North Western University on lockdown after shots fired in dorms

Evanston police tweeted Wednesday afternoon that people should stay out of the area of Emerson Street and Maple Avenue due to a shooting investigation, after a report came in of shots fired.

At 3:11 p.m. on Wednesday, Evanston police tweeted they checked the area and found “no evidence of a victim, scene or gunman.” Police said they are continuing to search and secure the area.

An emergency notification was sent out to staff and students at 2:40 p.m., according to the Daily Northwestern.

Northwestern tweeted out people should seek shelter and stay in a safe place. People were urged to stay away from the area.

This story is developing and will be updated when all clear is given.

Illinois Governor says No to Common Sense Gun law that would License Gun Dealers

On Tuesday, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner voted against a popular bill that would have licensed gun dealers. The previous day many Chicago leaders, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson, reached out to Rauner, saying that he should support the bill. The bill has been awaiting his signature for over two weeks now.

The bill that was vetoed was Senate Bill 1657, which would require criminal background checks for all gun shop employees. It would also require training that would help gun shop employees identify a buyer purchasing a gun for someone else.

(Photo via Chicago Tribune)

In a statement on Tuesday, Emanuel said:

“With one week left in his campaign, Governor Rauner just put his primary election ahead of his primary responsibility to protect the safety of the people of Chicago and Illinois. The governor’s decision was cruel, it was cold and it was calculated to benefit his own politics at the expense of public safety. This veto is a slap in the face to crime victims, faith leaders and police who have pleaded with Governor Rauner to protect public safety by signing the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. This failure will be his legacy.”

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Rauner said that Senate Bill 1657, “created onerous, duplicative bureaucracy that does little to improve public safety.”

Early Tuesday morning, Bruce Rauner appeared on a radio interview with WJPF News Radio. Where he said in the interview that, “I’m going to veto the bill, it’s just not right.”

Rauner continued to say in the radio interview that state laws should be tougher on repeat gun offenders. While also make schools safer, he suggested that “highly trained, highly well-armed security personnel at our schools who are very, very talented and able to protect our students.”

The NRA released a statement Tuesday night saying:

“The bills Gov. Rauner vetoed today were a dramatic overreach designed specifically to shut down as many Illinois federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) as possible. Now the law-abiding gun owners of Illinois need to let their lawmakers know this type of infringement upon their fundamental Second Amendment rights is completely unacceptable. Punishing legitimate businesses for the criminal actions of others is exactly why communities continue to suffer as their elected officials appear more concerned about making headlines instead of addressing the real problem; actual criminals.”

Featured video via Politico

Rex Tillerson removed as Secretary of State

On Tuesday Morning, United States President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, naming Mike Pompeo as his replacement.

President Trump tweeted that the new state secretary would do “a fantastic job”.

Rex Tillerson has only been in the role for just over a year, now joining the handful of others to leave the administration.

To replace the vacancy left by Pompeo, the U.S. president nominated Gina Haspel. If she is elected, then Haspel will be the first female director of the CIA.

In regards to why Trump dropped Tillerson, the president said he had differences that came down to personal “chemistry” between the two.

Rex Tillerson is the latest to be removed from the Trump administration, something that might sound like to a dream to others still in the administration.

Earlier this week Rex Tillerson canceled a trip to Kenya after suddenly falling ill. It isn’t certain if this was something Tillerson knew ahead of time, or if the President randomly decides to remove him from the position.

Featured photo is via VOA News as Rex Tillerson is sworn in as Secretary of State

Oregon Governor tells Congressional Committee to Treat Drug Addicts as Patients and not Criminals

On Thursday Oregon Governor Kate Brown appeared at the U.S. Capitol for the Senate health committee’s special hearing on opioids. Brown told the congressional committee that they should change their focus from treating drug abusers as criminals to treating them as patients.

Governor Brown has experienced the opioid epidemic in her own household. At the hearing she told the story of her son, who would abuse drugs daily to get by. Brown said a teacher caught him abusing drugs in high school, but when the family tried to get him help, their health insurance stood in the way.

In her statement she said;

“He had to go through two separate outpatient and inpatient treatments and relapses before our insurance would cover the residential program he so desperately needed.”

She went on to say how the War on Drugs is continuing to criminalize people who should be getting medical treatment not punished. She also went to to acknowledge that the federal government has taken note of the epidemic.

“That leaves us, the states, to right the wrongs of a war on drugs that has done nothing to address the issues that drive this health crisis, while our prisons and our foster care systems are filled to capacity with its victims, I know that you have held several sessions on the opioid crisis to date, and I applaud this committee for taking such a close, thoughtful look at the issue.”

In 2017 President Donald Trump declared the Opioid Epidemic a national crisis, claiming that his administration would take on the epidemic head on. The White House also recently proposed $13 billion in new funding for treatment with the Department of Health.

U.S. Secretary of State cancels Kenya trip due to falling ill

According to Reuters Rex Tillerson, who is the Secretary of State, has canceled events scheduled for Saturday due to not feeling well. This was announced by the State Departments spokesman, Steve Goldstein.

“The secretary is not feeling well after a long couple days working on major issues back home such as North Korea and has canceled his events for the day.”

Currently no other details have been released at this time to the public. The illness isn’t life threatening that we know of, and will keep the story updated if more information comes out.

Featured photo via Foreign Policy

Barack Obamas “Presidential Library” causes low income areas Home Values to sky rocket

At the beginning, hearing that former President Barack Obamas Presidential library would be on the South side of Chicago in Woodlawn, many hoped it would create jobs and benefit the community. But this simply was no the case for the situation when renters in the area saw their Home Values rocket.

The OPC is anticipated to bring a major jolt of investment to that part of the city: According to the Obama Foundation, the center will have a $339 million economic impact during construction, and $177 million annually from the three-building campus once it opens. An economic assessment by the Obama Foundation predicted the center would generate close to 5,000 jobs during construction and about 2,500 jobs after it opens, projecting a total economic impact of $3.1 billion through its first decade.

However, that doesn’t solve the issue of renters not being able to afford their rent. Woodlawn is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country, according to estimates by real estate brokerage Redfin.

Redfin reported in 2017 that between February and July, Woodlawn had the third-highest increase in estimated home values compared to that of its metro area in the country.

Redfin estimates home values went up by 23 percent in the first six months of the year, a rate far faster than the 4.6 percent increase in value for the Chicago area as a whole.

Speculation about the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in nearby Jackson Park at the northeast corner of the neighborhood might be driving some of the change.

But Woodlawn had one of the lowest median home prices on the list at $133,800, and one of the lowest percentages of homes selling over list price, at 22 percent.

That may all show that the market in Woodlawn is heating up, but not overheating like North Shoreview in San Franciso, No. 7 on the list, where the median home price is now more than $1 million, and 95 percent of homes sell for more than the asking price.

U.S. Census numbers from last year showed the neighborhood is growing in population again for the first time in decades, driven by an influx of young black families.

Barack Obama stated that the purpose for his library is to inspire visitors and locals “to make a positive change in their communities,” yet the project has already begun to alienate the very community it’s meant to change.

When it’s finished, the center will include a community garden, a “test kitchen,” and a recording studio where visitors will be able to “create their own songs, speeches, short films, and interviews,” according to the Foundation’s website.

But residents from the neighborhood have said multiple times that they do not want any of that. They want their public park, their low-cost housing, and their culture. They want their elected officials to listen when they want to be heard, residents continue to ignored while their communities are destroyed.

It seems that Obama is once again taking executive power for granted: His library will neither contain his presidential documents, which have all been digitized, nor be administered by the National Archives and Records Administration , the two elements that are required for a official presidential library.

In fact, the Obama Foundation has even named it the Obama Presidential “Center,” and the only books it may possibly contain would come from the Chicago Public Library.

In other words, it’s not even a presidential library. It is, in Barack Obama’s words, a “gift to the community” that will spread his message. The Foundation explains this on its website by pointing out that the center itself will be a living testament to the values of Obama’s presidency.

However residents aren’t the only ones let down by the decision of the location. Park preservationists have expressed disappointment about the choice because it means the library will have a bigger footprint in Jackson Park. Like Washington Park and the Midway Plaisance, the strip of green that connects the two finalist sites, Jackson Park was designed by the great 19th-century landscape designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

In a statement Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks, said; “We still don’t think it should be in a park”.

But the group says that it does not plan to challenge the center in court, as it did against the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which caused George Lucas to pull the project from Chicago.

Near the eastern edge of the University of Chicago campus, the 543-acre Jackson Park is a South Side oasis, with a wooded island in a picturesque lagoon, lush woods and a golf course.

Jackson Park’s western edge along Stony Island Avenue connects with Woodlawn, an impoverished African-American neighborhood that is beginning to gentrify. And the Hyde Park neighborhood, just north of Woodlawn and surrounding the university, already is booming.

Many citizens living in the community are worried of the community being gentrified, something former President Barack Obama doesn’t seem to worried about.

Opioid overdoses increased by roughly 30% across the US in just 14 months, according to new CDC report

Across the US in just 14 months between 2016 and 2017 opioid overdoses increased by roughly 30%, according to a new report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It recorded 142,000 overdoses in US hospital emergency departments between July 2016 and September 2017, saying this should be a “serious wake up call.”

According to the CDC, overdoses kill about five people every hour across the U.S. with the victims totalling 5,400 more in 2016 then the soldiers who died during the entire Vietnam war.

Not all of the overdoses in the study were fatal, but they are part of the grim toll opioids have taken. In 2016 in the US, illicit and prescription drug overdoses killed 64,000 people.

The CDC’s Vital Signs study looked at two different sets of data. The first set was, the Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS) program, which is a snapshot of emergency department data from 16 states.

Out of those 16 states, eight of those states included saw “substantial” overdose increases of at least 25%. Two states reported overdoses more than doubled, including in Wisconsin with 109% and Delaware with 105% increases. Another dramatic increase occurred in Pennsylvania, where overdoses went up 81%.

Overdoses also increased in “cities and towns of all types”, the report said. Overdoses are often associated with rural America but metropolitan areas with 1 million or more people saw the steepest increase, at 54%.

While the CDC did not look at the source of opioids, Schuchat said illicit fentanyl-laced heroin is “a very major problem right now”.

The CDC’s second data set found that,the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP), which covers 60% of emergency departments in 45 states, to look at regional changes. Researchers said overdose rates in that system increased about 30% in all regions and most states.

Officials said in order to effectively stop our growing opioid crisis, that communities would need more naloxone, a drug that reverses an overdose, better access to mental health services and medication-assisted addiction treatment, harm reduction programs to screen for injection-drug associated diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, and for physicians to use prescription monitoring services.

Donald Trump has recently expressed a desire to “sue” opioid manufacturers, and the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, announced the justice department’s support of local lawsuits. States like New York have filed suits against opioid manufacturers in recent months, blaming them for the on going epidemic sweeping the country.

the White House has appropriated new funding to treat people affected by the opioid crisis, despite pleas from public health officials, some of whom have put a starting price tag at $6bn.

Some changes to health programs, especially the public health insurance program for the poor, Medicaid, may be counterproductive to treating people addicted to opioids.

A quick example of this would be how the Trump administration has approved work requirements for Medicaid coverage in Arkansas, Kentucky and Indiana.

The new requirements put in place are expected to leave thousands of disabled and poor Americans without any health coverage at all, largely thanks to bureaucratic hurdles the Trump administration has put into place.