WBEZ | News http://www.wbez.org/news Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Aramark, CPS change plan to cut school janitors http://www.wbez.org/news/aramark-cps-change-plan-cut-school-janitors-110870 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/2979169728_730927ae16_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today was supposed to be the last day of work for 468 janitors in Chicago Public Schools.</p><p>But Aramark, the private contractor now overseeing the management of custodians in CPS, is changing that plan <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/custodial-contract-causing-problems-start-school-year-110767">after complaints about cleanliness</a> from principals, parents and teachers.</p><p>The union representing privately employed janitors in CPS said 178 janitors will keep their jobs and the remaining 290 will work for another month. Aramark spokesperson Karen Cutler confirmed those numbers and said they are working closely with the union and CPS to make sure schools have &quot;appropriate custodial staffing levels.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;We would prefer to see no layoffs anywhere and see everybody have good paying, full-time jobs,&rdquo; said Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 1.&nbsp; &ldquo;But again, we do think with the technology Aramark&rsquo;s brought in and the readjustment on the number of janitors, we think that we will be able to maintain a good level of cleanliness in the schools.&rdquo;</p><p>Balanoff said they are working to find jobs for the 290 janitors being laid off at the end of October.<br /><br />CPS has had privatized cleaning services for more than a decade, but last February, the board <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/chicago-further-privatizes">voted to award two contracts worth a total $340 million</a> to Aramark and SodexoMAGIC. The two companies would manage all 2,500 janitors in the school system, even though the janitors remain employed by subcontractors, like <a href="http://www.wecleaninc.com/">WeClean Inc.</a> and Total Facilities, or by the Board of Education directly.</p><p>Balanoff said the change allows 83 of the longest-serving janitors employed by private subcontractors to keep their jobs. Another 95 will be hired directly as Aramark employees for at least the next 10 months.</p><p>The changes do not impact 825 janitors employed directly by the Board of Education. Those janitors are represented by SEIU Local 73. However, many of those board-funded janitors have been reassigned to other schools in light of the pending layoffs.</p><p>CPS officials did not immediately comment. It is not clear how much the move may cost and who will foot the bill, the district or Aramark.</p><p>At <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/school-board-takes-cleanliness-controversy-110851">last week&rsquo;s Board of Education meeting</a>, district Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley said Aramark was &ldquo;flooding the zone&rdquo; to fix any issues related to school cleanliness.</p></p> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/aramark-cps-change-plan-cut-school-janitors-110870 3,000 fewer students enroll in Chicago Public Schools http://www.wbez.org/news/3000-fewer-students-enroll-chicago-public-schools-110869 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/student-enrollment-130923-LL.png" alt="" /><p><p>For the first time since at least 1970, Chicago Public Schools will serve fewer than 400,000 students.</p><p>District spokesman Bill McCaffrey confirmed that there are at least 3,000 fewer students in the public school system. The decline keeps Chicago just ahead of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which <a href="http://www.dadeschools.net/StudentEnroll/Calendars/enroll_stats_aor.asp" target="_blank">enrolls roughly 380,000 students</a>, including pre-K students, vocational students and those in charter schools.&nbsp;</p><p>CPS took its official head count on Monday, the 20th day of school. The past two years, the district has counted on the 10th day as well, in order to adjust school budgets to account for the difference between enrollment projections and how many students actually show up. For the second year in a row, schools that didn&rsquo;t meet their enrollment targets were <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-public-schools-will-get-money-no-show-students-again-110861">held harmless</a> and got to keep the money budgeted to them over the summer.</p><p>Enrollment in CPS had been steadily declining for the last decade, but remained relatively flat from 2008 to 2012. In the last two years, since CPS closed 50 district-run schools, the system lost about 6,000 students.</p><p>At the same time the district&rsquo;s been losing students, CPS has opened more than 140 new schools, most of them privately run charter schools. Officials did close schools at the same time, but the openings outpaced the closings.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:20px;"><strong>Enrollment over time in Chicago Public Schools</strong></span></p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }</style> <table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>School Year</th><th># of students in CPS charter or contract schools</th><th># of students in traditional CPS schools</th><th>Total CPS enrollment</th></tr><tr><td>1999-2000</td><td>5,535</td><td>426,215</td><td>431,750</td></tr><tr><td>2000-2001</td><td>6,733</td><td>428,737</td><td>435,470</td></tr><tr><td>2001-2002</td><td>6,084</td><td>431,534</td><td>437,618</td></tr><tr><td>2002-2003</td><td>8,844</td><td>429,745</td><td>438,589</td></tr><tr><td>2003-2004</td><td>10,493</td><td>423,926</td><td>434,419</td></tr><tr><td>2004-2005</td><td>12,274</td><td>414,538</td><td>426,812</td></tr><tr><td>2005-2006</td><td>15,416</td><td>405,509</td><td>420,925</td></tr><tr><td>2006-2007</td><td>19,043</td><td>394,651</td><td>413,694</td></tr><tr><td>2007-2008</td><td>23,733</td><td>384,868</td><td>408,601</td></tr><tr><td>2008-2009</td><td>32,016</td><td>376,028</td><td>408,044</td></tr><tr><td>2009-2010</td><td>36,699</td><td>372,580</td><td>409,279</td></tr><tr><td>2010-2011</td><td>42,801</td><td>359,880</td><td>402,681</td></tr><tr><td>2011-2012</td><td>48,389</td><td>355,762</td><td>404,151</td></tr><tr><td>2012-2013</td><td>52,926</td><td>350,535</td><td>403,461</td></tr><tr><td>2013-2014</td><td>57,169</td><td>343,376</td><td>400,545</td></tr><tr><td>2014-2015 (projected)</td><td>60,982</td><td>339,463</td><td>400,445</td></tr><tr><td>2014-2015 (10th day)</td><td>n/a</td><td>309,182*</td><td>397,000**</td></tr></tbody></table><p><em>*Does not include Pre-K, charter and contract schools or alternative schools.</em></p><p><em>**Preliminary estimate based on confirmed decline of at least 3,000 students.</em></p><p>Wendy Katten, executive director of the city-wide parent group Raise Your Hand, said the decline is really sad, but not that surprising.</p><p>&ldquo;We hear a lot from parents about the instability of the policies of the district,&rdquo; Katten said &ldquo;The constant school actions, the opening and closing of schools, and the budget cuts. I think a lot of parents are looking for more stability in their children&rsquo;s schooling.&rdquo;</p><p>Michael Casserly, the executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, said enrollment in urban districts can take a hit when there&rsquo;s a lot of turmoil. In CPS&rsquo;s case, tthat included the first teachers&rsquo; strike in 25 years and the mass closure of 50 public schools.</p><p>&ldquo;But in situations like that you&rsquo;ll often find that enrollment bounces back,&rdquo; Casserly told WBEZ. He said the council recently surveyed public school parents in urban districts and found that more than 80 percent are satisfied with the schools.</p><p>Casserly also noted that declines are directly related to population declines. Indeed, Chicago has lost school-aged children in the last few decades. But the percentage of those children being educated by CPS has increased.</p><p><span style="font-size:20px;"><strong>Census Figures vs. CPS &nbsp;Enrollment</strong></span></p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }</style> <table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>&nbsp;</th><th>1970</th><th>1980</th><th>1990</th><th>2000</th><th>2010</th></tr><tr><td>Total CPS enrollment (includes Pre-K)</td><td>577,679</td><td>477,339</td><td>408,442</td><td>431,750</td><td>409,279</td></tr><tr><td># of schools in CPS</td><td>&ldquo;more than 550&rdquo;</td><td>n/a</td><td>560</td><td>597</td><td>674</td></tr><tr><td>U.S. Census Bureau population totals for City of Chicago, Ages 5-19</td><td>904,731</td><td>731,103</td><td>592,616</td><td>625,776</td><td>513,476</td></tr><tr><td>U.S. Census Bureau population totals for City of Chicago, Ages 0-19</td><td>1,187,832</td><td>963,125</td><td>809,484</td><td>844,298</td><td>699,363</td></tr><tr><td>Percent of Chicago&#39;s school-aged (5-19) kids in Chicago Public Schools</td><td>63.90%</td><td>65.30%</td><td>68.90%</td><td>69.00%</td><td>79.70%</td></tr><tr><td>Percent of Chicago&#39;s 0-19 kids in Chicago Public Schools</td><td>48.60%</td><td>49.60%</td><td>50.50%</td><td>51.10%</td><td>58.50%</td></tr></tbody></table><p><em>Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Chicago Public Schools, Illinois State Board of Education, Chicago Tribune (for the 1970 number of CPS students).</em></p><p>In the district&rsquo;s 10-year Master Facilities Plan, CPS commissioned Educational Demographics and Planning, Inc. to calculate enrollment projections for the next ten years. The plan estimates a 1 percent increase in the number of school-aged children in Chicago.</p><p>CPS&rsquo;s McCaffrey said until the preliminary 20th day enrollment numbers are vetted, the district is unable to speculate why the schools lost children. More detailed numbers will be out in the coming days and that will help CPS understand what areas of the city are losing the most kids and what grade levels see the biggest drops.</p><p>Andrew Broy, executive director of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, said he expects an increase in the number of children in charter schools. CPS opened four new charter schools this year and is adding grades at a number of existing campuses.</p><p>Broy did admit that some charter schools are struggling to fill open seats.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re seeing more places, on the West Side and parts of the South Side, where charter school&nbsp; enrollment numbers haven&rsquo;t kept up with the campuses being added,&rdquo; Broy said Monday, noting that one-third of all charter schools currently have room for more students.</p><p>But Broy said charters are also the reason many families have chosen to stay in the city.</p><p>&ldquo;I would argue that if we did not have charter schools over the past 10 years we would see a much higher out-migration pattern in Chicago,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>CPS needs to confront the fact that its enrollment is declining, Broy said, but he also said the district needs to continue adding high-quality options for parents.</p><p>Katten, with the parent group Raise Your Hand, said CPS officials should stop opening new schools and focus on ones they have.</p><p>&ldquo;There should probably be a moratorium on opening new schools of any kind,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Parents want a commitment, whether they&rsquo;re in charter schools or district schools, that those existing schools are getting attention.&rdquo;</p><p>B<em>ecky Vevea is a producer and reporter for WBEZ. Follow her </em><a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</p></p> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/3000-fewer-students-enroll-chicago-public-schools-110869 Rehabbing vacant buildings, and the lives of those who fix them http://www.wbez.org/news/rehabbing-vacant-buildings-and-lives-those-who-fix-them-110862 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/green%20housing_140929.jpg" style="height: 351px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="The apartment building on 62nd and Fairfield was once an eyesore and symbol of community blight. (WBEZ/Natalie Moore)" />A two-flat building in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood was once a neighborhood eyesore.</p><p>It was vacant and vandalized, marked with an X for demolition. The tipping point occurred when a young girl was sexually assaulted in the gangway.</p><p>&quot;It was a symbol of really what was problematic with these properties across this community,&quot; said Rami Nashashibi, executive director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network.&nbsp;&quot;Literally you could&rsquo;ve walked into it at anytime. There was not only drug dealing going on, there was prostitution. Literally the neighbors had to change, then alter their schedules because they were just terrified about what was going on in this building.&quot;</p><p>That galvanized the community made up of neighbors, priests, imams, and rabbis. For them, the building could no longer remain empty.</p><p>IMAN, a social justice nonprofit on 63rd Street went to court and received the home for free from the city. The two flat was then retrofitted and rehabbed by formerly incarcerated men and gives them a place to live.</p><p>It&rsquo;s called the <a href="http://www.imancentral.org/project-green-reentry/">Green ReEntry program</a>.</p><p>IMAN&rsquo;s turning vacant homes into environmentally-friendly dwellings with help from the Jewish Council of Urban Affairs and the Southwest Organizing Project.</p><p>The green component includes eco-friendly insulation, preserving rain runoff with buckets and installing ultra-efficient appliances. In the backyard vibrant swiss chard marks a vegetable garden.</p><p>Now, the building&rsquo;s basement will be a community space for block club meetings or other social gatherings. Two families rent apartments in the rehabbed building for below market rate. The goal is to transition them into home ownership.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a rare bright spot in a neighborhood rocked by foreclosures. According to the Woodstock Institute think tank, the rate of long-term vacancy in Chicago Lawn is nearly twice as high as the rest of Chicago.</p><p>Taqi Thomas moved in the two-bedroom apartment in July but the smell of fresh paint lingers.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t want to fall victim to the streets again so I decided that my best bet was to stay around the muslims instead of going home to my family members. I went to IMAN&rsquo;s transitional housing,&rdquo; said Thomas, who served a 13-year drug conviction.</p><p>Downstairs from Thomas is Khalifa Tyeiba&rsquo;s apartment where he lives with his wife and four children.</p><p>Tyeiba served time for aggravated battery, and has been out of the criminal justice system for more than a decade.</p><p>He said this is what usually happens when he applies for an apartment.</p><p>&ldquo;I paid my debt to society and this that and the other, and they&rsquo;ll say &lsquo;Oh okay, we&rsquo;ll get back to you&rsquo; and I won&rsquo;t get a call back. Or they&rsquo;ll outright say you can&rsquo;t have a felony,&rdquo; Tyeiba said.</p><p>He estimates he&rsquo;s been rejected a dozen times in his quest for renting a place.</p><p>To help more men like him, IMAN is in the process of acquiring two other nearby homes for the Green ReEntry program.</p><p>&ldquo;And so to come here in a community, a decent community I see things getting done,&rdquo; Tyeiba continues. &ldquo;My son goes to school right across the street. Beautiful.&rdquo;</p><p>Tyeiba says he can finally relax a bit. There&rsquo;s no longer the X on his back.</p><p>Nor on the building on south Fairfield Avenue.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. Email her at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>.&nbsp;</em><em>Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 07:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rehabbing-vacant-buildings-and-lives-those-who-fix-them-110862 Chicago Public Schools will get money for no-show students, again http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-public-schools-will-get-money-no-show-students-again-110861 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/board of ed_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Public Schools is making a surprising announcement that could cost the district millions of dollars.</p><p>In a letter being sent to principals today, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told schools they would <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/no-further-budget-cuts-schools-didnt-attract-enough-students-108748" target="_blank">again be held harmless</a> for students who didn&rsquo;t show up this year.</p><p>The district changed the way it funds schools last year. Instead of funding positions and programs from downtown, schools are now given about $5,000 per student on average, under a formula called &ldquo;student-based budgeting.&rdquo;</p><p>Last year, because the system was new, the district allowed schools that didn&rsquo;t meet enrollment targets to keep the money allocated to them anyway.</p><p>In a call with reporters about layoffs in June, Byrd-Bennett insisted that would not happen again.</p><p>&ldquo;No no no, that was last year, remember, and I preached that over and over that it was a one-time hold harmless,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>But now, she&rsquo;s changing her mind. In the letter to principals, Byrd-Bennett wrote that CPS plans to use &ldquo;student-based budgeting transition contingency funds and anticipated surplus from Tax-Increment-Financing funds&rdquo; to make sure schools get money based off their projections, not actual enrollment.</p><p>The letter also said any school that got more students on the first day would get additional money.</p><p>CPS used to take an official enrollment count on the 20th day of school and now takes both a 10th day and a 20th day count to calculate any potential budget adjustments. The 20th day count will take place on Monday.</p><p>District spokesman Bill McCaffrey did not say how many schools came in below and how many came in above their initial enrollment projection. He did not say how much it will cost to essentially pay twice for students or pay for students who are no longer in the district.</p><p>McCaffrey also would not say if overall enrollment is up or down. Enrollment in CPS had been steadily declining for the last decade. Last year, the school system lost about 3,000 students, dropping from 403,461 to 400,545.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer and reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-public-schools-will-get-money-no-show-students-again-110861 School board takes on cleanliness controversy http://www.wbez.org/news/school-board-takes-cleanliness-controversy-110851 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/10348248095_15797234cf_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The controversy over cleanliness in Chicago Public Schools seems to be hitting a nerve with members of the Chicago Board of Education.</p><p>It could have been fiery comments from the head of the principals association, or a disturbing account from a primary school teacher, read by a parent during public participation at Wednesday&rsquo;s monthly meeting. It claimed vomit was left to sit on her floor for 30 minutes before it was cleaned up and then crusted into her rug over the weekend.</p><p>The parent who read the comment, Jennie Biggs, has three children at Sheridan Elementary in Bridgeport and is also part of a parent group called Raise Your Hand. That group released the results of an informal survey they did over the last week, which got 162 responses across 60 schools.</p><p>The complaints come on the heels of similar surveys and complaints from principals and teachers that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/custodial-contract-causing-problems-start-school-year-110767">WBEZ first reported earlier this month</a>.</p><p>Board member Andrea Zopp said CPS and the two private companies now overseeing the management of custodians should take a close look at the parent&rsquo;s survey.</p><p>&ldquo;And in particular, look at the some of the comments,&rdquo; Zopp said. &ldquo;You can take (them) with a grain of salt, but there are some very disturbing things in there sent from people who apparently are on the ground.&rdquo;</p><p>CPS has had privatized cleaning services for more than a decade, but last February, the Board voted to award two contracts worth a total $340 million to Aramark and SodexoMAGIC to manage all 2,500 janitors in the school system.</p><p>At the time of that vote, CPS Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley said move would make principals&rsquo; lives easier, explaining that the companies would be <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/chicago-further-privatizes">like &ldquo;Jimmy John&rsquo;s,&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;getting more supplies and cleaning up spills before principals could even hang up the phone.</p><p>On Wednesday, Cawley defended the move to privatize the management of custodians.</p><p>&ldquo;We think the vast, vast majority of our schools are as clean or cleaner than they&rsquo;ve been in the past,&rdquo; Cawley said Wednesday. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s how they started the school year and that&rsquo;s how they&rsquo;re operating now.&rdquo;</p><p>And he insisted the district is saving money. &ldquo;But never, ever, would we compromise the safety or cleanliness of our schools to accomplish those savings,&rdquo; he added.</p><p>Still, Board members had a lot of questions about how the new system is supposed to work.</p><p>&ldquo;So as a principal, three or four teachers come to me on a particular morning, my room is not clean, this is not working right, &hellip; the principal wants to resolve the issue, what&rsquo;s the next step?&rdquo; asked Carlos Azcoitia, one of the board members who served as a principal for 9 years.</p><p>Cawley said they can call a new hotline number or the cell phone of their Aramark custodial manager.</p><p>But Clarice Berry, head of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, said that makes no sense.</p><p>&ldquo;We do not need, we do not want middle managers between the principals and the staff assigned to their schools,&rdquo; Berry said. She also called out Azcoitia and the other former principal on the board, Mahalia Hines, for allowing this to happen.</p><p>But later in the meeting, Hines said the old system didn&rsquo;t work either.</p><p>&ldquo;If [janitors] didn&rsquo;t clean or didn&rsquo;t do their work, I had little or no control over that, because they were with the union and you had to go through a long process, and either they would out wait me or they&rsquo;d die it out,&rdquo; Hines said.</p><p>Cawley said both companies are working at their own expense to fix the problems.</p><p>Aramark spokeswoman Karen Cutler confirmed they&rsquo;ve added extra support above and beyond the terms of the contract.</p><p>&ldquo;We have been meeting with every principal in the district &ndash; over 300 to date &ndash;&nbsp;to address their concerns, as well as review our program, which we have in place at hundreds of school districts across the country,&rdquo; Cutler wrote in an e-mail to WBEZ. &ldquo;We brought in additional managers (at our expense) to assist with the transition and have been training all CPS custodial staff on new equipment, using more efficient, environmentally friendly cleaning techniques.&rdquo;</p><p>One question that did not get answered at Wednesday&rsquo;s meeting is what will happen when additional layoffs go into effect.</p><p>As it stands right now, 468 fewer janitors will be in the schools come Tuesday. &nbsp;</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer and reporter for WBEZ. Follow her </em><a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation"><em>@WBEZeducation</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 08:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/school-board-takes-cleanliness-controversy-110851 Commander pleads not guilty to police-brutality charges http://www.wbez.org/news/commander-pleads-not-guilty-police-brutality-charges-110843 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Evans 1tightcrop (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago police commander accused of jamming his gun into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth pleaded not guilty to nine counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct Wednesday.</p><p>After the arraignment,&nbsp;the attorney for Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, complained about news-media interest in the case. &ldquo;I worry that Glenn might possibly not be able to get a fair trial,&rdquo; the attorney, Laura J. Morask, said outside the courtroom.</p><p>Morask also accused the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority of &ldquo;leaking&rdquo; an Illinois State Police report about a DNA test in the case.</p><p>&ldquo;It built all of this pre-trial, pre-charging publicity that is outrageous,&rdquo; Morask said, adding that she had no immediate plans to seek a change in venue for the trial.</p><p dir="ltr">The charges stem from a January 2013 incident in Grand Crossing, a South Side police district commanded by Evans at the time. Evans, according to police reports about the incident, saw a 22-year-old man named Rickey J. Williams holding a handgun.</p><p>Evans and other officers chased Williams into an abandoned building. There, according to prosecutors, the commander put the barrel of his service weapon into the man&rsquo;s mouth, pressed a Taser into his groin and threatened to kill him.</p><p dir="ltr">A search of the area by authorities that night did not turn up the gun Williams allegedly possessed.</p><p dir="ltr">In April, more than 14 months after the incident, IPRA received the report about the lab test, which found Williams&rsquo; DNA on Evans&rsquo; pistol.</p><p dir="ltr">Based on the lab result, IPRA that month sent police Supt. Garry McCarthy a recommendation to strip Evans of police powers pending the investigation&rsquo;s outcome. WBEZ revealed the case, including the DNA report and IPRA recommendation, in July.</p><p dir="ltr">But McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left Evans in command of the Harrison police district until August 27, when the criminal charges were announced.</p><p>City records obtained by WBEZ through a Freedom of Information Act request show that Evans had been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810">suspended from duty at least 11 times</a> during his 28 years with the department. The two longest suspensions, both 15 days, resulted from excessive-force accusations.</p><p dir="ltr">Those accusations are among dozens of excessive-force complaints against Evans that city agencies have fielded. At least seven of the complaints have come since 2009, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr">The city, meanwhile, has paid out <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">five-figure settlements in at least six federal lawsuits</a> accusing Evans of police brutality. Those payments and related expenses total $282,467, according to a WBEZ review of court filings and city records.</p><p dir="ltr">At least three other police-brutality lawsuits naming Evans as a defendant are pending. Those include a case brought this month by Williams, the man whose accusations led to the criminal charges.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite the news of the excessive-force complaints and lawsuits, Evans maintains support among many police officers and some residents of districts where he has worked.</p><p dir="ltr">About two-dozen Grand Crossing residents, mostly retirees, attended the Chicago Police Board&rsquo;s monthly meeting last Thursday. Several took a turn at the microphone, praising Evans&rsquo; work ethic and attentiveness.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618">Evans also has some support</a>&nbsp;in Harrison, a district he took over as commander in March.</p><p dir="ltr">At the arraignment, Cook County Assistant State&rsquo;s Attorney Lauren Freeman kicked off the case&rsquo;s discovery phase by providing Morask with an armful of records.</p><p>Circuit Court Associate Judge Rosemary Grant Higgins, assigned to the case this week, set the next hearing for October 23.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/commander-pleads-not-guilty-police-brutality-charges-110843 Illinois DCFS ward charged with murder http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-dcfs-ward-charged-murder-110836 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/SPEED BOOKING PHOTO.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Kadiedra Shontell Speed&rsquo;s experience in Illinois&rsquo; child-welfare system has included being placed with adoptive parents who ended up abusing her, stays in psychiatric hospitals, addresses at four homes in the last five years and several arrests for fighting, according to court records and sources.</p><p>Now 20, she&rsquo;s still a ward of the state after her failed adoption, years earlier. Over Labor Day weekend, she had another run-in with the law &mdash; this time with deadly consequences.</p><p>After arguing with her 34-year-old roommate, Speed left in a rage and returned hours later, allegedly stabbing the woman to death in their basement apartment in Joliet, Will County prosecutors and neighbors say.</p><p>She&rsquo;s believed to be the first ward in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to be charged with murder since 2009, when another ward, D&rsquo;Andre Howard, then 20, stabbed his fiancee&rsquo;s sister, father and grandmother to death in Hoffman Estates.</p><p>A report in 2012 by the DCFS inspector general about that case &mdash; in which Howard was found guilty and is now serving three life sentences &mdash; was supposed to lead to greater oversight of hundreds of older wards, who typically are in &ldquo;independent living&rdquo; programs run by social service agencies that DCFS hires. Inspector General Denise Kane revealed Howard had a history of sexual assault arrests and a &ldquo;long history of violence&rdquo; that &ldquo;indicated an urgent need for services.&rdquo; But she concluded &ldquo;a lack of communication among involved professionals,&rdquo; including DCFS&rsquo; sexual abuse services coordinator, led to a DCFS contractor inadequately supervising Howard.</p><p>Whether child-welfare workers missed warning signs of potential violent behavior by Speed is difficult to assess. There&rsquo;s no indication the fights she had in high school caused any serious injuries, and her most recent involvement in the court system before her murder arrest involved her winning an order of protection in February against a parolee boyfriend she said beat her up.</p><p>Karen Hawkins, DCFS&rsquo; communications chief, declined to comment about Speed, as did social service contractors who had worked with her.</p><p>Speed had been in an independent-living program at the time she filed the order of protection, court records show. She reported living in an apartment in Crest Hill, working at a Home Depot warehouse and attending Joliet Junior College. A college spokeswoman said Speed had been enrolled for the spring semester but did not complete her studies.</p><p>According to DCFS rules, wards in independent living &ldquo;can reasonably be expected to live autonomously and without daily staff oversight&rdquo; and by age 20 1/2 are expected to be living &ldquo;without financial support.&rdquo; Caseworkers are required to see independent-living wards &ldquo;at least twice per month,&rdquo; with at least one visit taking place in the ward&rsquo;s home.</p><p>&ldquo;Youth who cannot succeed in [independent living] will be considered for a more supportive living arrangement,&rdquo; a DCFS policy manual states.</p><p>Speed and the woman she allegedly killed, Sharleatha M. Green, moved in to their apartment at 210 N. Eastern Ave. in Joliet about a month before the Aug. 31 slaying, neighbors said. After arguing with Green and leaving, Speed returned with a man and entered the apartment through a ground-floor window.</p><p>Speed is accused of stabbing Green to death, according to court records. She&rsquo;s now being held at the Will County Jail on $1.5 million bail.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">She pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Wednesday.</span>&nbsp;The Will County Public Defender&rsquo;s office, which is representing her, declined to comment.</p><p>Speed was born in 1994 in Milwaukee, according to court records. It&rsquo;s unclear when she came to Illinois and when she was adopted. She had spent time in psychiatric hospitals after her adoptive parents ended up abusing her as a young girl, sources said.</p><p>In 2009, she was arrested three times for disorderly conduct while living in a group home in Downers Grove operated by ChildServ Inc., records show. She was sentenced to court supervision and community service, which she successfully completed.</p><p>The following year, Speed lived at a foster home in Romeoville. Police reports show that she and other teens living there often tried to run away.</p><p>In October 2010, Speed again was arrested for disorderly conduct, this time at Plainfield Central High School. She initially was sentenced to court supervision, but that sentence was revoked, and she ended up paying $260 in fines and court costs.</p><p>In 2011, Speed &mdash; then in the care of a DCFS contractor called Our Children&rsquo;s Homestead, records show &mdash; filed paperwork to change her last name to &ldquo;Edward.&rdquo; On court papers, she listed the reason for the change as &ldquo;failed adoption.&rdquo; But she never went back to court, so her name was never changed.</p><p>Speed&rsquo;s roommate Green, a cocktail server at Hollywood Casino Joliet, met Speed through their respective boyfriends, said Annetta Windman, Green&rsquo;s older sister. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think they knew each other very long,&rdquo; Windman said.</p><p>What little information Windman knows about Speed came from an &ldquo;adoptive sister&rdquo; of Speed&rsquo;s that Windman said she met at Will County court.</p><p>&ldquo;From what I understand, she was always a troubled kid,&rdquo; Windman said of Speed.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p><p><em>Chris Fusco is a </em>Sun-Times<em> staff reporter. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/fuscochris" target="_blank">@fuscochris</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-dcfs-ward-charged-murder-110836 After the march, what's next for climate change? http://www.wbez.org/news/after-march-whats-next-climate-change-110837 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/global warming.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">In the days leading up the 2014 <a href="http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/" target="_blank">UN Climate Summit</a>, thousands of people marched through New York to bring attention to climate change. Millions around the world joined in the effort, but will the movement last?</p><p>One expert says most of that hinges on whether people think climate change is real. A <a href="http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/files/Climate-Beliefs-April-2013.pdf" target="_blank">2013 study</a> by Yale and George Mason universities found nearly two out of three people in the U.S. believe global warming is occurring, but a small percentage of Americans say climate change is all hype.</p><p>Tim Calkins, a marketing professor in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, says the campaign faces a unique challenge because it has to prove there&rsquo;s a problem. Calkins&nbsp;says the movement is getting it right by providing solid evidence that temperatures are rising.</p><p>In August, scientists at the National Climatic Data Center reported the highest global average of land and ocean temperatures since the center began keeping records in 1880.</p><p>&ldquo;By doing that, all of a sudden it takes that raw data and makes it more personal for people,&rdquo; Calkins&nbsp;said. &ldquo;And when you can really see a picture of it, you say &lsquo;my goodness, look at that it is a problem,&rsquo; and it keeps the belief going.&rdquo;</p><p>Calkins&nbsp;says the effort should be prepared to lose momentum post-march.</p><p>&ldquo;The real issue is how do you keep it going, year after year, because this isn&rsquo;t a problem that you solve one time and then you&rsquo;re done,&rdquo; Calkins&nbsp;said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s sort of an ongoing challenge for all of us.&rdquo;</p><p>Calkins&nbsp;says interest in climate change peaked in the mid-2000s, but lost steam in the last few years. Pointing to the success of public health campaigns for <a href="http://komen.org/" target="_blank">breast cancer</a> and the <a href="http://www.alsa.org/" target="_blank">ALS ice bucket challenge</a>, he says climate change falters because advocates struggle to explain why it matters on a deeper level.</p><p>&ldquo;When you have a disease, and there&rsquo;s some diseases that sort of lend themselves perfectly to engagement, there people see it,&rdquo;&nbsp;Calkins&nbsp;said. &ldquo;They say &lsquo;I know somebody who has this and so it matters a ton. Unless they consistently make it relevant for people, it&rsquo;s going to be tough to keep people fired up over time.&rdquo;</p><p>Confusion over what people can actually do to combat climate change is another issue. Most people agree with the primary point that climate change is a problem and and needs to be addressed, but Calkins says it&rsquo;s the secondary point of what action individuals can take that remains unclear.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s this goal to get a lot of action going, and the challenge is that progress is likely to come in little steps,&rdquo; Calkins said. &ldquo;The risk in that is you don&rsquo;t want people to get discouraged.&rdquo;</p><p>Beyond the <a href="http://peoplesclimate.org/" target="_blank">Climate March</a>, Calkins predicts the movement will be around for years. But for those involved, he says the biggest challenge will be keeping the issues at the front of peoples&rsquo; minds.</p><p>&ldquo;The problem today that people get all excited about something, but then they very quickly move on,&rdquo; Calkins said. &ldquo;The digital world we are in encourages that, because there&rsquo;s so many things that pop up that distract everybody.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Updated Sept. 24, 2014: This story was changed to correct the spelling of the name of professor Tim Calkins.</em></p><p><em>Mallory Black covers water, energy and the environment as WBEZ&rsquo;s Front and Center reporting intern. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/mblack47" target="_blank">@mblack47</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/after-march-whats-next-climate-change-110837 Meet Bishop Blase Cupich, Chicago's incoming archbishop http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/meet-bishop-blase-cupich-chicagos-incoming-archbishop-110828 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/greeting.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 5:30 p.m.</em></p><p>Bishop Blase Cupich will be installed as the next archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago on Nov. 18. He&rsquo;s currently the bishop of Spokane, Wash., and previously served as bishop of Rapid City, S.D.</p><p>He began a press conference Saturday by asking the people of Chicago to pray for him, as Pope Francis did right after he became pontiff.</p><p>Cupich&rsquo;s appointment came as something of a surprise to many who have been closely watching the succession process. The bishop comes from a smaller diocese, and hadn&rsquo;t been on most of the short lists. But he&rsquo;s known as a moderate who observers expect will follow the pastoral approach of Pope Francis.</p><blockquote><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/cupich-be-next-chicago-archbishop-110827">Observers, parishioners</a></strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/cupich-be-next-chicago-archbishop-110827"><strong>&nbsp;discuss Cardinal George&#39;s legacy</strong></a></blockquote><p>That viewpoint was evident at his first press conference here, where he was informal and used short parables to get his point across. In Spanish, he said he comes as a pastor, but he also comes here as a brother.</p><p><strong>Bishop Cupich&rsquo;s style of leadership</strong><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/168607075&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>This is the Pope&rsquo;s first major selection in the U.S., so the appointment has been closely watched as indicative of the direction in which the pontiff may hope to lead the U.S. Roman Catholic church.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the holy father is a pastoral man,&rdquo; Cupich said. &ldquo;...I think that I wouldn&rsquo;t want to in any way overly politicize or put this in a different context. I think he cares a lot about people, and he took his time, and he wanted to provide a pastor. And so I think he sent a pastor, not a message.&rdquo;</p><p>Bishop Cupich said he was humbled and encouraged by the appointment, calling it a &ldquo;blessed opportunity.&rdquo; He said surprise doesn&rsquo;t come close to describing his reaction.</p><p><strong>Bishop Cupich&rsquo;s reaction to his selection:</strong><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/168607361&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Cardinal George said he was relieved and grateful the Pope had honored his request to retire. Each time that was mentioned at the press conference, he punched his arm in the air in apparent joy. All the previous bishops here had died in office.</p><p>George said he&rsquo;s relieved, too, to leave the Archdiocese with &ldquo;such an able and experienced man.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I described him as well-prepared for his new responsibilities, bringing to them a deep faith, a quick intelligence, personal commitment and varied pastoral experience, and I hope you&rsquo;ve seen that in action in just a very few minutes, and you&rsquo;ll see it in action for many years to come,&rdquo; he said.</p><p><strong>Cardinal George on why he&rsquo;s grateful:</strong><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/168607598&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The Cardinal is facing his third battle with cancer, and is undergoing experimental treatment. Yet he&rsquo;s largely maintained his bruising schedule.</p><p>George will stay in office for the next two months, while Cupich will continue serving as bishop of Spokane. They plan to stay in touch to plan a smooth transition. Once he&rsquo;s retired, George said he hopes to help the new archbishop in any way he can, and to perform confirmations and confessions.</p><p>If he&rsquo;s strong enough, Cardinal George plans to journey to see Pope Francis in Rome in November.</p><p>Bishop Cupich said his first priority will be getting to know people here and the area, talking about the position as an &ldquo;enormous upgrade&rdquo; in reference to the size of the Archdiocese of Chicago compared to his previous dioceses.</p><p>He said he&rsquo;s worked among diverse cultures, including Latinos and Native Americans, and said that it&rsquo;s important for groups to bring their cultures to their religious experience. He&rsquo;s also pushed for immigration reform.</p><p>The bishop -- who headed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops&rsquo; Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People from 2008-2011 -- said the church must continue to &nbsp;work to protect children from priest sexual abuse and to help heal victims, adding he&rsquo;ll try hard to make that an important part of the ministry.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b8538668-952b-9c4f-7503-0ff9223cf947">Reaction to the selection was mixed in greater Chicago.</span></p><p>Mary Anne Hackett, president of the conservative Catholic Citizens of Illinois, said she&rsquo;s taking a wait-and-see approach.</p><p>&quot;Personally I don&rsquo;t like the designation moderate for anybody,&quot; she said. &quot;I think it would be nice to take a stand one way or another. That might just be a nice way of saying his position. That will unfold as time goes on.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">But the Chicago-based national liberal group Call to Action said it&rsquo;s quote &ldquo;relieved&rdquo; to learn Cupich is moderate. In a statement, they said the Pope&rsquo;s selection shows quote &ldquo;a desire for a humbler, more pastoral church.&rdquo;</p><div><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-8140c6a7-952d-3d48-9bec-bb2f36214810">Local theologian Mike Murphy, who&nbsp;</span><span id="docs-internal-guid-8140c6a7-952d-3d48-9bec-bb2f36214810">h</span>eads Catholic Studies at Loyola University Chicago, called Cupich a good fit for the city. He said the bishop is in line with Pope Francis&rsquo; vision for leadership.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;He is prepared to lead in a way that shepherds the people and not be anchored down to ideology,&quot; Murphy said. He added that he views Cupich as a moderate who&rsquo;s doctrinally very serious while seeing a need for conversation in a polarized society. Murphy also pointed to the bishop&#39;s work&nbsp;serving the poor.</p><p dir="ltr">Bishop Cupich is now archbishop designate. It&rsquo;s likely he&rsquo;ll someday be appointed cardinal, but that wouldn&rsquo;t happen until after Cardinal George -- who&rsquo;s 77 -- turns 80.</p></div><p>Cupich will be formally installed as the new archbishop of Chicago on Nov. 18 at Holy Name Cathedral.</p></p> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/meet-bishop-blase-cupich-chicagos-incoming-archbishop-110828 Cupich to be next Chicago archbishop http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cupich-be-next-chicago-archbishop-110827 <p><p>The Vatican has picked a replacement for Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.archchicago.org/Cardinal/">Cardinal Francis George</a>.</p><p>Pope Francis has tapped Bishop Blase Cupich, who leads the diocese in Spokane, Washington. Before that, Cupich was bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota.</p><p>Pope Francis&#39; choice for Chicago has been closely watched. It is his first major U.S. appointment and the clearest sign yet of the direction he hopes to steer American church leaders. Cupich is a considered a moderate &nbsp;among the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops.&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/meet-bishop-blase-cupich-chicagos-incoming-archbishop-110828">Meet Bishop Blase Cupich, Chicago&#39;s incoming archbishop</a></strong></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Cardinal George has been the spiritual leader for two million Roman Catholics in Lake and Cook County for 17 years now. He&rsquo;s 77, and he&rsquo;s battling cancer for the third time.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>George first Chicago native as archbishop</strong></p><p>The Cardinal -- the first Chicago native to become archbishop here -- has been a polarizing and at times even controversial leader. But there are contradictions between the Cardinal&rsquo;s public and private life that could shape how we remember him.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/168598059&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>As former head of the <a href="http://www.usccb.org/">U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops</a>, the Cardinal led a high-profile fight against Obamacare and the birth control mandate. He&rsquo;s become one of the most prominent voices in the church, nationally and internationally, about what he sees as the dangers of secularism, same-sex marriage and most of all, restrictions on <a href="http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/cardinal-george-addresses-religious-freedom-in-speech-at-byu">freedom of religion</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5291_CardinalGeorge_Healing_Garden-scr.JPG" style="height: 240px; width: 320px; float: left;" title="Cardinal Francis George (File)" />The Cardinal&rsquo;s often portrayed as unfeeling, aloof, even imperious. But colleagues &ndash; and even some critics &ndash; said there&rsquo;s more to him than that.</p><p>Despite being a powerhouse in the Roman Catholic church, Graziano Marcheschi &ndash; who worked with him for a dozen years at the Archdiocese &ndash; said George is not overly impressed with himself, or the trappings of his office.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;ll stand in line, he&rsquo;ll grab the paper plate, he&rsquo;ll get the plastic spoon and fork, and he&rsquo;ll put the food on his own plate, and he&rsquo;ll just go sit where there&rsquo;s a place at any table,&rdquo; Marcheschi said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not looking for the &lsquo;quote&rsquo; head table, he&rsquo;s not looking for the other power players in the room. He just goes and sits and he talks to whoever&rsquo;s there.&rdquo;</p><p>That doesn&rsquo;t mean the Cardinal&rsquo;s the touchy-feely type. But people who have gotten to know him say he&rsquo;s kinder and has more compassion than people generally give him credit for.</p><p>Marcheschi, who now heads mission and ministry at St. Xavier University, likes to tell a story to illustrate this.</p><p>George was speaking at a retreat for young volunteer ministers several years ago when a young woman asked him about the issue of female priests. The Cardinal told her the church believes it&rsquo;s God&rsquo;s will for men to be priests, not women.</p><p>&ldquo;And the young woman became very distraught, and began to cry, and ran out of the room,&rdquo; Marcheschi said. &ldquo;Well, Cardinal George was just speechless. And then afterward, he turned to my wife and he said, &lsquo;Nancy, what happened?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Marcheschi said his wife explained the woman may have felt the church was closing the door on her dreams. Then later some other women at the event asked the Cardinal if they could further discuss the subject of women&rsquo;s ordination later.</p><p>&ldquo;So he said, absolutely, make sure that young woman is part of the group, and I&rsquo;ll be happy to sit down with you,&rdquo; according to Marcheschi.</p><p>The women spent part of a day talking with the Cardinal, but he didn&rsquo;t budge from his view on church teachings prohibiting female priests. (That&rsquo;s a stance he&rsquo;s remained firm on &ndash; in fact, he has asked some priests who openly supported women&rsquo;s ordination to publicly apologize.)</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Obviously the young woman clearly would have liked to have heard something different and didn&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Marcheschi said. &ldquo;But what did happen is she felt heard, she did not feel dismissed. Here she was with the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, a man with a global reach, a man who meets with popes and presidents, and he took an afternoon to meet with this young woman because he had seen how distressed she had been.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Two views of George legacy</strong></p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cardinal%20george%202014%20by%20LK%202.JPG" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Cardinal Francis George speaks earlier this year. (WBEZ/Lynette Kalsnes)" /></div><p>Georgetown University Theology Professor Chester Gillis sees two differing views of George&rsquo;s legacy emerging.</p><p>&ldquo;Those who see him as defending the church against what might be kind of an anti-Christian sentiment in culture and society will raise him as a hero and say he stood against gay marriage, he stood against abortion, he stood against a lot of cultural patterns, and they think that&rsquo;s exactly what he should have done,&rdquo; Gillis said. &ldquo;Others will say that&rsquo;s all he did. That&rsquo;s not true that&rsquo;s all he did, but they&rsquo;ll say he was irrelevant.&rdquo;</p><p>On the progressive side, many see the Cardinal as rigid &ndash; even doctrinaire &ndash; in his view of church teachings.</p><p>&ldquo;He has been a constant complainer about the inroads of secularism and individualism, that those things have crept into the church, and that people aren&rsquo;t like they used to be, and not talking about how the church should be reacting today,&rdquo; said author Robert McClory. McClory is a charter member of the national Catholic group based in Chicago, <a href="http://cta-usa.org/">Call to Action</a>, and writes for the <a href="http://ncronline.org/authors/robert-mcclory">National Catholic Reporter</a>.</p><p>McClory credited the Cardinal with being a hardworking, conscientious overseer of the Archdiocese, but not an innovator.</p><p>&ldquo;He has followed kind of the directives of Pope John Paul II. Keep the church from moving forward, in fact, to keep the church moving backward,&rdquo; McClory said.</p><p>Cardinal George views church teachings in strict terms. He&rsquo;s a noted conservative intellectual, who has earned master&rsquo;s degrees and doctorates in both philosophy and theology. He personally rejects the terms liberal or conservative as being in the realm of politics, not religion. He describes things as being Gospel truth, or not.</p><p>&ldquo;Jesus didn&rsquo;t die on the cross so you could believe anything you want to,&rdquo; he told WBEZ. &ldquo;There is a faith, and the teachers of the faith are the bishops, with a lot of instruction by others. You can say I&rsquo;m Catholic but I don&rsquo;t believe this, I don&rsquo;t believe that. Well, you&rsquo;ve created your own church.&rdquo;</p><p>Perhaps the sharpest criticism is reserved for Cardinal George&rsquo;s handling of the priest sex abuse scandal. He was instrumental in pushing for reforms in the early 2000s that changed how the church handles abuse across the U.S.</p><p>But <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/survivors-lawyers-say-documents-prove-priest-sex-abuse-cover-109557">church records show</a> he let some <a href="http://www.andersonadvocates.com/Archdiocese-of-Chicago-Documents.aspx">priests stay in their positions despite abuse allegations</a>, and sometimes<a href="http://www.andersonadvocates.com/documents/Key_Chicago_Documents/McCormack%20Ex%20126.pdf"> even after the church review board recommended their removal</a>. Advocates point out the Cardinal also didn&rsquo;t discipline those priests&rsquo; superiors.</p><p>The most notorious case on the Cardinal&rsquo;s watch was that of Daniel McCormack, who was convicted of molesting several boys and named in numerous lawsuits over additional abuse allegations.</p><p>In 2012, the Cardinal told WBEZ: &ldquo;Oh, by far, the most difficult challenge has been the terrible fallout from the sexual abuse of children by some priests. I pray for victims. That&rsquo;s been the overwhelming weight in a sense that has stayed with me.&rdquo;</p><p>The Cardinal&rsquo;s also faced protests from the LGBT community as an outspoken lobbyist against gay marriage.</p><p>He has compared the tactics of some gay rights activists to fascism, and he ignited controversy a few years ago by <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/07/chicago-cardinal-apologizes-for-linking-gay-pride-parade-to-ku-klux-klan/">likening organizers of Chicago&rsquo;s gay Pride Parade</a> to &ldquo;something like the Ku Klux Klan&rdquo; when he worried that the parade route would disrupt mass at a local church. He later backtracked and apologized for using an &ldquo;inflammatory&rdquo; analogy.</p><p>&ldquo;I wish he was leaving a legacy as someone who was in the trenches with the poor, as someone who was against gun violence that permeates this city,&rdquo; said Martin Grochala, a board member with <a href="http://www.dignityusa.org/">Dignity Chicago</a>, which advocates for LGBT people in the church. &ldquo;I think unfortunately for LGBT people, his legacy is going to be about advocating against gay marriage.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>&quot;A person of vision&quot;</strong></p><p>But supporter Robert Gilligan, who heads the Catholic Conference of Illinois, called Cardinal George a &ldquo;person of vision.&rdquo;</p><p>Gilligan said the Cardinal clearly and eloquently articulated Catholic church teachings on many issues, including the sacredness of life from conception to death, and that will be what George is remembered for.</p><p>Mary Anne Hackett, who heads the conservative <a href="http://catholiccitizens.org/">Catholic Citizens of Illinois</a>, said she thinks the Cardinal was doing just what he ought to, fighting against abortion and for what she calls &lsquo;true marriage,&rsquo; between a man and a woman.</p><p>&ldquo;What he tried to do was to restore the church in Chicago to what the church teaches,&rdquo; Hackett said. &ldquo;You could call that conservative, I would call that Catholic.&rdquo;</p><p>She acknowledged the Cardinal can sometimes be overly blunt. But she doesn&rsquo;t think those moments will be his lasting legacy:</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;ll be remembered as a person that is open to talk things over, to meet with people of all different persuasions and different opinions, to meet with them, and try to resolve difficulties and differences, on a personal one-to-one basis actually,&rdquo; Hackett said.</p><p>Dignity Chicago&rsquo;s Martin Grochala experienced this firsthand when he and his group met with George several times.</p><p>&ldquo;While we did not see eye to eye on church teaching about sexuality, our conversations were warm and respectful,&rdquo; Grochala said. &ldquo;He was very intelligent and quite, quite quick-witted. Very funny.&rdquo;</p><p>The Cardinal has called this kind of contact with parishioners his greatest joy. And he has packed as much of it as he could into his final days in office. Although he&rsquo;s facing cancer for the third time, George has resembled the Energizer bunny of late.</p><p>His battles with cancer aren&rsquo;t the first time he&rsquo;s faced serious illness. As a teen, George fought polio and overcame it, though the disease left him with a limp. Quigley Preparatory Academy turned him away, saying he was disabled and couldn&rsquo;t be a priest. So George found another religious school, before going on to hold high posts in Rome and being appointed a bishop, archbishop and finally cardinal.</p><p>The Cardinal doesn&rsquo;t plan to entirely slow down. He has said repeatedly that he&rsquo;ll help his successor any way he can. He hopes to spend much of his time doing confirmations and hearing confessions.</p><p>&ldquo;The skill of living is to live as if you&rsquo;re going to die tomorrow and still do your job,&rdquo; the Cardinal said. &ldquo;In a sense prayer does that. You live for a while in a moment where you&rsquo;re not in charge, you&rsquo;re just at God&rsquo;s disposition. And as long as that&rsquo;s the case, then, well, I don&rsquo;t want to die tomorrow, but if I did, I&rsquo;m sure the Lord would still be providential in his care of the Earth. It doesn&rsquo;t depend on me.&rdquo;</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Lynette Kalsnes covers religion and culture. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">@Lynette Kalsnes</a></em></p></p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cupich-be-next-chicago-archbishop-110827