WBEZ | Chicago Bears http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-bears Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en For Bears chairman, plenty to second guess in McDonald case http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bears-chairman-plenty-second-guess-mcdonald-case-112095 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP720335860662 Small_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>LAKE FOREST, Ill. &mdash; Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey said Wednesday he has repeatedly second-guessed his decision to approve the Ray McDonald signing and asked himself what he could have done differently.</p><p>McDonald was released Monday following a domestic violence arrest in Northern California that police say stemmed from an assault on a woman who was holding a baby. McCaskey said he thought the Bears were thorough before signing the defensive end to a one-year deal in March and had the safeguards in place to make the move work.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve asked myself that question a lot. What more could I have done?&quot; McCaskey said. &quot;Is there somebody else we could have consulted with? Should I have taken more time to make a decision? I don&#39;t know. We thought we had a good structure, a good support system. We thought we had safeguards in place in case something like this happened.&quot;</p><p>Did the move affect the chairman&#39;s confidence in new general manager Ryan Pace.</p><p>&quot;We have complete confidence in Ryan,&quot; McCaskey said.</p><p>He said he was not involved in the decision to release McDonald because &quot;I didn&#39;t need to be. They knew what needed to be done and did it.&quot;</p><p>McCaskey said his reaction to the arrest was, &quot;Sadness for the child, for the child&#39;s mother and the entire situation.&quot;</p><p>As for McDonald&#39;s release, running back Matt Forte had a different reaction.</p><p>&quot;My first initial thought was, &#39;Man, we could have used him on defense,&#39;&quot; he said.</p><p>The Bears knew they were taking a risk when they signed McDonald. The San Francisco 49ers released him in December citing a &quot;pattern of poor decision-making.&quot;</p><p>That move came just a month after Santa Clara County prosecutors declined to file charges against McDonald in a separate domestic violence investigation stemming from an arrest on Aug. 31 while celebrating his 30th birthday at his Northern California home. Prosecutors cited conflicting versions of what happened, a lack of verifiable eyewitnesses and a lack of cooperation by the alleged victim, McDonald&#39;s fiancee, in explaining their decision.</p><p>But his trouble continued.</p><p>In March, McDonald filed a defamation lawsuit against a woman who had accused him of rape.</p><p>McDonald says security camera footage will show a consensual sexual encounter occurred in his hot tub. Police say the woman doesn&#39;t recall any sexual encounters and reported blacking out after drinking alcohol and falling at McDonald&#39;s home.</p><p>She said she went to police after waking up naked next to McDonald. The Santa Clara County district attorney is looking at the case.</p><p>McCaskey initially balked at signing McDonald but changed his mind after the player paid his way to Chicago for a face-to-face meeting. He spoke to McDonald&#39;s parents. New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who came from the 49ers, put in a good word for him, too.</p><p>But McCaskey said he did not reach out to the accusers or any of the lawyers involved in the cases because he did not want to interfere in any criminal or league investigations.</p><p>&quot;I thought a lot about that, too,&quot; McCaskey said. &quot;Not just before signing him but since. One of my concerns was the bias anybody has in that situation. An alleged victim wants to make sure that charges are filed. An alleged perpetrator is doing everything he can to make sure that charges aren&#39;t filed. So that was part of it. But a larger concern to me was that I didn&#39;t want to interfere with any criminal investigation or with any league investigation by talking to the child&#39;s mother.&quot;</p><p>McCaskey said the Bears had a &quot;good dialogue&quot; with anti-domestic violence agencies before the McDonald signing and afterward. But he insisted it was the Bears&#39; decision to release him.</p><p>The decision to sign McDonald raised all sorts of questions, particularly since they are coming off a five-win season and not widely considered contenders. Plus, domestic violence became a major topic of conversation in the NFL last year because of a series of high-profile cases involving players, most notably Ray Rice.</p><p>McCaskey was asked about the possibility of the NFL punishing teams that sign players who get arrested. He said the league is not considering that, as far as he knows.</p><p>&quot;I haven&#39;t heard any discussion about that, either on the committee or among the membership,&quot; said McCaskey, a member of the NFL&#39;s conduct committee. &quot;It might be something that would be worth the discussion (but) I don&#39;t know that there was any consensus on that issue at all.&quot;</p></p> Wed, 27 May 2015 16:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bears-chairman-plenty-second-guess-mcdonald-case-112095 Morning Shift: Sustainable salmon documentary http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-05-01/morning-shift-sustainable-salmon-documentary-111971 <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/josullivan.59.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/josullivan.59" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203461821&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Obama Library reactions</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Determining a location for Barack Obama&#39;s Presidential Library has been a long road for Chicago groups wanting to be involved. And after months of consideration, reports Thursday suggest that University of Chicago land will be awarded the opportunity. WBEZ&#39;s Yolanda Perdomo reports live from the Currency Exchange Cafe in Chicago&rsquo;s Washington Park with the community&#39;s reaction. And Anthony Clark, author of The Last Campaign: How Presidents Rewrite History, Run for Posterity &amp; Enshrine Their Legacies weighs on the reality of the announcement.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews">Yolanda Perdomo</a> is a WBEZ reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="https://twitter.com/AnthonyJClark">Anthony J. Clark</a> is the author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/1508409749/">&quot;The Last Campaign: How Presidents Rewrite History, Run for Posterity &amp; Enshrine Their Legacies.&quot;</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203461815&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Bears look to draft a difference-maker</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The new regime at Halas Hall tries to get the Bears back to their winning ways with quality picks in the NFL Draft. And the Bulls look to regain their mojo and finish off the pesky Bucks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. WBEZ sports contributor Cheryl Raye Stout takes us inside the draft and the locker room for to answer questions and question answers.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">Cheryl Raye Stout</a> is WBEZ&#39;s sports contributor.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203461812&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Green Wedding Alliance</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">With wedding season already kicking into high gear this Spring, some couples (and guests) can perceive receptions as too costly and wasteful. But the Chicago-based Green Wedding Alliance is working to provide a growing number of &quot;green&quot; options for brides and grooms who want to show some love to the planet as well as their partner to be. From florists and DJs to planners and place setting experts, GWA offer numerous eco-friendly options to help keep wedding footprints low. We&#39;re joined by Lynn Fosbender, florist, co-founder and president of the <a href="http://greenweddingalliance.com/">Green Wedding Alliance</a>, and Coreen Arnold, a GWA vendor and co-owner of <a href="http://www.vintageplacesettings.com/index.html">Vintage Place Settings.</a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/pollen_chi">Lynn Fosbender</a> is the owner of <a href="http://t.co/T3jhqVN1BW">Pollen</a> a floral design shop and co-founder of the <a href="https://twitter.com/ChicagoGWA">Green Wedding Alliance.</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><i><a href="https://www.facebook.com/vintageplacesettings">Coreen Arnold</a> is a Green Wedding Alliance vendor and co-owner of Vintage Place Settings.&nbsp;</i></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203461809&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Sustainable salmon documentary</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Fishing guide/filmmaker Mark Titus caught the angler bug when he was about four years old and fell in love with salmon fishing. Along the way, he learned why wild salmon populations plummeted in his native Pacific Northwest and decided to embark on a journey to discover where the fish have gone and what might bring them back. In his documentary The Breach, Titus unravels a trail of human hubris, historical amnesia and potential tragedy looming in Alaska &ndash; all conspiring to end the most sustainable wild food left on the planet. The film screens Sunday at the <a href="https://twitter.com/filmcenter">Gene Siskel Film Center</a>. Mark Titus joins the Morning Shift to talk about his hopes for the salmon and what others are doing to keep the species alive in the wild. For a local deal on <a href="http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/">tickets</a>, enter THEBREACH20 at checkout.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/thebreachfilm">Mark Titus</a> is a filmmaker and fishing guide.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203461803&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Icelandic-Canadian singer/songwriter trying to warm up the US with his music</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Just when we thought it was getting warmer in Chicago, an icy wind blows in from Canada in the form of singer-songwriter Lindy Vopnfjord. Born in Iceland, his parents felt it wasn&rsquo;t cold enough, so they settled in Winnipeg! He started performing in front of an audience at the tender age of four, formed a folk-rock band with his brother in the &lsquo;90s, and led an indie band in the &ldquo;oughts&rdquo;. After taking some time off to start a family, Lindy returned to recording with the solo album Young Waverer. Several singles from the album charted in Canada, and it recently got a release here in the U.S. Vopnfjord hits Morning Shift before he takes the stage Friday night at<a href="http://do312.com/events/2015/5/1/whitehorse-lindy-vopnfjord"> Schuba&rsquo;s</a>.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/LindyVopnfjord">Lindy Vopnfjord</a> is a Canadian musician.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 01 May 2015 07:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-05-01/morning-shift-sustainable-salmon-documentary-111971 Morning Shift: Legendary Merry Prankster teams up with band for album, Chicago shows http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-03-13/morning-shift-legendary-merry-prankster-teams-chicago-band-111695 <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/SurFeRGiRL30.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 827px;" title="Flickr/SurFeRGiRL30" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691017&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Update on BP strike</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">A tentative agreement has been reached that could end a nationwide strike for oil refinery workers. Now, the pressure is on local refineries and unions to reach a deal. Talks are expected to resume Friday between striking workers in Northwest Indiana and oil giant BP. It&rsquo;s been more than a month since workers walked off the job at the Whiting refinery.Union workers say the main sticking point isn&rsquo;t over money - but safety. WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente reports.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/mikepuentenews">Michael Puente</a> is WBEZ&#39;s Northwest Indiana reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691013&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Woman in Indiana faces feticide charge</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Back in 2013, Purvi Patel went to a South Bend, Indiana, hospital with what seemed like a miscarriage. Upon further examination a doctor there found something even more serious. Patel later she admitted she had given birth, but disposed of the fetus near her family&rsquo;s restaurant. Now she&rsquo;s facing a possibility of 70 years in prison. As part of a <a href="http://www.pri.org/verticals/across-womens-lives">series</a>&nbsp;for PRI&rsquo;s &ldquo;The World&rdquo; examining reproductive rights around the globe, Amy Gastelum has been reporting the story and she joins us now.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Amy Gastelum is a registered nurse and reporter with <a href="https://twitter.com/PRI">Public Radio International</a>.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691010&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Marshall out, Cutler stays - what&#39;s next for Bears</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The new men in charge of the Bears have had a busy week. Not busy enough for some, as quarterback Jay Cutler will continue to take snaps during the 2015 season. We find out who&rsquo;s in and who&rsquo;s out at Halas Hall, and why the much-maligned Cutler appears to be staying in place with Jim Coffman of The Beachwood Reporter.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Jim Coffman is a reporter with&nbsp;</em><a href="https://twitter.com/BeachwoodReport"><em>The Beachwood Reporter.</em></a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691005&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Legendary Merry Prankster teams up with band for album, Chicago shows</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">You can&rsquo;t say that Ken Babbs invented the &lsquo;60s. But you can say that he and his best friend Ken Kesey, along with their crew of Merry Pranksters, helped pull the country out of its Eisenhower-induced cultural slumber and wake us up to new and different levels of consciousness as far as what we can be individually and as Americans. The &ldquo;Intrepid Traveler&rdquo; novelist, and raconteur joins Morning Shift before performing Saturday with Thrill Jockey Record&#39;s Heat Leisure at Thalia Hall as part of <a href="http://www.austinpsychfest.com/levitation-chicago/">Levitation Chicago</a>.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/ken.babbs.1">Ken Babbs</a> is a Merry Prankster, writer and Ranconteur.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691002&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Morning Shift prepares for St. Patrick&#39;s Day with Irish songs and stories</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">On St. Patrick&rsquo;s Day, everyone is Irish. Or so the saying goes. In Chicago, where Irish-Americans make up the largest single ethnic group, many in the community continue to celebrate their heritage by downplaying the drunken revelry of St. Patty&rsquo;s Day and highlighting important Irish contributions to Western culture like prose, poetry, music, and storytelling. Megon McDonough and Susan O&rsquo;Halloran give us a bit of the latter two categories-a preview of their show <a href="http://evanstonspace.com/shows/?event_id=5580035">&quot;Pot of Gold: Irish Stories and Songs.&quot;</a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest: </strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/megonmcdonough">Megon McDonough</a> is a folk singer based in suburban Chicago.</em></p></p> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-03-13/morning-shift-legendary-merry-prankster-teams-chicago-band-111695 Are you ready for some football, in Northwest Indiana? http://www.wbez.org/news/are-you-ready-some-football-northwest-indiana-111377 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/NWI Football.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Bears may have hired a general manager, but they&rsquo;re still looking for a new coach to turn things around. Since the team failed to make the postseason &mdash; again &mdash; Bears fans have to get their playoff fix elsewhere.</p><p>But what if there was another team to root for...in the Chicago market?</p><p>Indiana state Rep. Earl Harris (D-East Chicago) plans to introduce a bill in the Indiana General Assembly to lure a new NFL team to Northwest Indiana to spark development.</p><p>Call it Harris&rsquo; version of fantasy football.</p><p>&ldquo;I want to talk about it. I want to create enthusiasm. I want to get some of the people that I call shakers and movers involved in it and we&rsquo;ll see where it goes,&rdquo; Harris said. &ldquo;The idea of having three football teams, I think it would work. I think it would be an economic boon especially in Northwest Indiana.&rdquo;</p><p>Northwest Indiana resident Tom Byelick says even though he&rsquo;s a Bears fan, he could root for another team that plays in his backyard.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s a great idea,&rdquo; Byelick said at Rodney&rsquo;s Sports Bar in Highland, Indiana. &ldquo;Look at it this way, at least 70,000 people coming in here six or eight weekends out of the year bringing in a lot of money, buying tickets and souvenirs and drinks things like that. I don&rsquo;t think there&rsquo;s any way to lose.&rdquo;</p><p>As it turns out, this wouldn&rsquo;t be Northwest Indiana&rsquo;s first football team.</p><p>Nearly a century ago, the Hammond Pros played for six seasons during the early days of the NFL.</p><p>Coach Fritz Pollard would later become the first black coach in the NFL. And future Bears owner George Halas was originally a wide receiver for the Pros, whose &ldquo;home&rdquo; games were played at Wrigley Field.</p><p>But before you get too excited, here&rsquo;s where fantasy meets reality.</p><p>&ldquo;Never say never but there&rsquo;s almost no chance there&rsquo;s an NFL team relocating to northern Indiana,&rdquo; said Daniel Kaplan, a writer for the Sports Business Journal. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no way [the Bears] would stand for a team there. And secondly, the NFL doesn&rsquo;t have any interest in relocating there.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course, 20 years ago it was the Bears who considered relocating to Northwest Indiana.&nbsp;</p><p>The team flirted with the idea of building a new stadium in Gary as a way to get Chicago to renovate Soldier Field. The proposed stadium was called Planet Park &mdash; and featured a futuristic, space-ship-looking design.</p><p>Sound familiar?</p><p>Speros Batistatos, head of the South Shore Convention &amp; Visitors Authority, says Northwest Indiana needs to give visitors more reasons to pull off the expressways.</p><p>&ldquo;If we&rsquo;re going to compete in the global marketplace, we&rsquo;ve got to start spending some money creating venues that people are going to want to go to,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it should be limited to just the chase of an NFL team.&rdquo;</p><p>Tom Byelick believes an NFL team is worth chasing, but first residents have to believe in themselves.</p><p>&ldquo;Northwest Indiana in particular got some what of an inferiority complex,&quot; Byelick said. &quot;We&rsquo;re that part of the state that Indiana doesn&rsquo;t really want and Chicago doesn&rsquo;t really claim us either. We have a tendency to kind of downplay our own virtues. I mean why not aim high?&rdquo;</p><p>Especially after a season that had Bears fans feeling so low.</p></p> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/are-you-ready-some-football-northwest-indiana-111377 Bears fire GM Phil Emery, coach Marc Trestman http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bears-fire-gm-phil-emery-coach-marc-trestman-111301 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/14732463489_37a7948514_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>LAKE FOREST, Ill. &mdash;&nbsp;The Chicago Bears fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman on Monday, making sweeping changes after missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.</p><p>Trestman is out after going 13-19 in two seasons while Emery lasted just three years. The Bears went 5-11 in a mostly miserable season, never challenging for the NFC North lead after the first few weeks as quarterback Jay Cutler and the rest of the offense struggled mightily.</p><p>&quot;This job was an opportunity of a lifetime. My only regret is that we didn&#39;t win enough games for that opportunity to continue,&quot; Emery said in a brief session with reporters.</p><p>He also thanked the organization and borrowed a lyric from singer Carrie Newcomer, saying, &quot;We stand breathless on the clean edge of change. It&#39;s time to change and move forward.&quot;</p><p>Emery did not take questions from reporters.</p><p>Trestman, in a statement issued through the team, thanked the team-owning McCaskey family for the opportunity to coach the Bears.</p><p>&quot;I also want to thank all the coaches and players who gave us everything we asked over the past two years,&quot; he said. &quot;I have tremendous respect for this organization.&quot;</p><p>The new GM and coach could have a big decision to make with quarterback Jay Cutler. He tied Philip Rivers for the league lead with 18 interceptions after signing a huge, seven-year contract at the end of last season.</p><p>The house cleaning was certainly not what the Bears envisioned with a prolific offense returning intact and a rebuilt defense in tow. But little went right for Chicago this season.</p><p>There were distractions throughout the year, whether it was linebacker Lance Briggs being allowed to miss practice to open a restaurant in California the week of the opener or offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer admitting he was the NFL Network&#39;s source behind a critical report of Cutler late in the season.</p><p>Trestman, who was hired to get the most out of Cutler, benched the highly paid quarterback in favor of Jimmy Clausen for the second-to-last game of the season against Detroit. Cutler wound up starting the final game after Clausen suffered a concussion against the Lions, adding another chapter to a season-long soap opera.</p><p>Trestman also surprised some by allowing star receiver Brandon Marshall to fly to New York on a weekly basis to record Showtime&#39;s &quot;Inside the NFL.&quot; Marshall, who is open about his struggles with borderline personality disorder, had an off year and at one point gave a rambling news conference over past allegations of domestic abuse. He also challenged a Detroit fan on Twitter to a boxing match for charity, and reporters standing in the hallway overheard him screaming in the locker room after a loss to Miami at Soldier Field in October that raised all sorts of questions about where the team was headed.</p><p>The answers came right after that.</p><p>The Bears joined the 1923 Rochester Jeffersons as the only teams to give up 50 or more points in back-to-back games while dropping the next two at New England and Green Bay. Trestman&#39;s meek response after defensive end Lamarr Houston suffered a season-ending knee injury celebrating a late sack against the Patriots &mdash; &quot;I&#39;m disappointed for Lamarr,&quot; he said twice &mdash; only fueled doubts about his leadership.</p><p>In recent weeks, it was clear changes were coming. The question was how far up the ladder they would go.</p><p>&quot;At the end of the day, we didn&#39;t get the job done,&quot; tight end Martellus Bennett said. &quot;It&#39;s not just coaches. It&#39;s everybody. We didn&#39;t have a successful year as players. So the coaches didn&#39;t have a successful year. I think everybody has their hand in the pot. And the gumbo doesn&#39;t taste that great when everybody&#39;s hand is in the pot.&quot;</p><p>Emery, who replaced the fired Jerry Angelo, was hired with a mandate to work with former coach Lovie Smith for at least one season. He fired Smith after the Bears missed the playoffs despite a 10-6 record in 2012, ending a nine-year run that produced three playoff appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl.</p><p>Since, then, the team has been in decline.</p><p>Trestman led the CFL&#39;s Montreal Alouettes to two championships in five years but had never been a head coach in the NFL and at times seemed overmatched by the job. Along with the distractions, the offense took a huge step back: Chicago went from second in scoring to 23rd this year despite having all its starters back.</p><p>Giving Cutler a big contract after last season when the franchise player tag was an option is looking like another mistake. Emery did have success rebuilding the offensive line before the 2013 season, drafting Kyle Long and bringing in Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson.</p><p>But the makeover he gave the defense last offseason did not pay off. Chicago continued to rank among the league&#39;s worst in that area under Mel Tucker, with Jared Allen struggling and fellow newcomer Houston getting injured on that ill-advised sack celebration. Only the Saints and Falcons gave up more yards per game than the Bears.</p><p>Just like his predecessor, Emery also had a spotty draft record, with some hits such as Long and Alshon Jeffery and a big miss in Shea McClellin.</p><p>&quot;Something has to change,&quot; veteran cornerback Tim Jennings said. &quot;I&#39;m not surprised by it. I mean, hopefully it will be a good one this time.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 29 Dec 2014 13:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bears-fire-gm-phil-emery-coach-marc-trestman-111301 Morning Shift: The big personalities and big wins of the 1985 Chicago Bears http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-28/morning-shift-big-personalities-and-big-wins-1985 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bears Flickr The Downstairs Lounge.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk with Rich Cohen about his new book on the Chicago Bears&#39; magical 1985 season. We also hear reactions to the long-awaited Lake Shore Drive extension and delve into the complications that come with labeling sexuality.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The big personalities and big wins of the 1985 Chicago Bears" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 28 Oct 2013 08:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-28/morning-shift-big-personalities-and-big-wins-1985 Bears fans react to debate over concussions http://www.wbez.org/news/bears-fans-react-debate-over-concussions-108905 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr_mikemorbeck.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A senior football player at Lane Tech high school <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-10/news/chi-injured-lane-tech-players-family-to-attend-game-20131010_1_waiting-game-sister-critical-condition">remains in critical condition today</a> after suffering a severe head injury at last Friday&rsquo;s game.</p><p>It&rsquo;s the latest, and perhaps most local, in a string of news stories about football-related brain injuries.</p><p>On Tuesday, PBS FRONTLINE began airing a much-anticipated documentary, called<em> <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/league-of-denial/">League of Denial</a></em>, based on a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/League-Denial-Concussions-Battle-Truth-ebook/dp/B00DXKJ6IQ">book</a> by the same name, about football&rsquo;s connection to long-term brain damage.</p><p><a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2013/10/league_of_denial_documentary_is_a_cautionary_tale_for_every_parent_and_should_give_pause_to_every_nf.html">Some</a> <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1803918-league-of-denial-strikes-at-the-heart-of-the-nfl-and-football-as-we-know-it">say</a> the documentary, and the companion book by Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, could fundamentally change how people view the game of football.</p><p>WBEZ wondered what kind of impact the overall debate has had on local football fans. We headed to Soldier Field two hours before kick-off Thursday night to find out.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s what a few Bears fans had to say:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;(The NFL is) doing a lot to improve the game, but it&rsquo;s a little too late for the guys that have been playing for 20, 30 years.&rdquo; - Paul Loftus</p><p>&ldquo;It changed the perspective a little bit, but we love football. We&rsquo;re a football family.&rdquo; - Chris French</p><p>&ldquo;I think everybody, before they get into high-level football, should be aware of the risks. But I think, everything in life is kind of a risk-reward decision. So (players) should be aware of the risk before they make their decision, because I feel like up to this point, it&rsquo;s been a lot of, we don&rsquo;t really know how bad concussions are, but now they know.&rdquo; - Val Pinskiy</p><p>&ldquo;If I had a son, I would look at the way, they play football. But as far as watching a game, that&rsquo;s what you pay for. They&rsquo;re kind of like gladiators.&rdquo; - Kurt Schlickman</p></blockquote><p>What do you think about the link between football and long-term brain damage? Has it changed how you view professional football? College? High school? Pop Warner?</p><p>Have you seen the PBS FRONTLINE documentary? What did you think? Note: League of Denial: The NFL&rsquo;s Concussion Crisis airs again tonight, Friday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on WTTW. Find other local times <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/local-schedule/">here</a>.</p><p><em>Share your thoughts in the comment section below or e-mail WBEZ producer Becky Vevea at <a href="mailto:bvevea@wbez.org">bvevea@wbez.org</a>.</em></p><p><em>Monica Eng contributed to reporting. Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 11 Oct 2013 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/bears-fans-react-debate-over-concussions-108905 Does Marc Trestman hold the Bears' Golden Ticket? http://www.wbez.org/news/does-marc-trestman-hold-bears-golden-ticket-108783 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Trestman AP Photo_Don Wright.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-7fcd7129-5c84-6b53-f704-d4025a62f3f1">Marc Trestman is a former college quarterback who was certainly known in and around football. He had 17 years of experience in the NFL with eight different organizations. He worked as a running backs&rsquo; coach, a quarterbacks&rsquo; coach and an offensive coordinator; he coached college ball too. He was a football savant but rubbed people the wrong way. And then...he disappeared.</p><p dir="ltr">The football world knew he was in Canada but didn&rsquo;t pay too much attention to that, according to Yahoo! Sports writer <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/news/football-thursday--bears-coach-marc-trestman-needed-exile-in-canada-to-overcome--doesn-t-relate-well--reputation-174051955.html">Les Carpenter</a>. Trestman had spent the last five years in Montreal coaching the Alouettes; he led the team to back-to-back Grey Cup championships, that&rsquo;s Canada&rsquo;s version of the Super Bowl. He was the CFL&rsquo;s Coach of the Year in 2009.</p><p dir="ltr">So what changed? Why after years of being bounced around the NFL was he suddenly this successful head coach? Carpenter traveled to Canada to find out.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think he went up there and he realized, &lsquo;I need to understand people. I need to deal with football players as people--not as names on a roster sheet or numbers in front of me on jerseys.&rsquo; And I think a lot of the players really embraced that. They felt, &lsquo;gosh, this is a guy who really cares about me,&rsquo;&rdquo; Carpenter explained.</p><p dir="ltr">That&rsquo;s certainly how Alouette wide receiver Brandon London felt&hellip;eventually.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t think that we were going to get along...because I was thinking in my head, here&rsquo;s a coach that&rsquo;s going to try and change me. But after that three years of being together, Coach Trestman&rsquo;s become a really good friend of mine, (a) really good mentor of mine,&rdquo; London said.</p><p dir="ltr">And London&rsquo;s not starving for football mentors. His father&rsquo;s Mike London, a former NFL player and the current head coach at the University of Virginia.</p><p dir="ltr">But, London said Trestman made him think about football in a very different, very detailed way. Or as he put it, &ldquo;obsessive.&rdquo; And Carpenter concurred.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He wants things to be very meticulous...almost to the point where there can&rsquo;t be typos in the schedule that they put out every day for the things that they&rsquo;re going to do,&rdquo; Carpenter explained.</p><p dir="ltr">Trestman&rsquo;s current players had even more to say about his character.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I always say Coach Trestman reminds me of the first Willy Wonka...not the Johnny Depp one, the Johnny Depp one&rsquo;s really cool...but the first one. Cause if you really look at coach, he&rsquo;s a genius...I thought Willy Wonka was brilliant,&rdquo; tight end Martellus Bennett said recently.</p><p dir="ltr">And, the candy man, like Trestman, for those who don&rsquo;t remember, had an eye for detail.</p><p dir="ltr">It makes sense that Trestman is a meticulous guy. He is, after all, an attorney. He got his law degree while working as an assistant coach under Jimmy Johnson at the University of Miami. &nbsp;Between NFL gigs in the &lsquo;90s, Trestman also spent a few years working as a stockbroker, selling municipal bonds and managing investment portfolios.</p><p dir="ltr">Oh...and he <a href="http://www.coachmarctrestman.com/">wrote a book</a> about perseverance and leadership and he is frequently referred to as a genius. But Carpenter said that Trestman&rsquo;s smarts often rubbed people the wrong way.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think it was some of the bookish look, the lawyerish look as somebody described it to me...I think some of it was that idea that he wasn&rsquo;t going to come out drinking, he wasn&rsquo;t going to hang out in bars with other coaches,&rdquo; Carpenter surmised.</p><p dir="ltr">That seemed to be something Trestman was able to work through in Montreal. Because London called him a friend and Bears tight end Martellus Bennett now says the Bears look at their coach as one of the players.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He&rsquo;s just like of the guys out there...he&rsquo;s like a teammate to us, he&rsquo;s not just a coach...he&rsquo;s part of this team,&rdquo; Bennett explained.</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ sports contributor Cheryl Raye-Stout has covered the Monsters of the Midway for the better part of three decades. She wasn&rsquo;t sold on the Wonka analogy but said, &ldquo;If they [the Bears] could make the playoffs, then the Golden Ticket I think would be punched then.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">She said the surest way to do that is to get Jay Cutler to buy in--and that shouldn&rsquo;t be too difficult for Trestman. He coached some of the NFL&rsquo;s best quarterbacks. He coached Steve Young and Rich Gannon; Gannon won the NFL MVP during Trestman&rsquo;s time with the Oakland Raiders.</p><p dir="ltr">And, Raye-Stout said, Trestman has already put in extra time with Cutler.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Trestman took all of every negative play that Cutler had last year...all the sacks, all the interceptions, all the bad plays and showed it to him. To kind of show him, this is what we&rsquo;re gonna work on. Jay was taken aback at first and then realized, he was dealing with someone that was not just on his level but above his level,&rdquo; Raye-Stout recalled.</p><p dir="ltr">At the end of the day, Bears fans won&rsquo;t care if Trestman is Willy Wonka, a lawyer, a quarterbacks coach, a stockbroker or a genius...so long as he&rsquo;s a winner.</p><p>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez">@katieobez.</a></p></p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 18:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/does-marc-trestman-hold-bears-golden-ticket-108783 Morning Shift: The music of Curtis Mayfield http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-26/morning-shift-music-curtis-mayfield-108776 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/vinyl music thursday Flickr by Peter Organisciak.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele welcome Reggie Torian to talk abou the soulful, complex sounds of Curtis Mayfield. We also hear about Bears head coach, Marc Trestman, and check in with an organizer of the world&#39;s second oldest LGBT film fest.</p></p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 12:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-26/morning-shift-music-curtis-mayfield-108776 Chicago film pioneer Ronn Pitts dies http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-09/chicago-film-pioneer-ronn-pitts-dies-108745 <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/RS6674_121115-Ron-Pitts2_0.jpg" style="height: 260px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="File: Filmmaker Ronn Pitts at his Columbia College Chicago office in 2012. (WBEZ/Alison Cuddy)" /><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YCTALHzoeg">Ronn Pitts</a> was such a popular and beloved teacher at Columbia College Chicago, some of his students created a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/66576121688/">Facebook page</a> praising his &ldquo;cool&rdquo;.</div><p>Pitts, a native of Bronzeville, died yesterday at the age of 76. He lived a remarkable and adventurous life, including breaking the color barrier in Chicago filmmaking and academic circles.</p><p>But his biggest impact may well be as a teacher and mentor, a man committed to community and social activism.</p><p>Pitts was both cool and warm. When I met him in late 2012, I felt as if I&rsquo;d immediately made a lifelong friend. I&rsquo;ve yet to meet a faculty member or student at Columbia who doesn&rsquo;t remember him fondly.</p><p>Jerry Blumenthal of Kartemquin Films met Pitts when, with Margaret Caples, they set up the <a href="http://www.cfwchicago.org/">Community Film Workshop</a> at the &ldquo;old&rdquo; Columbia College (then located at 540 Lake Shore Drive).</p><p>&ldquo;He made you feel very good and very happy about being a member of the film community,&rdquo; said Blumenthal. &ldquo;He was a great comrade, extremely friendly and funny and warm.&rdquo;</p><p>Like many others, Blumenthal says Pitts was also humble and never got the recognition he deserved.</p><p>Pitts led a life with Zelig-like qualities: He found himself in the midst of history-making events time and time again.</p><p>He was the first African-American hired to teach film at Columbia College and was still teaching there at the time of his death. He also broke color barriers as a filmmaker. Pitts and Joe Stratton, the man he called &nbsp;&ldquo;my best friend of all friends,&rdquo; were hired by George Halas in the 1960s to shoot film for the Chicago Bears.</p><p>&ldquo;We were the first blacks to shoot for any professional football team ever,&rdquo; Pitts said in a 2012 interview.</p><p>He also recounted adventures like filming during the 1965 march to Selma, Ala., and being &ldquo;kidnapped&rdquo; by Muhammad Ali to document the boxer as he prepared for his big fight against George Foreman in 1974.</p><p>Pitts got into film by working as a shipping clerk at a camera rental company, a job his mother got him (before that he was a bookie placing bets on horses). But shooting film was a major struggle.</p><p>&ldquo;There were no blacks shooting (news) cameras until 1973,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;There were no women, no blacks, nothing but white males.&rdquo;</p><p>In our 2012 interview, Pitts told me his own students got the same treatment when he sent them out to cover news, including fires or speeches by the mayor.</p><p>&ldquo;That was a great experience, because then I recognized what prejudice truly was,&rdquo; Pitts said. &ldquo;Those old men, they would cut their cords,&rdquo; and challenged him for training minorities.</p><p>Pitts eventually left Chicago, settling in San Francisco for 17 years. While there, he captured the death of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk on film. He was in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem the night Malcolm X was assassinated (Pitts said his footage was seized by police). And, he was behind the camera the day <strike>Chicago Bears</strike>&nbsp;Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes died of a heart attack on the Tiger Stadium field, during a game against the Chicago Bears. Pitts said those moments were the &ldquo;shocking things&rdquo; about filmmaking. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t take it back,&quot; he said. &quot;And you sleep with that at night, knowing that you captured death in your lens.&quot;</p><p>Pitts received his share of accolades &ndash; there&rsquo;s a <a href="http://www.colum.edu/Student_Financial_Services/create-a-plan/scholarships/ronn-pitts.php">scholarship in his name</a> at Columbia and he&rsquo;s been recognized by other film organizations. &nbsp;October 10 was declared Ronn Pitts day in Chicago, and Charles Celander, the Operations Manager in Columbia&rsquo;s Cinema Art and Science program, says they always celebrate with cake and good cheer.</p><p>That&rsquo;s a fitting tribute for Pitts, who despite some truly heavy experiences, remained a light and joyful spirit. &nbsp;When we spoke, Pitts said he considered himself a real live servant, a mission he encouraged others to accept.</p><p>&ldquo;We are here on this planet to take care of each other,&rdquo; said Pitts. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s it.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter and co-hosts the WBEZ podcasts <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels</a> and <a href="https://soundcloud.com/strangebrews">Strange Brews</a>. Follow her on<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter</a>,<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn"> Facebook</a> and<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram</a></em></p></p> Mon, 23 Sep 2013 16:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-09/chicago-film-pioneer-ronn-pitts-dies-108745