Chicago is now the city of big debt, where each of its 2.7 million residents -- from infants in diapers to senior citizens on fixed incomes -- is on the hook for about $20,000 in long-term pension promises and bond obligations. Like the relentless snow clogging the city’s streets, it just keeps piling up.
The developer of the Chicago Spire, the stalled project that backers say would be the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building, may resume construction after Atlas Apartment Holdings LLC agreed to invest $135 million to finance a plan to exit bankruptcy.
In the same news cycle Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would free more than 20,000 inmates from his country’s prisons, President Barack Obama announced a rather less grand gesture of clemency. He commuted the sentences of eight people convicted of crack-cocaine offenses -- all of whom have served at least 15 years -- and used his pardon power to erase the criminal records of 13 miscellaneous ex-offenders.
The U.S. Supreme Court, rejecting a bid by Michigan, refused to order Illinois and the federal government to permanently separate the waters of Chicago-area rivers and canals from Lake Michigan to stop the migration of Asian carp.
The two Mexican couriers were hauling a tractor-trailer full of cash: $3 million collected for drugs sold on the streets of Chicago. Juan Gonzalez and David Zuniga were driving their rig through Indiana in October 2011, transporting the money to Mexico. As they stopped to fix a flat tire, three members of the Gangster Disciples, Chicago’s biggest street gang, held them up at gunpoint.
The headlines were alarming: "Drought Could Reverse Flow of Chicago River," hailed the website of WLS-TV, the local ABC News affiliate. "Ongoing Drought Could Send the Chicago River Flowing in Reverse," read Smithsonian magazine's normally sedate web pages.
Christie Hefner, former chief executive officer of Playboy Enterprises Inc., said she was shocked as her husband of 15 years, William Marovitz, confessed to her that he was being investigated for suspicious trading in Playboy shares. They were in their apartment atop a 42-story Lincoln Park tower overlooking the glittering Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan on a March evening in 2010.