Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Rosemoor Hotel owner ordered to pay tenants $3,000 each for move ]]> Lead story image

A group of SRO tenants who probably couldn’t afford to buy a late-model Chevy if they pooled their money taught luxury auto dealer Joe Perillo a lesson Friday in Cook County Circuit Court. The 15 or so tenants applauded spontaneously when Circuit Judge Edward Harmening ordered Perillo, owner of the Rosemoor Hotel, to pay each of them $3,000 to help them vacate the building on an emergency basis. ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:31:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Judge declares residential hotel a fire hazard, tenants ordered to leave ]]> Lead story image

A Near West Side residential hotel undergoing renovation must be vacated by noon Thursday under an emergency order from a Cook County judge who declared it a fire hazard. ]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 02:20:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Fighting homelessness with diplomacy ]]> Lead story image

In their lime green polo shirts, khaki pants and ball caps, the Street Team Ambassadors might look like they ought to be working the parking lots at Disney World. But for the past year, these otherwise low-key ambassadors have tried to help Chicago put its best foot forward on State Street with a smile and helping hand for anybody who needs it—from tourists in need of directions to homeless panhandlers in need of, well, direction. It’s the latter, of course, that caught my attention, and indeed, seems to be the primary impetus for the Ambassadors program. Some business people apparently … ]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 02:18:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ SRO owners say city’s attempt to help actually will hurt ]]> Lead story image

Owners of Chicago’s endangered single-room occupancy buildings and residential hotels went on the offensive Monday, arguing a city effort to preserve the housing is more likely to put them out of business. In a pre-emptive strike, Eric Rubenstein, co-president of the Single Room Operators Association, said an Emanuel Administration-backed ordinance to be introduced at the City Council on Wednesday “would force the SROs to start shutting their doors.” ]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 02:17:51 -0500 <![CDATA[ Not learning from tragic life of Cynthia Barnes would be the real mistake: Mark Brown ]]> Lead story image

A Cook County judge found Daniel Neasom guilty Friday of the murder of Cynthia Barnes, the homeless woman whose violent death I started telling you about three years ago. Associate Judge James Linn said the only logical conclusion to draw from the evidence was that it was Neasom who sent Barnes crashing head first through his third-floor apartment window to the sidewalk below in July 2011. ]]> Sun, 07 Sep 2014 02:32:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Justice sure not swift in some Cook County acquittals ]]> Lead story image

In television dramas, a criminal defendant who wins an acquittal walks out of court a free man into the arms of his family and the lights of the cameras. And in most places, it really works something like that, assuming there are any family or cameras in attendance. In the Cook County Criminal Court Building, though, the theoretically free man returns instead to the waiting arms of a sheriff’s deputy who places him in a holding cell behind the judge’s chambers with the other inmates and may also put him in handcuffs or other restraints. ]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 02:21:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ A knee-jerk reaction to the ‘right to recline’ debate: Brown ]]> Lead story image

This is just so ridiculous that some airline passengers are going out and buying those Knee Defender gadgets to prevent the person in front of them from reclining their seat. I’m appalled. After all, as most tall people have learned by now, you can accomplish the same thing with the strategic use of the in-flight magazine, conveniently located in the seat pocket in front of you. Oh, sure. All you have to do is roll up the magazine and wedge it just-so in the crook of the tray table arm, blocking the seat from reclining. It works fine, saves you … ]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:37:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ Nothing simple about prostitute’s life, death — or trial of acccused killer ]]> Lead story image

This was supposed to be the final chapter in my long-running saga on the death of homeless prostitute Cynthia Barnes with the conclusion of trial Friday for the man accused of killing her three years ago on the Southwest Side. But just as Barnes’ life and death were messy affairs, the trial also proved less than tidy with an unexpected delay mere minutes from the finish of closing arguments. In an unusual move, Cook County Associate Judge James B. Linn postponed the proceedings one week to allow the lawyer for defendant Daniel Neasom an opportunity to consider retooling her theory … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:31:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ Downstate spread proves fertile ground for political pandering ]]> Lead story image

BLOOMINGTON —The state’s top farm groups gathered here Wednesday on Tim Bittner’s 3,000-acre spread to give the four major candidates for U.S. Senate and governor a workout on the issues of interest to the agriculture community. And guess what? Nobody asked them about releasing their tax returns or a patronage scandal in the Illinois Department of Transportation, except for the pesky reporters who were given their turns later under a walnut tree. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin asked Bittner if his family had owned the farm before the booming new Bloomington airport was built nearby, and the fourth-generation farmer told him … ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:28:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Judge’s brutal questions suggest Indiana, Wisconsin may soon have same-sex marriage ]]> Lead story image

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fischer was a scant 35 seconds into his defense of his state’s ban on gay marriage Tuesday when Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner let him know where he stood. By the time Posner got to his key point he had made plain his hostility to the positions being advanced by Indiana — and Wisconsin — in support of their desire to continue to discriminate against gay couples. ]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:16:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ridesharing? OK. But how about regulationsharing? ]]> Lead story image

I’m all in favor of anyone who can figure out how to build a better mousetrap. That’s the American way. Where I would have a problem is if they were to call the mousetrap a rodent restriction device in an effort to avoid government regulations on mousetrap safety. Maybe that’s not the best example, as I’m not certain the government regulates mousetrap manufacturers. Something I’m absolutely certain the government regulates is the taxicab industry. Why, then, do all these requirements go out the window when the taxi company chooses to call itself a ridesharing service or a transportation network provider? ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 02:20:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Future of affordable housing unclear after SRO tenant deals ]]> Lead story image

In a bid to preserve his home in Logan Square’s bug-infested Milshire Hotel, Fred Bartels testified before the City Council just last month in favor of a city moratorium on converting or demolishing single-room occupancy and residential hotels. On Friday, Bartels was making plans for what he could do with the $4,000 he will receive in exchange for moving out of the Milshire by Sept. 2 as part of a settlement between tenants and the building owner. ]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:32:11 -0500 <![CDATA[ Teachers could help Karen Lewis teach Rahm a lesson ]]> Lead story image

The adoring crowd that welcomed Karen Lewis to the Beverly Woods Banquet Hall on Tuesday gave the first of her public “Conversations with Karen” the feel of a Chicago Teachers Union rally. That’s probably because it was a CTU production start to finish — arranged and publicized by the union’s organizing staff in support of rank-and-file members from the neighborhood. The union even rented out the hall and paid former television anchor Walter Jacobson to moderate, though nobody needed to offer any incentives to the teachers who brought family and friends to encourage Lewis to run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel. … ]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:25:12 -0500 <![CDATA[ Northwest Side’s Our Lady of Victory lives up to its name ]]> Lead story image

Tuesday marked the first day of school at Our Lady of Victory in Portage Park, the annual ritual taking on added significance this year. Not a tear was observed to fall from a child’s eye, but I can’t vouch for some of the parents who hurried away. Mostly there were smiles all around, which wasn’t the case just eight months ago when this Catholic elementary school was slated for closing by the Archdiocese of Chicago because of shaky finances ]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 06:23:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Gov. Rauner and Mayor Lewis — a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man ]]> Lead story image

Cue your best Rod Serling imitation. “Imagine, if you will, a world in which Republican plutocrat Bruce Rauner is governor of Illinois and lefty teachers union President Karen Lewis is mayor of Chicago. “Have have just entered the Twilight Zone or what?” What might have seemed completely far-fetched a year ago is now a more than possible outcome, if you believe the latest public opinion polling from both major newspapers. ]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 06:14:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Unions no longer booing Quinn now that Rauner is on the stage ]]> Lead story image

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan stood with Gov. Pat Quinn at the State Fair on Wednesday to try to send a clear message that all of organized labor stands behind the Democrat’s re-election. Given that just two years ago union members booed Quinn off this very same stage over pension reform, you get a measure of labor’s fear and loathing of Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, who in his primary campaign railed against “union bosses.” While Rauner has since toned down that rhetoric and tried to emphasize that his fight is only with public employee unions, Carrigan said the … ]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:24:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Simple, kind people’ who saved her family in a world gone mad ]]> Lead story image

Adina Sella readily admits she doesn’t remember much about Giocondo and Annina Marconi, the Italian couple that sheltered her Jewish family during the Holocaust. “They were very, very simple, kind people. He was a woodworker. She was at home,” Sella, 78, told me Tuesday. We were sitting in the living room of Sella’s lakefront high-rise overlooking Lake Michigan, a lifetime away from the Marconi house in the medieval Tuscan town of Anghiari, where Sella’s family arrived quite by chance in a desperate flight to escape the Nazis. This was around 1942, which would make Sella six years old. For two … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 06:22:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Quinn losing reform mantle not as shocking as Rauner winning it ]]> Lead story image

I know I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that Gov. Pat Quinn is no longer viewed by Illinois voters as a reformer. After a lifetime in politics and nearly six years as governor of this seemingly ungovernable state, the last year of it spent on the receiving end of millions of dollars of negative advertising attacks, Quinn could obviously expect to see his reputation take a hit. Given the low esteem in which all politicians are held these days, maybe it’s even a plus that there are still 21 percent of voters who consider Quinn a reformer, as reported … ]]> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 06:15:44 -0500