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

April 2013 Archives

The must-read news stories for April 30, 2013.



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More UNO trouble
The United Neighborhood Organization, the state's largest charter-school backer, is facing more trouble: Work will be halted on an under-construction charter high school on the Southwest Side since the state has cut off funding to the organization. The funding was cut off after evidence of insider shenanigans was uncovered by the Sun-Times. The new UNO Soccer Academy High School is under construction at 51st and St. Louis, next to the UNO Soccer Academy Elementary Charter School, which also was built with money from the state grant. The general contractor building the school (pictured above) notified UNO that construction would cease this afternoon, telling the Sun-Times that the organization is behind on payments. [Sun-Times]


Another false alarm
For the second straight day, a segment of the Mag Mile was closed due to a suspicious package that proved to be nothing to be worried about at all. [Sun-Times, Tribune, DNA Info]

Obama meets the press
On the 100th day of his second term, President Barack Obama took questions from the press for around an hour, discussing a wide swath of topics - Syria, gun control, Boston - and reiterating his pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. [Sun-Times, Politico]

Try, try again
Mike Madigan has overhauled state Senate President John Cullerton's pension plan in an attempt to once again try to pass the bill. [Sun-Times Politics Blog]

Domino effect
How does one school closing directly affect several other schools? WBEZ explores. [WBEZ]

Game on
After much controversy and discussion, Payton Prep and Brooks Prep will make up their forfeited game from this past weekend. [Sun-Times]

No charges
No charges will be filed in this month's deadly Lake County crash involving a school bus. [Tribune]

Strange weapon
Three girls have been charged with armed robbery after beating their victim with a bottle of ketchup. [Sun-Times]

Taste's tunes
The local band lineup for this year's Taste of Chicago has been unveiled. [Sun-Times]

Everyone's a critic
Apparently, inmates don't give their prisons good reviews on Yelp. [The Daily Mail]

What is the Midwest, really?
Is it a geographical location? Is it a state of mind? Whatever it is, one mapping study found that Illinois is at the Midwest's center. [Radical Cartography via The Reader]

Staying put
In a surprise (but sorta not really) move, an NBA committee rejected the Sacramento Kings' application to relocate to Seattle. Some speculate was just the NBA using the threat of a move to force the city of Sacramento to pony up on a new arena. Either way, the NBA has once again found a way to obliterate the hopes of Seattle, which deserves an NBA franchise. [NBA.com, Deadspin]

Here come the 'Hawks
The Blackhawks drop the puck on the NHL playoffs tonight to begin their quest for their second Stanley Cup in four seasons, and Mark Lazerus breaks down the three keys to their first round match-up with Minnesota. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Speaking of the NHL playoffs, we've got you completely covered. In addition to the above link, our Sport app has a free playoff preview and we'll be live-blogging every single Blackhawks playoff game. [Sport app, Stanley Cup playoffs live blog]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
A former University of Wisconsin-Green Bay basketball player went public with accusations against his coach that, if true, take player-coach relations to a new low. [Sun-Times]

The must-read news stories for April 29, 2013



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Settlement reached, but parking meter deal still stinks
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a settlement between the City and the company currently leasing the city's parking meters that will settle up accounts the city owes and tweaks the deal so ther's free Sunday parking for neighborhoods south of Roosevelt, west of Halsted and north of North Avenue. The leasing company previously demanded $61 million, a number rebuked by the City. Yet today, the city agreed to pay the leasing company $63 million, though Mayor Emanuel insists he's saved residents $1 billion. Technically this is true, because the leasing company won't make similar reimbursement claims over the remaining 71 years (yes, 71) of the contract. But keep in mind that studies following the deal showed that the city leased the meters for at least a billion dollars less than it could have. And, of course, it still doesn't undo the original, horrifying deal cooked up by Mayor Daley and OK'd by a rubber stamp City Council that had only five members willing to say no. The deal stank then and it still stinks now. Who knows how bad it'll be once it festers for the next seven decades and is finally completed over seven decades from now when our great-grandchildren are cruising around in flying cars anyway. [Sun-Times, Previously, The Reader]


Historic moment
It was a landmark day as the Washington Wizards' Jason Collins became the first active (i.e., not retired) major professional U.S. athlete to announce he is gay, a monumental step in terms of sports' relationship with the ongoing evolution of this particular civil rights movement. [Sports Illustrated]

Fear of trash
Pedestrian traffic over the Michigan Avenue bridge was shut down and a portion of the River Walk closed while authorities investigated a "suspicious" package that turned out to be a plastic bottle labeled "liquid fire." [Sun-Times]

Explosion rocks Prague
An explosion in downtown Prague -- apparently caused by gas -- injured dozens earlier this morning. [Reuters]

Watchdogs on the lottery
The Sun-Times Watchdogs look at how a feud over the state's lottery has turned up the scrutiny of one state official. [Sun-Times]

Syrian instability
More trouble in Syria where the country's president narrowly avoided an assassination attempt and land-to-air missiles were allegedly fired at a Russian passenger plane that was flying over the embattled country. [N.Y. Times, RT]

Tainted
The former head of the Crestwood Water Dept. has been found guilty on all 11 counts of lying to investigators about mixing tainted water into the town's water supply. [Sun-Times]

Chicago in song
Now even wiil.i.am is writing songs about Chicago violence and referencing Chief Keef. [Gapers Block]

Payton Prep controversy
The brouhaha over a high school baseball game forfeiture continues as the principal of Payton Prep argued the forfeit was due to logistical issues and not parental fears of violence. [Sun-Times]

Overreaction
A mother in Michigan wants to ban a book for an offensive, "pornographic" passage. The book? Anne Frank's diary. [Gawker]

The Twinkie rises
Hostess is making a return, and one of the bakeries will be in Schiller Park. [WBEZ]

Check your head
The remaining Beastie Boys -- Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz -- are signed to release a memoir of the group in 2015, which has only served to remind me how much I still miss Ad-Rock. [A.V. Club]

Hawks ready for playoffs
The NHL playoffs get under way tomorrow, and the puck drops on the Blackhawks-Wild series, though the 'Hawks will be without Bolland and Emery. [Blackhawks.com]

Bulls bummer
Kirk Hinrich is out of tonight's Game Five in the Nets-Bulls series due to a banged-up left calf, but no one has confirmed whether or not Nate Robinson would attempt to heal him, because that's the kind of thing Nate seems capable of now. [ESPN]

The Bright One
Rick Morrissey weighs in on the gay pro athlete topic following the aforementioned Jason Collins story. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Today is the 30th anniversary of Lee Elia's legendary rant about Cubs fans. In honor of the day, we looked back at our favorite coach rants of all time. [Sun-Times]

The must-read news stories for April 26, 2013.



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NFL scouts and others watch as Kyle Long performs a standing long jump during NFL football pro day at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., on March 14. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Draft fallut
So the Bears shocked everyone by picking up Oregon's Kyle Long with their first pick in the NFL draft. The pick was not exactly popular with fans, though to talk to the team, they've been planning this crazy scheme all along. Adding a level of "whoa" to the pick is the fact that Long, who previously played baseball at Florida State, was a draft pick in 2008 by the White Sox but, obviously, never played for them. Still, at least it's not the storm of absurd chaos that would have ensued had they picked Manti Te'o, so at least they have that going for them. [Sun-Times, Q & A with Kyle Long, Storify]


Red light camera shuffle
In an effort to get out of its deal with the embattled red light camera vendor, the City of Chicago is actually extending the contract in a gymnastics maneuver that will, hopefully, pan out. [Sun-Times]

FAA furloughs done
Cutting funding to programs that affect the elderly and children is still OK to Congress and the White House, but they'll be damned if they have to put up with a delayed flight. [N.Y. Times]

Rescue efforts in Bangladesh
Dozens more were rescued from the collapsed building in Bangladesh, which has claimed the lives of more than 300. [CNN]

Day 2
For the second day, Jacob Nodarse, the gunman in the Darien triple murder, testified about the shooting and defendant Johnny Borizov's role. [Sun-Times]

Catching up
The Boston Globe finally caught up with the carjacking victim who was taken for a short ride by the Boston bombing suspects last Thursday night, just as their last-gasp violence spree was getting under way. [Boston Globe]

Check up
The feds might bring in their own doctors/experts to examine Jesse Jackson Jr. regarding his bipolar disorder before his sentencing. [Sun-Times]

Remembering
Today is the 67th anniversary of one of the state's worst train wrecks ever. [Chicago mag]

RIP, Possum
Country music legend George Jones has died at the age of 81. [Sun-Times]

Debris
The remains of a Japanese boat that's washed ashore in California has been confirmed as the state's first instance of debris from the 2011 tsunami. [L.A. Times]

Hot and bothered
The earth's core is way, way hotter than anyone previously thought. [BBC]

In trouble again
Former hoops standout Jereme Richmond is back in hot water after allegedly threatening his probation officer. [Sun-Times]

Classy Cutler
That Jay, always knows the right thing to say to a lady. [Sun-Times]

Upper hand
The Bulls have taken a 2-1 series lead over the Brooklyn Nets after grinding out another victory last night. [ESPN]

Hawk's folly
Hawk Harrelson will never accept the importance of sabermetrics in baseball because fans can believe hokey sayings more than you can believe statistics. [Chicagoist]

The Bright One
The Sun-Times' arts & entertainment staff is posting lots of great stuff every day over at their blog, The Daily Sizzle.

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
The White House is now on Tumblr and promises GIFs, but how many will have cats doing silly things? [The Verge]

The must-read news stories for Thursday, April 25, 2013



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Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery talks about the upcoming NFL draft before the Bears first mini-camp at Halas Hall on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Lake Forest, Ill. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

Draft Night
The NFL Draft is upon us, and the first pick is in just a few hours, but it'll be a while yet before we learn what the Bears will do with the No. 20 pick in the draft. Trying to zero in on a pick is impossible given the shuffling that's likely to happen in terms of trades and surprise picks by teams, but all signs point to the Bears not taking Manti Te'o -- so save the fake girlfriend jokes and breathe a sigh of relief the Notre Dame linebacker won't be bringing his painfully slow 40 time to Soldier Field. In the meantime, catch up with other analysis and predictions and be sure to tune in to our live blog, which goes up later this evening ahead of the 7 p.m. start, to follow updates and analysis as the draft unfolds. [Live blog, Sun-Times, ESPN]


UN-uh-O
Gov. Quinn is cutting off state funding to UNO, the state's largest charter school operator, over insider deals the state says violates terms of the deal. This follows a series of excellent reports on the insider deals by the Sun-Times Watchdogs team. [Sun-Times]

Chemical weapons in Syria
U.S. intelligence reports seemed to confirm that Syria has twice used chemical weapons against rebels during that country's fierce civil war, but officials are awaiting firmer confirmation before going forward with any retaliation or sanctions. [Sun-Times, L.A. Times]

Bombers were NYC-bound
According to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, the reported destination of the Boston Marathon bombers was to be Times Square in New York City where they allegedly hoped to set off more of their crude bombs. [BBC]

Aldermen push mayor
The Progressive Caucus of aldermen in City Hall continue to push Mayor Emanuel on giving the city Inspector General unfettered access to city documents. [Sun-Times]

Glitch hitch
Trading at the CBOE was delayed by a computer glitch earlier today. [Crain's]

Scamming
According to the feds, sneaky drivers were faking bankruptcy in order to get their cars out of impound lots without paying fees and fines. [Sun-Times]

Hinsdale problems
Apparently, cars running into buildings in downtown Hinsdale is such a problem that the town may have to install more barriers. [CBS 2]

More testimony
In today's testimony in the Johnny Borizov trial, the gunman told how Borizov pushed him to commit the murders. [Sun-Times]

W
All the living presidents came together today to celebrate the dedication of the George W. Bush Library, which includes an interactive exhibit that allows you to clean the ranch and observe natural disasters from the comfort of a virtual Air Force One high above. [Sun-Times, N.Y Times]

I like to ride my bicycle
The city's bike-sharing program is ready to roll out this summer, provided it ever gets warm enough to ride a bike on a regular basis. [Tribune]

Science!
NASA has found three faraway planets that offer us the best chance yet of finding a planet that human life could survive on. [CNN]

Still out front
A great interview with Steppenwolf's Martha Lavey on how the theater company manages to stay edgy after all these years. [Chicago mag]

No Rose
News flash: Derrick Rose will not play in Game 3 tonight for the Bulls against the Nets. [ESPN]

The Bright One
For all the latest Bears info going into tonight's draft, be sure to check out our free Bears app and all the goodness contained therein. [iTunes]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Want to make sure that person you're about to hook up with isn't related to you? There's an app for that. [Sun-Times]

The must-read news stories for April 24, 2013



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Jessica Koscielniak~Sun-Times

CPS students balk at tests
CPS students walked out of the second day of standardized tests to protest the role those tests played in the school system's decision-making in closing certain schools. The protest came as the CPS board met and another group, a group of charter school supporters, also rallied outside of CPS HQ. For more information, Sun-Times education reporter Lauren FitzPatrick and WBEZ's education team have been tweeting from both the rally and the CPS board meeting all day. [@bylaurenfitz, @wbezeducation]


Manchester shooting
Five people were found dead in Manchester, a small town 40 miles west of Springfield, earlier this morning and the suspect is also dead after leading police on a high-speed chase. Another person, a 6-year-old girl, was wounded but still alive. As of this afternoon, the nephew of the Manchester mayor was considered a suspect in the slayings. [Sun-Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Flooding redux
The Illinois River's flood levels are higher than they've been in 70 years and fire officials in some areas fear fuel leaks could spark fires in areas only accessible by boat due to floodwaters. [The Guardian]

Long-reaching influence
Two former Chicagoans figured prominently in a recent debate in Nevada over that state's stance on gay marriage. [Las Vegas Sun]

Wage talk
Fast food and retail workers took to the streets today to protest in support of higher working wages. [CBS 2]

Trotter's gun saga ends
State Sen. Donne Trotter, originally considered the frontrunner to succeed Jesse Jackson, Jr. in the 2nd Congressional District, was sentenced to just one year of court supervision after pleading guilty to trying to pass through a security checkpoint at O'Hare with a gun. [Sun-Times]

Deadly collapse
Dozens are dead after a tragic building collapse in Bangladesh earlier today. [N.Y Times]

Another face of Chicago's violence
Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown points out that Cornelius German isn't Hadiya Pendleton -- but that doesn't make his violent death any less important. [Sun-Times]

Stop me if you've heard this before
Illinois politico clouts a kid into good school. [Crain's]

MayDay PayDay
So what's Mayor Daley doing with all his leftover campaign cash? He's doling it out to charities, of course. He also took some time out to compare the U.S. gun problem to China's lack thereof. [Tribune, DNA Info]

Damp
Don't be fooled by today's sunshine: April 2013 is now the wettest April on record in Chicago. [Sun-Times]

Scare tactics
Note to the Department of Defense: if you're going to conduct urban warfare exercises in populated areas, be sure to alert nearby residents. [Tribune]

Taste makers
The Taste of Chicago has announced the rest of its entertainment slate, and it includes Neon Tress, Jill Scott and Robert Plant. [Sun-Times]

A Horse named Geraldo
A horse named Geraldo got loose and snarled traffic on I-80 in Indiana but was apprehended after he was found moping around Al Capone's empty vault. [ABC 7]

Draft Day nears
It's almost time for the NFL Draft, so time to make a few more guesses as to who the Bears will take. [Sun-Times]

Waiting for Garza
Matt Garza's return to the Cubs hit a (hopefully) small snag this week during a rehab assignment. [ESPN]

Digging the hole deeper
After the brouhaha over her article in the New York Times book review, Rachel Shteir turned her attention to the Chicago Bliss of the Lingerie Football League. [ChicagoSide]

The Bright One
We're excited for this week's soft launch of our partnership with Homicide Watch. Check out the site and let us know what you think of the site by tweeting us at @Suntimes. [Homicide Watch Chicago]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
President Obama has a pretty good parenting technique in trying to dissuade his daughters from getting tattoos. [WaPo]

The must-read news stories for April 23, 2013




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Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Violent reality check
Chicagoans were jolted back into the reality of local violence overnight after a 15-year-old boy was found shot to death just a few blocks from President Obama's home. As the weather has slowly warmed, city violence has begun to show an uptick after a slow-down in February and March; three people were killed and at least 13 wounded in shootings over this past weekend. Cornelius German was yesterday's only gunshot fatality, yet seven others were also injured by guns overnight, a violent reminder that while anxieties focus on terrorism concerns, there's even more to be worried about at home. [Sun-Times]


Better news for Rahm?
A new Crain's/Ipsos poll shows better numbers for Mayor Emanuel than earlier this year, and it's a more a case of disapproval dropping than his approval level increasing. [Crain's]

Chemical weapons claim
Israel continues to stand by its assertion that Syria has used chemical weapons. [N.Y. Times]

Furlough headaches
The sequester cuts that have resulted in FAA furlough days will likely make their presence felt at Chicago's two bustling airports in the form of delays possibly this week. [Sun-Times]

C'est la vie
Add France to the countries that have legalized gay marriage. [Assoc. Press]

Lenient drug ruling
The Supreme Court has introduced leniency in protecting legal immigrants from being deported for possession of small amounts of marijuana. [L.A. Times]

Case of extremes
A new bill in Florida's state legislature considers banning abortions based on the fetus' race or gender. [Jezebel]

Hack!
The AP really should change its password more often. [Sun-Times]

Cracked sidewalks
The city of Chicago has its fair share of crappy sidewalks and now you can share your discovery with the rest of the city thanks to a great new site put together by some DePaul journalism students. [The Stumblr]

Delivery!
Because if there's one thing overweight America needs, it's having its laziness enabled by a popular fast food chain now offering delivery. [Tribune]

Shame, shame
Misbehavior by fans at the Mad Decent Block Party last year has gotten Chicago dropped from this year's tour. [Chicagoist]

Gritting through
A gritty performance by the Bulls last night helped them even up their playoff series with the Nets, one game apiece with game three at the United Center Thursday night. [Sun-Times]

Second verse, same as the first
Blah blah blah Cubs bullpen is terrible blah blah. [ESPN]

Duncan Keith says Pshaw
There's been some buzz around Duncan Keith's comment to a female reporter during last night's post-game press conference. Mark Lazerus has audio and his own opinion of what went down. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
As the odds that Derrick Rose will return this season fade to nearly zero, Rick Telander wonders why Rose is held to a different standard than Jay Cutler. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Oh, just your usual story about the life of luxury lived by a 40-year-old crocodile in Germany. [The Local]

The must-read news stories for April 22, 2013



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AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Boston suspect charged
While still confined to a hospital bed, Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arraigned today on charges of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property resulting in death (charges which could carry a sentence of the death penalty). He's also still likely to face murder charges connected to death of an MIT police officer shot to death during Thursday night's rampage. Meanwhile, the White House announced that Tsarnaev would not be tried as an enemy combatant. And as the healing continued in Boston, the New York Times ran a terrific feature in which they talked to 19 runners who crossed the finish line just as the bombs exploded. [Sun-Times, N.Y. Times]


Canadian Terror Plot
But even as we begin to heal from Boston, an arrest in Canada on a terror plot charge jolts us back to reality. [CBC]

Working hard or hardly working?
There's now an investigation going on in Harvey to look into how hard, exactly, Louis Farrakhan's son Mustapha has been working for the town's police department seeing as how he hasn't worked a shift in four years. [Sun-Times]

Updating the city
Mayor Emanuel has said after last week's events in Boston, he's going to review the city's emergency plan. [NBC 5]

Politics, strange bedfellows, etc.
Of all the politicians who you'd think would hang out with Rep. Luis Gutierrez and talk about fixing the nation's "broken" immigration system, Paul Ryan is pretty low on the list. [Sun-Times]

Lone Star visit
Contrary to paranoid rantings across the extreme right-wing blogosphere, President and Mrs. Obama are making the trip to Thursday's memorial for victims of the West, Texas, plant explosion. [Houston Chronicle]

Cattle rustlin'
You'd think a guy from Texas would know it's not very gentlemanly to go into another man's backyard and steel his hardworking cattle. Not that Mayor Emanuel is particularly worried about Gov. Perry's visit. [Sun-Times]

CHA-nges
CHA has revealed plans for the next stage of public housing redevelopment. [WBEZ]

Koch Bros. seeking Trib?
The latest rumors around those whirling dervishes known as the Koch brothers is that their play for the Tribune Company newspapers is one to be taken seriously. [NY Times]

Boring rerun
Oh, an out-of-touch former New Yorker writing for the New York Times slammed Chicago while making erroneous claims? Yawn. Rachel Shteir puts ketchup on her hot dogs, so there. [Crain's]

Spicy danger
Another reason to never try the "cinnamon challenge"? Someone linked it to lung cancer. [Gawker]

DePaul-bound
Former Whitney Young standout Tommy Hamilton is heading to DePaul. [Tribune]

The Sveum Inquisition
No one is safe from the Dale Sveum Inquisition, especially not Castro or Rizzo. [Sun-Times]

In Noah condition to play?
Joakim Noah on his odds of playing in Game 2 of the Bulls-Nets playoff series? Eh. [ESPN]

The Bright One
The Watchdogs take a deeper look into more shenanigans at UNO and insider payouts. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
In case you ever wanted to know how a wet towel behaved in space, now you know! [NPR]

The must-read news stories for April 19, 2013.



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SWAT team members search for the at-large suspect in this week's attacks in Boston // Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Latest from Boston
Where to begin? After a surreal, violent, horrifying series of incidents overnight, things have quieted down in Boston. But the situation is no less tense as authorities continue to hunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the at-large suspect in Monday's marathon bombing and last night's firefight with police officers that included explosives. Meanwhile, the suspect's older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the other suspect identified by the FBI for Monday's bombing, is dead after last night's gunfight. A fuller picture of the two suspects continues to emerge as family members have come forward to talk about them. Follow along with our complete coverage for the latest as the search continues. [Sun-Times, Live blog, Boston Globe]


Helping out
At the request of the Boston Police Department, the Chicago Police Department is sending five detectives and one sergeant to Boston to assist in the investigation. [NBC 5]

Back at home
Meanwhile, eight people were shot in Chicago from Thursday afternoon through the wee hours of Friday morning. [Sun-Times]

Murder charges
Charges against a North Side couple accused of smothering a baby have had charges against them upgraded to first-degree murder. [Tribune]

More flooding?
River levels across Northeast Illinois continue to rise even as the rain has moved out and residents try to dry out, meaning more flooding could still occur. [Sun-Times]

Cease
A Ceasefire volunteer is accused of attacking cars in the middle of Chicago Avenue while naked. [DNA Info]

Small step forward?
The Boy Scouts are now considering a tiny step forward by accepting gay youths as members, but they would maintain a ban on gay Scout leaders. [L.A. Times]

Trauma desert
Possibly another factor in Chicago's murder rate: distance many shooting victims have to travel to the nearest trauma center. [WBEZ, Chicago Mag]

Vroom
An express bus could be coming back to Ashland Avenue as a 16-mile stretch of the road will be the next rapid bus transit project for the CTA, another example of the agency spit-shining and reinstalling previously cut services under the guise of improvements. [Sun-Times]

Healing power
Pop star/composer Brian Eno has a new project: creating music to heal the sick. [The Independent]

Bear Down
The NFL draft is next week and now we have the Bears' 2013 schedule to break down. [Sun-Times]

Chilled
Tonight's White Sox-Twins game has been postponed because of cold. [ESPN]

The Bright One
No Rose? No problem. So says Rick Telander who thinks the Bulls could still pose a playoff threat. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Wait, are we the aliens? [Yahoo!]

The must-read news stories for April 18, 2013.



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Robbins firefighters rescue two people from flooded homes in the 13900 block of South Albany on Wednesday. // Scott Stewart / Sun-Times

Chicago area soaked with significant flooding
Unrelenting rains from overnight and into this morning caused significant flooding across the area -- and the rain's not done yet. Be sure to check out our interactive map for the latest updates in your area. Flooding conditions caused major delays for Metra, the CTA and drivers today as sections of the Eisenhower, Edens and Dan Ryan were underwater. The city's 109-mile deep tunnel system is already full and more rain is on the way. In some parts of the city, water came shooting out of manholes and sewers back into the streets. Gov. Pat Quinn declared a state of emergency for the area after five inches of rain fell at O'Hare. Chicago River locks were opened to re-reverse the river and channel water into Lake Michigan. Schools and courthouses throughout the area were closed as a result of the deluge and flood warnings issued; a Flash Flood warning remains in effect until 8 pm tonight. [Sun-Times, Deep Tunnel, Photos, Storify, Chicagoist, Chicago Mag]


Obama honors Boston victims, authorities ID suspects
• It was a relatively calmer -- and somber -- day in Boston today as President Barack Obama delivered a rousing speech at an interfaith memorial service dedicated to the victims of the bombing. [Sun-Times, full video of the speech]
• The speech came on the heels of a confusing Wednesday in which conflicting media reports claimed a suspect had been arrested or had simply been identified, depending on if you were watching CNN or not. (CNN also called the suspect a "dark-skinned" individual.) What we do know now is that authorities do have clear video of two men they consider potential suspects and an image of the suspects could be released later today, possibly at an early evening FBI press conference. [Boston.com]
• Meanwhile, the wild confusion over the suspect's identity led the N.Y. Post to make a huge misstep when they pasted the image of two bystanders on their front page, declaring the pair suspects despite the fact that the two are not in any way suspected of involvement. This even after the FBI called for the media to be careful in what they report. [Deadspin, FBI statement]

Recovery in Texas
Recovery and rescue efforts continue in the town of West, Texas, after last night's powerful explosion at a fertilizer plant. While there has been no official tally of deaths announced, estimates are as many as 15 with more than 160 injured. [Dallas Morning News]

Ricin suspect charged
At this point in a long week, the fact that an Elvis impersonator has been charged with sending the letters tainted with ricin to a U.S. senator and President Obama makes sense, actually. [Sun-Times]

Gun bill shot down
The U.S. Senate yesterday failed to reach the necessary 60 votes to approve key amendments to a proposed gun bill, resulting in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shelving the bill altogether. Both President Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel lashed out at the Senate after the vote. [CNN, Sun-Times, CBS 2]

Embattled Congress
While the nation's Congress faces criticism over the gun bill, the Congress Theater in Chicago is also facing trouble as the City of Chicago has ruled it will allow the venue to stay open -- for now -- but with serious restrictions. [Sun-Times]

Quick draw
A retired Chicago Police officer shot himself in the leg when a gun he was carrying accidentally went off while the man was attending his grandson's Boy Scout meeting in Des Plaines because guns are totally not a safety hazard at all. [Daily Herald]

Holding steady
The state's unemployment rate held steady for the month of March at 9.5 percent. [Crain's]

Cutting to the chase
The trial began yesterday in the case of a California woman accused of severing her husband's penis after an argument in 2011. [L.A. Times]

Trashing the Machine
Here's an explainer of how Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new trash pickup plan killed the last remnant of the old Machine. [WBEZ]

RSD 2013
Record Store Day is just two days away (Saturday, April 20) so it's time to plan out your purchases. [The Reader]

MJ conspiracy?
Remember Michael Jordan's legendary "flu game"? According to the team's former trainer, it was actually due to food poisoning, possibly at the hands of Utah Jazz fans. [Sun-Times]

Playoff bound
The Bulls have booked their ticket to the playoffs as the Eastern Conference's fifth seed, facing off against the Brooklyn Nets. [ESPN]

The Bright One
Our Watchdogs weigh in with the latest on the Koschman-Vanecko case craziness, now that the newest presiding judge is being looked at by a judicial inquiry board. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
The best takedown of CNN's clustermess of coverage yesterday regarding the Boston suspect is by, of course, Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. [The Daily Show]

The must-read news stories for Wednesday, April 17, 2013



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AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Chaos in Boston
More chaos in Boston where developments and non-developments caused an outbreak of confusion.
• Early in the afternoon, multiple media outlets progressed from a suspect in the bombings being identified to an arrest being imminent to an arrest being made. But just minutes after CNN and the Associated Press -- both citing independent sources -- reported the arrest, reports from other outlets contradicted these, and eventually groups such as the Department of Justice and the FBI denied any arrest had been made. What we do know: there is a suspect (possibly two) based on video evidence and an arrest may happen soon. Unless it doesn't. [Sun-Times, L.A. Times, Boston Globe]
• Meanwhile, giving the surreal events an even crazier background was the evacuation of Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston after a bomb threat. [CBS Boston, live video from WCVB]
• Said bomb threat wound up postponing a planned press conference to discuss details of potential suspects. [WCVB]
• And earlier in the day, authorities identified the third victim who died in the blast as Boston University graduate student Lingzi Lu of China. [Boston.com]


Letters with ricin in D.C.
After yesterday's letter to a U.S. Senator was found to contain ricin, a similar letter sent to President Obama was found to test positive for the same poison. There was also another reported incident in which a suspicious package temporarily shut down a U.S. Senate building. [Sun-Times]

Gun amendment voted down
As expected, the U.S. Senate fell short of the 60 votes required to pass the Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks on guns. [Sun-Times]

Arrest in Texas murders
The wife of an ex-judge was charged with the shooting deaths of two Texas prosecutors as well as the wife of one of the prosecutors after confessing to the crimes. [Tribune]

Medical Marijuana
Illinois took one step toward legalizing medical marijuana as the statehouse approved the measure, which now heads to the state senate. [Sun-Times]

Meeting with Newtown parents
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk sat down with the families of victims from December's Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Conn. [Sun-Times]

Thatcher laid to rest
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest today at services earlier today. [BBC]

Amber alert
Authorities are still searching for a 1-year-old who was abducted in Maywood; previous suspects have since been cleared. [Sun-Times]

Wrigleyville beating
Three men have pleaded guilty to a Wrigleyville assault caught on tape. [CBS 2]

Stormy weather
Spring is finally making its presence known via storms and floods rather than sunny, warm weather, because that's the Chicago Way. [Sun-Times]

Closer look
There's now video of the shooting inside the Vernon Hills police station on April 3. [Sun-Times]

CTA potpurri
Besides a map that shows CTA stops alongside the neighborhood median income levels, there's also a new discussion about what type of train car makes the "perfect" train car. [Map via The Reader, Chicago Mag]

Pop?
Starbucks is now testing out handcrafted sodas. [Crain's]

Out of doors fun
The Blackhawks and Penguins will play a game at Soldier Field next March, part of the NHL's plan to play six outdoor games and tempt Chicago's unpredictable spring weather. [Sun-Times]

D-Rose repeat
Derrick Rose is still not playing for the Bulls. You can all exhale now that today's update has concluded. [ESPN]

Don't take his guns, Obama!
Jonathan Papelbon doesn't want President Obama to take away his guns. His fastball, on the other hand... [Deadspin]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Ale yeast wants to be Oregon's official state microbe. In other news, Oregon has an official state microbe. [Pop-Sci]

The must-read news stories for April 16, 2013.



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A Boston police officer stands guard Tuesday at a memorial site at Boylston and Arlington streets along the course of the Boston Marathon, a few blocks from where two explosions struck near the finish line. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert/Getty


The latest on the Boston bombings
While still a fluid situation, a few more details have come to light in the 24 hours since our last edition.
• Two of the three victims killed in the bombing have been identified as 8-year-old Martin Richard and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell; the third fatality has not yet been identified. The most updated numbers had 176 injured, 17 of those critically.
• During a statement earlier today, President Barack Obama addressed the bombings as an "act of terror." [Sun-Times]
• The Associated Press reports that the bombs were in pressure cookers hidden in backpacks and contained materials meant as maiming shrapnel, such as ball bearings, nails and metal scraps. [Associated Press]
• Meanwhile, in Chicago, police remain vigilant even though there have been no known threats made against the city. [NBC Chicago]
• One final note: After a heckler asked a question at a Boston press conference asking about a "false flag staged attack," one user bought a potential URL for a conspiracy-minded website as a preventative measure.


Fraud at Sacred Heart
Federal authorities raided Sacred Heart Hospital and arrested five, including owner Edward J. Novak, in a fraud investigation that included unnecessary surgeries on elderly patients in a kickback scheme. [Sun-Times]

Grounded
A computer glitch in its reservation system played havoc with American Airlines' computers system, grounding the airline's flights nationwide until late afternoon. [Sun-Times]

Earthquakes
Over three dozen are reported dead after an earthquake struck near the Iran-Pakistan border. The quake reportedly hit 7.7 on the Richter scale. [L.A. Times]

Fraud in Des Plaines
13 Des Plaines police officers were suspended after being accused of lying about the hours they worked in order to receive overtime pay out of federal funding. [Sun-Times]

Torture allegations
A nearly 600 page report by a nonpartisan group claims that there is "indisputable" evidence that the U.S. used torture as an interrogation technique in the years since the 9/11 attacks. [N.Y. Times]

Smoldering
If you're a smoker who likes to just toss your cigarette butts wherever, you may soon be fined $50. [Sun-Times]

North Korea still out there
At the risk of being drowned out by other news, North Korea renewed its threat to do something. [Express UK]

Goat's head soup
Authorities are looking into whether or not the body of a decapitated goat found in a Cook County forest preserve is tied to the goat head that was mailed to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts last week, because curses are totally true and the Cubs' failures are not at all the result of years of front-office and on-the-field mismanagement. [Sun-Times]

Chomping crime
A man was nabbed by police for trying to sell a baby alligator for $300 on Craigslist, which might seem weird but it goes really well with the end table he was trying to unload. [Tribune]

Snail's pace
I, for one, welcome our new giant snail overlords. [HuffPo]

Sky's the limit
The Chicago Sky drafted Delaware guard/forward Elena Delle Donne in last night's WNBA draft. [ABC 7]

Get ready
The NFL will unveil its full 2013 schedule this Thursday at 7 p.m. [ESPN]

The Bright One
In lighter news, the Bears' three-day mini-camp opened today and Adam Jahns has six things you should follow this week. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Even a single taste of beer can bring joy to your otherwise cold, dreary life. [Smithsonian]

The Evening Rush for Monday, April 15, 2013

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The must-read news stories for April 15, 2013.



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Boston Marathon tragedy
Two bombs exploded near the finish of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing two people, injuring 23 others and sending authorities rushing to aid wounded spectators, race organizers and police said. Updates are still coming in.
[Sun-Times, Boston Globe on Twitter]



Done deal
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts had a few interesting things to share during today's press conference on the Wrigley Field deal. Ricketts said the deal to renovate Wrigley Field and develop the land around it will have the "financial impact" that will help the Cubs win the World Series. There was also talk of the Naked Cowboy and Times Square.
[Sun-Times]

Condolence call
Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Chicago today to visit the parents of slain diplomat Anne Smedinghoff, who grew up and attended high school in the western suburbs. [Lynn Sweet]

Bully Bandit strikes again?
It seems the "Bully Bandit" has robbed his 12th Chicago-area bank over the weekend. The robber was dubbed with this moniker because of the aggressive manner in which he carries out his crimes. [Sun-Times]

Gitmo op-ed
Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, tells his story in an op-ed for the New York Times. He describes his hunger strike saying, "I will not eat until they restore my dignity." [NYT]

58 years of lovin' it
Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's franchise 58 years ago today in Des Plaines.[Chicagoist]

Bieber backlash
Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and left this ridiculous note: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber." [Zwecker, Roeper]

42
Everybody in uniform at the Tampa Bay Rays game Monday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park wore the number "42" as Major League Baseball celebrated its fifth annual Jackie Robinson Day. Fans will see more of that number on jerseys before the next couple of days are out. [AP]

Speaking of trailblazers...
Today would have been the late Harold Washington's 91st birthday. The city has declared it Harold Washington Day in honor of Chicago's first African-American mayor. [CBS]


The Bright One
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board is now on Twitter and Facebook. Follow them for the latest Chicago news and views. [Facebook, @CST_Editorials]


Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Some people go to Vegas for fun, Dennis Rodman goes to N. Korea. The former Chicago Bull said: "I'm going back August 1. We have no plans really, as far as what we're going to do over there, but we'll just hang and have some fun!" It's not all fun and games though. Rodman also told the Miami New Times that the FBI has asked him to be an informant. [Gossip Extra, Miami New Times]

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



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Patrick Watson, left, was sentenced in the 2011 death of Sally Katona-King

Sentence in iPhone murder
It was another of the city's senseless crimes, but it happened nearly two years before the murders of Hadiya Pendleton and Jonylah Watkins. On March 28, 2011, Prince Watson, 19, shoved 68-year-old Sally Katona-King down a flight of stairs at the CTA's Fullerton train stop after stealing another commuter's iPhone; Katona-King died as a result of injures sustained in the fall. Watson sold the phone for between $350 and $400 after the incident. Today he was sentenced to 32 years in prison. Surveillance footage ultimately helped nab Watson, who was remorseful as he admitted his crime. [Sun-Times, previously]


Clout takes a nap
There's even more to the story of Joseph Caffarello, the tollway supervisor caught snoozing. It seems clout may have played a role in helping Caffarello get rehired after two different firings. [Sun-Times]

North Korea crisis
North Korea says its first target is Tokyo while the U.S. - and, specifically, Secretary of State John Kerry - are giving the rogue nation a stern warning about making a "huge mistake." [Tribune, The Atlantic]

The night the lights went out
Officials are still trying to figure out where the raccoon chewed through wires, shutting off the lights on four of O'Hare's runways last night. [Sun-Times]

Mandatory minimums
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is standing firm on his push for mandatory minimum sentences for violators of the city's gun laws, but some studies suggest those sentences have little effect on the rate of those crimes. [WBEZ]

Backtracking
A state representative has issued an apology after his response to a constituent's call to support gay marriage implied he was equating homosexuality with statutory rape. [Sun-Times]

Abortion trial
The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell has exploded in the media due to accusations from pro-life proponents that the media is purposely not covering the case. While that's a half-truth, the conversation has since opened up about the horrific atrocities Gosnell has been accused of and how the trial should be discussed in the media, now that it can longer be ignored. [Jezebel]

RIP
Two big cultural deaths reported today: Legendary comedian Jonathan Winters passed away at the age of 87 last night, and Maria Tallchief, considered America's first prima ballerina, has died at the age of 88. [Winters, Tallchief]

Food on wheels
Despite the City Council making it as difficult as possible to allow food trucks to operate, there will be food trucks at this year's Taste of Chicago. [Sun-Times]

Good news, bad news
Gov. Pat Quinn heralded the amount of money film and television productions have pumped into Illinois, but the state's department of revenue didn't think as highly of Chicago-based Kartemquin Films (responsible for the excellent documentaries "The Interrupters" and "Hoop Dreams"), whose attempt for tax exemption was denied for a third time. [Crain's, Sun-Times]

White House brushes dirt off its shoulders
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had little to say, aside from "nope," about Jay-Z's new track aimed at critics of his trip to Cuba and saying he had White House clearance for the sojourn. [Sun-Times]

42
As the Jackie Robinson biopic "42" opens this weekend, Chicago magazine's Whet Moser takes a look back at the player's time in Chicago, including a tryout he had with the White Sox. [Chicago Mag]

Brawl game
A bench-clearing brawl between the Padres and Dodgers has resulted in Dodgers pitcher Zach Greinke suffering a broken collar bone and giving legendary broadcaster Vin Scully another classic moment. [L.A. Times, Deadspin]

You can put it on the board
Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson went on an anti-sabermetrics rant and it raised the ire of commentators at the MLB Network. [Deadspin]

The Bright One
Last night, "Glee" had a school-shooting themed episode that brought the show lots of attention and criticism, but Sun-Times TV critic Lori Rackl weighs in with a defense. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Monkeys have blue butts because science! [Popular Science]

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



rush_apr11.jpg Erica Lafferty and Jillian Soto join with other family members of victims of gun violence and U.S. senators during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol today. The Senate voted to approve the procedural motion allowing further debate on the gun reform legislation pending before Congress and sought by the Obama administration. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Gunning for debate The U.S. Senate managed to side-step any filibuster this morning when it voted to open debate on the current gun bill. But while that seemed to be an easy, expected vote, the fate of the bill itself is far from a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile, our interactive map shows you where Illinois congressmen stand with the NRA. As for the state's senators, both Durbin and Kirk are in support of the bill. Kirk even let on that the two keys in hammering out the bipartisan effort were booze and a boat. [Sun-Times, Map, Live Senate Video, DNA Info]

Bail set in robbery
Bail has been set at $750,000 for the suspect in a robbery attempt in Logan Square that was caught on tape. Despite being shot in the thigh during the incident, the store owner was able to fend off the alleged suspect with a baseball bat. [Sun-Times]

North Korea looms
The North Korea missile threat is still a thing. [L.A. Times]

Beavers' replacement tabbed
Stanley Moore, who just paid off his own ethics fine, has been tabbed to replace former Cook County Commissioner William Beavers. [Sun-Times]

Developments in diplomat's death
New details have emerged in the investigation into the deaths of several Americans in Afghanistan over the weekend, including River Forest's Anne Smedinghoff. [Miami Herald]

Rahm stands firm on IG
Mayor Rahm Emanuel stood firm that the City Hall inspector general didn't need any more power than he already has because it's not like an inordinate amount of City Council members have wound up jailed over corruption charges or anything. [Sun-Times]

Ax attack
An Indiana man was arrested for attacking a local Planned Parenthood clinic with an ax, causing damage to the building but, fortunately, no injuries. [Tribune]

Goat's head soup
Another year, another goat-involved prank at Wrigley, where a goat's head was shipped to Tom Ricketts. The players, at least, are taking it in stride. [Sun-Times]

Casino clash continues
The Springfield battle to bring a casino to Chicago continues unabated and full of bickering. [WBEZ]

File under: No kidding
O'Hare is the worst airport in the country for on-time departures. [Sun-Times]

Flop
The sales performance of Windows 8 has been, to say the least, underwhelming. [NPR]

Heat over Havana
If only Nixon can go to China, only Jay-Z can go to Cuba. After taking heat for the trip, though, the rapper has responded with a vitriolic diss track aimed at critics. [Sun-Times]

Suspended
Cubs prospect Jorge Soler lost his cool in a big way during a game last night between Daytona and Clearwater that resulted in Soler charging the opposing team's dugout with a bat in hand. Soler, who was stopped by a teammate, has been suspended for five games. [ESPN]

Fight club
The inner workings of an NHL fight. [Sun-Times]

Miracle on Ice
According to at least one Team USA player, one of the Russian hockey players on ice for the famous 1980 USA-USSR Olympic tilt was actually a KGB agent trying to prevent Soviet players from defecting. [Deadspin]

The Bright One
Lynn Sweet was glad to see First Lady Michelle Obama finally drop her cautiousness and take a firm stand against youth violence yesterday. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
I would be shocked - SHOCKED, I say - if this report of a state-supported scientist in Iran building a time machine turns out to be false. [Telegraph]

The must-read news stories for April 10, 2013.



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AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Gun control moves forward, sort of
This weekend marks four months since the horriffic shootings at Newton and today we finally get movement on any sort of gun-control legislation since that tragedy. Thing is, while it's a bipartisan agreement on background checks, it doesn't at all guarantee passage of a larger gun-control legislation package that could be voted on next week. It's already taken this long to get just one piece agreed to; how far will the legislation be set back if the package is rejected overall? And then there's the NRA, which is already pushing back on the bill. Locally, there's more support for gun-control legislation. According to a poll by a gun-control group, Illinois voters said they were more likely to elect legislative candidates who backed strong gun-control measures by a 4-1 ratio. [Senate agreement, Illinois favor gun control, Buzzfeed]



FLOTUS visits again
Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama was back in Chicago. She spoke at a luncheon backing an initiative by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to help curb youth violence. Later this afternoon, she's slated to stop by Harper High School, the school recently profiled in a pair of brilliant "This American Life" episodes that featured some fantastic reporting from WBEZ's Linda Lutton and Alex Kotlowitz. [Sun-Times, This American Life]

North Korea war games
As North Korea continues to threaten a missile test, former Vice President Dick Cheney gave GOP leaders perhaps the most succinct situational update possible: "We're in deep doo doo." [N.Y. Times, CNN]

Budget crunch
It's been a busy day for President Barack Obama; he has also submitted his new budget, which is already getting conservatives in a tizzy. [Sun-Times]

Traffic makeover
After years of planning, it looks like the make-over for the Damen/Elston/Fullerton intersection may actual come to fruition. [ABC 7]

Saturdays saved
The U.S. Postal Service will not give up Saturday delivery, after all. [Sun-Times]

The long walk
Parents and students protested the proposed CPS closings by walking the 20 minutes between King and Jensen Elementary schools. King students will be consolidated into Jensen next year. [WBEZ, Sun-Times]

Grand plans
So what's in store for the old main post office building that's just sort of sitting there right now? Quite a lot, actually. (Maybe.) [Grid]

Looking back on Byrne
Ben Joravsky has a great piece on Jane Byrne's run at mayor way back when. [The Reader]

True disaster prevention
NASA's new budget includes a heap of money to help build an asteroid defense system, which is no reason for us to be worried at all, I'm sure. [WSJ]

Drive-by shooting hurts elephant
Police in Tupelo, Miss., are still searching for suspects in a drive-by shooting that wounded a Barnum & Bailey elephant. [Yahoo!]

Everybody panic
Here are all the animals that have a flu strain. [Gizmodo]

Thatcher fallout
While some Brits mourned the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, others were far more jubilant, sending the song, "Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Dead," toward the top of the charts. [Sun-Times]

No. 50
For the first time in over 20 years, the Bears are issuing the number 50 jersey - worn by legend Mike Singletary - to an active player. [ESPN, Sun-Times]

Comiskey Park remembered
Here are a few great photos from the final years of Comiskey Park. [Chicago Mag]

The Bright One
Mark Brown looks at the CPD's decision to build private showers for transgender recruits. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
New York City's newest menace: Times Square furries. [Gothamist, WSJ]

The must-read news stories for April 8, 2013



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Mourners gather outside Holy Name Cathedral after funeral services for Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert Monday, April 8, 2013. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

Honoring Ebert
Family, friends and fans gathered this morning at Holy Name Cathedral to honor legendary Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert who died last week. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn were among those who spoke, as well as family members, including Ebert's widow, Chaz. All remembered Roger not only for his intelligence but for his kind heart and his constant willingness to share his knowledge with those who sought it. [Sun-Times, Live-blog, Memorial page]


RIP, Margaret Thatcher and Annette Funicello
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, nicknamed "The Iron Lady," died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke. Later in the day, former Disney and "Beach Blanket Bingo" star Annette Funicello died at the age of 70. [BBC on Thatcher, CNN on Funicello]

City ponies up for lawyers
The latest Watchdogs report spells expensive news for City Hall, which spent $22 million on private lawyers in 2012 with more than half of that going toward defending CPD officers. [Sun-Times]

Imminent immigration reform
If Sen. Dick Durbin is to be believed, the "Gang of Eight" could meet as early as tomorrow to hammer out a bipartisan bill on immigration reform. [WBEZ]

Remembering Anne Smedinghoff
Anne Smedinghoff's family shared thoughts and memories of the young River Forest woman who was killed in Afghanistan over the weekend while working for the State Department. [Sun-Times]

Rules of Journalism
Yet again a journalist is now facing jail time for refusing to reveal his or her sources. This time, it's Fox News' Jana Winter who's in trouble with the judge presiding over the Aurora, Colo., shooting case. Winter was the first to reveal that Holmes had shared with his psychiatrist an outline of his plan to attack and kill a large group of people. [Gawker]

Calm down, bro
China is asking North Korea to just take a breath and chillax before they do something dumb like nuke someone. [L.A. Times]

Another twist
The March shooting death of William Strickland got even more complex over the weekend when Strickland's wife was accused of hiring her grandson to kill him. [Sun-Times]

Madigan's funds grow
Lisa Madigan continued with her fundraising edge over Gov. Quinn and even widened the gap between her and the governor. Of course, Madigan has made no formal announcement of any run for governor in the 2014 elections, but her undetermined status looms even larger now. [Sun-Times]

Adieu, Caribou
Caribou Coffee will be closing some of its 18 Chicago locations, with some being converted to Peet's Tea & Coffee. Fortunately, there are still roughly 3,761 Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts locations for caffeine addicts. [Tribune]

No More Moon
NASA has no clear plans to go back to the moon anytime soon, so says its chief. But that's only because it's busy doing more awesome things like figuring out how to lasso and asteroid and head to Mars. [FOX DC]

'School of Rock' on the Great White Way
Andrew Lloyd Webber wants to turn "School of Rock" into a Broadway musical because if "Rock of Ages" can succeed, surely a version with kids can, too. [A.V. Club]

Blackhawks clinch
The Chicago Blackhawks became the first team in the NHL this season to clinch a playoff spot with their 5-3 win over Nashville yesterday. The Hawks still lead the Ducks by five points for first place in the Western Conference. [Sun-Times]

Aon and Man U
Aon has re-upped its commitment to the English Premier League's Manchester United (the N.Y. Yankees of English soccer) and will plaster its name on the team's new training facility. [Crain's]

The Bright One
"Mad Men" returned to the small screen last night, kicking off its penultimate season, and Lori Rackl ran through all of the ins, outs and tiny details that are packed into the episode. [The Daily Sizzle]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Could you outrun deadly dinos? Short answer: No. Long answer: Hell, no. [io9]

The must-read news stories for April 5, 2013



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Remembering Roger
First, an apology on the absence of this newsletter yesterday. Right as I began putting it together, we received word of the passing of film critic Roger Ebert, who wrote for the Sun-Times for 46 years. The entire newsroom came together under very tough circumstances and did a tremendous job, a hustle Roger would have been proud of. And, so, this newsletter fell by the wayside, but for a good reason.

A day later, the death of one of our own -- one of the best -- still hasn't fully sunk in here in the newsroom. Reading all of the tributes from readers, luminaries and colleagues has been touching and softened the blow. We've done our best to collect them all and package them along with other videos, links, a timeline, and Neil Steinberg's wonderful obituary of our colleague in one easy-to-bookmark page. We hope you'll peruse all of the stories and keep checking in to suntimes.com all weekend for more updates and, on Sunday, Roger's final review. [Sun-Time's Ebert Memorial Page]


Fatal crash
One adult died and more than a dozen schoolchildren suffered minor injuries when a school bus heading to suburban Newport Elementary School was involved in a major crash in which the bus rolled over. [Sun-Times]

2015?
Will anyone step forward to give Mayor Emanuel a legit challenge to the mayoral throne in 2015? The Reader's Mick Dumke has a few ideas who might (or might not) step into the ring. [The Reader]

Kim Jong-uncool
North Korea is now warning foreign embassies to get their emergency escape plans in place as they prepare to launch Armageddon as they load up a pair of missiles. So the L.A. Times says what we're all thinking: N.K. is nuts. [BBC, L.A. Times]

Wrigley Reno
The Cubs are 2-1, spending the weekend in Atlanta before the home opener on Monday, and they may return to a new deal with the city over renovations to Wrigley Field, though trouble looms in the form of antsy and angry rooftop owners. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Judicial order
A federal judge has ruled that the government has to make the morning-after pill available to women of all ages over-the-counter. [N.Y. Times]

Slow drop
The unemployment rate for the U.S. fell to 7.6 percent, but improvements fell short of expectations reflecting a potential slowdown in the recovery. [Sun-Times]

FAA delays closures
The FAA announced that they would delay the closure of dozens of air traffic control towers until June. [Tribune]

Opposition
Cardinal Francis George was joined by a group of prominent black pastors in announcing opposition to gay marriage despite growing public sentiment in favor of it. [Sun-Times, FiveThirtyEight]

Tipsy
Fancy-pants Wicker Park bar Violet Hour's new mural is rubbing some folks the wrong way. I, for one, praise them for so accurately catching me in my natural state. [DNA Info]

Boss' first win
WBEZ turns back the clock to the late Mayor Richard J. Daley's first mayoral election win, 58 years ago today. [WBEZ]

Coming out
Former Bears (and former Ravens) linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, an outspoken supporter of gay marriage, is claiming as many as four NFL players could be planning to come out pretty soon. [Sun-Times]

Rutgers fallout
Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti has resigned his position, the latest fallout in the ongoing saga surrounding videotape of former coach Mike Rice abusing players. [ESPN]

Rose tease
Coach Thibs teases about Derrick Rose's potential return again, but does it really matter at this point? [Sun-Times]

Manti of the Midway
Manti Te'o being drafted by the Bears is still a thing, apparently. [ESPN CHI]

The Bright One
Who else but Roger? Along with Royko, he was the writer a phrase like "The Bright One" was made for. And with a career as long and storied as his, there are no shortage of columns to pick from. But after he literally lost his voice, Roger found another outlet that he could own and make his own: Twitter. Here is his column from 2010 in which he talks about how he came to embrace the medium. [Ebert's Blog]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Need to get your hands on some coveted Girl Scout cookies? There's an app for that. [New Yorker]

The must-read news stories for April 3, 2013



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Jessica Koscielniak/Sun-Times

CPS on the defensive
In the first CPS board meeting since the announcement that 54 schools would be closed, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett presented her plan, defended it, and took issue with the accusations of underlying racism in the school closures, saying she was insulted "as a woman of color." Despite an often-raucous crowd and constant challenges from parents, Byrd-Bennett refused to back down from her plan, saying she has no time for adults who use the "excuse of gangs to keep children trapped in failing schools." That said, when one union official was asked what concessions they'd be willing to make to keep the schools open, there was no response. Lauren FitzPatrick has the full recap and more quotes at our website. [Sun-Times, Storify of board meeting coverage]


In praise of Ebert
Best wishes to longtime Sun-Times film critic -- and a man upon whom I cannot heap enough praise -- Roger Ebert, on his upcoming "leave of presence" due to a new battle with cancer. [Ebert, Sun-Times]

Escalation
In response to North Korea's huffing and puffing, the United States is now moving some missile defense systems to Guam because things aren't stressful enough in the world already. [Tribune]

Strange plead
William Curl, accused of killing NIU student Antinette "Toni" Keller, entered an Alford plea -- pleading guilty even as he doesn't make an admission of guilt -- while his sister was led from the courtroom after a loud outburst urging her brother not to take the deal. [Sun-Times]

Pony up for power
Some suburbs are about to find out the downside of those new power deals they've struck: The cost of electricity is about to be more than it would have been under ComEd. [Crain's]

Tense situation
A man stormed into the Vernon Hills police department threatening officers in an apparent attempt to force police officers to kill him. [Sun-Times]

Texas DA murders
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is suggesting the Mexican drug cartels could also be behind the pair of district attorneys murdered in his state -- murders that some have suggested may have been perpetrated by members of the white supremacist group the Aryan Brotherhood. [Politico]

Still caught in a run-down
With no Wrigley deal in place yet, Ald. Tom Tunney is now throwing around the idea of free parking or a new parking garage as a means to get the talks going again. [Sun-Times]

Give a little bit
In a symbolic gesture to acknowledge the hard times many in the country are still going through and the sequester cuts, President Obama is giving 5 percent (about $20,000) back to the Treasury. [N.Y. Times]

Survival mode
A Utah mountain man who lived for 10 years off the land and things he stole from vacation cabins has finally been caught. [CBS News]

Bulldozing a legacy
A building that housed an apartment Ronald Reagan briefly lived in, located near the University of Chicago, is being bulldozed by the school, and people are kind of bummed about it even though they shouldn't be. [WBEZ, previously]

Artsy tumblr
Local artist Chris Ware has an awesome Tumblr featuring sketches and outtakes that's well worth checking out. [Tumblr, via Gapers Block]

Lolla la la
Want to go to Lollapalooza and don't have tickets? Too bad. [Lollapalooza]

Happy Anniversary!
Legendary Chicago radio station WVON is turning 50, so it's time to celebrate. [Sun-Times]

Second verse, same as the first
To the surprise of no one, NBC announced today that Jay Leno will be stepping down as host of the "Tonight Show" and be replaced by Jimmy Fallon. [L.A. Times]

Golden Domer
Sick of Manti Te'o, Bears fans? Well, Mel Kiper, Jr.'s projections show you'd better get used to seeing him. [Sun-Times]

North Side Blues
How bad, exactly, are the Cubs? Whet Moser thinks not that bad, I think they're on their way to 162-0. Meanwhile, they do succeed at one thing: giving money to political campaigns. [The 312, Chicagoist]

The Bright One
Neil Steinberg considers the new Fire Festival and whether the city will ever love it. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
An auction is selling off some amazing NASA/space memorabilia, such as Buzz Aldrin's toothbrush. In related news, my birthday is next week, so take the hint. [Gawker]

The must-read news stories for April 2, 2013




kirk_rush_ap2.jpg
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Capt. Kirk takes the lead for GOP on gay marriage
Citing his own change of mind following his stroke and the movie Lincoln, Illinois' Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk announced today that he has decided to back same-sex marriage, a move that will likely have a much bigger impact in Illinois than nationwide. Said Sen. Kirk: "Our time on this Earth is limited. I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back -- government has no place in the middle." Kirk's move could give more support to state GOP head Pat Brady, who faced severe blowback from his own party for a similar profession of support for gay marriage. The proposed bill to legalize gay marriage in Illinois remains stuck in the Statehouse but could come up for a vote any time now. [Sun-Times, Audio: Kirk interview]



School daze
Parents of CPS students whose schools face closure are making a challenge to Mayor Emanuel: Walk the same routes to school our children do every day. Meanwhile, in other CPS news, the issue of crowded classrooms remains in play, some privately funded ads have been called out by the CTU as "propaganda," and there's not nearly as much a demand for entrance into charter schools as proponents claim. [Sun-Times]

War games
North Korea, still huffing and puffing. [L.A. Times]

Coach out over hazing
While the soccer coach at the center of the Maine West hazing scandal won't fight to regain his job, he maintains his innocence. [Sun-Times]

Corruption superstars
Wow, who knew that New York -- where a handful of lawmakers have been charged with trying to buy their way on to the NYC mayoral ballot -- could outdo Illinois in terms of corruption? [N.Y. Times]

Flashy
More digital ads are coming to Chicago as the city's aviation committee approved agreements to bring such displays to Midway and O'Hare. [Sun-Times]

Gun laws
As Connecticut nears passing some of the toughest gun laws in the country in the wake of the Newtown massacre, the NRA is trying to put its best foot forward. [Boston.com, The Atlantic]

Fighting the man
The League of Women Voters is behind a new federal lawsuit brought against the city, fighting the controversial ward map. [Sun-Times, Map]

Mystery fall
Authorities continue to investigate the death of an elderly woman who fell down her building's garbage chute, the second such death in a little over a year at the building. [NBC 5]

Bad ideas Sox
There are bad ideas, there are really bad ideas, and there's CSN's intro to yesterday's White Sox opener. [Deadspin]

Leading the 'Cats
Chris Collins was introduced today as the new coach of the Northwestern men's hoops team and the man to inherit the albatross of its March Madness absence streak. [Sun-Times]

Honoring '63
The Loyola University 1963 Men's Basketball team is the first entire team selected for induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. [DNA Info]

The Bright One
Mary Mitchell delves into the story of Rosa Picketts, a Chicago woman who was raped 36 years ago and is still hoping for justice. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
One way to make sure your warning properly instills fear into the preached-to: Use clowns and mimes. [Philly.com]

The must-read news stories for April 1, 2013.



rush_apr1.jpg
Anthony Rizzo rounds the bases after his Opening Day homer // Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Opening Day
Hope springs eternal for baseball fans across the world and even here in Chicago as both the Cubs and Sox took to the field for the first time in the 2013 season. The Cubs started off with a 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh even after a trademark Carlos Marmol ninth inning meltdown; Kyuji Fujikawa got the save in his Cubs debut with Jeff Samardzija getting the win. But despite the Opening Day victory, there's still trouble looming for the Cubs (and not just of the Carlos Marmol variety). According to Gordon Wittenmyer, the team's debt is undermining its rebuilding efforts. Meanwhile, the Pale Hose open the season at home against the Kansas City Royals. The game is locked in a scoreless tie at post time, but you can follow live updates at the link below. [Sun-Times, Wittenmyer, White Sox]


Good news on crime front
While the roving mob of teens that caused trouble on the Mag Mile over the weekend cast a shadow, Mayor Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy were able to deliver some good news: The murder rate for March followed February's lead of a significant drop. It was the lowest March murder rate since 1959. While it's hard to tell how the unusually cool weather played into the numbers, the results are still encouraging. [Sun-Times]

Death penalty
Prosecutors in Colorado have announced that they will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, the  man charged with last summer's deadly mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. [Denver Post]

Gun tax in effect
The $25 tax on each gun purchased in Cook County went into effect today. [Sun-Times]

Texas violence against crime fighters
A horrific story is ongoing in Kaufman County, Texas, as the district attorney and his wife were killed at their home over the weekend, just two months after an assistant district attorney was also murdered. The ADA who was killed helped prosecute members of the Aryan Brotherhood, but the extremist group hasn't been formally tied to any of the killings. [L.A. Times, Dallas Morning News]

Burge rebuffed
The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the former cop's perjury conviction in connection to dozens of allegations of torturing suspects at Area 2 headquarters in the 1970s and 1980s. [Sun-Times]

The geography of Chicago poverty
The always brilliant Whet Moser uses stats and maps to show how poverty in Chicago has shifted west and south over the last 50 years. [The 312]

Dewey decimated
One Chicago branch of the Chicago Public Library system has settled on a unique way to protest cuts: Check out every book in the building. [Sun-Times]

Blame Xenu
Scientology has set up an anti-psychiatry pop-up exhibit in Wicker Park, which is sure to be filled with rational analysis from level-headed thetans. [DNA Info]

Lollapa-snooze-a
The official Lollapalooza lineup was unveiled, confirming that the leaked snoozer of a bill was, indeed, correct. [Sun-Times]

Moving up
Link's Hall is relocating and refocusing as a venue for jazz and other artistic collaborations. [WBEZ]

Sorry not sorry
In a discovery sure to aid millions of marriages, a study alleges that people who don't apologize are happier than those who do. [Smithsonian]

Gruesome
A look at how TV networks handle gruesome in-game injuries, like that of Louisville's Kevin Ware. [Deadspin]

Blame it on Rio
Preparations for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics have taken a hit due to some questionable construction situations. [BBC]

The Bright One
Kim Janssen looks into the case of Timothy Forrest and how it has curbed the FBI's use of civilians in undercover operations. [Sun-Times]

Commute
Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
A dog in Belarus inherited $1 million from an immigrant who had moved to the U.S. Lassie and Benji were unavailable for comment. [NDTV]

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