Midwest Memo: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One day after his inauguration as Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel started trimming the city’s budget deficit.

Today, he is expected to announce $75 million in cuts. The savings would be realized by merging the city’s Fleet Management Department, which maintains city vehicles, with the General Services Department. It’s the first of several developments expected in the short term from the mayor’s office. Here, from the Chicago Sun Times, are six changes that may be coming soon to Chicago, ranging from longer school days to garbage collection.

After what he describes as years of neglect, WBEZ’s Jim DeRogatis is hopeful the city’s music scene will quickly land on Emanuel’s agenda. Among the encouraging indicators he sees are discussions of an Uptown music district and the possibility of creating a Chicago Music Office. That is a possibility raised in a report by Changing Gears reporter Dan Bobkoff last month in his examination of Midwest music.

Another challenge Emanuel will face early in his tenure: cleaning up the Chicago River. As President Obama pushes to revitalize the sewage-heavy waterway from the federal level, an environmental group has added it to its annual list of “America’s Most Endangered Rivers.” Pollution isn’t the only threat to the river — Asian carp are already using the river as a conduit to the Great Lakes. Ideastream reports today a lead scientist for the Nature Conservancy is using a high-tech tool called eDNA to find traces of the dreaded fish before a “full-fledged invasion.”

Other stories across the Midwest today:

Production of automobiles and parts stalled in April, dropping 8.9 percent, according to Bloomberg News.

Photo by Roberto Maxwell

Economists blamed a supply disruption from the Japanese tsunami and earthquake for the dip, and expected a quick rebound. Home builders continued their struggles, according to the same report, with new starts declining 11 percent from March.


They’ll find little relief in the greater Chicago area, where mortgage delinquencies bucked a national recovery trend, according to the Chicago Tribune.

More than 1,000 job-seekers applied for 110 openings at Suarez Corp. Industries in North Canton, Ohio. The manufacturing jobs will be at the former Hoover factory, which closed in 2007.

In a cautionary tale of warnings ignored, The Plain-Dealer today examines the effect of casino gambling throughout Ohio, including the regulatory environment and unintended byproducts of the 20,000 slot machines expected to proliferate in the state by next year.

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