Correspondent, Chicago
James's Feed
Feb 28, 2013

Armstrong’s charity says bowed, not crippled by doping scandal

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A top official with the cancer charity founded by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong acknowledged on Thursday that the athlete’s doping scandal had tarnished its reputation and created “headwinds that were not only stiff but heartbreaking.”

But Andy Miller, executive vice president of the Livestrong Foundation, said the group was “bigger than its founder” and insisted its fund-raising and outreach programs for those diagnosed with cancer had not been irreparably damaged by the scandal.

Feb 27, 2013

Storm that buried U.S. Plains slams Great Lakes region

CHICAGO, Feb 26 (Reuters) – A powerful winter storm that
buried the U.S. Plains moved on Tuesday into the southern Great
Lakes region, where it snarled the evening commute in Chicago
and Milwaukee, created near-whiteout conditions and forced
hundreds of flight cancellations.

Wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour (56 km per hour)
hurled a potent blend of wet snow and sleet on north-central
Illinois, southern Wisconsin and northern Indiana and Ohio,
according to the National Weather Service.

Feb 22, 2013

Court says Illinois must rewrite curbs on carrying concealed guns

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois lawmakers will have to rewrite the nation’s toughest restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon in public by mid-June after a court on Friday ruled that the controls cannot remain in place.

Illinois was the only one of the 50 states to ban most residents from carrying concealed weapons until a U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago in December ruled the law violated the Second Amendment to the constitution protecting the right to bear arms.

Feb 14, 2013

Official who bilked Illinois town gets almost 20 years in prison

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The former top finance official of President Ronald Reagan’s boyhood hometown was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison on Thursday for embezzling $54 million to buy horses, luxury cars and several properties even as the town faced a budget crisis.

Rita Crundwell, 60, who served as comptroller of Dixon, Illinois from 1983 until her arrest last year, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after admitting she secretly siphoned the money out of city coffers over a 22-year period.

Feb 12, 2013

Summit on Illinois pension woes ends with no new plan

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A union-led summit to address Illinois’ unfunded pension liabilities ended on Monday without any deals or significant breakthroughs, according to elected officials from both sides of the aisle who attended the event.

The summit, organized by a coalition of unions that represents public workers, drew Democrat and Republican state lawmakers to an AFL-CIO office in Burr Ridge, Illinois, but ended after three hours without a statement of consensus or a commitment to meet again.

Jan 23, 2013

Union membership falls to lowest percentage in 76 years

By James B. Kelleher and Lisa Lambert and Bernie Woodall

(Reuters) – The percentage of workers belonging to unions tumbled to 11.3 percent in 2012, the lowest percentage in 76 years, led by dramatic declines in states where lawmakers have put organized labor in the political crosshairs, government figures showed on Wednesday.

The total number of union members fell by nearly 400,000, from 11.8 percent of the workforce in 2011, the Labor Department report on union membership said. The rate of 11.3 percent of the workforce was the lowest since 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

Jan 17, 2013

Notre Dame hoax tip was emailed: editor

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The tip that led to the revelation that one of the most widely recounted U.S. sports narratives of the past year was a hoax came to the editors of an online sports blog as many of their news tips do: an unsolicited email.

That email led assignment editor Timothy Burke on the hunt of a story that exposed the heart-wrenching tale of standout Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o's dead girlfriend as a fabrication, Burke said on CNN on Thursday.

Jan 9, 2013

Illinois asks court to keep banning most handguns in the state

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois asked an appeals court on Tuesday to reverse itself and allow a ban that prevents most people there from carrying concealed handguns in public.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, asked the full Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to review the decision, saying it was not consistent with recent decisions by other courts.

Jan 8, 2013

2012 was hottest year on record in U.S., climate agency says

CHICAGO, Jan 8 (Reuters) – The year 2012 was the warmest on
record for the contiguous United States, beating the previous
record by a full degree in temperature, a government climate
agency said on Tuesday.

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration said the average temperature in 2012 in the
contiguous United States was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit (12.94
degrees Celsius), 3.2 degrees above the average recorded during
the 20th century and 1.0 degree above 1998, until now the
hottest on record. The contiguous United States excludes Alaska
and Hawaii.

Jan 8, 2013

Embattled Michigan Supreme Court judge to quit amid ethics probe

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – A Michigan Supreme Court justice announced plans on Monday to step down from the bench after a judicial watchdog accused her of “blatant and brazen” ethics violations in a series of real-estate deals and filed an emergency petition for her suspension.

Attorneys for Justice Diane Hathaway, who is already the target of a federal complaint alleging mortgage fraud, informed the court on Monday she would resign effective January 21, according to a Michigan Supreme Court spokeswoman – nearly four years before her term expires.