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Sneed: Toni Preckwinkle may administer prisoner release program

Toni Preckwinkle  |  Sun-Times file photo

Toni Preckwinkle | Sun-Times file photo

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Updated: January 5, 2014 6:38AM

Passing the buck or a political power grab?

Sneed hears Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle may get a sheriff’s badge.

◆ Translation: The Cook County Board of Commissioners is set to vote on a resolution Wednesday recommending Preckwinkle be given unprecedented authority to administer the prisoner release program at Cook County Jail.

◆ Is Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who is in charge of the prison population and dealing with record overcrowding — but reluctant to release prisoners on electronic monitoring for fear of letting loose a monster — willing to hand over that power to Preckwinkle?

A top source tells Sneed both Dart and Preckwinkle have “been doing a lot of wheeling and dealing” lately and seem to be heading in the same direction.

Sneed is told the resolution is backed by Dart. “It would shift the administration of the federally monitored prisoner release program to Preckwinkle’s office, but there would be no unbridled authority to release prisoners,” said a Dart source,

“It’s two offices working together instead of being concerned about who has the most power.”

Stay tuned.

The battling Bickersons?

Haul out the Bangalores! Sneed hears there is no love lost between Gov. Pat Quinn and his handpicked lieutenant governor, Sheila Simon.

◆ Stab ’em: “[Simon] is hugely ambitious, a loose cannon, and obviously stabbed Quinn in the back the way she abruptly decided not be his running mate in the next go ’round. Then she sent out emails urging us not to support the pension reform legislation [endorsed by Quinn] unless it’s finer tuned,” a top top Dem source said earlier Tuesday morning. The General Assembly passed the controversial reform bill later in the day.

◆ Blab ’em: “She’s [Simon] running for state comptroller, so is obviously kowtowing to the unions on pension reform in order to get their endorsement,” said a second top top Dem source.


Matters of the heart. . .

One of Chicago’s most respected journalists is in need of a liver transplant. Former Sun-Times reporter Michael Miner, who became a legend writing a column at The Reader, was approved by the liver transplant team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, but is being told he will need a living donor — “because his name will never come up on the National Liver Donor list in time,” according to an email from his wife, Betsy Nore.

◆ Minimum donor qualifications for Miner: Under 55 years old and have Type O blood.

“Luckily, the liver is a regenerating organ so the Living Donor’s liver would be restored to its previous size in a few months. Of course this is a major operation for both the donor and Michael,” said Nore.

◆ For more information or to inquire about donating, contact Laurie Clark, a liver transplant donor advocate at Northwestern: (312) 695-0828.

The Walker tragedy. . .

Leaving no stone unturned in reporting the personal side of actor Paul Walker’s untimely death came a brief Daily Mail interview with the uncle of one of Walker’s girlfriends, now 23, who claims they had dated for years and were still together at the time of his death — despite reports to the contrary.

May-December romance: “They had their ups and downs, but they were together and looking to spend a bright future together,” the uncle is quoted as saying. Hmmm... a 17-year age difference? She was 16 years old when they met? Oh, well.

A Middleton moment. . .

Hair scare: Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has relieved the tress stress in England since being spotted sprouting gray hair. After a recent six-hour booking at a luxury hair spa in London, a $984 haircut was performed on the former commoner cranium, and voila! The brunette has been restored.

Play ball . . .

Blowing up the Bartman ball! Buying the stitches from a Blackhawk’s face! Grant DePorter’s obsession with Chicago sports memorabilia — all of it enshrined in the Harry Caray’s restaurants he owns — has taken him all the way to CBS’ “60 Minutes Sports,” which will air a segment on DePorter Wednesday night.

Sneedlings. . .

Wednesday’s birthdays: Jeff Bridges, 64; Marisa Tomei, 49, and Tyra Banks, 40.

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