Mary's Feed
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.

Jan 8, 2015

‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’: large part of U.S. in deep freeze

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Schools in large cities across the Midwest and into the Northeast announced they will close on Thursday to protect children from bitterly cold temperatures as wind chill warnings were issued for most of the eastern half of the United States.

The National Weather Service (NWS) warned of an Arctic air blast from Canada continuing to provide subzero temperatures for the U.S. Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Wednesday evening and into Thursday.

Jan 7, 2015

Cold front causes school closings, transit delays in Chicago

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of children in Chicago, the third-largest U.S. school district, stayed home on Wednesday as weather forecasters warned of dangerously low temperatures in a cold front across the Upper Midwest.

The district closed all of its nearly 800 schools for the day as a precautionary measure due to forecasts of temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below average.

Jan 5, 2015

Brutal cold snap hits eastern half of U.S.

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A bitter cold snap is freezing most of the eastern half of the United States, driving the mercury below zero in the Midwest on Monday, with possible freezing temperatures as far south as Atlanta later this week, forecasters said.

The brutal weather pattern, brought on by a polar air mass pushing south from Canada, is impressive but not out of the ordinary for this time of year, said Tom Kines, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.

Jan 4, 2015

Weekend snow in Midwest, east U.S. to precede bitter cold snap

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Stormy winter weather will spread snow, ice, rain and travel problems across the Midwest and eastern U.S. over the weekend, leading into a brutal cold snap for the work week, meteorologists said.

On Saturday evening, snow and ice were falling in the eastern United States, while violent thunderstorms were seen in the deep south, including two tornadoes in Mississippi, said Frank Strait, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.

Dec 24, 2014

As more cities ban homeless camps, advocates cry foul

CHICAGO (Reuters) – For Teresa Sigerson, a former waitress who has lived under a Chicago expressway bridge for three years, the camp she shares with eight others provides shelter, companionship and some measure of security.

“There’s safety in numbers,” said Sigerson, 51, who begs during the day and sleeps between concrete bridge pillars under a highway northwest of downtown. “Everything’s convenient here – you’re by the stores, the highway.”

Dec 23, 2014

Federal government sues Chicago schools for pregnancy discrimination

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday sued the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that it discriminated against pregnant teachers at a northwest side elementary school.

The suit, filed in federal court in the third largest U.S. city, alleges that starting in 2009, Scammon Elementary School Principal Mary Weaver subjected female teachers to lower performance evaluations, discipline, threatened firing and firing because of their pregnancies.