Midwest Correspondent
Fiona's Feed
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.

Jul 21, 2015

U.S. appeals court vacates some convictions of former Illinois Governor Blagojevich

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court said on Tuesday it had vacated five out of 18 criminal convictions against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year sentence for attempted extortion from campaign contributors, wire fraud and other crimes.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed 13 counts, ordered a retrial on the other five counts and said Blagojevich, 58, was not entitled to be released from federal prison during the new trial because his sentence is already below the recommended length of time for the convictions that were upheld.

Jul 16, 2015

Poor, nonviolent inmates benefit from U.S. bail reform push

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Accused of stealing a $240 surveillance camera, Edward has been sitting in Chicago’s Cook County Jail for four months awaiting trial.

The 45-year-old handyman from Gary, Indiana, who has a history of retail and auto theft and drug possession, cannot pay a $3,000 bail bond. But circumstances for Edward and many others like him are about to change.

Jul 13, 2015

Man charged in death of Chicago baby after rapper killed

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A Chicago man was arrested on Monday and charged in the death of a 13-month-old boy who was killed by a car that was allegedly fleeing the scene of the gang-related murder of Chicago rapper Capo on Saturday, police said.

Antoine Watkins, 21, was due in bond court on Monday on charges of murder and attempting to elude police, the Chicago Police Department said in a statement.

    • 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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