July 23, 2009

News shorts 7/23

- THE PRESIDENT VISITS: President Obama is in town today, and the neighbors around Penny Pritzker's home - where a private fundraiser dinner is taking place tonight - are whining about the security preparations. In Hyde Park, the neighbors are much nicer - but the Secret Service is now saying that it won't pay the city back for more than $650,000's worth of police security. This is the second time that the city has poured a large amount of money into security for the President, only to get an IOU in return. (Last time, the Democratic National Committee took five months to pay the city back for the election night extravaganza in Grant Park.) This is Obama's third time back in Chicago since being sworn in as president; tickets to the Pritzker dinner went for a bargain $15,200 a piece.

- NEW UCMC ORGAN-TRANSPLANT PROGRAM: The University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) is partnering with NorthShore University HealthSystem to create a new organ-transplant program that will bring more patients to Hyde Park for transplant surgeries. The U of C's Pritzker School of Medicine established a formal academic affiliation with NorthShore - previously Evanston Northwestern Healthcare - last July, and the new transplant program is expected to put pressure on Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the city's largest transplant center.

- AA- RATING FOR UCMC REVENUE BONDS: The credit rating agency Fitch has assigned an AA- rating to the UCMC's "expected issuance of $225 million series 2009 revenue bonds." The revenue bonds of the University have an AA+ rating.

- COMMUNITY GROUP PROTESTS CLOSURES OF U OF C-AFFILIATED CLINICS: A new group called CHART (Coalition for Healthcare Access, Responsibility and Transparency) is taking on U of C administrators about the closure of University-affiliated clinics on the South Side. CHART held a protest outside the administration building on June 30 in response to the shuttering of a women's clinic on 47th Street; the group's demands can be found here. Apparently the protesters also staged a barbeque on President Zimmer's front lawn. We wrote about the problems with shutting down clinics in February.

- EPA GRANT AWARDED: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the University a $433,100 grant to study how allergic reactions are triggered by food. The study, which is part of the EPA's Science to Achieve Results program, will be done in conjunction with Northwestern.