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Business news, from Chicago’s largest corporations to local small businesses, including consumer watchdog reports and updates from industries like technology and retail.

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Merchandise Mart owner plans residential tower nearby, city council member says

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has told constituents Vornado Realty Trust has a plan to build at the southwest corner of Kinzie and Canal streets.

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City Hall wrongly OK’d Pilsen tavern The Giant Penny Whistle’s liquor license, inspector general finds

In a new report, it says the Lightfoot administration and former Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner had no legal authority to agree to license the bar without lifting a 1995 moratorium.

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Projects with Madigan ties went to the front of the line for massive Rebuild Illinois initiative

The $45 billion statewide capital plan includes nearly $4 billion in projects added by a handful of the state’s most powerful politicians, including the former House speaker.

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State launches next phase of I-80 corridor construction in Joliet: ‘A game changer for this community’

The state investment in the $200 million public-private partnership is $32 million, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. CenterPoint Properties, an inland port, is investing up to $170 million to build a new toll bridge on Houbolt Road over the Des Plaines River.

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City Council committee moves — again — to dry up market for stolen cell phones

The ordinance boosts fines and penalties for secondhand dealers, pawnbrokers and bogus phone repair shops that buy and sell stolen cell phones. The maximum penalty would rise to $10,000 for each illegal sale, up from $2,000.

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Bronzeville business owner said it’s taken creativity and a state grant to survive the pandemic

Trez V. Pugh III is the founder and CEO of Sip and Savor.

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Don’t be afraid, it’s just public radio

Sun-Times, WBEZ merger a reason to hope.

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Sun-Times sale called a ‘marriage with a dowry’

The Sun-Times combination with WBEZ includes pledges of cash from foundations and a key backer of the deal.

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Microsoft’s Activision buy could shake up video gaming, but is it good for gamers?

For the average person playing Candy Crush or Call of Duty, ‘There will probably be no changes at all,’ one analyst says. But it could be good news for game development.

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Reilly settles for watered-down crackdown on pedicabs

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) had proposed banning pedicabs altogether from the River North entertainment district after 6 p.m. and prohibiting pedicabs from using amplified sound. On Wednesday, Reilly settled for a whole lot less.

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Florida orange production is on pace for state’s smallest crop in 77 years. Blame citrus diseases.

If the latest USDA estimate holds true, Florida would produce its fewest number of oranges since 1944-1945, and California would surpass it for the first time in recent years.

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Allstate buys downtown building for possible headquarters

The insurance company, which is selling its property in Northbrook, is acquiring the 10-story building at 29 N. Wacker Drive.

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As Colorado coal plant shuts down, a town dependent on coal for jobs grapples with a bleak-looking future

Craig, Colo., is losing its coal plant, and people who live in the town in northwest Colorado fear this is the beginning of the end for their community.

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Board of WBEZ parent company approves acquisition of Sun-Times

The noncash transfer will not be final until contracts are approved, but both media organizations said they hope to close on the deal by the end of the month.

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City delays decision on Southeast Side metal shredder permit

An assessment of the public health impact of rebranded General Iron operation has been slowed by COVID-related delays, the city said Tuesday.

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Failing at football, Bears face a bigger test with a stadium

The pressure is building on a franchise that underperforms financially in one of the NFL’s top markets.

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Patrick Daley Thompson can show jurors his amended tax returns, judge rules

U.S. District Judge Franklin Valderrama made the ruling at a hearing Friday, where it appeared Thompson’s trial is on track to begin Feb. 4.

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Martin Shkreli ordered to return $64M, is barred from drug industry

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote’s ruling came several weeks after a seven-day bench trial in December. The Federal Trade Commission and seven states brought the case in 2020 against the man dubbed "Pharma Bro" in the media.

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Chicago stores exploit legal loophole to sell THC-O, a ‘psychedelic’ 3 times stronger than weed

Military scientists once investigated the compound as a potential nonlethal incapacitating agent. Now, a hemp-derived version is touted for its powerful, mind-bending effects.

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Henry Meinke, third generation to run Meinke Garden Center, Niles’ oldest business, dead at 94

He was the third of his name to carry on the family business founded by his grandfather, still located on Touhy Avenue in the same 10-acre site where he once farmed.

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For Chicago’s frustrated restaurant workers, life will never be the same

Three longtime food industry employees try new paths after months of anxiety, stress and periods of joblessness. They’re hoping the shifts pay off.

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Chicago business groups welcome Supreme Court decision to halt Biden’s vaccine mandate although some will still require shots

But the court upheld the administration’s mandate for health care workers.

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Ida B. Wells’ latest honor: a Barbie doll

The doll is set to hit stores Monday. According to Barbie’s Twitter account, it is part of Mattel’s Inspiring Women series, intended to highlight "heroes who inspire us to dream big."

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Employees at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago join union

The workers’ decision follows a similar vote for unionization by the workers at the museum.

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Bridgeport bank president had worker falsely make it look like Patrick Daley Thompson made loan payments: plea

That worker, Alicia Mandujano, has become the first person to plead guilty as a result of the massive investigation that has swirled for years since the failure of Washington Federal Bank for Savings and the death of its president, John Gembara, both in 2017.

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RCN Chicago changes to Astound Broadband

One of Chicago’s largest providers of internet, TV and phone service is getting a new name.

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Consumer prices soared 7% in past year, most since 1982

Inflation has spiked during the recovery from the pandemic recession as Americans have ramped up spending on goods such as cars, furniture and appliances.

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Art Institute workers vote to unionize

The workers have chosen to affiliate with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Results of a separate union vote by workers at the museum’s school are to be announced Wednesday.

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Law requiring written contracts for domestic workers kicks in

Now that a new city ordinance has taken effect, the new challenge is spreading the word and helping workers overcome fear, members of Arise Chicago, a workers’ rights group, said Tuesday.

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Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities gets a $1.15 billion infusion

Sequoia Capital and Paradigm get minority stakes in the market maker in a deal that could push the Chicago billionaire toward cryptocurrency investments.

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South Side church looks to develop hub for Black life

Rev. Byron Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God, and his son, J. Byron Brazier, have laid out a $600 million plan for the Woodlawn neighborhood.

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Some businesses on South, West sides see drop in customers since city’s vaccination mandate

One Little Village restaurant saw business drop by 50% in the first days of Chicago’s vaccination mandate while a Lawndale fitness center says clients have inquired about canceling memberships.

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Unions look for momentum as more workers get fed up

Labor organizing efforts pick up in some sectors, but some workers prefer to go it alone when presenting demands to the boss.

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Biden’s workplace vaccine rule faces Supreme Court skeptics

The arguments come at a time of spiking coronavirus cases because of the Omicron variant, and the decision Friday by seven justices to wear masks for the first time while hearing arguments reflected the new phase of the pandemic.