Chicago Sun-Times

May 2010 Archives

A bill by State Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) requiring Metra to hire an independent inspector general was defeated today in committee. The bill was introduced as a response to the recent discovery of a half-million dollar fraud against Metra committed by late executive director Phil Pagano.

According to my colleague Dave McKinney in Springfield, Senate minority leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) called the bill "premature."

"I think we should keep an eye on it and come back in November," Radogno said.

Garrett said the bill would put pressure on Metra to do the right thing.

Yesterday, Metra appointed the firm headed by former Chicago police superintendent Terry Hillard as acting inspector general. The firm is supposed to investigate fraud and abuse at the agency and help it find a permanent inspector general. See the story here.

I want to apologize to anyone who tried to answer the quiz and couldn't find a link on this blog Monday. For some reason, the blog entry wasn't showing up. People instead sent in answers through my e-mail, or through an older blog entry, which also worked because I see all unposted comments. But sorry if you couldn't find it. I haven't had any more trouble so I hope this problem won't repeat.

This week's quiz asked what two Chicago transportation disasters both happened on May 25, 29 years apart. The answer is the crash of American Airlines flight 191 in 1979 and the crash of the Green Hornet street car into an oil truck in 1950. Claude Walker was the first with the correct answer and gets a Sun-Times umbrella for the rain days ahead.

I reported on a crosswalk sting at Belmont and Seminary last night. Reader Matthew Nalett watched the sting the whole night from about 8 p.m. until 9:30 or 10 p.m., and sent this report (slightly edited for space):

"I think they had pulled over every other car -- it was crazy. I think I was talking to the police captain or sergeant and he said the bad thing about this is they do not even slow down. That was the biggest issue about the people tonight. They must have pulled over about a hundred of so cars through the sting and they had about 20 cop cars lined up on Seminary Ave just waiting for the plain clothed cops to give the go for them to go give the person a ticket or pull them over.

"I think it's a great idea they did this sting, to be honest with you. In the time frame I have lived here I have seen so many people almost hit or ran down it's insane. It's really bad at night time or during the cubs games as well especially with the taxi's that are doing 60 mph down Seminary Ave.

"I had even posted something about this issue way back a few months ago here is the link.

"Now as you can see that was 5 months ago I had posted that thing on seeclickfix and now there is finally something being done about it, but how long will this last and what will be done to fully improve our corner or intersection in the long run?"

Starting Wednesday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Eternal Flame at Daley Plaza, a silent procession of bicyclists will honor those who have been killed or injured while biking on public roadways, according to the Active Transportation Alliance.

The ride aims to raise awareness that cyclists have a right to share the roads. The 10-mile route passes the sites of crash victims, which are marked by "ghost bikes" -- bikes painted white. Cyclists are encouraged to wear helmets and use bikes equipped with headlights, since the ride will probably continue past dusk. All cyclists are asked to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent, and to wear black arm bands in solidarity with victims or red arm bands to signify a personal injury. The event is free, but a one-dollar donation is recommended for a Ride of Silence pin. This is part of a global event.

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