Latest news from The Southtown Star Online en-us Wed, 28 Jul 2010 14:10:16 PDT Southtown Star logo 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Harris v. Quinn: Is it setback or boost for labor? ]]> Lead story image

When the U.S. Supreme Court this summer weakened labor protections for about 26,000 home-care providers in Illinois, most analysts characterized the decision as a dire portent for unions representing low-wage workers. So here’s what happened next — the day after the ruling in Harris v. Quinn, those thousands of workers began earning the latest in a series of wage increases that the Service Employees International Union collectively bargained for on their behalf. Just like the wages they fought so hard to increase during the past 30 years — wages that were once an unconscionable $1 an hour — these home-care … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:30:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: Parents deserve greater educational choice ]]> Lead story image

I was chatting the other day with a fellow who, along with his wife, home-schools his children. He explained the benefits that he believes his youngsters have derived from being taught at home — a customized curriculum, religious values instilled and extra time with parents. “One of the great things about home-schooling is that I haven’t been hassled by anyone in government over how we choose to educate our kids,” he said. Of course, home-schooling isn’t for everyone. But it is a wonderful option. There are other good choices out there, too — parochial schools, private secular schools, public schools, … ]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:13:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rahman: History will give Obama credit he deserves ]]> Lead story image

The news media’s obsession with negative news seems to have reached an all-time high, with President Obama being the favorite target. While there was a time in the eyes of the media when this president could do no wrong, the same media is now writing his political obituary in the most unflattering terms. Obama’s Republican detractors have accused him of being “absent on the job,” ineffective and weak. They forget that their icon, Ronald Reagan, was the least “hands on” among recent presidents and that President Eisenhower played more golf in one year than Obama has played in the last … ]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:14:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Stephen Schlickman: Anti-ride-sharing bills threaten consumer choice ]]> Lead story image

If you’ve lived in Chicago for longer than a week, you have to shake your head when listening to the taxi industry’s arguments against ride-sharing. The cab companies contend (with a straight face, mind you) that they offer safe and secure rides and serve every neighborhood in the city. In other words, they’re meeting consumers’ rights and transportation needs. Ride-sharing services such as Lyft and UberX are popular in Chicago and in nearly 100 other cities across the nation for good reason. Available via the touch of a smartphone button, affordable and accessible day or night in neighborhoods typically underserved … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:33:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ McGrath: Don’t make summer mistake — leaving teens alone ]]> Lead story image

Summer may be the ideal season for travel, but with it comes worry over leaving teenagers at home unsupervised. Our darling children, of course, would never have dreamed of having a wild party in our absence. So when Marianne and I had a chance to fly to San Francisco, we barely felt the need to articulate any rules. Days later, we arrived home to a clean house and no surprises. I joked that it smelled a little bit like cigarettes in the front room. Dad, they laughed, you’re smelling fumes from the neighbor’s lawn mower. They must cut their precious … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:39:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: More than the hog barn stinks at the Illinois State Fair ]]> Lead story image

Twenty years ago, state officials implemented reforms designed to make the Illinois State Fair break even. They failed. Big time. The fair has been as sure-fired a loser as a kid playing a carnival game. Well, maybe that’s not fair — every once in a while, a youngster actually wins. Not so with the fair. It’s a carnie’s dream: a loser that won’t quit. It and its southern cousin the DuQuoin State Fair, haven’t broke even once in the past two decades. State fair manager Amy Bliefnick told me she doesn’t know if it’s possible for the state fair to … ]]> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 02:12:15 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: Lower tax rates would keep U.S. corporations home ]]> Lead story image

I picked up my vacation photos at Walgreens the other day. And I didn’t hear any French, German or Italian spoken. How surprising. I’ve read that the huge drugstore chain is considering becoming a Swiss corporation. I’ll admit the thought of a company that essentially is an American icon becoming a foreign corporation gives me pause. After all, Walgreen Co. is one of Illinois’ premier companies. It was founded here in 1901 and is headquartered in Deerfield. And now company executives are talking about moving their headquarters to Switzerland to take advantage of a much lower corporate tax rate. But … ]]> Sun, 03 Aug 2014 02:11:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ Shaw: Doomsday clock ticks for Illinois ]]> Lead story image

Remember the ominous “doomsday clock” with its symbolic “countdown” to nuclear war? The concept dates back to University of Chicago researchers whose work during World War II led to development of the first atomic bomb. After the war, a distinguished group of international scientists continued the risk analysis by calculating looming dangers once a year and dramatizing their calibration by moving the clock’s ticking minute hand to a predetermined time uncomfortably close to midnight, or “doomsday,” and all that implies. The clock setting varies year to year — it’s five minutes to midnight in 2014, which is worrisome but fortunately … ]]> Sun, 03 Aug 2014 02:11:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ Shaw: More suburban FDs imposing ‘crash tax’ ]]> Lead story image

One of our jobs at the Better Government Association is to look for warning signs that suggest that trouble may be on the way. And with that in mind, I point to a recent BGA investigation that sounds the alarm at a number of Chicago-area fire departments but not because there’s an actual blaze. This alert is sparked by a growing and potentially troubling trend in emergency service that requires victims of traffic accidents to help fill municipal budget holes. It’s known as a “crash tax,” and it’s quietly showing up in more communities as fire departments struggle to make … ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:28:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ McGrath: Confronting a different kind of tyrant ]]> Lead story image

When I attended Chicago State University on the South Side in the late 1960s, I opted to take my daily lunch break off campus. There were no in-house McDonald’s or Subways as there are at many colleges today. And while I’ll grant that the school cafeteria offered nourishing fare, it did not, however, have a palatable cheeseburger, which was my primary fuel source at the time. Their beef patties tasted oddly similar to the chemically preserved hamburger disks wrapped in plastic and sold in vending machines. So as soon as my morning classes were over, I’d put on my stocking … ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:34:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: Quinn veto on FOIA measure good move ]]> Lead story image

Kudos to Gov. Pat Quinn. The governor vetoed a measure that greatly would restrict an ordinary citizen’s ability to file Freedom of Information Act requests. I don’t agree with the governor on a lot of things, but this veto was the proper response to a very bad bill that would have charged ordinary citizens fees as great as $100 if they file a request for large documents or make multiple requests in a short period of time. Sometimes government officials forget just who they work for. The FOIA is a powerful tool. During the course of my journalism career, I … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:54:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Laurie Samuels: Don’t let retirement make you vulnerable to senior scams ]]> Lead story image

Fraud is one of the fasting growing crimes in America — with senior citizens being common targets. In fact, the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs attributes approximately $100 billion a year to fraud. In this age of information, anyone in possession of a credit card, bank account or Social Security number is susceptible to the misuse of their private information. Although all are vulnerable to fraud, this article gives special attention to protecting our senior citizens from predatory crime. According to the FBI, scam artists target seniors because they are likely to have greater financial resources and accessibility to benefits, … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:55:42 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: Job growth in Illinois? Follow Indiana’s lead ]]> Lead story image

For every job Illinois has created during the past decade, Indiana has created 35, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. I’ve been to Indiana. I know Hoosiers. And the average Hoosier isn’t any smarter than the rest of us. They may think so, but we know better. But let’s face it, their economy is outperforming Illinois’ by leaps and bounds. The two states have identical climates — rich farmland, strong manufacturing heritages and similar work forces. But the Hoosier State is kicking our economic butt six ways to Sunday. Illinois has one of the lowest job creation rates … ]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 06:10:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Daniel Biss and Michael Frerichs: House must act to improve Illinoisans’ retirement security ]]> Lead story image

We need a retirement system that works for every resident of Illinois. Our state is facing a looming crisis — more than 2.5 million people are working in Illinois today without access to a retirement savings plan at work. Research shows that we are 15 times likelier to save for retirement if we can do so using a payroll deduction. The lack of access to employer-sponsored retirement plans will leave many people entirely reliant on Social Security income when they no longer are employed. Unfortunately for this population, Social Security never was intended to be a sole source of retirement … ]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:57:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ McGrath: Why banks love foreclosures ]]> Lead story image

It was going to be a reunion. Tom Booth and I hadn’t seen each other since he started school at Iowa Wesleyan College on an academic/athletic scholarship. He and I grew up in Evergreen Park, and he had been a basketball star at St. Bernadette Elementary School and Leo High School. And now his college team, for which he played point guard, was coming to play the Cougars of Chicago State, where I was in my third year. The Cougars boasted several high flyers from Chicago Public League powerhouses, while the Wesleyan Tigers drove in from little Mount Pleasant, Iowa, … ]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 06:18:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: Ballot question to keep voters guessing ]]> Lead story image

A bit of hay is being made over a grammatical error that will appear on the ballot in November. It seems no one caught the improper use of the word “their” in the text of the proposed referendum question on imposing a higher tax on people who earn more than $1 million per year. The measure asks, “Should the Illinois Constitution be amended to require that each school district receive additional revenue, based on their number of students, from an additional 3% tax on income greater than one million dollars?” To be grammatically correct the word “its” should be used … ]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:19:45 -0500