Correspondent, Chicago
James's Feed
Mar 28, 2013

Winnebago results show confidence rebound among seniors

March 28 (Reuters) – Winnebago Industries Inc
reported surprisingly strong profit on Thursday, suggesting the
growing confidence among U.S. consumers is shared by the 50 and
older crowd, the prime demographic for the No. 1 U.S. maker of

The company said renewed momentum in the broader economy -
from surging stock prices to signs of recovery in the housing
market – helped push its order backlog to pre-recession levels
and its profit past market expectations for the third quarter in
a row.

Mar 27, 2013

In Chicago, thousands march to protest proposed school closings

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Thousands of demonstrators rallied in downtown Chicago on Wednesday to protest the city’s plan to close 54 public schools, primarily in Hispanic and African-American neighborhoods.

The closings, which the school board plans to vote on in May, would be the biggest one-time shutdown ever by a U.S. city. Wednesday’s demonstration, organized by the teacher’s union, drew parents, students and other critics of the plan.

Mar 21, 2013

Chicago announces mass closing of elementary schools

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago will close 54 schools and 61 school buildings by the beginning of the next academic year in the country’s third-largest public school district, a move that education experts called the largest mass closing in the nation.

The district will shutter 53 elementary schools and one high school, primarily in Hispanic and African-American neighborhoods. The district, which has a $1 billion annual deficit, has said it needs to close underutilized schools to save money.

Mar 9, 2013

Illinois home care program for elderly is almost out of money

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois warned that it will run out of money next week to pay for a program that allows 80,000 elderly and disabled people to live at home, the latest illustration of the state’s fiscal crisis.

The Illinois agency that oversees home healthcare providers said in a letter on Thursday that the money was “projected to be exhausted by March 15,” 3-1/2 months before the fiscal year ends on June 30.

Mar 5, 2013

Deadly snowstorm slams road, air travel in Midwest

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A deadly late winter storm dumped heavy snow on the Midwestern United States on Tuesday, contributing to numerous automobile accidents on highways and flight cancellations as it moved east toward the Ohio Valley and the mid-Atlantic states.

In Chicago, where the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning effective through midnight, residents girded for between 4 to 8 inches of snow – much of it expected to fall during the evening commute.

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.