5 Questions with... Steve Wilkos

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5 Questions with... Steve Wilkos

Wednesday, May 5,2010
ByJeff NuichCSN Chicago Senior Director ofCommunicationsCSNChicago.comContributor
Want to know more about your favorite Chicagomedia celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citysmost popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weeklylocal celeb feature entitled "5Questions with..."

Every Wednesday,exclusively on CSNChicago.com, it's our turn to grill the local mediaand other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports relatedquestions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fansalike.

This week one of the mostpopular nationally syndicated talk-show hosts in the country who can beseen weekdays locally with back-to-back episodes on WCIU, The U(10:00 and 11:00 a.m.) he's a true Chicagoan who simply fights forjustice each day on The Steve Wilkos Show here are "5 Questions withSTEVEWILKOS!"

BIO: Steve Wilkos is the host of NBC UniversalDomestic Television Distribution's nationally syndicated series "TheSteve Wilkos Show."

A native of Chicago, Wilkosserved his country in the U.S. Marine Corps for almost seven yearsbefore joining the Chicago Police Department. For almost 12 years, hekept the streets of Chicago's volatile 14th District (Shakespeare) safewhile moonlighting during his off hours on television. Wilkos retiredfrom the police force in 2001 and now devotes himself full-time to hisfamily and his show.

Prior to starting a show ofhis own, Wilkos filled in for Jerry Springer as host of thelong-running "The Jerry Springer Show" on more than 50 episodes, usinghis law-enforcement background and no-nonsense style to create his ownidentity as a talk-show host.

Touted as a man ofand for the people, Wilkos' popularity has skyrocketed and hissincerity and moral fiber have made for a very diverse fan base thatincludes people from all walks of life. When not watching cartoons withhis two young children, Wilkos makes time to catch his favorite show ofall time, "The Simpsons," for which he lent his voice for a cameo on apast episode (a milestone he proudly calls "the highlight of my careerso far"). Wilkos has also appeared in several TV shows and films,including the hit motion picture "Austin Powers: The Spy Who ShaggedMe."

In 2008, Wilkos became a national spokesmanfor USA CARES, a charitable organization dedicated to providingfinancial guidance to post 911 active duty U.S. military servicepersonnel, veterans and their families.

"I amhonored to be associated with USA CARES, and fully support their visionof providing the tools to sustain military personnel and theirfamilies," says Wilkos.

A huge sports fan, Wilkoscan be spotted at various professional sporting events in his freetime, such as baseball, basketball and footballgames.

Wilkos and his wife, Rachelle Wilkos, who isexecutive producer of "The Steve Wilkos Show" and "The Jerry SpringerShow," have two young children and live inConnecticut.

1)CSNChicago.com: Steve, thanks for taking time out of yourbusy schedule to be interviewed for CSNChicago.coms "5 Questionswith" We really appreciate it. The first question is a pretty heavyone.

Your show very often focuses on the safety andwell being of children. We've watched numerous heart-breaking storieson your show about child abuse and child endangerment, with theparentscaregivers of these poor kids on your stage acting like they'redoing nothing wrong. Once the camera goes off, what steps are taken byyou and your staff to make sure that some of these potentially harmfulindividuals are brought to justice?

Wilkos: It's alwaysheartbreaking to see young kids brought into a dispute and we areheavily involved in making sure all the steps are taken to remove thosekids from dangerous situations. We work with the local police, providetapes and contact the appropriate authorities to make everyone is awareof a problem. If rehab is needed, we can help get them there. Here atthe show, we provide in-house counselors and follow up resources forall of our guests, especially for thekids.

2)CSNChicago.com: Speaking of your guests, it's amazing howyou're able to keep your cool on stage. How are you able to controlyour emotions with those individuals who get in your face with someof them pretty much "challenging" you to slugthem?

Wilkos: I have a lot of experience dealing withheated situations. In the Marines and on the police force, people arealways trying to get in your face and it's your job to keep your cool.It's in my background to not explode when some idiot thinks he can geta rise out of me on stage. It's this background that prepared me to notcross that line. Yeah, sometimes I want to just yell back, but it's myresponsibility to keep things in order and tempers undercontrol.

3)CSNChicago.com: We all know you're a huge sports fan,especially being a native of the greatest sports city in the world.What sports did you play growing up and what Chicago teams do you stillreligiously follow on a daily basis?

Wilkos: Baseball is my No. 1passion in the world. I grew up near Wrigley Field and I am a huge Cubsfan. I have a 4-year-old son who is getting into sports, so I'm livingvicariously through him. He's met Bobby Valentine, former manager ofthe Mets. That was pretty cool. I also follow the Bears. I catch a Sox,Hawks or Bulls game when I can. Right now, I'm playing a lot ofgolf.

4)CSNChicago.com: Now in its third season, "The Steve WilkosShow" tapes in Connecticut after being shot here in your hometown thefirst two seasons. How's the transition to a new location been from aTV standpoint and, more importantly, how's the adjustment been for youand your family so far?

Wilkos: Leaving Chicago was a big adjustment;Chicago is my home. I'll be honest, it took some time to get used tothe new location. Professionally, it's great, they built me abeautiful, state-of-the-art studio and there are a lot of people inthis area who are very talented television industry vets, so you getmore resources because so much of the country's TV is produced overhere. So the working environment is fantastic, the move has been greatfor not just me, but also Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. Withthis move, we really hit the ground running. We're in our third seasonand enjoying a new-found rhythm -- the move helped withthat.

5)CSNChicago.com: In your wildest dreams, did you ever thinkyou would one day end up having your own nationally syndicated talkshow, reaching millions of viewers from coast-to-coast? Your formerpartners in the Chicago Police Department have to be proud of whatyouve accomplished.

Wilkos: I didn't. I was never, 'Oh, I hope toget a talk show one day.' This isnt something I ever aspired to do, itjust happened. Its my job and I enjoy it. I still think at 46, Imgoing to someday play left field for the Cubs. But all the experiencesI had, with the police and the Marines, and then with Jerrys show, allgot me to where I am now and I do enjoy having an impact on my guests'lives. The greatest compliment is when people come up to me on thestreet and say, 'Keep up the good work; keep doing what you're doing.'That makes me motivated to keep trying to make the show better and dogood things for our guests, audience members andviewers.

BONUSQUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Your bio states you're thenational spokesman for USA CARES, a charitable organization dedicatedto providing financial guidance to post-911 active duty U.S. militaryservice personnel, veterans and their families. Tell us about thisspecial organization and where can CSNChicago.com readers make adonation?

Wilkos: USA CARES is an organization that helpsfamilies of service members who are no longer bringing in the income tosupport their families because they're supporting our freedom while onactive duty, usually for a considerable amount of time. Sometimesdoctors and lawyers and other professionals who can give their familiesa comfortable standard of living find themselves in a tough spot afterdeployment. We step in and make sure that those families are beingtaken care of, that their bills are being paid and they keep theirhomes. USA CARES is just a great organization. I was in the Marines forover six years, and when youre overseas, you dont want to be worriedall the time about your family. Please consider making a donation byvisiting www.usacares.org.Thank you so much.

Wilkos LINKS:
"The Steve Wilkos Show" officialwebsite

"The Steve Wilkos Show" official Facebookpage
Steve Wilkos onFacebook

"The Steve Wilkos Show" official Twitterpage

93 Days to Kickoff: Glenbrook North

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93 Days to Kickoff: Glenbrook North

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26.

School: Glenbrook North Spartans

Head coach: Bob Pieper

Assistant coaches: Matt Purdy, Dom Savino, Justin Georgacakis, Mike Standerski, Justin Weiner

How they fared in 2015: 8-2 (5-0) Central Suburban North. The Spartans made the Class 7A state playoff field. Glenbrook North lost to Bradley in the opening round.

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the experienced defense hold on, while an inexperienced offense gets up to speed?

Names to watch this season: QB Kevin Burnside, DE Matt Pawlowski, WR Tommy Gertner

Biggest holes to fill: The Glenbrook North offense brings back Burnside and a few other experienced names, but the Spartans will need to find answers on the line, as well in the backfield.

EDGY's early take: Year in and year out Glenbrook North is one of the top teams to watch in the Central Suburban North and that shouldn't change in 2016. If the Spartans defense can allow the offense to gain some early experience this will be a nice team to watch for in 7A.

Cubs: Can Jason Hammel sustain All-Star-level performance this time?

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Cubs: Can Jason Hammel sustain All-Star-level performance this time?

ST. LOUIS — Jason Hammel is pitching like an All-Star again — the way he did as a sign-and-flip guy in 2014 and a rotation anchor for last year’s playoff team — so the question for the Cubs now becomes: Is this sustainable?

Hammel doesn’t look at it that way, not after clearing his head during the offseason, altering his training program and refocusing for a World Series contender. He wants more.

Hammel 2.0 handled the St. Louis Cardinals during Tuesday night’s 12-3 victory at Busch Stadium, working into the eighth inning for the first time this year, allowing only one run and tying his season-high pitch count (103).

“I do feel different,” said Hammel (6-1, 2.17 ERA). “I’m definitely not happy with the walks. I know I can do better, as long as I clean that up. I still think the timing’s off with the delivery that I’ve adapted to now.

“But I’m not thinking that far down the road right now. I’m just going game by game, pitch by pitch. I think that’s going to be the right mentality for me. Instead of: ‘Don’t falter.’

“I’m not a negative thinker anymore. I’m just going to stay positive. We’re going to stay here and now and be present.”

Hammel described his outing as “effectively wild” and joked about his second three-game hitting streak: “Who’s counting?” It also helped that the Cubs built a six-run lead before he threw his first pitch, so manager Joe Maddon wouldn’t be so quick to turn the game over to the bullpen.

Hammel excelled for the Cubs in 2014, going 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA in his first 17 starts before getting packaged with Jeff Samardzija in the Addison Russell blockbuster trade with the Oakland A’s. But Hammel found it difficult to uproot his family midseason and struggled to make a quick adjustment to Oakland, finishing at 2-6 with a 4.26 ERA in the American League.

Hammel got off to another hot start last season (2.86 ERA in 103-plus innings) before a leg injury messed with his mechanics and led to a breakdown after the All-Star break (5.10 ERA in 67 innings).

“I believe it’s sustainable, absolutely,” Maddon said. “The biggest thing, again, is if he knows where his fastball is going, he will pitch deeply into a lot of games, because his ball’s got great movement on it. So there’s a lot of mishits, and also his breaking ball is really good.”

Hammel understands his importance to this team, how carrying this momentum all the way through to the finish line would be huge for the 2016 Cubs.

“I don’t see why not,” catcher David Ross said. “He was our best starter last year in the first half. That says a lot with the group that’s in this room.

“He does a good job of keeping those guys off-balance and making the pitches when he needs to. He just looks a lot more sound mechanically. Even when he gets out of whack, he finds his way back into the count.”

Sky drop third straight game with loss to Sparks

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Sky drop third straight game with loss to Sparks

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) - Candace Parker scored 17 of her 26 points in the first half and the Los Angeles Sparks used a decisive second quarter to cruise to a 93-80 win over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night.

Chicago was within two with 3:55 left before halftime, but Los Angeles closed the opening 20 minutes with an 18-2 run for a 53-35 lead. Kristi Toliver started the spurt with a 3-pointer and Parker scored the final six points.

Parker scored the first five Los Angeles points of the third quarter, including a coast-to-coast layup and a 3-pointer, and the Sparks led by double figures for the entire second half.

Nneka Ogwumike had 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists and Jantel Lavender scored 16 on 7-of-9 shooting for Los Angeles (4-0), which was ranked No. 2 in the AP WNBA power poll. Kristi Toliver had 11 points and 10 assists and the Sparks finished with 27 assists on 30 field goals. Parker was just 6 of 15 from the field but hit 12 of 14 free throws and grabbed nine rebounds.

Jamierra Faulkner scored 17 points with a career-high 10 assists for No. 7 Chicago (1-3), which was without point guard Courtney Vandersloot for a second straight game. The Sky turned it over 15 times and Elena Delle Donne was held to eight points.