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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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City clerk running for secretary of state got 2 contributions from trucking exec linked to government mole

Anna Valencia says she has no ‘personal connection to William Pacella or his company. . . . Given that Mr. Pacella has been a supporter of Democratic campaigns in the past, he was a part of our early donor outreach efforts.’

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Council member wants to deny valet license renewals to Chicago bars

"There is no reasonable explanation for issuing valet permits to serve taverns and nightclubs that have built a business model around bottle service and rounds of shots," said Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose goal is to prevent patrons of Chicago’s lively bar scene from driving home drunk.

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Deere & Co. workers in Moline go on strike after rejecting contract

The strike is the first major walkout at the agricultural machinery giant in more than three decades.

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Patrick Daley Thompson’s trial on hold

The case had been set to go to trial Monday, less than six months after a federal grand jury charged Thompson with filing false tax returns and lying to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. But late Tuesday, prosecutors filed an emergency motion to delay the trial over a medical issue.

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Virtual reality offers an unprecedented look at the universe (and you can take a peek)

Researchers have released open-source beta software that allows people to make virtual visits through the cosmos. Imagine it as a sort of Google Earth for the entire universe.

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Committee OKs revamp of Chicago plumbing code to expand use of PVC pipe, allow more gender-neutral restrooms

Aldermen also granted historical landmark designation to the Muddy Waters house, 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. The two-flat was built in 1891 and served as the home of the blues legend from 1954 to 1973.

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FDA authorizes first e-cigarettes, cites benefit for smokers

The Food and Drug Administration said data submitted by the company showed its Vuse e-cigarettes helped smokers either quit or significantly reduce their use of cigarettes, the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

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Portillo’s files to raise $405 million in stock offering

The restaurant chain is offering new shareholders a 28% stake in a business that has grown despite the pandemic.

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Millennium Park gets food, beverage makeover; clout-heavy Park Grill will reopen with new name

City Hall picks Eleven North Hospitality as Millennium Park’s concessionaire, with renovations already underway at the 140-seat restaurant behind the skating rink.

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Fifth Third investing up to $20 million in South Chicago neighborhood

The goals are to revitalize the small business sector and increase the availability of affordable housing.

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Hundreds more Southwest Airlines flights canceled Monday after weekend disruptions

The Dallas-based airline blamed air traffic control issues and bad weather for weekend "operational challenges" that resulted in 1,900 canceled flights on Saturday and Sunday.

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Need to tune your guitar? Now, you can just Google that

Google Search’s new feature lets anyone with a phone or computer tune a guitar by typing in ‘Google tuner.’

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Small businesses face dealing with ever-changing COVID-19 reality

Their owners navigate how to strike a balance between staying safe and getting back to being fully open amid the Delta surge, changes in guidelines, financial strains.

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State gets 2 bids to buy the James R. Thompson Center; here’s what’s next

Two potential buyers have submitted plans to acquire the Helmut Jahn-designed building that preservationists have pushed to save from demolition.

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Private firms’ search for property records helped Chicago’s post-fire recovery

With official records lost, local companies saved documents that proved crucial as the city rebuilt.

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President Biden in Elk Grove Village boosts business vaccine requirements, takes poke at Fox News

In a suburban Chicago speech pushing businesses to mandate COVID vaccines or weekly tests, Biden said, in a stage whisper, "Fox News requires vaccinations for all employees. Give me a break. Fox News."

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Pfizer asks FDA to approve COVID shots for kids 5 to 11 years old

If approved, kids in that age range could begin getting shots in weeks. One change: Pfizer says its research shows the younger kids should get just one-third of the dose now given to everyone else.

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Biden pushes to end ban on negotiating Medicare drug prices; Big Pharma pushes back

Undoing the ban is the linchpin of President Joe Biden’s healthcare agenda. It would mean lower costs, with savings put into things such as dental coverage for retirees.

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Chicago card game will punish trivia also-rans with a mean shot of Malört

Just one game of Chicago Handshake is enough to get you "a little toasty," one of its creators says. The loser of each game has to down a tallboy beer and a dreaded shot of Jeppson’s Malört.

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Sox playoff tickets are still available, but it’ll cost you — unless you go to Houston

SeatGeek’s average price for a ticket for Game 3 sits at around $726 with the lowest price around $200 and the highest prices well over $1,100. Then you gotta add fees.

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Kentucky bourbon production skyrockets despite pandemic

Bluegrass State bourbon producers filled nearly 2.5 million barrels in 2020, setting a new production record.

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Ex-Facebook manager criticizes company, urges more oversight

Frances Haugen testified to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. She is accusing the company of being aware of apparent harm to some teens from Instagram and being dishonest in its public fight against hate and misinformation.

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City Council members rail about problem buildings and businesses who escape penalties: ‘Continuance after continuance’

Council members used Tuesday’s budget hearing to unload on Buildings Commissioner Matthew Beaudet, though he’s on their side. "We tell the judge, ‘This building is about ready to fall down on a neighbor.’ And [the judge says] ‘OK. Nine months continuance,’" Beaudet said.

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Emerald South, Comcast initiative to bring Wi-Fi across the South Side

The South Side Connectivity Collaborative will place 11 Comcast "Lift Zones" around the South Side to provide "high capacity" internet access in four neighborhoods within the next two months.

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Hedging his bets? Illinois’ richest person compares Chicago to Afghanistan, hints of moving firm’s headquarters 

Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin said he personally saw "25 bullet shots in the glass window of the retail space" in the building he lives in, adding that someone "tried to carjack the security detail" that sits outside his house.

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Africa’s Internet riches plundered by China broker, AP investigation finds

Millions of Internet addresses have been waylaid, some fraudulently, in part by insider machinations linked to a former top employee of the nonprofit that assigns Africa’s Internet addresses.

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Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp part of major outage

The outage affects nearly 7 billion users between the three platforms.

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$5M PepsiCo program to create job pathways for 3K young people on South, West Sides

Partnering with six Chicago organizations, PepsiCo on Monday launches its $5 million "PREP by PepsiCo | Stronger Together" initiative, seeking to create career pathways for 3,000 young people on the South and West Sides over the next five years.

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Chicago carpenters union adds 20,000 members under restructuring

The addition of members from a dissolved St. Louis union boosts Chicago’s total over 50,000, making it one of the largest regional unions in the nation.

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McDonald’s McRib sandwich returning nationwide Nov. 1

McDonald’s said the "internet boom and emergence of social media solidified the McRib’s icon status" and "hype around its annual return even gave birth to the phrase ‘McRib Season.’"

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Plastics prices up thanks to chemical shortages, oil near-doubling, and we all pay

For instance, the price of ethylene — arguably the world’s most important chemical, used in everything from food packaging to antifreeze to polyester — has surged 43%.

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City, Microsoft team up to bring digital skills training to over 300,000 Chicagoans

Mayor Lori Lightfoot met with Microsoft President Brad Smith to launch Accelerate Chicago, a program that provides free courses to Chicagoans looking to boost their job skills. Community leaders say bridging the digital divide is instrumental to improving underserved communities.