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Teachers rally Wednesday outside Dyett High School 555 E. 51st St.  |  Brian Jackson~Sun Times

Teachers rally Wednesday outside Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St. | Brian Jackson~Sun Times

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Updated: October 15, 2012 9:42AM

Top tip!

Sneed hears rumbles that a federal mediator may be pressed into dugout duty to settle the Chicago Teachers Union strike if schools don’t open soon.

Batter up!

◆ To wit: Sources tell Sneed the bad blood between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis is so deep it’s fueled reports that George Cohen, who heads the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service — and who settled the contentious NBA lockout last year — or one of his underlings, may be pressed into service.

◆ Backshot: Cohen, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has a pro-union background. Both Chicago School Board chief David Vitale and Lewis would have to agree a federal mediator was necessary.

◆ Buckshot: “Someone is going to have to come in and talk to both sides,” a top source said. “There is no doubt they are at an impasse and the kids need to be in school. The NBA strike lasted 100-plus days and the school strike is only into the first week. But opening the schools is more important than a professional basketball game.”

◆ The response: Quoth John Arnold, director of public affairs for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service: “We don’t have any comment on a thing of that nature at this point.”

◆ The response II: The Chicago Public Schools negotiating team would say yes to a federal mediator, a source close top the bargaining table said.

◆ Calls to teachers union officials to see if they, too, would agree to a federal mediator were not returned Wednesday evening.

Strike two . . .

A case of good timing: So what does former Mayor Richard Daley, who maintained a nonconfrontational stance with the CTU — thereby never having a teachers strike on his watch — have to say about the strike?

“He isn’t available for a comment,” said Jackie Heard, Daley’s spokeswoman. “He’s in China.”


Bang. Bang.

The Cad File: Now comes word Levi Johnston, the daddy of Bristol Palin’s son, Tripp, has named his latest child after a gun.

◆ Explanation: Johnston’s new girlfriend, Sunny Oglesby, just gave birth to a baby girl in Wasilla, Alaska, where the Palin tribe lives — and named her Breeze Beretta Johnston.

The Peterson file . . .

Hurry Up & Wait: Sneed is told that Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who successfully convicted wife murderer Drew Peterson, is “more inclined to delay moving forward on reopening the case of Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy, until after the appeal being filed on Peterson’s behalf by his attorneys for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, is over with,” said a top source.

◆ Top tip: Sneed hears that the Illinois State Police received a flurry of tips in the mysterious disappearance of Stacy Peterson when the TV film “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” aired in January — but they led nowhere. Drew Peterson awaits sentencing Nov. 26 and a new prison address. Stay tuned.

The Durbin file . . .

A top Dem source tells Sneed that U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who has held his post for almost two decades, may be eyeing a Cabinet post as U.S. transportation or labor secretary if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

I spy . . .

Bears QB Jay Cutler, his fiancee Kristin Cavallari and teammate/wide receiver Brandon Marshall and his wife, Michi, dined at Chicago Cut Steakhouse together on the patio Tuesday evening . . . Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice dining at Bar Umbriago on Sunday after the Bears victory . . . American golfers Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker and Davis Love III — all in town gearing up for the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club — spotted watching Sunday Night Football at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in Lombard.

Sneedlings . . .

Thursday’s birthdays: Ben Savage, 32; Fiona Apple (right), 35; Tavis Smiley, 48; Jacqueline Bisset, 68; Bela Karolyi, 70, and Jim “Skinny” Sheahan, 66.

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