In the News

 

Stay up-to-date with the latest news about Cook County from around the web.

7.29.14

Tribune: How we shaft the mentally ill

For more than 50 years, the Tinley Park Mental Health Center served as the treatment facility for up to 1,900 mentally ill patients annually. These days, the patients have been left to fend for themselves as the building lies vacant — a stark and eerie reminder of everything that is wrong with Illinois’ mental health system.

7.28.14

Journals & Topics: County Board Of Review To Digitize, Streamline Property Tax Appeals System

The Cook County Board of Review announced a re-engineering and automation project that will replace the current manual paper-intensive appeal process. The board has engaged Databank LLC, an imaging and information management solutions firm, to create a new technology driven system.

Southtown Star: Kadner: Memorial signs for DUI victims

Motorists may be noticing some blue signs along the sides of area roads that have nothing to do with identifying streets or regulating traffic.

Evanston Review: Quinn, supporters stake out differences in Evanston

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn was back among friends in Democratic Evanston on Sunday, staking out positions on minimum wage, gun control, and health insurance, and contrasting them with Bruce Rauner, his Republican opponent in the fall election.

7.27.14

Southtown Star: Robbins walk a ‘great start’ in fight against violence

Organizers behind an anti-violence walk in Robbins hope it becomes an annual event.

Christian Science Monitor: Obamacare for ex-inmates: Is health insurance an antidote to crime?

In the enduring quest to discover what can prevent criminals from reoffending, a new holy grail is emerging: health-care services.

7.26.14

My Suburban Life: County officials warn of West Nile virus dangers

With mosquito season in swing, Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) officials are reminding residents to be cautious and protect against West Nile virus.

7.25.14

Pantagraph: Cook County to get $4.7 million for construction

Cook County is getting more than $4.7 million from the state for construction projects, including new roofs for buildings at area colleges.

Crain’s: Cook County health board selects new leaders

The independent board of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System elected a new chairman and vice chairman, continuing a shuffle of the public health network’s top leadership.

7.24.14

WTTW Chicago Tonight: Toni Preckwinkle and the future of Cook County

As Toni Preckwinkle gears up to keep her job as Cook County Board president, she is faced with a number of issues. We ask about some of her greatest challenges and where she plans to go from here.

ABC7 Chicago: Program To Rehab Vacant Cook County Homes

A program to rehab vacant homes across Cook County is being touted as a way to fuel economic growth and neighborhood revitalization.

Tribune: The PrivateBank pledges $10 million to vacant home rehabs

The PrivateBank is committing $10 million in financing to the Cook County Land Bank’s efforts to acquire and rehab distressed vacant homes and then sell them at cost to consumers.

Crain’s: Cook County land bank, PrivateBank team up

PrivateBancorp Inc. has agreed to work with the Cook County Land Bank Authority to provide loans to contractors to fix up dilapidated homes and offer mortgages that will allow homeowners to finance acquisition of the rehabbed properties.

The Republic: Gov. Pat Quinn backs Cook County ballot measure on banning assault weapons

Gov. Pat Quinn has thrown his support behind a Cook County ballot measure that asks voters to weigh in on Illinois gun laws.

JG-TC: Cook County to cut buildings’ carbon emissions

The county’s Board of Commissioners has approved an ordinance aimed at making public buildings more energy efficient — with the goal of sharply cutting greenhouse gases emitted by county-owned buildings.

Daily Herald: Des Plaines hopes to save money if new water deal approved

es Plaines is close to finalizing a deal for a new water source that officials say would save the city $7,000 a day by weaning itself off Chicago’s water.

Chicago Defender: Cook County Helps Close Digital Divide for Low-Income Families

Closing the digital divide means giving more people access to the internet and Comcast has already done that through a 2011 program, but the company wanted to do more. On Thursday, July 17, Comcast announced the expansion of a new program, “Internet Essentials Learning Lab,” with the help of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli and other county leaders.

My Suburban Life: First Avenue Bike Path Finally Becoming a Reality

There has been talk about constructing a path along First Avenue from Riverside-Brookfield High School to 26th Street in North Riverside to provide a safe route for students to walk and bike to school since 1968.

7.23.14

The Bugle: Cook County Board honors Arlington Heights emergency responders involved in hostage situation

he Cook County Board honored the Arlington Heights police and fire personnel for bravery during last year’s hostage situation on July 23.

Sun-Times: County Board sends assault weapons referendum to the ballot

Cook County voters will get to say in November whether they believe the state should enact tougher gun laws, including an outright ban on the sale and transfer of assault weapons.

Tribune: Hanover Park president named to Metra board

Cook County Commissioners on Wednesday chose Hanover Park Village President Rodney S. Craig as the newest member of the Metra commuter rail board.

ABC7 Chicago: Emanuel, Preckwinkle Take Part In Fundraiser For New Anti-Violence Program

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle took part in a fundraiser Wednesday night for a new anti-violence program called TITO, the “It’s About Time Organization.”

Southtown Star: Oak Lawn to start huge water improvement project

Gov. Pat Quinn and Oak Lawn officials broke ground Wednesday at the village’s main pumping station, signaling the start of a major project to improve Oak Lawn’s water distribution system that also provides 12 other suburbs with drinking water.

NWI: Make a splash with new adventures

7.22.14

Pensions & Investments: Cook County mulls fund-of-funds investment, other changes

Cook County Annuity & Benefit Fund’s investment committee on Tuesday recommended the $8.8 billion pension fund commit $35 million to Muller & Monroe Asset Management PEFF II, a private equity fund of funds.

Forest Leaves: Cummings Square improvements get early OK from River Forest

Plans to build an addition at the Cook County Forest Preserve District headquarters in Cummings Square has received the OK from River Forest’s Development Review Board.

7.21.14

Tribune: Preserves and parks offering memorial trees and benches — for a price

Nearly every day in the last years of his life, Casimir Paugys drove to Thatcher Woods Forest Preserve in River Forest, sat in his car, read the paper and enjoyed the placid pond and nature center there.

SouthTown Star: Kadner: A vote on mental health care funding in Cook County?

Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman (R-Orland Park) wants to place a referendum on the November ballot asking voters if they want to increase funding for mental health care.

Glenview Announcements: Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County — a model of cooperating villages

GLENVIEW — Every workday 150 waste disposal trucks rumble into the 7-acre grounds of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County in Glenview.

7.20.14

My Fox Chicago: FOX 32 Sunday: Toni PreckwinklePART 2

ABC7 Chicago: Newsviews: Toni PreckwinklePart 2

Journal & Topics: Protect Your Pet From Rabies

A Rabies Vaccine & Microchip Mobile Clinic offered by Cook County comes to Des Plaines next Wednesday, July 23.

7.18.14

Tribune LTE: A medical mission in a changing health care environment

The Tribune’s assessment in the July 14 editorial “An unwelcome surprise from the Cook County health system” is misguided. CountyCare, our managed-care program, authorized through the Affordable Care Act, has extended health coverage to more than 114,000 low-income Cook County adults while providing federal funding for a population that Cook County Health and Hospitals System has traditionally cared for at the expense of local taxpayers.

7.17.14

NWITIMES: Comcast bringing Internet access to low-income families in Thornton Township

DOLTON | Comcast is expanding Internet access into Thornton Township for low-income families who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

7.16.14

DNAinfo: Toni Preckwinkle Tells Small Business Owners: Try Living on $17K a Year

And at a luncheon Wednesday, hosted by the Albany Park and Lincoln Square Ravenswood chambers of commerce, Preckwinkle did not sound like a candidate — she didn’t pander to the many local business owners in attendance when she announced her support for an increase in the minimum wage.

Tribune LTE: Toni Preckwinkle sets a good example for Illinois politicians

The Tribune Editorial Board’s praise for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle reminded all of your readers that there are some rays of hope in the Illinois political scene. She has brought honesty, integrity and transparency to Cook County government. She has instituted outcome-based management and accountability. And she did it without raising across-the-board taxes or fees.

Tribune: Editorial: Why Toni Preckwinkle decided not to run for mayor

The 2014 race for governor of Illinois is set, and the 2015 race for mayor of Chicago is fast coming into focus. Despite years of rumors within the Illinois political class about her aspirations, Toni Preckwinkle won’t be a candidate for either of those offices, the highest executive positions in this state.

7.14.14

Crain’s: New Cook County Health CEO must find millions in savings – stat

Dr. John Jay Shannon was promoted to CEO at Cook County Health and Hospitals System June 27, and he already has been told to find $67 million in savings in four months.

Daily Herald: Streamwood backs property tax breaks for local manufacturers

Three Streamwood manufacturers are urging Cook County to extend their property tax breaks for another 12 years.

7.11.14

AP: Illinois Supreme Court accepting applications for judge in Cook County vacancy

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis (TYS’) has announced an application process for filling a vacancy in the 7th Judicial Subcircuit of Cook County.

Austin Talks: Art exhibition features work of incarcerated youth

The third annual art show put on by the Free Write Jail Arts & Literacy Program opens today at 6 p.m. “The Artists Will Not Be Present” features artwork created by youth incarcerated in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.

Sun-Times: Kadner: Three towns join to protect seniors

In an effort to improve the quality of life of senior citizens, three suburbs have formed an intergovernmental agreement with Calumet Township to form an Adult Protective Services Program.

7.10.14

Barrington Courier Review: Forest preserve set to buy final piece of Des Plaines River Trail

The final missing piece in the Des Plaines River Trail, which stretches more than 30 miles from the Wisconsin border toward Cook County, is in line to be filled after two Lake County Forest Preserve committees approved the purchase of a small parcel of land in Lincolnshire on Thursday, July 10.

Sun-Times: Kadner: Three towns join to protect seniors

In an effort to improve the quality of life of senior citizens, three suburbs have formed an intergovernmental agreement with Calumet Township to form an Adult Protective Services Program.

Frankfort Patch: Frankfort Resident Named Superintendent of Cook County School District 130

Dr. Tina Halliman has been chosen as superintendent of District 130, which encompasses Alsip, Blue Island, Crestwood and Robbins.

7.9.14

Northbrook Star: Huge crowd causes postponement of Mission Hills housing project public hearing

NORTHBROOK — The homeowners of Mission Hills filled Northbrook Village Hall’s Board room, the hallway outside it, and the lobby beyond that.

Journal & Topics: Orr, Suffredin To Explain Expanded Voting Rules At Town Hall

A number of new voting and voter registration procedures meant to make things easier on voters will be in effect in November’s General Election.

7.8.14

Northbrook Star: Crowd expected for public hearing to build homes on Mission Hills Country Club

A July 9 public hearing on a proposal to build 137 homes on nine holes of the Mission Hills Country Club golf course promises to attract a crowd of homeowners from the existing unincorporated development.

Crain’s: Federal housing chief pitches mortgage relief program

The head of federal agency that oversees housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac visited Chicago today to tout the government’s mortgage relief program, but didn’t satisfy some local advocates who say the agency isn’t doing enough to help struggling homeowners.

7.7.14

Crain’s: A bank sweeping up the debris of the housing crisis

Speaking to a group of South Side real estate executives recently, Brian White, the new executive director of the Cook County Land Bank Authority, tiptoed along a delicate line: His fledgling agency can help address the pernicious problem of abandoned homes—but it can’t help everybody.

My Suburban Life: Cook County Commissioner receives PAL Ezzard Charles Award

Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski was awarded the Police Athletic League Ezzard Charles Award for his service as mayor of McCook.

7.3.14

Modern Metals: Chicago’s Metal Cluster

The premise that toying around with a concept or idea can end up as a viable and useful product is lacking today. Self-educated mad scientists or metalworkers aren’t groomed for greatness. People who work with their hands are often deemed working class or mere hobbyists, and less than practical. The Chicago Metro Metal Consortium Manufacturing Community is putting the word out that there is endless potential in a manufacturing career.

7.1.14

WGN Radio: Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez on sex trafficking

ook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez joins the show to talk about sex trafficking. Ten traffickers caught by a wiretap three years go have pleaded guilty to prostituting girls and young women in the Chicago area. The 16 victims ranged in age from 13 to 19, and Alvarez says many of them have received social services.

6.30.14

ABC7 Chicago: Inspiration For ‘Scandal’ Honored By Rainbow Push Coalition

Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, was also honored, receiving the 2014 Trailblazer Award.

Sun-Times: Alvarez heralds guilty pleas, ‘new day’ fighting sex trafficking

The last of 10 Chicago-area defendants charged nearly three years ago in the nation’s first state-based wiretap investigation of sex trafficking pleaded guilty last week, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced Monday.

Sun-Times: Kirk proposes new legislation to crack down on sex ads

Sen. Mark Kirk has made it abundantly clear that he despises the two owners of Backpage.com, the multi-million dollar website known for carrying ads that market pay-for sexual encounters.

6.29.14

Southtown Star: Cook Co. 4-H Fair held for first time in more than 100 years

BRIDGEVIEW — Since the 4-H Club was founded in 1902, the perception was that it was only for people in rural areas.

Tribune: Fireworks aren’t cause for celebration for canines

It had always been easy for Sharon Keila’s family of five to locate their 8-year-old Dalmatian, Holly, when she got out of the yard. Usually they would find her sniffing around shrubs or relaxing on a neighbor’s porch near their Berwyn home.

6.27.14

Crain’s: Cook County Health to name new CEO

Dr. John Jay Shannon has been named CEO of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System, one of the largest public health systems in the nation.

Tribune: Cook County set to pick new hospital CEO

The Cook County hospitals board ended a $100,000 nationwide search for a new CEO Friday by simply taking the “interim” tag off the title of the guy who has held that position since January.

Tribune: Navy corpsmen sharpen skills at Stroger

Last Friday night in Stroger Hospital’s trauma unit, Michael Soto stood at a woman’s side, watching intently as a surgeon treated her for a leg injury, ready to help in any way he could.

AP: Program puts Navy personnel to work in trauma unit

CHICAGO (AP) — Navy medical personnel will work in a Chicago-area trauma and burn unit as part of a new training program to help the military doctors, nurses and corpsmen prepare for combat situations.

The Nation: How the ACA Can Revolutionize Inmate Healthcare

Jails have become the frontline for health problems that plague underserved communities in America. The Affordable Care Act provides an opportunity to improve continuity in treatment.

Sun-Times: New CEO of county health system named

Dr. Jay Shannon was unanimously chosen on Friday to be the new chief executive officer of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, ending a $100,000 national search for candidates.

6.26.14

Sun-Times: Cook County still leads nation in black population: Census Bureau

Cook County gained about 13,000 inhabitants in 2013 and remains the county with the largest black population in the nation, according to Census Bureau estimates of population, race and Hispanic origin released Thursday.

Crain’s: Preckwinkle sees big budget holes for ’14 and ’15

Still facing demons in its huge health system, Cook County projects it will run a $85.9 million deficit this year and faces a projected $168.9 million hole next year, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle disclosed today.

Crain’s: County land bank shifts into acquisition mode

Eighteen months after its creation, the Cook County Land Bank Authority took title to its first two properties, with deals for 14 more in the works, the next big step in its campaign to fix the area’s vacant home crisis.

6.25.14

DNAinfo: Veterans Could Get Discounts Through New Shopping Card

ook County officials are encouraging major retailers to offer discounts to local veterans through a new shopping card.

CBS2 Chicago: Parents Honored After 16-year-old Son Donates Organs

The parents of a 16 year old who died suddenly last month were honored Wednesday for giving others life.

DesPlaines Valley News: Cook County 4-H Fair Moves To Toyota Park

In an effort to drum up attendance, the Cook County 4-H will combine its three regional fairs into a single fair this year on Saturday, June 28, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview.

6.24.14

Beverly Review: 4H club prepares for county fair

With more than 7 million members, 4H is the largest youth development organization in the nation, but it may also be one of the most misunderstood.

6.23.14

DNAinfo: Chicago Community Trust Seeks to Fund, Cultivate Small Organizations

HERMOSA — The Chicago Community Trust is inviting small arts and cultural organizations to apply for a program that includes training to improve management skills and grants of $15,000 to $50,000 per year.

Tribune: Selfies of prominent Chicagoans

Selfies of prominent Chicagoans.

Journal & Topics Online: Rabies, Microchip Clinics Announced For Elk Grove, Des Plaines

Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman (R-17th) said the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control will return to her district when it hosts two Rabies Vaccine & Microchip Mobile Clinics on Wednesday, June 25 in Elk Grove Village and Wednesday, July 23 in Des Plaines.

NWI: Chicago FBI recovers 13 children victimized through prostitution

In the past week, the FBI with local, state and federal law enforcement partners, including the Lansing Police Department, conducted Operation Cross Country VIII, a weeklong enforcement action to address commercial child sex trafficking.

6.21.14

ABC7 Chicago: HUNGER WALK BENEFITS COOK COUNTY SHELTERS

A crowd of walkers flocked to Soldier Field Saturday in an effort to end hunger in the Chicago area at the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Hunger Walk.

WGN: Medicaid funds expand in Illinois

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed into law a Medicaid expansion bill that will tap $2.4 billion in federal funds over the next several years to provide more health care coverage for the poor.

6.20.14

Crain’s: CountyCare’s loss is county health system’s gain

For the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, there’s no gain without pain when it comes to managed care.

6.19.14

Pantagraph: Cook County morgue starts grief counseling program

CHICAGO (AP) — The Cook County medical examiner’s office is launching a grief counseling program to help families of homicide victims.

Daily Herald: Forest district gathers input on Horizon Farms

The Cook County Forest Preserve District hosted its first public meeting Wednesday night to get input on what should be done with Horizon Farms, the nearly 400-acre Barrington Hills equestrian estate it recently purchased.

Daily Herald: Plan to ease flooding along Salt Creek is coming

Engineers will put together final blueprints for changes to the Busse Woods Dam in an effort to alleviate flooding along Salt Creek in Cook and DuPage counties.

Sun-Times: Cook County tax bills will now include percentage going to TIFs

Next month, for the first time ever, Cook County property owners will be able to look at their newly arrived tax bills and see just how much of their tax payment is diverted into controversial Tax Increment Financing districts.

Tribune: Cook County property tax bills to have TIF information

The next set of Cook County property tax bills will show for the first time how much of each bill is going into controversial special taxing districts known as TIFs, county Clerk DavidOrr announced Thursday.

WLS: Preckwinkle stands firm on county pension reform

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is standing firm on the county pension reform proposal that the legislature almost, but did not quite approve at the end of the session in May.

NWI: Cook County thinks improving transportation boosts south suburban economy

When Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle spoke before a gathering of south suburban municipal officials Thursday about improvements to the south suburban economy, she made sure to have Transportation and Highways Superintendent John Yonan with her.

Tribune: CRISIS CENTER FOR SOUTH SUBURBIA HONORED WITH RESOLUTION

The Crisis Center for South Suburbia was presented with a resolution that was sponsored by Cook County Commissioner, Joan Patricia Murphy.

6.18.14

Crain’s: Illinois’ Obamacare subsidies trail national averages

Illinois residents who signed up for coverage on the state’s health insurance marketplace on average received less generous premium subsidies than people in most other states.

Tribune: Cook County commissioners to take more time before voting

In a bit of a legislative rebuke to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, commissioners Wednesday voted for a new rule requiring that nearly all new ordinances or amendments get sent to committee for consideration before a full board vote.

Southtown Star: Vickroy: Juneteenth event commemorates end of slavery

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became law. Across the nation, slaves finally were free.

ABC7 Chicago: Cook County Morgue To Offer Grief Counseling To Families

The Cook County morgue will begin a pilot grief counseling program this fall for families who have the grim task of identifying the remains of loved ones, including homicide victims, at the West Side facility, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Daily Herald: Cook County medical examiner to offer grief counseling

The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved a pilot program Wednesday in which the county medical examiner’s office will offer grief counseling for families of homicide victims and in other selected death cases.

My Suburban Life: Farmers Insurance drops lawsuit against Cook County municipalities for 2013 flooding

Farmers Insurance Co. has dropped its lawsuit against Cook County and several other county and municipal governments it claimed failed to take necessary steps to prevent and limit damage from the April 2013 floods.

Red Eye: Cig snitches

City, Cook County will pay you for tips about illegal cigarette sales

Daily Herald: Tollway moves on $7 million wetlands project

Illinois tollway directors approved spending $7.1 million Wednesday to restore wetlands in the south suburbs as compensation for wetlands damaged during construction on the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90).

Evanston Now: City wins summer jobs grant

Evanston has won a nearly $108,000 grant for this year’s youth summer jobs program.

CBS2 Chicago: Cook County Morgue To Launch Grief Counseling Partnership With UIC

The Cook County Board has approved a pilot grief counseling program for the families who must come to the County morgue to identify remains, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.

6.17.14

Governing Magazine: Uncompensated Care Dropping Fast in Medicaid Expansion States

Early evidence shows a dramatic drop in uncompensated care for hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid, according to a report released earlier this month by the Colorado Hospital Association. But it’s unclear whether the savings will be enough to offset cuts from the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Sun-Times: County morgue to offer grief counseling to families

The Cook County morgue will begin a pilot grief counseling program this fall for families who have the grim task of identifying the remains of loved ones, including homicide victims, at the West Side facility.

Daily Herald: Schaumburg committee backs requests for county tax breaks

Schaumburg’s finance committee has recommended two companies be considered for a Cook County property tax incentive to help them move into vacant industrial buildings in the village.

Gapers Block: New Report Looks at Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Market Conditions

Cook County’s housing market has been making a slow comeback in recent years. Still, it’s been a fairly uneven recovery. Some neighborhood housing markets have stabilized. Others, not so much.

Tribune: Orland Park police to carry heroin overdose antidote

Orland Park police soon will have a new tool to help curb the rising number of heroin overdoses in the Chicago area.

The Daily Northwestern: Evanston secures grant to fund summer youth employment program

Cook County awarded Evanston a grant earlier this month for more than $100,000 to fund the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

6.15.14

WGN: Cook County cracking down on ‘dead beat’ dads

As we celebrate Father’s Day, it’s worth noting not every father owns up to his responsibility.  In Cook County alone, hundreds fail to pay child support, forcing the sheriff’s department to hunt them down.

NWI: Cook County working to create permit letting property encroachment to continue

Cook County officials are considering a plan to allow people whose property encroaches on Forest Preserve District land to buy a permit valid for 10 years.

6.13.14

AP: Gov. Pat Quinn announces $7.4 million for Cook County construction projects.

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has designated $7.4 million Cook County construction projects.

CLTV: Rotary Club of Chicago – Chicago Woman of the Year

Chicago will honor three distinguished businesswomen who have changed lives in our community as Chicago Woman of the Year.

Southtown Star: Cook County court program aids veterans

Before a ceremony Friday to replace the American flag outside the Cook County courthouse in Bridgeview, courthouse officials took an opportunity to publicize a special court program to help veterans in the criminal justice system.

6.12.14

Sun-Times: Boot camp inmates put to work demolishing blighted buildings

Cook County inmates are now helping knock down abandoned buildings in the south suburbs.

6.11.14

Blue Sky Innovation – Tribune: Cook County’s chief information officer on the significance of STEM

Simona Rollinson discusses the lack of women in computer science, development of Cook County’s interactive voice response system and the link between success in education, especially in STEM fields, and job retention.

6.10.14

Medill Reports: Banking on it: Neighborhoods hit by foreclosure look to Cook County Land Bank

There are more than 51,000 houses in Cook County that have been vacant for more than two years. Many, like this house in West Pullman, have been abandoned.

Medill Reports: Anti-trafficking activists torn between educating public, protecting survivors

The Dreamcatcher Foundation is one organization committed to combating human trafficking by rescuing girls from the street. Their efforts are part of a larger movement that is split between education and survivor resources.

6.9.14

WBEZ: Illinois counting on Cook County program to fix juvenile parole

Almost nine out of every 10 kids who spend time in Illinois youth prisons end up going back to prison within three years of their release.

CBS2 Chicago: 2 Investigators: Assessor Going After Tax Cheats Under New Law

(CBS) – The Cook County Assessor’s crackdown on property tax cheats has begun.
He tells CBS 2’s Pam Zekman that he’ll collect $20 million by the end of the year.

Tribune: North Branch Trail Addition Provides Important Transportation Link, Improves Access to Chicago Botanic Garden

A scenic and safe multiuse trail is under construction along Lake Cook Road to improve access for visitors who come to the Chicago Botanic Garden by train, bicycle, stroller, foot and wheelchair.

6.7.14

NWI: Chicago metro singled out for manufacturing funding

The metal industry in the Chicago metropolitan area stands to gain from a special U.S. Department of Commerce designation that could funnel more manufacturing dollars into the region.

6.6.14

Sun-Times: He doesn’t have a home, but he’s got health insurance — and hope

This business of having health insurance is a whole new world for Bochenek and thousands of other homeless individuals like him who signed up for coverage through Cook County’s expanded Medicaid program.

Skokie Review: New county hazard plan could lead to fed grants to buy flood-prone houses

It’s amazing what can be done when you have the right paperwork. And Glenview is one of the few suburbs that has it, in the form of a Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. Okayed in 2008, it has helped bring millions of FEMA dollars into the village for flood-prevention.

6.4.14

My Fox Chicago: 14 communities to connect via Cal Sag Trail

Cycling season is in full throttle in the Chicago area. And luckily for cyclists in the area, Chicago is home to dozens of scenic paths

Report: Preckwinkle’s Leadership Style Reins In Previously ‘Fractured’ Cook County Board

Under her leadership, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has reined in the once “fractured and rebellious” board of commissioners and has improved county government “considerably,” say political scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

6.3.14

WTTW – Chicago Tonight: Preckwinkle Talks Pension Reform, More

President Preckwinkle joins Chicago Tonight  host, Phil Ponce, tonight to discuss the next steps for pension reform, the financial implications of the 100,000 new enrollees in Cook County’s expanded Medicaid program, jail overcrowding and more.

Tribune: Report: No ‘Council Wars’ with Cook County Board for Preckwinkle

When it comes to rubber stamp legislative bodies, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has only a slight edge over Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, according to a new report set to be released today by the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

6.2.14

DNAinfo: About 1,800 Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Issued in Cook County Since February

CHICAGO — Nearly 1,800 marriage licenses have been issued in Cook County to same-sex couples since February, the county clerk’s office said Monday.

5.31.14

Chicago Tribune: Draft hazard mitigation plan presented

Cook County officials released a draft of a hazard mitigation plan that will give county and municipal governments access to federal funding for projects to prevent damage from natural disasters.

5.29.14

Chicago Tribune: Chicago area wins preferred status for federal investment

Federal officials have designated the Chicago area as one of 12 preferred regions nationwide that can apply for a slice of $1.3 billion in funding to invest in manufacturing.

5.28.14 

WBEZ: Preckwinkle gets her pension plan past Senate, stops short of calling for higher taxes

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wouldn’t rule out higher taxes to help pay for changes to her employees’ retirement benefits in making her pitch to Illinois state senators Tuesday

5.27.14

Daily Herald: State Senate OKs Cook County pension cuts

The Illinois Senate Tuesday approved a plan Democrats hope could save Cook County’s retirement funds from insolvency but that Republicans worry could lead to future property tax hikes.

Crain’s Chicago Business: Preckwinkle pension bill sails through Illinois Senate

A plan to revamp the cash-short Cook County pension plan began moving at warp speed late Tuesday, zipping through the full Senate and sent to the House for final action barely an hour after it was approved by a Senate committee.

Sun-Times: Senate passes Preckwinkle’s county pension reform

SPRINGFIELD — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s pension-reform package passed the state Senate on Tuesday despite opposition from some public employee unions that contended her plan is unconstitutional.

Chicago Tribune: Cook County pension changes clear Senate

SPRINGFIELD — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle got a government worker pension overhaul through the first couple hurdles at the Capitol on Tuesday, but she’s still not saying how she’d come up with more money to pay for the plan.

Pensions & Investments: Illinois Senate passes bill to fully fund Cook County pension fund in 30 years

Cook County Annuity & Benefit Fund, Chicago, would see its two public pension plans return to full funding in 30 years under a bill passed late Tuesday by the Illinois Senate.

NBC5 Chicago: Suburban Officers Train For Active Shooter Scenarios

Police officers in Oak Lawn trained for active shooter scenarios Tuesday, just days after a gunman killed six people in Santa Barbara, California. The situational drills were held at the old Tinley Park Mental Health facility, which stood in for a residential neighborhood.

5.22.14

Chicago Tribune:  Preckwinkle hits Springfield on pension plan

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle hit Springfield Thursday to try to build support for changes to the county pension plan that she says would halt its ongoing decline toward insolvency.

Sun-Times: Preckwinkle: Lawmakers ‘remarkably receptive’ on Cook County plan

SPRINGFIELD — After a day of lobbying lawmakers, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Thursday she expects the county’s pension bill would be called for a vote sometime next week.

ABC7 Chicago: Celebrate Spring At The Little Red Schoolhouse, Cook County Forest Preserves

Since it took three years for the Cook County Forest Preserve District to solidify 100 years ago, the centennial celebration is being held over a three-year period. Many of the special events will be held at one of the preserve’s more famous nature centers – The Little Red Schoolhouse.

5.21.14

Chicago Tribune: Cook County Board to take up e-cigarette regulation today

The Cook County Board will see proposals today to increase regulation of electronic cigarettes and to study legalizing marijuana for recreational use, along with a $2.4 million settlement for a patient’s death at a county hospital.

Progress Illinois: Cook Co. Launches Juvenile Temporary Detention Center Advisory Board

CHICAGO, IL – Today, the Cook County Board nominated the remaining five members to serve on the first-ever Advisory Board of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC).

My Suburban Life: Forest preserves to seek local input on Horizon Farms land

BARRINGTON HILLS – Barrington area naturalists have a whole lot of land at their fingertips now that the Forest Preserves District of Cook County has acquired hundreds of acres of open space following an August 2013 foreclosure at Horizon Farms in Barrington Hills.

ABC7 Chicago: SPRINGTIME AT COOK COUNTY FOREST PRESERVE NATURE CENTERS

LEMONT, Ill. (WLS) — Many of the Cook County Forest Preserves’ special events take place at one of its six nature centers. Sagawau Environmental Learning Center near Lemont hosts migratory bird festivals in the spring, cross-country skiing in the winter and is a year-round visitors center.

5.20.14

ABC7 Chicago: COOK COUNTY FOREST PRESERVES TURNS 100

RIVER FOREST, Ill. (WLS) — The Cook County Forest Preserves is the first and largest forest preserve district of its kind in the country. This year, they’re celebrating their 100th anniversary. But it was a long process with many hurdles, toward preserving the natural land.

5.15.14

Crain’s Chicago Business: Preckwinkle, unions strike deal on county pensions

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has reached a tentative pension deal with unions that will require taxpayers to pay roughly $150 million more a year while trimming workers’ benefits.

5.14.14

My Fox Chicago: Pace to launch new summer bus routes to Brookfield Zoo

Pace is launching new express routes between several CTA train stops and the zoo in west suburban Brookfield that will operate on weekends through the summer, according to a joint statement from Pace, the Chicago Zoological Society and the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

NBC5 Chicago: County Ordinance Shows Success in Targeting Johns

In the four years since a Cook County ordinance took effect raising the fine on soliciting a prostitute, sheriff’s officers haven’t arrested a single repeat offender, Sheriff Tom Dart recently told NBC Chicago.

5.13.14

Sun-Times: Cook County pension reform headed to Springfield

Officials are putting the finishing touches on a Cook County worker pension reform bill that is soon expected to emerge in Springfield, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Daily Herald: Preckwinkle touts county’s business resources at suburban event

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle told a suburban audience Tuesday county officials are creating “an arsenal of tools and incentives” for businesses.

The Atlantic: How Local Governments Are Hacking Immigration Reform

Only the federal government can grant amnesty. But cities and counties can effectively opt to stop deportations—and increasingly, they are.

5.7.14

NWI Times: Get outdoors to celebrate nature

It’s time to get out the bikes and hiking shoes for a week of special nature events in our area. Now in its second year, Urban Biodiversity Week runs May 10 to 18 and focuses on everything outdoors.

5.6.14

Sun-Times: Cook forest preserve buying farm, largest purchase since ’60s

Barrington horse farm, purchased this week for $14.5 million, is the largest single land acquisition made by the Cook County Forest Preserve District in decades, an official said Tuesday.

Chicago Tribune: Controversial Cook County forest preserve buy is largest in 45 years

The verdant expanse of land that makes up that picturesque view now belongs to taxpayers, and is due eventually to open to the public, now that a judge has ruled that the property, known as Horizon Farms, belongs to the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

5.3.14

Chicago Tribune: Chicago, Cook County help Mariano’s fill jobs

A collaboration between the city of Chicago and Cook County is giving some extra attention to Mariano’s as the grocery chain tries to find hundreds more people to work at its stores.

5.2.14

CBS2 Chicago: County Touts New Care Plan For Low-Income Residents

Cook County officials said they’ve found new and better ways to provide low-income residents with health care, and the efforts are bearing fruit.

5.1.14

Crain’s Chicago Business: Schakowsky, Preckwinkle to take stage for Black Ensemble Theater

A longtime Chicago trial lawyer and partner at Dentons U.S., Natalie Spears isn’t afraid of having all eyes in the room on her. So she didn’t turn down an offer to take the stage as part of a fundraiser for Black Ensemble Theater.

DNAinfo: At Cook County Jail, Kitchen Gives Inmates a Second Chance

LITTLE VILLAGE — A few days a week, 20 inmates at the Cook County Jail escape to the basement of their medium-security home. There is a kitchen down here. The floors are concrete. The walls are white. Surfaces are stainless steel, dull and spotless.