Correspondent, Chicago
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Apr 5, 2012

Former Senator McGovern in good condition in hospital

By Andrew Stern

(Reuters) – George McGovern, the former senator and Democratic presidential candidate, was in good condition on Thursday in a hospital near his Florida home, being evaluated for fainting spells, a hospital spokeswoman and friends said.

McGovern, 89, who lost to Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election, was undergoing tests to determine why he has suffered from “brief transient spells where he passes out and becomes verbally unresponsive,” his family said in a statement.

Apr 2, 2012

Beef processor files for bankruptcy amid ‘pink slime’ uproar

April 2 (Reuters) – Ground beef processor AFA Foods filed
for bankruptcy protection on Monday, citing the impact of the
uproar over a meat filler dubbed “pink slime” by critics.

Meat processors have faced a backlash over the use of an
ammonia-treated beef filler they call “finely textured beef.”
Food activists have campaigned to have it banned, but supporters
say the product is safe to eat.

Mar 30, 2012

Chicago, short of money, turns to private sector

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, facing budget cuts from the debt-ridden state of Illinois and the federal government, turned to the private sector on Thursday to finance $7.2 billion in rebuilding of the city’s aging subways, sewers and schools.

Emanuel, who laid off hundreds of workers in his first year in office to close a $636 million gap in the city’s $6.3 billion budget, said no taxes would be raised to pay for infrastructure he said would create 30,000 jobs over the next three years.

Mar 28, 2012

Cargill cuts ‘pink slime’ output, sees hamburger price rise

CHICAGO, March 28 (Reuters) – Agribusiness giant Cargill Inc
said on Wednesday it would cut production of meat scraps critics
call “pink slime” and said consumer resistance to the filler
could lead to higher hamburger prices during the grilling season
beginning this spring.

Cargill’s move came two days after leading producer Beef
Products Inc shut down three of four facilities making the
filler and said 650 jobs were at risk. Cargill did not say
whether any jobs at its plants were affected.

Mar 28, 2012

Cargill trims filler beef amid ‘pink slime’ ire

CHICAGO, March 28 (Reuters) – Agribusiness giant Cargill Inc
said on Wednesday that it has reduced production of a beef
filler, called “pink slime” by critics, that is used in
hamburgers in the wake of its customers eliminating it from
their products.

The move by Cargill, a major U.S. beef producer, comes two
days after Beef Products Inc., the largest producer of the
filler that is formally known in the industry as lean finely
textured beef (FTB), shut down three of four plants that produce
it meat, following a campaign against it by consumer activists.

Mar 28, 2012

US beef industry fights back in ‘pink slime’ smear campaign

CHICAGO, March 28 (Reuters) – Supporters of the U.S. meat
industry fought back on Wednesday to slow what they called a
smear campaign by consumer activists seeking a ban on meat
scraps added to hamburger that critics have called “pink slime.”

“They’ve been a victim of a smear campaign, and I think we
need to do all we can to try to counter this,” Iowa Governor
Terry Branstad was quoted by his spokesman as saying.

Mar 21, 2012

Young Tea Party-backed Illinois congressman beats veteran Republican

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A rookie Congressman with Tea Party support beat a veteran Republican twice his age on Tuesday in a primary contest between incumbents forced by Democratic gerrymandering of the electoral map designed to gain congressional seats in November.

Freshman Republican Adam Kinzinger, 34, declared victory over 20-year Representative Don Manzullo, who turns 68 this month, in the second of 11 primary contests nationwide pitting incumbents against each other.

Mar 21, 2012

Chicago lawmaker charged in bribe case wins primary

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A Democratic state lawmaker from Chicago charged last week with accepting a bribe overwhelmingly won his party’s primary on Tuesday, reinforcing the reputation of the nation’s third-largest city for turning a blind eye to corruption.

Derrick Smith, appointed a year ago to fill a vacancy in the Illinois House of Representatives, was leading with 76 percent of the vote with more than 80 percent of the ballots counted, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.

Mar 19, 2012

Democrats hope for big House election gains in Illinois

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Two Republican congressman, including a Tea Party-backed rookie, face off in the Illinois primary on Tuesday thanks to a gerrymandered political map Democrats hope will yield a gain of several seats in the state to help win back a House of Representatives majority.

Democrats are looking for a gain of as many as five Republican House seats this November in Illinois, the only Midwestern state with Democratic control of both the governor’s office and the legislature.

Mar 16, 2012

Tornado-hit Illinois appeals U.S. rejection of aid

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday appealed a federal decision to reject disaster aid that would help the state recover from a February 29 tornado that wiped out hundreds of homes and killed seven people in one town.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied disaster aid to Illinois, Missouri and Ohio following two bouts of tornadoes on February 29 and on March 2 that killed dozens, including seven people in Harrisburg, Illinois.

    • About Andrew

      "Cover the Midwest -- from Tennessee to Kansas and the Dakotas -- with help from other correspondents in Chicago and Kansas City. Also keep tabs on issues related to religion and the environment, especially as concerns the Great Lakes."
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