A man suffering from schizophrenia gouged out one of his own eyes while detained in southern California for a parole violation, and attempted to gouge out the other after he was transferred to Cook County Jail. He's been outfitted with a hockey mask and mittens to prevent further self-harm while in custody.
Two guns were found on CTA buses yesterday. One was discovered by the driver as he broke up a fight; at least one of the young men involved was arrested. In a separate incident, a passenger found a small gun left on a seat, and accidentally shot another passenger in the leg.
Four years after beating Stacy Jurich and Natasha McShane with a bat and one year after pleading guilty, Heriberto Viramontes was sentenced to 90 years in prison, and must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole.
Buzzfeed thinks you probably don't know these 50 things about Chicago, including spray paint was invented here in 1949, Western Avenue is the longest continuous street in the world, and the first automobile race in the U.S. was held here in 1895.
One of the men convicted in the Brown's Chicken Massacre case just won a civil rights lawsuit against the state. James Degorski was awarded $451,000 in compensation for a beating he received from a Cook County Sheriff's deputy as he entered prison to serve his life sentence.
A 21-year-old man is facing charges for a methamphetamine lab for the second time in less than one year, but that's not the best part. The suspect appears in his booking photo wearing a Los Pollos Hermanos t-shirt, representing the fictional fast-food chain created on the television show "Breaking Bad."
A 13-year-old boy was arrested and charged with a felony for allegedly throwing a snowball at a police officer on Wednesday. The unnamed boy claims the snowball hit the vehicle, not the officer, but the eighth-grader is still facing juvenile court and a five day school suspension.
Doctors in the University of Illinois Hospitals' Chicago surgical department is under scrutiny after endorsing a surgical robot in a NYTimes advertisement. Some of the doctors failed to report compensation from the company running the ad, violating U of I's code of ethics.
The Chicago police released the official tally for the number of shootings in the city last weekend: zero. (For the record, the Chicago police do not typically include self-inflicted gunshot victims in their count.)
Mysterious vibrations are rattling many Hyde Park residents who want to know what's causing them, with theories ranging from pipes, to construction, to secret experiments conducted by the University of Chicago underground.
With the trial of the NATO 3 set to begin next week, prosecutors dropped four of the 11 counts against them, although they still face terrorism-related charges for allegedly planning attacks during the 2012 NATO Summit.
If your street is still covered in snow, you're not alone. According to the Sun-Times, city aldermen have been receiving hundreds of side-street snow removal complaints this week. Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams said he's limiting salt use to manage the city's supply.
Two former Chicago cops were caught boasting on a tape about plans to mutilate a kidnapping victim's genitals. Moments before their kidnapping attempt, the two were arrested. Last year one of them was also accused of planning to extort and murder a local strip club owner.
Chicago's Department of Transportation often lagged behind goals for repairing potholes and responding to 311 requests, while also keeping inaccurate records to make their performance seem better, according an audit by the Office of Inspector General.
Chicago's top trending searches of the year were "Paul Walker" and "Blackhawks" according to Google. When it came to Chicagoans asking "what is" and "how to," both "What is twerking" and "How to twerk" were the most popular.
Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields is alleging that at least two arbitrated police contracts were "fixed." On the other hand, some in the police community don't believe Shields is so trustworthy himself.
The family and widow of Urooj Khan, who was poisoned last year right after winning the lottery, have reached a settlement to split his estate. Part of the agreement is that neither side may sue the other for wrongful death unless new evidence as to who did it comes forward.
As Chicagoist noted, "maybe these incidents are happening because people aren't getting the quality mental health care they need." Artist Justin Younger took the incident as inspiration for a new painting.
Followers of Felines & Canines have no doubt been moved by the shelter's loving crusade to help abandoned dog, Willow, who recently was found near death in an alley. The brave pooch is slowly improving, thanks to generous donations (not fake ones), but they could use some more donations and advocates of their "Say Something" campaign to aid neglected animals.
A cyclist who was riding a rented tandem bike when he was doored and then hit by a car is receiving a $700,000 settlement, including $350,000 from the rental company for not providing him with a helmet or training on safe riding.
A group of Marines heading home from Afghanistan received a hero's welcome as they headed through O'Hare to their connecting flight, on which seven First Class passengers vacated their seats so the soldiers could take them.
Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. began his time in prison on Tuesday, but his efforts to gain publicity in the process are probably not the best idea, say experts who advise keeping a low profile instead.
A viral video of pranksters sneaking into a restaurant after-hours to cook pizzas for the homeless didn't take place in Chicago (as some media are misreporting), but we'll take some credit since the pies were baked at a Chicago-style eatery in Columbus, OH.
Forbes profiles two former payday loan company owners who are now buying up thousands of South Side apartments, applauding their redevelopment work as succeeding where government failed, despite the company's lack of civic values.
Two UC professors have been awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for their work in asset prices (I don't know what that is, either). Fun fact: one of these awardees is known as the "Father of Modern Finance."
Police say the men suspected of firing indiscriminately into Cornell Square Park and injuring 13 people last week were retaliating for a shooting earlier in the day where one of them was grazed in the leg by a bullet.
A Mississippi newspaper has published the full list of this year's MacArthur Genius Grant recipients a few hours ahead of the requested press time (whoops!). Among them is Steppenwolf ensemble member and playwright Tarell McCraney.
Eddie Carranza, embattled owner of the Congress and Portage theaters, has left tenants without heat or hot water after not paying gas bill the Portage theater complex. His response? "I don't know why it is such a big deal. The bigger deal is how I'm improving that shitty neighborhood."
United Airlines' online ticketing system was letting customers book free flights yesterday afternoon, due to an error on the part of some employee who is no doubt now fired. United says it hasn't decided yet whether to honor the free flights.
Former Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman is back in North Korea, saying his visit is not a diplomatic mission, but rather a chance to hang out with ruler Kim Jong Un and "start a basketball league over there or something like that."
The young man accused of trying to blow up Cal's Liquors last year has been further charged with attempting to order a hit on an FBI agent scheduled to testify against him. In both cases, the people he contacted about the dirty work were undercover FBI agents.
A group of photography students from After School Matters who were setting up an exhibit of their work in the former Charlie Trotter's space last night were abruptly kicked out by Trotter himself; the chef, who is an ASM board member, ordered his guests to clean his toilets, used gay slurs and obscenities, told them to get "Charlie Trotter tattoos," and then refused to let the kids back in to get their work and other items. A WGN reporter had a bizarre confrontation with Trotter on camera, who mumbled "Should I do an Alec Baldwin?" as he walked off.
The first discovery of a new carnivorous mammal in 35 years was spurred by a visit to the Field Museum's archives by a Smithsonian curator. The olinguito had been confused with the olingo, an unrelated but somewhat similar animal from South America, for nearly 100 years.
A full-frontal gay strip night has launched on Monday nights in a Harvey strip club, where it's legal for full nudity and liquor to be in the same room. But time will tell if the boys from Northalsted are willing to go that far south on Halsted, even with a shuttle.
I think we're all lucky to know someone who inspires us. But just in case you are looking for more inspiration, Leah Pickett shares brief stories of 11 Chicago women who are doing amazing things to make our city better. But each woman has more than one inspiring story, far more.
DNAinfo mapped where tickets for marijuana possession have been written in the seven months since having less than 15g of pot became a ticketable offense. Interestingly, Portage Park had twice as many tickets as the second worst community area.
Metra Board Chairman Brad O'Halloran is stepping down amidst a continuing scandal surrounding the departure of CEO Alex Clifford, who wrote in a memo that O'Halloran and another board member were plotting to force him out because he refused to make political hires and did not get rid of employees that O'Halloran told him to fire.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing medicinal marijuana in Illinois, placing strict restrictions on its use and making it available to patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and other ailments.
A server at Pequod's Pizza received a $500 tip on a $45 bill from the family of a man who died last year, whose last wish was "Leave an awesome tip (and I don't mean 25 percent. I mean $500 on a fucking pizza) for a waiter or waitress."
Don't forget, the Blackhawks parade and rally are this morning beginning at 10:30, and roads are blocked off all along the route, so some buses are re-routed and there are extra security measures. Oh, and there's a Jimmy Buffet concert at Northerly Island tonight, so traffic on Lake Shore Drive will be gummed up later, too. You might as well not go to work.
A business owner who has a lucrative VA disability rating based on a twisted ankle he received in a military school football game nearly 30 years ago got shamed in a hard way in Congress yesterday by double amputee, veteran and Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth.
Lakeview-based Cubby Tees created a "Chicago Stronger" shirt to show support of the Blackhawks during the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins. The shirt has been pulled after the company received what they're calling a "Twitter-lynching." The shirt is a play on the "Boston Strong" slogan created after the Boston Marathon bombings.
After reviewing unremarkable surveillance camera footage and having no luck finding witnesses, police are now skeptical that a group of kids robbed a woman of $200k in money and jewelry earlier this week on Michigan Avenue.
The Tribune has an eye-witness report from a Chicago runner in the Boston Marathon, who had finished and was watching runners near the finish line. Expect more of a police presence around Metra stations and other key locations around Chicago tonight. Our thoughts go to Boston and those affected by the bombings.
An ex-Chicago cop stands accused of planning to extort and murder a local businessman and other offenses -- in addition to to the charges that he and an accomplice were planning to kidnap and dismember a different victim. And that's just the most recent stuff on his rap sheet.
The fire department's fleet of ambulances is in poor shape, the BGA reports. At least one has lost a wheel while carrying a patient. The City is in the process of buying 25 new vehicles, but in the meantime the entire fleet is at or near 100,000 miles.
Several more teenagers were shot over the weekend. Eighteen-year-old Janay McFarlane a new mom whose sister was in the audience for Obama's speech on gun violence, was killed in North Chicago on Friday; Frances Colon was also killed on Friday, the third Clemente High School student to die this year.
Federal charges were filed today against former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson. Jesse was charged with conspiracy, making false statements, mail and wire fraud in connection with diverting $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use, while Sandi was charged with filing a false tax return. Don't miss the expenses list after the jump, which includes a lot of Michael Jackson memorabilia and even a mink cape.
Poynter reports that EveryBlock, which abruptly closed late last week, has attracted interest from potential new owners. EveryBlock founder Adrian Holovaty is not impressed with how owner NBC News handled the closing, stating that the site is now "damaged goods."
Governor Quinn's State of the State speech went as planned today, in which he called for actually dealing with the state's fiscal woes, increasing the minimum wage, legalizing same-sex marriage and controlling guns. Read more from the Trib, Sun-Times, WBEZ and Chicago Business, or read it yourself.
An $11,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person shot Hadiya Pendleton, whose death Tuesday, a week after she performed at the Presidential Inauguration, brought focus in DC and beyond on Chicago's soaring murder rate.
The Great Clips at Webster and Sheffield in Lincoln Park was robbed at gunpoint around 9:40 this morning. Police are investigating whether the robbery is connected to others that have occurred in the past month at hair salons in the area.
CBS2 Chicago reports that Ald. Willie Cochran has suggested using GPS devices on all guns. "Just like if your car gets stolen, OnStar can tell you where your car is. If your gun gets stolen, and you report it, we should be able to find that gun."
Customs officials at O'Hare held up 18 human heads destined for an area medical research facility. Apparently the heads are all fine and properly documented, but the facility is under investigation on unrelated matters. UPDATE: Apparently the heads weren't headed to a research facility at all -- they were going to a crematorium.
The City will pay $22.5 million to Christina Eilman, who was picked up by the police during a bi-polar breakdown at Midway, held overnight and then dropped off in a high-crime neighborhood, where she was kidnapped, raped and fell from the seventh story of a public housing high-rise. The settlement is the largest to a single plaintiff in Chicago history.
Over at WBEZ, Louisa Chu reminds us that German Kinder Uberraschung chocolate eggs are still illegal and heavily fined in the US, no matter what those pushers at Christkindlmarket might tell you. Achtung!
Two suspected bank robbers escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center this morning. Jose Banks and Kenneth Conley apparently knocked cinder blocks out of their cell wall and used a makeshift rope to climb out.
Yes, therapy dogs. A group of Chicagoland-raised golden retrievers made the trip to Newtown, Connecticut this weekend to comfort those affected by the shooting. The group started in 2008, following the NIU shooting, when a group of dog caretakers hoped to console the student body.
The Cook County Sheriff's office figured out a way to submit samples from John Wayne Gacy and other murderers to the FBI's DNA database -- by listing the executed men as homicides. The samples will be checked against the database to see if potential new victims turn up.
Eighth District State Rep. La Shawn Ford was indicted Thursday on federal bank fraud charges in connection with a line of credit he took out with failed ShoreBank. Rep. Ford denied the charges, saying, "There is no bank fraud in my blood."
If you're smuggling $7 million of pot inside frozen strawberries, and you tell police that your cargo is frozen fruit, they'll probably -- and understandably -- get suspicious if 1) your truck isn't refrigerated and 2) your destination is a residential driveway.
Alex "Cowboy" Campbell was sentenced to life in prison for running a sex-trafficking operation. Campbell forced his women, who were illegal immigrants from eastern Europe, to get tattoos of his initials or even worse.
The "Englewood Four," who spent 12-17 years in jail after being wrongfully convicted of the 1994 rape and murder of Nina Glover, have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Cook County prosecutors and police framed them for the crime. Harold Richardson, Michael Saunders, Terrill Swift and Vincent Thames were exonerated earlier this year.
The parking meter deal can't be nullified because the city is benefiting from it, a judge ruled in a lawsuit. Despite Mayor Emanuel's bluster about the deal, City attorneys sided with Chicago Parking Meters LLC in the case.
Cook County has approved a $2.95 billion budget that will increase taxes on guns, cigarettes, large out-of-country purchases, slot machines and video gambling terminals. The taxes, which includes a $1-per-pack increase, will go into effect next year.
Andre Curry, the man who used painter's tape to bind his 22-month-old daughter for a joke photo he posted on Facebook, was convicted yesterday of aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery, and faces up to seven years in prison.
In 2009, Jennifer Fitzgerald's ex-boyfriend abandoned his run-down old car in United's employee lot at O'Hare, where he worked. Unfortunately, the car's title was in Fitzgerald's name, so she got stuck with more than $100,000 in tickets the car racked up since then.
Hurricane Sandy's effects are being felt throughout the Great Lakes as high winds kick up waves as tall as 33 feet. A flood warning has been issued for the lake shore from 1am tonight through 4pm Wednesday. Meanwhile, more than 500 flights have already been canceled at Midway and O'Hare. Whet Moser passes along a couple ways to see Sandy's effects on local weather.
CAPS is unfunded in the 2013 City budget, the Reader reports. CAPS meetings will supposedly continue, but police superintendent Garry McCarthy says he wants each district commander to decide how the program is handled in their district.
Some activists will patrol Chicago neighborhoods on Halloween in hopes of protecting trick-or-treaters from egg-throwers. The messy and cruel act has become a recent trend among kids and teens, who like to record and post videos of them pelting the innocent, costumed children with eggs.
MTV has settled with Tonya Cooley, a "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" contestant (and "Real World: Chicago" alum) who sued the network last year for not intervening as two of Cooley's castmates sexually assaulted her on camera. MTV claims that Cooley "failed to avoid the injuries of which she complains."
Last week, the Sun-Times announced that Jenny McCarthy was coming on board as a print columnist and blogger for Splash magazine to give Chicagoans advice in her "Ask Jenny" column. Apparently, a few had something to say about it.
The "rooftop pastor" Corey Brooks is back from his walk across the country to raise money for Project Hood. He only raised $500,000 of his hoped-for $15 million, but says he's not giving up on that goal.
In honor of Chicago Ideas Week, the city turned to Twitter to ask users their opinion about the best way to get guns off of the streets. They received over 300,000 responses, varying from stricter parenting to looser gun control.
According to the Sun-Times, there have been two more cougar sightings in the North Shore. And not the Courteney Cox kind, but actual mountain lions. Residents are asked to take photos if they spot one.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy's recent report, How America Gives, breaks down charitable giving by state, metropolitan area and by zip code. Illinois ranks 29, and the Chicago metropolitan area comes in at 227 out 366 areas. Local donors give 4.2% of income, a median amount of $2,296. If you want to know how your ZIP code fares, take a look.
The wild and crazy Drew Peterson case moves briefly out of court today as the jury found him guilty of the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. I say briefly, because you can bet there will be an appeal.
More than 150 people have died this summer due to gun violence. The Complex City-Guide shares just a few facts about each teenager who died this summer in Chicago. This R.I.P Guide shares a few images and basic facts about each life we've lost. Listening to this great piece by Natalie Moore of WBEZ provides an interesting context for reading the names and descriptions of the shootings.
As of yesterday, Illinois' credit rating has been downgraded by S&P in response to the state's failure to fix the pension system. Only California has a lower credit rating, but without the (apparently) ominous "negative outlook."
Shauna Prewitt was raped while attending U of C; she became pregnant with her attacker's daughter, and later she successfully battled him in court for custody. Now a Chicago-based attorney, she wrote about the legal difficulties of women who become pregnant through rape, and penned an open letter to Rep. Todd Akin's recent comments on "legitimate rape."
That's the title of a book returned to the Chicago Public Library returned this week that's been checked out since 1975. The lendee found it while cleaning his Naperville home, and returned it during the CPL's amnesty period, so he got away with it scott free.
Three guests at the JW Marriott Hotel at Adams and LaSalle have contracted Legionnaires' Disease in the past month. The hotel has notified 8,500 guests who've stayed in the hotel to watch for symptoms.
The new marijuana ticketing law netted 11 people in its first weekend. The process is long: the alleged weed has to be taken to a police station to be verified, and there's plenty of paperwork; ultimately offenders receive tickets of $250 to $500.
Donald Liu, a pediatric surgeon at Comer Children's Hospital, drowned this past weekend in Michigan while successfully saving two small children who were struggling to stay afloat in Lake Michigan. Many grateful parents have flooded the comments section with touching messages--take a look.
A tactical officer with the Chicago Police Department has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy -- a fancy way of saying that he made a lot of money by stealing drugs and cash from one gang and giving them to another.
William Balfour was sentenced today to three consecutive life sentences plus 120 years for the murder of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. Judge Charles Burns told him his "soul is as barren as dark space."
Ashley Pruneau, a cook at Mana Food Bar, was attacked in her home on July 1 by a man who broke in and beat her with a hammer that she'd reached for in self-defense. She's undergone one surgery, will need at least one more, and is recovering with family in Ohio. Coworkers have set up a fund to help defray medical costs.
The police aren't the only ones paying out millions a year in disability, the Sun-Times reports. The Chicago Fire Department pay more than $27 million to 390 firemen and paramedics, although the rules are different.
A 16-year-old has been arrested for murder after posting a video on Facebook of himself beating 62-year-old Delfino Mora to death in an alley off Devon Avenue over the weekend. Two other teens have also been charged in the case.
Twelve CPS administrators were removed from their jobs after the city's Inspector General discovered they falsified paperwork in order for their own children to qualify for free or reduced cost lunches at their schools. It gets worse: the city found 55 more CPS employees in the last four years who have also lied on their paperwork for the lunch program.
A 16-year-old died after falling inside the vacant Ravenswood Hospital, which he was exploring with to friends Monday. GB staffer Monica Reida compiled a list of Chicago hospitals that have closed in the past 12 years.
The gun buy-back program the City ran last month netted 5,500 guns -- but some of them came from pro-gun group Guns Save Life, who turned in "junk" guns and received $6,240 in gift cards, which they used to pay for an NRA shooting camp for kids.
As in, he hasn't quite endorsed marijuana decriminalization, but has put his support behind an ordinance that calls for ticketing for possession of 15g or less, rather than a mandatory trip to the police station.
UC professor Luigi Zingales penned an op-ed in today's NYT that proposes that to lessen the student loan crisis, investors finance college expenses in exchange for a portion of the students' post-grad earnings.
Charlie Trotter's been sued for failing to show up for a private dinner. The former Microsoft executive who won the dinner at a charity auction 11 years ago also won the judgement against Trotter -- but lost sight of the bigger picture, which was that the dinner was for, you know, charity.
US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced today that he will step down at the end of June. He said he'll take the summer off to consider future career plans ...which sounds to the folks here in the office like he's headed to the private sector. The Trib runs down highlights from his 10 and a half years.
This collection of live streaming video sources is a good place to start if you want to check out the NATO protests and events- without actually going outside. SUNDAY UPDATE: Two standouts for today's demonstration include the Occupie Chicago stream from inside the crowd and the WGN camera from above.
Students in various CPS high schools have been preparing for the influx of European heads of state by learning national anthems, history and, for a lucky few, even taking a trip to the EU. Including young people in the summit activities brought out messages of understanding, tolerance and optimism. Important concepts for young students that hopefully won't be lost on the power-holders occupying McCormick Place next week.
When the Onion published a faux story last week about an archaeologist named Brian Bauer who narrowly avoids deadly fate a Peruvian temple, no one apparently realized that there is a real-life Incan researcher and archaeologist named Brian Bauer; he's a faculty member at UIC.
Marilyn has had her final days in Chicago and is being shipped to Palm Springs where she will stand until June 2013. Sorry Marilyn, maybe the Windy City was just too windy for that dress. Interesting dismantle to say the least.
Yesterday the right-wing Heartland Institute launched a new anti-climate science campaign with a billboard on the Eisenhower. It included a photograph of the "Unabomber" with the words "I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?" The organization planned to add Charles Manson and Fidel Castro with a similar message but promptly cancelled the advertisement after acknowledging that "our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland's friends and supporters." Still they "do not apologize for running the ad."
Adam "MCA" Yauch has passed away after a battle with cancer. Yauch was diagnosed in 2009 after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland. He sat out Beastie Boys induction into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April while undergoing treatment. He is survived by his wife and daughter. Adam Yauch was 47.
Here are a few videos from the Beasties' visits to Chicago, featuring both MCA's lyrical prowess and musical skills:
The Mayor's going digital tonight for the third time in a Facebook town hall meeting. Topics up for discussion include food trucks and education reform amongst other questions submitted earlier on askchicago.org. The hour-long event starts at 6 pm at Facebook.com/chicagomayorsoffice.
Fortunately not, but a Delta flight from Detroit was quarantined at Midway Thursday evening after concerns that a passenger with a rash might have contracted monkeypox while visiting Uganda. The CDC checked the woman out and gave the all-clear after two hours, so you're totally safe.
Hero: Lincoln Square resident Ron Psenka, who in bare feet chased a man who had sexually assaulted a woman in the alley behind his home. Horror: a 2-year-old girl died after being beaten, scratched and bitten, allegedly by the man who was babysitting her while her mother was at work.
As jury selection nears completion, the judge presiding over the trial of William Balfour, accused of murdering Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew, is requiring journalists to list both work and personal social media accounts on their credentials application in order to maintain media decorum. At least one reporter seems to think this is an outrage.
The famed CBS journalist passed away last night at the age of 93. Wallace's career had many Chicago connections, having worked in local media (WMAQ, Chicago Sun) in his beginnings. Wallace also took a hit in the jaw on camera during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. His 1957 interview with Frank Lloyd Wright was also particularly compelling.
If you were like me last night, the odds that you would win the $640m lottery were not in your favor. Three winning tickets were sold last night, one of them in downstate Red Bud. The other winning tickets were sold in Kansas and Maryland.
In further poor pet ownership news, a man on the South Side was arrested for hanging his dog by its neck from a tree using a bicycle tire, claiming it was treatment to keep the dog from getting dementia. [via]
Rogers Park pet owners should be on the lookout for pink squirrel poison pellets in places where dogs and cats can reach it. The pellets have more food content than rat poison, so other animals are more likely to think it's a treat.
Tomorrow at 10am, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will appear with Gov. Pat Quinn at King College Prep, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd., to promote the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education initiative. Doors open at 9am.
If you want a seat in the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park during Taste of Chicago this year, you may have to shell out $25 due to a new ordinance being introduced by Mayor Emanuel. The lawn is still free though!
Michael Altenberg, chef and owner of Bistro Campagne, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. Altenberg is credited with pioneering the farm-to-table movement in Chicago; he was 48 years old. A memorial is scheduled for Wednesday; details have not yet been announced.
On Tuesday's G-8 press briefings, if you didn't hear Obama's mis-step on the pronunciation of Lollapalooza in regards to his confidence in Chicago being able to handle the security concerns of the NATO summit, check it out at the 1:20 mark. Notice the chuckle from the press. Maybe someone should give him a ticket to the next one.
After decades of protesting, Little Village and Pilsen residents celebrate a recent deal to shut down two coal-fired power plants, owned by Midwest Generation. Pollution from the plants has been blamed for illness, asthma attacks and even death in the community over the years.
Starting March 4, the 19th Police District, which includes Lakeview and Lincoln Park, will absorb the 23rd district and move its headquarters to 850 W. Addison. The redrawn district's new commander has not been announced yet.
Tomorrow at 10am, a public street dedication ceremony will be held to pay tribute to Bernie Mac; the late comedian and actor will be honored in the Englewood community with "Bernie Mac St.," at the corner of 69th and Sangamon Streets, the actual block where he was raised.
The City is currently taking bids to outfit the Chicago Police Department's 30-man mounted unit with riot gear for the G8 summit. And not just the officers, but the horses too -- leather nose guards, wrap-around eye visors, high-impact plastic leg shields and a small sign asking you not to pull on their tail (not true).
The City has decided to pull the winning city sticker design amid concerns that its imagery includes gang symbols. No word yet which of the other designs will be substituted, nor whether the 15-year-old student who designed the winning sticker will be forced to give back the $1000 bond he received.
The RedEye's Homicide Trackeradded a murder today for the first time since Jan. 24. It's the first time since reporter Tracy Swartz started the tracker that there's been a whole week without a homicide.
Though a new fire-safety ordinance was passed by the city in 2003, quite a few residential high-rises still fail to meet standards. City council recently extended the compliance deadline to 2015, but you can look up the status of your building here.
Police are investigating an assault and robbery caught on tape of a teenage boy by seven other teens outside Ward Elementary in Bridgeport. The video was originally posted by one of the assailants, and is now mirrored elsewhere. [via]
Warning: This video is obviously violent and also includes strong language. Not safe for work. A backup copy can be found here.
Via the Reddit thread linked in the [via] above, here's video of the victim escaping:
One of the suspects has allegedly been arrested. Meanwhile, a friend of the assailants has posted videos explaining that the beating occurred as retribution for a prior fight in which 20 guys beat up two of the assailants.
Breakups are never easy, but Walgreens seems particularly upset about cutting ties with Express Scripts, formerly one of the drugstore chain's biggest customers. Walgreens is taking to Twitter with its grievances, saying, "It's time to take a stand against @ExpressScripts. Tell them people want a choice by tweeting hashtag #ILoveWalgreens" in a (sponsored) tweet.
All last week Evanston Township High School repeatedly played Justin Bieber's song "Baby" over the building's loudspeakers during passing periods until students coughed up enough donations to fund the construction of a student art space and hangout.
Though we were all very fond of noticing that various vending, parking or CTA machines accepted or gave presidential dollar coins as change, Biden has declared, "Nobody wants them." Though this $50 million cut from the federal budget will end the series on James Garfield, Biden contends, "As it will shock you all, the call for Chester A. Arthur coins is not there."
One of the best TribLocal headlines I've read, "It's hard out there for a mime," is actually about a teen mistaken for one when what he intended was to dress up as a dancer from America’s Best Dance Crew. "...not used to seeing street performers in a residential neighborhood, some neighbors were confused and called police."
A Brighton Park woman hit and pelted her husband with cupcakes in a domestic dispute over the weekend. Her husband had been arrested three times for domestic battery since 2003, but the charges were dropped; so far he is pressing charges.
Alisha Brennon, spouse of Christina Santiago, who died the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair, has filed a wrongful death suit. The lawsuit will likely help set precedent for how same-sex marriages or civil unions are recognized in states that don't offer them.
A South Side man recently got a red light ticket in suburban Willowbrook for a car that was supposedly in an impound lot for months. When he checked at the lot, he was informed that the car had been destroyed, despite the fact that he was paying off fines on a payment plan.
New trouble for hometown giant Groupon, this time self-inflicted. According to a report in The New York Times, Groupon chief executive Andrew Mason may have broken SEC rules preventing a company from attempting to "condition the market by hyping its stock" by issuing an internal memo recently. In it, he defends against media reports about the company's numbers, a balance sheet that will no doubt be adversely affected if Groupon's IPO is put on hold.
Nope, not in the concessions department (sadly). But 23 bee hives have been installed along the east side of the airport, managed by Sweet Beginnings, to make use of unused open space. Sweet! (Pun!) [via]
The City is considering reducing trash pickup from once a week to every 10 days as a cost-cutting measure. Methinks the reduction in sanitation staff would be offset by the increase in pest control staff.
Non-violent Cook County jail inmates have been chosen to work after-hours at Chicago's Animal Care and Control cleaning up kennels, a program that helps save the City money and gives the inmates useful services to perform.
Under a new ordinance passed yesterday by the city council, children under the age of 12 now have an earlier curfew that requires them to be home by 8:30 pm on weekdays, 9 pm on Friday and Saturday nights.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez was arrested yesterday afternoon outside the White House. He was seen sitting on a curb with others to protest the more than one million people who have been deported since President Obama took office. This wasn't the first time he's been arrested related to immigration reform.
The City turned its curbside recycling program into a three-way competition, with two private firms going up against Streets & San trucks. The plan is to expand recycling to more neighborhoods in six months.
This morning's severe thunderstorm knocked out power for more than 600,000 people in the Chicagoland area. I caught a screenshot of the radar that I think explains why we were caught off guard by this storm.
Police are charging a local 18-year-old with disorderly conduct after a suspicious package left by "The Bean" in Milennium Park led police to evacuate part of the park. The package apparently only contained two bricks, and was left there as part of a "role-playing event."
A man was beaten and stabbed by a group of young people on Halsted in Boystown Sunday night; the incident was caught on tape. Ironically, a "positive loitering" rally had been held the night before, after two similar attacks in recent weeks; the rally generated controversy itself.
Paige Wiser, the television critic at the Chicago Sun-Times for 17 years, left the paper after getting caught writing a fake review of "Glee Live." Wiser apparently fled the show early after one of her own kids fell off a chair and another puked in a cotton candy bag.
Lightning struck in Rogers Park this morning and took out some poor defenseless chimney bricks near Pratt and Greenview at the Lake Shore School. Luckily, no one appears to have been injured. Transmission contributor Dan Snedigar took some pictures of the debris.
A Los Angeles woman left her marriage and prepared to move to Colorado to be with a volunteer firefighter she met online when he suddenly died. Why did he die? Probably because he and more than 20 other people the woman met over the last year and a half were allegedly created by the same Batavia woman.
A few weeks ago, we wrote about these anti-abortion billboards which feature an image of President Obama on the south side of Chicago. Well, it turns out they're illegal and there is a petition to get them removed.
Two police officers are under investigation amid allegations that they played strip poker with and sexually assaulted a woman they had driven home to Rogers Park from the Wrigleyville neighborhood. The comments on Second City Cop regarding the case are worth reading.
The Sun-Times surely left an opportunity dangling with the straightforward headline on this story about the TLC Tugger, a foreskin restoration company soon to appear on the TLC network. I'm having trouble settling on just one.
We've mentioned several of the projects that the Chicago Justice Project has begun, but this newest one gives me hope. They'll be collecting information from three different city departments and offering suggestions on how to improve the amount and quality of data related to felony sex crimes. Since they're encouraging transparency, the membership list is public, and quite impressive. (Thanks, Veronica!)
The ads that University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Assistants answered didn't say that, but they should have. Due to a change in tax law, GA's at University of Illinois are having their pay withheld until the taxes of their tuition wavers are paid. This means they work for free. GA's at Champaign-Urbana were given grants to cover this difference. GA's at UIC were told to take out loans. Don't think this is fair? Say so.
Three guys from the suburbs decided to trash the insides of some unlocked cars last night. Only problem was, the cars were on display in the Toyota booth at the Auto Show, surrounded by thousands of people, so of course they were caught.
Greg Kot has some gossip on who's going to headline this year's Lollapalooza music festival (August 5-7, 2011), and it's all bros. Word is that Eminem, Muse and Foo Fighters will likely be top on the bill.
Terrified by alarming/alarmist media coverage of Illinois' new tax increases? The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization, advises skepticism about some of the numbers reported. Not that we're not all still screwed, of course.
A Northwest side woman has been charged with disorderly conduct after calling police to (falsely) claim that her boyfriend, who was trying to break up with her, was attacking her. The real reason why she called? She was hoping to scare her now-ex into marrying her (I don't get it, either).
Though it was a deadly year in Chicago, the total number of homicides was 435, the lowest since 1965 when the total was 395. The 2010 total represents a drop of more than 54% from the all time high set in 1992 with 943 homicides.
Neither Rahm Emanuel nor Sen. Mark Kirk made their high school's hall of fame the Sun-Times reports. (h/t: Politico). Members of the hall of fame include former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Christie Hefner (daughter of Hugh Hefner).
Oak Brook-based McDonald's will raise prices in 2011. (But before you start considering a boycott, heed the online comments: according to one patriotic diner, "anyone who does not eat at McDonald's is not a true American.")
If you've yet to get to Longman&Eagle or Epic, you'd best do so soon: Esquire just named both places to its list of the country's best new restaurants. If the waits at Great Lake after their "best pizza in America" hat tip from GQ taught us anything, it's to get there before this issue hits the stands.
Forbes released its annual list of the 100 most powerful women in the world, and Illinois can claim three of the top ten. Not to be outdone, NBC Chicago's Feast published a list of 10 of Chicago's most badass female chefs.
While lounging by the pool at his condo located in the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas, Chicago personal injury attorney Bill Pintas claims to have been "cooked" by a "death ray" that resulted from the reflection of the sun hitting the concave, all-glass building.
Beginning this morning, the FBI began searching the homes of antiwar activists located in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North Carolina. Details are vague, but no arrests have been made, nor are expected to be made. UPDATE: More information about the Chicago searches is becoming available.
After planting a bomb he believed would blow up an entire block of Wrigleyville on Saturday night, a 22-year-old man has been arrested and charged. Apparently he really hates Sluggers, Dave Matthews and Mayor Daley.
Rookie outfielder/likely vampire, Tyler Colvin was impaled by a shattered bat as he was running towards home during the Cubs-Marlins tilt in Miami yesterday. No word on whether Van Helsing was in attendance or not.
An oil pipeline in Romeoville sprang a leak yesterday. "One of our guys said it looked like the Beverly Hillbillies in the opening scene when the crude is bubbling up from the ground," said Romeoville Fire Chief Kent Adams.
Chicago may be the third largest city in America, but it's only fourth on Match.com's list of cities most actively looking for dates this summer. Apparently Miamians are far more desperate than we are. [via]
Two US citizens traveling on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Amsterdam are being detained by Dutch police this morning after suspicious items in their luggage--several cell phones and $7,000 in cash--suggested to baggage screeners that the duo were making a dry run for a terrorist attack. Relatives claim that the two men were merely bringing gifts to family in their native Yemen.
While picking up her first Emmy award for her work on the television show "Glee" last night, Dolton native Jane Lynch name-checked the South Side in her acceptance speech. Lynch will be hosting an episode of "Saturday Night Live" later this fall (perhaps with the new locally grown talent who will join the cast for its next season). Other Chicago-connected talents who won awards at the ceremony include "Modern Family's" Eric Stonestreet and Jason Winer.
After 14 days of deliberations, the former governor of Illinois is only charged for lying to the FBI, a charge that carries a maximum of five years in jail and a $250k fine (prosecutors have until September 7 to decide if they want to retrial on the other 23 counts that the jury deadlocked on). Somewhere, Patrick Fitzgerald is stuffing his face with marshmallows.
While performing onstage at this weekend's Gathering of the Juggalos in downstate Cave-in-Rock, entertainer (?) Tila Tequila was injured by rocks, beer bottles, firecrackers, feces and urine thrown by concertgoers, some of whom later chased her to her trailer after Tequila abruptly ended her set. Update: now with NSFW video!
Q: A federal judge in California just overturned Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriages in the state, what are you going to do now? A: Go to a rally at Daley Plaza at 6pm, of course! Celebrants are encouraged to bring rainbow flags. (Thanks, Marc!)
The Elvis autopsy memorabilia that was to go on auction has been withdrawn last week due to "questions of ownership" -- but you may soon be able to bid on Rod Blagojevich's life-size statue of Elvis, along with other stuff from an Arlington Heights storage space.
The River City condos are being evacuated due to flooding caused by yesterday's storms, leaving residents without shelter for the next few days. Follow Gapers Block correspondent and River City resident Alissa Strother as she reports on the situation via her Twitter feed, (@alissas).
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's draft of Go to 2040, a plan for the Chicago area's next three decades, is available to read online. You can leave your comments for CMAP on the plan's site through August 6.
Fifteen small Chicago theaters just won $20,000 each from the Chase Community Giving contest. It was a unique community effort amidst an otherwise diverse field -- the national contest pitted nonprofits from all over the country in a Facebook voting spree to be in the top 200, so Chicago theaters ran against, for example, a blind cat shelter in North Carolina. Chicago's winners included Stage Left, Strawdog, The Hypocrites, Barrel of Monkeys, The House and The Neo-Futurists. WildClaw theater nabbed the 200th spot, in fact. (The blind cats placed 6th.) Now: What shall the theaters do with the cash?
This tourism story from the San Antonio Express News is so generic I almost wonder if the author even visited Chicago. Particularly shady: he supposedly caught a foul ball at a game -- but doesn't mention which park.
From Chicago magazine's archives: A story that traces the life of a gun that was fired at a 7-year-old girl in West Englewood. It's an excellent primer into how firearms end up in criminals' hands despite the efforts to prevent exactly that.
The latest in highway sploshing. A load of grapes spilled on the Stevenson yesterday, and today a truck rolled over on the Edens, losing 1200 cases of Miller Lite. Last March it was honey. Yummy. UPDATE: Here are a couple of photographs of the destroyedtruck.
The fake cobblestone streets from the Public Enemies film are at the center of a lawsuit. A man was severely injured when he crossed the rubber cobblestone street and his foot was wedged under a trolley track. He is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 for permanent physical injuries.
A UIC researcher has concluded (based on inventories of discarded empty packs of cigarettes from 100 city neighborhoods) that 75% of the cigarettes smoked in Cook County are not purchased in the county. But don't be angry that we will miss out on that much-needed tax revenue; those who buy their smokes on the down low have a convenient self-claim form to pay that extra $2 per pack.
How many firetrucks does it take to put out a fire in a highrise trash can? This many. (Better safe than sorry, of course.) UPDATE: Reader Nicole says, "To be fair, I work 20 floors above that fire, and the smoke was pretty bad up here."
A Highland Park High School girl's basketball team has canceled a scheduled trip to Arizona. Speculation is that this move is in response to recent Arizona immigration reform despite the official reason listed as "safety concerns." Parents are upset at the apparent political statement being made with their children. [via]
President Obama announced this morning that Solicitor General Elena Kagan is his nominee to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. Kagan taught at University of Chicago Law School and even played 16-inch softball, so I think we can claim her as one of our own.
Despite televised riots in the streets of Greece, many (in this case WBBM Newsradio 780) are pointing to a supposed trading error in Chicago as the catalyst to yesterdays market free fall. The economy teetered on the edge because, if the reports are correct, a trader entered a 'b' instead of a 'm' before the 'illion'. Hear that Greece? It's not your fault.
Wal-Mart really, really wants to open more stores in Chicago. So badly, in fact, they've agreed to talk to local unions. The conversation should be an interesting one, given the company's insistence that wages won't be on the table -- and their well-known stance on workers organizing.
From Chicago to Phoenix, yesterday's civil disobedience for immigration reform is drawing quite a bit of of national attention. How can we be sure it was a big deal? Well, the Huffington Post put a word in ALL CAPS in their article's title. They usually save that for celebrity NIPPLE SLIPS or when somebody famous LAYS THE SMACK DOWN on somebody else famous.
According to some recently crunched numbers on Chicago's demographics, from 2000 to 2008, Chicago's African American population dropped while the suburban African American population grew. The 2010 census data may show an even greater exodus.
Whether or not the feasibility of a potential Mayor Rahm has you scratching your noggin, the Tribune compiled a list of interesting facts about the former ballet dancer turned White House chief of staff.
You're not imagining things: today is the hottest April 1 on record. The warmth doesn't last, alas -- Friday will stay warm, but the weekend looks to be rainy and cooler, moving back into normal spring temperatures.
An early morning fire has destroyed the building that houses Cakegirls bakery at 2207 W. Belmont Ave. A residential fire started on the second floor at about 5:30am and was brought under control by 7:00am but the Chicago Fire Department judge the building a total loss.
Kevin J. Long tried to bring four knives into the Daley Center courthouse last week. A search of his home turned up 1,600 knives, batons, brass knuckles, a few handguns, and "several pieces of papers with police officer and sheriff deputy names on them." I'm sure he has a perfectly reasonable explanation.
The New York Times describes the struggle of Kenwood resident Jean-Paul Coffy as he cares for his parents in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. Coffy's Chicago friends are maintaining a blog following his travels.
Someone is following women from the Francisco Brown Line stop and attacking them, according to police and independent reports we've received here at Gapers Block. More details and descriptions of the suspects will be shared at Thursday night's Beat 1713 CAPS meeting, 7pm at the Korean American Senior Center, 5008 N. Kedzie Ave.
The Mayor's Office of Special Events announced today that the July 3 fireworks show has been canceled this year due to budget cutbacks. UPDATE: Instead, the City is planning three smaller July 4 fireworks shows for downtown and the North and South Sides -- the Trib has details.
A man with a gun has been spotted on Northwestern's downtown campus. Campus and Chicago police are searching the Rubloff Building. UPDATE: The lockdown has ended and all buildings on campus are open: an intensive search was conducted but no one matching the gunman's description was found.
The heartbreaking tragedy in Haiti has claimed at least two victims with local roots. Andrew Grene, a Chicago native who studied at both Northwestern and the University of Chicago, was the top aide to the head of the UN's mission in the Caribbean country. He was confirmed as one of the casualties this morning. (Previously.)
Results of a UIC study reveal that the 2006 opening of a Walmart in Austin had a detrimental effect on job creation and economic development in the West Side neighborhood, causing nearly 100 nearby businesses to close after its opening and losing almost as many jobs as the new store provided.
Former governor Rod Blagojevich will be a contestant on the next season of the NBC show "The Celebrity Apprentice." He will join other luminaries such as comedian Sinbad and Poison's Bret Michaels. The show will debut March 14.
Last summer, a teenage girl felt threatened by a group of boys in a car who kept driving by, yelling, and threatening her and a friend. She picked up a rock and threw it at the car, smashing a window. Today, a judge found that, while the action wasn't the smartest move, the girl was justified in defending herself from possible assault.
Illinois is the fifth biggest state in the country according to new Census Bureau numbers. The Land of Lincoln has 12.9 million people which puts it behind California (37 million), Texas (24.8 million), New York (19.5 million), and finally Florida (18.5 million).
It's been a bad couple of days for animals in captivity in Chicago. First, one of two beluga whales born this week at the Shedd Aquarium died Tuesday. And today an elephant at the Brookfield Zoo had to be euthanized after suffering kidney failure.
It's not just Black Friday, it's also a reduced service day in Chicago. Most city-run institutions will be closed which the city hopes will help fill a budget hole. This is the second of three reduced service days this year, the first one was on August 17, the last one is on Christmas Eve.
The Chicago-Kent College of Law has opened the Center for Open Government. They'll focus on helping people challenge closed government practices under the Illinois Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, and other similar acts. An Oak Lawn resident who is suing her village for deciding to fire public employees by a private consensus, instead of a public hearing, is their first client.
David Axelrod was in town recently and James Warren sat down with him over a meal at Manny's. Warren's subsequent story briefly recounts Axelrod's journey from being a Chicago journalist to a senior advisor to the president.
Coming to the end of a banner week in his career, Mayor Daley told a reporter at a United Negro College Fund benefit last night that the media is partly to blame for Oprah Winfrey's decision to end her show in 2011. "So you keep kicking people, people will leave, simple as that."
Chicago's own Indiana Jones, Universtiy of Chicago celebrity palentologist Paul Sereno, unveils five new species of ancient crocodiles that he unearthed in the Sahara over the past few years. The new findings include the PancakeCroc. We're guessing it didn't eat flapjacks.
Effective February 1. the Associated Press reports one way fares will increase by six percent alongside a $2 ($5 to $7) increase for weekend fares and a $1 ($2 to $3) increase for buying tickets on the train.
Elementary school students in Oak Park, Naperville and Villa Park are learning early about making "zero impact" on their environment. They're recycling, composting food scraps after lunch and sending far less trash to area landfills.
According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, Chicago is the nation's most stressed out city. Said survey was sponsored by Princess Cruises, who calls the survey their "Life Balance Barometer." No word yet on whether a cruise is the perfect stress reliever.
The New York Times launched its San Francisco "Bay Area Report" edition recently. The Times Company plans to launch a similar Chicago edition soon, although if the San Francisco venture is a flop the Chicago one probably won't happen either.
Call it The Blago/Ryan Rule. After having two consecutive governors involved in scandal, voters will get the chance to vote on a gubernatorial recall amendment on the November 2010 ballot. Meanwhile, former Gov. Blagojevich's hole gets a little deeper...and he's getting mud on a few others in the process.
Bernadine Dohrn, writing on the Huffington Post, reminds us that "Were this in Colombia, the Congo or Myanmar, we would recognize that children who are recruited into warring groups by much older adults to fight as child soldiers must be disarmed, demobilized, rehabilitated and reintegrated into the community."
A bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of the Sun-Times Media Group to the $25 million bid led by James Tyree. Of the 16 unions needed to realize the deal, 14 have approved it so far, and the bidders are optimistic about the final negotiations.
Apartment renters on the North Side of Chicago might have to dig a little deeper around the first of the month. Thanks to tax assessment hikes, landlords are contemplating "skyrocketing" rent increases for the rest of this year and 2010.
There's a certain poetic irony to the thought of multiple bands called the Drifters performing all over the country, questionable strangers blowing through town for a gig and then disappearing into the night.
Some Chicago runners are hanging up their sneakers and hitting the trail barefoot, or in new glove-like shoes intended to simulate the au natural feel. It's more natural, they say, and even cuts down on pain (once your feet get tough enough to handle the rocks and gravel).
Midwest Generation, LLC, the Edison International subsidiary that runs the Fisk and Crawford coal-burning power plants on the South Side (and four others in Illinois), is being sued by the state and U.S. EPA for allegedly upgrading systems without meeting current Clean Air Act controls.
The Sun-Times looks into the late Ted Kennedy's ties to Chicago, from the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention and an endorsement from then-Mayor Richard J. Daley, to the to the Merchandise Mart and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Two women who run a nail salon in Countryside were convicted of aggravated battery for threatening their landlord with a gun...shaped lighter. They claim they were using the lighter as part of a prayer ceremony; he says he feared for his own life and that of his young daughter. Despite their conviction, at least the women know they have a loyal customer base -- a crowd of more than 20 showed up to support them.
This story contains nothing of obvious Chicago interest -- unless you're a Cubs fan. Then the idea of a goat potentially being sacrificed in connection with the Viking Brett Favre might make a little more sense. [via]
Apparently robberies including mugging were only up 1.1 percent through July, but it sure seems like violent crime is up more than that this summer, doesn't it? Anecdotal evidence sure points that way.
WTTW's Chicago Tonight is devoting its September 1 show to health care reform, and is looking for interested audience members. "We'll be hearing from legislators, insurers, doctors and hospitals...but we also want to hear your questions and concerns," says an alert the channel sent to supporters today. To request a ticket, email the show or call 773-509-5590.
The Trib's John Kass points to a Facebook group "Lakeview 911" that was created this month to gather "concerned citizens" who want to connect about the recent muggings in the neighborhood. Remember EveryBlock is also a great local resource on crime stats relative to your street, no matter where you live in the city.
Director, writer, and producer John Hughes has died of a heart attack. A graduate of Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, he wrote, directed or produced a number of films set in fictional Chicago suburbs, including National Lampoon's Vacation, Sixteen Candles and Home Alone.
In another strange arrest, the FBI arrested a 20-year-old for making approximately 300 "unauthorized transmissions" over CTA radio waves. He was identified by his voice when he and his brother asked if they could collect a reward for returning a stolen CTA radio. In related news, the FBI apparently needs to hire a copy editor. Perhaps you could edit their release as an introduction.
An 86-year-old woman was caught stealing "anti-wrinkle cream ... other cosmetic items, nearly a dozen packs of AA batteries, four packs of Taster's Choice coffee and several packs of salmon" by stuffing them in her pants. Other interesting facts: she's been arrested more than 60 times and has at least 20 aliases.
Jerry Reinsdorf, who already owns the Bulls and White Sox, is a little bit closer to adding some puck-wielding Coyotes to his stable after the NHL's unanimous approval of his bid. Don't worry Hawks fans, he plans on keeping the team in Phoenix.
The latest version of the Ford Taurus has workers at a South Side auto plant keeping their fingers crossed that it becomes a hit. If it's a success with the public, it could mean more jobs at the Torrance Ave. factory.
As our Fuel question demonstrates, when it comes to the Sears/Willis Tower name change, people either lament the loss of another piece of "Chicago" or you think it's much ado about nothing. Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin falls on the side of the former and tries to put the whole thing in perspective.
Late Sunday night on the West Side, approximately 35 police cruisers were called to a Family Dollar store. While there are no other media reports at this point, police officers stated "about 20 people looted" the store, and bystanders were discussing people going "in and out five times." All visible doors were open, and a window was broken in the front. Here's one photograph from the scene.
Although it's not hard to catch him smoking in front of the Tribune Tower or having a burger at Billy Goat, 100 lucky Tribune print subscribers will schmooze and make beer-can chicken with legendary columnist John Kass Aug. 1 at the Cantigny Golf Club in Wheaton.
Does Chicago pay too much to move bodies to the morgue? Ald. Edward M. Burke says yep, and wants to hold hearings about the contractor, which the city pays $915 to transport each body. In good old Dayton, OH, the company's hometown, it's a measly $75 per body.
The thought of year-round school is enough to make any elementary school student pound his or her head on their locker in anguish. So if you hear repeated banging coming from the vicinity of Herzl Elementary School in North Lawndale, you'll know why.
The FBI arrested a New Jersey blogger for writing that three Chicago-based federal judges "deserve to be killed," then posting their photographs, phone numbers and a map of their courthouse on his blog. He was upset that the judges recently upheld the handgun ban in Chicago and Oak Park.
Twenty-one million dollars is the most a jury has ever awarded in Chicago for a wrongful conviction. Juan Johnson's is just the latest acquittal tied to alleged police misconduct. If what the city lawyers say is true however, there is a lot more than meets the eye.
A Hudson News store at O'Hare used a blinder (a black plastic square usually reserved for porn mag covers) to obscure the "racy" cover of the latest GQ. No, it's not the ingenue du jour cupping her breasts and crotch. It's Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Brüno. Uh, hubba-hubba?
A former North Chicago "Police Officer of the Year" was just released from jail after pistol-whipping Waukegan's police chief. The reporter also wants you to know that the former Police Officer of the Year's "telephone number is unlisted."
All the lovely rain we've been having means that conditions are ripe for mosquito reproduction. Those that carry West Nile love stagnant water, which means that the on-hold Spire has gone from being world's largest building, to possibly being the world's largest breeding ground for the suckers.
No one ever said a Chicago police officer's job was easy, but did you know that in addition to dealing with thugs, crooks and assorted ne'er-do-wells, they also have to supply their own uniforms? Medill Reports has the story.
Risking some sort of disruption in the time-space continuum, the star of Second City's Rod Blagojevich, Superstar and the REAL Blago will appear on stage together this Saturday at a performance of the show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. Wonder if the real Blago tried to sell his part in the show?
Chicago Housing Authority residents and market-rate condo owners are going at it at another mixed-income development. This time, it's Westhaven Park Tower. Please note the Tower's website is set up as an "informative resource for both our neighborhood and our local community," yet it's mainly password protected.
The plight of the pizza deliveryman in Evanston who was beaten and had his car hijacked and wrecked has touched many readers of the Chicago Tribune, who saw the story in today's paper. Here's the website if you wish to donate.
Iconic international football (soccer) franchise Manchester United has tabbed Chicago-based insurance company Aon as their new principal sponsor. Let's hope there's no curse associated with the honor, considering the fate that befell their old sponsor, a little company called AIG.
Apparently Evanston has a problem with illicit scrap metal collectors lurking in the alleys, ready to strike. The article makes itself an interesting semiotic study through the fine use of terms for the scrappers ranging from "junk metal pirates" to "alley entrepreneurs."
Good old Southwest Airlines, home of the cheap flights from Midway, now plans to sell tickets for family pets. Starting June 17, passengers can bring up to five pets on a flight in a carry-on case to fit under the seat. Yes, 5 pets. Good for pet lovers, doom for those trying to sleep off a hangover.
US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced an indictment against 29th Ward Ald. Ike Carothers this afternoon. Listen to the press conference here, download the indictment here (PDF), and keep an eye on our politics section, Mechanics, for further news and analysis.
Retired Chicago investment banker Louis Susman has been nominated as ambassador to Britain. A top fundraiser for Obama's presidential campaign and other Democratic campaigns, Susman is now poised for what's considered a pretty sweet appointment.
Disney is putting the finishing touches on Obama's animatronic figure for their Hall of the Presidents. Like W. and Clinton before him, the president provided a few choice words for the figure to speak.
The last 24-hour post office in the country is located near Harrison and Canal. But in June, the location will reduce their hours, closing at midnight. The Postal Service says they don't have enough customers to justify the expense of 24-hour service. Simply must mail that special letter at 3am? The location (and many others) still offer automated kiosks in the lobby at all hours.
Chicago is the first city to be honored by the National Building Museum for being green. Museum officials praised Mayor Daley, the city's efforts to retrofit municipal buildings for energy efficiency and the city's goals for reducing greenhouse emissions.
If you're a fan of the "erotic services" section of Craigslist, you have until May 15 to enjoy it. The site will be shutting the section down that day and creating a new, human-monitored "adult" section at some point in the future, according to an agreement reached with several state attorneys including Illinois' Lisa Madigan.
The 15-year-old who started a CPD poo-storm earlier this year when he successfully impersonated a cop is in hot water a second time -- he was arrested Friday for stealing a car from a South Side dealership after pretending to be an interested buyer.
Poor journalist/film critic Ray Pride was beaten up a month ago after a Greek film festival, by nationalists who thought he was an "anarchist infiltrator." He provides the details on his blog and elsewhere. The more squeamish may want to avoid the photos Pride took of his bloodied post-attack clothing.
One of the approximately 60 WWII era aircraft remaining in Lake Michigan has been recovered for inclusion in a New Orleans museum. The plane crashed on Nov. 24, 1944 while attempting to land on an aircraft carrier during a training mission.
Remember the CPD/CPS TXT2TIP [pdf] program? Yeah, no one else did either. The program received 70 text messages since September 10, 2008, and, um, "some were hoaxes." Given its tremendous success, Huberman is reviving the program.
Smokers, you might be feeling the heat. Not only did the Federal government raise cigarette taxes by 62 cents a pack today, but the state is also considering increasing their tax by 50 cents a pack this year and 50 cents a pack next year.
It's bad enough when people commit identity theft, but when cars get in on it... Chicago was one of three locations targeted in a major "car cloning" ring bust. Car cloning is when one car assumes the identity of another. Unfortunately, it's not as cool and sci-fi as it sounds.
Tomorrow at 10 a.m., the remaining residents of the Diplomat Hotel will be forced to vacate the premises, leaving many of them homeless. Earlier this month, residents were given a three-week deadline to find new accomodations, due to a long list of serious code violations by the building's owner.
While the Sun-Times is getting more expensive, Time Out Chicago is getting cheaper. The price will drop about a dollar ($1.99 instead of $2.99), effective immediately. TOC's editor-in-chief says it's meant to attract readers.
The NY Times' newest feature on immigration has maps and data about the rate and composition of immigration since 1890. The information is national in scope, but there's plenty of local detail, like this school composition data.
Chicago Carless blogger Mike Doyle lives in MarinaCity, and started tweeting just now as a cooking fire broke out in the east tower. According to Mike, it seems that the staff at the tower could not locate the key to the elevators, and the fire department had to hoof their equipment up the stairs. Hopefully, since this seems to have been a small fire, there were no injuries or major damage. [Update: We've learned from Marina City Online that it was actually a false automatic alarm.]
You know who's doing alright in the cage? Conrad Black that's who. According to the Associated Press via Crain's, "Convicted former media mogul Conrad Black says his first year in prison has been surprisingly pleasant and he is using his time in jail to teach, write and expand his social circle." Here's to hoping he doesn't like it so much that when he gets out he plans to mess up another newspaper... that is if there are any left by then.
The New York Times via Pro Publica has a beautiful map of the proposed high speed rail corridors and the best part is that Chicago, as has been rumored, seems to be a central hub for the super fast trains. Check the map out here.
Table Fifty-Two has been swamped with reservation requests since word leaked about the Obamas' Valentine's Day dinner there. As of Monday afternoon, Saturdays were booked through the end of March. I wonder if they'd have the same effect at any restaurant they visited...
Chicagoan Virginia Call, whose family claimed she was 115 and records indicate was about 111, has died. She was also Chicago's oldest registered voter, supporting Barack Obama after a 20-year registration lapse.
OK, how about some news that's NOT about the goings-on in Washington, D.C.? WaMu is set to close 57 Chicago-area bank branches. On second thought, that probably does have a lot to do with Washington, D.C.
In a story to thaw some of the hearts frozen in the wake of recent Illinois political news, a bill sponsored by a state rep and senator aims to crack down on puppy mills. They couldn't have trotted out a cuter mascot to make their point.
It was like something out of a movie--literally. A kid in Hammond, Indiana got a mouthful of pain Tuesday night when he was dared to lick a streetlight pole, and his tongue stuck to it. Said a police officer at the scene, "You'd think everybody in the country had seen A Christmas Story by now."
Perhaps it's one of those Jerry-Lewis-is-big-in-France deals, but for some reason the CTA Bus Tracker is popular in Norway, receiving 15,000-plus hit from that country, more than any other country outside of the U.S. *Incidentally, the headline translates to "Was that a 22 or a 36?", a pretty popular phrase among CTA users.
And you thought it was the relentless winter weather, skyrocketing cost-of-living and hit-or-miss public transportation that was putting you on edge here in Chicago. Nope. Turns out we're the third most caffeinated city in America. Step away from the Coca-Cola...
What's in a name? A lot of you're trying to run a successful Loop hair salon and you have the misfortune if your business has the same name as one of the most despised men in the world. But switch a few letters around and you're on the cutting edge again. (Previously.)
Power to the southbound tracks on the CTA's Blue Line downtown has been shut off after a woman was struck and badly injured by a subway train at 8:15 this morning. Blue Line customers are being advised to use alternate service into the Loop.
Ah, there's nothing more exciting than an academic smackdown, like the one between U of C economist and Freakonomics author Steven Levitt and Northwestern Northeastern criminologist James Alan Fox on the subject of black teen murder rates. Levitt criticized Fox for "ominous reports he produced about juvenile homicide...in the 1990s." Oh, snap!
Our city's freaky up-and-down weather has one bone-jarring side effect: potholes. As of Monday there were more than 1,100 dotting the city landscape and threatening to bust axles. The city says it's on it and you can file a claim for any damages. Incidentially, if you're driving east past the Heart 'O' Chicago motel, don't let that shallow looking puddle on the right side of the road fool you. Trust me.
Breathalyzer installation: $80. Monthly equipment and monitoring fees: $110. Taking a cab and avoiding the whole mess: Priceless. Illinois is gearing up for a whole new type of crackdown on first-time DUI offenders in the new year, hoping that inconvenience, cost and embarrassment will be enough to dissuade potential drunk drivers. [via]
First snow hit the city, then ice, then fog...and now, today's temperatures will be in the mid-60s, along with flooding dangers due to rain and melting remnants of the past two weeks, which has already closed part of the Dan Ryan and streets near the Des Plaines and Du Page rivers. Check traffic before you get on the roads.
"[B]lacks in Chicago are the most isolated racial group in the nation's 20 largest cities, according to a Tribune analysis of 2008 population estimates. To truly integrate Chicago, 84 percent of the black or white population would need to change neighborhoods."
Usually it takes four years in office for it to happen, but grey hair has already been spotted sprouting on Barack Obama's head. Judge for yourself here (from a 2007 photo) and here (on the cover of Rolling Stone from this year).
The Cook County Sheriff's latest sting to arrest those with outstanding warrants involved a "sweepstakes" called Shoptastic Solutions. When people attempted to collect their prizes, they were arrested.
Drew Peterson's announcement that he is engaged is not true, and is actually a publicity stunt meant to embarrass a woman who denied his advances, says the boyfriend of Romeoville waitress Christina Raines, who has denied that she and Peterson are romantically involved. Peterson contends that Raines' boyfriend is lying. Maybe they can work this issue out on Springer.
Drew Peterson is engaged to a 23-year-old woman who will be his fifth wife. According to the S-T, "Peterson said he does not believe his marital status should prevent him from becoming engaged. 'I was married to Kathleen when I was engaged to Stacy,' he said." The heart wants what it wants, people.
Two Chicagoans were amongst the 23 recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal, second only to the Medal of Freedom in civilian recognition. One person honored you may know: Gary Sinise, for his work helping both Iraqi children and children of military members serving there. The second is Rev. John Foley, founder of a high school network that focuses on the "nation's most vulnerable youth."
She's known for her "scoops," but Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed may be part of one now, this one involving Gov. Blagojevich. Gawker alleges that Sneed was the gov's "go-to reporter" for planting fake stories designed to extort money in exchange for passing off Obama's vacant Senate seat.
The AP and Bloomberg are reporting that Bank of America has agreed to offer Republic Windows & Doors additional credit to pay its workers, now in their fifth day of sit-in. Of course, it won't matter if Republic doesn't take the offer.
WGN is reporting that federal authorities have taken Gov. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff John Harris into custody. UPDATE: the US Attorney's office will hold a press conference at 11am today(live streaming footage here) to discuss the federal corruption charges leveraged against the Governor, which apparently stemmed from the search for a senate replacement for President-Elect Obama. The Trib , NYT and the S-T also have coverage. The Smoking Gun has the criminal complaint document on their site.
Though the presidential election has long since been decided, two of the most controversial figures from that historic campaign are still hanging around like zombies and popping up in the news: Chicagoans' Bill Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
The WSJ reports that the Tribune Company has hired financial consultants Lazard to guide them through the process of filing for bankruptcy protection. The Trib itself says that they're exploring their options and that decisions have yet to be made.
Oprah Winfrey is number 1 on The Hollywood Reporter's Power 100 list for 2008. No doubt her recent appearance on "30 Rock" helped her nab the spot. This ranking is an improvement over her 2007 standing, when she came in at sixth place.
The CTA unveiled new hybrid buses today that plug into an electrical outlet at night and run on battery power for most of the day. The move is estimated to save the CTA almost $7 million annually in maintenance, labor and fuel costs by retiring aging buses.
Working together as "Fix Wilson Yard," more than 2,000 residents of the Uptown neighborhood filed suit (PDF) against the City of Chicago today, challenging numerous abuses in the creation, planning, implementation and funding of the Wilson Yard Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District and the corresponding Wilson Yard Redevelopment Plan. Sure, we're happy Target is on board, but where's our movie theater?
A friend and fellow Cubs fan joked to me the other day he was re-thinking his vote because he's tired of seeing Obama in Sox gear on the national news. Yesterday, the President-Elect's press team miffed at least one reporter by nonchalantly invoking the rivalry.
Believe it or not, you can get gas in Chicago for less than $2 a gallon. Not in a nearby suburb, not across the Skyway in Indiana, but actually within the city limits, specifically at a BP and Mobil station at 76th Street near the Dan Ryan Expressway.
So what were you doing when you heard the news? The Chicago Reporter wants to know your reaction when you first heard that Barack Obama had won the election as part of their upcoming "50 Days/50 Voices" project. Video, audio and essays are all welcome.
The Chicago Reporter reports that the African-American HIV/AIDS Response Fund, created just two years ago, could be on the chopping block along with several other important health initiatives due to the state's budget shortfalls.
The old main post office maybe finally be getting a new life as an office and condo development, according to the Sun-Times. The plan also calls for reducing the middle section that rests over the Eisenhower Expressway. To be fair, the building hasn't been totally useless over the years, appearing in two very popularmovies recently.
See, things are already changing after Barack Obama's election victory: Mayor Daley wants to give parking ticket scofflaws a break on unpaid tickets issued before 2007. The amnesty period would run from Dec. 1 to Feb. 14.
After 61 years of the Terrills writing the Just Dogs column for the Daily Herald, it was retired yesterday. Originally started by Dave Terrill in 1947, his wife Alice officially picked it up when he passed away in 1982. By the way, at 91, she's retiring to travel and represent the Lions Club.
Rick Beard, the director of Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, was fired by the governor today after he was recently arrested for shoplifting a $40 DVD box set of the fourth season of "House" at a local Target store. Beard's job earned a $150K annual salary.
The days may be numbered for Hyde Park's Village Center shopping district. Plans for a 150-unit condo are underway and just needs the city's John Hancock on the deal. One of the area's blogging watchdogs, Hyde Park Progress, wrote about the future of the site a while back.
According to AP reports, Chicago police have found the body of a boy on the city's West Side and have towed a white SUV from the scene. Police have not IDd the victim. Julian King, the seven-year-old nephew of Chicago native and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson has been missing for several days and police issue an Amber Alert for the and were looking for a white Chevy Suburban.
The mother and brother of Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson were fatally shot in their south side home earlier this afternoon. An Amber Alert has been issued for Hudson's missing seven year-old nephew Julian King, who was likely taken by the suspected murderer.
Even with a smaller population than New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago leads them both in murders so far this year. A Chicago Police Department rep says cops tied down with paperwork may be partly to blame.
Bring some quarters along with that sunscreen when you go to the beach next year. The Chicago Park District will charge for all 4,000 parking spots along Lake Michigan, specifically $1 an hour. In addition, they won't open beaches until 11 a.m. to cut down on lifeguard expenses.
The CPS has received a major donation to create a biotech education program for junior high/high schools to the tune of $5 million over five years. The program, sponsored by Baxter International, includes the creation of a Biotechnology Center of Excellence and two new Ren2010 schools. And not a moment too soon as local math scores reach Third World-levels.
Popular Wicker Park eatery Earwax Café, 1561 N. Milwaukee Ave., was ordered to close after Chicago Department of Public Health inspectors found rat feces in a basement storage area, holes in walls that allowed insects and rodents to come in and a poorly maintained outside garbage container, the Tribune reports.
The controversial case of former CPD Commander Jon Burge may have reached a conclusion. He was arrested this morning in connection with more than two decades of torture charges. The Chicago Reader has a long history of covering Burge's alleged activities as well as other police torture cases.
Giving a twist to its longstanding history of backing Republicans for president, the Tribune announced its endorsement of Democrat Barack Obama. This is the first time the paper has endorsed a Democrat for president. In 1872, it backed Horace Greely who ran as an independent but later was endorsed by the Dems.
As a South Sider, one of the fascinating outcomes of the election season has been the increase in attention this side of the city is getting. The Washington Post chips in with a four page profile of Hyde Park. [Thanks, Spencer!]
Big doings at City Hall today: Not only is Mayor Daley planning on laying off more than 900 city employees (including cutting some garbage crews from two men to one) to help balance the city budget, but his hand-picked top cop Jody Weis is announcing a major shake-up in the CPD.
The MacArthur Foundation has announced an investment of $68 million, the largest effort by a private foundation in the US, to address the foreclosure crisis in Chicago. MacArthur predicts that it will be able to assist 10,000 households (which includes counseling for 6,000 borrowers and the prevention of 2,700 foreclosures) by 2010.
Did you feel a sudden unexplainable chill down your spine this morning, as if the minions of the Dark Side had assembled their demonic hordes and began a death march across the barren terrain of the living. Yeah, me too. Oh, by the way, Dick Cheney's coming to Chicago tomorrow.
Runners in this year's Chicago Marathon were grateful for the added spirit (and plentiful water) offered by neighborhood spectators and volunteers. Lion dancers greeted runners in Chinatown, while Little Italy had cheerleaders and Pilsen's West 18th street had speakers playing Latin music.
With some of Chicago's main competition for the 2016 Olympics bid coming from Rio de Janeiro and Madrid, the city stressed its Latin ties in its first formal presentation on Saturday. Soon-to-be former chairman of the United States Olympic Committee, Peter Ueberroth, also touted Chicago as the best choice for purely financial reasons.
Cars, whether parked legally or illegally, appear to be the answer to the city's budget shortfall, according to Mayor Daley. To close the $420 million gap, he's raising the city parking tax, preparing to privitize parking meters, putting in more red-light cameras and revising his Denver Boot plan.
The Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet breaks down GOP presidential candidate John McCain's latest campaign commercial attempting to link Barack Obama to "the Chicago Way". Sweet notes that McCain choses to focus on Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko and Bill Daley "while the economy is sinking and the Dow is plunging again."
Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education? That's the buzz according to local education publication Catalyst, which cites Duncan's role as an education advisor and close friend to a certain Barack Obama.
According to the city's inspector general, Chicago's Bureau of Sanitation is a little bit like "Seinfeld": a big (expensive) show about nothing. David Hoffman says garbage crews get "paid to do nothing" for 25 percent of their time on the clock.
"Roof Top Honey" may sound like some sort of upper-level illicit rendezvous, but it's actually the name of the sweet product harvested from beehives on the rooftops of City Hall and the Cultural Center and sold online and at The Farmstand at 66 E. Randolph St.
Mr. Clean actor House Peters died recently at the age of 92. In case you didn't know, Mr. Clean was created here in Chicago by Harry Barnhart and Ernie Allen at the Tatham-Laird & Kudner ad agency. The hairless, obsessive compulsive, controversial, and sexually ambiguous corporate mascot's first name is Veritably, by the way, and he's known as Mr. Proper in England and Don Limpio in Spain. There you go: more than you ever wanted to know about Mr. Clean.
It's been called "Wrigley Field North" for the way that Cubs fans take over Miller Park when their team plays there. That sort of exhuberance cost one man his job. But then he works for the Brewers so you can see where that might be a problem.
As the city's crime rate goes up, the number of police officers is going down, according to the Fraternal Order of Police, who say that the city could be short 400 police officers by the end of the year.