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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

High-ranking Chicago Police commander Paul Bauer shot and killed near the Thompson Center, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.14.18 at 01:18 AM

Police guard the scene where Chicago Police Department commander Paul Bauer was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon. - JOHN J. KIM/CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA AP
  • John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune via AP
  • Police guard the scene where Chicago Police Department commander Paul Bauer was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon.

Welcome to the Reader's news briefing for Wednesday, February 14, 2018. Happy Valentine's Day!

  • High-ranking Chicago Police commander Paul Bauer shot and killed near the Thompson Center

Chicago Police Department commander Paul Bauer was shot and killed near the Thompson Center in the Loop Tuesday afternoon, according to CPD superintendent Eddie Johnson. Bauer, of the Near North 18th police district, was reportedly helping a tactical team respond to a suspect in another crime when he was shot multiple times. Bauer was then taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital nearby, where he was pronounced dead, according to ABC7 Chicago. A suspect has been taken into custody, sources told the Tribune. [Tribune] [ABC 7 Chicago]

  • John Hancock Center loses its name, will now be known as 875 N. Michigan

John Hancock Financial is removing its name from the John Hancock Center, nearly five decades after the insurance company built the 100-story skyscraper, according to the Tribune. Until the building secures a new naming rights deal, the building will just be known as 875 N. Michigan Avenue. [Tribune]

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Speaker Mike Madigan fires aide for alleged sexual harassment, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.12.18 at 11:49 PM

Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan - AP PHOTO/SETH PERLMAN
  • AP Photo/Seth Perlman
  • Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news brief.

  • Speaker Mike Madigan fires aide for alleged sexual harassment

Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan has fired longtime aide Kevin Quinn, brother of 13th Ward alderman Marty Quinn, for alleged sexual harassment. Kevin Quinn allegedly sent a woman inappropriate text messages and made "unwanted advances" toward her before she came forward with her story in November, according to a statement from Madigan. Attorney Heather Wier Vaught investigated the woman's allegations and "recently came to the conclusion that the individual engaged in inappropriate conduct." [Sun-Times]

  • CPS alters plans to shut down three Englewood high schools over the summer, will phase them out instead

Chicago Public Schools is backtracking on its controversial decision to shut down three Englewood high schools at the end of the 2017-'18 school year and now says it won't close them until the current freshmen graduate. Harper, Hope, and TEAM Englewood high schools will be phased out over the next three years, and a fourth high school, Robeson, will likely close over the summer, according to CPS chief executive officer Janice Jackson. "Englewood students deserve a state-of-the-art high school and a world-class education, which is why we're excited to build an $85 million campus that will rival the city's best schools," she said in a statement. "At the same time, we want to honor current students and their families, and we've heard that many of them want to be able to stay and graduate from their current schools." [Tribune]

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Shootings and homicides decrease as carjackings surge, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.12.18 at 01:05 AM

Police work the scene where a 11-year-old was shot in January. - ARMANDO L. SANCHEZ/CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA AP
  • Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via AP
  • Police work the scene where a 11-year-old was shot in January.

Welcome to the Reader's news briefing for Monday, February 12, 2018.

  • Shootings and homicides on the decrease as carjackings surge

Chicago is finally seeing a decrease in homicides and shootings, but there's been a disturbing surge in carjackings. Law enforcement and crime experts blame the trend on "repeat offenders, many of them juveniles who use the cars to commit other crimes or to brag about on social media," according to the Wall Street Journal. Less than six weeks into 2018, there have been at least 100 carjackings in Chicago stretching from downtown to nearly every area of the city. The crime is also on the rise in Saint Louis, Baltimore, and Milwaukee. "Both car thefts and jackings have been driven by a need for a motor vehicle to commit additional crimes," Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis, told the newspaper. "That crime may be a retaliatory homicide . . . or the vehicle is sometimes traded for drugs." [Wall Street Journal]

  • Chicago matches snowfall record with nine straight days of measurable snow

There have been nine days in a row with "measurable snow" in Chicago as of Sunday, matching a record. It's only the third time the city has seen nine days in a row of snow since the National Weather Service started keeping records in 1885, according to the Tribune. Thankfully, the city isn't expected to break the record—there should be no new snow Monday. [Tribune]

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Poll: Daniel Biss catching up to front-runner J.B. Pritzker in gubernatorial primary after wiretap controversy, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.08.18 at 11:04 PM

Competing in the Democratic primary for governor are billionaire J.B. Pritzker, businessman Chris Kennedy, and state senator Daniel Biss. - JOHN J. KIM/CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA AP, POOL
  • John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool
  • Competing in the Democratic primary for governor are billionaire J.B. Pritzker, businessman Chris Kennedy, and state senator Daniel Biss.

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news brief.

  • Poll: Biss catching up to gubernatorial front-runner Pritzker after wiretap controversy

The controversy over a newly released wiretapped conversation between Democratic gubernatorial primary front-runner J.B. Pritzker and then-governor Rod Blagojevich has been good for candidate Daniel Biss. Billionaire businessman Pritzker and state senator Biss are in a "dead heat" with just a few weeks until the election, according to pollster Victory Research. In survey of 1,209 likely Democratic voters taken Tuesday and Wednesday, Pritzker has 27 percent of support, Biss has 23.7 percent, and Chris Kennedy has 17.3 percent. A lot could change between now and Election Day, March 20, because 27.5 percent of the likely voters are still undecided. [Sun-Times]

  • Canadian prime minister Trudeau wouldn't let Axelrod push him into talking Trump

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau visited Chicago for the first time as prime minister Wednesday and made several stops. During a speech on free trade at the University of Chicago, Trudeau emphasized the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement but was careful not to criticize NAFTA foe President Donald Trump despite David Axelrod's aggressive pushing. When asked by Axelrod why Canadians' approval of the U.S. government has dropped significantly over the past year, Trudeau remained admirably diplomatic, saying, "I'm not going to wonder about things!" [Tribune]

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Toni Preckwinkle endorses Democratic front-runner J.B. Pritzker for governor despite controversy, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.07.18 at 11:35 PM

Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle - AP PHOTO/M. SPENCER GREEN, FILE
  • AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File
  • Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news brief.

  • Toni Preckwinkle endorses Democratic front-runner J.B. Pritzker for governor despite controversy

Cook County board president Toni Preckwinkle endorsed Democratic front-runner J.B. Pritzker in the gubernatorial race despite the recent controversy surrounding Pritzker's past comments about some African-American politicians. Pritzker made the comments in a wiretapped conversation with then-governor Rod Blagojevich about who should replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate after he elected president. "I've seen J.B.'s record and I know what's in his heart," Preckwinkle said in statement. "This is a leader who has been there for our communities. Right now, the only question our community should be asking is who has a record of showing up for us, and I truly believe that J.B. is that leader." [Sun-Times]

  • Elon Musk and his Boring Company will compete with three other firms to build O'Hare Express train

The competition to build an express train from downtown to O'Hare International Airport is on. Two firms, Elon Musk's the Boring Company and Oaktree Capital Management, and two joint ventures, O'Hare Express Train Partners (OHL Infrastructure, Kiewit, Amtrak) and O'Hare Xpress LLC (Meridiam, Antarctica Capital, JLC Infrastructure, Mott MacDonald and First Transit), will compete for the chance to design, construct and operate the train, according to Curbed Chicago. Based on tweets from Musk, the Boring Company has some futuristic ideas such as "high-velocity electromagnetic pods" and sleds. [Curbed Chicago]

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J.B. Pritzker under fire for comments about African-American elected officials in newly released Blagojevich tape, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.07.18 at 01:50 AM

J.B. Pritzker speaks to the media as Illinois secretary of state Jesse White and others look on at MacArthur's Restaurant on Tuesday. - JOSE M. OSORIO/CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA AP
  • Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune via AP
  • J.B. Pritzker speaks to the media as Illinois secretary of state Jesse White and others look on at MacArthur's Restaurant on Tuesday.

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news briefing.

  • J.B. Pritzker under fire for comments about African-American elected officials in newly released Blagojevich tape

Democratic gubernatorial front-runner J.B. Pritzker has hit a roadblock in the race for governor with the release of new audio from the infamous FBI-wiretapped phone conversation he had with then-governor Rod Blagojevich in 2008. The billionaire businessman and the now-disgraced governor were discussing who should fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama after he was elected president. In the conversation with Blagojevich, Pritzker suggests Illinois secretary of state Jesse White for the role because he is the "least offensive" of the African-American candidates in the running and will "cover you on the African-American thing." His Democratic opponents in the heated race for governor quickly condemned the phone call. "Our true character shows when we think no one is watching. J.B.'s conversations with Blagojevich are disqualifying and they're a reflection of his integrity," opponent Chris Kennedy said in a statement. State senator Daniel Biss discussed how the call exemplifies corruption. "For too long our broken system has allowed the wealthy to have unfettered access to the decision-makers in our government," he said in a statement. "That's what breeds corruption. And when that access involves two influential white men making political calculations based on skin color, that's what perpetuates a racist system." Joined by White at a news conference Tuesday, Pritzker apologized for the comments, saying he was "not my best self" during the call. [Tribune]

  • Jeanne Ives is "a little bit surprised at some of the hysteria" over campaign ad

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives says she's "a little bit surprised at some of the hysteria" surrounding her campaign's controversial ad, which slams transgender rights, undocumented immigrants, Chicago Teachers Union members, and women who have had abortions, among other liberal targets. "The commercial does not attack people, it tackles issues, I truly believe illustrating the constituencies Rauner has chosen to serve, to the exclusion of others," Ives, a state representative running from the right against Governor Bruce Rauner in the GOP primary, said at the City Club of Chicago Monday. [Tribune]

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Arrests for marijuana in Chicago hit a historic low in 2017, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.06.18 at 02:41 AM

An employee stocks cannabis at a San Francisco store. - AP PHOTO/NOAH BERGER, FILE
  • AP Photo/Noah Berger, File
  • An employee stocks cannabis at a San Francisco store.

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news briefing.

  • Arrests for marijuana in Chicago hit a historic low in 2017

The Chicago Police Department arrested only 3,168 people for marijuana possession or other pot-related offenses in 2017, a historic low for the city, according to WBEZ. By comparison, Chicago police officers made 25,350 arrests for pot-related crimes in 2007. There were 11,417 narcotics arrests last year, which is also a historic low, down from 58,808 in 2000.  [WBEZ]

  • Rauner slams GOP Holocaust denier running for local congressional seat

Governor Bruce Rauner has slammed Holocaust denier and congressional candidate Arthur Jones. Jones, who is also a white supremacist and anti-Semite, is the only candidate running in the Republican primary for the Third Congressional District seat currently held by Democrat Dan Lipinski. "There is no room for Neo Nazis in American politics. I condemn this man in the strongest possible terms," the governor said in a statement. [Sun-Times

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives’s ad offends both sides of the aisle, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.05.18 at 08:27 AM

State representative Jeanne Ives meets with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board January 29. - JOSE M. OSORIO/CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA AP
  • Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune via AP
  • State representative Jeanne Ives meets with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board January 29.

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news briefing.

  • Gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives's ad offends Democrats, Republicans

Republican gubernatorial candidate and state representative Jeanne Ives is being slammed by Democrats and Republicans for a controversial campaign ad that's been dubbed "racist," "sexist," and "transphobic" by many people, according to Politico. The ad mocks illegal immigrants, Chicago Teachers Union members, transgender people, and women who've had abortions, among other classes. "This TV ad has no place in Illinois," Will Allison, a campaign spokesman for Governor Bruce Rauner, said. "It just shows how unelectable Representative Ives really is." It "denigrates, mocks and marginalizes groups of Illinoisans and cannot represent our Republican Party," GOP attorney general candidate Erika Harold said in a statement. "I call on the Ives campaign to immediately take it off the air." [Politico]

  • Holocaust denier expected to win GOP nomination for area Congressional seat

Holocaust denier Arthur Jones is poised to become the Republican nominee for the Third Congressional District, representing parts of Chicago and nearby suburbs, according to the Sun-Times. Jones, 70, the sole Republication candidate for the office currently held by Democrat Dan Lipinski, says he's a former leader of the American Nazi Party and is now affiliated with America First. "Well first of all, I'm running for Congress not the chancellor of Germany. All right," he explained to the Sun-Times. "To me the Holocaust is what I said it is: It's an international extortion racket." A resident of suburban Lyons who's been seeking office since the 70s, Jones is running unopposed against the wishes of the state GOP. "The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones," Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, said in a statement. "We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District." [Sun-Times]

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Potential mayoral candidate Paul Vallas strikes out at Emanuel after Chicago State drama, and other news

Posted By on 02.01.18 at 11:36 PM

Paul Vallas - AP PHOTO/M. SPENCER GREEN, FILE
  • AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File
  • Paul Vallas

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news briefing. Have a great weekend!

  • Potential mayoral candidate Paul Vallas strikes out at Emanuel

Former Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Paul Vallas appears to be inching even closer to a mayoral run in 2019, as he "started Wednesday to make the case in earnest against re-electing Mayor Rahm Emanuel and suggested that Emanuel may have engineered [his] embarrassing exit from Chicago State University," according to the Sun-Times. Emanuel should have addressed school funding reform and other fiscal issues when Pat Quinn was governor with a veto-proof Democratic majority in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, according to Vallas. "The question is, who are you gonna trust to navigate the city through those troubled financial waters?" he asked. Vallas had already given the Chicago State University board of trustees his 60-day notice for the chief administrative officer job when they abruptly terminated his contract, eliminated the job, and accused him of using the position as a platform to run for mayor. "It is a little coincidental that one of the state reps who got $46,000 in campaign contributions from Rahm Emanuel the year before last should just suddenly wake up one morning and decide that Chicago State University is a major issue and send a letter to the president concerned about me running for office while I'm at Chicago State after I had already decided to resign and . . . simultaneously send it to the media," Vallas told reporters Wednesday. He says he will likely run if he raises enough money and increases his name recognition. [Sun-Times]

  • Ten years after the tragic Lane Bryant shooting, Tinley Park police release new image of suspect

Five women were shot and killed in a Tinley Park Lane Bryant on February 2, 2008, and the case remains unsolved. Tinley Park police have released a new composite image of the suspect created by the Michigan State Police "[utilizing] the latest in facial identification technology to provide a more life-like representation," according to a statement. There is one investigator who still works full-time on the shooting with the help of another investigator who works on it half of the time. The suspect, who would now be between 35 to 45 years old (based on the 2008 estimate that he was between 25 and 35), is around six feet tall, with a husky build and broad shoulders. His voice was captured on the 911 call recording. [Sun-Times]

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rauner delivers his final State of the State address with an eye to November elections, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 01.31.18 at 08:39 PM

Governor Bruce Rauner delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. - RICH SAAL/THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER VIA AP
  • Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register via AP
  • Governor Bruce Rauner delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday.

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news briefing.

  • Rauner tries a positive, bipartisan tone in State of the State address

Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his final State of the State address Wednesday, touching on "controversies that have been brewing in his administration and at the Capitol [and] striking a largely bipartisan note in the midst of a challenging re-election campaign," according to the Tribune. Rauner faces a primary challenge in March and a tough reelection battle in November, and he took the opportunity of the speech to plug his bid. "The state of our state today is one of readiness: readiness born of unprecedented frustration with our political culture, along with the firm belief that we have tremendous, but as-yet unrealized, economic potential," Rauner said. His Democratic challengers in the governor's race criticized his conciliatory efforts and promise to submit a balanced budget as too little, too late. [Tribune]

  • Poll shows that more than a third of likely Democratic gubernatorial primary voters are undecided

Democratic gubernatorial front-runner J.B. Pritzker still has the most support among his rivals, according to a new poll from We Ask America. Of 811 likely Democratic voters sampled between January 29 and 30, 29.79 percent support Pritzker, 17.43 percent support state senator Daniel Biss, and 11.5 percent support Chris Kennedy, the Sun-Times reports, with the rest of the candidates polling at less than 2 percent. But more than a third of voters, 37.95 percent, are still undecided with six weeks left until Election Day. Kennedy, a businessman, is the most popular candidate downstate, according to the poll. [Sun-Times

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