* U.S. Pays $2.5 Trillion for Care Costing $912 Billion
“Health reform could not be more critical,” Mike Duke, president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest private employer, said in a letter last month to Obama. “Reforming health care is necessary not just to improve the health of all Americans, but also to remove the burden that is crushing America’s businesses.”
* Glimmer of hope
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index report showed prices edged up 1.1 percent in the Chicago area from April, the index’s first month-over-month improvement since June 2008. Prices dropped 17.5 percent in May from a year earlier. But the May annual data was an improvement over April’s year-over-year report, which showed prices dropping 18.7 percent.
* Kids Count: Illinois seeing rise in child poverty
* AT&T skirting law that requires local cable-access stations
This is not just a local issue, but one playing out nationally wherever AT&T deploys its U-verse technology. While Illinois’ Cable and Video Competition law of 2007 requires companies with state video franchises to deliver PEG channels with equivalent signal quality and functionality to that of commercial channels, many communities feel AT&T is coming up short and are seeking legal remedies to gain compliance.
* Fairmount Park closing its season early; economy, lawsuit blamed
* Daley orders furloughs: ‘taxpayers are hurting’
Two thousand non-union employees at six government agencies under Mayor Daley’s control will be ordered to take furlough days and forfeit 2009 pay raises to save $18.8 million and keep their hands out of taxpayers’ pockets.
* Daley outlines unpaid days off for top schools, park district and CTA officials
* Daley: CPS admissions investigation shows change how public schools are perceived
After telling reporters that Ron Huberman was “on top of that,” Daley said he welcomed the need for an investigation. It shows there’s been a sea change in how parents perceive the public schools, he said.
“Thank God people want to get their kids into school. … Usually, they’re fleeing to the suburbs. … This is unbelievable,” Daley said.
* Debate over gay business contracts resurfaces
Six years after raising the issue only to drop it like a hot potato, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) brought it up again during a Budget Committee hearing called to extend until 2015 a construction set-aside ordinance for minorities and women.
* NYT Co.’s top lawyer doubts that aggregation is a copyright issue
* Vote expected on South Side solar plant
* CTA rider: Flaw in Chicago Card Plus unfare
“I have a Chicago Card Plus. My monthly fee is supposed to provide me with unlimited rides for the month. However, there is a major flaw in unlimited rides provision.
If I ride the same route twice within a 12-minute period, I am charged for another ride. This has happened several times.
* 3 Kennedy Expressway entrance ramps to close Saturday
The $9.3 million rehabilitation project involves permanently closing several ramps and redesigning others in the busy corridor between Hubbard’s Cave and the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate Highway 290) Circle Interchange.
* O’Hare named 2nd worst in U.S. for delays
* Money budgeted for Peotone airport changes equation
They don’t agree on much, but proponents and opponents of the controversial proposal for an airport in Peotone say the $100 million set aside for the project in the state’s just-signed capital bill is “huge.”
For airport supporters, the money signals that Gov. Pat Quinn is serious about acquiring the remaining 2,000 acres needed in southern Will County to build a third major airport for the Chicago region. No sooner had the governor signed the $31 billion capital spending bill than state officials began fielding calls from landowners near Peotone seeking to cash in, said Susan Shea, director of aeronautics for the Illinois Department of Transportation.
* Comprehensive rail plan good start
* Capitol Q&A: Seat belt usage continues to climb
A statewide survey released last week shows that seat-belt usage has increased to 91.7 percent, a record. That’s more than 15 percentage points better than in 2003, when seat-belt usage was 76.2 percent.
Fatal crashes also are on the decline this year, dropping by about 10 percent during the first half of 2009, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety, which conducted the survey.
* Cook County patronage worker’s phone records released
Documents show up to 18 calls a day between phones of Tony Cole and Donna Dunnings, Todd Stroger’s cousin
* Quincy fights move of postal jobs to Springfield
But a postal service spokesman in Chicago said Tuesday the agency has “clarified” the study goal to calm concerns in Quincy that the entire operation, including about 70 jobs, might be leaving town.
* County offering cheap rabies shots, pet microchips
* Get Your Free Lolla iPhone App
* Buehrle Breaks ‘Perfect’ Record
Coming off the 18th perfect game in major league history, Chicago White Sox Mark Buehrle retired the first 17 batters on Tuesday night to set a record with 45 outs in a row before the Minnesota Twins rallied for a 5-3 victory over the White Sox.