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The [Monday] Papers

"Far fewer students from Chicago's closed elementary schools are enrolled where the district thought they would be this fall," Linda Lutton reports for WBEZ.

"Just 60 percent of 10,542 students from Chicago's shuttered elementary schools ended up at so-called 'welcoming schools,' despite efforts by the district to woo them with promises of improved education, safe passage to school, and sweeteners like iPads, air conditioning and new science labs."

That, my friends, is what we call an utter failure.

"The district insisted throughout the summer that 80 percent of students from closing schools were enrolled at their designated welcoming schools.

"Even the first day of school, CPS said 78 percent of impacted students were attending their welcoming schools. The district made $155.7 million in capital and technology investments at the schools, which it will pay off for the next 30 years.

"But enrollment figures obtained by WBEZ through an open records request show CPS overstated enrollment at the receiving schools by more than 2,000 students."


CPS has been caught fudging, obfuscating, spinning and outright lying so many times in the last year that I'm at a loss to say anything clever, witty or angry that I - and many others - haven't already said a zillion times.

Oh, here's one: Can they be prosecuted for fraud? Racketeering?

Perhaps what's most maddening is that there doesn't seem to be any way to hold them accountable. It just doesn't matter; they could announce tomorrow that they now have a 100 percent graduation rate or that the CTU is being run by aliens from the planet Zor or even claim they haven't closed any schools but opened a new one on every block and it just wouldn't make a difference because no one there ever has to face any consequences for their actions. It's the opposite of a learning environment! Or maybe they've learned too well.


Oh, geez, Zor is a real thing, I had no idea.


USX Factor
"The South Lake Shore Drive extension, Chicago's newest roadway, is less than two weeks away from opening along a part of the city that for more than 100 years most people have seen only from a distance," Jon Hilkevitch reports for the Tribune.

"It has been 21 years since the blast furnaces at U.S. Steel Corp's massive South Works plant went silent. But the cyclone fences that have cordoned off the roughly 600-acre site - about twice as big as Grant Park - are about to come down.

"Removal of the barriers on the old USX property will clear the way for thousands of drivers and many cyclists each day to use the roughly 2-mile extension of South Lake Shore Drive from just south of Rainbow Beach, at 79th Street and South Shore Drive, to 92nd Street at Ewing Avenue, near the Calumet River. It is also marked as the relocated U.S. Highway 41.

"The road's opening will also provide the key piece of infrastructure that for years has been missing from far-reaching plans to develop an area that has been approved to include up to about 18,000 residents, beaches and marinas and 25 million square feet of retail, commercial and research facilities."


The USX site could be the most important piece of undeveloped real estate in the city. It's on the lake, it has an awesome view of downtown, and it's huge. It's also on the South Side. The city needs to take care and make sure something really special is done there.


Ice, Ice, Baby
"Since the Blackhawks took the Stanley Cup in 2010 - and again this year - many Chicago-area rinks say they've seen the result of the team's success and popularity: a rising demand for ice time," Jennifer Delgado reports for the Tribune.

"And with the 2014 Winter Olympics approaching in February, rinks expect another wave of new skaters. After professional figure skaters compete on the international stage, owners and operators of local rinks say they always see an influx of skating novices gliding through the doors.

"The demand for ice time is so high that some Chicago parents said they recently waited up to eight hours in line to sign up their children for skating classes at the McFetridge Sports Center on the city's Northwest Side. Adult hockey teams pay to play past midnight at rinks from Crestwood to Gurnee, often the only time available."

Hey, maybe we can throw a few rinks on the USX site while we wait for the rest of it to be developed . . . and maybe the final development could include a hockey complex.


First, Kill Metra
Today we begin a weeklong series of posts by our very own Natasha Julius suggesting - ahead of Pat Quinn's blue-ribbon commission - how to fix our mess of a public transit system.

In part one, Natasha argues that we have to kill Metra in order to save it.

Later in the week, fun with maps, infrastructure, money and people.


SportsMonday: Rose Doesn't Do Rio
Our very own Jim Coffman today writes that Derrick Rose still isn't approaching his rehab realistically.


The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Including: Dead on TV, Dave Hamilton, Franz Ferdinand, Tame Impala, For The Fallen Dreams, Tommy Trash, Guttermouth, Surfer Blood, Raheem Devaughn, NTVG, Ed Holstein, and Ben Rector.


Reminder: Today Is A Federal Holiday


The Beachwood Tip Line: Come sail away.


Posted on October 14, 2013

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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