southtownstar.suntimes.com http://southtownstar.suntimes.com Latest news from The Southtown Star Online en-us Wed, 28 Jul 2010 14:10:16 PDT webmaster@suntimes.com http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/assets/img/logos/southtownstar.gif Southtown Star logo http://southtownstar.suntimes.com 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Commitment to service marks women of McAuley ]]> Lead story image

After 12 years covering government and politics for the SouthtownStar, I have encountered numerous graduates of Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School on Chicago’s Southwest Side. The litmus test is pretty simple: If she’s smart and sassy yet warm and earthy, career-focused yet devoted to family, opinionated but open-minded, bold yet approachable, cosmopolitan in stilettos or carefree in a T-shirt, comfortable in both a church pew and a sports bar, she’s probably a Mother McAuley graduate. She might be an elected official, a behind-the-scenes adviser, a lawyer or a social worker. She might be a boss or a subordinate, a … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:15:40 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4949921-452/commitment-to-service-marks-women-of-mcauley.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4949921-452/commitment-to-service-marks-women-of-mcauley.html <![CDATA[ Why bad districts lose good teachers ]]> Lead story image

For all the benefits teacher unions have embedded into school culture, tenure is quite possibly the most damaging so-called “perk.” The Illinois Legislature, finally, is acting to change that. A bill moving through the Senate and co-sponsored by state Sen. Ed Maloney (D-Chicago) tips the scales in the seniority-based system of teacher layoffs, a subject of heightened circumspection due to the state’s woefully late billing cycle. The state owes hundreds of school districts millions of dollars, forcing schools to exercise the frustrating cycle of releasing teachers now to make the numbers work, only to rehire some of them in the … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:14:01 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4833372-452/why-bad-districts-lose-good-teachers.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4833372-452/why-bad-districts-lose-good-teachers.html <![CDATA[ Local representatives vote to keep Link as is ]]> Lead story image

I’m going to give the 10 Southland opponents of House Bill 161 the benefit of the doubt. They voted against legislation Tuesday aimed at fighting fraud in the state’s food stamp program, which is distributed on plastic Link cards. Obviously, those 14 legislators haven’t heard from many of you, as I have, about abuses in the system. Several columns I wrote on the subject spurred dozens of emails, letters and phone calls from readers with firsthand knowledge of the broken system. I heard from grocery clerks, gas station attendants, state workers, sales associates and even cardholders themselves who described numerous … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:41 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4814473-452/local-representatives-vote-to-keep-link-as-is.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4814473-452/local-representatives-vote-to-keep-link-as-is.html <![CDATA[ The perplexing buzz of high-speed trains ]]> Lead story image

Here’s the set-up: You decide to enjoy a long weekend in Springfield this summer with the wife and kids. Maybe you’ll explore the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and visit Abe’s grave site at Oakridge Cemetery. It might be adventurous to take Amtrak, and why not? The direct Chicago-to-Springfield route would allow you the flexibility to read a book during the journey while your kids play “I spy.” So you peruse Amtrak’s schedule out of Union Station. You consider $30 per day parking costs in downtown Chicago. You worry about luggage and how to transport the family easily from the Springfield … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:10:31 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4711345-452/the-perplexing-buzz-of-high-speed-trains.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4711345-452/the-perplexing-buzz-of-high-speed-trains.html <![CDATA[ McQueary: Winners and losers in Tuesday’s races ]]> Lead story image

Dozens of school officials gazed despairingly at computer screens Tuesday night as vote totals expressed, once again, rejection with a capital “R.” Voters said “no, no, NO” to school board requests for more money — except one Southland school district where voters proclaimed “yes.” Actually, “YES!” Homewood School District 153 voters easily approved a $7.5 million bond sale. The request passed with 80 percent of the vote, quite possibly Tuesday’s highest school bond approval result statewide. Clearly, the committee members who worked on the bond’s passage stand among Election Day winners. So what was the secret sauce? “We run a … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:40 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4693909-452/mcqueary-winners-and-losers-in-tuesdays-races.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4693909-452/mcqueary-winners-and-losers-in-tuesdays-races.html <![CDATA[ Is Tuesday a primer for Gorman mayor bid? ]]> Lead story image

The Orland Park mayoral race isn’t on the ballot for another two years. But by all accounts, Tuesday’s election stands as a primer for a potential 2013 match-up between Mayor Dan McLaughlin and Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman. Now, before you flood my email with ornery notes, let me add that Gorman insists she is not interested in running for mayor. She is savoring her November 2010 re-election to the Cook County Board, spending time in Florida and relishing her non-campaign schedule. “No, I am not interested in running for mayor, although I have had a lot of people … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:08:01 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4229526-452/is-tuesday-a-primer-for-gorman-mayor-bid.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4229526-452/is-tuesday-a-primer-for-gorman-mayor-bid.html <![CDATA[ Limos, fraud alleged in Southland races ]]> Lead story image

In one Southland election, a mayoral candidate allegedly transported supporters to the polls in fancy limousines. In another, a school board candidate accused an incumbent of mingling his campaign with school business. And a handful of candidates hoping to win your vote Tuesday carry baggage so weighty, they would need a bellhop just to cross the room — including a candidate for Palos Park Village Board. Yes, it’s election season in the Southland. Again. In Park Forest, where incumbent Mayor John Ostenburg faces JeRome Brown, poll watchers during early voting reported stretch limos parked outside an early voting site. Brown … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:38 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4580897-452/limos-fraud-alleged-in-southland-races.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4580897-452/limos-fraud-alleged-in-southland-races.html <![CDATA[ Orland trustee race raises one red flag ]]> Lead story image

Orland Park voters who head to the polls April 5 face a list of village board candidates that includes seven newcomers. Many of the new faces offer impressive resumes to guide the village during the next four years — including one candidate who gives me pause. Molly McAvoy Flynn, who is running on the Fiscal Voices for Orland ticket, ran last year in the Republican primary for 37th House District. She ran against Jeff Junkas but lost. Junkas advanced to the November election to challenge state Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D-Orland Park). Flynn landed on my radar because she didn’t collect … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:03:33 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4367916-452/orland-trustee-race-raises-one-red-flag.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4367916-452/orland-trustee-race-raises-one-red-flag.html <![CDATA[ Fundraiser aggravates deceased man’s family ]]> Lead story image

Leave it to the Calumet Township Democratic Organization to offend the voters it represents, even as it tries to raise money from them. The organization, headed by committeeman and state Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island), hosted a fundraiser Friday with featured guests Blue Island Park District Board President Fred Bilotto, Calumet Township Supervisor Rose Rita and Calumet Park Mayor Joseph DuPar. None of them is up for election April 5, but the township organization is involved in other races and held a reception Friday night to raise funds for political efforts. More than 150 people attended the buffet-style dinner at … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 02:00:58 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4349997-452/fundraiser-aggravates-deceased-mans-family.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4349997-452/fundraiser-aggravates-deceased-mans-family.html <![CDATA[ Teacher bashing misguided in Lemont ]]> Lead story image

With casks of ink devoted to labor strife in Wisconsin, one story still has not been told enough. It is the story of elected school board members who oversee the collection and expenditure of property tax dollars; who approve superintendent and teacher contracts; and who fail, day-to-day, to serve as proper checks on school spending. You can dog teachers until you collapse from exhaustion, but you are barking at the wrong target. School board members who control their district’s property tax levy receive far less scrutiny from the public than they should. One such case has manifested itself in Lemont-Bromberek … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:35 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4241432-452/teacher-bashing-misguided-in-lemont.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4241432-452/teacher-bashing-misguided-in-lemont.html <![CDATA[ Mike Joyce withdraws from Quinn appointment ]]> Lead story image

A Southland coach prepped for an appointment to Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration withdrew his application, citing pay concerns. Mike “Pickle” Joyce, of Chicago’s Morgan Park community, said outside-income restrictions placed on board members persuaded him to withdraw his resume from consideration for the Illinois Labor Relations Board. But Joyce also admitted he sought professional help following a June 2009 binge drinking incident that gave the Quinn administration pause as well. Joyce, who for years has coached boxing at Leo Catholic High School and campaigned for Quinn, was in line to receive a $93,926 position mediating labor disputes for municipalities and … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 01:59:11 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4227339-452/mike-joyce-withdraws-from-quinn-appointment.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4227339-452/mike-joyce-withdraws-from-quinn-appointment.html <![CDATA[ Set aside sex scandal for real news, briefly ]]> Lead story image

Boy, it’s going to be difficult to keep your attention to a column on write-in candidates, what with Northwestern University’s sex toy demonstration dominating water cooler conversation. A sex show in a Northwestern lecture hall makes the birth video shown in my high school health class seem downright Walt Disney. I must admit: As a product of public schools raised in a middle-class household, I savor, in a twisted way, occasions to sniff at the Northwesterns of the world. Tuition, room and board cost $52,463 per year. The university boasts the very finest. It markets itself as the Ivy League … ]]> Thu, 05 May 2011 04:47:44 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4115303-452/set-aside-sex-scandal-for-real-news-briefly.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4115303-452/set-aside-sex-scandal-for-real-news-briefly.html <![CDATA[ McQueary: Crestwood ridicules tainted water concerns ]]> Lead story image

For a village sufficiently lawyered-up after accusations surfaced it served contaminated water to its residents, the latest Crestwood newsletter takes an aggressive approach, calling concern a “manufactured issue.” ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:34 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4101346-452/mcqueary-crestwood-ridicules-tainted-water-concerns.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/4101346-452/mcqueary-crestwood-ridicules-tainted-water-concerns.html <![CDATA[ Time for loudmouths to get better trained ]]> Lead story image

Citizen watchdogs: You know who you are. You care deeply about the basic principles of transparent government and public service. You attend government meetings, perhaps taking a seat on a regular basis toward the side of the dais. You know more about your town’s DNA — its traffic patterns, crime problems, development disputes, tax levies, elected trustees and the relationships among them — than all of your neighbors. The elected officials in your town tolerate your interest in their business, but they push back if they feel threatened by your involvement. You often feel frustrated by the lack of community … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 00:31:59 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3992186-452/time-for-loudmouths-to-get-better-trained.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3992186-452/time-for-loudmouths-to-get-better-trained.html <![CDATA[ Emanuel, Preckwinkle: So can they deliver? ]]> Lead story image

The honeymoon began at precisely 11:05 a.m. Wednesday in an ornate chamber of the private Union League Club in downtown Chicago. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel addressed a room of obedient, seated reporters while standing at a podium with a crystal chandelier dangling above him. He smiled. He blushed. He spoke softly. He used the “Clinton thumb,” the loose-fist, thumb-on-top gesture made famous by former President Bill Clinton. Apparently, pointing became politically incorrect in the 1990s. Emanuel reminded us he spent the morning greeting commuters at a CTA station at 95th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway and that he did two … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:33 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3976801-452/emanuel-preckwinkle-so-can-they-deliver.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3976801-452/emanuel-preckwinkle-so-can-they-deliver.html <![CDATA[ In Groupon vs. Nancy, Nancy’s still winning ]]> Lead story image

Those of us who follow Illinois politics often get criticized for being overly critical. Go ahead. Call me Negative Nancy. I was unimpressed with Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget proposal. He and several Southland lawmakers who voted for the 67 percent income tax hike in January promised the increase would mark the first step toward realigning state government — meaning, shrinking it. They vowed to focus this year’s spring session on reducing spending. But Quinn did not address many of the state’s structural costs, such as health care for retired state workers. He didn’t mention across-the-board cuts or asking current workers … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:33 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3894223-452/in-groupon-vs-nancy-nancys-still-winning.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3894223-452/in-groupon-vs-nancy-nancys-still-winning.html <![CDATA[ Introducing: Task force to study wimpiness ]]> Lead story image

To address the state’s budget problems, I am announcing today the creation of a new task force aimed at exploring WARD, or Wimps Avoiding Real Decisions, the syndrome known to transform well-intended politicians into zombies incapable of reform. The Commission on Wimps Avoiding Real Decisions, or COWARD, will explore the tendencies of Illinois’ elected officials to cave to outside pressures and prolong tough decision-making. The highly contagious disease is blamed for the state budget mess, which remains wildly unbalanced and may require heavy borrowing in addition to the 67 percent income tax hike approved last month. Gov. Pat Quinn, who … ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 03:34:33 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3857037-452/introducing-task-force-to-study-wimpiness.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3857037-452/introducing-task-force-to-study-wimpiness.html <![CDATA[ Political prank mail hits ‘Pick and JohnnyO’ ]]> Lead story image

Nothing like anonymous, nonsensical mail in the final days of the Chicago mayoral race. In an apparent prank that left several political observers scratching their heads, postcards mailed to a select group of journalists and Democratic committeemen claimed two Southland political activists were endorsing Carol Moseley Braun for Chicago mayor. The amateurish postcard announced, falsely, that Mike Joyce, the son of former state Sen. Jeremiah Joyce, a confidant of Mayor Richard Daley, and John O’Sullivan, Worth Township Democratic committeeman, “proudly endorse” Braun for mayor. “Only she will do what is necessary to keep our neighborhoods safe and prosperous,” the postcard … ]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 00:28:05 -0500 http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3754339-452/political-prank-mail-hits-pick-and-johnnyo.html http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/mcqueary/3754339-452/political-prank-mail-hits-pick-and-johnnyo.html