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Chicago Finds a Way to Improve Public Housing: Libraries

John Ronan Architects CHICAGO — Cabrini-Green, the Robert Taylor Homes: demolished years ago, Chicago’s most notorious projects continue to haunt the city, conjuring up the troubled legacy of postwar public housing in America. By the 1970s, Washington wanted out of the public housing business, politicians blaming the system’s ills on poor residents and tower-in-the-park-style architecture, channeling tax breaks toward white flight and suburban sprawl. Now the nation’s richest cities invent all sorts of new ways not to solve the affordable housing crisis. Is any city doing public housing right these days? I recently visited three sites that the Chicago Housing Authority has just or nearly completed. These small, community-enhancing, public-private ventures, built swiftly and well, are the opposite of Cabrini-Green and Robert Taylor. With a few dozen apartments each, they’re costlier per unit than the typical public housing developments, and they’re not going to make a big dent in a…

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How More Black Commercial Developers Could Change Chicago

Leon Walker at the Englewood Whole Foods (Photo by Steve Becker) Leon Walker is on a roll. Neighborhood Housing Services Chicago awarded him its 2019 Community Impact Award for addressing food deserts. The new Jewel-Osco location he co-developed in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side opened its doors on March 7. On the heels of that, the Cook County Land Bank Authority selected Walker’s firm, DL3 Realty, to co-develop the site of the old Washington Park National Bank building, just a couple blocks down the street. His career as a developer, which nearly never happened, could serve as a template for others like him to come back to — or emerge from — systematically disinvested places like the South Side or West Side of Chicago and provide an often elusive link between longtime residents and businesses and capital for revitalization without displacement. Walker’s parents arrived in Chicago from Birmingham,…

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Company announces growth into Butler County

Usui International recently leased 84,099 square feet of space at 8748 Jacquemin Drive at the new Jacquemin Logistics Center in West Chester Twp. CONTRIBUTED WEST CHESTER TWP. — Usui International, a company with engineering expertise in heavy engine cooling, diesel fuel delivery systems, and brazing techniques, is opening a new location in West Chester Twp. MORE: Butler County RV dealer hiring for new Trenton location The company recently leased 84,099 square feet of space at 8748 Jacquemin Drive at the new Jacquemin Logistics Center in West Chester Twp., according to commercial real estate firm CBRE, which facilitated the lease on behalf of the center’s owners, USAA Real Estate and The Pizzuti Companies. “Usui has outgrown from the current facility located in Sharonville and decided to relocate some of the process to another facility,” said Dennis Chui, vice president of Usui International. “We searched for a facility within a 10-mile radius…

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Colorado teachers rally at Capitol for school funding

Teachers hold placards during a rally outside the state Capitol, Monday, April 16, 2018, in Denver. Teachers from around the state were on hand to demand better salaries as lawmakers under the dome were set to debate a pension reform measure to cut retirement benefits as well as take-home pay. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) DENVER — Hundreds of public school teachers swarmed the Colorado state Capitol on Monday, shuttering one suburban Denver school district to demand better salaries, as lawmakers were set to debate a pension reform measure that would cut retirement benefits and take-home pay. With the demonstrations, Colorado educators join peers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona who have staged strikes or high-profile protests in recent weeks to draw attention to what teachers unions see as a growing crisis in the profession. In Colorado the need is especially stark – and apparently at odds with a state economy…

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Bill That Would License Pot Lounges Loses in Senate

Social cannabis consumption is still mostly confined to private events in Colorado. Burack told lawmakers that the measure posed "significant enforcement challenges and health and safety risks" for his agency and the public, citing search-and-seizure issues if club members stored illegally obtained cannabis; he also argued that MED officials shouldn’t have to distinguish what refreshments at clubs were or were not infused with cannabis. "This creates challenges for us," he said. "With [federal] oversight, we need to make sure we’re cognizant." CSP Major Steve Garcia, who’d testified against a House bill that would allow dispensaries to apply for tasting rooms during a March 19 committee hearing (that bill passed out of committee) , again raised concerns about impaired driving. "This cascading responsibility creates a public safety issue that adds additional liability and workload on law enforcement and the public," he told the Senate committee. A handful of unlicensed pot clubs…