Mary's Feed
Feb 19, 2015

Record-breaking cold in U.S. Midwest heads to frigid East Coast

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Bone-chilling cold in the U.S. Midwest shattered records in Chicago on Thursday, closing schools and starting its trudge eastward to an already frozen Boston and New York.

Arctic air was expected to keep its grip on the nation’s midsection on Friday morning, a day after the minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 22 Celsius) measured in Chicago broke the low temperature record of minus 7 degrees for the day set in 1936, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Oravec.

Feb 14, 2015

Chicago starts removing ‘dibs’ markers for parking as tempers flare

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago officials on Friday started collecting the lawn chairs, card tables and other items placed on city streets by residents who sought to reserve their parking spaces – a controversial winter custom known as “dibs.”

Some residents of the third-largest U.S. city welcome the cleanup, particularly after reports of vandalism on cars linked to dibs disputes.

Feb 13, 2015

Illinois comptroller refuses to implement anti-union order

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois’ comptroller will not implement
an anti-union executive order issued by the state’s new
Republican governor earlier this week, the state’s attorney
general’s office said on Friday.

Leslie Munger, a fellow Republican who was appointed by
Governor Bruce Rauner, is following current law in not enforcing
Rauner’s order to eliminate “fair share” fees for about 6,500
state employees, said a spokeswoman for Illinois Attorney
General Lisa Madigan.

Feb 11, 2015

The Chicago mob and the Stradivarius – priest admits to bizarre plot

CHICAGO (Reuters) – In a case that reads like a movie script, a Catholic priest on Wednesday pleaded guilty to trying to help a convicted mob hitman recover a purported Stradivarius violin hidden in the wall of a house.

Eugene Klein, who had been a federal prison chaplain, admitted to conspiring in 2011 to defraud the United States by passing messages from mobster Frank Calabrese to an unnamed associate on how to get the violin out of Calabrese’s Wisconsin home.

Feb 9, 2015

Illinois governor makes union dues voluntary for some state workers

CHICAGO (Reuters) – In a strike against public employee unions, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner on Monday signed an order eliminating union dues for some state employees who don’t want to pay to support union activities.

Rauner, a Republican and political neophyte who came into office in January, has been vocal about his problems with public labor unions and their political power. The order, which would eliminate so-called “fair share dues,” affects 6,500 state workers who have opted out of unions but still have to pay dues.

Feb 5, 2015

Five babies at suburban Chicago daycare center have measles

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Five babies at a suburban Chicago daycare center have been diagnosed with measles, adding to a growing outbreak of the disease across the United States, Illinois health officials said on Thursday.

Officials are investigating the cluster of measles cases at KinderCare Learning Center in suburban Palatine, said a joint statement from the Illinois and Cook County health departments. All the children are under 1 year old and therefore would not have been subject to routine measles vaccination, which begins at 12 months.

Feb 3, 2015

After long wait, Illinois to issue medical marijuana licenses

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois will begin issuing licenses to grow and distribute medical marijuana 18 months after a law was signed legalizing it, Governor Bruce Rauner’s general counsel said in a statement on Monday.

Former Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, who supported medical marijuana, left office in January without issuing licenses for growth and distribution, leaving it to Rauner, a Republican, who asked for a review of the selection process.

Jan 29, 2015

Medical marijuana advocates concerned by Illinois licensing delay

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Advocates for medical marijuana in Illinois are concerned that delays in issuing distribution licenses, exacerbated by a change in governors, is keeping the drug from patients who need it.

Former Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, who supported medical marijuana, left office in January without issuing licenses for growth and distribution, leaving it to his successor, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

Jan 28, 2015

Northwestern University gets $100 million gift from Buffett sister

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The sister of financial investor Warren Buffett has given Northwestern University more than $100 million, the largest single gift in the school’s 164-year history, the university said on Wednesday.

The gift from Roberta Buffett Elliott, who earned a degree in history from the university in 1954, will create the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies, the university said in a statement.

Jan 28, 2015

Opera strives to strike a chord with U.S. youth

CHICAGO (Reuters) – In a public high school in a working-class neighborhood of Chicago, opera singer Eric Owens recently talked with a music class about stage fright, proper breathing and making words matter.

“It’s got to be like it’s coming out of your toes,” said the bass-baritone, as he coached the occasionally giggly but attentive freshmen through an early 17th-century Italian madrigal. “Like you’re saying it for the first time.”