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Thursday, Dec 31, 2009

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Morning Shorts

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009

Election 2010

* David Hoffman Senate race: Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas endorses Democrat David Hoffman for U.S. Senate

It’s unclear, however, how much weight Vallas’ backing carries in Illinois these days. Vallas left his city schools job to run in the 2002 Democratic governor primary, which he lost to then-U.S. Rep. Rod Blagojevich.

* Former CPS chief endorses Hoffman for Illinois Senate

* Lowery: Grassroots Senate campaign working

* Gov. Pat Quinn admits mistake on early-release of prisoners, blames corrections chief

Gov. Pat Quinn admitted Wednesday that state corrections officials made a “mistake” in putting hundreds of inmates back on the street after just a few weeks in prison and said he didn’t know about his own administration’s cost-cutting decision beforehand.

Stung by the politically embarrassing revelations, the governor blamed his hand-picked corrections chief, Michael Randle, for exercising “bad judgment” but said he will not fire him.[…]

Democratic challenger Dan Hynes’ campaign said in a statement that Quinn failed to take responsibility, offered a “lame” explanation and that “this whole sorry affair is an outrageous violation of trust.”

The host of Republican candidates in the Feb. 2 primary adopted a similar theme, with state Sen. Kirk Dillard, of Hinsdale, saying Quinn “needs to stand up, tell the truth and take responsibility for his actions instead of creating a scapegoat.”

* Gov. Pat Quinn admits mistake on early-release of prisoners, blames corrections chief

Gov. Pat Quinn admitted Wednesday that state corrections officials made a “mistake” in putting hundreds of inmates back on the street after just a few weeks in prison and said he didn’t know about his own administration’s cost-cutting decision beforehand.[…]

Stung by the politically embarrassing revelations, the governor blamed his hand-picked corrections chief, Michael Randle, for exercising “bad judgment” but said he will not fire him.

* Quinn halts early prison releases

* Quinn on early inmate releases: ‘A very big mistake’

* Quinn to state prison chief: Early release was a ‘big mistake’

* Quinn: Early Release “A Very Big Mistake”

* Quinn: Early Release Program a Big Mistake

* More than 1,700 part of secret early release

* Julie Hamos over Dan Seals and Elliot Richardson for Congress in Illinois’ 10th District Democratic primary

* Time Running Out for Q4 Fundraising

* Jim Dodge creates tomorrow’s ads today

* 56th District GOP rivals spring from split in party

* Garcia campaign merely the latest Latino political bid to intrigue the city

* Why did GOP candidate pull Democrat ballots?

* 8th Dist. candidates back troop surge

* Congressman Tours Afghanistan

State Government

* State-payment delays to linger

* Ill. hunting, fishing fees to increase

* Thomson prison: Panel deadlocked on Thomson prison plan

The chairman, Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, D-Evanston, said Wednesday that it appears the 12-member panel is deadlocked 6-6 along party lines, with Democrats favoring the closing and Republicans opposed.

* ‘Nightline’ isn’t done with Blagojevich

* Former Blagojevich officials fined for ethics violations

* No. 1 Story of the Decade: Corruption in the governor’s office

* Hundreds of new laws take effect Friday

* New law takes effect to help find missing adults

* Trucks Will Travel Faster in the New Year

* State gives final OK on Lincoln Hotel sale

Misc.

* 2010 poll: It can’t get any worse

A whopping 82 percent are optimistic about what the new year will bring for their families, according to the latest AP-GfK poll. That sunny outlook seems at odds with other findings.

Nearly two-thirds think their family finances will worsen or stay about the same next year. And fewer than half think the nation’s economy will improve in 2010, even though Americans rated 2009 as a huge downer.

* Time running out on lower lower-priced meter parking

Starting Monday, rates inside the Loop will rise again, to $4.25. In the rest of downtown, rates will go up 25 percent, to $2.50 an hour.

Rates will also rise 25 percent in the city’s neighborhoods, to $1.25 an hour.

* Parking meter rates jumping again starting Monday

* Parking Meter Rates Going Up

* Parking meter receipts can be reused in some cases

* Parking meter lease: Critics still decry meter lease

* Carl Kasell Hangs ‘Em Up… Sort Of…

Legendary Morning Edition newsman Carl Kasell is leaving his morning job, and sits down with WBEZ’s Gabriel Spitzer to discuss his future - just don’t call it retirement. Listen to the entire interview, only on chicagopublicradio.org.

* Parents, students ask city to reopen their Altgeld library branch

Some kids needed the Internet to work on college applications. Others wanted to prepare for college admission tests. Still others said they have homework that demands Internet access.

* Fenger High School students protest at mayor’s office over lack of library near Altgeld Gardens

* Appeals court backs church group in housing lawsuit against city

City had denied license to turn YMCA into rooms for Katrina victims

* City, cops sued in false-arrest claim

Earlier this week, the Coopers filed suit against the city of Chicago and Chicago Police, claiming they were arrested under false pretenses.

The lawsuit, which is seeking more than $50,000 in damages, claims Jonathan Cooper was the victim of malicious prosecution.

* To hell and back

Simply put, Cook County Jail is a harrowing, unforgettable experience for anyone. It is so awful that for many of its detainees a quick guilty plea and a trip to the penitentiary, even for twice as long, is preferable to staying in the County. It is the proverbial lesser of two evils….. writer and activist Charles Shaw in an online excerpt from ” Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality,” a new book that recounts his fraught journey through Illinois’ penal system after a drug-possession bust.

* Pinckneyville prison condition warrants study

* Police will step up DUI patrols on New Year’s Eve

* State police seek responsible drivers

* Participation low in state’s DUI program

Of the 50,000 people arrested in Illinois this year for driving under the influence, about 9,000 opted to keep their driving privileges by installing a device in their cars that monitors blood-alcohol content. The option is part of legislation that went into effect Jan. 1, with the intent of cracking down on drunken driving.

* Aurora crime down again in ‘09

AURORA — Major crime — including murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated battery and arson — is down nearly 5 percent in Aurora compared to this time last year, police announced Wednesday.

* Elgin’s U-46 seeks waiver on ESL classes, drivers ed

* Standing by Oak Lawn - for now

* Rockford Park District budget goal: Spend $1.4M less in 2010

* December snowfall fifth-most in Rockford’s history

* Frustration in the floodplain: Wait for flow of funds

* Arena’s 2010 outlook encouraging

* Fox Valley caught up in national fears in 2009

* Black art museum revival is activist’s dream

* District 150, teachers union meet again

* Energy aid requests at record high

PEORIA — The number of low-income people needing energy assistance reached record highs in 2009, for the second year in a row, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association.

About 6.1 million people required help with heating and cooling bills in 2008, and 8.3 million received help in 2009.

* Lawsuit over land: Water Reclamation District sues businessman in effort to acquire portion of South Holland property

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago has sued a man whose land stands in the way of completing its tunnel and reservoir system, despite issuing him a sewer permit in 2005 to operate a business there.

* City, IDNR to recycle trees

* Asian Carp Fight Continues

* O’Fallon teacher wins Illinois award

* Fragment of Lincoln paper matched to Ill. piece

* Stroger Hospital offers cold weather safety tips

- Posted by Mike Murray   Comments Off      


AP: Early-released inmates already committing violent crimes

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2009

* Word from inside is that the Quinn administration is preparing to BBQ a scapegoat at the Department of Corrections. They may be in for a nasty surprise if they move in that direction. Also, this is just too serious a screw-up to blame on a mere underling, particularly one who isn’t directly responsible for this horrifically stupid move

More than a dozen men released from prison early after a secret policy change by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration are back behind bars - most of them accused of new, violent crimes.

A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that the prisoners were picked up again for such crimes as domestic battery, unlawful weapons use and aggravated battery. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of restrictions on talking to the press.

Dan Hynes may or may not have enough time to exploit this before the February 2nd primary, but the Republicans have plenty of time until next November’s general eletion. This botched, $5 million governmental cost-saving effort could cost Quinn’s campaign twice that much to defend next year.

A very big head has to roll. And any attempt to pin this on somebody who wasn’t directly responsible will cause even more political problems for Quinn if the “truth” comes out, and it probably will.

For now, though, it’s back to my vacation. A bit too windy for the beach at the moment Think I’ll make myself a smoothie and sit on the balcony.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2009

Election 2010

* Pols predict low turnout. Prove ‘em wrong.

Every candidate says the same thing. It doesn’t matter if they’re Republicans or Democrats.

They all predict our early, potentially frigid Feb. 2 primary will see a record-low turnout.

As few as 850,000 Democratic and 600,000 Republican votes statewide. Record-low numbers spell either great danger and/or surprising opportunity.

* Dillard: Government must live within means

* Berkowitz with Adam Andrzejewski

* 8th GOP candidate loses manager

* Green party candidate keeps spot on ballot

Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer likely has survived an attempt to remove him from the Feb. 2, 2010, primary ballot for the 8th Congressional District.

* Ballot challenge for McQuillan not over yet

* Bassi, Morrison spar over record in House 54 primary

* Kane Co. Dist. 23 candidates eye higher level of government

* Democratic Kane County Board hopefuls say they’ll push for more open government

* Lake Co. sheriff candidate sued four times for civil rights violations

* Incumbent and predecessor square off in District 21

* Our Opinion: Give voters a say on remap amendment

* Troops’ morale boosted by additional support, Schock says

* Schock impressed by soldiers serving in Afghanistan

State Government

* Illinois Leads $9.8 Billion Muni Sales Planned for Early 2010

Illinois will lead states and municipalities bringing to market at least $9.8 billion of fixed-rate bonds in the opening weeks of 2010, after a lull in sales to close out this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Illinois, the second-lowest rated U.S. state after California, will offer $3.47 billion of taxable notes to be repaid over five years to contribute to public employee pension funds for the fiscal year that ends June 30. Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s cut Illinois’ credit ratings this month as it resorts to such borrowing to help bridge a budget gap of almost $12 billion.

* State can’t pay bills, schools left holding bag

We have heard Illinois school districts are facing million-dollar cuts to balance the 2010-11 school year budgets due to the downturn in the economy. Now, those districts that depend on state funding need to refocus their efforts to keep this year’s previously balanced budgets balanced.

The state owes $14.3 million to Oswego Community Unit School District 308, and it is unknown how much, if any, of the promised funding will reach school districts this year.

* Social service agencies at the breaking point

By design, the budget slapped together earlier this year in the General Assembly planned to address the state’s own cash shortfalls by delaying those payments. It’s now at a stage where many agencies are saying that they are at the breaking point - if they’re not already totally broke.

* State payment delays to persist in 2010; agencies frustrated

* Gift Cards Keep Giving in IL

It’s not too late to redeem expired gift cards. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias tells us, in the United States, $5 billion in gift cards went unused in 2009. As a result, a new state gift card law is taking effect to help protect consumers. If you have expired gift cards, you can now redeem them for cash. Giannoulias’ office is holding millions of dollars in un-used gift card balances for Illinois residents.

* Foreign policy beyond scope of panel review

The legislative panel that had a hearing on the possible sale of Thomson prison to the federal government should focus on the economic impact of the sale on Illinois and its impact on other state prison facilities — not on broader foreign policy issues.

* A wise pledge for Thomson

* Unions says safety hurt by budget, space cuts at prisons

* Union: Reductions undercut prison safety

* Program helps keep state youth out of prisons

* Funding keeps Metra in neutral

Two planned Metra stations could transform neighborhoods on the city’s South and North Sides — spurring economic development, curbing carbon emissions and making it just plain easier for residents to choose public transportation, proponents say.[…]

But when that vision will become reality is uncertain.

Metra officials say state money must be in hand before preliminary engineering work can begin on planned stations at 79th Street on the Rock Island District line and Peterson and Ridge avenues on the Union Pacific North line. The state is paying for the new construction, while also rebuilding and repairing more than two dozen other stations, with $136 million from its public works program.

* Southland pupils, activists named Environmental Heroes

Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday named Southland students and volunteers among his “Environmental Heroes” for 2009.

* Illinois gives out Environmental Hero Awards

* Why your access to government should improve in 2010

* New Illinois Law Targets Distressed Condo Buildings

Starting January 1st, a new law in Illinois will help cities turn mostly-empty condo buildings back into apartment buildings.

* Belleville lawyer named to state disciplinary commission

* Illinois to rely on U.S. mortgage database

Misc.

* Home price increases fade

An economist and a broker said that no downfall in home prices is imminent after a report Tuesday showed that Chicago tied for second in month-to-month home-price declines among 20 major metropolitan areas.

Yet, experts agree that more foreclosures are likely in 2010 because the employment market is weak and prime-market homeowners have adjustable-rate mortgages with rates set to skyrocket nest year.

* Chicago Home Prices End a Five-Month Streak of Gains

* Pension reform tops city wish list

* Chicago homicides drop for 2009

But nearing the end of this year, homicides in the city have dropped by 11 percent, apparently reversing the 2008 spike and bringing the city more in line with a decline that started in the early part of the decade.

* ‘They’ll give up their own mother’

For the price of a cigarette, a Pepsi and, they hope, a shorter sentence, gang members awaiting trial give the CIU officers information on unsolved cases and detail the gang connections between the 10,000 Cook County Jail inmates and Chicago’s estimated 100,000 gang members.[…]

A camera crew followed the unit in the jail and on the streets for months as it used informants to make more than 100 arrests and seize more than $100,000 in drugs and guns.

* ‘The Squeeze’ brings viewers inside Cook County Jail, onto Chicago’s streets

Throughout its 80-year history, Cook County Jail has been a place of mystery, its inner workings shielded from the public and the media. Occasional stories, like one in the days before Christmas about an inmate dying after suffering a 106-degree temperature, are almost always negative. Some of that veil will be lifted Friday with the debut of a television series that examines the inner workings of the jail, the largest single-site county facility in the United States, and profiles the people who work and do time there.

* Sheriff’s unit takes spotlight on MSNBC

* System fails, a man is slain

Despite an arrest warrant issued some six weeks earlier, parolee Lee Cration was still on the streets Christmas Eve, when he allegedly shot and killed an elderly Hyde Park man loading food for a holiday party into his car.

* O’Hare to get body scanners

Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino said Tuesday that the Transportation Security Agency plans to bring full-body scanners to the airport in the first half of the year — possibly by April. She did not give details on how the scanners would be deployed.

* Full-body scans months away

* ACLU Doubts O’Hare Body Scanner Plan

* Body scanners headed to O’Hare Airport

* Aviation deptartment urges travelers to be aware

* L rider sues over faulty ‘panic button’

* Metered parking to climb in Chicago in January

* Signs won’t immediately change with new limits

* Painting, music at Chicago Cultural Center help disabled convey ‘what it’s like’

* Crestwood residents still waiting for results of investigation of town’s cancer rates

Six months after state health officials declared their investigation of cancer rates in south suburban Crestwood was almost complete, they have yet to release the results.[…]

The Illinois Department of Public Health, which earlier had failed to notify Crestwood residents their municipal water supply was contaminated with toxic chemicals, declined to answer questions about the cancer study. The agency also has rejected the Tribune’s requests for cancer data filed under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

* More H1N1 vaccine clinics scheduled

* Lanphier, Southeast ranked among lowest schools in state for student performance

* District 150, teachers union to resume talks Wednesday

* Cicero assessor says goodbye

* Retirement community to decide south suburban fire district fight at polls

* Evanston goes Web route for budget help

Online voting gives city officials road map for 2010 plans

* 3 emergency dispatchers to be laid off

* Rural Rochester residents show interest in new water commission

* Lawsuit challenges Legacy Pointe taxing district

* Cole raises concerns to Carterville TIF district

* East extends Roberts’ contract for 3 years

* Local dealers depleted of Saturns and Pontiacs

* Sesser claims it has been overbilled for water service

* Rockford schools to test notification system Jan. 9

* Federal health center in Ill. named for astronaut

* WTTW discards broadcast treasure Rich Samuels

* No. 2 Story of the Decade: Obama’s road to White House

- Posted by Mike Murray   Comments Off      


Mr. Lucky and the retreating rumor-mongers

Tuesday, Dec 29, 2009

* Mark Kirk must have a leprechaun for an uncle or something, because this week’s little kerfuffle couldn’t have played out in a more perfect way.

Imagine, for a moment, that a vicious rumor has been circulating about you for years. Pretty much everyone in politics has heard it at one time or another. Many don’t believe it, but it’s still out there and, like a zombie, refuses to die.

Well, what better way to have to confront it and flatly deny it than when a perennial and often outrageous candidate whom the entire political/media establishment views as a complete leper airs out the rumor via a tiny radio buy during the zero awareness zone between Christmas and New Year’s Eve? Oh, and this all plays out while you’re on active duty with the military. Oh, yeah, one more thing: The ad is based on two public statements by a couple of far-right sworn enemies, but both men are now in full, cowardly retreat.

Perfect, eh?

It almost reminds me of those scenes in the Godfather movies where all the Corleone enemies are wiped out in one bloody moment. Except Mark Kirk didn’t have to do anything but sit back and watch from wherever he is right now.

* Let’s run down the coverage. Actually, the coverage was more like a game of “Attack the Attacker.” First, the AP

Top Illinois Republicans condemned a perennial candidate’s decision Monday to air a political ad questioning the sexual orientation of the party’s front-runner in the U.S. Senate race.

The Republican Party said it would no longer consider Andy Martin a legitimate candidate.

“His statements today are consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party,” said party chairman Pat Brady.

Fellow Senate candidate Patrick Hughes said the radio ad has no place in the campaign. Dan Proft, a GOP candidate for governor, called it repugnant.

Tribune

A perennial candidate with a history of anti-Semitic rhetoric and legal disputes in federal court launched a radio ad for his Republican U.S. Senate campaign Monday that questioned the sexual orientation of the front-runner in the race.

Andy Martin, who has been sanctioned in federal court for filing hundreds of lawsuits and was found unfit to practice law by the Illinois Supreme Court, has previously used the airwaves to attack political opponents including presidential candidates George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Sun-Times

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, the front-runner in the Republican primary election for U.S. Senate, finds himself the object of an unusual attack ad from one of his lesser-known opponents.

Andy Martin, once known as Anthony Martin-Trigona, who has run for numerous elective offices over the last three decades in Illinois, Florida and Connecticut, taped a commercial questioning whether Kirk is gay.

From here on out, if anybody ever brings up this rumor again, Kirk and the media can just associate that future comment with the “discredited” Andy Martin. Case closed.

Like I said, Kirk must be related to a leprechaun.

Heck, even the two people behind the rumor being peddled by Martin are backtracking as fast as their little legs will carry them. Which brings us to…

…Another important point. Here’s the ad itself

I’m Andy Martin, Republican candidate for United States Senator. I approved this message because Illinois Republicans deserve the truth about their candidates.

I have over forty years of experience and integrity fighting corruption, and fighting for the truth in politics.

I helped expose many of Barack Obama’s lies in 2008.

Today, I am fighting for the facts about Mark Kirk. Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a, “solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual.” Roeser suggests that Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals.

Mark Kirk should tell Republican voters the truth.

I’m Andy Martin a Republican you can trust for U.S. Senator.

Please vote for Andy Martin.

Paid for by Illinois Republicans for Andy Martin.

ABC7 got responses from both Roeser and True

Roeser told ABC 7, “I don’t really want to be associated with Andy Martin. He’s made a lot of legal statements and cases that I think are irresponsible. Whatever he says I don’t support.”

True said, “I request through the media that Andy Martin cease and desist from making any additional statements that are incorrectly attributed to me.”

Trouble is, both Roeser and True said exactly what Martin claims they said in his ad - a point mostly ignored by the media. Click here to listen to Roeser and True on WIND AM radio

Jack Roeser: “And you got Mark Kirk, who’s been so strong on his homosexuals so long, that the solid rumor is that he, himself is a homosexual. Does the party really need these people clubbing up inside the Republican Party and ruining it for their own purposes…?”

Ray True: “It’s more or less an open secret in Lake County that Mark has surrounded himself with people that have, I guess they call it now a ’special orientation,’ but we all know what that means.”

The fact is that Roeser and True got busted outside their little ultra-conservative comfort zones. And instead of owning up, they ran away from their own comments. That was probably predictable. But what bothers me far more is that nobody in the media has yet bothered to press Roeser and True to come clean. After all, without those comments, Martin couldn’t have run that radio ad. They are as responsible as he is.

Roeser and True are both longtime Illinois political players. They regularly make endorsements and contribute money to campaigns, whether directly or through their respective organizations. So while we’re all publicly bemoaning Andy Martin’s little ad, perhaps we should also be focusing on the source of this hateful nonsense - and on the candidates those two guys support.

As for me, I’m going back to the beach. I’m supposed to be on vacation, not dealing with goofiness like this.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Illinois Republican Primary Candidate weighs in on social media

Tuesday, Dec 29, 2009

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Rivadeneira, who recently signed-up for an enhanced profile at eVoter.com, has been using eVoter for extra online communication, search engine optimization, and an added venue to raise support.

“eVoter lets candidates who are not part of the establishment effectively communicate their message to the voters,” he said.

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- Posted by Capitol Fax Blog Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Dec 29, 2009

Election 2010

* Jackson axes her campaign manager

Campaign Manager Rodney Shelton was informed his services would no longer be required.[…]

“It’s just an internal move,” campaign spokesman Bob Kettlewell said Monday, offering no further explanation. Deputy Campaign Manager Lisa Hargrove will move up to replace Shelton.

* Alexi Giannoulias’ lost Illinois millions

* Brady bashes suburban competition

State Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington ripped into some of his suburban challengers in the Republican governor’s primary Monday for opening the possibility to tax hikes if elected.

* Brady starts to campaign locally today

* Brady calls for second hearing on Thomson

* Governor candidates mostly accept evolution

* Candidates: State has a long way to go on reform

* Health care debate in 10th falls along party lines

* Schock part of congressional meeting with Karzai

* U.S. Rep. Schock visits Afghanistan

* Fooled ya again!

You read that here in an Oct. 9 commentary piece for the Tribune by U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill. He insisted that a government-run insurance plan was the key to affordable, accessible, quality health care. “A public option must be a central component of any health insurance reform legislation,” he wrote.[…]

He even threatened to conduct his own filibuster.

Gotcha!

Burris voted, along with every other Democrat in the Senate, for a bill that doesn’t include even a whiff of the public option.

* Incumbent and predecessor square off in District 21

* Russell believes his outsider status is what sheriff’s office needs

* Patlak: GOP Candidate Called Out for Being a Democrat

* The Grinch who stole immigration reform

How gullible can you get? Democrats only care about one thing, and it’s the same thing that Republicans care about: re-election. And any controversial issue that might get in the way - gay marriage, “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and, yes, illegal immigration - usually gets shoved far back in the cupboard.

* Why Illinois citizens always come up short

State Government
* ICC approves plan to buy power from wind farms

The Illinois Commerce Commission has OKed a plan that would allow the agency that buys electricity on behalf of utility customers to seek proposals for long-term wind-power contracts.

* Texting while driving: State ban starts Friday

* New traffic laws for 2010 to go into effect Friday

* Motorists, police prep for ban on texting while driving

* How to deal with the new Illinois ban on texting while driving

* New Penalties for Calling in Bomb Threat to Schools to take Effect

* New Illinois Law Treats 17-Year-Olds as Juveniles for Misdemeanors

* Fewer complaints, more fines in smoking ban’s second year

* Illinois logs 8,000 smoking complaints

* Some DUI Prisoners Released Early Re-Arrested

* Revised law has 30-day window Safe Haven adds time to make life decision

Beginning Jan. 1, parents can relinquish newborns anonymously and without penalty to personnel at hospitals, emergency medical facilities or police or fire stations for 30 days after birth. Now the law only gives parents seven days and that’s considered insufficient to make a decision that can profoundly affect many lives.

* DuPage County hacked off by ComEd’s tree management

DuPage County officials are seeking the state legislature’s help to ensure vegetation is properly replaced along the Illinois Prairie Path and the Great Western Trail after ComEd trims or removes trees near its power lines.

The County Board turned to state lawmakers earlier this month after being told ComEd could not continue future management of vegetation along the trails to a standard officials said was agreed to earlier this year.

* Water leak damages reception area in governor’s office

* 2002: Blago becomes governor

* Illinois River flooding threat called minimal

* COLUMN: Maybe coal will be the symbol for this area’s Valentine’s Day in 2010

Michael Mudd, CEO of the FutureGen Alliance, said recently that he still expects a final decision by late January on the project for Mattoon.

FutureGen, as most of you know, is a $2 billion-plus project planned for Mattoon. It is awaiting final approval by the U.S. Department of Energy with the feds scheduled to make a final decision by late January.

* Our Opinion: Public access counselor bolsters FOIA

* Citizens need to make good use of amended FOIA


Miscellaneous

* Foreclosures aren’t fading

Home foreclosures, which have pummeled many Chicago area neighborhoods, are expected to continue to mount in 2010, and high unemployment will be the driver, experts say.

* Chicagoans Bracing for Single-Digit Temps

* Holiday retail sales up a tad over 2008

The spending bounce means retailers managed to avoid a repeat of last year’s disaster even amid tight credit and double-digit unemployment. Profits should be healthier, too, because stores had a year to plan their inventories to match consumer demand and never needed to resort to fire-sale clearances.

* Weather hampers post-Christmas sales

* Great Lakes at or near historical water levels

The Detroit News reports Monday that the latest estimates from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show levels in the Lake Michigan-Huron system and Lake Superior are between 5 inches and 9 inches above levels from one year ago.

* Invasive species lawsuit expands

* Minnesota AG: Keep Asian carp out of Great Lakes

* Minnesota Weighs in on Asian Carp Debate

* Report: Coal use pushes mercury emissions up in Illinois

* Mercury pollution increases in Illinois

Legal forces in the Upper Midwest arrayed against the invasive Asian carp Monday, as Minnesota joined a lawsuit with Ohio and Michigan applying legal pressure to seal off Illinois’ carp-infested waterways from the Great Lakes.

* Bradley University offers computer gaming

BU’s computer science department is a partner with the interactive media program in the communication school on a range of offerings that, pending faculty approval, could mean that Bradley students would soon be able to opt for a minor in computer game technology.

* State says it will demolish Cline extension

* CTA offers penny rides on New Years Eve

* Winter hazard in new LED signals

Towns across Illinois and nationwide have switched to LED traffic signals because they burn brighter, last longer and save money by using 90 percent less energy than older incandescent bulbs. But they also emit less heat, meaning they sometimes have trouble melting snow.

* Illinois company to pay $1.25 million for lead in train toys

* Chicago company takes Yahoo to court over defamatory posts

* O my! Chicago pop culture center stage in 21st century

* Chicago Library projects record circulation in ‘09

* Water secret revealed decades of tainted well use

For more than two decades, residents in Crestwood filled their bath tubs, poured glasses at their dinner tables and washed their clothes without giving it a second thought.[…]

But this community of 11,000 did so not knowing their water wasn’t being piped completely from Lake Michigan as they believed.–

Water from a well tainted with cancer-causing chemicals was being used to supplement the flow, in an alleged scheme by the village to rake in a few extra dollars.

* Elmwood Park outage affected nearly 2,000

* County hopes to cut deputy layoffs with expedited retirements

* Our Opinion: County should not give in to deputies

* Fines possible, but unlikely, for snow-covered sidewalks

* Despite budget cuts, snow plows get thumbs up

* Aging CityLink fleet rusting away

* Springfield airport beefs up security; passengers urged to arrive early

* No. 3 Story of the Decade: 9/11 attacks shock Springfield

* After many delays, Orland Township moving this week

* NAACP opposes cutting community relations position

* Bloomington Council OKs $1.9 million in downtown projects

* Bloomington delays $1.4 million payment to developers

* Bloomington hires agency to collect on unpaid ambulance bills

- Posted by Mike Murray   Comments Off      


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* Sunday leaders meeting notes: Madigan counts the minutes, Republicans claim "new level of stalling"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** *** LIVE *** Leaders meeting coverage
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Mendoza transition team responds to the Sun-Times' Madigan conspiracy theory
* *** UPDATED x1 - Durkin responds *** Back to the future: Madigan demands "memorandums of understanding"
* Question of the day
* Shimkus loses out on plum post
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Moody's says Rauner veto is just one of many problems facing CPS
* *** UPDATED x4 - Mendoza responds - Munger calls suit "cowardly" *** Lawsuit filed over legislator pay
* The "green energy" side of the Exelon bill
* Caption contest!
* How is this "breaking our agreement"?
* Positioning, practicalities and politics weigh heavily against a House override
* Report: A decade to reach solvency, if leaders cooperate on tough plan
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Rauner goes into the lion's den
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* Jolla plays around with the idea of a Sailfish Watch
* Foxconn manager indicted on theft, fraudulent iPhone sales
* WhatsApp extends support for BlackBerry, Nokia until July 2017
* Samsung lawyers up for Korean class action over Note 7
* India gets LG V20 for well over Rs. 50,000
* Oppenheimer: Apple too “reliant” on iPhone, unprepared for next decade
* BlackBerry apps on Android get a major refresh

* White Sox rebuild set to begin at Meetings?
* Several teams showing interest in Sale
* White Sox plans could clear up at Meetings
* Lawrie, Garcia settle with White Sox for 2017
* Garcia, Lawrie settle with White Sox for 2017
* Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal
* White Sox plans could clear up at Meetings

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* Budget uncertainty looms in Illinois - Paducah Sun..
* Another year of financial uncertainty looms for.....
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* After major victory, ND pipeline protesters to defy deadline
* Federal government blocks Dakota Access oil pipeline route
* Purple Christmas lights honor 'Purple Rain' singer
* Another year of financial uncertainty looms for Illinois
* More private college presidents top $2M in pay, study finds
* The Latest: Sheriff's office lifts blockade at protest camp
* The Latest: No progress from meetings on Illinois budget
* University of Illinois chancellor reviews emergency plans
* University of Illinois chancellor reviews emergency plans
* Another year of financial uncertainty looms for Illinois

* Another year of financial uncertainty looms for Illinois
* Lawmakers sue comptroller for not paying them
* Electronic road signs are dark near Effingham due to budget
* State lawmakers vote to spare 2 nuclear plants
* Legislature OKs Exelon subsidy plan, goes to Rauner
* Rauner: No more stopgap budgets without property tax freeze, term limits
* Illinois shutters nation's last prison roundhouse
* Clinton nuclear plant has history of cost, job uncertainty
* AFSCME files lawsuit over labor contract
* Rauner to Dems: No budget without term limits, property tax freeze

* NU's Schapiro tops U of C's Zimmer as highest-paid Illinois college president
* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* A right hook to men and women hurt on the job
* Nothing brings pols together like a bailout
* Drink up, Chicago. Jim Beam's in town now


* 3 wounded in Humboldt Park shooting
* Police: Man fatally shot in Chatham
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Dec. 5, 2016
* Dear Abby: Our child’s friends need help on fees
* 3 shot, 1 seriously, in Near West Side
* Obama lauds ‘powerhouse vocals’ of Kennedy honoree Mavis Staples
* Police capture man wanted for murder of CN security guard
* Boxer Ed ‘Bad Boy’ Brown on life support after shooting
* Man dies after 4-vehicle crash in suburban Golf
* Without Jonathan Toews again, Blackhawks lose to Jets


* Making airport PreCheck free could save TSA millions: report
* Judge orders Michigan recount to begin at noon Monday
* Gunman went to D.C. pizzeria to 'self-investigate' an election-related conspiracy theory, police say
* Mavis Staples, James Taylor, The Eagles, Al Pacino at a bittersweet Kennedy Center Honors 2016
* Trump makes Romney grovel for job at State
* Teens, music makers among California warehouse fire victims
* 5 hurt in 2 shootings within blocks of each other on West Side
* Penn State should thank College Football Playoff committee for rejection
* Northwestern to play Pittsburgh in Pinstripe Bowl
* Oakland warehouse fire death toll climbs to 33, and includes teens


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* Our View: Susana Mendoza, be a voice of reason for the state’s finances
* Lisa Madigan: Illinois needs to protect children from lead exposure
* Another year of financial uncertainty looms for Illinois
* Our View: Fall veto session leaves Illinois in worse state than before
* Bernard Schoenburg: Divine intervention on budget? Still waiting
* Statehouse Insider: No budget deal; see you in January
* Angie Muhs: New sports editor to start at the SJ-R
* Amy Voils: How do I really help the homeless?
* Jason Dockter: LLCC a leader in online education
* A home for the holidays: How do I really help the homeless?


* Jack Lamer
* Prep preview, week of Dec. 5
* N-G Top 10: Girls' basketball (Dec. 5)
* Final area prep statistics: 2016 volleyball
* 2016 volleyball all-conference/county teams
* Asmussen: No shame for Big Ten in bowl bids
* Ex-area athletes in the NFL (Week 13)
* UI roundup: Women's hoops falls on road
* Habitat for Humanity and Team Rubicon build third home for a veteran
* Crews tackle big snow that fell in a short time


* Thomas Rawls leads Seahawks to 40-7 pummeling of Panthers
* Off-duty New York City correction officer fatally shot
* Police: Fake news story led man to shoot inside pizza shop
* Patriots' Amendola, Giants' Pierre-Paul leave with injuries
* NFL Today, Week 13

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* Standing Rock Tribe’s Chairman David Archambault II statement on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to not grant easement.
* Governor Rauner vetoes CPS budget agreement. “We know Trump,” says CTU President Karen Lewis. “We’ve had Rauner for two years.”
* Qualified.
* Sunday mishmosh.
* Zombies in Washington (an art project).
* A Nickel's Worth of Difference
* #TBT. Los Angeles. 1963. Fighting segregation.
* Peace through fear.


* Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Brings Lowest Fatality Rate In Six Years
* Governor Announces Appointments to Illinois Bicentennial Commission
* Stateville Correctional Center’s F House Officially Closed
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* IEMA Highlights Safety during the Holidays - Encourages holiday shoppers to give preparedness gifts this year




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