Chicago Sun-Times http://www.suntimes.com Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us webmaster@suntimes.com (Editor) Newspapers http://www.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/assets/img/logos/suntimes.gif Chicago Sun-Times http://www.suntimes.com 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Getting over the ick factor ]]> Lead story image

Some will snicker and others will be unnerved after reading this column. Those with a truly open mind about recycling will appreciate the innovation. It’s about turning human waste into organic fertilizer, a process being undertaken across the country by municipalities that dispose of tons of waste daily after we flush toilets. Some towns still use landfills to deposit sludge while others incinerate it. Recycling human waste is an alternative backed by Environmental Protection Agency. Under strict EPA guidelines, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is turning human waste into organic fertilizers, in the pellet form or a … ]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 02:17:47 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28713640-452/getting-over-the-ick-factor.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28713640-452/getting-over-the-ick-factor.html <![CDATA[ A garden grows in Little Village ]]> Lead story image

MARLEN GARCIA: The quarter-acre lot on South Troy Street in Little Village, once abandoned, is starting to thrive as a community garden. That means a lot to the residents, including guys I call old-timers, who spend several hours weekly caring for the property that used to be an eyesore with a high stink factor. ]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 02:20:02 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28586338-452/a-garden-grows-in-little-village.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28586338-452/a-garden-grows-in-little-village.html <![CDATA[ VA scandals discourage recruits ]]> Lead story image

Looking back on his childhood and early adult life, Vietnam War veteran Ronald Baltierra believes he had an undiagnosed hyperactivity disorder. “I’ve been told I was a good soldier but I couldn’t sit still,” Baltierra, who received a bronze star for valor, says. “In Vietnam they didn’t care if you were hyper.” These days hyperactivity disorders are treated with prescription medications, and such treatment can bar you from enlisting in the military. Obesity, some tattoos and body piercings also can keep you out. The Department of Defense estimates that a whopping 71 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds would fail to … ]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 10:27:25 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28459735-452/va-scandals-discourage-recruits.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28459735-452/va-scandals-discourage-recruits.html <![CDATA[ The payoff for a brutal winter ]]> Lead story image

We sloshed through heavy snow amid record-setting frigid temperatures for months and looked forward to spring, only to see typically vigorous shrubs and plants toasted from the winter burn. If there is an upside to a brutal winter, it’s hard to see it. But it exists in what we don’t see. Let’s start with skunks. Though they help control the mice, beetle and other rodent populations, they batter us (and our beloved pets) with their stench. Recent mild winters by Chicago standards had led to an increase in the skunk population and the possibility of a spike in rabies. “We … ]]> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 02:18:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28319930-452/the-payoff-for-a-brutal-winter.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28319930-452/the-payoff-for-a-brutal-winter.html <![CDATA[ These nuns won’t back down ]]> Lead story image

In a letter she wrote earlier this week to Pope Francis, Sister Noemia Silva asked him to bless and pray for nuns as they fight to close down a Stone Park strip club built awfully close to their convent in Melrose Park. Did she really use those words — strip club — in her letter? I figured she might have softened it for the pope and used gentlemen’s club or adult entertainment when referring to Club Allure Chicago. She sure did call it a strip club, she said. “You have to call it what it is,” she added. When we … ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:56:15 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28177220-452/these-nuns-wont-back-down.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28177220-452/these-nuns-wont-back-down.html <![CDATA[ Berwyn kids clue in the adults ]]> Lead story image

Years ago, as a high school sports reporter, I learned to never underestimate the intelligence and poise of adolescents. Their brains are still developing and they have plenty of life lessons ahead of them, but they are far more astute than adults think. Berwyn Mayor Robert J. Lovero was reminded of this when sixth-grade students from Freedom Middle School invited him to attend a presentation last winter. The students had brainstormed on a community project for Our American Voice, a civics-minded, project-based education program funded by a nonprofit that has been implemented in South Berwyn School District 100 and Chicago. … ]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 06:28:19 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28038776-452/berwyn-kids-clue-in-the-adults.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/28038776-452/berwyn-kids-clue-in-the-adults.html <![CDATA[ Antenna TV looks like no free ride ]]> Lead story image

Back in January, I became one of more than 21 million U.S. residents to hook up a television to an antenna. Cable television had become too expensive, around $100 a month, so I cut that cord. Increasingly, others are doing the same. In April, USA Today reported that homes with antennas increased from 20 million in 2012 to 21.5 million in 2013. I canceled cable “in favor of old-fashioned antenna TV as well as much cheaper Internet-dependent subscription services,” I wrote five months ago. There was a glitch in my thinking. Antenna TV doesn’t exist as it once did. In … ]]> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 06:28:47 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27894131-452/antenna-tv-looks-like-no-free-ride.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27894131-452/antenna-tv-looks-like-no-free-ride.html <![CDATA[ Test question steps over a border ]]> Lead story image

For children, teens and young adults who struggle with instability at home, school can be a wonderful escape. Students can get lost in a wide range of topics, from English literature to a study hall gossip hour. For undocumented students, school can be a haven from the unpredictability of their family’s home life. They move freely, unencumbered by the restrictions and fears that otherwise paralyze their families. Emotionally, school is a safe place until a painful reminder, maybe a slur by a classmate or an insensitive remark by a teacher, hits like a punch in the gut. That’s how a … ]]> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 06:40:28 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27754207-452/test-question-steps-over-a-border.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27754207-452/test-question-steps-over-a-border.html <![CDATA[ Lawmakers clueless on prep sports ]]> Lead story image

Now and then a reasonable point was made during reprehensible grandstanding by state legislators in a hearing this week on how the Illinois State High School Association is run. Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago, called for “fairness at the table,” after asking IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman how many minorities were on the staff and the 10-member board. There are two African-Americans on the board. The private nonprofit with two dozen employees has one African-American on the staff. Requesting that the IHSA, which oversees the participation of thousands of Illinois high school students in extracurricular activities, make more of an effort … ]]> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 08:04:19 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27611617-452/lawmakers-clueless-on-prep-sports.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27611617-452/lawmakers-clueless-on-prep-sports.html <![CDATA[ More upscale scenery for Habitat ]]> Lead story image

Pioneer Court Plaza in Chicago has been home to art fairs, cultural festivals, even a giant sculpture of Marilyn Monroe. In a few weeks it will be taken over by more than 50,000 pounds of lumber and 400 volunteers for Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity as 13 homes are partially constructed for the West Pullman neighborhood, Waukegan and Glen Ellyn. Habitat for Humanity pulled off similar ventures at Rockefeller Center in New York City in 2005 and at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle in 2012. Pioneer Court, on the Magnificent Mile, will get its turn with the Raise … ]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:37:06 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27468155-452/more-upscale-scenery-for-habitat.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27468155-452/more-upscale-scenery-for-habitat.html <![CDATA[ Sometimes, only a lime will do ]]> Lead story image

Even when limes shot up to $80 for a case of about 230, Daniel Gutierrez Jr. proceeded with his wholesale order for the restaurant he runs with his father, Nuevo Leon on 18th Street in Pilsen. Not so fast, his father, Daniel Sr., told him and yanked the order. Instead they have been buying less expensive lemons, far from a hit in Mexico and with anyone who loves Mexican cuisine. “How can you compare lemons to limes?” Daniel Jr., 43, asked. ]]> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 06:55:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27317730-452/sometimes-only-a-lime-will-do.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27317730-452/sometimes-only-a-lime-will-do.html <![CDATA[ Home loans hit immigrants hard ]]> Lead story image

About 10 years ago, before the mortgage crisis hit, banks and other lenders started aggressively tapping into the immigrant market. Undocumented immigrants were encouraged to apply for home loans using individual taxpayer identification numbers, or ITINs. The Internal Revenue Service issues the nine-digit ITINs so undocumented immigrants who are ineligible for Social Security numbers can pay taxes on their earnings. The loans withstood criticism of some lawmakers and general public until the economy collapsed. Loan standards became stricter, and immigration reform took a back seat to deportations, giving lenders and borrowers pause. A Google search indicates the loans still exist … ]]> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 06:36:06 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27179350-452/home-loans-hit-immigrants-hard.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27179350-452/home-loans-hit-immigrants-hard.html <![CDATA[ Does majority even want diversity? ]]> Lead story image

In April 1997, when golfer Tiger Woods won his first Masters tournament in Augusta, Ga., a then-colleague of mine at the newspaper I then worked at offered a well-intentioned but jarringly inappropriate quip in a front-page sports column full of one-liners. “You da Master,” he wrote, which unsurprisingly brought in complaints from readers. It was one of the first times I realized how vital diversity was in a newsroom or any work environment, something I naively had tried to dismiss early in my career. A group of all white, nearly all male bosses were more likely to be insensitive or … ]]> Mon, 26 May 2014 06:34:19 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27035692-452/does-majority-even-want-diversity.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/27035692-452/does-majority-even-want-diversity.html <![CDATA[ Undocumented youth need support ]]> Lead story image

MARLEN GARCIA: A tall woman with blond hair and blue eyes nervously grabbed a microphone to tell her story about growing up in despair because she is undocumented. “Does my lack of a social security number make me less of an American?” the woman, Egle Malinauskaite, asked rhetorically. ]]> Mon, 19 May 2014 14:15:22 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26903555-452/undocumented-youth-need-support.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26903555-452/undocumented-youth-need-support.html <![CDATA[ Maryville turned U. of I. student’s life around ]]> Lead story image

A McCaskey scholarship recipient, Ehrich recalled Maryville as a safe place where he established a measure of trust with peers and staff. He found a sense of security, crucial for a child’s upbringing, but missed being part of a family, ]]> Wed, 14 May 2014 06:35:40 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26783561-452/maryville-turned-u-of-i-students-life-around.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26783561-452/maryville-turned-u-of-i-students-life-around.html <![CDATA[ Counselor representing immigrants targeted with foreclosures is plenty busy ]]> Lead story image

Baltazar Enriquez sits on his crumpled coat outside Room 802 at the Richard J. Daley Center to wait for his clients. He will be here for an hour or three. There is a good chance he will return the next weekday, the one after that and so on. His clients are immigrants and Latinos who cannot afford the $206 Cook County appearance fee required to respond to lawsuits by mortgage lenders foreclosing on their homes. Failing to respond is like giving away the home to the lender. “This step is so crucial,” Enriquez, 34, says. “If you don’t file your … ]]> Thu, 08 May 2014 09:49:04 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26645611-452/counselor-representing-immigrants-targeted-with-foreclosures-is-plenty-busy.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26645611-452/counselor-representing-immigrants-targeted-with-foreclosures-is-plenty-busy.html <![CDATA[ College sports programs hide their bad side ]]> Lead story image

My teenage nephew has a great brain for math, a God-given gift that required a lot of time and effort to make something of it. He has been rewarded by a few universities with scholarship offers to study engineering on their campuses. One school’s stipulation is that he maintain a C+ grade-point average to renew the scholarship annually. There is nothing in the fine print that states he must give away the rights to his image and likeness to the university or a governing body, an agreement college athletes make to receive scholarships. He will not have to accept “friend” … ]]> Thu, 01 May 2014 07:01:47 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26501677-452/college-sports-programs-hide-their-bad-side.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26501677-452/college-sports-programs-hide-their-bad-side.html <![CDATA[ Tragedy of kids who can’t swim ]]> Lead story image

There are basic life skills kids should have by the time they are 7 or 8. Many of them are no-brainers you can find on parenting websites. Young children should know how to read, write and compute basic math. They should have strong social skills to interact with others. It wouldn’t hurt if they could make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There is, however, a basic skill often overlooked until tragedy strikes: knowing how to swim. Forty percent of Caucasians, 60 percent of Latinos and 70 percent of African Americans do not know how to swim, according to … ]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:55:01 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26358396-452/tragedy-of-kids-who-cant-swim.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/garcia/26358396-452/tragedy-of-kids-who-cant-swim.html