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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        


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        * Michelle Obama to give commencement speech at Chicago school

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        * Report: Illinois could be short on qualified workers by 2020
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        * House panel grills Rauner budget director over program cuts
        * Davis: Improvement needed in Springfield VA clinic wait times
        * New IDOC director says union contracts causing problems
        * GOP's LaHood remains front-runner in race to replace Schock
        * Illinois House votes to limit specialty license plates
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          * Chicago couple sentenced to prison in Bali suitcase killing
          * Funeral rites for Cardinal George begin today with public visitation
          * Lawsuit over naked crime scene photos headed for trial
          * Anger follows acquittal in rare trial of Chicago cop
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          * Judge says Berrios doesn't have to pay $10,000 ethics fine
          * Retired bishop recounts Cardinal George's final moments
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          * 3 men shot to death, 2 hurt in separate shootings on South Side


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          * Transportation officials to talk roads in Illinois tour
          * House panel grills Rauner budget director over program cuts
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