CHICAGO (CBS) — Flooding and sinking graves at an historic cemetery where some famous Chicagoans are buried.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams has the story from Oak Woods Cemetery.
Mayor Harold Washington, Olympic legend Jesse Owens, activist and journalist Ida B. Wells are all buried at Oak Woods Cemetery. But CBS 2 looked at the grave of one young man.
His site is in poor condition.W
Rasell Bowman’s 26-year-old son, Eric Francis Harvey, died in his sleep. And every day since she buried him on March 1, she’s visited his grave at the Oak Woods Cemetery.
“I don’t sleep. I don’t eat. I have a hard time even trying to grieve him,” said Bowman. “It’s really eating at me.”
The evidence of flooding: A pool of water is along side her son’s grave. Other graves in the immediate area are sinking. Bowman took a photo of a hose extending to a sewer.
“It doesn’t even have to rain. It’s full of water all the time,” Bowman said.
She believes her son’s casket is surrounded by water. When asked how she’s convinced water is inside the grave itself. She offered this explanation:
“Because when they lowered my son in the grave and hundreds of people were out here. We were all witnessing the water pouring in from around the front and the sides.”
A spokesperson for Oak Woods had this statement:
“Our cemetery has been impacted by the inclement weather in the area over the past several weeks resulting in some pooling water in a small section of the cemetery. We are in the process of working with the Bowman family to help resolve their situation and provide closure.”
A letter sent to Bowman stated that Oak Woods is offering to bury Bowman’s son in another part of the cemetery, but only if the cemetery is not held liable for any damages to the Bowman’s son’s casket and body.
She is not willing to sign the agreement.
“What happens if we pull him up and he’s really messed up,” Bowman asked.
CBS 2 looked at other sections of the cemetery, including the grave of Mayor Harold Washington. All is well there, but not where Bowman buried her son.
“This condition has hurt my heart in ways that you can’t imagine.”
Bowman has now buried two sons at Oak Woods. An older son was murdered 20 years ago.
CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a one man burglary spree.
Several businesses within blocks of each other targeted.
CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas has the story from 100th and Western.
Chicago police said between March 10 to March 18, there were three business burglaries all between 99th and 104th and Western. In each case someone smashed the window of a business.
Craig Patel closes his Town Armanetti Beverage Mart by 11:00 p.m. But his March 15 security video showed an after-hours visitor throw an elbow at the window.
That doesn’t break it, so he picks something off the ground and then tosses it at the glass.
“It’s very frustrating, you know,” Patel said. “We work like 10 hours a day. By the time you get home, and you get a phone call from the alarm company,” Patel added.
He said the man reached through the broken glass, grabbed cigarettes and walked off down 100th. What’s worse, Patel said a burglar broke another window on March 10 and stole bottles of liquor.
Police said they are investigating a similar smash and grab near 103rd and Western around 6:30 a.m. March 18.
“It’s a beautiful neighborhood. There’s police officers that live in the neighborhood and everything. I think these guys are coming from somewhere else,” Patel said.
CPD said it believes the same guy is responsible for all three burglaries, adding that they are looking for a man between 30 and 40 years old. He wears glasses and, as seen on a surveillance image, a New York Yankees hat. Investigators said, in at least one burglary, money was stolen.
“Three in that short time span is unusual,” said Susan Flood of the Beverly Area Planning Association said that despite the burglaries, the neighborhood is safe.
“Any crime in our community is unusual. We’re a very tight-knit community. We look out for each other,” Flood said.
Patel had a message for the robber:
“Hey man, get a job. Get a real job like we all do.”
City records showed business burglaries within a half mile radius of 103rd and Western are actually down in recent years. There were 35 in 2016, 26 in 2017 and last year there were 24.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Five high school seniors at the far South Side Butler College Prep received the surprise of a lifetime Tuesday.
During the school’s “Draft Day” presentation, UIC offered those students full ride scholarships to study education as part of its Call Me MiSTER program. The goal: To get students of color to return to their communities with a teaching degree.
“The elation they expressed to receive scholarships to become teachers, it’s nothing like it,” said Alfred Tatum, Dean of the College of Education, UIC.
“That’s my dream growing up,” said student Teon Nesbitt. “Somehow, some way, I just wanted to give back to my community and help my people.”
“We are going to be a part of generational change and multigenerational change because of these young men,” added Chris Goins, Principal at Butler College Prep. “They are going to touch lives that I am never going to meet and that just excites me.”
The Call Me MiSTER program stands for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role (Models.) Right now the program is operating in 31 schools across the country.
CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2 has learned mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle has stopped spending money on TV ads.
No commercials booked for at least the next three days.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley has the story from Malcolm X College where Lori Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot are taking part in a mayoral forum.
It’s a highly unusual step with exactly two weeks until election day. CBS 2 is told Preckwinkle’s TV campaign will be dark for the coming days.
That could change with more fundraising, but it certainly appears the campaign is out of TV cash at least for now.
At the Malcom X forum, Toni Preckwinkle again said she’d fire Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Lori Lightfoot said she’d evaluate him first.
“We have to have a police superintendent who acknowledges there’s a code of silence in the police department and there’s racism in the police department. We have to begin with that,” Preckwinkle said.
“There’s a time and place to have that conversation, but it’s after the summer and we’ll evaluate the job that he has done and whether on the same course and have the same vision,” Lightfoot said.
Meantime, Toni Preckwinkle received the endorsement of a host of west siders, including the dean of West Side politics, U.S. Congressman Danny Davis.
“She has already demonstrated that she knows how to make things happen and how to get things done,” Davis said.
All emphasized Preckwinkle’s experience, while trying to square her position as Cook County Democratic chair with her history as a progressive.
“Under the leadership of Toni Preckwinkle, it’s not the party you remember. It’s a new party. We have not seen the kind of diversity that we see today without her help,” said Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough.
And Lightfoot debuted her closing campaign ad, featuring her 11-year-old daughter, photobombing Lightfoot’s pitch to voters until the very end.
Asked if she’ll have a closing TV spot, Preckwinkle wouldn’t say.
“We’re making strategic decisions to put us in the best place to win this campaign,” Preckwinkle said.
Preckwinkle and Lightfoot will face off at least eight more times in forums and debates before April 2. But it’s unclear if Preckwinkle will be able to afford more TV commercials before the end of the campaign.
Get to know the candidates with our voter guide at CBSChicago.com/voterguide and you can find candidate bios and their positions on key issues.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago restaurant is being called out by a customer for rounding up people’s bills without telling them.
So how are they getting away with it?
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez went to the Cozy Corner to find out.
The customer who brought this to CBS 2’s attention showed two receipts from two different occasions where the printed total showed he was overcharged by one cent each time. The only way he knew that there was a problem was off was because he did the math himself.
“It wasn’t about the penny, but it was the principle,” said Raymond Souchet. He’s retired and keeping a close eye on what he spends. So in January, he was surprised when he noticed one of his favorite restaurants rounded his bill up by a penny to $86.95.
So he asked both the waitress and cashier at the Cozy Corner why?
“It’s the owners policy. That was it,” said Souchet. When asked if the policy is stated anywhere, he said nowhere.
“I asked them about that and they said it’s just the owners policy because nobody’s ever really brought it up to their attention,” he said.
Souchet reported the incident to 311, but this week he noticed the restaurant was still rounding bills, this time $25.50 instead of the actual $25.49 he owed.
“It adds up with all of the customers. It could add up to thousands of dollars eventually at the end,” Couchet said. He called 311 again and then shared his frustration along with pictures of his bills on Facebook.
Martinez decided to see for herself. After eating lunch, both Martinez and her photographer received bills rounded up to $12.15, but what was actually only owed $12.13.
After reaching out to the owner, his wife agreed to talk to CBS 2 and defended the policy by saying they round up and down.
“We don’t have the pennies because we just want to keep the process flowing quickly,” said the owner’s wife Irene Iatrives, who admitted that it’s easy to see how someone could feel deceived.
“I can see how they might because they don’t know we’re rounding down,” Iatrives said, and she showed CBS 2 examples of net receipts showing a loss on the rounding to prove it.
“We’re not making money on this. There are many days where we lose money on the rounding but it just saves so much time,” Iatrives said.
“I want to apologize that feel like we’ve stolen money from them. We just didn’t see it as stealing. It was more like take a penny, give a penny,” she added.
According to the owners wife, the rounding policy has now been stopped at all four of the locations that he owns. But that might not be the end of this.
The city of Chicago is also investigating this incident as possible consumer fraud and encouraging any customers to come forward and report their incidents.
Mai’s story started with a tip from a viewer. If you know anything we should check out, send an email to CBSChicagotips@cbs.com .
CHICAGO (CBS) — There are plenty of political flyers in the race for the next mayor of Chicago, but now hateful leaflets have turned up in unlikely places.
As Lori Lightfoot enjoyed another round of labor endorsments, she was also dealing with anti-gay flyers that showed up on the windshield of worshippers outside black churches.
“Any attempts by anyone to propagate hate, we have to stand together as a city and denounce it unequivocally,” Lightfoot said. “Because hate can have no place in this city.”
The fear-mongering flyer claimed if that Lightfoot is elected: “All contracts, jobs and employment would be assigned exclusively to gay people.”
Some flyers were found outside the House of Hope megachurch, headed by the Rev. James Meeks.
“Unfortunately, I think it was broader than Rev. Meeks’ church from the reports that we’ve heard,” Lightfoot said.
Indeed, reports said the flyers appeared outside Apostolic Faith Church in Bronzeville on Indiana as well. If victorious, Lightfoot is set to make history not only as Chicago’s first black female mayor but also Chicago’s first openly gay mayor.
Lightfoot’s campaign hoped Willie Wilson’s endorsement might help win over conservative black churchgoers, the very group at which the flyers are apparently aimed.
Lightfoot’s opponent, Toni Preckwinkle, critized the flyers as well.
“Sure, I condemn them. They have nothing to do with our campaign. They’re disgraceful,” Preckwinkle said.
Lightfoot called the flyers an unfortunate distraction.
“I feel very confident if we keep working hard and stay focused and not let these things derail us, we’re going to have a broad mandate for change in this city. That’s what I’m focused on,” Lightfoot said.
Those flyers are now attracting national attention as well.
Annise Parker, the former Mayor of Houston, who is also openly gay, said the attack flyers are infused with bigoted stereotypes too often used against gay candidates.
You can see the bios for both candidates, along with their positions on the key issues, on our website CBSChicago.com/voterguide.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Lori Lightfoot picked up endorsements from a major union and a former mayoral candidate.
While Toni Preckwinkle showed solidarity with striking workers.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley is tracking the candidates.
Lori Lightfoot donned a hard hat as she accepted support from Chicago’s 20,000 union laborers. And Lightfoot acknowledged she’s feeling momentum.
“I do think we have momentum, but I take nothing for granted,” Lightfoot said. “We’ve got to keep focus every single moment for the next 20 days.”
An additional Lightfoot endorsement came Thursday from former mayoral candidate Gery Chico, joining former candidates Paul Vallas and Willie Wilson in backing Lightfoot.
“We’ve got to build hope and innovation all over the city and I’m proud of the endorsements that we have received,” Lightfoot said.
Not surprisingly, money has followed that momentum. During the first round of the mayoral race, Toni Preckwinkle far outraised Lightfoot.
But since March 8, the roles have reversed.
Lightfoot has raised $676,000, including $100,000 from the sources linked to the Wirtz family, owners of the Chicago Blackhawks, another $100,000 from financier John Canning and $50,000 from Craig Duchossois, part of the family that owns Arlington Racetrack.
By contrast, Preckwinkle has raised $329,000 with labor unions the biggest contributors at $135,000.
On Thursday, Preckwinkle joined striking Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians on their Michigan Aveune picket line, downplaying the significance of Gery Chico’s endorsement of Lightfoot.
“My view is you’ve got to meet the voters where they are, and talk to them about their concerns and share your vision,” Preckwinkle said. “I think that’s what really matters.”
What’s the state of the race with 19 days to go?
There is one small, new snapshot from the North Side’s 2nd ward. A poll done for Ald. Brian Hopkins shows Lightfoot at 68 percent, Preckwinkle at 20 percent.
It’s just one ward, but those margins track two other citywide polls.
CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a story we brought you first on CBS 2 about a bridge in Joliet with one of the worst structural ratings in the state.
Now, engineers are talking about what makes bridge so dangerous. CBS 2’s Megan Hickey has the story from the I-80 Des Plaines River Bridge in Joliet.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has repeatedly said the bridge is safe, but state inspectors found it to be in such critical condition that it may require closure.
The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 had been waiting patiently for the state report that details each of the structural deficiencies of the bridge.
What they got was…
“Black, black, black,” said the union’s Ed Maher, referring to the heavily redacted report. “Because it’s so bad, that it would be a threat if people knew how bad it was.”
Two documents filled with redactions. IDOT said that the photos and other details were covered up because they revealed vulnerabilities with the bridges.
But Local 150 said the drivers who use them have the right to know.
“People in Joliet are becoming aware of this and they are justifiably concerned,” said Maher.
So the union, the same group that took out several alarming billboards cautioning drivers about the state of the bridges, set up their own cameras to try to fill the gaps.
They found tilted rocker bearings used to help support the bridge, heavily degraded concrete on nearly every support section and serious corrosion at the bridge’s joints.
For an objective perspective, CBS 2 sent the report and photos to a civil engineer with UIC’s College of Engineering.
“There’s some permanent deformation,” said Didem Ozevin, a civil engineer at UIC.
Ozevin agreed the report is bad, and said the corrosion and the tilted rocker bearings are the most alarming. So much so that she’d think twice about driving over the bridges.
“When I see so many members with aerial loss and deformation that makes me very concerned passing through those bridges,” Ozevin said.
IDOT recently awarded a contract for repairs to be completed by 2020. But CBS 2 learned the majority of the work will be bearing replacement not concrete.
The long term plan would be to completely replace this bridge, but right now funding is still an issue.
CHICAGO (CBS) — In the Chicago mayoral race, Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot each outlined how they would attack Chicago’s crime problem in a forum at the University of Chicago.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley was there.
Lori Lightfoot, the former federal prosecutor, backed a crackdown on repeat gun offenders to help reduce street crime.
“Somebody who decides to, again, pick up a firearm and and cause harm is a danger to the community, pure and simple,” Lightfoot said. “You should not be back out on the street.”
Lightfoot said the feds need to step up prosecution of Chicago gun cases. And she said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s two-person public safety staff must be radically expanded.
“If you compare that to New York, that has about 50 people in its mayor’s office of public safety, or 30 in L.A. it’s hard to say that we are really serious about public safety in this city,” Lightfoot said.
Meantime, Toni Preckwinkle said racism is the reason violence is worse in Chicago than other big cities.
“Neither New York or Los Angeles has the profound segregation that we have here in Chicago. I think that’s part of the reason they have less violence and further more, the poorest communities in Chicago are poorer, relatively speaking, than the poorest communities in New York and Los Angeles,” Preckwinkle said.
Both candidates said poor communities need more investment, jobs and mental health facilities. And both agreed police need better training, but they disagreed on the new police training academy approved Wednesday by City Council.
Lightfoot said the city may be spending too little.
“It’s not going to be $98 million. If you’re really going to do it right, it’s going to be far more than that,” she said.
While Preckwinkle is wary of both the price tag and the location.
“I just question whether or not we need to spend $95 million dollars on a brand new facility, whether there’s an opportunity to reuse a facility elsewhere,” Preckwinkle added.
The forum was organized by the University of Chicago which wanted the two mayoral candidates to appear together. But Toni Preckwinkle declined to share the stage with Lori Lightfoot.
With just 20 days left until the election, vote-by-mail ballots go out Thursday to 21,000 voters who requested them. Election officials said they should be mailed back by March 20.
Early voting begins this weekend at the Super Loop site, and then citywide next Monday.
You can watch Derrick Blakley’s one-on-one interviews with both candidates on our website, CBSChicago.com/voterguide.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Lori Lightfoot got an endorsement from the politically influential blue collar Plumbers Union.
The leader of that union claimed he was snubbed by Toni Preckwinkle.
Lori Lightfoot was backed Tuesday by the Plumbers Union Local 130, an endorsement over Toni Preckwinkle, which the union boss said came almost by default.
“I had a long relationship with her. She never reached out to me. I’ve known Toni Preckwinkle as long as I’ve been the manager here, and I never got a phone call, is all I can tell you,” said James Coyne of Plumbers Union Local 130.
Four years ago, the plumbers endorsed Rahm Emanuel. In this year’s first round, the union backed Bill Daley, citing a 60-year relationship with the Daley family. But Coyne said Lightfoot’s emphasis on jobs won him over.
“What we’re talking about is what is the leader who is going to have the vision and the strategy to move our city forward and of course, that has to be creating jobs and opportunity for people in every neighborhood and zip code,” Lightfoot said.
The two candidates also clashed at the Chicago Tribune editorial board. Lightfoot demanded an end to aldermanic prerogative, but Preckwinkle was non-committed.
“No alderman should have that kind of power where they feel the only way they can get basic city services and get business done in a ward is to kiss the ring of the alderman. That’s fundamentally the problem,” said Lightfoot.
“There’s a process in place, namely an electoral process, to give people the opportunity to make corrections if they think that their alderman is not performing. And that’s what we call elections,” Preckwinkle said.
Instead, Preckwinkle said outside employment for aldermen should be banned to eliminate conflicts of interest.
Elsewhere on the endorsement front, Preckwinkle won the endorsement of the painters union while Lightfoot picked up the support of former mayoral candidate Paul Vallas South Side activist Father Michael Pfleger.