Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hurray for the Home Teams

Both of my hometown Chicago dailies published excellent investigative stories over the past week that have already made a difference. Cheryl L. Reed of the Chicago Sun-Times continued her forceful coverage of veterans issues with "Reservists Fight to Keep Jobs," which shows how many of the 542,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists who have been deployed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have struggled to find and keep jobs. Reed reported that in Illinois only 34 percent of unemployed vets who sought help from the Illinois Department of Employment Security found jobs last year, the lowest rate in the country. In response, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has ordered new initiatives to help the state's veterans with employment.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune's Ray Gibson uncovered that two jurors in the high-stakes trial of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan gave false answers on their jury questionnaires. Gibson revealed that both jurors had apparently concealed arrest records at the start of the six-month trial, something that the judge, prosecutors and defense attorney had failed to learn. The Tribune's stories prompted U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer to dismiss the two jurors, putting the fate of the trial in doubt even though the jury has already started deliberating.


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