Durbin, Emanuel, Rush react to Mandela death
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinoisans are mourning the death of Nelson Mandela.
Gov. Pat Quinn says few figures of the 20th century changed the world as much as Mandela. He called Mandela a "hero of democracy."
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says Mandela had courage and commitment coupled with "a caring and forgiving heart." Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called Mandela "one of the greatest moral leaders of our time." Cardinal Francis George of Chicago says Mandela is a model for responding to injustice.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Mandela's message of peace and hope resonates with Chicagoans two decades after the late South African president visited the city.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush remembered helping to organize Mandela's visit to Chicago. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley said Mandela's legacy includes "tolerance, equality and perseverance."
Rev. Jackson says Mandela was 'fearless leader'
CHICAGO (AP) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he was blessed to have known Nelson Mandela, calling him a "transformer and fearless leader" who "chose reconciliation over retribution."
Mandela died Thursday at age 95.
Jackson was in Capetown in 1990 when Mandela was released from prison after 27 years - a moment he described as "filled with great joy."
Three years later, Mandela visited Chicago and was honored during a community event at Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Jackson says Mandela took the world to great heights when he was released from prison. The civil rights leader says that with his death, Mandela takes the world to great depths of grief.
Jackson says Rainbow PUSH will honor Mandela again during its weekly service on Saturday.
Illinois governor signs pension overhaul into law
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law a landmark overhaul aimed at fixing Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.
The law reducing retirement benefits for state employees takes effect in June, but court challenges are expected. Several unions have called the benefit cuts unconstitutional.
Illinois' unfunded pension system is considered the worst in the nation after lawmakers skipped or shorted payments for years.
The legislation was unveiled last week and is expected to save $160 billion over three decades.
Among other things, the plan signed into law Thursday pushes back the retirement age on a sliding scale for those 45 and younger. It also caps the salary on which a pension benefit is based and lowers the employee contribution.
Storm brings Illinois icy roads, school closings
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - The ice storm that has been blowing through southern Illinois has caused numerous traffic accidents and caused such treacherous conditions that scores of schools and other facilities in the region say they will be closed on Friday.
As police urge motorists to stay off the roads on Thursday, WSIL-TV's web site lists dozens of schools and day care centers that will remain closed on Friday. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that Rend Lake College and the Herrin City Library won't open Friday. Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg says on its web site that the school will be closed on Friday as well.
Meanwhile, the Illinois State Police and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office say and other area law enforcement agencies say they've handled dozens of weather-related traffic accidents.
Cook Co. president won't support felon candidates
CHICAGO (AP) - Cook County's board president says she won't support two felons running for the panel.
Al Sanchez was the head of Chicago's streets and sanitation department and Isaac Carothers is an ex-alderman. Both are running for the board, even though they were convicted in corruption cases. Felons can't run for various city offices, but they can run for county and state positions.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports Sanchez was released from prison five months ago after being convicted in a hiring scheme. He's running for a seat once held by William Beavers, who's serving a six-month tax evasion sentence.
Meanwhile, Carothers is running for a vacant seat. He was convicted of bribery and fraud.
Toni Preckwinkle says she's not surprised the two wanted to run, but expects their candidacies will face challenges
Businesses concerned about inaction on incentives
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois has taken a giant step toward fixing its biggest financial problem by approving a major pension overhaul this week. But lawmakers' inaction on tax incentives aimed at keeping companies in Illinois has triggered new concerns about the state's business climate.
The Senate and a House committee considered legislation giving tax breaks to Archer Daniels Midland Company, chemical distributor Univar and newly-merged OfficeMax and Office Depot. But the House adjourned after the pension vote, essentially pushing the issue into 2014.
The slow action, at least in the business world, could mean other states with interest in taking Illinois jobs have more of a chance to swoop in.
Still, lawmakers say they had no other choice. Their first priority was approving a plan aimed at fixing Illinois' $100 billion pension crisis.
Ex-owner of Chicago window factory gets 4 years
CHICAGO (AP) - The former owner and CEO of a Chicago factory where employees staged a high-profile sit-in in 2008 has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing millions from his failing company.
Before Thursday's sentencing, 60-year-old Richard Gillman pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft, including for moving money from Republic Windows and Doors to a shell corporation. A Cook County judge also imposed a $100,000 fine.
The state's attorney's office says Gillman's sentencing comes five years to the day the plant was abruptly closed. That prompted more than 200 workers to occupy the manufacturer for six days, saying they were owed unpaid wages. The worker's action drew national attention.
After the plant's closure, some former workers formed their own company. It continues to operate.
Couple to turn Disney's Chicago home into museum
CHICAGO (AP) - Call it Disneyland Chicago.
A California couple has purchased the house where Walt Disney was born on the city's Northwest Side and they are making plans to turn it into a historical site and museum.
A spokesman for new owners Dina Benadon and Brent Young says restoration is scheduled to begin next month. They hope it can be completed on Dec. 5, 2014 - which would have been Disney's 113th birthday.
The two-flat home located in the city's Hermosa neighborhood was designed by Disney's mother, Flora and built by his father, Elias. Young Walt lived there until the family moved when he was four years old.
Wright home near Chicago listed for $2.4 million
RIVER FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Frank Lloyd Wright's famed William Winslow House in suburban Chicago is on the market for the first time in nearly 60 years.
The Chicago Sun Times reports that the River Forest house is listed for $2.4 million.
The home was last sold in 1955 and it hasn't been seen publicly since it was part of a Wright home walk in 1979.
Architecture experts say the house that was designed by Wright in 1893 is significant.
Not only was Wright in his 20s when he designed it, the house was his first commission after leaving Louis Sullivan's architectural firm in Chicago. It precedes Wright's introduction of his famed Prairie style construction.
It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
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