Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Double Shooting on Division St. Kills One

Chicago Police responded to a double shooting at the CTA bus stop located on Division St. and Lamon yesterday morning. Per a police statement after the shooting, police said one student was shot fatally and one was shot in the leg.

The student who was shot in the leg ran into nearby YCCS Charter School to seek emergency help.

The other student, identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as 18 year old Keayon Brooks of the 900 block of N. Harding, died at the scene, having been pronounced dead at 9:30AM

Police made the following statement at a press conference yesterday near the scene:

The two students who were shot were observed walking with a third person who was determined to be the shooter. They engaged in an altercation and the shooting then took place. Police said they had no positive I.D. on the shooter and no information at the time of the press conference about any gang involvement, but did reference a video recording. Police said at the conference that no one was in custody.

This case is assigned Chicago Police RD#JA-544704, Event# 03616, UCR Code 0110 (Homicide), and 041A (Agg. Batt. Firearm)

This reporter, who was monitoring police radio traffic shortly after the police response started, heard radio traffic come across the Zone 12 police frequency during the course of the response and investigation telling units this:

"ALL UNITS, The Bureau of Investigative Services is on-scene. If your cameras are on, turn them off for the investigation"

The day before this shooting, Anthony Guglielmi, the Chicago Police Spokesman, tweeted from his Twitter verified account that all officers citywide were now wearing body cameras. The cameras can be turned on and off by the officer wearing it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Radio System Intruders, FCC Mandate Force City of Chicago to New Digital System

The City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications has recently released a memo that confirms the city has been forced by a combination of circumstances to migrate all of its public safety radio communications to a digital P25 system.
The memo makes mention of "radio intruders" that forced their hand, and "FCC Mandate" to vacate the T-Band. The entire memo is at the bottom of this article.

For many years, persons unknown to the city have somehow obtained two - way radios and were able to program those radios to operate on the Chicago Police Department radio system.

In recent years there have been a few high profile incidents in which people not authorized to be on their system performed various misdeeds. One system intruder encouraged officers to shoot a suspect they were engaged with during an incident in - progress.

According to ABC 7 Chicago, in reports dated for March 14th and March 21st, 2016, a radio system intruder used a racial slur on CPD frequencies. The City of Chicago responded to these incidents with notification to the FCC and the U.S. Attorney's Office because unauthorized operation on some frequencies without a license or other legal authorization is a federal offense.

What is Apco P25? The P25 Technology Interest Group says this:

"Project 25 (P25) is the standard for the design and manufacture of interoperable digital two-way wireless communications products. Developed in North America with state, local and federal representatives and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) governance, P25 has gained worldwide acceptance for public safety, security, public service, and commercial applications.

The published P25 standards suite is administered by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA Mobile and Personal Private Radio Standards Committee TR-8). Radio equipment that demonstrates compliance with P25 is able to meet a set of minimum requirements to fit the needs of public safety. The P25 standard was created by, and is intended for, public safety professionals."

Who else can use P25? Other than federal and local public safety agencies, FCC licensed amateur (ham) radio operators use P25 and other digital voice communications. Amateur radio operators must be interoperable with federal and local government agencies because they are listed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Emergency Communications Protocols as an emergency communications resource.

The new city P25 radio system is currently scheduled to be in place by 2021. The Chicago Fire Department is currently on a P25 digital system. Chicago's Midway and O'Hare International Airports, city parks, and support services will also migrate to the new radio system, along with the Water Department and other city agencies.

The media and radio monitors will still be able to monitor city communications, as radio receivers that allow reception of P25 have already been on the market for many years, and radio amateurs with a valid FCC License have been using P25 for many years. There is no word on whether or not the city will encrypt communications.
The below image is from the FCC website, and shows that the memo from Chicago OEMC is part of an FCC filing. The City is participating with a "slow growth" plan with the FCC.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cook County State's Attorney, Circuit Court & Illinois Legislature Gave Accused Rapist Free Pass to Re-Offend

Chicago - One News has this exclusive story involving an accused repeat offender, and how he was given opportunity and access to victims.

The residents of the State of Illinois, County of Cook, and the City of Chicago were terrorised from August 22nd, 2016, to July 3rd, 2017 by a man who was accused of very serious violent crimes because the Cook County State's Attorney headed by Kim Foxx,the Cook County Circuit Court, and the Illinois Legislature saw to it that he went free THREE TIMES!

The accused, now identified as 44 year old Robert W. Walters, is now held without bond in Cook County Jail after being accused in a THIRD tape case where Chicago Police Area North Sex Crimes Detectives were successful in presenting a good case to the Cook County State's Attorney Felony Review Unit.

Chicago - One stumbled across this case at the popular CWB Chicago website. Walters' first arrest took place on August 22nd, 2017.

According to CWB Chicago, "The new charge came after a 27-year-old woman identified Walters in a photo array as the man who brought her to his residence against her will and sexually assaulted her by force on July 16 last year, prosecutors said.

At the time, Walters was already under investigation for two other rape allegations that police said were “of a similar nature.”
One month after last July's attack, Walters was charged with raping an intoxicated 21-year-old woman that he picked up outside the old Castle Nightclub at 632 North Dearborn in 2013.

A DNA sample from that attack had finally been tested and pointed to Walters, prosecutors said.

Walters was initially held on $5 million bail, but Judge Carol M. Howard would later cut that to $200,000. When Walters showed up in court for his second rape case, Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil set bail at just $75,000. Walters went free on electronic monitoring."

In his August 2016 arrest, Investigators learned through a check of the DNA database that there was a strong association between Robert Walters’ DNA and the DNA that was found on the victim, Cook County prosecutors said. That arrest took place THREE YEARS after Walters' victim in that case stepped forward. 

In that August 2016 arrest, court documents show that Walters then asked the woman for her cellphone. When she gave it to him, he plugged his number in and called his number from her mobile, then later texted her to explain how she obtained her injuries which consisted of a lacerated knee that required stitches, and a sprained ankle.

On November 15th, 2016, Walters was in court before Judge Maria Kuriakos for bond in his second case. The details of the second case Walters is accused in state that he used a dating site, called, "OK Cupid". Walters and his victim met after they first made contact on the site in December of 2014. The two met on December 23rd, 2014, at or around 8:30PM in a Wrigleyville bar.

After Walters' DNA was collected in this second case, the DNA was shown to match the DNA in the first case. Walters had posted bond ($20,000 — or 10 percent of the bail amount in the first case) and was free on electronic monitoring when he was arrested for the OkCupid rape.

This means Walters has been accused of committing Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assaults since at least 2013. At this time, there is no word of any other victims other than the victims in these three cases. Illinois law currently allows judges to set bond / bail in sexual assault / aggravated criminal sexual assault cases, and impose electronic monitoring, giving some rapists a free pass to continue victimizing.

Walters is now being held without bond in this third case. Hes due back in court on July 26th, 2017, and his Cook County Inmate I.D. is 2016-0823209. Walters has a birthdate of February 20th, 1973. All of his victims are in their 20s, making him close-to or at least 20 years older than his victims.

Illinois currently does not have age gap laws pertaining to adult relationships. Illinois age gap laws that regulate romantic and sexual relationships are only intended to protect children from older peers, and to protect them from adults. Illinois law currently does not bar accused persons in violent cases from accessing the internet, nor does it bar them from using electronic communications devices or landline phones which can be used to access telephone chat lines currently still in operation.

Illinois law currently also does not require dating sites or other adult forums to perform checks on its users, nor are users mandated to inform users of their current court status when involved with any kind of violent criminal accusations.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 4th Weekend / Holiday Public Safety & Transit Coverage

June was yet another violent month for the residents of the City of Chicago. According to "Hey Jackass dot com", the June 2017 stats for shootings, and the start of July are both abysmal.

On the last day of June 2017, the La Raza streetgang lost a high - ranking member, who the Chicago Tribune's Peter Nickeas said was shot to death by an offender with a shotgun. 

The La Raza's have a long history dating back to the 1970s on the city's south side. 

The July 4th Weekend started off with violence on Saturday morning, July 1st, 2017:

Chicago Tribune's Elvia Malagon reports that early this morning, a 25 year old man was shot in the knee during an altercation in the 14th district at Damen & LeMoyne on beat 1424 in Alderman Joe Moreno's ward. 

Also early Saturday morning, two people were confirmed shot at Washington & Washtenaw on beat 1222 in Alderman Walter Burnett Jr's ward. This is the East Garfield Park community. One male victim with a gunshot to the leg, one female shot in the abdomen is how the call went out to police.

Jacob Wittich for the Chicago Sun-Times reported further on this shooting: 

"At 4:55 a.m., they were inside a home in the 2700 block of West Washington when they got in an argument with a male who took out a gun, opened fire and ran away, according to Chicago Police.
A 28-year-old man suffered gunshot wounds to the right thigh and left foot, and a graze wound to the left arm, police said. A 23-year-old woman was shot in the right leg.
They were taken in good condition to Stroger Hospital. No one was in custody Saturday morning as Area Central Detectives investigated."

At or around 3:22PM, police were called for an attempted arson to vehicle when a taxi driver alleged the female passenger was refusing to pay the fare, and trying to set the cab on fire.

Later in the day, about or around 3:28PM, a bomb threat was called in to police in the 6400 block of South Lowe st. 

At or around 3:48PM, Mt. Sinai hospital reported a walk-in gunshot victim who said it happened near 24th & St. Louis. 

Here is your CTA, PACE, Metra, and Amtraktransit July 4th Weekend and July 4th holiday route & schedule information:


Current 'L' Service Customer Alerts

Linden-bound Purple Line Delays (Minor Delays)
Affected Route(s): Purple Line
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Predictions Disabled Affects Train Tracker prediction availability (What's this?)
Length: Sat, Jul 1 2017 5:06 PM to TBD
Brief description: Some Linden-bound Purple Line trains are operating with residual delays after earlier signal problems at Howard. Service is resuming. (Full details...)

Boarding Change at Fullerton Station(Planned Work)
Affected Route(s): Red Line
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Predictions Disabled Affects Train Tracker prediction availability (What's this?)
Length: Sat, Jul 1 2017 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Brief description: At Fullerton station, board/exit Howard-bound Red Line trains on the Brown Line side of the Howard- and Kimball-bound platform. (Full details...)

Service for 2017 Cubs Night Games and Wrigley Field Concerts (Special Note)
Affected Route(s): Yellow Line
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Apr 10 2017 to Sun, Oct 1 2017
Brief description: Additional srv frm Howard will operate on Yellow Ln for wkdy, wknd Cubs night games and Wrigley Field concerts.  (Full details...)

Purple Line Service for Cubs 2017 Weekday Night Games (Added Service)
Affected Route(s): Purple Line
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Apr 10 2017 to Thu, Sep 14 2017 11:59 PM
Brief description: Loop-bound Purple Line Express trains will stop at Sheridan for all weekday Cubs night games. (Full details...)

Rush Period Service Changes Between Roosevelt and 95th (Service Change)
Affected Route(s): Red Line
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Apr 3 2017 to TBD
Brief description: During AM & PM weekday rush only: Some Red Line trains rerouted south of Roosevelt to Ashland/63rd via South Side elevated & Ashland branch. (Full details...)

Chicago River Bridge Lifts (Special Note)
Affected Route(s): Pink LineGreen LineBrown Line
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Apr 1 2017 to Sun, Nov 19 2017
Brief description: During spring through fall, the Chicago River bridges are periodically opened. Customers should expect minor delays during bridge lifts. (Full details...)

Chicago River Bridge Lifts (Special Note)
Affected Route(s): Pink LineGreen LineBrown Line
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Apr 1 2017 to Sun, Nov 19 2017
Brief description: During spring through fall, the Chicago River bridges are periodically opened. Customers should expect minor delays during bridge lifts. (Full details...)

Chicago River Bridge Lifts (Special Note)
Affected Route(s): Pink LineGreen LineBrown Line
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Apr 1 2017 to Sun, Nov 19 2017
Brief description: During spring through fall, the Chicago River bridges are periodically opened. Customers should expect minor delays during bridge lifts. (Full details...)

Illinois Medical District Station Damen Entrance Temporary Closure (Special Note)
Affected Route(s): Blue Line
Affected Stop(s): Illinois Medical District
Length: Mon, Feb 6 2017 9:00 AM to TBD
Brief description: IMD stn Damen Ave entrance will be temporarily closed. Use Ogden Ave entrance 1/4-mi east or Paulina St entrance (accessible) 3/8-mi east. (Full details...)

CTA Buses:

#10, #29, #146, and #147 Temporary Northbound Reroute near State/Adams (Minor Delays / Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #10, #29, #146, #147
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Jul 1 2017 3:57 PM to TBD
Description: NB 10, 29, 146, and 147 buses are temporarily rerouted via State, Adams, Dearborn, Monroe, and State.
#72 North Bus Service Terminates at North/Clark (Service Change)
Affected Route(s): #72
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Jul 1 2017 1:59 PM to TBD
Description: Service for the 72 North buses terminates at North/Clark until further notice.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #146, #147
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Jul 1 2017 1:00 PM to 11:45 PM
Description: NB #146, #147via State, Adams, Dearborn, Monroe, normal route on State. SB #146 via State, Madison, Clark, Jackson, normal route on State.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #29, #36, #62
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Jul 1 2017 1:00 PM to 11:45 PM
Description: SB #62, #36, #62 via State, Madison, Clark,, Jackson, normal route. NB #29 via State, Adams, Dearborn, Monroe, normal route..
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #10
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Jul 1 2017 1:00 PM to 11:45 PM
Description: #10: NB via State, Adams, Dearborn, Monroe, normal route. SB via State, Madison, Clark, and Jackson, normal route.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #6
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Jul 1 2017 1:00 PM to 11:45 PM
Description: #6 Jackson Park Express: Southbound buses will operate via State, Madison, Clark, and Jackson, then resume their normal route on State.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #63
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Sat, Jul 1 2017 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Description: #63 - (Trips to/from 63rd Street Beach): EB end at 63rd/Stony Island. WB begin at 63rd/Stony Island, normal route on 63rd.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #65
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Fri, Jun 30 2017 9:00 AM to Fri, Aug 18 2017 4:00 PM
Description: Eastbound #65 buses will operate via Grand, Laramie, North Avenue, and Cicero, then resume their normal route on Grand.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #36
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Thu, Jun 29 2017 8:00 PM to Mon, Jul 3 2017 5:00 AM
Description: #36 buses will operate in both directions via Broadway, Lawrence, Sheridan, Wilson, and Broadway.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #2, #6, #10, #J14, #26, #28
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Wed, Jun 28 2017 6:00 AM to Mon, Jul 10 2017 4:00 PM
Description: NB #2, #6,#10, #J14, #26, #28 buses operate via Columbus, Rsvlt, and Mich to Balbo. From Balbo/Mich, SB operate via Michigan and Roosevelt.
Prepaid Fare Payment Pilot at #135 and #146 Bus Stop on the Inner Lake Shore Drive at Belmont (Bus Stop Note)
Affected Route(s): #135, #146
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Jun 26 2017 to TBD
Description: During pilot testing prepaid fare payment, customers boarding at SB #29/WB #67stop at 69th Red Ln sta will pay fare before boarding buses.
Prepaid Fare Payment Pilot at Southbound #29 and Westbound #67 Bus Stop at the 69th Red Line Station (Bus Stop Note)
Affected Route(s): #29, #67
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Jun 26 2017 to TBD
Description: During pilot testing prepaid fare payment, customers boarding at SB #29/WB #67stop at 69th Red Ln sta will pay fare before boarding buses.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #103
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Jun 19 2017 9:00 AM to Fri, Jul 14 2017 3:30 PM
Description: WB #103 via 103rd, Halsted, 98th Place, Genoa, 99th, Vincennes, nml rt. EB via 103rd, Vincennes, 99th, Genoa, 99th, Halsted, nml rt.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #82
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Jun 19 2017 6:00 AM to Wed, Jul 19 2017 6:00 PM
Description: #82 buses will operate in both directions via Homan, Augusta, Kedzie, Division, and Homan.
Bus Stop Changes (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #39
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Jun 19 2017 to TBD
Description: EB #39 stop located SE corner at Pershing/Vincennes relocated to the SW corner. WB stop located mid-block at 2300 W. Pershing eliminated.
#157 Streeterville/Taylor Bus Stop Eliminations (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #157
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Jun 19 2017 to TBD
Description: EB #157 bus stop near the SW corner at Ogden/Polk will be eliminated. WB bus stop near the NW corner at Ogden/Polk will be eliminated.
Temporary Bus Stop Relocation (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #50
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Fri, Jun 16 2017 to TBD
Description: The SB #50 bus stop located on the SW corner at Damen/Fullerton will be temporarily relocated to the NW corner at Damen/Fullerton.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #26, #30
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Tue, May 30 2017 11:00 AM to Sun, Dec 31 2017 6:00 AM
Description: #26 South Shore Express and #30 South Chicago buses will operate in both directions via Mackinaw, Harbor, South Chicago, 95th, and Ewing.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #86
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, May 22 2017 7:00 AM to Fri, Jul 7 2017 6:00 PM
Description: #86 NB buses will operate via Nagle, Bryn Mawr, and Milwaukee to Nagle, then continue their normal route on Milwaukee.
Temporary Bus Stop Relocation (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #201
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Fri, Apr 28 2017 to Thu, Sep 28 2017
Description: SB #201 bus stop located on the SWcorner at Chicago/Sheridan will be temporarily relocated to the NW corner at Chicago/Sheridan.
Temporary Bus Stop Relocation (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #49
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Apr 10 2017 7:00 AM to Fri, Aug 11 2017
Description: NB #49 bus stop located on the NE corner at Western/Adams will be temporarily relocated to the SE corner.
Temporary Bus Stop Relocation (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #76
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Mar 27 2017 7:00 AM to Fri, Mar 30 2018 7:00 AM
Description: The EB #76 bus stop near the southeast corner at Diversey/Clark will be temporarily relocated to the southwest corner at Diversey/Clark.
Temporary Bus Stop Change (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #65
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Fri, Mar 3 2017 7:00 AM to Fri, Mar 30 2018
Description: The WB #65 bus stop located on the northwest comer at Grand/LaSalle will be temporarily discontinued.
Temporary Bus Stop Relocation (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #1, #3, #4, #12
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Fri, Dec 9 2016 7:00 AM to Fri, Dec 29 2017
Description: The NB #1, #3, #4, WB #12 bus stop on the SE corner at Michigan/14th will be temporarily relocated to the NE corner at Michigan/14th.
Bus Stop Temporaily Discontinued (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #157
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Tue, Nov 1 2016 5:30 AM to Sat, Sep 1 2018 11:59 PM
Description: The westbound #157Streeterville/Taylor stop at the northeast corner of Polk/Damen is temporarily discontinued.
Temporary Reroute (Planned Reroute)
Affected Route(s): #6
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Oct 24 2016 4:00 AM to TBD
Description: NB 6 via Wacker & Columbus, end at Columbus/Wacker. SB begin at Columbus/Wacker, via Columbus, Randolph & Stetson, normal route.
Temporary Bus Stop Change (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #37
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Oct 17 2016 to Fri, Sep 29 2017
Description: SB #37 bus stop located on the northwest corner at Wells/Ontario will be temporarily discontinued.
Temporary Bus Stop Relocation (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #2, #4, #192
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Oct 17 2016 to Fri, Sep 1 2017
Description: NB #2, #4, #192 bus stop located on NE corner at Cottage Grove/57th temporarily relocated to the southeast corner at Cottage Grove/57th.
Temporary Bus Stop Relocation (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #4
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Aug 29 2016 7:00 AM to Fri, Aug 25 2017 7:00 AM
Description: The northbound #4 stop on the southeast corner at Cottage Grove/61st will be relocated to the northeast corner at Cottage Grove/61st.
Temporary Bus Stop Relocation (Bus Stop Relocation)
Affected Route(s): #70
Affected Stop(s): N/A
Length: Mon, Mar 7 2016 7:00 AM to Thu, Nov 30 2017 7:00 AM
Description: The westbound #70 bus stop on the NW corner at Division/Clark will be temporarily relocated to the NW corner at Division/LaSalle.


All Metra lines have at least one alert, with the exceptions of the North-Central, and Southwest Service. See Metra's Official site and Twitter accounts for details. Those items are in the links section of this site.

Saturday trains are running on-time, except the Texas Eagle, California Zephyr, and SW Chief.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Environmental, Health Questions Loom Over New Union Station Plans

ABC 7 Chicago recently reported that a $1-BILLION Dollar project to modernize the area immediately surrounding Chicago's Union Station, including some new work to Union Station itself is planned. According to this report, "The master concept includes a few office towers across the street and a proposed food hall along Clinton Street. The proposal also includes a residential tower that will be built above the head house at Union Station. There is also a plan for a public green space on the roof level."

"The initial design, proposed by Riverside Investment and Development Company, would create about 3.1 million square-feet of new commercial space near the station."

The Amtrak CEO, one Mr. Charles Moorman is said to be working with Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, to "develop the commercial sections of Union Station and the neighboring, Amtrak-owned properties. They predict it will take six years to complete." The new project will allegedly create some 8,000 permanent jobs. Artist concept graphics were released recently courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago.

However, as exciting as this project may sound, there are dangers. The United States EPA has measured air quality in and around Chicago Union Station. The EPA testing focused on something called PM2.5. particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers (µm) in diameter and smaller. PM2.5 is sometimes referred to as fine particulate matter, a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. EPA is concerned about particles that are 2.5 µm in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles may affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects. The particulate matter measured in this survey is primarily from diesel exhaust. In addition to contributing to particulate matter, diesel exhaust contains many other harmful pollutants, including carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde, and nitrogen oxides.

The above information comes directly from the EPA study on Chicago Union Station air quality.

According to the EPA, Union Station isn't the only concern. They say "There are several buildings with ventilation systems that impact air quality at Union Station." A particularly telling, and very concerning question and answer at the EPA site for this study:

Question: The PM2.5 concentrations on train platforms were 23-96 percent higher than concentrations at street level - but a graph shows the average PM2.5 concentration on the south platform is 372 percent higher than the average of all background concentrations. Can you explain?

EPA Answer:

"For each hourly platform test value, EPA calculated the percentage reduction needed to reach the street level concentration of PM2.5. The range was from 23-96 percent. From 7-8 a.m. on June 16, the street level measured 26 µg/m3 and the south platform measured 673 µg/m3, so PM2.5 reductions of 96 percent would be needed. At 6-7 a.m. on June 15, the street level measured 41.33 µg/m3 and the north platform measured 54 µg/m3, so PM2.5 reductions of 23 percent would be needed.

EPA's graph depicts average concentrations over the duration of the study on the north platform, the south platform, and at street level. Average concentrations on the north and south platforms were, respectively, 200% and 372% higher than the average concentration on the street."

Research done by Chicago-One led to several trusted sources that, when put together and taken altogether, spell out a long and arduous history at Chicago Union Station on the topic of air quality and connected safety issues as spelled out by the above statement from the EPA.

The first source is Kari Lydersen, a reporter for the Chicago Reporter. Kari wrote a headline, "Tests Reveal Unsafe Air at Union Station" Kari's work here dates back to January 1st, 2010. Lydersen first gives a rather grim picture of great personal risk taken by employees and passengers alike, "inside Union Station, on the platform and even inside the train, people are exposed to particulate matter at levels far exceeding what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe, according to testing done by the Clean Air Task Force commissioned by Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago last year."

The Chicago Tribune says they performed their own investigation of the air quality at Chicago Union Station in 2010 as well. The Chicago Tribune said they tested "for black carbon, an indicator of soot, while the EPA tested for particulate matter. Both methods measure diesel exhaust, but making direct comparisons is difficult. Agency officials said they focused on the open-air Union Station platforms — rather than inside train cars or the station itself — because the agency has the clearest authority under the federal Clean Air Act to address outdoor air pollution." Source article here

Bill Davies, a British developer who bought the vacant main post office building in 2009, was under a federal court order to maintain a massive ventilation system that sucks diesel fumes from Union Station tunnels at the time of the 2010 Chicago Tribune report.

Fast forward four years to 2014, and the problem doesn't get any better. "Chicago CBS 2 Investigators found train ventilation systems covered in filth. Vent after vent, train after train, walls and ceilings dirtied by the air blowing into the cabins. With IIT, CBS 2 conducted field-testing using special monitors to detect levels of dangerously small or ultrafine particles that can penetrate deep in the lungs and cause health problems.

“Four-hundred-thousand per cubic centimeter, that’s huge,” says IIT’s Brent Stephens. “That’s more than you’d find in the middle of a highway.”
Source article here.

CBS 2 obtained a full response from the EPA at that time. Here is the full U.S. EPA Region 5 Response:

“Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is funding and conducting ongoing research into the potential health effects of exposure to microscopic, ultrafine particles and nanoparticles. More research is needed before the Agency can establish national ambient air quality standards for such particles.

CBS2’s test methodology and results are not directly comparable to EPA’s ambient air monitoring program. EPA monitors outdoor air on a continuous 24-hour basis to determine whether the national ambient air quality standard for PM2.5 is met on annual basis. OSHA has set an indoor air quality standard for PM2.5 and that standard may provide a better basis for comparison.

EPA is making progress toward reducing harmful air pollution from train engines. New EPA engine standards effective in 2012 reduce particle pollution, as well as the emissions of hydrocarbons and gaseous pollutants. Beginning in 2015, new train engines will be subject to even stricter requirements. As rail systems nation-wide replace their engines over the years, they are bringing in cleaner equipment that will improve both indoor and outdoor air quality.

EPA along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and state and local agencies, participates in Metra’s task force to improve air quality in and around passenger trains. EPA is also working with the nation’s major railroads to implement voluntary efforts to reduce idling emissions beyond the mandated reductions.“

Moving forward to February 10th, 2016, Danielle Prieur wrote for "Medill Reports Chicago", providing these graphs

Danielle Prieur also quoted Amtrak, Metra, and Mooney of the U.S. EPA: 

"Marc Magliari, spokesman for Amtrak, said his corporation’s main efforts are being put into updating ventilation systems and viaduct systems surrounding Union Station.

“The ventilation is an important issue and it’s going to be addressed through an ongoing process through the city’s master plan. We are working with the city on the Canal Street [ventilation system] that covers all the tracks,” he said."

"Metra echoed this focus in a statement: “[We] are pleased to partner with the city of Chicago and the CTA on a long-term solution to address the air quality issues which could be solved through the master plan to reconfigure and redevelop Union Station.”

"Mooney said it isn’t clear whether progress has actually been made as another air quality study has not been performed."

On December 27th, 2016, the Chicago Tribune wrote again on this matter, and said that "Illinois will collect nearly $98 million for anti-pollution projects from a federal legal settlement with Volkswagen, the German automaker that installed secret software in nearly a half-million diesel vehicles to make them appear cleaner than they actually were. The agreement stipulates the money must be used to reduce lung- and heart-damaging nitrogen oxides emitted by diesel trains, buses, ferries and equipment."

In that same piece, the Chicago Tribune said that "Metra is still reliant on locomotives built in the 1970s that are significantly dirtier than newer models. Metra responded by upgrading its passenger cars to filter out diesel soot. But its decades-old locomotives still emit high levels of pollution that form acrid blue clouds inside Chicago's busiest commuter station." - Source article here

"The EPA considers diesel exhaust one of the most dangerous types of air pollution. Breathing even small amounts can inflame the lungs and trigger asthma attacks, researchers have found. Several studies have linked exposure with heart attacks, cancer and premature death." - Chicago Tribune

This brings us into the current day. On January 12th, 2017, just close to 6 months ago, the City of Chicago announced this:

Mayor Emanuel, Amtrak And Other Union Station Partners Announce Redevelopment Plan Designated As USDOT Emerging Project

Agreement Creates Path to Federal Backing for West Loop

In that announcement, the City of Chicago laid out these points:

The Union Station Redevelopment plans envision a public-private partnership to

implement both transportation-related improvements as well as transit-oriented developments surrounding the station. The three main goals are:

1. To expand and renovate the station to be an architecturally significant transportation terminal that both preserves and builds upon its existing architectural heritage.

2. To allow a growing number of passengers and other visitors to use the station facilities in the most efficient, safe, and pleasant manner possible.

3. To create a vibrant commercial center and civic asset that welcomes and serves travelers, neighborhood residents, and downtown workers alike, while further enhancing the economic vitality of the City of Chicago and the region.

Among the improvements that could be funded under the agreement are the following:

* Renovation of the Canal Street Union Station Lobby.

* Rehabilitation of the Great Hall skylight and dome structure.

* Renovation and expansion of the Adams Street and Jackson Street entrances.

* Expansion of the Union Station Concourse.

* Widening of platforms.

* Improvement of ADA accessibility throughout the station, including installation of an elevator at the Canal Street Headhouse.

* Reconstruction of the Canal Street and Harrison Street viaducts.

* Construction of pedestrian tunnels connecting Union Station to Metra’s Ogilvie Station and to the CTA Blue Line stop at Clinton Street.

* Transit-oriented development, including commercial/residential development of the air rights over the Headhouse and commercial/office/retail uses surrounding Union Station.

This brings us to where we are today. There is currently no word on how developers plan on keeping Union Station residents safe from the dangers mention in this article.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Man Arrested For Groping Woman on CTA Has Serious Arrest History

On February 3rd, 2017, a woman got on her bus, and expected to be safely transported. A safe transport is exactly what did NOT happen. A suspect that police have now identified as Christopher Gates of the 400 block of N. Harding Ave, is alleged to have grabbed the female passenger in an inappropriate manner without her consent, and then exited the bus.

Christopher Gates - Chicago Police photo
Gates is charged with one felony count of aggravated battery to a transit passenger and one felony count of unlawful restraint. This is not the first or even the second arrest for Gates. Gates is well-known to the Chicago Police Department, mostly for violent offenses, and offenses involving illicit drugs.

According to Chicago Police public adult arrest records, gates has been arrested 8 times in the past, and this arrest would make his 9th. Gates was arrested for the first time by Chicago Police on May 25, 2014 at 5:00PM. That first arrest had Gates charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, and possessing less than 2.5 grams of cannabis. Gates was arrested that day at 1156 N Keeler Ave. on police beat 1111. At that time, police had his address listed as 726 N. Harding, located on police beat 1112.

Harding was arrested the second time on Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 12:50 PM at 1222 N Pulaski Rd. This second arrest was also for Possession of a Controlled Substance. This time, the arrest took place on police beat 2534. This area is well-known for gang, drug, and other serious criminal activity. At the time of these first two arrests, Gates lived at 726 N. Harding on beat 1112.

Thursday, March 12, 2015 8:15AM, just 17 days short of seven months since his 2nd arrest, Gates was arrested for Stalking/Cause Fear/Safety/2+ (a violation of 720 ILCS 5.0/12-7.3-A-1), and Battery - Make Physical Contact, in violation of 720 ILCS 5.0/12-3-A-2. By this time, Gates had moved to 4102 W Crystal St., on beat 2534, according to Police Arrest records.

At some point after his issuance of warrant arrest on June 28th, 2016, he moved from 554 N Avers Ave, and by Oct 26th, 2016, he moved to 426 N Harding Ave.

Gate's full arrest record is displayed below as evidence of the above statements. This record came from the Chicago Police Department Adult Arrest Database, available to the public. 

As of this latest arrest, Gates has been held in Cook County Jail in lieu of a $900,000 bond. Gates is due back in court on 6/14/2017. This information per the Cook County Sheriff's Department Inmate Locator Service. 

Chicago-One News attempted to reach out to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and the Chicago Police Department for an official statement, and communications with police are pending for further information about Mr. Gate's prior history with their department. Chicago Police Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi has stated the department must keep their comments limited to Mr. Gate's prior history only, due to his current case in a pending status with the Cook County Circuit Court. (Edited on May 4th, 2017 at or around 9:30AM to reflect changes to facts regarding communications between Chicago-One News and CPD)  

Chicago Fire Department Spokesman Recovering Well After Collision in Department Vehicle

CFD Spokesman, Larry Langford - Chicago Tribune photo
On May 2nd, 2017, Chicago Tribune Reporter, Rosemary Regina Sobol, wrote about what is the 2nd vehicle collision in six months involving CFD Spokesman, Larry Langford. Both collisions involved his city - issued vehicle.

“I was just going to get more coffee and drive back to my house and start my day,’’ Langford said. “All of a sudden, wham!" - Tribune Article quote.

 Larry tells the story in his own words:

"I was stopped at a light at 59th Street and Union Ave. after six in the morning, closer to seven, when I heard the sound of tires on wet pavement. I thought, oh-oh, and looked up.’’ "I saw the car leave the scene, and stop close by. I get out of the car and ask if he's ok. He mumbles back to me, saying "yeah". "He didn’t apologize, or ask if I was all right, he wasn’t looking at me. He just kept looking at his car.’’ "So, I ask this guy for his drivers license and ask if he has insurance. He told me the car was stolen."

Langford: "You stole it?"

Driver: "yes"

At this point, Langford tells that the driver walked away. The driver then started to run, and left the car behind.

Chicago-One News spoke to Larry Langford this morning on his way into the office after buying his morning coffee. Anyone in the Chicago media business, and who eventually covers police & fire department incidents gets to know Larry very quickly. Larry stated to Chicago-One that he's a little sore, but is otherwise doing well.

Larry is typically all - go, no - stop, and carries with him a spirit of helpfulness, is generally very jovial and easy to get along with. Get well soon, Larry!

Two Chicago Police Officers Shot - Three Being Questioned, Investigation On-Going

Chicago's OEMC Zone 13, home of the Chicago Police Department's 9th district daily operational communications needs. The dispatcher was having a routine night, which means highs and lows in activity. Domestics, vice calls (drugs, gangs, guns), parkers, and various criminal shenanigans that aren't new to the city.

Suddenly, an officer describing a van is heard, followed by an officer screaming into his radio...."MY PARTNER'S HIT, MY PARTNER'S HIT, MY PARTNER'S HIT 64TH & ASHLAND" shortly after a flurry of radio activity, "GET THOSE AMBULANCES ROLLING! LET'S GET THEM IN HERE!" The dispatcher finding a way to stay calm and collected, says, "We've got ambulances on the way" 


By the time it was over, two officers had been shot. We now know these were two Tactical Officers from 009. For those not familiar with CPD parlance, Tactical Officers are plainclothes personnel specializing in investigating things like gangs, guns, robbery, burglary, drugs, prostitution, etc. They drive unmarked cars, and possess specialized training for their work.

The shooting occurred at or around 9PM last night, May 02, 2017. Per the statement made by the department, the officers were sitting in their unmarked unit in the 4300 block of south Ashland Ave. when they saw someone in a silver van shooting at another vehicle, according to preliminary information.

 As it all unfolded, Chicago's independent journalists covering the crime beat gave live coverage from the radio traffic. Enter Spot News....

Now come the tweets from Chicago Police Spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, to confirm what has happened. Anthony is Twitter verified, as noted by the blue badge with the checkmark.

Superintendant Johnson spoke to the media, saying, "We believe these officers were followed and targeted", a statement giving insight into the frantic manhunt that took place last night after the shooting. Upon being fired at, police returned fire. At this time, it is not believed that anyone was struck by the fire from police service weapons.

Current information says that both vehicles involved had left the scene hastily, and  The van was found near 37th Street and Racine Avenue, less than two miles away, and either a rifle or shotgun was recovered near the scene, according to a source citing preliminary information. A second weapon was also recovered, and three people were taken into custody for questioning, police said.

Per AJ Guglielmi, Chicago Police Spokesman, one officer has been released from the hospital, and Detectives are continuing their investigation. According to ABC 7 Chicago, the second officer may be released later today.