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Manny Ramirez could fill a coaching slot for Cubs

BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 9:45PM Updated: October 1, 2014 2:25AMManny Ramirez in a Cubs uniform at Wrigley Field next season. But he definitely shows you how to handle it.“I definitely learned a whole lot from him in terms of making it fun and just having a great time out there.” Email: [email protected] Twitter: @GDubCub.

BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 9:45PM

Updated: October 1, 2014 2:25AM

Manny Ramirez in a Cubs uniform at Wrigley Field next season?

Team president Theo Epstein didn’t rule it out Tuesday as he discussed one change the club plans to make to this year’s coaching staff.

First-year assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley is being considered for a scouting/special assistant job within the organization, said Epstein, who added that Brumley also is considering job opportunities outside the organization.

Asked if that coaching vacancy could be filled by Ramirez, who spent about half the season as a player/coach/mentor at AAA Iowa, Epstein made it seem like Ramirez might be offered the job if he decides to retire as a player.

He’s already going to work this offseason in South Florida with rookie Javy Baez, who accepted the invitation after Ramirez texted him.

“I want to see whether he wants to continue playing or not before I answer that question,” said Epstein, who has said he received strong reviews from players and staff about Ramirez all summer. “We have a really nice relationship with Manny. He did an outstanding job helping the organization this year, and we’ll continue to stay in touch, depending on what he wants to do with his career.”

The only thing more shocking than Ramirez becoming the Cubs’ big-league hitting coach might be his hiring this year in the first place to work with some of the more important young players in the rebuilding process.

Baez and Jorge Soler, who each made major-league debuts late in the season after spending time with Ramirez, praised his influence on their approaches and recognition of pitchers’ approaches.

Iowa teammate Kris Bryant, this year’s top minor-leaguer, said that even though he didn’t work as closely with Ramirez as Baez and Soler, he helped him keep perspective amid daily demands.

“He was always so fun. He kept everybody loose,” Bryant said. “You’ve got people in the stands asking you if you’re going to hit a homer today. You feel the pressure sometimes. But he definitely shows you how to handle it.

“I definitely learned a whole lot from him in terms of making it fun and just having a great time out there.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @GDubCub

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
13 Points
1

Brandon Marshall breaks media silence

BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 10:25PM  CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears smiles during warmups before their game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 28, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.

BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 10:25PM

 

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears smiles during warmups before their game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 28, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Updated: October 1, 2014 2:23AM

Brandon Marshall joked Tuesday that, by not speaking to the media Sunday, he was trying to “channel my inner Marshawn Lynch, and it didn’t work for me.”

While appearing on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” he apologized for his silence after the loss against the Packers, in which coach Marc Trestman said he ran the wrong route on Jay Cutler’s second interception.

“When the media asks for your time, you better give it to them,” he said. “They’re killing me right now. But I have to say, these people in Chicago really treated me good. I need to give them more.”

He said he was annoyed after losing to the Bears’ ­rivals ? “There’s just something about the Green Bay Packers.”

Marshall did not discuss his injured right ankle.

Also on Tuesday, the Bears waived kick returner Rashad Ross and linebacker Terrell Manning and promoted returner Chris ­Williams.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @patrickfinley

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
18 Points
1

Thibodeau, criticized for running Bulls into ground, remains defiant

Scottie Pippen had five seasons in which he averaged over 38 minutes.In Tim Duncan’s first six seasons, 38.7 minutes per game in 2000-01 was his lowest average.“What gets lost sometimes is there are several ways you can pace your team,’’ Thibodeau said. That’s why he was such a great leader.’’Thibodeau dismissed rumors that the front office had indeed brought up his pacing of the players. Of the top 10 players in minutes last season, nine played that swingman position: PlayerPos.MPG 1.

BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 8:39PM

Big workload

There’s a reason Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler get heavy minutes. Welcome to life as an NBA small forward/shooting guard these days. Of the top 10 players in minutes last season, nine played that swingman position:

PlayerPos.MPG

1. Carmelo AnthonySF38.7

Jimmy ButlerSG38.7

3. Kevin DurantSF38.5

4. DeMar DeRozanSG38.2

5. James HardenSG38.0

6. LeBron JamesSF 37.7

7. Chandler ParsonsSF37.6

8. Monta EllisSG36.9

9. Stephen CurryPG36.5

10. Gordon HaywardSG36.4

Updated: September 30, 2014 9:39PM

The Bulls’ front office never has admonished coach Tom Thibodeau for the way he paces his team.

And no player has complained to the media over the years about a heavy workload.

Yet training camp opened Tuesday at the state-of-the-art Advocate Center, and Thibodeau’s status as an elite coach in the league is still in question because of the perception that he runs his players into the ground.

Thibodeau bristles when the subject is brought up.

“Hey, I’m going to coach, I’m going to coach my way, and whatever happens, happens,’’ Thibodeau said. “You do whatever you have to do to win, and that’s the way I look at it.’’

His critics point to recent statistics to make their argument, as well as a long injury list at the end of every season under Thibodeau.

During 2011-12, former Bulls forward Luol Deng led the league at 39.4 minutes per game after averaging 39.1 (fourth in the league) the previous season. He followed that up in 2012-13 by leading the league again with 38.7 minutes. Last season, it was Jimmy Butler’s turn with a league-high 38.7 minutes per game.

Meanwhile, Derrick Rose has played only 10 regular-season games since the 2012 playoffs, ­Joakim Noah had to have surgery on his left knee after the first-round exit against the Washington ­Wizards and Taj Gibson also ended the season injured.

The evidence against Thibodeau appears strong, but once the ­numbers are peeled back, the case falls apart.

Thibodeau and his coaching staff have studied championship teams. They’ve studied dynasties ? old and new. With a ring comes a price, and it’s a price Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich have ­demanded from their players.

Michael Jordan averaged over 40 minutes a game three times, and in his final season with the Bulls, he averaged 38.8. Scottie Pippen had five seasons in which he averaged over 38 minutes.

In Tim Duncan’s first six seasons, 38.7 minutes per game in 2000-01 was his lowest average.

“What gets lost sometimes is there are several ways you can pace your team,’’ Thibodeau said. “People think it’s just minutes. No. How much contact do you have in practice? And then you have a lot of people trying to evaluate what you’re trying to do in practice, and they don’t even know what a warmup drill is and what an actual contact drill is.

“I’ve been doing this a long time. I understand about pacing a team. I also understand about giving guys days off. Usually, criticism, praise, it’s all the same. And, look, I won’t be the first coach to be criticized about that, and I won’t be the last.’’

Roster changes and injuries also have forced Thibodeau’s hand in many cases in recent seasons.

Butler was averaging about 28 minutes at the start of last season, and when Rose went down, Butler went up to 32 minutes a game. Then Deng was traded, and, as Thibodeau says, “[Butler’s] minutes had to go up. If we wanted to win, that’s what we had to do. Sometimes you’re forced into things. Joakim, his minutes had to go up when we lost Omer [Asik in free agency]. You do whatever you have to do. You can’t lose sight of winning games.

“That’s why Pau [Gasol] was great [Monday] in our [team] meeting. We talked about him winning championships in L.A., and he mentioned that they had very few days off with Phil, and he played 37 minutes per game. People tend to forget things like that.’’

Holding up the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the season obviously helps.

But maybe the most damaging stone thrown Thibodeau’s way came early in September, when a scouting report from a Cleveland Cavaliers front-office member said of Deng, “From a physical, when we got him, Chicago had run him into the ground.’’

In customary fashion, Thibodeau remained defiant when asked about it.

“Lu was great with me, and I have a great relationship with him,’’ Thibodeau said. “He became a two-time All-Star, all-league recognition for his defense and rightfully so, a great leader, so I know how he feels about his experience here. I talked to Lu a lot while he was here, and that’s what our team needed from him for us to be successful. That’s why he was such a great leader.’’

Thibodeau dismissed rumors that the front office had indeed brought up his pacing of the players.

“If a guy is injured, you’ve got to be smart,’’ Thibodeau said. “Or if a guy is in his mid-30s to late 30s, you know you want to monitor his minutes. But if a guy is young and healthy, you play him whatever minutes he can handle.

“In this business, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re going to get criticized for something.’’

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
19 Points
1

Theo on 2015 Cubs: ‘We’re not going to sell out to win’

Note: RHP Jacob Turner has a $1 million club option for 2015.Third-year arbitration (2014 salary): IF Luis Valbuena ($1.71 million), C John Baker ($875,000).Second-year arbitration: LHP Travis Wood ($3.9 million), LHP Wesley Wright ($1.425 million), RHP Pedro Strop ($1.325 million), OF Chris Coghlan ($800,000), OF Justin Ruggiano ($2 million).

BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 9:48PM

CUBS MONEYBALL, 2015

The Cubs have only $25.5 million committed to players under contract for 2015, along with 10 arbitration-eligible players. They also have more than $17 million coming off the books in 2014 payroll spent on ex-Cubs and have $20 million left over from banked 2014 savings to take into the offseason. Roster breakdown:

Under Contract

RHP Edwin Jackson$11 million (2016)

SS Starlin Castro$6 million (2019*)

1B Anthony Rizzo$5 million (2019*)

OF Jorge Soler$2 million (2020**)

OF Ryan Sweeney$1.5 million (2015*)

*-Includes club option(s); **-May opt out when arbitration eligible. Note: RHP Jacob Turner has a $1 million club option for 2015.

Third-year arbitration (2014 salary): IF Luis Valbuena ($1.71 million), C John Baker ($875,000).

Second-year arbitration: LHP Travis Wood ($3.9 million), LHP Wesley Wright ($1.425 million), RHP Pedro Strop ($1.325 million), OF Chris Coghlan ($800,000), OF Justin Ruggiano ($2 million).

First-year arbitration: RHP Jake Arrieta ($544,500); LHP Felix Doubront ($586,000), C Welington Castillo ($530,000).

Updated: October 1, 2014 2:24AM

Don’t try to tell Cubs president Theo Epstein that he and The Plan are now on the clock to produce big-league results heading into the front office’s fourth season in 2015.

He started the clock on his own Tuesday when he said he expects the process to turn a competitive corner next season, with the Cubs challenging for a playoff spot.

‘‘It’s going to be different next year than the three years that preceded it,’’ he said, ‘‘but we’re not all the way to the end of our journey yet. The vision that we all have for the organization won’t necessarily be fully realized in 2015, but we certainly will be more talented and talented enough to compete.

‘‘I think we’ve proved that we can be very competitive in our division, and when you have a chance to compete, you should set your sights high, and that means our goal is the NL Central title next year.’’

Epstein’s message in his end-of-the-year media conference Tuesday comes on the heels of a fifth straight losing season, including back-to-back last-place finishes and 188 strikeouts in 491 combined at-bats by touted rookies Arismendy Alcantra and Javy Baez.

It also comes on the heels of a 31-28 finish the final two months, rebound All-Star seasons from cornerstone players Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, a breakout season from new pitching ace Jake Arrieta and the mixed-bag debuts of 10 prospects ? including a .903 OPS in 24 games from outfielder Jorge Soler.

Epstein said the higher expectations are built into the ongoing process of ‘‘developing young players’’ in the big leagues.

‘‘So we’re not going to sell out to win in 2015,’’ he said.

Whatever on-field progress the Cubs make next season, their ability to do anything significant across even the next two seasons likely comes down to how they use the suddenly big financial reserves and prospect depth they have created.

Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer said they plan to aggressively look at trade possibilities and free agency this winter to add impact starting pitching and possibly a productive veteran hitter or two.

Epstein reiterated Tuesday that the brass views this as a 15-month process, including the July trading season and next offseason.

‘‘We certainly will add impact talent from outside the organization [over that span], and we hope to find the right fit to accomplish that this offseason,’’ he said. ‘‘But we’re not going to sell out for 2015. We’re going to continue to grow the organization the right way even as we try to optimize our chances for next season.’’

Tuesday night’s playoff pitching matchup between the Oakland Athletics’ Jon Lester and the Kansas City Royals’ James Shields was a showcase of two starters who, insiders suggest, top the Cubs’ list of free-agent targets. It’s unclear how much beyond the $100 million-plus starting point the Cubs will go for a guy like Lester, who’s familiar and trusted to Epstein and Hoyer from their time with him in Boston. But the Cubs have more than $35 million in payroll flexibility created just by expired commitments to past players (such as $13 million for Alfonso Soriano) and in $20??million squirreled away out of this year’s budget.

Even if the 2015 payroll declines some from this year’s roughly $100 million, the Cubs will have plenty of room to work.

In addition to Lester and/or Shields, look for the Cubs to explore a reunion with 2014 flip-guy pitcher Jason Hammel and to seek as many as two productive veteran hitters with leadership qualities, if not playoff experience.

Epstein said that between the flip-guy trades, drafts and international signings, ‘‘I really feel like we’ve done five or six years worth of work almost in three years. I think we’re a little bit ahead of where we expected to be.’’

Not that it proves anything or guarantees anything, he said.

‘‘But now comes the interesting part,’’ he said, ‘‘where we have to convert that to winning.’’

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @GDubCub

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
16 Points
1

Salvador Perez provides walkoff win in 12th; Royals advance to ALDS

The Kansas City Royals had waited 29 years to reach the postseason. That set the stage for Perez, who lined a pitch from Jason Hammel just inside the third-base line to send the Royals pouring out of their dugout in a mad celebration.The long-suffering franchise hadn’t played in the postseason since beating St. We’d like to hear the Royals clinch.”They finally did it in a thrilling start to baseball’s playoffs.For the Oakland, it was one final collapse in a season full of them.

BY DAVE SKRETTAAP Sports Writer September 30, 2014 11:44PM

Updated: October 1, 2014 12:19AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. ? The Kansas City Royals had waited 29 years to reach the postseason. They weren’t going down without a fight.

Salvador Perez singled down the left-field line with two outs in the 12th inning, allowing Christian Colon to score from second base and giving the long-suffering Royals a 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics in a wild AL wild-card game Tuesday night.

Quite a start to October baseball ? even if this one appeared to be over in September with plenty of time to spare.

The A’s raced out to a 7-3 lead by the sixth inning, but the Royals countered with three runs in the eighth. Nori Aoki’s sacrifice fly off Sean Doolittle in the ninth forced extra innings.

The teams kept trading blows over the next couple innings, as midnight came and went on the East Coast and the tension continued to build. Brandon Finnegan finally cracked after tossing two scoreless innings, but the Royals were there to pick up their pitching one last time.

Eric Hosmer hit a rocket to the wall in left field off Dan Otero for a leadoff triple in the 12th, and Colon hit an infield chopper that he beat out for a tying single. That set the stage for Perez, who lined a pitch from Jason Hammel just inside the third-base line to send the Royals pouring out of their dugout in a mad celebration.

The long-suffering franchise hadn’t played in the postseason since beating St. Louis in the 1985 World Series, and the excitement the permeated the city might best be summed up by a statement posted by the Kansas City Police on Twitter in about the 10th inning: “We really need everyone to not commit crimes and drive safely right now. We’d like to hear the Royals clinch.”

They finally did it in a thrilling start to baseball’s playoffs.

For the Oakland, it was one final collapse in a season full of them. The club that once had the best record in baseball wilted over the second half of the season, and needed a victory on the final day of the regular season just to squeeze into the playoffs.

They had chances to put all that in the past. Instead, it will be dragged up for years.

A much-anticipated pitching showdown between Oakland ace Jon Lester and Kansas City counterpart James Shields instead turned into a high-scoring game and a battle of attrition between their bullpens.

Brandon Moss helped the A’s strike first, belting a two-run homer in the first inning and a three-run shot in the fifth. The Royals countered by playing small ball, stealing seven bases to tie a postseason record previously shared by the 1907 Chicago Cubs and 1975 Cincinnati Reds, according to STATS.

Kansas City clawed back from a four-run deficit over the final two innings.

The impassioned play by a scrappy bunch of Royals that have rarely tasted success energized a sellout crowd that had been pining for postseason baseball since the 1985 World Series.

Then again, maybe it was the crowd that energized the Royals.

Oakland had built a big lead after the fifth inning, and Lester ? long a thorn in the side of Kansas City ? had started to hit his stride. But A’s manager Bob Melvin opted to send him out for the eighth inning, and the Royals finally got Lester into a real jam.

Luke Gregerson entered in relief but failed to provide much. By the time he struck out Perez and Omar Infante to leave runners on second and third, the A’s four-run lead had become one.

Doolittle tried to finish the game off in the ninth, but he served up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Josh Willingham. Pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson was sacrificed to second, and then brashly stole third base, allowing him to score on Aoki’s sacrifice fly to right field.

It was the third time in the last three seasons Doolittle has blown a postseason save.

By that point, a series of blunders by the Royals and manager Ned Yost had become moot.

Sean Doolittle tried to finish the game off in the ninth, but he gave up a bloop single to pinch-hitter Josh Willingham. Pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson was sacrificed to second and then brashly stole third, allowing him to score on Aoki’s sacrifice fly to deep right field.

It was the third time in the last three seasons that Doolittle has blown a postseason save.

By that point, a series of blunders by the Royals and manager Ned Yost had become moot.

The first occurred in the first inning, when slow-footed designated hitter Billy Butler was caught wandering off first base on an attempted steal with a runner on third. Eric Hosmer broke late for the plate and was thrown out easily to end the inning.

In the sixth, Yost yanked Shields ? the ace of his staff ? and called on Yordano Ventura. The rookie promptly served up Moss’ go-ahead, three-run homer.

All that was forgotten as midnight approached at Kauffman Stadium. And now, none of it will be remembered after one of the most dramatic games in franchise history.

UP NEXT

Yost has refused to discuss who he might pitch in the opener against the Angels. The two best bets are vastly different options: Danny Duffy is a young, hard-throwing left-hander who plays on passion, Jeremy Guthrie is a cerebral right-hander that relies on guile.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics catcher Geovany Soto left the game after hurting his left thumb tagging Hosmer at the plate to end the first inning. Soto started over Norris despite never having caught Lester because he’s better at handling the running game. The Royals led the majors with 153 stolen bases this season, and they had seven more Tuesday night ? all but one after Soto left the game.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
5 Points
1

Man held without bond in stabbing death of girlfriend, daughter

BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter September 30, 2014 2:33PM

A Northwest Side man accused of viciously stabbing his live-in girlfriend and 7-year-old daughter to death nearly decapitated his child and plunged a knife so deep into the girl’s chest, the blade came out of her back, Cook County prosecutors said.

Anna Kosinska and Victoria Kotlinski’s lifeless bodies were discovered in pools of blood in the kitchen of their home in the 3400 block of North Odell Avenue Sunday morning.

Officers also found the family’s cat and dog stabbed to death and knives were scattered throughout the kitchen, authorities said.

As Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Mack detailed the gruesome injuries inflicted on the victims in court Tuesday, Maciej Kotlinski sobbed.

Kotlinski says he has suicidal thoughts and suffers from acute psychosis and schizophrenia, according to court records.

Judge James Brown ordered Kotlinski, 35, held without bond and asked that he be hospitalized while he’s in Cook County Jail.

Kosinska, 34, suffered seven stab sounds to her chest, an incise wound to her left jaw and defensive stab wounds to her left hand and forearm, Mack said.

Victoria suffered five stab wounds to her back during the attack, which authorities believe took place sometime between Saturday and Sunday.

The girl also had a large incise wound to her neck, defensive incise wounds to her left hand and forearm, and contusions to the head, eye and mouth from where Kotlinsk kicked her in the head, Mack said.

Chicago Police officers rushed to the home on Odell Avenue after they were contacted by the Waukegan Police Department Sunday morning.

Kotlinski went to his parents’ home in the far north suburb and allegedly admitted to his stepfather that he had killed his older daughter and his girlfriend of nine years.

The family called Waukegan police and asked that the Chicago Police conduct a well-being check at the home on Odell Avenue.

Kotlinski, a construction worker, was arrested Sunday at a Waukegan hospital, according to his arrest report.

Kotlinski later told Waukegan and Chicago police what he had done, Mack said.

Kotlinski’s 3-year-old daughter was with him when he was in Waukegan, Mack said.

She was not harmed.

Kotlinski relatives who were in court Tuesday refused comment.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
5 Points
1

Northeastern Illinois University unveils flashy new building on NW Side

Chapman/Sun-Times Updated: October 1, 2014 1:44AMThe unveiling of Northeastern Illinois University’s “El Centro” building . October 1, 2014 1:22AM Dedication ceremonies for the El Centro Campus of Northeastern Illinois University included remarks by politicians, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. brought out powerful Chicago politicians and alumni on Tuesday.Sen.

October 1, 2014 1:22AM

Dedication ceremonies for the El Centro Campus of Northeastern Illinois University included remarks by politicians, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times

Updated: October 1, 2014 1:44AM

The unveiling of Northeastern Illinois University’s “El Centro” building ? that bright blue-and-yellow modern building that had Kennedy Expressway drivers gazing for months ? brought out powerful Chicago politicians and alumni on Tuesday.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., state Sen. Iris Martinez and Ald. Rey Colon (35th) in a rainy dedication in front of the 63,000-square-foot satellite facility in the 3900 block of Avondale, just off the Kimball exit on the Kennedy.

Durbin told a crowd of hundreds that the new building symbolized the future of diversity in Chicago.

READ MORE

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
5 Points
1

Union: CPS was warned that janitor job cuts could cause problems

Updated: October 1, 2014 2:18AMThe union representing private custodians who clean Chicago Public School buildings said Tuesday it had told Aramark and CPS months ago that schools could not afford to lose 468 custodians and maintain the same level of cleanliness.But president Tom Balanoff acknowledged Tuesday the situation was improving. Aramark on Tuesday reversed its decision on some of those dismissals, retaining 178 custodians.

BY LAUREN FITZPATRICK Education Reporter September 30, 2014 1:25PM

Provided photos of an elementary school on the Southwest Side of Chicago which has developed a rodent/roach problem since Aramark took over. This photo shows rodent droppings.

Updated: October 1, 2014 2:18AM

The union representing private custodians who clean Chicago Public School buildings said Tuesday it had told Aramark and CPS months ago that schools could not afford to lose 468 custodians and maintain the same level of cleanliness.

But president Tom Balanoff acknowledged Tuesday the situation was improving. Aramark on Tuesday reversed its decision on some of those dismissals, retaining 178 custodians. That reversal, and Aramark’s promised technological upgrades, made things manageable, Balanoff said.

“We think this will create a good level of cleanliness,” he said by telephone, “but we’ll see.”

The reversal of some layoffs comes in the wake of Board of Education promises to resolve numerous complaints from principals, the Chicago Teachers Union and a parent group about dirty conditions and delayed responses from new managers at Aramark.

“The principals’ report obviously raised a lot of concerns,” Balanoff said by telephone. “We were a little bit surprised because the layoffs hadn’t yet happened. We did expect once the layoffs happened, this question about whether they laid off too deep...would have played out.”

Balanoff informed the affected 468 members Monday in a robocall that the most senior 178 were not losing their jobs, and the remaining 290 could stay at work through the end of October instead of the end of Tuesday’s shift.

“I hope this extra time to find new employment alleviates some of your hardship,” Balanoff told them in the call.

Of the 178, 83 will keep their jobs with the current employers, and 95 will work until the end of the school year, be laid off for two months in the summer, and then be rehired in the fall, the union said.

An Aramark spokeswoman confirmed the news Monday night, saying in an email: “Chicago Public Schools, Aramark and SEIU Local 1 continue to work closely to make sure all CPS schools have appropriate custodial staffing levels to ensure clean schools.”

CPS could not immediately say Tuesday how many schools were set to lose staff.

CPS hired Aramark in March on a three-year, $280 million contract to manage about 2,500 janitors systemwide; about 1,700 of those are SEIU Local 1 members; 825 are directly employed by the district.

The district promised cleaner schools and cost savings, and said the change would free principals freed up from managing their schools’ cleaning activities.

Surveys conducted by a principals’ association, the Chicago Teachers Union and the parent group, Raise Your Hand, have reported filthy conditions and bad smells inside many schools and principals mired in cleanups instead of managing teachers.

CPS chief administrative officer Tim Cawley, who recommended Aramark in February, reiterated promises last week at a meeting of the Board of Education to resolve the problem, saying Aramark is aware of the issues and has “flooded the zone with managers from around the country at their own expense.”

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
5 Points
1

CPS students with good GPA could get free ride to City Colleges

is the latest in a series of steps by Mayor Rahm Emanuel toward his lofty goal of making all CPS students “100 percent college-ready and 100 percent college-bound.”By strengthening a link between CPS and City Colleges, Emanuel hopes to build a pipeline between the two institutions that benefits both.

BY FRAN SPIELMAN  AND LAUREN FITZPATRICK Staff Reporters October 1, 2014 1:09AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel | Sun-Times files

Updated: October 1, 2014 2:17AM

Chicago Public School students who graduate from high school with a grade point average of 3.0 or better would be guaranteed free tuition at any one of Chicago’s seven City Colleges under a mayoral plan in the works.

The offer to waive the $200-per-credit-hour fee for an associate degree ? and use it as an incentive for CPS students to keep their grades up ? is the latest in a series of steps by Mayor Rahm Emanuel toward his lofty goal of making all CPS students “100 percent college-ready and 100 percent college-bound.”

By strengthening a link between CPS and City Colleges, Emanuel hopes to build a pipeline between the two institutions that benefits both. Through the fund he’s calling the Chicago Star Scholarship, City Colleges will give waivers for tuition, fees and books ? the main college out-of-pocket costs? to qualifying CPS grads.

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Chicago Sun-Times
Today
5 Points
1

Video shows Rauner opposing Medicaid expansion last year

Pat Quinn’s 2013 expansion of Medicaid.Rauner’s words mark the first time he has publicly staked out that position after sidestepping the question of a possible rollback of the state’s Medicaid expansion during a joint appearance in March with U.S. BY DAVE MCKINNEY Springfield bureau chief October 1, 2014 1:22AM Updated: October 1, 2014 2:25AMSPRINGFIELD .

BY DAVE MCKINNEY Springfield bureau chief October 1, 2014 1:22AM

Updated: October 1, 2014 2:25AM

SPRINGFIELD ? Newly surfaced video of Republican Bruce Rauner obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times shows him telling conservative activists in Lake County last year that, as governor, he would have blocked Gov. Pat Quinn’s 2013 expansion of Medicaid.

Rauner’s words mark the first time he has publicly staked out that position after sidestepping the question of a possible rollback of the state’s Medicaid expansion during a joint appearance in March with U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and at a Chicago Tribune editorial board meeting a month earlier.

The new disclosure comes as President Barack Obama comes to the Chicago area Wednesday to help raise campaign cash for Quinn, who enacted the 2013 expansion that was necessitated by the president’s signature health-care reform.

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Chicago Sun-Times
Today
4 Points
1

Parents in Joliet double-murder vow to see justice done

to the stand.READ MORE AT: http://breakingnews.suntimes.com/chicago/closing-arguments-expected-tuesday-in-joliet-double-murder-trial/. BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 11:15AM Joshua Miner | Will County Sheriff's Office Updated: October 1, 2014 1:15AMClosing arguments were delivered in Joliet Tuesday in the trial of the alleged ringleader of a 2013 double-homicide.

BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 11:15AM

Joshua Miner | Will County Sheriff's Office

Updated: October 1, 2014 1:15AM

Closing arguments were delivered in Joliet Tuesday in the trial of the alleged ringleader of a 2013 double-homicide. Prosecutors had rested their case against Joshua Miner on Monday without calling a key witness ? one of his co-defendants ? to the stand.

READ MORE AT: http://breakingnews.suntimes.com/chicago/closing-arguments-expected-tuesday-in-joliet-double-murder-trial/

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Brandon Marshall breaks media silence

BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 10:25PM  CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears smiles during warmups before their game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 28, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.

BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter September 30, 2014 10:25PM

 

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears smiles during warmups before their game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 28, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Updated: October 1, 2014 2:23AM

Brandon Marshall joked Tuesday that, by not speaking to the media Sunday, he was trying to “channel my inner Marshawn Lynch, and it didn’t work for me.”

While appearing on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” he apologized for his silence after the loss against the Packers, in which coach Marc Trestman said he ran the wrong route on Jay Cutler’s second interception.

“When the media asks for your time, you better give it to them,” he said. “They’re killing me right now. But I have to say, these people in Chicago really treated me good. I need to give them more.”

He said he was annoyed after losing to the Bears’ ­rivals ? “There’s just something about the Green Bay Packers.”

Marshall did not discuss his injured right ankle.

Also on Tuesday, the Bears waived kick returner Rashad Ross and linebacker Terrell Manning and promoted returner Chris ­Williams.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @patrickfinley

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GRADING THE BEARS: Refs had awful game, too

BY HUB ARKUSHFor Sun-Times Media September 30, 2014 10:40PM  Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini) ORG XMIT: JHIL238 HUB ARKUSH’SNFL POWER RANKINGS 1. Broncos (2-1): Az, NYJ, SF, SD and NE will test them next 5 weeks.

BY HUB ARKUSHFor Sun-Times Media September 30, 2014 10:40PM

 

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini) ORG XMIT: JHIL238

HUB ARKUSH’S

NFL POWER RANKINGS

1. Seahawks (2-1): Wash, Dal, SL, Car, Oak, NYG and KC next; 9-1 seems likely.

2. Broncos (2-1): Az, NYJ, SF, SD and NE will test them next 5 weeks.

3. Bengals (3-0): NE, Car, Ind and Balt will tell us more over next month.

4. Cardinals (3-0): Other than division games, Phil and Den, fairly smooth path to playoffs.

5. Chargers (3-1): Gaining steam, ­Rivers is on a roll.

6. Ravens (3-1): Should the Panthers have kept Steve Smith?

7. 49ers (2-2): Found a way to win vs. Philly; other than Den in 2 weeks, schedule softens now.

8. Eagles (3-1): It seems Jim Harbaugh has an answer to Chip Kelly’s scheme.

9. Texans (3-1): Great defense, best player in league will take you long way.

10. Lions (3-1): Hard to love, getting hard to ignore.

11. Cowboys (3-1): Harder to love, ­getting harder to ignore.

12. Colts (2-2): Struggled with Den, Philly, spanked Jax and Ten; Balt good test this Sunday.

13. Chiefs (2-2): 2 straight very impressive wins.

14. Packers (2-2): Rodgers is back, but still need to find some “D.”

15. Patriots (2-2): Hard to believe what we saw in KC.

16. Giants (2-2): Rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated.

17. Bills (2-2): So that’s why they gave Kyle Orton all that money.

18. Bears (2-2): If they can’t make Pack punt once, how can they win division?

19. Steelers (2-2): Talk about Jekyll & Hyde, they lost to the Bucs?

20. Panthers (2-2): Wow, remind me never to tick off Steve Smith.

21. Dolphins (2-2): Do it vs. someone besides the Raiders.

22. Vikings (2-2): If Bridgewater’s ankle is OK they’ll move higher.

23. Falcons (2-2): Recruiting O?linemen from “The Biggest Loser” soon.

24. Saints (1-3): We hope Rob Ryan didn’t buy a house in New Orleans.

25. Browns (1-2): Had a week off to think about how close they are to 3?0.

And the rest: 26. Jets (1-3); 27. Redskins (1-3); 28. Rams (1-2); 29. Bucs (1-3); 30. Titans (1-3); 31. Jaguars (0-4); 32. Raiders (0-4).

Updated: October 1, 2014 2:23AM

I spend a significant chunk of my Monday and Tuesday ­afternoons watching, rewatching and grading the tape of the Bears’ most recent game.

This week’s were the most unpleasant Monday and Tuesday I’ve spent in quite some time.

Normally I’ll focus strictly on the Bears’ individual performances, but first there is something else that jumped off my screen this week.

The Packers’ 38-17 victory against the Bears was one of the most poorly officiated games I’ve ever seen.

Fortunately, the blunders by the zebras were fairly evenly balanced to punish both teams, but coming from someone who is normally a huge defender of the officials, this one left me feeling something must be done.

The two most bizarre calls were a 5-yard illegal-use-of-hands call on Julius Peppers that should actually have been on Jordan Mills, who was trying to block him, and a 10-yard unnecessary-roughness call on Sam Shields against Jay Cutler.

I’ve watched both plays a dozen times and still have no idea what the stripes thought they saw.

Roger Goodell and Co.’s well-intended but incredibly poorly executed efforts to make the game safer are threatening to damage the credibility of the game and the league.

OK, maybe I’m just trying to have less space to write about how awful the Bears defense was.

But, hey, the offense was really good and only two turnovers and a couple red-zone flops kept it from being great.

Jay Cutler gets a B- for a day in which he wasn’t great, wasn’t horrible and might not even have been responsible for both his picks.

Bears receivers with the ­exception of Martellus Bennett also get a B-.

With the exception of Brandon Marshall they played pretty well, nothing special but pretty well, and Josh Morgan would have had his best game as a Bear were it not for a questionable effort on Cutler’s first pick that bounced off Tramon Williams’ hands. ­Marshall is clearly not himself.

I’ve got A’s for Bennett, Matt Forte, Ka’Deem Carey and the ­offensive line. Bennett had his best game as a Bear both as receiver and run blocker.

Jordan Mills continues to struggle and be a potential liability. The rest of the line played very well, particularly Michael Ola, and Eben Britton jumped off the tape a couple times for all the right reasons.

An offensive total of 496 yards, split almost evenly between 235 rushing and 261 passing, is a heck of a day. Clean up a few hiccups and the offense was great.

On defense it’s easier to give you the players who didn’t fail ? Lance Briggs, Jon Bostic, Tim Jennings and Willie Young ? than those who did, which was everyone else.

Give those four a C for their play against the run, although Young was invisible in the pass rush. Probably because there was no pass rush ? all day long.

Lamarr Houston and Stephen Paea were particularly ineffective.

I suppose you could argue that’s part of the reason why Chris Conte, Isaiah Frey and Kyle Fuller were so bad against the pass, but it’s no excuse to find them consistently two to four yards behind the play on the tape.

Ryan Mundy and Danny ­McCray were just slightly less bad.

Special teams were almost no factor since with a historic effort neither side could force a punt.

Finally, we have to ding coach Marc Trestman with a below-average grade. Trestman told us Monday he oversaw a conscious decision not to blitz over fear of what Aaron Rodgers might do to it, but to not make that adjustment at halftime was inexcusable.

Add the good idea but terrible timing on the onside kick ? I said it the second I saw it in the press box before it failed ? and the coach had a bad day.

The Bears had just taken the lead and the momentum back with under four minutes in the half. It was not the time to risk giving it up ? which ended up happening ? and make a concession speech to your defense at the same times.

Hub Arkush is the editor of ­Chicago Football.

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
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Vigil held for Skokie teens; two Niles North seniors shot, one killed

But neither mother nor daughter knew who the victims were until Monday.“We were really a mess after we heard,” she said. “He just knew how to relate to you.”Social media overflowed Monday with expressions of empathy and grief. The case is still under investigation, and authorities have not publicly speculated on a motive.The tragedy was announced Monday morning over the loudspeaker at Niles NorthNiles North senior George Brandon Jr.

BY MIKE ISAACS Sun-Times Media September 30, 2014 9:28AM

Updated: September 30, 2014 9:41AM

Friends, relatives and neighbors gathered for a vigil Monday night, a day after two Niles North High School students were shot, one fatally, in Skokie.

Sunday night’s shooting claimed the life Maxwell Gadau, 17, of Skokie, a popular senior and athlete at Niles North. The other victim is female, also a 17-year-old senior from Skokie, but her name has not been released.

“Whatever religion you are, whatever religion you believe in, at this time I think if you all join in with me, and grab somebody’s hand, let’s just come together for these two,” said Muriel Sanders who has a son at Niles North.

The victims, she added, “touched each and every one of you all here.”

As Sanders delivered her impromptu prayer, about 200 people held hands and formed a large circle, their emotion audible in all directions in the night air.

The shooting occurred on the 9200 block of Kedvale Avenue. Skokie Police responded to a report of shots fired at 9:41 p.m. and found the victims inside a vehicle. The case is still under investigation, and authorities have not publicly speculated on a motive.

The tragedy was announced Monday morning over the loudspeaker at Niles North

Niles North senior George Brandon Jr. met Gadau in seventh-grade basketball and was friends with him ever since then.

“He was just a good friend, a guy who kept your spirits up,” Brandon Jr. said. “He just knew how to relate to you.”

Social media overflowed Monday with expressions of empathy and grief. Gadau was said to be kind and have a winning sense of humor. He was on the school swim team and was a swim instructor at Lifetime Fitness.

Victoria Sorin, a Niles North junior, was a classmate of Gadau’s in eighth-grade Spanish.

“He was really a nice kid,” she said. “He was a swimmer. He seemed pretty athletic. He was just really nice. He’ll be missed.”

Ellen Sclair said her daughter, a senior at Niles North, knew both of the students. Sclair lives close to the crime scene and heard the sirens Sunday night before learning people had been shot. But neither mother nor daughter knew who the victims were until Monday.

“We were really a mess after we heard,” she said. “It’s been a very difficult day.”

A neighbor who lives across the street from the crime scene said he had gone to bed Sunday night before the incident. But his German shepherd barked after hearing gunshots. His wife also heard the shots and knew right away what they were, he said.

Only steps away from the heavily attended vigil, a couple of faded drops of blood were on the pavement where the shooting had occurred less than 24 hours earlier.

Monday’s early evening vigil followed a small rally held by local anti-gun organizations People For a Safer Society and Peaceful Communities.

According to police, the shooting was not believed to be a random act and there is no risk to the community.

Counselors were available at the school Monday to help students and faculty.

District 219 released a statement Monday noting that the two victims were seniors.

“This is heartbreaking and tragic news,” said Niles North Principal Ryan McTague. “Nothing prepares us for the loss of a student, and our entire school community is impacted and saddened by this tragic event.”

McTague said the school is working with the Skokie Police Department.

“We are safe here in our school,” he said, repeating that the shooting was not a random act. “Our top priority is the safety of our students and of our staff. We will continue to do everything within our power to make sure that Niles North is a safe and secure place to teach and to learn?We ask our school community to keep the families of these two students in their thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.”

Those with any information or knowledge regarding the shooting are asked to call the Skokie Police Department at (847) 982-5900.

The department’s Crime Tip Hotline number is (847) 933-TIPS (8477) and is available 24 hours per day.

Chicago Sun-Times
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