Five people were killed and a 6-year-old girl was taken to a hospital after a shooting in a tiny western Illinois village early Wednesday, officials said.
A suspect in the slaughter in Manchester, Illinois, was killed following a chase and shootout with police hours later, authorities said.
More than 600 flights were canceled Thursday at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports due to heavy rain in the region, the Chicago Department of Aviation said.
Both airports reported delays of between 30 to 90 minutes after the metropolitan area experienced a deluge of nearly 7 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.
The border with Mexico must be secure.
This requirement is the cornerstone of an immigration reform bill a bipartisan group of senators are to file on Capitol Hill Tuesday. There will be no path to legal residency for migrants without it.
Undocumented immigrants may also not reach the status of fully legal residents under the proposed legislation, until the Department of Homeland Security has implemented measures to prevent "unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States."FULL STORY
Legendary film critic Roger Ebert, who this week said he was facing a recurrence of cancer, has died at 70, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which syndicated his column.
In an essay on his blog Tuesday, Ebert explained he was planning to slow down and reduce the number of movie reviews he wrote. Ebert had already lost his voice and much of his jaw after battling thyroid and salivary gland cancer.
"My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me," Ebert wrote. "What's more, I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review."FULL STORY
A Chicago baby who was killed when someone fired on her father's minivan last week was shot once, not multiple times as previously reported, police said Tuesday.
Chicago police spokesman Adam Collins also said the father was not changing 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins' diaper when she was shot as previously reported, but rather that the baby was simply on her father's lap in the vehicle.
And Jonylah's mother wasn't shot in the leg while she was pregnant with Jonylah as some news accounts had said, according to Collins.FULL STORY
[Update 2:48 p.m. ET] A light aircraft with landing gear problems landed intact Monday afternoon at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.
CNN affiliate KTVI said eight people were aboard the Learjet.
Officials earlier said that they expected the plane to touch down at St. Louis Downtown Airport, which is across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Cahokia, Illinois.
The plane landed "without incident" at 1:32 p.m. CT (2:32 p.m. ET), the Federal Aviation Administration said. It had departed Wooster, Ohio, en route to St. Louis Downtown Airport earlier in the day.
[First report 1:53 p.m. ET] A light aircraft reporting landing gear problems is preparing to make an emergency landing at St. Louis Downtown Airport - also known as Parks Airport - in Cahokia, Illinois, according to CNN affiliate KTVI.
Just before noon, the plane reported a problem with its landing gear, KTVI reported.
This is a developing story. We'll bring you more details as we get them.
No cyanide remained in the exhumed body of Illinois lottery winner Urooj Khan, preventing investigators from determining how the toxin entered his body, the Cook County medical examiner said Friday.
Still, Dr. Stephen Cina maintained his determination from January: that blood samples taken after Khan's death in July show the 46-year-old died of cyanide poisoning, and that the manner of death was homicide.
Officials in January exhumed the body of Khan – who died the day after the Illinois lottery issued him a check for about $425,000 for winning a scratch-off game – hoping to determine how cyanide entered his system.FULL STORY
Former Chicago-area police sergeant Drew Peterson was sentenced Thursday to 38 years in prison – with credit for nearly four years in jail – for the 2004 murder of his ex-wife, Kathleen Savio, a prosecution spokesman in Illinois said.
Peterson plans to appeal the sentence, one of this lawyers said.
Peterson was convicted of murder last September. Savio – Peterson's third wife – was found dead in her dry, clean bathtub on March 1, 2004
The headline-grabbing case did not arise until after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in October 2007. It was during the search for Stacy Peterson – who has not been found – that investigators said they would look again into Savio's death, which was initially ruled an accidental drowning.
In February 2008, authorities altered their judgment and ruled Savio's death a homicide. Peterson was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder.FULL STORY
Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is owning up to allegations that he used campaign funds for personal expenses – and now he might get prison time.
Jackson, dabbing at this eyes with a handkerchief, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements.
Sentencing is set for June 28. That charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but though the judge noted that prosecutors and defense attorneys appeared to recommend a lighter sentence.
The Illinois Senate passed a measure Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, voting 34-21.
The state House will consider it next. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has indicated that he would sign the bill.
Illinois would be the 10th state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize same-sex marriage, according to Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization.FULL STORY
Workers have begun the process of exhuming the body of an Illinois lottery winner who authorities believe was poisoned.
A crew is digging at the north-side Chicago gravesite of Urooj Khan, whose July death at age 46 came one month after he became a $1 million winner on an Illinois lottery scratch ticket.
Investigators initially ruled Khan's manner of death natural, and Khan was buried. But after being prompted by a relative, the medical examiner's office in Cook County, Illinois, did more in-depth toxicology tests on the blood that the office had, and eventually determined there was a lethal amount of cyanide in Khan's system.
Police are now investigating Khan's death as a murder, and they want to use the exhumation to determine how the cyanide entered Khan's system. No arrests have been made in the case.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress effective Wednesday, citing the need to spend time "restoring my health."
Jackson, 47, announced his resignation in a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday.
"For 17 years I have given 100% of my time, energy, and life to public service," Jackson wrote. "However, over the past several months, as my health has deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to diminish. Against the recommendations of my doctors, I had hoped and tried to return to Washington and continue working on the issues that matter most to the people of the Second District. I know now that will not be possible."FULL STORY
Carlton Fisk, one of the greatest catchers in Major League Baseball history, was charged with driving under the influence after driving into a cornfield in New Lenox, Illinois, police said Tuesday.
Adam Greenberg wasn’t in a bright mood Saturday. The former Chicago Cub – famously hit in the head in his only Major League plate appearance – had just watched Spain knock out his team, Israel, in World Baseball Classic qualifying in Florida.
A friend approached him after the game, saying he had someone on the phone with good news. The Team Israel reserve outfielder said he didn’t particularly want to hear it, but his friend insisted.
The man on the phone was Miami Marlins General Manager David Sampson. The Marlins – the very team that knocked him out of his only MLB game seven years ago – wanted to give him a full Major League at-bat.
“He ended up smiling after all,” filmmaker Matt Liston – the friend and the man who’s pushed full-time for Greenberg’s return – told CNN by phone Thursday.
The Marlins on Thursday confirmed what they told Greenberg over the weekend: They’ve signed the 31-year-old former prospect to a one-day contract so he can finally have a proper MLB at-bat on Tuesday, when the Marlins host the Mets in their penultimate game of the season.
[Updated at 6:43 p.m. ET] Delegates for striking Chicago Public Schools teachers voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to suspend their nine-day strike, meaning classes will resume Wednesday, according to delegates who attended a union meeting.
About 800 delegates from the teachers union gathered at midafternoon to vote on whether to suspend the walkout, which began September 10.
The vote came a day after school officials asked a judge to declare the strike illegal and order the teachers back to work. A Cook County judge had scheduled a hearing on that request Wednesday.
Any contract agreement with the school system would need to be ratified by the more than 29,000 members of the union. The strike has kept about 350,000 students out of class for seven school days.
Teachers walked off the job September 10, objecting to a longer school day, evaluations tied to student performance and job losses from school closings.FULL STORY
Chicago school officials sought a court order to end the teacher strike that entered its sixth school day on Monday.
The move comes after teachers union representatives decided Sunday not to end a week-long walkout - despite a tentative contract deal reached by union leaders and school officials.
The move left Mayor Rahm Emanuel vowing to go to court to force teachers back to work, calling Sunday's actions by the union "a delay of choice that is wrong for our children."
Emanuel contended Sunday that the strike is illegal because "it is over issues that are deemed by state law to be nonstrikable, and it endangers the health and safety of our children."FULL STORY
A tentative deal has been reached in the dispute between the Chicago Teachers Union and the city's school board, a source with detailed knowledge of the negotiations said Friday.
Students – who've been out of school since teachers began striking Monday – will be back in the classroom on Monday, according to the source.FULL STORY
Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. Here's some comments we noticed today.
In a tight economy, the sight of striking teachers in Chicago has many readers seeing red. On CNN iReport, we're seeing photos from the picket lines. Should teachers be asking for more when people have less? Sam Chaltain writes in an education opinion piece that the issues in this situation apply well beyond the heartland.
Some readers who posted comments wondered if teachers see themselves as above the standards of other professions, while others wondered how performance should be measured.
Chris: " 'Teachers want job security.' – That says it all. Why should teachers get job security while the rest of the working world has to *perform* to achieve job security? And sometimes performance isnt even enough... Sometimes the way a system works is just ineffective, and it takes a dislocation of employees onb the journey to make it right, regardless of how effective those employees are individually. I've seen this happen in the business world- fantastically effective colleagues have lost their positions, and it's broken my heart to watch it happen- but then I've watched the business gets stronger and more effective as a result. 'Job security' is a figment of the past. Get over it, and work to make yourself relevent assuming you lose your job tomorrow."
Shelly: "No one debates accountability and evaluation. It is the terms of what does it mean to be an effective teacher? If we hold teachers accountable to student performance on a standardized assessment given on one day, shouldn't we also hold doctors accountable to patient wellness rate on a checkup day, regardless of if the patient took the advice to lose weight or exercise or take their medications? Shouldn't we blame farmers' poor yields in a drought on the farmers' incompetence? People hate teachers lately. If teaching is such a cake-walk job, please go to college and earn your degree so you can join in!"
daveyoung: "When you work for the taxpayers, you have no right to unionize. End of story."
This commenter applauded the efforts of teachers. CNN iReport is asking educators to share why they teach.
aflarend: "Great job, Chicago Teachers! You are standing up for what is right in the classroom. You know that tests are narrowing the curriculum and that they only measure a small part of what a child learns academically in school. As a graduate of a Chicago Public school in the 1980s and one on the far South Side, I know first hand the challenges that you face. And I know your successes since I earned advanced degrees in engineering, thanks in part to several inspiring teachers. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. And thank you for standing up for students and teachers."
Some said the schools are poorly managed, and parents need to step up and do their jobs.
Barbra & Jack Donachy: "By and large, Chicago's public schools have been a mess for a very long time as one reform after another has ultimately gone nowhere. Like his friend President Obama, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel seems to be taking a tack that puts too much emphasis on standardized test scores and places too much blame on teachers for the failure many of Chicago's schools. It is frustrating that, like Mr. Obama, the mayor has given up attempts to get to the root of the problems in our education system (horrible leadership from school and district administrators and the school boards that supposedly oversee that leadership) and is instead desperately hacking at the leaves around the fringes of meaningful school reform while pointing a wrongly accusatorial finger at teachers. No company, no team, no military unit, no group of teachers can rise above the level of their leadership for any length of time, and until we make positive changes in terms of getting better superintendents, better principals, and better school boards our public schools will continue to founder.
J: " 'The real problem' are parents, not district administrators, not school boards, and not teachers, when it comes to test scores. Parents are a child's real teacher and most are no where involved in their children's academic life. Stop making excuses that other people are responsible for educating our children. PARENTS PARENTS PARENTS. I am so tired of people making excuses on this subject – get involved with your children's education and recognize that you, the parent, are ultimately responsible and you only have yourself to blame."
The main story about the strike got thousands of comments from readers angry about the news. FULL POST
Chicago public school teachers began manning picket lines instead of classrooms Monday, launching the first teacher strike in the city in 25 years.
The strike, announced Sunday night, left about 350,000 students without schools to attend and parents scrambling to find alternatives. The union that represents nearly 30,000 teachers and support staff in the nation's third-largest school district called the strike after negotiators failed to reach a contract agreement with school administrators despite 10 months of negotiations.
Below, we break down the key issues that are keeping the teachers out of the classroom, what the teachers are asking for and what the schools are willing to offer.
Compensation and health care benefits
One of the key issues is salaries and benefits for teachers and their families.
What the teachers want: to maintain their existing health benefits, as well as salary increases.
"Recognizing the Board’s fiscal woes, we are not far apart on compensation," the Chicago Teachers Union said in a news release. "However, we are apart on benefits."
What the Chicago Board of Education is offering: a deal that would increase salaries 16% over four years. The average teacher salary in Chicago was $74,839 for the 2011-12 school year, according to the district. The total salary increase would equal $380 million over four years. That includes "modified step increases that both reward experience and provides better incentives for mid-career teachers to help keep them serving in the Chicago Public School system," according to a news release from the school system.
"The Board is calling for a modification to the health care plan funding that will freeze all employee health care contributions for single and couple plans with a small increase in family contributions of no more than $20 a pay period in addition to a small increase in emergency room co-pays," the school system says. "67% of all CTU members will not see a change to their healthcare."
[Updated at 6:04 p.m. ET] Authorities have re-opened security checkpoints and upper-level doors at a O'Hare International Airport terminal in Chicago after a brief disruption due to unspecified "possible suspicious item," the Chicago Department of Aviation said.
The item in Terminal 2 "was cleared and determined to be no threat," the department said, adding that there was "minimal disruption to flight operations."
The checkpoints and doors were re-opened shortly after 4 p.m. CT, or 5 p.m. ET.
[Initial post, 5:03 p.m. ET] "Suspicious activity" at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has prompted authorities to close security checkpoints at the airport's Terminal 2, Chicago Department of Aviation spokesman Gregg Cunningham said Thursday afternoon.
Upper-level doors at the terminal also have been "temporarily secured," but the terminal hasn't been evacuated, Cunningham said.
Cunningham said no details of the suspicious activity are available.