The Best Free Father's Day Gift Ever (That I Never Gave My Dad)

By Todd Richissin | And so, Father's Day rolls around again, a day that has always held special significance for me and for Tom Francis Richissin, my dad. My father was a police officer, an honest one, a man of integrity. He put food on the table and kept enough order in a chaotic house that my four brothers and I were expected to be home to eat supper together, as a family. He was, as they say, a good and decent man, and I loved him and I still do. But here is some brutal honesty ...
Read More

Patch is local voices

Sharing perspectives with heart, meaning and a point of view

4 Pols Shaming Chicago: Pritzker, Rahm, Blago and Kim Foxx

CHICAGO — Over the last week, our felonious former governor, fresh out of prison thanks to his former reality show executive producer turned president, has become the hottest political talk show guest in America. Our former mayor appeared on ABC's "The View" pimping his revisionist history book that forwards a flawed premise that people like him rule the world. Cook County's top prosecutor is cloaked in the shame over allegations political favors lead to dropping charges against alleged hate-c

When Blago Gets Home Let's Talk About Calls He Got From Pritzker

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker sure didn't appreciate President Trump's decision to grant clemency to his federal wiretap buddy, Rod Blagojevich. "Illinoisans have endured far too much corruption, and we must send a message to politicians that corrupt practices will no longer be tolerated," Pritzker said in a statement. "President Trump has abused his pardon power in inexplicable ways to reward his friends and condone corruption, and I deeply believe this pardon sends the wrong message at the wr

750,000 Reasons Sun-Times' Kim Foxx Endorsement Shouldn't Shock

CHICAGO — It seemed strange enough the Sun-Times editorial board on Monday "strongly" endorsed Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx for a second term, telling voters to spare her the "injustice" of letting a "single high-profile mistake ... overshadow her accomplishments." Foxx's "single" flub, of course, was cutting a deal to drop felony charges against actor Jussie Smollett, who police say faked a hate crime last year, and misleading the public about recusing herself from the case, among o

We Don't Like Nazis — That's Why We Keep Writing About Art Jones

ORLAND PARK, IL — Holocaust denier Art Jones, who's been on the comeback trail in recent years as a perennial Republican congressional candidate, stood across the street from an Orland Park church on Saturday morning, hectoring the progressive Democratic challenger Marie Newman. Both are vying for their respective party's nomination in the Illinois 3rd Congressional District race. This is Jones' fifth run for the IL-03 seat, currently held by Democrat Dan Lipinski, who recently joined 200 Repub

Saying Goodbye To A Friend: Last Moments Of Tears, Honesty, Love

NORTH FORK, NY — My beautiful friend lost her battle with a cruel, insidious cancer last week. She and I met exactly 25 years ago; we lived in the same apartment building when our babies were just a year old. She'd heard that my mother had died and she came by to say how sorry she was. From that day forward, we were so close. So many memories. When my son had a fever in the middle of the night and she came over with her baby on her hip, a thermometer in her hand, and helped me get my baby into

Are Chicago Journalists Willing To 'Scrooten' Themselves?

CHICAGO — A couple weeks back, local reporters lamented the sudden firing of City Hall spin machine veteran Bill McCaffrey, who worked for three mayoral administrations and took home a six-figure salary to propagate and conceal government-sanctioned lies. NBC reporter Phil Rogers tweeted: "Bill McCaffrey, long known (over 15 years in city government) for his honesty, fairness, and professionalism, fired as Law Department spokesman by Mayor Lori Lightfoot's administration. He will be sorely miss

10 Years Cancer-Free Celebrated By 10 Volunteer Jobs In a Day

CROMWELL, CT — This unusual first-person account of the Travelers Championship Celebrity Pro-Am showcases some lesser-known, even tangential aspects of what goes into putting on a PGA TOUR event, and commemorates the writer's somewhat creative approach to celebrating a significant life milestone. In Sept. 2008, I was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a rather rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma which originated in my left femur, or thigh bone. An oncologist gave me a 30 percent chan

A 3-Week Nightmare: How Bullying Pushed My Son To Run Away

HILLSBORO, OR — For nearly three weeks, I didn't know where my son had gone. While visiting his mother in Nebraska for summer break, he'd run away and disappeared. No one knew where he was or why he ran. He was just gone. For nearly three weeks, I communicated regularly with the Omaha Police Department, my son's mother, administrators with my son's high school in Oregon, where he was expected to begin his junior year on Sept. 4, and anyone I believed could help me understand what was happening

The Santa Who Ruined an Autistic Girl's Christmas

'Twas a few weeks before Christmas, when all through the Internet, there arose such a clatter, every creature was wondering: Is this mall Santa just a big ol' jerk? Or is there more to this matter? A moment between a mall Santa Claus, an autistic child and her pit-bull therapy dog at The Shops of Mission Viejo on Nov. 30 has a lot of people commenting, all lively and quick. Is Kris Kringle afraid of dogs or is he really allergic? Is Santa a meanie beneath the belly that shakes like a bowl full

7 Tips For First-Timers Trying Legal Pot: Sager On Weed

LA JOLLA, Calif. — As a weed smoker from the free state of California, I'd like to be among the first to welcome you good people of Illinois to the exclusive club of 11 U.S. states that allow citizens, age 21 and up, to engage in the recreational use of marijuana. Come Jan. 1, 2020, anyone over 21 in Illinois will be able to walk into a well-lit, state-licensed dispensary and buy a wide range of cannabis-based products, the main purpose of which are physical comfort and euphoria. I know we all

Fired Top Cop Deserves Jussie Smollett Treatment, Send Him A Bill

CHICAGO — Maybe it's time for City Hall to call off former Mayor Rahm Emanuel's pound-of-flesh lawsuit against disgraced "Empire" actor and accused hate-crime faker Jussie Smollett. What started as an allegedly righteous effort to force Smollett to repay the more than $130,000 it cost the city to investigate the actor's bogus claim white guys in MAGA hats put a rope around his neck, called him racial slurs and beat him up as the polar vortex rolled into town last year, has unfortunately devolve

Congestive Heart Failure Took My Friend, And I Won't Say Goodbye

PORTLAND, OR — The older you become, the more that you're supposed to let go of traditions from your childhood. Among those is the idea that you are "best friends" with someone. When you're in 4os or your 50s, the idea that you have a best friend usually starts to fade away. But Art Hillsbery was my best friend. Five years ago this morning, I was yanked from my sleep by a phone call saying that he had died. I knew from the moment I had my eyes open enough to see that the call was from his wife

Should Hash-Oil Smokers Worry About Vape-Related Lung Disease?

LA JOLLA — I'm pretty sure the first time I smoked hash oil was 2012, when my kid was in high school. He came home with a fancy glass water pipe, a butane torch and a flat, hard, sticky chunk of amber-colored material that kind of resembled sea glass. He called it "dabs." Others, I would learn, called it wax or extract. There were a bunch of different forms — shatter (as in broken glass), budda (like butter), honeycomb (like a bee hive), crumble (like crack). If it was really strong, you said

Chicago Top Cop's Termination Is A Police Reform Game Changer

Chicago top cop Eddie Johnson will go down in history as a police misconduct unicorn. He got fired for telling lies, a practice that was expected of police superintendents, if not encouraged, by City Hall for generations. In the end, Johnson's self-inflicted demise will foster police reform in ways that the 16 shots police officer Jason Van Dyke fired to kill Laquan McDonald never did. And for that, the city's investigation can center on what University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman

Please Pretend Retiring Chicago Top Cop Isn't Under Investigation

CHICAGO — Out of respect, let's play pretend. That seemed to be the big ask to a roomful of reporters at Thursday's bizarre news conference announcing police Supt. Eddie Johnson's retirement. Johnson confirmed his plans to call it quits at the end of the year in a teary-eyed speech peppered with selective feel-good memories of his 30-year rise from beat cop to top cop. And when it was over, Johnson used his family to shield himself from questions about the cloud of misconduct hanging over his h

CTU Boss Talks Like Working Man, Lives Like Wealthiest 1 Percent

"This is a union that is prepared to strike," he said after rejecting the city's offer to boost teacher pay by 16 percent over five years, and piggyback money in the budget to boost the number of social workers, librarians and nurses. It might even be true. Chicago teachers had a rough go of it under Rahm Emanuel. Layoffs, furloughs and budget cuts so steep that some parents donated toilet paper to local schools. You can't blame rank-file-teachers for being fed up. But what makes almost everyt

I Let My Teenage Son Smoke Marijuana And He Turned Out Just Fine

LA JOLLA, Calif. — As a high school kid, I never thought twice about smoking weed at home. I'd light up in my bedroom on a solitary Saturday night — pre-gaming for the Midnight Special, hosted by Wolfman Jack. Using a small bong to better control the smoke and the smell, I'd blithely blow the smoke out the window. Or my friends would come over and we'd head to the basement, which was known as the Den of Iniquity. The room had a garish, Yellow Submarine-era wall mural, painted in orange, pink a

Patrick Kane Makes a Fourth Public Apology for His Drunken Behavior

Star hockey player Patrick Kane added another apology to his litany of "I'm sorry" moments, appearing at a press conference Thursday at Notre Dame with Chicago Blackhawks team president John McDonough prior to the start of training camp. Kane remains the focus of an investigation into rape allegations made by a young woman in August. "I cannot apologize enough for the distraction this has caused my family, my teammates, this incredible organization and, of course, our fans," Kane said. "I am c
Close