Here are some of the stories that caught our attention during the work day.

March 2013 Archives

The must-read news stories for March 29, 2013.


An Illinois Tollway garage supervisor who had been fired and then re-hired twice before was recently fired for a third time for sleeping on the job. Joseph Caffarello, who was making over $78,000 a year when he was fired in February, told the Sun-Times he was "screwed" by the Tollway. Caffarello's history isn't exactly a clean slate: He was fired in 2000 for allegedly head-butting a toll collector during an argument but was later reinstated after winning a grievance. And then in 2004, he failed a drug test after a traffic accident with a Tollway vehicle but was re-hired thanks to an arbitrator's ruling. Whether the third time is Caffarello's last strike or not will be determined soon, as he's fighting the charges despite the photo evidence that shows him sawing logs on the clock. [Sun-Times]

Misplaced priorities?
While CPS plans to shut down 54 schools and Chicago Police are having to find a way to pay for more foot patrol cops to keep crime down, the city is just fine with spending a $100 million federal loan on prettying up a six-block stretch of the river walk downtown because no one involved in the planning thinks to watch HGTV for cost-effective tips. [Sun-Times]

Trooper killed
James Sauter, an Illinois State Trooper, was killed on-duty overnight when a semi struck his patrol vehicle on I-294. [Tribune]

Judicial rulings
A judge has ruled a threat by Johnny Borizov, accused of a 2010 quadruple murder in Darien, can be heard by jurors, but a statement by one of the victims worrying about Borizov will not be admitted. [Sun-Times]

Kim Jong-un thumping his chest
North Korea is huffing and puffing like the Looney Tunes chicken hawk by "leaking" maps that show plans to attack the U.S. via missile, specifically Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Austin, Texas.  [The Telegraph, NK News]

Too Soon!
In an effort to replace the now-defunct Venetian Night, the city is planning to collaborate with arts groups to put on the Great Chicago Fire Festival, because what better way to commemorate the city's worst disaster than with a party? [Sun-Times]

Transit headache
Among the usual CTA weekend messes, the Ashland/63rd branch of the Green Line will be closed. [CBS 2, CTA]

Friend or foe?
A South Side teenager stands charged with shooting a friend six times after that friend refused to join a gang. [Sun-Times]

Slurred speech
In the year 2013, a U.S. Congressman actually thought it was OK to refer to Latinos as "wetbacks." Alaska Republican Don Young was speaking in a radio interview.  [HuffPo]

British star of stage and screen Richard Griffiths. While he'll be best remembered for his role as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter film adaptations, his career went beyond that, including Withnail and I and an award-winning turn in the stage production of The History Boys. [A.V. Club]

Mapping the grid
Some fantastic old maps of Chicago. [A Continuous Lean via Gapers Block]

Bottomless breadsticks
Chicago is finally getting an Olive Garden to call its own, and the lucky neighborhood is Avondale. [DNA Info]

Play ball!
Baseball returns over the weekend, and the Cubs and Sox both open the regular season on Monday afternoon. [MLB]

Winged 'Hawks
Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa practiced, but don't expect them to play against the Ducks. [ESPN]

The Bright One
Earlier this week, Richard Roeper weighed in on comic actor Jim Carrey's new satirical music video. [Sun-Times; Funny or Die]

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And finally
The Boston Police are going to hilarious, awfully embarrassing links to try to bust kids putting on illegal DIY shows. [Slate]

The must-read news stories for March 28, 2013

Mourners remember Hadiya Pendleton at her funeral in February 2013 // Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

Michael Ward and Kenneth Williams, the two teens charged in the murder of teenager Hadiya Pendleton -- a shooting death that has been a local catalyst for calls for gun control -- pleaded not guilty earlier today to charges stemming from the shooting. The charges include murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery, aggravated discharge of a firearm and mob action. Ward is facing a total of 141 charges. The two remain held without bail. [Sun-Times]

Newtown details
Hey, speaking of gun violence, remember when the fight for tighter gun control was a thing? Well, that's faded from the headlines -- for now -- but newly released details on alleged Newtown shooter Adam Lanza could restart that push if some parents groups have their way. [Sun-Times, L.A. Times]

Get well, Nelson
Former South Africa president Nelson Mandela has been submitted to a hospital once more as he continues to battle a lingering lung infection. [BBC]

Baring it all
A candidate for Villa Park president isn't backing down after nude photos of him cropped up online. Good for him, because if he were a woman, the double standard that exists would have ripped his candidacy to shreds. [Sun-Times]

School daze
There are many ridiculous things about the way our schools are run, and standardized tests are one of them, something the Reader's Steve Bogira delves into in more detail. [The Reader]

The night they bulldozed the runways
It's been 10 years since Mayor Daley went in under cover of night and had bulldozers carve giant X's into Meigs Field in a move that was both abusive (in terms of power), totally ballsy and, therefore, totally Daley. [Sun-Times]

Balancing faith and gay marriage
After the Tribune's John Kass wrote a column in which some potential eloquent points were weighed down by straying into a "straight white male repression" defense a little too often, The 312's Whet Moser extrapolated some finer, more eloquent points about the issue of Christianity, journalism, and how one covers the changing, evolving face of the country's stance on gay marriage. [Kaas, Moser]

In an attempt to cut back a few dollars, the Field Museum is once again offering a collection of curators early retirement. [WBEZ]

Lolla gagging
Most of the full lineup -- allegedly -- for Lollapalooza has been leaked -- allegedly -- and while the under-card features some better bands -- allegedly -- the bill is still lacking, particularly in women and minorities at the top. [Sun-Times]

Cashing in
Some Bears fans are selling off their PSLs and finding that they can pocket a nice chunk of change by doing so. [DNA Info]

So there's that
Unrelated to on-the-field value, the Cubs are apparently worth a good deal of money overall. So says Forbes, anyway. [Sun-Times]

Call the waambulance
LeBron James may be the "king," but he acted like a little boy by complaining about hard fouls after last night's loss to the Bulls. Sorry your highness' grapes are so sour, LBJ. [ESPN]

The Bright One
After the Bulls' short-handed showing last night and all the drama surrounding Derrick Rose's return, Rick Morrissey thinks it's time for Rose to just call it a day for the 2012-13 season. [Sun-Times]

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And finally
Because every day needs a little R. Kelly, here's a Trapped in the Closet soundboard. [Fake Shore Drive]

The must-read news stories for March 27, 2013

Photo by Scott Olsen/Getty Images

Ministers, CTU rally against CPS closures
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union are taking to the streets along with parents and students to protest the CPS' closure of 54 schools across the city. Be sure to follow along at our live-blog for updated photos, reports and live videos. In the meantime, a group of black ministers who were loyal to former mayor Richard Daley have broken with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over the closures, a politically important fissure for the mayor that could have great impact upon his ability to appeal to black voters in the next election. Meanwhile, CPS continues to deal with more issues around today's rally including a leaked memo to principals on their expected behavior during today's events. [Live-blog, Sun-Times, The Reader, WBEZ]

The Supreme Court spent a second day on gay marriage by hearing arguments over the Defense of Marriage Act. Unlike yesterday, it seems that the justices may actually be leaning toward making a decision and possibly overturning parts of the law. [Sun-Times, LA Times, transcripts and audio]

Safe passage
Back to CPS school closings ... the administration says it will hire more patrols for its "Safe Passage" program to help protect students as they begin attending new schools with rival gangs because the CPS is making them. [Sun-Times]

It seems an outside norovirus was responsible for the spate of travelers taken from O'Hare to local hospitals recently. [NBC 5]

No to NATO 3
A judge has rejected a request by the so-called NATO 3 to drop terrorism charges against them for actions during last spring's NATO protests. [Sun-Times]

Chicago still has millionaires? I thought Oprah left town. [DNA Info]

Return trip
First Lady Michelle Obama is coming back to Chicago to address youth violence in April because that's still a thing we need to address. [Sun-Times]

Melting snow surprise!
It looks like it might warm up a little this weekend, though a cold snap could open April. Still, be on the lookout for all those little surprises the neighborhood dog left in your front yard while the snow piled up. [Tribune, CBS 2]

Not again
Once again, controversy surrounds the apparent ouster of TV's blandest talk show host. [Hollywood Reporter]

Jesus, the breakout character from History Channel's miniseries "The Bible" is getting his own miniseries. No word about that Obama-resembling devil, though. [A.V. Club]

Pity the slapshot
Mr. T shooting the puck at the Blackhawks game. Not sure what else you need. [ChuffPo]

When a tie is as good as a win
The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team escaped Mexico's Estadio Azteca with a thrilling 0-0 tie (and I say that genuinely) in World Cup qualifying. [ESPN]

Bulls turn up Heat
Derrick Rose won't be playing in tonight's big tilt but Dwyane Wade will. Meanwhile, Taj Gibson has been tasked with wooing LeBron James to play in Michael Jordan's shadow. Good luck with that. [ESPN, Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Mitch Dudek has the great story about a cold-weather swimmer who keeps getting himself in hot water. [Sun-Times]

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And finally
"Timothy Wayne "Tim" Hopkins, 54, went to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and Dale Earnhardt to contribute his building and painting expertise to the construction of many heavenly mansions on Saturday, March 23, 2013, in Memphis." The obit only gets better. [NEMS Daily Journal]

The must-read news stories for March 26, 2013: SCOTUS may side-step Prop 8, CPD's new strategy, and mega-music-fest news

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Prop 8 Battle
The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments over California's controversial Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in the state. While the SCOTUS won't issue a ruling for some time, all indications are that the court will actually, well, do nothing. Certain questions from the justices -- particularly Anthony Kennedy -- indicated that the high court may dismiss the case with no ruling, relegating the case back to the appeals court that already overturned Prop 8. Thus, gay marriage would continue in California but there would be no "sweeping" ruling by the Court that could be applied to other states. The spotlight will once again be on the court tomorrow as the justices hear arguments over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. [Sun-Times, FiveThirtyEight, SCOTUS Blog]

Shoe leather policing
CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy's newest tactic for fighting crime? More police on foot patrol. On the flip-side, though, the number of detectives -- officers not on foot patrol -- has, in fact, dropped in areas of the city hardest hit by crime. [Sun-Times, The 312]

A search by Sheriff Tom Dart for more potential John Wayne Gacy victims at a building where the serial killer's mother once lived has turned up zilch. [Sun-Times]

The Before Time
On the heels of CPS closures, activists around the city are getting ready to mark the one-year anniversary of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's controversial closing of many of the city's mental health facilities. [The Reader]

The Toddler
The trial of a longtime Todd Stroger aide seems to actually be aimed at snaring the Toddler himself. [Sun-Times]

Italy, eh?
Apparently, double jeopardy does not exist in Italy, where Amanda Knox has had her acquittal overturned. [L.A. Times]

Bad math
Spending $50,000 to punish someone for stealing $111? It's the Illinois way, apparently. [WBEZ]

Expensive snacks for Congress
And you thought you spent a lot of money every month on coffee. [WUSA]

Lollapalooza has sold out already but Pitchfork Fest looks to be a better bet anyway as its fuller lineup was announced earlier today. [DNA Info, Sun-Times]

Mr. Everything
Simeon-star-and-Duke-player-to-be Jabari Parker is, once again, Illinois' Mr. Basketball. [Tribune]

The heat is on
The Miami Heat and their looooooong winning streak swagger into town tomorrow night to face the Bulls. [ESPN]

The Bright One
Our outstanding, award-winning Editorial Board is now on Facebook, so give 'em a "Like." [Facebook]

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And finally
While the drought is easing in Illinois, it's still severe in other parts of the country, and its latest victims are corncob pipes. [NPR]

The must-read news stories for March 25, 2013: Gay marriage, Koschman files reappear, and the IRS' Star Trek snafu

People line up to snag a space for the SCOTUS oral arguments on two gay marriage cases // AFP PHOTO/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

SCOTUS on Gay Marriage
Tomorrow is a big day in the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices will hear arguments pertaining to two big gay marriage cases: California's Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. (Among the attendees at the oral arguments will be the lesbian cousin of Chief Justice John Roberts.) Meanwhile, here in Illinois, supporters of the bill legalizing gay marriage are hopeful they'll soon amass the necessary votes to pass the measure through the State House, sending the bill to Gov. Quinn who has promised to sign the bill into law. Over the weekend, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy wrote an op-ed supporting passage of the bill, joining other Chicago pop culture heavyweights Ernie Banks and Richard Dent in voicing support. And while it's still going to take a battle to get the bill through, it seems the State House is closing in. [SCOTUSBlog, SacBee, Windy City Times, Sun-Times]

The "missing" Koschman files
Our Watchdogs are back with more details on a mystery in the Koschman case, specifically on some files, which painted Daley nephew Richard J. Vanecko in a more aggressive light, that went missing for a time before magically reappearing. Just more shenanigans in a case overflowing with them. [Sun-Times]

Snow big deal
Grow a pair, Downstate Illinois. [CBS 2]

Standing ground
The NRA's grand Poobah Wayne LaPierre appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" yesterday during which he called out the media's bias on its coverage of gun violence and used Chicago's high gun murder rate as an example. Meanwhile, his own organization was busy making robocalls to residents of Newtown, Connecticut so there's that. [NBC, Sun-Times]

Headaches of the road
If you thought that Wells St. Bridge construction was tough, you ain't seen nothing yet. [Sun-Times]

Another factor in the city's geographically uneven murder rate? The lack of trauma centers on the South Side. [In These Times via Gapers Block]

Mo' pensions, mo' problems
Illinois' pension issue is even worse now. [Crain's]

Ari Emanuel isn't happy that NBC's Brian Williams bothered to ask him a few questions that weren't easy softballs. [Chicago Mag]

To boldly go...
Now the IRS is in trouble for spending $60,000 on a "Star Trek" parody for a training video. But the most egregious thing about the video is that while it includes Spock, the participants are clearly wearing the Starfleet uniforms from The Next Generation era incarnation of the series. Jeez. [Tribune, The Video Itself]

Former Bears DT Anthony Adams has retired and had fun doing so with his goodbye press conference. [Deadspin]

Kane drain
For some reason, the state of the D-Rose Saga has reached such heights that people apparently care what Patrick Kane thinks of the whole thing. [ESPN]

Hare Jordan
Michael Jordan is getting married again and his wedding guests have been warned to shut it on details. That means you, Bugs Bunny. [Sun-Times, Space Jam]

The Bright One
On the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover, Neil Steinberg wonders if your dog is ready. [Sun-Times]

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And finally
NPR looks at the fun website Where's George, which tracks the path of $1 bills across the country and confirms the old saying, "All dollar bills go through Polekatz." [NPR]

The must-read news stories for March 22, 2013: CPS fallout, Prentice demolition approaches, and Ohio's groundhog battle

Parents protest the proposed school closures. | Charles Rex Arbogast~AP

CPS closure chaos fallout
The fallout continues from the whopper of an announcement by the Chicago Public Schools that they're recommending closure of 54 schools (and 61 buildings), affecting 30,000 students and 1,000 teachers. Mapping the schools recommended for closure shows most of the affected schools are concentrated in areas with higher poverty levels. Meanwhile, parents have been quick to show their anger at the decision; at a protest at Ryverson Elementary, parents pulled a fire alarm, according to While Mayor Emanuel remains on spring break vacation with his family in Utah, he'll be appearing alongside his brothers on a taped segment of the NBC show "Rock Center" tonight, the only thing we'll have heard from Emanuel since the news of the closures broke earlier this week. And, finally, Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell joins the vocal minority of residents who say the closures were a tough but correct decision. [Sun-Times, DNA Info, NBC 5, Mitchell]

CPS ripple effect
The CPS closures are being felt even beyond the city limits, out in Cook County. County Board President (and former alderman) Toni Preckwinkle takes umbrage with the mayor's decision on the schools, and it's enough to make Ben Joravsky think Preckwinkle could have her eye on Rahm's seat. [The Reader, Joravsky]

Macabre cop
A former Chicago Police officer already accused in one grisly kidnap-murder plot has been accused of a second plot. [Sun-Times]

Hard wage for rent
One recently released study shows that a minimum wage worker in Illinois has to work 82 hours to afford the average rent of an apartment. [Chicagoist]

State House shuffle
State Republicans are threatening to stop funding to "non-essential" services until the legislature can balance a budget. Meanwhile, a House committee has quashed a bill that would have limited high school and youth football leagues to just one full-contact practice a week in a move to help curb concussions. [Politics blog, Sun-Times]

More Marine tragedy
A marine at the Quantico base shot two other marines fatally before turning the gun on himself. [L.A. Times]

The FAA announced the closings of 149 air traffic control towers across the country due to the sequester cuts; impact regionally will be on Gary, Waukegan, and Kenosha. [Sun-Times]

Twists and turns
More twists and turns in the saga surrounding Sen. Robert Menendez and accusations that conservative news outlet The Daily Caller paid women to accuse Menendez of being involved with prostitutes. [The Atlantic]

Prepping Prentice
Northwestern University now has its permit for the demolition of Prentice Hospital and has already set up a fence around the property. [Grid]

Now that William Beavers is out as a Cook County Commissioner, the wheels are in motion to replace him. [Sun-Times, Politics Blog]

Literary legend Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian writer who's probably best known for the exquisite novel "Things Fall Apart" has died at the age of 82. [N.Y. Times]

Not In Our Backyard
Would-be neighbors to the proposed DePaul arena are already voicing their displeasure about the plans and vow to put up a fight. [Chi Real Estate]

Gill benched
CSN host Kendall Gill has been suspended for the rest of the year due to his fisticuffs with Tim Doyle. [Crain's]

Replacing Urlacher
While Urlacher expects to still play in 2013, it seems the Bears are moving on with one signing and targeting another potential linebacker. [ESPN, Sun-Times, Bears Blog]

Easy does it
Eastern Illinois RB Bobby Pettis is in big trouble after allegedly robbing a Jimmy John's delivery man at knifepoint, but judging by his mug shot, he's not too worried. [Deadspin]

The Bright One
With Congress approving a new Eisenhower monument, Neil Steinberg wonders where the monument madness will end. [Sun-Times]

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And finally
Ohio is so upset about the lack of spring thus far, they've indicted Punxsutawney Phil and are seeking the death penalty. [WaPo]

The must-read news stories for March 21, 2013: School closure chaos, Daley's parting gift and more UNO shenanigans

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett // Al Podgorski~Sun-Times

School closure chaos
Last night, the Sun-Times broke the story that the Chicago Public Schools would announce around 50 schools would be closed. Today, the names of various schools leaked via sources and aldermen who have already been told of the closures in their ward. CPS is set to release the full, official list this afternoon, so keep checking for more updates. But as a partial list of unofficial closures has been compiled, mapping those closures reveals what most suspected: Neighborhoods on the South and West Sides with higher poverty levels will be hit hardest. Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is enjoying a frosty ski vacation in Utah since the mayor's kids attend the private University of Chicago Lab Schools, which are on spring break. [Sun-Times, unofficial partial list, interactive map, timeline, DNA Info, Chicago Mag]

The gift that keeps on taking
The horrendous parking meter privatization deal that Mayor Daley left us with just got even worse thanks to a parking garage snafu that will force the city to pay $57.8 million to the LLC that is leasing the meters. [Sun-Times]

Another day, another mass shooting in Chicago
Seven people were hurt after a gang-related shooting occurred at a Greshman night club during a rap video release party. [Tribune]

A family affair
Taking a page from the Joe Berrios handbook, it appears UNO head Juan Rangel has three family members on the payroll. [Sun-Times]

Raising a ruckus
Protesters rallied to push Lisa Madigan to pause from her consideration of a gubernatorial run next year and take her appeal of the conceal-carry ban repeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. [Backtalk Blog, CBS 2]

Hog slaughter
William Beavers was found guilty on all counts in his tax fraud trial. [Sun-Times]

Reform, sort of
Maybe Illinois is kind of ready for pension reform? [Politics blog]

Obama for peace
Speaking in Jerusalem today, president called for renewed Israel-Palestinian peace talks. [BBC]

Home value
The closer you are to public transit, the more valuable your home is because apparently potential homeowners don't like the thought of having to trudge a long way through the Chicago winter just to get to a delayed train. [Crain's]

Digging the hole deeper
Michelle Shocked's bad week is getting worse as the singer ditched a radio interview and then set off another Twitter war. [Vulture]

Universe's youth
Scientists have now got an even older baby photo of the universe. [N.Y. Times]

Thorny Rose
Not only does Derrick Rose still not know when he's coming back, he's now saying his injured knee is still sore. [Sun-Times]

Bear down
In a move Brian Urlacher calls a "slap in the face," it looks like the Chicago Bears will be parting ways with the legendary linebacker after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract. [ESPN, Morrissey]

The Bright One
Between the Urlacher news, free agent signings, and next month's draft, it's a good time to subscribe to our Bears iPad app to keep caught up on all the offseason news. [iTunes]

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And finally
There will be no "Sex Week" at the University of Tennessee. Worse for students: They're still stuck in Knoxville. [FOX News]

The must-read news stories for March 20, 2013: Wrigley Field wrangling | CTA shenanigans | Obama's bracket

Tom Cruze/Sun-Times Photo

Wrigley wrangling
In the process of protecting rooftop owners from being blocked by outfield video screens at Wrigley Field, Ald. Tom Tunney suggested the Cubs tear down their iconic -- and preserved -- centerfield scoreboard and put the big Jumbotron there. Tunney, though, said the suggestion was to move the scoreboard to left field -- which would still block rooftop owners -- and put the Jumbotron in center though that all has been dismissed so . . . whatever. The team is still going to underwhelm and the rooftop owners will still make a boatload of money on drunk marketing guys having a bro outing on a Friday afternoon. [Sun-Times]

BBB: Students will benefit from school closings
CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett seems to have her math mixed up as she insists shifting students from schools that the CPS wants to close to other schools where they'll be stuffed into over-crowded classrooms - not to mention putting rival gang members next to each other - will actually benefit the kids. [FOX 32]

Over there
President Obama is visiting Israel for the first time in his presidency to cement his support to America's staunchest Mideast ally from threats, including a nuclear-saber rattling Iran. [N.Y. Times, Interactive map]

Pension reform actually passes!*
It took two tries, but the Illinois Senate passed Sen. President John Cullerton's pension bill. *Now onto the House, where trouble lurks . . . [Sun-Times, Politics blog]

More Ventra venting
I know it's a shock to hear the CTA is being accused of not being totally upfront, but that's what the RTA is saying over the lack of a debit option on the new fare card. In addition, there are a ton of new fees tucked away and hidden in the fine print, firming up the CTA's status as the evil genius transit authority which figures out how to squeeze blood from stones without directly raising fares. [Tribune, Tribune]

Law & Order
The defense for former Cook Co. Commissioner William "I'm the hog with the big nuts" Beavers rested its case in his tax fraud trial, but did so without calling Beavers to testify -- something the alleged "Seven Star" gambler claimed he would do. [Sun-Times]

Rubber stamp
The City Council remains a mayoral rubber stamp even under a new mayor, and we're all getting screwed because of it. Steve Rhodes digs deeper into the issue. [Chicago mag]

Roiling waters
Another big consequence of climate change: more local flooding. [WBEZ]

Food for thought
The Reader's Mick Dumke looks at a new approach to fighting the drug war on the hyperlocal front: open a new business. [The Reader]

Narrowing the field
The 17 finalists to host Check, Please! have been named, but I'm not on the list, so it is useless. [Sun-Times]

Commander in Brackets
President Obama is a front-runner when it comes to picking his NCAA bracket: he picked only three double-digit seeds to win and picked every 1-, 2-, and 3-seed to make the Sweet 16 (as well as three 4-seeds and one 5-seed.) [Chicagoist]

Playing the feud
CSN's Kendall Gill is on leave after an alleged dust-up with Big Ten Network's Tim Doyle in the CSN newsroom. [ESPN]

Facebook Like Belmont
Facebook presents a fascinating look at where fan bases are for the teams in this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament. [Deadspin]

The Bright One
Adam Jahns and Sean Jensen weigh the remaining free agent options for the Bears. [Sun-Times]

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And finally
What would a cartoon of the legendary comic strip Calvin & Hobbes look like? Why, like this. Probably. [Gawker]

The must-read news stories for March 19, 2013: Remembering Jonylah, Time Out Chicago's digital shift, and the Iraq War 10 years later

AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Remembering Jonylah
Jonylah Watkins, the 6-month-old girl shot and killed last week during a gang-related incident in which her father was the intended target, was laid to rest today in a heartbreaking scene. [Sun-Times, Storify]

Stop the presses. Literally.
Sources have confirmed to the Sun-Times that Time Out Chicago is ceasing print operations and going digital-only. [Sun-Times]

Dems fire blanks on weapons ban
Senate Democrats will drop a proposed ban on assault weapons from the gun bill that will be debated next month. Leaders in support of the bill were afraid it would kill the entire bill, so they've chosen to vote on the ban as an amendment to the bill so it can be humanely killed without taking down the rest of the legislation. [Sun-Times]

Deadly explosion
An explosion/training accident involving mortar in Nevada killed seven marines from a North Carolina unit. [Assoc. Press]

Freeing information
The president of MIT has announced the school will make public documents connected to the prosecution of hacker Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide earlier this year. Swartz was the target of an overly aggressive federal prosecution connected to illegally downloading and sharing documents. [Sun-Times]

Twinkies live!
A judge has OK'd the sale of select Hostess brands -- including Twinkies -- meaning the spongy cake snack could be back on shelves soon, making Americans fat again. [Tribune]

Rose-y pitch for Cubs
The mayor of Rosemont wants to lure the Cubs out to the 'burbs to play in a replica of Wrigley Field. New location, new stadium, same underperforming team. [Sun-Times]

Worst person
The Ohio teen convicted of killing three students in a school shooting showed up to his sentencing hearing wearing a shirt that said "KILLER" and flipped off the judge and victims' families. [Reuters]

Shocking behavior
Singer Michelle Shocked went on an anti-gay tirade during a San Francisco show, and the reaction has been swift; her upcoming Evanston Space show has already been canceled by the venue. [Sun-Times]

Iraq, 10 years later
Marking the 10th anniversary of the clustermess that was the second Iraq War. [Buzzfeed]

Blanding the bland
Northerly Island could become a new Ravinia-in-the-city. [ChuffPo]

Stop with Chi-rish
No, you are not Irish, and you should really stop claiming that heritage on just one day of the year as an excuse to drink and then puke up green beer even if you are. [Chicago Mag]

Payback's a rainbow
Opponents of the Westboro Baptist Church who happen to live next to the controversial church have come up with a brilliant, color-filled way to stick it to the haters. [Talking Points Memo]

Load of Bull
Still miffed about the controversial calls that cost the Bulls a win against Denver? You'll be even madder when you read how the refs made the right call but still screwed the Bulls over. [Deadspin]

DePaul DeNies UC
The United Center is no longer a suitor of DePaul Blue Demons basketball. [Sun-Times]

Not so fast
The Dallas Cowboys are pretty "meh" on Urlacher. [CBS 2]

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And finally
Everyone knows you can get in trouble for yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded room, but you can also face punishment for doing the same thing with the word "Bingo!" []

The must-read news stories for March 18, 2013: Hillary's gay marriage support | Is Obama the Devil? | RIP Jason Molina


Run for the Hills
Hillary Clinton came out today in support of gay marriage, which, you know, yay! And it comes at a crucial time for her native state of Illinois, which is still dragging its feet toward passing (or not) its own gay marriage bill. Meanwhile, the support comes at a time when support for gay marriage across the nation has never been higher. And, perhaps more politically convenient, it gives a new surge of momentum to rumors Clinton may run for president in 2016 just as conservatives spent the last few days posturing for the election cycles ahead at CPAC. [Sun-Times, Video, ChiMag, The Atlantic]

Still Chicago, still violent
Two people were killed and fifteen injured over the cold weekend in the city. Meanwhile, Frank Main reports on the upcoming sentencing of Rashod "Fat Man" Bethany, an enforcer for the notorious "Killing Crew" that had a strict no-snitch code. [Sun-Times; Main]

Elgin charges
Elgin police have announced murder charges against Paul Johnson, accused of breaking into the house of his neighbor, Lisa Koziol-Ellis, and stabbing her to death. [ABC 7]

Strange happenings at UCF
Authorities are still investigating the apparent suicide of a student at the University of Central Florida who seemed to have been planning an explosive attack on the school. [NPR]

You know the charges against you are bad when the former thorn in ex-Mayor Daley's side is hired to investigate you. Which is what is happening to Joe "Family Man" Berrios. Former Chicago inspector general David Hoffman has been appointed by a judge to investigate Berrios' actions. [Sun-Times]

Obama The Devil
According to some people, the depiction of Satan in History Channel's miniseries The Bible has a strong resemblance to President Obama, fulfilling the hopes and dreams of the Tea Party, who are the most likely viewers of the miniseries anyway, since it dovetails so nicely with the channel's other programming of alien conspiracy shows. [A.V. Club]

Steubenville fallout
Two high school students were convicted yesterday of rape in Steubenville, Ohio, a case that caught national attention due to the behavior of the boys who sent photos of the girl passed out naked to friends. But just as the trial has wound down, now comes criticism of the way the media handled the case, from CNN's questionable sympathy toward the perps to Fox News naming the 16-year-old victim. [Jezebel, Gawker]

Aldermanic shenanigans
More City Council committees are now using the 2015 ward map even though the most recent aldermanic elections (2011) were done using the boundaries created in 2001, creating confusion and anger, which is really just another day in the Chicago City Council. [Sun-Times]

• Brilliant singer-songwriter Jason Molina (Songs: "Ohia," "Magnolia Electric Co."), and a former Chicago resident, died this weekend in Indianapolis from what friends describe as "a body that had been drowned in alcohol for years on end." [The Reader]
• Rob Komosa, paralyzed 13 years ago during a football game, died from respiratory complications over the weekend. [CBS 2]
• Ruth Ann Steinhagen, the crazed Cubs fan who shot a player and inspired the movie "The Natural," died last December but her death has just been announced. [MLB]

The prestige
Chicago is repped well in this year's batch of James Beard Award finalists, but I still refuse to acknowledge any food awards that don't honor the greatness of Popeye's Chicken. [Eater Chicago]

More than meets the eye
Michael Bay's fetish for destroying the city of Chicago with giant fake robots will soon continue. [Gapers Block]

Science is amazing/scary
"The sun is a mass of incandescent gas / A gigantic nuclear furnace / Where hydrogen is built into helium / At a temperature of millions of degrees." And could kill us all and wreak havoc on our society. [NY Times, YouTube]

No Heir Jordan
The Atlanta woman who had originally filed a paternity suit against Michael Jordan has now withdrawn said suit. [Sun-Times]

Rose Watch
No, Derrick Rose is not playing tonight. Stop asking. However, Taj Gibson could be coming back soon. [ESPN]

Brawl game
The Rockford IceHogs and the Chicago Wolves went all "Slap Shot" on each other at the end of a game over the weekend. [Deadspin]

Can't win, don't try
No, your bracket will not be perfect, so says science. [DNA Info]

The Bright One
Sun-Times music critic Thomas Conner is fresh and rested after another marathon SXSW. You can catch up on all his coverage from the fest. [ST at SXSW]

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And finally
Now Truthers have ruined Star Wars, too. [Slate]

The must-read news stories for March 15, 2013: Blagojaversary, Jonylah Watkins developments, and CPS' bad TV deal

Blago bids adieu // AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

Happy Blagojaversary
It's been a year since Rod Blagojevich entered prison in Colorado and so far most of Illinois has mercifully forgotten about the ex-gov. But he still exists to remind us of the endless corruption in our state. Meanwhile, Patti Blagojevich took to Facebook to lament Rod's absence: "A year ago today, Rod left for Denver. I cannot call it the one year anniversary as the word anniversary implies celebration and all that we have been left with is an aching hole in our lives." "We completely agree," said absolutely no one else. Maybe she can fill that aching hole with more reality TV show appearances. Or money. Or Cubs Zubaz pants (see further down). [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Things are getting interesting in the Jonylah Watkins murder case. Sources have told our Michael Sneed that the baby's father, Jonathan, who was injured in the shooting that killed his 6-month-old daughter and was the supposed target, is not cooperating with police and that he wasn't changing his daughter's diaper at the time of the shooting, as had previously been reported. Meanwhile, Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco has dropped a new track written about and dedicated to Jonylah. [Sneed, Lupe's song]

Book ban
Confusion has reigned after reports that Marjane Satrapi's graphic autobiographical novel Persepolis was banned from Lane Tech High School. After a flurry of reports and back-tracks, it seems CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett thinks the book (which is outstanding and was turned into an Oscar-nominated animated film) is inappropriate to teach to seventh-graders as it had apparently been on the curriculum. [DNA Info]

Safety first
CPS is upping the security planned for the newly consolidated schools once it happens. [Sun-Times, Previously]

Perspective on violence
WBEZ's Natalie Moore brings a different perspective with an excellent take on what we mean when we say violence is "gang-related" and why it's misguided. [Ebony]

Bang the war drum slowly
After multiple threats from North Korea, the U.S. is responding by setting up more ground-based missile interceptors, likely to be stationed in Alaska. It may be a good time for The Onion to also apologize for that "sexiest man" article. [NBC News, The Onion]

Obama pays Argonne a visit
President Obama paid a visit to Argonne National Lab to promote a new alternative energy plan. Meanwhile, WBEZ examines the state's nuclear energy output, which is tops of any state in the nation. [Sun-Times, WBEZ]

Sad news for Chicago Bar-B-Q fans as the excellent Bucktown restaurant Lillie's Q suffered severe damage from an overnight fire and will be closed indefinitely. [Facebook]

Spotlight on Steubenville
The explosive trial of the alleged rape that's torn apart Steubenville, Ohio, has finally gotten under way. [The Atlantic, Jezebel]

Ring the Belle
Chicago indie pop duo Wild Belle are ready for their close-up. [Splash, YouTube]

Lost money
The CPS is leaving behind a lot of money when it can't afford to by allowing itself to be fleeced by ESPN on a current TV deal. [Grid]

Blackhawks back on track
Patrick Kane delivered the game-winner for the Blackhawks on Thursday, who snapped a two-game skid with a 2-1 win over Columbus. The team, which should be clinching a playoff berth any day now thanks to that ridiculously hot start, travels to Dallas for a game tomorrow. [Sun-Times]

The Cubs are celebrating a late-September game against the Pirates by giving out Cubs-themed Zubaz pants, guaranteeing that the bullpen won't be the worst thing in the stadium that day. [Cubs]

The Bright One
Coming off his eulogy for Google Reader, Andy Ihnatko turns to happier news in reviewing the new Samsung Galaxy S4. [Sun-Times]

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And finally
Researchers claim that sex in space could lead to life-threatening illnesses. Thanks a lot, science. [Guardian]

The must-read news stories for March 14, 2013: Chief Keef returns, more cruise ship problems, and goodbye Google Reader

Keef with his daughter, Jasmine; Photo by Jessica Koscielniak//Sun-Times

Keef's Release
Just when rapper Chief Keef -- aka Keith Cozart -- was fading from our memory, he's back and unleashing a string of horribly ridiculous quotes. Released today from juvenile detention after serving a 60-day sentence, it didn't take long for Keef to forget all about that baptism of life anew and make a bunch of gang references on social media, posting on his Facebook page: "F--- a TOOKA gang!!! BITCH IM 3 Hunna." (Tooka apparently refers to the nickname of a murdered member of a gang rival.) Anyway, this still doesn't quite manage to top comments from Keef's grandma, Margaret Carter. Speaking to about Keef's release, Carter said, "I ain't worried. Keith is going to be good. His devil is all those girls. Oooh, those girls are the devil. Everybody needs to just leave him alone and give him a big box of rubbers." Yes, those horrible devils that forced Keef to point a gun at police and Instagram a photo of himself receiving oral sex to thousands of public followers. What horrible people forcing their wickedness upon poor Keith. [Sun-Times, DNA Info]

As police continue to get information from her wounded father, the funeral for Jonylah Watkins has been set for next Tuesday. [Sun-Times, Mary Mitchell]

Committee kick-starts weapons ban
The Senate Judiciary Committee cleared a new ban on assault weapons -- the first vote on the topic since it's repeal in 2004 and a vote that was split 10-8 straight down party lines. [NY Times]

Zombie hole
The World's Most Expensive Hole In The Ground™ is rearing its ugly head once more. [Crain's]

Thou Shalt NOT...
Another day, another religious authority figure grossly abusing his power. The former preacher of a Hammond megachurch told the teenage girl with whom he was having an affair that the affair was "exactly what Christ desires for us." [Sun-Times]

A supposedly fun thing you weren't supposed to do again
Another Carnival Cruise ship in a heap of trouble. [CNN, David Foster Wallace (PDF)]

File under: Gross and Awful
A Gage Park mother is suing a local McDonald's, claiming that her toddler ate a used condom found in the play area, which only reinforces my belief that those play pits are the grossest places on Earth. [Sun-Times]

Reuters Deputy Social Media editor Matthew Keys has been indicted for allegedly helping Anonymous hack a Tribune Company server (and thereby allowed the group to alter an LA Times story on the paper's website) by leaking his credentials from an old job. [Politico]

Cook County: Grower, not shower
According to the most recent census numbers, Cook County grew but only by a paltry three-tenths-of-one-percent. [WBEZ, Sun-Times]

Beyond Second City
An interesting breakdown of SNL alums finds that the famed Second City now really is second in terms of feeding the sketch comedy show its stars. [Sun-Times]

Google is sending its popular Google Reader web app to a nice, big farm run by a lovely old couple where it can run around and play all day with Google Wave and Friendster. [The Atlantic, Andy Ihnatko]

Hack, Part Deux
Rick Reilly puts as much effort into the Wrigley/City of Chicago tussle as every other column his Hackneyed Professional Sports Journalist computer program farts out (probably using DOS Shell). Deadspin's reaction to the column is a far better and more succinct reaction to everything. [ESPN, Deadspin]

Illini Madness
Brandon Paul's fall-away jumper as the clock hit zero pushed Illinois past Minnesota at the Big 10 men's hoops tournament earlier today. Next up: No. 3 Indiana. [ESPN]

The Bright One
Rick Morrissey takes into account the new Bears acquisitions and why it means, now more than ever, that Cutler has run out of excuses. [Sun-Times]

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And finally
Now that Twinkies have been salvaged, who should be the next spokesperson for the spongy, atomic bomb-resistant snack? Gawker suggests George W. Bush, which is a great idea except he has a new career as a budding dog painter. [Gawker, Dogs]

The must-read news stories for March 13, 2013: A New Pope, Bears moves, and a rifle raffle


Pope Francis I, AP Photo

Pope & change
Argentine cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected as the first Jesuit pope -- the first from either of the Americas -- and he has taken the name Pope Francis I. While some will point to Super Diplomat Dennis Rodman's involvement as a factor, others will point out that Bergoglio received the second-most number of votes at the 2005 conclave. Francis, the 266th pope overall, is the first non-European pope in more than 1,000 years, and observers say his election shows the Catholic Church recognizes its need for global outreach since Latin America is home to a big chunk of the world's Catholics (approximately 483 million or 41 percent). Many "pink smoke" protests hoping for a broader role for women in the Vatican dotted the Catholic world landscape, which makes sense; the pope is elected by a small group of old, mostly white males making it difficult to tell the difference between pope election or GOP party leader selection. The new pope's first big trip will likely be this July for World Youth Day in Rio. [Sun-Times, NY Times, live blog, Special app edition]

Jonylah Watkins
As police try to do their best with few -- if any -- leads in the murder case of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins, the girl's father Jonathan, also wounded in the shooting and believed to be the intended target, is cooperating with police in their investigation. Watkins, however, insists he doesn't know who the shooter was. [Sun-Times]

More senseless -- and stupid -- violence
How senseless is gang violence now? If the above story didn't do it for you, consider the allegations by Lake County prosecutors that a Zion man was shot and killed Sunday because of the way his hat was tilted. [Tribune]

Gay marriage battle
As the battle over marriage equality continues in the state legislature, House Speaker Michael Madigan says he's 12 votes shy of having enough support to pass the legislation. [Sun-Times]

"Wider net" cast on gun offender list
The City Council has approved legislation to expand those who appear on a list of registered gun offenders. [Sun-Times]

CPS money riles state GOP
Because CPS doesn't have enough enemies, it can add one more to the list: state Republican lawmakers.[Crain's]

After one of the defense attorneys for William Beavers, about to stand trial on tax-evasion, claimed the case was rigged by a tainted jury pool, the presiding judge has slapped everyone with a gag order. [ABC 7]

Another reason to hate the IRS
Happy spring, a glitch may delay your tax refund. [Tribune]

Chi-rish amateur hour
St. Patrick's Day brings out the worst in people, particularly the hooligan idiots celebrating in Wrigleyville, so here's hoping authorities follow through on their "zero tolerance policy" threat, because green puke looks good nowhere. [DNA Info]

The Endangered Seven
Preservation Chicago unveiled its list of the city's seven most endangered buildings. Wrigley Field is not listed because "visitor's emotional state during visit" isn't part of the criteria. [WBEZ]

No fun first lady
First lady Michelle Obama will grace the cover of Vogue magazine for the second time and the FLOTUS apparently put the kibosh on some rather "creative" ideas from photographer Annie Liebovitz. [Washington Post]

Rifle raffle
A downstate Little League is trying to top last year's meager fundraiser ($10) by raffling off an AR-15 assault rifle, the same type used in the Newton, Conn., shootings. Ticket sales have thus far been "gangbusters." [Sun-Times]

Bear-y aggressive
After adding a new tight end yesterday, the Bears went out and added former New Orleans Saint Jermon Bushrod to their offensive line. [ESPN]

Cutler playing out the string
The level-headed Jay Cutler and the calm, rational Bears fans will have a fun 2013 season as Cutler has said he's just fine playing out the last year of his contract in full without negotiating an extension. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Our sterling music critic Thomas Conner is in Austin, Texas, for the music portion of the annual South By Southwest festival -- but before he left, he took the time to share some thoughts on the new Justin Timberlake album. [Music Blog, Justin Timberlake review]

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And finally
Iran is so upset over the "distorted image" of the country in Hollywood films (like "Argo") that they're suing Hollywood. [The Guardian]

The Evening Rush for Tuesday, March 12, 2013

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The must-read news stories for March 12, 2013.


RIP Jonylah Watkins
6-month-old Jonylah died this morning after being shot 5 times in Woodlawn yesterday while her dad was changing her diaper in the car. The father, Jonathan Watkins, is a documented gang member with a criminal background. In an interview with the Sun-Times, Watkins said "I was trying to help. I was trying to help. I was trying to help her." A law enforcement source said the shooting was likely gang retaliation. [CST]

Smokers section
Black smoke. No Pope. Move along, please. Day 1 of the conclave produced no new Pontiff, with cardinals sending up a plume of black smoke -- yes, there's a white smoke app for that -- early this afternoon. Say what you want about Chicago elections, but at least we know the winner before they even start. And as if the Vatican didn't have enough riding on this, noted statesman and dictator fan Dennis Rodman will be on hand to observe. [CST, Deadspin]

The Bears don't have a prayer
Speaking of God and goings on behind the closed doors . . . The Bears have parted ways with chaplain Ray McElroy. If Jay Cutler couldn't get divine intervention for O-line assistance before, he's doomed now. [Bears blog]

But back to Rodman
The former Chicago Bull and his new BFF Kim Jong-un are taking their relationship to the next level by planning a vacation together. During a bar appearance in Fargo, N.D. (yeah), Rodman revealed that although he doesn't condone some of the authoritarian leader's decisions, he still plans to return to North Korea in August to vacation with Kim. Awww... [CST]

They're baaack. Well, soon. Maybe.
Hostess is moving ahead with plans to sell its Twinkies, and one of the new owners says the spongy, cream-filled snacks could be back on shelves by summer. Just in time for bikini season. [CST]

A divot to deal with
Mortgage broker and golfer Mark Mihal is recovering after an 18-foot-deep sinkhole opened up beneath him Friday on the fairway at the 14th hole of the Annbriar Golf Course just southeast of St. Louis. Bet he wasn't expecting that hole-in-one! [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Tapping into March Madness
The NCAA basketball tournament is the champion of sports. It's drama, feel-good stories -- hello, JMU -- anger, animosity, tears of joy and despair, sportsmanship and the best sports on TV every year. It is, simply, sports perfection. But the beer bracket is better. [Chicagoist]

Crossing the line
There is much joy in some very small parts of the world because Google has finally changed the colors on its transit maps to reflect the lines on the CTA. This should provide something soothing to look at while you wait out delays and suffer through overpacked rail cars. [CTA Tattler]

Makin' it rain
Vernon Hills police believe a banking mishap caused an unknown amount of cash to swirl around a busy intersection during rush hour Monday evening. A traffic jam occurred when people stopped and dashed out of their cars to collect the $100 and $10 bills. [News-Sun]

If you've been following the David Koschman saga, you know the latest Watchdogs report details a Daley Machine tie to the judge overseeing the case against Daley nephew Richard Vanecko. If you were wondering what Betty Loren-Maltese had to say about Judge Maureen P. McIntyre, wonder no more. [Betty's Blog]

The Bright One
Congrats to our Kate Grossman for winning the Education Writers Association's top national award for 2012 for opinion writing. She won for editorials she wrote during a particularly turbulent year in education in Chicago, with a teachers strike and big battles over a longer school day and school closings. [National Education Writers Association]

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And finally
If you plan on getting arrested soon and doing something really stupid for your mugshot, stop. You won't trump this guy. [Chicagoist]

The Evening Rush for Monday, March 11, 2013

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The must-read news stories for March 11, 2013.


6-month-old girl, man each shot multiple times in Woodlawn
A girl about 6 months old and a man were each shot multiple times Monday in the South Side Woodlawn neighborhood. Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said the victims shared the same last name. Story is still developing. [Sun-Times, DNAinfo, Chicago Tribune]

'Mob Wives Chicago' Pia Rizza denies leaking nude photos to TMZ
Racy photos of "Mob Wives Chicago" cast member Pia Rizza surfaced on TMZ early Monday with the headline "I'm leaking my own NAKED PICS!" Rizza, reached by phone, insists she didn't leak the two photos and she has no idea who did. "I'm a nervous wreck," Rizza said. [TMZ (NSFW)]

Mom pleads not guilty to selling child for porn
A Gary woman pleaded not guilty Monday morning to selling a child to another Gary resident, who also pleaded not guilty in the case, to make child pornography. [Post-Tribune]

Anthony Rizzo makes surprise appearance at Cubs' spring camp
Anthony Rizzo made a surprise appearance at Cubs' camp Sunday -- the surprise, of course, being that he was just stopping by to get some of his stuff for his trip to Miami with the Cinderella team of the World Baseball Classic tournament.[Sun-Times]

All's well that ends Wells construction
The Wells Street bridge reopened to CTA L traffic this morning to little fanfare. Nine days of work replacing the 500,000-pound southern half of the 90-year-old bridge ended early Monday, in time for Purple and Brown Line riders to return to normal rush-hour schedules. [Commuters react, Sun-Times]

One step forward, two steps back
CTA service over the Wells Street bridge may have resumed (Hooray), but then came the news that CTA officials now want to raise the cost of a one-way rail ride purchased with cash to $3 (Boo). The extra fee is supposed to encourage riders to use the agency's new Ventra plastic payment card that can be loaded with credits and tapped on fare readers. [Sun-Times]

A little off the top
A McHenry man is accused of clipping a Fox Lake salon after he robbed the shop instead of paying for a haircut. William Bolton, 36, is being held on $100,000 bond after he got a haircut and then allegedly robbed the place of $250 while brandishing a large kitchen knife instead of paying $14.95 for the styling. Note: Cost Cutters is not to be taken literally. [Lake County News-Sun]

Battle of the Beverage Bulge
New York City's ground-breaking limit on the size of sugar-laden drinks has been struck down by a judge shortly before it was set to take effect. The restriction was supposed to start Tuesday. [New York Times]

Much like New York City's sugary-drinks ban, soda's run as the nation's beverage of choice has also fizzled. In its place? A favorite for much of history: Plain old H2O. [Sun-Times]

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And finally
Hundreds gather to see St. Mary Magdalene's ... tibia bone? The relic of St. Mary Magdalene, enclosed in a glass and gold-trimmed case, is currently on tour through the southwest suburbs. [Aurora Beacon-News]

The must-read news stories for March 8, 2013: Wrigley slap fight, gay marriage battle and actual D-Rose news

The beautiful landscape around Wrigley Field // Photo by John White/Sun-Times

Wrigley slap fight drags on
After the Cubs tried to sweeten the deal for the city so they could get the OK to go forward with renovations of Wrigley Field and its surrounding area, Ald. Tom Tunney put down his Ann Sather's cinnamon roll and dug in his heels. Tunney told the press that there was no way he'd OK the renovations unless the team submitted to his demands (which involve parking and police). The slap fight got both sides called to the the principal's office as Mayor Rahm Emanuel has attempted to fix the feud so that another construction doesn't come and go with no work done. Meanwhile, when off-the-field matters trump anything happening on the field (even during spring training), it's usually not a harbinger of good things for the season ahead. [Sun-Times]

UNO's union U-turn
After a series of investigations by the Sun-Times uncovered shenanigans afoot at the United Neighborhood Organization, one of the city's largest charter schools operator, it will now allow its teachers to join unions. [Sun-Times]

The school bus scrap
Eight school buses were stolen on the South Side and rendered into a two-story pile of scrap overnight, marking the greatest senior prank ever or the weirdest crime in a while. [Tribune]

Gun legislation moves forward
The gun bill introduced by Sens. Kirk and Durbin - and named after Hadiya Pendleton - has passed committee; it aims to go after straw purchasers of guns. [Sun-Times]

Unemployment rate ticks down
The U.S. unemployment rate has dipped to 7.7 percent, its lowest point since December 2008, though skeptics note that the workforce has also contracted. Still, some experts are taking the glass-half-full approach, saying that the rate could dip below 7 percent by the end of the year. [NY Times]

Remembering Fukushima
Monday will mark the two-year anniversary of the deadly earthquake/tsunami that struck Japan, and NBC got a rare glimpse inside the Fukushima nuclear power plant. [MSNBC]

CPS snips budget
CPS did some trimming to its upcoming 2014 budget and managed to cut $17 million. [Sun-Times]

Tracking gay marriage in Illinois
The bill to legalize gay marriage could be voted on by the state House - the last hurdle for the bill as Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign it into law - so it's time to see how state reps stack up on the issue. Adding to the fun is the division within the GOP over party leader Pat Brady's support of the bill. And some clergy leaders say any lawmaker who votes in favor of gay marriage will be banned from their church, because that's exactly what Jesus would have done, right? [WCT, WBEZ, WBEZ]

At least he didn't say "Rick James"
A teen has been accused of a carjacking during which he held a gun to the victim's head and said, "I'm Denzel Washington, bitch, now drive." No word if the accused carjacker was allegedly auditioning for a role in Training Day 2: Back In Training. [DNAInfo]

Stop Googling yourself
Besides being a little bit vain, you can't get mad about what Google search turns up when you Google yourself. So says the court, anyway, so don't get mad when that search links your name to herpes. [Reuters]

D-Rose developments
For once, a report on Derrick Rose actually advances the saga, sort of: The star has apparently been cleared to play but there's still no set date for his return meaning this story can continues to spin its wheel for at least another week. [Sun-Times]

ChicagoSide has a fantastic oral history of the Chicago Matadors. [ChicagoSide]

The Bright One
Thomas Frisbie, of the Sun-Times Editorial Board, runs down some of the ways the current debate over drones affects Illinois. [BackTalk, Editorial, Sun-Times]

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And finally
A church that looks like a chicken because it's Florida. [WPTV 5]

The must-read news stories for March 7, 2013: Steinberg versus Toronto, Woodward versus Rahm, and more Blackhawks fever

toronto_rush copy.jpg

Steinberg v. Toronto, Part Deux
Yesterday, Neil Steinberg fired the first shots in what has become the great Chicago-Toronto War of 2013. Or something. Canada initially did not take Neil's shots lightly but they are, after all, Canadians, eh? And politeness has (mostly) won out judging by the media's written responses. Still, bigger outlets like the Wall Street Journal and the CBC have reached out to Neil for comment on his story, so this battle doesn't look to be going away. Next up: Neil takes on the original cast of "Degrassi Jr. High" and says mean things about Spike. [blogTO,, Toronto Star]

Woodward, Rahm play the feud
The other tête-à-tête for Chicago is the battle between legendary journalist Bob Woodward and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. Well, sort of. Not content to stop with his blown-out-of-proportion snit with the White House last week, Woodward took a potshot at Rahm during an appearance in town last night. Rahm likely doesn't care. Maybe. [Sun-Times, Politics Blog]

City gunning for changes
The City Council is trying to push through legislation that would expand the city's current "gun offender registry" in an attempt to boost what has been slow registration so far. [Sun-Times]

Thanks, Rodman
Dennis Rodman visits North Korea and now the enemy nation wants to restart the Korean War and nuke the United States. Waaaaaaaaaay to go, Worm. [Tribune]

School Daze
The committee charged with recommending school closures and consolidation for CPS recommended doing so to no more than 80 schools yesterday. But a report by Lauren FitzPatrick shows that black students would disproportionately bear the brunt of the closures, something Mayor Emanuel says is due to population shifts. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Rocky numbers
The state's unemployment numbers bounced back up in January, hitting 9 percent. [ABC 7]

Sports legend support gay marriage
Chicago sports legends Ernie Banks and Richard Dent have joined a group of athletes supporting gay marriage in Illinois, a big deal given both the perceived generation gap in terms of support for the issue as well as the fact that homophobia is still a rampant issue in pro sports. [Sun-Times]

Getting crafty
Craft beer is all the rage these days, especially in Chicago where you can throw a rock and hit a new craft beer brewer. It's so popular, in fact, that Ald. Moreno is offering one grocer a deal that would allow him to sell beer as long as it fits the definition of "craft" so as to apparently avoid "problems" because only troublemakers drink Bud Ice (which really is just awful, if it even still exists). [Grid, Crain's, DNA Info]

Uptown tango
The situation in Uptown with the Salvation Army, the homeless, and Ald. Cappleman continues to evolve as outlined by Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown. [Sun-Times]

Then & Now
Chicago without Chicago: What would it look like? [WBEZ]

Charity Point Plus
I love the Blackhawks, yet -- and maybe this is because I'm originally from non-hockey country -- the current "points streak" thing is a little weird since, technically, the Blackhawks have lost three games. Luckily, Whet Moser, who is way smarter than me, has a solid defense of the "charity point." [Chicago Mag]

Here come the Hawks
The Blackhawks have come a long way since the TV blackout days, hitting record ratings in the midst of the aforementioned streak, which has provided a bevy of memorable moments. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Tax time
A cautionary tale for tax season as former Bears star Chris Zorich has been charged with failing to file his income taxes for four years. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Our amazingly talented photo/multimedia staff has a brand new Facebook page that's worth your while. [Facebook]

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And finally
For people who want to meet a hookup at the airport -- and there are apparently a lot of you -- Orlando, Miami and Newark are the top three airports for just such fun. AH, yes, Newark, "The City Of Love." []

The must-read news stories for March 6, 2013: Blackhawks bandwagon, Canadian hurbis, and (more) CTA news

AP Photo/Brian Kersey

Blackhawks Bandwagon
In case you missed it -- and how could you? -- the Blackhawks' season-opening points streak has hit 23 games after last night's win over Minnesota, and now the Colorado Avalanche roll in tonight. But is there too much of a good thing? One downside of the streak is that the bandwagon is getting awfully full again; all of those who broke their ankles jumping off after the 2010 Stanley Cup win have healed and climbed back aboard. There are lots of new, crisp Kane jerseys, bros pronouncing "Toews" as "toes," and tickets -- even standing-room on StubHub -- have spiked in price. I'm all for supporting local teams, but beware being crushed in the stampede to the Bulls once the Blackhawks lose a game (by NHL points rules, anyway) and D-Rose returns to the Bulls. [Sun-Times, ESPN]

Whoa, Canada
Toronto took a page out of the Chicago Machine's playbook and found a magical 100,000 people to allegedly surpass Chicago in terms of population. You can't fool us -- we wrote the book on making up numbers, Canadians, so Neil Steinberg takes umbrage with your claim. [CBS 2, Sun-Times]

The CTA is planning on enlarging its program to hire ex-offenders to help clean CTA buses and trains --  a win-win. [Sun-Times]

However, this being the CTA, for everything they do right, there is something stupid. Such as Forrest Claypool following up on the news about the future $3 CTA ride with the claim that it's "voluntary." Well, voluntary if you choose not to use the new Ventra system, which will replace the current Chicago Card program and require a monthly $5 charge after 18 months if you don't want to use Ventra. So in a very basic sense, yes, it is voluntary, but only in the way that the choices are: Use Ventra, buy those multi-day passes that the CTA just hiked prices for, or, you know, pay the extra fees. [RedEye]

Warrant for Finkl
A judge has issued an arrest warrant for steel-company heir James B. Finkl, connected to a previous gun charge. [Sun-Times]

The FBI conducted a search of the NIU police station for an unnamed "ongoing investigation." [Sun-Times]

What Ailes you
Fox News chief Roger Ailes says in a new book of President Obama: "How often does he play basketball and golf? I wish I had that kind of time. He's lazy, but the media won't report that." Besides being not true, Ailes also left out the context of comparing Obama to his predecessor. [Vanity Fair, Hawaii News, CBS News]

Springfield budget bonanza
Gov. Quinn has proposed his new budget, where he says $1 out of every $5 will be spent on pensions, and has called it "the most difficult budget I have ever submitted." [Sun-Times]

RIP to Uptown rocker Dan Stock. [DNA Info]

WIND-y Walsh
Ex-congressman Joe Walsh is heading to WIND-AM as a talk show host, filling the void of conservative white men whining on talk radio. [TimeOut Chicago]

The Reader's Michael Miner has a great look at a story of how Loyola of Chicago took part in a historic moment for college basketball. [The Reader]

The Bright One
Could the 2013 Cubs be even worse than the 2012 Cubs? (Spoiler alert: Jeff Samardzija is the Opening Day starter, so, yes.) [ChicagoSide]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

And finally
You say "Lego spill," I say "greatest playground ever." [CNET]

The must-read news stories for March 5, 2013: Snowy snow snow, RIP Dawn Clark Netsch, and the TSA's relaxed rules

AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Elizabeth Flores

Snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow. Snow snow, 7 to 10 inches, snow snow, 1,000-plus flights canceled, snow O'Hare, snow Midway. Snow snow snow snow snow snow snowing, CTA snowed snow. Snow snow; snow snow snow snow snow. Snow snow snow, rush hour plows, snow snow snow, winter in Chicago. [Sun-Times, NWS, Photos]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

Dawn Clark Netsch, the straight-talking Illinois politician who broke important barriers for women, died at the age of 86 after a battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). [Sun-Times, Editorial, Marin]

Chavez dies
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez succumbed to cancer today at the age of 58. [Sun-Times]

Friendlier skies
The TSA will soon ease some of its carry-on policies by allowing pocket knives, hockey sticks and golf clubs on planes again. So sharp and blunt objects are OK, but my shoes and bottle of Gatorade from outside the airport are still a danger? OK, got it. [Bloomberg]

Honoring Hadiya
Senators Kirk and Durbin have co-sponsored a new bill named for Hadiya Pendleton aimed at gun trafficking. [Sun-Times]

Trayvon developments
Some developments in the Trayvon Martin case today have left the prosecution team against George Zimmerman with an uphill fight: their star witness was caught in a lie that damages their case, and there will be no "stand your ground" hearing for Zimmerman. [Tribune]

Easy Dow it
The Dow Jones Index closed at an all-time record high, so that means an avalanche of jobs is coming right.... now! Okay.... now! How about.... now?! [Sun-Times]

Aaron Swartz
Two solid Swartz stories today: The Atlantic gets a look inside the investigation into the federal case against Swartz, while the New Yorker talked to several of Swartz's closest friends. [The Atlantic, New Yorker]

You can always go ... downtown
According to Crain's, downtown Chicago is the hot spot of the metro area again, no thanks to those long lines at Garrett's Popcorn. [Crain's]

John Kerry has had enough of your hand-wringing over Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea. How very Phil Jackson of him. [Mediaite, The Daily Show]

Bolland bowls back onto ice
Dave Bolland will be back on the ice for the Blackhawks tonight against Minnesota as the team looks to extend its record-setting, season-opening points streak. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Neil Steinberg has a particularly fun and respectful remembrance of Dawn Clark Netsch. [Sun-Times]

And finally
If any of you want the White House to take the petition to make R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)" the new national anthem seriously, then 98,000+ of you need to get over and sign the petition. [Gapers Block]

The must-read news stories for March 4, 2013: CPD's new approach, curing HIV, and dogs and their guns

Photo by Scott Stewart/Sun-Times

CPD's new "hot zone" approach
After murders in the city saw a sharp drop in February -- compared to both February 2012 and the months leading up to February 2013 -- our Frank Main got the inside scoop from the man at the center of the city's problem, CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy. According to McCarthy, a big reason murders dropped so sharply was a new tactic that involves hiring officers on overtime to work in 10 "hot zones" across the city. A much colder and snowier February than last year likely also played a role, and whether there's enough money to continue this approach while trying to hire more officers is a point that needs to be studied carefully. But at least there's finally good news to report on the city's battle against violence. [Sun-Times]

Mother Nature's catch-up
For a winter that started off so paltry, the back half has been pretty snow-filled, and it looks like that pattern will continue. A storm that will sweep through the area starting tonight could leave as much as 8 to 10 inches in areas before all is said and done, meaning there's no excuse not to build grotesque snowmen. [Sun-Times, Calvin & Hobbes]

Curing the pandemic?
At a conference over the weekend, scientists revealed they believe they have cured a Mississippi toddler born with HIV. If true, it's one of the greatest medical breakthroughs in history. Now, if we can only get someone on developing a cap that catches the water that accumulates in ketchup and mustard bottles. [NPR]

Feeling Brown
Happy Birthday to Chicago and happy Casmir Pulaski Day! For this special occasion, Brown Line riders, the CTA has made your commute suck for the next week. [YouTube, Sun-Times, Time-lapse video]

Seeing Maroon
Members of the University of Chicago community are upset over reports that U. of C. police infiltrated a recent protest with undercover officers to get the lowdown on protesters plans. [Gapers Block, Chicago Maroon]

Gas bonanza
Stop me if you've heard this before: Gas prices in Illinois are at record highs. [Tribune]

Chalk it up to bad decisions
"I will not write gun threats on the chalkboard." "I will not write gun threats on the chalkboard." "I will not write gun threats on the chalkboard." [ABC 7]

Tribune tattle
No, Warren Buffet will not be buying the Tribune. Instead, Mr. Buffet, let me ask you to make a charitable donation to the "help me pay my college loans" fund. [ChuffPo]

No one's salvation
First there were the pigeons. Now there's the Salvation Army and Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown. It's the next great round in Ald. James Cappleman's strange civic battles! [Sun-Times]

Indie excellence
The Pitchfork Music Fest has announced more acts for its upcoming 2013 fest in Chicago's Union Park this July -- El-P! Swans! Killer Mike! -- and the lineup is even stronger. [A.V. Club]

She was saying "Boourns!"
The Who's Pete Townshend is apologizing to a 7-year-old after he swore at the girl and her father for waving a sign at a recent concert. If it makes you feel any better, Pete, I got in trouble for hustling an 8-year-old girl at Monopoly recently. I feel ya, man. [The Guardian]

Wait till next... ah, forget it
Jeff Samardzija is the Cubs' Opening Day starter. On a related note, I'm really looking forward to watching the 2015 Cubs. [ESPN]

Spare Jordan?
Michael Jordan is fighting back against a paternity suit filed last week, asking a Georgia court to dismiss the matter. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
The Watchdogs are a tenacious bunch -- as if you didn't know that by now -- and today Tim Novak has a report on a fight over a nearly $45,000 bill for which a Chicago law firm wants taxpayers to pony up. The kicker: The bill is for email searches related to an investment firm tied to Patrick Daley, son of former mayor Richard M. Daley. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

And finally
"It was on that cold day in Massachusetts that the Great Dog Uprising began. It was a day that lives in infamy for cats everywhere." [Yahoo News]

The must-read news stories for March 1, 2013: Fewer murders, sequester blame game, and telepathic mice.

Photo: Stacie Scott/Sun-Times Media

Murder rate down, for now
After a bloody start to 2013, February was mercifully "quieter" with only 14 murders reported across the city (11 by shooting, three by stabbing), half the number of murders during February 2012. While city leaders - especially Mayor Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy - are breathing a sigh of relief, there's still reason to be skeptical. And Whet Moser goes over some of the factors that may play into the lower numbers and how the murder rate typically dips every February. So be prepared to see an uptick as things warm up in March. [Sun-Times, Chicago Mag]

Anticlimactic exhumation
An autopsy of the exhumed body of dead lottery winner Urooj Khan revealed no new findings about what may have killed him. That said, there were no traces of cyanide (some of Khan's family had alleged his wife had poisoned him with cyanide) and coronary artery disease was ruled a contributing factor due to 75 percent blockage in one artery. [Sun-Times]

Blah blah CTA blah blah service interruptions blah blah blah alternate routes blah blah inconvenience to riders blah blah headaches for travelers blah blah blah. But there *is* a nifty video. [CTA, YouTube]

Sequester blame game
During a press conference this morning, President Obama called the upcoming budget cuts from the sequester crisis "dumb" and "arbitrary" while blaming Republicans for the mess who in turn blamed him for the mess and at the end of the day, the problem still isn't fixed and the American people are the ones who suffer. [Sun-Times]

Love of guns
WBEZ continues its look at the relationship between gun owners and their guns and how they figure in to the larger national conversation happening right now on gun control. [WBEZ]

Gag order
As more details in the heinous necrophilia-tinged Joliet murder case emerge, the judge presiding over the case has issued a gag order so the parties involved can figure out who leaked police reports to the press. [Sneed, Sun-Times]

School daze
Mick Dumke looks at the disinvestment crisis looming for neighborhoods like Auburn-Greshamn as they face potential CPS school closures. [The Reader]

Romney's return
Mitt and Ann Romney finally break their post-election silence in a long interview with Fox News this weekend. In a preview of the chat, the former Republican presidential nominee compared the campaign to a roller coaster. [FOX News]

Sinkhole stunner
Oh, great, something else for me to live in total, complete, paralyzing fear of. [Tampa Bay Online]

"Live Mas" con el caballo
I'm sorry but if you ate Taco Bell regularly - in Britain, too, of all places - and didn't think there was something weird with what you were eating, I don't know what to tell you. [Reuters]

Adieu, Bonnie Franklin of One Day At A Time, who died of cancer. [A.V. Club]

Big East conclave
The "Catholic Seven" schools - including DePaul - are reportedly about to band together, pull in Xavier and Butler, and retain the Big East name assuming the smoke from ESPN's Bristol headquarters turns white. [ESPN]

Spare Jordan?
An Atlanta woman has filed suit claiming Michael Jordan is the father of her 16-year-old child. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Rick Morrissey says all the fuss over Derrick Rose is to blame for the Bulls' recent rough patch. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

And finally
I, for one, welcome our new telepathic mice overlords. [Jezebel]


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