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City of Big Shoulders became the City of Big Smiles to celebrate JRW team

On the street, grown-ups danced like excited children, and tiny tots stood tall, proudly holding up signs congratulating the U.S. Little League champions.


Homicide Watch


Garage owner gives alibi to man accused of killing cop


It’s more than six years since alleged cop killer Jason Austin took his 1996 Buick to mechanic Gustavo Granados’s West Side body shop. But Granados did more for Austin than fix a couple of dents. On the stand in federal court Thursday, he gave Austin the closest thing he has to an alibi — insisting the getaway car prosecutors say Austin used after gunning down Det. Robert Soto and Kathryn Romberg was in his shop at the time of the double murder.

2 more charged in Operation Crew Cut racketeering case


The two felons join five other defendants in a major racketeering case targeting an Outfit-connected crew accused of home invasions, armed robberies, burglaries, insurance fraud, prostitution, arson and a plot to murder a witness.

Alvarez blames state cops for delay in processing DNA evidence on Evans’ gun


Cmdr. Glenn Evans was released without having to post bond Thursday after Cook County prosecutors alleged he put his .45-caliber pistol “deep down” a suspect’s throat and held a Taser to the man’s groin while threatening to kill him.

Feds: Teacher allegedly coaxed teen into taking pornographic pictures

The first day back in class started with scandal at a northwest suburban middle school Thursday when a fifth grade teacher was arrested in a federal child pornography bust.

Judge rips defendants but dismisses 'cover-up' suit in Koschman case


A federal judge blasted the Chicago Police Department and Cook County state’s attorney’s office but dismissed a lawsuit that accused police, prosecutors and City Hall of an “official cover-up” to keep former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko from being charged in the death of David Koschman. Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer cited the statute of limitations but said "many of the defendants . . . chose deliberately not to investigate [the case] or to exaggerate, twist or even manufacture evidence that minimized or exonerated Mr. Vanecko’s involvement."

Charges filed against trucker in I-55 crash that killed five


Charges have been upgraded to reckless homicide against an Indiana truck driver accused of causing a crash that left five people dead and three others injured last month on I-55 near Channahon. Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, 51, of Leesburg, Ind., has been indicted on 15 counts of …

Firefighters battle three-alarm blaze on Halsted


Firefighters were attempting to extinguish a three-alarm fire early Thursday in Englewood. The fire was reported about midnight in a three-story building in the 6300 block of South Halsted, according to Fire Media Affairs. Firefighters were working on the fire in “defensive mode” as of …

Man killed in North Lawndale drive-by shooting

A man was killed in a drive-by shooting Wednesday night in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side. Antonio Hobson, 34, was sitting in a garage in the 1800 block of South Fairfield about 9:45 p.m. when a car drove by and someone inside …

Explosion, fire at BP refinery in Whiting


Fire broke out about 9 p.m. Wednesday after an explosion at the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, fire officials said. BP America spokesman Scott Dean said in a news release early Thursday there was “an operational incident” on a process unit and the fire was extinguished by 10:55 p.m.

CPD commander allegedly held Taser to suspect’s groin


One of Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s most valued commanders was charged Wednesday with official misconduct and aggravated battery for allegedly putting his gun in a suspect’s mouth last year, officials said. Cmdr. Glenn Evans was stripped of his badge and gun earlier Wednesday.

Mom of man held in Bali killing raising money for defense


The mother of an Oak Park man detained overseas after the gruesome death of a Chicago woman found stuffed in a suitcase in Bali is raising money online for his legal defense. Kia Walker wrote on the website that her son, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, “is potentially facing execution by firing squad in Indonesia.”

Cars expected to swarm tollway this Labor Day as gas prices drop


This Labor Day weekend may well be the Illinois Tollway’s busiest ever just as Chicago area gas prices travel downward. U.S. motorists Wednesday were paying on average 11 cents a gallon less for regular unleaded gas than a year ago, and the lowest prices in …

Emanuel super PAC makes move to elect friendlier aldermen


The $1.35 million-and-counting super PAC created to re-elect Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his aldermanic allies is taking its first concrete step to ensure that Emanuel has even less City Council resistance if he’s re-elected to a second term.

Chicago Board of Education changes how it ranks schools


Chicago’s Board of Education unanimously changed how it ranks its schools Wednesday, introducing minimums that will benefit the highest-performing schools and potentially lessen the number of schools at the bottom.

Emanuel forges ahead with plan to turn 311 into 2-way street

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is forging ahead with his plan to turn a 311 non-emergency number that fields 3.4 million calls-a-year into more of a two-way street in a way that could benefit him politically. One year after issuing a request-for-proposals to develop “constituent relationship management modernization software” for a 311 system virtually unchanged since its launch 15 years ago, City Hall has narrowed the competition to two and will begin contract negotiations with both bidders.