UNITED STATES NEWS

Chicago suburb drops citations against reporter for asking too many questions

Nov 6, 2023, 6:12 PM

CALUMET CITY, Ill. (AP) — Officials in a suburban Chicago community on Monday dropped municipal citations against a local news reporter for what they said were persistent contacts with city officials seeking comment on treacherous fall flooding.

The reversal occurred days after officials in Calumet City mailed several citations to Hank Sanders, a Daily Southtown reporter whose job includes covering the suburb, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday. The Southtown is owned by the Tribune’s parent company,

The tickets from the city of 35,000, located 24 miles (39 kilometers) south of Chicago, had alleged “interference/hampering of city employees” by Sanders.

The Southtown published a story online Oct. 19 and in print Oct. 20 in which Sanders reported that consultants had informed Calumet City officials that their stormwater facilities were in poor condition before September’s historic rains caused flooding.

A day after the story was published online, Sanders continued to report on the issue, drawing complaints from city officials, including Mayor Thaddeus Jones, that he was calling employees to seek comment.

Calumet City attorney Patrick K. Walsh sent a Tribune lawyer a letter Monday dismissing the citations.

Tribune Executive Editor Mitch Pugh said the newspaper is “glad that cooler heads prevailed and Calumet City officials understood the error of their ways and dismissed these charges.”

“We’re glad to see Hank can get back to doing his job serving the readers of the Daily Southtown, and we’ll continue to be vigilant watching how city officials treat him in his capacity of reporter,” Pugh said. “We’ll continue to support our journalists’ right to do their jobs, whether in Calumet City or elsewhere.”

In his letter, Walsh said city employees “have a right to refuse to speak with” Sanders. But, Walsh added: “I understand it would be Mr. Sanders’ position and your argument that he was not harassing anyone.”

The letter from Walsh encourages Sanders to direct his inquiries to the suburb’s spokesperson and concludes: “Mr. Sanders is a nice young reporter and I wish him well with his career.”

On Monday, Sanders was back at work reporting.

The city citations were the latest of several recent First Amendment dust-ups involving city officials and news outlets around the country, following last week’s arrest of a small-town Alabama newspaper publisher and reporter after reporting on a grand jury investigation of a school district, and the August police raid of a newspaper and its publisher’s home in Kansas tied to an apparent dispute a restaurant owner had with the paper.

United States News

Associated Press

Crews working in sweltering conditions and steep terrain battle major Los Angeles-area wildfire

GORMAN, Calif. (AP) — Strong winds pushed flames through dry brush in mountains along Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles, and officials warned residents in the wildfire’s path to be prepared to leave if it explodes in size again. Los Angeles County’s first major wildfire of the year swiftly grew to nearly 23 square miles […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Woman holding large knife at Denver intersection shot and killed by police, chief says

DENVER (AP) — Officers shot and killed a woman who was holding a large, hunting-style knife at an intersection in downtown Denver on Sunday, police said. Officers used a Taser on the woman twice but she began advancing toward them as they tried to back up from her, Denver police Chief Ron Thomas said a […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

2 killed when vintage plane crashes during Father’s Day event at Southern California airfield

CHINO, Calif. (AP) — Two people were killed aboard a vintage plane that crashed and burst into flames near a Southern California airfield during a weekend Father’s Day event hosted by an air museum, authorities said Sunday. The Federal Aviation Administration said the twin-engine Lockheed 12A crashed shortly after 12:30 p.m. Saturday, just west of […]

15 hours ago

Associated Press

2 people seriously injured after small plane crashes near interstate south of Denver

LARKSPUR, Colo. (AP) — Two people were hospitalized with serious injuries after their small plane crashed near Interstate 25 in Colorado on Sunday, officials said. The plane crashed in a field just off I-25 near Larkspur, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Denver, after it apparently hit a sign on the highway, causing it […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Kansas lawmaker’s law license suspended over conflicts of interest in murder case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican Kansas lawmaker who already dropped his re-election campaign last month after he was arrested in a traffic stop has now been barred from practicing law for at least a year for mishandling conflicts of interest in a murder case. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that state Rep. Carl Maughan […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

Police identify Michigan splash pad shooter but there’s still no word on a motive

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities on Sunday identified the man who opened fire at a splash pad in suburban Detroit before taking his own life, but his motives remained unknown as investigators worked to determine if he left behind any hint of his plans. Oakland County Sheriff’s spokesperson Stephen Huber said the shooter was […]

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Chicago suburb drops citations against reporter for asking too many questions