Tuesday, March 31, 2020

More than 800 Chicago Police Department employees out sick Monday – Chicago Tribune

About 6 percent of the entire Chicago Police Department was on sick leave Monday. On an average day, about 2½-4 percent of the department doesn’t report for duty for health reasons.

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CPS students unlikely to return to schools this year, alderman says after mayoral briefing – Chicago Sun-Times

Pressed on whether Lightfoot said students would not return to school buildings for the rest of the year, one alderman said, “I don’t know if that was the exact words. But that’s the implication — that the rest of the school year will be remote learning."

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The Chicago Housing Authority Was Slow to Protect Residents During the Coronavirus Outbreak – ProPublica

CHA officials waited weeks before hastily drawing up employee work-from-home plans that could reduce the risk of exposure for staff and residents. Some residents say they still haven’t heard what the CHA is doing to protect tenants and what will happen if the outbreak continues for weeks or months.

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Texas governor mandates 14-day coronavirus quarantine for travelers from 7 more states, cities, including Chicago – Fox News

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Michigan And Wisconsin Tell Chicago: ‘Stay At Your Homes’ Until Pandemic Ends – WBEZ (Chicago)

“Stay in place. Stay in your homes,” said Jim Carruthers, the mayor of the popular lakeside resort town of Traverse City, MI. He posted a Facebook message recently warning people against coming “up north” to vacation cottages during the pandemic.

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Chicago Suspends Collection of Bag Tax During Coronavirus Pandemic – ABC7 (Chicago)

Individuals who buy paper or plastic bags at Chicago grocery stores will still have to pay a 7-cent bag tax; the city won't be collecting the taxes from stores until the end of April. A spokesperson said waiving the fee altogether would require legislative action.

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CPS Sending 100,000 Laptops, Tablets To Students To Learn At Home — A Sign Schools Could Stay Closed For Longer – Block Club Chicago

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Coronavirus pandemic leads to extension of Chicago Police Department reform deadlines – Chicago Tribune

COVID-19 appears likely to further delay a process that already was lagging. In November, the former federal prosecutor tasked with monitoring the city’s progress wrote that the city missed 37 of its 50 deadlines for implementing parts of the decree.

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What the Gov: How Is Coronavirus Affecting Public Transportation? – Better Government Association

Officials with the CTA, which serves a massive and diverse ridership, have announced they are keeping on a normal schedule because “we realize some people have very few travel options.”

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Editorial: CPS and the coronavirus shutdown: Don’t settle for a lost school year, Chicago – Chicago Tribune

"If the Chicago Teachers Union truly is driven by outcomes for kids, it should not protest extra days into the summer. The kids hurt the most by a monthlong school closure are the ones CTU purports to advocate for the most."

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Coronavirus prompts crackdown on crowds in Cook County forest preserves, and more closures possible if public doesn’t comply – Chicago Tribune

She did not cite any particular spots that have become problematic, but a spokesman later said officials are keeping an eye on historically popular places such as the Busse Forest Elk Pasture, Bunker Hill and Caldwell Woods.

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Chicagoland COVID-19 Testing Locations – WBBM

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Coronavirus relief plan gives Cook County reprieve on food stamps – Chicago Sun-Times

Because of improved economic conditions in the county, nearly 60,000 Cook County residents were at risk of losing their public benefits under fresh guidelines that took effect this year. But now, all able-bodied recipients will continue to receive benefits during the national emergency and get a one-month grace period when it ends.

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COVID-19 case-tracking website here today, gone tomorrow – Forest Park Review

Cook County mum on mysterious disappearance of site with data specific to suburbs.

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Chicagoans readying for rent strike, calling on city and landlords to provide relief amid coronavirus pandemic: ‘The hammer is going to drop’ – Chicago Tribune

From Andersonville to Beverly, from Hyde Park to Humboldt Park, residents are working together to pressure rental companies and landlords into forgoing rent charges or evictions until things return to normal. They’ve posted signs, shared the #rentstrike hashtag and displayed white sheets from windows in a show of solidarity. “The moratorium we’re calling for, yes, it is an extraordinary policy intervention,” Guzzardi said. “But this is an extraordinary moment.”

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Lightfoot urges residents to sign up for Smart911 as number of first responders to test positive for coronavirus rises to 29 – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged Chicagoans to create a profile on Smart911, which will alert first responders to a caller’s medical information — including whether they are under quarantine — while they respond to calls for service. As of Saturday, at least 21 Chicago Police Department employees and at least eight Chicago Fire Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

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Small suburban park project draws big-time players swept up in federal corruption probe – Chicago Sun-Times

Somehow, this otherwise unremarkable block of green space also became a nexus point between a number of people caught up in an ongoing federal corruption probe in the southwest suburbs.

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US Army Corps of Engineers Plans to Turn McCormick Place Into a 3,000-Bed Hospital – NBC Chicago

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Pritzker Wants Cashier Shields, No Reusable Bags To Protect Retail Workers From Coronavirus – WBEZ (Chicago)

A spokesperson for Mayor Lightfoot explained that retailers must still collect the city's plastic bag tax, but they don’t have to pay it until the end of April.

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Chicago To Buy More Computers And Ramp Up Virtual Learning, With Details Coming This Week – Block Club Chicago

Until now, Chicago Public Schools has been largely mum about the district’s plans to ramp up remote learning — though officials promised more details later this week.

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City to enforce paid sick leave rules for employees during ‘stay-at-home’ order – ABC7 (Chicago)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to remind people Friday that nobody should be forced to come to work at any business that does not qualify as "essential" during the pandemic.  The City is also enforcing paid sick time rules during the "stay at home" order.

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2,000 Chicagoans Will Get $1,000 In Rent Relief Under New City COVID-19 Plan, Mayor Says – Block Club Chicago

Marisa Novara, commissioner of the Department of Housing, said half of the grants will be awarded through a lottery to people who apply on the city’s website. The other half will be distributed by nonprofit organizations working in the neighborhoods.

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Civic Federation’s Laurence Msall: Staggering Unemployment Claims Will Put Major Strain On Illinois, Chicago Budgets – CBS2 (Chicago)

“We have never seen the economy stopped like this. You can go back 40, 50 years and you won’t see this level of unemployment in one week, and sort of the growth of it,” he said. “So it’s a sign of how serious the matter is. It’s a sign of how important it is that we limit the spread of this virus so we can get the economy restarted when it’s safe.”

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Coronavirus update: Chicago infant among 13 new COVID-19 deaths in Illinois as city considered next hot spot – ABC Chicago

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Officer among two more CPD employees diagnosed with COVID-19 – Chicago Sun-Times

That brings the total number of confirmed cases within the department to 11, police said Thursday.

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Coronavirus In Chicago: City Becoming A ‘Hot Spot’ As Cases Hit 1,149, White House Warns – Block Club Chicago

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Coronavirus Chicago: Mayor closes lakefront, 606 Trail, Riverwalk to stop spread of COVID-19 – ABC Chicago

Comment: Good for Lightfoot. Outrageously irresponsible for so many people in Chicago and other places to be ignoring simple distancing rules.

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Illinois small businesses get a lifeline with grants and loans, but will it be enough to withstand coronavirus? – Chicago Tribune

Stimulus dollars are more likely to buy businesses a little extra time than they are to save them outright, business owners and industry groups say. And while a massive federal stimulus package passed by the Senate Wednesday appears poised for approval, it’s yet to be seen how much Illinois businesses will benefit.

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Best-Case Scenario: August Peak For Virus In Cook County – Patch

If severe control measures including strict social distancing are not put in place, coronavirus infections could top 1 million in Cook County by early May — 21 percent or more of the population. That's the conclusion of Columbia University researchers as reported by the New York Times, which compiled maps showing the estimated spread of the virus in every county in America under varying scenarios for control measures.

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Ford restarting some factories but not the Chicago Assembly Plant – NWI Times

Locally, Ford employs 5,810 workers at the Chicago Assembly Plant on the banks of the Calumet River and 1,290 at the Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights.

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300 People Released From Cook County Jail as Coronavirus Spreads – Patch

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Desperate Airlines Swap Passengers for Cargo to Stay Afloat – Bloomberg

United Airlines Holdings Inc. is using some of its 777 and 787 aircraft to make vital shipments, such as medical supplies, to Frankfurt from Chicago, the company said in a statement. It will initially operate 40 cargo charters a week and will continue to seek additional opportunities.

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Homicides And Shootings Are Down As The City Stays At Home To Avoid Virus – WBEZ (Chicago)

The city has had only one homicide in the last seven days. Chicago has not had a one-homicide week in more than five years, according to a WBEZ analysis of data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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Lightfoot calls for Census postponement amid COVID-19 outbreak – Center Square

A spokesman for the Census called the situation “fluid” on Monday.

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Four more hotels agree to rent rooms to ease strain on Chicago hospitals during pandemic – Chicago Sun-Times

To make it happen, City Hall first had to broker an agreement to resolve an 18-month strike by UNITE HERE Local 1 against Fillmore Hospitality.

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How Small Businesses Across Chicago Area Generate Revenue Amid COVID-19 Outbreak – NBC Chicago

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Bailout might keep public transit from becoming a coronavirus casualty, but more help will be needed soon – Chicago Sun-Times

The CTA this week said it is losing more than $1 million a day as normally packed rush hour buses and trains roll around the city carrying little more than the operators behind the controls. Ridership is down 70%, and Metra is faring even worse.

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‘Contentious’ Facebook post sparks policy debate in Palatine Township – Daily Herald

"Palatine Township will not today, or any day, close our doors over the hysteria of the Coronavirus," Langlotz-Johnson wrote about two weeks ago. "We know people will need even more assistance because of businesses closing, people staying home from shopping, going out to eat, etc.

"We only ask people to use common sense at all times. Wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose to sneeze or cough, and if you do not feel well, do not come to Palatine Township. The 'KISS' method works best. Keep it simple s-----."

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17 detainees at Cook County Jail contract COVID-19 – Chicago Sun-Times

Population behind the walls of the sprawling jail complex Wednesday morning was 5,306 — 121 fewer in custody than at the start of the week.

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CPS Board met virtually to discuss status of schools amid pandemic – WGNTV (Chicago)

The school board authorized $75 million to support digital learning, emergency personnel as well as the ongoing meal program. The board hopes to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education to help replenish those funds.

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Arrests plummet, crime nosedives in early days of COVID-19 – CWB Chicago

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In Chicago, COVID-19 Concerns Cancel Another McCormick Place Convention – CBS2 (Chicago)

McCormick Place said the event attendance at the three-day show starting May 16 would have translated into approximately 56,000 hotel room nights. adding to the masses losses being felt by hotels in Illinois.  

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U.S mass transit agencies seek $25 billion – The Bond Buyer

“Federal aid, utilizing federal formulas, must be directed to areas of the country that have had significant financial impacts and where essential workers rely most heavily on public transit,” the letter said. Signatories were the Chicago Transit Authority;

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American Library Association Is Latest To Cancel Conference At McCormick Place Due To Coronavirus Pandemic – CBS2 (Chicago)

The 2020 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition had been scheduled for June 25-30 at McCormick Place.

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Chinatown Grapples with Economic Fallout of the Coronavirus – WTTW (Chicago)

The area faced an economic slowdown about three weeks ago, when concerns about the virus first started to materialize in the U.S. Many of the area’s restaurants and shops saw a drop-off in business that has since turned into a near complete shutdown.

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CPS Board of Education to Hold Virtual Meeting With Limited Public Participation – WTTW (Chicago)

Chicago Public Schools on Wednesday will seek permission to spend up to $75 million to address and maintain “critical services” during the ongoing pandemic. But that request and the rest of the board’s monthly meeting will be heard online rather than in person. And the number of public participants allowed to actually speak at the meeting will be drastically reduced, down from 60 speakers over a total of two hours, to 15 speakers over 30 minutes.

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Midway air traffic control tower reopens after coronavirus test results forced its closure – Chicago Tribune

Operations at the nation’s airports have virtually ground to a halt amid a steep decline in air travel.

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One of Chicago’s biggest hotels to shut down as coronavirus upends the industry with closures, job losses – Chicago Tribune

The 1,544-room Hilton Chicago at 720 S. Michigan Avenue is notifying guests that it will suspend operations as of Friday.

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Hearings start on releasing some youths from Cook County juvenile detention over COVID-19 fears – Chicago Tribune

As of late Tuesday afternoon, more than 20 young people had been ordered released from the facility, with more hearings to continue Wednesday.

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Trump Wants Life Back To Normal By Easter, But That ‘Does Not Make Sense At All’ For Chicago Given Pandemic, Mayor Says – Block Club Chicago

Comment: More hypocrisy from Lightfoot for the purpose of Trump-bashing. On February 26, when she should have been acting aggressively, Lightfoot accused Trump and the federal government of fear mongering and spreading panic, as the Chicago Sun-Times put it, for taking the measures they did to control the virus.

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Commentary – Cook County Assessor Kaegi: How education funding, property taxes and COVID-19 stimulus money are connected – Chicago Tribune

"Illinois’ elected leaders need to press Congress to make expanded [education] funding part of any COVID-19 stimulus, and to press the eventual Democratic nominee to stick to the Title I campaign promise"

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Construction Of Chicago’s New Neighborhood ‘The 78’ Pushes Through Pandemic – Block Club Chicago

The project is primarily being funded by $700 million in TIF subsidies from city.

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Lightfoot forges deals with hotels, shuttered hospital to provide space for quarantined COVID-19 patients – Chicago Sun-Times

In all, five hotels are set to provide 1,000 beds by Tuesday and 2,000 beds by the end of the week. There also are plans to house patients at the former Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island.

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Rebates on CTA passes, subsidies for Pace and Divvy rides offered to help residents cope with coronavirus crisis – Chicago Sun-Times

In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she sought the subsidies to reduce the burden on workers, especially health professionals who can’t work from home.

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Cook County judges to review inmates’ cases to drastically reduce jail population – Chicago Sun-Times

The judge’s order does not include reviews of inmates facing charges in cases handled at the various branch courts.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot says Chicago’s ‘stepping up’ without federal help amid coronavirus pandemic – Chicago Tribune

“We’re still remaining diligent, we’re still trying to educate people into compliance, but I think so far, so good,” Lightfoot said.

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In email exchange, Mayor Lori Lightfoot offers to withhold Chicago alderman’s pay to help buy equipment for first responders amid coronavirus outbreak – Chicago Tribune

The mayor’s office did not respond Monday to questions about why Lightfoot suggested only halting Lopez’s salary. Asked about the email exchange, Lopez said “They keep saying ‘We are all in this together.’ Time to put our money where our mouth is.” “Lightfoot should direct (Budget Director) Susie Park to offer it to all electeds and not use it for her petty politics,” Lopez added. “Otherwise I will just donate what I would have lost directly to local charities helping my residents.”

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The Chicago Police Department Is Struggling To Protect Officers During The Coronavirus Pandemic – WBEZ (Chicago)

The goal is to establish coronavirus response teams in each police district throughout the city. Those teams will have access to the protective equipment, and they’ll answer calls that involve flu-like symptoms or respiratory problems.

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Proposal would cut pay for Chicago politicians to fund coronavirus response – Illinois Policy Institute

One elected official is calling for all 50 Chicago aldermen, as well as the mayor, city clerk and city treasurer, to forgo their paychecks for 15 days. Chicago Ald. Ray Lopez, 15th Ward, said the move would generate nearly $375,000 to purchase protective gear and other supplies for first responders.

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‘Strained at every level.’ COVID-19 pressures already burdened Chicago hospitals – Chicago Sun-Times

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Coronavirus In Chicago: Illinois Passes 1,000 Cases As Pritzker Calls For Everyone To Pitch In – Block Club Chicago

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CPS seeks $75 million to deal with coronavirus crisis – Chicago Sun-Times

The request would allow the district to decide how it wants to spend the money without prior board approval or immediate public notice.

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Monday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area – Chicago Tribune

As the virus spreads, the Tribune is keeping a running list of Chicago-area closings and cancellations, tracking cases across the state and asking experts to answer your questions about COVID-19.

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Chicago Doctor’s Blunt Speech About COVID-19 Hits Home Across the Country; Read Her Full Speech – NBC Chicago

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Hyde Park Bakery Is Chicago’s First Permanent Closure of COVID-19 Shutdown – Eater Chicago

Restaurants citywide are working to maintain some cashflow by selling $25 gift cards for the price of $20 and encouraging patrons to pre-order for Easter and small events in the future with discounts, as well as selling merch.

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Chicago Police Break Up Two House Parties After Stay-At-Home Order – CBS2 (Chicago)

No one was arrested as a result of the parties.

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Chicago mayor halts fines, fees for minor traffic tickets amid coronavirus pandemic – Illinois Policy Institute

Chicago’s potentially unconstitutional booting and ticketing schemes fall disproportionately on low-income and minority residents, those whose livelihoods are most at risk during severe economic shocks.

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Cook County correctional officer, 2 more CPD officers test positive for COVID-19 – WGNTV (Chicago)

Other officers are currently being tested for the virus.

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Grocers, delivery services scramble to hire thousands of workers to help with a crush of business driven by the coronavirus – Chicago Tribune

Certain types of businesses — especially grocers and delivery services — are rushing to hire thousands of workers to handle a crush of business related to COVID-19. Mariano’s, Jewel-Osco, Walmart, Amazon and Domino’s Pizza have all embarked on hiring sprees to keep up with demand.

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Chicago Tech Hubs Unite to Source Coronavirus Solutions – American Inno

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Grocery Store Workers Thrust On Coronavirus Front Lines Are Overworked, Underpaid And Scared – Block Club Chicago

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City officials promise quick action on small-business loans – Chicago Sun-Times

The $100 million loan fund will start taking applications March 31 from businesses affected by the coronavirus. The loans are designed to help businesses with cash flow for rent and payroll.

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Low-risk inmates begin exiting Cook County Jail amid coronavirus threat – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli has filed a request for the mass release of detainees in several categories, including people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, those detained for nonviolent offenses and anyone who is locked up since they cannot afford to pay bail.

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COVID-19 concerns grow within Chicago Fire Department – WGNTV (Chicago)

There are four confirmed cases now within the department and a spokesperson told reporters pretty soon they will stop counting.

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Chicago looks at housing the homeless in hotels during the coronavirus crisis – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago officials are exploring the availability of other facilities that could be used temporarily to get homeless people off the street or out of crowded shelters. Though no homeless person is known to have tested positive for the coronavirus in Chicago, officials want to identify potential isolation facilities where those individuals could be housed.

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Alderman proposes 15-day furlough for elected officials to generate $375K for protective gear, supplies for first-responders – Chicago Sun-Times

Ald. Ray Lopez (15th), one of Lightfoot’s most outspoken City Council critics, said the pandemic requires the mayor, city clerk, treasurer and 50 aldermen to “lead by example.”

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Make a sign, save a restaurant? Chefs make massive ‘call to action’ online video campaign Friday morning – Chicago Tribune

Chicago chefs and restaurateurs have organized a “Chefs Call To Action” campaign to push legislators to include restaurants and industry workers in any federal stimulus packages intended to help the economy.

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Help actually wanted – Crain’s

As companies switch to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, they need more tech support. Delivery companies that are resupplying grocery stores need more workers, too.

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Toni Preckwinkle Op-Ed: We are one Cook County, one people, in fighting the coronavirus – Chicago Sun-Times

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Griffin’s Citadel Sending Aid to Chicago to Help in Pandemic – Bloomberg

The firm’s latest effort is in partnership with Chicago Public Schools and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot closes City Hall to general public until further notice – Chicago Tribune

It will remain open to essential personnel and aldermen in order to help maintain the continuity of government and essential city services, Lightfoot said in a written statement. Working journalists also will have access to the building.

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Chicago’s Coronavirus Relief Fund Raises $8 Million in One Day – NBC5 (Chicago)

The fund was launched by the United Way of Metro Chicago and the Chicago Community Trust to support the region's health and human service organizations as they see a surge in demand for their resources.

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Bernie Sanders Lost Illinois, but He Changed Chicago – Chicago Magazine

"[T]he political movement that Sanders inspired is succeeding. The proof can be found right here in Chicago, where Sanders’s acolytes have transformed politics over the last five years."

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Chicago’s Loop sees 63 percent drop in foot traffic due to coronavirus concerns – Curbed Chicago

The percentage was calculated from data collected by mechanical pedestrian counters installed in 18 Loop locations such as high-traffic intersections and the Chicago Pedway. Numbers released by SpotHero show a more than 43 percent drop in demand for Chicago off-street parking spots. And automobile commuters moved 70 percent faster than usual on Wednesday morning.

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Read Chicago Mayor Lightfoot’s Full Coronavirus Address to Chicago – NBC Chicago

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Lightfoot Announces $100 Million Fund To Help Small Businesses Devastated By Coronavirus – Block Club Chicago

Created under a public-private partnership, several groups have already contributed to the fund: $50 million came from the Chicago Community Catalyst Fund, $25 million from the city of Chicago, $10 million from Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group, $1 million from Fifth Third Bank and $250,000 from Bob Clark and Clayco Construction.

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Metra to cut service in half starting Monday amid coronavirus crisis, falling ridership – Chicago Sun-Times

Metra said its would maintain enough cars on trains to allow for social distancing. The rail service also said it might cut service even further to match ridership demand.

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Chicago-area food trucks still rolling, but business is down dramatically – Chicago Tribune

While restaurants grapple with how to operate without dine-in customers, food trucks are still being encouraged to stay open.

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Fake coronavirus test kits seized at O’Hare airport by Customs and Border Protection agents – Chicago Tribune

The tests, shipped from the United Kingdom, included tests not just for COVID-19 but also for other illnesses such as meningitis. The materials were turned over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for further testing.

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Chicago police detective tests positive for COVID-19 – WGNTV (Chicago)

Sources told WGN the officer worked as a detective on the department’s incident response team out of the facility at Homan Square.

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Lightfoot extends CPS closure until April 20 – WGNTV (Chicago)

“We need to give parents and guardians plenty of advance notice about this reality and the ability to plan.”

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State Shutdown Will Last ‘Deep Into April,’ Lightfoot Predicts — And She Doesn’t Want Trump’s Advice – Block Club Chicago

“We cannot afford in Chicago to be guided by anything that President Trump says. We just can’t,” Lightfoot said. “It’s not reliable. It’s not based on data or science.”

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area – Chicago Tribune

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First 2 downtown hotels close amid coronavirus pandemic – Chicago Sun-Times

Layoffs at Chicago-area hotels started around Monday, according to Michael Jacobson, CEO of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association. “When you are in the teens on your occupancy rate, as many hotels now are, it’s hard to justify keeping the lights on."

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Editorial: It’s up to all of us: How Chicagoans can avoid a shelter-in-place edict – Chicago Tribune

"At this writing, there’s no public indication that Chicago and the rest of the region contemplate a shelter-in-place order. We’re not there yet. But Chicagoans can ensure that the necessity for such a drastic edict doesn’t further restrict us."

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Chicago Public Libraries closing 61 locations as ‘fearful’ city workers union blasts decision to keep 20 open – Chicago Tribune

“Keeping a limited number of libraries open during limited hours will ensure that we provide for those who have no other place to go for basic access to the internet or other resources,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Alison Arwady. “We are confident that CPL can provide these services in a way that is safe and sanitary for library employees and patrons alike. Still, we continue to urge Chicagoans to stay home unless they absolutely must go out so that we can continue to work to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

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Village Of Oak Park Issues Shelter In Place Order Beginning Friday – CBS Chicago

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Koval Distillery Now Making Hand Sanitizer For Health Care Workers, Retirement Homes After Getting Approval – Block Club Chicago

“You can’t just turn gin into hand sanitizer, there are other important ingredients that go into it too," said said Sonat Birnecker Hart, founder and president of Koval.

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Chinatown developer who recorded Madigan, Solis charged with fraud – Illinois Policy Institute

The developer’s recordings helped federal investigators charge Chicago Ald. Ed Burke and deepened the investigation into Illinois state corruption.

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Lightfoot Administration Walks Back Aggressive COVID-19 FOIA Policy – WBEZ (Chicago)

Hours after City of Chicago officials started issuing automatic denials for public records — citing staff shortage because of the COVID-19 pandemic — officials backed off the policy, saying records requests would be evaluated “case by case.”

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Cook County Sheriff: Cutting Jail Population a ‘High-Priority’ Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – WTTW

There have not yet been any cases of COVID-19 identified within the Cook County Jail, but the Sheriff’s Department says it’s taking additional steps to reduce the jail population in an effort to keep the deadly virus outside its walls.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot suspends ticketing for non-public safety issues, also suspends late fees on payment plans – Chicago Tribune

Through at least April 30, Lightfoot said the city will suspend booting, late fees and defaults on payment plans for all city debts, and is suspending city debt checks for ride-share and taxi drivers, she said. The city also will be limiting ticketing, towing and impounding solely to what she said are public safety-related issues.

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Drive-thru coronavirus testing is starting up at some Chicago-area hospitals — but it’s by appointment only – Chicago Tribune

The in-vehicle testing method, which involves a nasal swab, is designed to efficiently screen more patients while mitigating the spread of the highly contagious virus.

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How Chicago Dealt With the 1918 Spanish Flu – Chicago Magazine

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Ford to close Chicago plant on virus-related parts shortage: report – MarketWatch

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Chicago leaders ask for immediate moratorium on evictions, utility shut-offs, and housing court – Curbed Chicago

In Chicago, already evictions will be put on hold for the next 30 days after deputies encountered a person showing signs of COVID-19 while serving a notice.

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Despite coronavirus anxiety and problems at the polls, Cook County and Chicago avoid record-low turnout in primary election – Chicago Tribune

As of 7 p.m., with five Chicago polling places staying open an extra hour, Chicago election officials were reporting that 282,333 voters had gone to the polls during the day. Combined with a record high 171,709 early voters, that meant turnout was hovering around 30%, before adding in mail-in ballots and provisional ballots cast Tuesday.

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Court building that’s seen it all experiences something new: The sound of silence – Chicago Tribune

The coronavirus pandemic has left criminal justice authorities with the critical task of balancing the constitutional rights of defendants against a steadily deepening public health crisis.

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Kim Foxx Poised To Win State’s Attorney Seat – Block Club Chicago

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Lightfoot to suspend ‘non-essential’ city services; cancels City Council meeting, limits City Hall access – Chicago Sun-Times

“We will be rolling out specifics on that in the next day or so. We’re working with city departments to finalize those lists of non-essential government services and the specific employees that will be affected,” the mayor said.

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Governor accuses Chicago election officials of ‘political posturing’ after they complain he should have postponed voting because of coronavirus – Chicago Tribune

Pritzker said he was limited by the state constitution and would not cross the boundaries of our democracy. “If people want to criticize me for that, well go ahead,” he continued as state and Chicago health officials stood behind him. "I’ll wear it like a badge of honor.

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CTA, Metra See Sharp Drop In Riders, Considering Service Reductions – Block Club Chicago

Both CTA and Metra officials say it is too soon to know what impacts the coronavirus may have on future train and bus service levels. “We’re continuing to monitor ridership levels,” a CTA spokesperson said.

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FAA: Tower at Chicago’s Midway airport is closed after ‘several’ employees there test positive for COVID-19 – CNBC

The airport is still open but is operating at a reduced rate, according to the agency.

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Detainees walk out of cells, into voting booths in Chicago – Associated Press

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Workers And Shoppers Question Why The Mall Is Still Open – WBEZ Chicago

Mike Balota is the owner of the Slim Chickens franchise in the food court. He’s not making any money because no one is at the mall; many retailers have closed their stores. But unless the mall closes, he’s going to owe the full month’s rent, nearly $13,000.

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As coronavirus decimates demand for jets, Boeing may slash production, cut jobs – Chicago Tribune

Chicago-based Boeing now faces a stark near-term decision on whether it must slash jet production. That could again spell substantial local layoffs, which until now — even with its 737 Max production already halted — Boeing has avoided.

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As City Sees ‘Extremely Low’ Voter Turnout, Pritzker Blamed For Rejecting Vote-By-Mail Option – Block Club Chicago

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Chicago is getting richer, but that could be because poor people are leaving – Crain’s

A Brookings Institution study concludes that while the metro area is growing more slowly than other large cities, we're making progress on prosperity and sharing the wealth among those who remain.

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Lightfoot: Relief package in the works for city restaurants forced to close dining rooms – Chicago Sun-Times

Lightfoot acknowledged that restaurants operating on a razor-thin profit margin during the best of times need immediate help to survive the worst of times, as do the workers who rely on tipped wages.

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Female Chicago paramedics have shown evidence of ‘widespread sex discrimination’ within Chicago F.D., judge says – Cook County Record

In the May 2018 complaint, four women alleged sexual harassment and intimidation by superiors, while Doe 2 alleged the same treatment from a colleague.

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Lightfoot hints CPS closure could last longer than 2 weeks, says families might not be told if someone from their school has coronavirus – Chicago Sun-Times

Going forward, CDPH will interview any potential CPS patients and tell their close contacts that they tested positive. CPS will only inform the school community if CPDH recommends doing so.

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Chicago has seen a 43% rise in killings so far this year vs. 2019, but that’s not the full picture – Chicago Sun-Times

The head of the University of Chicago Crime Lab says last year was an anomaly, with bitter cold tending to keep people inside more, skewing the year-to-year comparison.

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First the teachers strike, now the coronavirus: CPS shuts down for 2nd time this school year as fall walkout now looks like ‘dry run’ for new disruption – Chicago Tribune

Unlike many suburban districts, CPS does not have the capacity to provide full online-based education to all students and will be relying on an informal “enrichment” program.

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Chicago hotels cutting staff, considering closure – Chicago Sun-Times

Event cancellations attributed to COVID-19 in the last two weeks have cost Chicago hotels an estimated 255,000 room nights worth of bookings.

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Fiscal contagion of COVID-19 in Chicago widens – The Bond Buyer

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Chicago Restaurant Owners Are Shaken By Shutdown Order – WBEZ

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More companies are staying in suburbs as they look to expand, attract talent – Daily Herald

The benefits of being in the suburbs include less traffic congestion, proximity to O'Hare International Airport, and lower office leasing costs. Employees, meanwhile, enjoy more housing options, lower rents or mortgage payments, better schools and more recreation options.

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Coach houses, ‘granny flats’ part of Lightfoot’s housing solution – Chicago Sun-Times

The mayor will propose an ordinance to lift city’s 63-year-old ban on ADUs, or accessory dwelling units.

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Chicago-area hospitals no longer allowing visitors because of coronavirus concerns – Chicago Tribune

“On rare occasions, adult visitors will be allowed access to patient areas if they are important to the patient’s emotional well-being and care,” Loyola said on its website. Those visitors will be screened for COVID-19 exposure.

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Zoning Committee OKs smoke detector mandate over Chicago Fire Department objections – Chicago Sun-Times

Said a Fire Department spokesman, “We give away thousands of units every year, but we have to pay for them. This means we will pass out 66 percent less."

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More COVID-19 screeners coming to O’Hare to combat lines, officials say – WGN

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Oak Lawn doubles gas tax to 6 cents per gallon to pay for street maintenance – Daily Southtown

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Chicago property owners brace for more hefty tax increases in 2020 – Loop North News

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This tax hike will backfire on affordable housing – Our monthly Crain’s article

The progressive transfer tax hike was initially envisioned as a revenue source to fund affordable housing. It's not going to work out that way. Owners of big apartment buildings would get slammed, and they provide the primary housing option for lower-income groups. Higher cost means less supply.

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Feds have evidence of income-tax fraud in Bridgeport bank failure, sources say – Chicago Sun-Times

Some Washington Federal customers could be out hundreds of thousands of dollars because their accounts exceeded the $250,000 maximum insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation when the Gembara family-run bank collapsed.

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Mayor, City Leaders Call On IL Lawmakers To Rein In Reckless Gas Utility Spending – PR Newswire

In 2019, Chicagoans fell $60 million behind on their heating bills and Peoples Gas sent out over 300,000 disconnection notices.

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Deserted dorms, tuition complaints and virtual classes: Uncertainty looms as disappointed college students head home early because of the coronavirus – Chicago Tribune

At DePaul, several petitions circulating online are seeking more flexibility from the school. One petition calls for DePaul to slash tuition, which exceeded $40,000 for freshmen this year, saying that online classes are not what students paid for when they chose to enroll.

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Cook County courts to pause for nearly a month as precaution against coronavirus – Chicago Tribune

The county court system is not known for its efficiency even in the best of circumstances, and such a delay has the potential to create chaos. Even brief closures last year due to extreme cold weather threw schedules off balance for weeks.

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Whether they are sick, Chicago’s precarious workers will work amid coronavirus. ‘How would I pay my bills?’ – Chicago Tribune

Contrasting the quiet and mostly deserted downtown area, where many followed Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s recommendation to work from home, there was foot traffic on 26th Street.

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Chicago breaks World War II-era record for vote-by-mail applications; sets new high for primary early voting – Chicago Tribune

Asked why Illinois hasn’t postponed its primary like some other states have, an elections board spokesman said board officials last week contacted state and city leaders to consult about different scenarios. “We are moving ahead full speed March 17 with this election,” he said, adding that postponing would be a “horrible idea” that would risk disenfranchising voters.

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Can our hospitals handle the coronavirus outbreak? – Chicago Sun-Times

Rush University Medical Center has set up a triage tent. Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the University of Chicago Medical Center could convert parts of their facilities. Cook County’s flagship Stroger Hospital has been preparing since January. Chicago hospitals, like those in much of the country, are prepping for the worst as the coronavirus outbreak grows. Some doctors fear hospitals could become so overwhelmed they could be forced to ration medical care, as has happened in Italy.

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Cook County Circuit Court to pause all but essential operations until at least April 15 – Cook County Record

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Did the coronavirus just end the apartment boom? This investor thinks so. – Crain’s

Worried about overpaying in a declining market, Chicago's Origin Investments has “indefinitely postponed” $241 million in apartment deals. “What we’re trying to do is keep our eyes on the horizon and protect our investors.”

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Feds look into Cook County Medicaid payment backlog – Crain’s

Finger-pointing and confusion reign while docs, hospitals wait for $350 million.

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The Bean Closed As Coronavirus Spreads, Millennium Park Remains Open – Block Club Chicago

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Bulls and Blackhawks will pay United Center employees — approximately 1,200 people — through the remainder of the scheduled season after coronavirus shutdowns – Chicago Tribune

The outpouring of support offered at least a show of camaraderie amid a crisis that upended the sports landscape in America this week.

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Chicago-area election judges dropping out, polling places closing amid coronavirus fears – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen said there is great concern over getting enough Election Day judges, and the board continues to look for more, while providing any new ones with last-minute, online training.

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Chicago Park District suspends programming ‘until further notice’ to help stem coronavirus – Chicago Tribune

Eighteen parks will have “age-appropriate” activities to help families who need a place for their children while schools are closed. The district must limit capacity at each location to 250.

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Photos: Long lines greet passengers at O’Hare during travel ban – WGN

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COVID-19 Concerns Cancel Charitable Events, Organizations Lose Much Needed Funds – CBS2 (Chicago)

It’s estimated Chicagoans give as much as $6.7 billion locally to charity. But with coronavirus concerns and financial uncertainties, that number is likely to change.

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Coronavirus In Chicago: Governor Begs St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Revelers To ‘Please Go Home’ – Block Club Chicago

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Coronavirus disruptions could strain Chicago’s finances and pension funds – Chicago Tribune

What’s not yet known is just how bad the drop in revenue will be for city government. Lightfoot said she thinks the city is well suited to weather the storm due to its "very, very diverse economic system.”

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Grocery stores say they’re filling shelves as fast as they can. They still can’t keep up with shoppers preparing for coronavirus – Chicago Tribune

Major chains like Target and Jewel-Osco, and independent grocery stores alike said they’re refilling shelves as quickly as possible. But supply chains just aren’t keeping up.

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Why closing Chicago’s public schools was such a hard decision — even if it seemed necessary – Chicago Sun-Times

At Chicago Public Schools, a district with 270,000 students who are poor and 17,000 homeless, the decision was harder than it looked to close its more than 640 schools for coronavirus mitigation.

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Navy Pier Flyover completion delayed again, due to problems on 1930s-era Lake Shore Drive bridge – Chicago Tribune

The $64 million flyover, started in 2014, is now expected to be complete by the end of this year. The city had originally planned to cut the ribbon on the flyover in 2018, then last year, then this spring.

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Financial struggles pervade West Side – Austin Weekly News

In 2017, 39 percent of the roughly 2 million households in Cook County were either in poverty or met the ALICE threshold. That year, 44 percent of Chicago's roughly 1 million households were below the ALICE threshold. When broken down by community area, the percent of households below the ALICE threshold increases starkly.

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Chicagoans’ home equity gains were slim in 2019 – Crain’s

On average, homeowners gained $1,400 in home equity during the year, according to a report from CoreLogic. Among the 10 big cities in the study, the next-smallest average gains were nearly four times that. Shallow growth in home equity helps explain why the inventory of homes for sale is super-tight: potential sellers may not have enough equity in the house to fund a move up to a more expensive home.

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Treating Uninsured Patients Is Wreaking Havoc On Cook County Finances – WBEZ

Comment: And this is about the situation before Coronavirus.

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How the Coronavirus is Impacting Chicago Businesses and Workers – WTTW (Chicago)

The virus and safety precautions are impacting the bottom lines of everything from large hotel chains and restaurants to independent movie theaters and music venues.

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Coronavirus forces ‘entirely unprecedented’ Election Day scramble – Chicago Sun-Times

Officials are trying to relocate 94 Election Day polling places in Chicago and “more than 32” in the Cook County suburbs as concerns over the coronavirus hit warp speed. And growing numbers of election judges are pulling out of their assignments for next Tuesday’s primary election — 746 in suburban Cook County alone.

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Alderman has the answer to financial crisis posed by coronavirus: legalize video gaming – Chicago Sun-Times

Two years ago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s floor leader, Ald. Gilbert Villegas, tried and failed to legalize “sweepstakes” machines; those lobbying efforts are part of the federal case against now-indicted former state Rep. Luis Arroyo.

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Aldermen crack down on online bottled water sales, even as virus-driven shopping sprees continue – Chicago Sun-Times

Many bottled water purchases are being made online, allowing Chicago consumers to dodge the city’s five-cents a bottle tax. Thursday, the City Council’s Finance Committee agreed to close that legal loophole along with the one that has allowed online liquor buyers to dodge the city’s sliding scale of liquor taxes.

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Here Are 9 Chicago Moments That Made Us Happy This Week (That Have Nothing To Do With That Pesky Virus) – Block Club Chicago

It's been a stressful week. Read this to lighten up before the weekend.

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Virus-related ban on big events costing McCormick Place – Chicago Sun-Times

The result will be a steep drop in hotel and restaurant business and airline use. The lost business is likely to lead to layoffs and to a shortfall in local government revenue from tourism-related taxes.

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Restaurateur Nick Kokonas urges Chicago mayor to reduce restaurant tax – Chicago City Wire

In its 2020 budget, Chicago increased the restaurant tax from 0.25 percent of retail price to 0.50 percent of retail prices for all food and beverages sold at retail establishments.

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Capitol in Washington closed to the public, but Chicago’s City Hall still open — for now – Chicago Sun-Times

A top mayoral ally thinks shutting City Hall is the right move, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot is not ready to order that drastic step just yet.

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From abandoned properties to dream homes: Buying a house through Cook County’s land bank – Curbed Chicago

“Working with the land bank is a call to action,” said Cook County Land Bank Authority executive director Rob Rose. “Our work is to bring to market long-term vacant housing that’s been invisible and make it available, accessible, and affordable.”

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Metra Riders Say Trains Are Empty As Workers Stay Home, But Ridership Steady So Far On The CTA, Agency Says – Block Club Chicago

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Businesses large and small are answering the COVID call – Crain’s

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CME Group to close Chicago trading floor as a precaution over coronavirus – CNBC

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Delaying Illinois primary discussed — and shot down: ‘No chance of that’ – Chicago Sun-Times

Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said the governor's top priority is ensuring election authorities have the resources needed to make sure everyone has the ability to vote on Election Day. State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said no one at the state agency was contacted about postponing the election.

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‘The more we can stay one step ahead of this …’ Hospitals intensify preparedness as coronavirus cases increase – Chicago Tribune

“This is part of what Rush was specifically built for, emergency preparedness,” said one hospital physician. “What we’ve learned about the experience throughout the world is that the more we can stay one step ahead of this, the more we can mitigate the spread of coronavirus.”

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‘Mass confusion:’ Nurses union says health officials are unprepared for coronavirus – Chicago Sun-Times

Members of the country’s largest nurses union, National Nurses United, held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night outside Stroger Hospital in the Illinois Medical District to mourn the victims of COVID-19 and urge hospital management “to step up their efforts to protect the staff and patients,”

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Woodlawn Residents, City Officials Call For Quick Action To Protect Affordable Housing Near Obama Center – Block Club Chicago

With two legislative options for protecting Woodlawn’s affordable housing now on the table, residents told city officials Tuesday they want a plan in place soon.

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City election board to move 25 Election Day voting locations – Chicago Sun-Times

Affected voters hoping for a heads-up before they vote in the March 17 primary may be out of luck — Marisel Hernandez, chair of the Chicago board, said they may not know the new locations right away.

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Metra Riders Say Trains Are Empty As Workers Stay Home, But Ridership Steady So Far On The CTA, Agency Says – Block Club Chicago

While Metra did not have ridership numbers immediately available, a spokesman said the rail has stepped up its cleaning efforts to combat the spread of the virus. And a CTA spokesperson said, "CTA has a rigorous cleaning schedule for our vehicles and rail stations that is among the strongest in the transit industry."

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Lawmakers Press Peoples Gas On High Utility Bills – WTTW (Chicago)

Over the next 20 years, Peoples Gas plans to replace every single mile - more than 2,000 total - of gas main in the city in order to create a safer, more reliable delivery system that cuts down on gas leaks. Peoples Gas estimates the entire program will cost $8 billion-$9 billion. And, thanks to state legislation from 2013, all of those costs are passed on to consumers in the form of yearly surcharges.

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Chicago-area blood drives canceled over coronavirus fears, sparking concern about hospital supplies – Chicago Tribune

The blood drives in the Chicago area were canceled the by the organizations planning to host them. Blood bank leaders are urging Chicago-area residents to continue donating blood, saying extra precautions are being taken to avoid the spread of COVID-19. The act of donating blood itself poses no increased risk of contracting the illness.

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Editorial: We’re working from home Thursday — and others should be thinking the same – Chicago Sun-Times

"We’re far from alone in taking precautions. The Washington Post is encouraging its staff to work at home and the Los Angeles Times is restricting employee travel."

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area – Chicago Tribune

As the effects of the virus spread in Illinois, the Tribune is keeping a running list of Chicago-area closings and cancellations because of coronavirus and asking experts to answer your questions about COVID-19.

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The Ash Tree’s Last Stand, And Why It Matters – WTTW

The City of Chicago has given up on treating parkway ash trees, so neighbors are taking it upon themselves. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News) Chicago has given up on its ash trees, but some residents are mounting a rescue effort.

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Citing coronavirus, labor coalition demands 15 days paid sick leave, triple the city mandate – Chicago Sun-Times

Greg Kelley, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, issues his demand for 15 days of paid sick days each year.

A labor coalition led by the Chicago Teachers Union is taking that advice to heart when it comes to the crisis caused by the coronavirus. The unions held a City Hall news conference Wednesday to unleash a kitchen sink of demands that might have been unthinkable before the worldwide pandemic that started in Wuhan, China:

• 15 paid sick days a year, instead of the five mandated for Chicago employers, with the protection extended statewide.

• A citywide meals-on-wheels program, internet access and electronic devices for students forced to stay home because of school closings like Vaughn and Resurrection High Schools.

• Debt forgiveness, suspended mortgage payments, a temporary shutdown of eviction court and a moratorium on utility shut-offs.

• No more penalizing schools by basing funding on school attendance.

• Adequate cleaning supplies — and a nurse in every school sooner than the hard-fought teachers’ contract demands.

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Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parades, Festivities Postponed Amid Coronavirus Concerns – NBC Chicago

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Chicago doctor stayed in Wuhan at start of coronavirus outbreak to help fellow doctors, clinics – ABC Chicago

Like everyone else, he was warned to get out but he decided not to flee. Instead, he chose to stay and help. He said his decision to remain as local hospitals and clinics were being flooded with desperate patients was a life-changing event.

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Coronavirus Threatens $6 Billion in St. Patrick’s Day Spending – Bloomberg

In Chicago, Kieran Aherne, regional manager at an Irish pub called Fado, hasn’t seen an impact from the virus yet. The city’s parade on Saturday is the biggest revenue generator of the year. In the past, it’s meant more than $100,000 in a weekend and then another bounce comes on actual St. Patrick’s Day.

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The Housing Authority of Cook County is reopening the County’s Housing Choice Voucher List – Chicago Defender

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Chicago has a dozen committees to respond to coronavirus – Chicago Sun-Times

In fact, the Lightfoot administration has activated Chicago’s emergency operations center inside the 911 center and established several committees to address what it calls “essential areas of operations.” Here are the committees and their point people:

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City takeover of ComEd unlikely, but franchise renewal will be shorter – Crain’s

Six socialists on the City Council and some outside groups support the idea, but a senior Lightfoot administration official said the first step of a study must show “a pretty compelling economic case” for the city to pony up the millions to explore the issue further.

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Coronavirus in Illinois: 4 Chicago-Area Schools Closed Over Exposure Concerns – NBC Chicago

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Officials Looking Into Actual Cost Of Cutting Out ComEd – WBEZ (Chicago)

The City of Chicago is now looking into exactly what it would cost to run its own electric utility and break ties with Commonwealth Edison. This feasibility study of municipalization comes as Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration is also in negotiations with ComEd over another franchise agreement with the city.

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Fourth Chicago Convention Canceled Due to Coronavirus Worry – U.S. News and World Report

Fears of coronavirus transmission prompted the American College of Cardiology on Monday to cancel its annual World Congress of Cardiology meeting. The meeting of cardiologists was expected to attract 18,000 people March 28-30.

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Will ‘The Ave’ In Roseland Really Rise Again With City Hall Plan? – Konkol – Patch (Chicago)

Now, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has targeted the stretch of Michigan Avenue between 111th and 115th streets for a comeback. Last month, city planning director Maurice Cox met with neighbors to engage in what seemed to be a hope-building exercise.

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Column: Wouldn’t Now Be a Great Time to Have School Nurses? – Bloomberg

"Last fall, a teacher’s strike in Chicago produced a commitment from the city to hire hundreds of school nurses. In recent years, the city’s schools have relied on a chaotic deployment system, in which an average of five nurses cycle through any given school during a three-month period, with about 300 nurses staffing more than 500 schools.

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$60M Amazon facility in Pullman takes giant step forward — without property tax break – Chicago Sun-Times

“It’s going to bring economic investment to the Far South Side and turn land that has never generated taxes, never generated jobs onto the tax rolls to bring jobs and taxes to the city," the developer said.

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Niles Township School Administrator Awarded Severance Package Worth Over $88,000 – Patch

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One Year After A Wave of Chicago Charter Strikes, Schools Are Forced To Cut Back – WBEZ (Chicago)

Financial documents and budgets for these schools are often opaque and incomplete. In general, there is a lack of transparency around charter schools, and public records only show a glimpse of the full picture. This was a topic of intense discussion at a recent meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, which approves and ultimately oversees charter schools in the city.

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Loyola Academy cancels classes after student had contact with coronavirus patient – Chicago Sun-Times

Loyola Academy in Wilmette canceled classes Monday after administrators learned that a student had contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. No Loyola Academy students or staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19; school was canceled as a precautionary measure.

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Exclusive: Chicago’s new brand identity could save the city $10 million a year – Fast Company

Chicago’s new design system is a turnkey visual identity that allows disparate city services to operate under a single banner, from their signs to their websites. Chicago estimates it can save anywhere up to $10 million a year by taking simple steps to unify the design of 29 different departments around the city with its brand.

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Voting behind bars: Cook County’s huge jail becomes a first-time polling precinct – Washington Post

More than four decades after the Supreme Court upheld the right to vote for people in pretrial detention, many Americans remain blocked from exercising that right because states don’t have procedures in place to allow access. Illinois is no longer one of them, with a new law requiring all jails to ensure that some 20,000 pretrial detainees have an opportunity to vote.

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Chicago is getting richer, but that could be because poor people are leaving – Hinz – Crain’s

A Brookings Institution study concludes that while the metro area is growing more slowly than other large cities, we're making progress on prosperity and sharing the wealth among those who remain. "The data suggest to me the region is losing relatively low-income jobs and population but gaining on the higher end of both. That’s consistent with a shift from manufacturing and lower-end positions to a so-called knowledge economy, and consistent with other recent reports that the city is losing lots of black residents but college graduate rates are rising quickly among those who remain."

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Running list of Chicago-area closings and cancellations because of coronavirus – Chicago Tribune

With six cases reported in Illinois, organizers of large events here have reacted to concerns about transmission of the virus locally.

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Chicago’s convention center and two health systems add COVID-19 disclosure – The Bond Buyer

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority warned about the potential effect of a pandemic or health epidemic as a factor that could drive economic changes that could impact revenues. The authority's bonds are backed by taxes on Chicago-area hotel stays, car rentals and other tourist services, with statewide sales tax revenues allocated by statute to cover shortfalls between those annual tourism tax revenues and debt service. The authority also owns two hotels, the Wintrust Arena and Navy Pier, which are privately operated.

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City Colleges of Chicago enrollment down 25% in 5 years – Chicago City Wire

CCC is also facing a possible $17.4 million budget shortfall in 2021.

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Apprehension about coronavirus prompts officials to close polling places at nursing homes – Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has not yet determined the replacement sites. “In the meantime, we’re urging voters who had nursing homes to use early voting or vote by mail,” a spokesman said.

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Developer lawsuit: City sold parking lot to developer, then denied permit needed to operate parking lot – Cook County Record

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Inside Chicago’s doomed Amazon HQ2 pitch – Crain’s

Chicago officials did their best to "accentuate the positive and spin the negative" during Amazon's search for a second HQ.One fact they couldn't spin: Every Chicago household is burdened with $145,000 in public retirement debts.

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Editorial: Why you should care about those testing ‘irregularities’ in Chicago schools – Chicago Sun-Times

But the sooner CPS begins tightening up testing practices, the better. The public must have confidence that test score gains are real, not the result of gaming the system.

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Lightfoot chooses Minneapolis public housing chief to make leap to CHA – Chicago Sun-Times

The CHA has an operating budget of $1 billion. It serves more than 63,000 low-income families, owns more than 21,000 public housing units and manages 47,000 housing choice vouchers.

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Apprehension about coronavirus prompts officials to close polling places at nursing homes – Chicago Tribune

Amid growing concerns about the coronavirus, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has opted to close designated polling places inside nursing homes for Election Day.

The city made the decision after hearing from city nursing home workers, who worried about the safety of their residents, said elections board spokesman Jim Allen.

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Chicago Housing Authority to Receive the Bulk of the Nearly $65 million dollars in Federal Funding – Chicago Defender

CHA’s strong financial position would allow it to “initiate a major new acquisition and construction program” that could add as much as 2,000 affordable units to the city’s housing stock

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No, there has been no decline in Chicago’s ability to collect water revenue – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago's CFO Bennett: "On Tuesday, the Sun-Times published an article titled “Chicago water bill collections plummet without threat of shut-offs.” The story was patently false and not supported by data. The article states that there was a $20 million decline in water revenues in November. However, this seasonality in collections happens every year. This reduction is due to non-metered residents paying their bills semi-annually, with one of those payments happening in October, not due to lower collection rates. This was information that the city comptroller’s office communicated to the Sun-Times, but the paper ignored."

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In Chicago’s Police Union Election, A Race To The Right – WBEZ

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The Standard Club, long the social nexus for Chicago’s Jewish leaders, is closing May 1 amid financial struggles – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago Schools Expected to Get State Aid Hike: Deputy Governor – Bloomberg

"The junk-rated Chicago Board of Education has been counting on higher state aid after Illinois’s new evidence-based funding formula became law in August 2017, sending more aid to districts with lower resources"

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Aldermen say they are getting frozen out of pot shop zoning process – Chicago Sun-Times

Aldermen never had prerogative over the Zoning Board of Appeals, which is tasked with doling out the special-use zoning permits pot companies need to open. While aldermen used to be able submit a letter of opposition and have an unfavorable applicant stricken from the ZBA’s agenda, they aren't sure how to assert their influence now.

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Op-Ed: On first anniversary of reform, Chicago Police Department on its way to fundamental change – Chicago Sun-Times

"While progress has been made and we remain steadfast in our commitment to implementing sustainable reform, we are not yet where we want to be in many areas of the consent decree. Deadlines have been missed. Compliance has yet to be achieved in several important areas."

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Lightfoot on City Council pushback: ‘I don’t buy votes’ – Chicago Sun-Times

“I don’t need or want a rubber-stamp City Council. I think that undermines the legitimacy of all government when that happens,” the mayor said.

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City of Chicago Employees Complain Of Lax Coronavirus Information – NBC5 (Chicago)

Spokeswoman Hali Levandoski responded that the same information should apply to workers and residents alike.

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Beware America: Rahm’s Long Con Could Get Him Back To White House – Konkol – Patch

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Distressed Harvey eyes future restructuring bond deal – The Bond Buyer

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For Growing Numbers of Struggling U.S. Cities, the Downturn Has Arrived – Wall Street Journal

Comment: A particularly good story on the plight of many cities getting left behind, with a special focus on Harvey, Illinois.

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Lightfoot acknowledges coronavirus impact on a city budget that relies heavily on tourism taxes – Chicago Sun-Times

Civic Federation President Laurence Msall has warned that the city does not have “adequate reserves to address an unexpected drop in economic activity” tied to the coronavirus.

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Chicago teachers union leaders back Sanders, becoming latest to offer personal endorsements as unions tread carefully – Chalkbeat

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Jussie Smollett Case Looms Over Campaign for Chicago’s Top Prosecutor – Wall Street Journal

The primary campaign for Chicago’s top prosecutor has been a fight over bail reform, gun control and when to press charges against shoplifters, but the race might come down to one issue: Jussie Smollett.

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Chicago Public Schools Releases Coronavirus Plan With Message to Families – NBC Chicago

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Running list of Chicago-area closings and cancellations because of coronavirus – Chicago Tribune

Experts in Illinois still say the risk to the average person in the Chicago area remains low if they haven’t had known contact with an infected person or traveled to an area with an active outbreak.

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CPS board accused of breaking law by dumping Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day – Chicago Sun-Times

The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans stopped short of threatening a lawsuit. The group would only declare last week’s vote a violation of state law and the Open Meetings Act and vow to exhaust “every legal procedure possible.

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Top mayoral aide vows massive re-write of Chicago’s home-sharing ordinance – Chicago Sun-Times

The promise was a response to horror stories shared by residents whose lives have been made miserable by party houses.

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Fears of Coronavirus Spreading in Chicago Area Spark Cancelations, Hurting Businesses – NBC Chicago

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Chicago water bill collections plummet without threat of shut-offs – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago appears to be paying a heavy price for that kinder, gentler approach. And it could have long-term ramifications for the largest of four city employee pension funds.

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Coronavirus poses a dire threat to city and state budgets – Crain’s

The cost of the virus and a possible recession are terrible news for City Hall and Springfield, both already struggling to pay their bills. “We don’t have any reserves. We don’t have any unrestricted funds that are being held in abeyance,” warns a civic watchdog.

Why Melinda Gates Is Betting On Chicago – Forbes

Chicago continues to make tremendous strides in becoming a tech epicenter for inclusive, economic growth, and the big names in tech have taken notice. Last month, Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures announced that it would invest $50 million into Chicago and two other cities over the next five years to boost women’s involvement in the tech industry.

Who wants to live in the Thompson Center? – Chicago Agent

Known as the State of Illinois Center before being renamed for the state’s longest-serving governor in 1993, the central Loop property has served as a sort of secondary capitol building since it opened in 1985. Last spring, Pritzker signed into law an amendment to state procurement law that would allow for the sale of the massive postmodern structure.

‘Secret hearings’ have allowed CPD to keep suspects in custody for more than 48-hour limit – Chicago Sun-Times

But for more than a decade, the Chicago Police Department has had a policy that provides a workaround to the 48-hour deadline: ad hoc, largely off-the-books “after-hours” court hearings held at courthouses adjacent to police stations — and often inside the stations themselves — that were until recently coordinated by the city Law Department

Editorial: How to keep bad actors from trashing the rental market on Chicago’s South Side – Chicago Sun-Times

With real estate investors flocking to the South Side these days, now is a good time for the city to send a loud and clear message: The days of the slumlord are over. If you’re buying up real estate in Chicago, do it right or face the consequences.

McCormick Place show canceled amid coronavirus fears – Crain’s

The International Housewares Association calls off a show that brings nearly 60,000 people who book more than 47,000 room nights at area hotels.

Chicago named top metro area for corporate investment – Chicago Sun-Times

This marks the seventh consecutive year the Chicago metro area earned the honor from Site Selection magazine.

How ADUs could transform Chicago into a more affordable, accessible place to live – Curbed Chicago

Here’s what you need to know about the return of coach houses, granny flats, and attic and basement unit.

Clouted developer, ally of ex-Ald. Solis bids to become pot shop landlord — but says competitors might be sabotaging him – Chicago Sun-Times

A former driver for legendary Bears quarterback Sid Luckman, this developer made headlines in 2009 after Rod Blagojevich expunged his 24-year-old criminal record for theft and forgery on Blagojevich’s last day as governor. More recently, the developer's name appeared in a 2016 affidavit for a search warrant of ex-Ald. Solis’ 25th Ward offices.

Rahm Emanuel, Bruce Rauner break the ice – Chicago Sun-Times

Emanuel and Rauner are longtime friends and former business associates. They made millions together. Their families vacationed together. Their inability to make that friendship work for the good of both the city and the state will go down as one of the great mysteries and failures of both of their administrations.

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot Unveils Coronavirus Preparedness Plans – CBS2

There is what’s called a ‘tabletop exercise’ happening next week among Chicago leaders. That’s where they’ll take what we know about coronavirus so far, and work through the logistics of what Chicago would do if schools and transportation shut down because of coronavirus in the city.

CPS board challenges claims of possible cheating on standardized tests — but inspector general says it would be ‘naive’ to rule it out – Chicago Tribune

“You’re taking away the credit of all the hard work of all the teachers ... and then the students that actually deliver upon that,” one School Board member said. “Is there an assertion happening here that you’re questioning the growth in black and brown neighborhoods and questioning the validity of the growth that you’ve seen there."

Op-Ed: Commentary: Chief Judge Timothy Evans on bail reform: More context is needed to understand report – Chicago Tribune

"Denial of pretrial release because an individual cannot afford bail harms the lives of defendants — who are presumed innocent at this stage of the case — by adversely affecting their employment, housing, education, child care and ability to prepare for trial."

You’ll pay more for gas, electric in Chicago with expected Peoples Gas, ComEd hikes – Chicago Sun-Times

ComEd and Peoples Gas are planning significant capital spending that threatens to eat up any savings that might have come from low energy prices.

Lightfoot Won’t Support Changing Columbus Day To Indigenous Peoples Day As A City Holiday – Block Club Chicago

The mayor said there was more the city could do to “elevate the history of indigenous people” in Chicago, but she does not plan to eliminate Columbus Day.

As Citywide Crisis Deepens, Residents Await Lightfoot’s Master Plan On Affordable Housing – Block Club Chicago

Lightfoot’s administration has checked off several items on the 10-point housing plan her campaign released in 2018, but city officials’ hands have been tied by a limited pool of taxpayer dollars and a persistent budget crisis.

Cook County official fires aide he gave sweet deal on Oak Lawn home following Sun-Times questions – Chicago Sun-Times

Land Bank Authority boss sold his assistant a home for less than developers offered. Then, she took a homestead exemption — her third.