by J. J. Quincannon, The Chicago Times

May 20, 2021

Fraternal Order of Police, which represents rank-and-file officers, has voted no confidence in Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, and First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter.

The decision was prompted by growing dissatisfaction with officers’ working conditions, according to FOP President John Catanzara.  Officers’ days off have been canceled on many instances in the last year, and they have been assigned to 12-hour shifts in preparation for probable rallies or disturbances.


Forest Preserves of Cook County

May 12, 2021

Did you know we have native tree frogs in Cook County? It’s likely you’ve walked right past these tree-living amphibians without noticing!

The gray tree frog’s scientific name, Hyla versicolor, means “variable color.” Although gray is included in their name, this arboreal—or tree dwelling—frog’s skin changes color in response to its environment. They may be gray, brown or green, or a bit of all three with a white underside and yellow on the inner part of their thighs. Their bumpy camouflaged skin helps them hide from predators.

As its name suggests, adult gray tree frogs spend much of their life in the trees in wetland and woodland habitats in the eastern part of the United States and will venture into neighborhoods with similar habitats. This frog secretes a mucus from the membranes on their large, ridged toe pads that acts like a glue to help them climb and attach to the trunk of trees and shrubs.

The 1- to 2-inch gray tree frog is nocturnal and will hunt for insects when it’s dark and stay hidden in the bark of trees when they aren’t active during the day. At the end of April, male tree frogs will begin gathering in wetlands and ephemeral ponds to aggressively defend their territories and call for potential mates. Interested females will respond by laying their eggs in the water the male will then fertilize. They can live up to nine years in the wild.

Like our local wood frogs, gray tree frogs have a superpower to survive through Illinois’ harsh winters. Their body produces large amounts of glucose that acts as an antifreeze to survive freezing temperatures.

Where to find them in your neighborhood: Under the right conditions in the summer months, you might find gray tree frogs clinging to your window or screen door trying to eat the moths and insects gathering at your outside light.

Click here to listen to the unique sounds of the eastern gray tree frog.

Interested in helping tree frogs? Join us on Saturday, May 22, for a Calling Frog Survey program at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center. Attendees will use their sense of hearing to identify which frogs are calling, and the data collected will be used as part of the Calling Frog Survey for the Chicago Wilderness Region.

Forest Preserves of Cook County


Consolidated Press News File

May 19, 2021

MASCOUTAH, IL — After a successful landing at an Illinois airport on Tuesday, two pilots ejected from a F-15QA. 

The emergency ejection occurred around 7:30 a.m. when the plane was parked on a runway at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in St. Clair County.

The pilots, who ejected from an F-15 fighter jet were not seriously hurt, though one pilot was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Air Force officials released the following statement regarding the incident:

“An F-15QA, recently accepted by the Air Force from the Boeing Corporation, departed the runway today at MidAmerica Airport, Ill.  Two U.S. active-duty pilots who were on board ejected safely and received minor injuries.  The aircraft was slated to be transferred to the Qatari Air Force through the Foreign Military Sales program.  The incident is currently under investigation. “


City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor

May 19, 2021

CHICAGO- Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot alongside Chairman of the Finance Committee, Scott Waguespack, and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Christopher Taliaferro today, announced the introduction of an ordinance to create a public database of closed police disciplinary investigations. This historic ordinance will create an unprecedented publicly available dataset of all police disciplinary cases since 2000. The publication of this disciplinary information is the next critical step in Mayor Lightfoot’s ongoing work to overhaul transparency and accountability for the Chicago Police Department. 

“In order to mend the wounded relationship between the Chicago Police Department and the communities they serve, it is critically important that we double-down on our efforts to root the value of transparency within the department,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This historic piece of legislation will help to do just that and give the public an important opportunity to see how far we’ve come and weigh in on what we still must do to bring about full police accountability. I want to thank Chairman Waguespack and Chairman Taliaferro for partnering with me on this ordinance and putting our city that much closer to achieving true police reform.”

 “This database is long overdue, and I thank Mayor Lightfoot and Chairman Taliaferro for their leadership and support on this important issue,” said 32nd Ward Alderman and Chairman of the Finance Committee, Scott Waguespack. “Shining a light on police misconduct and the consequences is always the right decision. This ordinance aims to build upon the accountability and transparency that Chicago deserves.”    

“This ordinance is yet another pivotal step in the right direction toward accountability and transparency,” said 29th Ward Alderman and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Chris Taliaferro. “As a former Chicago police officer, I can say through lived experience that the police only benefit when we increase their transparency and accountability to the public.”

The database will be created and maintained by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). After determining an appropriate budget and staff, the OIG will create and publish on its website a searchable and downloadable digital repository of summary reports which will include finalized disciplinary dispositions against members of the Chicago Police Department. For each summary report the public-facing repository will list the following: 

  • The Complainant Register (CR) number
  • The complainant or other notification type and category
  • The names of each accused member
  • The name of the investigating agency
  • The final disciplinary decision or other final disposition

The publication of summary reports of police misconduct and related discipline is critical; however, it is equally important to highlight the need for this to be a resource for the public. As such, the new database will be regularly updated by the OIG after the closure of any new disciplinary investigation. No summary reports of investigations into alleged incidents of domestic abuse, child abuse or substance abuse will be published in the database.  Further, the proposed ordinance will not diminish any of the City’s obligations under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The ordinance, and its corresponding database, will serve as a complement to those important requirements outlined in FOIA. 

This ordinance will be introduced at a reconvening of a joint meeting between the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Public Safety on May 24.  Once approved at the committee level, this ordinance will be considered by the full City Council for a final vote of approval. Upon passage, the OIG will have one year following the effective date to create and publish this database. 

Mayor Lightfoot, Chairman Waguespack, and Chairman Taliaferro are committed to ensuring that Chicago’s future is one built around a transparent understanding of Chicago police misconduct and corresponding discipline. 

City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor


Consolidated Press News File

May 19, 2021

CALIFORNIA — After its owner wanted to share the unusual plant with his friends, residents of a San Francisco Bay Area city flocked to an abandoned Art Deco gas station to get a whiff of a blooming corpse flower which are famous for stench it produces as it blooms.

Solomon Leyva, an Alameda nursery owner who specializes in extremely rare plants, had been bragging about his amorphophallus titanum on social media.  When he saw that the giant blooming flower was attracting a lot of attention, he decided to wheel it to the abandoned gas station on Monday, where a line of people stretched down the street for most of the day, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing . . .  this guy comes down to the gas station with a crazy looking flower, man.  Next thing I know like ah hundreds or like thousands are around us, awesome dude!” said local resident Roland Forbes.

It was estimated that 1,400 people had shown up to catch a scent of the blooming plant. 


by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

SPAIN — After more than 8,000 migrants arrived in the North African outpost Tuesday, Spain dispatched military soldiers to the enclave of Ceuta.

The 8,000 migrants included at least 2,000 minors, according to Spanish police, and more than 4,000 people have already been deported after the country deployed troops, military trucks, and helicopters to halt the influx.

On Monday, a considerable number of migrants began arriving in Ceuta, many of whom swam around breakwaters or paddled improvised dinghies onto its beaches, while others waded through low-tide waters or climbed over security gates.

The influx of migrants on Tuesday vastly outnumbers the number of migrants who sought to enter Ceuta over the remainder of the year.

The inflow of migrants comes amid a diplomatic spat between Spain and Morocco over Brahim Ghali’s medical care in Spain since last month. Ghali is the leader of a movement seeking independence for Western Sahara from Morocco.