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« Chicago News Roundup for Thursday, August 23, 2007
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Chicago News Roundup for Friday, August 24, 2007

Storm Causes Extensive Damage to ComEd System, Resulting in …

CHICAGO, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ — Following a series of destructive thunderstorms that downed power lines and severely damaged electrical equipment, ComEd crews have restored service to more than 370,000 customers and are continuing work to restore an additional 222,000 customers who remain without power. Despite a massive restoration effort, damage to ComEd’s system is so severe that many of our customers are likely to be out of service for multiple days.

ComEd continues to assess the damage from the recent storms, which have been among the most powerful in the last few years. Broken poles, downed or snapped wires, and trees that uprooted and fell on equipment are among the challenges that crews are facing. Before power can be restored, crews must clear trees from wires, replace poles and transformers, and string miles of new wire. Downed trees, flooding, and traffic problems also are impeding crews’ access to electrical equipment.


Sky 5: Damage Across Chicagoland

Tow Truck Driver Sought In Hit… August 6, 2007 An overnight hit-and-run crash…

Alleged Assault Caught On Tape Optician Faces Charges A Toronto television reporter …


After The Deluge: Chicagoland Is Swamped

(CBS) CHICAGO The whole Chicagoland area is in cleanup mode following Thursday’s severe weather that left streets either filled with fallen trees or rising water.

Neighborhood after neighborhood, it’s the same story. Trees and power lines are down and yards and basements are flooded.

ComEd is reporting 185,000 customers in the area are without power as of Friday evening, including 108,000 in the northern suburbs, 31,000 in the southern suburbs, 2,500 in the western suburbs and 45,500 in the city.

At Montrose Harbor, where boats used to be tied and lined up in neat rows, they are now scattered all over the place. Fortunately not many people were on the lake Thursday, but those who were won’t soon forget the storm.

In the Wrigleyville neighborhood, residents are coping with downed trees.

The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation says about 3,300 trees were damaged or destroyed and more than 200 traffic lights are still out.

[via CBS2 Chicago]

Is lake safe for Chicago Triathlon?

It seems like every year there’s a storm stirring up the water before the race. But every year, offiicals say it’s safe by race day.

I’ve put in a call to the race director to see if there’s any concern over sewage levels in the water. I’ll post his answer when I get it.

[via Chicago Tribune]

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Well, he did it. Blagojevich finally pulled the trigger. 23 days after it was passed by the legislature, Rod Blagojevich approved much of Illinois’ new budget. In a news release he said that he has removed $463 million in spending on “special pet projects and other spending that we simply can’t afford.” The cuts now go back to the General Assembly for consideration, where a fight is expected with Speaker of the House Mike Madigan. Senate President Emil Jones has vowed to stand with Blagojevich and block a veto override: what the governor didn’t veto becomes law, and what he cut gets voted on, straight up or down. Our man in Springfield, Rich Miller, has a nearly line-by-line breakdown of some of the cuts, including health and human services.

Speaking of budget woes, Mayor Daley is urging the state to pass a 0.25 percent sales tax increase for the Chicago area. “The deal is there, and no one is going to blame anyone for increasing the sales tax…. We are not going to blame the governor. We are not going to blame the General Assembly. … This is good for the metropolitan area. It is good for the collar counties, the suburban area. It’s good for the city. It’s good for employers and employees,” Daley told the Chicago Tribune. Blagojevich has called for legislators to work with him to pass a multibillion-dollar construction program that would fund infrastructure projects around the state, including regional transit. The budget bill signed yesterday does not include new transit funding. Without it, regional transit authorities (including Metra and PACE) are predicting drastic service cuts and steep fare increases.

[via Chicagoist]

Central US flooding claims more lives

A fresh round of thunderstorms battered parts of the central United States for a fifth day yesterday as the region battled deadly floods that drove hundreds from their homes. A wave of storms hit the Chicago area just before the evening rush hour, stranding children in schools, toppling dozens of trees, snarling rush hour train commutes and knocking flower boxes and barbecue grills off downtown high-rise balconies, according to various media reports.

O’Hare International Airport was closed for a time after its control tower was evacuated for 13 minutes when tornado warnings were issued for the area. The local commuter rail agency said 4 000 home-bound travelers were stranded for a time after winds downed a power line on tracks in one busy corridor. No deaths were reported, but damage was widespread.

[via SABC News]

Strong late summer jet stream threatens to invigorate t-storms again

Jet stream winds, powerful by summer standards, threaten to supercharge new rounds of thunderstorms Friday and Friday night, drenching sections of the Chicago area with additional flood-provoking rains. Rainfall Thursday, including 5.12″ at south suburban Crete, 4.91″ at the University of Illinois research farm in DeKalb county and 4.10″ at Mt. Prospect, swelled August, 2007 rainfalls to a foot or more in parts of the area–amounts which dwarf the full month average of 4.62″. The waves of storms pushed Chicago’s official monthly rainfall to 9.17″ making it the second wettest August 1-23 period in 137 years of records. Ominously, rainfall projections suggest as much as 2-4″ additional rainfall may not be out of the question over at least sections of the region through Friday night, amounts which would exacerbate already significant flooding on major rivers such as the Fox and Des Plaines. Storms break over the weekend but could be back late Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tom Skilling is chief meteorologist at WGN-TV. His forecasts can be seen Monday through Friday on WGN-TV News at noon and 9 p.m.

[via Chicago Tribune]

Home sales drop in the Chicago area

Home sales (including single-family and condominiums) in the Chicago area in the second quarter totaled 29,061, down 19 percent from 35,889 sales in the same period last year, according to statistics from the Illinois Association of Realtors.

The median home sale price in the Chicago area increased 2.6 percent, $256,400 in the second quarter of 2007 compared with $250,000 in the same period one year ago.

[via Chicago Sun-Times]


BP made the right decision Thursday to scrap its plan to increase the amount of pollution it dumps daily into Lake Michigan at its Whiting, Ind., refinery. But forgive us if we aren’t sold. In Chicago, we’ve learned to be skeptical of promises from powerful entities. We need to be convinced that the oil giant — which made $22.3 billion last year — will do what it says. The company’s “trust us” stance simply isn’t good enough.

We are, however, willing to give the company a chance to prove itself. In light of Thursday’s announcement, we are suspending — not rescinding — the boycott against BP we called for on this page a week ago. If BP wants to convince us it is not going to use the pollution levels allowed by its new permit that was issued in June, it is going to have do more than issue unbinding promises. The new permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management allows BP to pour 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge particles into the lake beginning in 2011.

[via Chicago Sun-Times]

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» More Batman sightings?