Google Trends: Saudi Arabia Surpasses Area 51; Brown Leads Guyger

By Marcus Session

Saudi Arabia More Intriguing Than Area 51

The September 14th attacks on multiple oil industries in Saudi Arabia made significant headlines in America last week. While Area 51 is a top story in the news again as the “raid” of the territory happened last Friday on the 20th. Continue reading “Google Trends: Saudi Arabia Surpasses Area 51; Brown Leads Guyger”

Trump Plans to Cut Education Programs for 2021


By Marcus Session and Vanessa Rosado-Aguilar

President Trump called for eliminating federal funding for all local after-school and summer programs in April of 2019. The Trump Administration said at the time that these programs lacked strong evidence of their effectiveness. 

This would affect many of the CPS students who attend after-school programs. After-school programs have been known to help both parents and students by building learning and leadership experiences. 

 CPS’s mission is to “provide a high-quality public education for every child, in every neighborhood, that prepares each for success in college, career, and civic life”. However, this mission is limited every year due to budget cuts and hundreds of schools suffer every year. 

After-school programs are repeatedly getting budget cuts or removed entirely from the school. This is concerning because after school programs bring many benefits to the students, teachers, parents and the school as a community.

An article on CNN explains how the importance of after-school programs can be crucial in the lives and success of students. Especially in the city’s low-income neighborhoods, where parents and providers are stuck at work during after-school hours and aren’t physically able to supervise their children. The Trump Administration insists on cutting the funds for these programs.

Trump’s budget cut proposal was shut down, only for him to propose eliminating after-school programs again in February, for the 4th year in a row. This topic has been overshadowed by more important headlines like COVID-19. But Trump and his administration appear to be wrong on the effectiveness of after school programs.

Timeline of budget cut proposals

Public Act 101-0007 appropriated $20 million for fiscal year of 2020 in General Revenue funds to provide the After School Programs Grant to school districts and community organizations for after-school programming . The After School Programs Grant is a two-part initiative.  School district grant allocations total $17 million out of the $20 million appropriated, while another $3 million is competitive grant allocations for non-school district applicants.

In Illinois, about 52 thousand kids are enrolled into an after-school program and approximately $52 million in federal funds supports these programs statewide. In the proposed budget under the 2021 fiscal year, zero kids will be served and zero dollars will be funded into the after-school programs.

Map of CPS schools throughout the city

Parents often rely on these programs to keep their children safe and engaged while they are at work. According to police records, a child 16 or younger is murdered every week on average. While about 12 people from the ages of 10-24 are the victims of everyday homicide.

Many of the youth who fall victim to gun violence in Chicago are shot due to crossfire. They are sometimes caught in the middle of drug deals, gang violence, or are innocently in the line of fire. After-school programs limit children’s exposure to stray bullets as they reduce the number of times students are hanging around outside in the city’s most dangerous areas.

Johanna Fernandez, a CPS teacher at Benito Juarez Community Academy, has led many after-school programs such as Girls Swimming Club for 10 years and recently the students’ Voice committee for the last five years, had a comment about safety being a benefit of after school programs. 

“It’s important that there continue to be programs that’s school-based,” she said. “Because if they’re already inside the building then they’re safe to stay in those after school programs.”

The dynamics of a student’s home life could be difficult and a safe space for them could be school, so after-school programs help extend their time outside of their home in a safe environment. 

“There are also alternatives such as local park districts offering programs but this is not as safe as a school because of having to travel there and it being a more open accessible environment compared to a school. 

Teacher fist bumping students during a group activity. Photo/Flickr

Schools typically have security with metal detectors and require identification to enter. These programs do more than create a safe space for students. They also educate kids by teaching them skills and life lessons that aren’t taught in schools.

After-school programs provide an opportunity for students to further discover who they are and explore other interests. These programs help students develop themselves whether it’s emotional or social, but it provides a safe environment to interact with people who have similar interests. After-school programs are also education facilities and can help students get that one on one help that can’t be provided in classrooms. 

Andrea Drew, a teacher at Benito Juarez Community Academy for 14 years, said after-school programs help improve the dynamics inside the classroom. Drew talks about the social and emotional learning students can receive while doing after-school programs but also the learning teachers can do when participating in after-school programs. 

In CPS schools, it’s typical for teachers to be leading after-school programs and this enables them to learn about their students outside of the classroom. Drew commented, “in the classroom, there’s such a limited amount of information I can get from students.” she said. “While (outside of the classroom) I can see other qualities that you can’t see in the classroom..but now that I know I can tap into them in the classroom.”  

Students practicing their boxing forms. Photo/Flickr

After-school programs led by outside programs can be just as beneficial as the ones that are led by the CPS.

Organizations like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers help students in the essential subjects of math and reading. This program also has activities that can help students with their regular academic programs and offers educational services to the families of participating children.

The Boys and Girls Club is another after school program that supervises kids. They help build leadership and discipline in students in a caring environment. There are many more programs like this as well in the city. 

After School Matters is an after school program that connects students to activities and pays them for participating. Edwin Anastasio, a former CPS student, attended Little Village High School where he participated in this program. He got connected to Yollocali, an art program where students join to explore art forms. 

Anastasio talked about his experience “I joined because I was really into art,” he said, “I got to mess around (with art supplies) and get paid for it.” 

Anastasio, a graduate of Little Village High School, was looking for an outlet to express his interest in art in a freelance manner which Yollocali enabled him to do. Creating an environment safe for him to explore other interests and expand himself creatively. Anastasio would not have been able to gain access to these art materials anywhere else which he expressed his gratitude and enthusiasm for this program. 

 Contrary to Trump’s belief that after school programs should be cut as they seem to not be effective. Teachers, students, and parents disagree because it provided an outlet for students to express themselves beyond academics. Fernandez says these programs give the opportunity to “ask questions about themselves (students) that we don’t necessarily ask of ourselves in our academic or family situation”. 

Referring to Fernandez, these programs explore beyond the academic realm and encourage students to venture into something new to expand their mindset. It also provided an extra place and person to rely on and that can be important to someone who needs to feel an adult is on their side to listen to their problems. It’s important to understand that after school programs are not the only solution but it is a solution to improving the students learning environment.

Funding is so important for CPS after school programs because the majority of the students come from low-income families. These families need these programs to be free or close to free to be able to allow their children to explore and expand themselves outside of academics. Limiting funds for these programs hinders students’ learning and removes a safe outlet for them to learn new skills or strengthen existing ones.

Link to chart



Coronavirus Pandemic Continues

By Marcus Session

The Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 has swept national headlines in recent weeks and rightfully so. COVID-19 has erupted into the most catastrophic event in fresh memory.

COVID-19 has spread in multiple countries worldwide with a total of 169, 385 cases, according to the GIS and Data Maps website. Of those cases, about 77,300 have recovered and an estimate of 6,500 people have suffered deaths caused by the virus.

The image below shows the best ways to prevent Coronavirus.

Graphic detailing COVID-19

A few countries have shut down to contain and decrease the rapid spread of COVID-19. The United States is one of these countries. For example, the state of Illinois just closed down schools and the city of Chicago is expected to close down restaurants and bars after tonight.

Italy and China have the most cases and also the most deaths. China has 81,000 total cases and Italy has 25,000. Both countries have been locked down to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

Note: Live updates of cases can be found on the GIS and Data website.

Chicago’s Increased Police Presence Attributed to Crime Decrease

Chicago has a stigma as one of the most violent cities in America. Chicago was even ranked as the 21st most dangerous city in the country by USA Today. Which is why it is important for residents to know where the closest police stations are to them.

There are 23 different police stations scattered throughout the city in hopes to make citizens feel safe and secure. It is worth noting that the crime rate has actually decreased over the last few years.

Map of the different police stations and boundaries according to analysis of data from the City of Chicago Data Portal

Google Trends: Coronavirus Searched More than Recent Tornado, Giannis Clashes with Harden

By Marcus Session

The fatal Coronavirus has swept national and global headlines over the last few months. While a deadly tornado in Tennessee has gained national attention over the past few days. According to an analysis of Google search on Google trends, the Coronavirus has been searched more in the state of Tennessee than the Tennessee tornado over the past day.

The Coronavirus is a new illness that can range from a common cold to more severe diseases, such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. The Coronavirus was first detected in China and has been found in about 70 different locations internationally, according to Cdc.gov.

Most cases of the virus have been reported and confirmed in the continents of Asia and Europe, while the least amount of cases are in South America. As of March 4, there has been 95,075 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide. While almost 52,000 people have been recovered, this also includes about 3,250 total deaths as well.

The best recommendations to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus are to wash your hands regularly, cover mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing, and to thoroughly cook eggs and meat. Doctors and scientists are still working on a vaccine to prevent this deadly disease.

A deadly tornado swept through central Tennessee on Tuesday. This tragic event led to the deaths of 24 people with 17 other individuals still missing.

The tornado struck Nashville and several other counties in Tennessee along a 145-mile stretch. Many homes and buildings were destroyed due to the strong 165 mph winds caused by the tornado. Tennessee is under a state of emergency after what is being called the deadliest tornado day in seven years.


The last two reigning MVP’s, James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo, have been making headlines in the sporting world over the last few weeks. And no, it isn’t due to their stellar play throughout the season, they seem to not get along. According to an analysis of Google search on Google trends, Giannis has gathered more searches than James Harden over the past 30 days.

Harden called out Giannis in a recent interview by claiming he has no skill and wishes that he could be 7 feet and just “run and dunk”. This is just the latest of brewing beef between the two superstars.

A viral video of Giannis “accidentally” chucking the ball at Harden’s face last season no longer seems harmless. Giannis should have seen this response coming after taking jabs at Harden’s passing and defensive abilities during the All-Star break. While Harden may be a defensive liability at times, he ranks ninth in the league in assists with 7.4 compared to Antetokounmpo’s 5.8, which ranks 23rd.

In an era where stars tend to team up and opposing players are “buddy-buddy”, this rivalry between two of the NBA’s best players is entertaining, to say the least. MVP frontrunner Giannis is averaging 29.6 points per game and 14 rebounds this season. While Harden is averaging a league high 35 points per game.

The Bucks won the first meeting against the Rockets by a final score of 117-111 back in October. Both teams are set to play again on March 25th.

Career of LaDainian Tomlinson

By Marcus Session

Graphic of Tomlinson’s rushing yards. Tomlinson won the MVP award in 2006 and had his worst season in 2011, in which he played the fewest games of his career.

Arguably one of the greatest running backs of his generation, if not all time, LaDainian Tomlinson was a nightmare for opposing defenses. Nicknamed “LT”, Tomlinson had a unique play style that combined power with elusiveness. He was capable of sending defenders to the ground with his juke moves or simply ran right through them.

LT was selected fifth overall by the then San Diego Chargers in the 2001 draft. Expectations were high for Tomlinson after having a stellar collegiate career in which he earned All-American honors and the Doak Walker Award in 2000. Tomlinson showed promise in 2001 as he led all rookies with 1,236 rushing yards, but also fumbled the ball a career high 8 times as the Chargers finished with an 5-11 record.

Tomlinson built on the momentum of his rookie season by rushing for 1,683 yards and 14 touchdowns in the 2002 season that also saw him decrease his fumbles from 8 to 3. This helped him earn All-Pro honors and a trip to his first Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, his efforts weren’t enough as the Chargers went 8-8 and missed the playoffs again.

Tomlinson had another All-Pro season in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2004 when he led the Chargers to the playoffs for the first time in his career. The Chargers lost in overtime to the New York Jets in the Wild Card round in which LT rushed for 80 yards on 26 attempts.

2006 was the highlight of Tomlinson’s career as he had career highs in rushing (1,815), rushing touchdowns (28), and receiving yards (508). Not to mention his 31 total touchdowns from scrimmage is an NFL record that still stands today as he also earned MVP honors for the season. LT led the Chargers to a league best 14-2 record but lost a heart breaker to the New England Patriots in the Divisional round.

He led the league in rushing again in 2007, but suffered a MCL sprain in the playoffs that forced him to sit out the AFC Championship. This was the beginning of the end of his time in San Diego as a groin injury in the 2008 playoffs and an ankle injury in 2009 declined his production. The Chargers released Tomlinson after 2009.

Tomlinson signed with the New York Jets before the 2010 season, where he started 13 games. 2011 was his worst season as he only rushed for 280 yards and one touchdown. He ultimately retired the following year.

LT retired fifth in all-time rushing yards (13,684), second in career rushing touchdowns (145), and third in total touchdowns (162). Tomlinson finished his career with five Pro Bowl and six All-Pro selections. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Cubs Fans Attendance Based on Teams Success

By Marcus Session

The attendance of Cubs fans seems to rely on the success of the team. 2008 and 2016 saw the team’s highest attendance rates, which were the Cubs’ best seasons based on their regular season records.

Graphic of Cubs’ fan attendance from 2007-2016.

The MLB’s second oldest team, the Chicago Cubs have seen it all and so have their fans. Cubs fans have been through all of the franchise’s ups and downs, including a 108-year World Series championship drought that finally ended in 2016.

The Cubs were considered to be a mediocre team from 2007 to 2014 as they only won more than 80 games 3 times. This includes two trips to the postseason, both times they suffered humiliating losses in the first round. First came a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007, and then another sweep to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008.

The team then missed the playoffs for the next 6 years and registered 5 consecutive losing seasons from 2010-2014. As the team’s success decreased, so did the fans’ attendance, which is shown in the graph above. The Cubs then took a leap out of mediocrity in 2015 by winning 97 games, tied for the team’s most wins in the century (2008), and advanced to the NLCS.

Chicago may have lost to the New York Mets in the championship series, but the hype was real as attendance rose by 267,009 from 2014 to 2015. And then increased by 313,298 people in 2016, the year they broke the Billy Goat Curse and won the World Series.

Quinn: Pensions Threatening MAP Grant Program

Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo/Bob Smith)

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at RedLineProject.org

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.”

“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. 

Gun Violence in Rogers Park

By Kate Cortes and Marcus Session

Photo outside of the Morse Red Line stop. Photo Credit: Marcus Session

Gun violence has been an issue in Chicago in general and Rogers Park is no exception. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote a story detailing the death of a 17-year-old boy who was shot 8 times in Rogers Park. The newspaper also covered a drive-by shooting that occurred earlier this month in the neighborhood. 

When referring to the question if Chicago’s gun violence has indeed gone up, Louie Goros, the Sheriff at the Cook County Police Department of 31 years said, “Yes, absolutely gone up.”

When asked his opinion as to why he said, “My personal opinion would be the rhetoric that is anti police…so in layman’s terms, the bad guys, the gangbangers, and all the criminals, they see that the public and the government, and their own police departments are against the police. So that gives them a little step above saying we can do anything we want.” 

Just last fall, there were two murders in Rogers Park during a killing spree by the “Duck Walk Killer.” These murders happened within two days and took the lives of 73-year-old Douglas Watts and 24-year-old Eliyahu Moscowitz. The killer is still at large.

The Violence

Gun violence is a sensitive topic as individuals may have seen or even lost loved ones to the violence. Christopher Tamayo, who is 21 and a lifelong resident in Rogers Park, has seen it all.

“There was this guy running across the street on Ridge and noticed somebody behind him fired a shot on him on his leg and then the guy ran up to him,” said Tamayo. [He] shot him in the head and then ran off.”

Rogers Park has had the stigma of being one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods over the years. This may be because crime seems to be increasing in the area, rather than decreasing. An article by the Loyola Phoenix, the Loyola University student newspaper, highlights the crimes that took place in Rogers Park over the summer, which includes seven shootings and three armed robberies. 

Rogers Park is located between the Loyola and Morse Red Line stops on Chicago’s northside near Evanston. This neighborhood boasts being home to Loyola University and all of the attractions that come with it. With that being said, crime exists everywhere, even in the same area as the glamorous university.

Impact of the Shootings

Targeted violence is another problem the community faces. It seems as though many disputes and arguments are settled through violence, whether that be by fighting or shooting. The latter option can certainly put people in peril, including those who aren’t targeted.

Crossfires are a major risk to any type of shootout, and unfortunately can take the lives of those in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

“I have a family member who has unfortunately passed away due to gun violence in Rogers Park,” Tamayo said. “It was right in front of my school. I was 12…”I lost a friend to gun violence, which was not too far from my school. [He] got shot in the chest. He was sent to shop for groceries and that’s the last time I’ve ever seen him.”


According to Fox News, 174 minors have been killed and 1,665 children have been shot since 2011 in Chicago. 246 minors in 2017 alone.

When asked if he expects to see changes, Tamayo said “I feel like it’s just going to remain this way. You hear about the same thing every day, like Halloween, the girl who got shot below the neck while trick-or-treating, it’s not going to change. Lately it’s been kids that have been shot by stray bullets, they’ll be at home watching TV, and die on the sofa man.”

“Excuse my French, that’s how f—-ed up Chicago is. Not the place to be.” Tamayo said.

Gun violence in Chicago has been a major problem throughout the years, even with the attempts for stricter gun laws. It sometimes seems as if it will never get better, if it is it does not look like it is clearing up any time soon. 

There is the debate that taking away all guns will solve this problem. The other side that says that taking away the guns will not do anything. 

What Could Be Causing the Rise of Gun Violence?

Photo of downtown Chicago. Photo Credit: Kate Cortes

 People question what is the meaning of all this violence. They wonder why Chicago has high violence rates. Sheriff Goros said, “…then they have the gangs trying to sell their drugs in certain areas where now this other gang is operating in that area,” he said “next thing you know, gun violence goes up.”

He spoke further on the subject, “Most of the shootings that occur in Chicago, in the city’s limits, they’re all gang related, 80% of them,” he said. “Over turf…they don’t care, they have no value of life.”

Gang related incidents are directly contributing to the gun violence in Chicago. Shootings are not only harming and taking the lives of other gang members, but also innocent people caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time; some of those instances over drugs as well. 

Recently, with the increasing awareness of police brutality and abuse of power, he describes it being highly influenced by the opposition to the police. All this backlash is preventing them to actually do their job. According to Goros, all the extra regulations they have to go through to even do something as little as a stop, makes the policemen be hesitant to do so.

“A lot of policemen, not that they’re afraid of anything, these are noble people, men and women going to work, risking their lives everyday,” Goros said. “They don’t know when they’re going to come back to their families, but they know that if they step on somebody’s toes the wrong way…next thing you know the department is suspending them,” he explained. “Nobody wants to be the next YouTube sensation.” 

Mural of birds in Rogers Park. Photo Credit: Marcus Session

What’s Next for Rogers Park

“I don’t see it changing. It’s always been like this,” Tamayo said.

Tamayo’s feelings may represent the despair some residents of the neighborhood feel.

With more social peace groups, more police presence, and more community events that encourage a stop to violence, maybe the gun violence will decrease. This is not something that will happen overnight, but steps can be made little by little. Hopefully Rogers Park will be seen as one of Chicago’s safest neighborhoods in the years to come.

What Can Be Done About This?


Goros He wants to reinstate old regulations that actually helped the police take more possible threats off the streets. This all just stems from the frustration of the policemen having their hands tied in these situations with very little they can do to prevent the next shootout. However, it does not mean it will stop them from trying to attack this problem at all possible angles. 

 “There has to be some sort of systematic way to let the police do their jobs, in other words we need to stop more cars, we need to stop the gangbangers on the street,” he said. “Chicago used to have a thing called “Gang Loitering”…you’re on patrol and you see two or more known documented gangbangers…they can arrest them for being on the street with two or more [gangbangers].”

10 Public Colleges in Chicago

By Marcus Session

Chicago has many colleges and universities that are spread throughout the city. Loyola, Depaul, The University of Chicago and The University of Illinois at Chicago are the most known campuses by outsiders.

3 of the 4 mentioned colleges above are private instituions and cost a pretty penny to attend. The map below shows that there are other great colleges that aren’t known as well, but are public and certainly affordable. Many of these schools are the city’s community colleges.

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