TODAY

Wednesday, July 23

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Protective Custody

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.

Stick to "Your Honor"

A man who swore at a Cook County judge was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

The Wire

A City employee disarmed security systems overnight at a facility where 4,000 pounds of copper wire worth $21,800 was stolen, according to the inspector general.

"Rosa Parks, Move"

A Rogers Park man was charged with a hate crime after allegedly spitting on and slapping Circuit Court Judge Arnette Hubbard, a 79-year-old civil rights pioneer, because she was smoking too close to him, allegedly calling her "Rosa Parks" during the altercation.

Gone Phishing

Chicagoans whose identities are stolen are also among the biggest victims of having their data used for online purchases as well.

Unaccompanied Minors

The Archdiocese of Chicago is seeking federal approval to temporarily house children who entered the country illegally without an adult.

Leave Frank Out of It

I agree with Deadspin, this really is one of the worst ledes on a story about Chicago's violence so far -- though some of theirs are pretty bad, too.

Pain in Perspective

While Chicago has been among the top three U.S. cities with the most murders since 1985, its murder rate on a per-person basis is nowhere near the highest.

Red Light Heat Map

A map using CPD data shows the hot spots for prostitution in the city. [via]

Hashtag Solutions

Activists and residents are sharing ideas of how to curb violence in Chicago by posting to Twitter with #FixingChicago.

Forgive and Lift Up

An anti-violence activist is mentoring a gunman who shot at him.

Accidentally Imprisoned

A man visiting his son in Cook County Jail was trapped in the visitor's room for around 30 hours.

There's More Crime in the Dark

Crime goes up when all the streetlights on a block go out, according to a study commissioned by the City.

No Holiday from Violence

Over 60 people were shot and nine were killed over the 4th of July weekend.

Shrinking Middle Class

The wealth gap in Chicago is widening faster than anywhere in the state or in the U.S. generally, with the top 5 percent taking home over 25% of income paid to Chicagoans.

Dark & Stormy

170,000 people were without power and passengers on their way to O'Hare abandoned their cars to walk alongside the expressway Tuesday morning after a storm with hurricane-like winds caused flooding and damaged power lines.

Trash Talk

New rules for dumpsters passed by City Council are the latest example of how ordinances are passed with minimal oversight, writes Mick Dumke in the Reader.

Montrose Beach Shootings

Two women were shot near Montrose Beach Sunday night; photographer Todd Diedrich captured the scene around one of the victims.

Sign of the Times

Criticism of Trump Tower's "TRUMP" stamp has City Hall considering a ban of any similar signs on the riverwalk.

The Color of Cook County

Cook County continues to have the largest African American population in the country.

Gun on Bus: Two Outcomes

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.

Number One at the Pump

With an estimated average of $4.15 per gallon for regular gasoline, Chicago's gas prices may be the highest in the nation.

Crowdsourcing Charity

Inspired by a Northwestern philanthropy course profiled in the New York Times, Bill Gates asked his Twitter followers how they would give away $50,000. What would you do?

Return of the Flash Mobs

Over a dozen people are suspected of running out with at least $5,000 worth of merchandise from a South Side store.

Staying the Course

Jenn Gibbons, the woman who went all the way around Lake Michigan on a rowboat to raise money for charity, plans to circumnavigate the lake once again, this time with fellow fundraisers, on bikes. (Read our profile of Gibbons and Recovery on Water from 2010.)

No Quotas

You know how police always deny having a quota on tickets? Now it's really true in Illinois; Gov. Quinn just signed a bill banning them.

A Big Bust

More than two dozen gang members were arrested for their connection to a heroin and crack trafficking operation on the West Side.

The Best in the Land

Women & Children First is one of WhereTraveler's 10 best independent bookstores in the country.

The New Asylums

Reporting on untreated mental illness across the country, 60 Minutes visited Cook County Jail, referring to it as the "largest mental institution in the United States."

Not Worth Stealing

A robber allegedly held a man at gunpoint and demanded his possessions, but gave the victim his cellphone back because it wasn't an iPhone or better phone worth taking.

Problems with Pronouns

After University of Chicago students accused Dan Savage of a hate crime for referring to a transsexual person as "it" in conversation refusing to stop using the word "tranny" in an academic setting, he shares his side of the story and reflects on the nature of language in universities today.

Ignoring Street Fest Suggestions

Fewer people are paying the suggested donation before heading into street festivals across the city.

Purloining Pickles & Packing Peanuts

Four suspects were caught breaking into train cars containing pickles and packing peanuts yesterday.

The Stinky Bandit

A man is stealing cologne from stores in the Loop.

Something Old, Something New

Same-sex couples can now get married anywhere in Illinois.

Cash Drop

You heard about the mystery person hiding cash around San Francisco, right? Well, now there's a Chicago copycat. Follow @HiddencashChi to join the chase.

Unfortunate Irony

An NPR reporter's interview with Englewood residents about their work promoting the neighborhood's positive side was interrupted by a man shooting at a van with a semi-automatic rifle. [via]

The Gyroscopic Menace

City Council is considering a bill to limit the number of Segways allowed on tours to eight.

Don't Upskirt

There's already a state law against it, but City Council just passed an ordinance making upskirting -- taking photos up women's skirts -- punishable by a $500 fine.

Justice for Jurich & McShane

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.

Battling Blight

The City received over $169 million from the federal government to deal with vacant properties, but as the money was spent on projects all over the map, it's unclear if it made any impact on blighted areas.

No Kids at the NRA Show

A woman was ejected from the National Restaurant Association convention at MCCormick Place for bringing her 10-day-old infant into the show, violating their rule against children under 16.

Putting Everything On the Table

Conversations about the future of Chicago are taking place all across the city today as part of the Chicago Community Trust's "On the Table," including a session on community news and citizen journalism hosted by GB.

Off the Bench

A Cook County judge previously found not guilty of assaulting a deputy because she used the insanity defense was removed from the bench by a panel of judges.

Buzzing the South Side

Some South Side residents are upset that a new flight path heading towards Midway Airport is leading hundreds of planes to fly closer to their homes as they land.

Google Bots IRL

A fleet of 500 Finch Robots will be available to anyone with a library card after Google Chicago donated the programmable robots to the Chicago Public Library.

C-Suite Not Sweet on Illinois

A survey of CEOs ranked Illinois as the third worst state to do business behind New York and California.

High Hospitality

A Calumet Park man is under arrest after feeding a woman and her 1-year-old son chocolate cake laced with marijuana.

The Send-Off

In Chicago's African-American community there's a growing tradition of friends and family coming together for a pre-prom party before young gussied up couples head off to the big dance.

"A Love Like Coffee"

Mothers from across the city tell the Chicago Reporter what motherhood means to them ahead of Mother's Day this weekend.

Global Grandparents

A "Speaking Exchange" program uses video chats to connect students learning English in Brazil with senior citizens at a nursing home here in the U.S.

The Ivory Third Coast

ABC7 tracks the illicit ivory trade as it passes through Chicago on its way to the rest of the world.

Snail Mail Fail

People all over the city are having problems getting their mail delivered, possibly due to a high amount of turnover at the U.S. Postal Service.

Running Out of Juice

While Chicago's electric vehicle-charging network was planned to be one of the largest and fastest-charging in the country, many of the stations in the area are out of order thanks to lawsuits and investigations by the FBI.

Plunging from Above

Dozens of people including RedEye's Leonor Vivanco rappelled down from the 27th story of the Wit Hotel for the Skyline Plunge fundraiser.

End of the Lineups

The Chicago Police Department is cutting back its use of lineups to save time and money, and will ask witnesses to identify suspects in photos instead.

The Separate City

While L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling's racist comments and history of racial discrimination lawsuits ignited a media firestorm, Whet Moser reflects on Chicago's own legacy of racial segregation.

Deadly Wrong-Way on the Drive

A wrong-way drunk driver collided head-on with a taxi on Lake Shore Drive early Sunday morning, killing one of the cab's passengers and injuring three others.

Lady Titans

Robert Feder singles out the 20 most powerful women in Chicago's media industry, with Tribune managing editor Jane Hirt taking the top spot.

"Journey to Freedom"

Amer Ahmad, the former City comptroller who fled to Pakistan in an attempt to avoid prosecution for corruption at his previous job as Ohio deputy state treasurer, kept a journal of his escape.

Where Shootings Happen

The Sun-Times compares areas where shootings took place last month with the entire city using demographic data, showing there's more poverty and unemployment in areas affected by violence, but fewer college degrees.

Crowdsourcing History

When the University of Chicago posted online asking for help translating mysterious notes written on a copy of Homer's "Odyssey" from the 1500s, people from all over the world came together to help crack the code.

Amer Ahmad Arrested Abroad

Mayor Emanuel's former city comptroller Amer Ahmad was arrested in Pakistan with a fake passport and a large amount of cash, days after a warrant for his arrest was issued for violating bail while awaiting sentencing for corruption charges.

Another Push for Pot

While medicinal marijuana is still rolling out across Illinois, four Chicago-area politicians are advocating a complete decriminalization of pot in the state.

Step Outside to E-Smoke

The citywide ban on smoking e-cigarettes in public places indoors goes into effect today.

Silk Road to Ruin

A Dutch man pleaded guilty to selling large amounts of MDMA, ecstasy, and cocaine using the Silk Road online marketplace after he was charged with federal drug crimes in Chicago.

Recycle Bin for the Whole Computer

It's technically illegal to throw away old computers and other electronics, and since it's Earth Day you might as well drop them off somewhere where they'll be recycled.

Feds Join the Fray

The U.S. Attorney's new Violent Crimes section will use drug, gun, extortion, and money laundering laws to go after groups responsible for violence in Chicago.

Deadly Easter Weekend

At least nine people died and 32 were wounded in gun violence this weekend, including two police officers dead in an apparent murder-suicide.

Strong Arm of the Law

Two police officers are being praised as heroes after they spotted a house on fire while on patrol on the Far South Side and convinced two boys trapped inside to jump from a second-floor window and into their arms.

Bank Robber Blues

While the man suspected of being the Benchwarmer Bandit was charged for one of six bank robberies police think he committed, another bank robber is relieved to be returning to prison after spending most of his adult life there.

Placing Their Bets

Groups on both sides of the issue weighed in on whether Chicago should be the home of a state-run casino at a public hearing today.

Everyday Heroes

Window washers at Lurie Children's Hospital don superhero costumes before swinging by patients' windows, bringing a little more light to their hospital rooms. [via]

Watching the Watchmen

After three Chicago police officers were caught lying under oath, opinions differ over how widespread a problem perjury by police officers represents.

Central Standard: On Education

The team behind GB's The Grid has teamed up with WTTW for a nine-week web series about education in the Chicago region. The first video in the series introduces the five middle school students who will be followed while they wrestle with the transition to high school.

Sue in Space

Microbes collected from the Field Museum's Sue the T. rex will be launched into orbit and studied on the International Space Station.

Off the Bench

The "Benchwarmer Bandit" is suspected of robbing a fifth bank Tuesday morning.

Focusing on Fuzzy Math

Chicago Magazine takes an in-depth look at whether CPD's claims of a dramatic drop in crime over the past three years are accurate or if they're reclassifying cases so the numbers look better.

Billy Cub Clobbers Fan

Patrick Weier, one of the guys behind the unofficial Cubs mascot Billy Cub, got in a fight Saturday with a patron at John Barleycorn who removed his head. Weier says he was provoked.

A Positive Milestone

The number of murders during the first three months of this year was the lowest since 1958, according to CPD.

Put Away That Gun

William P. O'Connell was the first Illinoisan to have his concealed carry permit revoked after he pulled his gun during a property dispute.

Charity for Nonbelievers

Giving nonreligious people ways to give back like those offered by religious institutions is a major goal of the Foundation Beyond Belief convention coming to Chicago.

Where's the Late Crown?

It may not surprise you to learn that 911 calls are answered about three times slower in parts of the South Side than those on the North Side, according to a Sun-Times analysis.

Asleep at the Wheel

"We've all dozed off driving a train [or a car]," said Robert Kelly, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, in defense of the CTA driver who crashed a Blue Line train into the escalator at O'Hare earlier this week. The driver worked 69 hours last week in on-call shifts with no set schedule, Kelly said.

Litigating Tragedy

A Chicago-based law firm will be representing family members of the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight in a lawsuit against Boeing and the airlines, alleging the plane crashed because of a mechanical failure.

Stock Up On Anecdotes

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.

Want to See a Trainwreck?

The first negligence lawsuits have been filed by two passengers in Monday's CTA Blue Line derailment, and as a fun bonus, video of the crash has emerged.

Breaking the Silence

Federal investigators are bringing new charges against a man who allegedly killed an off-duty Chicago cop back in 2008 and intimidated all the witnesses into not testifying against him.

When Westboro Came to Town

Yesterday's death of former Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps brought to mind the protest-happy group's past trips to Chicago, most recently visits to University of Chicago, UIC and downtown, and to several synagogues.

Once Again Seeking Refuge

Elvira Arellano, the undocumented immigrant who took refuge in a local church, igniting a fierce debate over deportation of parents of American-born children, is seeking refugee status in the US after allegedly receiving kidnapping threats for her human rights activism in Mexico.

Avoid Lake Shore Drive

Yesterday's standoff on Lake Shore Drive led to chaos on the streets as motorists found ways to get off the road. A fire at Hollywood and Kenmore this morning closed the Hollywood entrance to the Drive during rush hour.

Green-shirted Men Fighting on the Street

Crime in Wrigleyville + Boystown compiled the fury unleashed by St. Patrick's Day revelers on Wrigleyville over the weekend.

Brown's Chicken Killer Wins Case

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 Family Band of Thieves

A suburban Chicago family is accused of shoplifting more than $4.2 million dollars worth of goods from stores around the country and selling them on eBay.

Keys to Chicago

CNN's interview with GB alum Britt Julious on must-know Chicago facts touches on jibaritos, the names of places, and gym shoes.

City of Big Tippers

Chicagoans tip more often than residents of any other major American city according to Square, leaving an average gratuity of 16.8% of the bill.

Hair Club for Also-rans

Oscar nominees who fail to get a golden statue may lose hope, but at least they can get some hair back using a voucher for free hair transplants from a Chicago surgeon.

Meth Lab Suspect Also A Fan of Breaking Bad

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."

los pollos hermanos

Public Enemy #1

The head of the DEA wants Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to stand trial here for drug trafficking.

Throwing Snowballs: Now A Felony?

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.

The Wait is Over

Gay couples can get married in Cook County as early as Saturday, following a ruling issued by a federal judge today.

Sickos in the Patch

If you live near Western and Chicago, keep your eye out for twisted sadists trying to light stray cats on fire.

Docs' Dumb Endorsement

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.

Ice Cold Flow

A time lapse video taken by photographer Albert Bartkus from a balcony along the Chicago River provides a unique glimpse of the ice as it breaks and flows away. [via]

Reading, Writing, Manufacturing

The Walt Disney Magnet School is planning to build a lab of 3D printers for its students.

Minority Report?

CPD says its computer-generated "heat list" identifies the people most likely to be involved in a violent crime, but is it just racial profiling?

Wet Bandits

Two men are accused of flooding part of the Trump Tower with thousands of gallons of dirty water and causing over $700,000 in damages, apparently after they were denied service by bartenders at the bar there.

Scrapers Break Sheriff's Website

Sites that use scraper code to grab mugshots off police websites (so they can post them on their own sites and charge people to have them removed) have brought the Cook County Sheriff's website to its knees in recent weeks. The "inmate locator" section of the site now sports a captcha to fend off the bots.

Shrinking Fourth Estate

With Chicago Magazine's ranking of the 100 most powerful Chicagoans barely including any members of the city's media, Robert Feder asks if the influence of local media personalities really is that small.

UIC Profs on Strike

For the first time in the university's history, faculty at UIC plan to walk out of classes Tuesday as part of a two-day strike.

Rare Number of Shootings

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.)

Thundersnow's Revenge

Everyone's favorite hybrid precipitation returned today- which you're well aware of if you're stuck in the whiteout conditions that settled in around rush hour.

Talking Chicago

Spanish, Polish, and Chinese are the most common languages other than English in Chicago, and CBS takes a look at where in the city you're most likely to hear foreign tongues.

Good Guy Valentine

Bartender Peter Vitale handed out meals and Valentine's Day gifts to some of the people in need he said he sees on a daily basis.

Foodie Firing Backlash

Over 60,000 people signed a petition calling on Whole Foods to reinstate the Chicago woman who was fired for missing a day of work when her child's school was cancelled.

Love Doesn't Always Stink

The Reader sets aside its usual anti-Valentine's Day snark to profile four "outstanding" Chicago power couples.

Love is in the Air

Chicago ranked as the most romantic American city (and the Hyatt Regency as the second most romantic hotel) in an obviously sound, scientific survey of Priceline.com users.

Ex-Cop's Plan for a Torture Chamber

The former Chicago cop who had plans to kidnap and mutilate his victim's genitals in order to seize a strip club also had plans to create a torture chamber. The cop's partner who assisted in creating the space said the chamber would "make Stalin proud." Steve Mandell's trial began on Tuesday.

Chicago Offers Cold Weather Advice to the South

A vicious winter blast is scheduled to hit many states in the Southeast today, so Chicago is offering some advice to those in the south less familiar with the full spectrum of winter weather.

"Get Well Soon" Writ Large

Someone carved a thoughtful message in the snow visible from several of the hospital rooms inside Rush University Medical Center: "Hi Mom, God Bless U!"

Campus Shutdown

All of the local campuses of DeVry University were closed today after the school received a threatening email.

It's Not Just You

This is officially the coldest Chicago winter in three decades.

Fire on the Table

An ABC7 investigation looks into recent cases of patients getting burned during surgery when the oxygen being pumped into them suddenly ignites.

The No-Smoking Wars

While CVS announced they would stop selling any tobacco products, Walgreens hasn't rolled out similar plans- yet- but plans on launching a free online smoking cessation program instead.

Where the Well-Heeled Walk

If you get tired of slip-sliding your way through neighborhood sidewalks, take a trip down to the Loop where the heated concrete keeps the ice away.

A Rumble from Down Under

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.

Christie Visits The Windy City

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey will be visiting Chicago on Feb. 11 for a Republican Governors Association fundraising event. He will also be giving a speech to The Economic Club of Chicago. His visit is scheduled in the midst of the George Washington Bridge scandal, upon which the RGA has remained neutral.

Pesky Predictions

The groundhog Punxsutawney Phil and meteorologists agree: six more weeks of winter in Chicago.

A Positive Dooring

A fast-thinking woman trapped a would-be carjacker by closing the garage door after giving up the keys to her SUV.

An End to the Vanecko Saga

Former Mayor Daley's nephew Richard Vanecko will serve 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the 2004 death of David Koschman, who died after Vanecko hit him during a drunken fight.

Watch and Learn, Atlanta

Four to eight inches of snow are forecast for this weekend. Good thing you never put your boots away.

In the Red

Supplies at Chicago's blood banks are running low, with polar vortexes and record cold causing blood drives to be cancelled and donors to stay at home. You can find places to give blood through the American Red Cross' website.

Revenge Porn Hated & Now Soon-To-Be Banned

After Chicago said "hell no" to revenge porn kingpin Hunter Moore, a ban on revenge porn was introduced to Illinois legislature. The proposal would make it illegal for post revenge porn on the Internet without consent.

Leaks CPD Style

Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police wants Google to tell them who posted one of their board meetings to YouTube, using audio recorded secretly during the event.

A Real Weather Roller Coaster

Maybe it's just the cold, but this look back at the Chicago blizzard of 1967 makes me feel nostalgic for snowier (but warmer) days.

Scanners

From amateur photographers to crime watchers, Chicagoans tuning in to CPD's scanner radio frequency keep tabs on the police as they fight crime across the city.

20 Million Passengers Traveled Through Midway Airport in 2013

A record 20 million passengers traveled through Midway last year, an increase of 5 percent from 2012. O'Hare's passenger traffic grew only slightly.

Hot Tips

TV reporters are no strangers to standing outside in ridiculous weather, and their helpful strategies include everything from battery-powered socks to ninja suits.

Gang Members Need Not Apply?

The Cook County Sheriff's Office is objecting to an application for a concealed carry permit filed by someone they say is a leader of the Latin Kings gang.

Catching More Murderers

Last year, CPD solved its highest percentage of murder cases since 2009, improving on 2012's record-low clearance rate.

Be Nicer to Your Gators

The woman who left an alligator at O'Hare Airport is facing misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and reckless conduct.

A Fearless Teacher

Chicago native Lexie Kamerman was educating young women in Afghanistan when she was killed during a Taliban-led attack on a restaurant in Kabul on Friday.

Should Unions Get Their Dues?

A suit filed by Chicago-area in-home care providers will get its day in the U.S. Supreme Court, where justices will decide whether the healthcare workers can be required to pay union dues.

Conceding to Robbers No Longer Guarantees Safety

Even after handing over his cell phone to two robbers, Kevin Baker was shot Thursday afternoon while walking home from school. The 19-year-old Harold Washington College freshman died Saturday.

Not So Untouchable

Two aldermen announced that they oppose the renaming of ATF headquarters after crime-fighter Eliot Ness. Jonathan Eig notes that Ness didn't actually bother Capone much, despite the film depiction.

Ex-Cop Kidnaps to Seize Strip Club

In the ongoing pre-trial announcements about ex-cop Steven Mandell, new details emerged that Mandell planned to kill two targets in order to take over their lucrative strip club. The Chicago Tribune had created a timeline of the "Steven Mandell Saga" that will now continue to grow.

NATO 3 Head Towards Trial

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.

Shining Light on the Darkness

The Archdiocese of Chicago is handing over thousands of pages documenting sex abuse allegations against clergy to attorneys representing the victims.

Idiot-Proof Locks

A would-be robber broke the lock on a Wicker Park bar, but couldn't pull the door open to get in- despite the sticker marked "PUSH" on the outside.

Old Man v. Winter

Police responding to reports of shots fired in the west suburbs found an elderly man was shooting the icicles hanging from the roof of his house to knock them off.

A Reversal of Fortune

The Atlantic looks at the modern-day costs of reversing the Chicago river.

Silver-Lined Pipes

When the pipes froze in a Chicago couple's house, they found a wedding ring lost years before while repairing them. [via]

Shorts Weather

As soon as the temperature gets above freezing, people take their pants off and take a ride on the Red Line.

Top Dogs

Labrador retrievers are the most popular dogs on the North Side, while South Siders prefer pit bulls, according to a look at registered pets by DNAInfo.

Cutting Threads

Threadless laid off more than a quarter of its staff and closed its Lakeview store. [via]

Too Many Weathers

So the arctic cold is gone and the snow is melting, but that water and rain together means potential flooding across the city, or at least in that one spot where you have to cross the street.

Strong Tech Turnout at CES

A music maker, custom pinball machines, and smartphone-controlled blinds are among Chicago's contributions to the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Dibs Destroyer

A Humboldt Park woman shoveled her entire block to stop people from claiming "dibs" on street parking spots they cleared of snow.

Snow Removal Complaints Piling Up

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.

Gruesome Ex-Cops' Kidnapping Plan

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.

Facebook Flare Up

Neighbors' complaints on Facebook about a woman leaving her dogs outside in this week's cold weather escalated to tickets, police visits, and eventually a Cook County commissioner calling her an "asshat."

A Few of our Least Favorite Things

Losing your dibs, extra-corrupt politicians, and festival season made Buzzfeed's list of things only Chicagoans are scared of.

New Police Torture Allegations

In his first public interview, a Chicago man shed light on his claims that CPD officers beat him and sodomized him with a gun until he agreed to be a drug informant. He was working on a documentary about the Jon Burge torture scandal at the time.

Big Booty Dreams

A Chicago woman thinks her 7-foot diameter butt is the biggest one on Earth. [via]

A Lesson in Legal Action

The dispute (previously) between Chicago State University and a faculty-run blog critical of university administrators continues, with the school now demanding the site change its domain name.

Record Few Fire Fatalities

Only 16 people lost their lives in fires in Chicago last year -- fewer than ever before in the recorded history of the city.

A Real Shitstorm

Some intrepid workers braved the snow, but no one can work through the torrent of sewage that rained down in the Leo Burnett building downtown. UPDATE: Leo Burnett claims it was only water and dust.

Never too Cold for a Cold One

While the bitter cold seemed to keep people from shopping or ice skating outside, things stayed busy at bars and breweries across Chicago as many workers with the day off made the most of their free time.

Chill Your Dibs

Some heated disputes are breaking out in the cold as Chicagoans continue the pastime of reserving their street parking spots after digging them out of the snow.

It's Still in the Mail

The Sun-Times' Mark Brown says Chicago Rep. Monique Davis hasn't paid rent on the CPS building she uses for her district office in 11 years.

Meaty Tweets

A petition calling on Shigetaka Kurita to add a hot dog emoji is circulating online, thanks to an effort by Superdawg and other encased meat advocates.

CPS Schools Stay Closed Tuesday

As a result of the dangerously low temperatures, Chicago public schools will remain closed Tuesday.

When Life Gives You Snow...

An Andersonville man took advantage of this winter's snowy weather by building a backyard igloo.

Holes in Their Numbers

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.

No Work and All Play

Chicagoans trapped at home are trying out science experiments in the record-setting cold, like throwing boiling water into the air where it instantly turns into steam.

The Cutest Thing You Can't See

A grey seal pup was recently born at the Brookfield Zoo, but it will be kept out of public view for its first few weeks. There are still plenty of videos and photos posted online to quench your thirst for cuteness, though.

Upright and Frozen Position

Passengers on over a dozen Southwest Airlines flights sat on the tarmac and waited for an open gate at Midway Airport for over three hours Thursday, possibly violating federal rules on such delays.

Dibs Begins

RedEye looks back onthe creative ways people have reserved their parking spots alongside Chicago's snow-covered streets.

Concealed Carry Coming

Applications for concealed carry gun licenses become available online Sunday -- and businesses will be expected to post very specific signs to keep guns off the premises.

Doogie Whoser?

A 9-year-old girl helped deliver her own baby sister after her mother went into labor at their home.

Saying Goodbye, Hello

As we remember the Chicagoans we lost in 2013, the area's latest resident was born just before 12:01 a.m. on January 1.

Take a Penny, Leave Your Car Behind

The CTA is continuing its tradition of offering penny rides on New Year's Eve. Also: there will be no cabs, so don't even try. [via]

Inspiring Smiles

An oral surgeon made it his personal mission over the past 12 years to provide food and blankets to the homeless who call Lower Wacker Drive home.

Fresh On the Books

A new year means a slew of new laws will go into effect on January 1, including legalization of medical marijuana, new speed limits, and a statewide ban on talking into a cell phone while driving.

Fire in Pine Yard

A fire in the Pine Yard Chinese restaurant in Evanston destroyed three businesses early Sunday morning.

pine yard fire
Photo by Michael Salisbury

Second Screen Surgery

A University of Chicago plastic surgeon wore Google Glass during an operation, allowing him to look at X-Ray and MRI images without looking away from his patient.

Sipping the City

The New York Times' Steve Radcliffe explores the cocktail scene in Logan Square and beyond, but falls short of an authentic Chicago experience by passing on malört. He tried malört at Scofflaw.

New Life for Yule Trees

Sooner or later those Christmas trees will have to go, and recycling them is a better option than tossing them to the curb.

Booming from Behind

Dennis Rodkin points out that despite a much-hyped spike in the retail market, home prices in high-foreclosure neighborhoods where the biggest gains are taking place are still where they were in 1997.

Biking Bills

With the City continuing to roll out Divvys, protected lanes, and other bike-friendly measures, a fair question remains: who is going to pay for this stuff?

Best Gift Ever

The Sun-Times' Tina Sfondeles shares the story of a local man who lost 40 pounds in two months so he could donate part of his liver to his five-month-old daughter.

Nothing Is the Same

The Drake hotel's signature bright pink neon sign was replaced with a more reliable, energy-efficient LED version, but the color is more purple than its predecessor. Does it matter?

Check Your Old Jacket Pockets

Sold in Chicago almost a year ago, a lottery ticket worth $250,000 and another worth $100,000 still haven't been claimed, and will expire if the prizes are not collected in the next couple of weeks.

Something Borrowed, Something New

From a Target in the Sullivan Center downtown to a Walgreens in an elaborate Wicker Park bank, Curious City looks at how -- and why -- corporations are occupying historic buildings around the city.

Ah, Memories

Remember the "goddess of the train," human heads at O'Hare, and alleged ninja attacks? TimeOut Chicago revisits some of the craziest local news stories of 2013.

As My Guitar Weeps

Bluesman Eric 'Guitar' Davis was the latest victim of Chicago's gun violence, killed while sitting in a car in the South Shore neighborhood.

Dot Whatever

With Internet domains set to expand beyond the usual .com, entrepreneurs are swiping up everything from .chicago to .xyz, writes Sandra Guy.

What Are We Looking For?

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.

Beyond the Ball Drop

The Reader rounds up some of the best New Year's Eve parties in the city.

Government Grinches

Federal agents are confiscating thousands of packages coming through Chicago from abroad this holiday season as they hunt for fakes and forgeries, including everything from Blackhawks jerseys to Ferrari hair dryers.

CPD Controversy

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.

EveryBlock Returns

Comcast is going to revive the hyperlocal news and information site EveryBlock, which was shut down ten months ago after it was bought by MSNBC.

Mega Money

The Mega Millions jackpot is up to $400 million dollars-the second-highest total ever- for the drawing on Friday.

Murdered Lottery Winner's Estate Settled

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.

Out with the Old, in with the New

While bargain hunters flock to "going out of business" sales at Dominick's across the city, job-seekers hope to find work at the Mariano's stores replacing the closing grocer.

Digital Kids

CPS wants to make computer science a core part of its high school curriculum, while also providing computer courses for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Don't Glass and Drive

Proposed legislation would make it illegal to wear Google Glass while driving in Illinois.

New Media, Old Media

Hyperlocal news site DNAinfo.com debuted a weekly print edition for Lincoln Park that's delivered to every household in the neighborhood.

Drink to Never Forget?

Murphy's Bleachers received national scorn for an offensive sign advertising "bombs and Kamikazes" on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. The bar apologized on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on the sign itself.

Long Walk to Chicago

From rugby boycotts to divestment, the Tribune sheds some light on Nelson Mandela's legacy locally.

Bars for His Windows

Former Republic Windows CEO Richard Gillman was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $500,000 from the company.

Hacking the City

Urban explorer Bradley Garrett captured some unique views of the city while climbing to the tops of Chicago skyscrapers.

Moving is the Worst

When one woman moved from New York from Chicago the moving company held her belongings hostage and demanded thousands of dollars in additional payment.

Hot Pockets

Undercover officers are taking to the streets Downtown to watch out for pickpockets and other thieves as people head to the shops to do their holiday shopping.

Good Tidings

Two Chicago servers received thousands of dollars in tips from TipsforJesus, an anonymous group that has left quite a bit extra to others around the country.

Pension Reform Passes

The Illinois legislature approved a pension reform proposal that saves the state an estimated $160 billion dollars. Labor groups are planning to challenge the law in court.

A Gr8 Mystery

A strange, text-speak message on the side of a school in Woodlawn has teachers and parents scratching their heads. See if you can decipher it: "Lol :) liv / do u kno y? / gr8 com cr8s gr8 ppl / a ______ jrny sts w/1 stp/ me2+u2=we2."

Disney's Hermosa Home

Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901, and his boyhood home at 2156 N. Tripp may soon become a museum dedicated to his early life.


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Little Black History Books

Mother's and other bars along the eastern edge of Division St. are seeking "historic" status, even if much of the history made there is of hookups that people may want to forget.

A Confusing Statistic

Despite increasing national attention to gun violence and killings here, Chicago is on pace to have have fewer murders this year than any other since 1965.

A Big Hairy Deal

In another step towards Peace on Earth, a referendum by the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas may end the ages-old feud between Santas with real beards and those with artificial ones.

Tronsgiving

Chicago's South Shore Drill Team joined the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time ever this year, performing to an EDM song while wearing Tron-style costumes.

An Awkward Return

Some of the photographers laid off from the Sun-Times may be heading back to work as part of an agreement made between the paper and the Newspaper Guild.

You Can't E-Smoke in Here

An ordinance backed by Mayor Emanuel would add electronic cigarettes to the city's smoking ban, since they currently are allowed in smoke-free areas.

How to Speak Chicagoan

While "selfie" was selected as Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year, RedEye's Mick Swasko says some local options are better, like: Ventrapocalypse, Divviot, and O'Halligator.

Brace for an Arctic Blast

With a blast of arctic air coming our way this weekend, it might be a good time to curl up by a fireplace, find your center to prepare for winter, or seek retail therapy at some local stores.

Siats Ruled Before Sue

Scientists from the Field Museum discovered a new "top predator" dinosaur that sat atop the food chain in North America well before Sue -- or any other T. Rex for that matter -- ever existed.

Street Cleaner Curiousity

Curious City takes a closer look at what street sweepers do, and why they're necessary in Chicago.

Bid on Gate 23

Michael Jordan's mansion in Highland Park is being auctioned off today. If you've got a couple million handy, you could be the lucky owner.

The Greatest Revenue Generator

A World War II veteran who just turned 100 years old somehow owes the City over $40,000 in unpaid water bills.

Forced to Serve

A South Side landlord allegedly abused and tortured two mentally handicapped tenants until they served him, working every day of the week at different jobs and giving him every cent they made.

All-Americans

President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Oprah Winfrey and Ernie Banks, granting them both the country's highest civilian honor.

More Ventra Problems

The Regional Transportation Authority is launching a probe into Ventra's constant problems as a fare payment system for the Chicago area. Ventra was instituted to meet a bill signed by Gov. Quinn requiring Pace, Metra and CTA to use a universal fare system. Cubic, Ventra's parent company, has a long history of problems.

Time for Bow Control?

Archery is surging in popularity locally (and across the country), thanks to the Hunger Games movies.

Le Chicago Caution

The French Foreign Ministry is telling its nation's tourists to avoid the West and South Sides of Chicago after 59th Street.

Hoping for a Change

Arrested 396 times, one woman is looking to change her ways after she was released from prison this week.

Watching the Air Down There

Following demands from the Environmental Protection Agency, air quality monitors are going to be installed near the piles of petroleum-byproduct petcoke on the Southeast side.

Colonel Tribune Goes Rogue

Hackers targeted another Chicago media outlet, this time taking over several social media accounts run by the Chicago Tribune. They're back under the Trib's control now.

Goddess Rides the Red Line (NSFW)

Red Line trains were briefly delayed on Saturday by a nude woman calling herself the "goddess of the train." She verbally and physically attacked riders until police removed her from the train at Granville.

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.

Goddess of the Train - JustinYounger

Hacking the Futures

Someone hacked CME Group, the largest futures exchange in the world.

Bound by Tragedy

People whose lives have been touched by violence in Chicago share their stories in a new book (available for free) put together by DePaul University students who interviewed the family, friends, and neighbors of victims.

No NUTJOBs Allowed

Over 5,000 vanity license plates are officially banned in Illinois, and RedEye highlights some of the most interesting, including "IMDRUNK," "BRKNWND," and "FOBAMA."

What Leaks Beneath

An investigation by NBC 5 found there are hundreds of underground storage tanks leaking throughout Chicago, contaminating land like a patch slated for a new elementary school.

A New Drug War?

Lawyers for the City are considering a lawsuit against drug manufacturers for understating the addictive nature and overstating the benefits of opiate-based painkillers in their marketing.

Say Something for Willow's Sake

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.

Get a Shirt and a Warm Fuzzy

As they've often done when disaster strikes, Threadless is offering up a t-shirty option for those who are looking for a way to help out people in the Philippines who've been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. 100% of net shirt proceeds from the sale of the tee will be donated to Architecture for Humanity. (You can also donate to nonprofits like the Red Cross, UNICEF and other organizations.)

If You Build It...

Only 2,000 people in the entire State of Illinois signed up for health plans using the Internet exchanges launched in October as a part of health care reform.

Street View Robbery

A Chicago man admitted to using Google Maps to case homes in the suburbs for robberies, getting a 360-degree view of them before breaking in.

Crime-Fighting Restaurateur

Last week, Juno owner Jason Chan chased down a guy who allegedly stole a customer's iPhone, knocking him out and holding him while awaiting police.

Flossin' Sue

A Sun-Times reporter was there to capture the scene as a paleontologist cleaned and dusted the Field Museum's famous Tyrannosaurus rex.

Higher by a Spire

The Sears (ahem, Willis) tower will no longer be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, after the official body that decides these things ruled One World Trade Center's antenna will count as part of its height, making it 1,776 feet tall once it's finished to Willis' 1,450 feet. Without the antenna, One World Trade Center's height is only 1,368 feet.

Sinking City

A water main break caused a massive sinkhole to form in the middle of a road on the South Side.

Police Shooting Protests

Activists and the family of a man who was unarmed when he was shot in the back and killed by a Chicago police officer in 2011 are calling for a federal investigation into the case after Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said she would not bring charges against the cop.

Man vs. Wind

DNAInfo's Josh McGhee visited a practice of Thanksgiving Day Parade volunteers as they fought to control a 40-foot-tall inflatable Tweety Bird to prepare for the parade.

Tourist not Shot on Mag Mile

A Texas man claimed he had been shot while driving near Michigan Avenue on Saturday night, but police determined it must have happened elsewhere (and was possibly drug-related) when no shell casings or broken glass were found near where the incident supposedly occurred.

Great Recession Blues

Greg Hinz writes that Chicago's financial situation suffered more during the Great Recession than every other major U.S. city except Boston and Detroit.

Grounded

The family of a French man who weighs over 500 pounds has been stranded in Chicago for a week after he was deemed too fat to fly on British Airways; they're now planning on taking a ship back to France.

Eat Your Greens

Federal authorities in Detroit seized 156 pounds of pot hidden in a truck of frozen vegetables bound for Chicago.

A Lawsuit Built for Two

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.

The Apartment of Lost Puppets

An investigation by a local documentarian uncovered a cache of thousands of hand-made marionettes in two Wicker Park apartments. (Previously.)

First Class

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.

Worst Getaway Ever

The driver of an allegedly stolen SUV hit a cab on Belmont yesterday -- then executed the worst fleeing of an accident you're ever likely to see. [via]

Lockup Losses

A jury found the city and several CPD officers liable in the death of activist May Molina in 2004 while she was in lockup, awarding her family $1 million in damages.

No Quake

When people in the western suburbs felt the ground shake, it wasn't caused by an earthquake as many suspected, but rather was the result of an explosion at a nearby quarry.

Fat, Fluffy Beats

As part of a performance by Swedish electronic duo Dada Life, over 3,800 people crammed into the Aragon pelted each other with pillows, setting a new Guinness world record for largest pillow fight.

The Chicago Gambit

Chess grandmaster Timur Gareev played blindfolded against ten Cook County Jail inmates simultaneously, defeating them all.

Buried Bonds

The Tribune takes a deep look into the City's issuing and spending $9.4 billion dollars worth of bonds with little to no oversight, potentially setting the stage for a future debt crisis.

The Last Survivors

The AP shares the stories of the last generation of Holocaust survivors living in Chicago's Selfhelp Home.

Accidentally Underground Radio

WGN Radio's Steve Dale hosted his show this weekend while he was trapped in an elevator in his building.

An Alligator at O'Hare?

Someone abandoned a small alligator in Terminal 3 at O'Hare Airport Friday night. The gator, nicknamed "Allie" and suffering a bone deficiency, is now in the care of the Chicago Herpetological Society.

Innovators and Storytellers

Some Chicagoans gained more notoriety this week as the Chicago Innovation Awards celebrated some for bringing bold new ideas to the city, while the Studs Terkel Awards lauded others for telling the unheard stories of Chicago's communities.

Cutting Cupboards

People across Illinois who rely on food stamps will be getting less starting Friday, as federal stimulus funds dedicated to the program expire.

Bad Samaritan

A man who was shooting a paintball gun with his friend was injured when a nearby man returned fire- with a real gun. [via]

Another Suit Against CPD

The family of an activist who died after Chicago police put her in a holding cell for over 24 hours is suing the City for between $6 million and $9 million in damages.

Best Hot Tub Ever

More than 900 gallons of hot chocolate will be poured to set a new world record for the largest cup of the delicious liquid ahead of this weekend's Hot Chocolate 5K and 15K.

Scary Parents

While it's pretty clear fears of predators and poisoned candy on Halloween are unfounded, some parents are turning to "trunk or treating" between cars in parking lots as a safer alternative.

Noteworthy

A DePaul student whose note to the thief that stole her bike went viral got a new set of wheels from a man who saw a story about her on the news.

Cuter Than a Speeding Bullet

A local food vendor's money was almost gone with the wind when he dropped stacks of cash on the ground, but his superhero costume-clad grandchildren wrangled the bills before they blew away.

Checking In

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.

"North Loop" & Environs

Giuliana Rancic's extensive guide to Chicago for E! Online covers River North (known "North Loop" in the guide) and no further than Lincoln Park's Original Pancake House.

Rising to a Crime

The Tribune captured the scene on the street the morning after a deadly shooting in Logan Square.

Pointillist Wedding Party

Speaking of weddings on the cheap, a couple got married on the sly at the Art Institute this weekend, in front of Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte."

Taxicab Controversy

A cab driver tried to make a gay couple exit the car on the Kennedy Expressway after seeing the two men kiss, according to a complaint filed on their behalf.

Sweetest Places

Zillow calls Chicago the seventh best city for trick-or-treating in the country, and gives Ravenswood the city's top neighborhood ranking.

Segregation Then and Now

The Chicago Reporter compares the segregation of Chicago's schools in the 1960's with inequality seen in CPS today.

Not Guilty, Still Arrested

Carl Chatman, exonerated last month of a 2002 rape he didn't commit, was arrested by Berwyn police for not registering as a sex offender -- which he is not required to do since he was cleared of guilt.

Kindness of Strangers

An anonymous donor paid $30,000 to get the gas turned back on at Clara's House, a shelter for homeless and battered women in Englewood.

This Week in Corruption

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios said testimony linking him to corruption is "bull****," the Tribune describes a West Side pastor as living a mansion while his tenants live in substandard conditions, and three more former executives of Sacred Heart were indicted.

Heating Up

More Chicagoans are signing up for gun training ahead of the legalization of concealed carry in Illinois next year.

Charity Delivered

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.

BP Behind Petroleum Mess

Residents living near the shipping yards on the South Side are saying stored "petrocoke" produced at a nearby BP oil refinery is polluting their neighborhood, coating cars, streets, and buildings with a greasy black dust.

Busted by a Selfie

A Gresham man who robbed a designer he met on Instagram was arrested after she provided police with a picture he posted of himself online.

Wait in Case of Fire

Chicago firefighters failed to meet federal standards for response speed up to half of the time in some South Side neighborhoods, an official audit found.

Latest Cuteness

A male dolphin was born at the Brookfield Zoo this week, and another dolphin is expected to give birth later this fall.

Capitalistic Community Development

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.

Beware, Users of the Bloomingdale Trail

Now that the Bloomingdale Trail's construction is well underway, the police warn they will actually arrest people who head up on the tracks.

Drive in Peace

Complaints of drivers swerving into traffic and brandishing guns during gang members' funeral processions prompted a new ordinance allowing cops to ticket and impound vehicles of unruly funeral-goers.

SEC's on UNO's Case

The SEC is investigating UNO for possible violations surrounding its past bond offerings.

Trial of Bucktown Beating Suspect Begins

Jury selection started this week for the trial of a man accused of brutally beating an Irish woman and her friend with a baseball bat in 2011.

New Neighbors

The Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III are moving to an undisclosed location on the West Side to draw more attention to gun violence in Chicago.

Clearcutting Patch

AOL's Patch is laying off its last remaining local editors in Chicago. The sites will stick around, but there won't be anyone dedicated to reporting on those neighborhoods.

A Major Infestation

Abandoned properties in Englewood are turning into dumping grounds that attract rats "so big the cats are scared." Residents want action, but the City can't trespass to kill rats on private property.

CHA CEO Steps Down

Chicago Housing Authority CEO Charles Woodyard has resigned after being in the position for two years. According to WBEZ's Natalie Moore, it's to spend more time with his family.

Mega Octopus Versus Giant Hearts

RedEye took a trip behind-the-scenes at the Shedd to see how they patiently train Opal the octopus.

More Laurels for Hyde Park

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."

Dirty Cops Do Time

A former CPD police sergeant caught shaking down drug dealers for protection money was sentenced by a federal judge to 22 months in prison.

Dem Bones Are All Over the Place

Construction workers digging up human remains in the Gold Coast is actually not a big deal- thousands of bodies are still buried where cemeteries used to be.

King Cuffed

Federal prosecutors filed charges against 33 members of a West Side gang, including its alleged "King," saying they were responsible for several murders, trafficking narcotics, and running drug markets in Wicker Park and Humboldt Park.

Seriously, Don't Do This Drug

Krokodil, a Russian drug used as a cheap "alternative" to heroin, has arrived in Chicagoland: three women in Joliet are being treated for the drug's side effects, which include severely damaged skin, gangrene, and abscesses that expose bone to the elements. [via]

Pun the News

If you prefer your news with some double entendre, you'll enjoy DNAinfo's coverage of a man who removed his clothes before representing himself in court: Hung Jury in Trial of Naked Man.

Revenge of the 'Burbs

A new study finds that only one in four jobs created downtown between 2002 and 2011 went to city residents.

Details of Southwest Side Killing Emerge

Prosecutors said a 19-year-old woman and her boyfriend brutally murdered her ex-boyfriend's brother, cut up his body, and buried it in the backyard of her family's home.

Ex-CBOT Chief on the Lam

Former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman Patrick Arbor is in Europe, allegedly to avoid paying millions in child support to his ex-wife. A warrant had been issued for his arrest.

So Much Green

Police found over 166 pounds of marijuana, worth more than $1.1 million, when they searched a Southwest Side home.

The Tale of Trapper John

A former city Animal Control worker is continuing his mission of catching stray cats and turning them over to shelters, but is seen as a "vigilante" by advocates of kitty catch-and-release.

Obamacare's 404

Many users who logged on to the brand-new health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act encountered glitches and error messages as 6.1 million other people visited the websites.

See Something? Say Something

That's what Ald. John Arena did when he spotted two men working under a parked car with a Sawzall earlier this summer. He jotted down their license plate and helped police bust catalytic converter thieves.

Favorite Things for Sale

Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios campus in the West Loop may be put on the market.

No More Doggies in the Window

Collar & Leash, the city's oldest pet shop, is going out of business after its owners stopped selling dogs and cats because they could not tell if the animals came from puppy mills.

"The New Insane Asylums"

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told 60 Minutes the prison system is unable to provide appropriate care to inmates with mental illnesses, including over 2,500 people at Cook County Jail.

RIP Keo the Chimpanzee

Lincoln Park Zoo's Keo, the oldest chimpanzee in America, has passed away. He was 55. The zoo has set up a memorial page for him.

A Bitter Pill

The FBI is no longer leading an investigation into who killed seven people in Chicago and the suburbs 30 years ago by lacing Tylenol with cyanide.

Another Shutdown Countdown

Government services could be restricted and thousands of federal employees in Chicago may see their pay affected if Congress is unable to pass a spending bill today.

Gangs Aren't Into Unity

This weekend's "national unity summit," intended to bring together gang members to discuss reducing violence, drew mostly anti-violence activists and victims' families.

More OT for NATO

An arbitrator ruled that the City must pay $1 million dollars more in overtime pay to police officers who were on duty during the NATO summit last year.

Arrested Taking Money

Three men paid to maintain ATMs allegedly stole $1.3 million dollars from them in the process.

Please Move to the Next Checkout Lane

Jewel-Osco has removed the self-checkout lanes at some of its Chicagoland locations. The move is intended to reconnect staff with shoppers.

Escalation of Tragedy

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 Peek of Genius

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.

Late Night Crime Seen

Al Jazeera rode along with video journalist Ken Herzlich as he worked the graveyard shift, capturing the sights of Chicago's late-night disasters and crime scenes.

Have You Seen Him?

A digital drawing commissioned by ABC News "20/20" shows what Paul Fronczak may look like 49 years after he was stolen from a Chicago hospital as an infant.

More Arrests in Back of Yards Shootings

Chicago Tribune reports two more people, including the suspected gunman, have been charged in last week's mass shooting in the Back of Yards neighborhood that left 13 wounded.

Meager Gathering of the Juggalos

This year's Gathering of the Juggalos (previously) wasn't a money-maker for Insane Clown Posse, and they're having trouble paying their vendors.

Black Market Monolith

The Sinaloa cartel -- run by Chicago's Public Enemy Number One -- is the source of 80 percent of all the drugs that pass through Chicago.

Back of the Yards Front and Center

Following last week's shooting at a basketball court that injured 13 people in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, the Tribune calls the area a "no man's land" for police and politicians.

Poverty on the Rise

Over 636,000 people, or one in four Chicagoans, lived below the federal poverty line last year.

Didn't Get the Memo

The CHA recently dropped 47,000 people who were homeless or otherwise looking for housing from its waiting list after they failed to respond to a letter sent by the agency.

13 Shot in Cornell Square Park

Thirteen people were shot in an attack in Back of the Yards last night, including a 3-year-old boy.

Unfriended

A fight on Facebook allegedly led to Lakeisha Tate's murder, police say.

The Money 'He' Doesn't Want Courts to Know About

A judge ordered pitch man Kevin Trudeau thrown in jail after finding out he was actually living lavishly while claiming he couldn't afford to pay a court-ordered fine.

Beanie Baby Billionaire Busted

Beanie Babies inventor Ty Warner was charged with felony tax evasion and agreed to pay a $53.5 million penalty.

Food and Liquor and Crime

A Northwestern University study found that anyone living near a liquor store or bar on the South or West side is 500 times more likely to be shot than their neighbors.

Top of the Cop Charts

Chicago has the highest number of sworn police officers per 1,000 people of any major U.S. city (4.4), according to Department of Justice figures. [via]

Murder Capital, U.S.A.

New crime statistics released by the F.B.I. reported 500 murders in Chicago in 2012, more than any other city in the country, including New York.

Inside the Gun Vault

Over 80,000 guns are stored in the CPD's vault in the old Sears Roebuck catalog factory.

Cop Contact Unclear

Measuring the use of stop-and-frisk tactics by Chicago police is difficult because officers inconsistently record their interactions with people on the street, according to WBEZ.

S&P Considering a Downgrade

Standard & Poor's changed its outlook of Chicago's bond rating from "stable" to "negative," meaning the credit agency may decrease the city's A-plus rating unless it addresses its budgetary problems.

Street Beef Heats Up Online

An investigation by Wired shows how trash talk on social media can quickly escalate to violence among young members of Chicago's rival gangs.

Pritzker's Billions

Jennifer Pritzker -- formerly Col. James Pritzker -- is the first transgender person on the Forbes 400 list of the country's richest people.

Landlord of the Year

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 Launches Accidental Super Sale

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.

More Boots on the Ground

Rookie CPD officers are now patrolling 20 of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods on foot as part of a strategy that officials say has decreased the number of shootings by 45 percent and overall crime by 29 percent.

Patriotism in Practice

Volunteers are serving across the city as part of a national day of service commemorating the anniversary of 9/11, including a group of handymen that remodeled the kitchens of low-income apartments in Uptown.

Covering "Chiraq"

Al-Jazeera America's Christof Putzel said that although he reported from war zones he's never experienced the same "level of intensity on the streets" as he did covering gun violence in Chicago.

Wrongful Conviction Reversed

Carl Chatman, a homeless man who was wrongfully convicted of rape in 2002, is to be released as soon as today.

Photogs Trot Down the Street

The students who were locked out of the old Trotter's restaurant by the eponymous retired chef last week have a new location and date for their photography show. The exhibition will open Saturday at the Artists Frame Service in Lincoln Park.

Trib & Sun-Times Comment Monitors Take the Day Off

Regular readers of the Trib and Sun-Times are probably used to racist and abusive comments, but the proposed Englewood Whole Foods articles are generating an almost unbelievable level of bile with seemingly no editorial response. UPDATE: Both papers have shut down comments on the articles.

Molly's in Ecstasy

There's a new party drug called "molly" and CBS News is on it.

Hanging Out in the Hermit Kingdom

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."

Famous Swimmer's Chicagoland Roots

As the school year kicks off, Lake Forest College celebrates alumnus Diana Nyad, whose historic swim from Cuba to Florida is an inspiration to current student athletes.

DIY Cribs

DNAInfo's Jackie Kostek takes a look inside the cinder-block home a homeless man built for himself on the site of a failed condo development in Wicker Park.

Fool Me Twice

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.

You Okay, Pal?

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.

Heroin Ring Busted

More than 30 people were charged with trafficking heroin throughout Cook and DuPage Counties.

Pulled a Chief Keef

Three men in Englewood and four in Rogers Park were charged with felonies after appearing in two separate gang beef rap videos while flaunting some serious guns.

Send in the Drones?

While officials like Ald. Cardenas may think it's a good idea to use drones on safe passage routes, a new law signed by Gov. Quinn prohibits police from using drones to spy on civilians without a warrant.

FBI Mobilizes on Mobile Doctors

The FBI raided the offices of Mobile Doctors, a service for arranging house calls, and arrested its CEO and one of its doctors on charges of health care fraud.

Bike Sharing a Life Together

Divvy has teamed up with dating company Project Fixup to create dating plans around the bike share service.

Defining "Reasonable" Suspicion

While there is no formal "stop and frisk" police policy in Chicago, the Reader's Mick Dumke shares different perspectives on how similar pat-downs play out in Chicago.

Windy City High

A new National Geographic documentary looks at Chicago's drug trade, calling the city both "one of the biggest open-air crack and heroin markets in America" and "murder capital of the U.S.A."

It's Englewood

WGN reporter Mark Suppelsa spent 12 hours in Englewood to provide a glimpse of what life is like in "one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city."

Chief Keef: the New Marilyn Manson

An Oklahoma teenager accused of shooting a man at random because he was "bored" apparently is a fan of Chief Keef -- so of course that's being trotted out as the latest example of music fostering violent behavior in youth.

$100k in Tickets Knocked Down to $4500

Remember that car with more than $100,000 in tickets? The City finally settled with the owner for a little under $4,500.

Beer & Chainsaws Don't Mix

It's not every day you read about a chainsaw-wielding maniac attacking neighbors on the South Side.

Charges in Rogers Park Beating

Charges have been filed against two men in the beating of bartender Michael Davis last month.

Meet Sunny

The Obamas have a new dog.

Hang Up and Drive

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill today banning cell phone use in Illinois without a hands-free device. The bill goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 and violators can face fines starting at $75.

Meet the Olinguito

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.

JJJr gets 2.5 Years

Jesse Jackson, Jr. was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to misusing $750,000 in campaign funds. Sandi Jackson received a one-year sentence, which she'll serve after Jesse gets out.

O'Hare Doesn't Look Too Baaaaaaaad

The City has started using 120 animals, including goats, sheep, llamas and burros to maintain the landscape at O'Hare. They will not get on the runway.

How the Outfit Collects

Details of the day-to-day work of a mob extortionist and enforcer have been revealed in the trial of Paul Carparelli.

Down One Juggalo

A man was found dead Friday in a tent at Gathering of the Juggalos, which began Wednesday at downstate Cave-in-Rock. UPDATE: And someone was paid $158 to cut off his nipples! (Warning: graphic picture)

Looking for the Real Paul Fronczak

The Chicago FBI office is reopening a kidnapping case from 1964 after a DNA test determined the 14-month-old infant returned to the grieving parents was not the missing baby.

Male Full Frontal, Just Over the Border

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.

11 Inspiring Women; Millions of Inspiring Stories

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.

Where are the Pot Busts?

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.

Hunger Strike Continues at Northwestern Hospital

Over a dozen demonstrators continued a hunger strike protest outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital today, demanding access to organ transplant procedures for undocumented immigrants.

Gang Summit Planned for Chicago

In an effort to fight gang violence in Chicago, the Rev. Gregory Tatum and former Ceasefire director Tio Hardiman are hoping to bring hundreds of gang members together at a summit in September; similar meetings in 1992 led to a truce in LA between the Crips and Bloods gangs.

Another Metra Leader Disembarking

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.

Shagadellic Satire Gets Real

Two young filmmakers who put a fake post on Craigslist looking for actors to appear in "Austin Plowers" are making the porn film after all (and a documentary about it) after they received real responses to their ad.

This Bud's for You, Illinois

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.

City Says Niet to Breaking Russian Ties

City of Chicago officials said they will not end its sister city relationship with Moscow, after local groups called on the city to do so in response to Russia's passage of anti-gay legislation.

Water Tank Falls from Brewster Apts.

A water tank fell from the roof of the landmark Brewster Apartments, injuring three people.

Fake Cops Pull Over a Real One

Two men posing as police officers stopped the wrong guy: an actual cop. They managed to lose him as they sped away. Still, could be worse: they could've been real cops hassling their off-duty commanding officer.

Chicago Kitty Tribune

The main story on the Tribune's homepage briefly looked like this earlier today. [via] UPDATE: Tribune's Amy Guth explains to Gizmodo how it happened.

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Child Sex Trafficking Sting nets Chicagoan

The FBI arrested more than 150 people, including one in Chicago, in a massive child sex trafficking sting over the weekend, freeing 105 sexually exploited children.

Zimmerman "Got Away with Murder," Juror says

The only juror of color on the George Zimmerman trial jury was originally from Chicago. She spoke with "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts Thursday and said she originally voted for second degree murder.


West Town Tavern is Dead, Long Live Chicago Taco

Proving old dogs can learn new tricks, Drew and Susan Goss of West Town Tavern (previously) have announced they're reopening as Chicago Taco. Viva los Gosses! [via]

Guardian Angels on Muggers Mile

The Chicago chapter of the Guardian Angels passed out flyers on Michigan Avenue referring to it as the "Muggers Mile." Mayor Emanuel responded in a press conference that the Angels would be more useful guarding Safe Passage corridors for students.

CPD to Perps: Don't Shoot

Police officers are going door to door this Friday warning potential shooters and victims on the West Side not to commit any violent crimes.

A Phone Call from the Alderman

Ald. Tom Tunney of the 44th Ward reportedly abused power by calling Mark Thomas, owner of The Alley and Taboo Tabou, according to a report from the City Inspector [PDF]. Tunney called Thomas regarding assistant state's attorney Sarah Naughton allegedly biting an employee at Taboo Tabou.

Chicago Principal Speaks Out Against CPS Budget Cuts

At a City Hall news conference, Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere excoriated CPS budget cuts for "turning a full school day into an empty school day."

No Christmas Conversion for Skokie Scrooge

Peter Troost, the miserly multimillionaire owner of a gravestone company, was sentenced to a year in prison and 200 hours of community service for tax evasion.

Blago Appeals

Attorneys for former governor Rod Blagojevich have filed an appeal of his 2011 conviction on corruption charges -- just barely under the midnight deadline last night.

Chicagoans Rally to Protest Trayvon Martin Verdict

Over 200 people rallied Sunday at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago to protest the acquittal of 28-year-old Florida man George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The 1111% Tip

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."

Chicago Hospitals Lead in LGBT Healthcare Equality

The Human Rights Campaign released its Healthcare Equality Index yesterday and six Chicago health care facilities were named Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality (PDF). Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Healthcare and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System are among those making the list. This is the fifth year in a row Rush has made the list.

Suicide by Cop?

Police shot an off-duty fireman outside a Mount Greenwood pharmacy, after mistaking his wallet for a gun. His wife called the cops because she was concerned her husband was suicidal.

A Rick Bayless Restaurant Could Feed Google Employees

CTA's Morgan station opened just over a year ago. Google already announced its move to the area, and rumors of a Rick Bayless restaurant are now swirling.

Chicago as Unit of Measure

"A massive iceberg, larger than the city of Chicago, broke off of Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier on Monday."

Guilty Plea in McShane/Jurich Beating Case

Three years after brutally attacking two women with a baseball bat in Bucktown, one of the two suspects has pleaded guilty.

Chicago Ups Wind Energy

Mayor Emanuel's office announced a deal with Chicago's energy suppliers that will double the city's wind energy. Integrys Energy Services was chosen to supply 5 percent of consumer electricity, via ComEd, to save money and ease pollution.

Sun-Times Gets Blasted for Controversial Headline

The Sun-Times didn't make the best decision about how to title Sunday's front-page coverage of the Seoul-based Asiana flight that crashed during landing in San Francisco.

Taking Back the Street

Real estate broker Gary Dailey chased down a mugger who stole a woman's cellphone as people headed to the lake shore at Division for 4th of July fireworks.

UFOs on the 4th?

There were several reports of UFOs on the 4th of July in Chicagoland and elsewhere around the country.

Adopt an OK Pet

PAWS Chicago has another 79 pets rescued from Oklahoma City-area shelters up for adoption.

The Art Institute's Pretty Great

Great enough for TripAdvisor users to vote it the best museum in the country and third best in the world in this year's Travelers Choice Awards. [via]

Murder in the Family

The older brother of slain Hyde Park Academy basketball star Malcolm Whitney confessed to accidentally shooting his brother with their father's gun and trying to cover up the murder.

More Cuts at the Sun-Times

After laying off its professional photographers in May, the Sun-Times will also be cutting its book review section and folding its entertainment coverage into their lifestyle section later this month.

Sharpton's On His Way

Rev. Al Sharpton says he's moving to Chicago to help with youth violence.

1 Million Take Pride

Police estimate a million people came out to the Pride Parade this Sunday, thanks in part to the Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8.

It's Rally Time, then Parrothead Time

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.

Way Beyond Breaking Bad

Mexico's Sinaloa cartel -- whose leader is Chicago's Public Enemy #1 -- produces as much as 80% of the crystal meth in the US.

Duckworth Reads the Riot Act

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.

Kerry Wood, PI

Well, not really, but the former Cubs pitcher did find a body in Belmont Harbor on Monday.

Saint James Catholic Church to be Demolished

The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago will demolish the historic Saint James Catholic Church starting on Wednesday, despite pleas from the congregation to preserve the building.

Bad Cops Still Get Pensions

Thirty-two Chicago police officers who have been fired or resigned to avoid firing since 2004 continue to collect pensions -- including Anthony Abbate, Jr. and many others who have been investigated for misconduct.

Base-Jumping Trump

Three people parachuted off Trump Tower around 12:30am last night, and unlike the last time, the police didn't catch them.

Chief Keef's No Good, Very Bad Day

Right after appearing in court for his speeding arrest, Chief Keef was arrested again, this time on a month-old trespassing warrant. Plus, he was served with a paternity suit, his second.

Miss Illinois Represent

Tinley Park native and current River North resident Stacie Juris was the second runner-up at Miss USA last night. The crown went to Erin Brady of Connecticut. Juris is currently studying fashion business at Columbia College Chicago.

Not Such a Strong Idea

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.

Awarded & Arrested Same Night

Soon after being honored with a "Tomorrow's Leader" award from the local Meeting Professionals International chapter, Jill Kaplan and her companion, Leo Perez, were arrested on drug charges.

Anyone Lose a Leg?

A human leg, severed at the hip, was found washed ashore in Kenwood yesterday.

Gacy-Related Building for Sale

Want to know if John Wayne Gacy buried victims in the yard and walls of the apartment building his mother lived in? (Previously) Buy it for $599k and go to town.

Bestiality in the Pound!?

A man was arrested after being caught having sex with a pit bull in a cage at the Chicago Animal Care and Control Facility on the Lower West Side.

Driver Charged in Cyclist's Death

Ryne San Hamel, the driver who killed cyclist Bobby Cann last week, has been charged with reckless homicide and DUI; bail is set at $100,000. San Hamel is a partner in drink deal website AllYouCanDrink.com.

Rocked Out of the Boobie Biz

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing the company behind the Boobies Rock breast cancer awareness gear, after a Sun-Times report that little proceeds make it to charity.

Wrigleyville Backpack Bomber Sentenced

A man accused of planting a (fake) bomb in Wrigleyville (previously) was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Hacktivist Pleads Guilty

Chicago activist hacker Jeremy Hammond pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in the Lulzsec/Antisec hacking case. He released a statement regarding his plea.

OK Pets Up for Adoption

PAWS Chicago received 76 dogs and cats from tornado-stricken towns in Oklahoma this weekend; 27 have already been adopted.

The Donald Trumps the Grandmother

An Evanston woman has lost her lawsuit against real estate mogul and loudmouth Donald Trump over a condo deal.

Was the Mag Mile Robbery a Hoax?

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.

Ain't No Party Like a Wicker Park Party

...Where 200 people pay $7 each to see a DJ in an 800-square-foot apartment and spill out onto a dangerous roof, 'cause well, those parties tend to get shut down by the police.

Gang Drop-off Cops Fired

The police officers who were caught on tape in 2011 driving a gang member into another gang's turf in Humboldt Park were fired last week.

One Third = Two Thirds

CPD has already run through two thirds of its overtime budget for the year.

Overly Suspicious of Packages

For the second day in a row, Michigan Avenue was shut down near the bridge due to "suspicious" items. Yesterday it was a bottle of Liquid Fire drain opener; granted, that stuff's sulfuric acid. This morning it's a stuffed animal taped to a post near the Wrigley Building.

Gangs, Guns & Civility

CNN.com's LZ Granderson argues that treating gangs like terrorists will solve Chicago's violence problem. The comments immediately devolve into a gun debate.

Well Acquainted with the Authorities

Shermain Miles has been arrested 396 times since 1978. That puts her ahead of Darryl Marlow (previously), who's continuing to add to the 253 arrests he'd racked up by September 2010. (He's still going, though.)

The Mike Tyson Maneuver

A man bit off half the ear of his friend, who happens to be his girlfriend's roommate, during an argument. And from the looks of his mugshot, he enjoyed it.

A Tasty Haul

A 17-year-old burglar allegedly decided to take a break from robbing an ice cream shop to sample some of the merchandise.

Stick to Handbags

Note to self: Don't list pet alligator for sale on Craigslist, unless you want the cops to show up. Crocs are OK, though.

Sacrifice to the Baseball Gods?

A decapitated goat carcass was found bound to a tree on Indian Boundary Golf Course yesterday; speculation is that the head was the one that showed up at Wrigley last week, although it's apparently the third apparently sacrificed goat found in area forest preserves in the past year.

Thinking of Boston

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.

Still Too Much

The City offered to cut more than $100,000 off Jennifer Fitzgerald's bill for a car abandoned in an O'Hare parking lot by her ex-boyfriend (previously), but she's unable to pay -- in part because she also owes more than $2,000 in fines on another car.

Keeping it in the Family

A 64-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly hiring her grandson to kill her husband because she was "sick" of him.

Proposal by the Book

Chances are the way you proposed to your beloved was not as cool as the way Jason Methner did it. He put it in a children's book.

2nd Trash Chute Death

An 80-year-old resident of a Gold Coast condo tower was found dead Monday, apparently after falling down the trash chute. Last year, a 16-year-old with Down syndrome and autism fell to his death in the same chute.

3rd Time's the Charm?

An Illinois Tollway garage supervisor who'd already been fired twice was fired again this week after being photographed sleeping on the job, among other things.

Fighting Crime with Shoe Leather

The latest strategy for policing the city's most violent neighborhoods: beat cops on foot patrol, Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced yesterday.

Sounds Like a Movie Script

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.

Road Rage, Shots Fired in Jefferson Park

One driver wounded another before their vehicles collided in the Jefferson Park neighborhood this morning. Police are blaming it on some early morning road rage. Both drivers are hospitalized with injuries.

Beavers Going Up the River

A jury took less than three hours to find Cook County Commissioner William Beavers guilty of tax evasion today.

New US Attorney Soon

Former federal prosecutor Zachary Fardon is in the lead to become the new US Attorney in Chicago, replacing Patrick Fitzgerald, after his chief rival, Lori Lightfoot, withdrew from the running.

Anti-Nuclear Threat Test

A man who had a nuclear stress test set off radiation detectors at Ogilvie Station, leading to a swarm of federal agents surrounding him on his train.

Melées on the CTA

A man was beaten to death on a Green Line station on Saturday, while five gang members assaulted passengers on a Red Line train Friday night. One man was arrested in the latter incident; police are still investigating the former.

Reminder: Craigslist is Sketchy

Also, don't walk into houses with wide open doors when you have $5,000 in your waiting car.

Father & Infant Daughter Shot

A gunman shot a father and his 6-month-old daughter while he was changing her diaper in Woodlawn yesterday. The baby was hit five times, and is in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital; the father is also in critical condition. UPDATE: Jonylah Watkins, the infant, has died.

Feeling Less Distressed?

Crain's breaks down the neighborhood differences in the rate of "distressed" housing sales throughout the city. The situation improved in 2012, although with an average of 46.7%, nowhere was near perfect. Riverdale had the worst record, 100%, but even Lincoln Park had an 11.3% distressed sales rate.

Assessing the Plan for Transformation

A new group of reports from the Urban Institute about the CHA's Plan for Transformation describes marginal improvements for housing conditions and some support services but crippling problems. Among them, serious crime, health and social mobility concerns.

And Boom Goes the Dynamite

Our fair city's most unexpected comedy offspring, Amsterdam's Boom Chicago, is gaining in size and stature.

A New Way to Boost Our Bottom Line?

The Atlantic Cities features Chicago-based CityScan, whose ability to combine open data and LIDAR to detect violations of city codes could be a boon for the budget.

Making the Vatican Vaguely More Progressive

Cardinal George is uncharacteristically publicly addressing sexual abuse and corruption while at the Vatican for the "general congregation."

Making One Happy Dog

Bucktown's Toast raised money to to replace a dog's custom wheelchair that was stolen from a resident's porch.

More Controversy for the U of C Police

In other U of C protest news, the Chicago Maroon uncovered that the school planted an undercover detective in a recent demonstration. The officer, who was dressed in plain clothes, carried a protest sign and even symbolically placed a sticker over her mouth, kept contact with the deputy chief throughout the demonstration while covertly probing demonstrators about their plans. UPDATE: The school's provost and president have announced an "external independent reviewer" to investigate the events.

"Only for ritzy people"

WBEZ marks the steady decline of Chicago's SROs with the likely closure of the Chateau Hotel.

It's Quittin' Time

As of today, Cook County's excise tax on a pack of cigarettes will increase by $1, bringing the total tax on a pack of cigarettes sold in Chicago to $6.67. Here's betting there'll be more false walls in convenience stores.

"We wanted to take a long train ride together"

How long? 47 hours via Chicago.

Enjoy the Hyde Park Herald Online

After years of slow online adoption, the Hyde Park Herald's redesign is fully functional, with individual article posts and social media integration.

Bye, Bye, Services

The Washington Post compiled a table showing how the sequester will affect each state. Make sure to select the "Illinois" profile in the drop down menu.

Skate Grant Park!

The park district is creating a new, permanent skate park in Grant Park at 11th and Michigan. Preliminary plans will be released during Wednesday's Grant Park Conservancy/Advisory Council meeting.

That Good, Huh?

The boy band Mindless Behavior's concert at Ford City Mall seems to have prompted 100 teenagers to riot.

Peterson Sentenced to 38 Years

Drew Peterson's request for a new trial was denied, so sentencing is now underway. Hopefully that will mean the end of this story soon. Keep an eye on the #DrewPeterson hashtag for live tweets from the courtroom, and/or peruse Craig Newman's Storify of coverage. UPDATE: 38 years.

Ambulances in Need of Intensive Care

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.

The Wrong Thing

The St. Louis-based Preservation Research Office blog uses Chicago's battles over Prentice and Michael Reese to evaluate each city's hospital preservation experiences. The verdict: "Alas, Chicago has done the wrong thing while St. Louis years ago made a wise choice."

When You Need Fido Most

Rush University Medical Center has established visiting hours for pets of hospital patients.

In the Wake of Hadiya

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.

Three teens were shot and one was killed in two separate incidents on Saturday evening. Meanwhile, a student brought an unloaded handgun to Foreman High School on Monday.

Buying Guns Elsewhere

By now, it's clear that but Indiana's weak gun laws allow would-be criminals easy ways to circumvent Chicago's tough laws. The Trib documents how it's done.

Five Months in Harper High School

This American Life has already posted part one of their epic Chicago youth violence episode.

Part two will air this coming Friday, Feb. 22.

JJJr Charges Filed

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.

United States of America vs. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. by Gapers Block

Obama Delivering Address in Chicago

The President is back in town and at Hyde Park Academy High School, where he will deliver a speech linking inequality and violence.

Public Enemy No. 1

Chicago has a "Public Enemy No. 1" for the first time since Al Capone. He's Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Loera is believed to be in hiding out in Mexico City.

2 Arrested in Hadiya Pendleton Murder Case

Two men were charged Monday with the murder of Hadiya Pendleton. Police say they had fired into the group Pendleton was walking with after mistaking one of her friends for a rival gang member. One of the suspects had been arrested three times for various crimes while already on probation for weapons charges. Meanwhile, Pendleton's parents have been invited to the State of the Union Address.

EveryBlock Attracting Buyers?

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."

On the Violent Crime Beat

Nearly all of the 42 newly minted police detectives will focus on violent crimes.

Red Light Ruination

The CEO of Redflex Holdings resigned amid allegations of bribery connected to Chicago's red light camera contract. The City now says it will end the company's contract.

Is Phone Time On the Clock?

A Chicago police officer is suing the City over whether being required to check email on one's smartphone after hours counts as overtime.

Prentice Before Landmarks Commission ... Again

Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital is currently before the city's Commission on Chicago Landmarks. If you're interested in real time updates, you can follow the Save Prentice coalition on twitter and facebook. UPDATE: Prentice no longer has preliminary landmark status, allowing another step towards demolition. Next: another court date.

First Lady to Attend Pendleton Funeral

Michelle Obama will attend the funeral for Hadiya Pendleton on Sunday; still no word on whether the president will attend.

Salon Bandit had a Coke Habit

Police say Jason Logsdon, who was arrested last week after allegedly robbing hair salons in the city and suburbs (previously), was paying for his addiction to cocaine.

The State of Our State: Marriage, Money and Guns

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.

Messing with Sheriff Joe

Controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who's facing a recall campaign, has another headache on his hands: identity theft. Someone used his credit card number to buy nearly $300 in groceries here in Chicago.

Totally Our Bad, Indiana!

For some reason, a convicted murderer from Indiana was mistakenly released from custody after appearing in a Chicago court yesterday. Hoosier State authorities are not happy! Steven Robbins was convicted of murder in 2002 in Indianapolis.

Remembering Hadiya

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.

Pendleton took part in an anti-gang video in 2008.

"Industrial Shangri-La" in Trouble

Marktown, the landmark northwest Indiana community surrounded by industry, may be threatened by BP's expansion of its Whiting refinery. See an aerial view of the neighborhood after the jump.

Marktown, Indiana Aerial Looking East

Hair-raising Robberies

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.

Aldermen Take Aim at Bedbugs

A new ordinance introduced in City Council would make it a $1000-a-day fine if a landlord fails to bring in exterminators for a bedbug infestation.

Woman Loses 4 Children to Guns

Shirley Chambers has lost her youngest son to gun violence this weekend when someone shot up the van Ronnie Chambers was riding in. His siblings were killed in 1995 and 2000.

Prentice to Get Some New Kind of Hearing

Commission on Chicago Landmarks has taken the unusual step of adding the old Prentice Women's Hospital to its February 7 agenda [pdf]. As scheduled, it will receive a revised report regarding economic issues and then consider the decision to reject its preliminary landmark recommendation. The Trib has some background.

"We Want Listeners Tomorrow. Go Make Babies Today."

The NYTimes media blog wrote up Chicago Public Media's "saucy" new advertising campaign.

After the Warehouse Fire

GB Managing Editor David Schalliol went down to the site of last night's warehouse fire to check out the aftermath. What he found was an ice-coated beauty amid the wreckage.

After the Warehouse Fire

After the Warehouse Fire, Leaning

After the Warehouse Fire

after the warehouse fire, by David Schalliol

After the Warehouse Fire

See even more photos on Buzzfeed.

Massive Warehouse Fire in Progress

Nearly 200 firefighters are on the scene of a burning Bridgeport/McKinley Park warehouse, a fire that is the biggest "in many years." View CFD photographs after the jump. The Trib and the Sun-Times also have visuals. UPDATE: The CFD says the fire is now "under control."







"This is OnStar. We detected a shot. Do you require more bullets?"

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."

Freshen Up that Camping Gear

It doesn't look like there will be officially recognized camping in Chicago for the foreseeable future, but the Forest Preserve plans to make camping viable in the county by 2014. Read the full plan here [PDF].

Strangled Over Toothpaste

DNAinfo has obtained surveillance video from a 2010 incident in which a man was strangled after stealing toothpaste from a CVS.

Post-game Tragedy

Following last night's highly anticipated Simeon-Morgan Park basketball game at Chicago State, a 17-year-old was shot and killed outside the gymnasium. It's unclear if the shooting had anything to do with a post-game fracas that was broken up by Chicago Public Schools security.

Nerd Punk Riot!

Mucca Pazza commanded the front page of the NYTimes' Arts section and landed a rave review.

Chief Keef Back in Jail

The Pitchfork video interview in which Chief Keef went to a gun range finally came back around to haunt him, as a judge decided it violated the terms of his probation for aiming a gun at police. Keith Cozart will be sentenced back to prison on Thursday.

It's Where They Were Headed

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.

Largest Settlement Ever

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.

Billy Corgan's Gigantic Neon Sign

The neon sign at Madame ZuZu's, Billy Corgan's tea house in Highland Park, was in the news recently when the Tribune reported the sign is about 5 times the size allowed by local zoning ordinance. Billy wrote a letter to the city asking for permission to keep the sign, and the city council approved the sign in last night's meeting.

Dart to Dig for Gacy Victims

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart received approval to search for bodies in the Northwest Side apartment complex in which John Wayne Gacy's mother lived, at which the serial killer worked as a maintenance man for a number of years. Dart announced intentions to dig on the property last March.

Your Genius Bar Appointment may be Rescheduled

A car crashed into the North & Clybourn Apple Store Sunday night. A bystander shared photos with Chicagoist.

Making Sense of Murder via Hot Spots and Gang Diffusion

There's been a lot in the news about the city's murder rate, but most of the pieces aren't nine minute conversations with actual researchers and Alex Kotlowitz.

NPR on Chicago Violence

NPR's "Morning Edition" reported yesterday on Chicago's rising murder rate. They follow that up today with a piece prompted by listener questions about Chicago's "gun ban."

Lottery Winner Murdered

Urooj Khan won the lottery, and died the next day. Except cyanide was found in his body, so it's not just faux-ironic, it's a homicide investigation.

An Historically Dry Chicago Winter

According to Accuweather, Chicago's cumulative winter snow total finally exceeded an inch on Saturday. Quite uncharacteristically, we trail Little Rock, El Paso, and Oklahoma City in snow totals this winter.

Good People

Some kind Lincoln Park folks foiled a robbery Saturday night, tackling and restraining a purse-snatching, screwdriver-wielding parolee until police arrived.

The Segregation of Murder

The NY Times takes a look at Chicago's 2012 murders and breaks down the demographic differences between those near and far from homicides.

South Side Church's Saga Continues

Saint James Catholic Church, one of the buildings in To be Demolished, has been granted a 90 day reprieve thanks to Alderman Robert Fioretti (previously).

Your New Laws

From skin taxes to skee ball prizes, 2013 brings over 150 new laws for Illinois, all of which went into effect yesterday.

Police: Nope, 499.

While everyone else's count totals 500 (or more), the official CPD homicide count stands at 499.

Fugitive Found

One of the two inmates who escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center earlier this week was caught last night.

Illegal Christmas Chocolate Alert

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!

Blue & White & Made Here

The first new locally built police SUVs have arrived in the CPD motor pool.

Downtown Prison Break

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.

Therapy Dogs?

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.

Concealed Carry Law Tossed

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Illinois' concealed carry law as unconstitutional yesterday, potentially paving the way for another attempt to pass legislation allowing it. Illinois is the last state in the union where concealed carry of any sort is illegal.

Maria Ridulph Murder Chapter Closes

Jack McCullough, a 73-year-old former policeman from Washington state once known as John Tessier, was sentenced to life in prison for the 1957 murder of Maria Ridulph.

TBOX gets Bloody

A man stabbed another man in the neck with a broken beer bottle at Wrigleyville's Red Ivy during this year's TBOX bar crawl. The security who helped the victim said he was bleeding so much it "like Friday the 13th."

Try a Charter School, Even if it's Terrible

A CPS-promoted school fair featuring "some of Chicago's great public school options, including charter schools," advertised almost no traditional schools -- but still found space for dozens of charter schools with the district's lowest ranking.

Rub and a Rub

Speaking of massage parlors, Center Square Journal reports that a chain of North Side spas offer a little something extra with your rubdown.

Unhappy Ending

A dissatisfied customer at a Chinatown massage parlor took an employee hostage when he realized his massage wouldn't come with any extra, um, perks.

Gacy Gets Tested

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.

Daley Nephew Charged

Richard "RJ" Vanecko, former Mayor Daley's nephew, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of David Koschman.

State Congressman Accused of Fraud

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."

One Helluva Smoothie

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.

United Sues Untied

Chicago-based United Airlines is suing Untied.com, a website where dissatisfied passengers can air their grievances.

"Their life sentence at your hands compels a life sentence for you."

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.

These Boobies Definitely Do Not Rock

You've no doubt seen "Boobies Rock" breast cancer awareness t-shirts being sported and hawked around town. But think twice before buying them if you're serious about donating to legitimate cancer research organizations.

A Car with a Record

Remember that $600 car that racked up more than $100,000 in tickets? The Expired Meter follows up with more details on what exactly happened.

Extra Special Delivery

The USPS will soon test out same-day delivery in Chicago and other major cities, after a test in San Francisco starting in December.

E2 Back in Court

The owners of the ill-fated E2 nightclub are suing the city after their involuntary manslaughter convictions were overturned earlier this year.

Daughter of the Year

Though pregnant, Julie P. Franck donned a ski mask last month and robbed her own mother last month.

The Englewood Four Go Back to Court

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 Meter Deal Stays

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.

Lawsuit Filed in Prentice Preservation Battle

In about half an hour, a Circuit Court will hear a lawsuit by preservationists challenging the process by which Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital was denied landmark status. In short, they argue that the Commission on Chicago Landmarks violated and overstepped its legal authority. Read the complaint after the jump. UPDATE: The judge temporality halted any demolition plans until both sides of the conflict can be heard.

Prentice Complaint With Attachments

Is CeaseFire Curing Violence?

The Sun-Times reports that CeaseFire, now known as Cure Violence, has had "no significant success stories" in the three months since being given $1 million by the City to help curb gang violence.

Gapers Block has covered CeaseFire extensively over the years, both positively and more skeptically. Most recently, Jason Prechtel questioned the decision by Vice magazine to run a documentary about CeaseFire as part of a marketing campaign for a revenge-themed video game; Vice has since removed the documentary from the marketing campaign site.

When Hip-Hop and Gang Violence Collide

Chicago's high level of gang violence is nothing new, but its increasingly popular "trap" rap scene, featuring juvenile rappers that rhyme about guns, "bitches" and drugs, is adding more fuel to the already out of control fire. Many wonder who is responsible for the epidemic, the misguided teens or their parents? Chicago blogger Alexander Fruchter explores this troubling trend in an editorial for Ruby Hornet.

More Cook Co. Tax Increases

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.

"Chicago Fire" gets Full Season on NBC

NBC has decided to continue its new drama "Chicago Fire" for a full season. Much of the TV show has been shot on the city's West Side at the up-and-coming film studio Cinespace.

Harsh Punishment for a Bad Joke

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.

Presidential Change in Chicago

The City of Chicago is likely to benefit greatly from Obama's second term in office. According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the president has promised to invest in the education and infrastructure of his hometown.

$600 Car, $100,000+ in Tickets

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.

Passersby Were Amazed by the Unusually Large Amounts of Blood

Just in time for Halloween, the Sun-Times provides tips on getting the most out of your fake blood.

Navy Pier Till Next Century

The Children's Museum signed a 90-year lease on its Navy Pier space, putting to an end plans for a new subterranean spot in Millennium Park.

Sandy's Effects in Chicago

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.

CPD Takes Off its CAPS

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.

Bad Eggs

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.

When Networks Stop Being Polite and Start Being Real Cold and Terrible

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."

Lil Reese Investigated for Beating

Lil Reese is being investigated by police again (previously), after a video of him beating a woman went viral (watch it on WorldStarHipHop if you must.) The rapper, whose real name is Tavares Taylor, owned up to the video on Twitter. UPDATE: Lil Reese has apologized for the assault.

The Jenny McCarthy Buzz Begins

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.

Perversion in Chicago's Scouts

Forest Park Patch has filtered through the Boy Scouts' "Perversion Files" for reports on local sex abuse scandals, including the one in Chicago from back in 1977. The LA Times has a searchable database.

News Corp's Newest Outpost?

The Trib reports that Rupert Murdoch wants to buy it.

The Pastor's Walk

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.

A Word from the Bird

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.

Church to be Demolished for Walgreens

The newest entry in our To be Demolished series is 834 W. Armitage Ave., the former Greater Little Rock The Lord's Church. Walgreens is currently planning to build a new store on the site.

Tragedy on the Northwest Side

A retired police officer shot and killed one of his own sons who was staying with him, mistaking him for an intruder.

Does Chicago Need Protected Bike Lanes?

A cyclist was killed this morning in Old Town when, attempting to avoid being doored, he swerved into traffic and was run over by a semi. WBEZ's got a map of dooring incidents, and the Active Transportation Alliance has a petition you can sign if you'd like to see protected bike lanes in the Loop.

Study Shows Mentoring Reduces Crime

A new social science research study conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab, in conjunction with Chicago Public Schools and local non-profits, determined that youth mentoring programs have the potential to significantly decrease violent crimes involving young people.

The New Dino in Town

Paul Sereno, paleontologist and professor at U of C, has discovered a new species of dinosaur through fossils that were originally excavated from southern Africa in the 1960s. The Pegomastax africanus ("thick jaw from Africa") is a small, fanged herbivore that resembles a bird.

Pot Like Christmas Trees

Dude, sorry to have to tell you, man, but the cops found your forest of marijuana down in Trumbull Park. They spotted it by helicopter, man.

Chicago "Genius Grants" Announced

The 2012 MacArthur Fellows have been announced and include a Northwestern University professor and the founder of the Chicago and New York based International Contemporary Ensemble.

Chicago Records 400 Homicides

Though temperatures have dropped recently, homicides have escalated. Violence that occurred in the city this weekend marked the 400th homicide this year.

Cougar Town

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.

Who Hurts Horses?

Someone broke into the police department's South Shore stables Sunday night and let loose 27 of the 30 horses, and injured two of them with a fire extinguisher.

Would-be Terrorist Targets ...Cal's?

Adel Daoud, an 18-year-old kid from Hillside, was arrested Friday night after allegedly trying to blow up a Loop bar with a car bomb. The FBI had been tracking him for months. The target was not released, but the owners of Cal's are pretty sure it was them.

A Few Good Goats

O'Hare is looking to hire a herd of goats as a greener way to keep grass around runways short.

The Noble Electrical Fire

There may be fewer horse-drawn carriages plodding through the city following a fire at an Old Town stable. No mammals of any kind were injured.

We're Number 227!

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 Heartbreaking Cycle of Life

Larry Porter, who became a father on Wednesday, was killed the same day when someone shot him while he was driving on the Dan Ryan Wednesday night.

Open the Door to 150 Chicago Places

Open House Chicago's 2012 website is now live, including this map of the locations open on October 13 and 14.

Drew Peterson Found Guilty

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.

RIP: 38 Teenagers Shot & Remembered

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.

Bad Credit

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."

Cappleman Chased by Knife-Wielding Drunk

Forty-sixth Ward Ald. James Cappleman was chased by a woman with a knife on Friday after he called the police twice to report her public drinking.

12 Natty Jurors

As if the Drew Peterson trial couldn't be more of a circus, the jury all wore sports jerseys yesterday. It's not the first time they've coordinated their outfits.

Untangling the Routes

WBEZ created a helpful interactive map to illustrate which lines would be affected by the proposed CTA route restructuring.

A Rape Survivor Speaks Out Against Akin

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."

Fluidic Systems Design Guide

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.

Legionnaires' Outbreak in Loop Hotel

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 Downside to Living Next to a "Crazy Cat Lady"

It's hard to sell your condo.

Neighborhood Festival Criminal

A guy tried to rob the gate at the Northside Summerfest in North Center by claiming he was there to relieve an employee, then stuffing his pocket full of cash.

Muslim Graves Graffitied

Several Muslim gravestones in an Evergreen Park cemetery were desecrated with anti-Muslim graffiti this week, the latest in an up-swelling of hate crimes in recent weeks.

"I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate"

There is now a plaque marking the spot where Barack and Michelle Obama had their first date and first kiss. You can visit the spot at 53rd Street and Dorchester.

No More I-Bonds for Gang Members

Gang members will no longer be allowed to post recognizance bonds (aka I-bonds) when they're arrested, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said yesterday.

Thanks for Being a Better Neighbor

Adrian Holovaty, who founded the wonderful EveryBlock, is leaving the company after five years. Holovaty's only plan is to stay in the city and work on some new projects.

The Skies Might be Friendly...

But United's customer service was less so when an unaccompanied minor from San Francisco was left stranded at O'Hare on her way to a Michigan summer camp in June.

Tour the Suburbs

If you're intrigued by suburban companies moving back downtown (including today's United announcement), you may be interested in Forgotten Chicago's "Corporate Kings of the Suburbs & Stern Pinball Tour," which will visit several midcentury suburban corporate campuses. Their upcoming Hyde Park modernist walking tour looks promising too.

Help Abused Dogs

Chicago Canine Rescue, which adopted out the dog who was punched to death by its owner last week, has started a fund for supporting behavioral training for abused animals in the dog's name.

Two if by Sea

Two Navy vessels will be joined by the Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy docking at Navy Pier as part of Navy Week. They're on the first scheduled Naval cruise of Lake Michigan since 1999.

Police-Train Crash at Kedzie

An unmarked police car went around the gates at the Kedzie Brown Line crossing after a Loop-bound train passed -- and was hit by a northbound train. The car's driver and the conductor were taken to the hospital, and are reported in stable condition. The CTA is running a shuttle to take passengers between the Kimball and Western stations.

kedzie cta crash
Photo by redditor Dookster

11 Potheads Ticketed

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.

Non-Stick Weirdo

Rock Island police arrested a naked man covered in cooking spray on Monday.

Fender Bender on the Chicago River

A Wendella tour boat hit the dock just west of the Michigan Avenue bridge, injuring seven.

U of C Surgeon Drowns

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.

Been Caught Stealing

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.

Peterson Trial Begins

The Drew Peterson trial finally got underway with opening arguments this morning. The Tribune is posting updates from the coutroom.

Eagle Scouts Making a Stand

Among the Eagle Scouts returning their badges in protest over the Boy Scouts' ban on gay troop leaders and scouts is Oak Park's Rob Breymeier.

"Flash Mob" Robs Store During Wicker Park Fest

More than a dozen people entered Mildblend Supply Co. Saturday night and stole around $2,000 dollars worth of merchandise. More in Mechanics.

"Singing From Beyond the Grave"

Delfino Mora, who died after being attacked in an alley by teens playing a vicious game (previously), was the lead singer of one of Mexico's most popular bands in the 1970s.

"Barren Souled" Balfour Sentenced

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."

Today's Court News

The City agreed to settle two lawsuits related to Jon Burge torture cases -- which means former Mayor Daley won't have to testify. Meanwhile, jury selection resumed in the Drew Peterson trial.

Uncoiling Toward Action

Roger Ebert reflects on the Aurora, CO shooting and the links between mental illness and guns, and violence and publicity.

Recovery Fund for Mana Food Bar Cook Ashley Pruneau

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.

More than Curiously Strong

This month's Dwell features important women designers, and among those featured are the local collaborators of Quite Strong.

AKA Knockout King

Whet Moser digs into the history of "point'em out, knock'em out," the "game" three teens were playing when they allegedly killed 62-year-old Delfino Mora (previously).

Disability Pay at CFD Tops $27 Million

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.

Trying an Interruption

The CPD is moving forward with plans to fund CeaseFire, the somewhat controversial anti-gang violence organization profiled in the documentary The Interrupters, in an effort to reduce violence.

Murder Video Posted on Facebook

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.

Expensive Mystery Meat

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.

Googling Crooks

Chicago police caught a man suspected of a gang shooting in New York by searching his name on Google.

Lawsuit Filed in Montrose Beach Dog Attack

You may recall our reporting back in March of an off-leash dog attacking and killing another dog at the Montrose Dog Beach. The owner of the attacking dog turned out to be an off-duty police officer, who was suspended over the incident. Today the Tribune reports that the dead dog's owner is suing him.

Ravenswood Hospital Claims a Life

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.

Playing Cash for Guns

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.

The Derecho from Chicago

That storm that gave us all those crazy photos on Friday turned into a derecho or "land hurricane" that kept rolling all the way to the Atlantic, downing trees and knocking out power in Columbus, DC and elsewhere.

That's a Bit More than 15 Grams

While City Council was letting the guppies off with a ticket, the CPD and DEA were busting the big fish, seizing eight tons of marijuana on a semi trailer

We Live in a (Slightly) Growing City

After several years of decline, the Census Bureau estimates that Chicago is once again growing in population. It's only by 8,800 people, but that's a big change from the previous average declines of 20,000 people a year.

Slow & Steady Wins the Race

WBEZ does a roundup of some of the media outlets who had a hard time reporting on today's health care decision.

Chief Keef: The Voice of Chicago's Murder Spike?

SPIN's David Drake explains how the same social factors fueling the rise of much buzzed about local rap star (and recent Interscope signee) Chief Keef have also fueled the city's 38% spike in homicides this year. Previous GB coverage of Chief Keef and Chicago hip-hop here and here.

Well, I Guess it Still Refreshes

Speaking of the Trib's business practices, its keyword based Google ads generated this recent gem in an article about potentially questionable chemical additives in foreign Coca-Cola formulations.

Tribune Article

Record Attendance for Pride Parade

Speaking of the Pride Parade, the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications estimated a record-breaking 850,000+ revelers turned out for yesterday's celebration.

"Savers of the Lost Ark"

Chicago Jewish News tells one part of the story of trying to save the former Anshe Kanesses Israel synagogue.

More Working Citizens

A new Brookings Institution report identifies Chicago as one of 10 US cities that account for 51% of all naturalized citizens. The report details that Chicago's population is 4% naturalized citizens and has a balance between high and low skilled labor characteristics.

Emanuel Does a 420 on Pot Law

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.

Believing the Children are Our Future Investment

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.

Math Is Hard

Metra's estimating an $800,000 loss due to NATO. This, atop the hit local restaurants took during the summit, isn't looking good for the city's prediction that the two-day summit would generate $128 million in income.

Wrigleyville Hotel Project Escapes Foreclosure

The controversial and beleaguered hotel-retail-residential project in Wrigleyville has gotten a(nother) financial reprieve.

Wrigley Building Landmarked

The Wrigley Building is now an official Chicago landmark. For some reason, the building owners are going to celebrate by pointing blue lights at it for the next few months.

A $63,000 No-Call, No-Show

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.

"It Doesn't Have To Be This Way."

Some Chicago-based authorities on healthy, sustainable food -- including Jim Slama, Rick Bayless, and Will Allen -- are among a group of heavy hitters who're pretty upset with Congress.

Hand in That .45

...Or whatever it is you have. On June 23, the City is holding gun turn-ins at 23 locations around town. Anyone bringing in a gun will receive a $100 gift card, no questions asked.

Taking Reckless Endangerment to a Whole New Level

Word to the wise: if you get pulled over for not having your toddler in a car seat, probably not the best idea to ask your toddler to hold your gun for you.

You can Sell it in Illinois, Just not in Chicago

Although the city's farmers markets are kicking into full gear, don't expect to see your neighbor's awesome rhubarb crisp or your co-worker's garlic scape pesto for sale. At least, not if you live in Cook County.

Getting in the Green Lane

Remember the Kinzie Street protected bike lane? Yesterday, it was the site that national nonprofit Bikes Belong Foundation chose to announce their new Green Lane Project: a two-year initiative to create dedicated, inviting bike lanes throughout Chicago and four other cities.

A Growing Family

One of the Shedd Aquarium's Pacific white-sided dolphins, Piquet, gave birth yesterday to a healthy, but not yet named calf. Fearing the birth over the NATO weekend closure, several staffers had moved into the aquarium for the summit's duration, but Piquet held out until Memorial Day

Innocence Un-Served

Despite a mission to make sure no wrongful conviction goes uninvestigated, the Medill Innocence Project has let drop the case of Willie T. Donald, who had the misfortune of being in process during the David Protess evidence-tampering scandal.

Combatting the Gang Problem ...Again

Emanuel and McCarthy announced a new plan to attack the gang problem yesterday, including monitoring social media for gang coordination. What would you do?

The Fire that Shut Down the CTA

Roy's Furniture burned to the ground Tuesday night, just in time to royally screw up North Siders' commute home. Roy's plans to rebuild.

Panhandling People v. The City of Chicago

In which Chicago panhandlers, frequently intimidated and threatened by police, seek First Amendment justice for being shooed out of their Michigan Avenue spots.

Thanks for Everything, Fitzgerald

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.

More than 2000 Exonerated

The Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern and the University of the Michigan Law School have set up a national registry of exonerations, which collected more than 2,000 cases of wrongful convictions over 23 years.

Watch NATO Live Online

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.

A Blip or Boom?

NPR asks: Why is Chicago's 2012 murder rate so high?

Europe Day in CPS in time for NATO in Chicago

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.

Stabbed in the Line of Duty

Four Guardian Angels were stabbed while trying to intervene in an iPhone robbery last night at the Clark and Division Red Line stop.

Snark Imitates Life

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.

Jeremy Hammond Enters Plea

Jeremy Hammond, the local hacker accused of being a member of Lulzsec (previously), pleaded not guilty today. Meanwhile, there's a defense fund at FreeHammond.org.

Balfour is not Englewood's Fault

William Balfour was found guilty of killing Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew on Friday; Natalie Moore writes in Ebony that Englewood is not to blame.

Mother's Day Tragedy

Four women celebrating Mother's Day together died in a car accident late Saturday night.

Desert Schmesert

Sam Kass, the Chicagoan who's a double-threat at the White House -- assistant chef and senior policy advisor on healthy food initiatives -- dishes about food deserts.

They All Look the Same to Me

Some downtown office workers were reportedly advised to "look like protesters" to avoid being "targeted by protesters" during next week's NATO summit.

Hejda, A-Ville Daily

The A-Ville Daily, which chronicled the comings and goings of Andersonville, has shut down.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

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.

Too Frequent Fliers

American Airlines used to sell a ticket for unlimited travel for life. As it got expensive, the company shut it down -- and started investigating some of its most active users.

The Heartland Institute Tries Alienation as a Tactic

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."

NATO Closings Announced

The Secret Service announced the parking, walking and driving restrictions that will be rolled out starting May 13 in anticipation of the May 20-21 conference at McCormick Place.

Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys Dies After Battling Cancer

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:

Weekend Getaway

If Michael Jordan's mansion is out of your price range, but you still want some Chicago-celebrity real estate, Al Capone's weekend retreat is on the auction block.

"As 'Local' As Possible"

City Farm gets shouted out in a National Geographic feature on urban farming.

Mayor Rahm talks Food Trucks and Education tonight on Facebook

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.

Meet the City's Newest Harbor

The Public Building Commission posted a pretty comprehensive photograph set of the brand new 31st Street Harbor.

Judge Releases Jennifer Hudson's 911 Call

If you're morbidly curious, you can now listen to Jennifer Hudson's panicked 911 call from the night she found her mother and brother murdered in her home.

Better Late than Never

Scott McMurry's mom mailed him a postcard from the Shedd Aquarium while she visited Chicago in 1957. The postcard finally reached him in Decatur, GA last week, after first mysteriously arriving in South Daytona, FL. And now the Shedd is flying 71-year-old McMurry to Chicago for a visit.

Snakes Monkeypox on a Plane

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.

The Cyberstalking Burglar

It wasn't enough for Jicheng "Kevin" Liu to steal from people. He also cyberstalked and harassed anyone who called him out on it.

Heroes & Horrors

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.

Murders Spike

Homicides are up 60 percent in the first quarter of 2012, compared to last year. Learn the stories behind the murders on RedEye's homicide map.

The Simpsons are Oregonians

Sorry, Illinoisians holding out hope that the Simpsons' Springfield was our own. Matt Groening revealed to Smithsonian that the cartoon town is named after (if not based on) the Springfield in Oregon.

No Tweeting at the Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial

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.

Mike Wallace, RIP

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.

Chicago State Shoots Itself in the Foot ... Again

Chicago State's new media policy is so overreaching that faculty may not even be able to speak to reporters about their research.

Fighting Crime! With Chess!

Or at least fighting recidivism. Illinois sheriff Tom Dart is bringing chess boards and pieces to Cook County Jail in hopes of teaching patience and decision-making.

It Takes One to Win, Many Millions to Lose

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.

Digging Up Gacy

The Cook County Sherriff's office hopes to excavate the yard of an apartment building where John Wayne Gacy once worked on the possibility that more of the serial killer's victims are buried there.

Hanging a Dog Doesn't Cure Dementia

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]

He's Keeping His Pumpkins to Himself

Billy Corgan shared a lot of his conservative political opinions on Alex Jones' radio show at SXSW last week.

SUV as Battering Ram

A drunk man first dared the driver of a car to run him over Saturday night, then got in his SUV and repeatedly rammed the car before fleeing, police say.

Feeling Lucky?

Starting Sunday, you'll be able to buy Illinois Lottery tickets online -- we're the first state in the country to do it following new legislation.

New Charges in NYE Rape Case

A third teen has been charged in connection with the rape of a young woman outside the Congress Theater New Year's Eve.

Is the Reasonable Cost of Living? The Fantastic Food Scene?

The majority of the Onion's editorial staff is reportedly opposing the newspaper's move from New York to Chicago.

A Poisonous Treat

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.

Cover-up in Vanecko Case?

A new court filing alleges that police falsified reports in a death investigation involving a nephew of former Mayor Daley, including possibly an admission of guilt. The mother of the victim, who died after a fight outside a bar in 2004, is asking for a special prosecutor to reexamine the case.

Questioning Innocence

The Medill Innocence Project did something unusual last week: it published evidence contradicting the claims of innocence of one of its subjects.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Visit King College Prep

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.

Remember When Taste of Chicago Concerts Were Free?

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!

What Really Motivates Street Violence

In These Times' Joel Handley makes the case that our understanding of gangs is outdated, and the city could do a better job of dealing with street violence if it had a better model of its causes.

A Quieter Far South Side

Yesterday the CPD announced it cancelled plans for its controversial South Side shooting range following "input from community organizations." The bald eagles might have something to do with it too.

R.I.P. Chef Michael Altenberg

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.

Muti Weighs in on Symphony Fistfight

Riccardo Muti, the CSO's music director was astounded by two patrons fighting at a performance: "Never could I imagine the concert hall would become a (wrestling) ring." No word about the subsequent fistfight in the parking lot.

Waiting for God Particle

The hunt for the Higgs boson carries on at Fermilab, even though the Tevatron has been shut down.

Lopawhat Obama?

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.

Lulzsec Gets Pwned

Jeremy Hammond, a suspected member of hacker group Lulzsec and Anonymous was arrested in Bridgeport during an FBI raid today, apparently aided by the group's former leader. Read Chicago mag's profile of Hammond from 2007.

A New Sword for Lincoln's Tomb

Chicago foundry True Form Productions will be replacing the sword that was broken and stolen from Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield last fall.

Security Blanket

In light of the NYPD's recently revealed spying efforts on Muslims, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy promised that the department "does not and will not conduct blanket surveillance and profiling of any community in the city of Chicago."

Shut it Down

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.

Birthday, Interrupted

A celebration of Chicago's 175th birthday with Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago History Museum was interrupted by a group protesting the closure and consolidation of city mental health clinics.

A Curious Update

Robert Duffer writes an update on the "curious case" of Columbia not renewing the contract of Fiction Writing Department Chair Randy Albers.

#23 for $29MM

Michael Jordan has listed his Highland Park mansion for $29 million, making it the highest-priced home in the Chicago market. I can only assume this includes a three-bedroom guest house filled with Rayovac batteries.

Northside Police Districts to Merge This Weekend

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.

Help Plan the Plan 2.0

The Chicago Housing Authority is launching [pdf] the design process for the "Plan for Transformation 2.0," and they'd like your input.

One Cool Chicago Street

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.

A Good Deed, Indeed

Reverend Corey Brooks, aka "The Rooftop Pastor," who has been camped out atop an old South Side motel for over 90 days in an effort to raise funds to build a community center for inner-city youth, can finally come down: This morning, filmmaker/director Tyler Perry, whose new movie Good Deeds opens today, announced live on the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show that he would pay the $98,000 balance needed to fund the project.

Shovels at the Ready

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the city this evening with accumulation predictions ranging from 4-to-7 inches in 36 hours; totals which WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling says could "rank among the city's heaviest."

Cyclist Struck by Car Needs Help with Medical Bills

Rudy Carrillo, father of two and piercer at Chicago Tattoo & Piercing Co, was struck by a car on Sunday while riding his bike. He's been badly hurt and doesn't have health insurance, and CTC has launched fundraising efforts to help defray the cost of his medical bills. For information on how you can help, see this Facebook post, this Instagram post, this blog post, or check the CTC website tomorrow for more details.

Knight in Shining (Riot) Armor

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).

Education Reform Sit-in Launched in Humboldt Park

A group of parents, students and supporters have occupied Brian Piccolo Specialty School. The group's first statement was released just before midnight on Friday via Occupy Chicago, and live streaming video has been established inside the school.

Chicago News Cooperative Announces Closure

The Chicago News Cooperative told its staff today that it will shut down at the end of next week. UPDATE: In Crain's, CNC Editor Jim O'Shea characterized it as a "suspension," saying that the organization was exploring possibilities including splitting into for- and non-profit units and partnering with the Sun-Times. UPDATE: Further details in the Reader. UPDATE: Read the official announcement on the News Coop's website.

Let the Right One In

Careful- in some areas, thieves are gaining entry to homes by posing as utility company employees, only to cart off cash and jewelry when they leave. They're largely scamming the elderly, so consider warning neighbors who might be targets.

The Grid: The Mediated Plant

The newest installment of our documentary series The Grid examines how The Plant -- Chicago's vertical farm and food business incubator -- has been represented in the media.

Rosemont Renamed

After purchasing the 5-year naming rights, Akoo International, Inc. will change the name of the Rosemont Theatre to the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont.

Convicted Chicago Mobsters Go to Appellatte Court

James Marcello and Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, reputed Chicago Mobsters convicted in the 2007's Family Secrets Trial, get another chance today to oppose their 2007 conviction.

Action Movie Heist Hits Lincoln Park Jeweler

Approximately $500,000 worth of jewelry was stolen from Steve Quick Jeweler when thieves broke into the sushi restaurant next door in order to gain access to the store's safe.

Controversial City Sticker to be Scrapped

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.

Did We Vote on Gang Signs for Our Windshields?

Are there gang signs hidden in this year's city sticker design? Police blogger Detective Shaved Longcock makes a convincing argument that the sticker features symbols for the Maniac Latin Disciples. A gang member source of the Expired Meter corroborates.

Cops Learn to Communicate

Authors Charlie Newton and Jonathan Eig are trying to help Chicago police officers write better police reports.

We'll Survive on Wacker Drive

Crews working on the Wacker Drive reconstruction discovered a fully stocked fallout shelter from 1962.

The Week Nobody Got Killed

The RedEye's Homicide Tracker added 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.

Building Collapse by Neglect

A historic terra cotta building partially collapsed in Auburn Gresham yesterday, injuring four pedestrians. As Eric Rogers notes, one shame in the whole situation is the city bought the building more than ten years ago to try to protect it and the community. A photograph of the partially demolished building is after the break.

Demolition of 79th and Halsted Corner Building

Newt's No Survivor

Newt Gingrich may want to be seen as rising up the the challenge of his rival, but he didn't check on whether Survivor was OK with him using "Eye of the Tiger" at campaign rallies, and now he's got a legal challenge on his hands.

If you liked my play on the lyrics up there, you'll love Samantha Abernathy's post on Chicagoist.

A Kitten is Not a Football

The latest Chicagoan to heap scorn on: Percy Love, who kicked his kitten 15 feet into the air and signaled a fieldgoal, according to police.

MCIC to Close

The Metropolitan Chicago Information Center will close by the end of the year due to downturn of funding from nonprofits.

High Standards

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.

To Your Door Service

A Willowbrook man called 911 and said that he "wanted to see an officer because he wanted to fight with them." The police obliged.

One Possible Workforce Future

Crain's breaks down estimates of Illinois' employment characteristics in 2018 from a recent Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce report.

Nailed It

A local man proved once again that it's possible to shoot a nailgun into one's own head and not realize it.

Tower Heist

Well, sort of -- last week in the southwest suburbs, a few scrap metal thieves managed to dismantle an entire building and cart off the steel. The article has no mention of security lasers or a slightly off-kilter demolitions expert, but we can hope.

Jane Addams Hull House is Closing Shop

After 123 years of providing social services to the city's underserved people and communities, the Jane Addams Hull House Association will close by the end of March and file for bankruptcy.

Pens, Check. Bookbag, Check. Books iPad?

IBooks 2, a digital textbook service from Apple, was unveiled today. The move, in collaboration with textbook market majority publishers Pearson PLC, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is likely to make Apple's iPad an education essential.

Teen Beating Suspects Charged

A quick update on the teen beating caught on video: seven have been charged in the attack, and one of them is being charged as an adult. Bail was set at $100,000.

Sharkula won't Confirm Spiritual Guidance from Wesley Willis

Chicago's future last rapper standing and all around hustler Sharkula is the subject of a feature in Forbes.

Brutal Beating Caught on Video

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.

UPDATE:

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.

UPDATE 2:

Teenager Dave from WTFProduktionz is following the story and posting updates as well.


Split with Express Scripts a Bitter Pill for Walgreens

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.

Courtward Bound for Bad Gag

A 21-year-old father who posted photos to Facebook of his daughter bound and gagged back in December was indicted yesterday.

Hangings Have People Suspicious

Two suspects hanged themselves in the same week at the Area Two police station, leading their families and community leaders to call for an investigation.

Macabre Legal News

An appeals court found that a woman injured by the flying body parts of a man struck by a Metra train can sue his estate.

Fluffy the Bandit

Be careful drinking that new marshmallow vodka. Apparently it makes you break into houses.

Another Would-be Victim Strikes Back

Chicago has been unleashing formidable would-be victims, most recently including this former wrestler.

Gacy Victim Back from the Dead

Another presumed victim of John Wayne Gacy has been found alive (previously).

Bad Dad: Baby in Bondage

Andre Curry thought it would be funny to post a photo of his 22-month-old daughter with her, mouth, hands and feet bound with painter's tape on Facebook. The police were less than amused.

Sun-Times Gets New Owners

It's official: A Chicago-based investment group inked a deal to purchase the Sun-Times. In related news, you can buy a major newspaper for "more than $20 million."

Cop's Grabbed Crotch, Cause for Beating

A suspect was beaten after grabbing an officer's groin and refusing to let go.

Maybe People Aren't so Terrible After All

Early this morning the Sun-Times posted about how Toys for Tots Chicago lost $25,000 to a suspected embezzlement. They've now announced that an anonymous donor's large gift and dozens of others made up the entire loss.

Chicago is Great; Illinois Hates Us

Chicago was named the fourth most economically powerful city in the world by The Atlantic. Meanwhile, the idea that the rest of Illinois should separate from Chicago is still getting play. The Huffington Post Chicago sums up the dramatics nicely.

While we're on the topic of city cred, Chicago ranked 26th in the Mori Memorial Foundation's Global Power City Index this year, we're the fourth most walkable city in America (previously), and came in sixth in the Chicago Council of Global Affairs' 2010 Global Cities Index (previously). So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

Dentist to Pimps Wants to Work Again

Remember the dentist in Marina City who was laundering money for pimps? He's out of prison and looking to get back to filling cavities.

Please Cure this Bieber Fever

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.

Tweedy's Temps

The Wilco frontman may be better at delivering the weather report than the rock and roll.

Aggressive Panhandling to the Extreme

A man who beat up a woman who wouldn't give him a cigarette in 2008 was arrested in Uptown after threatening to kill a man who wouldn't give him change.

U.S. Mint Cuts $1 Coins

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."

Playboy to Head West

The magazine will be shutting down operations and moving to Los Angeles by the middle of next year.

"Where the 1 Percent Lives"

Chicagoland boasts two of the richest zip codes in the country. You probably won't be surprised at which ones: Kenilworth at #3, Lake Forest at #13 and Winnetka at #14. (Thanks, Dee!)

Carl Sandburg's Birthplace Home is in Trouble

The Carl Sandburg Historic Site may not reopen in the spring thanks to worsening state finances.

The Uptown Standoff Ends

CPD and ATF officers arrested three suspects after a standoff in Uptown that suspended CTA Red and Purple Line service north of Belmont for more than six hours Monday night.

Poor (Criminal) Life Choices

This mugger didn't know that the guy he pulled out of a car was a mixed martial arts expert and Ultimate Fighting Champion, but he soon found out.

Occupying the Super Motel

Rev. Corey Brooks has been living in a tent on top of an abandoned motel across from his church for the past 12 days. Last night, Occupy Chicago protestors joined him.

Towed or Stolen? Maybe Both.

Three tow-truck drivers have been arrested and more are being sought by police after an investigation found multiple cases of drivers stealing cars, often selling them for scrap.

Lost: One Expensive Suit

An 80-year-old man donated a suit to Goodwill -- and accidentally gave away his life savings with it. Workers are currently sifting through more than half a million donations to find it for him.

Gacy Victim Identified

Sheriff Tom Dart announced today that one of the eight unknown victims of John Wayne Gacy has been identified through DNA (previously) as William George Bundy, who disappeared in 1976.

Here's an exclusive 1992 interview with Gacy by Channel 2's Walter Jacobson, 13 years after he was convicted of murdering 33 young men.

Cornbleet Murderer Sentenced to Life

Hans Peterson was convicted of murdering Chicago dermatologist David Cornbleet, and sentenced to life in prison. Kevin Guilfoile shares an interview with Cornbleet's son.

We're Safe from ...Water Hackers?

Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District officials assured the citizenry that it is safe from cyber attacks, after Russian hackers very slowly took down a water system downstate via a stolen password.

Hans Peterson Stands Trial

Kevin Guilfoile has an update on the Cornbleet murder case from a couple years ago (previously 1, 2, 3, 4)

Getting the Drop on Shoplifters

More than 50 "professional shoplifters" have been arrested in stings at area malls and along Michigan Avenue since October.

Red Line Sucker-Punch Being Investigated

A week after an April video of a man punching out a homeless man in the Chicago Red Line subway station went viral, Chicago police are searching for the attacker.

They Thought They Knew

A misunderstanding on where exactly proceeds where going has left a blemish on this year's women in cycling pin-up calendar by local group (though not for long) Though You Knew.

Sounding the Alarm

If you hear sirens at 1pm today, don't worry -- it's part of the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.

Local Woman Accuses Cain of Harassment

A Chicago-area woman came forward today to accuse Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment.

Happy Bill Kurtis Day!

Later today Chicago's Cultural Affairs Commissioner will proclaim today in honor of Bill Kurtis and his partner, Donna LaPietra.

Anonymous Wins the Lottery

It's hard to keep your name out of the papers when you win the jackpot, but there are ways.

I Sense a Weird Al Cover in the Works

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."

Mixing Jet Fuel and Gardens

Air travel may not be particularly environmentally friendly, but the Chicago Department of Aviation is greening its airports with everything from aeroponic gardens to solar panels.

Mother of Hillary Clinton Dies

Chicago native Dorothy Rodham, mother of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, passed away this morning at a hospital in Washington at the age of 92.

Property Tax Primer

To help make sense of the whirlwind of TIF talk, Ben Joravsky put together a beginner's guide about where your money actually ends up.

Well, That's Embarrassing

A man believed to be among serial killer John Wayne Gacy's victims turns out to be alive and living in Florida. He was discovered as part of the Cook County Sheriff's efforts to identify eight John Doe victims through DNA testing.

Where to Donate for Turkey

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey this weekend; the Turkish American Cultural Alliance and Turkish American Society of Chicago are accepting donations for disaster relief.

An Unusual Long Distance Relationship

Naluark, the Shedd's 13-foot-long beluga whale, recently took two trucks and a plane to get to Connecticut for some, um, personal time with two female whales.

MegaBus Driver DUIs in Iowa

The driver of a MegaBus from Chicago to Des Moines was pulled over in Iowa for drunk driving this weekend.

1 Officer, 3 Shootings

Chicago Police Officer Gildaro Sierra is under investigation after the third shooting of a suspect since January, with two resulting in fatalities. The latest was caught on tape -- though according to Second City Cop, it's not muzzle flashes you see in the video.

Field Museum's Restrooms are Nice

So nice, in fact, that they've been named the nation's best by Cintas in its 10th annual America's Best Restroom awards.

Putting the "Thugs" in Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

A Chicago man is suing a lot of people after a member of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony allegedly attacked him on the group's tour bus.

Remove Your Old City Sticker

Unless you want a ticket. Police are ticketing some cars with expired city stickers still on their windshields despite having valid current stickers, too, enforcing a little-known technicality in the ordinance.

A Sweet and Battery

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.

Some Pets Get Abandoned, Others Get Pampered

One side-effect of the foreclosure crisis in Chicago: abandoned pets are crowding local shelters. Meanwhile, sales of luxury items for pets are on the rise.

Gacy in the News

A judge has approved the exhumation of one of John Wayne Gacy's victims for a DNA test. Meanwhile, Steve Rhodes reviews a new book about Gacy by one of his lawyers.

Makeshift Memorial

After news of Jobs' death, Apple stores around the world have become impromptu shrines, with the Michigan Ave. store among them.

"You know what's coming next? Civil suit."

Jacques Rivera was released yesterday after 21 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.

Operation C.W. Marketing

The Cook County Sheriff netted more than 100 people with outstanding warrants by inviting them to collect prize winnings at a consumer electronics survey session.

Now You Can Curse All You Want in Park Ridge

... but be careful about your gender "inappropriate" clothing.

We're Getting a New Moon Rock

The moon rock embedded in the Tribune Tower has been removed so that NASA can replace it with a new one sometime soon.

Mustachicago

We're the most mustache-friendly city in America, according to the American Mustache Institute, who should know.

Tragedy Leads to Legal Precedent

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.

O'Hare Introduces Air-O-Ponic Gardens (Get It? Get it?)

Terrible puns aside, O'Hare is now home to the world's first airport aeroponic garden. The O'Hare Urban Garden -- 26 growing towers in Terminal 3, which boast more than 50 varieties of herbs and vegetables -- will provide produce for several restaurants at the airport.

Lathrop Homes May Radically Change

The CHA has voted to proceed with plans to develop the riverfront Julia Lathrop Homes as a mixed-use community. Preservationists and residents alike have hoped it wouldn't come to that.

What's Next, Groupon Field?

It's official: The Wrigley Building's been sold. The dudes behind Groupon are minority partners in the new ownership structure.

Another Honor for Chicago Architecture

Chicago architect Jeanne Gang is among the 22 2011 MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipients. She's best known for Aqua, but she's been involved in a bunch of other interesting projects too.

Working Hard to Retain Some Advertisements

Today the Trib is among the papers revealing iCircular, a new advertising platform for newspaper apps developed by the AP.

Alley Pooper, Beware

A dude who decided to relieve himself in an Uptown alley on Saturday didn't realize that a security camera was watching his every move(ment). (Maybe kinda NSFW)

It Kinda Looks Like a Slot Machine

The head of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce thinks the Thompson Center should be turned into a casino.

Burnt to a Crisp, and Not in a Good Way

Pasieka, a Polish bakery that's been serving the Avondale neighborhood since the Great Depression, burned down on Tuesday morning. The extra-alarm fire, which took 150 firefighters more than three hours to extinguish, is under investigation. GB flickr pool contributor Gabriel X. Michael has some photographs from the scene.

Keep Them Unsafe Inside

The death of a teenager led to the discovery of three more maltreated teens and more than 200 animals in an 1,100-square-foot Berwyn apartment.

Are You Really Visiting Your Favorite Website?

In other Internet news, suburban-based Vasco Data Security's Dutch subsidiary DigiNotar is at the center of a hacking scandal that potentially threatens global Internet security.

The Headline Says it All

"Car crashes through house, killing man, exposing marijuana operation."

How Big is a 3.6 Million Acre Fire?

The Atlantic totals up Texas' unprecedented wildfires this season and superimposes the total area on the country's ten largest cities. So much for Chicago.

Genetic Link to PTSD Found

With a sampling of NIU students examined before and after the 2008 on-campus shooting, researchers might be able to take something positive away from the tragedy.

Impounded Car Makes a Break for It

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.

Groupon Exec Andrew Mason May Have Stumbled Into SEC PR Rules Quagmire, IPO Delay Possible

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.

SOLVE Murderer Sentenced

Kirk Tobolski, the man who stabbed street artist Brendan "SOLVE" Scanlon to death in 2008 was sentenced to 12 years in prison yesterday.

Check Your Deed

The deeds to at least 30 homes in Chicagoland have been mysteriously transferred to the Moorish Science Temple of America, an obscure religious sect -- including the home of City Treasurer Stephanie Neely.

More Guns = Less Crime?

John Lott looks at crime statistics before and after the gun ban overturn.

RIP, Mikey C.

The Trib has a terribly depressing article (with an equally heartbreaking photograph) about a police horse that died yesterday afternoon at North Avenue Beach.

Round Up the Usual Suspects

Or maybe not- turns out police lineups might not be worth all that much. Studies suggest almost one third of witness identifications are wrong. Scary numbers for cities eager to put criminals behind bars. Earlier work in Chicago helps lead the way.

Have a Criminal Record?

Now it's a little easier to get it expunged.

Finding a Small Amount of Solace

Nearly 50 years ago, Chicagoan and Peace Corps Volunteer Larry Radley was among 30 people who died in a plane wreck in the Colombian jungle. His brother vowed to visit the site, but didn't realize how difficult that would be.

MDW Fair To Return in October, Opens Call for Proposals

Chicago's breakaway-spirited MDW Fair will return this October to Bridgeport's Geolofts, and has announced that proposals for the sophomore installment are now being accepted.

Lynwood's 2008 Baggy Pants Ban Still Under Fire

With tickets being written for up to $750, you might have to sell your entire suspenders collection to pay.

The Return of the Gaylords

After three decades out of the spotlight, the Gaylords street gang is in the headlines again with a bust.

Uptown Clean-Up

After 29 arrests in late July, "Operation Uptown Girl" has sent 11 to prison on narcotics charges. This follows "Operation Sugar Magnolia" in January as part of an effort to combat a rise in gang violence and drug sales in the area.

O'Hare Gets Sweeter

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]

Grant Park Still a Mess From Lollapalooza

And with festival damage the worst it's ever been, it might not get better for another month.

Bringing Recreation and Order to the South Loop

The construction of the new Jones College Prep building opens up possibilities for the old building site, including installing a park and straightening out the awkward Harrison/State intersection.

How Much is a Downtown Apartment?

Likely more expensive than ever.

Grave Robber Busted

No, he wasn't digging up corpses, but a suburban man was caught stealing more than 400 graveside vases from area cemeteries and trying to sell them to a scrap dealer on the South Side.

IPhone Owner Chases Down a Criminal

Corrie Besse definitely deserves a high-five after chasing down the thief who stole her iPhone on the train -- and has since pleaded guilty to pushing a 68-year-old woman down the stairs to her death in another CTA iPhone robbery back in April.

Candy and Restaurants Nearly Devoured by the G8

Two major trade shows have changed their annual show dates in order to accommodate next May's G8 summit and its security demands.

Less Trash Pickup, More Vermin in Our Future?

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.

From the Jail to the Pound

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.

Earlier Curfew For Kids

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.

11 Local Post Offices Face Closure

Eleven post offices may close in the latest round of proposed cutbacks from the USPS. All of them are on the South and West sides except for one in the West Loop.

Here's a full list of the post offices in Illinois currently targeted for closure. Around 3,700 are on the list nationwide.

Never Dreamt He'd Go to Jail

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.

Baby-Thrower Arrested

An alleged kidnapper threw the infant he was carrying at the cops chasing him down. One of the officers managed to catch the baby before it hit the ground.

Welcome to Chicago -- Now Pay Up

Travelers pay more in taxes in Chicago than anywhere else in the nation, a new report finds.

The Heat Gets to People

A man shot another man dead over a dripping air conditioner Monday. [via]

Well, at Least the Trib's Printing Business Seems Healthy

Yesterday the Trib announced it will print the Sun-Times and seven of its papers in addition to distributing them.

Aaron Swartz Charged with Data Theft

Aaron Swartz, one of Chicagoland's earliest bloggers (now living in Cambridge, MA), was indicted today for allegedly stealing more than 4 million documents from MIT and the JSTOR journal article archive. Here's the indictment [PDF]. Demand Progress, the political action committee he founded, has released a statement that notes MIT asked the government not to prosecute. More on BoingBoing, Kottke and Reddit.

Blue Bin Competition

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.

No Futures

A former commodities broker from New York had several members of the Chicago-based National Futures Association on his hit list, according to federal prosecutors.

Without Borders

Following an unsuccessful play for a bankruptcy-court auction (no bidders stepped in to save the national bookstore chain), Borders Group Inc. will liquidate its 399 stores, possibly starting as early as Friday.

It's That Time of Year Again

If you get hot during the day, you can head to a cooling center.

Napoleon the Magnificent

Troy Bonaparte became the first person sent to prison for human trafficking in Cook County. Read our 2010 story about sex trafficking in Chicago in Mechanics.

Serious Problems with Real Estate Price Estimates

The Illinois Association of Realtors made a mistake in its May estimate for median home values that suggests their last three years of data may be erroneous. The result: rather than Chicago's median condo sale price going up more than 10%, it was down at least 7.8% compared to last year.

Finish Them!

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.

Hadoken on the radar

Going "Apple Picking"

Thefts of iPhones and other smartphones are skyrocketing on the CTA.

The Least Dangerous Game

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."

Just Within Sites

City Council approved an ordinance allowing firing ranges within city limits -- just ahead of a court ruling striking down a ban on said firing ranges.

Local Lawyer on the Casey Anthony Verdict

Andrea Lyon, DePaul University law professor and a noted death penalty defense attorney, was involved in Casey Anthony's defense early on in the trial. She discussed the verdict on "Eight Forty-Eight" this morning.

Attacks in Boystown

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.

If You Didn't Know Already, Don't Try Everything At Home

I'm not sure if this is boredom or just plan 'ol stupidity. Since this is public knowledge now, we can all be the judges.

Massive Hail Damage at Garfield Park Conservatory

The Garfield Park Conservatory is closed indefinitely due to an unprecedented number of broken windows from last night's hailstorm. As many as 60 percent of the windows in the conservatory's showrooms were shattered. Donate here to help with repairs. UPDATE: A few indoor galleries and all outdoor spaces are now open while repairs continue elsewhere in the conservatory.

"Second to None" ...Except Aurora

Chicago's tourism bureau announced a new tourism slogan yesterday: Chicago: Second to None. Unfortunately, Aurora, Illinois' second largest city, has used the slogan "A City Second to None" in an unofficial capacity since 2005.

Clergy Flout Church Position on Same Sex Marriage

Local Methodist pastors have joined more than 200 other Illinois Methodist clergy in a proclamation that they will perform marriages for same-sex partners in defiance of church rules.

Rahm's Renters Leave

The couple who have been renting Mayor Emanuel's Ravenswood home began moving out today. The Halpins' lease runs out next Friday.

Guess What Won't be Featured in a Local Broker's Ads?

R.J. O'Brien & Associates unwittingly handled millions of dollars from an al-Qaida member.

Meet Reggie Brown

That Obama impersonator who got yanked from the stage at last weekend's Republican Leadership Conference? He's Reggie Brown, and he's from Chicago.

He has also appeared on John Stossel's Fox News show in recent weeks.

Another Criminal Plot Gone Awry

Federal agents are accusing a Chicago man of making and planting a bomb in Evanston in order to report it to the police -- and then collect a reward.

Recalculating Our Destination

The Wall Street Journal checks in on the Adler Planetarium's massive star show update; supercomputers are crunching data nonstop in advance of the planned July 8 debut.

Don't Eff with Bozo, Kid

A police officer in a clown costume shot and killed a teenager who tried to rob him at gunpoint last night as the officer was leaving a fundraiser for a day-care business on the South Side.

Our Criminals are on Drugs

A whopping 83 percent of men arrested in Cook County last year tested positive for at least one illegal drug. UPDATE: The Reader's Steve Bogira points out those stats are kind of old.

A Letter of Interest

An unemployed single mother in Hobart, Indiana is selling a handwritten note she received from President Obama last fall for $11k.

Smile for the Camera

A $650,000 federal Homeland Security grant is going towards the installation of new cameras surrounding three key Loop buildings.

But They've Got Bats

Mayor Emanuel announced plans to put 150 more police on the streets in response to the "mob action" attacks. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball has warned teams to be careful when visiting Chicago.

Critic Ousted After "Glee Live" Gaffe

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.

Mobbing the Beach Since 1898

Whet Moser puts the recent "flash mobs" in perspective with a history of Chicago's beach violence.

"Warning - Avoid Chicago As A Vacation Destination"

That's the opportunistic message of the Illinois State Rifle Association; they claim the city's gun laws "leave good citizens defenseless against brutal "flash mobs."

The Context of Conflict

Local design journal MAS Context's new issue, Conflict, is now live, as is its redesigned website.

Mugging by Mob

The mobs of teens shoplifting on Michigan Avenue seem to be branching out into assault.

Indecent Proposals

Local hotel housekeepers are speaking out about being propositioned or assaulted by guests and the lack of support from management, joining LA in solidarity with housekeepers in New York following two high profile assaults.

Illinois Begins Same-Sex Civil Unions

Today marks the first day of same-sex civil unions in Illinois, with many eagerly getting licenses. Catalyst Ranch is sponsoring a midnight group ceremony for six couples. Congratulations!

To Chicago or Fargo?

Chicago makes a humorous appearance as a foil in a syndicated columnist's somewhat confusing article about where area youth should move.

North Ave. Beach Closed Early Monday

Eight people fell ill at North Avenue Beach on Monday, probably with heat stroke or related illnesses, prompting the CPD to close the beach.

Yes, Virginia...

"There is a beef jerky chocolate bar."

Blind, Buxom Justice

The Chicago Law Bulletin broke a story (behind its paywall, unfortunately) of a lawyer who filed a motion to remove a large-breasted paralegal from the counsel's table because she might distract the jury. Jezebel has the text of the motion.

Quite the Pile of Bricks

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.

Holy Turtle

The Rapture may not have happened on Saturday, but Chicagoland's rich tradition of finding the Virgin Mary where you'd least expect her carried on.

Strip Malls & Archeological Sites

Out in the middle of Schaumburg's suburban sprawl, an Indian mound has somehow avoided destruction.

Good Kids Going Bad for Fun

Ok, so "it's not an epidemic," but arrests for thrill seeking teenage shoplifters are up 10% on the Magnificent Mile .

Another Hazard of Foreclosures

Grenades.

Unlucky 13 for Mail Carriers

Chicago ranks 13th in the number of mailmen and -women bitten by dogs in 2010, according to the USPS.

Metra Crash Nearly Wrecks Stock Market

The stock market wobbled briefly today after a Metra train struck a dump truck this morning, over fears that it was a terrorist attack.

Cops Accused of Rape: Update

Followup: Two police officers have now been officially charged with sexual assaulting a drunk woman they took home from the Wrigleyville bar area and played strip poker with.

Nearly 50-50

That's the likelihood any given Chicago area homeowner is underwater on her mortgage.

Cheese That Isn't Yours

Stolen nacho cheese was at the center of a recent scuffle at a West Side 7-Eleven.

Bicycle Thief Busted by Blood

Just how cheap has DNA testing become? Cheap enough to lead to an arrest for bicycle theft.

That's not a Knife; THIS is a Knife!

The Daily Mail has quite a photo illustration of what we have to look forward to this summer when teenage unemployment rates may be at record highs.

When Pigs Fly

A special shipment of 235 hogs will soon leave Chicago for South Korea to help replenish the country's herds after a devastating foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

A Vivid Online Catastrophe

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.

Someone's Determined to have the Finest Wig

"Veteran detectives admit that tracking down hair is a first for them when it comes to stolen property."

Mudslides are not Milkshakes

It was apparently only a matter of time before the whole chain restaurant accidentally serves alcohol to a toddler meme made it to Chicagoland.

Hitler Cake?

Someone hates Illinois Nazis.

Leveraging the Power of Social Networks

A pizzeria owner tracked down five guys who allegedly attacked him after recognizing one of them in his son's hockey picture; the rest were tracked down via facebook.

Dude, Busted

More than 1,700 fake IDs have been intercepted at O'Hare, mostly on their way to college students, ordered off the internet.

Taxing Times

You know your taxes are due Monday, right? If you're running behind on this, you can get some free help from the city or the government.

Illegal Billboards

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.

Jailed According to Gender

The Cook County Jail now houses prisoners based on their gender identity instead of birth sex, a big step forward for the transgender community.

Chute Open, Cuffs On

A guy parachuted off the under-construction Waterview Tower in the wee hours of Sunday morning. A police officer happened to hear his chute open, and was there to arrest him when he landed.

"Mini" Wal-Mart Coming to Rogers Park?

The Rogers Park blog is reporting that Ald. Joe Moore has green-lighted a deal to bring a "mini" Wal-Mart store to the corner of Greenview Ave. and Jarvis in Rogers Park. The Alderman will have a press conference on Monday about the deal, but it sure won't be the last you'll hear about it.

And if you believe that, you're pretty gullible. That's a sweet April Fool's from RogersPark.com.

Clever Apes Wants to Crush Our Souls

Many of your favorite facts about dinosaurs are totally wrong.

Cops Accused of Rape

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.

A Stretch by Any Means

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.

Dog Park and Jazz Finally Together

A new South Loop dog park may be named after jazz icon Fred Anderson.

Officers in Trouble after Gang Drop-off Video Discovered

Two Chicago police officers have been given desk duty after WBEZ discovered a video showing a young man being taunted by a large crowd while seated in the back of a police SUV. Our own Micah Uetricht spoke to Humboldt Park residents to get their reactions.

Maybe Navy Pier is Good for the Children After All

The Children's Museum has argued for years that it needs to move from Navy Pier to Grant Park, but its resolve is wavering now.

Deep Trouble

Chronic sewage overflow problems with Chicago's Deep Tunnel have prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to launch an investigation.

Sexual Assault Task Force

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!)

Expressing Our Condolences

The Consulate General of Japan at Chicago is, of course, coordinating donations to the relief efforts, but it is also opening the doors at its Japan Information Center to those wishing to express sympathies to victims of the earthquake in a condolence book.

Home Improvement Tip #4,678

Do not try to remove the squirrels in your apartment with a smoke bomb.

Writing for the Reader ... Again

Believe it or not, the Reader has another personnel switcheroo in the works; this time, Mick Dumke will be returning to the weekly after a year at the Chicago News Cooperative.

A Proposal for Making Lakeview More Livable

Lee Bey has a short preview of the new Lakeview Area Master Plan the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce is releasing tonight.

"Will Work for Free"

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.

No Longer a Death Penalty State

Gov. Quinn signed into law a ban on the death penalty in Illinois today, making the moratorium George Ryan began 11 years ago permanent.

Further Fucksaw Fallout

The president of Northwestern has announced an investigation into the motorized sex toy (aka "fucksaw") demonstration in a recent human sexuality class. (Previously.) Meanwhile, Rachel Rabbit White got the other side of the story from the people who put on the demo.

"Flash Mobs" Gone Wrong

CBS2 reports on a recent rash of shoplifting cases in which groups of teenagers descend on a store, make a scene, and escape with merchandise. The attacks are allegedly organized via Twitter.

Weis Leaving Early

Despite saying he wants to stay in Chicago, Police Superintendent Jody Weis is allegedly leaving his post today, when his contract expires, rather than sticking around till May when Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel takes over and fires him. Keep an eye on Second City Cop for officer reactions.

Chicago's Hottest Spots

If by hottest, you mean deadliest, that is. Some light poles, fences and sidewalk grates throughout the city are electrified.

Politicians Gone Wild

Perhaps inspired by Wisconsin Democrat senators who fled to Illinois to block a vote taking away collective bargaining rights from unionized government workers, congresspeople from Indiana are heading to Illinois (or Kentucky) to avoid a similar vote. Meanwhile, Arizonaesque anti-immigrant legislation has been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly, as well as in Indiana.

Under the Bridge No Longer

Approved today, the Navy Pier Flyover seeks to eliminate the lakefront path's most notorious choke point.

Dumb Criminals in the News

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.

How to Lose 200,000 People

The official 2010 Census numbers demonstrate that Chicago's population declined 200,000 people between 2000 and 2010. The African American population declined 17%, Latin Americans gained a little over 3% and non-Hispanic whites slightly declined.

Not-Owen Wilson Caught

Follow-up: Remember the guy who looked like "Owen Wilson without the crooked nose" who scammed a bunch of Oak Park businesses? He's been caught, and the description holds true.

Weis: Meeting with Gangsters Worked

Police chief Jody Weis said this weekend that his controversial decision to meet with West Side gang leaders last August led to a drop in crime, particularly murders. There is some skepticism.

Lolla Leaks

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.

Storm Central

The Sun-Times has a peek inside the National Weather Service's Chicagoland station as the blizzard arrived.

Oldham on Kelly

Bonnie Prince Billy interviews who some call the King of R&B.

The Movie Crasher

A man described as "Owen Wilson without the crooked nose" is wanted for using counterfeit coupons at the Lake movie theater and several stores in Oak Park.

Picturing Rockford

Minnesotan Alec Soth and Chicagoan Michael Catano headed to Rockford for a NYTimes project entitled "Portraits of a Job Starved City."

Gun Pointed at State Congressman

State Representative Edward Acevedo -- who also happens to be a police officer -- had a gun pointed at him in Heart of Chicago this weekend.

Math is Hard

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.

Keep Your Filthy Paws Out of My Silky Drawers

The Lake Villa District Library has banned men from attending its exhibit on the history of women's undergarments. UPDATE: come on in, pervy dudes!

Get'im, Scooby!

Heroes of the week: Augustin Zamora and his dog, Scooby.

Crazy Love

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).

Every Year We Count Again

Chicago may have had the lowest murder rate since 1965 last year, but this year's count started ticking right away.

Chicago Murder Rate Lowest Since 1965

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.

Paint Thinner isn't for BBQ

On Reddit, a neighbor adds details (some very sad) to the suspicious fire at Ole Hardwood yesterday.

Candidate for Year's Dumbest Criminal

If you're carrying a "mobile meth lab" and several pounds of drugs in your backpack, it's probably a good idea not to pass out in the back of a cab.

Gingerbread House of Horrors

Baked goods from Rolf's Patisserie in Lincolnwood may be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus. 100 people in Illinois and Wisconsin have already been sickened.

The Grinchiest

A man was recorded stealing UPS packages off of a porch in Andersonville over the weekend. Police are still looking for him, or waiting for his heart to grow three sizes. [via]

Racist Goes to Jail

Speaking of jail, white supremacist radio host Hal Turner was sentenced to 33 months in prison for threatening the lives of three Chicago appeals court judges after they overturned a local ban on handguns.

Greasy Fingers and Good Conversation

Eric May -- artist, proprietor of Roots and Culture and food enthusiast -- has set out to start up a "Mobile Culinary Community Center."

The Business of the Supreme Court

New research by faculty at Northwestern and the U of C demonstrates that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.'s Supreme Court sees more business cases and sides more frequently with business than any court since the 1950s.

A Lot of Pot

No less than 22,000 lbs of marijuana were seized on six train cars in Chicago Heights. It's nearly three times the size of the previous largest seizure in recent years.

Tip Jar Bandit Caught

A Chicago man was arrested for stealing tip jars from at least three Starbucks and possibly several other coffee shops in the city and suburbs.

Another Reporter Without a Job

Brenda Starr, the intrepid reporter who filled comics pages for more than 70 years, will cover her last story on January 2.

PETA + CTA

PETA is praising the CTA for its humane killing of mice.

Chicago Cops Will Tase You Bro!

Chicago police officers have tased people 683 times in the last year -- that's roughly 200 more times than in 2009 -- according to the Independent Police Review Authority's annual report. [via]

C'mon In: The Water's Fine!

A federal judge has ruled against the closure of Chicagoland's shipping locks, thereby dashing (at least temporarily) the hopes of anti-Asian-carpers in the Great Lakes basin.

Rahm Emanuel And Mark Kirk Don't Make New Trier Hall of Fame List

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).

Illinois Senate Approves Civil Unions

The Illinois Senate approved the bill giving same-sex couples the same rights in a civil union as married couples. Gov. Quinn is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as today.

Lakeview Leaked

Whatever your thoughts on WikiLeaks, the little tidbit culled from their latest document dump detailing how much the powerful Afghan president's brother "loves Lakeview" is undoubtedly entertaining.

A "Top Five" Bar Night of the Year is ...

Thanksgiving Eve?

Seriously? 2-2-2-2?

More than 600 people played that number in last Wednesday's Illinois Lottery Pick Four, and won. They'll share $8.4 million.

Probably Ended Up in the Plumbing Aisle

Heart valves meant for a Chicago hospital ended up at a New York City Home Depot. No word on what showed up at the hospital. [via]

Dick Durbin, Actor

Senator Dick Durbin is filming a scene with Laurence Fishburne today for the upcoming thriller "Contagion." For the senator's cameo, Durbin will be the chair at a Senate hearing.

This Doesn't Mean You Can Get Away With Making Bad Art Now

A prominent component of recent Chicago art history, art critic Kathryn Hixson has passed on...

A Wrigleyville Turf War Heating Up?

A condo building at Irving Park and Greenview has been tagged repeatedly with gang graffiti, apparently intended as a message to a rival gang.

Poor Investment Option

The Department of Justice filed suit yesterday against a Chicago lawyer who allegedly has been promoting phony tax shelters.

Fake Bombs Away

A UPS cargo plane flying from Yemen to Chicago was detained in England when a suspicious package that appears to be a fake bomb was found on board. The package was addressed to a Chicago-area synagogue. UPDATE: The device and another found on a different flight did in fact contain explosives.

Meter Box Bandit Stopped

Someone has been arrested in the case of the missing parking meter boxes. His name? Jeffrey Kaput.

Will They or Won't They?

Hugh Hefner says Playboy will "probably" leave Chicago, but the company's spokesperson said the company has "no plans" to leave. We'll see...

Whittier Parents End Sit-In

But not their fight to get a library for their children.

Some Sort of Defamation

The Tribune and Sun-Times both report two officers are suing police superintendent Jody Weis for defamation, but one calls it libel, the other calls it slander. Which is it, guys?

WBEZ Becoming More Chicago Public Media

Behold the new wbez.org. If you have compliments or complaints, here's the place to put them.

ZOMG Chicago Weather

Tomorrow's thunderstorms are likely to be pretty bad, with 55mph winds likely. But "Great Lakes Cyclone"? I don't think that means what you think it means.

The Dollar-and-a-Half Menu Doesn't Sound As Catchy

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.")

Who Needs Exposed Railroad Tracks, Anyway?

Melbourne, Australia's newest proposed park got a good chunk of its inspiration from you know where.

Trib's Head Heads Out

As anticipated, Tribune CEO Randy Michaels officially resigned this afternoon.

Rahm Makes Bank

Word on the street is Rahm Emanuel has raised $3.6 million since he kicked off his campaign for mayor. He announced his candidacy two weeks ago.

Think Before Hitting Send

Risqué e-mailer Lee Abrams, Tribune Co's Chief Innovation Officer, has resigned his post.

My Nomination for Today's Silliest Headline

"IRS: Strip club owner didn't show us everything." Oh, and going 11 years without filing a tax return isn't wildly clever either.

Closing the Town Hall

The CPD is going to close the iconic police station at Halsted and Addison next month. Its future is uncertain.

Gone Meter Gone

Someone's stealing parking meters -- not the old-fashioned ones, the 200-pound pay-and-display boxes. Twenty of them so far.

Strike While the Iron's Cold

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.

The Zox

Recalling the Chi-Tonw fiasco from a couple years ago, a tattoo artist at a Belmont-Cragin parlor is being sued for tattooing the White Sox logo backwards on a client's leg.

Lake Shore Crash

Last night, a CTA bus careened off Lake Shore Drive into a tree, injuring dozens. Eyewitness reports suggest a mechanical malfunction caused the crash—and that the bus's crowdedness prevented more extreme injuries. [ Video report from WGN ]

Keeping Score

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.

Sad News

There is unfortunate news today about the woman hurt while working as an extra on the set of Transformers 3. A lawsuit filed by her family details a grisly injury and claims she is "permanently brain damaged."

Never Let Me Go

Maybe someone gave Rahm's White House replacement Pete Rouse this heartfelt message on his first day.

Well, Duh: It's Really Good Pie!

Hoosier Mama Pie Company just made Bon Appetit's list of the country's Top 10 Best Places for Pie. Achatz Handmade Pie Company, from Armada, Michigan, also gets a shoutout -- as much for the pie as for being related to Grant Achatz and served at Alinea.

A Memory from the Mustache Era

The Sun-Times must be hurting for photo illustrations, given their decision to use this 1982 photograph of one of Mayor Daley's pals for a story about water billing problems.

The Ultimate Tan

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.

"Firemen, like cops, are street people."

Apparently, that's why Oak Brook needs to "fire 'em." Oh, and there's something about "namby pamby" in the article too, so pay close attention.

MacArthur Fellows Announced

Among the 23 brainiacs receiving a no-strings-attached $500k MacArthur Genius Grant is U of C Anthropology professor Shannon Lee Dawdy and Columbia College-educated director/actor David Cromer.

Book by Book

If you've been following the progress of the parents at Whittier Elementary School in Pilsen, then you know that a group of moms have been fighting for seven years to get a library. They've occupied the field house that Chicago Public Schools wants to tear down to turn into a soccer field. The Chicago Underground Library believes in their fight and is starting a book drive and asking librarians to get involved to help them build a library, book by book.

A Day and a Half

The New York Times came back to Chicago for 36 hours recently.

Still No Word on the Peculiar Power of an English Accent

Two U of C psychologists are figuring out why people are less likely to trust statements made by people with foreign accents.

FBI Conducting Mass Search of Antiwar Activists' Homes

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.

Elephantless in Chicago

The last elephant at Brookfield Zoo left this week.

This King's Dream

Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was in Illinois today to protest abortion at Planned Parenthood. Several abortion rights and reproductive health organizations held a press conference to contradict King's claims and ask that she join them in their anti-poverty work, work her uncle would support.

Addressing 3,000 Acres of Brownfields

Changing Gears takes a look at how cities can address aging industrial structures.

How Many Times Have You Been Arrested?

Darryl Marlow has now been arrested 253 times, many of which seem to be for "aggressive panhandling."

Bombing is Not a Legitimate "Business Strategy"

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.

Cubs Now Fielding the Undead

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.

Festa Muti!

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and plenty of music lovers are treating Riccardo Muti as a rockstar during the monthlong "Festa Muti," which kicks off his new role at the CSO.

Mother Accuses Whittier Security of Pushing Child

Anne Elizabeth Moore, local activist and writer for Vocalo.org, interviewed one of the women staying at Whittier Dual Language School until the city agrees to build the students a library. Araceli Gonzalez told Moore that security guards pushed her daughter and other children while arguing with the women to leave. If you think the parents of Whittier students deserve a library, you can sign a petition.

Plus One for Bad Behavior

Frank Castaldi was sentenced to 23 years for running a ponzi scheme for 22 years.

Before Pimps Were Pimps

DePaul researchers Jody Raphael and Brenda Myers-Powell released a research report [pdf] yesterday noting pimps' common histories of sexual abuse, prostitution and familial involvement in sex trade prior to becoming pimps. (Related: our feature on sex trafficking in Chicago.)

That's a lot of Apples!

Walter Payton College Prep is the national winner of the Intel Schools of Distinction contest, earning it more than $175,000 worth of cash and prizes.

Look, Ma! Clean Hands!

Chicago leads the nation (well, four studied cities) in hand washing in public restrooms, but don't celebrate too quickly: 23 percent of men still don't wash their hands after visiting the toilet.

Those Quiet Towns Can Surprise You

A man walking his dog early this morning found a decapitated body and a suspected explosive device at Nichols Middle School in Evanston.

The Perils of Geocaching, Part 3,052

A suburban Menards was evacuated on Saturday when an employee saw a man placing a box in a parking lot light post. Apparently the item had been cached there since January.

Polite Bandit Caught

He may have been sorry, but he still faces jail time if convicted.

Romeoville Hillbillies

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.

Hey, Lady! What are You Hiding?

Consumerist.com reports that a pregnant traveler felt like she was bullied by TSA agents to go through a full-body scanner instead of getting a pat-down exam. Yikes!

Mayor Daley No More?

The Sun-Times has a terse announcement that Mayor Daley will not seek re-election, promising more to come. This election cycle just got very interesting. Chicago Breaking News has slightly more context regarding the announcement.

Another South Side Mural Meets Protest

A new mural has been added to the Little Village memorial to Manuel Perez, Jr. by Enlace Chicago, but some American Legion members are upset by its introduction -- and maybe its style.

Looking for Summer Flings

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]

Chicago Policewoman May be the Nation's First

Meet Sgt. Marie Owens, "an efficient officer whose smile makes offenders obey the law."

Major Federal Smuggling Case Run Out of Chicago

What was smuggled? Honey.

Hawaii Wants Library More

Hawaii is pulling out all the stop to win the Obama Presidential Library and Museum. Chicago, not so much.

TBA: Eisner to Head Tribune Company

The formal announcement is "imminent."

Maybe They Just Like to Make a Lot of Calls and Have a Lot of Cash On Hand?

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.

The Library of Hope

The fight for the Obama presidential library is heating up. In one corner, Chicago; in the other, Hawaii.

Chicago Represents at the Emmys

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.

Second Verse, Same as the First?

The Rod Blagojevich retrial is scheduled to begin this January.

Municipal Bed Bug Assistance

No matter which study you reference, Chicago has bed bugs, and the city has some information to help those plagued by the pests.

A Little Good News About the Chicago Unemployment Rate

Chicago's unemployment rate fell to 10.5 percent in July. That's a decrease of .1 percent from June 2010. In July 2009 it was 10.8 percent.

Creepy Crawly

We're #3 in bedbugs -- what is a bedbug, you might ask. And how can I get rid of them? [via]

Decommissioning Zion

Speaking of area nuclear reactors, the already-offline Zion Nuclear Power Station will be decommissioned over the next several years and then opened up for "unrestricted commercial uses."

Bringing "Discredit" to the CPD with a Blog Post?

A blog post by CPD Lt. John R. Andrews that was critical of the department may get him fired.

So Long, ShoreBank

ShoreBank, the only bank with a slogan anything like "Let's change the world," failed. Its "good" assets have been transferred to the brand new Urban Partnership Bank, leaving some to worry about the future of investment in Chicago's low income neighborhoods.

Hide Your Children!

Yet another alligator lurks the banks of the Chicago River. This time, there's a (grainy) photo.

Libya Public Radio?

Last summer WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore received a fellowship from Columbia College to do reporting from Libya, which she started today.

"Stupid" Email Earns Dept. Head a Time-Out

The director of the Department of Revenue was suspended for a day over the memo about police needing to up their ticket writing, after Mayor Daley called it stupid.

Hip Description? Name Game? Both?

Chicagoan Jay Goltz uses Evanstonian Seth Weinberger as an example in his recent NYTimes blog post questioning the label of "social entrepreneurship."

Blago Guilty on ONE COUNT

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.

Protecting and Serving and Such for a Long Time

Speaking of birthdays, Sunday was the 175th anniversary of the Chicago Police Department's founding.

Common Sense...How Does that Work?

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!

Deadlocked Blago Jury?

You've got to be kidding me.

Dan Rostenkowski Dead at 82

Former US Representative Dan Rostenkowski has died at 82. The once powerful politician spent time in jail in 1996 for mail fraud.

Dog Day Afternoon

Skip this unless you want to be depressed all day: Seven puppies perished after an American Airlines flight from Tulsa to Chicago.

Rallying Against Prop 8 Tonight

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 Ongoing Inquiry into Burge and Police Torture

Governor Quinn made appointments to the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission over the weekend, clearing the way for more official investigations into police torture in the state.

Decorate Daley Plaza ... for Free

With your winning Christmas tree, that is.

59 Hours, 54 Dead

The Sun-Times' Mark Konkol and Frank Main are working on a fantastic series about why gun violence is endemic in the city, why suspects often are never charged, and why anti-snitching culture keeps witnesses from testifying.

Elvis Auction Canceled, Blago's Elvis Auctioned

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.

Just Over the Border

Mosquitoes in Evanston have tested positive for West Nile Virus. Don't fret, there are easy ways to protect yourself.

No Gino's, No Mag Mile, No Bean, No Sears Tower

Unlike some reporters, the Minneapolis Star Tribune's travel writer actually made it off the beaten path a bit for for his piece on visiting Chicago.

Flooding at River City

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).

"Goodbye," Chicago Current. "Hello," Chicago Reader.

Geoff Dougherty just announced he is "immediately" ceasing operation of the Chicago Current and taking on a new role as associate publisher of the Chicago Reader, where other changes are also in the works.

2040: A City's Odyssey

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.

Hwy 290 Off Strike

If frequent the highway towards the Northwest suburbs then you know it's been a pain with 5 o'clock traffic and the road construction. What you probably didn't know is that construction came to a halt with workers on strike.

Learning a Little About the South Side

Top ten facts lists usually leave a lot to be desired, but there's actually some interesting information in this "10 things you might not know about the South Side" piece from the Trib.

That Was Quick

Less than a week after the FBI released its list of Chicago's most wanted criminals, one of them was caught.

Bloomingdale Trail Gets Another Look

Following the success of New York's High Line, the NYT looks at what other cities (like ours) are doing to innovate unused rail spaces.

Theaters Win the Chase

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?

Localizing the Lohan Story

Lindsay Lohan has hired Chicago defense lawyer Stuart V. Goldberg. I'm guessing this video is what did the trick.

How to Miss Out on Chicago in 72 Hours

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.

Watching and Listening to the Governor

Meet Pete Cullen, the FBI agent in charge of the Blagojevich wiretaps.

"Commentary on the State of American Journalism"

The Chicago News Cooperative NYTimes asks why John Conroy's recent coverage of the Burge case was from WBEZ, rather than the Reader, Trib or the Sun-Times. [Thanks, Andrew!]

U of C Grad Imprisoned for "Stealing Secrets"

Xue Feng, a University of Chicago-educated geologist and US citizen, was sentenced to eight years in a Chinese prison for buying a database that contained information about the country's oil industry.

Biography of a Gun

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.

Saving Journalism by Helping Journalists

Speaking of typing, the Chicago Headline Club is hosting a fundraiser on Thursday for out of work journalists. The money will go towards the journalists' freelance reporting costs, equipment needs and skill development workshops.

Where are Travelers Going for the 4th of July?

Here.

R.I.P., Fred Anderson

Jazz saxophonist Fred Anderson, owner of the Velvet Lounge and mentor to numerous jazz musicians, has passed away.

Not Everything Shrinks in a Recession

Chicago's population is a notable exception to the recession's downward figures.

Don't Mix the Grain with the Grape

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 destroyed truck.

Jammed! At Least They Didn't Give Us the Raspberries...

The northbound I-55 on-ramp to the Tri-State Tollway might be a bit sticky for a while after a truck hauling grapes rolled.

What a Weekend

Microbursts, power outages, butane explosions, Red Line fires -- good thing we had that week of disaster simulations to prepare for it all.

Red Line Fire

A fire in a Red Line tunnel had 19 passengers heading to hospitals yesterday. Scary stuff.

Hero May Face Termination

A Chicago Public School social worker donated his kidney to an almost perfect stranger, but could lose his job for violating district residency requirement.

I'm Doing Everything I Can... and Stop Calling Me Shirley.

Taking a page from the movie Airplane!, an American Airlines flight attendant stepped in for the first officer on the flight after he fall ill and assisted in landing the plane normally.

A Misguided HIV Clinic

The FDA is seeking to ban a doctor specializing in HIV research from doing future work due to false data, lack of protection for study participants, forged documents, and missing experimental drugs.

Museum of Broadcast Communications Revived

The Museum of Broadcast Communications is finally restarting construction after receiving a $6 million grant from the state. Barring any new delays, the museum will be ready to open next year.

Natasha's Day Adds to $250k

Natasha's Day is expected to have raised thousands of dollars on top of the $250,000 previously raised to benefit Natasha McShane, one of the two women attacked with a baseball bat seven weeks ago. McShane is showing signs of improvement but has a long rehabilitation ahead of her. Learn how to help at HelpNatasha.net.

Knitters Go Along with What Others Say

The jury pool for Blagojevich's trial includes a knitter, a couple ex-Marines and an avid runner -- and their professions and interests are fuel for some odd conjecture about their predispositions.

Home Sweet (Evicted) Home

Condo foreclosures dominate Rogers Park. The problem goes beyond the neighborhood: the number of bank repossessions in nation's housing market increased by 44 percent in May.

Sit Still, Blagojevich

Today U.S. District Judge Zagel asked Blagojevich to restrain his gestures while in the courtroom. I wonder if the same goes for his hair.

Defending the Stedman

Comedian Dennis O'Toole breaks down why Oprah's boyfriend thinks Chicago doesn't appreciate her.

It's a Boy (Zebra)!

There's a new Grévy's zebra colt at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the first born since 2001. More really cute pictures and videos here.

How Might the Dots be Connected?

Following Jamie Kalven, Curtis Black of NewsTips asks some sensitive questions about the relationship between new media models and the foundations that support them. We should mention that GB's feature funding opportunities are supported by The Chicago Community Trust and The Knight Foundation.

Lost and Found

If you've misplaced your kinkajou, one was just found down in Pilsen.

Happy, Happy Tumblers

After word spread about the Jesse White Tumblers' missing drums, donations to the group poured in, including from the Chicago Cubs Charities and the Ricketts family -- leading to a happy ending.

Wallet Returned 69 Years Later

Robert Bell lost his wallet in Chicago in 1941. He just got it back.

Can You Spell This?

Three Illinois students (Arlington Heights, Peotone and Charleston represent!) have made it into the semifinalists of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which concludes tonight at 7pm on ABC7.

Glacier Envy

So apparently the Tribune wants to start up a photographic, chest-thumping competition between Illinois residents and those who live in Montana. Isn't that like getting involved in a land war in Asia?

Robo-Teacher

Chicago Public Schools is apparently on the search for math and reading computer software that could help teach students each day, sans teacher supervision.

Has Anybody Seen 20 Drums Laying Around?

The Jesse White Tumbling Team showed up to their storage facility before an event to find their equipment missing.

An Empty Castle

Remember Rudy Acosta and his crazy mansion next to expressway? It's now sitting empty, on tax-exempt land, John Kass reports.

The Cashmere Castillo Fund

A memorial fund has been set up in honor of Albany Park boy Cashmere Castillo who fell into the Chicago River while playing last week. His body was found earlier today in the river near Lawrence Avenue.

Speaking of Dillinger

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.

TIF for Tat

The Reader breaks down how the city spends TIF funds, ward by ward. This is the latest in their long-running series of investigations into possible misuses of these "shadow budget" funds.

Dividing Taste

The fashion world's embrace of teen fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson is isn't universal, The Economist finds.

Loser of the Pack

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.

Residents to be Evicted En Masse from Cabrini Green Building

The Chicago Housing Authority has issued eviction notices [PDF] to the 31 remaining households of the Cabrini-Green high-rise 1230 N. Larrabee. Note: Contrary to ABC7's report, the building is not the last standing Cabrini Green high-rise.

4 Alarms, 1 Trash Can

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."

Maybe We Should Stop Releasing Balloons

A mylar balloon is responsible for cutting power to 3,825 households last night in what is apparently the most recent of approximately 200 Chicago power outages in the last four years. In other news, ComEd paid for this photograph of a concerned employee with a "Congratulations" balloon.

OnStar to the Rescue

OnStar figures prominently in a very detailed account of a robbery in Gresham.

The Next President of U of I

The University of Illinois is expected to appoint Michael Hogan, formerly of the University of Connecticut, its next president.

Marina City Death

Breaking news from the Sun-Times reports that a man fell to his death this morning at the Marina City Towers. The Fire Department was called to the scene, but little else is known at this time.

High School Basketball Team vs. Arizona Reform

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]

First the Spindle, Then the Artist

Dustin Shuler, the artist behind the Spindle in Berwyn, passed away last week.

Chicagoan Replacing a Chicagoan with a Chicagoan (Sort of)

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.

Just...Can't...Resist...

I tried to resist the urge to post a story entitled "Drunken, naked stranger arrested in couple's hot tub"--I really, really did.

Tragedy at Old Navy in the Heart of Downtown

It's a big day for strange and sad news in Chicago: the Tribune reports that a shooting at Old Navy on State and Washington was a murder-suicide. Live video coverage is available as of 11:45am.

Live By the Train, Die By the Train

A day after a criminal probe was launched against Metra's executive director, Phil Pagano was killed when he was struck by a train. UPDATE: The death is being called a suicide. And allegedly, "a copy of Metra's procedures on how to handle a service disruption after a suicide" was found on Pagano's body.

Greece is Off the Hook, All Eyes Turn to Chicago

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.

I Like Ike

Guess who's got his own Facebook page? That's right, Ike — the Eisenhower Expressway Dog.

Truer Words

The war in Cuidad Juarez is nothing like Colombia, Italy or Chicago.

McDonaldsPier Perhaps?

In an effort to help fund the recently strapped McCormick Place and Navy Pier proprietor Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (McPier), state officials may allow them to sell their naming rights.

UIC Grad in Harvard Law Racism Brouhaha

Perhaps you've heard about Stephanie Grace, the Harvard Law student who penned an email last fall to her friends suggesting that African Americans are genetically predisposed to intellectual inferiority; Grace's words are now making the rounds of the (understandably outraged) Internet. A fellow Harvard classmate and UIC grad (who had some very surprising opinions about MLK Day in 2003) has been identified as the forwarder. Her motive? She was mad at Grace over a boy.

Hollywood Sign Saved from Chicagoans by... Former Chicagoan

Building on our earlier post: Former Chicagoan (and Steinmetz High School alum) Hugh Hefner chipped in the last $900,000 needed to transfer ownership of the property surrounding the iconic Hollywood sign in California from Chicago-based real estate developers Fox River Financial to the Trust for Public Land.

A Not So Good Morning

It turns out that putting anti-freeze in mom's coffee isn't as fun as it appears it might be in Heathers.

I'm Gonna Make'em an Offer They'll Probably Refuse

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.

Caps Lock = Important

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.

Bucktown Bat Attacker Caught... Maybe

In case you hadn't heard, here's an update on the infamous Bucktown baseball attack story from last weekend. The comments, as always, are particularly interesting.

On Cartoons and Freedom

In the wake of the South Park/Muhammad controversy, Tribune cartoonist Scott Stantis explains where he draws the lines (or doesn't) on drawing lines.

Also via Trib blog The Seeker, Ahmed Rehab and Hesham Hassaballa provide thoughtful responses to the turbulence between Comedy Central and Revolution Muslim.

Calling in the National Guard?

State reps John Fritchie and LaShawn Ford think violence in Chicago has gotten bad enough to call in the National Guard. Father Michael Pfleger, among others, thinks that could just make the violence worse.

African Americans leaving Chicago

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.

Looking for a Lakeview Condo?

Patti Blagojevich's just went on the market.

Rahm Israel Emanuel's Got Talent

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 Say "Tomato," I Say "Dynamite"

In the strangest "he said, she said" argument heard in a while, a couple is arguing over whether the homemade explosives traded for methamphetamine were dynamite or fireworks.

Preserve or Perish

Landmarks Illinois released its annual list of most endangered historic places today, and Chicago's Uptown Theatre and Prentice Women's Hospital make the cut along with the St. Lawrence Complex and North Pullman. (Related: the Uptown just launched a Twitter feed this week.)

Dishwashers Flying off the Shelves

Illinois' cash-for-appliances program, which took effect at 8am today, might already be tapped.

Tea Partiers in Chicago Aren't Bitter

No, not at all.

A New Foreclosure Fear

As if hundreds of vacant houses weren't enough, now we have to deal with "orangutang-sized" raccoons.

Downtown Prison Reportedly Unpleasant

Harry Weese ensured that the Metropolitan Correctional Center was visually striking, but now it's found its way into a book for being less than ideal on the inside. If you're itching for other tales of life inside the prison, you can read this detailed 2007 review from the fiancée of an inmate. If you'd like to toss your hat into the ring, you can always review it ... on Yelp.

Back to the ER/Chicago Hope/Due South/Early Edition Glory Days

If you like to scene spot TV shows for local locations, things are looking up! The Sun-Times reports that there're six pilots for TV Shows that are currently being filmed in town.

April Cools (from Here)

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.

Bean Counter

If you find yourself overqualified for your current job, you just might be working for the U.S. Census.

Cakegirls Building Fire

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.

U of C Censors Facebook Status

A student's questionable Facebook status update warrants an investigation by university police over a possible "death threat" [PDF]. This, of course, begs the question: How would merely censoring the student have solved the problem?

Bleacher Heist

The man who stole bleacher seats piece by piece from a West Side high school is finally caught.

Biggest Drug Bust This Year

The Chicago Police confiscated $17.5 million in cocaine from the Latin Kings.

But, Mom, Dirt is Good for Me!

Research out of Northwestern demonstrates that dirt and germs are good for long-term heart health.

Mack the Knives

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.

Chicagoans Don't Like To Pay Taxes

Chicago is the second biggest tax-procrastinator city in the country. Maybe if the sales tax were lower that wouldn't be the case.

Citizen's Arrest!

A group of witnesses to an armed robbery on the near South Side captured and detained the suspect until the police arrived. The suspect apparently sustained some injuries in the process.

Not an Article from the Future

"Boeing Co. said on Tuesday it expects only modest growth in its space revenues over the next five years..." If only they were talking about spaceships.

So, Who is Attacking Our Cabbies?

The Tribune looks into the rough, dangerous and some 80-hour workweeks leaving cab drivers frequented (more than 58 percent) by occupational violence. The Reader's Whet Moser weighs in with their account last year on "bad neighborhoods" vs. "white-collar types partying in trendy areas" and why race plays a major role.

Chicago's Unemployment Rate Goes Up and Up and Up...

Chicago's unemployment rate reached 11.6 percent in January, Chicago Business reports.

Fitting In

The 2010 Census will start filling our mailboxes soon, but will your identity be truly counted? The Tribune looks into how mixed races might be erroneously counted with local Chicagoans.

Chi City Web

The City of Chicago's website got its first overhaul in almost a decade today. Check out the new cityofchicago.org (which seems to run on a similar template to explorechicago.org) and see if you can navigate it any easier.

Perhaps Another Reason McCormick Place is in Trouble

A "reputed mobster" has been charged with rigging contracts at the convention center.

Another Missive from Outside the "Media"

Remember that list of 119 words and phrases that Randy Michaels, CEO of the Tribune Company, banned? Well, it seems Mr. Michaels didn't take kindly to Robert Feder's post about the list and dug himself a deeper hole while expressing his frustration.

Don't Tase Me, Bro

Chicagoans will now have the opportunity to be shocked by 380 new Tasers. The announcement nearly immediately follows the death of a southwestern suburban man who was Tased by Midlothian police officers.

Characterizing Gov. Quinn's Proposed Tax Hike

The Trib proclaims "Quinn wants 33% tax hike" on its front page, while the Sun-Times opts for "Quinn calls for raising income tax to 4 percent." Ah, politics. (Note that the links reference articles with slightly longer titles.)

Even More Surveillance

Now that criminals have learned to operate around the perimeters of blue light cameras, Chicago police plan to deploy smaller undetectable cameras around the city.

Remember Donald Rumsfeld?

Well, he has another reason to dislike the home of Obama and Daley: a Chicago federal judge allowed a case against Rumsfeld to proceed that will explore his role in setting detainee handling policies in Iraq.

Warren to Leave the Chicago Reader

The Reader's Publisher of the last few months, James Warren, will step down to move on to other opportunities. Here's his email to the staff on the matter.

Man Arrested on the Roof of the Art Institute

"Police said they didn't yet know why the man was acting the way he was."

The New Yorker On Mayor Daley

This week's New Yorker has an article on Mayor Daley by Evan Osnos. The article is behind a paywall but you can read a summary here.

Rogers Steps Down As WH Social Secretary

Chicago native Desiree Rogers will step down as the White House Social Secretary.

Another Subpoensed Chicago Official

Except this time it's...the mayor. That's right. Mayor Daley has been subpoenaed.

No Longer Just "Upstairs" vs "Downstairs"

The Trib reviews recent research on the disparities in compensation, working conditions and demographic characteristics for those who work in the front of the restaurant compared to those who work in the back.

Aqua Stands Out

Aqua is to be named the recipient of the Skyscraper Award, the "world's most renowned prize for high-rise architecture" according to the presenter, global building database Emporis.

I Guess "They" Don't Like Email Flood Attacks

Kevin Trudeau is up to a pile of shenanigans involving a Chicago court.

Live Like A Crook

Tony Rezko's old mansion is on the market.

A George Polk Award Goes To Illinois Reporters

Belleville News-Democrat reporters George Pawlaczyk and Beth Hundsdorfer won the George Polk Award for Local Reporting for their investigative series on harsh conditions in a supermax prison.

More Adult Than Usual

An adult bookstore in Melrose Park apparently also has rooms set aside for group sex, according to a Fox News Chicago investigation. [via]

A Minor Oversight

Don't forget that you leave footprints in the snow when you flee the house you were just burglarizing.

From Haiti to Chicago, and Back Again

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.

Did You Feel the Earth Move?

Apparently, the far West Suburbs experienced a 4.33.8-magnitude earthquake this morning. That's the second one in about two years. No, we're probably not doomed.

Potentially Landmarking the Hansberry House

The Chicago City Council may vote today to confer landmark status to 6140 S. Rhodes Avenue. The house was owned by Carl Hansberry, a prominent progressive African American businessman and father of playwright Lorraine Hansberry. A court case related to his ownership of the building ultimately struck down one form of racially restrictive covenants.

Local Company Helps Preserve the Hollywood Sign

Well, sort of. Fox River Financial Resources agreed to sell the property it owns near the landmark Hollywood sign to the Trust for Public Land -- but only after it was unable to sell it to a commercial developer. To raise money for the purchase, the Trust will change the sign to read "Save the Peak" on Thursday.

How Many Times Have You Been Arrested?

Probably fewer than Clarence Ervin.

Lightsabers at Dawn

Can't beat Crain's headline for this one: George Lucas strikes back at Skywalker Outdoor over name.

Never Going to Live this Down...

A Rockford police car and the handcuffed man who was driving it were reunited with the Rockford Police Department after the car was stopped at a Chicago intersection.

Burris Needs Money

Illinois's current junior senator, Roland Burris, owes over $600,000 in legal fees according to filings released today.

Costa's Not Open for Business

Alvin Shubert, GB flickr pool contributor (and today's Rearview photographer), looked out his window last night to see Greektown restaurant Costa's in flames. Another contributor, Michelle Wotkun, headed down to get a closer view.

CPD Ups Its Social Media Game

The department unveiled a new public safety alert system today, designed to deliver urgent, location-specific email and text messages to registered subscribers. CPD says Nixle will help citizens "stay more safe and aware" while increasing community engagement.

Insecure Paperwork

An identity thief's dream is floating around out in Des Plaines, as loads of W2s, job applications and other sensitive documents blow down Touhy Avenue.

Chicago Ponzi Webio

The latest chapter in the Chicago Sports Webio saga (remember that?): founder David Hernandez pleaded guilty to fraud yesterday.

Assaults Reported Near Francisco Brown Line Stop

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.

No Grant Park Fireworks this Year?

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.

Man with Gun at Northwestern

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.

Chicago Medical Volunteers Go To Haiti

Twenty volunteers from Rush Hospital are on their way to Haiti to help assist in the relief efforts.

Unemployment Up To Eleven Percent

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the unemployment rate in December rose to 11.1% within the state. (Via the Sun-Times)

A Familiar Look

A WBEZ report examines the CHA voucher program and finds that instead of provinding low-income tenants with more opportunities, it's actually creating more of the same.

Tweet Resists Libel Claim

The libel lawsuit against a woman who tweeted a complaint about her landlord, Horizon Group Management, has been dismissed with prejudice.

One Million Dollars

A former Chicago police officer was convicted of fraud for trying to deposit a counterfeit $1 million check.

JFK, King, Counterfeiting and the Social Service

Abraham Bolden, the first African-American White House Secret Service agent, lives on the South Side and has quite a history to share.

And You Thought Nipple Biting Was Bad

The John Kass was obviously intrigued by recent nipple biting, so he raised the bar.

Sweet Relief

This Saturday, several of Chicago's beloved bakeries and celebrated sweet shops will join forces for a charity bake sale, hosted by Medici on 57th. All proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam for their ongoing relief efforts in Haiti.

Haiti Hits Home

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.)

Shapely New Publication

The Center Square Ledger, "your definitive neighborhood guide to North Center, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood Manor," launches today. Read more about it in Mechanics.

Today in WTF News

An off-duty officer suffered a "severe bite to the nipple" during an altercation with an unruly diner outside Gibson's last night.

From Out of the Toothy Mouths of Dinosaur Babes

Sue the T-rex reminds us that Chicago was, essentially, founded by a Haitian. Please help out.

One Tick Back

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock back one minute, to 6 till midnight.

Hamming It Up

The Greater Chicago Food Depository recently received 44,000 pounds of various pork products. Want to give them some eggs to go with all that bacon?

CPD Dog-Shooting Trend?

An off-duty police officer shot a neighbor's dog yesterday. Seems like dog shootings have been in the news a lot lately. Is this a regular occurrance or a case of echoing coverage?

Finally Baffled

Thomas Frank's magazine, The Baffler, has finally published its first resurrection issue. Alongside the new print, the magazine's website has also been streamlined. Check it out here.

Walmart FAIL in Chicago

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.

Tylenol Murders Back in the News

The prime suspects in the 1982 Tylenol Murders, in which cyanide-laced Tylenol killed seven people in the Chicago area, may be forced to provide DNA samples to investigators.

Send Our Hood Internet Home!

According to their latest Twitter posts, The Hood Internet (or possibly just DJ STV SLV) are caught up in a security lockdown at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. Update: They're out!

It's On!

That is, the battle between the Sun-Times and the Trib.

Blago Pays the Mortgage

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.

With an Ax Raised High

A man in Park Ridge yearns for the fulfilling life of Blagg the Axman but instead only does battle in convenience stores.

Bicyclist Hit By Brown Line

A man on a bicycle was hit by a southbound Brown Line train tonight near the Francisco stop. He was transported to the hospital in serious to critical condition. There are shuttle buses operating currently. Please be safe out there!

Blues Brothers an Airport "Attraction"?

AP travel writer Beth Harpaz includes the pair of Blues Brothers statues at the House of Blues store in Midway Airport as the sole notable attraction in Chicago's airports. I would have chosen the Terminal One Tunnel at O'Hare, myself.

The JFK Nude Yacht Party That Didn't Happen

Playboy sunk TMZ.com's "news" of a scandalous photo allegedly of President John F. Kennedy sunning himself on a yacht full of naked babes. Turns out it was a photo from 1967 Playboy photo shoot. (Both links NSFW.)

McHenry Co. Teen Aquitted of Rock Throwing

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.

OMG JST GT A TCKT

Don't forget, from this Friday onward, you'll get a ticket for texting while driving. (Then again, how many people actually get tickets for using their phone while driving?)

Running On Empty

Those new Pace buses that serve Bolingbrook, Schaumburg and Harvey (among other stops) have it all: plush seats, leg room, even bathrooms. Now if they only had riders...

Illinois Makes Top Five In Population

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).

"Sorry, We're Closed"

I hope you don't have official city business to take care of today, because it's one of the year's furlough days.

Animal Stories

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.

Sing it Again: Baby Beluga

A Beluga whale has been born at the Shedd for the second time in a week. This time the calf is 5 feet 6 inches long and weighs 152 pounds. UPDATE: Unfortunately, the calf did not survive past its first day.

"[Y]ou can read between the lines"

Steve Rhodes is no longer contributing to NBCChicago.com, and here's why. UPDATE: Justin Kauffman interviews Rhodes on the WBEZ blog.

Art Shouldn't Be a Crime

Artist Christopher Drew has been fighting against Chicago's regulations against peddling for years, most recently with an "art for sale" poncho worn on State Street. Earlier this month the police finally arrested him, giving him the opportunity to fight it in court -- but also charged him with felony eavesdropping for taping his arrest despite it occurring in public. Reason notes it's just the latest attempt by the CPD to hide the identities of its officers.

Practical Joke Mistake #542

Don't text your girlfriend that there's a man with a gun in the bank if there isn't one.

Krazy Love

Hell hath no fury indeed...

New Dawn for Twilight Taper

Charges against the woman who was arrested for taping a couple minutes of New Moon at her sister's birthday party have been dropped.

Thought That Only Happened on TV

A Naperville doctor was woken from a nap aboard a flight to Salt Lake City to deliver a baby. Mother and child are doing fine, but the doctor is a little sleepy.

Let My Viewers Go

The woman accused of attempting to record the movie New Moon at a Rosemont theater is facing three years in prison, but she has a surprising defender: the movie's director.

Bears (and Other Interesting Animals) with New Habitat

The Brookfield Zoo has unveiled a new $27 million habitat called the Great Bear Wilderness Exhibit.

Luc Longley Plays Name That Shrimp

Former Bulls star Luc Longley won an eBay auction for naming rights to a new shrimp species found off the coast of Australia, not far from his home town. He named the colorful shrimp Lebbeus clarehanna after his 15-year-old daughter. Think you've got a better name? Tell us in Tailgate. [via]

Tapes Stolen From Blago

It seems a computer containing undercover recordings from the Blagojevich corruption investigation were stolen from the offices of the attorneys defending Blago.

To Satiate Your State News Cravings

Via The Reader's Michael Miner, behold the Illinois State News service.

Check It Out: Library Hours Being Cut

In these lean times, Chicago Public Library usage and circulation is up. Unfortunately, the hours at many facilities are being cut back.

Faith and Good Work

The Trib reports that his work as the founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core has netted Eboo Patel the $200,000 Grawemeyer Award.

CHA Teardown Showdown

Residents of the CHA's Lathrop Homes, set to be demolished to make way for a mixed-income development, say the'll pull a Tiananmen Square and block the bulldozers.

Mismarking at Burr Oak

And the Burr Oak saga continues...

17 Gay Youths Attacked (That Were Reported)

Hate crimes are on the rise for LGBT youth in Chicago's south and west sides (in neighborhoods such as Englewood and Roseland) when Youth Pride Center members come home from the Hyde Park-located community center. Chicago Free Press looks into this unsettling trend and how it's related to LGBT legislation's prominence in the news.

RedEye Increasing Circulation

The RedEye is increasing its circulation from 200,000 to 250,000, making it the largest daily newspaper in Chicago and one of the largest in the nation, Kevin Pang notes.

Zell Out As CEO

Sam Zell is no longer the CEO of Tribune Company. He's not totally disconnected though, he remains Tribune's chairman.

Durbin Talking About Thomson Today

Senator Durbin is hosting a briefing of the Illinois Congressional Delegation today to discuss the possible transfer of Gitmo detainees to the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, IL.

No 'Block' Party

The New York Times picks up on the troubled existence and continuing saga of the Block 37 project, despite the recent opening of the Puma flagship store there.

Meet Your New Neighbors

The Church of Scientology has announced plans to move their Illinois headquarters to Printer's Row in 2010.

Also Reduced Service Day Today

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.

More For Chicago Media

The Washington Post is closing its national bureaus, including the one in Chicago.

Blogger Battle: Parking Meter Economist's Edition

The Parking Ticket Geek and Reuters blogger Felix Salmon got into a back-and-forth about the Chicago Parking Meter story (and I got a few questions in) here.

E2 Owners Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

Dwain Kyles and Calvin Hollins, the former owners of the E2 night club were sentenced this morning to two years in prison for "indirect criminal contempt."

Got Out Their Guns, Brought Their Friends

Chicago's handgun ban will be reviewed by the Supreme Court, and 38 states have weighed in against the law.

McKenna Making Up Tribune Quotes

Republican gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna is quoting the Tribune on things it didn't publish.

Take on City Hall

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.

Salmon Takes Issue With Marking Meter Story

Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon has some problems with the Chicago News Cooperative's Dan Mihalopoulos's story on the Chicago Parking Meter deal.

Gore On WBEZ

Al Gore is going to be on Chicago Public Radio tomorrow morning at 9am to talk about climate change, among other things.

Axelrod Still Eats At Manny's

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.

Daley to Media: You Helped Drive Oprah Away

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."

What A Croc!

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.

Oprah's Last Show

It seems Oprah, and her 453-local-employee-run Harpo Inc. studios are not fleeing the Windy City for L.A. as earlier speculated. Oprah is actually leaving her talk show altogether. The announcement will be officially made on her show (after 25 years on the air) Friday with the last show scheduled on Sept. 9, 2011.

Rogers Park Robber Nabbed

Note to would-be muggers, maybe wearing a bright orange coat isn't the way to go. Also, don't "go nuts" and decide to "go on a spree."

Chicago Edition Debuts Friday

The Chicago edition of The New York Times, produced by the Chicago News Cooperative, debuts Friday.

Say Cheese

The Wall Street Journal looks at the proliferation of outdoor surveillance cameras cropping up around the city and discusses the safety-vs.-privacy issues.

Bears Fans Out Of Bounds?

A Pittsburgh Steeler fan says he was poisoned and blinded while drinking at a bar near Soldier Field following a post-game altercation with Bears fans.

Podcast With Chicago Current Founder

Chicagoist interviews Chicago Current founder Geoff Dougherty.

Gen-X Recession

Remember how Generation X supposedly all slackers who hate their jobs? Yeah well, apparently the recession is is a good excuse to bring that stereotype back, with a twist.

Illinois Prison Could Hold Gitmo Detainees

The state's maximum security Thomson Correctional Center could be the new prison site for the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Rumor is that it's at the top of the White House's list.

Metra Fares To Increase

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.

Blago: Just Hold On A Few Months!

Governor Blagojevich is trying to delay his trial until September.

Fort Hood Hits Home

The tragedy of the shooting at Fort Hood struck close to home today as the body of Army Pfc. Michael Pearson, one of three soldiers killed from the area, returned to his family in Bolingbrook.

Food Stamps for Pets

OK, food stamps aren't involved, but a variety of organizations in the Chicago area and elsewhere are providing assistance to families who are having a hard time buying food for their pets.

A Haul Not Quite Worth its Weight in Gold

A criminal crew got creative on the North Side Monday night by attempting to break into a jewelry store via the beauty shop next door . They didn't make it into the jewelers, but they made off with some beauty products, prompting some pretty funny one-liners at the end of the article.

Get Out of Jail Free

The first of 1,000 Illinois prisoners to be released early as part of a cost-cutting measure are springing free. Only 62 are to be released today, getting out of their sentences up to a year early.

CTA Has Ideas For Budget Gap

The CTA has lots of ideas about how to fill the budget gap, but nobody knows which one will actually work.

Chicag

Will the O go?

Beware of Falling Ice

It will smash into your house, and you will be confused.

872, Represent?

The new area code 872 goes live on Saturday, so don't forget you'll need to dial an area code for any Chicago number -- even if it's in the same area code as your phone.

A New Kind of Cubby Pride

With the Cubs' change of ownership, they have become the first professional sports team with an openly gay owner.

Kids n' Compost

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.

Bride Tricked, Turns Halloween Wedding into Treat

When Chicagoland bride-to-be Teanne Harris's fiancé left her days before their Halloween-themed wedding and reception, it was too late to cancel the arrangements -- so she and her mom moved it to the Des Plaines retirement home across the street. [via]

A New Phase for the Trib?

If you pick up a copy of the Trib next week and notice something different, there's a good chance it's because the paper will be testing whether or not it needs the Associated Press.

Retelling Tales of Tsavos

Man-eating Tsavo lions at the Field Museum? Great story, but exaggerated, says a new study.

Apple, North and Clybourn

Apple has forked over $4 million to expedite renovations to the North and Clybourn Red Line stop, below a Lincoln Park shopping center and below the future home of Chicago's second Apple Store. This apparently could earn Apple the naming rights and ad space to that station.

61st Street Garden Coverage Expanding

The imminent closure of the 61st Street Community Garden is getting a lot of attention from the media, with the Trib and Sun-Times augmenting weeks of coverage in the Hyde Park Herald and the Invisible Institute's Garden Conversations.

Changing Hands

Two venerable Chicago institutions officially have new owners: the Sun-Times and the Cubs.

LX365

Will the Trib be able to woo luxury advertisers? It hopes LX365 will make it happen.

Craigslist Hookers Back in Action

Remember the lawsuit Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart filed against CraigsList for creating a prostitution marketplace via its "erotic services" listings? A federal judge dismissed it yesterday.

New Developments at Michael Reese Hospital

While demolition preparation continues for nearly all of the Michael Reese campus, the city is considering keeping one Gropius building, the Singer Pavilion.

The New York Times, Chicago Edition

Next month when The New York Times launches its Chicago edition, it will be edited by some big names in the media business -- James O'Shea, James Warren and Ann Marie Lipinski to name a few.

Daley'd Better Check Himself

Errr... the Reader did it for him.

Chicago Is Stressed Out

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.

Venetian Night to Go Under Water

Among other major cuts in his next budget proposal, Mayor Daley has proposed to reduce city funding for Venetian Night.

Is CeaseFire Working?

CeaseFire is getting renewed attention in light of the violence at Fenger High School, but Beachwood Reporter's Steve Rhodes thinks it's a load of hooey, likening it to the failed DARE anti-drug program in the '80s and '90s. Related: a profile of CeaseFire gang mediator Tio Hardaway we ran last summer.

Running the "Gantlet"

More than a few people wrote the Trib commenting on their use of "gantlet" instead of "gauntlet" in a recent headline, so they wrote another piece explaining why they chose the former.

NYT Chicago Edition Soon To Come

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.

What's Going on with Market Hall?

The FBI wants to know what happened to the $1.1 million Illinois FIRST grant given to the Historic Pullman Foundation for the still unrestored Market Hall.

Blago's Real Legacy?

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.

Hey DJ

It's official: playing ringtones in public doesn't infringe copyright. Looks like it might be time for Chicago's DJs to learn how to beatmatch that noise.

Here's Some Good News: Lower Crime

That's right: crime is down nearly 10% compared to the same time last year -- even youth homicides dropped by 19%.

Auctioning a Part of Elvis

If you'd rather rock'n'roll than swing, why not wear a clump of Elvis's hair while you're at it?

Felt Good to be a Gangsta

Two odd belongings of two legendary Chicago gangsters are changing hands. A collection of artifacts from John Dillinger, including a letter to his father from jail and a gathering of guns, goes up for auction in December. And Al Capone's former Wisconsin hideout was snapped up by a local bank yesterday at a foreclosure auction for $2.6 million.

Talk About Your High Approval Ratings

Barack Obama just received a Nobel Peace Prize.

If Chicago's Youth Violence Were Elsewhere

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."

SOLD! (Well, Almost)

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.

Saying "Goodbye" to a Community Garden

It's official: the 61st Street Community Garden will be demolished by the University of Chicago "shortly after Halloween" so it can be the staging area for the Chicago Theological Seminary construction site. CTS is relocating in order to make room for the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics.

Cabbie Calamity

In the "sick and wrong" files, one in five cab drivers in Chicago have been physically attacked on the job. It's commonly accompanied by ethnic hostility, reports the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Wait Wait ... Don't Steal That Bike!

Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!'s Peter Sagal is among the most recent victims of bike theft in Chicago.

New Feature at Windy Citizen

The Windy Citizen just got a little more democratic with the ability to vote comments up and down.

Getting Rich by Bankrupting the Trib

In other Tribune news, the NY Times examines the raiding of the Tribune Company.

Trib: Rebuild Our City While Preserving Gropius

Now that there is no need to build an Olympic Village, the Trib is calling for a broad set of community investments, including the preservation of "Reese's landmark Walter Gropius buildings."

Maybe It's a Good Thing

Even the Wall Street Journal wonders if we dodged a bullet not winning the 2016 Olympics.

Not a First Choice for a Headline

I'm not sure the Trib is really selling this article: "Citi isn't planning to beef up Chicago presence." Um, OK.

The Verdict:

Meet the "Mancession"

U of C economics professor Casey B. Mulligan wants to know what's causing this current "Mancession."

The Chicago New York Times?

The New York Times will launch a Chicago edition.

Load Up On Guns, Bring Your Lawyers

Chicago's handgun ban will get a Supreme Court review.

A Man's Home Is At Castle?

A Villa Park car dealership is accused of playing the Archie Bunker card in dealing with women customers and employees.

Maybe Grandma Should Stay at Home

Illinois is known for a lot of great things, but one of them isn't nursing homes.

Brown's Chicken Murder Verdict

James Degorski, the second suspect in the infamous Brown's Chicken Massacre case, was found guilty this afternoon. Now all that remains is sentencing before this grisly tale finally comes to a close.

Fake Facebook Profile Leads to Lawsuit

A mother and her teenage son are suing four other teens for allegedly setting up a fake profile for the son on Facebook that contained racial and sexual slurs.

Renters, Hold Off On That Latte

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.

900 Rallied, 200 Arrested in Support of Hotel Workers

Approximately 900 Unite Here Local 1 workers and supporters rallied for strengthened negotiations with local hoteliers as well as for recently fired non-union hotel workers in Boston. The 200 arrestees sat in Chicago Avenue in front of the Park Hyatt.

"No one was caring for the horses"

Two former employees of J.C. Cutters Horse Carriage Co. were found guilty of mistreating their horses by failing to meet feeding and sheltering standards.

And the Hits Keep Coming

You know that $13.7 billion the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid team says the Olympics will pump into the city's economy? Yeah, no. A new analysis to be released today says it will be only a third of that amount.

No Gas Guzzling Here

Record-high public transit ridership in 2008 (along with, no doubt, all the bikes I see streaming by on Milwaukee everyday) saved Illinois nearly 260 million gallons of gas. In the new report from advocacy group Environment Illinois, the group says that's equal to the amount of gas from over 450,000 cars.

Vrooooom

It's bad enough to get arrested for drunk driving on your Razor MX500, but riding it in the courtroom as part of your defense is a whole new level.

Party at Obama's!

The CPD is putting an end to the overtime detail at Obama's house starting October 1. What security will remain is still under review.

And The Stand Plot Begins...Now

After a University of Chicago geneticist died after researching plague virus bacteria on Sept. 13, federal health investigators arrived in Chicago yesterday to check it out. About 100 people who might have been exposed to the nasty Yersenia pestis bacteria have been given antibiotics as a precaution, and city health officials are saying there is no evidence of a spread.

Get a Job, Stay Home

Right now one in five Illinois State Toll Highway workers are not at work.

T. Rex on a Small Scale

The Field Museum Univeristy of Chicago's star paleontologist Paul Sereno announced the discovery of Raptorex, an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus Rex but 100 times smaller. (Thanks, Kevin!)

Room For a Few Furry Friends?

The Chicago Canine Club in Burr Ridge is hoping to find a new home for a family of four dogs whose owners were recently killed in a tragic accident.

Putting the Ship Alongside Sanitary

Speaking of local bodies of water, the Coast Guard has partially reopened the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to recreational boaters four weeks after the increase in voltage in an Asian Carp barrier.

Calling on the Big Guns

Fresh off the news that Michelle Obama is going to Copenhagen to push Chicago for the Olympics, the Daleys and a few Olympic athletes will be visiting the White House tomorrow to promote our bid.

Daily News Explanation

Geoff Dougherty, editor-in-chief of The Chi-town Daily News, has a Q&A up about the online newspaper's recent closing.

A Drifter in Your Town

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.

Hero of the Day: Dwyane Wade

NBA star Dwyane Wade is donating money to help the public library in his home town of Robbins stay open.

Have $2.6 Million on Hand?

Then you may want to consider buying Al Capone's Wisconsin retreat. It has "407 secluded acres with a 37-acre private lake, an eight-car garage and a guard tower."

Hope They Have Good Pedicurists

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).

A Glimpse Behind the Scenes at the Tribune

Uli Schmetzer didn't do himself any favors five years ago when he quoted a fictional person in an article, but the distance he gained from the ensuing scandal likely gave him the conscience to write his telling memoir ... if we can trust it.

Widow Maker Indeed

That chest pain is evidently the least of your worries in Chicago. Unlike other cities, our ambulances don't come with the equipment that identifies "widow maker" heart attacks, meaning delayed treatment and increased chance of permanent heart damage or death. "We are doing a disservice to our patients," said one local director of cardiology.

2 Dead, 2 Injured in Fullerton Crash

No, it wasn't the Hulk that did this, but you have to wonder how fast a car has to be going to overturn a garbage truck. Drive carefully, folks.

All Your Michigan Avenue Are Belong to Oprah

Speaking of shopping, if you're thinking about spending time on Michigan Avenue from Wacker Drive to Ohio Street anytime between Monday and Wednesday morning, the street will be closed to vehicular traffic in order to tape Oprah's new season kickoff. If you want to get in on the O action, the show will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will be free and open to all. You can scope out the best seats ahead of time by reviewing this map [pdf] of the event.

Smarter, Cleaner, Stronger

Chicago Public School buses get an upgrade: new GPS systems and cleaner engines.

Michigan Avenue Block Party

Michigan Avenue will be blocked off from Wacker Drive to Ohio Street for more than two days on Sept. 8. Guess which local mogul is hosting the little shindig with the Black Eyed Peas - Hint: All of Chicago is invited.

Coal-Fired Power Plants Challenged

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.

Two Shot in Loop (Developing)

Multiple news sources are reporting on a developing story of an officer and another man shot in the Loop around 1pm today. Chicago Now has it that a man tried to steal a woman's purse and a nearby policeman called for him to stop (perhaps after the man also then held a knife to a woman's neck) and then shot the attacker. UPDATE: The policeman was wounded but saved by his bulletproof vest. Meanwhile, the Sun-Times reports the officer was stabbed, not shot. Apparenly the officer was shot accidentally by another cop on the scene. The man has been declared dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Here's a view from above of the scene.

"Would Teddy Run?"

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.

Watch Where You Point That Lighter!

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.

Emmett Till's Original Casket Going to Washington

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will take possession of Emmett Till's glass-topped coffin on the 54th anniversary of his death. The ceremony will take place at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, the same location as his funeral.

Mistaken Identity

Imagine if your identity was stolen by a criminal with more than credit card fraud on his record -- and the police find you first. It happened to Loyola student Darius Whitehorn, and led to a week spent in jail.

WTF of the Day

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]

Calling Florence Nightingale

A result of the economy, a lack of nursing graduates, and a possible wave of nurses retiring from the field, more of these health care professionals are needed, and Chicago is no exception.

Mystery Journalism

So the Trib wants to do a serious assessment of taxing junk food. To whom should it turn? Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University? Sounds good. A report from the Urban Institute? A-OK. Military science fiction author Julie Cochrane? Huh?

Librarians on the Attack

A controversy is a-brewin' in Carol Stream, where a former library worker filed a federal discrimination lawsuit. She alleges her firing was political.

Bummer! Energy Drink Company Under Fire

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is going after the Chicago-based maker of a malt liquor energy drink which contains 12.5 percent alcohol by volume for its alleged questionable marketing tactics.

From Motown to Chi-Town in No Time

From Detroit to Chicago by rail in four hours? Dare to dream...

Be Careful Out There

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.

Talk Health Care with Chicago Tonight

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.

North Side Gators

An alligator was found lurking in the north branch of the Chicago River, near Damen and Fullerton. Last year, one was spotted in the south branch near Bridgeport.

Editorial Cartoons Making a Comeback

Nine years after the death of Jeff MacNelly, the Chicago Tribune's editorial cartoonist, the paper has hired Scott Stantis to pen original work for the paper. For a glimpse of what to expect from Stantis (and the Trib's editorial vision), check out this gallery of selected work.

Political History for Sale

Well, "history" may be a strong word, but Tony Rezko's 8,400-square-foot mansion just sold at auction for $2.8 million. Even after the sale, Rezko still owes more than $3 million on the house.

Uptown Street Fight Caught on Video

Uptown Update has some amazing video of a street brawl that broke out around 9pm Wednesday night. (via)

Daley's Got His Back

About that Chicago alderman who admits he used his clout to get his daughter into Whitney Young High School? Yeah, Mayor Daley's cool with that.

Northside Attacks Spawn Facebook Group

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.

APB for a J.E.R.K.

Hey, Guy Who Dumped A Beer On Philadelphia Philies Outfielder Shane Victorino In Last Night's Game (not this guy, who was tossed out the park for it): the Cubs, Victorino and the cops want to talk to you. UPDATE: The culprit turned himself in.

Winnie the Pooh Wouldn't Rob a Bank

Would he?

Jogger Shot in Rogers Park

A man taking an evening run last night was shot in an apparent robbery attempt around 10pm on the 7000 block of North Sheridan. Luckily the jogger was not seriously injured.

A Troublesome Yawn

Was it a "boisterous" yawn or was it "not an outrageous yawn?" What is clear is a man will serve at least 23 days for it -- and maybe as much as six months.

Streets a Little Safer, Maybe

Suspects have been arrested in connection the recent spate of muggings in Lincoln Park and Roscoe Village -- which isn't to say you shouldn't be on your guard when walking alone late at night.

Gimme Fuel

Starting Thursday, Chicago cabbies will again be collecting a 50-cent-per-ride fuel surcharge, only three weeks after expiring. Yay increased gas prices.

Homes and Homelessness

Chicago Public Radio asks "Should Empty Homes House Chicago's Poor?"

An Amazing John Hughes Story

A young girl writes a fan letter to director John Hughes in 1985, which turns into one of the coolest, most touching pen pal friendships ever.

Triple H Weekend

No, not that Triple H. It's going to be especially intense weather-wise this weekend, (hazy, hot and humid), so take care of yourself!

Turning Clout into Clods of Dirt

School Board President and Chicago 2016 bid committee member Michael Scott (no, not also from "The Office") has been arranging to develop property near planned Olympic sites; here's a map. His development team also includes several politically connected West Side ministers. As the Beachwood Reporter says, "Michael Scott, you are today's winner of our new So Chicago Award."

McDeep Tunnel

A firm has been selected as design engineer to connect McCook Reservoir to Deep Tunnel in order to "reduce flood risk, protect the vital Lake Michigan water supply and improve the quality of water in area watercourses." If you are intrigued by giant holes in the ground, here is some additional information about our future tunnel and reservoir plans.

R.I.P. John Hughes

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.

Meet the New Chicago Tribune

The Trib just redesigned its website, but the "feedback" tab on the right side of the page seems to be treating it as a work in progress.

A New Song for Lincoln Park

The Schuba brothers are nearly ready to open a new mid-sized music venue named Lincoln Hall near the old Biograph Theater.

Back to School Sex?

Write a song called "Birthday Sex" and you could be tapped to encourage Chicago kids to go back to school! That's what happened when the CPS folks chose Morgan Park High School graduate Jeremih Felton to use his Twitter feed to tell his 60,000 followers to go back to school Sept. 8.

One Way to Make Money in Roseland

"It's a blighted area, underutilized with vacant buildings." So clearly the answer is for the city to sell five acres to a developer for $1 so he can build new buildings.

The Superglue Revenge Plot

Doesn't it always seem like the craziest stories are the ones from Wisconsin?

Impersonating CTA Official = Bad

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.

That Lady has Big Pants

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.

Google Text Ads in the Real World

Anybody spot these billboards along the expressway this morning?

Taking the Garden Out of Community Garden

The University of Chicago's Office of Civic Engagement has notified the 61st Street Community Garden that the garden must be vacated by October 30. The move is prompted by construction efforts related to the expansion of the controversial Milton Friedman Institute.

Go West

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 honeymoon is being delayed"

Why? Well, the 10 person brawl at the wedding probably didn't help, but the trunk full of guns was the icing on the cake.

Reststop to Ruin

The firm that leased seven oases on the Illinois Tollway may be foreclosed upon -- and turns out to have made big campaign contributions to Blago to sweeten the deal. [via]

Glasses Half Full

A Chicago man is accused of stealing more than $45,000 worth of eyeglasses from suburban Milwaukee stores. Why, and again, why? The complaint quotes the accused as saying he "really likes to be around glasses."

Catching On

The NYT covers the anti-Olympics movement in Chicago.

That Tweet Might Cost You

A Chicago woman is being sued by her apartment's management company after she tweeted negatively about them to her 20 followers. UPDATE: Horizon Realty responds to the Twitter backlash.

Taurus, With Hopes Rising

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.

Un-Green Wieners

Man, the Wienermobile is having a bad week. First one crashes into a house in Wisconsin, now an environmental group is criticizing it for being bad for the environment (and violating a law against advertising vehicles in Hawaii).

Tickets for Marijuana Possession

The Cook County Board voted yesterday to allow Cook County Sheriff's police to issue tickets for marijuana possession of less than 10 grams -- but only in unincorporated areas of Cook County, for now. And the cops still have the option of taking you to jail instead.

Cremation, Anyone?

Fresh off the deepening scandal over the Burr Oak cemetary f-up, a Glenwood cemetery is being sued for double booking grave sites.

A Cost of a Local President

As anyone in Hyde Park/Kenwood knows, the area around Obama's house is fairly well controlled. We now know it's protected to the tune of $2.2 million, but it's not entirely certain the city will be fully reimbursed for those expenses.

The Spire, the Athletic Club, Prentice Hospital and Helicopters

Streeterville is getting yet other chunk of controversy, this time from the proposed Children's Memorial helipad.

So Long, Wooden Newsstands!

Don't freak out if your favorite downtown newsstand evaporated overnight. It'll be replaced within a month by a fancy, new design by JCDecaux S.A.

Wiener(mobile) in a Jam

The famous Oscar Mayer Wienermobile crashed into a house this weekend in Racine after making a wrong turn and trying to turn around in someone's driveway.

Sears Tower: The Final Word?

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.

Boot Blitz

So you know that $300 million budget shortfall? In true Chicago style, the city has opted to make up part of the funds with more aggressive car ticketing and booting. Motorists with two unpaid tickets older than one year have been punished, with 183,293 seizure notices and 3,493 boots thus far.

Sears For One More Day

Today is the last day the Sears Tower will officially be known as, well, the Sears Tower. Tomorrow it become the (ugh) Willis Tower. We're toasting with a highball in its honor. Let us know what you think in Fuel.

FSU: Friends Stand United?

A member of the FSU street gang alleged to use violence to exert control over the hardcore punk scene was arrested on Monday. The federal charges were filed in Chicago, and said to be the result of a complaint made by a popular Chicago area recording artist. The FSU name stands for "F*** S*** Up," and "Friends Stand United" ...crickets.

Money's Best Places

This year's CNN Money's Best Places to Live rankings are out, and Illinois small towns only garnered 3 of the top 100 spots. Batavia, Buffalo Grove, and downstate Glen Carbon made the list, but none broke the top 50.

Major Looting Bust on the West Side

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.

Not the Luck of the Irish

Thieves stole over $9000 overnight from the Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox), in the midst of the 24th Annual Irish American Heritage Festival.

Cooking With John Kass

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.

Emmett Till's Original Casket Damaged

Among the losses -- albeit restorable -- in the recent Burr Oak Cemetery scandal is Emmett Till's original casket, which was found in a storage room with possums living in it.

Some Final Michael Jackson News

The call for the King of Pop to be buried in Gary is mounting, while Chicagolands top Michael Jackson impersonator is in mourning.

Going on a Taste Bender

So the fireworks may not have been violence free, but at least one man didn't allege he had $250 stolen from him by the police there ... and then recant.

When Weather.com isn't Good Enough

When the weather forecast is too vague, institutions from the city to universities are calling on private meteorologists to take some of the uncertainty out of the day.

News That's a Little...Heavy

A new study shows Illinois kids are in a Top 10 list that no one's bragging about. One in three Illinois children is overweight or obese, and Illinois ranks 10th in the country for percentage of children ages 10-17 who are too heavy.

Bursting the Bubble Benefitted Big Burgs

"The housing bubble caused a migration bubble and it has burst." In non-sound byte language: Depressed housing prices in California and Florida mean fewer people are moving out there. Consequently, established cities are making population gains. We gained 21,000 people last year.

"Did you beat up anybody famous?"

Remember that 1968 riot police reunion? Well, it happened, and here's a little summary of it.

Hitching a Ride

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.

Every Student's Nightmare

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 Grim Reaper Strikes Again

The world of infomercials (or, shows you find yourself watching at 2 AM) will never be the same: Pitchman Billy Mays, who brought OxiClean into our lives, died this morning at age 50.

Worry Like it's 1983

Unemployment is hitting Chicago hard, with a seasonally unadjusted jobless rate for the metro area of 10.7 percent. That's the highest level since August 1983.

Death Threats for Chicago Judges

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.

Throwing The, Um...Pamphlet At Him

Anthony Abbate, the Chicago cop caught in the infamous barmaid beating videotape, has been sentenced to two years probation for the incident.

Lotta Ins, Lotta Outs

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.

Was His Bratwurst Showing?

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?

Probably Not 2009's "Police Officer of the Year"

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."

Webio Scandal Figure Found

David Hernandez, the figure at the center of the Webio internet radio scandal that we told you about earlier, has been found in downstate Normal after an alleged suicide attempt.

Idol Worship

The usual collection of semi-talented, questionably-talented and what-the-heck-are-they-doing-here talented braved the early morning rain to audition for American Idol at the United Center.

An, Um, Memorable Wedding

Two area 26-year-olds had a most unusual wedding thanks to dual diagnoses of swine flu.

Behind the Bus Police Chase

If you are interested in a first-person account of the May bus police chase, the Sun-Times has the story from the bus monitor who was unwillingly along for the ride.

From Swine Flu to West Nile

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 Flies On Us...Well, Almost None

Think Barack Obama is the only president with Illinois connections who is now historically linked to a fly? Think again. (At least this other guy didn't have PETA breathing down his neck.)

That's Just Mean

After a recent spate of thefts at local cemeteries, police are warning mourners to watch their valuables while attending funerals, or while visiting graves over Father's Day.

Protest the Iranian Elections Today

Iranian-Americans will be holding a rally in support of Iranian election protesters. Meet in Federal Plaza at 4:30pm. Windy Citizen will be live-blogging with photos and commentary.

I'll Have A Venti Latte Musca Domestica

A Starbucks at O'Hare Airport was closed by city health inspectors because of a fly infestation (musca domestica is the Latin name for the common housefly, which we're sure you knew already).

The Emptying City

This month, Chicago-area home vacancy rates jumped more than one percentage point to 3.8%. Of course, that's nothing compared to Englewood, which tops the list with a 16.1% vacancy rate.

CPD's Uniform Blues

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.

Rev. Wright: Foot in Mouth Disorder?

Rev. Jeremiah Wright is back in the news, this time for telling a reporter "the Jews" aren't letting him near President Obama. He tried to clarify the remark by saying he was referring to Zionists, not David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel.

Dueling Blagos

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?

More Mixed-Income Development Woes

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.

Donations for Deliveryman

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.

Shakowsky: Thanks But No Thanks

While her own polling says she has a good chance of winning, Rep. Jan Shakowsky (D-Ill.) says she'll stay out of the race for the "golden" Senate seat now occupied by one Roland Burris. Check out the full announcement in Mechanics.

Parking Meters Putty in our Hands?

The city's parking meter uproar and recent epic fails turned ugly today when 50 coin-fed parking meters on the North side were filled with goo and sprayed with silver paint. Is laughing bad?

Suburban Mother Stole Girl's Ice Cream Money

... and her husband turned her in.

Oi! Man U Gets A Chicago Connection

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.

Tour Guide Turns Firefighter

Jessica Herum, a tour guide for Chicago's First Lady boat tours, is being hailed as a hero for helping control a fire that broke out when a propane tank exploded at Cyrano's Cafe this morning. [via]

Pirating the High Seas of Scrap Metal

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."

250-Pound Hothouse Orchid Found Guilty

Anthony Abbate has been found guilty of aggravated battery. Hopefully, there are no 125-pound women in prison waiting to pounce on him. That would be just awful.

'Metergate' Mess Grows

The city's Inspector General says we could have gotten almost ONE BILLION DOLLARS MORE in the now infamous parking meter deal had ol' Ritchie not rammed the contract through. Oops. UPDATE: More details and a link to a PDF of the report in Chicagoland and our own Mechanics.

The Name Game, Pt. II

We told you previously about the website run by the feds in Chicago that lists the unusual nicknames given to local bank robber. Add another SUV-influenced name to that list.

Mapping the Stacks

With news of important Defender-related archives in the news lately, it seems particularly relevant to mention Mapping the Stacks, a "guide to Black Chicago's hidden archives."

Seven Shooting Deaths

The last 24 hours were particularly bad for violence in the city.

Valet Bike Parking Chased out of Millennium Park

The nifty bike valet at Millennium Park is in jeopardy of closing this summer due to chief underwriter Chase Bank's "refocusing on business matters."

Double Digits

Just not the good kind. Crain's reports that unemployment in Chicago was 10.6% in April.

We're Number One!

That is, for drug abuse in arrests. A White House Office of National Drug Control Policy report found 87% of arrested men tested positive for illegal drug use in Chicago.

And the Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

In possibly weirdest news story of the day, a school bus driver was shot by police after a chase that included ramming cars.

And You Thought Screaming Kids Were Bad

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.

Illinoisan Representz at Scripps

Even though she lost on "menhir," Aishwarya Eshwar Pastapur of downstate Chatham finished third in the finals of last night's Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Update on Federal Indictment

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.

Chicagoan Takes UK

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.

Downtown Parking Meter Holiday?

Not really. Due to a rash of parking meter payboxes not working, Police have been instructed not to issue parking tickets in the loop today.

Prop 8 Protest

Wondering where to protest the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold Proposition 8?

Auctioning the Ice House Cover

A rare stamp that disappeared in 1967 reappeared three years ago when a couple brought it to the Norwood Park shop Stamp King. The stamp, which is a 90-cent Abraham Lincoln stamp from 1869, is now on the auction block and could fetch $300,000.

PrezBot Orders Navy SEAL Strike on Pirates of the Caribbean

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.

Affordable Family Homes Neither Affordable or for Families

The Sun-Times is working on an enlightening set of articles following nearly 200 units in University Village that were set aside for families who needed assistance to purchase a home. The paper finds 67% were sold to young, single buyers, including some who already owned multiple properties -- and that's just the beginning.

No More Drunk Mailing?

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.

Make it Stop. Please.

In today's vomit-inducing news, both Blagojeviches will be included in an upcoming season of "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here." Sure, Rod is prohibited from leaving the state and joining his wife in the Costa Rican jungle. But that won't stop him from a "surprise" involvement. Yay?

It's Easy Being Green

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.

Put in a Drive-Thru Already!

For the second time in as many months a cab has crashed into the front doors of Petterino's restaurant at Dearborn and Randolph. Man, the food must be REALLY good there.

Kiddieland No More

After years of rumors to the effect, the iconic Kiddieland Amusement Park in Melrose Park (8400 W. North Ave) will be closing its doors after this season, barring some last-minute reprieve.

The Mystery in the Cemetery

GazeboNews has an interesting, if depressing, article about an elderly couple who committed suicide in Fort Sheridan Cemetery last Thursday.

Drew: I'm (cough) Innocent.

Drew Peterson has pleaded not guilty to murdering his third wife during his arraignment this morning. As if we expected him to do anything different.

Moving from the Bench to the Boards

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will take to the stage appearing as the Ghost from Hamlet as part of a Shakespeare and the Law conference in Hyde Park.

Craigslist "Erotic Services" to Close

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.

A Supreme Court Justice Out Of Chicago?

President Obama could name University of Chicago law professor Diane Wood to the Supreme Court.

Saberi Released

Jailed journalist Roxana Saberi has been released by the Iranian government, after her sentence was reduced on appeal.

That's...A Lot Of Swine Flu

The AP is reporting 421 cases of Swine Flu in the state and 187 in Chicago alone.

Durbin Wants High Speed Rail Chicago-St.Louis

Senator Durbin is lobbying with Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill to get a high speed rail line from Chicago to St. Louis.

Who's Failing the Kids? "We all are"

Rev. Michael Pfleger's upside-down flag and the 36 children killed in Chicago this year are increasingly getting national attention.

The Mean Streets of Riverside

Riverside police pulled seven rounds out of a house. Why is it news? The house is next door to that of Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica, and the police think he was the target.

Peterson Arrested

Drew Peterson has been arrested by state police for former wife Kathleen Savio's 2004 death.

Salary Shutout

Looking to buy in the city? If you don't make at least $73,000, you're probably screwed. Oh, and rents are up too. This and other pleasant news form the Center for Housing Policy.

A Real Downer

Something to think about during that ride up to your downtown office: There's a chance that elevator you're in hasn't been inspected in, oh, about eight years.

CNN on CPS

"Anderson Cooper 360" will be exploring the dramatic rise in the number of CPS student deaths on CNN tonight (Wednesday) at 9pm. The show also re-airs at midnight.

Bee Sting

Chinese nationals were arrested here and in Seattle on suspicion of running an international honey smuggling ring.

Thank You for Letting Me Be Myself -- Again

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.

Financier Thinking About Buying The Sun-Times

James Tyree, CEO of Mesirow Financial Inc. is thinking about buying the Chicago Sun-Times. Tyree has subscribed to the Sun-Times for years and currently reads it online.

C-O-M-E-D Spells Relief?

Beginning in June, Chicago-area households can expect a "significant" decrease in their ComEd electric bills, reports Crain's.

Injured Pride

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.

16 Cases of Swine Flu In Chicago

Chi-Town Daily News Staff Writer Alex Parker reports that there are 16 cases of Swine Flu in Chicago and 41 in the state according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Chicago Stockpiles Meds

The Illinois Department of Health is stockpiling about four hundred thousand regimens of Tamiflu and two hundred thousand of Relenza according to the Chi-Town Daily News.

Snakes on the Plains

Did you know Chicago had rattlesnakes? I didn't. Nice to know they've been rounded up--and for their own good.

Like Genius Grants for Organizations

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (creators of I-Go car sharing and other great stuff) and the Chicago Community Loan Fund were among the nine non-profits awarded MacArthur Foundation grants today.

First Probable Case of Swine Flu in Chicago

A Rogers Park elementary school is closed for at least the next two days as officials survey parents and try to curtail the spread of germs between students. One student at the school has been noted by City Public Health officials as a probable case of swine flu.

CNT Earns National Recognition, Financial Award

The MacArthur Foundation's 2009 Award for Creative & Effective Nonprofits includes the Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology, who will use their grant to "expand its research capacities, reach a wider national audience, and build its operating reserve."

Errant Ambulance Alert: Tactical Response Required

Estera Bulbucan, a Des Plaines woman, stole an ambulance in Park Ridge and then used it to do donuts in Millennium Park. She was arrested.

"I guess it ran out of gas or something"

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.

Trouble in the Suburbs

When imagining the scourge of Naperville, you probably don't envision it as public urination.

Blue Line To Get Stimulus Funds

Mayor Daley and Sen. Durbin will be giving the details.

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Mayor Daley has named this Thursday Talk Like Shakespeare Day, in honor of the Bard's 445th birthday.

Not a Bad Donation

When farm-implements heir Brooks McCormick passed away, he donated his 8,000sq ft condo in the name of his wife, Hope, to four local organizations and the World Wildlife Fund. They may each receive $1 million from the sale.

Cheeseburger at the Top of the World

I imagine if I were hiking to the North Pole, I'd stay motivated by thinking about tasty food I'd have when I got home, too.

Everything Must Go

The Huffington Post's Michael Moreci discusses the privatization of Chicago, from parking meters to Midway, and why he thinks Daley's "city-wide garage sale" tactics only offer a short-term fix.

To Overserve and Protect

Thirteen Chicago police officers were arrested for DUI last year. CPD Superintendent Jody Weis says drunken cops "aren't systemic."

2,000 Teabags

About 2,000 people attended the Teabag event in Chicago according to Nate Silver's estimates.

Chicago as High-Speed Rail Hub

Eight Midwestern states have united to reinvigorate plans for the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative as a way to increase their odds at getting federal funding. If the plan succeeds, you know who will be in the center.

The Book Was Popular

The Obamas made $2.7 million last year, which is down from the $4.2 million they made in 2007. Most of the money they earned in 2008 came from the profits of President Obama's two books.

You Weren't a Mistake, Just Unplanned

On the heels of a major newsroom layoff at the Chicago Tribune, Tribune Company CEO Sam Zell acknowledged purchasing the company was a mistake. If you want to hear it from the horse's mouth, check out Bloomberg TV News.

Ready, Set, File!

If you haven't filed your taxes yet, well, good luck. Neighborhood post offices won't be staying open late, but the Main Post Office at 433 W. Harrison will accept your mail to the IRS until midnight tonight.

Fighting Crime with T9

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.

Mommy, What's a Reporter?

Speaking of the Trib, the paper is adding to the scores it has laid off in the last few months by cutting 20% of its newsroom staff.

Hospital TB Scare

A 26-year-old pediatric resident physician at Children's Memorial Hospital may have unwittingly exposed hundreds of patients and coworkers to tuberculosis.

More Buses

The CTA is using $49 million of its stimulus money to buy 58 articulated buses (you know, the ones that look like accordions).

A Little Closer to Understanding Red-Light Cameras

The Trib visited RedSpeed Illinois and Redflex Traffic Systems to get the inside scoop on red light cameras and how the companies who operate them interact with the city.

"I'm Sorry I Took Your Money"

After successfully robbing a Dunkin' Donuts of $167 on Tuesday, the culprit returned on Wednesday to apologize and return the cash. He was arrested wearing the same clothes later that day.

FBI Warns of Oprah Email Scam

Seriously, do people still fall for this? It's certainly not the first time. It's not even the second.

Smoke 'Em While You Got 'Em

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.

9 Percent

That's Illinois's unemployment rate, the highest since 1992. Who wants to bet we make double digits soon?

Sun-Times' Chapter 11

The Chicago Sun-Times has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Here's a letter from the Sun-Times' Chairman and CEO Jeremy Halbreich.

FiveThirtyEight Leaves Chicago

Nate Silver, political Cassandra of our time, and founder of FiveThirtyEight, is moving from Chicago to New York. Well, we still have The Bean right?

Economy Shifts Ford Plant to Idle

A tough economy just got a little tougher for workers at the Chicago Ford plant at 12600 S. Torrance Ave. Slow sales have forced the company to shut the facility down for three weeks, laying off some 1,400 workers.

Chicago's Fish are Medicated

... but the prescriptions aren't their own.

Irish Parade Over?

The South Side Irish Parade planning committee announced this morning that it "is not planning to stage a parade in its present form in March of 2010." The decision reflects the strain having 300,000+ people attend the parade -- and the public drunkenness, multiple arrests and fights that come with it. Alternative events are in the works.

Man Jumps to Death from Marina City Tower

State Street is blocked from Wacker Drive to Illinois Street after a man in his 50's jumped to his death from the 28th floor of the Marina City tower.

Another Day, Another Media Transformation

In yet another cost-cutting move, the Trib and L.A. Times are consolidating their foreign news services and will run them out of the L.A. office.

Ahead Of The Curve

Unfortunately it's not a good curve. Progress Illinois has a nice graph illustrating Illinois's unemployment rate, which has recently risen above the national average.

Car Wars: Attack of the Clones

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.

Nowhere To Go

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.

Introducing the Illinois Holocaust Museum

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center will be opening in Skokie on April 19. You may request tickets to the public grand opening ceremony or get a sneak peek by purchasing tickets for the Inaugural Gala on April 2.

Heartland Cafe Reopens

After being briefly closed by the Chicago Department Of Public Health, the Heartland Cafe reopened last night. Heartland owner Katy Hogan felt the inspection was fair, and gave the building an opportunity for an overdue renovation.

Time Out Chicago Lowers Price

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.

Sun-Times Raises Price

The Sun-Times will cost 75 cents per single copy retail starting March 30th.

Chicagoland Gets Bigger

Chicagoland's Kendall County was the fourth fastest growing county in the U.S. according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Ivan the Terribly Ill

Ivan, one of two cocker spaniel puppies adopted at PAWS Chicago by Oprah Winfrey, has died from parvovirus.

Lacking "Caviar," Some May Turn to Poison

One Chicago resident who likely didn't weather our harsh winter well — the urban rat.

50% State Income Tax Increase?

Governor Quinn is considering responding to the state budget crisis by raising individual income taxes from 3 to 4.5 percent, while increasing personal exemptions.

Whet Moser: "homepage: forming like voltron"

Behold the new homepage of the Chicago Reader!

Sears Tower: What's in a Name?

They talked about painting it silver, but this story isn't a flash in the pan. The Sears Tower's getting a new tenant at the end of the summer, and a new name. London-based Willis Group is moving nearly 500 employees to the iconic tower in the Loop, and as a reward, Crain's is reporting the building will soon be called The Willis Tower. [hat tip to Sarah]

Chicago's Immigration: From Eastern European to Latin American

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.

Newspapers Turn to Mudslinging

As times get tougher for print publications, I'm sure we'll be hearing more stories about aggressive advertising campaigns like this one.

CraigsList Erotic Services Drop

A week after Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart sued CraigsList to stop allowing "erotic services" ads on its site, CL reports that its listings of that type are down 90 percent. We already knew they were lower than elsewhere in the country.

Funeral for a Funeral Museum

The New York Times writes about the Museum of Funeral Customs down in Springfield, which finds itself on the verge of death due to lack of funding. Too bad -- it seems like a logical road trip destination starting from the International Museum of Surgical Sciences here in Chicago.

Does Going Digital = Death to Print?

The Sun-Times is on the shortlist of newspapers that Time has predicted will either fold or go digital in the near future. Sun-Times tweets that they "don't buy it."

Small Fire Breaks Out at Marina City Tower

Chicago Carless blogger Mike Doyle lives in Marina City, 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.]

Another Paper Folds

Wednesday Journal Inc. is closing its Chicago Journal West Town and selling off two other papers.

Quitting While You're Ahead?

Jim Scherr, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, resigned today.

Craig the Pimp?

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is planning to sue CraigsList for running ads for prostitution.

$2.5 Billion

That's how much the U of C's Crime Lab estimates gun violence costs Chicago every year.

Conrad Black: Life Is Good In Prison

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 Increasing Significance of Surveillance Cameras

Thanks to a $6 million Homeland Security grant, the city of Chicago has integrated the 911 emergency response center with video feeds from the city's cameras, as well as those from 20 private institutions. An additional 17 organizations are expected to sign on shortly.

Our Tea May be Safe Again

Remember the call for a Chicago Tea Party? Well, the idea's originator, Rick Santelli, is distancing himself from the ramifications of the statement.

Fire on Hollywood Ave.

There's an extra-alarm fire at 1040 W. Hollywood. Blogger Craig Gernhardt is on the scene, posting live updates on The Broken Heart of Rogers Park.

Another High-Profile Store Closing

Borders still hasn't made any progress subleasing its four troubled stores, but it is planning to close its Magnificent Mile location at the beginning of next year.

Chicago At The High Speed Rail Center

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.

Northwestern To Increase Tuition

It's getting harder to get a good Chicago-area education. At Northwestern University, tuition is on the rise.

Tickets for Harrassment

You can bet that no photos are accompanying the 24 tickets this Orland Park man has received. Thirteen of them were from the same officer, written three at a time, for violations in locations as improbable as can be, on a car he no longer owns.

Runway Winner

There was a local winner at the Oscars on Sunday, in a way.

Are the U of C Hospitals Dumping Patients?

Following emergency room organizational changes, the U of C Hospitals have been accused of coming "dangerously close" to deflecting uninsured and otherwise cost-intensive patients to other hospitals by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Doomsday is Now?

Developing Story: The CTA has pulled 90 articulated buses from this evening's rush hour commute after a structural crack was discovered. Right now, there's nothing some affected route information posted to the bus status page at the CTA's site. UPDATE: the Trib reports more than 200 buses will be affected immediately.

Chicago Tea Party?

Look out, Lake Michigan! CNBC's Rick Santelli got some traders riled up today as he began calling for a Boston-style tea party in July...in Chicago. The reason? Protesting the newly-signed economic stimulus package.

Unnecessary Show of Force?

Over the weekend, Chicago Cop Watch posted video of a police officer using force to remove an apparently drunk rider from a CTA bus, questioning the officer's use of force in an non-emergency situation. Today, the Tribune reports that the CPD is investigating the incident.

New Stimulus Package Idea

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...

Be Careful Crossing the Street

Pedestrian deaths rose from 49 in 2007 to 56 in 2008. Prevention funding is also up, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

Two-Facebook

Compare and contrast: The possibly overreaching changes to Facebook's terms of service, and the sweet simplicity of the current "25 things" meme.

They're Heeeeerre....

At the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference here in Chicago over the weekend, cosmologist Paul Davies of Arizona State University says that alien life, in one form or another, does indeed exist and may already be living here on Earth! (I thought that guy at 7-11 looked a little weird.)

"Creativity in short supply"

We know what some of you think about the Olympic bid, but most public critiques haven't spent much time on the architecture. Blair Kamin starts the discussion with a serious critique.

With Friends Like These...

This week's Reader feature investigates the financial troubles threatening the eviction of Loren Billings, the 89-year-old widow who lives in and runs the Museum of Holography.

Chicago's Oldest Woman Dies

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.

Our Cut of the Pie

Yesterday, Daley presented his wish list for the Chicago region from the economic stimulus package, including $50 million for O'Hare, $40 million for street construction and an unspecified sum for education and other purposes.

Deadly Serious Question

You have to wonder, how often is the hitman you try to hire not a cop?

Massive Changes at the U of C Hospitals

Chicago BioMedicine (which includes the The University of Chicago Medical Center) announced a major reorganization with 450 layoffs -- 5% of its workforce.

Bleeding Heart Busted

The popular Bleeding Heart Bakery on Belmont Ave. was shuttered this week by the Chicago Dept. of Health for code violations. Eep. UPDATE: The bakery put out a statement about the closure.

Oil and Water Mix

65,000 gallons of waste oil spilled near the Caterpillar plant southwest of the city, contaminating the Des Plaines River.

Undocumented, Unlucky

Help is difficult to find for illegal immigrants in need of health care, unemployment or other services. And the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's deportation policies mean asking for help from the wrong person might send them back to a country they no longer know.

Never Good News At/From Tribune Co.

Tribune Co. is set to cut even more jobs. One wonders how many jobs they've got left...

The Unemployment Blues

Now we KNOW the economy is in a nose dive: Even Blue Man Group isn't immune to layoffs. They've also cut back on PVC pipes and marshmallows (OK, not really sure about those last two).

Made Off with the Local Money

The full extent of Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme still isn't known, but there are more than two dozen victims in Chicagoland alone, the Tribune reports. Here's the official list of all victims.

Hyde Park Herald Goes Digital

After years of only presenting newspaper scans online, the Hyde Park Herald is slowly digitizing and sharing its publications -- back to 1888.

Holsten Subpoenas Two Uptown Orgs

Holsten, the firm currently developing Uptown's embattled Wilson Yard project, has expanded its subpoenas to include two neighborhood organizations: Buena Park Neighbors and the Uptown Neighborhood Council, according to the Chicago Journal. (The real estate firm has already targeted two area blogs.)

Activity on the 26-year-old Tylenol Killings Case

Authorities have executed search warrants on James Lewis, who served time for extortion in the 1980s killings.

Holy Name Up in Flames

Fire broke out this morning in the attic of Holy Name Cathedral.

Snowed In

Chicago's expected to get a couple inches of lake effect snow tonight. Be glad we're on this side of the lake, though: northwest Indiana is predicted to get up to 18 inches.

Vibrator! Stat!

Never expected to see a sex toy delivery service to get front-page treatment on the Trib's website, complete with (mostly SFW) video.

Tammy D. to D.C.

Lynn Sweet reports that Tammy Duckworth is expected to be named an assistant secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday morning.

Snail(ier) Mail

Feel like the mail takes far too long to get where it's going these days (especially if that place is Chicago)? Just imagine if it only came five times a week.

This Tollway Improvement Brought to You By...

If the Gov is indeed ousted today, the Illinois Tollway will almost immediately shroud all those signs proclaiming Rod's awesomeness (like this one). Then they'll take them down.

Boos For Huberman

Newly-installed Chicago Public Schools chief (and former CTA chief) Ron Huberman was booed today by a crowd of parents, teachers and community officials upset about plans to close and reorganize 22 schools.

Fun with "Best of" Lists

Examiner.com has some fun at the expense of HGTV and "Best of" lists with the network's proclamation of the Gold Coast as Chicago's dreamiest neighborhood.

Obama To DC: Grow A Pair

While it may be par for the course in Washington, D.C., a school closing because of "some ice" is a bit of a shock to President Obama who says the city apparently needs some "Chicago toughness."

Young Businessman

High schooler Jonathan Wong is selling views of the Obamas' Hyde Park home from his bedroom -- for $10 a look.

Who Says Kids Have No Ambition?

A 14-year old boy was arrested for impersonating a police officer yesterday, after he'd already been out on patrol with another officer.

HuffPo Delves Into Wilson Yard TIF

As Fix WIlson Yard forges ahead in its efforts to challenge the city's handling of the Wilson Yard TIF, The Huffington Post examines the history of the project, the positions of Uptown Alderman Helen Shiller and developer Holsten Chicago, and the tangled web of TIFs in Chicago.

Take That To The Bank... Or Not

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.

Drastic Changes for the Sun-Times

The hedge fund Davidson Kempner Capital Management LLC is replacing all but one member of the Sun-Times' board of directors. FYI, if you're looking for more information about the direction the board might take, the fund's website isn't particularly helpful.

Feel Good Bill of the Year

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.

Super Bowl Tickets Don't Come That Cheap

Chicago-based ticket-brokering site FirstDIBZ.com says got caught up in a Super Bowl ticket scam, in which "hackers" allegedly posted sales of tickets they didn't own.

Crack-Smokin' Oprah?

One of Oprah Winfrey's exes claims in a tell-all book that they smoked crack together. The fact that he told his story exclusively to the Enquirer should probably not surprise you. The Chicago Celebrity Examiner says, so what?

But Was It a Triple-Dog Dare?

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."

Amtrak Derails, Blocks Metra

Southbound Metra riders, be warned, your trip home will be slow. An Amtrak train derailed near Union Station this afternoon, cutting off three Metra lines.

Rolling Meadows

After 10 years on Saturday Night Live, comedian Tim Meadows rolls back into the city where he got his start and, after films and sitcoms, returns to live comedy.

Q101: Eye Witness News

The police stopped a Metra train in Lisle, searching car to car for a reported guy with a gun -- who turned out to be a Secret Service agent on his way to work. Q101's Sherman and Tingle talked live with a station colleague who happened to be on the train.

Var det en 22 eller en 36?*

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.

The City That Never Sleeps?

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...

Burris To Be Seated

Looks like Burris is going to be a Senator after all.

Blizzard Watch/Warning (i.e., It's Gonna Be Cold)

Brace yourselves! We're in for some serious winter weather starting later tonight and extending throughout the day tomorrow. There's a blizzard watch, the more serious blizzard warning, some winter weather advisories, wind chill advisories and all sorts of hoopajoop.

A Cut Above

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.)

Robbed the Sun-Times? Write for us!

Being imprisoned isn't hampering Conrad Black's ability to blog. See for yourself, and admire the lack of prison references in his bio.

Synagogue Vandalism Spree

Over the weekend, two synagogues and one Jewish school suffered broken windows and anti-Israel messages.

Stop Petting Wild Bats ... at Least for Now

I know putting an end to wild bat petting will cramp your style, but you should stop for now; a rabid bat was discovered in Lincoln Square.

Dunbar High School Shooting

Five people were shot outside Dunbar High School after a basketball game Friday night.

Decisive Action On Blago

Via Crain's, the Illinois House voted to impeach Blagojevich 114-1. I don't know how much clearer you can get than that.

Marina City Civility Unraveling

Remember when the Marina City Condo Association decided to ban photos of the iconic buildings without their permission? That was just the beginning of the crazy -- and it's gotten worse over the years, Chicago Journal reports. Dig deeper at the watchdog/online newspaper Marina City Online.

Redesigning a Redesign

The Trib appears to be responding to some complaints about its redesign and is heading in a refined direction.

To the Plows!

Daley reversed his position on limited plowing and resumed full-blown plowing and de-icing throughout the city. He must have been reading Fuel.

Blue Line Accident

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.

Just What We Need...

Following a federal appeals court decision, it looks like 330 more red light cameras are on our way.

Long Arm of the Law

A fugitive leader of Chicago's Latin Kings gang was captured in Mexico.

Going My Way?

Barack Obama and Roland Burris are both leaving Chicago and headed for D.C. One may be back a lot sooner than the other.

Slapping Greenspan to Save Face

With all of the talk about the Chicago school's problems regarding the recent financial crisis, Raghuram Rajan wants people to know the U of C was also leading the warnings.

2008's Wild Weather

If Chicago's weather in 2008 seemed a little unusual, you weren't wrong.

Happy New Year's

CTA raised their rates, parking meters are more expensive, and someone has already been shot. I would stay home today if I were you.

Meet the 2008 Illinois Environmental Heroes

The increasingly relevant Lt. Quinn announced the 2008 Environmental Hero Awards featuring more than a handful of Chicagoans.

In Your Face! (Theoretically Speaking)

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!

Blue on the Beach

A Blue Man Group actor and a suburban assistant principal were arrested for having sex in Lincoln Park near Montrose Harbor last night. That will not end well. UPDATE: Blue Man Group issued a statement saying that the man arrested has never been a member of the cast.

'Hole' Lot of Shakin'

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.

If All Else Fails, Make 'Em Pay

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]

Weather Report: Are Locusts Next?

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.

Ice, Ice Baby

You weren't the only one who was having trouble negotiating their way around town over all that ice. A few other people did their share of slippin' and slidin' too.

Segregated Chicago

"[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."

Shopping for a House?

How about Al Capone's?

500

With Monday night's slaying, there have been 500 murders in Chicago this year.

Weather Worries

Hope you're not headed out of town today -- the weather has snarled pretty much every mode of transportation: planes, trains and automobiles. Even ice skates.

Unbreakable?

A man flew 125 feet off of the Dan Ryan this morning when his car struck a wall and "ejected" him. The Stroger Hospital spokesman reported that his injuries are not life-threatening.

Do They Sell 'Just For Presidents'?

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).

Buffalo Grove Bathrooms Presumably Safe Again

... that is, since cops caught the guy videotaping a women's restroom.

61 Unlucky Winners, 169 Upset Runners Up

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.

Don't You Want Me, Baby?

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.

Vote Nobody For Alderman

Wanna be an alderman? The city of North Chicago has two seats on their city council that apparently nobody wants.

Braaaains!... In Aisle 5

Like zombies from a George Romero movie, the good people at Wal-Mart keep coming back. They're going to try one more time to open their second store in Chicago.

Just Sell Your Car

First they sold off the parking meters, now City Council is weighing a proposal for a "congestion reduction fee" on parking spaces downtown. Proceeds would theoretically go to the CTA for service improvements.

69 Rabbits and an Eviction

Yes, we live in a world in which we can have "a typical pet-hoarding situation."

Archdiocese Writes Another Check

The Chicago Archdiocese has agreed to pay $1.4 million to a man who claimed he was sexually abused by a priest twenty years ago.

Who You Gonna Call?

Just so you know, the Ghostbusters don't exist.

Blago The Bookie?

The latest twist in the Blagojevich saga and it's a strange one: a former mob lawyer says the governor was formerly a bookie with ties to the mob. (A tip of the hat for the tip to the Reader).

"I'm doing everything I can to try to get her away from him."

The father of Drew Peterson's reported fiancee Christina Raines has spoken to the press about his future son-in-law.

Schaumburg Crack and Cocaine Bust

That's right: the Streets of Woodfield mall is a major distribution points for crack and cocaine. Even better? One of the arrestees allegedly sold crack at his son's football games.

Army Blues

It's not surprising given the current economic conditions, but still troubling: the Salvation Army is facing financial trouble due to a big drop in donations.

Drew Peterson to Marry Another Woman Half His Age

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.

Highway Contractor 1

Someone talked concrete with Blago ...and now they're talking to the Feds.

Too Hot in the Hot Tub

Well before bleeps and Blagos the national lens was focused on the story within a story of local NBC reporter Amy Jacobson's supposed impropriety. Now Chicago Mag has a feature article which details the scandal and Jacobson's pending lawsuit. Meanwhile, Lisa Stebic's disappearance remains a mystery.

Breaking News: Ice Makes People Fall

Donna Bavido "was by no means the only one who fell Monday."

Madigan Moves To Impeach

As expected, the Illinois House led by Speaker Michael Madigan has begun the move to impeach Gov. Blagojevich. Madigan says he's been reviewing grounds for impeaching Blago for "about a year."

Taking Out the Garbage

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has begun the process to declare Governor Blagojevich unfit to serve.

Read Tribune Company Papers in New York

The NY Times is playing around with a new format on its website wherein one can read articles by the Times, as well as numerous other online and print sources, including some from the Tribune company.

She's A @%&$!# Nice Girl

Don't let her (alleged) potty mouth fool you. Patti Blagojevich's family insists she's a sweet kid.

People Helping 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."

It's Just Pat

OK, enough about the governor. What about the man who brought him down? The New York Times has the lowdown on Chicago's new "Eliot Ness," U.S. attorney Pat Fitzgerald.

Did Blago Need Sneed?

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.

Republic Windows Workers Win -- Maybe

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.

Blago in Cuffs

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.

Republic Windows Story Less than Transparent

Interesting development in the Republic Windows & Doors story: its owners may have already started a new company. (More updates in Mechanics.)

Rising From the 'Grave'

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.

Peter Francis Geraci Would Be Cheaper

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.

Chicago Workers Take Over Factory After It Closes

Republic Windows and Doors had their credit line closed by Bank of America, so they closed their doors on Friday and laid off their employees with no notice, severance or benefits. The workers joined forces and took over the factory. They plan to stay there until they get paid. UPDATE: Photos from the factory on Sunday. UPDATE II: Read more about this in Mechanics.

Dahl Signs Off

Chicago radio legend (yeah, it's pretty safe to call him that) Steve Dahl signed off on his WJMK morning show. Dahl has been a fixture on the fickle Chicago radio scene for more than 30 years.

She's Got The Power

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.

CTA Rolls Out Hybrid Buses

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.

Fix Wilson Yard Sues City

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?

That's The Ticket

Tired of dodging the city tow trucks thanks to that fistful of parking tickets you've collected? The Department of Revenue is giving you a break.

Chicago Families Safe in India

The Trib has story on Chicago connections to the recent tragedy in Mumbai. Update: At least one Chicagoan was killed in the attacks.

Poorly Planned Squirrel Abatement

"I've got some cayenne pepper and a leaf blower. What could go wrong?"

Everybody's President?

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.

Fuel For The City

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.

Voices of Hope

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.

Lawsuits Over Alleged Abuse on Election Night

Election night wasn't only a bad night for Republicans; some Austin residents are suing over police actions.

Looking for a Job

Getting on the Obama bus to Washington might be tough -- more than 200,000 resumes have been submitted on Change.gov so far. You might have better luck on the state level.

A Simple Trail Mix-Up?

A 22-year veteran Chicago cop could lose his job over a $1 bag of trail mix.

AIDS Fund in Jeopardy

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.

Fact Follows Fiction

Crime novelist and lawyer Laura Caldwell was mugged while jogging in Lincoln Park last week. Her latest novel, coming out soon, just happens to feature a nearly identical scene, set in Old Town.

Chicago Rapper Arrested for Bank Robbery

Bump J was arrested downstate on an outstanding warrant when stopped for a traffic violation. Here's a song of his that was produced by Kanye; you may recognize it from a McDonald's commercial. Oops.

Mt. Prospect Digs Kids

Business Week just named Mt. Prospect the best community in the nation for raising children. Des Plaines and Palatine were runners-up. Rankings were created from towns with a population over 50,000 and a median household income between $40,000-$100,000.

Diplomat Owner Being Undiplomatic

The Diplomat Hotel, an SRO in Lakeview known best for its neon sign visible from the CTA, may be shut down if its owner continues to block fire inspectors from checking on code compliance.

Battered by the Courts

A local woman's story of domestic violence calls into question some of the legal issues surrounding abusers, victims, and their children.

The Jarrett File

Time Magazine gives us the 411 on Barack Obama's right-hand woman, Valerie Jarrett, aka "big sister."

Last Stop: Dreamland

If Chicago ever becomes a high-speed rail stop, we've already got the station for it. Or at least the design for the station.

Tragedy in Evanston

Evanston police report that a 90-year-old woman has been living in a house with three deceased siblings, one of whom probably died in the early '80s.

New Life For Old Post Office

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 popular movies recently.

Strike Up The Band

Tribune critics list the Chicago-connected bands/performers they'd like to see at the Barack Obama inauguration balls, ranging from the Staple Singers to Obama favorite, Wilco.

A Parking Ticket Plan We Can Believe In

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.

The Whole World Is Watching...And Dishing

The OTHER big story on Election Night? Apparently it's Michelle Obama's dress. The Sun-Times and others from around the world weigh in on her duds.

Headlines Seen Round the World

If you'd like to see different ways Obama splashed across frontpages in newspapers today, check out Daily Kos' roundup, or go country-by-country at the Newseum.

1...2...3...Redlight!

Well, SOMEBODY'S making money in this lousy economy: The firm that installed and maintains the red light traffic cameras just scored a cool $32 million payday from the city.

Obama's Grandmother Dies

A day before her grandson has a chance to make history, Madelyn Dunham, Barack Obama's grandmother, has died in Honolulu. Obama credits her with being one of the major inspirations in his life.

Northside Prep At Head of The Class

The city's Northside College Prep high school once again nabbed the top spot in a survey of area schools. But the news wasn't all good: Chicago schools also claimed 42 of the 50 lowest scoring spots on the list as well.

City of Slumped Shoulders?

Recent problems with the construction of The Chicago Spire and selling out Trump Tower is leading some to speculate that Chicago is losing its "skyscraper swagger."

Late For Early Voting?

Meant to vote early but just haven't gotten around to it? You've got until 5 p.m. this evening. Get a move on (not to be confused with Move On).

I Am The Egg Ban, Goo Goo Ga Joob

To head off another "Great Egg War" this Halloween, an Evanston and Chicago alderman are asking area merchants to stop selling eggs to youths until after the holiday.

Chicago Going To The Dogs

...or rather the othe way around as this one pooch demonstrated. We knew the city was popular tourist destination, but...

A Lot of Dogs

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.

'He Didn't Do It'

The mother of the "person of interest" in the Hudson family slayings says her son was "no way" involved in the tragic shootings. She spoke to CNN's Nancy Grace last night.

It's Miller Time...In Chicago

Actually, MillerCoors time, the mash-up of two of the biggest brewers in the country. The company has tabbed downtown Chicago as the site of its new headquarters.

When Concealing Guilty Pleasures Goes Too Far

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.

From 'Village' To Condo

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.

Another Brilliant Plan

Remember the teenage train engineer? Guess how he was caught: putting pictures on myspace.

Sad Ending to Hudson Case

UPDATE: The body of a young boy found shot on the West Side has been positively identified as that of Julian King, nephew of Oscar-winning actress and Chicago native Jennifer Hudson.

Sad Ending To Hudson Story?

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.

Tragedy in Englewood

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.

Playing Conductor with Full-Scale Trains

Some Metra riders recently had a surprise guest engineer: a teenager.

'Second City' is First in Murders

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.

Sun, Sand and Spare Change

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.

We Had to Destroy the Pond in Order to Save It

It seems antithetical to a zoo's mission to preserve and protect wildlife, but the Lincoln Park Zoo is only saving some of the inhabitants of the South Pond; non-native species like Koi and goldfish will be destroyed as the zoo restores the pond to an Illinois freshwater habitat.

Gay High School Plans Dropped

Mayor Daley has apparently pulled the plug on plans for a high school serving gay and lesbian students.

$8.1 Million > $0

I'm sure it's not a surprise to anyone, but it's official: despite claims Millennium Park would be maintained with private funds, the public is picking up the tab.

Blinding Them With Science (Funding)

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.

Dramatic Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer Mortality

A recent study demonstrates that the death rate from breast cancer in Chicago is 116 percent higher for African-American women than white women, twice the national average. What's worse: in 1980, the rate was identical.

Earwax Café Under Fire

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.

Family Feud?

That commercial John McCain's people produced linking Barack Obama with "corrupt" Chicago politics? It's ruffling the feathers of some local politicians...and not who you might think.

A Suit We Can Believe In

How popular is Barack Obama? Even his suit is getting more attention than John McCain (OK, sorta...).

Voting Early And Often

The number of Cook County residents chosing to vote early for this year's election has hit record numbers. If you think you want to jump the gun yourself, you have until October 30.

Burge Background

Need refreshing on John Burge and the Police Torture scandal? Read up on the U of C's Chicago Police Torture Archive and Human Rights Watch's overview.

Burge Arrested in Torture Cases

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.

Chicago, Global City

It's been a couple of days since Chicago made a ranking. This time they rank 8th in the first Global Cities Index put out by Foreign Policy magazine.

New CTA Brown Line Stations All Shiny and Rusty

Construction shortcuts on the new brown line stations result in splintering wood in the platforms and rust on canopies and railings. Expect things to look uglier as winter sets in.

Oh THAT Sixties Radical Agitator...

Bowing to pressure from politicians and donors while citing "safety reasons," the University of Nebraska rescinds a months-old speaking invitation for Bill Ayers.

Trib Goes For Barack

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.

Hyde Park Profiled by the Post

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!]

A Good Start?

Sorry, that's the punchline to a bad lawyer joke. But the reality is that two Chicago law firms have laid off a significant number of their staff, a result of the current economic crunch.

A Savvy Move By The Blackhawks?

Just four games into the season, the Blackhawks have canned coach Denis Savard, ironically after the team notched it's first win of the year. Jeremy Piniak has the details over in Tailgate.

Peninsula Stands Out

If the stock market dive hasn't eaten up all of your cash, you might consider a stay at the Peninsula Chicago. The luxury hotel was just named the top hotel in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler.

Tragic Copter Crash

Authorities are still searching for the cause of a helicopter crash that occured overnight in Aurora. The copter, carrying a one-year-old girl, was headed for Children's Memorial Hospital here in Chicago.

City On The Move

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.

MacArthur Foundation To Fight Foreclosures

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.

Good Things in Small Packages

The Wall Street Journal just released its list of the Top Small Workplaces 2008. Out of the 15 they selected, two are in the Chicago suburbs — Integrated Project Management Co. in Burr Ridge, IL and J.A. Frate Inc. in Crystal Lake, IL. Chicago-based Radio Flyer was a finalist.

Ayers On McCain's Agenda?

A desperate move or his ace-in-the-hole? Britain's Sky News reports that GOP presidential candidate John McCain plans to bring up Democratic opponent's Barack Obama's connection to Chicago professor William Ayers at tonight's debate.

C'mon, Have A Heart

A Chicago surgeon is being sued by a Niles woman for implanting an experimental heart device in her chest without her consent. The surgeon reportedly earns royalties every time he uses the device.

JSYK, 151 Is Rng L8

Starting today, CTA riders can sign up for emails from the agency to alert them to construction, delays and changes in service. OMG.

The City That (Doesn't) Work

...at least for three days. That's how long Mayor Daley wants to shut down city government this year and in 2009 to address Chicago's budget crisis.

No. 2 Comes To The Second City

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.

These are the Runners in Our Neighborhoods

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.

Los Olimpicos

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 Carry City's Budget Answer

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 McCain Way

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."

No Clout at All

Experience the astounding coincidences of Pool Boy.

Forced Eviction

Yesterday Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he'd stop enforcing foreclosure evictions. Today, a mortgage company sued to make him do it.

Burning River

Pilings in the Chicago River near the State Street Bridge caught fire this morning.

No More Texting & Driving

City Council has banned texting while driving. It'll be a $75 fine, rising to as much as $200 if you get into an accident.

Eviction Notice Suspended

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has announced that he's putting a temporary halt to foreclosure evictions due to the large number of renters blindsided when their landlords default on loans.

Mr. Duncan Goes To Washington?

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.

That's Some "Overhead Projector"

Staff at the Adler Planetarium were surprised to make the presidential debates, particularly when their sought-after projection system was ridiculed by McCain.

Homecoming Buzzkill

The driver of a "party bus" called the cops when the Highland Park teenagers he was driving to Homecoming tried to sneak booze -- and some of their parents are pissed.

A Little Trash, A Lot of Cash

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.

Peeww

What stinks in Naperville?

Better Late Than...

Admitting he never thought he'd win one, University of Chicago Professor Yoichiro Nambu, 87, was awarded a 2008 Nobel Prize for his work in subatomic physics and notified via an early Tuesday phone call from Stockholm. And how did your day start?

A New Approach

With the controversial Special Ops Section now defunct, the Chicago Police Department is taking a new approach to combating the gang problem.

City Hall 'Sting'

"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.

It's Your Anniversary

Today is Barack and Michelle Obama's sixteenth wedding anniversary today. According to Wikipedia, the expected modern gift for is holloware. According to the Sun-Times, Barack went for some white roses with baby's breath instead.

Fukudome To You Too, Pal

As if the Cubs didn't have enough problems, one of their player's name is being mistaken for a swear word. Good thing this guy isn't still their pitching coach.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame...No, Me!

So the Cubs lost yesterday. Doesn't mean that tickets for their game tonight are in any less demand. In fact, a brother and sister are headed to court over who gets the valuable pieces of cardboard.

They Call Him "The Cleaner"

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.

Next Time, Try Ebay

A would-be terrorist who tried to swap stereo speakers for hand grenades to launch an attack on a Rockford mall was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Bail Denied in Cop Slaying

Bail has been denied for the suspect in the slaying of Chicago Police Officer Nathaniel Taylor Jr. Meanwhile, his 5-year-old daughter tries to cope with the loss.

Just in Time

Michael Reese Hospital has filed for bankruptcy, which clears the way for Mayor Daley to nab the real estate for the proposed Olympic village should the city host the 2016 games.

No Cash, More Trash?

In an effort to cure the city's budget woes, Mayor Daley says the city may layoff 1,000 workers, possibly resulting in (among other things) reduced garbage collection.

Rezko Cutting A Deal?

One-time political inside man Tony Rezko has reportedly been seen making frequent trips to the federal courthouse. Is he spilling the beans in order to get a reduced sentence?

His Swan Song

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.

Bunny To Go Belly Up?

The Telegraph has no good financial news for the house that Hef built. With a crap economy, internet porn sites, and paltry pay-per-view profits nipping at its tail, could Playboy go belly up? Gawker has a somewhat graphic graphic to explain.

More Crime, Fewer Cops?

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.

Playoff Payoff?

Rev. James Meeks, he of the first-day-of-school boycott, hopes his