WBEZ | News http://www.wbez.org/news Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How Chicago ranks on infections acquired in hospitals http://www.wbez.org/news/how-chicago-ranks-infections-acquired-hospitals-112496 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/3831365675_4d741b80b8_o.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some of Chicago&rsquo;s biggest hospitals get low ratings when it comes to protecting patients from infections. That&rsquo;s according to a new analysis from <em><a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/hospitalinfections2015" target="_blank">Consumer Reports</a>.</em></p><p>The report says Northwestern Memorial, Presence Resurrection and University of Chicago Medical Center all performed worse than the national baseline when it came to hospital-acquired infections. These infections kill roughly 75,000 Americans a year.</p><p>Rankings were based on data from 3,000 hospitals. The hospitals reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2013 and 2014. They included rates for Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), C.diff (clostridium difficile), central line infections, surgical site infections and catheter infections.</p><p>Doris Peter directs the <em>Consumer Reports</em> health rating center. She said that Chicago didn&rsquo;t do much worse than other big city hospitals, and, in fact, had at least one bright spot. It was Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, which was given a high rating overall and specifically high ratings for avoiding central line and MRSA infections.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a call to hospitals to pay attention to the data and implement procedures including reducing antibiotic prescribing in the hospital,&rdquo; Peter said. &ldquo;But there are lots of other hospital quality measures to think about including mortality and readmission, which we also factor in our overall ratings.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>The analysis was the second piece in a three-part investigative series the magazine is doing on antibiotic resistance.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-chicago-ranks-infections-acquired-hospitals-112496 A sense of self: What happens when your brain says you don't exist http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sense-self-what-happens-when-your-brain-says-you-dont-exist-112498 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/self-identity_wide-593012d29d82fcf11be24fb6d9d317a3cef5496c-s700-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Science journalist Anil Ananthaswamy thinks a lot about &quot;self&quot; &mdash; not necessarily&nbsp;himself, but the role the brain plays in our notions of self and existence.</p><p>In his new book,&nbsp;<em>The Man Who Wasn&#39;t There</em>,&nbsp;Ananthaswamy examines the ways people think of themselves and how those perceptions can be distorted by brain conditions, such as Alzheimer&#39;s disease, Cotard&#39;s syndrome&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19132621">body integrity identity disorder</a>, or BIID, a psychological condition in which a patient perceives that a body part is not his own.</p><p>Ananthaswamy tells&nbsp;Fresh Air&#39;s&nbsp;Terry Gross about a patient with BIID who became so convinced that a healthy leg wasn&#39;t his own that he eventually underwent an amputation of the limb.</p><p>&quot;Within 12 hours, this patient that I saw, he was sitting up and there was no regret. He really seemed fine with having given up his leg,&quot; Ananthaswamy says.</p><p>Ultimately, Ananthaswamy says, our sense of self is a layered one, which pulls information from varying parts of the brain to create a sense of narrative self, bodily self and spiritual self: &quot;What it comes down to is this sense we have of being someone or something to which things are happening. It&#39;s there when we wake up in the morning, it kind of disappears when we go to sleep, it reappears in our dreams, and it&#39;s also this sense we have of being an entity that spans time.&quot;</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On how to define&nbsp;&quot;self&quot;</span></p><p>When you ask someone, &quot;Who are you?&quot; you&#39;re most likely to get a kind of narrative answer, &quot;I am so-and-so, I&#39;m a father, I&#39;m son.&quot; They are going to tell you a kind of story they have in their heads about themselves, the story that they tell to themselves and to others, and in some sense that&#39;s what can be called the narrative self. ...</p><div id="res427154370"><aside><div><p>We can think back to our earliest memories. We can imagine ourselves in the future, and whatever perceptions arise when we remember or when we imagine, whatever emotions arise, they again feel like they&#39;re happening to the same person. So all of these things put together, in some sense, can be called our sense of self.</p></div><p>There are also other ways of thinking about the self. For instance, you and I right now are probably sitting on our chairs, and we have a sense of being a body that is in one place and we can feel sensations in our body. ...</p></aside></div><p>We can think back to our earliest memories. We can imagine ourselves in the future, and whatever perceptions arise when we remember or when we imagine, whatever emotions arise, they again feel like they&#39;re happening to the same person. So all of these things put together, in some sense, can be called our sense of self.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On&nbsp;Cotard&#39;s&nbsp;syndrome, in which a person believes he or she is already dead</span></p><p>Cotard&#39;s syndrome was something that was first identified by a French doctor in the late 1800s. His name was Jules Cotard, and it&#39;s named after him. It&#39;s a constellation of symptoms ... and the most characteristic symptom is the situation where people say that they don&#39;t exist. This is a perception that they have, and you cannot rationalize, you cannot really give them evidence to the contrary and expect them to change their mind. It is a complete conviction that they have that they don&#39;t exist. ... It&#39;s very, very paradoxical. It poses a great philosophical challenge to people who are trying to understand what it means to say &quot;I exist&quot; or &quot;I don&#39;t exist.&quot; It also makes you wonder about all the other things that we are certain about, like you and I probably are very certain that we exist, well, these people are just as certain that they don&#39;t. So it makes you question about perceptions that arise in the brain and somehow, in this case, the delusion is so complete and so convincing that you really cannot shake their conviction that they are dead.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On what brain imaging of a patient with&nbsp;Cotard&#39;s&nbsp;syndrome shows us<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/07/28/426753409/a-sense-of-self-what-happens-when-your-brain-says-you-dont-exist?ft=nprml&amp;f=426753409#" title="Enlarge">i</a></span></p><div id="res426757011" previewtitle="Anil Ananthaswamy is a consultant for New Scientist Magazine."><div><div><p>What seems to be happening is that there is a network in the brain that is responsible for internal awareness, awareness of our own body, awareness of our emotions, awareness of our self-related thoughts, and in Cotard&#39;s, it seems like that particular network is tamped down. In some sense, their own experience of their body, in all its vividness, in experience of their own emotions in all its vividness, that&#39;s compromised very severely. In some sense they&#39;re not feeling themselves vividly. It&#39;s as simple as that. But, then there&#39;s something else that&#39;s happening in the brain. It seems like parts of the brain that are responsible for rational thought are also damaged. First of all, what might be happening is a perception that arises in their brain saying that they are dead because they&#39;re not literally perceiving their own body and body states and emotions vividly and then that perception &mdash; irrational though it is &mdash; is not being shot down.</p></div></div></div><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On&nbsp;body integrity identity disorder, which causes a person to believe that a body part is not his or her own</span></p><p>It really is a very disturbing condition in the sense that it&#39;s not something you would normally ever experience. ... If you look at your hand, there is no doubt in your mind that it is your hand. Now imagine you looked at your hand and it didn&#39;t feel like yours and it didn&#39;t feel like yours for 20, 30 years; it could be a very debilitating thing. It seems to be like that for people experiencing or suffering from BIID. They do take extreme measures. It&#39;s basically a mismatch between the internal perception they have of their own body and the physical body and what&#39;s intriguing and interesting in terms of the self is that what is most important for our sense of self, our bodily self, is the internal perception of it. You can look at your body and you can see your hand or leg that is fully functional, and yet if it doesn&#39;t feel like yours. The feeling is the much more important part of one&#39;s self, not the fact that you can see it and you can function with this leg.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On a patient with BIID who got his leg amputated</span></p><p>I talked to him a few times before the operation trying to find out what it was really that he was suffering from and he really felt like this leg, part of his leg, was not his, it was really something he didn&#39;t want. He would try a whole range of things to make it seem as if he didn&#39;t have it. He would fold his leg and pretend it wasn&#39;t there, he would push it to one side, it really seemed to ruin his life. I remember asking him once, &quot;So what does it exactly feel like?&quot; He says, &quot;It feels like my soul doesn&#39;t extend into that part of my leg.&quot; ...</p><p>One way to kind of understand might be happening in BIID is actually to look at the converse problem. Most people by now will be really well aware of this phenomenon called phantom limbs [syndrome] where you actually have an amputation because of some unfortunate accident or infection and you lose an arm or a leg. Many people continue to feel that the limb still exists and some people even feel pain in that imaginary limb. What that&#39;s telling you is what you are perceiving as your limb is actually some representation of the limb in your brain, not the physical limb.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On how Alzheimer&#39;s disease affects the narrative self</span></p><p>Alzheimer&#39;s disease ... unfortunately literally erases a very important part of our sense of self, which is the narrative that we have in our heads about who we are. This narrative is something that the brain constructs and we&#39;re not even aware that it&#39;s actually a constructed thing. When we just think of ourselves, we have this expansive narrative inside us about who we are and what Alzheimer&#39;s unfortunately does is it puts a stop to the narrative forming. So because short-term memory formation is impaired, it becomes harder and harder for a person with Alzheimer&#39;s to start having new memories, and once you stop having or forming new memories, these memories don&#39;t get incorporated into your narrative. So, in some sense, your narrative stops forming. As the disease progresses it starts eating away at the existing narrative. It starts basically destroying a whole range of memories that go toward constituting the person that you are. ...</p><p>In terms of talking about the self, what this is telling you is that the self is multilayered. There&#39;s a narrative component to it, and what Alzheimer&#39;s seems to be doing is destroying the narrative component to the point that the person really cannot recognize anyone. ... We really don&#39;t know what the situation is from the perspective of the person suffering from Alzheimer&#39;s, especially late stage Alzheimer&#39;s.</p></p> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sense-self-what-happens-when-your-brain-says-you-dont-exist-112498 NATO says it stands with Turkey in fight against ISIS http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-says-it-stands-turkey-fight-against-isis-112497 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ap_295749276065_custom-d817a4135a6c5f79f33a8079a30e9add34cc3101-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>During a meeting with all 27 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday, Turkey said it wanted to give the members a heads up that at some point it may need their help fighting against the self-declared Islamic State.</p><p>Turkey called a rare&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_49187.htm">Article 4 meeting</a>&nbsp;of the NATO allies after it began an air campaign against ISIS targets in Syria.</p><p><a href="http://news.yahoo.com/nato-holding-rare-emergency-meeting-turkeys-request-174542971.html">As <em>The Associated Press</em> reports</a>, Turkey has been reluctant to join the U.S.-led war against ISIS, but recently an ISIS suicide bombing near the Turkish border with Syria left 32 people dead. Last week, Turkey decided to let the U.S. launch airstrikes from a base in the country and also began launching its own strikes.</p><p>&quot;If a NATO member country comes under attack, NATO would support it in every way,&quot; Turkey&#39;s president, Tayyip Erdogan, said,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/28/us-mideast-crisis-turkey-nato-idUSKCN0Q20RQ20150728">according to Reuters</a>. &quot;At the moment,<a href="http://www.reuters.com/places/turkey">Turkey</a>&nbsp;has come under attack and is exercising its right to defend itself and will exercise this right until the end ... but what we&#39;re saying is that there could be a duty for NATO, and we ask NATO to be prepared for this.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-meets-at-turkeys-request-to-discuss-crisis-in-syria-iraq-1438078682"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em> reports</a>&nbsp;that during and following the meeting, NATO offered political support to Turkey:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;Following the meeting, NATO issued a statement condemning the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=6&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDMQFjAFahUKEwiTmsaW2f3GAhUBGxQKHQ34Cbo&amp;url=http://www.wsj.com/articles/turkish-town-of-suruc-hit-by-deadly-blast-1437388272&amp;ei=E2S3VdPEOoG2UI3wp9AL&amp;usg=AFQjCNGHkhEp-bINhc_P_eJX_2wEWYNp9w&amp;bvm=bv.98717601,d.ZGU" target="_blank">attacks against Turkey</a>, adding that terrorism is &#39;a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.&#39;</p><p>&quot;Both before and after the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg repeatedly mentioned that the alliance stood with Turkey, brushing off questions about divisions within the allies over Ankara&#39;s approach.</p><p>&quot; &#39;All allies stand in solidarity with Turkey, we strongly condemn the terrorist attacks,&#39; Mr. Stoltenberg said.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/28/427032292/nato-says-it-stands-with-turkey-in-fight-against-isis">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-says-it-stands-turkey-fight-against-isis-112497 The struggle to breathe life back into empty schools http://www.wbez.org/news/struggle-breathe-life-back-empty-schools-112488 <p><p>Virginia Savage lives in a part of north St. Louis, Mo., that&#39;s filled with vacant buildings, including Marshall Elementary. It has been closed for years now, and vines crawl into the building&#39;s smashed-out windows. The playground is littered with empty liquor bottles.</p><p>Savage went to school at Marshall as a young girl, and now she sees bigger problems beyond all those blemishes: &quot;Drug dealers, drug users, eyesore. That&#39;s what I see.&quot;</p><p>In St. Louis, the student enrollment is one-fourth the size it was in the 1960s. That drop has led the district to close 30 or so schools.</p><p>It&#39;s the same story across the country in cities like Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago, where district leaders are facing the big question &mdash; what to do with all of those empty schools?</p><p>Savage volunteers at a neighborhood church that used to be a vacant school, too. So she doesn&#39;t just see problems, she also sees potential. &quot;Apartments, room for the homeless, a community center,&quot; she says. &quot;There&#39;s a lot that can go on with this building.&quot;</p><p>Empty buildings are difficult to secure, they can attract crime, and they fall apart quickly. So St. Louis Public Schools rounded up a group of volunteer architects, contractors and community health experts to pitch developers and lure investors into doing something with these places.</p><p>And because this all boils down to real estate, the first thing to do was throw a bunch of open houses at schools like Eliot Elementary, another stately historic school. It&#39;s more than 100 years old and classic St. Louis with an impressive stature, deep red brick and thick, wrought iron.</p><p>It probably sounds like a steal at $260,000, but it&#39;s also what you might call an ultimate fixer-upper.</p><p>The school closed 10 years ago, and inside, insulation is scattered across the floor. The sub-ceiling is down, paint is stripped off the walls, all the copper is out of the building and the alarm system has been ripped out. It looks like the set from a post-apocalyptic film.</p><p>&quot;Post-something,&quot; says Walker Gaffney, director of real estate for St. Louis Public Schools. &quot;Post-population flight, post-declining enrollment and diminishing resources.&quot;</p><p>It might seem logical to just tear the place down, but Gaffney says that wouldn&#39;t be a good use of money. &quot;The cost of tearing this buildings down is very prohibitive &mdash; anywhere from a half million dollars up to a million,&quot; Gaffney says. &quot;This was a temple of learning that was built to last hundreds and hundreds of years.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s learning that many say could continue with one obvious group of potential buyers: charter public schools, which have seen increasing enrollment.</p><p>The district used to have a rule against selling empty schools to charters, but that&#39;s no longer the case. Yet some in the charter community say St. Louis Public Schools is still rejecting their offers.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/npr2-edit_slide-d48303bfc30cdacf45ff6c8d992156d93029a7bc-s800-c85.jpg" title="The Eliot building is falling apart, but hints of the past still line the surface — like this old mural visible through the peeling paint. (Tim Lloyd/ St. Louis Public Radio)" /></div><p>Gaffney says there&#39;s no unwritten rule against charters and it&#39;s all about competitive offers. &quot;Now, is the district going to give buildings away?&quot; Gaffney asks. &quot;No. This is the list price; make me an offer.&quot;</p><p>So far the district&#39;s plan to lure investors has been working. A few deals are in the works to renovate old schools into apartments, offices and artist spaces.</p><p>But there&#39;s still much more work to be done.</p><p>Jessica Eiland is another community member tasked with finding investors. She runs Northside Community Housing Inc., a nonprofit that builds homes in the area around Marshall Elementary in north St. Louis.</p><p>And while she acknowledges it can be a huge challenge to breathe life back into these buildings, she also says redeveloping a 50,000-square-foot vacant school like Marshall could have a domino effect.</p><p>&quot;It could be the catalyst to get other people thinking, &#39;You know what, I should invest my resources on this side of the community.&#39; &quot;</p><p>Because the last thing any school was meant to do is bring problems into a neighborhood.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/07/28/426735945/the-struggle-to-breathe-life-back-into-empty-schools">via nprEd</a></p></p> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 09:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/struggle-breathe-life-back-empty-schools-112488 Without a budget, courts step in to force state to pay bills http://www.wbez.org/news/without-budget-courts-step-force-state-pay-bills-112477 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/4397586040_c9c4b84976_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers remain at an impasse over the state budget.</p><p>But over the last few weeks, the courts have repeatedly stepped in&mdash;telling the state, budget or no budget, it has to pay for certain things, pay some bills.</p><p>The result of that: The state is, bit by bit, forcibly reverting back to some of its budget from last fiscal year -- which happens to be a budget that nobody wants.</p><p>Without a budget, here&rsquo;s Illinois&rsquo; situation: Money can come in. But the rules about how the state can spend it are unclear.</p><p>When last year&rsquo;s state budget expired on July 1, everyone knew certain state business wouldn&rsquo;t stop: There are laws that say prisons can&rsquo;t close and the state police can&rsquo;t call it quits.<br />But there were lots of other things that nobody knew whether the state could continue to fund.</p><p>Can the state still fund foster care without a budget? What about state parks or the DMV?</p><p>Over and over again these last few weeks, the state has been in court to sort these things out.</p><p>Foster care, for example, the courts said the state had to pay. Same for treatment for adults with developmental disabilities.</p><p>This week it was Medicaid, funding healthcare for the poor. And singling out how this Medicaid situation played out is important--because it&rsquo;s a good example of how having no budget is hurting the state; how it&rsquo;s making a bad situation even worse.</p><p>Medicaid is one of the biggest budget lines in Illinois: More than $7 billion. Hospitals, clinics and patients all over the state depend on that money.</p><p>So, it&rsquo;s not surprising that lawyers <a href="http://www.wbez.org/judge-orders-state-pay-cook-county-medicaid-providers-during-budget-impasse-112465">went to court</a>&mdash;wanting a judge to force the to state to keep Medicaid going in Cook County.</p><p>&ldquo;We need to increase access to care not decrease it,&rdquo; said John Bouman, an attorney with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, who brought the lawsuit against the state, hoping to force Medicaid payments.&nbsp;</p><p>Bouman and others argued that if the funding didn&rsquo;t come through, hospitals would close. People couldn&rsquo;t get treated.</p><p>&ldquo;You have to keep the whole system going as if there&rsquo;s no budget impasse in order to ensure that the children have access to care,&rdquo; Bouman explained.</p><p>The court agreed: A federal judge ordered the state to continue paying Medicaid in Cook County.</p><p>Because there&rsquo;s no current budget to guide Medicaid spending, the state was has been ordered to keep spending on Medicaid according to last year&rsquo;s budget.</p><p>And the thing about that is last year&rsquo;s budget was widely accepted to be awful.</p><p>&ldquo;Cobbled together. It was in overdraft,&rdquo; said Chris Mooney, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield.</p><p>Last year&rsquo;s budget was complicated, in part, because halfway through, when Rauner won the governorship, he let the income tax rate go down. Meaning: lower taxes for residents, and less money for the state.</p><p>Nobody in Springfield thinks last year&rsquo;s budget process should be used as a guide for how the state spends money now. But with each of these court interventions, that&rsquo;s exactly what&rsquo;s happening.</p><p>Simply put: because leaders can&rsquo;t make a new spending plan, the state has to use last year&rsquo;s faulty one--which appears to make things tumultuous on pretty much all fronts.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, the whole thing sucks,&rdquo; Mooney said.</p><p>He remains convinced that Rauner and Democrats will reach a budget...there just might be snow on the ground by the time it&rsquo;s decided.</p><p>Meanwhile, the court interventions, like the Medicaid one, keep piling up: DCFS, foster care and a bunch of other things -- are all being funded according to an outdated budget that everyone thinks is trouble.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers state politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 25 Jul 2015 13:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/without-budget-courts-step-force-state-pay-bills-112477 Chicago agency chief denies pressuring investigators to change findings on police shootings http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-agency-chief-denies-pressuring-investigators-change-findings-police-shootings-112467 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Ando3crop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated Friday, July 24, to include comments from the mayor&rsquo;s office and allegations from a second former Chicago investigator.</em></p><p>The chief administrator of the Chicago agency that looks into shootings by police denies that it has asked investigators to change their findings.</p><p>An Independent Police Review Authority official on Thursday hand-delivered a written statement challenging allegations brought by a supervising investigator the agency fired this month.</p><p>As <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/city-fires-investigator-who-found-cops-fault-shootings-112423">WBEZ first reported</a>, Lorenzo Davis was terminated July 9 after a performance evaluation accused him of anti-police bias and called him &ldquo;the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,&rdquo; as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.</p><p>Davis says the disputed cases included six shootings by officers that he had found were unjustified.</p><p>In the statement, IPRA Chief Administrator Scott M. Ando says the agency&rsquo;s management has the final word on whether findings are accurate and whether they meet the burden of proof. The statement added, however, that &ldquo;no one at IPRA has ever been asked to change their findings.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;In a very small number of cases, when during the course of a supervisory review it is found that evidence has been excluded,&rdquo; the statement said, &ldquo;a supervisor will request that the investigator review and include all available evidence in their findings.&rdquo;</p><p>That, the statement says, is what happened with Davis. &ldquo;A few cases he worked on were found to be incomplete by all three levels of management above him,&rdquo; the statement says. The findings &ldquo;did not include all available evidence and in some cases were built on assumptions.&rdquo;</p><p>Ando, promoted last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to head the agency, so far has not agreed to speak with WBEZ about Davis&rsquo;s termination, the shootings or the agency&rsquo;s process for arriving at its findings.</p><p>A written statement late Thursday from an Emanuel spokesman calls the termination an &ldquo;internal matter.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The city does not tolerate biased investigations,&rdquo; the statement said. &ldquo;We have confidence in IPRA and the important role they play as an independent, civilian-led review agency.&rdquo;</p><p>A second former top IPRA investigator, meanwhile, made allegations about the agency late Thursday. Anthony Finnell says he left IPRA last year because officers with multiple excessive-force complaints remained on duty.</p><p>&ldquo;We could not get the state&rsquo;s attorney to file charges, we could not get the police department to discipline them, we could not even get our agency to support, at times, the findings against certain officers,&rdquo; Finnell <a href="https://twitter.com/allinwithchris/status/624392400450949120">said on MSNBC</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;For me, as a police officer, that was extremely frustrating,&rdquo; said Finnell, who worked for 23 years as an Indianapolis cop, finishing there as a sergeant.</p><p>At IPRA, he worked for 15 months as a supervising investigator. He moved last year to head an agency that investigates police wrongdoing in Oakland, California.</p></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-agency-chief-denies-pressuring-investigators-change-findings-police-shootings-112467 Sandra Bland's death sparks provocative social media campaign http://www.wbez.org/news/sandra-blands-death-sparks-provocative-social-media-campaign-112457 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ap_699543271328_custom-98226219aa1b624290c50c8e6004c26a916e5c1c-s800-c85_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The story of Sandra Bland continues to unfold, bringing more questions than answers.</p><p>The African-American woman from Naperville was pulled over on July 10 by Texas State Trooper Brian T. Encinia for a minor traffic violation in a small Texas town and was arrested for assault.</p><p>Three days later she was found dead in her jail cell.</p><p>The initial finding was that she hung herself, but the investigation has widened and it&rsquo;s now <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/death-woman-found-hanged-texas-jail-cell-will-be-investigated-murder-112432">being treated as a murder case</a>, according to the District Attorney in Waller County.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s still unknown whether Ms. Bland was murdered by Waller County law enforcement officials, which is really what most people believe, or whether she committed suicide. But whatever the cause of death, there&rsquo;s one thing for certain, it was a wrongful death,&rdquo;&nbsp; Jeffrey L. Boney, associate editor for the <em>Houston Forward Times</em> and talk show host for 1230 AM KCOH in Houston, told <em>Morning Shift</em>.</p><p>There are currently no official wrongful death charges against Waller County Police. Bland&rsquo;s family has hired an independent medical examiner to investigate her death.</p><p>The latest controversy surrounds the newly released police dash-cam video of the traffic stop and arrest by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Bland&rsquo;s family claims the more than 52-minute video shows signs of editing about midway through, raising more questions.</p><p>The department says the video hasn&rsquo;t been edited, but says there were technical glitches as a result of uploading the video. A new, glitch-free, 49-minute video has been released.</p><p>The 28-year-old civil rights advocate&rsquo;s death is the latest in a string of African-American deaths either in police custody or in confrontation with law enforcement.</p><p>Almost immediately after news of Bland&rsquo;s death broke, the hashtag #IfIDieinPoliceCustody took off on social media. The hashtag exposes the truth and fear that many feel surrounding the relationship between the police and African Americans.</p><p>Boney of <em>Houston Forward Times</em> said the reason behind the hashtag is simple.</p><p>&ldquo;You have a group of individuals that are sick and tired of being sick and tired,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Jamilah Lemieux, senior editor for <a href="http://www.ebony.com/">Ebony.com</a>, participated in #IfIDieinPoliceCustody.</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a> don&#39;t trust any report of me being aggressive, I put my humanity aside in interactions w/ cops to come home to my kid</p>&mdash; jamilah (@JamilahLemieux) <a href="https://twitter.com/JamilahLemieux/status/621901600655847424">July 17, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>She explained her tweet on<em> Morning Shift</em>.</p><p>&ldquo;That means the right that I have to challenge someone who is violating my legal rights is something I&rsquo;ve put aside in hopes, in hopes, that I won&rsquo;t be killed by a police officer,&rdquo; Lemieux said.</p><p>Along with the hashtag, the Black Lives Matter movement and the black press have closely followed the story, some argue more than the mainstream media.</p><p>&ldquo;Social media networks, particularly Twitter, [has] become another arm of the black press. People who are not traditional journalists, and reporters and writers, have a voice and have the ability to make stories like this relevant to larger audiences. Other outlets, the TV news, they were forced to pay attention to this story because of social media and because of quote, unquote, black Twitter,&rdquo; she said.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">10 Compelling #IfIDieinPoliceCustody tweets</span></p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a> it will be because they were too afraid to keep me alive <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SayHerName?src=hash">#SayHerName</a>&hellip; <a href="https://t.co/8Z04TjFqEa">https://t.co/8Z04TjFqEa</a></p>&mdash; The Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dreamdefenders/status/622757605002379264">July 19, 2015</a></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ifidieinpolicecustody?src=hash">#ifidieinpolicecustody</a> look under my fingernails. The skin of the person who killed me will be there...</p>&mdash; Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) <a href="https://twitter.com/CharlesMBlow/status/622262216247635968">July 18, 2015</a></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a> ask every question, and know that I did not end my own life. And protest in the spirit of the founding fathers.</p>&mdash; deray mckesson (@deray) <a href="https://twitter.com/deray/status/622043957032304640">July 17, 2015</a></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ifidieinpolicecustody?src=hash">#Ifidieinpolicecustody</a> Do not make calls for peace or forgiveness. Do not speculate about my mental state. I&#39;m Black and constantly enraged.</p>&mdash; Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) <a href="https://twitter.com/CharleneCac/status/622039293226319873">July 17, 2015</a></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">I actually can&#39;t take the realness of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a> right now so many young Blk people prepping for that possibility is so painful</p>&mdash; MichaelaAngela Davis (@MichaelaAngelaD) <a href="https://twitter.com/MichaelaAngelaD/status/621903028254322688">July 17, 2015</a></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a> know that I didn&#39;t reach for the officer&#39;s gun.</p>&mdash; Juan M. Thompson (@JuanMThompson) <a href="https://twitter.com/JuanMThompson/status/621854401976610816">July 17, 2015</a></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a> Don&#39;t call for peace. Call for action. Peace will not get me justice. Peace will not bring my family justice.</p>&mdash; Pocahontas༄༅ (@MalePocahontas) <a href="https://twitter.com/MalePocahontas/status/621839019899355136">July 17, 2015</a></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a> is a trending hashtag. Let that sink in. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a> IS TRENDING. People are afraid. Change is needed.</p>&mdash; J. Shwah (@J_Shwahh) <a href="https://twitter.com/J_Shwahh/status/621830221008912384">July 16, 2015</a></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a> hire an outside investigator immediately.</p>&mdash; JadeBrieanne, Author (@BlackNerdJade) <a href="https://twitter.com/BlackNerdJade/status/621698700310671361">July 16, 2015</a></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">It&#39;s sad that we need advance directives in the case of our lives being taken at the hands of law enforcement. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IfIDieInPoliceCustody?src=hash">#IfIDieInPoliceCustody</a></p>&mdash; Afro-Circus (@ImJustCeej) <a href="https://twitter.com/ImJustCeej/status/621694332370833408">July 16, 2015</a></blockquote><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sandra-blands-death-sparks-provocative-social-media-campaign-112457 Without state budget solution, Roseland hospital may have to close http://www.wbez.org/news/without-state-budget-solution-roseland-hospital-may-have-close-112456 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 2.22.14 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law is in federal court Thursday to try and force the Illinois state government to pay the Medicaid payments it owes. It&#39;s the latest issue to wind up before a judge as part of the budget impasse that&#39;s playing out at the Illinois statehouse.</p><p dir="ltr">Some hospitals serving low-income communities are in imminent danger of closing, according to Shriver Center&rsquo;s court filing. The filing further states that If those hospitals close because of the state&#39;s failure to pay bills, it would violate a decade-old court order. The Shriver lawyers argued that order requires the state to complete Medicaid payments to hospitals in Cook County, even though Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers have not approved a spending plan authorizing the state to reimburse those hospitals.</p><p>The court filing specifically named The New Roseland Community Hospital. It said delayed payments &ldquo;will force Roseland Community Hospital, in less than a week, to begin the process of closing its hospital.&rdquo; Roseland Community Hospital is dependent on the Medicaid program for 71 percent of its funding and it anticipates a $2 million shortfall in July and a $2.4 million shortfall in August, according to the Shriver Center&rsquo;s filing.</p><p dir="ltr">Roseland Hospital said in a written statement that it has enough funding to make payroll on July 31st and it will be implementing a voluntary furlough, layoffs and service line suspensions before August 1.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The families of those who are going to die because of this political budget impasse will not give a damn about party lines,&rdquo; said Tim Egan, New Roseland President and CEO, in an emailed statement. &ldquo;Just as bullets don&#39;t recognize political boundaries, grieving families, critically injured patients and an abandoned community will not care about Republicans or Democrats. They will just know that the State of Illinois failed them. And the State of Illinois will have failed the New Roseland Hospital, its patients and its employees over a political stalemate.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is a named defendant in the lawsuit. John Hoffman, a spokesperson for the department, said in response to the filing, &ldquo;While we believe this motion incorrectly interprets the consent decree, this does highlight the importance of the General Assembly passing a balanced budget so our most vulnerable citizens will know they can continue receiving the care they need in the long run.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Eight other hospitals that depend heavily on Medicaid payments are receiving limited leftover funds from fiscal year 2015, so they can continue operating for now. But the Shriver Center&rsquo;s filing argues that those payments only delay the day of reckoning for those hospitals until August.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a>. WBEZ&rsquo;s state politics reporter Tony Arnold also contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 05:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/without-state-budget-solution-roseland-hospital-may-have-close-112456 Chicago school board approves building sales, more borrowing http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-school-board-approves-building-sales-more-borrowing-112454 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/boardofed_bv.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-22ce59dd-b7f5-51e7-251c-f476b14f7ab9">The Chicago Board of Education sold three vacant school buildings for about $8.5 million and approved up to $1.2 billion in borrowing at Wednesday&rsquo;s monthly meeting.</p><p dir="ltr">Typically, the school board approves a budget in July, but principals were given individual school budgets just last week. A complete budget must be passed before students go back to class in September.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The budget process this year has been delayed for a variety of reasons,&rdquo; said David Vitale, outgoing president of the Board of Education. Those reasons include a push for pension reform in Springfield and ongoing contract talks with the Chicago Teachers Union.</p><p dir="ltr">But Chicago Public Schools has been dealing with a structural deficit for several years, a truth not lost on Vitale during his last meeting on the school board.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;For what it&rsquo;s worth, that funding problem was identifiable from the day I sat down in this chair,&rdquo; Vitale said, listing some of the contributing factors: ballooning pension payments, decreasing federal and state funding, and skyrocketing debt payments.</p><p dir="ltr">Vitale said the school board hasn&rsquo;t been &ldquo;ignorant&rdquo; or &ldquo;sitting back, waiting for disaster to happen,&rdquo; but he argued its power is limited, saying, &ldquo;all we can do is advocate to others to, frankly, give us more authority to tax.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The board, under Vitale&rsquo;s leadership, voted to raise property taxes to the legal limit every year for the past four. But it still hasn&rsquo;t been enough.</p><p dir="ltr">In June, the board approved a $1.1 billion line of credit that will expire at the end of August. The move was done to ensure CPS could make payroll. This week, the board approved another $1.2 billion in long-term borrowing.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS Chief Financial Officer Ginger Ostro insisted the amount of money was simply an estimate and should be considered &ldquo;a cap&rdquo; or &ldquo;limit&rdquo; to what the district can issue in bonds.</p><p dir="ltr">The Board will have to approve actual bond sales in September or October, Ostro said.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Revenue from school sales</span></p><p dir="ltr">Board members on Wednesday also approved the sale of three vacant schools that were shuttered in 2013, providing a small windfall of cash for its struggling budget.</p><p dir="ltr">Liza Balistreri is in charge of real estate at Chicago Public Schools and outlined the sales of Near North Elementary in Noble Square, Overton Elementary in Bronzeville, and Von Humboldt Elementary in Humboldt Park.</p><p dir="ltr">Near North is being purchased by Svigos Asset Management for $5.1 million. It will be used for residential and commercial development, Balistreri said. Svigos also purchased the old Peabody Elementary for $3.5 million. There was some <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/charters-might-move-closed-cps-schools-112063">controversy around Peabody</a> earlier this year when a public charter school rented space in the building. Previously, district officials had said no closed school would be used as a public school.</p><p dir="ltr">Von Humboldt is being bought by IFF Von Humboldt LLC for $3.1 million and will be redeveloped to include a day care, housing for current and retired public school teachers, office space, and a cafe. There was a higher bid for the massive school, but it did not line up with what the community wanted, CPS officials said.</p><p dir="ltr">Overton is being sold to Washington Park Development Group for $325,000 and will be used for counseling, career training, housing or retail space.</p><p dir="ltr">Newly-seated board member and former CEO of BMO Harris Bank Mark Furlong told Balistreri he wants to see the district pick up the pace when it comes to selling its vacant property.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a couple years,&rdquo; Furlong said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve gotta find a way to accelerate the sale of these buildings so that we can bring cash into the classrooms.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Balistreri said seven or eight more buildings are almost ready to go out for bid.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Shuffling at the top</span></p><p dir="ltr">There were several new faces in the board chamber on Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">David Vitale remained in the president&rsquo;s chair, but was flanked by new mayoral appointees Furlong, Dominique Jordan Turner, Gail Ward, and longstanding member Mahalia Hines. Ward and Hines are both former CPS principals, and Jordan Turner runs the Chicago Scholars Foundation, which works with first generation, low-income, college-bound public school students in the city.</p><p dir="ltr">Rev. Michael Garanzini is also officially a new member of the board, but was not present Wednesday because he was travelling, Vitale said. Incoming Board President Frank Clark sat in the audience.</p><p dir="ltr">Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz remains in his post through the end of the week, and then will return to serving as vice president of the school board. He took a moment to thank Mayor Rahm Emanuel for giving him the responsibility to manage CPS, and, in Spanish, he thanked the community for its support.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Muchísimas gracias a todos,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">The son of Mexican immigrants, Ruiz is the only Latino among the top leadership at CPS, despite the fact that Latino students are the largest ethnic group in the district -- at 46 percent and growing.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Replacing Ruiz as schools CEO is mayoral confidant and former head of the Chicago Transit Authority Forrest Claypool. Janice Jackson will serve as Chief Education Officer and Denise Little will take on the role of senior adviser to the CEO.</p><p>Claypool will earn $250,000 annually, while Jackson and Little will make $195,000 and $180,000, respectively. Claypool and Jackson&rsquo;s salaries are comparable to those of their predecessors, but Little&rsquo;s is a new position with no precedent for salary.<br /><br /><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can reach her at <a href="mailto:bvevea@wbez.org">bvevea@wbez.org</a> and follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-school-board-approves-building-sales-more-borrowing-112454 Woman who died in cell mentioned previous suicide attempt http://www.wbez.org/news/woman-who-died-cell-mentioned-previous-suicide-attempt-112455 <p><p>DALLAS &mdash; A woman whose death in a Texas jail has raised suspicions about the official conclusion that she hanged herself told a guard during the booking process that she had tried to kill herself in the past, the sheriff said Wednesday.</p><p>Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith told The Associated Press during a telephone interview that Sandra Bland told a jailer July 10 about a previous suicide attempt, while being asked a series of questions posed to each person booked into the jail. He did not provide further details about the conversation.</p><p>Asked about Smith&#39;s assertion, the attorney representing Bland&#39;s family, Cannon Lambert, said relatives have &quot;no evidence&quot; that she ever attempted suicide or had been treated for depression.</p><p>It was not immediately clear why the department hadn&#39;t previously disclosed details of conversations with Bland, or whether they were shared with other jail staff. It also wasn&#39;t clear whether Bland was on suicide watch or otherwise specially monitored during her weekend incarceration.</p><p>A second jailer also interviewed Bland, according to the sheriff. The 28-year-old black woman from Illinois said she was not depressed but was upset about her arrest, which occurred following a confrontation with a white officer who had stopped her for a minor traffic violation.</p><p>Smith says both jailers who spoke with Bland insisted that she appeared fine when being booked on a charge of assaulting a public servant.</p><p>Bland&#39;s body was found three days later in her cell. Authorities say she hanged herself using a plastic liner taken from a garbage can.</p><p>Her death comes after nearly a year of heightened national scrutiny of police and their dealings with black suspects, especially those who have been killed by officers or die in police custody.</p><p>Smith said Wednesday that no one gained access to the cell and contributed to Bland&#39;s death.</p><p>&quot;My obligation is to run this jail and keep everyone safe,&quot; he said.</p><p>Bland&#39;s family has said she was not despondent and was looking forward to starting a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&amp;M University. Lambert said Wednesday that Bland had just bought groceries and was ecstatic about her new job when she was pulled over.</p><p>However, Bland posted a video to her Facebook page in March, saying she was suffering from &quot;a little bit of depression as well as PTSD,&quot; or post-traumatic stress disorder. At least one friend has said she was just venting after a bad day.</p><p>The sheriff discussed Bland&#39;s booking process as her family held a news conference in suburban Chicago to discuss the release of video of her arrest taken from the officer&#39;s dashcam, which shows him drawing a stun gun and threatening Bland when she refuses to follow his orders.</p><p>The roadside encounter swiftly escalated into a shouting confrontation, with the officer holding the weapon and warning Bland, &quot;I will light you up,&quot; for not getting out of her vehicle.</p><p>The video posted online Tuesday by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows the trooper stopping Bland for failing to signal a lane change. The conversation turns hostile when the officer asks Bland to put out her cigarette and she asks why she can&#39;t smoke in her own car. The trooper then orders Bland to get out of the vehicle. She refuses, and he tells her she is under arrest.</p><p>Further refusals to get out bring a threat from the trooper to drag her out. He then pulls out a stun gun and makes the threat about lighting Bland up.</p><p>When she finally steps out of the vehicle, the trooper orders her to the side of the road. There, the confrontation continues off-camera, but it is still audible.</p><p>Bland can be heard protesting her arrest, repeatedly using expletives and calling the officer a &quot;pussy.&quot; She screams that he&#39;s about to break her wrists and complains that he knocked her head into the ground.</p><p>In response to questions about gaps and overlaps in the originally posted video, authorities said the footage was not edited or manipulated. Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said glitches occurred in the recording when it was uploaded for public viewing, and the department has since uploaded it again.</p><p>Bland&#39;s death has resonated on social media, with posts questioning the official account and featuring the hashtags #JusticeForSandy and #WhatHappenedToSandyBland. Others referred to #SandySpeaks, the hashtag Bland used in monologues she posted on Facebook in which she talked about police brutality and said she had a calling from God to speak out against racism and injustice.</p><p>The trooper, who has been on the force for just over a year, has been placed on administrative leave for violating unspecified police procedures and the Department of Public Safety&#39;s courtesy policy. The agency would not address questions about whether the trooper acted appropriately by drawing his stun gun or trying to pull Bland out of the vehicle.</p></p> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/woman-who-died-cell-mentioned-previous-suicide-attempt-112455