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Four Stories for Your P.M. Commute

Friday, Feb. 21 Update

By Scott Sutton

Posted: Friday, Feb. 21, 2014

1. Canada Defeats U.S. In Olympic Men’s Hockey Semifinal
The Canadian men’s hockey team will be playing for gold in Sochi on Sunday after defeating the U.S.in a 1-0 nailbiter on Friday. Jamie Benn scored the game’s lone goal off of a shot-pass from Jay Bouwmeester early in the second period. American goalie Jonathan Quick was sensational, making 36 saves on 37 shots, but his team’s offense was lackluster at best. Patrick Kane had three shots on goal for the Americans, while his Blackhawks teammate and Canadian counterpart Patrick Sharp had five shots on goal.

Bieber to stay in U.S. after hockey loss? Check out this Chicago billboard that has gone viral, as reported by DNAinfo Chicago.

2. Cook County Same Sex Couples Can Now Get Married
A federal judge in Chicago ruled on Friday that same sex couples in Cook County can now officially get married, according to the Chicago Tribune. This diverges from the original law that stated same sex couples would have to wait until June to receive a marriage license. Cook County Clerk David Orr said he would begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples immediately.

3. ‘Dibs’ Items to be Trashed Starting Monday
Holding a parking spot just got harder. The spokeswoman for Chicago Streets and Sanitation said on Friday that any items up for dibs left curbside will be collected by garbage crews starting next week, according to NBC Chicago. That means no more holding parking spots with any sort of item after clearing away snow, a long-standing Chicago tradition.

4. Ukraine’s Political Landscape Continues To Change
A compromise signed Friday by Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych will diminish his power significantly and free imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, according to the New York Times. The deal, which Russian diplomats refused to sign, also says that early elections will be held no later than December. The parliament also approved a step that will revert the country back to its original constitution, annulling amendments that gave the president unrivaled political power.

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 Thursday, Feb. 20 Update

By Emily Brosious

Posted: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

1. Ukrainian Village Students Remember Fallen Kiev Protesters
As a violent battle between security forces and anti-government protesters continues to rage on the streets of Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev, Chicago Public School students honored slain protesters. DNAinfo Chicago reports that nearly one-third of students at Columbus Elementary School in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood wore black on Thursday to remember the dead and show support for Ukrainian protesters fighting to break ties from Russia.

2. Ex-Chicago Cop Takes the Stand in Murder Plot Trial
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that former Chicago cop Steve Mandell took the stand in federal court Thursday in a rare move to defend himself against charges of plotting multiple murders. This isn’t the former cop’s first major brush with the law either. He was sentenced to death row in 1990 for murder, a charge that was later overturned. In 2005, he won a $6.5 million settlement after accusing the FBI of framing him, but that payout was also overturned. Mandell faces life behind bars if convicted of the latest murder plots.

3. Chicago Winter Storms and Flooding
Chicago is once more in the throes of stormy winter weather. After weeks of freezing temperatures and record-high snow accumulation, a recent string of warmer days, melting snow and rainfall are creating hazardous flood conditions across the region. This Storify documents the storms, snow totals, flooding and other weather during this period.

4. Town Hall Meeting Friday to Focus on Gun Violence
A town hall meeting this Friday at Chicago Police Headquarters will focus on reducing and preventing gun violence, especially among Chicago youth. DNAinfo Chicago reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to give opening remarks and panelists will include Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. See this special report for more on Chicago gun violence.

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 Wednesday, Feb. 19 Update

By Lindsey Murphy

Posted: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

1) Five Injured in North Side School Chem Lab Explosion
Five students were injured this morning after an explosion inside the chemistry lab at the North Park neighborhood school. According to DNAinfo, two students are in serious condition. The school initially evacuated, but classes resumed around noon. The students were heating hot chocolate in a cooking class when a gas burner ignited and caused the explosion.

2) Third Arrest in Connection with Trump Tower Flooding
A third suspect was arrested today in connection with the flooding of the elevator shafts at the Trump Tower that occurred over the weekend. Three suburban men were refused service at the bar on the 16th floor of the Trump Tower and allegedly turned on a water valve in a stairway. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the flooding caused $700,000 in damages. One of the suspects admitted to yanking open the valve in frustration for not being served at the bar, police said.

3) City Preparing for Possible Flooding on Thursday
With excessive amounts of melted snow and rain expected on Thursday, flooding and water pooling will likely affect the Chicago area. The Chicago Weather Center offers tips on flood preparation, as temperatures are expected to rise into the high 40s and lower 50s on Thursday. Individuals can help to prevent flooding in their neighborhoods by clearing the snow or ice from near-by drainage grates to create a path for water to runoff. 

4) Men’s Olympic Hockey Quarterfinals Begins
The men’s Olympic hockey quarterfinals started early Wednesday. Among the highlights: Sweden beat Slovenia and Finland knocked out Russia on its home ice. The United States defeated the Czech Republic, 5-2, and Canada beat Latvia, 2-1. The United States will now face Canada, and Sweden will meet Finland in the semifinals. Olympic men’s hockey bracket.

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 Tuesday, Feb. 18 Update

By Lindsey Murphy

Posted: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014

1) UIC Faculty to Walk the Picket Line Today and Tomorrow
After many negotiations and bargaining sessions about salary minimums, faculty members at the University of Illinois at Chicago are planning a protest for the first time in the university’s history. The professors are hoping for a minimum salary of $45,000 for all full-time lecturers, along with a 3.5 percent raise for all faculty members. According to DNAinfo.com, some UIC students are in agreement that their professors should make more money.

2) Former Illinois Congressman Arrested on Pornography Charges
Mel Reynolds, a former Illinois congressman, was arrested in Zimbabwe today and charged with possessing pornographic materials. Reynolds was in Zimbabwe apparently representing foreign investors in the tourism industry. According to the Chicagoist, Reynolds allegedly shot more than 100 pornographic videos and more than 2,000 nude photos of at least 10 women. He has also been in the country illegally since December on an expired Visa and is believed to owe $24,500 in unpaid hotel bills. Reynolds, a convicted felon, was unsuccessful in a 2012 campaign to reclaim his congressional seat.

3) Three People Shot Near U.S. Cellular Field
Following a police chase, three people were shot at the top of the 35th Street exit ramp from the outbound Dan Ryan Expressway, according to CBS 2 Chicago. The chase moved eastbound on the Eisenhower Expressway and continued onto the southbound Dan Ryan and ended near US Cellular Field. Shots were fired at Chicago police, which started the chase, and police wounded three suspects. No officers were injured. Photo of heavy police traffic.

4) What’s Up Apple’s Sleeve for 2014?
Apple is looking to diversify its revenue sources by entertaining the idea of cars and medical devices. According to the Chicago Tribune, the company’s head of mergers and acquisitions met with Tesla Motors' founder after analysts suggested that Apple acquire the Model S electric car maker. They’re also looking into a device that can help predict heart attacks. Apple last came out with a new line of devices in 2010, the iPad but has updated several products since then.

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 Monday, Feb. 17 Update

By Jakub Rudnik

Posted: Monday, Feb. 17, 2014

1. Winter Storm Warning Until 9 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that will remain in effect until 9 p.m. tonight. Thunder will accompany the expected four-to-eight inches of snow, with snowfall rates as high as two-to-three inches per hour in the afternoon. This winter was already one of the coldest and snowiest in the city’s history, as shown in this interactive graphic from the Chicago Sun-Times.

2. Mace Sprayed in Classroom
A student from Chicago Military Academy in Bronzeville is in custody after spraying mace in a classroom Monday at approximately 11:35 a.m., according to DNAinfo Chicago. Nobody was seriously injured, but 19 students and a teacher were treated at the school and taken to hospitals to be examined.

3. UIC Faculty Strike
Faculty from the University of Illinois at Chicago have planned the first union strike in the school’s history, according to the Sun-Times. The two-day strike will begin Tuesday and will involve approximately 1,100 faculty members. It comes after 18 months of bargaining, with another session scheduled for Friday. The union is asking for a minimum salary raise for non-tenured full-time lecturers from $30,000 to $45,000, and a 4.5 percent merit pay increase for other faculty.

4. WGN Sports Radio Station Launched
A third sports-talk radio station has been launched in Chicago as of 1:02 p.m. According to the Chicago Tribune, WGN Radio has launched “The Game” on 87.7 FM to be part of the NBC Sports Radio network, converting the station from an alternative rock station. Jonathan Brandmeier, David Kaplan, David Haugh, Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton will be among the hosts on the station’s initial lineup card. 

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