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Arts Organizations Hang Tight As Illinois Arts Council Finalizes Budget

Nearly half way through the state’s fiscal year, the Illinois Arts Council’s budget announced it has finalized its budget – months after it usually does, leaving Illinois arts organizations dependent on its funding hanging tight.

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Several longtime residents to challenge Joe Moore in aldermanic race

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Three longtime 49th Ward residents filed petitions to challenge Ald. Joe Moore in the upcoming aldermanic race.

According to the Chicago Board of Elections, Brian White, executive director for the Lakeside Community Development Corporation; Ben Myers, a local developer and longtime Rogers Park resident; and Blane Roberts, who worked on 2007 aldermanic challenger Don Gordon’s campaign, all filed by the Nov. 22 deadline.

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Housing Ordinance Still Languishes, Frustrating Activists

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Housing Ordinance Still Languishes, Frustrating Activists

Frustrated activists for Chicago’s homeless were stymied once more last week when the City Council again failed to address proposed ordinance that would funnel Tax Increment Financing funds into affordable housing programs.

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Longtime Independent Grocery Stores Retain Presence on South Side

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Longtime Independent Grocery Stores Retain Presence on South Side

In South Side neighborhoods, both independently owned grocery stores and national chains are competing for customers by offering the same service: fresh food.
Last month, Fresh Family Foods, a boutique grocery store from local restaurant chain owner Quentin Love, opened on 336 E. 95th St. in the Chatham neighborhood. Similarly, chains like Walgreens are expanding their services to provide produce for its customers in several South Side neighborhoods.

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Planned Artist Workspace Rezoned for Hotel Development in Pilsen

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Planned Artist Workspace Rezoned for Hotel Development in Pilsen

Historic warehouses in Pilsen that would have been converted into low-rent workspaces for struggling artists were rezoned recently for a 200-room hotel with a restaurant and ballroom.
The Chicago Plan Commission unanimously voted to change the zoning at the W.M. Hoyt Co. building at 465 W. Cermak Rd. in the near Southwest Side neighborhood of Pilsen. Plans for the vacant building also include 78,150 square feet of retail.

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