Monthly Archives: October 2014

Thibodeau Doesn’t Know How Long Bulls’ Butler Will Be Out With Thumb Injury

basketball player in action
Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler is out with a thumb injury, which could have an effect on his contract negotiations with the team. According to Hoops Habit, the thumb injury is listed as a sprain but is bad enough that he has to be sidelined.According to ESPN, the Bulls’ starting shooting guard injured his thumb in the October 19th preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets. He had an MRI a few days later that confirmed the sprain. More than 31 million injuries that require medical care occur each year in the U.S.

The injury has forced Butler to the sidelines, and when he will be back on the court is unclear. According to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, Bulls head coach “Thibodeau said Butler is out 2-4 weeks.”

Thibodeau later clarified that “no one knows,” how many weeks Butler will be out. “Two to four, one to three, I don’t know what it is. He’s not comfortable going yet, so when he is, he will. We know he wants to be out there, and injuries are part of the game, so you just deal with it.”

“I try to come back early, and that’s not always the best thing to do,” Butler said. “They’re just making sure when I do come back, I won’t have any restraints and I’ll be able to go 100 percent.”

Unfortunately the the Bulls, this means that they’re without an important player for the beginning of the regular season, notably Wednesday night’s opener against the Knicks.

Unfortunately for Butler, the injury might complicate the contract negotiations that are set to happen October 31st. According to Hoops Habit, last season Butler missed 15 games and was injured before the regular 2014 season started. ESPN’s Chris Broussard said via Twitter Wednesday that Butler and the bulls are “unlikely to agree to contract extension,” but Butler himself doesn’t seem worried.

According to ESPN, he’s focused on recovering from his injury and getting back on the court, not on the contract negotiations. If Butler and the Bulls don’t come to an agreement by October 31st, he’ll become a restricted free agent in the 2015 season.

Chicago Man Steals Semi-Truck and Critically Injuries Bicyclist in Hit and Run Accident

hands of a prisoner behind bars

If there’s one vehicle that’s likely to be noticed when someone steals it, that vehicle is probably a semi-truck. But that didn’t stop 31-year-old Chicago resident Jason Popko, who stole a semi-truck and then hit a 47-year-old bicyclist near the 3600 block of South Ashland in the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side.

The crash occurred at around 4:25 p.m. on October 7, and Popko was arrested after witnesses of the accident identified him as the driver. The bicyclist was severely injured and was sent to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. The Chicago Tribune reported on October 25 that the victim was still in a coma, and no more official reports have been issued to confirm or deny that he is still in critical condition.

Popko’s arrest happened about two weeks after the crash, because he didn’t just steal a semi-truck and hit a bicyclist — after the crash happened, he intentionally fled the scene without providing any contact information, waiting for law enforcement and emergency workers to show up, or even call an official police line to report that there had been an accident.

Popko’s charges now include one count of possession of a stolen vehicle and one count of failure to report an accident that involved serious bodily injuries to another person.

According to the official report, Popko abandoned the stolen semi-truck (a white Volvo model 660 that received serious damage to the roof of the cab), but police officials were able to track down Popko after they searched the semi-truck and found receipts from a local recycling company, where Popko had recently sold scrap metal parts.

Popko was officially taken into custody and arrested at 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 23. At his bond court hearing on October 25, the judge set his bail at $500,000.

New Study May Link Rates of ADHD Drug Use to Educational Structure

Prescription Medicine

The results of a new study have some researchers wondering if the staggering numbers of children in the United States taking medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have more to do with environment and expectations, rather than mental state.

The study, carried out by Yale, New York University and University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, and released Oct. 14, found that children are 30% more likely to be taking a stimulant prescribed for ADHD (such as Ritalin or Adderall) during the school year than they are during the summer.

Class Differences

Furthermore, higher-income kids in states with higher testing expectations were more likely to use these drugs only during the school year, in comparison to students in lower-income, less demanding schools.

Part of this medication pattern is attributable to class differences regarding medical care. Higher-income families are apparently more likely to trust their own judgment, filling prescriptions only when needed.

According to this study, lower-income families, on the other hand, are more likely to fill prescriptions year-round as recommended by their doctors.

Past research, however, has shown that even though ADHD is more frequently diagnosed among low-income students, medication use is more common among higher-income students. This may be because drug costs are easier for the latter group of students’ families to manage. There are also widespread reports of high-achieving students taking prescription stimulants in order to outperform classmates at prestigious schools, but thus far there has been no reliable confirmation of how common the practice actually is.

Curriculum Changes

The study also cross-referenced the children taking stimulants with states that have adopted academically narrow educational procedures, including specific content and testing expectations (such as Common Core).

Ever since No Child Left Behind was passed in 2002, schools have shaved arts, history, physical education — even recess — out of their schedules to place more emphasis on math and reading.

Explaining the link between this increased focus on so-called academic subjects and stimulant use, Marissa King, an assistant professor of organizational behavior from Yale, said that “Kids are actually just trying to manage a much broader shift in the way the school day is structured.”

One potential explanation then is that children who spend their summer outside playing don’t need medication until they’re asked to sit at a desk for the majority of the day without physical outlets.

Complicating Factors

Experts caution, however, that the study’s findings should be taken with a grain of salt.

For example, the study did not take into account the details of each child’s diagnosis, since ADHD may manifest in several different ways.

Andrew Adesman, a developmental pediatrician, told USA Today that one aspect to look at is the ages of the children included. This study focused on middle school and high school students, both of whom are most likely to be prescribed stimulants for the variant of ADHD that manifests as inattentiveness.

Younger primary school students, on the other hand, are more likely to exhibit impulsiveness and hyperactivity — both qualities that would prompt year-round medication regardless of school structure.

ADHD Treatment in the United States

The high rate of ADHD diagnosis and medication in the U.S. has created mounting concern among doctors and parents that children who are merely energetic or unfocused are being unnecessarily stigmatized and over-medicated.

ADHD diagnoses have risen by 41% in the last decade alone. Currently, there are approximately 5.2 million American children between the ages of 3-13 who have been diagnosed with ADHD.

And according to an article published in Nature, the U.S. prescribes more ADHD drugs than the rest of the globe combined.

Some medical professionals, though, say that myths about prescription stimulant use — such as Adderall’s reputation as an “academic steroid” — can marginalize people who are actually struggling with ADHD.

Even medical professionals who do believe that such stimulants are an important part of treatment generally recommend that a more comprehensive approach, including counseling and organizational coaching, be taken.

Chicago Suburb Rocked by Gas Explosion

Fire alarmAs the weather gets colder and winter approaches, many homeowners are likely turning on their heat to make their homes more comfortable. However, it might be wise to have a professional test your gas line before you crank up the gas for the first time this season. As the resident of a Chicago suburb discovered recently, failing to do so could result in a house explosion.

On Monday, September 15, Tim Walkup turned on his heat for the first time before going to bed. Later, around 10 p.m., Walkup awoke to his house exploding around him, blowing out two walls and shattering his windows. The Eglin Fire Department was quickly called and Walkup was admitted to the intensive care unit of nearby Advocate Sherman Hospital. The fire required 10 area fire department companies to control, and caused almost $150,000 worth of damage to the home.

While Walkup was the only person injured in the explosion, many of his neighbors have reported that the explosion was forceful enough to be felt two houses away. Firefighters believe the fire was caused by a gas leak and are taking the opportunity to remind homeowners to have their furnaces checked by a professional before turning the system on for the winter.

Leak detection is a common procedure in many industries, including refrigeration, air conditioning, automotive manufacturing and food packaging. However, these leak tests typically occur before these systems and products are sold, and consumers are often unaware that they may require further testing after installation. Walkup, unfortunately, was one such customer: while his neighbors described his home maintenance as “meticulous,” officials suspect that his furnace may have suffered an issue which caused gas to accumulate. But some experts say he may have been lucky; if the explosion hadn’t occurred, his Walkup’s home could have filled with gas and caused him to become overcome by the fumes.

NICOR and ComEd have visited the scene to prevent any further gas leakages. However, neighbors are reportedly hesitant to approach the property due to the smell of natural gas that still lingers in the area. Walkup is still looking for his cat, who has not been seen since the explosion, although his two cocker spaniels have been recovered.

Third Party Review Validates 96% of Red Light Camera Tickets in Chicago

Gavel, symbol of judicial decisions and justice

Today is the last day for motorists in Chicago to have traffic violations they received from red light violations reviewed by a third party, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

With support for the red light camera system at an all-time low in the Windy City, Chicago officials asked Grant Thornton LP, an independent third party, to look over tickets issued after a suspicious spike in red light violations were seen at 12 different Chicago intersections.

Letters were mailed to residents who received red light violations from cameras, generating a total of 3,285 tickets.

A total of 2,953 tickets have been reviewed so far, and roughly 96% have been validated by Grant Thornton LP. Only 4% of tickets in question have resulted in refunds for drivers.

During the review, the responsibility of proving that ticket violations were valid fell upon the city. Drivers were given the benefit of the doubt. A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Transportation noted that the 4% of tickets that were refunded in this review is less than half the amount that were dismissed in court from appeals between 2007 and 2013.

There are 65 traffic tickets handed out every minute in the United States, and more and more local governments are implementing camera-based programs to take over traffic violation watch. Chicago has the largest red light camera enforcement program in the country, and approximately 150 red light cameras have been installed at about 70 different locations throughout the city. The program doesn’t sit well with many residents.

Protesters gathered last Thursday at the intersection of Archer Avenue and Paulina Street, where one of the controversial cameras is located. This particular red light camera has been a point of contention due to its close proximity to Mulberry Playlot Park.

Many view the red light cameras as just another money-making scheme by city officials, arguing that it is a hidden tax. Proponents of the cameras, on the other hand, say it is a valid way to improve motor safety and protect pedestrians, particularly young children in school zones.

Chicago Cyberstalker Convicted, Will Spend Eight Years Behind Bars

Hands typing on the laptop

A Chicago-area man convicted of felony cyberstalking and residential theft has recently been sentenced to eight years in prison.

According to NBC Chicago, Jicheng “Kevin” Liu, of Lincoln Park, could have faced as many as 14 years for his crimes. He will receive credit for time served prior to Cook County Judge Erica Reddick’s sentencing.

Upon his arrest in 2012, police found some $1 million in stolen merchandise in his townhome, mostly consisting of stolen delivery packages from residential dwellings.

Liu had built a profitable business from selling these stolen goods online — and for those who brought his illegal doings to the attention of law enforcement, the memory of his cyberstalking continues to haunt them.

“We fear that no matter where he is, he will haunt us in this world. If he has access to a computer he will tear apart our reputation,” one victim, who asked to be identified as Sherwood, told the press.

Sherwood and his wife had agreed to sell Liu’s merchandise on their eBay page. Upon learning the merchandise was stolen, they contacted the police, NBC Chicago reports. Soon after, Liu set out to destroy everything the couple had by cyberstalking and harassing them.

“He managed to get our business shut down on eBay, and to this day we cannot use our online store,” Sherwood explained. “We’ve been scared. We trusted Liu. He told us, ‘Keep an eye on your baby while you sleep at night.’ … He took away everything we worked hard for. We lost our business, our lives … we’re shunned online forever.”

Cyberstalking and cyber security continue to be pressing issues not just for individuals, but for small businesses and even larger corporations as well. Over recent years, approximately 57% of small businesses have reported breaches in cyber security. News of companies having their databases hacked continue to make headlines — Target and Home Depot are just two major retailers to have had their customers’ credit card data breached in recent memory.

For individuals like the people Liu targeted online, the best steps to take when faced with a cyberstalker are to keep a detailed record of all the cyberstalkers’ interactions. It’s also advised that one prints out all emails from the cyberstalker and save all text messages received.

In general, it’s always better to contact the police once ample evidence of the cyberstalking has been collected, rather than confront the cyberstalker himself.

Chicago News Anchor Announces Return of Terminal Cancer

Doctor examining x-ray images

After nearly 10 years with the WICA-TV news station, Champaign news anchor Dave Benton recently shared a devastating personal announcement on air: after initially completing radiation treatment in February, his brain cancer has returned. Because his tumor is too large for surgery and radiation, Benton, 51, has an estimated four to six months to live.

Benton, who grew up in Addison, Illinois and graduated from Northern Illinois University, has become a familiar figure on the Chicago-area news. Over the course of a career that featured stints in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Minot, North Dakota, he has won a number of awards, including a Northwest News Broadcasters Association first-place documentary award and the Eric Sevareid Award of Merit for general reporting. While Benton says he plans to treat his severe prognosis with chemotherapy and an antibody treatment, he stated that his primary goal is to continue to work and make his final days as enjoyable as possible.

Unfortunately, stories like Benton’s are becoming extremely common as more and more people develop cancer or experience a recurrence. Skin cancer, the most common form of the condition in the United States, now affects one in five people over the course of their lifetime. And while alternative treatment methods are often claimed to miraculously send cancer into remission, and researchers continue to investigate everything from immunotherapy to diet to prevent and treat the disease, spontaneous remission is rare. Patients therefore typically undergo chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to treat their cases.

Currently, Benton lives in the Chicago area with his wife, Teresa. The couple has three children, including a son serving in the Air Force in California and a daughter attending graduate school in Chicago. An openly born-again Christian, Benton says he believes he is in God’s hands and is grateful for the support and well-wishes he has received from around the world. His station manager has stated that the news channel plans to support Benton in his desire to continue to work for as possible.

Former Chicago Police Commander Released From Federal Prison Yesterday Morning

Prison

Ex-Lieutenant John Burge, a former Chicago police commander found guilty of perjury, was released from a North Carolina federal prison yesterday. He has been authorized to travel to Florida and check into a halfway house on his own, where he will serve the remainder of his four and a half year sentence.

Burge, now 66 years old, was convicted of giving false testimony during a 2010 trial regarding over 100 complaints of torture and police brutality under his watch. Victims of Burge and his officers reported that they suffered from a number of different brutal attacks in the 1970s and 80s, many of which were used to gain false confessions. Burge himself was never convicted of torture.

Many victims came forward after Burge was found guilty, most of them African-American men, telling gruesome accounts of torture by Burge and his men. Many were shocked, beaten and even had bags held over their heads to make them think they were being suffocated.

One victim, Anthony Holmes, waited outside of City Hall this morning with a number of reporters and angry Chicago officials as Burge was being transferred, according to the Chicago Tribune. Holmes was arrested by Burge in 1973 and was electrocuted while a bag over was held over his head by detectives until he took responsibility for a murder he still says he did not commit.

Holmes, along with many Chicago officials, are pushing City Council to pay reparations to the countless victims who suffered under Burge and never had their cases heard in court. Others are upset that Burge is still receiving $36,000 in pension a year, despite the fact that his case has cost the city millions of taxpayer dollars.

Burge’s release comes at a time when public opinion of law enforcement officials is at an all-time low. Following the shooting in Ferguson, MO this summer, people’s trust in police has decreased dramatically, and law enforcement officials are scrambling for a way to regain public trust.

Many local agencies across the country are now installing in-car camera systems in patrol cars, as well as equipping officers with body cameras. The hope is that these cameras will create better transparency between police and citizens, allowing citizens to see things from a police officers perspective.

While there are mixed feelings about equipping police with cameras, agencies that have adopted the policy have found them to be effective. Police departments in Rialto, CA started using body cameras in 2012, and within the first year, the use of police force went down 60% and complaints by the public against the police dropped 88%.

Police cameras may be one answer to rebuilding relationships going forward, but the release of Jon Burge has done nothing to ease tensions in Chicago. Many view the news as a setback in a time when the public expects those in positions of power to be held responsible for their actions.

Snack Food Maker Mondelez Creates Video Advertisements With Google’s Help

deal

 

Mondelez International, the snack food maker for brands such as Oreo, Nabisco, Cadbury and others, is making its first foray into the world of video marketing through a new partnership with Google. This partnership will be the largest digital media-related deal Mondelez has made in its history.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Deerfield-based Mondelez intends to boost its brands’ visibility by shifting 10% of its advertising budget over to video content intended for a web audience by the end of the year.

“Today, 58% of consumers turn to digital platforms for their daily media consumption,” Bonin Bough, Mondelez’s vice president of global media and consumer engagement, told the Chicago Tribune. “Although we’ve adjusted our media spending to reflect that behavior, there’s still a gap. The deal with Google will enable us to close that ‘digital divide.'”

The advantages of creating online videos have been proven in numerous studies. A Marketing Charts study has found that 60% of consumers on the Internet will watch videos on products before making a purchase. In addition, people are statistically more inclined to view video than read text content — while 20% of people will read a text-based article, an amazing 80% of people will watch a video that contains the same information.

According to BidnessEtc.com, the partnership with Google will allow the snack food maker to take advantage of Google’s expertise with digital marketing and video production, and will give Mondelez a vital outlet for its videos on Google-owned YouTube though Google’s “Brand Partner” direct advertising commitment program.

Mondelez and Google’s new team-up promises to connect the Mondelez brands to consumers at a faster, more effective rate than ever before. And when YouTube boasts more than four billion video views per day, it’s almost guaranteed you will be seeing a video advertisement for one of those brands in the near future.