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Chicago Ald. Will Burns (4th, left) and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) confer during the City Council meeting in March. | West/For Sun-Times Media

Aldermen search everywhere for alternatives to property tax hike

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to raise property taxes by $250 million to shore up the Municipal Employees and Laborers pension funds — and a looming, $600 million payment to stabilize  police and fire pension funds — has aldermen looking under every rock for alternative sources of revenue.

Same-sex marriage license applications near 1,000 in Cook County

About a fifth of all marriage licenses issued so far in Cook County are to couples from outside Illinois. In all, 23 other states are listed on the licenses. About 950 applications had been filed by Tuesday, with the number expected to reach 1,000 by Friday, according to the Cook County clerk's office.

Illinois Gov. George Ryan listens while former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon speaks a news conference in April 2002. | M. Spencer Green/AP file photo

Who’s who of pols as job references on Metra clout cards

A former governor who went to prison. The chief judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. A U.S. senator who ran for president. A who’s who of Illinois politicians — from folks since shrouded in shame to names chiseled on the side of government buildings — were listed as Metra job references on nearly 800 index cards kept over an eight-year period at Metra headquarters. 

Emanuel may have allies in fight to fix police and fire pensions

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel can expect to have plenty of mayors from both parties on his side when he lobbies legislators on police and fire pensions. That's because those communities, like Chicago, have their own police and fire pension funds — more than 600 in all, and some of them are in a financial state similar to Chicago's. But Emanuel also could find every current and retired police officer and firefighter in the state converging on Springfield to oppose him.
 

Why police recover more guns in Chicago than any other city

It’s not news that Chicago has a gun problem. But that doesn’t make it any more palatable for Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, a firm believer in systems management and improved gun laws as he works to reduce crime in the city.

Schakowsky in Tokyo for Aspen Institute conference

Congress is on a break until the end of the month and Rep. Jan Schakowsky D-Ill. is in Tokyo for the Aspen Institute conference on "America’s Rebalance toward Asia: Trade, Security and Resource Interests in the Pacific."

The 95th Street station is now the end of the Red Line. That station is due for a major renovation, and the CTA is looking at routes to extend the Red Line to 130th Street. | Sun-Times File Photo

CTA weighs two options for Red Line extension route

The CTA has narrowed to two the routes for a long-awaited Red Line extension from 95th to 130th Street — one down the middle of busy Halsted Street, the other mostly running along existing freight tracks.

Heart-wrenching stories of gun violence

It rose to 80 degrees in Chicago on Saturday, the warmest day of the year so far, and a spasm of gunfire quickly followed. Over 36 hours, at least 36 people were shot. Beyond the shock of the sheer numbers involved, the individual stories are heart-wrenching.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, visited children suffering from schistosomiasis during their Feb. 15, 2007, trip to Nasarawa North, Nigeria. The Carters traveled to the community to bring national attention to the country's need to make disease prevention methods and treatments with the medicine praziquantel more accessible in its rural and impoverished communities. Photo courtesy of The Carter Center

Jimmy Carter talks gender equality

Human trafficking, unequal pay, sexual assault. We have “a long way to go” in solving these issues, according to former President Jimmy Carter, who hopes his new book, “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power,” will prompt societal change in the way we approach these problems.

Obama 2014 Passover seder: Guests, menu & Maxwell House haggadah

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle on Tuesday host their 6th annual Passover seder at the White House and, as is their tradition, most of the guests are 2008 campaign workers who threw together a seder at a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania hotel during the heated 2008 Pennsylvania Democratic primary against Hillary Rodham Clinton.