The City

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Driver in Loop crash agrees to settlement

An elderly woman whose car plowed into a group of pedestrians in downtown Chicago, killing three people, has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the accident.

Eleanor Soltis, 76, will use the maximum allowed by her liability insurance to pay for the settlement, lawyers in the case said Wednesday. She will hand over another $5,000 of her own money to cover damages.

The money will be split among the estates of three victims killed in the accident, seven people who were injured and others who had minor property damage.

ComEd says storms to blame for failures

Wind and rainstorms that the Weather Service said were merely moderate helped bring seven more ComEd blackouts Thursday, hitting 13 suburban communities, three parts of Chicago and 9,274 customers.

The utility blamed the weather - mostly falling tree limbs - for four of the seven interruptions.

2nd class-action suit filed against ComEd

A second class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court against ComEd on behalf of the Chicago-based Greek Islands Restaurant for losses sustained during last week's Loop blackout.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 for the restaurant at 200 S. Halsted St.

"We had to throw the food out, our whole day's meals, and all the meat in the fridge," said manager Vasilios Skoufis. "Greek food is big work, it takes a lot of work to prepare. It was a big loss."

The utility maintains that it was not liable for losses incurred during the outage because state law says a blackout must affect at least 30,000 customers for four hours or more for liability to kick in.

The Loop outage officially touched only about 3,000 customers.

Jazz McDonald's swings into town

Jazz musicians and hip-swiveling drill teams helped McDonald's Corp. top brass celebrate their 25,000th restaurant and another brick towards the neighborhoods' rebirth.

"You're seeing a sort of revitalization of a once thriving area that was at one time the center or Mecca of African-American business and enterprise," Urban League President James Compton said.

McDonald's Chairman and CEO Jack Greenberg and other executives at the opening of the jazz-themed restaurant were excited to reach the milestone in the Chicago area, where founder Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's in Des Plaines 44 years ago.

Bronzeville's renewal is slowly taking shape. Just down the street at 35th and Michigan, the city's new $65 million police headquarters is expected to open next summer. Many historic homes are being rehabbed and public institutions in the area, such as the Illinois Institute of Technology, are expanding.

Ilene Porter, owner-operator of the restaurant at at 35th and Indiana, said her franchise will provide 75 jobs for area youths.

"If nothing else it allows me to work one-on-one with young people, to shape them and mold them," said Porter, wife of Chicago Postmaster Rufus Porter. "We have future CEOs working right here as crew and that's the way I want them to see themselves."

Bronzeville, roughly bordered by 26th Street to the north, 51st Street to the south, Lake Michigan to the east and the Pacific Railroad tracks to the west, was the epicenter of African-American business and cultural life from the 1920s and 1940s. The area suffered with the decline of the stockyards and steel mills.

The McDonald's restaurant, will feature murals featuring jazz greats Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. In a gesture McDonald's said expressed their commitment to the neighborhood, the fast food chain cut $5,000 checks for the Urban League, the Center for New Horizons, Dawson Technical Institute, St. James Elementary School, and Hales Franciscan High School. …