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February 14, 2010

Chicago Metra considers selling naming rights for train lines, stations

Chicago Metra considers selling naming rights for train lines, stations

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

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Ogilvie Transportation Center was previously named North Western Station, but no money exchanged hands during the renaming.
Image: DaveofCali.

Chicago’s Metra is currently considering the possibility of selling the naming rights to its train stations, rail lines, and even bridges to generate more revenue. 

The regional rail system for Chicago and its surrounding suburbs has been experiencing revenue shortfalls, along with other public transportation agencies such as the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace. They all rely on sales taxes and fares to fund their services, but the recent recession has reduced sales tax revenues, and unemployment has caused ridership to fall. Compared to 86.8 million trips in 2008, Metra reported that only 82.3 million trips were provided in 2009. As spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said, “We’re looking at any opportunity to increase non-fare revenue.”

A law approved by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich in 2008 granted free rides to all seniors regardless of income, adding to the decreasing fare revenues as well. State lawmakers are trying to restrict the free rides to low-income seniors; Metra has not yet commented on the issue, however. 

New designs put on the agency’s website last September has attracted more traffic, and Metra is considering selling advertising space online. In addition, advertising space could be sold on the outside of train cars as well. As for the naming rights to stations and routes, Metra plans to hire a consultant that would figure out the details of such a proposal. Spokesperson Meg Reihle did not know how much money Metra could gain from the sale or which organizations would be interested in buying. 

According to Ms. Reihle, public transit agencies in other cities have sold naming rights as well, such as the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in Cleveland and Long Island Rail Road in Long Island. TECO Energy sponsors a rail line in Tampa’s Hillsborough Area Regional Transit for US$1 million over ten years. 

Mars Station is named after Mars Incorporated, but Metra receives no money from the candy maker.
Image: Zol87.

Throughout its 26-year history, Metra has named several of its locomotives and renamed two stations: Ogilvie Transportation Center, which was previously named North Western Station, and Millennium Terminal, which was previously called Randolph Street. No transactions were made in renaming those two stations, however. There is also a Station named after the candy maker Mars, but that station was named before Metra took it over, and the company doesn’t pay Metra for any naming rights. 

Cquote1.svg I think the business community recognizes that transit is positive for their advertising benefit Cquote2.svg

—Executive Director Phil Pagano

Execuive Director Phil Pagano sees the proposal as a way for businesses to advertise themselves. “I think the business community recognizes that transit is positive for their advertising benefit,” said Mr. Pagano at a board meeting. In addition to businesses, hospitals located near the train stations could purchase naming rights as well. However, Mr. Pagano has also stated that “the agency would be selective about the type of businesses it partners with.”

Metra has said that it will be sensitive to the wishes of the communities near the stops, and town names will not be removed from station names. Rather, both the municipality and the sponsoring organization would share the naming rights, such as in renaming Naperville Station to “Naperville Boeing Station”. “I’m not sure whether [the old name] is first or second, but definitely it’s going to have to be there,” said Mr. Pagano.



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February 12, 2010

Wheaton Academy, Illinois boys basketball team plays Benet Academy, suffers first in-state loss

Wheaton Academy, Illinois boys basketball team plays Benet Academy, suffers first in-state loss

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Benet Academy Redwings 64 55 Wheaton Academy Warriors
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Logo of the Benet Academy Redwings
Image: Benet Academy.

The Benet Academy varsity boys basketball team defeated the Wheaton Academy Warriors 64–55 in a non-conference game Tuesday night, handing the host West Chicago, Illinois, United States school its first loss to a team from Illinois and second loss overall this season.

The gym was filled to standing-room-only capacity and Warriors fans donned white t-shirts specifically made for this event, saying “BEAT BENET” and claiming “There is only one Academy.” Sixteen Wheaton Academy fans wore their school uniforms during the game. Such a show of support ultimately did not lead the Warriors to victory, however, even with 6-foot, 9-inch The College of William & Mary-recruit Tim Rusthoven on their side.

Rusthoven was the focus of Benet’s defensive strategy. As the Redwings point guard Dave Sobolewski said, “We knew that we wouldn’t be able to take him out of the game with just a single guy. We had to take him out with our entire team, and we did a great job doing that.”

Wheaton Academy had a 19–15 lead at the end of the first quarter. Benet would never trail again for the rest of the game, however, with Sobolewski scoring ten points in the second quarter to give the Redwings a 37–32 lead at halftime. Benet eventually led by a huge margin of 56–41 with four minutes and 31 seconds left in the game. The Warriors managed to narrow that lead to 58–53 with 44.2 seconds left, but the Redwings successfully made eight of 12 free throws in the final one minute and five seconds.

Wheaton Academy coach Paul Ferguson commented, “They were very physical. They killed us on offensive rebounds…Benet played a real good game, they shot ball well and rebounded well.” Rusthoven had 21 points and seven rebounds, while Sobolewski also had 21 points but only five rebounds.

The Warriors, now with a record of 20–2, had won seven straight games before this one. “We knew it was a big game from their standpoint. They were 20–1 and hadn’t won by less than 12 points. We came in and took care of business,” said Sobolewski. Benet, with a record of 18–3, now has an eight-game winning streak as well.

The Redwings, still undefeated in conference, are now in contention for their first East Suburban Catholic Conference championship since the 1994–1995 season. Eddie Burns of the Naperville Sun attributes Benet’s success to its defensive strategy, which he says is “making life miserable for the opposition”. As of February 5, the Redwings had let their opponents score an average of 41 points. As forward Mike Runger said, “I think everyone on this team really values defense. Players on this team know that defense is what can get wins.”


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February 8, 2010

Illinois man charged in Facebook harassment case

Illinois man charged in Facebook harassment case

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Illinois
Other stories from Illinois
  • 9 April 2015: Plane crash in Illinois kills seven
  • 26 September 2014: Chicago air traffic facility evacuated for basement fire
  • 23 June 2014: Spelling error appears on Medill School of Journalism diplomas
  • 21 April 2014: Wikinews interviews Paúl M. Velazco about new yellow-shouldered bat species
  • 28 January 2014: Warhol’s photo legacy spread by university exhibits
…More articles here
Location of Illinois

A map showing the location of Illinois

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Illinois, see the Illinois Portal

A man from the Naperville, Illinois, United States area has been accused of allegedly threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend via messages posted on her Facebook account. 

Nineteen-year-old Christopher J. Bensfield was arrested Jan. 28 at his home in unincorporated DuPage County near the far west-central part of Naperville. He is being held on a $12,500 bond at the DuPage County Jail in Wheaton. He is scheduled to appear at the DuPage County Circuit Court on a felony charge of harassment via electronic communication. Police Sergeant Gregg Bell said the ex-girlfriend, a Naperville-resident, asked Bensfield to stop sending the messages many times before she submitted printed copies of the threatening messages to Naperville police.

Court records indicate Bensfield is already on probation after pleading guilty last September to possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested in August 2008 after disobeying a stop sign in Naperville. Police searched his car and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia. This was the third time Benfield had been arrested for having marijuana since April 2007, when drugs were found in his possession at Naperville Central High School. Last October, a judge issued a fine and required him to join the DuPage County Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program. He has also received five tickets within three months in 2008 for driving violations, including speeding, driving without insurance, transportation of an open alcohol container, and driving too fast for conditions.

Bensfield’s mother also has an order of protection against him. Ms. Bensfield stated that he asked her for money in late December; he then broke into her home in Naperville’s far southeast-side, punching holes in the walls and breaking various items before leaving. Christopher was arrested Dec. 29 and faced a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property. He “suffers from bipolar disorder and has not been taking his medication,” according to information the Naperville Daily Herald has received from Ms. Bensfield.



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