105 years for gunman in slaying of Chicago police officer

105 years for gunman in slaying of Chicago police officer

via the chicago Tribune

A Cook County judge today sentenced a reputed gang member to 105 years in prison for gunning down Chicago police Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez in 2009.
In issuing the maximum sentence possible, Judge Jorge Alonso said Christopher Harris, 25, killed “one of the best of us.” Earlier, Valadez’s sisters tearfully had asked for the maximum penalty. 
Valadez’s first child was born a few months after his slaying.
Harris declined to make a statement in court and looked down at his hands as the sentence was handed down.
State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who personally prosecuted the case, had sought the 105-year sentence, saying  “the criminals running around the streets of Englewood need to know there’s serious (consequences) for what you do.”

Kevin Walker, who was driving the car used in the shooting, was sentenced by Alonso to the maximum of 120 years in prison.

“We’ve lost a shining star and one of our best police officers,” Alonso said.

Walker, who faced from 56 to 120 years, apologized to Valadez’s family before he was sentenced.

Walker, who told police his nickname was “Killer Kev,” faced a longer sentence than Harris in part because he was on probation for an armed robbery at the time of the officer’s murder.


Great Job! Charges filed in baseball bat beating of police officer

Great Job! Charges filed in baseball bat beating of police officer

Richard Milz via the Chicago Tribune

A South Side man has been charged with hitting a Chicago police officer in the head with a baseball bat as the officer tried to break up a fight in the West Englewood neighborhood over the weekend.

Tythia Thigpen, 29, of the 5700 block of South Winchester Avenue, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery to a peace officer and aggravated battery use of deadly weapon, police said. He is expected to appear in bond court today.

Thigpen was taken into custody around 8:30 p.m. Monday after surrendering at the Area South police station in the Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side.

The officer was struck around 12:40 a.m. Saturday in the 5700 block of South Winchester Avenue while trying to break up a fight possibly involving “dozens” of people, according to police sources.

The officer was taken in serious condition to Stroger Hospital and has been released. He is an Englewood District beat officer who joined the department in 2009, sources said.

Thigpen has an arrest record that includes murder charges in 2004, according to court documents. He was found not guilty and released in 2006. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine.

Rich Milz with the Blackhawks Celebration Info!

Rich Milz with the Blackhawks Celebration Info!

The CTA is offering more service on its trains and rerouting buses Friday to accommodate the city’s rally downtown for the Blackhawks’ 2013 Stanley Cup win.

Transit officials suggest using the “L” to travel to the event. Service will be added to all eight rail lines after the morning rush through midday. The CTA is detouring 30 bus routes for the party.

More information about the changes can be found on the CTA’s website.

Streets from Randolph Street to Balbo Avenue from Michigan Avenue to Lake Shore Drive will be closed, as will Columbus Drive from Randolph to Roosevelt.

Metra officials also said service will be added to the commuter trains to accommodate crowds. Riders can buy a $5 unlimited-ride ticket that will be good for Friday only.

The ticket is available at ticket agencies now and will be for sale on trains Friday. Metra is encouraging riders to buy the tickets in advance, and also warning customers that no bicycles or alcohol will be allowed on trains Friday.

— Tribune report

Rich Milz likes Chicago Bike sharing program

Rich Milz likes Chicago Bike sharing program

From Rich Milz via the Chicago Tribune

The first 700 bicycles painted “Chicago blue” will make their debut on city streets Friday, vastly outnumbered and upstaged by red and black.

For any celebrants along the Blackhawks parade route who might want to pedal part of the way on one of the new Divvy bike-share program bikes, though, you’re on thin ice.

Of the more than 40 bicycle docking stations scheduled to be in operation Friday for the launch of the service, none of the handful of stations along the Hawks Stanley Cup victory route will be open, officials said.

“It’s for the safety of the people and the equipment,” said Elliot Greenberger, marketing director for Divvy, which is operated by Alta Bicycle Share Inc., Chicago’s partner in the $22 million bike-share experiment.

Seventy-five stations downtown and in River North will be fully stocked with the three-speed bikes and ready to roll by Sunday, Greenberger said.

The Divvy program was to begin June 14. It was delayed because equipment arrived late and over concerns that more testing was needed to avoid software and equipment problems that occurred with the fledgling bike-share program in New York, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The Divvy’s daily rental fee is $7, which allows an unlimited number of trips up to 30 minutes each over a 24-hour period. After 30 minutes, additional fees apply.

More than 1,500 annual memberships, priced at $75 and $125 based on the features included, have been sold since registration began at the end of May, Greenberger said.

A pre-launch event for up to 200 “founding” annual members will be held at Daley Center Plaza on Thursday evening, officials said. Participants who have RSVP’d and registered their key fobs, which are needed to unlock Divvy bikes at the stations, will be able to check out bikes and ride them to other docking stations.

A list of Divvy stations is posted at each station and available online at divvybikes.com.

Also by Thursday evening, the locations of all active Divvy stations and a real-time tracking system that shows available bikes and empty return slots at each station will be listed on Cyclefinder, an app available for Apple and Android devices.

Under its city contract, Divvy must operate 3,000 bikes and 300 stations by the end of August and expand to about 4,000 bicycles and 400 stations covering much of the city by next spring.

Richard A. Milz Chicago Flood 2013 Chicago Tribune

Richard A. Milz Chicago Flood 2013 Chicago Tribune

What a mess…

As of 8 a.m., some of the expressways were opened but there were other closures. The Edens was closed in both directions between Lake Street and Dundee Road; the westbound ramp from Interstate 290 to Interstate 88 was shut down, westbound 290 was closed at St. Charles Road, and eastbound 290 was closed at York Road; two lanes were closed on the Bishop Ford northbound between 130th Street and the Beaubien Woods.

Travel times during the morning rush ran at least two hours or longer in some areas.
Flooding along the Chicago River and across low-lying areas also closed parts of North Side thoroughfares: Foster Avenue between Pulaski and Central Park avenues, Petersen Avenue between Pulaski Road and Kedvale Avenue, and Elston Avenue at Kilpatrick Avenue.