Tag Archive: Chicago

President Obama and Herbie Hancock


A plummeting stock market is proving an inauspicious omen for President Obama as he turns 50 on today.

The White House says it will be a day of low-key celebrations despite the milestone birthday. Obama will be toasted by his staff this afternoon before having a private dinner with family and close friends in the residence. No public appearances were planned.

The president did enjoy something of a public celebration Wednesday during a series of campaign events in his hometown of Chicago. Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson led the crowd at one in singing “Happy Birthday” to the commander in chief.

Photos: White House debt negotiations

“It is true I turn 50 tomorrow, which means that by the time I wake up I’ll have an email from AARP asking me to call President Obama and tell him to protect Medicare,” Obama joked at one of the events, an allusion to the recent debt-limit fight.

First Lady Michelle Obama also noted one of the visible signs of her husband’s age — and the stress of his job — in an email to campaign supporters.

“Every day, I see Barack make choices he knows will affect every American family. That’s no small task for anyone — and more proof that he’s earning every last one of those gray hairs,” she wrote.

Obama was tending to the nation’s business on Thursday, monitoring the steep downturn on Wall Street — a reminder that the economy will be the biggest challenge of his 51st year.

Spokesman Jay Carney was peppered with questions about what Obama could do differently to boost the economy, beyond what he’s already tried.

“He is working very closely with his senior economic advisors to come up with new proposals to help advance growth and job creation. He is working with members of Congress to help advance growth and job creation. And he will continue to do that,” Carney said.

In addition to a Midwest bus tour announced Wednesday, Obama is also planning trips to Northern Virginia and Michigan next week to discuss the new auto fuel-efficiency standards that were unveiled, but largely overshadowed, during the debt-ceiling fight.

Max Fleck

A Chicago man was arrested early Thursday after calling police to report that three men had entered his apartment, located just west of DePaul University‘s Lincoln Park campus, and robbed him of two pounds of marijuana, in addition to his laptop.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Max Fleck, 20, of the 1500 block of West Fullerton Avenue,contacted police around 12:40 a.m. to report that he and a 19-year-old male companion had been robbed. Fleck was reportedly hit in the face while his companion was struck in the head with a bottle by the individuals who robbed them.

When police arrived, they found narcotics in his apartment and arrested him on four separate charges — two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and two counts of possession of cannabis, the Sun-Times reported.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Fleck and his friend had invited one of the three men who made off with the weed and a laptop into their apartment earlier in the evening. Fleck reportedly declined medical attention after paramedics arrived and was due in bond court later Thursday.


Milwaukee man who worked as a pastor and a youth counselor until last summer has been charged in federal court with dealing heroin, according to court documents.

Smoke Crack & Go to Church

Court documents describe West as the leader of the group that often went to Chicago to buy heroin, developed an “innovative way of cutting” the drug to maximize profits, hired armed enforcers to protect the operation and personally carried a gun.

West was ordained in 1969 and most recently was a pastor with his wife, Linda Hughes, at the Prayer House of Deliverance, according to his attorney and court documents.

Hughes said she and West split more than a year ago and since then she has been the only pastor at the church, near N. 9th and W. Center streets. Authorities went to the church looking for West, after they received a tip he was hiding there, Hughes said.

West was not in the church and he turned himself in a short time later, according to his attorney.

Hughes said she didn’t know anything about West’s alleged drug-dealing operation.

“I had nothing to do with that mess,” Hughes said.

Jonathan Hughes, 28, son of Linda Hughes and John West, also is charged. Linda Hughes said her son got caught up in the operation but is innocent.

But according to court documents, Jonathan Hughes and his father were partners in the heroin-dealing operation.

West’s attorney, Matt Ricci, said his client told him he worked as a youth counselor until June, but Ricci was not certain where. The church where West was pastor formerly was at 3828 W. Burleigh Ave., according to court documents.

West has cancer, diabetes and gout, Ricci said. He is being held in the Waukesha County jail after a federal magistrate judge refused to set a bail for him.

West was convicted twice in state court of drug dealing, in 1997 and 1998, according to online court records.

Ricci said federal documents portray West as the drug operation’s leader, but the facts may not support that conclusion. West has pleaded not guilty.

Besides West and Hughes, others indicted earlier this month include William “Lucky” Hunter, 56; David “Mouse” Haywood, 39; Antwon “Bree” Pierce, 36; Latrice Griffin, no age provided; Joseph Miller, 34; Karen Hwilka, 53; Cory Panzer, 38; and Phillip Klapka, no age provided.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration along with the West Allis Police Department and other law enforcement agencies investigated the case.

According to court documents:

For at least a year, West regularly traveled to Chicago, where he once lived and referred to as “the store,” to buy 150 grams of heroin at a time – worth more than $20,000 on the street. One person said West bought heroin every day in Chicago.

West’s son, Jonathan Hughes, helped in the distribution of heroin and provided security. Another defendant, Haywood, mixed heroin and also worked security. West and the others sold drugs from a house in the 4200 block of W. Concordia Ave.

West carried a .38-caliber handgun when meeting buyers. Co-defendant Miller said he saw as many as five guns in the house at once. Besides heroin, Miller said, he saw large volumes of crack cocaineand marijuana for sale at the house.

Miller said he believes “West has at least 40 customers that buy drugs from him and West is willing to sell drugs at any time of the day or night.”

Miller was a regular West customer – until he fell a couple of thousand dollars behind in payments. Then Miller’s mother, Hwilka, started dealing with West directly. She started selling heroin from her home in the 3600 block of S. 58th St.

West called her “mama.”


A Chicago man was arrested early Monday after allegedly stealing a baby and throwing the abducted child at a police trying to apprehend him.

Police were called to the 1500 block of South Pulaski Road for a domestic disturbance about 12:30 a.m., the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

When two officers arrived, a man accused of kidnapping was seen walking down the middle of the street near the home, according to the Sun-Times. When the officers approached him, he allegedly turned toward them and threw the baby. Fortunately, the office was able to catch the child “before the baby hit the concrete,” police told the Chicago Tribune.

After the baby was handed off to its mother, the suspect allegedly began attacking the responding officers. Both officers sustained minor injuries during the incident and were treated and released from an area hospital, the Tribune reports. Neither the mother nor her child were injured. As for the kidnapping suspect, he is currently in police custody and charges are pending.

Dead Man Arrested


LAS VEGAS — Authorities say a former Chicago commodities broker who disappeared in 1979 and was declared legally dead has been found living under a false name and working at a casino in Las Vegas.

Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles officials say 72-year-old Arthur Gerald Jones was arrested Tuesday on felony identity theft and fraud charges.

DMV and Social Security investigators say Jones has used the name Joseph Richard Sandelli since he was reported missing from Highland Park, Ill.

Jones’ disappearance was called suspicious at the time. Authorities say he may have faced gambling debts and trouble from organized crimes groups.

An Illinois court declared Jones legally dead in 1986, allowing his wife and three children to collect Social Security benefits.

Records show Jones is due in court Aug. 23. His attorney, Stephen Stein, didn’t immediately return a call to his office Friday.

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