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simmie cobbs heads to nfl draft after great mourning and much learning

very few things in life have gone smoothly for simmie cobbs.the former oak park-river forest and indiana star wide receiver has overcome numerous hardships that would have crippled some athletes.cobbs has essentially been on his own since age 18. his mother has not been in his life since he was very young. he lost his father, simmie cobbs sr., in 2005 when he was only 9. his grandmother, delta cobbs, died during his junior season at indiana. before the start of this season, simmie cobbs was arrested at a jason aldean concert.on the field, simms played less than a full season of varsity high school football due to a transfer issue. he sat out his junior football season during a brief stint at montini and eventually flipped his college commitment from purdue to indiana after the boilermakers' coaching staff wanted him to switch positions.cobbs also suffered a season-ending injury during the first play of his junior year at indiana, immediately after his grandmother's death.yet cobbs remains positive, noting that his life experiences shaped him into a well-rounded and mature 22-year-old."not growing up with my mom, staying with my father and grandmother and losing my best friend and father at a young age just taught me that you can't take for granted things in life," cobbs said. "i try and live each day to the fullest, and i learned all that through the process."i knew if i had a positive mindset on life and if i was dedicating myself to the athleticism i was given, there...





minnesota public radio: allegations against keillor far beyond single touch

minnesota public radio provided additional details of allegations of sexual harassment against humorist garrison keillor on tuesday, saying his alleged conduct went well beyond his account in november of accidentally touching a woman's bare back.mpr said in a statement that keillor was accused by a woman who worked on his "a prairie home companion" radio show of dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents over several years, including requests for sexual contact and explicit sexual communications and touching.mpr said the woman, whom it has not identified, detailed the allegations in a 12-page letter that included excerpts of emails and written messages. mpr said as it attempted to investigate the case, keillor and his attorney refused to grant access to his computer, emails and text messages.keillor did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. he has said in recent weeks he was in negotiations with mpr over separating the two sides' business interests.mpr faced a backlash from outraged keillor fans after firing the best-selling humorist after four decades of his telling folksy stories about his fictional minnesota hometown of lake wobegon. keillor accused the station of firing him without a full investigation. until mpr's new statement tuesday, the only account of his actions was his.he told the minneapolis star tribune on nov. 29 that he had simply been trying to console a co-worker."i meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness, and...





disabato: st. rita grad mark payton trying to find place with new york yankees

mark payton has no idea where he'll be spending his summer playing in the new york yankees' organization.the st. rita graduate could be headed back to class aa trenton at the end of march when spring training breaks. or more than likely, he'll be sent to class aaa scranton/wilkes-barre.with four minor leagues seasons under his belt, there's also a slight chance payton could break camp with the yankees.stranger things have happened.but no matter where payton is assigned, he has one desire — to see his name in the lineup every day."i want at-bats," said payton, an outfielder who hits left-handed. "you can't get to the big leagues by not playing. if it's in (class aaa), that's great. if it's in (class aa), that's great. it's the new york yankees. wherever they feel is best for me."for the past three seasons, that's meant time in both aa and aaa.payton spent much of last season at scranton/wilkes-barre. he put up solid numbers, hitting .272 with 33 runs, 14 doubles, two triples, six homers and 22 rbis.bob narang very few things in life have gone smoothly for simmie cobbs. the former oak park-river forest and indiana star wide receiver has overcome numerous hardships that would have crippled some athletes. cobbs has essentially been on his own since age 18. his mother has not been in his life since he was... very few things in life have gone smoothly for simmie cobbs. the former oak park-river forest and indiana star wide receive...





resign, replace, and disempower voters. keep repeating.

state sen. donne trotter, a south side democrat, has served in the illinois general assembly since ronald reagan was president. but after 30 years in office, he announced last week that he won’t run again — or even finish the term that ends less than a year from now. his resignation was effective immediately, for reasons he didn’t feel the need to explain.odd timing? not necessarily. had he quit two months ago, the senator would have given other candidates a chance to file for the march democratic primary. by quitting now, trotter allows democratic insiders to choose his replacement, which is expected to be one of two state representatives he has mentored, marcus evans and elgie sims.and that might just be the idea. “like a proud father, i am not taking sides,” said trotter. “but i think our team that we’ve developed and nurtured here in the district certainly qualify to go forward.” the reference to “our team” is revealing. trotter and the party establishment seem to think of the senate seat as their personal property, to be managed as they please — rather than be left up to the unpredictable whims of actual voters.those voters will get to voice their opinion in november, you say? not really. no republican candidates are running in the primary —though someone might have if it had been known trotter wouldn’t seek re-election. the deadline for write-in candidates to register for the primary was — surprise! — the day before trotter announced his re...





ex-gymnast isabell hutchins to larry nassar: 'you didn't heal me. you only hurt me'

a former elite gymnast said tuesday that a sports doctor who treated olympic athletes overlooked what turned out to be a broken leg while he molested her in the basement of his home, one of the latest victims to testify at a michigan sentencing hearing for larry nassar.isabell hutchins practiced for weeks at a lansing-area gymnastics club and even competed at national events despite acute leg pain as a teen in 2011. she said nassar did nothing to encourage her to get help and instead molested her during late-night appointments at his home."you were never a real doctor. you did not heal me. you only hurt me," hutchins told nassar, who was seated a few feet away in the ingham county courtroom as the sentencing phase reached a sixth day.nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by michigan state university and usa gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains olympians. his accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking treatment for a variety of injuries.the accusers, many of whom were children, said they trusted nassar to treat them properly, were in denial about what was happening or were afraid to speak up. he sometimes used a sheet or his body to block the view of any parent in the room."i'd been told during my entire gymnastics career to not question authority," hutchins said.nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in...





how one chicago democrat's shutdown fight reveals the democratic party's coming struggle

"he just went up to the mic and said, 'i'm not going to vote for any [expletive] spending bill' that does not protect dreamers," said adrian reyna, of the young immigrants group united we dream. "and we all said, 'woah,' because that's exactly what we wanted to hear. that energy broke the ice for a lot of democrats in the house."on dec. 7, only eight senate democrats voted against a short-term spending deal that left out the dreamers. by dec. 21, 30 senate democrats rejected a similar short-term extension.last week, 44 senate democrats voted against the deal."in caucuses and in meetings, you can tell it's personal to him — deeply personal. he was respectful but he'd always push the caucus to understand his position," said nadeam elshami, who served as pelosi's chief of staff.mike debonis the deal that ended the government shutdown on monday paved the way for senate consideration of immigration legislation, but it did nothing to ensure that the house would act on such a bill - or that president donald trump would sign it. that has raised fears among immigrant advocates that the... the deal that ended the government shutdown on monday paved the way for senate consideration of immigration legislation, but it did nothing to ensure that the house would act on such a bill - or that president donald trump would sign it. that has raised fears among immigrant advocates that the... (mike debonis)to the right, adopting gutierrez's tactics l...





‘how do i explain the pain?’ mom asks as daughter’s murderer gets 80 years in prison for 1985 cold case

after more than three decades, the legal case against the man who killed kristy wesselman ended tuesday, but it leaves many what-ifs and what-might-have-beens that will never be answered.michael r. jones, 64, the man who pleaded guilty last week to killing the 15-year-old girl in dupage county in 1985, was sentenced to 80 years in prison tuesday, formally wrapping up a sexual assault and murder mystery that had vexed police for three decades prior to jones’ arrest in 2015.kristy’s mother, sandy wesselman, called it an amazing day, but said the impact of her daughter’s death still reverberates and always will.“i can go home and try to be a real person — whatever that is,” sandy told reporters at a press conference after jones’ sentencing hearing.during the court proceeding, wesselman recounted anecdotes from her daughter’s brief life. she recalled the bright girl who already knew how to read before she started school, the feisty high school freshman who wanted to play on the football team, the promising student chosen to be in the honor guard for a 1984 campaign appearance by president ronald reagan.wesselman recalled her daughter’s response when asked if she was excited about appearing with the president: “mom, he’s just an old man.”the woman also shared sadder memories from after her daughter’s murder, like attaching kristy’s first communion pin to her older daughter’s wedding dress so that kristy could in some small way be a part of that family...





tom crean, now with espn, on a year of transitions: 'i've never lost the drive to coach'

tom crean was seated in the back of the cafeteria with classic rock playing from the speakers as he huddled with his notes and film on his laptop to prepare for tuesday night’s game between oklahoma and kansas.crean, the former marquette and indiana head coach, is out of coaching for the first time since he entered the profession, but he is as attached to the game as ever. crean said he is learning a fresh perspective as an espn analyst, and he has received credit for offering keen insight during games.crean was fired in march 2017 after his ninth season at indiana, which ended with an 18-16 record. his hoosiers teams made three sweet 16 appearances in the ncaa tournament but couldn’t advance further.now, crean spends his time at his home in florida, where his son riley — a 35th-round draft pick of the white sox — is playing at img academy and will be eligible for the baseball draft again in june. crean had time to help his older daughter move to california and rarely misses his younger daughter’s volleyball games. he runs into fellow florida resident dick vitale, who “pumps me up.”and of course crean is still on the road, soaking in college basketball from the media side.his former hoosiers team, now coached by archie miller,plays at illinois on wednesday.here’s what crean told the tribune in a phone interview about a year of transitions and when he would like to get back to coaching:on working for espn“you’re a part of a big team, but every night you’r...





imsa flu closure unprecedented, official says

new trier-area elementary schools appear to have dodged the influenza bullet — at least for now, according to local school officials. that's despite illinois' status as one of 32 states experiencing high reports of influenza-like illness during the current flu season, according to the centers for... (kathy routliffe)





naperville executive shuttle service to chicago launches in february

paul larsen was acting like a bad metra engineer. he approached an area where men were working on the tracks without slowing his train. the positive train control or “ptc” monitor — part of a system to prevent crashes — began to flash and sound a warning. but larsen did not cut his speed. so the...





watch live: democratic governor candidates to take part in first televised debate

the democratic governor candidates will take part in the first televised debate of the campaign. the hour-long forum, broadcast from nbc tower, begins at 6 p.m. on tuesday, jan. 23.nbc chicago political editor carol marin will moderate and nbc political reporter mary ann ahern and telemundo reporter karla leal will take questions from the audience. read more





feds unseal indictments against northwest indiana gang; possible link to teen's unsolved murder

federal prosecutors unsealed indictments tuesday against members of a gang operating out of northwest indiana, one that's possibly linked to the 2015 unsolved murder of a hammond teenager, prosecutors said.a federal grand jury has indicted members of the jackson street latin counts street gang on drug and racketeering charges, u.s. attorney thomas kirsch ii said at a news conference at the federal courthouse in hammond."we will not tolerate gang activity, and we'll do everything we can to defeat and prevent it," kirsch said.kirsch said he was "very confident that in the very near future" his office would "be able to tie this violent gang and its members" to the "senseless and tragic" murder of lauren calvillo.calvillo, 16, was fatally shot june 29, 2015, at her home in the 5500 block of beall avenue in hammond. she was trying to get children safely inside after gunfire erupted between rival gang members, officials said. hundreds of people attended her funeral at all saints church in hammond, and in 2017 a scholarship benefit was held in her name at wicker park in highland."she was a totally innocent girl whose life was taken from her through absolutely no fault of her own as a result of senseless and meaningless gang violence," kirsch said.no one has been charged publicly in calvillo's death as of tuesday. kirsch, however, announced other charges against six alleged latin count members and an alleged chicago drug supplier.kirsch said they were all in custody, exc...





schumer takes back wall offer in new immigration push

from the outset, the government shutdown had been a test of wills. on monday morning, the democrats realized they had lost theirs. at a caucus meeting in a room just off the senate floor, a group of vulnerable senate democrats told their leader, charles schumer, n.y., that the cost of their effort... from the outset, the government shutdown had been a test of wills. on monday morning, the democrats realized they had lost theirs. at a caucus meeting in a room just off the senate floor, a group of vulnerable senate democrats told their leader, charles schumer, n.y., that the cost of their effort... (robert costa, erica werner and karen tumulty)





michigan man accused of threatening to attack cnn identified with hitler, former classmate says

the man who federal authorities say threatened to kill cnn employees had declared in high school that he identified with adolf hitler and suggested "the holocaust was exaggerated," according to a former classmate.that description of brandon griesemer's behavior in high school emerged after the fbi accused him of placing menacing phone calls to cnn, describing the news organization as "fake news" and vowing to carry out a massacre at its atlanta offices. the fbi also said in court documents that griesemer made "disparaging remarks regarding jewish individuals" during one call and, months before threatening cnn, called a michigan mosque and "made derogatory comments relating to the mosque and muslims."the fbi's depiction of the threats to cnn came as president donald trump, during his campaign and continuing in office, has waged a lengthy battle against the outlet, regularly labeling it and others he does not like as "fake news." cnn has been among trump's most-consistent targets in the news media. he has tweeted critically about the organization more than two dozen times since taking office a year ago, including on tuesday morning, when he tweeted about "fake news cnn" even as many news outlets had picked up on the fbi's allegation that griesemer used the phrase while threatening violence.anthony luongo, who was a classmate of griesemer's in high school until both graduated last year, described him as a trump supporter who "came in after the election and was ...





is a fair immigration compromise possible out of failed schumer shutdown?

is there a fair, reasonable way to deal with immigration without shutting down the government as the democrats did just recently?yes.a way to save the “dreamers” and build president donald trump’s wall to protect the borders, and lower the anxiety of millions of dreamer parents, those immigrants who crossed over illegally for a better life in america.a way for americans to accept immigration policy as fair, not just something jammed down their throats by politicians.we’d have to take the tribal politics out of it, and we probably should stop weaponizing the immigrants for future elections. but it can be done.yet not until we admit what went terribly wrong with the failed schumer shutdown, when democrats held the american government hostage to their version of immigration politics and then caved after democratic senators seeking re-election in 2018 realized voters wouldn’t stand for it.perhaps a good jumping-off point are the comments of the famous sage of chicago, luis the lip, champion of democratic immigration plans, who offered to build trump’s wall with his own soft political chicago hands to save the dreamers.“if that is what it is going to take to get 800,000 young men and women and give them a chance to live freely and openly in america, then i'll roll up my sleeves, i'll go down there with bricks and mortar and begin the wall,” u.s. rep. luis gutierrez said on cnn before the democrats broke down.sadly, it didn’t happen, although i’d pay to watch ...





accused sex trafficker wants trial delayed, argues he can't get impartial jury amid #metoo movement

with the national focus on alleged sexual misconduct by high-profile men, is it possible for an accused sex trafficker to get a fair shake?that’s the unusual question being posed by attorneys for benjamin biancofiori, who cited the #metoo movement in asking a federal judge in chicago to postpone biancofiori’s upcoming trial on charges alleging he used death threats, vicious beatings and other abuse to force women into sexual servitude.biancofiori is hardly a household name, but the seven-page motion sought to draw a link between his case and allegations against movie producer harvey weinstein and the cascade of male celebrities that followed, from kevin spacey to matt lauer.“in view of the extraordinary attention to and enflamed (sic) societal passion on the subject of male sexual misconduct, mr. biancofiori cannot hope to select a jury that is untainted by the veritable flood of reporting on the subject,” biancofiori’s attorney, andrea gambino, wrote in her recent motion.in asking u.s. district judge harry leinenweber to delay a trial scheduled to begin monday, gambino said she needed more time to fashion a questionnaire that would identify potential jurors who have participated in the #metoo movement or may be prejudiced by “their own individual experiences with male sexual misconduct.”she also cited the intense media coverage of the marathon sentencing hearing for former michigan state university doctor larry nassar, who admitted to sexually abusing dozens of...





ursula k. le guin, best-selling science fiction author, dies

ursula k. le guin, the award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer who explored feminist themes and was best known for her earthsea books, has died at 88.le guin died peacefully on monday in portland, ore., according to a brief family statement posted to her verified twitter account."godspeed into the galaxy," stephen king tweeted, saying le guin was a literary icon, not just a science fiction writer.le guin won an honorary national book award in 2014 and warned in her acceptance speech against letting profit define what is considered good literature.despite being a finalist for the pulitzer prize in 1997 — a rare achievement for a science fiction-fantasy writer — she often criticized the "commercial machinery of bestsellerdom and prizedom.""i really don't want to watch american literature get sold down the river," le guin said in the speech. "we who live by writing and publishing want — and should demand — our fair share of the proceeds. but the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. its name is freedom."le guin's first novel was "roncannon's world" in 1966, but she gained fame three years later with "the left hand of darkness," which won the hugo and nebula awards — top science fiction prizes — and conjures a radical change in gender roles well before the rise of the transgender community.the book imagines a future society in which people are equally male and female and also dramatizes the perils of tyranny, violence and conformity.her b...





corey crawford works out, could return to ice ‘soon’ for blackhawks

corey crawford’s tools of the trade sat at the ready tuesday in his locker stall at the united center, where the blackhawks goalie worked out sunday and monday.but the 33-year-old isn’t ready to shed his street clothes in favor of a hawks sweater or the masks, shin pads, chest protector and glove with his name on them just yet.but coach joel quenneville said that day is “getting closer.”crawford “had a good workout” with team trainers during the last two days, according to quenneville. crawford is recuperating from an upper-body injury that landed him on injured reserve dec. 27.“feeling much better,” quenneville said after the team practiced tuesday at the united center. “when we get him on the ice soon, hopefully we’ll get a better assessment.”crawford was last seen on the ice dec. 23, when he allowed three goals on seven shots and was pulled during the first period of a road loss to the devils.he wasn’t seen around the team again until sunday, when he sported a long black coat, a suit and a stocking cap outside the team locker room at the united center before the hawks’ 2-0 loss to the maple leafs.the near-month he has been out has been littered with speculation — he could miss the rest of the season because he had vertigo-like symptoms; he has concussion issues — rumors and a lot of awkward silence from the team.quenneville reiterated after monday’s loss that there is no timetable for crawford’s return, though he does expect him back this ...





3 chicago-area ski club members make u.s. olympic ski jump team: 'unprecedented'

the bickners and the larsons said they have seen their sons previously compete on the international level. for the glasders, though, this will be the first time they will be traveling to see their son compete outside the united states. the 2018 winter olympic games in pyeongchang, south korea feature a number of athletes who have ties to the chicago suburbs. (associated press/getty images/chicago tribune)“i’m verklempt about that,” maureen glasder said. “we don’t even know yet if we will get to see mike when we’re there, so we’re planning to get to the venue early in case we do.”for fox river grove village president bob nunamaker, the olympic news only adds to the excitement of one of the biggest weekends of the year for his community. he again will be volunteering at the norge winter tournament over the weekend, which is expected to draw a large crowd.“there’s a tremendous amount of civic pride and pride in the guys and the team,” nunamaker said. “the three making the olympics means great recognition for the management of the norge ski club.”sedivec said that the biggest crowd at the annual tournament he could recall was the sunday in 1989 when british ski jumper eddie “the eagle” edwards made a guest appearance. in the early 1920s and 1930s, ski jump contests and ski culture were thriving in the midwest. the norge ski club in fox river grove was just one of the many clubs that held an annual tournament that drew thousands of spec...





2 dead, 17 injured in kentucky school shooting; suspect held

a 15-year-old student killed two classmates and hit a dozen others with gunfire tuesday, methodically firing a handgun inside a crowded atrium at his rural kentucky high school."he was determined. he knew what he was doing," said alexandria caporali, who grabbed her stunned friend and ran into a classroom as their classmates hit the floor."it was one right after another — bang, bang, bang, bang, bang," she added. "you could see his arm jerking as he was pulling the trigger."he kept firing, she said, until he ran out of ammunition and took off running, trying to get away. police arrested their suspect moments later, leading him away in handcuffs to be charged with murder and attempted murder. authorities did not identify the gunman responsible for the nation's first fatal school shooting of 2018, nor did they release any details about a motive.kentucky state police lt. michael webb said detectives are looking into his home and background."he was apprehended by the sheriff's department here on site, at the school, thankfully before any more lives could be taken," webb said.seventeen students were injured, 12 of them hit with bullets and five others hurt in the scramble as hundreds of students fled for their lives from marshall county high school. many jumped into cars, or ran across fields and down the highway, some not stopping until they reached a mcdonald's restaurant more than a mile away. parents left their cars on both sides of an adjacent road, desperately t...