All posts by ChicagoAdmin

Marathon Makes Money

The Chicago Marathon is a great money maker.   Last year, revenue was outstanding with a contribution of $378 million to Chicago’s economy.  In 2017 the figure was also high but $40 million less.

This year there were 45,857 participants in what was the 41st Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  Nearly 30 percent were visiting from overseas which is also great for tourism and the economy.  Further, it adds to Chicago’s prestige as a tourist destination.  Indeed, according to Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot:

 “The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is not only one of the largest and most prestigious marathons in world, but it is also an economic engine for our city – including a record-setting $378 million last year – that takes runners through 29 dynamic neighborhoods that together showcase our city’s diversity, history, and beauty. As mayor and as a fan, I look forward to joining Chicagoans and cheering on runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries for the 42nd annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon.”

Jobs are also created from the marathon. For example, in 2018, 2,592 jobs were created, equaling $127 million in salaries.

City Car Stickers

Some Chicagoans have accumulated fees and tickets due to not updating their city car stickers.  Thanks to a recent announcement from the Mayor, this pressure will be relieved as they will be given the opportunity to purchase a new sticker without incurring any additional fee/back charges for this month only

This could be due to the endeavors of Anna Valencia, City Clerk who worked hard to eliminate the citizen city sticker debt for Chicagoans.  She argued that:

“The city sticker debt is crazy. Only one out of three city sticker tickets are being paid a year. If we keep this debt on the back of our communities, they can’t get jobs. They can’t get child care. They can’t drive to work.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot added:

“Then, beginning Nov. 15, everyone who is in compliance with their city sticker by Oct. 31 will be eligible to have some or all of their city sticker tickets forgiven.It’s a new day in Chicago, and we’re going to make sure that every single person gets a fair shot at economic opportunity.”

Fines for not having a city sticker have jumped tremendously. For example in 2012 the increase was $80 (from $120-$200). This resulted in the huge escalation of ticket debt, fees, late penalties to approximately $275 million in the last 9 years.

Illinois State Fair

Over $6.5 million (a conservative estimate) in revenue came from this year’s Illinois State Fair.  This is a record amount for the event with the highest amount being raised to date occurring in 2013 at $6.4 million. 

The fair was inaugurated in 1853 and today is held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Based on agriculture, today the fair has shows, competitions, parades, spectacles, festivals and more and the State Fairgrounds where it is held has over 100 permanent buildings for the event. This year around 509,000 individuals attended which was nearly 40 percent more than 2018 rendering it the highest amount since 2014.

This year the game was really stepped up with grandstand shows and more than 50 new vendors.  According to John Sullivan, Agricultural Director:

“We knew we had a great state fair. The economic engine that this fair drives is tremendous. It doesn’t just help the city, it helps the entire region here. It doesn’t just help the city, it helps the entire region here.”

Furthermore, according to Manager Kevin Gordon, some of the reasons the financial results were so positive this year was due to the following:  an increase of $150,000 in corporate sponsorships from last year and fairground camping area revenue increase of $20,000.

Revenue for grandstand acts was 110 percent of the cost for those acts, or 10 percent more than the state shelled out to the artists. Corporate sponsorships were up by $150,000 over last year, he said, to a total of $750,000. He said revenues from the camping area on the fairgrounds were up by $20,000.

AT&T: Giving Back to the Community

In this video we learn about how AT&T is seeking to not only to provide services, but also to be a part of the community.  They spend time strategizing to think of what they can do for the community to get more involved.  One example of this is a project they run for students come in after school, to assist them with their homework and see what they can do to help.

Back to School – and Business – in Chicago

The long summer holidays are over and now children are finally heading back to school.  That means businesses are getting more back to normal as parents are finally able to return to their full time work schedules.

But some Chicagoans got back to work even earlier than the official end of summer date – Labor Day Weekend.  Parents were back at their desks over two weeks ago on August 14! Indeed, for most districts in Illinois, September 1st is just another day in the school calendar.  Maine East, Maine South and Maine West students all returned to school on August 14.

One district official explained that this move of returning to school earlier  began back in 2015.  The idea behind it was to finish the fall semester before students go back home for their December Winter break.  In theory it is also meant to relieve stress for high school students who really could benefit from the earlier break.

In other areas of Chicago – as well as public schools – kids returned to school tomorrow.  This past Saturday, hundreds of backpacks were given out in Garfield Park thanks to fundraising efforts of the church in University Village.

Using Challenges to Jumpstart Careers

Why do people love to push themselves?  Over the years – pretty much since the end of the caveman days – people have traditionally tried to push themselves out of their comfort zones.  Apart from it being a healthy way to gain strength and stay in shape, mentally, stepping out of one’s comfort zone has been a proven tactic of bettering all skills.

According to an article in Business Insider written last year, the benefits of pushing oneself are beneficial to one’s career. Sammi Carmela listed four reasons why:

  1. Confidence booster
  2. Perception by others enhanced
  3. Experience
  4. Broadening of horizons

We sent two members of our staff to the Ultimate Ninjas Chicago a few months ago. Last week we interviewed them both on the impact they felt it had on their careers.  Here is the transcript of the interview our editor conducted with photographer Mozes Victor Konig.

Editor:  Mozes, why did you initially agree to take part in the Ultimate Ninjas Chicago?  Have you ever done anything like this before?
Mozes: Actually my job sometimes requires me to enter into situations that are out of my comfort zone.  But when I’m on a job I feel I do not have a choice.  In my regular day-to-day life, if I can avoid such situations then I will.  As my boys are getting older they increasingly pressure me to do things like this. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea.
Editor:  Do you not feel like it benefited your career?
Mozes: On the contrary!  Because I pushed myself for a leisure activity, it gave me much more confidence for when I am faced with something like this at work.  Usually when photographing in an event – if I get stuck in a tight spot – I feel like I’m having a panic attack.  Just last week I was asked to take shots at Six Flags and I really enjoyed it.  Usually I wouldn’t have a good time at all; I would just get on with it.
Editor: Would you say that getting out of your comfort zone in a fun way has helped you at work?
Mozes: Absolutely.  And I would advise others to do the same.  If you do something for fun and make a decision ahead of time to enjoy it, it can be so much more awesome than just being forced to do it.  Plus, when you enjoy what you’re doing on the job, you’re going to much more successful.  You should have seen some of the shots I took!
Editor: Thank you for your time Mozes.  We look forward to seeing your great work in the future.

The good thing about the Sacramento Ninja Warrior Obstacle Park is that while it comprises 7 obstacles, it enables participants to go at their own time, on their own terms and within their own levels. This is already helpful for confidence bolstering that is such a huge part of career advancement.

The Fair Workweek

A bill was unanimously approved recently by Chicago’s City Council that will force employers of large firms in the state to give at least two weeks’ notice of schedules to their employees.  When last minute changes occur, they will have to be compensated.  However, the rule will only apply to workers who earn $26 or less per week.

The “fair workweek” has actually been in developmental stages for over two years in eight industries.  Should this become law, it will be an unprecedented move in America.

It could be particularly challenging however, for those in the medical and healthcare sectors.  Initially, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association put forward an opposition but after efforts were made on both sides for a compromise solution, this was withdrawn.

Chicago: Local Quality of Life

Chicago is a wonderful place to live, featuring fabulous beaches (and the Chicago River), great culture (the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art), impressive educational institutes (Northwestern University and the University of Chicago) county fairs and so much more.

But for the regular man/woman in the street, what are some of the issues that are being confronted?  Here we look at how the region deals with the following: recidivism, housing and health.

A recent report published by the Metropolitan Planning Council in conjunction with the Illinois Justice Project has pointed out a practical way of decreasing recidivism.  It found that since so many of these programs focus on jobs, there is a lack of attention given to another hugely important area for returning prisoners:  housing. The report is suggesting a greater focus on this matter.

As such, the report has assembled over a dozen proposals that could assist government officials in this task and save the state of Chicago $100+m per year. Given that the current recidivism figures are close to 40 percent this is a huge issue.  The report found that a large number of these individuals returning to prison were struggling with housing.  According to co-author of the Re-Entry Housing Issues in Illinois report, King Harris:

“The discussion around preventing recidivism is always focused on job training for people and somewhat on their health needs. Rarely is the conversation focused on housing and we feel that is the missing link.” 

Another issue for Chicagoans is the reduction in their housing value.  The weakest rate of growth in over 42 months was reported in May of this year.  According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, there was a miniscule 1.6 percent growth in the value local single family homes.  compared to the nation average, overall home prices developed less than half the 3.4 percent rate. one reason cited for this is slow job growth which again adds to recidivism issues.

In better news though, healthcare could be seen to be booming, or at least, hospitals.  Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital was ranked number 10 out of nearly 5,000 US hospitals in the 2019-20 Best Hospitals study. furthermore, according to a recent article by Lynne Marek:

“When it comes to health care, the Chicago area has a cottage industry of private-equity firms that invest in that sector, also including Linden Capital Partners, Waud Capital and Water Street Healthcare Partners, among others. The city developed the niche as professionals from health care giants Abbott and Baxter moved into investing.”

Chicago’s Fresh Food Market

Chicago is soon to get a lot more fresh food options for its locals.  With both Get Fresh Produce and Forty Acres Fresh Market making their presence in the region, Chicagoans are now almost spoilt for fresh produce choice.

Get Fresh Produce has recently been added by IF&P Food distributor in Chicago.  According to President and COO of Indianapolis Fruit, Greg Corsaro, this is just the start and over the  next few years the firm intends to implement a “pretty aggressive growth plan that includes bringing on additional companies.”

IF&P is one of Midwest’s largest food distributors and has been in business since 1997 with a staff count of 750 mainly local-based employees.  Get Fresh has approximately 375 employees and has facilities in Bartlett, Chicago and Whitestown, Indiana.

When Liz Abunaw moved to Chicago seven years ago she noticed a gap in the market, in particular in Austin.  She found that the area was severely lacking in fresh, locally-produced fruit and vegetables.  But she really liked the area, referring to it as “the most unique, vibrant, weird, but completely awesome [section of Chicago. Her] ultimate vision is a convenient place where people can walk to in their neighborhood for those fill-in trips between the big pantry loads – as well as maybe some prepared foods.”

Given all these factors, Abunaw decided to create a local food market, but with a specific goal of serving the predominantly black population. And so Forty Acres Fresh Market was born, in reference to “the promise of reparations for freed slaves after the Civil War.”  Located on 5051 W Chicago Avenue, the pop-up store is open the second weekend of every month (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).