Tales of the People and Places of the Olde Kankakee River

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Rod Blagojevich, who crossed Madigan in a bitter feud that brought legislative activity in the capital to a virtual standstill for much of and , is another politician whose career trajectory reveals the influence of Chicago in Springfield. Blagojevich is the son-in-law of longtime alderman Richard Mell, who spoke with unabashed pride in a Chicago Tribune interview shortly before his retirement about the army of patronage workers he had at his disposal. In , he was elected governor. But Mell in publicly accused Blagojevich of corruption.

This happened after Blagojevich shut down a landfill owned by friend of Mell, Frank Schmidt. Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office in January and indicted by a federal grand jury in April Mendell wrote that Blagojevich responded by appearing regularly on reality and talk shows like the Late Show with David Letterman , where he claimed that he had done nothing wrong and ripped into federal authorities for persecuting an innocent man. In August , he was convicted on one charge of lying to the FBI, but the jury was hung on 23 other counts. Before his retrial, prosecutors dropped three counts, and in June he was found guilty on 17 of the 20 remaining public corruption charges.

It went beyond our border and had a detrimental effect on the image and … the standing of the fifth-largest state in the union. For the first time legislators restricted how much individual candidates, political leaders, political action committees and political parties could receive.

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Political committees had to report receipts and expenditures quarterly, rather than every six months. Based in large part on the freedom of information overhaul passed in the aftermath of the Blagojevich scandal, Illinois received a perfect for its public access to information, but only a 63 for the effectiveness of that law. At a March panel during a freedom of information event, Public Access Counselor Sarah Pratt acknowledged that her office still had requests for review of FOIA requests that stretch all the way back to Pratt said she could use a 50 percent increase in lawyers for her staff.

Even if the law had not been weakened, the number of journalists covering statehouses across the country,has plunged in the past decade, according to Yepsen of the Simon Institute. A study by the American Journalism Review found that the number of statehouse reporters had dropped in Illinois from , and a Pew Research Center report showed that the state had one of the lowest ratios of statehouse reporters to residents in the country.

This dearth of coverage has emboldened public officials who might otherwise not engage in illegal activity, he said.

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Political financing is another troubling issue for reformers. Based in part on post-Blagojevich reforms, the state scored 90 percent on the sub-category of regulations governing the financing of individual political candidates as part of the State Integrity Investigation. Yet state legislators also responded to the Citizens United decision by passing a bill in removing contribution limits that had applied to certain types of political action committees. The fight for a cleaner Illinois goes on, but no one sees a quick turnaround. Among the initial proposals: greater transparency and accountability, more inspectors general, a widespread program of civic education in schools and greater citizen participation in government and politics.

A proposal to require civics education is among more than a half-dozen accountability and transparency bills that were proposed in the Illinois General Assembly in the just-concluded legislative session. Legislators have since been called back, but mostly to deal with the budget. Others would have required university police departments to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests, forced local governing bodies to maintain websites with budget and contracting information and authorized the secretary of state to institute an Internet-based system for the filing of statements of economic interests.


In early May Gov. With one exception, the other bills all died somewhere in the legislative process. Graceland Cemetery - Graceland Cemetery is one of Chicago's oldest graveyards and boasts several hauntings. The most famous is the spirit of Inez Clark. Inez was just shy of seven years old when she was struck by lightening at a family picnic. Her parents, distraught over the loss, had a life-size statue of the child erected at her grave site. The statue is enclosed in glass, protecting it from the elements.

On rainy nights, when thunder is rolling, the statue reportedly disappears from the glass box, and a young girl can be seen roaming the cemetery grounds. Harpo Inc. It is now Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Inc.

Marti's Place, Hebron

People refuse to stay in the building after dark for fear of the ghosts. Holy Family Church - parishioners have seen a white apparition here.

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The House of Blues - there ones was a little girl that died of an illness. There has been rumors that you can here her in the room.

go site There will be imprints in the bed sheets and ones there was a little boy came to stay with his mother and at night a little girl was playing with his toys saying "want to play with me" so the little boy screamed and it went away Hubbard High School - In the basement of Hubbard High School you can see and hear a teenage girl crying and sometimes screaming for help. Jane Addams Hull House - Now a museum, said to have been the home of a devil baby.

Sightings are still reported, as well as sightings of ghosts and Monks.

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Update - A fellow ghost hunter recently visited the Hull House stating, "if your there to experience anything to do with ghost forget it, you can't take camera's, video's or anything in there. You can't go upstairs, the tour consist of four small rooms. We talk to one of staff who works there and she said it's not true about the devil baby, they just let the legend go on. Reports of hearing voices, footsteps and feeling cold drafts. Lourdes High School - It is claimed that nuns that have died over many years haunt the school.

On the third floor you can hear someone walking down the hallway. In Stritch hall shadows have been seen. Reports say the ghost is still there. Loyola University Chicago - Urban legend has it that long ago, a Jesuit priest and a nun had an affair. The nun found out that she was pregnant, and wanted the priest to runaway with her, so they could raise the child. The priest refused. The nun hung herself on the 13th floor of the Skyscraper building, the priest found the body, and jumped out of the window.

The top floors of the building have long been vacant, but the light in the room where she killed herself can be seen lit from the outside.

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Also, those that have ventured up there have seen the nun and priest walking hand-in-hand. The story here is just a legend, as to why there is a phenomena, it is unknown at this time. It was mysteriously shut down, and boarded up for reason related to asbestos.

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Located at Oak Park Rd. Montrose ave. Once inside you must pass numerous buildings marked: A, B, C, etc.

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Follow the main concrete path and follow it off to the left until you see a run down playground once used by the children who lived at the center. Go past the swing set and the 2nd slide you see and go between the two building before you. All but one of the windows around you will be boarded up. The one window that is not boarded up leads into the indoor pool. A main hallway can be reached through a room called the 'pool office'.

There are many reports of people hearing the sounds of children laughing, and in some instances even seeing people in white robes walking around. Lots of paranormal activity takes place in this abandoned asylum. Monks Castle - Suppose to be a religious order that if you try to get onto their land, they will chase you.

One particular story was about a bunch of kids going in at night and sneaking around around - , they said they saw something in the woods that had glowing red eyes that started to chase them. They made it across the gate, as one of the girls sat down on the curb by the street light, a monk grabbed her, and she was never heard from again. On one occasion when a young boy was left behind in the cemetery, the family saw the boy take the hand of a lady in a white gown upon their return to retrieve the boy.

When they got closer the lady disappeared.