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David Vitale, president of the Chicago Board of Education, talks with Andrea L. Zopp, a board member, at the Board of Education meeting in their new headquarters at 42 W. Madison in Chicago on December 17, 2014. | Al Podgorski/Sun-Times Media

CPS move may have cost more than estimated

Alan Gross takes a selfie with his wife, Judy Gross, on board a government plane headed back to the United States from Cuba on Dec. 17, 2014. | Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson

Durbin, Kirk split on Obama’s shift on Cuba policy

Sen. Dick Durbin, who has worked for years to secure Alan Gross’ freedom, said establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and relaxing sanctions was “long overdue.” Sen. Mark Kirk said getting Gross out of prison was a “welcome relief” but the deal amounted to “appeasement” because it included a related prisoner swap. A statement from Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., echoed Kirk’s concerns.

Leon Dingle outside federal court in Springfield earlier this month. | AP

Chicago couple found guilty of stealing millions in state grants

A federal jury deliberated for more than five hours before finding Leon Dingle Jr., 77, and Karin Dingle, 75, guilty on counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering. The Dingles could face dozens of years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and forfeitures when they are sentenced April 9.

 
 

Alberto Gonzalez Jr., 46, owner of 90 Miles Cuban Cafe, and his father Alberto Gonzalez Sr., 71, who's visiting from West Palm Beach, Florida, talk about President Barack Obama's move to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. | Tina Sfondeles/Sun-Times

Chicago Cubans cautious yet hopeful about historic policy shift

Alberto Gonzalez Jr., 46,  has owned 90 Miles Cuban Café, a popular Logan Square restaurant, along with another in Roscoe Village, for seven years. His father, Alberto Gonzalez Sr., 71, was visiting from Florida when he heard the news that President Barack Obama is re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and easing some travel and economic sanctions. “It’s the right step in the right directions," Gonzalez Sr. said Wednesday. 

Obama pardons Naperville man, Brian Sledz

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama granted a pardon on Wednesday to, among others, Brian Edward Sledz of Naperville, a former trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange convicted in the early 1990s of wire fraud and violation of the Commodity Exchange Act.

 

Christianity under siege

During this season of joyous religious celebrations and especially the holiday cheer enjoyed with family and friends during Christmas time, we should not forget that in too many corners of the world Christianity is under siege with Christians abused, brutalized and murdered.

The appointment of former independent Ald. Helen Shiller (46th) to lead become the Chicago City Council's first-ever financial analyst — at a salary of $107,000 a year — has been stalled in an aldermanic power struggle. | Sun-Times Library

Emanuel urged to resolve stalemate stalling council budget office

A reform measure to create the office of City Council Financial Analyst is stuck in the mud because of a stalemate over the proposed candidate for the job, former independent Ald. Helen Shiller, who is opposed by Ald. Ameya Pawar but supported by Ald. Carrie Austin.

Peter King: Ted Cruz is 'one big self-inflicted wound'

A day after the White House said Sen. Ted Cruz's 'shenanigans' on Friday helped confirm nominees, Rep. Peter King, R-New York, went after the Texas Republican, saying he's “one big self-inflicted wound” and "the Democrats’ best friend."

The government claims Leon Dingle, 77, and Karin Dingle, 75, steered grant money intended for AIDS- and cancer-awareness campaigns through a web of organizations and into their pockets, using it to buy two Mercedes Benzes; renovate vacation homes in Savannah, Ga., and Hilton Head, S.C.; pay yacht-club expenses and $97,000 on their son's mortgage. Four others in the alleged scheme have pleaded guilty. | Associated Press

Jury begins deliberations in fraud trial of Chicago couple

Leon Dingle, 77, and Karin Dingle, 75, are charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering for allegedly steering grant money intended for AIDS- and cancer-awareness campaigns through a web of organizations and into their pockets. If convicted, they both could face decades in prison.

Three Ways ACA is affecting Business

More often than not, when healthcare reform is brought up, the impact and the interests of businesses are lumped together, as if each faces with the same challenges as the next.

Alan Gross, alongside his wife Judy, arrives to speak during a press conference after being released by Cuba. | Getty Images

Home from Cuba, Alan Gross says freedom is not free

WASHINGTON — Alan Gross says he learned the lesson during five years in Cuban captivity that freedom is not free.