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Hedge fund Alden to buy Tribune Publishing in deal valued at $630 million

CHICAGO — Tribune Publishing, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, has agreed to be acquired by Alden Global Capital in a deal valued at $630 million. Announced Tuesday after the stock market closed, the deal would create one of the largest newspaper operators in the United States. It follows weeks of negotiations between a special committee of Tribune Publishing’s board and Alden, a hedge fund with a history of deep cost-cutting at its other newspaper properties. Alden, already Tribune Publishing’s largest shareholder with a 31.6% stake, is offering $17.25 a share for ...

After losing mother, grandmother and uncle to COVID-19, family tries to move forward

CHICAGO – The coronavirus had already taken her uncle and her grandmother. By the time Karina Reyes’ 47-year-old mother was hospitalized, Reyes and the rest of her family were all too familiar with planning a pandemic memorial. Doctors told Reyes and her brothers that their mother, Elvia Mendoza, was not getting better. “Does a miracle have to happen for her to live?” Reyes recalls asking a doctor. She said the doctor responded: “Honestly, I haven’t seen miracles happen when it comes to COVID.” People who care for their family members who contract the virus can end up paying for it with their ...

How to properly wear two masks — and other mask-fitting tips following recent CDC advice

New mask advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — connected with a new study — focuses on making sure masks fit correctly to better prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC studied whether wearing two masks provided more protection than one and found that it did. The researchers found that wearing one mask — surgical or cloth — blocked about 40% of the particles coming toward the head that was breathing in. When a cloth mask was worn on top of a surgical mask, about 80% were blocked. Here is a look at the CDC’s advice and some tips on how to mask properly. DOUBLE MASK What t...

Baseball cards are booming during the pandemic -- with long lines, short supplies and million-dollar sales

CHICAGO — Forget Wall Street. Jim & Steve’s Sportscards in Waukegan may have had the hottest initial public offering Wednesday: the Topps 2021 Series 1 baseball cards. Collectors grabbed $149 boxes filled with 24 packs of 14 cards each before they hit the shelves, just the latest example of how million-dollar sales and speculative traders are turning the onetime children’s hobby into a high-stakes investment game. “Business is probably at an all-time high,” said Steve Wilson, 52, owner of the north suburban shop since it opened in 1981. “Investors, collectors, they’re sitting at home, they’ve ...

‘We shouldn’t even have to have this conversation’: Woman recovering from opioid addiction sues to get methadone treatment in jail

By her own telling, Christine Finnigan was a wreck. She had stumbled after a decade of recovery from a Vicodin addiction, drinking and resuming her opioid use. Depressed and scarcely able to function, she lost her job and had to turn over guardianship of her granddaughter. In 2016, police caught her driving under the influence of alcohol, an offense that was only recently resolved with a guilty plea and a sentence of 30 days in the DuPage County Jail in suburban Chicago. But Finnigan, 53, who lives in Chicago, said things changed for her in 2019. That’s when doctors put her on methadone, a med...

Why bricks-and-mortar independent bookstores matter

In 2021, the pandemic-riddled Age of Online Shopping, with an Amazon delivery truck creeping down every street, lane and avenue in America, why do we need independent bookstores? If price and speed are all that matter, Amazon is the most efficient way to get books. Though the websites of independent stores, such as the Seminary Co-op and 57th Street Books in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, are good, they cannot compete with a cutting-edge website and app funded by a billion-dollar corporation. Amazon maximizes this advantage by using books as a loss leader — losing money on their sales so th...

‘I was so shocked:’ Health care worker denied Moderna vaccine because county says it will not give it to pregnant or breastfeeding moms

Kate Raess read the studies, talked to her obstetrician and consulted with her pediatrician. After months of consideration, the Illinois mom, who is breastfeeding her newborn son, decided she would get a COVID-19 vaccine. So in early January, as a clinical therapist eligible for the vaccine, she found herself sitting in a chair at a Kane County Health Department location, arm ready for the shot. Then, she was told she could not have one. “I was so shocked,” Raess said. “To sit down in that metal chair and be told no, it’s like someone took a pin to a little kid’s balloon.” An official told her...

Think GameStop is wild? Meet Dogecoin, the meme-inspired digital currency that began as a joke and is now worth billions

CHICAGO – For a minute there, it looked like Ronny Maali had struck it rich — relatively speaking. The accounting student from Orland Park, Illinois, last year bought more than 1,000 Dogecoins, a digital currency that was created as a joke. Maali thought it was pretty funny too: With each Dogecoin trading for well under a penny, his investment cost him only $2.50, less than the price of a Big Mac. But last week, as social media-inspired speculation lifted the stock prices of widely belittled companies like GameStop and BlackBerry to dazzling heights, Dogecoin went along for the ride: In 24 hou...

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is dangerously kooky -- and apparently, that’s just what her voters want

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is one of the most dangerous people in Washington. But we might as well get used to her because she isn’t going anywhere soon. An overwhelming number of Georgia voters sent this gun-toting, QAnon enthusiast to Washington in November, and she’s doing exactly what they elected her to do. Every day, we learn something new about Greene, each report more contemptible than the last. In a newly discovered YouTube video from 2018, Greene suggested that the Clintons murdered John F. Kennedy Jr., who died in a 1999 plane crash, because he might challenge Hillary Clinton for a...

Merriam-Webster adds more than 520 new words to dictionary

Merriam-Webster, the United States’ leading language provider announced it was adding over 520 new words and definitions to the publisher’s website. These new words include “COVID-19," “second gentleman,” “long-hauler,” “flex,” “ASMR” and “sapiosexual.” Before the pandemic, “long-hauler” was defined as a person or vehicle that travels long distances, but it now has an additional definition: “a person who experiences one or more long-term effects following initial improvement or recovery from a serious illness (such as COVID-19).” “ASMR,” or autonomous sensory meridian response, means “a pleasa...

Cicely Tyson rewrote Black heroism on screen, transcendently

A great actor’s screen breakthrough tells at least two stories. The triumphant one is about the skill and singularity that got that actor noticed, and led to the big break and the role that makes her artistic possibilities more possible. Cicely Tyson’s, for example. The other half of any breakthrough story is about the thing that needed breaking through. In many cases, again and most pertinently this week with the case of Tyson, who died Thursday at the age of 96, it’s the hidden story, the more sobering one. That one tells of obstacles endured, or worked around, while getting and then doing t...

Curt Schilling asks to be removed from the next Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Curt Schilling didn’t get elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. If he has it his way, he won’t be on the ballot next year for what would be his 10th and final shot in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting. No new members were added to the Hall of Fame when the BBWAA voting results were released Tuesday. It’s the first time since 2013 that the BBWAA didn’t elect anyone. Schilling came the closest at 71.1%, falling 16 votes shy of the 75% needed for induction. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens placed second and third with 61.8% and 61.6% of the voting. All three were in their ninth yea...

Mitt Romney calls out fellow Republicans for pushing stolen election myth

CHICAGO — U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney on Tuesday accused fellow Republicans of fomenting political division by perpetuating the myth that massive voter fraud denied Donald Trump reelection, and said unity will be difficult to achieve without acknowledging Democratic President Joe Biden won a fair contest. Romney, in a livestreamed interview with Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar on behalf of the Economic Club of Chicago, also said he shared hopes that the Jan. 6 uprising at the Capitol might lead to more bipartisanship but said there’s been no sign of any change in rhetoric. Romney acknowledge...

Man living at O’Hare for 3 months without detection posts bail

CHICAGO — A man who was discovered living at O’Hare International Airport for at least three months has left Cook County Jail after posting bail. Aditya Singh, 36, was aided by the Chicago Bail Project, which came up with the $1,000 he needed to go free until his next court date after a $10,000 D-bond was set earlier, according to Cook County sheriff’s spokesman Matt Walberg. The Chicago Bail Project also helped secure an undisclosed place for Singh to live while he faces felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor charges. A condition of his Wednesday release w...

United Airlines CEO wants to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for employees — if other companies go along

United Airlines wants to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for its workforce, as long as it’s not the only company to do so, CEO Scott Kirby told employees at a virtual meeting Thursday. “I think the right thing to do is for United Airlines, and for other companies, to require the vaccines and to make them mandatory,” he said, according to a transcript provided by the company. If other companies start requiring the vaccine, Chicago-based United likely would be among the first to do so, Kirby said. But he doesn’t think the airline “will get away with” being the only company to require employe...

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