* VIDEO: Storms, flooding swamp Capitol
* State’s oldest school to close to teaching
* Stroger aide Mullins denies brother got firms ‘24-9′ contracts
* College presidents urge Cook County to fix Stroger job training program
* Metra picks ex-top cop’s firm to run fraud probe
Metra appointed a firm headed by former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard to run a new inspector general’s office in the wake of the discovery that its former executive director took hundreds of thousands of dollars in unauthorized pay.
The Metra board approved the interim appointment of Hillard Heintze on Wednesday to investigate fraud and abuse at the agency after Metra determined that the late Phil Pagano took $475,000 in unauthorized payments. The new office will take tips from any source, including anonymous sources, Metra said.
* RTA Breaks Silence, Says it did Conduct Metra Audit
* Top Metra official says she knows of no other illegalities
Doris also disclosed during a meeting with the Tribune’s editorial board that she rejected a suggestion that she quietly resolve the Pagano scandal rather than go public with the disclosure that he improperly took money and forged her signature to get it.
* Metra board takes steps to avoid financial scandals
* Huberman’s Update on Anti-Violence Efforts
Chicago Public Schools says fewer students have fallen victim to gun violence this school year. CEO Ron Huberman says his high-profile safety plan is beginning to work.
But that plan is barely in place.
* Beach violence alarms alderman
“We just don’t want any gang problems at the beach,” said Ald. Vi Daley (43rd), whose lakefront ward includes North Avenue beach. “Beaches are there for people to enjoy, to play volleyball, swim and walk along the beach. We want to make sure it’s a safe place for people to go.'’
Several incidents Monday have focused attention on the beach.
* Daley concerned about spate of North Avenue beach arrests
* Mayor Says Parks and Beaches are Safe After 8 Arrested In Attacks Near North Avenue Beach
* Daley: Investigation into illegal cabs ‘by no means complete’
* DuPage Water Commission changes slow in coming
First it was state Sen. Dan Cronin, R-Elmhurst, who failed in his attempt to consolidate the troubled commission under the County Board.
Now his opponent in the upcoming race for DuPage County Board chairman, Aurora Democrat Carole Cheney, is taking aim with a different tactic. Early this week, Cheney called for “more equitable representation” for municipalities on the commission. She’s referring to the seven of 12 commissioners appointed by the County Board and its chair, that is, whomever wins the November election.
* Sauk Village trustees fire police chief
* Yorkville hikes water rates over next 5 years
* Rockford leads state in DUI arrests outside Chicago
* [Naperville] near top in DUI arrests for 20th year
* Coalition taking on issues of older [Springfield] neighborhoods
* Jackson board approves raises
* First in Print program starts Sunday
Beginning Sunday, The State Journal-Register will publish some articles in the print edition first instead of publishing simultaneously in print and online.
* Congratulations to AP’s O’Connor
Covering the Capitol for The Associated Press, O’Connor’s dogged pursuit of stories and meticulous research of state records has resulted in stories of waste and mismanagement in state government that are far too numerous to list here. (For one random example, O’Connor’s comparison of travel and campaign records in January 2009 showed that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich had raised $42,000 in campaign funds the previous November during an official visit to southern Illinois, where he had traveled on a state plane.)
The AP recognized O’Connor’s work this week by awarding him its 2010 Oliver S. Gramling Journalism Award.