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It’s been a long week with highs and lows as disparate as January temperatures around Chicago and Mild Sauce is here to round up some of the headlines that matter to you with some added context. In this edition of the News Catch Up, we take a look at a proposed talk with Steve Bannon at the University of Chicago, new developments going up in the West Loop and a proposed extension to the Red Line. Check it all out below and be sure to catch our morning show, The Three Piece on Mild Sauce Radio for more news and commentary, Saturday mornings at 11 AM CST.

Steve Bannon to Speak at University of Chicago

Over the last couple of years conversations revolving around who can and cannot speak on college campuses has once again made it’s way into the national audience. Following students at the University of California-Berkeley protesting the likes of controversial speakers like Milos Yiannopoulos, the University of Chicago has decided to allow former Breitbart News Editor and White House Chief Strategist under Trump.

The decision, announced this week, is an important one that puts U of Chicago on the right side of history in the new-age of “designer news” where folks can pick and choose what to believe and expose themselves to. The decision however did not come without opposition. protests popped up on campus Thursday and several professors signed a letter to President Robert Zimmer. U of C, though, appears to be standing strong amidst a climate that has seen even DePaul wilt in the face of over-eager censorship based on feelings rather than rationale.

In an Editorial, the Chicago Tribune summed it up perfectly: “If this involved practically any other college in America, we’d be concerned the administration might buckle under the protests, and concoct some reason to disinvite Bannon to preserve harmony. There’s a pattern in place, from Berkeley to DePaul and beyond, of universities squelching controversial speaker events, especially those involving people on the political right. It’s part of the larger cultural movement of trigger warnings and safe spaces that believes kids on campus have a right to be protected from ideas that offend them.

Thankfully, the U. of C. thinks differently.”

Indeed. While there’s little doubt that a man that first associated himself with, and the was summarily fired by Donald Trump will say anything substantive, he does deserve the right to speak if given the opportunity. While colleges across the country participate in the undermining of the first amendment and journalism ethics in general, University of Chicago is standing as a beacon of how to handle these situations in a mature manner.

More High-Rises Slated for West Loop

The boom in the West Loop doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. This week, plans were announced for yet another set of high-rises in the quickly-developing area just left of the Loop. Developer Sterling Bay showed off plans for four new buildings that will essentially look to gut whatever sense of the neighborhood still exists and lean full-heartedly into Rahm Emanuel’s Tech hard-on, glossing the area in more glass and quick-pour concrete as local developers tug at the pants-leg of Amazon.

The plans are expansive to say the least. Extending north along Green Street from Randolph. Included in the plans are 19 and 20-story buildings on either side of Green St. where Coyne College currently stands. It and the parking lot across the street were purchased for $25 million last year. Included as well are proposals for a seven-story mixed-use building at 345 N. Morgan and a 21-story office building at 360 N Green, the latter the first new development north of the Metra tracks.

It’s apparent that the deep-pocketed developers that have long dictated the migration of Chicagoans are once again hedging their bets, this time for the possibility of Amazon choosing the Fulton Market corridor for it’s HQ2 headquarters. Despite the fact that may be a long-shot and the other persistent reality of Chicago losing more population than the rest of the country every year, lets keep our fingers crossed these get done before the bubble pops. Head over to Curbed for a more in-depth look at the project and our recurring feature, Cranes In The Sky.

CTA OK’s First L Extension Since 1993

An area of the city long-considered a “transit-desert” by activists may be getting some relief, as the Chicago Transit Authority announced plans for a $2.3 billion extension of the Red Line south to 130th St. The project, if approved for funding, would be the first extension of any ‘L’ since opening the Orange Line in 1993.

The extension follows a redevelopment of much of the south side Red Line stations which took place in 2012 and will bring transportation options to a large swath of neighborhoods that are largely without any. The 5.3-mile extension would include four new stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue near 115th Street, and 130th Street with parking and bus connections that would extend as far south as suburban Riverdale.

According to the Tribune, “The CTA will hold an open house on Feb. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy gymnasium to present the alignment to residents. The agency then must publish a final environmental impact study to include further analysis of the path and some preliminary engineering work.”

If all goes according to plan, the earliest date to break ground is 2020 with at least four years needed to finish the construction.

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