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John Daley (left) hugs Patrick Daley Thompson after he is sworn in as a new commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board in 2012. | Al Podgorski/Sun-Times

Sneed scoop: Daley nephew (and grandson) to run for City Council

Rod Blagojevich addresses the media as his wife Patti listens outside their home in 2012. File Photo. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Blago to Patti: ‘The end of this nightmare must surely be near'

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is still awaiting word on his appeal in a federal prison outside of Denver, must be one proud dad.  Sneed is told his daughter, Amy, 18, just got accepted at Northwestern University and will be studying journalism at Medill. “She wants to be a reporter,” said a source.  Meanwhile, Blago’s wife, Patti, posted a wedding anniversary letter from her imprisoned hubby on her Facebook page Monday night.

Judge Richard Posner (shown, at podium) at Northwestern Law School in 2003. File Photo. Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Judge’s questions suggest gay marriage coming to Wis. and Ind.

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fischer was a scant 35 seconds into his defense of his state’s ban on gay marriage Tuesday when Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner let him know where he stood. By the time Posner got to his key point he had made plain his hostility to the positions being advanced by Indiana — and Wisconsin — in support of their desire to continue to discriminate against gay couples.

Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett announced the completion of the first phase of air conditioning installation in Chicago Public school classrooms last week. File Photo. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

Pediatricians' warning won't force CPS to push back start times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked schools CEO on Tuesday resisted a pediatricians' push to roll back school starting times so middle- and high-school students can get more sleep.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at the Chicago Public Schools Annual Back to School Inter-Faith Breakfast at the New Life Community Church, 5101 S. Keeler on Tuesday. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

Emanuel fires back at City Council's inspector general

Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired back at the City Council’s handpicked inspector general Tuesday for daring to question the mayor’s commitment to ethics reform.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaking at the Chicago Public Schools Annual Back to School Inter-Faith Breakfast at the New Life Community Church, 5101 S. Keeler. Tuesday. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

Emanuel bolsters commitment to $13-an-hour Chicago minimum wage

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday he'll ask the City Council to raise Chicago’s minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2018, no matter what the outcome of a statewide referendum on the issue or how the Illinois General Assembly responds to those nonbinding results.

Ald. Jim Balcer, shown at a 2012 ceremony honoring military personnel killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, insists his decision to retire was entirely his own. | Sun-Times library

Balcer denies he was forced out to make way for Daley nephew

Bridgeport Ald. Jim Balcer (11th) on Tuesday categorically denied he was forced out to make way for the next generation of Daleys. “No one said, 'Jim, you’ve got to leave.’ Never. Warming the seat? The seat’s on fire. I’ve been there for 17 years,” said Balcer, 64. He said he was motivated instead by health issues and a desire to spend more time with his family.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times

Emanuel fights back against 'murder capital' stigma

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he's more concerned with the opinions of city residents, but that doesn't mean he won't fight back against how Chicago's crime problem is perceived nationally.

Mayor Jane Byrne and Chicago Police Supt. Richard J. Brzeczek salute units passing the reviewing stand during a St. Jude Police League parade through the Loop in 1980, which honored police officers who were killed in the line of duty. | Sun-Times file photo

Circle Interchange to be renamed after Jane Byrne on Friday

Sneed has learned that former Mayor Jane Byrne, a Chicago icon whose legacy had been all but forgotten, will finally get her due Friday when Gov. Pat Quinn officially renames the Circle Interchange in honor of Chicago’s first and only woman mayor.

Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, holds a news conference in 2012. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times

Old video suggests shift in Karen Lewis’ views on job training

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has denounced Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s controversial hiring preference for Chicago Public School graduates as a “meaningless stunt." Instead of offering CPS high school graduates special treatment, Lewis suggested turning after-school programs at the police and fire academies “into an in-school Career and Technical Education program.” Now, a videotaped interview of Lewis has surfaced in which the possible mayoral challenger appears to be arguing just the opposite.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times

CPS graduation rate jumps 4 percent in one year to record high

The latest evidence of CPS progress is a record high school graduation rate of 69.4 percent for the last school year, a 4 percent increase from just a year ago. It may not sound like much that seven out of 10 CPS students are graduating from high school — until you compare it to the 58.3 percent who were graduating just three years ago. Even more significant, research by the University of Chicago has projected that more than 80 percent of last year’s high school freshmen are on track to graduate.

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