Happy New Year and ride the CTA for a penny!

Year end roundup

Daley's rough year

The warm glow of Olympic gold and a landslide victory that sealed a place in Chicago history. The cold reality of entrenched problems that can be ignored no longer.

Mayor Richard Daley faced both in 2007 - sandwiched around the 65th birthday that made him a senior citizen. He shook off three years of corruption scandals to earn the right to become Chicago's longest-serving mayor. And only after his re-election did he clean out his city hall cabinet, hammer out costly contracts that guaranteed 10 years of labor peace and tackle the city's long-festering financial, transportation, police brutality and police corruption problems.

• Year started with a bang for mayor
The year began with a Bears march to the Super Bowl that provided Daley a timely diversion from a ho-hum mayoral campaign. As underfunded mayoral challengers Dorothy Brown and Bill "Dock" Walls struggled for attention, a smiling Daley was photographed in a Bears cap before a Taste of Chicago spread wagered in bets with the mayors of Seattle and Indianapolis.

Between photo-ops and fundraisers that brought in $7 million in less than three months, Daley nailed down a prized endorsement from U.S. Senator and presidential challenger Barack Obama, who said the city hall corruption that once gave him "huge pause" about Daley was being cleaned up.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago) also climbed aboard the Daley bandwagon - nine months after a blistering critique of Daley that appeared to lay the groundwork for a mayoral campaign. The big-name endorsements softened the blow of Daley's strained relationship with organized labor.

Four city unions took a pass on the mayor's race - payback for the 28-month wait for new contracts and the mayor's 2006 veto of the big box-minimum wage ordinance. The Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 endorsed Brown. The Chicago Building Trades Council was the only union to endorse Daley.

All 50 wards agree

The cold shoulder from organized labor wasn't the only hiccup in the campaign. A federal report suggested first responders in Chicago and Cook County were ill-prepared to communicate with one another in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

A racketeering lawsuit accused political operatives with ties to Daley of shaking down a developer. Chief Emergency Officer Cortez Trotter responded to the federal critique by lashing out at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, then resigned five months later. The lawsuit, filed by developer Thomas Snitzer, was dismissed by Daley as election-year politics.

On Feb. 27, Daley captured all 50 wards and nearly 72 percent of the vote, setting him up to break the 21-year record for longevity set by his father, former Mayor Richard J. Daley, assuming he is in office on Dec. 26, 2010.

Never mind that only one-third of the city's 1.4 million registered voters bothered to go to the polls or that aldermanic challengers bankrolled by organized labor defeated the mayor's candidates or forced them into run-offs in battleground wards.

No sooner were the ballots counted than, in March, the U.S. Olympic Committee demanded Daley put "skin in the game" if he wanted Chicago to become the U.S. bid city for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The demand forced a $500 million guarantee from Chicago taxpayers.

So much for Daley's oft-repeated promise to host the games without a penny of local that saw organizers run out of water and one competitor die of a heart ailment.

March also saw former Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez indicted on charges he traded jobs, promotions, overtime and transfers for political work and personal favors.

Sanchez was a chief lieutenant of the Daley-created Hispanic Democratic Organization.
The indictment made clear a federal investigation of city hiring that forced the city to create a $12 million fund to compensate victims of city hall's rigged hiring was far from over - and that HDO chieftain Victor Reyes remains in investigators' cross hairs.

One month later, Daley returned from a two-week trip overseas to the furor of a videotape played around the world - the footage of burly off-duty Chicago Police Officer Anthony Abbate pummeling a diminutive female bartender.

In a woodshed meeting held on the mayor's first day back at work, Daley forced the resignation of Police Supt. Phil Cline, who'd been contemplating retirement but wanted to leave on his own terms. Cline walked the plank for mishandling the incidents, including his decision to leave six off-duty officers accused of beating four businessmen at the Jefferson Tap and Grille on the job for months.

"That's why everybody was outraged," Daley said on the day he accepted Cline's resignation. "You can't wait that long in regard to an incident like this, because, if there's a videotape, it's going to get out."

In the wake of those and other allegations of excessive force by police, Daley severed the Office of Professional Standards from the police department and hired a Los Angeles attorney to restore public confidence in investigations of police wrongdoing. He also agreed to a $19.8 million settlement with four torture victims of former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge that, despite a legal snag, is expected to be approved by the city council after the new year.

In April, Chicago Transit Authority President Frank Kruesi, the mayor's longest-serving government adviser, abruptly resigned the job he had held for a decade.

Convinced Kruesi had made too many enemies in Springfield, Daley took that issue off the table in the quest for long-term funding for mass transit. Ron Huberman, the mayor's chief of staff, was installed as Kruesi's replacement.

By year's end, Kruesi had resurfaced as the city's chief lobbyist in Washington. When a blistering federal report blamed shoddy CTA maintenance and missing and falsified records for a 2006 Blue Line derailment, the management shake-up allowed Daley to claim the problems he called "a disgrace" had been "corrected."

The same can't be said for CTA funding. Despite a landmark agreement with CTA unions that includes health care and pension concessions, the General Assembly remains stalemated over demands for a capital program bankrolled by casino gambling. Doomsday fare hikes and service cuts loom.

The CTA wasn't alone in its financial crisis. The city budget also was mired in red ink, thanks to personnel costs tied to new labor contracts, sky-high overtime spending and lower-than-expected revenues tied to the housing crunch.

Daley ordered three rounds of mid-year budget cuts - then socked it to Chicago taxpayers by proposing $293 million in higher taxes, fines and fees.

When aldermen balked at the mayor's proposal for a $108 million property tax increase to build and maintain libraries, Daley initially called the criticism an "insult to me," then backed off and reduced the property tax increase to $83.4 million.

Family matters

As if the mayor didn't have enough battles, he picked a few new ones. He created a new Office of Compliance to oversee city hiring, infuriating corruption-fighting Inspector General David Hoffman, who felt undermined again. Daley became more open in his criticism of Gov. Rod Blagojevich - and walked out of a mass transit summit meeting called by the governor.

He also ridiculed 28 aldermen who signed a petition demanding the city release the names of Chicago police officers most frequently accused of excessive force. At the top of the list were officers assigned to the now-disbanded Special Operations Section, which is at the center of a cops-as-robbers scandal.

The mayor's roller-coaster year ended with a pair of bombshells - one dropped by the mayor, the other by the Chicago Sun-Times. The newspaper disclosed Daley's soldier son Patrick, now deployed overseas, and the mayor's nephew Robert Vanecko had a hidden interest in a sewer inspection company whose city business rose sharply while they were owners.

An emotional Daley called his son's investment a "lapse in judgment" and declared: "I wish he hadn't done it."

But Daley said he didn't know about the deal until the Sun-Times started asking questions. Hoffman now is investigating.

The mayor's shocker was his choice of career FBI agent Jody Weis to become the first outsider to serve as Chicago police superintendent in nearly 50 years.

Daley was so enamored of Weis and his ability to deliver the Police Department from the abyss of corruption and brutality allegations that he agreed to pay the new superintendent $310,000 a year and lock him in to a three-year term that ends after the 2011 mayoral election. Weis' salary is $93,790 higher than the mayor's.

The move was controversial on several fronts. Daley's stunning choice circumvented a pair of nationwide searches by the Chicago Police Board. He chose an FBI agent who never has been a police officer and never run a law enforcement agency, ignoring longstanding tensions between the police department and the FBI.

And the mayor angered some black ministers and community leaders, who questioned whether a white superintendent could bridge a widening gap between citizens and police in the African-American community. But Daley is convinced his G-man is the right man for the pressure-cooker job. Chicagoans will have to wait until next year to find out if their mayor was right.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart estimated the search cost taxpayers $250,000

Quotes of the Year

"A terrible lapse in judgement", seems there is enough of that in CC

Stroger Aide Fakes Radio Call Defending Budget
Media Affairs Director Andre Garner Pretended To Be 'Jonathan From Chicago'
CHICAGO (STNG) ― Cook County Board President Todd Stroger suffered yet another embarrassing public relations blow this week -- and this time, the blunder came via the hands of one of his top assistants.

Andre Garner, Stroger's $100,000-a-year director of media affairs, slightly disguised his voice and posed as "Jonathan from Chicago" while calling in Thursday to the John Williams show on WGN radio, where Stroger was being interviewed.

Garner, who is responsible for shaping Stroger's "message" and media "strategy," also lied on the air by saying his wife works for county government. He then rattled off intricate details of county government budgeting before defending Stroger's push to increase the sales tax.

A reeling Garner apologized on Williams' show Friday for what he said was "a terrible lapse in judgment" that puts yet another dent in Stroger's credibility and desire to be taken seriously.

Garner did not return a call but instead issued a written statement saying the call was poor judgment. "In my zest to get out information that I felt would cut through the distortions about the President's 2008 budget proposal, I chose the wrong method for doing so. It was a spur of the moment decision that I regret and will never repeat."

Garner and those close to Stroger said Stroger had no role in staging Garner's call and didn't know about it ahead of time. It wasn't clear if Stroger recognized Garner's voice, but listeners picked it up quickly.

Garner, who was hired in April and previously worked in the mayor's office and for the Chicago Housing Authority, said his call came spontaneously, rooted in "frustration" that certain budget information "hasn't been told in the mainstream media," and said he hoped his move "hasn't impugned the president's character."

But Williams asked if the Stroger administration would "lie or cheat" over "something as minor as this, what is the president's office going to do when it's truly consequential

CC makes the list again.

Cook County made the list...

The American Tort Reform Assn. on Tuesday identified Cook County as one of six jurisdictions most unfair for those who are sued.

It was the sixth year the group put out the report; Cook County also was on it in 2005 and 2006. The report, which identified six so-called “judicial hellholes,” was released Tuesday.

Cook County was singled out because of its “disproportionate number of large civil cases.”

“Personal injury lawyers know that Cook County is the place to be, and this year they blew into the Windy City to file massive class actions involving pet food and peanut butter, as well as many asbestos cases,” the report said.

Bruce Kohen, president of the Illinois Trial Laywers Assn., disputed the validity of the report and called it a “public relations stunt” engineered by a group with a specific political agenda. He called the report “subjective” and said ATRA was “arbitrary” in choosing the places on the list.

“It’s not much different than asking a convicted criminal to evaluate the criminal justice system,” Mr. Kohen said. “What would you expect?”

A spokesman for ATRA backed the organization’s methodology, which he said was based on research and interviews that started with a survey sent out to group members and others familiar with “judicial hellholes” from previous years.

“We call out jurisdictions where both parties don’t get a fair shake,” an ATRA spokesman said.

Madison County, a fixture on the list since its 2002 debut, was gone from this year’s report, but not forgotten. The Downstate Illinois county, which saw more class action lawsuits in 2004 than any other jurisdiction in the nation, was placed on ATRA’s watch list.

St. Clair County, which has been on the “hellholes” list since 2004, was also put on the watch list.

The 2007 “Judicial Hellholes” are:

South Florida.
Rio Grand Valley and Gulf Coast, Texas.
Cook County.
West Virginia.
Clark County, Nevada.
Atlantic County, N.J.

Will the Governor owe more taxes?

AP Exclusive: Living in Chicago could cost governor
Associated Press - December 16, 2007 12:14 PM ET

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Governor Rod Blagojevich lives in Chicago. But for tax purposes, he travels any time he leaves his main place of business -- Springfield -- until he returns.

An Associated Press analysis of nearly 1,000 flights on state aircraft by Blagojevich, his family and guests shows possible personal trips which could potentially be worth $225,000 in extra income to the governor.

A Blagojevich spokeswoman says the issue is moot because the governor's main office is in Chicago -- not the state capital. So flights to Chicago for are legitimate business.

Marianna Dyson (mayr-ee-A'-nuh DYE'-sun) is a Washington, D.C. fringe benefits lawyer. She says Blagojevich's decision to keep his family in hometown Chicago does not make it his headquarters.

Future IRS trouble for Blagojevich?
Blagojevich potentially could owe $60,000 in taxes. If he didn't pay, taxpayers could be penalized $40,000.
An IRS spokeswoman declined comment.
IRS rules for executives on personal travel
The Associated Press

An Associated Press analysis has found that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, his family and guests have taken hundreds of flights that don't appear to have clear business purposes. The value of the flights could top $225,000, based on the cost of chartering private planes, and the amount could be added to the governor's income as a taxable, non-cash fringe benefit.

The governor's past two tax returns don't indicate that he has paid taxes on the flights, which might end up being $60,000. A Blagojevich spokeswoman says the trips were for legitimate business.

There are Internal Revenue Service rules that could lighten any tax bill he may face:

- A "special valuation" discount for personal travel by executives. If it was applied to flights covered in the AP review, the governor would have had to pay taxes on an estimated $15,000 or less for the flights rather than a potential $60,000.

- A "50 percent" rule that allows executives to "hitchhike" on aircraft for personal use if the plane is already half-full of passengers declaring business.

The state aircraft were half full in about 45 percent of the Blagojevich flights the AP found may have been personal. But they were half full of the governor's employees. The rule wasn't designed to let a "control employee" such as Blagojevich fill the plane with subordinates to get around tax laws, experts said.


Pictured Stuart Levine.....he's still talking, err, cooperating with Feds.

The ABCs

The indictment identifies several individuals by letter only. The Sun-Times was able to confirm the identities of some through sources familiar with the investigation. None of these people have been accused of a crime. Many have declined to comment or could not be reached.

Individual . . .

A. William Cellini: Longtime Springfield powerbroker and associate of Stuart Levine's. Allegedly acted as a go-between in one shakedown.

B. Christopher G. Kelly: Blagojevich fund-raiser. Allegedly discussed plans to raise political donations from investment firms.

C. Sheldon Pekin: Consultant who allegedly agreed to kick back $250,000 in fees in return for getting TRS business.

D. Joseph Aramanda: Rezko associate who allegedly got $250,000 from Pekin "in substantial part for the benefit of Rezko."

G. Michael Winter: Rezko business associate. Had allegedly agreed to funnel fees from an investment firm to Rezko but did not want his identity revealed to TRS board.

H. Myron Cherry: Attorney and political donor. Cherry's name was listed in place of Winter's on TRS paperwork. Cherry said this was done without his knowledge and that he is cooperating with federal authorities.

J. Thomas Rosenberg: Movie producer and former investment firm owner. Balked at Levine and Rezko's extortion attempt and threatened to go to law enforcement.

Governor Blagojevich's friend Chris Kelly is indicted A suburban businessman was indicted today on federal tax fraud charges for allegedly understating his true personal and business income by more than $1.3 million over five years, in part by concealing the use of corporate funds for personal expenses including gambling debts to sports bookmakers. The defendant, Christopher G. Kelly, president and owner of a roofing business and a separate consulting firm, allegedly cheated the government on his personal and business taxes between 2000 and 2005, according to a 12-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury.

Kelly, 49, of Burr Ridge, was charged with one count of obstructing and impeding the IRS, five counts of filing false individual federal income tax returns, five counts of filing false corporate tax returns and one count of illegally structuring monetary transactions. He will be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court.

According to the indictment, Kelly was the president and owner of BCI Commercial Roofing, Inc., and CGK Consulting, Inc., both of which shared offices at 3062 West 167th St., Markham. Kelly maintained financial control over the two companies and determined how each company spent money and categorized its spending for purposes of calculating its business expenses as well as Kelly’s personal income.

As part of a corrupt endeavor to obstruct and impede the IRS, Kelly allegedly used business funds to pay for certain personal expenses, concealed the true nature of the payments through improper recording of the payments on the companies’ financial books and created false documents describing the payments; structured cash withdrawals under $10,000 from banks by disguising them as legitimate business expenses; and used third parties to pay portions of his illegal gambling debts.

More specifically, Kelly allegedly:

o caused BCI Roofing to pay gambling debts for certain of his losing wagers placed with Individual A, who, with the assistance of Individual B, ran a bookmaking operation in Illinois that accepted wagers on sporting events On at least one occasion, Kelly allegedly hid the use of corporate funds to pay a gambling debt to Individual A by ordering that the payment be falsely recorded in BCI Roofing’s financial books as a loan from the company to Individual A;

o placed millions of dollars of wagers with casinos in Las Vegas and caused BCI Roofing to pay for certain of his losing wagers there. On at least one occasion, Kelly allegedly hid the use of corporate funds to pay a gambling debt to a casino by ordering the preparation of false internal BCI Roofing documentation to make it appear that the payment was a legitimate business expense incurred by the company as part of a roofing contract for an airline;

The IRS obstruction and structuring counts allege in September 2004, Kelly solicited Individual C’s help in cashing three checks, each slightly under $10,000, and returning the cash to Kelly. In one instance, Kelly allegedly gave Individual C a BCI Roofing check for $9,500 payable to Individual C’s four-year-old child, and the following day, Kelly allegedly gave Individual C BCI Roofing and CGK Consulting checks payable to Individual C and Individual C’s spouse and obtained the cash back from Individual C for all three checks.

About the same time, Kelly also allegedly concealed his receipt of additional cash by depositing and cashing six BCI Roofing checks payable to himself, his children, his wife and cash. In each of these transactions, Kelly allegedly structured the cash receipts in amounts less than $10,000 to avoid generating Currency Transaction Reports.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of $86,600, which is the total amount of the allegedly structured funds.

The IRS obstruction count also alleges that in early 2005 Kelly attempted to conceal the source and nature of a partial payment on a large gambling debt he owed to Individual A. To assist Kelly in paying the debt, Individual D arranged for a wire transfer of approximately $79,140 from a bank account in Saudi Arabia to a bank account in Florida, according to the indictment. After learning that the wire transfer was not credited to the Florida bank account, Kelly allegedly arranged for the wire transfer of approximately $45,000 from a pizza company in Chicago to Individual A’s bank account. On at least one other occasion, Kelly allegedly attempted to pay a portion of the gambling debt to Individual A by tendering multiple checks, each made out for thousands of dollars and with the payee line
Rezko will also have new charges

Never a dull moment in this town.
Daley's emotional dilemma stems from Chicago Sun-Times disclosures Friday that Patrick Daley had a hidden interest in a sewer inspection company whose city business rose sharply while he was an owner.

The sewer deal also included the mayor's nephew Robert Vanecko. Sun-Times reporter Tim Novak previously had disclosed that Vanecko got $63 million in city pension.
The mayor's son and nephew never publicly disclosed their ownership stake in Municipal Sewer Services, despite a city ordinance that required such disclosure.

In a Thursday memo to his employees, company Chairman Robert Bobb acknowledged that disclosure statements filled out by his predecessors "contain a number of mistakes or oversights. ... These errors, among others, are why we have new management. We will correct these filings if requested by the city."

That left Heard to insist that Daley knew nothing about his son's involvement in the sewer inspection deals until the Sun-Times started asking questions. The mayor's signature appears on city contracts with Municipal Sewer Services. But the mayor's name on all city contracts is actually signed by top mayoral aides who write their own initials next to Daley's name.
"The mayor doesn't sign contracts for this very reason. If someone is signing contracts, you assume they're aware of who's getting it. He doesn't want that. This is not some new practice. It's been that way since he's been mayor," Heard said.

"Readers of the [Sun-Times] story would believe the mayor willingly signed his name to a contract that had his son's name on it. That is not the case. The name was not disclosed. Company owners have acknowledged that mistake."

The front-page story about the mayor's son was the talk of the town among Chicago politicians Friday.

The mayor's brother John sells insurance to city contractors. John, Cook County Commissioner of the 11th District Mayoral brother Michael Daley and his law partner Jack George have emerged as the city's pre-eminent zoning attorneys during the mayor's 19-year reign. But this is the first time that any of the mayor's children have been tied to city business.

And this from a former GOP Governor of Illinois

Stroger: 'I've been through a lot'
STROGER'S FIRST YEAR | Todd on dad's illness, friend's apparent suicide, constant criticism

December 9, 2007
BY STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter spatterson@suntimes.com
The phone rang at an hour that said this is nothing good.

The sun isn't up yet. Someone's sick, missing or, God forbid, worse. But it's nothing good.Dad had a stroke, Todd Stroger learned.

It was March 14, 2006, and Stroger could hardly have known the ways in which his life was about to change.
Over the next 18 months:

His father, longtime Cook County Board President John Stroger, would fail to recover from that stroke.
Todd Stroger would find himself in the middle of one of the city's great political theaters, uncomfortably thrust to center stage and assuming his father's legacy.

He would be forced to fire one of his closest friends, quietly battle prostate cancer and become the go-to punching bag for all that is wrong with government.
And he would get another call, late one night, telling him a dear friend and trusted adviser apparently had committed suicide.
All before he finished his first year as board president, a mark he hit Tuesday.

"I've probably experienced more in the last year than most of my critics will experience in 20 years," Stroger said. "But life is what it is. You've got to deal with it. Hell, Job didn't complain."
Seizures stunt progress
The reality is, things are not going to get better for John Stroger, who has been gone from the public eye since his stroke. Speculation has swirled about his health.

"There comes a point where the biggest thing is just trying to make sure he's comfortable," his son said. "Make sure he's comfortable. Make sure he doesn't get sick. That's about all you can do."

He admits he doesn't see his dad "as often as I should" and that his mother and sister, both named Yonnie, and cousin, Donna Dunnings, "shoulder the load" and are his primary caregivers.
There are those who believe John Stroger, 78, was never well after the stroke, but his son insists "I fully expected him to say, last summer, that he wouldn't be running. I thought he'd say it."

During rehab after the stroke, he said, a nurse would instruct John Stroger to lift a weight five times -- and his dad would try for more.
He'd speak more. " 'Tell the kids to stop running through the house,' " Stroger said. "And I knew he was back."
But then, in midsummer, the seizures began.
"He's got a strong will," he said. "But he had the seizures, and from that point on, there was no more progress. He had that lapse. He's not been better since."

'Those are fightin' words'This was not the plan.
Todd Stroger said he had no designs on being Cook County Board president. Maybe some other office, sure, but not his dad's. So when Democratic Party leaders came calling and his family gave its blessing, he thought it was right.

The public thought something else entirely.
Unqualified, inept, a growing vocal majority say.
"People paint me as the Democratic Party demon terrorizing the county," he said.

Stroger, 44, said he's learned to hide the paper from his son, Hans, 7, and daughter, Claire, 4, and to turn off the radio as soon as they hear "Stroger." He's learned to ignore the "Urkel" taunts and constant jokes about "how I'm a novice and don't know anything." But his wife, Jeanine, often reads things and reacts "those are fightin' words," Stroger said. "But I let it roll off my back."

But he continues to be dogged by talk he's not interested in the job, something not helped on days he's difficult to find or when he describes being president as "pretty much [a] 9-to-5 [job]."
Still, "it does begin to affect you and your public image," he said. "People don't believe everything they read, but after a while, they're like well, if half of it is true. . . ."

Stroger is aware of the talk about his electability and plummeting public opinion, as some in his camp desperately want to make him more publicly available. Others aren't as trusting and want a wall built around him.
In the end, "I've learned to trust my own judgment."

That includes giving in to political pressure in January to fire his longtime friend, Gerald Nichols, who many knew as the county's patronage king.
That may have been "one of the hardest things I've ever done," but he soon found himself without another valued confidante, Orlando Jones.
In September, Jones was found on a Michigan beach, dead apparently from suicide.
"I realized," Stroger said, "now, it's just me."

He's largely private anyway, trusting few, so when Stroger learned he had prostate cancer, he didn't tell many -- not even his mother.
Given the circumstances, it became "a small item on a larger list of problems." He's now in remission and conducts public-awareness campaigns for men.

No praise for $500 mil. cut
Capping those problems -- what to do with a dysfunctional $3 billion government.
Unlike many others, he blames his father for none of the mess, but instead points to a board that "wouldn't make the sacrifices needed" to properly fund it.

And for the second straight year, just like his father, he's staring at what appears to be another lengthy, drawn-out budget battle.
He says he needs more money, that he can't make any more cuts. Having cut $500 million last year and not raising taxes, he thought, would win him praise. It's instead drawn anger over where he cut.

And while he stands by his accomplishments, he admits the last year has worn on him.
"Sure, I've had days where I say I've had enough already," he said. "I've been through a lot. But I'm happy with what I've been able to do in the last year."
"I realized now, it's just me."

Jesse Jackson Jr. can help fund wifes campaign

You just have to love this one, and by the way Sandi Jackson, Jesse Jr.'s wife is the Alderman of the 7th Ward, which she won against Beavers Daughter, Darcell. Darcell was left the 7th Ward position by her Daddy, "The Hog with Big Nuts", Bill Beavers,when he inherited Daddy John Stroger's District, for the Cook County Board as Commissioner.

We are die hard Bear fans in this town

You know when it's game day for the Bears, the employees at Jewel get to wear their Bear gear instead of Jewel gear. There is less traffic on the road, less people in the stores, and before and after the game win or loose everyone has their Bear gear on, yes navy and orange everywhere. Sunday's game with only minutes to go the Bears were winning........but it came to a sad end. Even though the bears only one one game at home this year.....we still put our Bear gear on, on game day. Many wear Bear gear all Bear season. If there's one team both the North and South siders love it's the Bears. And lest we forget, head coach Lovey Smith, that is one Texan I don't mind listening to, win or loose.

One of our news radio stations has a once a week the "sign of the Apocalypse is coming segment", where all week listeners email, voicemail etc. and they pick the best, sign of the Apocalypse is coming story and announce it on Friday afternoon. This week it was a listener said "when I saw the Nativity at Daley plaza where baby Jesus was not only bolted in the cradle but also big 2 thick wires were around it and bolted to the concrete".

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