Category: Illinois

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson To Be Inducted Into Rich Central H.S. Hall of Fame

It’s good news, and we offer congratulations to Sen. Hutchinson!


Rich Central High School will induct 14 into the school’s Hall of Fame.

“We, at Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields are very proud of all of our students, present and past,” the school said in a press release. “On Saturday, October 23rd we unite to honor some of our former students and their great accomplishments. This is a wonderful event for all of our communities to enjoy. Our Keynote speaker is Senator Toi W. Hutchinson – Class of “91 and we will be joined by several board members, mayors, aldermen and friends of Rich Central.  Our award winning RC Jazz Band, under the direction of Mr. Phillip Crews, will provide the entertainment.”

The following are the 2010 Hall of Fame inductees:

A. Jason Bonaparte ‘97
President, Bonaparte Corporation

Michael Brock ‘88
Owner, Pacesetter Ground Transport & Global Logistics

Glen Brooks, Jr. ‘88
Chicago Police Dept. Area Coordinator & Special Projects

Gene A. Cross  ‘89
Head Coach College Basketball

Linda R. Delaney Milam ‘84
Software Engineer for NASA at Johnson Space Center

Michael C. Garner, Jr. ‘97
Football All-Star & Community Volunteer

Gregg Garofalo ‘88
Attorney, Garofalo & Thiersch, P.C.

Chuck Greenberg ‘68
Grammy Award –Winning Musician

Col. Steven R. Grimes ‘71
Chief of Ophthalmology, COL, Medical Corps, US Army

Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson ‘91
Illinois State Senator, 40th District & Community Service Volunteer

Derrick Murphy ‘00
Community Service Volunteer & Professional Athlete

Thomas K.R. Stovall ‘97
Small Business Expansion Consulting

Angela K. Walker ‘89
American Cancer Society & Community Activist

Rachel W. Williams ‘88
Attorney, HR Director for Avatar Corporation

Mark Kirk Bumbles Again: Exaggerates Role in Berman Bill

Yes, Mark Kirk did it again.

He claimed credit for something he did not do at all. Claimed credit for a bill the Democrats passed.

Mark Kirk claimed credit for a Democratic initiative.

Yet another Democratic wannabe.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Rep. Mark Kirk claims credit for being a driving force behind a bill signed into law this year that requires the president to crack down on companies doing business with Iran.

But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Howard Berman, says Kirk is guilty of "exaggeration" when he says the "Kirk bill" became the "Berman bill" so it could pass the Democratic Congress.

"We didn’t even look at his legislation at the time," Berman said. "Our bill did so much more and went so far beyond his bill, I would have to put it in the context of an exaggeration."

Kirk told the Sun-Times editorial board last month, "The Iran Sanctions Bill, it was originally Kirk-Andrews, but if you were going to move it, that means you need to adjust to the power of the House. This legislation eventually became Howard Berman’s legislation, who is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He had my full approval in moving that forward under his badge."

For years, Kirk has been an apostle of trying to hold Iran’s feet to the fire by choking off its supply of gasoline. He passed a resolution this year to do that — H.R. 3081. (His staff had inadvertently listed the resolution as 3801 — a bill dealing with mortgages — on his campaign website but corrected it Monday morning after a Sun-Times story was published.) Kirk is listed as a co-sponsor of Berman’s bill.

"There is no doubt that Mark was a committed person on this idea, which wasn’t his idea, it was out there in the press," Berman said. "He introduced legislation in the previous Congress on refined petroleum products. He did chair a group I occasionally went to, the Iran Working Group.

"The bill that I was involved with, we didn’t even look at his legislation at the time. It was a much broader bill than his bill and, in fact, we were persuaded that while the refined petroleum sanctions were valuable and useful, Iran has a way of reducing its reliance on imported petroleum."

Illinois, you need to get it. Mark Kirk is not your man.

Alexi Giannoulias is the only coherent vote for United States Senate.

NYTimes Explosive Report: Sam Zell’s Culture of Stupidity at the Tribune Company

I heard Sam Zell speak a couple of years ago at the Inland Press Association’s Annual Meeting. He was funny. Seemed full of energy, off the cuff, eccentric.

An article in today’s New York Times reveals so much more, reporting on the bizarre culture Zell and those he has brought in have created at the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere at the Tribune Company.

Clearly, Zell is steering company into the ground.

From the NYTimes:

In January 2008, soon after the venerable Tribune Company was sold for $8.2 billion, Randy Michaels, a new top executive, ran into several other senior colleagues at the InterContinental Hotel next to the Tribune Tower in Chicago.

Mr. Michaels, a former radio executive and disc jockey, had been handpicked by Sam Zell, a billionaire who was the new controlling shareholder, to run much of the media company’s vast collection of properties, including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, WGN America and The Chicago Cubs.

After Mr. Michaels arrived, according to two people at the bar that night, he sat down and said, “watch this,” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts. The group sat dumbfounded.

“Here was this guy, who was responsible for all these people, getting drunk in front of senior people and saying this to a waitress who many of us knew,” said one of the Tribune executives present, who declined to be identified because he had left the company and did not want to be quoted criticizing a former employer. “I have never seen anything like it.”

The report goes downhill from there, where sexual harassment is justified as path to creative thinking, with disclaimers like this in the Tribune’s revised employee handbook:

“Working at Tribune means accepting that you might hear a word that you, personally, might not use,” the new handbook warned. “You might experience an attitude you don’t share. You might hear a joke that you don’t consider funny. That is because a loose, fun, nonlinear atmosphere is important to the creative process.” It then added, “This should be understood, should not be a surprise and not considered harassment.”

My jaw dropped several times reading this article. So sad. I don’t see how the Tribune can be taken seriously any more.

Todd Stroger Is There For You 24-9

24-9: the new magic number to watch for in upcoming indictments.

A top aide to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was arrested and charged Monday with several felonies relating to alleged money laundering and theft.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Carla Oglesby, Stroger’s deputy chief of staff, was taken into custody about 4 p.m. by members of the Cook County state’s attorney’s financial crimes unit, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Oglesby is charged with several felonies, including theft of government property over $100,000, money laundering and official misconduct.

“It’s in connection with the ongoing financial crimes investigation conducted by the state’s attorney’s office into the awarding of so-called 24-9 contracts,” Daly said.

The “24-9” reference is to contracts that fall below the $25,000 mark, the threshold requiring approval by the Cook County Board.

On Monday afternoon Oglesby was pulling out of a Loop parking garage when investigators — armed with an arrest warrant — stopped her vehicle and took her into custody, placing handcuffs on her before they drove her to a nearby police station.

Her attorney did not return a call for comment.

Todd Stroger could not be reached for comment either, the Sun-Times reports.

I remember when Todd Stroger was running to be elected to the seat his father held. I was at a meeting of a local township’s Democratic organization when a young college student asked the Democratic Committeeman if Stroger received the nod just because of his name. The committeeman responded with a lecture, “Young lady, you need to understand how things work.”

“How things work” at the time essentially meant “fall in line.” The young college student was too naive.

Weren’t we all…?

Toni Preckwinkle, clean up this mess. Please.

And work for the taxpayers of Cook County 24-7, not 24-9.

Park Forest Theater Operator Was No Harold Hill

Kenneth Arron
Kenneth Arron addresses the Park Forest Village Board as “Kenny Yochelson.” (Photo: ENEWSPF)

First, the sad news from ENEWSPF:

In the 1957 musical The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill arrives by train in River City Iowa and begins to work his a scam convincing parents he can teach their children music. At the end of the comedy when Hill’s fraud is exposed, parents and the town forgive Hill when they hear their children attempt to play Beethoven’s Minuet in G.

Officials in Park Forest are not laughing, however, at the fraud allegedly committed by Kenneth Arron, who represented himself to the community as Kenny Yochelson.

According to a press release from the Village of Park Forest, criminal charges were filed today against the operator of Holiday Star Theater in Park Forest.

Kenny Arron, who had presented himself as Kenny Yochelson since first approaching Park Forest officials in January about taking over the then?Eagle Theater, was arrested Monday, the release said.

Park Forest is a town that has struggled to regain a local business foothold for years. At one time the “Centre” of businesses in the south suburbs, Park Forest watched as businesses left for Matteson, IL, and then migrated north of Interstate 80. Many businesses have returned to Matteson, due, in no small part to the work of Park Forest’s current Director of Economic Development and Planning Hildy Kingma, who Park Forest wooed from Matteson where she worked in a similar capacity. Kingma was largely responsible for populating the plaza at the northwest corner of Cicero and Rt. 30 (Panera Bread, Borders, etc.).

However, current Matteson Village officials deserves credit too. Mayor Ashmore has worked hard to move Matteson from the red, and it looks like he will succeed. Matteson suffered much during the Great Bush Recession, drastically understimating the impact the Great Recession would have on its sales tax revenue.

All of that having been said, back to our topic.

Village Officials in Park Forest were “had” by a professional con-man. Kenneth Arron, a.k.a. “Kenny Yochelson,” represented himself as the answer to all of Park Forest’s woes. Declaring that Park Forest Village officials had their “heads up their ass,” Yochelson was actually contemplating a run for Village Trustee in Park Forest, according to a group on Facebook.

The problem?

Kenny Yochelson‘ does not exist.

His real name is Kenny Arron, and he is no Harold Hill.

Professor Harold Hill eventually discovered his conscience.

Kenneth Arron never did.

How sad for this man. According to the press release from Park Forest, he has spent 18 years, most of his adult life, behind bars.

How sad.

Park Forest deserves better.

I hope the Holiday Star Theater survives.

Park Forest deserves better.

Family: Evanston Man Killed By Bomb Committed Suicide

How sad.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The family of a man who died when a pipe bomb blew up in an Evanston park declared Wednesday that his death was a suicide.

“We are devastated that our beloved son, Colin Dalebroux, lost his 15-year battle with depression,’’ the family said in a statement issued through a school district in Madison, Wis., where the family lives. “We know that Colin committed suicide.’’

Evanston police, however, said Wednesday they weren’t ready to draw that same conclusion until further FBI forensic tests on the Dalebroux’s computers are completed.

Police did confirm that Dalebroux, 21, struggled with mental health issues, and said investigators will speak with his mental health providers.

Evanston Police Cmdr. Tom Guenther said Dalebroux was acting alone at the time of the incident.

“There is no immediate danger to the public,” he said in a statement.

How sad.

I Like Phil Kadner’s Commentary on Blagojevich, Rod Blagojevich

Phil Kadner writes good stuff.

Read this (excellent) and this on the Blagojevich trial.

Both are excellent.

Phil Kadner writes good stuff.


Elvis Remains In The Building: Blagojevich Takes to TV

The mouth that won’t stop gabbing is starting another media blitz as the Summer of Blagojevich continues.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Beginning a weekend media blitz, Rod Blagojevich said this morning he will not take any plea deal from prosecutors, accused them of trying to criminalize political horse-trading and emphasized repeatedly that he had not been convicted of any of the corruption charges against him.

And he said the lone jury holdout against convicting him on major corruption counts confirmed his faith in God.

"I’ve always had a deep and abiding faith in God," he said on the "Today" show. "And when I look at that, it just confirms ‘Praise God.’ And I certainly thank her for her good judgment.

"If we put on a defense, I think we probably would have been acquitted" on every count, he  added.
He continued to insist he had done nothing wrong, saying prosecutors had captured him on tape only discussing "possibilities" with lawyers and political advisers. "Political horse-trading …. this is what they are trying to criminalize," he said.

He accused prosecutors of hypocrisy, saying they frequently make deals with convicted felons. "The very thing they charge me with, they should charge themselves with," he said.

Family Sues Dolton, Cook County Over Hit-and-Run of Teen

View more news videos at:

From NBC Chicago:

The city of Dolton and Cook County are being sued by the family of a teenager killed by a driver fleeing from police.

Attorney Larry Rogers Jr. said the family of Kenyatta Brack Jr. allege Cook County sheriff’s deputies and Dolton police officers acted recklessly in pursuing a suspect through residential areas of Dolton.

In a statement, Rogers claims several witnesses have come forward to refute police claims they were not involved in a chase.

"My son’s friend who was with him, he seen the cop. And the cop was right behind (the Sonata), " Brack’s father, Kenyatta Brack Sr., told the Chicago Tribune last week.  "They was right there, speeding."

Brack was riding his bike Sunday to meet his mother when the driver of an auto fleeing police struck and killed him. Authorities say the officers were following the fleeing car at a safe distance and speed when the boy was hit. Authorities say no suspect is in custody.

More here.

Very, very sad.

Time to call for the State Police to investigate this one.

Illinois’ National Disgrace Almost At At End: Blago Case Finally To Go To Jury

Our national disgrace is almost over, Chicagoland. Illinois. Blago’s case is finally going to the jury.

From the Sun-Times:

The prosecution finishes its rebuttal and Judge Zagel adjourns court for the day.

‘Members of the jury, you’ve heard all the evidence and the arguments,” he tells them.

He tells the jury it is especially important now that they avoid news reports and not talk about the case, and asks them to return in the morning for jury instructions.

The Sun-Times’ Blago Blog is really spectacular, providing the best coverage of the trial.

Except for my friend Cait, who actually went to the court today, and said Rod “had the most miserable depressed look ever on his face” when she saw him in the cafeteria.

Yes, Cait and a friend went to Chicago today to see Blago. And the Sox.

Enjoyed the Sox more.

Sorry, Rod.