Unusual and Interesting Places to Visit in Chicago

By Joe Crump

Everyone knows about the big-name attractions in Chicago, IL. and places to go, such as “The Golden Mile” or The Field Museum or the Adler Planetarium. However, there are many more, interesting, educational, or exciting locations to visit in Chicago.

The map below lists ten sites of such a variety located in or around Chicago. Some of these attractions are due to public effort to maintain local historical sites, some are dedications to authors or religions, and others are just simply points of interest which would not be suggested as a major visiting point of Chicago.

Trump Still Dominating our Search Queries

By Joe Crump

Among Candidates, Trump still Commands Attention

Since even before the 2016 election, President Donald Trump has dominated the search bar for millions of Americans (and even abroad). As the upcoming election draws nearer, which is still over a year away, democratic candidates are beginning to draw more attention.

Trump has had a continuous hold on the search bar within the past 90 days, according to the Google Trends graphic pictures above. With only select spikes in interest for the front-runner democratic candidates, which are mostly tied to debate news about Senator Bernie Sanders and announcements about Elizabeth Warren (and other candidates), it’s evident who sill holds Americans’ attention.

From the graph, it can be concluded that Trump is still the most popular candidate in the search bar across the United States- aside from Vermont, of which Sanders is the Senator. For as long as Trump remains a controversial figure in American politics, it can be assumed that he will continue to dominate the search bar.

As the Election Approaches, Climate Change is Gaining More Attention

As the presidential debates continue and we move into the year 2020, election chatter grows ever stronger. Talk of climate change is also seeing a rise in popularity, as protests were waged in Washington D.C. to coincide with 16-year-old Greta Thunberg speaking before the UN Climate Summit. Even following the 45th G7 Summit in August, interest was not this high.

Interest in the election peaked on 9/11, as the terror attack which changed life forever for Americans and others across the world remains an important issue in the minds of Americans as the election approaches. However, the search interest in climate and climate change peaked only 9 days later, when protests were being held in D.C. during Thunberg’s speech.

As the graph shows, the talk of climate change and significant events involving climate change discussion is fairly prevalent throughout the country. However, it also shows that the election is also heavily on the mind of roughly half of Americans across the country. Whether climate change will play a greater factor in the 2020 elections is anyone’s guess as of now, but it might become a greater factor following the events of September. In Alabama, a special election was called to fill two vacant state senate seats, which explains the heightened interest in elections in the state.

Quinn: Illinois Pensions Threatening MAP Grants

Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

“We do not want anyone denied that opportunity because of finances,” Quinn said. “We can’t afford to lose all the talent that exists, all the ability that exists for higher education to help our economy and to help all of us, because there are financial challenges that deny someone the opportunity to go to community college or a four-year university — public and private — in our state.”

Quinn was joined by several Illinois college students, including DePaul Student Government Association Vice President Casey Clemmons.

“Every year over 5,000 DePaul students receive MAP grants, and just like the students who have already spoken here today, all of these DePaul students rely on this funding in order to continue their college careers,” Clemmons said.

“Because the number of Illinois students eligible to receive MAP is currently increasing, existing funding does not allow the state to assist all the eligible students. As a result, without action by the Illinois state leadership, more DePaul students than ever will see their MAP funding disappear this year and more

DePaul students than ever will be forced to give up their education due to finances.”

More than 150,000 students nationally receive MAP grants each year.

Clemmons told the audience that on Tuesday, DePaul’s SGA unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Illinois general assembly and the governor to ensure the longevity of the MAP program.  He read the resolution aloud and presented a copy to Quinn. 

Ken Thomas, a University of Illinois Board of Trustees student member, MAP recipient and University of Illinois Chicago student, told how he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the MAP grant.

“My mom, when I was in high school, had to work two jobs just to keep food on the table,” Thomas said, “and if we didn’t have [the] MAP program like we do today, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today; graduating with a degree, hoping to be a productive member of society.” 

Having a productive and functioning society and economy is what Quinn says it’s all about.

“Jobs follow brainpower,” he said. “We want to make sure we have smart people in Illinois. Well skilled, well-educated students coming out of college with graduate degrees and diplomas so they can create jobs, create new businesses,” he said. “Our goal in Illinois is to have at least 60 percent of the adults in our state with a college degree or college associate degree or career certificate by the year 2025. In order to achieve we have to make sure we have a good scholarship program.”

Clemmons said that in order for that to happen, state legislatures need to reflect upon the question, “What must be done?” and do what’s required.