Weather Updates

Metra mess update: things aren’t completely cleaned up

Security guard holding walkie talkie

Security guard holding walkie talkie

storyidforme: 49710347
tmspicid: 18530244
fileheaderid: 8330385
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: June 25, 2013 6:38AM

The Metra mess. . .

It is coming down to the trip wire for Metra.

Sneed is told little has changed at Metra since Sneed’s March story exposing ill-equipped Metra police officers.

Sneed blasted Metra passenger safety based on complaints by Metra police that their cars were junk, their radios unusable, and officers were not qualified to use their weapons for three years due to a lack of ammunition for their new guns.

Now comes word Metra police officers finally received radios last month. . . but the Starcom system — allowing the radios to be used for daily calls — has yet to be totally installed.

The killshot: “The new radios are not used for day-to-day assignments,” said a Metra police source. “Dispatchers do not send out calls on them.”

◆ Upshot: Two weeks ago, Sneed was told the Starcom radio system, which was purchased with a $1.5 million dollar grant from the Department of Homeland Security, wasonly installed in a third of the Metra police cars but was “on track to be done [with installation] by June 1st,” according to an emailed statement from Metra spokesman Michael Gillis .

◆ Next shot: Thursday, Gillis told Sneed the system is expected to be completely installed by mid-June.

◆ Final shot? Why am I not crossing my fingers?

Top cops. . .

The tough guy department: Did you know Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and his brothers once raised Siberian huskies? Did you know former Police Supt. Jody Weis kept pictures of his cats in his office?

The Desiree file. . .

The ultimate tweet: Former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, the city’s new face of tourism — who lost her Washington job after getting more ink than first lady Michelle Obama — has a creative Twitter handle: It’s @iamTHATDesiree.

There ya go.

Rahm ’em. . .

How powerful is Mayor Rahm Emanuel?

This powerful: The Rahmster, who still operates in his former role as White House adviser, was able to pull former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta away from his family to be grand marshal of the city’s Memorial Day parade. But it’s gonna be in and out. He comes in the night before the parade and then leaves after the parade. Wife Sylvia wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mansion musings. . .

Newtown mother Nicole Hockley, who lost her 6-year-old son Dylan to crazed gunman Adam Lanza last December, was one of three Newtown parents who were guests at the Springfield mansion last Sunday night — and the only one selected to sleep in Lincoln’s bedroom.

The Ramsey Burger. . .

It’s not every day that a fancy restaurant names an item on its menu after the dishwasher.

◆ Translation: Charles Ramsey, who helped Amanda Berry escape from the clutches of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro, just had a special burger named for him at the tony Hodge’s restaurant, where he works in the kitchen.

◆ Ramsey, who has been on a press junket since he became a media sensation after the rescue of Berry and two other female captives, was interrupted from eating a Big Mac when he heard Berry’s screams from inside the home of Castro, his neighbor.

◆ Hold the ketchup! The new menu item is an Angus beef burger with secret sauce.

◆ Hold the pickles! Ramsey will also be given the Chuck Card, a gift card allowing him free burgers at more than a dozen Cleveland restaurants for life.

Eva’s education. . .

Who knew? Actress Eva “Desperate Housewives” Longoria graduated Wednesday with a master’s in Chicano studies at California State University in Northridge, walking with other grads in full cap and gown regalia.

Hmmmm. . .

Motown diva Aretha Franklin, who had surgery for an undisclosed reason in 2010 and wound up 85 pounds lighter, not only canceled her May 20 Chicago Symphony Orchestra fund-raiser concert for an undisclosed “treatment” — but she just cleared her calendar for the month of June.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.