"Maria Ridulph was 7 when she was kidnapped from a street corner in Sycamore, Illinois, on December 3, 1957. Her kidnapping and murder is the nation's oldest cold case to go to trial. It required family members to turn against one of their own and haunted a small town for 55 years. Even now, the case may not be over." CNN: Taken: The Coldest Case Ever Solved [more inside]
IL Gov. Pat Quinn—formerly a strong supporter of capital punishment—today signed into law the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois. This comes eleven years after Gov. George Ryan—also a former supporter of capital punishment—signed a moratorium on the death penalty, commuting the sentences of 167 death row inmates to life (including ten men who had made false confessions under torture directed by police commander Jon Burge [previously here and here]). Between 1977 and 1999, Illinois executed 12 inmates, while freeing 13 innocent men from Death Row. [more inside]
This next Monday, watch for the first race of Il Palio Di Siena. For several weeks before the race the streets are filled with parading, feasting, practice races in the afternoons and lots of hyped up Italians. Each neighborhood of the city trains a horse to represent it and is much rivalry that stems back to medieval times. A riderless horse can win, unless the feather on top of the bridle is knocked off, there are no rules once the race begins, may the Madonna let the best horse win.
Pre-Fab George. In a fascinating sidelight, it turns out George Harrison and his brother Pete actually visited the U.S. for a couple of weeks in 1963, visiting George's sister, who lived in a small town in rural southern Illinois. Lots of history was made there: He bought the album containing the original version of "Got My Mind Set On You," which he would cover 25 years later; he bought his first Rickenbacker guitar, the sound of which would change rock music, and little WFRX, West Frankfort, became the first U.S. radio station to play the Beatles, thanks to lobbying by George and his sister. Not to mention he played a nearby VFW dance, sitting in with local rockers the Four Vests. There's a Tom Hanks movie in here somewhere. Not to mention the obligatory "George Slept Here" bed and breakfast.