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Question of the day - Golden Horseshoe Awards

Monday, Dec 10, 2012

* The Golden Horseshoe for Best Senate Secretary/Admin. Assistant goes to Robin Gragg

Robin Gragg in the senate presidents office. Dealing with the calls and people she deals with on a average session day would cause the normal person to be jaded. But not Robin. She gets through every day with a smile and her quick wit.

The woman is unflappable.

* Runner-up is Melissa Earle, who is coming off a particularly difficult week…

Anyone who can put up with the traffic up in that office deserves the award!!

Agreed. It can get crazy up on 6.

* Now, let’s move on to today’s categories…

* Best House Legislative Staffer - Non Political

* Best Senate Legislative Staffer - Non Political

We’ll start the “political” staff category tomorrow. Let’s keep this to the folks who generally stay on payroll year-round. And remember that this is about intensity, and not about raw vote totals. No comment = no impact. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Not It - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 11:36 am:

    Frank Straus with the House Republicans. The guy knows absolutely everything and is the best resource for anything State Government related and can tick off the arguments for or against any bill without even thinking about the issue. He is one of those rare public servants who just wants to do a good job because he likes doing a good job and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

  2. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 11:45 am:

    Samantha Olds from Speaker’s Staff is amazing. She handles the pain in the rear agencies like DHS, DCFS and HFS and somehow keeps the agency staff, members and other staff up to date on issues but also the budgets. She was a huge part of crafting the SMART bill which was not an easy task. If you have ever seen her in action during the budget process, you would wonder how she does her job without “losing it”. She deals with members, lobbyist, do-gooders, other staffers and liasions with a great sense of humor and abiity to keep all the balls in the air at the same time.

  3. - Gator - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 12:12 pm:

    Giovanni Randazzo all day!!! Not only has he been around forever, but he really knows the issues, players, and where the bodies are buried. If you see him handling an issue, you know it’s something that the leaders are closely monitoring. I’ve dealt with him briefly and know that he is a solid guy.

  4. - dave - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    This one is easy…

    Samantha Olds should win this for the House staffer. First, I don’t know if anyone has control over a larger segment of the budge. Bet not only that, it is the budget (human services) that always gets screwed at the expense of other priorities. Further…her work on the Medicaid reform package was incredible, navigating numerous interest groups and crafting a bill with largely no real opposition. I haven’t worked with a better staffer in the Capitol.

  5. - Waffle Fries - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:08 pm:

    No brainer, Sam Olds - House staffer. She manages some of the largest state agency budgets - DHS - HFS during a very hard time for those agencies and the clients they serve. Perhaps more timely, however, is her work on Medicaid reform. Any organization or individual that caught a glimpse of how complex the negotiations were on Medicaid reform had to appreciate the enormous time sink and the numerous interest groups that intersect on the program.

  6. - Bruce - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:14 pm:

    Samantha Olds on the Speaker’s Staff. Hands down. She knows how to work with members and lobbyists and staff and never complains. She is incredibly dedicated to the job and was often seen leaving the Capitol at 4 in the morning during the last week of session, making sure no stone was left unturned in the SMART Act.

  7. - Horseshoe Voter - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:18 pm:

    Senate: Becky Locker. Becky has moved up in the ranks of the Appropriations staff and handles a tremendous work load with poise, patience, and incredible organization. It’s unfortunate that the Policy & Budget staffers who are much heavier on the Approp side don’t have as much exposure to lobbyists and thus are at a disadvantage for purposes of collecting a Golden Horseshoe, but I hope my intensity rings through here that Becky is a great asset to the Senate Dems, a delight to work with, and a very deserving of this prestigous honor.

    House: Gwen Bowman. Gwen has the policy know-how to explain how General State Aid works and the disposition to handle committees-full of members with opposing priorities. She can also put together some really great flowcharts if, say, you want her to explain what people mean by “streamlined dismissal process.”

  8. - 309 - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    My vote is also for Giovanni. He is a very hard worker in any situation they put him in. He works on the most important legislation around here and is so knowledgeable on all area’s of State politics

  9. - 1776 - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:25 pm:

    Laura Roche without a doubt. She is the rock of the House GOP staff despite only being around 2-3 years. In addition to handling insurance and environmental issues, she’s assumed responsibility for operating the “bill box” on the floor and mentoring younger staff. She’s quiet but rock solid.

  10. - Yule - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    Kim Schultz for Senate. She staffed the Medicaid negotiations for the Senate side and is always professional and knowledgeable. Kim is a hard worker, and if she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll find out for you in no time.

  11. - migwagin - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:31 pm:

    Giovanni hands down! No one takes their work to heart more than Gio does. He’s extremely pleasant to work with and you know he puts everything he has into his job. Gio all the way!!!

  12. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:44 pm:

    I vote for Kim Schultz for Senate. She always keeps the Human Services Committee running smoothly, and she worked so hard during the Medicaid negotiations. Kim is very knowledgeable, and I don’t know how she manages to stay on top of everything. She is always pleasant and incredibly professional. Everyone I know has kind things to say about her.

  13. - Waffle Fries - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:46 pm:

    Kim Schultz for Senate Staffer…for similar reasons I highlighted earlier for Sam. Folks, the legislature passed a bill this year with 62 reforms to its Medicaid program - that is one of the most sweeping reform bills to a state program in recent memory. Lets not forget how complex the program is and how many lives it affects throughout the state. Kim did a great job of juggling interest groups and caucus members and keeping everyone as informed as possible. She very much deserves the award this year.

  14. - In the Trenches - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:48 pm:

    Kim Schultz from Senate Dems. Not only did she handle SMART ACT negotiations with grace but she continues to meet with transportation providers. The state is truly blessed to have such an amazing public servant.

  15. - Gator - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:48 pm:

    Forgot to vote for House. A lot of talented people over there but my vote goes to JP Valadez. Great staffer, great political mind, etc.

  16. - Anon - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 1:54 pm:

    My vote is for Katharine Eastvold. She puts everyone to shame with her crazy great work ethic and awesome attitude.

    If she doesn’t know the answer to a question, she will not only answer your question but provide you with enough information for you to be an expert on the issue. She’s a pleasure to be around and an amazing baker, which means snacks for everyone in the office!

  17. - dave - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 2:00 pm:

    I’ll also add a vote for Kim Schultz in the Senate. She is very knowledgeable and helpful, while at the same time standing her ground and doesn’t give up much information. She, like Samantha, had a ton on her plate this past year and handled it with great skill.

  18. - HiredGun - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 2:16 pm:

    The Senate simply would not run without the work of Chris Coleman, therefore earning him my vote for best Senate staffer. Not only does he make the very tough job of keeping tabs on every bill that comes through Assignments look easy, but he does it with a fantastic attitude and sense of humor. What would be a crisis in my world is just another day at the office for Chris. Lastly, I know he logs a lot of late night and weekend hours, but never complains or says a word. He’s a great legislative staffer and a genuinely good human being, and the Senate is lucky to have him.

  19. - Wang Chung - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 2:21 pm:

    My vote is for Mike Mahoney on the House GOP. He is Cross’ go to guy, especially on everyone’s favorite topic, pensions, and he works on nearly all important issues under the dome.

  20. - 'Goose - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    GIOVANNI RANDAZZO. He is tireless and drama free. A real workhorse and a warrior.

  21. - Trust Me - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 2:45 pm:

    As a Republican State Representative my vote would go to Mike Mahoney. He is by far one of the most intelligent and nice people working in the building and understands policy issues and their political ramifications better than most of my colleagues. Most importantly he has learned to speak the language that is Illinois pensions, which is rumored to be harder to master than Arabic and Mandarin combined.

    For Senate my vote would be for Scott Foiles who is an extremely hardworking staffer on the issues I have had the opportunity to work with him on.

  22. - Tyrannasaurus - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 2:52 pm:

    This one is easy-
    Tyler Hunt. He is by far the most competant person on staff, might be more competant than Lowder. He handles his committee with ease and poise. He is irraplaceable and great for the morale on staff.

  23. - Statehouse - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 2:55 pm:

    Working in capitol for the past 10 years, i have come to realize how underappreciated the work of Tyler Hunt has gone. He is my vote for best House staffer. He staffs the State Government Administration Committee and the General Services budget, which both have huge workloads. He does it all with a smile on his face and knows how to deal fantastically with lobbyists and members alike. Dealing with over 30 agencies in the General Services budget, Tyler made that look like it was no problem. So many different members to help understand the different budgetary issues with each agency and Tyler handled it with absolute grace. He is much deserving of this award.

  24. - Dostoyevsky - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 2:58 pm:

    Giovanni Randazzo is, by far, the best Senate staffer. His institutional knowledge runs deep and his jovial demeanor makes working with him on any issue more enjoyable.

  25. - Jack Burton - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 3:13 pm:

    Mike Mahoney with the House GOP is the Total Package. Lex Luger may think he is the total package, but he hasn’t tried tackling the Illinois pension reform.

    Mike’s resolve when dealing with pensions reminds me of a great quote from an even greater movie…BigTrouble in Little China. The saying goes, “Just remember what ol’ Jack Burton (Mike Mahoney) does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton (Mike Mahoney) just looks that big ol’ storm right square in the eye and he says, ‘give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.’”

  26. - DC Insider - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 3:14 pm:

    Mike Mahoney on the House GOP is as solid as it gets, I call him from our DC office with any number of constituent issues and he has always taken care of the constituent and handled their case in such a professional manner that I get more compliments on him then some of our own case workers. He is truly an asset in Springfield and I hope for his sanity pensions get resolved soon.

  27. - Slam Dunk - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 3:17 pm:

    This is a slam dunk, Sam Olds - House staffer. She manages some of the biggest state agency budgets, and her work on Medicaid reform was second to none! She has it all! She is smart, she is beautiful, and she has the best boyfriend - Dan Frey! A slam dunk for staffer of the year!

  28. - The Magic Man - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 3:32 pm:

    Mike Mahoney for House! He works with pension reform like other artists work in coal or pastel. It’s his true medium.

    A real capital fellow!

  29. - Mick - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 3:34 pm:

    Mike Mahoney is tall, quiet and brilliant. I sometimes wonder if the republican Constitutional Officers understand the State’s finances as well as Mr Mahoney does. It’s unfortunate that the majority party doesn’t accept much input from the minority caucus on the pension issue. Mr. Mahoney’s expertise and leadership would go a long way towards working out our long term problems. I wouldn’t wait until next year to give him the award, he may not be around. It won’t be long before someone in the private sector offers him a job with a paycheck that matches his abilities.

  30. - Statehouse Steve - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 3:35 pm:

    Mike Mahoney should get this award hands down. Every pension question that I can come up with, he has an answer to. In fact I have tried to throw a stumper his way and he was right on target with his response. Quick as a whip, that fellow. I don’t think that we would be able to function without him.

  31. - Tall Order - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 3:54 pm:

    What Illinois has shorted the state’s pension funds, Mike Mahoney has paid in the hours, heart and hard work he has put in trying to repair the mess. Precious commenter’s right on - learning Illinois pension code is like learning Arabic - using a Russian dictionary. And have you seen the tricked out House GOP offices? Clearly somebody tall had to hang all those postcards. Making staff feel like they’re on vacation and not in the Stratton? Now that’s smart.

  32. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 3:57 pm:

    Senate Republican’s Amy Barry - she’s smart, a brilliant writer, she had become a social media whiz, and she bakes to boot.

  33. - Blackhawk - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 3:58 pm:

    I think this is the easiest vote of all time. Tyler Hunt is by far the most knowledgeable staffer in the capitol. He is the smartest and brightest individual under the dome. A warhorse and a workhorse. Not one person can challenge how good of a staffer he actually is. Easy vote.

  34. - Anonymouse - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:00 pm:

    Tyler Hunt should be given the gold, silver, and bronze horseshoe awards. He has been a dedicated Research Analyst for well over 10 years and has been a quiet, humble force behind the House Democratic caucus. His tireless work on State Government Committee and General Services should provide him with the recognition that is much overdue.

  35. - archibald.jones - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:02 pm:

    House. Justin Cox. Justin is the go to guy on House legal staff and is one of the smartest most even tempered lawyers under the Dome. He’s been instrumental in drafting and negotiating most of the major public utilities legislation over the past few years and still manages to know a subject as boring as the Insurance Code like the back of his hand.

    Senate. Ron Holmes. Rising Senate communication staffer, key hand in the remap, and rocks the bow tie with ease.

  36. - Print that Paper - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:08 pm:

    My vote is for Tyler Hunt. What can I say, he is the driving force behind the house research staff. He has brainstormed more ideas for legislation than anyone under the dome. He is a critical thinker, a team player, and an amazing human being. He volunteers regularly for Big Brother Big Sister, and is always encouraging others on staff to volunteer as well. He needs no motivation, he already has the drive within himself, but he is constantly motivating and cheering others on. He is the quiet under-recognized staffer that deserves to win this year.

  37. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:08 pm:

    My vote goes to Kim Schultz, who staffs Human Services for the Senate Dems. She’s incredibly smart, honest, and hard-working. Many of the Medicaid reform meetings this spring lasted until the early morning hours, and her poise and congenial attitude served her well while working on a very difficult issue. She’s well-respected by both her staff colleagues and the Senate members, and she truly deserves the award.

  38. - Comrade - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:10 pm:

    Senate Democratic staffer, Giovanni Randazzo is unflappable. He puts in more than his fair share of time at the front lines of the legislative process and is always ready with a joke or quick retort.

  39. - Kristina - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:10 pm:

    Kim Fowler is a fiscal whiz. Pensions, credit ratings, you name it, she’s on it. She’s practical, careful and a genuinely nice person.

  40. - Mental Health - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:13 pm:

    Shaw Decraimer is a real emotional cat. Nothing unbalanced about him. Work Work Work, and man can he swing a baseball bat.

  41. - Fantasma - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:15 pm:

    I was certain I was going to vote one way, after reading other posts I too have to nominate Tyler Hunt. The former posters are absolutely correct, he is truly underappreciated and totally competent and great at what he does. More importantly, Tyler has a fantastic attitude, even after 10+ years on staff (which for a house dem is a lifetime). He takes everything and everyone with a grain of salt, and a smile on his face. In fact, I cannot ever remember a time when Tyler wasn’t smiling. No matter how much stress he is facing, or who he had the deal with, the guy is always kind and humble. He also really knows his stuff. It’s about time we all remember this wonderful staffer and give him the kudos he has earned and deserves!

  42. - 102 Counties - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:21 pm:

    I have to vote for Giovanni! That man is one of the best lawyers in the General Assembly. He is always working and when he is swamped he still takes time to talk to you about any issue.

  43. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:28 pm:

    Giovanni Randazzo: He’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke!

  44. - phaedrus - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:33 pm:

    I cannot be more emphatic about my nomination of Tyler Hunt for Best House staff member. Tyler works tirelessly to engineer innovative and paradigm shifting budget proposals; Tyler also staffs one of the largest collections of agencies for annual appropriations. Finally, Tyler is genuine and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

  45. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:41 pm:

    House: Tyler Hunt - a workhorse not a showhorse. He flys under the radar simply because he does his job so darn well, he’s at least a few of the vertebrae in the backbone of the House Dems. One of the straigh-up good guys in the world and a heckuva lot of fun to boot.

    Senate has to be Giovanni. Knows his stuff front and back, a joy to deal with even when he’s under the gun, and has the intellect to challenge just about anyone.

  46. - a non - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:45 pm:

    Tyler Tiberius Hunt best legislative staffer of the year? Try ALL TIME.

    Shows up with a smile
    Consistently tremendous
    Much love T money

  47. - Beyonce Pad Thai - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 4:55 pm:

    House staffer – Mike Mahoney. He is almost always the first one in the office and the last one out. He sits through pension meetings that are long enough, dry enough, and unproductive enough to make any other man cry. Mike’s contributions on staff have proven invaluable over the years, his work ethic is unparalleled in the House, and he deserves to be recognized.

    Senate staffer – Amy Barry. Comms staff doesn’t get much love, but in spite of having pretty much the most thankless job in Springfield, they are some of the hardest working staffers you can find. I’m sure that making the 19 remaining IL GOP Senators appear to be even remotely relevant/press worthy is no walk in the park, but Amy somehow manages. Better still, she does it with a smile and an attitude that could fool you into thinking that everyday is a good day at the Capitol. She’s a terrific writer and a truly dedicated staffer.

  48. - L.H. - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:02 pm:

    House Staff- Vote goes to Mike Mahoney. Although we agree on nearly nothing, Mr. Mahoney is responsive and willing to discuss complex issues and share his expertise. Capable of critical thought, no one is better prepared or knowledgeable on policy and politics under the dome.
    Senate Staffer- Vote goes to Giovanni Randazzo. About as good a person/staffer as you will find.

  49. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:05 pm:

    It’s Mike Mahoney’s birthday soon. No better gift for a guy who asks for nothing than the best present of all time, recognition via a Golden Horseshoe!

  50. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:21 pm:

    My vote is for Kim Schultz on Senate Dem staff - always willing to help and never short on kindness.

  51. - T - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:25 pm:

    Two words. Jessica Basham. Enough said.

  52. - circularfiringsquad - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:28 pm:

    Best choices are Sam Olds and Gwen Bowman…they made ideas from the whack job millionaires…medicaid and education into halfway sensible ideas and passed into law. maybe there should be co-horseshoers

  53. - mrClean - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:32 pm:

    Best Senate Legislative Staffer - Non Political:

    Gio Randazzo

  54. - Totes McGoats - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:36 pm:

    No question about it, Sam Olds - House staffer. She works really hard! Not to mention, Sam Olds and Dan Frey would give Prince William and Kate Middleton a run for their money!! Adorbs! ;)

  55. - Roscoe Rascal - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:41 pm:

    Giovanni Randazzo, without a doubt. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, the guy’s got the answer. And if you ever ask a technical question of someone else, the answer is often “Well,…but confirm that with Gio.” He’s a veteran to the business and a man who loves what he does.

  56. - Hello - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:45 pm:

    If you want to be serious about this, anyone who has been around the Capitol or worked with or on staff knows that Jessica Basham is the best staffer.

  57. - Rambler - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:50 pm:

    Giovanni Randazzo- Gio is the best asset the Senate Dems have. Ask him how a certain member voted on a bill four years ago, and he knows the entire chambers vote. Gio is one of the best lawyers working for the state. He’s always helpful and friendly even at the most stressful times. To top it off Giovanni is flat out one of the hardest workers around, he doesn’t go home until the job is finished.

  58. - Crazy train - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 5:55 pm:

    Tyler would not accept the award. He knows he is part of a team. To the person who said he is more competent than Lowder. The White House called, and they want what you are smoking in the rose garden next spring.

  59. - Grandpa Johnny - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 6:22 pm:

    Best staffer - Sam Olds!!!

  60. - Inside Guy - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 6:34 pm:

    Tyler specifically asked me to vote for him, so here’s me voting. Now you owe ME a favor Tyler!

  61. - dgd - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 6:37 pm:

    Justin Cox - he is the go to guy on the Speaker’s legal staff.

  62. - Sid Vicious - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 7:59 pm:

    Sam Olds of the House Dems. Most knowledgable and helpful staffer I’ve dealt with.

  63. - Dan - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 8:05 pm:

    I’ve been mentioned on here twice…as an awesome significant other. Is there a golden horseshoe for that? Either way, I’m glad that my work is appreciated.

  64. - Dave V - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 8:11 pm:

    House Sam Olds. And Kim Schultz in the Senate. Working Medicaid this past couple years has been no joke. They earned it.

  65. - Positively 2nd Street and Monroe - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 8:38 pm:

    Kim Schultz for the past couple years has quietly become one of the best staffers in the Statehouse. She’s smart, nice to a fault, and reliable. But besides all of that, Medicaid was a huge time consuming issue this year and anyone who worked that issue had to dedicate plenty of late nights and weekends. This process showed what a great staffer she has become and how much the Senate Dems trust her.

  66. - 1901 West Madison - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 9:25 pm:

    Senate Staffer: Giovanni Randazzo! I have never in my life met a person with a greater memory about legislative history or politics in Illinois generally. No matter how busy he is, he always has the time for you. It would be a great shame not to see him win.

  67. - Anon Lobster - Monday, Dec 10, 12 @ 10:38 pm:

    Senate: My vote is for Giovanni Randazzo. I could vote for his non-political work or his political service because he wears both hats so well. He has great institutional knowledge, but isn’t afraid to think outside the box and works with all parties. And it seems like he is everywhere and involved in everything, especially in the last weeks of session.
    House: My vote is for Tyler Hunt. Another lifer who is a tireless, hard worker. He often deals with some of the oddest issues the House has to offer and he does it all with a smile.

  68. - these dogs - Tuesday, Dec 11, 12 @ 12:16 am:

    Giovanni all the way! For everything that’s been said before. Great guy, know everything and takes the time to treat even the little guys like they deserve his time.

  69. - My two cents - Tuesday, Dec 11, 12 @ 8:10 am:

    Kim Schultz of the Senate Dems is one the kindest, most decent people I’ve met around the statehouse. Not only that, she really knows her stuff and really busted her tail this session working on Medicaid reform. Some of those Medicaid meetings were long and frustrating, but she never complains, but stays on task and continues to do her job very well.

  70. - fan of cap fax - Tuesday, Dec 11, 12 @ 8:40 am:

    Kim Schultz is one of the kindest, classiest and dedicated staffers in the Senate Dems. While I love Gio and agree with all that was said about him, I’d like to see this award go to Kim this year, she’s the best!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Meet the guy making money off your food scraps

* Blackhawks rally for stunning victory with two late goals
* Aaron Schock’s lawyers voluntarily providing records sought by feds
* In wake of dashcam video, Emanuel must navigate political minefield
* White House under holiday lockdown after man jumps fence
* Trevor Daley turning the corner at both ends of the ice
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block Syrian refugees
* Brown: Simeon basketball players bring their A-game to court
* 16 reasons every Blackhawks fan should be thankful on Thanksgiving
* Blackhawks cool off Sharks; Kane extends point streak to 17
* Four more Laquan McDonald police dashcam videos released

* 1 dead, 1 wounded in city shootings
* Fiery crash in McHenry County kills 3 18-year-olds; bystanders try to free passengers
* Tyshawn on swing when gangbangers out for revenge targeted him: prosecutors
* Blog: Mag Mile marchers protest Laquan McDonald shooting
* Some Black Friday shoppers balk at Laquan McDonald protests on Mag Mile
* Crowds close stores, march on Mag Mile to protest Laquan McDonald killing
* Ex-'American Idol' Lee DeWyze at home at Elk Grove tree-lighting
* Suit filed over former probation officer's misconduct
* Pop Warner team scrambling to raise money for national championship
* Cops: Will County explosions just legal shooting practice

* Charles Krauthammer: The Syrian immigration cul-de-sac
* Rob Elliott: EPA ethanol ruling affects more than energy policy
* Local free community college plans may be template for U.S.
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block refugees
* Vendor Payment Program suspended due to budget impasse
* Eugene Robinson: The GOP's political correctness dodge
* Douglas Holt: Woman's protest of Trump was misguided, inappropriate
* George Will: Muzzling pet advice another case of free speech erosion
* Bernard Schoenburg: Josh Langfelder took father's advice on election petition signatures
* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack

* Illinois 72, Alabama-Birmingham 58
* Nunn sparkles in return
* MBB notebook: Morgan starting strong for Illini
* Friday's highlights: GCMS, LeRoy boys hoops to meet in finale
* Rockets overwhelmed by Fightin' Irish in title game
* Volleyball team falls in finale
* Arcola routs Stark County for 1A football crown
* Football state championships notes: Arcola's win particularly special
* HS Football: Arcola returns to homecoming
* HS Football: Unity vs. Bishop McNamara Class 3A Championship

* Seguin scores in shootout and Stars beat Canucks 3-2
* Air pollution in Beijing hits hazardous levels
* Barkov's shootout goal gives Panthers 3-2 win over Islanders
* Westminster Christian knocks off St. Edward
* George's big game pushes Pacers past Bulls 104-92

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Letter: Sen. Durbin is right on refugee is......

* Opinion: Sen. Kirk must stand with crimina......

* Dueling pair of children being used to fight for attention of Chicago, world
* No Positive Loitering Tonight
* Fairness.
* It brings out the rats.
* If we are to get Goldman Sachs out of ESEA, we will have to be the ones to do it.
* Black Friday on North Michigan Avenue.
* Does America need a "council of elders"?
* Snow Money
* There's Snow Business
* Random Thoughts.

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

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