Midwest Correspondent
Fiona's Feed
Sep 1, 2015

School protests hijack Chicago mayor’s budget forum

CHICAGO, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel held
a rare public forum on Monday, seeking support for painful belt
tightening to solve the city’s fiscal crisis, at a meeting
dominated by protests over the closing of a high school in an
African-American neighborhood.

Chants and boos greeted Emanuel, who was forced to agree to
meet for the first time with 12 protesters who are in the 15th
day of a hunger strike to pressure the city to reopen shuttered
Dyett High School in South Chicago.

Aug 31, 2015

Chicago mayor tries to build support for harsh cuts at budget forums

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will hold a rare public forum on Monday as he tries to build support for likely tax hikes and harsh cuts in public services to stem the city’s growing financial crisis.

The city’s first-ever garbage collection fees, less-frequent recycling pick-ups, higher property taxes, fees related to e-cigarettes and other items are all being discussed as partial remedies to try to plug an estimated shortfall in next year’s budget that could hit $750 million.

Aug 28, 2015

Chicago school closure battle intensifies with hunger strike

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A long-standing battle between activists and the City of Chicago over school closures in minority neighborhoods has intensified with a dozen protesters entering their twelfth day of a hunger strike on Friday over a shuttered high school.

Camped out on the lawn in front of Dyett High School in South Chicago, the strikers vow to consume only liquids – such as juice and chicken broth – until the city agrees to reopen the school.

Aug 24, 2015

Chicago commuter trains will stop marking gender on monthly passes

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Many Chicago commuters are not even aware of the little rubber-stamp mark on their monthly train pass indicating ‘M’ for male or ‘F’ for female.

The decades-old practice, shared by other transit agencies, is meant to discourage commuters with a day off from work from loaning a pass to a spouse, friend or other family member. Now Metra, which runs 11 commuter train lines in and around Chicago carrying 150,000 passengers a day, said it will phase out the practice by early next year.

Aug 20, 2015

Former red light camera CEO pleads guilty in Chicago bribe scheme

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The former chief executive of a red-light camera company that used to run Chicago’s controversial traffic cameras pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal bribery charges.

Karen Finley, 55, entered her plea before U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall who said the former CEO of Australian camera firm Redflex Traffic Systems will be sentenced in February – after a trial of a co-conspirator – to a maximum of five years in federal prison.

Aug 20, 2015

Former red light camera CEO pleads guilty in Chicago bribe scheme

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The former chief executive of a red-light camera company that used to run Chicago’s controversial traffic cameras pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal bribery charges.

Karen Finley, 55, entered her plea before U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall who said the former CEO of Australian camera firm Redflex Traffic Systems will be sentenced in February – after a trial of a co-conspirator – to a maximum of five years in federal prison.

Aug 19, 2015

Appeals court denies petition by former Illinois Governor Blagojevich

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A federal appeals court denied on
Wednesday a petition by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich
for a rehearing of the court’s prior ruling that upheld most of
his convictions and ordered him to remain in prison while some
were retried.

Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year sentence for attempted
extortion from campaign contributors, wire fraud and other
crimes, had asked for a rehearing in front of the full 7th
Circuit United States Court of Appeals.

Aug 18, 2015

Basketball legend Michael Jordan testifies in $10 million brand case

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Basketball superstar turned billionaire
pitchman Michael Jordan took the stand in federal court on
Tuesday to testify in his lawsuit seeking millions from a
grocery chain that used his name and jersey number in an ad,
without permission.

Jordan claims he should be paid $10 million, which he says
is fair market value for a full page ad in a 2009 Sports
Illustrated commemorative magazine celebrating his career, taken
out by now-defunct Dominick’s Finer Foods, a division of Safeway
.

Aug 13, 2015

State of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri, extended at least 24 hours

By Fiona Ortiz

(Reuters) – The government of St. Louis County extended for at least 24 hours a state of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri, which has been the scene of protests a year after an unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer.

County Executive Steve Stenger extended the state of emergency in Ferguson, a suburb of the city of St. Louis, through at least Friday, said his spokeswoman, Allison Blood.

Aug 6, 2015

A year after shooting, Ferguson faces financial toll

By Fiona Ortiz

(Reuters) – A year after Ferguson, Missouri, was torn by unrest over a white policeman’s fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, the town that became a symbol of racial inequality in America faces a significant financial toll.

Several businesses that were looted or vandalized during riots in Ferguson are gone and its budget deficit has grown as costs, including overtime pay for the police force, have increased. Revenue from sources such as traffic fines, long used to pad municipal finances, has dropped and job cuts for city employees could follow.

    • About Fiona

      "Fiona Ortiz is a general news correspondent for Reuters Americas based in Chicago and covering the Midwest. Previously, she was Reuters' chief correspondent in Madrid, where she covered political and economic news and ran a bureau of some 25 correspondents who wrote about everything from the debt crisis to sports. Fiona has been with Reuters since 1996 and has had assignments in Guatemala, Mexico, Chile and Argentina."
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