WBEZ | O'Hare http://www.wbez.org/tags/ohare Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Siblings detained in Islamic State case http://www.wbez.org/news/siblings-detained-islamic-state-case-111053 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/isis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A young Bolingbrook man accused of trying to leave the U.S. to join ISIS allegedly brought two younger siblings with him, federal prosecutors said during a hearing Monday.</p><p>Hamzah Khan, 19, was detained with a brother and sister at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport in early October. He&rsquo;s charged with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group. His brother and sister, who were 16 and 17 at the time, have not been charged nor have their names been released.</p><p>Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Hiller said Khan and his siblings were trying to fly to Vienna, and then to Turkey, where they allegedly planned to sneak into Syria to join ISIS.</p><p>&quot;He tried to take his high school-aged siblings halfway around the world to a war zone,&quot; Hiller said, portraying Khan as the main instigator of the plan.</p><p>He told the judge that Khan had a &ldquo;sophisticated&rdquo; plan to get himself and his siblings to ISIS. Khan allegedly planned the journey for months, including getting a job at a retail store and a credit card to raise money to purchase plane tickets costing nearly $2,700 for himself and his siblings. He also allegedly applied for their passport renewals and visas.</p><p>At the detention hearing Monday, a federal judge ruled that Khan could not be released on bond because he poses a flight risk and is a potential danger to the community.</p><p>The court arguments and exhibits released by both prosecutors and the defense Monday offered a first glimpse into details of the case.</p><p>Hiller said letters, notebooks and other evidence found in the Khan home made it clear that the siblings planned to engage in violence if they got to Syria. The siblings wrote and doodled about ISIS on school notes and an academic calendar, too.</p><p>They &quot;not only had barbaric rhetoric ... they tried to carry it out,&quot; Hiller said.</p><p>All three children left letters for their parents that offer a window into the minds of other young people like them who are allegedly fleeing the U.S. to join ISIS and other terror groups.</p><p>Khan&rsquo;s sister wrote to her parents that her heart was &ldquo;crying with the thought that I left you and that I will probably never see you again &hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>They all begged their parents not to call the police. Prosecutors said Monday the parents didn&rsquo;t know about the activities. In fact, Hiller said, when agents arrived to search the home, the mother thought at least one of the kids was upstairs sleeping and led agents to the bedroom, to find it empty.</p><p>In their letters, the kids wrote of watching Muslims being killed overseas, of not wanting their tax money to fund these military actions, of disenchantment and even disgust with the values of the Western world.</p><p>They wrote, too, that they believe there&rsquo;s an obligation for Muslims to join ISIS now that the group has a self-declared Islamic state, or caliphate.</p><p>Hamzah Khan said he couldn&rsquo;t live under a system in which he couldn&rsquo;t speak about jihad or other beliefs.</p><p>&ldquo;Me living in comfort with my family while my other family are getting killed is plain selfish of me,&quot; he wrote, adding he didn&rsquo;t want his future children raised &ldquo;in a filthy environment like this. We are all witness that the Western societies are getting more immoral day by day.&rdquo;</p><p>In another notebook entry, one of his siblings allegedly writes that when talk of Jihad came up, men turned away and said, &lsquo;&ldquo;The time has not come yet, our elders are not doing it, if the scholars have not said it, who are you to? It is pointless, Islam does not preach violence &hellip; I swear by the one who holds my soul in his hands, I will not give this up even if the entire world turns against me.&rsquo;&rdquo; That sibling allegedly used the Twitter handle @DeathIsVNear.</p><p>Hiller called the writings &ldquo;a far cry from misguided youth with overzealous religious beliefs.&quot;</p><p>But defense attorney Tom Durkin argued the opposite. He said prosecutors don&#39;t have the evidence to prove Hamzah Khan actually sought to provide material support to militants from the so-called Islamic State.</p><p>Durkin said there was an &ldquo;enormous amount of evidence&rdquo; Khan wanted to go live in a caliphate, and considered it a religious obligation, but that act alone was not a crime. He said there wasn&rsquo;t &ldquo;clear cut evidence&rdquo; Khan wanted to fight with ISIS.</p><p>He said Hamzah Khan was being accused of a &ldquo;thought crime,&rdquo; and that the government was trying to use statements of religious belief to infer Khan was dangerous.</p><p>He described Khan as a devout, sensitive, thoughtful kid committed to his faith. He said Khan and young people like him are being &ldquo;brainwashed&rdquo; by slick marketing and social media campaigns by ISIS into believing they need to join or otherwise be un-Islamic.</p><p>Durkin was sharply critical of U.S. policy to charge young people who are trying to join ISIS with criminal acts, rather than trying to deprogram them and correct &ldquo;misguided&rdquo; thoughts and information, as some other countries have done.</p><p>He said Khan is now wishing he hadn&rsquo;t decided to go.</p><p>Last Friday, the judge denied the government&rsquo;s request to partially close Monday&#39;s detention hearing. Federal prosecutors had argued the need to protect the identity of two minors who they intended to bring up at the hearing. Durkin heralded the judge&#39;s decision.</p><p>Khan is charged with seeking to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.</p></p> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 16:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/siblings-detained-islamic-state-case-111053 Flight delays pile up Monday after FAA budget cuts http://www.wbez.org/news/flight-delays-pile-monday-after-faa-budget-cuts-106780 <p><p>NEW YORK &mdash; It was a tough start to the week for many air travelers. Flight delays piled up all along the East Coast Monday as thousands of air traffic controllers were forced to take an unpaid day off because of federal budget cuts.</p><p>Some flights into New York, Baltimore and Washington were delayed by more than two hours as the Federal Aviation Administration kept planes on the ground because there weren&#39;t enough controllers to monitor busy air corridors.</p><p>One out of every five flights at New York&#39;s LaGuardia International scheduled to take off before noon on Monday was delayed 15 minutes or more, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. Last Monday morning, just 2 percent of LaGuardia&#39;s flights were delayed. The situation was similar at Washington&#39;s Reagan National Airport, in Newark, N.J. and in Philadelphia.</p><p>Some flights were late by two hours or more.</p><p>For instance, the 8 a.m. US Airways shuttle from Washington to New York pushed back from the gate six minutes early but didn&#39;t take off until 9:58 a.m. The plane landed at 10:48 a.m. &mdash; more than two and a half hours late.</p><p>If travelers instead took Amtrak&#39;s 8 a.m. Acela Express train from Washington, they arrived in New York at 10:42 a.m. &mdash; 4 minutes early.</p><p>The furloughs are part of mandatory budget cuts that kicked in on March 1 after Democrats and Republicans missed a deadline to agree on a long-term deficit reduction plan.</p><p>FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 air traffic controllers. Each employee will lose one day of work every other week. The FAA has said that planes will have to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.</p><p>Critics have said the FAA could reduce its budget in other spots that wouldn&#39;t delay travelers.</p><p>Monday is typically one of the busiest days at airports with many business travelers setting out for a week on the road. The FAA&#39;s controller cuts &mdash; a 10 percent reduction of its staff &mdash; went into effect Sunday but the full force wasn&#39;t felt until Monday morning.</p><p>Some travel groups have warned that the disruptions could hurt the economy.</p><p>&quot;If these disruptions unfold as predicted, business travelers will stay home, severely impacting not only the travel industry but the economy overall,&quot; the Global Business Travel Association warned the head of the FAA, Michael P. Huerta, in a letter Friday.</p><p>Deborah Seymour was one of the first fliers to face the headaches.</p><p>She was supposed to fly from Los Angles to Tucson, Ariz., Sunday night. First her 9:55 p.m. flight was delayed four hours. Then at 2 a.m., Southwest Airlines canceled it.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s pretty discouraging that Congress can&#39;t get it together and now it&#39;s reached the point that we can&#39;t get on an airplane and fly,&quot; Seymour said.</p><p>One thing working in fliers&#39; favor Monday was relatively good weather at most of the country&#39;s major airports. A few wind gusts in New York added to some delays, but generally there were clear skies and no major storms.</p><p>Delta Air Lines said it was &quot;disappointed&quot; in the furloughs and warned travelers Monday to expect delays in the following cities: New York, Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.</p><p>Many flights heading to Florida were seeing delays of up to an hour.</p><p>Raymond Adams, president of the air traffic controllers union at New Jersey&#39;s Newark airport, said on Twitter than a few flights out of Newark to the south got sent back to Newark because the Washington area air traffic control system was overwhelmed.</p><p>The FAA has also furloughed other critical employees including airline and airport safety inspectors.</p><p>The country&#39;s airlines and some lawmakers have suggested the White House is causing misery for fliers to put pressure on Republicans in Congress to rescind the cuts. They say the FAA is ignoring other ways to cut its $16 billion budget. Two airline trade associations and the nation&#39;s largest pilots union filed a lawsuit Friday asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to halt the furloughs. No hearing date has been set.</p><p>In a letter to the FAA Friday, Delta&#39;s general counsel Ben Hirst asked the agency to reconsider the furloughs, saying it could make the cuts elsewhere and could transfer funds from &quot;non-safety activities&quot; to support the FAA&#39;s &quot;core mission of efficiently managing the nation&#39;s airspace.&quot;</p><p>__</p><p>With reports from Joan Lowy in Washington and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles.</p><p>__</p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/flight-delays-pile-monday-after-faa-budget-cuts-106780 Illinois Senators remind American not to forget about ORD expansion http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senators-remind-american-not-forget-about-ord-expansion-105568 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AMRresized_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79436747" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Illinois senators don&rsquo;t want the pending merger between American Airlines and US Airways to affect plans to expand O&rsquo;Hare International Airport.</p><p>Last night, Senators Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) sent American Airlines a letter saying they hope the merger won&rsquo;t derail the O&rsquo;Hare expansion plan.</p><p>The billion dollar <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/doa/provdrs/omp.html">O&rsquo;Hare Modernization Program</a> hinges on agreement United and American Airlines. The city is scheduled to sit back down with the two carriers in March to work on the next phase of the decade-long project.</p><p><a href="http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/agreement-reached-expand-capacity-o%E2%80%99hare-and-foster-economic-growth-nationwide">In 2011</a>, Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood helped broker a deal between the federal government, the city and the airlines.</p><p>In the letter, the Senators reminded the airline the O&rsquo;Hare project &quot;will create 195,000 more jobs and generate $18 billion in annual economic activity,&quot; adding the merger faces &ldquo;regulatory scrutiny&rdquo; by legislators before being approved.</p><p>Speaking today from Chicago, Sen. Durbin said the project was crucial.</p><p>&quot;We really believe that key to economic progress in the Chicago reason is new runways and the modernization of O&#39;Hare,&quot; Durbin said. &quot;I&#39;d like a committment from the new American Airlines that they are going to with us in that effort.&quot;</p><p>Staff from Senator Durbin&rsquo;s office said they had not yet received a response from American.</p><p>&quot;We appreciate the concerns expressed in the letter by Senators Durbin and Kirk,&quot; American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said, adding, &quot;We have frankly been a little bit busy of late.&quot;</p><p>Fagan reiterated what the airline said yesterday during its merger announcement, that Chicago remains an important hub, but declined further comment.</p><p>Here&#39;s the full letter sent yesterday:</p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/125701684/Durbin-Kirk-Letter-to-AA-and-US-Airways-Merger-2-14-13" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Durbin Kirk Letter to AA and US Airways - Merger - 2.14.13 on Scribd">Durbin Kirk Letter to AA and US Airways - Merger - 2.14.13</a> by</p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_40997" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/125701684/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 15 Feb 2013 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senators-remind-american-not-forget-about-ord-expansion-105568 Airlines canceling flights in advance of storm http://www.wbez.org/news/airlines-canceling-flights-advance-storm-105417 <p><p>The big storm heading for the Northeast is already disrupting air travel.<br />United Airlines said it has already canceled 900 flights for Friday in advance of the storm. Delta Air Lines Inc. has canceled 135, plus more regional flights.</p><p>New England could get smacked with up to two feet of snow on Friday, while New York City was expecting 4 to 6 inches.</p><p>The airports with the most cancellations on Friday are Newark Liberty, Boston&#39;s Logan International and LaGuardia, in that order, according to airline tracking website FlightAware.</p><p>American Airlines had canceled 50 flights on Thursday and was scrapping 50 more on Friday. A spokesman said more flights were likely to be canceled as the night goes on.</p><p>On Thursday, the biggest weather problems are in Chicago. O&#39;Hare has seen 85 canceled departures.</p><p>Airlines issued so-called &quot;weather waivers,&quot; allowing passengers flying in the storm-affected areas to change their flight date without paying a change fee.</p><p>In recent years, airlines have tried to get ahead of big storms by canceling flights in advance rather than crossing their fingers that they could operate in bad weather. Travelers can still face dayslong delays in getting home, but the advanced cancellations generally mean they get more notice and can wait out the storm at home or a hotel, rather than on a cot at the airport.</p><p>In addition, reservation systems have been programmed to automatically rebook passengers when flights are canceled. And travelers now receive notifications by email, phone or text message.</p></p> Thu, 07 Feb 2013 16:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/airlines-canceling-flights-advance-storm-105417 Private nap spaces could be coming to O'Hare http://www.wbez.org/news/private-nap-spaces-could-be-coming-ohare-104997 <p><p>Weary travelers could soon be able to pay for a space to snooze at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport.</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced a package of five-year lease agreements to City Council Thursday, and if approved, Minute Suites will be one of a handful of new specialty stores popping up at O&#39;Hare.</p><p>Minute Suites rents private spaces complete with a sofa, pillows and blankets to airline travelers. Interested sleepy patrons can rent a room for around $30 for the first hour, with a incremental cost for every fifteen minutes after that.</p><p>Daniel Solomon, co-founder and CEO of Minute Suites, says O&#39;Hare will be a prime location for their business.</p><p><b style="font-weight: normal;">&quot;Chicago has a lot of delays,&quot; Solomon said. &quot;Couple that with weather, missed connections, thunderstorms -- bad weather tends to be our best friend in terms of business. We know that affects people.&quot;</b></p><p><b style="font-weight: normal;">O&#39;Hare would be the company&#39;s fourth location in the US. There are currently two shops in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the Philadelphia International Airport, and the company is scheduled to open a third location in Dallas Fort Worth this February.&nbsp;</b>If approved, Minute Suites could be in the O&rsquo;Hare airport by the end of 2013.</p><p><b style="font-weight: normal;">The lease agreements were introduced in City Council Thursday. Each retailer is guaranteed to bring in at least $5.6 million dollars, with annual percentage fees between 12 and 19 percent. Rent for each space is $47.75 per square-foot with three percent annual increases. Each contract can be extended for an additional two years with City Council approval.&nbsp;</b></p><p>The agreement also includes shops like Brookstone and Brooks Brothers.</p></p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 14:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/private-nap-spaces-could-be-coming-ohare-104997 Chicago customs seizes 18 heads meant for research http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-customs-seizes-18-heads-meant-research-104930 <p><p>It sounded ghoulish enough: a shipment of 18 frozen human heads discovered and seized by customs officials during routine X-ray screening of cargo arriving at O&#39;Hare International Airport in Chicago.</p><p>Turns out the heads were used for medical research in Italy and were being returned for cremation in Illinois. The holdup was due to a paperwork problem.</p><p>It just so happens such shipments are commonplace, and heads &mdash; quite a few of them &mdash; crisscross the globe via airplane and delivery truck.</p><p>&quot;Just last week, we transported eight heads, unembalmed, to Rush University Medical Center for an ophthalmology program,&quot; said Paul Dudek, director of the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois, which supplies cadavers and body parts to medical schools in the state for training students.</p><p>His association sends about 450 whole cadavers to medical schools each year and also ships individual body parts, including about a dozen shipments of heads annually.</p><p>The heads are used for training in fields such as dentistry, ophthalmology and neurology, where they are used for Alzheimer&#39;s research. They are also used to train plastic surgeons and by students learning to perform facial reconstructions on accident and trauma victims, Dudek said.</p><p>Most cadavers are obtained through voluntary donation by people who designate a willingness to have their bodies benefit science upon their death, Dudek said. A much smaller proportion are the bodies of people whose families could not afford their burial and so agree to allow the state to release them for research.</p><p>The shipment to O&#39;Hare was properly preserved, wrapped and labeled &quot;human specimens,&quot; said Mary Paleologos, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Medical Examiner&#39;s Office, which took hold of the shipment on Monday for storage in its morgue cooler while authorities continued to investigate the paperwork.</p><p>With little information initially, news of the shipment&#39;s discovery fueled headlines and raised questions about where the shipment came from, where it was headed and why.</p><p>In the end, it turned out the shipment of three containers, which arrived in mid-December, was held up because of a mix-up with the paperwork and there was nothing suspicious about it or its destination.</p><p>The heads were originally sent from Illinois to a medical research facility in Rome and were returned to the Chicago area for disposal as part of the agreement for the order, Paleologos said.</p><p>On Tuesday, a cremation service arrived at the Medical Examiner&#39;s Office with paperwork for the specimens. Once federal authorities confirm the paperwork, the specimens will be turned over to the cremation service, she said.</p><p>U.S. Customs and Border Protection could not discuss the specific case because of privacy laws, but it said shipments of human remains into the U.S. &quot;are not without precedent,&quot; are lawful with the right documentation and fall within the agency&#39;s &quot;low-risk&quot; category.</p><p>Dudek said such shipments require thorough documentation, in part because the scarcity of bodies donated to science means there is a black market for them.</p><p>&quot;It does go on,&quot; he said of the illegal trade.</p><p>Besides medical schools, many corporations making medical instruments and appliances use cadavers for their training and research programs.</p><p>&quot;We receive about 600 whole-body donations a year. I could easily place 750, 800,&quot; he said, explaining the short supply.</p><p>Some shipments go by air, but others end up in delivery trucks just like any other package.</p><p>&quot;In fact, we sent out a shipment of brains to the University of Texas at Austin last week via UPS,&quot; Dudek said.</p></p> Tue, 15 Jan 2013 10:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-customs-seizes-18-heads-meant-research-104930 Unionized janitors lose battle over O’Hare jobs http://www.wbez.org/news/unionized-janitors-lose-battle-over-o%E2%80%99hare-jobs-104392 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3409_1387167671_43c9f53d5f.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hundreds of unionized janitors turned in their badges Friday at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport after losing their jobs in a contentious contract deal.</p><p>The task of cleaning and washing the windows at O&rsquo;Hare will now be taken over by 400 non-unionized workers.</p><p>Labor leaders and union members held protests Monday through Thursday. They targeted Mayor Rahm Emanuel for union-busting.</p><p>&ldquo;These were already organized union members,&rdquo; said Laura Garza, Secretary-Treasurer with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1. &ldquo;So the question for the city is, why did they eliminate those good jobs, those middle-class jobs in the city? There was no need for the city of Chicago, for our mayor to do this to these workers.&rdquo;</p><p>United Maintenance, the company that won the 5-year contract with the City of Chicago said it&rsquo;s not up to them whether employees are unionized .</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s totally within the purview of the employee whether or not they want to unionize,&rdquo; said Anthony D&rsquo;Angelo, Vice President of Security with United Service Companies which oversees United Maintenance. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not management&rsquo;s decision.&rdquo;</p><p>The face-off between the union and United Maintenance has gotten more heated in the days leading up to the janitors&rsquo; final day on the job, with both sides telling very different versions of the story.</p><p>In press releases this week, SEIU said workers will be paid less for the same work; United Maintenance said it&rsquo;s paying some new hires more than they were making previously at O&rsquo;Hare as employees of Scrubs, Inc. SEIU said workers will have to pay for family health benefits when they didn&rsquo;t before; United Maintenance said its health package will be more comprehensive than the one offered by Scrubs, Inc.</p><p>Officials at the new contractor said they&rsquo;ve hired back 110 workers who were previously with the union. SEIU put that number at 50 out of 400 laid-off workers.</p><p>The starting wage for janitors with United Maintenance is $11.90 - 15 cents less than the starting wage with Scrubs, Inc.</p><p>Garza said SEIU will try to organize the new O&rsquo;Hare workers. She said those who lost their jobs did not want to speak to media Friday after an &ldquo;emotional week&rdquo;, but they are applying for unemployment and looking for work.</p></p> Fri, 14 Dec 2012 12:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/unionized-janitors-lose-battle-over-o%E2%80%99hare-jobs-104392 O'Hare union workers call for re-bid on contract http://www.wbez.org/news/ohare-union-workers-call-re-bid-contract-104341 <p><p>Union workers and a group of Chicago aldermen want the city to rebid a controversial contract at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport.</p><p>The city signed a $99 million contract with a new janitorial company called United Maintenance. The new contract starts Friday.</p><p>But janitors who are members of Service Employees International Union said the deal is costing them jobs.</p><p>Mildred Rueda has been a custodian at the airport for seven years. She&rsquo;s is one of almost 300 workers that will be out of a job.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re taking my job away from me and giving it to somebody else&rdquo; Rueda said. &ldquo;And I think it&rsquo;s unfair.&rdquo;</p><p>Four alderman: Scott Waugespack (32nd Ward), Rod Sawyer (6th Ward), Nick Sposato (36th Ward), and Rick Muñoz (22nd Ward) are calling for the city administration to move forward with a responsible bidders ordinance.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re seeing a push in city administration to eliminate good paying jobs and provide workers with lower wages through contracting agencies that do not follow a responsible bidding,&rdquo; Waugespack said.</p><p>Waugespack said this ordinance will require companies like United to provide workers with good salaries and benefits. The ordinance would apply to contracts for janitorial, security and window washing over $50,000 in Chicago.</p><p>Thirty-one alderman have already signed on. United Maintenance said it&rsquo;s offered positions to more than 100 laid off employees. The company also said that O&rsquo;Hare workers are provided full health benefits.</p><p>Other SEIU members also can reapply for their jobs.</p><p>But some Chicago aldermen complain the airport workers could face lower pay.</p><p>&ldquo;These men and women who have been laboring day in and day out are being let go,&rdquo; Muñoz said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re being replaced by employees that will be paid less.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;Muñoz said in being financially responsible, the city is being socially irresponsible and that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is &ldquo;looking to nickel and dime the city.&rdquo;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement saying he&rsquo;s committed to a competitive and fair bidding process.</p></p> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 10:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/ohare-union-workers-call-re-bid-contract-104341 Illinois state lawmaker arrested with pistol at O'Hare http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-state-lawmaker-arrested-pistol-ohare-104217 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="Donne Trotter mug shot" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TROTTER%20Donne%20crop.jpg" style="float: right; height: 374px; width: 250px;" title="Sen. Donne Trotter's mug shot. (Chicago Police)" />Veteran Illinois State Sen. Donne Trotter faces felony gun charges after getting caught with a handgun while going through security at O&#39;Hare International Airport on Wednesday morning, according to the Chicago Police Department.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The 62-year-old Trotter, who has been considered a strong candidate in the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/whos-running-congress-special-election-replace-jackson-jr-2nd-district-104109">special election</a> to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, was caught at the airport with an unloaded .25 caliber handgun in his carry on bag, along with a clip of ammunition at around 7:15 a.m. Wednesday. Trotter, a part-time security guard, told Transportation Security Administration agents he forgot to unpack his bag after work. He did have a valid firearm owner&#39;s ID card, according to police.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Trotter faces a felony charge of attempting to board an airplane with a firearm. He&#39;s currently in custody of the Chicago police and&nbsp;is expected in Cook County bond court on Thursday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Trotter didn&#39;t immidiately return messages Wednesday afternoon.</div><p>According to the website <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121205/ohare/state-senator-charged-with-felony-for-packing-pistol-at-ohare" target="_blank">DNAinfo</a>, which first reported the arrest, Trotter was on his way to Washington D.C. He told WBEZ last week he was headed there for a national conference of black state lawmakers, and to tap his allies in Congress to hook him up with possible campaign donors for his 2nd Congressional District campaign.</p><p>Politically, Trotter&rsquo;s arrest couldn&rsquo;t have come at a worse time.</p><p>On Dec. 15, Democratic Party bosses from the 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses parts of Chicago&#39;s South Side and south suburbs, are set to meet at a slate-making session in hopes of endorsing a single candidate for the Feb. 26 primary. Trotter, a long-time state senator, has said he was close to having the backing of enough party bosses to become the Democrats&#39; anointed candidate &ndash; a much sought-after endorsement in a crowded race.</p><p>&ldquo;It was gonna be interesting at slate-making how it was,&rdquo; Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Berrios said Wednesday. &ldquo;Now this just throws a little bit more ammo into the decision.&rdquo;</p><p>Berrios said the arrest will certainly cause headaches for Trotter during the congressional race, and could prompt some committeemen to step back from their support for his bid.</p><p>&ldquo;Those are things that candidates have to deal with, and when they make a mistake, they have to own up to it,&rdquo; Berrios said.</p><p>He declined to say whether Trotter should drop out of the race.</p><p>As of Wednesday afternoon, the large field of candidates running to replace Jackson seemed to be holding off on attacking Trotter for the incident.</p><p>&ldquo;Obviously it&rsquo;s not a good thing to have a gun on a plane,&rdquo; said former Congressman Mel Reynolds, who is one of at about a dozen candidates who say they&rsquo;re running in the April 9 special election.</p><p>&ldquo;I can tell you this about Senator Trotter: He&rsquo;s not a bad guy, never has been a bad guy, and people make mistakes,&rdquo; said Reynolds, who resigned from his 2nd Congressional District seat in 1995 after being convicted of having a sexual relationship with a teenage campaign worker.</p><p>Some contenders in the race declined to comment, including Illinois State Sen. Toi Hutchison and Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly, both Democrats.</p><p>Other Democrats running for the open seat include former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson; 9th Ward Chicago Ald. Anthony Beale; Pastor Anthony Williams; and State Senator-elect Napoleon Harris, a former NFL linebacker. Lenny McAllister, a pundit and former Chicago radio show host, is so far the lone Republican in the race.</p><p>Trotter recently announced that he would run for Congress, seeking the seat vacated by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-resigns-congress-103969">former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.</a> Trotter previously ran for Congress in 2000, a race in which both he and then-state Sen. Barack Obama lost to U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.</p><p>Trotter served in the Illinois House from 1988 to 1993, and since then in the Illinois Senate. Under former Senate President Emil Jones, he was the Senate Democrats&#39; budget negotiator, known as a cool, calm presence in the often-contentious budget debates during the tenure of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is now imprisoned on corruption charges.</p><p>The Associated Press contributed to this report.</p></p> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 14:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-state-lawmaker-arrested-pistol-ohare-104217 Strong winds delay Chicago flights http://www.wbez.org/news/strong-winds-delay-chicago-flights-103527 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/curimedia_flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hurricane Sandy has stranded many Chicago travelers again today.</p><p>Most flights heading to the Northeast coast are still canceled as airports deal with the aftermath of the storm system.</p><p>The Chicago Department of Aviation said about 325 flights out of O&rsquo;Hare and 75 at Midway were canceled Tuesday.</p><p>The massive storm system has also kicked up <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/wind-waves-make-tricky-commute-103517" target="_blank">winds</a> in Chicago that are causing travel delays.</p><p>&ldquo;We have high winds and it&rsquo;s going to necessitate either delays or additional cancellations on the part of air carriers that operate (in Chicago),&rdquo;&nbsp; said American Airlines spokesperson Mary Frances-Fagan. &ldquo;In times like this, bring your patience with you to the airport.&rdquo;</p><p>On <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/more-550-flights-canceled-chicago-airports-103486" target="_blank">Monday</a>, more than 450 flights at O&#39;Hare International Airport and more than 100 at Midway International Airport were canceled.</p><p>Officials said it could be days before some passengers can get to their destinations.</p><p>Worldwide, more than 15,000 flights have been cancelled because of the storm system.</p><p>Chicago officials said travelers should check with airlines before leaving home for the latest flight information.</p></p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 13:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/strong-winds-delay-chicago-flights-103527