SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An employee pension reform bill passed by the Legislature for the Chicago park district is being watched as a test case for statewide reforms, even as it poses a tricky dilemma for Gov. Pat Quinn.
Lawmakers say passage of the park district reforms shouldn't be interpreted as a blueprint for the success of a larger plan addressing the state's $100 billion pension problem. But it could be a test case for how pension reform deals will be interpreted by the courts.
House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman credits successful negotiations between the park district and labor union, something that hasn't happened statewide.
Quinn has been a champion of pension reform. But union officials who raised a late objection to the park district plan are among his biggest campaign contributors.
WHEELING, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's not discouraged that lawmakers came away from two days of their fall veto session without tackling any of the major issues on their agenda.
The Chicago Democrat says the days were valuable for discussion to "lay a foundation" on the state's pension crisis and same-sex marriage.
However, neither issue came up for a vote before lawmakers left town.
They'll be back next month. Quinn says that'll be the time to take votes.
A bipartisan panel has been tasked with coming up with a solution to Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension problem, but the panel has been stalled on a plan that would save an estimated $138 billion.
Meanwhile, advocates and opponents of legalizing same-sex marriage both held rallies this week in Springfield.
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - A Chicago consulting firm has made recommendations to the Southern Illinois Airport Authority.
The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale reports that two consultants made a presentation to the authority on Wednesday. It included a development plan and recommendations for the Southern Illinois Airport property.
The consultants suggested relocating, realigning and rebuilding parts of the airport. They also suggested improving access to U.S. 51 and Illinois 13 to provide better access.
Consultant Aaron Gruen said the overall improvement effort would cost about $8 million.
CHICAGO (AP) - A judge denied bail for four men charged in connection with a shooting at a Chicago park that injured a 3-year-old boy and 12 others.
All four appeared before a Cook County judge Tuesday wearing street clothes.
Authorities say last Thursday's attack on the city's southwest side was gang related and in retaliation for another shooting that occurred earlier in the day, injuring one of the defendants.
Tabari Young, Bryon Champ, Brad Jett and Kewane Gatewood are all charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery. Prosecutors say the four are members of the Blackstone street gang. The park where they opened fire was inside territory frequented by members of the Gangster Disciples.
Investigators say Young and Champ were alleged gunmen.
Police say they don't believe they were targeting specific people
CHICAGO (AP) — Eleven people, including a 3 year old child, were injured late Thursday when someone opened fire on people in a park located in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood.
Chicago Fire Department officials said the child was in critical condition. Two other victims were also in critical condition, officials said.
Officer Amina Greer said the shooting occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday. According to Greer, at least 10 ambulances responded to the scene, transporting victims to several area hospitals.
A witness, Julian Harris, told the Chicago Sun-Times that dreadlocked men fired at him from a gray sedan before turning toward Cornell Square Park and firing at people in the area. He said his 3-year-old nephew was wounded in the cheek.
"They hit the light pole next to me, but I ducked down and ran into the house," he said. "They've been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night, just gang-banging stuff. It's what they do."
Authorities said no one had been taken into custody in connection with the shooting.
Francis John, 70, said she was in her apartment when the shooting occurred. She said went down to see what was going on and "a lot of youngsters were running scared." She said she was surprised by what had happened, saying she has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years.
She told the Sun-Times there hasn't been much gun violence in the neighborhood in recent years, adding the neighborhood went from good to bad 10 years ago, to better recently.
CHICAGO (AP) -- Bernard "Bernie" Sahlins, who co-founded Chicago's Second City theater and who nurtured the early careers of many of the earliest stars of "Saturday Night Live," died Sunday. He was 90.
Andrew Alexander, one of Second City's current owners and its CEO, told The Associated Press that Sahlins died peacefully at his Chicago home with his family nearby. He is survived by his wife, Jane Nicholl Sahlins.
Sahlins and business partners Howard Alk and Paul Sills opened The Second City in December 1959, and it quickly gained national attention and helped establish Chicago as a vibrant comedy town, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The Second City wasn't Sahlins' first attempt at running a theater. He was a producer-investor in a theater troupe in the early 1950s that was comprised of many fellow University of Chicago graduates, and he and several business partners produced plays at the Studebaker Theater from October 1956 until the following year, when it had to close due to a lack of funding.
In his 2002 memoir, "Days and Nights at the Second City," Sahlins wrote that he, Alk and Sills hadn't set out to build another theater.
"We had been burned enough times doing that. This was still the Beat generation, and we started out to found a coffee house where we idlers, including the actors whom we had with for years, could loll around and put the world in its proper place."
But The Second City caught on within months of opening, despite some early money problems and other issues, and it became instrumental in the growth and development of improvisational and sketch comedy.
Sahlins had an eye for talent, and he hired and nurtured the early careers of such future stars as John and Jim Belushi, Joan Rivers, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and Harold Ramis, among others.
Shortly after "Saturday Night Live" began airing in the fall of 1975, Second City became a breeding ground for the show. According to Second City producer emeritus Joyce Sloane, who died in 2011, Sahlins once half-jokingly commanded her to lock "SNL" creator and producer Lorne Michaels out of the building, the Sun-Times reported.
Alexander, who along with business partner Len Stuart bought The Second City from Sahlins in 1985, according to the theater's website, told the AP that Sahlins will be remembered for always urging performers to work at the top of their intellect, and that this is still preached at the theater today.
"You think about that theater, and think of all the stars that came out of it ... from Belushi to Aykroyd to Allan Arkin. It's extraordinary, the amount of talented people that came out of it," Alexander said.
St. Louis-based Enterprise Holdings is expanding its presence in the largest city in the Midwest.
Enterprise announced the purchase of IGO--a non-profit car-sharing company in Chicago. IGO was created as a pilot program to encourage city residents to use multiple forms of transportation and lower family's transportation costs.
This is not the first foray into car-sharing for Enterprise. They also purchased Mint Cars On-Demand in Boston and PhillyCarShare in Philadelphia. Every IGO employee has been offered a job with Enterprise.
CHICAGO (AP) - An attorney for an 87-year-old grandmother who accuses Donald Trump of cheating her in a condo deal has told jurors the "Apprentice" star lied on the witness stand.
The accusation came as closing arguments began Wednesday in the week-old trial in Chicago.
Plaintiff attorney Shelly Kulwin told jurors Trump stepped on the stand before them "to lie, evade and spout infomercials."
His voice rising, he portrayed the case as a battle between an honest woman and a powerful billionaire. He said only in other countries are the powerful guaranteed to prevail at trial. He boomed, "Not in America!"
Jacqueline Goldberg alleges that Trump cheated her when she bought properties at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. Trump has denied the allegations.
Jurors will withdraw to deliberate later Wednesday.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is holding fast to his position that legislation calling for the carrying of concealed weapons should allow city governments to decide their own standards.
But the Democratic governor's preference goes against lawmakers, who have given such ideas a chilly reception.
The General Assembly has until June 9 to end Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban on concealed carry because of a federal appeals court ruling.
Quinn wants larger cities such as Chicago to be able to set up their own standards for gun-toting citizens.
Gun-rights advocates say that would create a confusing "patchwork" of laws and put gun owners in jeopardy.
A plan in the Senate would give Chicago-area police the ability to deny gun permits. Gun owners and Republicans are cool to the idea.
CHICAGO (AP) - State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a point in picking out Illinois' financial problems, but Illinois businesses should stay put.
Perry is in Chicago to try and lure Illinois companies to Texas. He wants competition between the states and says Texas is a better place for companies. The Republican former presidential candidate is meeting with companies and speaking at a bioscience conference. He's made a similar trip to California.
But Illinois Republicans aren't so thrilled by the trip.
Rutherford is a Republican and considering a 2014 run for governor. He says Perry's attempt to poach businesses should "sound an alarm to state leaders."
He says Illinois has the factors it needs for a good business climate, but it should address its nearly $100 billion pension problem.