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[23 Mar 2015 | No Comment | ]

Days after Pat Quinn lost the November election, Chicago’s busiest film studio asked the lame-duck governor for a hefty state grant to buy industrial land around its West Side campus, where “Chicago Fire” and other TV shows and movies are produced.

Three weeks before Quinn left office, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios got a $10 million check from the cash-strapped state of Illinois.
The check’s been cashed. But the studio has yet to buy any land, and the owners of six properties listed in the studio’s grant application say they have no plans …

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[6 Mar 2015 | No Comment | ]

A freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said.

The BNSF Railway train derailed about 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams.
The train had 103 cars loaded with crude oil, along with two buffer cars loaded with sand.
Read more in the Chicago Sun-Times
image subtle reference to simple solution to oil transportation

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[8 Dec 2014 | No Comment | ]

Continuing a week of protest over the deaths of young black men at the hands of police, the Rev. Michael Pfleger on Sundayinterrupted Mass — leading worshipers out of the pews at  Saint Sabina Catholic Church and into the street.
“We are taking a stand with our young people,” Pfleger said, referring to those who have been protesting around the country. “I have never been more proud to be an American citizen than right now. We got your back, we are going to fight with you.”

Read more in the Sun-Times

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[4 Dec 2014 | No Comment | ]

Federal prosecutors in Springfield moved a step closer Wednesday to being allowed to treat Dr. Eric Whitaker, a former Illinois state public health director who is one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, as a hostile witness in a fraud trial involving a Chicago businessman accused of spending more than $3 million in state health grants on luxury cars and vacation homes.

But they’ll have to question Whitaker outside the presence of the jury, U.S. District Judge Richard Mills ruled, before he’ll decide whether they can treat him as a hostile …

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[8 Oct 2014 | One Comment | ]

In a Sept. 5, 2010 email to Ben Nuckels, then Quinn’s campaign manager, Lavin outlines strategies to appeal to African-American voters by employing President Barack Obama and several black congressmen from Chicago and producing an ad with a “typical African American family, particularly women” that could show “why [Republican Bill] Brady would be a disaster.”

“The African American community tends to break late so we have some time,” Lavin wrote. “The Gov’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative will also help on the jobs and anti-violence messages. If we agree that this election is …

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[7 Oct 2014 | No Comment | ]

North Shore state representative seeking reelection is suing his opponent in the Nov. 4 election as well as a local political commentator for allegedly broadcasting and mailing defamatory claims to prospective voters.

State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) filed the suit Monday in Cook County Circuit Court against Mark Neerhof, a doctor from Evanston running as his Republican challenger, and Neerhof’s campaign, Neerhof for Illinois.
Drury is also suing Dan Proft, a political commentator and morning show host for WLS-890. Liberty Principles PAC, for which Proft serves as Chairman and Treasurer, was …

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[15 Sep 2014 | No Comment | ]

A deal involving the federal government’s most expensive lease in Chicago produced millions of dollars in profits for a development group that included Penny Pritzker, a top campaign fund-raiser for President Barack Obama who is now his commerce secretary.
The developers also included Jack Higgins, a friend and political backer of former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Over the 14-year term of the lease, the government will pay $280 million in rent and operating expenses for the Near West Side property, which houses the FBI’s Chicago headquarters.
That’s more than double what it cost …

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[7 Sep 2014 | No Comment | ]

Turns out Rep. Mike Quigley D-Ill. has a GOP opponent, Chicago business executive and major GOP donor Vince Kolber, who kicked off his campaign on Wednesday, jumping in after he noticed no Republican bothered to file in the heavily Democratic 5th congressional district contest.

Local Republican leaders were able to fill the vacant ballot spot this summer for the 5th Congressional District seat. The district is anchored in North Side Chicago Democratic territory with some GOP turf in the DuPage County portion of the district.
“I go into this race with my …

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[1 Sep 2014 | One Comment | ]

The race to defeat one of the most powerful Democrats in the nation is narrowing — with incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin just seven percentage points ahead of Republican challenger Jim Oberweis, according to a new Early & Often Poll.

In a year that’s expected to tilt toward Republicans across the nation, Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate, is leading Oberweis, who is making his third run for the Senate, 47.8 percent to 40.5 percent, the survey commissioned by the Sun-Times’ political portal shows.

Read more in the Sun …

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[12 Aug 2014 | One Comment | ]

When conventions and trade shows threaten to leave McCormick Place or Rosemont for Orlando, Las Vegas or elsewhere, officials at the lakefront and suburban convention centers have a carrot to offer to keep those shows here:
A pot of taxpayer money they guard so tightly they’ve tried to keep secret how it’s spent, the Chicago Sun-Times has found.

Over the past three years, $26.5 million from Illinois taxpayers has been spent to lure the International Housewares Association’s trade show, the Radiological Society of North America convention and 79 other shows to McCormick …