March 2013 Archives


Chicago Police News Affairs said that there have been a number of so-called "wilding" disturbances in the area of Chicago and Michigan Avenues, with an unidentified number of offenders arrested Saturday evening, according to Sun-Times reports. Charges are pending.

Wilding refers to a large group, usually youthful, marauding in a public area to terrorize, fight and generally cause mayhem.

CBS 2 reported earlier in the evening that police swarmed the area near Michigan and Chicago Avenue as an unknown number of youths harassed passers-by and, reportedly, police starting about 7:30 p.m. in an area famously clogged with tourists - particularly on a warm weekend evening.

"They assaulted a Chicago police officer who was on a mounted horse. And all of a sudden, they assaulted the citizens walking the streets - just normal citizens shopping, enjoying the weather," community activist Andrew Holmes, who witnessed the activity, told CBS 2's Chris Martinez. "I caution those parents if their child has been arrested ... You need to think about your child. Just don't say the Chicago police picked on your child, when we watched all the assault going on, especially by teen women."

Wilding episodes last hit the downtown area in the summer of 2011.

Police had no further information late Saturday night on the number of arrests nor those involved. Meanwhile, at least one person was dead and 11 wounded in weekend violence across the city outside of Michigan Avenue.

Contributing: Alison Horton

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Job seekers queue up to attend a job fair in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

While it may seem like a big contradiction, the Chicago metro area saw a small increase in both jobs and unemployment claims for February 2013 according to statistics released by the Labor Department and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The area saw a small 1.5 percent increase in jobs but, at the same time, saw an increase in the number of residents filing for unemployment, up to 10.3 percent (not seasonally adjusted), a 1.2 percent increase from a year ago and a .4 percent increase from January. That still puts the city ahead of the national average of 8.1 percent in February. [via Tribune]

Requests to fill potholes on Chicago streets are up by more than 3,000 so far this month compared to the entire month of March last year. Below is a look at where the requests have been made.
Fill out our form to tell us where the worst potholes are in your area of the city.
Or tweet your pothole photos (with location) to #potholepics


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Scott Olson/Getty Images

At 4 pm today, the Chicago Teachers Union will be leading a rally with students and parents outside CPS' downtown headquarters to protest the proposed closings of 54 schools. Follow our live-blog below with reports from Sun-Times reporters Lauren FitzPatrick and Mitch Dudek, photos and videos, and updates from attendees.

Live video is courtesy CAN TV. Ustream from rally participants are also available here and here.

MAP: Kennedy Expansion Plan

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IDOT plans to add new lanes and a new ramp on a section of the Kennedy Expressway near O'Hare International Airport. Zoom into the map to see details of the plan.

Former Chicago Bear Anthony Adams Goes to White Castle

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Former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Anthony Adams is going from the gridiron to the grill.

Adams came back to where he announced his retirement, the White Castle in Gurnee, to help raise money for Autism Speaks.

The following is what went down...

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AP Photo

Strange happenings in Glendale, California over the weekend where a man lost control of his (pretty nice) car and it wound up on the roof of his neighbor's house below. Thankfully, no one was injured in the accident which happened in a community where houses are perched up the side of a steep hill. Still, it makes for a crazy sight and a crane was needed to get the car off the roof. We can now look forward to a scene similar to this taking place in the next Fast & Furious sequel.

Ex-Buffalo Grove trustee Lisa Stone's 911 calls

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Former Buffalo Grove trustee Lisa Stone placed 18 calls to 911 between Feb. 25 and March 11, 2013. Obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request from Central Dispatch, Stone expressed a concern for her life, fears about drugs in the water supply and a desire to recall Buffalo Grove trustees.

Here are those calls:

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Rob Dicker ~ Sun-Times Media

The CTA is - shocking - actually listening to some complaints from riders and scaling back the ridiculous fees on its new, forthcoming Ventra MasterCard system. According to Jon Hilkevitch of the Tribune, who have been all over the CTA's ninja strategy for bilking riders via Ventra, the CTA will drop a $2.95 fee for reloading your Ventra card using a personal credit card and the $10-per-hour fee for resolving a fare dispute. As Hilkevitch points out, though, this is merely a drop in the fee bucket as the average rider could still pay up to $188 per year in various fees by using Ventra.

As with everything in this city (see: closures, CPS schools), the segment of the population most likely to be hampered by the new Ventra system will be poorer riders. When it's all said and done, these are the riders who will wind up paying what amounts to a fare hike without the CTA actually having raised fares. The aforementioned fees for the Ventra MasterCard us (such as $2 fee just to call for operator assistance) and the upped fare for a single-ride ticket are bad enough. This comes on top of the fact that the CTA just raised rates on the multi-day passes.

For riders to side-step these increases and fees, according to the CTA, one merely needs to use their debit or credit card, ignoring the fact that many who live in poverty don't have the same access to a debit or credit card (such as those who live paycheck to paycheck). There's also the issue of crushing debt and adding one more set of fees to a credit card. Of course, the CTA says, you don't have to use a debit card or credit card to pay for your rides. But if you do - and many who live in poverty will have to - you'll pay more, thus repeating the city's cycle of hurting those who are most in need.

Live blog: Gay marriage argument hits Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court's first major examination of gay rights in 10 years begins Tuesday with a hearing on California's ban on same-sex marriage. Follow here for the latest.

MAP: Rail Yard Expansion

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Area where Norfolk Southern Railroad plans to expand its intermodal rail yard following the City Council's approval Monday to sell land to the railroad.

rahm_032313.jpgMayor Rahm Emanuel is back from a ski vacation in Utah and he's likely to face some tough, fiery questions at a press conference early this afternoon. Emanuel was on vacation when the news broke earlier this week that the Chicago Public School system has recommended closing 54 school programs, affecting 30,000 students, mostly in poor neighborhoods on the city's South and West Sides. The press conference will be held at a U.S. Bank in Pullman, next to a new Wal-Mart which indicates the subject will initially be on job creation but the Mayor's Office has indicated the mayor will take questions and the CPS closures will be the dominant issue. Emanuel was on vacation because it was Spring Break for his children who attend the University of Chicago Lab Schools (which are private and thus not affected by the CPS closures).

Photo by Brian Jackson // Sun-Times

Missing college student found dead in Pilsen

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BY SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE

The body of a Harold Washington College student who was reported missing last month was found decomposing in a Pilsen apartment this week, authorities said.

Michelle Manalansan, 29, was last seen Feb. 9 wearing a pink jogging suit near her North Loop residence in the 300 block of East South Water Street, according to a missing-person alert issued at the time.

Her decomposed body was found Sunday in an apartment in the Pilsen community in the 1400 block of West Cullerton Avenue, authorities said.

Police continue to investigate the cause of her death; an autopsy was inconclusive.


MAP: SCHOOLS ON CLOSING LIST

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Here are the schools that CPS has recommended to close, shown with poverty levels in the city of Chicago.

TIMELINE: CPS school closings

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Click on the timeline below to see how the decision to close CPS schools was made:

Man charged with fatally stabbing roommate in Albany Park

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BY SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE

A man has been charged with stabbing his roommate to death during an argument Monday night at their home in the Northwest Side Albany Park neighborhood.

Jim Diaz, 25, faces first-degree murder charges in connection with the death of his roommate, Eber Ochoa-Deleon, authorities said.

Ochoa-Deleon, 26, was stabbed in the chest in the home in the 4800 block of North Drake Avenue about 7:15 p.m. Monday, authorities said.

He was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston where he died at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

An autopsy Tuesday found he died of multiple stab and incise wounds, and ruled his death a homicide, according to the medical examiner's office.

Diaz is scheduled to appear in bond court Wednesday.

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday from The Associated Press:

1. HOPES DIM FOR AN ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN

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Sen. Reid decides that including the divisive assault weapons provision might effectively block passage of any gun control bill at all. [CST]

By Mike Lansu

Firefighters extinguished a small electrical fire in the basement of the Chicago History Museum Tuesday night in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The "small electrical fire" started just before 9 p.m. in the basement of a building at 1601 N. Clark St., according to a Fire Media Affairs spokesman.

Firefighters secured the "very minor" fire right away, the spokesman said.

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A train pulls into the station after switching problems led to rush hour delays Tuesday evening. | Bill Ruminski~Sun-Times via Twitter

BNSF Metra trains were delayed Tuesday evening because of a switching problem in the western suburbs.

BNSF trains into Chicago are delayed 10 to 30 minutes because of a switching problem near Berwyn, Metra said.

Additionally, outbound train No. 1277 was scheduled to depart Chicago at 5:45 p.m. but is delayed because of late arrival of equipment, Metra said. The length of the delay is unknown.

Click here for Metra service updates.

Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jon Seidel and photojournalists John H. White and Jessica Koscielniak were on hand to report on the public visitation for murdered 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins on Tuesday.

Here is a look at the reporting done from the scene, along with reactions from those who came to pay respects to the little girl killed by gang gunfire.

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In this Jan. 30, 2009 photo, Internet activist Aaron Swartz poses for a photo in Miami Beach, Fla. Swartz was found dead Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment. (AP Photo/The New York Times, Michael Francis McElroy)

On Tuesday, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Rafael Reif addressed the college community about the university's decision to release documents related to the prosecution of Aaron Swartz.

Below is the letter Reif wrote explaining the action:

To the members of the MIT Community:

I am writing to explain an important step that MIT has decided to take relating to the Aaron Swartz situation. Since this action affects members of our community, directly or indirectly, I want you to hear about it from me.

On Friday, the lawyers for Aaron Swartz's estate filed a legal request with the Boston federal court where the Swartz case would have gone to trial. They demanded that the court release to the public information related to the case, including many MIT documents. Some of these documents contain information about vulnerabilities in MIT's network. Some contain the names of individual MIT employees involved. In fact, the lawyers' request argues that those names cannot be excluded ("redacted") from the documents and urges that they be released in the public domain and delivered to Congress.

At MIT, we believe in openness, and we are not afraid to reexamine our own actions; indeed, it was with those values in mind that I asked Professor Hal Abelson to undertake his analysis following Aaron Swartz's tragic suicide. But I believe that openness must be balanced with reasonable concern for privacy and safety. That is especially true in this situation. In the time since Aaron Swartz's suicide, we have seen a pattern of harassment and personal threats. In this volatile atmosphere, I have the responsibility to protect the privacy and safety of those members of our community who have become involved in this matter in the course of doing their jobs for MIT, and to ensure a safe environment for all of us who call MIT home.

Therefore -- in the spirit of openness, balanced with responsibility -- we will release the requested MIT documents, redacting employee names and identifying information as appropriate to protect their privacy, as well as redacting information about network vulnerabilities. We will release these documents at the same time that we release Professor Abelson's report. In this way, our own community and those outside can examine both these primary documents and Professor Abelson's analysis, which he is now forming through a careful process that includes a review of this written material as well as extensive in-person interviews.

I am eager to receive his report; I am sure that many of you are, as well. But I trust Professor Abelson to take the time he needs to complete a thorough analysis. In the meantime -- because this is being played out in public -- I wanted you to know what I am thinking and doing, and why.

Sincerely,
Rafael Reif

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday from The Associated Press:

1. BANK DEPOSITS THREATENED

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A protestor holds out her hand during a protest outside the parliament in Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, March 18, 2013. A vote on a bailout package for Cyprus that includes an immediate tax on all savings accounts has been postponed until Tuesday evening. | Petros Karadjias~AP
A plan to seize up to 10 percent of savings accounts in Cyprus to help pay for a financial bailout sends shock waves across Europe.

Much of President Obama's trip will involve events in Jerusalem, but he will also visit the West Bank and Jordan. Click on the map to see what he will be doing at each location:

Lynn Sweet has more on the Obama trip.

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It was long rumored, but now it's official: Tiger Woods and ski pro Lindsey Vonn are dating. Vonn announced the relationship on her Facebook page.

"I guess it wasn't a well-kept secret but yes, I am dating Tiger Woods. Our relationship evolved from a friendship into something more over these past few months and it has made me very happy. I don't plan on addressing this further as I would like to keep that part of my life between us, my family and close friends. Thank you for understanding and your continued support! xo LV"

Tiger Woods released a similar statement on his Facebook page:

"This season has been great so far and I'm happy with my wins at Torrey and Doral. Something nice that's happened off the course was meeting Lindsey Vonn. Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating. We thank you for your support and for respecting our privacy. We want to continue our relationship, privately, as an ordinary couple and continue to compete as athletes."

Michael Jordan paternity suit dismissed

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The Atlanta woman that filed a paternity suit against Michael Jordan, claiming he fathered her 16-year-old son while still married to his former wife, has dismissed the suit.

TMZ says Pamela Smith has filed legal documents in Georgia asking the judge to dismiss her case against the basketball legend.

Michael Jordan asked a Georgia court earlier this month to dismiss the lawsuit. His lawyer John Mayoue said that the six-time NBA champion is not the father of Pamela Y. Smith's son. Jordan accused her of making false claims against him.

A spokeswoman for Smith originally said she filed the suit because she wants Jordan to "acknowledge his son."

In a YouTube video posted in December, Smith's son -- who calls himself "Taj Jordan" -- said he has talked to Jordan.

"I just want him to be more in my life," the teen said. "He knows I'm his son."

Our Dan Rozek is following the suit.


Reporting via Sun-Times Media Wire:

It may not have been a large or long-lasting fire, but the black smoke that could be seen for at least a mile and a-half south Sunday afternoon certainly suggested something worse to those who saw it.

The fire, on the roof of the Old Town Social, a bar/restaurant at 455 W. North Ave., was quickly extinguished, according to Fire Media Affairs. The bar was open at the time of the fire.

Black smoke from the fire could be seen from as far south as the Merchandise Mart. Police were redirecting traffic at the scene.

Fire Media said it was a small fire and no injuries were reported.

More details to come as Sun-Times reporter Mike Lansu heads to the scene.

UPDATES:

Lincoln Square Martha Onate was in the bar with some friends from Spain when the fire started. They were there watching a soccer game -- Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano -- when the alarm went off.

Onate said the fire started about 25 to 30 minutes into the game. She said Barcelona had just scored a goal and they wanted to see the second goal and they were upset they had to leave their beer and credit card inside.

They were looking forward to getting back inside to watch the rest of the game.

UPDATE:

Old Town Social opened back up about 7 p.m. with minimal damage:

Lisa Stone Timeline

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A chronology of Lisa Stone's run for Village Board through her recall and recent run-ins with the law


A Little League in downstate Illinois is holding a fundraising raffle in which the prize is the same style of assault rifle used in the Newton, Connecticut shootings. Needing new equipment and coming off a 2012 fundraiser that only raised $10, the Atwood-Hammond Little League decided to try something a little different for this year's raffle prize: an AR-15 assault rifle. While Charidy Butcher, co-owner of Atwood Armory (the gun shop that donated the rifle), told WAND-TV that any winner will have to go through the same background check as any potential gun buyer, the tickets, which cost $20, have been a hot commodity. Butcher added that the fundraiser is going, "gangbusters" and that people from as far away as Washington state have called to buy tickets. According to Yahoo's The Lookout, a similar fundraiser by Atwood Armory raised $7,000 for a cancer charity. Atwood straddles the line between two counties downstate, Douglas and Piatt, both of which went to Mitt Romney by a two-to-one margin in last year's presidential elections.

Scroll or click through the timeline to see a chronology of the Boeing Dreamliner's problems:

Chicago reacts to news of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins' death

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Social media weighs in on the death of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins.

Live Blog: Papal conclave at the Vatican

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Cardinals heard a final appeal for unity Tuesday before sequestering themselves in the Sistine Chapel for the conclave to elect the next pope.


Live updates:

Wells Street bridge reopens to CTA L trains

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The Chicago Police Department's "wraparound" program -- which involves arresting gang members and deploying city services to a specific area following a murder -- has mixed results in terms of reducing crime. This is the case with two blocks that were targets of wraparound operations in the spring of 2012. In one area, the 1900 block of Troy Ave. on the city's West Side, crime declined following the operation there. In another, the 7900 Block of Bennett on the Southeast Side, crime increased following that operation.
Use this map to zoom in to each block (in black) to see what happened to the individuals who were targeted in the operations and also to see how crime levels changed in the surrounding area (in red) following each operation:

South Side Irish Parade: Live tweets

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The South Side Irish Parade picks back up again today. Will it be as crazy as years past? Not if the city has anything to do with it. After a few rowdy years, and a brief break, the City Council has agreed to throw the book at those caught drinking on the public way within 800 feet of any parade. Reporter Jon Seidel is live-tweeting the event:

The snow hits Chicago's morning commute

A look at how the winter storm Saturn - if you buy into the new trend of naming these things - dumped on rush hour in Chicago on Tuesday morning.

Storified by Craig Newman· Tue, Mar 05 2013 08:07:03

Snow. Chicago. CTA. There you have it. #chicagogramCraig Newman
#winter #sky #silhouette #chicago #chitown #cloudporn #cloudscapes #cloudy #blizzard ##trees #oak #dawn #nature #forestpreserve #landscape #descending #rqj #road #snow #yabtl #path #endoftheroad #golfcourse #picoftheday #icy #icloud #iphone5ROB Q.
#instagramers #instagramer #instagramhub #bestagram #primeshots #iphonesia #iphoneonly #igers #instadaily #igerschicago #instagood #ignation #instahub #instaphoto #chicago #igaddicts #igmania #instamania #bestoftheday #imageoftheday #picoftheday #photooftheday #snowDave
Snow globe-y on Michigan Ave #chicagogramMatt Lindner
Begin... #chicago #distractyourfaceJames Richards IV
And, snow...Cole Hodgin
It's snowing in #Chicago! Photo by @photojeskos #winter #snow #chicagogram #winternstormsaturnChicago Sun-Times
Footprints in the snow pointing into the gym. #everydayistrainingdayWorld Gym - Pilsen
welcome to Chicago ✌ #chicago #snowday #random #likeJessica G.
Come at me, blizzard. #snow #chicagogram #uptownjmjoyce
The obligatory snow-from-the-office pic. (Tired of this one yet?) They're calling for 8" today! #snow #chicagogramAdam Evans
Start of something... #chicago #distractyourfaceJames Richards IV
Another panic attack... #chicagopeopleonplatforms
The third rail can ice up? #cta #chicagogramCraig Newman
#WillisTower obscured by falling #snow. Could this become Chicago's #Frankenstorm? Cold outside but we're about to get hot with another @bravemonk #zumba class.World Gym - Pilsen
Preparing for @paulkonrad @wgnnews weather forecast #downtown #chicago #loop #chigram #chicagogram #iphonegramMike Baker
The Blemont Fire Escape #chicago #cta #city #snow #snowday #winter #belmont #patgriffinPat Griffin
Near the front gate #chicago #city #cta #snow #fletcher #winter #snowdayPat Griffin
Let it snow, I guess. #chicago #cta #downtown #60601 #train #snow #city #chitownTricialynn Moralís
Snow and trains. #citylife #chicago #architecture #cta #ctalines #weather #blizzardMicah Pfeiffer
#chicago #igerschicago #cta #winter #trainBrian Jorgensen
#chicago #cta #igerschicago #winter #trains #snow #vanishingpointBrian Jorgensen
#chicago #cta #igerschicago #snow #winterBrian Jorgensen
Wells Street Bridge construction continues with the added South end main segment attached to the hinge that allows the bridge to lift up. #CTA #Chicagonicholasjnorman
Snowy wait for @cta Brown Line shuttle bus. #wellsreact #wellsbridge #chicagogramCraig Newman
#wall of #snow #chicago #commutesucks #wetass #roofsnowmenafterwork #woooooobloodgutsyo
Beautiful #elmhurst #college #snowTaylor Baxter
#snow #chicagoAndrew Schwarm
#snow #moresnow#nomoresnow #depaul #fullerton #chicagoBlake Cardenas
It's an alley, in #Chicago, with snow. Thought I'd share.bobsaysdrink

Winter storm Saturn - really, when did we start naming them? - hit Chicago just in time for the morning rush Tuesday. The gallery above shows what Chicagoans are seeing, and sharing via Instagram and social media. This gallery will show you what Sun-Times photographers are finding in hopefully winter's last hurrah.

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The snow starts to fall in downtown Chicago. Tuesday, March 5, 2013 | Brian Jackson~ Sun-Times

Of the 129 schools on CPS's latest list of potential closings, 117 have a majority black student body. Click on a school location to see the school's racial breakdown:


CTA riders took to social media to give their feedback on the reopening of the Wells Street bridge.

Time lapse: Breaking down the Wells Street bridge in Chicago from Craig Newman on Vimeo.

As Brown and Purple Line CTA riders are all too aware, the Wells Street bridge is undergoing some major construction and upgrades this week.

Iron workers, CTA personnel and others are working around the clock to tear down the 90-year-old bridge for upgrades and repairs. This video, unedited and in its entirety, was shot over just more than 48 hours from Friday night to Sunday night.

At about the 4:10 mark you can see an older section of bridge being detached and moved away by barge and tug boat - the iron workers can be see, sparks flying, cutting that section away leading up to the separation.

Thousands of frames - an image was made every 30 seconds from about 7 p.m. Friday through about 10:30 p.m. Sunday - were captured during the course of work as weekend life in Chicago buzzed by the bridge work.

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Ald. James Cappleman (46th). | Sun-Times file

Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown reported Friday that Ald. James Cappleman had told the Salvation Army it assistance trucks for feeding the homeless would no longer be welcome in hi Uptown Ward after the end of March.

Brown, talking to the Salvation Army's Capt. Nancy Powers, reported that Cappleman had concerns that the relief trucks were bringing the homeless onto the 46th Ward neighborhood and on Friday, the Salvation Army was ready to comply according to his column:

"He decided he felt the unit was pulling homeless into the area, and he does not want us to feed them. We don't want to be where we're not wanted," Powers told Brown on Friday.

On Saturday, though, the Salvation Army changed its tone, with Powers saying they would continue to serve the neighborhood despite Ald. Cappleman's wishes. Sunday, they clarified, with Brown reporting that:

Upon further consideration, Salvation Army officials have decided to defy instructions from Ald. James Cappleman (46th) to quit feeding the poor in his ward, which he now denies he ever gave.

Buoyed by encouragement from other social service providers and city officials, the Salvation Army's Capt. Nancy Powers said Sunday the charity will continue to send its mobile food truck into Uptown in an effort to help the homeless.

Ald. Cappleman himself waded into the weekend story with a statement on Sunday, posted to his website. Here is Cappleman's statement:

The ouster of Groupon brainchild and CEO Andrew Mason on Thursday was hardly a surprise.

Groupon has been in a spiral since it's heralded IPO, complete with stock price drops and disappointing earnings statements - the most recent of which proved to be the final straw for Mason.

The real surprise here may be that NMAWorldEdition, a Taiwanese news operation that works in animated videos, chose to take on the story. They previously dabbled in explanatory efforts around such stories as the Tiger Woods marriage breakdown and the latenight talkshow host wars.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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