On May 18th, the Leyden Board of Education SD212 held a ground breaking for a $25,000,000 building project at West Leyden High School. At West Leyden they are building an addition inside a portion of the inner courtyard. The first floor will be a cafeteria/common area addition and a kitchen renovation. The second floor addition will be a new Library and media center. Renovated spaces will include new classrooms,reorganized offices, student support areas and more.
An Office of Executive Inspector General investigation into Northern Illinois University’s hiring and spending practices has found that President Doug Baker routinely circumvented state laws and regulations to reward friends and associates.
The report, commissioned after watchdog groups and whistleblowers questioned Baker’s use of the so-called “affiliate employee” classification for hires in key university positions, shows what investigators call a pattern of dodging procurement code requirements.
“As a result of (Baker’s) actions, since 2013 NIU has paid over $1 million in public funds to consultants who were not selected through a competitive procurement process,” the report released Wednesday said.
In addition, the school, facing millions of dollars in cuts due to a $35 million funding gap, has paid nearly $200,000 in legal fees to outside counsel for Baker during the course of the OEIG investigation.
The report also found numerous support staff to Baker had assisted in the practices, and some had further used their positions to gain extra payments over and above their salaries.
Another Baker hire, Ron Walters, received $463,125 in compensation as an affiliate employee from June 2013 to Dec. 2014. According to the report, Baker described Walters as a friend and explained to then NIU Dir. of Human Resources Steve Cunningham that Walters was a “turnaround consultant.”
The OEIG report says that when Cunningham informed Baker that the school could not pay Walters more than $20,000 for his services, “Baker showed a ‘high degree’ of dissatisfaction with the Procurement Code,” and that Baker instructed Cunningham to “find a way” to onboard Walters.
The report identified five employees: Ron Walters, who was paid $463,125; Nancy Suttenfield, who was paid $425,041; Ken Wilson, who was paid $135,963; Magaly Rodriguez, who was paid $85,031; and William Pfeiffer, who was paid $23,516. […]
Although Baker agreed with the report’s findings that there were no violations of the state’s Ethics Act, he disagreed with any implications that there was intent to circumvent NIU’s guidelines or state regulations.
April 23, 1914………Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field), opens for the first time, with the Chicago Federals as the first tenants. The Federals are part of the upstart Federal League, the 3rd Major League. The Federals will remain in Weeghman Park for 2 years, winning the championship in 1915, before the league dissolves, and the Cubs move in, in 1916. The Cubs had been playing in West Side Park. Charley Weeghman owns the Cubs that first year, with William Wrigley also owning a small percentage, and the park remains Weeghman Park until 1920, when it becomes Cubs Park. It remains Cubs Park until 1926, when William Wrigley, the sole owner of the Cubs then, officially names it Wrigley Field. Why was this park built in a more residential section of Chicago and not near a major road? Well because the park, built in 1914, was situated near the Milwaukee Railroad. This is the only remaining Federal League park that still stands. The photos are Weeghman Park, April 23, 1914.
Have you seen parakeets in Chicago? Some time in the 1970s, somebody’s pet parakeets escaped. These weren’t tropical parakeets, but ones that evolved in the relatively cold climate of southern South America, called Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus). Their cold-tolerance and huge apartment building-like stick nests, along with food from backyard bird feeders, allows them to survive Chicago winters. There are still populations on Chicago’s south side, where they have been since the 70s, and there are other colonies in the suburbs.
Join the group Ringling Brothers Circus Memories and share your memories and experiences
Today, April 15th, we celebrate the life and times of Harold Lee Washington (April 15, 1922 – November 25, 1987); an African American lawyer and politician who became the first African-American Mayor of Chicago, serving from 1983 until his death in 1987.
Harold Washington was born in Chicago and was raised by his father. After dropping out of high school during his junior year, Washington earned a high school equivalence degree in the Army, after being drafted during World War II. He graduated from Roosevelt University in 1949 with a degree in political science followed by a degree in law from Northwestern University in 1952. Washington began his political career when he succeeded his deceased father in 1953 as a Democratic Party precinct captain. After positions as a city attorney and a state labor arbitrator, he served in the Illinois House of Representatives for eleven years.
He then advanced to seats in the Illinois State Senate in 1976 and the United States House of Representatives in 1980. Washington was instrumental in the 1982 effort to extend the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 1977, Washington made an unsuccessful bid to become the mayor of Chicago. In 1983, he again entered the mayoral race and won the primaries. He edged out Republican Bernard Epton in the general election to become the city’s first African-American mayor. Washington increased racial diversity in city administration, assuring equal opportunities for women and minorities seeking employment and ended city patronage.
He had difficulty implementing his initiatives since his political opponents held the majority of the 50 City Council seats. In 1986, after a Federal court called for new elections in certain wards that were deemed racially biased, however, Washington achieved more legislative success. He unexpectedly died of a heart attack shortly after his reelection in 1987, ending hope for a popular, progressive, multiracial city government.
Despite the bickering in City Council, Washington seemed to relish his role as Chicago’s ambassador to the world. At a party held shortly after his re-election on April 7, 1987, he said to a group of supporters, “In the old days, when you told people in other countries that you were from Chicago, they would say, ‘Boom-boom! Rat-a-tat-tat!’ Nowadays, they say [crowd joins with him], ‘How’s Harold?’!”
In later years, various city facilities and institutions would be named or renamed after the late mayor to commemorate his legacy. The new building housing the main branch of the Chicago Public Library, located at 400 South State Street, was named the Harold Washington Library Center. The former Loop College in downtown Chicago was renamed Harold Washington College. In addition to the downtown facilities, the 40,000-square-foot Harold Washington Cultural Center was opened to the public in August 2004, in the historic South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville, at 4701 S. King Drive. Across from the Hampton House apartments where Washington lived, a city park was renamed Harold Washington Park, which was known for “Harold’s Parakeets”, a colony of feral monk parakeets that inhabited an ash trees in the park. On the campus of Chicago State University, at 9501 S. King Drive, one of the campus’s buildings is named Harold Washington Hall.