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The [Thursday] Papers

"Alice Carter loved cooking soul food since she was a child growing up in the Deep South of Mississippi," the Austin Weekly News reports.

"She brought that 'down-home cooking' to Chicago in the early 1960s when she landed a job at a local West Side neighborhood eatery. But it was nearly 30 years ago that she opened the restaurant that many now today know as Alice's Soul Food, currently located on 5638 W. Chicago Ave.

"On Wednesday, Ms. Carter, 77, died from a 'brief illness,' her daughter, Jackie Carter said.

AustinTalks profiled Carter in 2010 and it's very much worth a read.

Vanecko Admission?
"A nephew of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley 'may have made an admission of guilt' to detectives that he threw the punch that caused David Koschman's death, attorneys for Koschman's family said in a court filing Wednesday," the Sun-Times reports.

"They said sworn witness statements to the city of Chicago inspector general's office, which they obtained under a court order, contradict arguments made by Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. Alvarez is fighting their efforts to have a special prosecutor appointed to reinvestigate the case and determine whether her office and the police are guilty of 'official misconduct.'

"Minutes after four of Koschman's friends were unable to identify Daley nephew Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko in a police lineup nearly eight years ago, the friends say an unidentified detective told them the police knew who had punched the 21-year-old from Mount Prospect in the face, according to their sworn statements, which Alvarez unsuccessfully tried to keep from being released.

"'We know the guy that did it. He's in there in the other room, and he's just bawling his eyes out, he's a big baby . . . He didn't mean for one punch to lead to all this,' Koschman's friend James Copeland recalled during his sworn interview last year with the inspector general's office, which has been investigating the Koschman case in response to a series of Chicago Sun-Times reports.

"Copeland's recollections were backed up by three other Koschman friends who were also with him on the night in April 2004 when their group ran into Vanecko and others on Division Street, according to transcripts of the interviews that a judge ordered Alvarez's office last month to provide to Koschman's family and lawyers.

"'This guy' is 'really broken up about this, he's really sorry,' Shaun Hageline recalled the detective saying, according to his interview with the inspector general.

"There's no reference to any admission of guilt or of Vanecko being upset in the Chicago Police Department's reports, which the Koschman lawyers say appear to have been 'falsified' to justify Vanecko not being charged."

Perhaps, but everyone who's ever watched a cop show on TV - not that we should use TV as our guide but in this case it works - knows that cops often pretend one guy has given himself up to get the others to spill.


"[Koschman family lawyer Locke Bowman] also asserts that an outside prosecutor is needed to determine how the police knew Vanecko was the mayor's nephew - something that was noted in a police file that was discovered only after Ferguson began investigating last summer."


In a brief, separate story, the Sun-Times also reports:

"The Koschman lawyers found two pictures on Alvarez's Facebook page that show her with Daley: one from 1986, when Daley was state's attorney, and the other from 2010.

"They say in a court filing Wednesday that the photos illustrate 'that she retains close political ties with the former mayor, who actually hired Alvarez as an assistant in the office of the state's attorney in 1986.'"

It's interesting that Daley hired Alvarez, although given the timeline of the career of each, that's a no-brainer that nonetheless didn't occur to some of us - like me. But the photo doesn't prove "close political ties" any more than a photo of me and Daley would. That doesn't mean the ties aren't there - that requires a little more digging - but such a stretchy claim doesn't help bolster the credibility of the Koschman family's case, which I'm sympathetic to.


The court filing did allege what some witnesses have already told the Sun-Times - that the police twisted their statements beyond recognition.

"According to the quoted transcripts, Michael Connolly, a bystander not with either side, said statements by prosecutors that Koschman had initiated the physical confrontation were a 'flat-out lie,'" the Tribune reports. "He also said police reports from 2004 stating he had seen Koschman move physically toward Vanecko were incorrect.

"'I never said that I saw David moving forward to strike anybody,' Connolly was quoted in the transcript as saying under oath. 'I never said that in any (police) statement.'

"One of Koschman's friends, Shaun Hageline, said he was clear in his statements to police that Vanecko and his group were the ones who were physically imposing and that Vanecko, who towered over Koschman, appeared drunk but that police omitted that information from their reports.

"'The notion of Dave Koschman beating these guys up or punching them or winning any kind of fight was just preposterous,' the filing quoted Hageline as saying."


In January, the Sun-Times reported:

"Alvarez criticized the Sun-Times' reporting, saying that during interviews with Inspector General Ferguson's office, 'several of the witnesses have given sworn statements directly refuting information they purportedly gave to the Sun-Times. In fact, a series of witnesses have testified what they said to the reporters was false."

Well, at least a couple of those witnesses are now under oath. Why can't we put everyone under oath and get on with it?


Alvarez was unopposed in Tuesday's primary and has no Republican opponent for the fall.

Loves That Dirty Water
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has awarded a $249,999 'emergency' contract to replace aging sewer pipes to Benchmark Construction, a clout-heavy company that the city formerly certified as being minority-owned and operated at a time that its African-American president had admitted in sworn testimony that his white business partner actually oversaw the company's day-to-day operations," the Sun-Times reports.

"Eight years ago, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Benchmark got more than $25 million in city contracts earmarked for minorities, even though then-company president Michael Smith, who is African-American, had acknowledged in a court deposition that a white partner oversaw operations."

Well, that was eight years ago. And Smith is apparently no longer with the company, which is apparently in good standing now. Not defending it, just seeking context.

"Benchmark got the emergency contract because the owner of another company, Diamond Coring, is charged in a minority-contracting scheme and City Hall declared it ineligible to work for the city, according to the Emanuel administration."

So a better headline might have been "City Hall Gives Ironic Emergency Sewer Deal To Clout-Heavy Company."


"When Diamond Coring was declared ineligible to contract with the city, it became necessary for us to quickly find alternate vendors to perform the same services, which include cutting, grinding and coring a pipe through concrete and other material," Office of Management Budget spokesperson Kathleen Strand told the Sun-Times.

What's not clear is if there is an "emergency" with our sewers. Inference is the enemy of context. As a reader I need a better understanding to know how to process this story - is something dastardly happening here or is this about a sewer contract that isn't even news?


"Emergency contracts are temporary and limited to under $250,000. By keeping the Benchmark contract a penny below that threshold - and soliciting bids from four vendors, generating two responses - Strand said City Hall ensured that the job of 'replacing old pipe and renewing our infrastructure' would get done even as the city drafts a request-for-proposals to find a permanent replacement for Diamond Coring."

You know what? You don't have to report the story until you actually have the story. I'm handing this one back for more work.

Heat Wave
"A meteorologist for AccuWeather - the forecasting company that predicted a winter so bad, 'people in Chicago are going to want to move' - has a theory for the recent Midwest heat wave: Japanese tsunami debris," the Tribune reports.

Sounds about as plausible as the cops' Koschman reports.

Another Emergency Contract
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration is buying 8,513 more face shields for Chicago Police officers at a cost of $757,657 - and demanding delivery in time for the May 20-21 NATO summit - to give every officer on the street a shield that fits over a gas mask and prevents them from being blinded by liquids thrown by protesters," the Sun-Times reports.

So I guess we finally know how many street cops we have; CPD staffing has always been a bit of a mystery.

"The supplemental purchase from Colorado-based Super Seer Corp. [link mine] brings to $954,118 the amount of money spent to purchase 11,570 face shields twice as thick as the old ones with a larger surface and air-tight seal to keep liquids out. The new contract was piggybacked onto an existing Fairfax County, Va. award with a third-distributor to expedite delivery."

Putin On The Shitz
"It appears Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be coming to Chicago to attend the NATO summit," ABC 7 and others are reporting.

Which lends support to this report by Pravda last week stating that Putin's desire to skip the G8 was the real reason the summit was moved out of Chicago:


The Beachwood Tip Line: Putinized!


Posted on March 22, 2012

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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