Blue Line upgrade, Saturday night Cubs games and the rest of the morning’s news

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1 Blue Line overhaul

Mayor Emanuel just announced a plan to spend $492 million on an upgrade to the CTA’s Blue Line. The overhaul would knock 10 minutes off the commute from downtown to O’Hare. [Sun-Times]

2 Saturday night lights

Saturday night baseball is coming to the North Side. A City Council committee approved a plan to let the Cubs play up to three games on Saturday nights, and 43 total night games, up from the previous limit of 30. The committee didn’t vote on a proposal to let the team sell booze in the outdoor plaza that will surround a renovated Wrigley Field but it did authorize up to four concerts per year. [Sun-Times]

3 Movie mogul’s gift to Chicago

George Lucas, the man who gave us Star Wars, Star Wars sequels, Star Wars action figures and Star Wars nerds to make fun of for 40 years, donated $25 million to After School Matters, a program that connects at-risk Chicago teens with the arts. Created by the late Maggie Daley and chaired by Lucas’ wife Mellody Hobson, the program will use most of the money to restore stipends to students that it cut off during the last recession. [Sun-Times]

4 Suburban flight

For proof that corporate America is abandoning suburban office parks and headed downtown, look no further than Chicago. The Wall Street Journal does that, using the likes of Motorola Mobility, United Continental and Hillshire Brands to illustrate a nationwide trend: big companies moving back to city centers to attract younger workers. [WSJ]

5 Two cheers for pension reform

The early reviews on Illinois’ pension-reform deal are in, and Wall Street likes what it sees. Two major bond-rating agencies made happy noises about the deal, though a change in their ratings wouldn’t come for a while. [Sun-Times]

6 Sustainable as hell

Chicago’s greenest office, and one of the most environmentally friendly in the country, might be the Natural Resources Defense Council’s new space in the Civic Opera Building. The suite is not only LEED Platinum certified (that’s really green), it’s one of only four offices anywhere to receive an even greener certification from the International Living Future Institute. Grid pokes around the super-sustainable space. [Grid]

7 Sox show some heart

The White Sox’s move to bring back beloved but aging slugger Paul Konerko shows that pro sports don’t have to be dominated by cold, calculating financial decisions. So writes Rick Morrissey in the wake of yesterday’s news. [Sun-Times]

8 Creativity pays at this place

Twenty-five years of hiring have taught John Robak a lot of things. The president of Chicago engineering firm Greeley and Hansen likes to hire the folks who get creative in the interview process, and who drop the business school interview techniques and just engage him in an honest conversation. He let Grid’s Matt Present in on his recruiting insights. [Grid]

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