Weather Updates

Sneed: Former Mayor Jane Byrne hospitalized

Updated: August 4, 2013 6:28AM

Sneed exclusive . . .

Sneed hears former Mayor Jane Byrne, the only woman in the city’s history to serve in that role, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital Monday by fire department ambulance.

Sneed is told Byrne, who ran the city during the infamous Chicago Fire Department strike in 1980, suffers from multiple ailments and had a stroke in January.

◆ Footnote: As her former press secretary in 1979, Sneed has always found it stunning Byrne’s legacy was given short shrift by subsequent Chicago mayors, who exempted her from major city events and failed to relocate her Children’s Fountain back to a comparable Wacker Drive location following the street’s reconstruction.

◆ Backshot: Byrne was on the cutting edge of gun control decades ago and personally testified before the City Council on the need for anti-gun legislation due to the rise in city violence.

The Jackson story . . .

Hmmmm. Has former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., whose sentence on federal corruption charges was postponed this week, developed a new level of cooperation with the feds?

◆ Is he singing like a canary in order to ensure that his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson — who has also been charged with federal corruption — gets probation in order to take care of their two children?

◆ Is a last minute decision to inform on federal targets the reason the court has postponed their sentencing hearing today for the second time this year?

◆ Buckshot: Sneed reported earlier the feds did not want Jackson’s wife to receive probation — and will argue that she serve prison time first.

◆ Backshot: On Monday, federal court Judge Amy Berman Jackson noted in an order that the request is to “accommodate the Court . . . and that neither party requested this postponement.”

Stay tuned.

The missing baby . . .

A Baby Kate update: The whodunit that has the prestigious Field Museum involved in a whole new caper — solving the case of a missing child using their highly skilled botanists as forensic detectives — has a new chapter.

◆ Close, but no cigar. . . yet: Top Field botanist Matt von Konrat tells Sneed an intense grid search for plant material evidence in the Ludington, Mich., area last weekend — where the baby disappeared two years ago — did not locate a grave, “but it did narrow down the search.”

◆ A sole search: Sneed has learned Ludington Police will meet next week at the Field Museum with the botanists, who are using plant material found on the shoe of Baby Kate’s father to try and locate her grave.

Sports shorts . . .

◆ Pucker ‘up! A big smooch to Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz and his sidekick Guy Chipparoni for bringing over the famous silver pinchbowl. . . aka the Stanley Cup. . . to the Sun-Times newsroom!

◆ Puck luck: Auction maven Leslie Hindman will offer a mega piece of Blackhawks history in an online auction at 6 p.m. July 16: The 1961 Blackhawks Championship Stanley Cup banner, which hung in the old Chicago Stadium until 1994, when the building was torn down. (A history note: Leslie Hindman’s company auctioned off the banner in 1994, and the foxy buyers brought it back to be resold now that the time is right!)

The worm abroad . . .

As the Worm turns: Basketball badboy Dennis “The Worm” Rodman, who is hoping to broker peace with the North Koreans and go on vacation next month with strongman Kim Jong Un, claims if he doesn’t “finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong.”

Please file this comment in a folder entitled: “One brick short of a load/one bubble off plumb”.

Sneedlings . . .

Wednesday’s birthdays: Tom Cruise, 51; Dave Barry, 66, and Montel Williams, 57.

© 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.