Crestwood Top Cop Pleads Not Guilty In Water Scandal

Crestwood Water Tower

Crestwood water tower (Credit: CBS)

Potholes On The Rise In Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) -- The number of potholes in the city is skyrocketing, and the city is now on track to fill 220,000 potholes this season. As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, in March, the number of potholes reported to 311 doubled from the number reported in February. This winter is now on track to be in line with the past two years. Hardest hit were areas of the Loop, Rogers Park and Chatham, according to a Sun-Times analysis of potholes reported to 311 from February 1 through March 11. Weather was the primary reason the city suffered fewer potholes in the first two months of the year — and weather was the culprit behind the recent surge in potholes. That’s because the repeated freezing and thawing of water is what can transform a tiny pavement crack into a crater. But with the city buried in a deep freeze most of December and January, there wasn’t much chance for snow to melt and refreeze. The temperature swung above freezing on only four days in January, according to the National Weather Service. But in the latter part of February it did so on 10 days — and in March there were 20 such cycles. So far in April, potholes do not appear to be tapering off. “There are still a couple thousand open 311 pothole requests,” said Brian Steele, Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman. “That indicates there are obviously a goodly number of potholes out there.” In January, the number of open pothole requests was much lower, in the hundreds, Steele said. The Sun-Times analysis of six weeks' worth of data did not find any obvious racial or economic patterns for areas with the heaviest concentration of potholes. Steele said this is usually the case every year. “Potholes are equal opportunity.” The biggest factors beside the weather are traffic and how recently the street has been resurfaced. Potholes tend to occur most frequently on busy arterial streets or on streets that have gone years without being repaved, Steele said. But one of the highest concentrations of reported potholes was on residential streets in the Rogers Park neighborhood. In a six-week period, 127 potholes were reported in a few square blocks between Touhy Avene, Ashland Boulevard, Pratt Boulevard and Damen Avenue. Most of them were on two residential streets: Wolcott Avenue and Paulina Street. “There’s patches on top of patches on patches,” said Joel Acosta, 20, pointing at the pavement on Wolcott. “This street has never been redone since I’ve lived here.” Acosta moved to the neighborhood 11 years ago. Acosta said his mother’s car was totaled by a pothole last year and his father’s Jeep was currently in the shop due to tire damage from a pothole. The average time to fill a pothole was about three days from when it was reported. Average times ranged from 10 days in East Garfield Park on the West Side to less than a day in Fuller Park on the South Side. The worst recent winter for potholes was 2008-2009, in which the city was averaging 4,000 potholes awaiting repair each day. As an example of how severe the problem became, in January 2009, just one viaduct on 71st Street had more than 100 potholes only in the eastbound lanes. The Chicago Sun Times' Art Golab contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

CHICAGO (CBS) — The police chief of Crestwood has been temporarily relieved her job after pleading not guilty to a water quality charge in federal court.

Federal Judge Joan Gottschall also told Theresa Neubauer to hand over her gun and firearms permit, pending trial on charges that Neubauer lied to regulators about water quality and tests in Crestwood.

Neubauer, 53, has pleaded not guilty.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody Reports

Neubauer and former Crestwood Water Chief Franck Scaccia are accused of telling the Environmental Protection Agency that Crestwood was using Lake Michigan water–even though it continued for 20 years to use water from a well containing the suspected carcinogen, vinyl chloride.

The village officials have maintained Crestwood water was never polluted with carcinogens, but it’s footed the bill for millions in lawyers fees and has put up a $500,000 fund for partial refund on water bills.