Boy, 3, among 13 shot Friday night in Chicago

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Charges pending against 3 in 3-year-old’s shooting

By Peter Nickeas and Liam Ford
Tribune reporters
1:56 p.m. CDT, July 26, 2014

At least 13 people have been shot in Chicago since Friday afternoon, including a 13-year-old boy fatally shot on the West Side and a 3-year-old boy critically wounded on the Southwest Side, authorities said.

The 3-year-old was shot about 10:15 the 4400 block of South Sacramento Avenue in the Brighton Park neighborhood, authorities said. Charges are pending against three people in the attack, Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada said Saturday afternoon.

A shooting victim was taken from that area to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition, according to a Chicago Fire Department spokesman.

The boy was outside with his mother and another man when two men and two women walked past and exchanged words with the boy’s mother and the man she was with, police said.

Someone among the group opened fire from down the block after walking by, police said, hitting only the boy.

The area is one coping with an ongoing gang conflict but it’s not clear if the conflict is related to this particular shooting.

Earlier, the 13-year-old was one of seven people, most of them teenagers, shot about 6 p.m. in the 700 block of South California Avenue in the Lawndale neighborhood, police said.

Also this evening, a 24-year-old man was shot in the right leg, left foot and buttocks about 9 p.m. in the 1800 block of East 79th Street in the South Shore neighborhood and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in good condition. Someone opened fire from a dark sedan, police said.

Fifteen minutes later, a 17-year-old boy was shot in the city’s Washington Heights neighborhood, said police. That shooting happened on the 1100 block of West Aberdeen Street. The boy was standing with a group of people when a dark-colored sedan drove up and someone inside the vehicle fired shots, said police.

The boy suffered a wound to his left knee and was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital, where he was reported in good condition.

About 12:30 a.m., someone shot a 19-year-old man in the Roseland neighborhood. The man was sitting in a car at 102nd Street and Michigan Avenue when someone shot at him. He walked into Roseland Community Hospital with a graze wound to his arm, police said.

Someone shot a 19-year-old man about 12:55 a.m. near 39th Street and Prairie Avenue in the Bronzeville neighborhood. He was taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County with a wound to his upper arm. No one is in custody.

A 24-year-old man was shot about 1:35 a.m. in the 5600 block of West Chicago Avenue in the Austin neighborhood. He walked into West Suburban Medical Center with a gunshot wound to his hip, police said.

Check back for updates.

Mayor wants Chicago to shelter young immigrants


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By Juan Perez Jr., Tribune reporter
12:00 a.m. CDT, July 26, 2014

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is set to aggressively expand the amount of shelter available to children apprehended at the southern U.S. border, with plans to house as many as 1,000 additional young immigrants in Chicago by the end of this year.

The mayor’s office also plans to tap the city’s legal community to build what it described as a “broad-based pro bono campaign” to counsel the city’s share of unauthorized immigrant children, a proposal hatched as federal authorities work to boost the government’s capacity to shelter and care for the unprecedented number of children arriving from Latin America.

“The influx of unaccompanied child migrants is a growing humanitarian crisis that we can no longer ignore,” Emanuel said in a statement.

“While we have our own challenges at home, we cannot turn our backs on children that are fleeing dangerous conditions,” the mayor said. “We will do our part to ensure that these children are given access to services and treated fairly and humanely.”

Funding for the facilities — and for the children’s education, health care, food, security and social services — would come from the federal government, Emanuel’s administration said. The effort’s estimated cost isn’t yet known, a mayoral aide said.

The precise number and locations of sites to be retrofitted as shelters is yet to be determined. But the facilities would augment nine existing shelters in the Chicago area that, according to officials with the National Immigrant Justice Center, already hold roughly 500 beds for immigrant children brought here by the federal government.

Emanuel’s local plans for young border crossers thrusts the former political operative and White House chief of staff into a controversial federal effort to determine what to do with more than 57,000 immigrant children who have crossed the U.S. border during the past nine months.

The federal government also has approached other cities to evaluate their potential to provide a broad range of facilities and temporary shelters, drawing fire from some who oppose shelters being located in their communities. In Illinois, Sen. Mark Kirk has called for criminal background checks on any immigrant minors brought to the U.S. and supports legislation that would speed deportation.

Mayoral aides said the administration discussed housing more immigrants in Chicago after federal officials approached the city earlier this month about the possibility of finding a 1,000-bed facility.

Talks accelerated in recent weeks, officials said, and included representatives from the U.S. General Services Administration, the federal departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services and the White House.

Michael Negron, Emanuel’s policy chief, said the administration recently examined potential sites while learning more about how existing shelters operate.

“How are those children being served, who’s delivering the services, what are the key issues to be aware of, what are the questions that we should be asking and looking into as we talk to the federal government?” Negron said.

Immigrant children have long been housed in the Chicago area in shelters that are typically repurposed buildings outfitted with dormlike living quarters. The children can be held there for weeks before being released to family members or sponsors to await immigration proceedings. The majority leave the Chicago area once they’re released, a National Immigrant Justice Center official said.

And just recently, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced that it would seek federal approval to shelter a yet-to-be-determined share of children who have recently breached the country’s southern border. A church-sponsored application to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is due in early August.

According to information provided by the mayor’s office, government specifications for a single, 1,000-bed facility require at least 90,000 square feet of unoccupied space that has state and local zoning approval for habitation. Such a facility would also need sufficient heating, ventilation and potable water. The city’s preference, however, is to spread beds across multiple sites for young immigrants.

“As we’ve learned more about this, I think in our view it makes more sense to have multiple facilities so that you have smaller groups of children who receive more attention,” Negron said, adding that management challenges could occur if too many children were placed at one large site.

“But ultimately, the federal government is going to be the entity that funds and manages the site. So it’s an ongoing conversation.”

The federal government would look to secure a lease for at least one year, the mayor’s office said. Once the shelter locations are selected, Emanuel’s office said the government would try to rehabilitate them in time to receive new immigrants by the end of the year.

The administration’s current focus is on sites that are already equipped for residential use. For example, Negron said, some existing shelters were once used as hotels, dormitories or convents. Ideally, selected sites would be multilevel buildings with amenities such as kitchens and nearby recreational facilities.

“So we think that it’d be better to find locations that are already residential or have been residential in the past and wouldn’t need a tremendous amount of work in order to get them ready … and also not be as conspicuous,” Negron said. “Because ultimately we want to make sure that the children are secure; the more visible the site, the more risk there could be extra security risk to the children.”

Gutiérrez: ‘I Think We Can Get 3 or 4, Maybe Even 5 Million People’ Amnesty via Executive Action

By Andrew Johnson
July 25, 2014 11:57 AM

Days after telling La Raza convention attendees that he is confident President Obama will use executive action to give legal status to millions of immigrants in the United States illegally, Representative Luis Gutiérrez (D., Ill.) predicted that the administration could legalize as many as 5 million people.

Appearing on Morning Joe on Friday, Gutiérrez said he will meet with White House officials later in the day “to negotiate additional terms and avenues the president can use” through executive action.

“I think we can get 3 or 4, maybe even 5 million people,” he said.

Chicago gun violence may cost ‘Rahmbo’ his job



A particularly violent July in Chicago – following years of staggeringly-high numbers of homicides in the city – has drawn attention to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election campaign, raising questions about his chances of surviving a challenge in 2015.

Polls out this month show “Rahmbo,” the famously audacious former congressman and chief of staff for President Obama, significantly lagging behind potential challengers to his seat in November 2015.

The poll showing the worst deficit for Emanuel, where he trailed Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis by 9 points – was released shortly after a particularly gruesome Fourth of July weekend, when more than 80 people were reportedly shot, 16 of them fatally.

Around 76 people were shot in the following two weekends, with eight of those victims dying, including 11-year-old Shamiya Adams, who was killed by a stray bullet on July 18 while making s’mores at a friend’s slumber party. Police say the bullet that hit Adams was errantly fired by a teenager looking to avenge a friend’s beating in a fistfight.

Before the bloody July, Emanuel’s office maintained that overall violent crime in the city is down after a nationwide high of more than 500 homicides in 2012 and 415 in 2013. And though the rates of homicide and violent crime are down from last year, the number of shootings in the city has increased.

“The buck stops with him because he’s the mayor,” said Jackson Potter, staff coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union, according to The Huffington Post. “He’s done a poor job and not reduced violence in a way that will make our neighborhoods safer in any credible fashion. We’ve had leadership by press release instead of substantive ideas that address the heartbreaking violence that permeates the streets in the city.”

Reuters / Chris HelgrenReuters / Chris Helgren

A rash of public-school closings on the city’s south and west sides – areas with the most poverty and violent crime in Chicago – have not endeared Emanuel to the majority black and Latino communities most affected by the shutdowns.

Lewis, who has said she is “seriously considering” a run for mayor, organized a massive teacher strike in 2012 as a result of the mass school closings. Her relationship with Emanuel is publicly bitter, as she has labeled him the “murder mayor” while it was reported that Emanuel blew up at her – yelling “F*ck you, Lewis!” – during a private meeting in 2011.

Overall, the Emanuel administration has “the general problem of the perceived arrogance and unwillingness to have citizens involved in making decisions about the city,” said Dick Simpson, a University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor and former city alderman.

The Chicago Sun-Times poll that showed Lewis leading Emanuel in a potential race also had another potential challenger, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, leading him by 24 points. The poll results showed Emanuel losing the backing of the city’s black population, which supported Lewis and Preckwinkle over the mayor by about 18 and 30 percentage points, respectively.

Preckwinkle, who has not ruled out a mayoral run as of yet, led Emanuel by eight points in a poll conducted this month by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. Lewis was not included in the Anzalone survey.

The mayor’s office called the Sun-Times poll results “laughable” at the time, but experts believe he should heed the warnings.

“The polls show Rahm is not invincible,” Simpson said, adding that voters aren’t likely to forget the violent summer of 2014 even as crime will inevitably dip over the winter, when the mayoral election will occur in February of next year.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis speaks to demonstrators protesting school closings on March 27, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott Olson)Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis speaks to demonstrators protesting school closings on March 27, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott Olson)

Emanuel has taken some steps to address the ongoing violence. On Monday, he hosted a private summit with community leaders and law enforcement to discuss steps that can be taken to make the city safer. He also recently announced that federal funding to the tune of $10 million will be provided for two youth initiatives including a school dropout and violence-prevention program.

Adam Collins, spokesman for the mayor, told Huffington Post that “there’s still too much gun violence and much more work remains for everyone involved,” yet progress has been made through, for example, partnerships with local leaders and ministers in crime-ridden neighborhoods.

“Mayor Emanuel has said there will be a time for politics, but what’s important today is continuing to make progress so every child has the opportunity for a bright future and everyone in every neighborhood can enjoy the same sense of safety,” Collins said in the statement.

But Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor at New Beginnings Church in the Woodlawn area, agreed that violence had to be a major issue in the campaign, and that if Emanuel wants to be more serious about curbing the danger many citizens face everyday, he must take into account the advice of those in affected communities.

“I think if it’s not birthed in the mayor’s office or City Hall, they don’t take it into consideration,” Brooks told Huffington Post. “What has to happen is for them to go outside of their office and consider other possibilities and solutions before anything else can be done.”

“If not, we’re going to continue to see what we see every day: More violence,” he added.



Buried in a Wall Street Journal article from about a week ago was a startling piece of information



Buried in a Wall Street Journal article from about a week ago was a startling piece of information. According to a Wal-Mart executive, Wal-Mart “participated in an exercise to prepare for an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line” earlier this summer. And officials at the U.S. Geological Survey have just released a report which indicates that they believe that the New Madrid fault zone has the “potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought“. So should we be concerned? Do they know something that we don’t? The USGS also says that the frequency of earthquakes in the central and eastern portions of the United States has quintupled over the past 30 years, and that significant earthquakes have started popping up in areas of the country that were once extremely quiet. Along with the new report, the USGS released the following map…

Most Americans don’t realize this, but the most powerful earthquakes in U.S. history did not happen in California. Rather, they actually occurred along the New Madrid Fault zone in 1811 and 1812. Documents from that time indicate that those earthquakes were so powerful that they were felt more than 1,000 miles away.

If you are not familiar with it, the New Madrid fault zone covers parts of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. If an earthquake similar to the quakes of 1811 and 1812 were to happen today, it would destroy structures all the way up to the Great Lakes and all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

That is why it is so alarming that Wal-Mart is actively preparing for a major earthquake along the New Madrid Fault. The following is from the Wall Street Journal article that I mentioned above…

Walmart Stores Inc., with its huge network of stores and facilities, has also taken note. “We are seeing increased earthquake activity in the central U.S. That is an area we are focusing on even more,” said Mark Cooper, senior director of emergency management at Walmart, in an interview. He explained that Walmart takes an “all-hazard” approach to emergency preparedness, but focuses on specific risks in areas of the country where those risks are particularly relevant, such as hurricanes in Louisiana. “A few weeks ago, we participated in an exercise to prepare for an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line,” he said.
And that Wal-Mart executive is absolutely correct – earthquake activity in the central part of the country is increasing. In fact, as I mentioned above, it has quintupled over the past 30 years…

According to the USGS, the frequency of earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. has quintupled, to an average of 100 a year during the 2011-2013 period, up from only 20 per year during the 30-year period to 2000.

Most of these quakes were minor, but research published by the USGS earlier this year demonstrated that a relatively minor magnitude 5.0 quake caused by wastewater injection after conventional oil drilling triggered a much bigger, 5.7 magnitude quake in Prague, Okla.

“We know the hazard has increased for small and moderate size earthquakes. We don’t know as well how much the hazard has increased for large earthquakes. Our suspicion is it has but we are working on understanding this,” said William Ellsworth, a scientist with the USGS.
The USGS has also specifically identified the New Madrid fault zone as an area to watch…

The midwest region is preparing for earthquakes that are bigger and more powerful than ever believed imaginable.

The U.S. Geological Survey updated their seismic hazards map last week, and in it, Kentucky is listed as one of 16 states at highest risk of earthquakes.

USGS says the New Madrid Fault, which runs through a number of midwestern states, has been identified as an area that has potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought.
Hopefully it won’t happen any time soon, but a massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault has the potential to be extraordinarily destructive. One New Madrid earthquake in 1812 was so powerful that it rang church bells up in Boston and toppled chimneys up in Canada…

Accounts of the 1812 quake vary since there were no measuring instruments at the time, but most geologists say evidence shows it was at least a magnitude 8 earthquake, and possibly a 9 or higher.

The shaking was so intense that church bells started ringing as far away as Boston and New York.

Chimneys toppled from the Deep South to Canada, and President James Madison was awoken by the violent shaking as he slept in the White House.

Eyewitnesses said it even caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards for a time.
At that time, the New Madrid region was sparsely populated.

But today, tens of millions of people live there, and most buildings have not been built to withstand massive earthquakes.

According to ABC News, a study by the Mid-America Earthquake Center discovered that even a magnitude 7.7 earthquake would cause incredible amounts of damage. The study concluded that “nearly 750,000 buildings would be damaged, 3,000 bridges would potentially collapse, 400,000 breaks and leaks to local pipelines and $300 billion in direct damage and $600 billion in indirect losses would occur.”

So what would a magnitude 8 or a magnitude 9 earthquake look like?

And most people don’t realize that there are 15 nuclear reactors along the New Madrid fault zone. In the event of a major earthquake, we could have multiple “Fukushimas” all going on at the same time.

Let us hope that it is a very long time before a disaster such as this strikes.

But as I mentioned above, earthquake activity in the central part of the country has increased dramatically in recent years.

And Wal-Mart is so concerned that it actually participated “in an exercise to prepare for an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line” just a few weeks ago.

So let us hope for the best, but let us also not be blind to the warnings signs all around us.

40 shot, 4 dead from gun violence in Chicago over weekend


A spate of gun violence in Chicago over the weekend left at least 40 people shot and four dead, including an 11-year-old girl struck in the head by a stray bullet during a slumber party.

The weekend shootings occurred between 18:00 CDT Friday and early Monday, according to NBC Chicago. As of Sunday, the Chicago Police Department had not released an official tally of the violence.

Friday night on the city’s west side, 11-year-old Shamiya Adams was at a friend’s house for a sleepover when a stray bullet ripped through a first-floor window, striking Adams in the head, said Chicago Police Officer Jose Estrada.

Family members said the group of young girls were gathered around a pretend “campfire” preparing s’mores when the shooting happened, NBC Chicago reported. Adams died the next day at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Investigators believe the bullet came from a vacant lot across the street in an area thick with gang violence.

“I can’t get her out of my head,” said ShaRonda Jones, 11, who attended the sleepover with Adams. “Everytime I try to go to sleep she just pops up in my head.”

The latest round of violence comes not long after shootings during the Fourth of July weekend left 17 dead and as many as 60 wounded, including five people shot by police. At the time, Chicago officials claimed shooting deaths were down for the year.

There have been 1,254 shooting victims in the city as of July 14, according to the Chicago Tribune. There were 2,185 shooting victims in Chicago during the entirety of 2013.

Violence in Chicago hit a peak in 2012, when over 500 homicides were recorded, most in the nation for that year. Though the number of homicides fell to 415 in 2013, the total was enough for the city to maintain its spot as the murder capital of the US.

Luis Gutierrez to La Raza: Obama Assured Steps to ‘Stop the Deportation of Our People’


On Saturday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was a “down payment” to the Hispanic community before more grants of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Speaking at the National Council of La Raza conference in Los Angeles, Gutierrez said that Obama assured him during a White House meeting with Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus last week that he would be as “generous and broad” as he can to “stop the deportation of our people each and every day.”
“You gave us a down payment when you freed 600,000 DREAMers from deportation,” Gutierrez said. “Now it is time for the president in the United States… [to] free the Mom and Dads of the DREAMers. And to go further. Be broad and expansive and generous.”
Gutierrez said giving amnesty to 100,000 illegal immigrants was “not expansive” enough, and he called on Obama to give amnesty to “millions of our undocumented,” including the parents of illegal immigrant children.
As Gutierrez noted, nearly 600,000 DREAMers who met various conditions got temporary work permits and amnesty under DACA, which Obama enacted via executive fiat in 2012. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has said no future grants of temporary amnesty should be awarded as a condition for any border bill. There have been nearly 60,000 illegal immigrant children who have unlawfully entered the country since October of last year. And the number of illegal immigrant children from Central America spiked after Obama enacted DACA even though murder rates in Central American nations declined during the period.
Gutierrez said there are 5 million children in the country who are worried that one of their parents will be deported. He said if these illegal immigrant parents are working and are part of their communities, then they should be allowed to stay. He called for visas to be issued to illegal immigrants in the United States and again pressed Obama to “expand” his grants of amnesty.
After House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) informed Obama that Congress would not vote on amnesty legislation, Obama said he would executive actions to change as many of the country’s immigration laws as he can. When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was ousted for his support for amnesty legislation in a June primary, Republicans in Congress decided not to move forward on amnesty legislation they were ready to push. Gutierrez thanked Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) for working with him to try to get comprehensive amnesty legislation done.

Chicago Faces $67 Million Shortfall After Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion Busts Budget


Sarah Hurtubise

Chicago’s public health system is facing a massive $67 million shortfall after an early adoption of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion cost much more than expected, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.

Cook County, which encompasses Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, made a deal with the Obama administration to get an early start on the health care law’s Medicaid expansion in 2012.

But the resulting program, CountyCare, is costing millions more than original projections. The prototype Medicaid expansion lost Cook County $21 million in the first six months of operation — that’s expected to balloon to $63.5 million by November 30, according to the Chicago Tribune.

CountyCare was expected to pad the city’s coffers. In 2013, state officials projected that the new system would bring in at least $28 million by November, Crain’s reported. The cost of caring for the influx of Medicaid patients has busted projections partially because the newly insured are seeking pricier medical care than expected.

While the program has already failed to meet budget projections this year, the problem is likely to get worse in 2015. Medicaid expansion patients are required to use only CountyCare medical facilities for the first year — meaning the county will end up reimbursing itself for much of its spending on CountyCare coverage.

In January, however, CountyCare patients will be allowed to access other health plans and medical providers. That could leave the expanded Medicaid program to cover patients with the most expensive health problems, along with the least ability to pay. If the public health system loses more inexpensive patients next year, the budget crunch will get even worse.

Dr. John Jay Shannon, promoted to the top position at the Cook County Health and Hospitals System just weeks ago, is charged with finding $67 million in savings from the program by November. If he’s unable to, Cook County taxpayers will have to pony up to pay for the program.

Shannon told Crain’s that the county had “unrealistic expectations” that CountyCare would be “some kind of profit center” for the public health system. But Cook County officials were far from alone in thinking the federal funding would boost.

Advocates of the Medicaid expansion nationwide regularly castigate states that have decided against expanding the welfare program. The White House recently released a report attempting to shame states for refusing $88 billion in “free” federal taxpayer funding to expand Medicaid — but Cook County’s experience suggests states may not be able to count on the programs remaining free. (RELATED: White House: Red States Have Saved Federal Taxpayers $88 Billion By Rejecting Medicaid Expansion)

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Overkill? Huge show of force all to catch one bad guy with a laptop


The Department of Homeland Security’s militarized invasion of a small town in Illinois was not in response to a gang of dangerous drug dealers or an armed assailant, but in order to bust a single man accused of downloading indecent images to his home computer.

As we reported last week, federal agents swarmed the town of Livingston, IL., population 850, in an unannounced show of force that culminated in a local school field being used as a staging ground for a phalanx of heavy duty equipment and weaponry.

The school superintendent was given no notice of the feds’ decision to use school land and local residents told news channel KTVI that the sudden sight of armored SWAT vehicles made them nervous.

With authorities initially refusing to explain the reason behind the show of force, it later emerged that a raid had been carried out on a house three miles away in order to apprehend Robert E. Godsey, who is being charged with, “receipt, possession and distribution of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.”

While nobody is defending Godsey – an obviously sick individual who should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law – questions will undoubtedly swirl as to why the federal government spent so many resources on assembling a small army in order to apprehend one individual who didn’t have a history of violence.

Was one armed SWAT team not enough to bust Godsey? Amidst a national debate over the DHS’ bloated budget, why were two helicopters, including a Black Hawk, two armored vehicles, a DHS unified command post truck and Border Patrol agents required to conduct an operation to catch one bad guy?

When asked about why such a massive display of force was necessary, Jim Porter, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois, offered a glib justification, stating, “It’s better to be over-prepared.”

That response will do little to dampen concerns that the huge show of force was another indication of how the federal government is militarizing its law enforcement response in order to acclimate Americans to viewing martial law-style tactics as part of the new normal.

A recent ACLU investigation into the issue of increasingly militarized domestic law enforcement operations decried the fact that American neighborhoods are turning into warzones as SWAT tactics become more brutal, causing an increase in deaths, injuries and property damage.