Loyola students get warm homecoming at Baumhart Hall

Residents enjoy free food at Baumhart Hall open house. Photo by Kimberly Capagalan.

By Kimberly Capagalan

Loyola University Chicago Residence Life kicked off the newly renovated fourth floor community space at Water Tower Campus Baumhart Hall to introduce residents to the new addition to their home.

The two hour open house was enjoyed by residents and Residence Life Staff on the fourth floor of Baumhart Hall with free food, games, and prizes.

Resident Director Joe Saucedo eagerly greeted residents as they walked in and checked out what the new space offered making sure each one was familiarized with the rooms.

“The purpose of this floor is to provide residents with a common place where they can build a community with other residents. After all this is their home and we (Residence Life and staff) want to provide them with the type of resources to make them feel at home,” he said.

Residents were introduced to the newly renovated floor that included a demo kitchen, theatre room, conference room, and lounge area.

Residents also enjoyed gourmet food made my Chef Scott Commings from the Retreat and Ecology Campus located in Woodstock, IL.

“I’d definitely come down here and use the theatre room if I have friends that come over or for a group movie,” said Chris Kliewer, 19, a sophomore criminal justice and psychology major.

“I love Chicago and I love Baumhart. Great convenient location and lots of free stuff. I would use the conference room for group work or meetings,” said Yi Jiang, 25, an international student and MSA accounting candidate.

More information will be provided to residents regarding hours of operations and reservations of particular rooms.

Chicago filmmakers screen environmental documentary at Loyola

Filmmakers Elizabeth Coffman and Ted Hardin at work.

By Brittany Nelson

Two Chicago college professors and filmmakers presented their documentary Veins in the Gulf on Wednesday evening on Loyola University Chicago’s  Lake Shore Campus to raise awareness about southern Louisiana’s on-going environmental crisis.

Elizabeth Coffman, director of international film and media studies at Loyola University Chicago, partnered with Ted Hardin, a professor at Columbia College Chicago, over the past eight years to document the region’s struggle with disappearing bayous, hurricanes, floods and oil spills.

A group of 20 students and faculty gathered to watch the documentary and to discuss its impact following the screening.

After the film, a member of the audience asked Coffman what message she was hoping to get across with the documentary.

“We didn’t want to make it a sentimental showing of a prevalent issue. Our goal was to showcase a community trying to save itself,” she said.

Ted Hardin went on to explain his hopes for the documentary.

“It’s too easy to blame the bad guys. We now know that there is a context for the damage done in Louisiana’s history. They saw the problems from the beginning, this is not enlightenment but a reminder,” he said.

The documentary stated that if nothing is done, many citizens will have to eventually leave their homes. The federal government is
in the process of developing a new levy system but the plans do not include funding for all regions that are being affected, including Native American reservations.

“People way down the bayou are a question mark as to whether or not they will get flood control protection. The question will soon be, who will have to move,” Coffman said.

Hardin re-emphasized the complexity of the issue.

“This problem is a dance, a fragile dance. But it’s [the issues] coming together so it can be seen,” he said.

Cal Borden, 43, a research associate for Loyola, wasn’t surprised by the film’s message.

“I knew of the problems in the bayous but didn’t understand the statistics behind it all,” he said.

Laura Kujava, 20, a junior AD/PR major from Loyola, disagreed.

“I did not know that was going on, I’d heard of the wetlands but not about the rates in which they are decaying. I also was surprised by the fact that a lot of Louisiana’s issues are man inflicted,” she said.

Kujava’s reflection on the film left her feeling uninspired.

“It seems as though the issues in Louisiana are a double-edged sword.  Although the documentary was very informative there was no call to action,” she said.

PNC opens new banking branch at Loyola

Loyola PNC bank card

By Chris Lehman

PNC Bank held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in celebration of the new branch that is now open at Loyola University Chicago.

A group of PNC executives as well as Loyola administrators gathered in Loyola’s Centennial Forum Student Union (CFSU). The festivities kicked off on Wednesday at 11 a.m. with raffles, a prize wheel and plenty of snacks.

Soon after, came the main event, which consisted of Joseph Gregoire, the regional president of PNC Bank in Illinois, speaking to a crowd of Loyola administrators and students. He spoke about the opportunity to work together with a partner that he felt was such a great fit.

“You certainly want to do business with people who are both clients and friends,” he said. “We see great potential here.”

Gregoire concluded his speech with words that  the Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., the president of Loyola who was unable to attend the event, left him with.

“I’d like Loyola to become an even more student-centered community,” he said.

The overall theme of the day was all about appealing to students. On a campus where Chase is the main bank and they provide convenient features designed just for students, PNC stressed the importance of coming up with a way to make banking even easier for students.

Kathleen Newrones, the relationship manager of university banking, spoke about the benefits that are specific to students. She explained how at this time, most people have some way of accessing the internet on the go and PNC means to take advantage of that.

“It comes with totally free checking and savings and there’s an application for iPhones and Androids,” she said.

She added that, “Parents can deposit money in your account even if they have another bank.”

In addition to the features, they have opened an ATM inside CFSU for convenience. Plus, the Chase ATM inside of the school dining hall, Simpson, has been modified to allow PNC users to access their accounts without a fee.

In recent years, there has been a trend of college students leaving PNC because of a lack of convenience. Susan White, 19, a sophomore International Studies major, experienced this before coming to Loyola her freshman year.

“I was with PNC but there just weren’t any in the immediate area so I had to switch to something more convenient,” she said.

A lack of convenience was the main reason for PNC losing college student bankers. Newrones explains how they came up with the solution.

“We have 36 other relations. Loyola is one of our clients.”

PNC is hoping that with the openings of branches throughout the Midwest, they will be able to attract more college clients, as well as retain them for years after.

Campus MovieFest ready for its closeup at Loyola

Campus MovieFest will be at Loyola University Chicago’s Lake Shore Campus this week to give student teams the opportunity to create an original five-minute film while possibly attaining national recognition.

For the next week, Campus MovieFest will situate itself in Lake Shore Campus’ Centennial Forum Student Union. Support staff will be there to provide the necessary equipment as well as technical support and guidance to student filmmakers as they prepare their cinematic pieces.

Campus MovieFest is the world’s largest student movie festival providing students at over 90 universities in four countries the  chance to create an original movie. Each week the organization visits several universities where then students can sign up and receive a MacBook with video editing software and a HD Panasonic camera to help students create their films.

“Our goal has always been to give students the opportunity to make a movie and share it with people,” said Jess Reynoso, Executive Assistant of the CEO. “We want to give student who never made a movie the chance to have fun and play with our stuff, and other students who want to do this for a career, to give them exposure opportunities.”

Students can submit movies is either Comedy, Drama or their Elfenworks Social Justice categories. Awards will be presented at the university level for Best Comedy, Best Drama, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Film. From their, teams can advance to the national level where they can participate in workshops and panels while networking with Hollywood Executives. Winners at the national level will be invited to the Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, where their films will be presented.

Equipment is available on a first come-first serve basis. Campus MovieFest will be at the Lake Shore Campus on Monday, Oct. 3, to collect submissions and the student films will be presented on Friday Oct. 7 in Galvin Auditorium.

- Enrique Silva

Mayor Emanuel curbs plan for tolls on Lake Shore Drive

Loyola University Chicago  shuttle bus drivers: put away your coins.

A proposal to install city tolls along Lake Shore Drive has been shot down by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Here’s the story from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday ruled out installing toll booths on Lake Shore Drive or raising sales or income taxes — even as aldermen warmed to the concept of a 1 percent commuter tax on suburbanites who work in Chicago.

Those ideas — and dozens of others — are part of the $3 billion roadmap to financial stability outlined by Inspector General Joe Ferguson earlier in the week.

Emanuel has vowed to erase the city’s $635.7 million shortfall without raising taxes, cutting police officers or using one-time revenues. In spite of that promise and his strained relationship with Ferguson, the mayor did not dismiss the inspector general’s recommendations out of hand.

“There are a number of reforms and efficiencies … that are promising, some of which we have already implemented and some, we will give serious consideration,” the mayor said in a statement.

However, “as I have said from the beginning, raising property taxes, income taxes or the sales tax is off the table. Asking drivers on Lake Shore Drive to pay a toll is also a non-starter,” said the mayor, who campaigned on a promise to apply the sales tax to an array of services not now covered.

While the mayor is ruling out tax increases for the time being, Chicago aldermen are not. They’re particularly intrigued by the $300 million-a-year commuter tax, which would essentially be a 1 percent income tax on suburbanites who work in Chicago.

“I look at it as a user tax. … People who live outside the city and work in the city utilize our streets, our transportation systems. They’re in Chicago. They’re out of Chicago. Perhaps, there’s a price to be put on that,” said Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd).

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) added, “Membership has its privileges. … A lot of people come in the city. A lot of people outside do business with the city and we don’t recoup those dollars.”

Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Emanuel’s City Council floor leader, was even open to a 1 percent city income tax on Chicagoans, provided it was part of a tax swap that reduced other levies.

“In theory, it’s probably a more fair type of tax than a lot of taxes we have. It’s based on an ability to pay as opposed to just a flat rate. [But] there would have to be some indication for taxpayers that this was an exchange,” O’Connor said.

“Would you roll back property taxes? Would you try and cap them in some way? …You couldn’t say we’re gonna do an income tax on top of the structure we currently have. People are not at a point where they can accept huge new taxes or taxes that might go in small and kind of wedge the door open and become huge down the road.”

Earlier this week, Ferguson served up a tantalizing, menu of 63 cost-cutting and revenue-raising ideas.

Some of them play right into Emanuel’s hands — like saving $190 million by eliminating supervisory personnel, 707 of them in the Chicago Fire Department, where there are 3.58 supervisors for every rank-and-file employee and 309 in the Police Department, where the current ratio is 8 to 1.

“If those figures are correct and if those folks just supervise and don’t have other duties, he may be on to something,” O’Connor said.

“Historically over the last many years, we have not looked tremendously hard at the police and fire budget to realize savings. They’ve kind of been the sacred cow. The idea of trying to go in there and find savings is appealing to everybody. He’s going in the direction that the administration has already been going in.”

The same could be said for Ferguson’s proposal to either privatize both recycling and garbage collection to save $165 million or keep it in-house, but switch to a grid system (saving $46.7 million) and reduce to one the number of laborers on a truck (saving $19.4 million).

“Garbage has been in the crosshairs of this administration since they got here. We’ve been attacking absenteeism. We’ve been talking about doing a grid system. We’ve been talking about trying to privatize a portion of it,” O’Connor said.

Dowell is one of many aldermen who remain dead set against a grid system for fear it would deprive them of their ability to respond to special requests for housekeeping services. In other words, O’Connor has his work cut out trying to sell it.

“You’d have to show me how all of the vacant lots I have are gonna be taken care of — my commercial corridors, the constant dumping of construction debris — how that gets addressed,” she said.

“I definitely would need to have the Streets and San crew have some kind of flexibility in being able to respond to emergencies in the ward.”

-Ashton Mitchell

Chicago mulls adding tolls to Lake Shore Drive

Could L oyola University Chicago shuttle drivers be faced with paying a toll to get students to and from the Water Tower and Lake Shore Campuses?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is toying with the idea.

Here’s the story from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Chicago’s inspector general is offering Mayor Rahm Emanuel a $3 billion roadmap to financial stability that includes everything from a city income tax, commuter tax and tolls on Lake Shore Drive to privatizing garbage collection and converting 20 percent of all fire suppression apparatus to ambulances.

Last year, Inspector General Joe Ferguson rocked the boat with a $247.3 million menu of cost-cutting options that called for the city to fire 595 firefighters, 161 laborers and 75 downtown traffic control aides, impose a recycling fee and snatch away subsidies for senior citizens, condominium owners and non-profits.

This year’s version makes the earlier blueprint look like child’s play.

Although Emanuel has emphatically ruled out higher taxes, Ferguson is serving up 19 revenue generating ideas with tantalizing earning potential of $2.3 billion-a-year.

Chicago could raise $500 million-a-year by imposing a one percent city income tax, following New York City’s lead, the inspector general said.

A one percent commuter tax would have an annual take of $300 million. Resurrecting Emanuel’s controversial campaign promise to broaden the sales tax to an array of services not now covered — branded the “Rahm tax” by rivals — could yield $450 million.

Imposing a $5, London-style congestion fee on vehicles entering the city’s Central Business District during the morning and evening rush periods could raise $375 million, even after a 20 percent reduction in traffic to 400,000 vehicles-a-day.

Installing toll booths on Lake Shore Drive—and charging the average vehicle $2.50 — could raise $87.5 million, even after hefty capital costs.

The inspector general’s revenue menu also includes: raising water and sewer rates to the national average ($380 million); imposing a “pay-as-you-throw” garbage collection fee ($125 million); broadening the amusement tax ($105 million); and imposing a transaction tax on the major exchanges ($37 million) and imposing a blue cart recycling fee ($18 million).

Although Emanuel wants to reform, but keep tax-increment-financing districts, Ferguson says the city could save $100 million by eliminating all 160-plus TIF’s.

The list also includes eliminating free sewer service for senior citizens ($17 million); turning off the free water spigot for hospitals and non-profits ($15.2 million) and doubling ambulance fees ($13.2 million).

The $660 million in spending cuts are also politically-explosive.

The inspector general is tossing out the idea of merging the city and Chicago Park District to save $5 million.

In the Chicago Fire Department, where Emanuel has demanded a 20 percent cut, Ferguson is playing with fire by proposing that 20 percent of fire suppression apparatus be converted to ambulances to cut annual costs by $41.5 million.

To save $57 million-a-year, the inspector general is resurrecting his proposal to reduce — from five employees to four — the minimum required to staff every piece of fire apparatus. That’s the issue that touched off the bitter 1980 firefighters strike.

Ferguson also wants to disband the police marine and helicopter units ($6.2 million), eliminate quarterly pay for supervisors ($9.6 million) and get rid of duty availability pay that essentially compensates police officers and firefighters for being on call at all times ($52 million).

The inspector general wants to save $190 million by eliminating redundant layers of supervisory personnel, 707 of them in the Fire Department, where there are 3.58 supervisors for every rank-and-file employee and 309 in the Police Department, where the current ratio if 8-to-1.

Next week, Emanuel is scheduled to launch a ground-breaking “managed competition” between city crews and private recycling contractors.

But, that didn’t stop Ferguson from resurrecting his proposal to have the city choose between privatizing both recycling and garbage collection to save $165 million and keeping it in-house, but switching to a grid system ($46.7 million) and reducing to one the number of laborers on a truck ($19.4 million). He also wants to switch all employees to a 40-hour work week ($40 million) and eliminate the jobs of 200 motor truck drivers who do little more than transport city crews to job sites and wait for them to finish the job. The driver cuts would save $19 million.

Last year, Ferguson’s budget ideas were shot down right out of the box.

Aldermen were so incensed by the suggestions, they summoned city department heads to denounce the proposals as irresponsible.

Then-Budget Director Eugene Munin went so far as to suggest that Ferguson’s ideas could “put public safety at risk” and force nearly $90 million in new fees.

This time, the political climate is dramatically different and so is the reception.

“Pretty radical stuff, but everything should be on the table. Nothing should be dismissed out of hand,” said Ald. Joe Moore (49th).

“Some of it would prove to be politically challenging, however we’re running out of ideas. Everyone is saying next year’s budget is gonna be worse than this year’s. Thing that may have appeared politically impossible a few years ago may now be something we have no choice but to do.”

Emanuel has promised to erase the city’s $635.7 million shortfall without raising taxes, cutting police officers or using one-time or casino revenues. He has vowed to entertain any and all ideas that meet those criteria.

The question now is whether the mayor is open to suggestions from an inspector general with whom he has a strained relationship.

“There are serious fiscal challenges ahead, and we welcome any and all ideas that will protect Chicago’s taxpayers,” said Chris Mather, the mayor’s communications director.

This article puts in perspective how some aldermen “laughed off” the toll proposal.

- Eliot Somen

Marilyn Monroe statue vandalized for a second time

WGN-TV/Chicago Tribune photo

Vandals have struck again, damaging the giant Marilyn Monroe statue near Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus.

Here is the story and photo from WGN-TV

The Marilyn Monroe statue that stands in the heart of the Magnificent Mile has been hit by vandals for a second time in the last month.

The statue’s right leg was dripping in red paint when pedestrians noticed the damage.

“It’s blemish on the city of Chicago,” said John Pope as he noticed the vandalism while visiting his relatives here in Chicago.

Two men on bicycles threw the bucket of red paint on the statue at around 4 a.m. and fled the scene immediately , according to Chicago Police.

The statue was given a tattoo on the same right leg exactly one month ago and removed shortly after. Whether there is any connection between the two incidents remains unclear.