Presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois

A state probe found State Fair Director Amy Bliefnick sought and accepted at least $540 in free beer tickets during the 2012 State Fair from the vendor in charge of beer sales. Bliefnick accepted at least 120 beer tickets from the vendor and gave them to state officials and her staff, as well as state fair volunteers and visitors, according to the report released Monday. | AP Photo

Ethics panel raps state fair directors for beer ticket freebies

President Barack Obama speaks to participants of the Presidential Summit for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014, during a town hall meeting. | Getty Images

Obama: Female oppression crippling parts of Africa

President Barack Obama spoke out Monday against gender oppression in Africa that he said is "crippling" parts of the continent, urging young leaders there to empower women and eliminate traditions like female genital mutilation and violence against women.

Ald. Rey Colon (35th) on Monday refused to discuss the circumstances of his DUI arrest last week on the Eisenhower Expressway. | Sun-Times Media File Photo

Ald. Rey Colon arrested on Eisenhower Expressway; accused of DUI

Ald. Rey Colon (35th) said Monday he’s hired an attorney after being pulled over by Illinois State Police last week for allegedly driving drunk on the Eisenhower Expressway.


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.

In this July 24, 2014, file photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. | AP

After 6 weeks, finally a deal on VA health care

After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

Chicago-based architect Jeanne Gang, shown in front of the Aqua Tower her firm designed, will be part of the design team for the new museum filmmaker George Lucas wants to build along Lake Michigan. | Photo courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Architects' team for Lucas museum includes designer of Aqua Tower

Jeanne Gang will design a bridge that will connect the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art from its proposed site on Chicago’s Museum Campus to Northerly Island, officials announced Monday. She and her firm, Studio Gang, will also lead the landscape design for the museum.

Chicago Teachers Union, progressives form new Chicago coalition

Look out Chicago, a new political movement has arrived. United Working Families, a partnership between labor groups — including the Chicago Teachers Union — and a coalition of a dozen community groups is expected to announce its formal launch on Monday, executive director Kristen Crowell tells Early & Often.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, speaks to lawmakers on the House floor during session at the state Capitol on May 23, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. | Seth Perlman/AP

Legislative I.G. has financial ties to Madigan, other lawmakers

THE WATCHDOGS: The Illinois General Assembly’s recently appointed acting legislative inspector general has a resume that includes stints as a state’s attorney, U.S. attorney and top aide to then-Gov. Jim Edgar. That mix of political and prosecutorial experience was key to legislators’ choice of J. William Roberts for the job. But it could raise questions about his ability to impartially investigate lawmakers to whom he has ties, including Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Who is benefiting from the Lawndale Diabetes Project?

Gerry Allen, a resident of North Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side, suffered for years with unmanaged diabetes. But, thanks to an expanded community health initiative launched in April 2012 between a local hospital  and an insurance provider, he did something he thought he’d never do.

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. (left); Ald. Jason Ervin (28th); Katelyn Johnson of Raise Illinois; Gov. Pat Quinn, and U.S. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., shout 'Raise the Rate' at a rally Sunday at Federal Plaza. | Kevin Tanaka/For Sun-Times Media Tanaka, Kevin

Dem leaders urge minimum wage hike, criticize Rauner, Oberweis

Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky dished out plenty of populist red meat while kicking off the campaign for Quinn’s minimum wage ballot referendum. The measure is nonbinding, but proponents hope a “yes” vote will encourage the Legislature to increase the state’s $8.25 minimum wage to $10.