by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times

CHICAGO – Peanuts! Peanuts! Hot Dog! Hot Dog! . . . Gone are the days when vendors at Wrigley Field will be allowed to hustle their goods with the familiar shouting of menu items to hungry fans.

Cubs officials have spread the social distancing rules of COVID thickly over what used to be part of a now fading National Past-Time. Boisterous vendors will be absent from the aisles and fans…will be seated in “pods” of space.

Vendors will now carry food and beverages to fans from the concourse. The good news is all transactions will be cashless, not free, but paid without paper currency; a once familiar medium of exchange for people born in the time Wrigley still had painted troughs. The Wrigley math wizards calculate that one food runner will serve 300 fans.

Many veteran vendors are not returning this year fearing loss of revenue and of course COVID. As a result, Levy Restaurants is hiring a new generation of vendors that mostly will not recognize paper money. Vendors not returning will be allowed to bid again as the season continues.

Most vendors rely on tips, but the cashless system will hinder some patrons from giving generous tips, not to mention the obvious thrill of receiving folded paper bills over the course of the game. The more money in vendors’ pockets the more colorful they sell their goods which adds to the experience a fan pays dearly for these days. Now it will be as quiet as the digital exchange of money rather than the rustle of bills being rubbed together.


by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times

CHICAGO – Yet another weekend of shootings and murders are heating up on the streets of Chicago with no response from Mayor Lightfoot. As of Friday evening, 4 citizens of Chicago, including an innocent 10-year-old boy have been shot, 1 man killed.

Marquel Robinson, 24, of East Garfield Park was fatally struck down by bullets. CPD sources said no motive for murder has come to light. Robinson may have been a victim of stray bullets or misidentified target.

A 10-year-old boy sitting in a parked vehicle along with two others was wounded when an unidentified shooter approached and opened fire. The shooting occurred at 6:50pm in the 3100 block of West Lake Street. Thankfully not fatally shot, the 10-year-old boy was wounded in the leg while a woman occupying the vehicle was wounded in the thigh and ankle.

Early Saturday morning (yes this Saturday) a 17-year-old was seriously wounded when his car was hijacked in 5400 block of West Race Avenue. The teen was taken to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood. Loyola sources revealed the teen was wounded in the abdomen and leg and is listed in critical condition.
Time will tell if shootings this weekend will exceed the 40 shot–5 fatally, last weekend.


by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times

CHICAGO – Mayor Lightfoot denied tobacco smokers living in Chicago prioritization in COVID-19 vaccination in defiance of CDC guidelines recently approved by Gov. J. B. Pritzker.  Sources on the “5th Floor” of City Hall deny this decision is punitive towards the nearly 400,000 Chicagoans that choose to smoke.  When asked for comment, a spokesman for the “5th Floor” machine said:

“We respect citizens’ decision to smoke tobacco products, in fact we depend on it as a revenue source for the city.” 

Despite the respect for the right to smoke, under Lightfoot’s orders the Chicago Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, has barred prioritization of smokers in the city’s next vaccination roll out “Phase 1C” starting March 29.   Their message to Chicago smokers is to seek vaccination providers outside of city limits.  I guess it is the old case of Chicago for some and not for all.

Although, nicotine is an addictive substance, should residents be forced to leave their residency for medical care?  When asked for comment sources stated:

“Mr. McNeal, we are not forcing smokers to leave the city for medical care, just asking smokers to seek other providers outside of the city.”

Typical “5th Floor” double talk.  It should be noted that marijuana smokers are also denied prioritization for COVID-19 vaccinations.


by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times

CHICAGO — Once again shots fired in Chicago result in carnage and fiery destruction of property.
Chicago Police continue to investigate the 3am fiery collision of a Dodge and street sweeper in the 4000
block of North Cicero Avenue that left four people hospitalized.

CPD sources revealed three occupants of a Dodge were shot at prior to the crash leaving a 32-year-old
woman wounded in the abdomen. No motive has yet to be found, yet drugs discovered on one of the
occupants suggests it may be drug related.

Just after the shooting the Dodge veered into a parked street sweeper causing both vehicles to burst
into a raging fireball. The innocent 55-year-old driver of the sweeper was hospitalized after being found
on the ground near the sweeper.

The occupants of the Dodge were also hospitalized with various broken bones, contusions, and other
undisclosed injuries. Hospital staff revealed the woman received three bullets to the abdomen and
suffered two broken legs and one broken arm.

CPD has charged the 17-year-old male occupant of the Dodge with drug possession. CPD sources also
indicated the crash may have been alcohol related. No comment as to if the driver was charged.
Is this an isolated incident or just another early morning shooting in Chicago? Are the occupants of the
Dodge innocent victims of snipers? Whatever the answer, Mayor Lightfoot has allowed shootings to rise
over 50% from last year and crime to ravage the city. Is this what the citizens of Chicago deserve? The
alleged targeted shooting of a car containing drugs and potentially intoxicated occupants interrupting
the peaceful life of an innocent street sweeper doing vital work we do not have the courage to
complete. I don’t think so, we deserve better.


by J. J. Quincannon, The Chicago Times

CHICAGO — Xin Jun Zhu, 50, was charged with promoting prostitution for profit near a school.  Zhu was taken into custody at a home in the 600 block of West 31st Street.

According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Zhu allegedly arranged appointments for a woman to perform sex acts in exchange for money.  Investigators operating the sting made appointments with the prostitute to have mid-day sex on a Wednesday at the home in the 600 block of West 31st Street.

When sting investigators arrived at the prostitution den, Zhu confirmed the appointments made by text and ushered them into the sex room where the prostitute was waiting.

The alleged pimp Zhu and the female prostitute were taken into custody.  Cook County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the alleged prostitute, now victim, was later released without charges after it was learned that Zhu was receiving money from her.  The Sheriff’s Office offered the woman support services.

Zhu was charged and appeared for a bond hearing at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse and is currently being held on a $10,000 bond.


by T. C. Mayfield, The Chicago Times

WHEATON, IL — Former Bartlett High School chemistry teacher Garry Brodersen, 66, was found guilty of misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct and endangering the life of a minor.  In a horrid 2018 science class experiment, Brodersen poured nitrogen on a student causing burns to chest and groin area.

In a written statement, DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said:

“Mr. Brodersen displayed extremely poor judgment when he doused a student with a dangerous chemical during a science demonstration,”

According to court records the student had volunteered to lay on his back in a classroom experiment when Brodersen recklessly poured liquid nitrogen on his chest and then groin area.  The student had originally agreed to only have liquid nitrogen poured on his chest.  The student has fully recovered from his injuries.

Bartlett High School officials said Brodersen voluntarily resigned and surrendered his teaching certificate in June of 2018.  Brodersen will be in court March 18 for sentencing.