Chicago News Headlines for Wednesday, Dec. 18

WBEZ News
WBEZ News
WBEZ News
WBEZ News

Chicago News Headlines for Wednesday, Dec. 18

Updated at 1:39 p.m.

Politics:

  • Chicago aldermen on Wednesday voted 29-19 to reject a proposal by the City Council Black Caucus to delay legal marijuana sales by six months. The vote means sales will begin Jan. 1 as planned. Some black aldermen think African-Americans aren’t getting a fair share of the legal pot business, and they wanted to delay sales until next summer.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday he has signed a new law consolidating hundreds of police and firefighter pension plans into two statewide funds. The move brings together a patchwork of 649 downstate and suburban plans, "amplifying their investment power and reducing the burden on property taxpayers," Pritzker said in a prepared statement. The two new funds will have about $15 billion in assets.

Crime:

  • Cook County's public guardian is suing a private psychiatric facility that treated children who were in state custody, calling it a “hospital of horrors.” The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of seven children and teenagers who were formerly patients alleges sexual abuse and improper medication. The lawsuit against Chicago Lakeshore Hospital also names several Department of Children and Family Services officials. The state stopped admitting children to the troubled hospital last year. Hospital officials have said they've made improvements.
  • Singer R. Kelly is set to be arraigned via video on a new charge on Wednesday in New York City. WBEZ’s Patrick Smith reports that it’s a seemingly bizarre charge alleging that Kelly bribed a public official in Illinois more than 25 years ago. The accusation is apparently connected to Kelly’s marriage to 15-year-old singer Aaliyah in 1994.
  • A DePaul University student has pleaded not guilty to a terrorism charge accusing him of writing computer code to help Islamic State bypass programs designed to block the group's propaganda from social media. Thomas Osadzinski was arraigned Tuesday in Chicago federal court. He's charged with one count of material support for terrorists. A conviction carries a maximum 20-year prison term.
  • An Indiana watchdog agency is seeking a two-year suspension of Attorney General Curtis Hill's law license over allegations that the Republican drunkenly groped three women at a bar. The Indiana Supreme Court's Disciplinary Commission recommended the suspension, but a hearing officer still must weigh in and the justices would have the final say in deciding what if any sanction is necessary. A suspension would put Hill's job as the state's top law enforcer in jeopardy. He's running for re-election in 2020. Hill denies the allegations.

Arts & culture:

  • A new play by Chicago’s Raven Theatre revisits the Yule Connection, a local 24-hour hotline that was staffed by volunteers during the holidays in the late 1970s and 80s. WBEZ’s Carrie Shepherd reports that Cold Town / Hotline: A Chicago Holiday Story recalls a service that helped people who find the holidays to be a difficult time.

Sports:

  • The Bulls (10-19) are in Washington tonight to face the Wizards (8-17).
  • The Blackhawks hosts the Colorado Avalanche tonight.

Around town:

  • The Salvation Army has implemented Apple and Google Pay to their annual Red Kettle campaign. It works by tapping a smartphone onto a microchip, which redirects the user to a donation page. The new technology has already brought in more than a thousand dollars in the local district.