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Long-term furloughs of air traffic controllers could foul up the fall opening of O'Hare Airport's new runway - part of the $6.6 billion O'Hare Modernization Program, a union official warned Tuesday.
Controller training on dealing with the new east-west runway is "at a standstill" because of the mandated controller furloughts that started nationwide Sunday, said Dan Carrico, president of the air traffic controller local at O'Hare Tower.
Unless controllers are properly trained on the nuances of the new runway, it may open in October as scheduled but "we can't use that runway," Carrico said.
"It will just be an empty piece of concrete."
Controllers at towers in Elgin and Aurora must also complete training on the new runway, as both towers play critical roles in guiding planes in and out of O'Hare, Carrico said.
Another consequence of the FAA cutbacks required by the federal "sequestration" and budget stalemate is that training of controllers new to O'Hare is drying up, Carrico said. Even experienced controllers who join the O'Hare team need two years of training at O'Hare before they can be certified to serve as an O'Hare air traffic controller, he said.
(Today's Sun Times, Page 9) Source: Associated Press
The head of the agency that investigates allegations of Chicago Police misconduct has submitted her resignation and will leave her post at the end of May, according to a city spokesman.
Ilana Rosenzweig, chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, told Mayor Rahm Emanuel that she is moving with her family to Singapore, where her husband has accepted a new job.
She came to Chicago in 2007, when former Mayor Richard Daley appointed her as the chief administrator of the Police Department's Office of Professional Standards.
Rosenzweig, who has worked in a similar post in Los Angeles, oversaw the transformation of OPS into the IPRA, which reported to the mayor instead of the Police Department.
As chief administrator, Rosenzweig hired more investigators and started making audio recordings of police officer interviews.
However, her leadership has drawn mixed reviews from both police union officials, who said she has attempted to violate contract provisions, and civil rights attorneys, who said the percentage of sustained complaints against officers has gone down under her tenure.
In October, 2011, she was reappointed to the post by Emanuel.
After accepting her resignation, the mayor said in a statement: "Ilana Rosenzweig has served the City of Chicago and its residents with great honor and integrity as Chief Administrator of IPRA. While we are disappointed she and her family are leaving Chicago, we wish her nothing but the best, and thank her for her commitment to our city."
Over the next few weeks, the mayor will appoint a committee to conduct a search for a replacement. The committee will interview prospective candidates and make two or three recommendations for the mayor's consideration.
(April 13th Sun Times, Page 3) Source: Chicago Sun Times
To Jesse Owens, all children were champions, the famed Olympian's daughter said Tuesday evening, trying to save the West Pullman school named for her father from the Chicago Public Schools' closing list.
Jesse Owens Community Academy is one of 54 schools proposed for closing, and at least a dozen schools named for prominent African Americans on the closing list.
"He called everyone champ, to him every child was a champ, all they needed was the opportunity to be one," the eldest of Owens' three daughters, Gloria Owens Hemphill, said at the final hearing for the school's community to voice or opposition to Owens' consolidation with Samuel Gompers school.
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens had bested the Nazis at their showcase Olympics in 1936. He won four gold medals, all in track and field events, becoming the most decorated athlete of the Berlin Games. Owens moved to Chicago in 1949 and raised his family here. The school was built in 1980 and named for Owens after he died of lung cancer earlier that year and was buried at Oakwoods Cemetery, 1035 E. 67th St., in the Grand Crossing community.
"Jesse Owens, we will not forget. We remember the wonderful man," three Owens students sang to the tune of "Grand Old Flag." "He was Star Trek man, he was a high flying man and forever and ever he will be."
Owens was an American icon who represented hard work and perseverance, Hemphill continued, flanked by her two younger sisters, Beverly Rankin and Marlene Owens Rankin. And he was given prestigious medals – the Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Freedom, she said.
"We are very upset that the Jesse Owens School is even being thought of not to be here anymore," Hemphill said. "I think we can give him the honor of having the Jesse Owens School in Chicago, Illinois."
CPS says Owens' enrollment of 333 students put it under capacity for the space it occupies and therefore should close. Staffers, including a district attorney, laid out CPS' formal legal case Tuesday evening for Owens' closure, explaining that Gompers ranks higher using CPS performance measures though both share CPS' lowest rank and are on academic probation.
But Owens had 336 students enrolled today, teacher Phyllis Whitman said, an addition of three students that puts it at exactly 70 percent capacity or CPS' threshold to leave schools open.
And unlike most other consolidations, parents and teachers complained at the hearing, this closure in West Pullman won't save CPS the cost of a building. Children in kindergarten through 3rd grade will remain in what is now the Owens building, 12450 S. State St.; students in 4th through 8th grades will remain in the Gompers facility, 12302 S. State St.
The projected $8.8 million in repairs needed to Owens will still need to be made, said school counselor Tanya Saunders-Wolffe.
District spokeswoman Becky Carroll said the consolidation will provide a continuum from kindergarten through 8th grade under a single principal.
"We believe this will lead to better educational outcomes," Carroll said. "While we expect the school to operate across two (nearby) buildings next year, we will achieve savings from eliminating leadership and administrative staff redundancies."
CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said earlier Tuesday that the board still had to vote on her closing recommendations.
(April 17th Sun Times, Page 10) Source: Chicago Sun Times
After 20 years leading the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Gerry Roper said Thursday that he will retire at the end of the year, and he plans to stay active with the organization after his tenure ends.
"It wasn't about a number," Roper said of his decision to retire. "I felt very good about the bones of the organization, and we have a tremendous staff. And the fact that board still wants to somehow engage me means a lot.
"I can still remember the first day I walked into the boardroom and got a standing ovation, and from that point on it's been nothing but a blast. It's been a great opportunity and this is a great city. The brand of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is recognized as one of growth."
Under Roper's leadership, the Chicagoland Camber received a 5-Star Accredidation - the highest possible - from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive impact on the region's business climate, according to the chamber.
(Sun Times, Page 19) Source: Chicagoland City of Commerce
Keep your cellphones and laptops home if you plan on visiting the Leighton Criminal Courhouse.
Starting Monday, the ban on the electronic devices will be enforced at the 26th and California courthouse -- and those who bring the equipment will be asked to return them to their parked vehicles or place them in storage vending machines.
Cook Country Chief Judge Tim Evans was ready to implement the ban at all 13 courhouses three months ago, but after grumbling from Cook County sheriff's deputies about having little notice to prepare for the enforcement of the ban, the start date was delayed.
(Sun Times, Page 18) Source: Chicago Sun Times