Alligator in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon caught overnight

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

 

Alligator in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon caught overnight

Alligator in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon caught overnight
Professional alligator trapper Frank Robb of Florida on July 16, 2019, displays the alligator that eluded capture for a week in the Humboldt Park Lagoon. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
The alligator that eluded authorities for a week in the Humboldt Park Lagoon, exhausted after its week of celebrity, was caught overnight and made an appearance at a news conference Tuesday morning near the lagoon.

The male, 5-foot-3 alligator, weighing about 30 or 40 pounds, was captured around 1:30 a.m. at the northwest side of the lagoon, officials said. Alligator trapper Frank Robb, who was brought in over the weekend to replace a volunteer trapper, was walking along the shoreline when he heard the alligator and saw it in lily pads, its eyes shining.

When Robb spotted the alligator, the animal dipped down in the water. Robb was able to catch the alligator with one cast of hooks attached to a fishing rod.

He then reeled the alligator in, grabbed him and tied him up, he said.

“The second I put my hands on him, the hook fell out,” Robb said. The animal “put up a little fight” but was unharmed, he added, joking that when he’s asked how he catches alligators, he says “just barely.”

Robb said that he had little sleep overnight, and the alligator “was exhausted, too, I’m sure.”

The alligator that eluded capture for a week in the Humboldt Park Lagoon is displayed near the park's boathouse in Chicago on July 16, 2019.
The alligator that eluded capture for a week in the Humboldt Park Lagoon is displayed near the park’s boathouse in Chicago on July 16, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

At the news conference, the alligator was in a dark-colored box with a yellow lid until Robb took it out and showed it to members of the news media. The animal didn’t make any noises when shown off.

Kelley Gandurski, director of Chicago Animal Care and Control, said the alligator was in good health.

“Wherever he came from or however he got here, he’s a very healthy animal,” Robb said.

During the news conference, a large group of residents joined the flock of media present, hoping to see the creature.

Grant Farmer, of the Humboldt Park neighborhood, stood nearby, extending his arms over the television cameras to snap a picture of the alligator with his smartphone.

“I would walk around previously this week hoping to get a glimpse of him, but I wasn’t able to see him,” he said.

The capture was the culmination of a weeklong quest to capture the exotic animal, presumed to be a pet that someone had abandoned in the historic West Side lagoon. Officials started searching for it midday July 9 after people began sharing photos of it on social media and someone called the city about the animal.

“The Humboldt Park alligator has captured the imaginations of the entire city of Chicago and beyond and has united residents who have been following this story for the last week,” Chicago Animal Care and Control said in a release earlier Tuesday.

Video: Officials share details of alligator capture

Video: Alligator makes public debut

Robb said that even before he got the call to come to Chicago, he had been among those following the news about the alligator.

“Everybody’s got different blessings, this is mine,” Robb said. “This is what I’ve spent every day of my life doing for the last 24 years.”

Officials said they haven’t yet figured out where the alligator will go now that it’s been captured.

On Sunday, animal control officials closed the eastern half of the park and hired Robb, an alligator expert from Florida, as the search entered its second week. The closures, which included streets near the park, were done on Robb’s advice to make the area around the lagoon quiet and free from distractions, according to animal control.

Robb, who owns Crocodilian Specialist Services in Florida, “immediately began assessing the park and lagoon,” according to animal control officials.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Chicago police asked people to stay away from the lagoon and keep noise to a minimum.

With the capture, joggers and dog walkers returned Tuesday morning to Humboldt Park despite a light rain.

Laura Shields, who was walking her 8-year-old Australian shepherd mix, said she was disappointed when she realized the park was closed Monday. “It was definitely a bummer,” she said. “I come to the park two or three times day.”

“Alligator Bob,” a volunteer with the Chicago Herpetological Society, initially led efforts to capture the alligator.

Check back for updates.

5 U.S. Cities with Multiple Airports

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Cities with Multiple Airports (and Which Are the Best to Fly Into)

If you’ve ever planned a trip to a major city, you know that often there’s more than one airport you can choose (or if you’re going to somewhere remote, there might not even be any to choose from). And while this means you have more options, it can make planning your flight more difficult. Which airport should you pick? In truth, there’s no easy answer as it’s going to depend on your route, budget, and ability to access an airport. So check out this guide for five cities served by multiple airports.

New York City

Credit: helivideo / iStock

Airports: EWR, HPN, ISP, JFK, LGA

Of course, the city that never sleeps is first. There are only two airports that are within New York City limits. But three airports are directly associated with the Big Apple, and the remaining two are known only to locals as a smart alternative—depending on your travel routes. Of the three major airports, John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and LaGuardia International (LGA) are based in the extreme outskirts of Queens while Newark Liberty International (EWR) is located in New Jersey, 30 minutes outside of the city. But Westchester County Airport (HPN) and Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP) are two popular regional alternatives that also provide domestic service for select airlines—if you can figure out how to get there.

JFK and EWR are the easiest to reach via mass transit thanks to their air trains that connect directly to the NYC MTA Subway and New Jersey Transit trains that terminate at New York Pennsylvania Station respectively. If you don’t mind buses, the NYC MTA M60 bus will drop you off at LGA. But flight delays and long waits on the tarmac for your flight to take off might make you rethink this airport. To make it easy on yourself, select “NYC” as the airport code to get as many options as possible in your search results.

Chicago

Credit: jmsilva / iStock

Airports: MDW, ORD

Chicago is serviced by two primary airports, Chicago Midway International (MDW) and O’Hare International (ORD). Of the two, O’Hare is far larger and manages more traffic—serving as a popular layover option for numerous domestic airlines like American and United. Typically, O’Hare is preferred for international flights while Midway is best known as a more convenient option for domestic flights thanks to shorter security lines.

Like many major cities, you can rely on mass transit to get to and from O’Hare. Both airports offer direct access to CTA rail lines for 24-hour service to Chicago and surrounding suburbs. If your trip is for farther beyond the Chicago city limits, the Metra is the commuter rail option for you from O’Hare.

Miami

Credit: lavendertime / iStock

Airports: FLL, MIA, PBI

Bienvenido a Miami! If your travels are taking you to one of the sexiest cities in the U.S., you have three airport options: Miami International (MIA), Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International (FLL), and West Palm Beach International (PBI). Unlike a lot of other cities, Miami’s busiest airport (MIA) is a short drive from the heart of the city. Within less than 20 minutes you can be on South Beach sunning yourself and enjoying the weather.

MIA is the nation’s third busiest airport, which means that while you’ll have the greatest number of flight options, you can also experience delays both on the runway and at the security checkpoint. FLL and PBI offer a more laid-back experience but fewer flight options depending on your airline. However, PBI is the only airport that’s accessible by train—the Tri-Rail system. All other airports must be accessed by taxi or rideshare service.

San Francisco

Credit: Bill_Dally / iStock

Airports: OAK, SFO, SJC

San Francisco is another popular destination for tourists and business travelers. Most people are aware of only their largest airport, San Francisco International (SFO). However, locals know that there are two alternate options, Oakland International (OAK) and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International (SJC). While SFO offers the most flights and variety of carriers, it’s not uncommon to experience delays—especially through security. Still, direct access to the city via their transit train line, BART, makes SFO an attractive option.

But if you don’t like the crush of crowds, SJC and OAK can be prime alternatives. OAK is specifically ideal if you aren’t planning a standard trip to San Francisco. For travels through nearby cities or even Napa or Sonoma, OAK is perfect. But if you want to stay in San Francisco but just avoid the pain of SFO, SJC is a great alternative south of the city that’s also serviced by the Caltrain.

Los Angeles

Credit: MoJoStudio / iStock

Airports: LAX, SNA, BUR, LGB, ONT

Finally, we round out this list with the city of angels. Los Angeles is a popular vacation and business destination that’s serviced by five airports. Los Angeles International (LAX) and Ontario International (ONT) are ideal for international travelers, with ONT offering less stress for immigration and from security lines.

If your plans don’t require international travel, skip the frustration of LAX and opt for the domestic-only airports: John Wayne (SNA), Bob Hope/Hollywood Burbank (BUR), or Long Beach (LGB). But be aware, LGB offers flights through only four carriers. Burbank (BUR) is the only L.A. area airport with direct rail access; all others can be accessed via taxi, rideshare or shuttle service. However, we’re fans of LAX because of the In-n-Out across the street where you can order their famed burgers off the secret menu, sit outside, and watch the planes land!

Singer R Kelly has been arrested in Chicago on Federal Sex Trafficking Charges

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Singer R. Kelly has been arrested in Chicago on federal sex crime charges according to two law enforcement officials.

The 52-year-old was arrested by Homeland Security Investigation agents and NYPD Public Safety Task Force Thursday night on sex trafficking charges, officials tell News 4, and it is expected he will be brought to New York.

The 13-count indictment includes charges of child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice, U.S. attorney spokesman Joseph Fitzpatrick tells The Associated Press. Further details on the case are expected to be announced Friday out of the Eastern District of New York.

Spokespeople from the NYPD and Homeland Security Investigations declined to comment on the arrest. Calls to the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn were not immediately returned.

R. Kelly Yells In Explosive Interview: 5 Biggest Bombshells

[NATL] R. Kelly Yells In Explosive Interview: 5 Biggest Bombshells

R. Kelly gave his first explosive and emotional interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning” since sexual abuse charges landed the singer in jail last month.

(Published Wednesday, March 6, 2019)

Attempts to contact a spokesperson and legal team for R. Kelly were not immediately successful. Drea Kelly, the singer’s ex-wife, had no comment following the arrest, her rep said.

The R&B star, whose real name is Robert Kelly, has been the subject of different sexual abuse allegations for nearly two decades, with some of the alleged acts dating back to 1998.

Back in February, Kelly was charged with aggravated sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. He pleaded not guilty and was released from Chicago’s Cook County Jail after posting bail.

A jury in 2008 acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges stemming from a video showing him having sex with a girl as young as 13, prosecutors claimed at the time. Kelly faced 15 years in prison for that charge, but the young woman in that claim denied it was her and did not testify.

5 Biggest Chinatowns in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Biggest Chinatowns in the U.S.

If you don’t live near a big city, you might be unfamiliar with the term “Chinatown” and its significance in American history.

The Oxford Dictionary defines a Chinatown as: “A district of a large non-Chinese town or port in which the population is predominantly of Chinese origin.” So-called Chinatowns exist all around the world, though there are particularly large concentrations in North America, Europe, and Australia.

While Chinatowns had existed in other countries for hundreds of years before making their way to the U.S., the United States features a particularly high number of Chinatowns relative to its size. Here are a few of the biggest Chinatowns you’ll find in the states.

5. Honolulu, Hawaii

Credit: Pgiam / iStock

While the exact boundary (and thus, the exact population) of the Honolulu Chinatown isn’t precisely known, it deserves mention on this list for its historical role in Chinese-American culture.

One of the earlier Chinatown settlements, Chinese immigrants came to Hawaii to work the island’s rich sugar plantations. Many of these laborers stayed in the area to work as merchants, and eventually, the early boundaries of Hawaii’s first Chinatown began to form. Of course, the area wasn’t without hardship—the Honolulu Chinatown was rocked by a great fire in 1886, an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1899, and another huge blaze in 1900. But the area endured, and it stands today as the home of the largest Chinese population in Hawaii.

4. Seattle, Washington

Credit: 400tmax / iStock

Further north than most other U.S. Chinatowns, the Seattle Chinatown — more officially known as the Chinatown-International District of Seattle — is the biggest Chinese enclave in the American northwest. Home to a diverse range of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Vietnamese populations, the area acts as a hub of Asian culture in the region and brings in substantial tourism throughout the year.

3. Chicago, Illinois

Credit: stevegeer / iStock

The second-oldest in the United States, the Chinatown neighborhood in south Chicago is certainly worth visiting. The bulk of the Chicago Chinatown population came from immigrants fleeing persecution on the West Coast; the establishment of the San Francisco Chinatown (as detailed below) made Chinese culture a staple in America, but the immigrants there faced extensive prejudice from U.S. nationals.

In an ironic twist, U.S. citizens viewed Chinese influence as a detriment to American culture, despite the fact that American culture (not even 100 years old at that point) had its foundation in African slave labor and Native American blood. Regardless, immigrants found some relief in their newly-formed Chinatown, where it stands today as one of the most populous Chinese enclaves in the country.

2. San Francisco, California

Credit: JamesYetMingAu-Photography / iStock

The San Francisco Chinatown is possibly the largest, and certainly the oldest, Chinese enclave in America. Its origins date back to the 1850s, when large influxes of Chinese immigrants made their way to the West Coast. These immigrants typically worked hard-labor jobs, such as mining or railroad construction, and struggled to integrate into American culture. As their populations grew, so too did their enterprise, with Chinese-owned shops, restaurants, and apartments filling the town. This gentrification led to the birth of the United States’ first Chinatown, a historic landmark that exists to this day.

1. Manhattan, New York

Credit: f11photo / iStock

The Manhattan Chinatown is one of the biggest in the world, with the New York City area featuring the biggest Chinese population outside of Asia. Indeed, there are so many Chinese people there that one Chinatown can’t hold everyone; to date, there are nine different Chinatown neighborhoods in New York City alone.

This particular Chinatown is considered a bastion of Chinese culture, both in the U.S. and abroad. The region is home to the Museum of Chinese in America and is a regular destination for new Chinese immigrants coming to the country. However, in true Manhattan fashion, rent prices are skyrocketing in the area, forcing out many of the poorer populations in favor of wealthier patrons who can afford the exorbitant prices.

Going Down to Chinatown

Credit: MongkolChuewong / iStock

This list is just a small sampling of the diverse Chinatowns that exist in America. The enclaves have long been thought of as cultural oddities to natives, but to Chinese immigrants, they’re welcome reminders of the comfort and culture they left behind. And while most Chinatowns these days have experienced surges in diversity compared to what they once had, there’s no taking away from the cultural impact they’ve had on our history.

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Homeless Populations Are Surging in Los Angeles. Here’s Why.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

CALIFORNIA TODAY

Homeless Populations Are Surging in Los Angeles. Here’s Why.

Good morning.

(Here’s the sign-up, if you don’t already get California Today by email.)

The grim stats from around California have piled up in recent weeks:

In Alameda County, the number of homeless residents jumped 43 percent over the past two years. In Orange County, that number was 42 percent. Kern County volunteers surveying the region’s homeless population found a 50 percent increase over 2018. San Francisco notched a 17 percent increase since 2017.

And on Tuesday, Los Angeles officials released the results of their most recent count: Homelessness was up by 12 percent over last year in the county and up 16 percent in the City of Los Angeles.

That puts L.A. County’s homeless population at 58,936 and the city’s at 36,300.

And yet, communities around the state have been funneling more money into services for the homeless, like L.A.’s Measure H sales tax, which is adding about $355 million each year to the arsenal.

[Read about why some are rethinking homelessness in the Bay Area as a regional issue.]

So why are more people living in squalid conditions on the streets or in cars? Advocates for the homeless say it’s upsetting, but no surprise.

“Our housing crisis is our homeless crisis,” Elise Buik, president and chief executive of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, told me. “And we’ve got to get people to understand that.”

She said that people struggling with mental illness or substance abuse issues and who are living in encampments are often the most visible, but it is a myth that people experiencing homelessness decline help or prefer to live outdoors — one that contributes to misconceptions about the effectiveness of often costly services.

Peter Lynn, executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, emphasized that the Measure H money has significantly increased the number of people the region’s service providers have been able to help.

According to the authority’s data, outreach workers engaged with 34,110 people over the year, which was triple the number before Measure H.

And almost 1,400 permanent supportive housing units built with money from Measure HHH, a $1.2 billion bond, are set to open in the 2019-20 fiscal year.

“I do feel like the first honest year to assess will be to freeze frame from now to next year,” Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles told me late last week.

Ultimately, though, he said housing affordability was the biggest factor driving homelessness.

An Angeleno would need to earn $47.52 an hour just to afford the median monthly rent, according to L.A.H.S.A. figures.

[Read more about why the state has a housing crisis.]

Although there’s broad acknowledgment — from Gov. Gavin Newsom on down — that part of the solution is millions more homes, legislative fixes that would spur housing construction have proven knotty, to say the least.

Senate Bill 50, which was effectively killed for the year, would have allowed for denser development in many areas, including some neighborhoods of single-family homes.

Mr. Garcetti said that bill was “definitely a bad stick for us.”

The bill would threaten neighborhood character, he said. And L.A., he noted, builds more than its proportional share of housing compared with the rest of the county.

Though Mr. Garcetti says he’s in favor of measures that would force other cities that aren’t allowing new construction to add to their housing supplies, he’s been focused on legislation that would slow skyrocketing rents.

(oped: By oldpoet56)( To me, a person who has traveled every city in this Nation above 100,000 population many times in my life the reason for homelessness in these cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco is obvious. The main reason is: people have to live somewhere even if it is in a cardboard box or under a bridge. Housing cost are way to high for a huge amount of the population. Jobs don’t pay enough for people to afford a rent payment. Vehicle costs are so high that people making anywhere near the minimum wages can not afford a ride to a job or job interviews. There are a lot of ‘working poor’ who are simply trying not to starve. If the Federal and State governments would address these issues then a huge percent of the homeless people would not be homeless.)

“This is the No. 1 issue in every city in California,” he said.

Lori Lightfoot to be inaugurated as Chicago’s first black lesbian mayor

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Lori Lightfoot to be inaugurated as Chicago’s first black lesbian mayor

Lightfoot to Chicago: You did more than make history 02:06

(CNN) Monday will mark a historic day in Chicago as the city inaugurates its first African American lesbian mayor.

Lori Lightfoot, a former assistant US attorney, will be sworn in at 10:30 a.m. at Wintrust Arena in the city’s Near South Side community, according to a release from Lightfoot’s office. The event will include performances by Miguel Cervantes of Chicago’s “Hamilton” and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, among others.
Chicago Mayor-elect Lightfoot on challenges facing city

Chicago Mayor-elect Lightfoot on challenges facing city 00:55
“I look forward to joining Chicagoans on Inauguration Day to celebrate the start of a new day for our incredible city,” Mayor-elect Lightfoot said in a statement. “We’re building a Chicago that celebrates our differences, inspires us all to be better, and embraces new ideas. There is no limit to what we can do when we all work together.”
Lightfoot, 56, defeated Toni Preckwinkle, a political insider who heads the Cook County Board and chairs the Cook County Democratic Party, in a runoff election in April. Preckwinkle is also an African American woman.
“I think the most historic thing was beating the old, entrenched Chicago machine and getting such a resounding mandate for change,” Lightfoot said the morning after she won.
Both Lightfoot and Preckwinkle were the final contenders in a crowded field of 14 candidates vying to be mayor of the country’s third-largest city.

Lightfoot promised to tackle the city’s issues

Lightfoot will take office amid efforts to address violent crime in the city and improve police-community relations.
Violent crime totals in Chicago have made headlines in recent years. In 2016, the city reported its highest number of homicides in two decades: 762. But killings have dropped since then: 650 in 2017 and 550 in 2018, police said.
The Chicago Police Department has credited the drop in violence partly to hiring more officers and stronger community policing. The department added 1,161 officers in two years, exceeding a 2016 pledge made by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to add 970.
Still, a series of high-profile cases of have strained police-community relations. In the wake of the Laquan McDonald scandal — in which a white police officer, Jason Van Dyke, shot a black teenager 16 times as he walked away from police — Lightfoot was appointed by Emanuel to head the newly created police accountability task force.
Many of the panel’s recommendations were similar to the findings in the US Justice Department report that found serious problems with the police department’s handling of racism within its ranks. Under Lightfoot, the city replaced its widely criticized police oversight agency with a civilian body designed to have much more oversight over officers and their supervisors.
She made holding police officers accountable for their actions a bedrock of her campaign.
Lightfoot’s platform also looked at investing in neighborhood schools, according to her website. She promised to create an elected and representative school board so parents and the community can have a voice in how the school system operates.
Lightfoot also promised to expand affordable housing options and support small businesses.

Lightfoot joins a short list of black women mayors

Lightfoot’s election marks her first time in political office.
She was born and raised in Ohio and comes from modest beginnings. Her mother worked as a health care aide. Her father worked in a factory and as a janitor.
Lightfoot went to college at the University of Michigan. After two years as a legislative aide in Washington, she attended law school at the University of Chicago. She has lived in the city for all but one year since 1986.
She often brings up her own background while promising to improve the city’s school system and bridge the economic gap between city neighborhoods.
“I want to make sure that kids who look like me and are growing up in families like mine have the opportunity at their fingertips,” she said.
Lightfoot describes herself as “an out and proud black lesbian.” She and her spouse, Amy Eshleman, have a 10-year-old daughter.
Lightfoot joins a short list of black women mayors to lead a US city with a population of at least 100,000 people. Including her, there are only 13.

Several Hospitalized After Blast At Waukegan Illinois Silicon Plant

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK POST)

 

Several hospitalized after blast at Illinois silicon plant

A massive explosion in a silicon plant in northern Illinois sent at least four people to the hospital late Friday night.

The 9:30 p.m. blast at AB Specialty Silicones, located at an industrial park in Waukegan, also left an unknown number of employees unaccounted for, CNN reported.

Local police said an “active search and rescue” operation was underway, according to Chicago TV station WGN. The cause of the blast was under investigation.

Loud booms were heard and the ground shook in towns in the region, about 50 miles north of Chicago along Lake Michigan.

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Chicago’s Next Mayor Will Be A Black Woman

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

History To Be Made As Chicago Votes For Mayor

Chicago mayoral candidates Toni Preckwinkle (left) and Lori Lightfoot speak during a March 13 forum on crime and violence.

Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images

No matter who wins Tuesday’s election for mayor of Chicago, the United States’ third-largest city will be led by an African-American woman for the first time.

The historic race pits Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle against Lori Lightfoot, a lawyer and former head of a police oversight board who also would become the city’s first openly gay mayor.

The free-for-all campaign has represented a sharp contrast to almost every past election in a city that has been synonymous with Democratic machine politics and bossism for nearly a century.

In the first-round election in February, Lightfoot, 56, and Preckwinkle, 72, were the top two vote-getters among 14 candidates. Lightfoot led the crowded field with 17.5 percent of the vote, while Preckwinkle received about 16 percent, qualifying them for Tuesday’s runoff election.

The wide-open succession battle began with a surprise retirement announcement last year from two-term Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a prolific fundraiser and former White House chief of staff to then-President Obama. The famously combative and profane Emanuel had earlier said he planned to run for a third four-year term.

But Emanuel’s popularity suffered major blows as he grappled with the city’s deep financial crisis and the increasingly volatile relationship between police and the black community. Those tensions rose dramatically after the 2015 release of a videotape showing a white officer firing 16 shots into Laquan McDonald, killing the 17-year-old African-American.

Both Lightfoot and Preckwinkle have sought to brand themselves as much more progressive Democrats than Emanuel, a centrist who often feuded with public-employee labor groups, including the teachers’ union.

After recent polls gave Lightfoot a big lead, many Emanuel backers in the city’s business community gravitated toward her.

In her first campaign for public office, Lightfoot has argued that she’s the best candidate to “break from the status quo that has failed us” and deliver “equity, inclusion and fairness.”

“It’s unacceptable, the condition of our communities on the South and West sides,” she said during a candidate forum last week on WBEZ-Chicago Public Media, referring to predominantly black and disadvantaged areas of the city of 2.7 million people. “The only way we are going to carve a new path for the city, to take us in a direction that our communities don’t continue to be resource starved, is to vote for change.”

Lightfoot also appeared to benefit from the anti-incumbent, reformist mood of an electorate rocked by yet another City Hall corruption scandal.

In January, federal prosecutors alleged attempted extortionby veteran City Council member Edward Burke. And they accused Burke of shaking down a businessman to give a campaign contribution to Preckwinkle, who is also leader of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Preckwinkle and her backers countered that Lightfoot is not a true progressive or outsider, having worked under Emanuel and former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Preckwinkle also warned that Lightfoot’s thin political résumé shows she would be far too inexperienced for the daunting job.

“It’s easy to talk about change,” said Preckwinkle, who once served as a member of the City Council, representing the ward where Obama lived. “Change is not easy. It takes hard work. It takes experience. Being mayor is not an entry-level job.”

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Hindus, Jews celebrate joint festival of lights At Chicago Synagog

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Two holidays, one theme: Hindus, Jews celebrate joint festival of lights

Bringing together two diverse communities and highlighting strong Israel-India relations, over 400 people gather in Chicago to simultaneously honor Diwali and Hanukkah

  • Candle lighting with Rabbi Sidney Helbraun & Acharya Rohit Joshi at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Candle lighting with Rabbi Sidney Helbraun & Acharya Rohit Joshi at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • Learning how to do a Hindu dance at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Learning how to do a Hindu dance at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • Standup comedian Samson 'Mahatma Moses; Koletar performs at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Standup comedian Samson ‘Mahatma Moses; Koletar performs at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • Jewish dance lessons at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Jewish dance lessons at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • A Diwali diya and Hanukkah menorah shine side by side at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    A Diwali diya and Hanukkah menorah shine side by side at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

CHICAGO — A joint Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights drew over 400 people to a suburban Chicago synagogue on Sunday, as together they honored the similarly-themed holidays of Hanukkah and Diwali.

The evening, which featured speakers, candle lighting, food from both cultures, dance lessons, and the world’s only Indian-Jewish stand up comedian, was hosted by Temple Beth-El in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Illinois.

The Chicago event has inspired similar gatherings nationwide — from a December 8 celebration in San Francisco, to events being planned in New York, Atlanta and Florida. The Chicago organizers also look forward to organizing a collective celebration of Purim and Holi, the Hindu spring festival, in 2019.

“I think we connect over a shared sense of pain and overcoming adversities,” Sunil Krishnan told The Times of Israel as people mingled before the program. Krishnan, who is Hindu, made the nearly two-hour drive from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to attend the event.

“I don’t know much about the Hindu religion, but I’m fascinated by it,” said Margaret Geber, a Jewish woman who came with two friends. “I love the feeling of hope and the energy of the room as people are getting to know each other.”

The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

Highlights from Sunday’s program included speeches by human rights activist Dr. Richard Benkin; Indian Consul Head of Chancery D.B. Bhati; and Aviv Ezra, the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.

Bhati drew parallels between Diwali’s festival of lights and the lights of Hanukkah, while Ezra highlighted the 26 years of diplomacy between Israel and India. That relationship has “grown in even more profound ways” since India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited each other’s respective countries last year, Ezra said.

Candle lighting with Rabbi Sidney Helbraun & Acharya Rohit Joshi at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

The idea for the joint festival began five years ago when Peggy Shapiro, Midwest executive director of StandWithUs, invited leaders of the Indian community to her house for dinner to celebrate the 65th anniversaries of Indian and Israeli independence.

“The problem is, what food do you serve?” joked Shapiro.

“When we got together that night at my dining room table, we found such commonalities in our communities,” Shapiro said.

“I learned a bit more about India and the Jewish community there — India is one of the only places in the world that has never had anti-Semitism,” she said (presumably attributing the horrific 2008 attacks on the Mumbai Chabad House to Islamic terrorism, rather than specific hatred against Jews).

Snacks are served at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

Prasad Yalamanchi of the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation also spoke about India’s support for Israel and stressed the shared experiences between Hindus and Jews, including the staggering losses that both communities faced due to persecution.

“We need to get together, Hindus and Jews, to protect our heritage and civilization for future of generations,” he said to roaring applause.

Shapiro then introduced “someone that nobody has ever heard of, but appeals to everybody — the world’s only Indian-Jewish stand-up comedian, Samson Koletar, aka Mahatma Moses.”

Koletar poked fun at Jewish and Indian stereotypes to the delight of a mixed crowd that apparently had a common appreciation for self-deprecating humor. And like any good comedian, Koletar didn’t spare himself, laughing about people’s confused reactions to his mixed Indian-Jewish heritage.

Standup comedian Samson ‘Mahatma Moses; Koletar performs at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

Rounding out the speeches, Dr. Souptik Mukherjee — a researcher who has long been an advocate for Hindu-Jewish relations, and who has contributed to Israeli media — spoke about the 2,500 year history of Hindu-Jewish relationships.

“[Our] two communities today unite to celebrate values dear to us all, of coexistence, tolerance, gender equality, mutual respect and respect for each other’s culture and faith,” Mukherjee said.

The festival concluded with traditional Hanukkah and Diwali desserts, followed by dance lessons from each culture.

Dr. Souptik Mukherjee speaks at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

“It’s really wonderful to have this event in our synagogue, and see new faces in here,” noted Mandy Herlich, the director of lifelong learning at Temple Beth-El.

Chicago’s Festival of Lights was sponsored by the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, Param Shakti Peeth of America, Sewa Interational, Shir Hadash, StandwithUs, Temple Beth-El, TV Asia, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America.

READ MORE:

Media Tries To Eliminate Woman From Her Own Murder Story

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

The mother of Tamara O'Neal holds a picture of her family, Nov. 20. O'Neal was fatally shot by her former fiance in Chicago t

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA GETTY IMAGES
The mother of Tamara O’Neal holds a picture of her family, Nov. 20. O’Neal was fatally shot by her former fiance in Chicago the day before.

Dr. Tamara O’Neal had just finished up her emergency room shift at Mercy Hospital in Chicago on Nov. 19 when Juan Lopez, her ex-fiance, materialized in the parking lot. He knew where to find her. Earlier in the day, he rang the hospital trying to get her on the phone. She told the clerk who took the call to tell him she was busy.

As recently as September, O’Neal, 38, had planned to marry Lopez. But something caused her to change her mind, and a few weeks before the wedding, she broke off the engagement. On Monday the sight of him scared her enough to dial 911.

In the parking lot, he claimed to want his engagement ring back, but that was an excuse, another attempt to control her. He revealed his true intentions when he pulled out his gun and shot her six times. Afterward, he ran into the hospital and kept shooting, killing Dayna Less, a 24-year-old pharmacy resident, and Samuel Jimenez, 28, a rookie officer with the Chicago Police Department, before being killed by officer gunfire.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, when the facts were still being sorted, the media latched onto the policeman who was killed in the line of duty. His death ― understood as the most newsworthy component of the incident ― became the story. Headlines, captions and mobile alerts (including HuffPost’s), focused on him. In The New York Times, for example, O’Neal was not named until the fifth paragraph, as one of the “other victims,” and her relationship to the shooter wasn’t explained until later in the story.

Somehow, a mass shooting rooted in gendered violence was framed as a random act. Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a news conference said the mass shooting was “the consequence of evil.”

But the shooting was not random at all. It was the consequence of domestic violence. And by relegating O’Neal to a supporting part in the story, the media fundamentally misrepresented the nature of the attack. The massacre was a result of her ex-partner’s final attempt to control her.

“We are not connecting the dots correctly,” said Monica McLaughlin, the director of public policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

The erasure of O’Neal from the narrative obscures the motivation behind the attack, McLaughlin added, making it harder for the public to recognize the undercurrent of toxic masculinity in American gun violence.

Tamara O'Neal in September 2017. Although her killing was the consequence of domestic violence, many news outlets at fir

MONTE GERLACH PHOTOGRAPHY VIA AP
Tamara O’Neal in September 2017. Although her killing was the consequence of domestic violence, many news outlets at first minimized her in their reports about a mass shooting.

“Violence against women is a common denominator in many, many, many of these shootings,” she said.

As HuffPost has reported, most mass shootings in the U.S. involve a man targeting his intimate partner or another family member. And among mass shooters who target the public in random acts of violence, many have histories of abusive behavior toward women. (See: Pulse, ParklandSutherland Springs.)

David Adams, a domestic violence expert who has studied men who kill their partners, said many homicidal abusers feel a sense of ownership over their wife or girlfriend.

“They blame their partners for their own problems and, in general, see themselves as victims of unappreciative, selfish partners,” he said. Men who kill their partners as part of a mass shooting may simply want a larger audience to advertise their grievances, he added.

Like many mass shooters before him, Lopez had a history of abusive behavior toward women. He was fired from the Chicago Fire Academy in 2014 after he was accused of inappropriate conduct with female cadets. The same year, his then-wife filed an emergency protective order against him. “I fear that my safety is in jeopardy,” she wrote, stating that he was acting erratically with his firearm and had threatened to go to her job and cause a scene.

Four years later, he followed through on his threat to cause a scene at a workplace, only this time it was to confront O’Neal. “He couldn’t let it go,” her father, Tom O’Neal, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He couldn’t let go and he took her away from us.”

Ruth Glenn, the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said she understood the gut instinct among media outlets to emphasize the police officer’s death. Unfortunately, when it comes to gun violence, there is a hierarchy of newsworthiness. A police officer killed in the line of duty makes headlines far more often than a woman slain by her intimate partner. Especially, Glenn said, if she is a woman of color.

“[Police officers] put their lives on the line every day,” she said. “But if you think about it, so does a victim when she has decided that she needs to be away from the violence.”

A mass shooting rooted in gendered violence was framed as a random act.

Women are at the highest risk of being killed when they leave their partners, said Maureen Curtis, the vice president of criminal justice programs for the nonprofit group Safe Horizon. For many women, their workplaces can become a place of heightened danger, as their partners know when and where they work.

In 2017, Karen Elaine Smith was teaching an elementary class in San Bernardino, California, when her husband, whom she had recently left, walked in with a handgun and began shooting, killing her and an 8-year-old student.

“This is one reason why we need to recognize that domestic violence is not just a personal matter and that helping and supporting a victim not only can save her life but the lives of others,” Curtis said.

Erasing domestic violence from the story also does a disservice to the police officer slain, said Mark Wynn, a retired Tennessee officer who now travels the country training police on issues related to violence against women.

Calls related to domestic disputes are the most dangerous for police, he said. In a strange coincidence, Wynn was just a few miles from Mercy Hospital, training Chicago police officers how to respond to domestic violence incidents, with a focus on officer safety, when the shooting happened.

“Every cop knows the deadly line of ‘If I can’t have you, nobody will,’” he said. “Abusers do not like to be held accountable for their crimes.”

This story has been updated to include Dr. Tamara O’Neal’s occupation.

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