Mary's Feed
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.”

Jan 27, 2015

Exonerations of U.S. criminals hit record in 2014: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The number of U.S. criminals exonerated in 2014 climbed to a record high of 125, in part because of efforts by prosecutors willing to admit their offices made mistakes, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The states with the most exonerations last year were Texas, New York and Illinois, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School. This was the first time the Registry, which has tracked exonerations since 1989, found more than 100 in a single year.

Jan 26, 2015

Ohio sues over Obamacare taxes on state, local governments

By Mary Wisniewski

(Reuters) – The state of Ohio filed a lawsuit on Monday that claims Obamacare tax assessments against state and local governments for public employee health plans are unconstitutional.

The suit by Attorney General Mike DeWine involves the federal government’s power under the Affordable Care Act’s Transitional Reinsurance Program to levy taxes against health insurance companies and certain employers who offer self-insured group health plans.

Jan 15, 2015

Second Chicago Uber driver charged with sex assault on passenger

Chicago (Reuters) – For the second time in just over two weeks, Chicago-area prosecutors have charged a driver for the ride-sharing company Uber with sexually assaulting a passenger.

Adnan Nafasat, 46, was driving for Uber when the alleged assault happened on July 31, Lisa Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, said on Thursday.