Sunday, May 24, 2020

Reopening churches ‘dangerous and foolish,’ Lightfoot tells Trump – Chicago Sun-Times

“We’re gradually moving in that direction, but there’s no doubt, the most important thing is we do not want parishioners to get ill because their faith leaders bring them together,” Pritzker said.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot rejects President Donald Trump call to open churches – Chicago Tribune

“I think we have to realize that virtually everything he says has a political undertone and basis for it,” Lightfoot said. “Look, we are working with our faith community, just like we’re working with businesses to set up very specific guidelines to help them to be able to reopen safely.”
The mayor noted Trump has had to “walk back” various proclamations he has made during the coronavirus crisis or seen his assertions “get undercut by people who are wiser than him on some of these issues.”
“He has said so many dangerous and foolish things. Add this to the list,” Lightfoot said.

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Chicago fields thousands of complaints of businesses operating in violation of stay-at-home order – ABC7 (Chicago)

There have been citations issued to 126 businesses so far; 48 of those since the beginning of May, after the expansion of retailers allowed to open for curbside pickups. The cited businesses include bars that allowed dine-in, gyms, yoga studios, hookah lounges, tobacco shops, hair salons, sporting goods stores and beauty supply stores.

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Parents Return To Work Next Week, But Day Cares And Camps Are Still Closed: ‘What Am I Gonna Do?’ – Block Club Chicago

There are only about 2,650 emergency child care providers open across the state; Those that are open can only serve 10 children at a time. Non-emergency day cares can’t reopen until Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan, which Chicago won’t be able to progress to until at least late June. Parents are worried about their businesses or positions at work if they have to remain home to look after their kids.

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Cook County Board votes to release names of suburban coronavirus patients to first responders – WGNTV (Chicago)

Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she was profoundly disappointed by the vote; She said it would particularly impact the African American and Latinx communities. Mayor Lightfoot took to Twitter to voice her displeasure and said it will never become law in Chicago.

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Chicago area governments laying off workers as revenues fall amid coronavirus – WGNTV (Chicago)

“My budget director is projecting a budget shortfall of anywhere between $800,000 and $1.2 million,” Riverdale Mayor Lawrence Jackson said. “Worse-case scenario we will probably need to reduce our staff by a third.”

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Cook County Residents Unable To Get Death Certificates Because They Aren’t Considered Essential – CBS2 (Chicago)

The Vital Records Office is in Chicago’s Loop, and so far no ones been furloughed. Employees are just working from home.

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In close vote, Cook County Board agrees to release COVID-19 patient addresses – Daily Herald

The decision comes a day after a Lake County judge rejected Sheriff John Idleburg's legal bid to force the county health department to provide information about COVID-19 patients. McHenry County's sheriff won a similar suit last month, while health departments in DuPage and Will counties are voluntarily providing addresses of COVID-19 patients.

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Cook County Board passes Sept. 30 disaster proclamation extension, property tax late fee waiver – Chicago Tribune

Commissioners voted 15-2 to extend the disaster proclamation, which allows Preckwinkle to issue executive orders, move money around, procure essential supplies such as personal protective equipment and make other decisions without the board’s direct approval. Part of the disaster resolution also includes allowing county Budget Director Annette Guzman to approve budgetary transfer requests greater than $50,000.

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The Debate Over Reopening Places of Worship – WTTW (Chicago)

Pastor Reginald Sharpe Jr. of the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on the South Side has made it clear his church will not be opening its doors anytime soon. “We’re all trying to live and exist. While we can’t have church traditionally, we can still have church consistently.”

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‘We’re Not Them … We’re Gonna Be Smart’: Unlike Florida And Georgia, Chicago Will Reopen Based On Science, Lightfoot Says – Block Club Chicago

Iowa, which never implemented a stay at home order, did see more people die because of it, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study compared the state with Illinois, and “researchers concluded that the lockdown may have helped limit infections in Illinois — and that Iowa could have benefited from the same policy.”

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Lightfoot announces $1.2M investment in mental health resources for city residents – WGNTV (Chicago)

The city will focus on three areas: community-based treatment to connect residents to resources they need, telemedicine to provide services to people with limited access, and self-care resources.

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Outdoor Dining On May 29? Not Likely In Chicago, Lightfoot Says — But Could Happen ‘Soon In June’ – Block Club Chicago

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Pastors Upset After Chicago Police Issue Citations for Violating State Restrictions – NBC5 (Chicago)

“If that’s what it takes to continue our mandate to serve our people, then it’s a price we are willing to pay,” Ionescu, pastor of the Elim Romanian Pentecoastal Church who is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 12, said. “It’s unconstitutional, and unlawful. We believe we have been targeted by officials.”

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Lightfoot Vows to Push Ahead With Effort to Give Tenants 90 Days’ Notice Before Evictions Despite Opposition – WTTW (Chicago)

Tenants can now be evicted without cause with 30 days’ notice. That is not nearly enough time for a single person, let alone a family, to find a new place to live and move, Lightfoot said.

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Admiral Theatre is among a bevy of adult businesses suing to get a PPP loan. So far, the nightclubs are winning – Chicago Tribune

Lawsuits brought by adult clubs in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan argue they should be eligible for federal emergency relief, just like any other small business. “This is not an adult entertainment issue,” said Luke Lirot, a Florida attorney representing the Admiral Theater in the lawsuit, which was filed May 8 in Chicago federal court. “This a guy that sweeps the floor that’s not getting a paycheck issue.”

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Chicago fines churches for holding services in violation of statewide lockdown order – Fox News

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Residents say they are being kept in the dark about COVID-19 as nearly 90 deaths are recorded at low-income housing in Chicago. ‘This is dangerous.’ – Chicago Tribune

Advocates say residents in public housing are often just as vulnerable as people in nursing homes, where the death rates have garnered more attention.

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Aldermen Approve $20M Tax Break For Downtown Project, After Two-Month Delay Due To Questions About Minority Participation – CBS2 (Chicago)

“Let this be a message to developers and contractors throughout the city of Chicago, that when coming forward with projects that require City Council approval, please keep in mind that 32 members of the City Council are either black or brown, and that we are demanding that on any project that there be a reflection of the city of Chicago,” Economic Development Committee chair Ald. Gilbert Villegas said. “Any developer or any contractor that seeks City Council approval needs to take into account and consideration that there be some diversity and some parity when awarding some of these contracts.”

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Chicago Churches Get Disorderly Conduct Citations After Hosting In-Person Services During Stay At Home Order – Block Club Chicago

Said Cristian Ionescu, Elim Romanian’s pastor, “It’s like they think I was drunk and fighting in a bar or something.”

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Editorial: Blaming politicians for nursing home deaths? Big picture required – Chicago Tribune

"If high death rates at nursing homes have been due to neglect or lack of preparedness — or, as some try to argue, politics — the tragedies happened almost across the board. It is why elected officials here and elsewhere need to be ready for possible second and third waves of coronavirus outbreaks this fall and beyond, and why preparations should be underway to funnel resources to long-term care facilities."

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Aldermen Approve Measures Designed to Help Ease Damage Caused by Coronavirus – WTTW (Chicago)

Employers are now blocked from firing or retaliating against employees who decline to return to work because they have been ordered to isolate by public health officials.

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Chicago Teachers Union Suing CPS, Betsy DeVos Over Special Education Plans – WTTW (Chicago)

A federal lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos claims teachers now face an “impossible burden” to revise these plans for remote learning during the final weeks of the school year. CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said, “Make no mistake: this lawsuit against the district is not about helping students – it's about avoiding the necessary steps to ensure our most vulnerable students are supported during this unprecedented crisis."

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Last Year It Cost $5 For West Side Community Gardens To Tap Into City Water. Now The Price Is $1,700 – Block Club Chicago

After the initial installation, the city also requires the reduced pressure zone valve to be recertified twice a year, tacking on an additional $150 each time. “People wonder why the West Side is in such a mess, but it’s because people don’t get support from the city government,” one garden manager said.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Is Prioritizing a Coronavirus Recovery for the Wealthy, Not Average Chicagoans – Jacobin

Jacobin is a leading socialist publication.

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Haircuts at Forest View police station cause controversy: ‘It’s just not right’ – Fox32 (Chicago)

In late March, Police Chief Gary Wiseman sent an email to his officers saying, "If you are in need of a haircut, I know I am, I can get a hairstylist to come to the police department to carry out that service." But the village trustees in Forest View say the police chief had no business turning the station into a barbershop for his personal hair stylist.

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Bipartisan group seeks to reduce size of DuPage County Board – Daily Herald

Board member Mary FitzGerald Ozog said reducing the board by six members will give taxpayers "a significant savings" of more than $312,000 in salaries. Each board member is paid $52,102 annually and can receive health and dental insurance through the county. If approved, the change would take effect by the 2022 election, when all board seats will be up because of redistricting after the 2020 Census.

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Public Dining, No PPE: McHenry Mayor Loosens Lockdown Rules – Patch (Crystal Lake-Cary)

"We're not going to be enforcing the PPE," McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett said. He went on to claim that the executive order does not clash with Pritzker's executive order because the restaurants do not maintain the outdoor dining areas themselves. Instead, Jett said, the seating areas are on city-owned property, and therefore "there's nothing that we're doing that is so against" the governor's executive order.

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‘Need a better way forward’: Furor erupts over Pritzker emergency rule criminalizing business reopenings – Cook County Record

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Chicago blocks church parking lots to enforce stay-at-home order – The Hill

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McDonald’s workers in Chicago file lawsuit against fast-food chain for its coronavirus response – CNBC

The plaintiffs allege that McDonald’s is not giving workers enough masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to protect themselves from the virus. The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, comes as McDonald’s prepares to reopen dining rooms across the country, sending U.S. franchisees a 59-page guide for changes to make at their restaurants.

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Naperville Park District Will Sue to Reopen More Quickly – NBC5 (Chicago)

A spokeswoman for the Naperville Park District said Monday that the organization was preparing a lawsuit but it had not yet been filed. "There is no acceptable rationale where a family of four who lives together cannot share a tee time which demonstrates how the Governors [sic] orders are arbitrary and capricious," the Board's agenda read before the vote to sue.

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Sears Helped Build a Giant Entertainment Arena. Now, a Suburb Pays Millions to Keep It Running – ProPublica

"Today, the Sears Centre is a demonstration of the risk of entangling private corporate interests and public tax dollars. Hoffman Estates taxpayers are now on the hook to pay off the bond, which will cost $108 million over the full term of the note."

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Chicago expects to lose $500 million this year from coronavirus – The Bond Buyer

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McHenry County residents may choose moving to Wisconsin over paying increased property taxes – Daily Herald

"We knew that people were being taxed out of their homes and that we had to do something," said McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks. "I begged the other taxing bodies to follow our example." In a few months since the pandemic began, McHenry County's unemployment rate has risen from around 4% to "over 12.5%," according to Franks.

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Temperature scanners may be the future of re-entry – WGNTV (Chicago)

Dr. William Yates, a former trauma surgeon who now manages the Chicago-based company Yates Enterprises, started off selling metal detectors; Now he wants to find fevers. “With COVID, we know that having a fever is the only hard sign of people who are symptomatic,” he said. “And the country has to get back to work,” he said. The technology is already in place at Mazzone Pasta factory in suburban Bloomingdale, where employees stop at the non-contact scanner as they enter the facility.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s first year in office was filled with big moments and tough decisions. Then the coronavirus ‘changed everything.’ – Chicago Tribune

During her tumultuous first year in office, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired the police superintendent, presided over a 11-day teachers strike and fought to strip aldermen of powers in their wards. And in her first budget cycle as mayor, she successfully shepherded a spending plan through the City Council that closed an $838 million deficit without a dreaded property tax hike.

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Statement by DuPage County Sheriff rejecting Pritzker’s shutdown order – Facebook

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Chicago to Fine Churches That Held Services in Violation of Stay-at-Home Order – NBC Chicago

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Coronavirus’s Toll on Chicago Budget ‘In Excess of $500 Million’: Official – WTTW (Chicago)

Comment: Believe that number if you want. We suspect it is far larger and growing for an indefinite period. And the city claims it will not have to revise the city’s 2020 spending plan.

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City Council committee OKs bare-bones, $100M capital plan with promise of bigger bond issue later this year – Chicago Sun-Times

Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10th) agreed making do with $1.32 million a year in her large Southeast Side ward is “like putting a Band-Aid on a machete wound.”

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Amid ridership plunge, South Shore receives $73 million in federal aid – Post-Tribune (Merrilville)

The South Shore will use some of its CARES money to buy ticket-vending machines that take cash, so the train’s conductors don’t have to handle money potentially contaminated with virus. CARES funding can’t be used, however, on the railroad’s major projects – the West Lake Corridor extension and the Double Track project.

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Chicago is suddenly flooded with unwanted office space – Crain’s Chicago Business

More tenants are looking to unload square footage they no longer need—an imminent threat to downtown landlords that just capped off their best year in more than a decade.

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Much of Illinois is On Track to Enter Phase 3 at End of May, But What About Chicago? – NBC5 (Chicago)

Though the city sits within a region that is so far on track to reopen as early as May 29, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has unveiled different guidelines for the city: "We're really thinking about June because if things keep going the way we are, we'll be in a good place."

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Chicago Thuggery Directed at Romanian Churches – Liberty Counsel

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More Cook County Forest Preserve Parking Lots to Close for Memorial Day Weekend – NBC5 (Chicago)

Forest Preserves Police will cite violators of the ban. Tickets come with fees of up to $500.

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‘No One Has Stopped Anyone From Worshiping’: Religious Leaders Defend Pandemic Restrictions – WBEZ

Said Pastor L. Bernard Jakes of West Point Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Side: “We have to worship in a different way, in a different location, but we have not stopped worshiping. We've not stopped fellowshipping; we just don't do it in the building.”

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Dozens of churchgoers defy Illinois’ coronavirus stay-at-home order, Chicago mayor to issue citations – Fox News

Lightfoot, who defended a haircut because she is the "public face" of the city, warned arrests could be made earlier this month, saying, "We will shut you down, we will cite you, and if we need to, we will arrest you and we will take you to jail," FOX 32 reports.

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Belmont Cragin neighbors protest church service during coronavirus pandemic – WGNTV (Chicago)

Some residents are taking up parking places withing a two block radius. They said do not wish to harass churchgoers, they just want to make it harder to attend services.

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Preckwinkle to seek extension of disaster proclamation until end of September — but one commissioner suggests it’s illegal – Chicago Sun-Times

A co-sponsor of the proposed resolution, Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, said there’s “more stability in giving a longer time frame now that we understand what’s happening” with the virus and what impact it will have on the county. “If we’re meeting as we are now, we can always repeal this,” Suffredin said.

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Hundreds defy stay-at-home order to attend church while mayor’s office warns that violators may be cited after review – Chicago Tribune

Chicago police said there were no arrests made or citations issued. On Sunday evening, Lightfoot’s office said in a statement, "The local districts are reviewing reports of large gatherings that took place today at various establishments not abiding by the Stay at Home order. Following that review, the Department will issue and mail citations where necessary."     that city officials worked with the Police Department to monitor large gatherings that defied the stay-at-home order, including faith gatherings.

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Coronavirus chaos — wrecked economy, less office space demand, scarce financing — challenges Chicago’s megadevelopments – Chicago Tribune

Despite difficult months or years to come, the top-tier megaprojects are more likely to be delayed than wiped out, experts say. What they’ve got going for them is they are conceived by large developers with deep-pocketed investors.

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Chicago hospital on the financial brink: St. Anthony’s fights for survival, sues state for money owed – Chicago Tribune

Hospital officials contend they already were owed $22 million for services provided to Medicaid patients as of mid-February.  Coupled with the loss of revenue from elective procedures and unplanned expenses, the hospital estimates COVID-19 has cost it $10 million, according to court records.

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Prognosis for COVID-19’s hit on Cook County finances plagued by ‘unknown unknowns’ – Chicago Sun-Times

“It’s worse than a hurricane, it’s worse than 9/11, it’s worse than the 2008 economic … downturn because this is a comprehensive stopping of the economy, a threat to public safety that forces total disruption of most traditional, economic activities.”

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Churches reopen for Sunday service in defiance of Illinois’ stay-at-home order – ABC Chicago

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Alderman: Mayor’s Office Bans Parking On Ravenswood Streets Near Church That Plans To Hold Sunday Services – CBS Chicago

See our own story on this linked here.

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Officials see some progress in COVID-19 battle but call for cautious reopening steps that are too slow for some – Chicago Tribune

Regarding hospital capacity, Allison Arwady, director of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said local hospitals are full, but so far have generally been able to “tolerate this surge of patients.” Asked whether hospitals could handle a new surge of cases as the city gradually reopens, Arwady said hundreds of beds are still available in one section of the McCormick Place medical facility as a backup.

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Naperville Park District to take legal action to reopen programs, facilities – Daily Herald

Naperville Park District's board of commissioners wants a judge to decide whether it can reopen district programs and facilities, regardless of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan.

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Some Northwest suburbs ask to be split from Chicago in governor’s Restore Illinois plan – Daily Herald

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Suburbs divided over governor’s stay-at-home order – WGNTV (Chicago)

In a letter sent to Governor Pritzker, 20 suburban cities are asking for different rules than the ones the governor laid out in his plan. Lumping us in with, and no offense to Chicago but lumping us in with such a large, densely populated community, or area in this case, is really hurting Schaumburg businesses and residents,” the mayor said.

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McHenry County Sheriff Says Deputies Won’t Enforce Pritzker’s ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order – NBC Chicago

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Burr Ridge mayor says ‘there is no clear or objective path to reaching Phase 4’ of Pritzker reopening plan

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Part II: Even more men accused of murder while free on “affordable bail” – CWB Chicago

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Southland communities lay off, furlough staff as coronavirus pandemic craters revenue projections – Daily Southtown

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Will County GOP chair, board member and biz owners sue Pritzker over emergency stay-at-home rule – Herald News

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Corrupt ex-Ald. Ambrosio Medrano released from prison over coronavirus concerns – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago Heights Ford Plant Reopens Monday As Workers Wear COVID-19 ‘Distance’ Watches – CBS Chicago

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With the focus on the coronavirus, Lightfoot opts for bare-bones capital plan – Chicago Sun-Times

A $100 million capital plan — bankrolled by an existing line of credit — will pay for new vehicles, sidewalks and the treasured aldermanic menu program. Normally, the city issues general obligation bonds backed by property taxes to cover a more sweeping capital program. But these are not normal times.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot urges Chicago faith leaders to observe stay-at-home order and says she will take action ‘if we have to’ – Chicago Tribune

"When you look across your congregations, do you see the elderly, or people with underlying medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or upper respiratory ailments — the kinds of underlying conditions that make each individual, old or young, significantly more vulnerable to COVID-19?

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Lightfoot Calls Off Demolition At Little Village Hilco Site After Protesters Show Up At Her House – Block Club Chicago

The April 11 implosion caused citywide outrage, especially as Chicago’s Latino community battles high rates of coronavirus. As of Friday morning, the 60623 ZIP code, which includes Little Village, has had 2,325 confirmed cases of COVID-19. At the time, Lightfoot slammed the site’s owner, Hilco Redevelopment Partners, and vowed to stop work at the site indefinitely.

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Editorial: A sliver of property tax relief in Cook County. A mountain of trouble ahead. – Chicago Tribune

"The county board should approve the Pappas-Preckwinkle proposal to waive late fees. It would give property owners throughout Cook County time to catch up. To take a breath...But nibbling around the edges won’t solve the property tax problems of Illinois."

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Despite threat of fines, it’s ‘business as usual’ at some Chicago retailers – WGNTV (Chicago)

The city’s business enforcement arm has fielded more than 3,400 complaints about alleged violations of the stay-at-home-order.

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Will COVID-19 force us to right racial health disparities? – Chicago Reader

Q&A with Dr. Clyde W. Yancy, chief of cardiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine - one of the first researchers to identify that COVID-19 deaths haven't been experienced evenly across all segments of the population.

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Federal Lawsuit filed against Governor Jay Robert Pritzker in his official capacity and the State of Illinois – Will County News

"As a Will County Board Member and Chair of the Homer township Republican Party, I can’t help the small business’s that are facing permanent closure. I cannot help people that lost their medical insurance or jobs. I cannot explain why they can not safely open their business. This shutdown is a direct violation of both the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions that we Americans will fight to the death to protect. Now when a person or business calls me, I will have a way they can join in fixing this dire situation."

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$2.5M in coronavirus stimulus to Navy Pier Inc., clout-heavy nonprofit run by $500K exec – Chicago Sun-Times

The company’s board of directors, which includes former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s daughter, spends more than $3 million a year on pay for Gardner and seven other top employees. That includes $419,204 for chief operating officer Brian Murphy, a former Chicago cop who was Daley’s deputy chief of staff, and $258,816 for vice president of operations Michael Degnan, the son of longtime Daley political adviser Timothy Degnan.

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Preckwinkle unveils COVID-19 recovery plan for Cook County focusing on racial equity – Chicago Tribune

Starting this month, the county will transition to the “Equitable Recovery” stage, which entails a recovery fund for the suburbs, a blueprint to spread internet access and a bid to salvage public transportation ridership.

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Willie Wilson voices support for 100 churches to reopen Sunday in defiance of stay-at-home order – ABC7 (Chicago)

Wilson said the pastors have agreed to enforce social distancing as well as provide masks and hand sanitizer. "Those liquor stores and other kind of stores are open. These are our churches and everything. So I think the governor and the mayor have failed the people," Wilson said.

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4,500 Small Businesses Apply for Emergency Grants: City Officials- WTTW (Chicago)

City officials awarded 959 grants through a lottery to coffee shops, day cares and travel companies with $5 million from foundations, individuals and businesses via The Chicago Community Trust in partnership with The One Chicago Fund. The businesses employ an average of two employees and have been operating for an average of 10 years, officials said.

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DePaul University Students Are Suing For Tuition Refunds After COVID-19 Shutdown – WBEZ (Chicago)

The class action lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, follows a national trend of students and parents suing for partial refunds after classes shifted online and campuses were shut down to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Chicago Teachers Union Calls On State To Force CPS To Bargain Over Remote Learning – WBEZ (Chicago)

The CTU’s complaint objects to a directive that case managers and teachers must create remote learning plans for all 50,000 students with disabilities in the school district. Plans are also required for another 10,000 students with medical issues. These students all already have individualized education or medical plans.

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Lightfoot acknowledges differences with Pritzker during pandemic – Chicago Sun-Times

Long before the pandemic, there were clashes behind the scenes between two of Illinois’ most powerful Democrats. Among them, Lightfoot floated a plan for a state takeover of Chicago’s four city employee pension funds only to be shot down cold by the governor.

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Judge Tosses Lawsuit From Albany Park Church Challenging Stay At Home Order – Block Club Chicago

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman threw out the complaint Wednesday, saying the churches did not establish that the state’s restrictions unfairly target religious services or gatherings. Pritzker’s order “has nothing to do with suppressing religion and everything to do with reducing infections and saving lives,” Gettleman wrote in his ruling.

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No June Beach Days For You: Chicago’s Lakefront Won’t Reopen In Phase 3, Lightfoot Says – Block Club Chicago

Though the state has started reopening parks and is allowing people to fish in boats (with just two people per boat), the city has said boating is still not allowed and the lakefront is closed.

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Cook County Board to vote on waiving 1.5% interest fee on late property tax payments through Oct. 1 – Chicago Tribune

Pappas said she and commissioners came to the idea of waiving late penalties after weighing the need for revenue for local governments with the financial strain inflicted on property owners.

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DuPage, Kane, McHenry leaders: We shouldn’t be on same reopening timeline as Cook County, Chicago – Daily Herald

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Real estate prices defy the crisis – Crain’s

Not only have Chicago-area home prices continued going up throughout the first several weeks of the shutdown, but several signs point to further increases in the coming weeks and months. Among them: a steady increase in the number of property showings, an ever-tighter inventory of houses for sale in the city and real estate agents’ reports of homes getting multiple offers.

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Lightfoot’s Plan to Protect Affordable Housing with $3M Fund Advances – WTTW (Chicago)

The $3 million would come from the city’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, which is fueled by the fees paid by developers under the Affordable Requirements Ordinance. The grants — or no-interest loans with deferred payments — are designed to make up for rent that residents were unable to pay during the pandemic or to pay for stepped up cleaning efforts to prevent the transmission of the virus, officials said.

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Taxpayers In America’s 10 Most Populous Cities Are Overburdened – Forbes

According to TIA’s analysis, “The City of Chicago has a Taxpayer Burden of $37,100, which is each taxpayer’s share of the city’s debt. Chicago taxpayers also pay taxes to the county and other underlying government units. If these debts are included, each taxpayer’s burden is $69,500. When state debt is added, each taxpayer has a burden of $122,100.”

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AP Exclusive: Chicago morgue coping despite surge in deaths – AP (Chicago)

On a recent morning when The Associated Press got exclusive access to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office for the day, Dr. Ponni Arunkumar scanned a list of 62 new death cases. The average last year was 20 a day.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot says city will ‘take action’ if defiant churches hold in-person services despite stay-at-home orders – Chicago Tribune

The dispute kicked off after Metro Praise International Church on the Northwest Side opened its doors for in-person services in an act church officials described as “passive resistance” to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s ongoing stay-at-home order.

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Lightfoot Would ‘Consider’ MLB’s Plan For Baseball Games This Summer — Though Likely Without Fans – Block Club Chicago

“There needs to be conversations at the city level and not just from on high at the MLB level,” Lightfoot said Tuesday. Last week, Gov. JB Pritzker said he wants to get professional sports going, but he doubts people will be able to watch in person for some time in Illinois.

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Grubhub, DoorDash Will Soon Have To Show You What They’re Charging Restaurants For Delivery – Block Club Chicago

The city is implementing new rules May 22 that will require third-party delivery services to give customers a breakdown of their purchase, including information on what commission or service fee a restaurant had to pay for the delivery, how much the food cost and taxes on the food.

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Racism ‘influences who lives and dies’ from COVID-19 – Crain’s

African Americans make up less than one-third of the city’s population, but as of April 29, they accounted for nearly 3 out of every 5 deaths from COVID-19, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. That translates to a death rate for black Chicagoans more than three times higher than that of non-Latino white residents.

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Lightfoot Announces New Rules to Force Delivery Apps to Disclose Fees – WTTW

Comment: What's next, force retailers to deliver their marketing costs (GrubHub is really just a marketing service)? Force landlords to disclose their borrowing costs? Force cable TV to disclose what the pay network content providers? The list is endless. Force all sellers to disclose their margins?

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More men charged with murder while free on “affordable bail,” records show – CWB Chicago

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Chicago region falling short of reopening metrics, as Illinois’ COVID-19 peak now expected in mid-June – WGNTV (Chicago)

The latest models also suggest Illinois will reach its peak in coronavirus cases without overwhelming the healthcare system in the state, according to health officials.

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Cook County April Revenue Estimates Show Early Impact of COVID-19 – Civic Federation

April revenues off by a stunning 42% compared to budget. Only taxes on booze, guns, ammo and video gaming beat the budget.

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CDH / Northwestern Medicine Chief Medical Officer Tells Ives: Pritzker’s Plan Means Suburbs Shut Down for “A Year… Maybe a Year and A Half.” – Lake County Gazette

“We are hopeful that Remdesivir helps, but it is not a wonder-drug,” said Dr. Kevin Most, Chief Medical Officer at Northwestern Medicine at Central DuPage Hospital.

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Illinois Receives First Shipment of Remdesivir, With Most Vials Going to Cook County – NBC5 (Chicago)

The state received 140 cases of the drug on Saturday. The cases had enough vials to treat approximately 700 patients.

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Seniors Demand More Coronavirus Protection from the Chicago Housing Authority – NBC5 (Chicago)

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The Timeline for Re-Opening Schools is Debatable. Ensuring that They are Safe When They Do is Not. My Initial Checklist of Steps We Must Implement – Paul Vallas

"The damage that has been done to all students may never be reversed unless schools embrace a comprehensive strategy to put infrastructure and protocols in place to avoid further disruptions next year, and take steps to compensate for lost instructional time over the summer."

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Chicago’s Union Pickpockets – Wall Street Journal

Do public unions feel obliged to follow the law? Apparently the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) doesn’t, according to a new lawsuit filed by teachers who say they’ve been forced to make compulsory dues payments though they’ve left the union.

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Quarantine Is Good for One Chicago Sports Franchise – Chicago Magazine

Arguably, the most famous Chicago athlete to those not old enough to drink isn’t Kris Bryant or Zach Levine — it’s Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the professional Fortnite player who makes millions of dollars by broadcasting himself playing video games from his suburban Chicago home.

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Chicago Intercepts Tax Refunds To Collect Unpaid Debt, Hitting Poor Black Areas The Hardest – Block Club Chicago

In Chicago, fines and fees — and how they are collected — have become a key issue of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s young administration. She has vowed to break the city’s “addiction” to raising revenue “on the backs of low-income people."

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At least 2 Chicago churches held services Sunday against officials’ wishes – WGNTV (Chicago)

One of them has filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.

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Aldermen Endorse Plan to Spare Businesses from ‘Fair Workweek’ Lawsuits for 6 Months – WTTW (Chicago)

Aldermen also endorsed a measure that would block employers from firing or retaliating against employees who decline to return to work because they have been ordered to isolate by public health officials.

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City Releases Online Survey So You Can Share Ideas For Reopening Chicago – Block Club Chicago

The short survey includes questions about what you’re struggling with under the stay at home order, how you’re practicing social distancing and what’s helped you cope during the crisis.

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Schools Could Reopen In The Fall, Lightfoot Says — But Teachers Union Disagrees – Block Club Chicago

Union President Jesse Sharkey said that the mayor may be making promises to sound reassuring, but without a promise of changes like hand-washing stations and increased cleaning staff, conversations about returning to school were premature.

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Restore Illinois Plan ‘Implementation Is Bad:’ Mayor of Downers Grove

"This plan has the real possibility of being a multi-year plan, fatal to many of our local businesses and a disaster to families across our community."

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Chicago church opens its doors Sunday in ‘passive resistance’ to Illinois stay-at-home order – ABC7 (Chicago)

A Northwest Side church opened its doors for in-person Sunday services on the second weekend of Illinois' modified stay-at-home order.

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Prosecutors: Group beat, robbed man who asked them to maintain social distancing at Uptown sandwich shop – CWB Chicago

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Reopen Illinois rally draws big crowd to Oswego shopping center – Northwest Herald

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When Will Chicago-Area Shopping Malls Reopen? Not for Awhile, Pritzker Indicates – NBC5 (Chicago)

A spokeswoman for Simon Property Group - the biggest mall owner in the U.S., including Orland Square Mall in Orland Park, Gurnee Mills in Gurnee, Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg and Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora - said in a statement Friday that the company "will comply with all state and local orders and only open properties when permitted to do so."

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Suit: Chicago Teachers Union violates members’ rights, forces them to keep paying dues, despite leaving union – Cook County Record

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FAA Proposes $1.29 Million Civil Penalty Against the City of Chicago Department of Aviation – FAA Press Release

The FAA alleges that the Department violated aircraft rescue and firefighting regulations, and that it  failed to ensure that the Fire Department maintained required training records.

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Chicago Announces Vague Plan To Reopen, But Lockdown Could Last Longer If We Don’t Stay Home In May – Block Club Chicago

The city’s reopening plan is very similar to Pritzker’s, but there is an ability to move between phases every 14 days instead of every 28 days. Unlike the state plan — which dictates when salons, restaurants and other businesses can reopen — the city plan is more focused on public gatherings.

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Lake Co encourages COVID-19 violation snitching – Illinois Review

The violations the Board wants citizens to report include: a non-essential business that is open; a business not maintaining separation in lines or store; a gathering of people in a private place; a gathering of people in a public place; and a restaurant serving sit-down diners.

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How COVID-19 Could Hit Chicago’s Budget – WBEZ (Chicago)

Before the pandemic hit, city officials had already projected budget shortfalls beyond 2020’s historic budget gap. Assuming a stable economy and little to no changes in revenues and expenses, budget documents predicted a $1.187 billion deficit for 2021 — one of the largest in city history.

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Lightfoot eyeing ‘range of revenue-generating options’ to recover money lost to coronavirus – Chicago Sun-Times

She would only say, “The reality is that, when you have to have revenue, it’s going to impact someone — and probably someones plural. But we’re looking at efficiencies that we save internally first. I still believe that you can’t go out and talk to the taxpayers about sacrifice if you’re not making commonsense sacrifices within city government.”

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Mayor’s office closes Cook County Forest Preserve golf courses within city limits for the remainder of May – Chicago Tribune

"Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office last week allowed Illinois courses to open under 'strict safety guidelines' that include 15-minute intervals between tee times, no access to driving ranges, no groups larger than twosomes and no carts without a doctor’s note or handicap placard. Why the disconnect between the mayor’s office and the governor’s office?"

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Nonunion Chicago educators sue CTU, AFT to end forced union dues – Illinois Policy Institute

The Chicago Teachers Union’s collection of union dues from workers who’ve disassociated from the union is an infringement on employees’ First Amendment rights, a new federal lawsuit claims.

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Read Mayor Lightfoot’s Plan for Reopening Chicago – NBC5 (Chicago)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday unveiled city-specific guidelines for reopening during the coronavirus pandemic. Lightfoot's plan includes five phases, similar to the roadmap unveiled by Illinois' governor earlier this week.

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Ford reopening Chicago Assembly Plant, other factories in boon for ailing steel mills – NWI Times

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker plans to recall 12,000 auto workers who can't work remotely as it takes a phased approach to reopening.

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Citadel Moved Its Operations To A Makeshift Trading Floor At The Four Seasons In Palm Beach – ZeroHedge

The company has "mostly" abandoned its Chicago and New York offices.

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Hundreds of city workers take on new jobs to meet pandemic needs – Chicago Sun-Times

Ssaid Rich Guidice, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, who’s helping to spearhead the pandemic response, “We have all 32 city agencies that have been involved with the emergency operation center in some capacity." Hundreds of city workers have been redeployed; An exact number wasn’t available.

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Lightfoot outlines Springfield agenda for Democratic lawmakers – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot told Democratic lawmakers Thursday she has three items on her Springfield agenda: a Chicago casino; renewed authorization for a $5-month-tax on telephone bills; and no cuts to the city’s share of the state sales tax.

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Misplaced Benevolence – City Journal

In Chicago and elsewhere, the bail-reform movement is putting the public at risk. Proactively posting bond for Chicago’s violent repeat offenders has resulted in serious and avoidable new crimes.

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Chicago museums facing financial woes as major exhibits are sidelined by pandemic – Chicago Sun-Times

If the virus shutdown were to stretch through July 1, the Field Museum alone would likely experience a revenue shortfall of $20 million.

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Lightfoot Vows to Confront ‘Surge’ of Coronavirus Cases Among Latino Chicagoans – WTTW (Chicago)

Lightfoot said the data was “no less breathtaking” than the rate of infection in Chicago’s African American community, which prompted the mayor to sound a “public health red alarm” on April 6.

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Pritzker’s plan to reopen Illinois leaves convention industry in limbo. ‘We’re in no man’s land right now.’ – Chicago Tribune

Between July and December, McCormick Place is scheduled to host 67 events with an expected attendance of 781,168 people, said spokeswoman Cynthia McCafferty. Those meetings, and conventions translate to 585,199 nights in hotel rooms and generate $922.7 million in economic impact, including spending on food and entertainment.

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Pitchfork Music Festival 2020 canceled over coronavirus – WGNTV (Chicago)

The Pitchfork Music Festival in mid-July is one of Chicago’s largest summer gatherings.

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Column: Pritzker’s Coronavirus Testing Push Missing Minority Hot Spots? – Patch (Chicago)

"If Gov. J.B. Pritzker's response to the new coronavirus crisis really is based on "science and data" as he claims, there would be a state-run testing site in Auburn Gresham by now. The African-American enclave sits in the 60620 ZIP Code, which has one of the state's highest infection rates."

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Festivals, Concerts Canceled Until Coronavirus Is Defeated, But Pritzker Won’t Commit To Canceling Lolla – Block Club Chicago

Lollapalooza is currently scheduled for July 30-Aug. 2, though the festival tweeted last week it was still working “to determine our plans.” Said Pritzker, "I think people will make their own projections going forward about the likelihood of it."

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Chicago sees broad reductions in crime and arrests in the wake of COVID-19 sheltering restrictions, though violence problem remains stubborn – Chicago Tribune

It’s an extremely sharp drop that could be explained by a couple of different factors, according to law enforcement sources, among them that cops may be limiting their contact with those suspects because of the pandemic.

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Developers aim for city OK on Michael Reese site this year – Chicago Sun-Times

Cynthia Roubik, assistant commissioner at the Department of Planning and Development, said the project could receive $31 million in subsidies from the tax increment financing program. She said most of the money would be used for environmental cleanup at the northern end of the site, where a radium processing plant operated in the early 1900s.

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Fewer Drivers And Passengers Mean New Realities For Chicago Transportation Agencies – NBC5 (Chicago)

There are estimates that Metra will face a revenue shortfall this year of at least $331 million due to farebox and sales tax declines; The agency expects that to continue well into next year, with projected losses of another $204 million. The CTA is expected to face a shortfall this year alone of over $551 million. And transit officials say the expected Pace loss this year will be in excess of $71 million.

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Lightfoot rules out public safety cuts, but worried about state shortfall’s impact on state aid to Chicago – Chicago Sun-Times

Lightfoot has refused to project Chicago’s budget shortfall, fearing an initial estimate would end up too low and must be revised upward at a time when laid off Chicagoans are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table.

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Are there Nazis in Chicago? – Patheos

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1,000 People In Chicago Have Died From Coronavirus, Lightfoot Says – Block Club Chicago

Lightfoot said she thinks Chicago is a “little further along than” the second inning — more like the fourth inning. But we’re “in a very, very tough game that looks like it’s going to go into extra innings."

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Chicago Police Wouldn’t Arrest His Machete-Wielding Neighbor. They Gave Him Advice On Shooting Instead. – WBEZ (Chicago)

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Coronavirus in Chicago: How the mayor of the nation’s 3rd-largest city is waging her biggest fight – USA Today

Lightfoot, 57, has gained national attention for effectively shepherding the nation's third-largest city through the crisis of a generation. Her humor and iron-fisted resolve have provided both welcome levity and comfort for many Chicagoans watching the city’s case count creep upward. But in a city long dominated by a history of machine politics and mayoral boses, critics warn that Lightfoot is capitalizing on the crisis to consolidate authority at City Hall.

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Mayor Lightfoot outraged over parties in Chicago: ‘We will arrest you and take you to jail’ – Fox Chicago

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Could the Stay-at-Home Order Go Past May? – WTTW (Chicago)

The mayor said that Chicago had been at 82% compliance with the stay-at-home order, but in the past week the city has slipped to 77% compliance. “And I know that a lot of people have expectations that come June we’re going to be out of this. Not if we keep seeing what we’re seeing over the course of the last week. We still haven’t seen cases go down – they’re continuing to go up.”

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America’s biggest cities were already losing their allure. What happens next? – New York Times

The pandemic has been particularly devastating to America’s biggest cities, as the virus has found fertile ground in the density that is otherwise prized. And it comes as the country’s major urban centers were already losing their appeal for many Americans, as skyrocketing rents and changes in the labor market have pushed the country’s youngest adults to suburbs and smaller cities often far from the coasts. The country’s three largest metropolitan areas, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, all lost population in the past several years, according to an analysis by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.

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Evanston city officials preparing for pandemic-related budget shortfall with layoffs, new loan – Pioneer Press

Following a round of layoffs, Evanston aldermen this week moved to take out a $15 million loan to keep city services running during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Interim City Manager said the budget hole is expected to grow to $15-20 million as economic losses continue through July and the end of the calendar year.

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Cook County bond rating outlook downgraded from stable to negative – Chicago Sun-Times

“We view Cook County as having more exposure to the economic recession due to a high degree of economic sensitive revenues, high fixed costs, and health enterprise risk," Blake Yocom, an S&P Global Ratings credit analyst, said in a statement announcing the outlook change.

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Chicago Residents Tear Down Fences To Get Into Locked Down City Parks – The Federalist

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Mayor Lightfoot Says She Is Working To Avoid City Government Layoffs Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – WBBM

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McCormick Place Field Hospital Being Phased Out, City Says – Block Club Chicago

The negative-pressure tents that were set up to help more severely ill patients will remain at McCormick Place, according to the Mayor’s Office. Officials want to ensure they can be used in case hospital capacity diminishes since the new stay at home order has allowed hospitals to restart elective surgeries.

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Monthly Case Shiller Index: Chicago Area Home Prices Fall Further Behind Rest Of Nation – ChicagoNow

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Lightfoot ‘cheers’ ruling on sanctuary cities – One Illinois

She said, “Mayor Rahm Emanuel began this battle, and my administration has continued to fight hard to ensure we receive the funds we are entitled to without bending to the political agenda on immigration that the Trump administration is trying to force upon us as a Welcoming City.”

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Chicago Lakefront, Golf Courses Remain Closed Even As Some State Courses Open — And No Boating Allowed, City Says – Block Club Chicago

Pritzker’s order says Illinois golf courses can reopen if players practice social distancing, and people can fish as long as they’re only two to a boat. But in Chicago, fishing and boating remain banned and golf courses must stay closed, according to a Friday announcement from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

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Cook County judge rules against mandating COVID-19 address-sharing to first responders – Chicago Tribune

At a hearing Friday, the judge noted that a list of those with COVID-19 could not be comprehensive enough to ensure first responders’ safety and could cause harm to residents.

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Chicago Police Issued More Than 4,600 Dispersal Orders, Arrested 17 in Enforcing Stay-at-Home Order in April – NBC5 (Chicago)

CPD said overall crime across Chicago dropped by roughly 30% last month as compared to April of last year, though shootings did increase to 207 from 194 in April 2019.

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Chicago Nurses Show Up To Denounce Open Illinois Protesters: ‘We Are Tired Of Seeing People Die’ – Block Club Chicago

About 200 protesters gathered outside the Thompson Center Friday to demand Gov. JB Pritzker cancel his executive order that has shuttered many businesses since March 21.

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Chicago Cab Drivers Face ‘Impossible Situation’ During Pandemic – WBEZ (Chicago)

Last year, taxi drivers gave more than 1.5 million rides in March and took in more than $27 million in fares, according to city data. Last month, that number dropped to 557,000 rides, and brought in only $10 million.

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Trump Administration Can’t Yank Funds From Chicago For Protecting Immigrants: Appeals Court – WTTW (Chicago)

The 2-1 ruling by a panel of the appeals court extends a nationwide injunction blocking the Department of Justice from withholding the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which is the leading source of federal funding for state and local law enforcement agencies, from sanctuary cities like Chicago.

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City Will Give 1 Million Masks To Residents, And Lightfoot Predicts We Could Wear Them Rest Of The Year – Block Club Chicago

“We’re gonna be living with masks for the duration,” Lightfoot said. “I see that happening certainly over the course of the summer and the fall and maybe even until next year before we see a vaccine come online.”

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In Chicago, Urban Density May Not Be to Blame for the Spread of the Coronavirus – ProPublica

A ProPublica Illinois analysis found that crowded conditions within homes, rather than housing density, may better explain why some areas of Chicago see higher infection rates. A neighborhood with higher crowding rates is more likely to include people who can’t avoid close contact with an infected person who lives with them.

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‘Days of 50-0, 49-1 Are Over’: Aldermen Acknowledge Divided City Council Amid Budget Crunch – WTTW (Chicago)

Before the pandemic hit, city officials expected the 2021 budget deficit to approach $1 billion. Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) said he was hopeful that revenue from the city’s amusement and sales taxes would rebound in the fall, stemming the tide of red ink now inundating the city’s budget.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says city government worker layoffs a last resort, but preferable to a property tax hike – Chicago Tribune

“As somebody who worked in city government in days when there were mandatory furlough days and layoffs, that’s demoralizing to your workforce,” Lightfoot said.

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Chicago motor fuel tax bonds downgraded to junk – Center Square

The city's rating could be improved if the state's rating improves, but both have negative outlooks.

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Lightfoot ties CPD’s surge strategy to need for a new kind of policing during pandemic – Chicago Sun-Times

Newly-appointed CPD Supt. David Brown has apologized to North and Northwest Side aldermen for “blindsiding” them about the plan that deprives their districts of officers for roughly two hours at a time.

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Letters: Chicago aldermen should meet twice every month during this crisis – Chicago Tribune

From Ald. Andre Vasquez, 40th: "Our executive branch clearly understands the need for rapid response, as seen by the new executive powers ordinance that passed at that same meeting. As a coequal branch of government, Chicago voters should expect the City Council to step up also."

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As commuters stay home, Metra has been forced to cut service again. One line will have just 1 inbound and 1 outbound run per day. – Chicago Tribune

During its board meeting earlier this month, Metra revealed that it would lose more than $500 million in fares and sales taxes collected by local governments in 2020 and 2021 due to the crisis, which knocked ridership down by 97%. The railroad expects about $480 million in federal relief aid.

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The cost of ‘just in case’ hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic – WGNTV (Chicago)

WGN Investigates has looked into the price tag of “just in case” facilities during the coronavirus pandemic. Most makeshift hospitals in the city and suburbs have not seen a single patient as the number of cases per day continue to be over 1,000.

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Custodial Workers Ask for Hazard Pay: ‘We Are Front-Line Workers’ – WTTW (Chicago)

In a statement, Cook County Health, which manages Stroger Hospital, said: “Using CDC protocols and guidance and building on Cook County Health’s standard infection control practices, CCH has been working since January to prepare our system and train our employees for this pandemic. We are immensely grateful to our team whose commitment to our patients has never been stronger.”

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O’Hare, Midway Grapple with Near Shutdown of Air Travel – WTTW (Chicago)

Still up in the air is how this pandemic and near shutdown affects the $8.5 billion massive expansion and redesign of O’Hare airport, already underway and set to be completed by 2028. Transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman said, "The gate charges are still accumulating, but the landing fees are way down...There may be some plan B strategies on financing, but it was something so sorely needed.”

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Landlords, Banks Have ‘Moral Imperative’ To Keep People In Homes, Mayor Says While Announcing Housing Solidarity Pledge – Block Club Chicago

The mayor and the Housing department commissioner said everyone who is part of the housing ecosystem — including renters, landlords, homeowners and mortgage lenders — needs to collaborate during this time to prevent foreclosures and a housing crisis.

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U Of C Students Continue Tuition Strike ‘To Make It Easier For Folks Who Can’t Afford To Pay Right Now’ – CBS2 (Chicago)

Administration said it’s a trickle effect. If students don’t pay, others will suffer. But students said if they don’t get a negotiation, the tuition strike stands.

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Cook County property owners may see future tax bills lowered, but many seek immediate relief – ABC7 (Chicago)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has yet to announce whether property owners will have their spring interest rates and late fees eliminated or whether the August property tax bill will be delayed. Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi said his office has stopped sending out assessments based on the pre-COVID world.

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Northwestern University turns down millions of dollars from federal coronavirus bill. University of Chicago is still deciding whether to accept. – Chicago Tribune

In an emailed statement, Jon Yates said, “After careful consideration, Northwestern University determined we are unable to accept the requirements and evolving guidance regarding the CARES Act. Therefore, the University has decided not to apply for or receive the funds allocated to us.”

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CPD again sending droves of North Side cops to run citizens off West Side streets – CWB Chicago

For the second night in a row, significant numbers of Chicago police officers Thursday will be ordered out of North Side neighborhoods to conduct so-called “public health dispersals” on the city’s West Side.

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New top cop David Brown clamps down on Chicago police overtime – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Lighfoot said, “The Chicago Police Department has the highest sworn head count that it’s had probably in decades — 13,400. There should be no reason why, in this environment, that we are exceeding overtime budgets by $100 million when we have more resources at our disposal. It raises the questions of how are those resources being deployed.”

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As America stays home, deliveries have struggled to keep up. Chicago could be key to fixing the problem. – Chicago Tribune

Chicago, already a hub for manufacturing and warehouses, is in line for even more warehouses and distribution facilities than it has now.At a time when much of the commercial real estate industry is at a standstill, that spells dollars and jobs for developers, builders, shippers and others in the industrial real estate and logistics sectors.

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Post-pandemic recovery depends on ‘a whole new class of jobs’ to help people feel safe in public again, Lightfoot says – Chicago Sun-Times

Said Lightfoot, “There’s gonna be a whole category of new people that are gonna be working for businesses and buildings. Their job ... is gonna be making sure that people that enter those premises are well. … We’re gonna be able to ultimately employ more people because it’s going to be necessary for us to feel secure coming into congregate settings again.”

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Commentary: Is that democracy in Chicago’s City Council? What a welcome change – Chicago Tribune

"So we have a divided City Council now, but it is much better than either a rubber stamp council or Council Wars. There is genuine debate and there are fierce arguments, but they often are over how to include all Chicagoans and how best to get things done."

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Chicago needs a ‘wartime budget’ to face the COVID-19 crisis – Illinois Policy Institute

"The city will need to take short-term emergency action to navigate the crisis. It will need a combination of emergency borrowing, such as a two-year liquidity loan from the Federal Reserve’s new Municipal Lending Facility, and budgeting maneuvers, such as reducing spending on any services that are not critical to the wellbeing of residents. Chicago can not tax its way out of the hole or wait for federal bailouts."

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Chicago’s rating outlook slips on coronavirus-induced recession – The Bond Buyer

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McCormick Place tallies up COVID financial hit – Crain’s

With no clear end in sight to the pandemic-induced statewide shutdown, MPEA also approved a modified budget for the rest of its fiscal year, which ends June 30. The agency said it now projects revenue for the year will be about $222.5 million, almost $93 million less than it originally budgeted. Net operating losses for the fiscal year are expected to come in around $36.7 million, compared with about $700,000 of net operating income in the original budget.

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Cook County gives businesses more time to pay sales taxes – Chicago Sun-Times

Consumers will continue to pay the taxes when making purchases, but the store or other business will get a break in the time frame for forwarding the revenue to the county. County officials expect the delay in tax collections to amount to about $45 million back in the hands of county businesses for the time being.

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CPS Releases Budgets for New School Year Amid COVID-19 Crisis – WTTW (Chicago)

Spurred in part by what it says is the largest single-year increase in diverse learner spending and increases in nurse, social worker and case manager staffing levels, Chicago Public Schools announced it is increasing schools’ budgets by more than $125 million.

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Lightfoot Faces ‘Genuinely Divided’ City Council as Financial Toll of Pandemic Looms – WTTW (Chicago)

The most recent annual report from former Ald. Dick Simpson, a University of Illinois at Chicago political science professor who has been analyzing City Council votes for decades, found that the City Council has split into four main voting blocs in an unprecedented realignment.

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500 Small Businesses To Get $20 Million Through City’s Resiliency Fund – Block Club Chicago

The fund is aimed at helping businesses that are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. Business owners can get loans of up to $50,000 so they have cash on hand during the crisis. The deadline to apply was Friday.

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Aldermen Line Up To Get 1 Million Masks From Willie Wilson By The Truckload – Block Club Chicago

The donation comes after Wilson sought to sell protective masks and other medical equipment to the city and state, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Pritzker balked at the deals.

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700 City Employees, including 400 Police Officers, Sickened by Coronavirus: Data – WTTW

The number of employees sickened account for approximately 2% of the city’s 33,700 employee workforce, according to city data.

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Hormel furloughs 150 employees at its Fontanini Foods’ Italian sausage plant in McCook – Chicago Tribune

Fontanini Foods, which makes Italian meats and sausages for restaurants, sports arenas and other venues, is furloughing 150 employees at its southwest suburban McCook plant due to a “dramatic decline” in food service business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New Fund To Provide $1,000 Grants For Pilsen, Chinatown Residents Struggling During Pandemic – Block Club Chicago

On Monday, Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez and the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council launched the 25th Ward Family Emergency Fund.

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Trump’s Done An ‘Abysmal’ Job Responding To Coronavirus And Can’t Judge Illinois, Lightfoot Says – Block Club Chicago

“First of all, I think we’ve got a very well-run state," says Lightfoot.

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Lightfoot Says Chicago Will Enforce ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order Despite Judge’s Ruling Against Restrictions – NBC5 (Chicago)

In a press release, Lightfoot called Judge Michael McHaney’s ruling “troubling and wrong,” and said that she stands firmly behind Pritzker’s actions during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Lightfoot can see baseball returning to Chicago this summer, but without fans – Chicago Sun-Times

A Sox season ticket holder, Lightfoot said a decision on when and how baseball will return will be made “at the league level” — not by individual team owners nor by the governors and mayors of individual states and cities. But she acknowledged having “ongoing conversations” with the owners of both teams about “what that might look like.”

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Aon to cut pay 20% for most employees – Crain’s

One of Chicago’s big corporate employers is moving to cut most employees’ salaries by 20 percent. Aon, based in London but employing about 5,000 in the Chicago area, announced the temporary pay cut today as a maneuver to “preserve operational flexibility.” CEO Greg Case and other top executives announced they would be taking 50 percent cuts in salary at the same time.

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Federal judge orders additional social distancing measures at Cook County Jail – Chicago Tribune

In an 87-page order, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly gave the sheriff’s office until Friday to implement new plans eliminating “bullpens” to house new inmates being processed into the jail, providing face masks to all detainees under quarantine, and regularly sanitizing “all frequently touched surfaces and objects.”

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Frontline Chicago School Administrators Say They Still Lack Protective Equipment, As National Supply Grab Continues – Block Club Chicago

More than 200 Chicago schools are handing out meals to needy families every weekday. School administrators, security guards, and kitchen workers who receive extra pay for the duty are distributing the grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches.

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West Side Hospital Is So Full, Coronavirus Patients Are Intubated Outside The ICU — But It’s Losing Nurses To McCormick Place – Block Club Chicago

It’s one of the top-performing hospitals in the city, but Saint Anthony, 2875 W. 19th St., is also a safety net hospital serving a patient population that is especially vulnerable to exposure to coronavirus and to developing severe complications once infected.

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Civic boosters look at promoting a post-pandemic city – Chicago Sun-Times

“Some industries will be changed and changed forever,” said Jack Lavin, CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, “and everybody will operate differently coming out of this.”

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Editorial: A Coronavirus A for Everyone – Wall Street Journal

Pushed by unions, school districts abandon grades for this year. Chicago Public Schools recently agreed that assignments completed during the shutdowns will count “only if they improve a student’s grade.” That’s not enough for the Chicago Teachers Union. President Jesse Sharkey said this month that it is “just plain cruel” and “wrong to assign letter grades” this semester even on work completed before schools closed.

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Officials scale back McCormick Place plans by 2,000 beds as coronavirus curve flattens – Chicago Tribune

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said Tuesday that there were fewer than a dozen patients at McCormick.McCormick originally was supposed to have 3,000 beds in case Chicago-area hospitals were hit with more coronavirus patients than they could handle at once. For the time being, however, a planned 1,750-bed hall won’t be opened. And a separate hall for sicker patients has been scaled back by 250 beds.

Protection vs. privacy? Values clash over proposal to provide first responders with COVID-19 addresses – Chicago Sun-Times

Hazel Crest Police Chief Mitchell R. Davis III, president of the South Suburban Association of Chiefs of Police, said first responders have made “tactical and procedural adjustments” for responding to calls. but “it is not practical for first responders, specifically police officers, to respond to every call for service in full PPE.”

Minority-, women-owned firms may have lost out on Chicago’s coronavirus contracts – Chicago Sun-Times

First-time city vendors weren’t required to comply with City Hall’s program to hire minority- and woman-owned businesses until this past week, when FEMA allowed that.

Property Tax Collections Are A Must For County Burdened By Pandemic And A Vulnerable Population – BisNow

“We’re going to do our best to get property tax bills out on time,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Tuesday. That should be sometime in July, and a failure to collect those taxes in a timely manner will place further strain on the county’s finances, she added, a strain it may be impossible to accept.

Chicago’s inspector general still digging up wrongdoing while working from home – Chicago Sun-Times

Joe Ferguson’s latest quarterly report shows the usual sordid sampling of misconduct, including alleged shakedowns, sexual harassment and police abuse.

At least $200 million budget gap could hit Cook County government as sales, hotel tax revenue dry up, official says – Chicago Tribune

Separate from the $200 million drop in tax revenue, Cook County Health and Hospital System, which operates Stroger and Provident hospitals, also has been seeing financial damage. A 43% decline in patient fees was reported since mid-March, and the system is expected to lose about $60 million to $75 million from such revenues should the coronavirus’s economic pressure last through June.

Closed South Shore School Will Become Police Training Center As City Council Approves Controversial Plan – Block Club Chicago

The training center at the shuttered high school was created under a federal consent decree that requires ongoing training for officers on de-escalation strategies and accountability for their use of force. A specific curriculum for the training center has not been completed yet; There are few restrictions on the types of training that could be conducted there.

McCormick Center’s Conversion Into Temporary Healthcare Facility Enters New Phase – BisNow

Comment: Why? We don't need it, having vast excess capacity over projections.

Cook County lays out pandemic’s budget damage – The Bond Buyer

Cook County, Illinois, is bracing for a $200 million tax blow due to the economic shutdown brought about by COVID-19, the county’s finance team said Friday. That doesn’t account for an additional $60 million to $75 million whack to health system revenues, though some of that is expected to be reimbursed with hospital-related federal relief.

Playing Politics With Coronavirus – Chicago Magazine

Pritzker has been citing the state’s projected revenue shortfall to make the case that passing a tax increase is more urgent than ever. And some aldermen believe Mayor Lightfoot is using COVID-19 to cut them out of municipal decision making all together, establishing herself as the latest mayoral boss.

Cook County Ranks Fourth-Worst In United States For COVID-19 Fatalities – CBS2 (Chicago)

That data comes from tracking done by Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John’s Hopkins University. Cook County is one of only three areas outside of New Jersey and New York in the top 10 in the country for COVID-19 deaths.

Four-letter fiasco: Virtual City Council meeting turns profane – Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago City Council held its first virtual meeting on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. It started when an unidentified male voice said, “No one here knows what the f---they’re voting on.” Next was Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza: “This is a total s--t show.” Ald. Walter Burnett capped it off with: “Are we being punked?”

City Council Approves Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Emergency COVID-19 Spending Powers Ordinance – CBS2 (Chicago)

Facing opposition from aldermen, the mayor agreed to the $1 million ceiling on contracts that don’t require City Council approval, and to give vendors 60 days to submit economic disclosure statements. In another concession to aldermen, the mayor agreed to have all of the emergency contracting and budget powers sunset by June 30.

Preckwinkle Shuts Down Parking Lots at Busiest Forest Preserves on Weekends – WTTW (Chicago)

The move was prompted by an influx of visitors in recent weeks, and concerns that many guests are ignoring the social distancing rules that have been established to stem the spread of COVID-19, Preckwinkle said.

Chicago area supercomputers pumping out projections during pandemic – WGNTV (Chicago)

The computers inside the Argonne National Laboratory are humming 24 hours a day and churning out data for the city at a critical time in our history. Said Dr. Charles Macal is a senior systems engineer toiling exclusively over COVID-19 information: “We have a lot of computing power right here at Argonne Lab. Probably as much as anywhere in the world.”

Amazon is at it again in Chicago – The Real Deal

Amazon has agreed to a lease for a planned 1 million-square-foot space in Industrial Park, and two 750,000-square-foot warehouses in Kenosha and Channahon, Crain’s reported.

Lightfoot outlines plan for post-pandemic recovery – Chicago Sun-Times

A COVID-19 Recovery Task Force co-chaired by the mayor and her longtime friend Sam Skinner, is a virtual who’s-who of Chicago power brokers. Skinner served as White House chief of staff and U.S. Transportation Secretary under former President George H.W. Bush. He is also a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Emergency dispatchers to sue Cook County for COVID-19 info – Daily Herald

The anticipated filing of a temporary restraining order in Cook County circuit court follows an unsuccessful lobbying effort by the Arlington Heights-based dispatch system and elected officials in some of its 11 member communities.

Food delivery fees in Chicago targeted by proposed ordinance; alderman calls for 5% cap – Chicago Tribune

The ordinance also dictates that any service fees charged to customers would go directly to delivery drivers.

Judge to decide whether Cook County Jail is following PPE, social distancing orders – WGNTV (Chicago)

The judge will make a decision Monday following four hours of testimony from detainees at Cook County Jail about whether the jail is following orders regarding PPE and social distancing

Cook County commissioners approve Preckwinkle staff member for seat on county health system board – Chicago Tribune

In the county’s first virtual board meeting since the coronavirus pandemic started, commissioners voted 17-0 in favor of appointing Otis Story to a seat on the Cook County Health and Hospitals System board of directors. Story, Preckwinkle’s deputy chief of staff since February, previously was chief executive officer of East Orange General Hospital New Jersey.

Editorial: At a time when local journalism has never mattered more, we’re thankful – Chicago Sun-Times

"This newspaper, like news organizations across the country, recently received money through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. We welcome this, and we’re grateful for it. But our share, $2.7 million, won’t be nearly enough."

Cook County Government Braces For Big Budget Gap Due To COVID-19 – WBEZ (Chicago)

Preliminary projections show Cook County expects to have a shortfall of least $200 million this budget year, a ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest loss in revenue is in sales tax — the largest moneymaker for the county, Chief Financial Officer Ammar Rizki told WBEZ. A dip in hotel and amusement tax dollars isn’t far behind, he said.

Lightfoot accused of using pandemic as an excuse to consolidate power – Chicago Sun-Times

A handful of aldermen and community leaders are still trying to drum up opposition to expanding the mayor’s emergency powers, arguing she shouldn’t decide on her own how to spend millions of federal stimulus dollars.

Alderman calls for City Council to meet twice monthly to respond faster to coronavirus crisis – Chicago Tribune

North Side Ald. Andre Vasquez noted a section of the municipal code stipulates the City Council should meet on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month unless another date and time is set for the next meeting. For decades, the council has set its regular meetings for just one Wednesday per month. “It’s right there in the code, so let’s do what the code says,” Vasquez said.

We Can’t Use Cash From Scrapped Summer Fests To Help Chicagoans Pay Rent, City Says — But Aldermen Not Giving Up – Block Club Chicago

City spokeswoman Mary May said the now-canceled summer festivals and events are “funded entirely with revenue generated from events and tourism collected in the current budget year.”

Remote learning ‘may be the new normal even in the fall,’ Chicago schools chief says – Chicago Sun-Times

“If we create a situation where anything goes, or everybody gets a pass, what we’re seeing is there’s uneven, right now, implementation of remote learning."

Chicago Could Lose 1,500 Restaurants Permanently If Help Does Not Come To Struggling Independent Eateries – Block Club Chicago

The National Restaurant Association estimates 15-20 percent of restaurants nationwide will close for good as a result of the pandemic. Pritzker suggested Wednesday restaurants could face longer closures than other businesses, though he hasn’t said yet when the stay at home order will be lifted or when he could ease up on other restrictions.

Can Chicago Brewers Survive Coronavirus? As Keg And Taproom Sales Dry Up, Future Uncertain – Block Club Chicago

“We’re hoping many of these job losses aren’t permanent and post-pandemic they can come back,” said Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association. “Small and craft breweries employ 160,000 people nationally. That job loss is significant.”

Judge tosses Smollett’s malicious prosecution lawsuit – AP (Chicago)

In April 2019, the city sued Smollett seeking reimbursement of more than $130,000 paid in overtime to police officers who were involved in investigating the alleged racist and homophobic attack on Smollett, who is black and gay. Smollett countersued in November, saying the city couldn’t recover costs because it accepted $10,000 from Smollett “as payment in full in connection with the dismissal of the charges against him.” The lawsuit said Smollett had been the victim of a malicious prosecution that caused him humiliation and extreme distress.

Chicago Plans for a Slow Recovery from the Coronavirus – The New Yorker

Arwady believes that Chicago is in relatively good shape should a second or third wave come, with most hospitals equipped and staffed to handle a new surge. She has already ordered syringes for a future COVID-19 vaccine, and boxes to keep the vaccine cold, while thinking about whether technology platforms that track coronavirus cases could also be used to monitor and treat socially transmitted diseases. “You hate the outbreak, but you never want to let the work of this go to waste.”

Tribune Publishing announces furloughs as ad revenue declines have ‘profound’ impact on newspaper chain – Chicago Tribune

The three-week furloughs, which will be taken in one-week increments from May through July, will be for nonunion employees making between $40,000 and $67,000 per year. “Despite strong engagement with our journalism, the impact on advertising has been profound,” CEO Terry Jimenez said in a memo to employees.

Patronage hires lead to federal oversight of Cook County Clerk’s office – Illinois Policy Institute

An illegal patronage operation brought on federal oversight when Karen Yarbrough was Cook County’s recorder of deeds. It’s happened again to her as county clerk.

Tens of thousands of Chicago Public Schools students still need computers for remote learning during coronavirus pandemic – Chicago Tribune

Before remote learning started, CPS estimated that about 115,000 students, or nearly a third of the total student body, needed a laptop or tablet in order to participate in learning from home. As of the end of day Tuesday, about 55,000 devices had been logged as distributed to students at nearly 400 district-run schools.

Use Canceled Blues Fest, House Fest Money To Help Chicagoans With Rent, Mortgage Payments, Aldermen Propose – Block Club Chicago

The order, which has nine co-sponsors, calls on city officials to amend the 2020 Annual Appropriation Ordinance and move the summer festival funds to the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant.

Lightfoot outraged after aldermen block vote to expand her spending powers during COVID-19 pandemic – WGNTV (Chicago)

Several Black Caucus members voted against the measure, saying they wanted more say on how money is spent to combat COVID-19. Some aldermen said they’re willing to meet weekly to carry out their oversight duties.

Cook County Jail officers want to be paid for after-work time spent sanitizing over COVID-19 – Chicago Sun-Times

Eleven officers filed suit Tuesday in federal court in Chicago, asking for at least one work week of compensation for “sanitation activities” since March 9. The officers want to be paid for up to 30 minutes they spend after every shift sanitizing themselves and their personal protective equipment. The cleanups are an “expected job function,” according to the lawsuit.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduces plan to change Chicago’s city ethics rules, again allowing some elected officials to lobby city government – Chicago Tribune

Lightfoot’s amendment to the lobbying ordinance would allow elected officials from outside Chicago to lobby the City Council, the mayor’s office and other city government offices, as long as the public body they represent doesn’t have pending or recurring legislative or contractual matters involving the city of Chicago.

UChicago Grants $680,000 To Help Nearly 200 South Side Small Businesses Survive Coronavirus Shutdown – Block Club Chicago

The grants, which can be used for operating expenses and direct support for employees, will be issued in the coming days.

Cook County Is Considering Disclosing COVID-19 Patients’ Addresses to First Responders – WBEZ (Chicago)

But in a memo to local health departments earlier this month, IDPH said giving first responders and law enforcement officials the identities of COVID-positive residents doesn’t have much value, since there are likely a large number of people who are infected but who display no symptoms.

Don’t Touch The Zucchini, And Other New Rules Of Engagement At Farmers Markets In These Times – WBEZ (Chicago)

“Farmers markets are considered essential businesses under [Gov. JB Pritzker’s] order,” noted Lawrence Hemingway who heads Evanston’s Parks and Recreation Department. “But we are going to do it in a safe manner to protect both the farmers as well as the residents who are planning to come to the market.” So Hemingway has developed a set of strict rules

Fourth of July fireworks may be the next victim of coronavirus – Chicago Sun-Times

“Given the fluidity of the situation, Navy Pier has not reached a definitive decision on plans related to its annual summer fireworks series or the Fourth of July fireworks show,” Navy Pier spokesman Payal Patel said in an email. “We will confer with our partners at the city of Chicago as we get closer to the dates, and announce any change of plans or adjustments at that time.”

Lightfoot wins emergency spending and contracting authority through pandemic – Chicago Sun-Times

Aldermanic resistance was so strong, Budget Committee Chairman Pat Dowell (3rd) was forced to recess for an hour to give the mayor more time to lobby and appease aldermen and fend off a motion to delay the final vote.

Lightfoot awards $7.5 million in funding to Chicago community groups as they fight two battles: COVID-19 and uptick in violence – Chicago Tribune

The announcement marks the first allocation of dollars after Lightfoot last year pledged to support the work of nonprofit groups that provide job training, counseling and street outreach in disinvested neighborhoods, mostly on the South and West sides. Recipients are confronting the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on black Chicagoans and a 14% increase in homicides over the same time period last year, according to Police Department data. Through April 20, the city had seen 137 killings, compared with 120 in 2019.

6th Detainee And A Correctional Officer Die Of Coronavirus At Cook County Jail, One Of Largest Outbreaks In The U.S. – Block Club Chicago

In total, 692 people connected to the jail have tested positive for coronavirus. Of that total, 404 are detainees, according to the sheriff’s office. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 215 detainees are currently sick, including 17 who are being treated at local hospitals. Another 183 have recovered and are being monitored at the jail. Six have died.

Illinois Schools Cut Public’s Input Despite More Questions, Less Access For Students, Parents, Employees – Block Club Chicago

The Illinois State Board of Education, the body charged with drafting the new rules on school days and remote learning, cancelled its monthly board meeting in April. Its next meeting is May 20. The Chicago board, which usually kicked off its monthly meetings with hours of public testimony from up to 60 parents, students, educators, and community groups, now permits only 15 speakers for a total of 30 minutes.

Leaked Recordings Reveal Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Firmly In Charge And City Alderman Left Largely On The Sidelines – Block Club Chicago

“Our biggest priority, obviously, is making sure we’ve got hospital beds, and rent assistance is something that is a conversation that’s going on, but I just can’t commit to documenting every single conversation we’re having with the state on a range of issues,” Lightfoot told one alderman. “That’s just not feasible. And candidly, given all the things we’re doing, we’ve got people who’ve been working literally 30 days straight, I don’t think that’s a good use of our time.”

Commentary: David Mamet: Uncle Henry, two pandemics and the cohesion of family – Chicago Tribune

"I get a big kick out of seeing our surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, on TV explaining the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Adams is a vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service. Prior to his appearances, all I knew about this Public Health Service was its connection with the Mamet Family History, through the 1950 film, 'Panic in the Streets.'”

Chicago Blues Fest, House Fest, Memorial Parade And More Canceled – Block Club Chicago

The events were to have been held in late May and early June. They regularly attract thousands of people — which officials want to avoid as they try to slow the spread of coronavirus in Chicago.

City Could Reopen Slowly, Face More Restrictions Than Other Parts Of Illinois – Block Club Chicago

But Illinois could see different restrictions across its regions because people face different challenges and lifestyles. People in more rural areas might not need to wear a mask around their large properties, while people going outside in Chicago might need them since they’re around people, Pritzker said.

Army Corps of Engineers Readies MetroSouth Hospital for Reopening – WTTW (Chicago)

Plenty of people in the community, including area legislators, hope that after the worst of the pandemic passes, MetroSouth will once again function as a hospital.

Northwestern freezes faculty pay, halts hiring – Crain’s

The university said that increased financial pressure, including $25 million in lost revenue, requires measures to adjust to the pandemic and its impact.

A viral budget grab: Does the mayor’s COVID-19 executive order put her on light footing? – Chicago Reader

Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman and longtime professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says the city routinely shifts funds within its budget multiple times per year—as revenue and cost projections butt up against reality. "We move money every year from some departments to other departments—and a fairly significant sum of money," Simpson says. "And the City Council does approve those. So that's the standard procedure." But during the pandemic emergency, "a major shortfall or a major expenditure" might mean that the mayor can't wait for council approval.

Swearing-in of Tobolski’s County Board successor held behind closed doors – like his selection – Chicago Sun-Times

It’s the second time in less than a week that coronavirus containment measures have halted public access to proceedings involving Aguilar. No video feed was provided as has been done with many other governmental proceedings. And public input was pretty much limited to the roughly 20 protesters outside, who pleaded with the Democratic committeepersons to pick anyone but Aguilar, a longtime Cicero town official who represented the western suburb in the Legislature.

Black Chicagoans still dying disproportionately in city as Mayor Lightfoot creates response teams for hard-hit neighborhoods – Chicago Tribune

Some of the hardest-hit communities on the South and West sides have struggled with unemployment and health care access for generations. As a result, residents have higher baseline rates of diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and high blood pressure — chronic conditions that make the coronavirus even more deadly.

Aldermen push back against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s emergency powers proposal – Chicago Tribune

Lightfoot is planning to introduce an ordinance directly to the Budget Committee on Tuesday, granting her administration the ability to move money within the city budget to pay for coronavirus-related expenses without first needing aldermanic approval. Many of the powers already are part of an executive order the mayor signed in March.

Ex-mayoral candidate Willie Wilson wants City Hall coronavirus deals; Lori Lightfoot says no – Chicago Sun-Times

Lightfoot confirmed she that she spoke with Wilson weeks ago and referred his request to her top procurement official. But the city’s stockpile already contained the items Wilson was pitching and that the lead time for Wilson to deliver was weeks longer than other companies’. One other problem, according to the mayor: Wilson was demanding money up front and in cash.

Chicago Rent Grace Period Would Allow Struggling Tenants Pay Back Rent Over 12 Months, Aldermen Say – Block Club Chicago

Ald. Matt Martin (47th) on Monday introduced legislation that would give renters who lost income during the coronavirus outbreak a 12-month grace period to pay rent. The proposed ordinance also asks Gov. JB Pritzker to enact similar payment deferments for mortgage holders, among other housing payment relief efforts.

Provident Hospital ER reopens — with a few changes in place – Chicago Sun-Times

During the past two weeks, crews have, re-configured seating inside the ER to meet social distancing guidelines and created a designated seating area for patients suspected of having the coronavirus, a spokeswoman for Cook County Health said in a statement.

CPD officers standing at a corner. Chicago Police Department Facebook ACLU, Police Union Call On Lightfoot To Stop Citywide Checkpoints To Remind People Of Coronavirus Rules – Block Club Chicago

The new checkpoints are categorically different from the previous ones on the West Side, as they will not be closing streets or checking identification, police said. CPD spokesperson Police. Lt. Cindy Guerra likened the checkpoints to the seatbelt checks that officers conduct regularly.

Chicago Small Businesses Shut Out Of Federal Government’s Loan Program: ‘We Don’t Matter To Them’ – Block Club Chicago

Hopes were shattered Thursday when the program officially ran out of money just two weeks after it launched. One Chicago business owner said the news was made worse by the fact large companies like Ruth’s Chris steakhouse are getting a loan over him and other small business owners he knows. “It feels like a herd culling,” he said. “Let the weak die out so that the strong can remain stronger.”

Two suburban sisters came home after their college campuses closed. Within days, both their parents were in the ICU with COVID-19. – Chicago Tribune

Within days of their arrival home, the sisters’ angst over having their college experiences cut short was swiftly replaced with fear and anxiety.
Their parents, Nancy Frohman and David Boden, who are in their 50s, have tested positive for COVID-19, and this week, the Bodens both remain in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

Sean Morrison reelected Cook County GOP chair – Daily Herald

Morrison has been Cook County commissioner of the 17th District since 2015. He is also CEO and founder of Alsip-based Morrison Security Corp.

Pritzker Breaks Coronavirus Test Promise To Black Community – Patch (Chicago)

State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago), who demanded Pritzker's administration increase testing in African American communities, praised the governor in messages telling residents in his West Side district they would have access to COVID-19 testing on Monday. A week later, testing supplies haven't been delivered to community health centers because the state doesn't have them, according to an email obtained by Patch.

Chicago Lakeshore Hospital Closes After Years of Abuse Allegations but Cites “the COVID-19 Pandemic” – ProPublica

For years, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services relied on Lakeshore to treat state wards with serious mental illnesses. But some of those children reported being abused. Children also remained at the hospital after they had been medically cleared for discharge because the state agency was unable to find them placements.

Commentary: Let’s break the broken cycle: A long-term plan for using McCormick Place – Chicago Tribune

New leadership at the convention center’s governing body should ensure we never go back to the way things were. That is, 60 years of expensive political boondoggles serving a few at the expense of the many. The question they should be asking: How can McCormick Place serve the greater good?

In Cook County, Nursing Homes Account For A Quarter Of COVID-19 Deaths – WBEZ (Chicago)

The Pritzker administration has provided little information about the number of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents statewide. His administration has also declined to identify the nursing homes where those deaths have taken place. The Illinois Department of Public Health, which regulates the facilities, emailed a statement Wednesday that said the state had 296 deaths due to COVID-19 “associated with” nursing homes. That tally, according to the statement, includes both residents and staff members.

Who’s getting millions from Chicago City Hall for massive temporary health, shelter system – Chicago Sun-Times

So far, $65 million has been budgeted for the city’s emergency response; $5.6 million has been spent, according to the mayor’s office.

6 months later, IG report on top cop’s conduct still not finished – WGNTV (Chicago)

Meanwhile, Eddie Johnson collects a pension of $189,000 a year. It’s not believed that pension is at risk, regardless of the inspector general’s findings.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to seek retroactive City Council approval for budget powers to deal with coronavirus pandemic – Chicago Tribune

Mayor Lori Lightfoot will ask aldermen next week to retroactively bless her executive order that gives her additional power to spend city money and make changes to the 2020 budget to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. The mayor issued the order on March 17, creating a new section in the city’s budget to consolidate coronavirus expenses and giving her the ability to move money around to cover the costs that are piling up as the city tries to cope with the pandemic.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces $68,000 in fines for demolition of coal power plant’s smokestack in Little Village that caused dust clouds – Chicago Tribune

Lightfoot was quick to condemn the botched demolition, but has been under fire for allowing it to occur in the first place. Some aldermen also have blasted the mayor’s efforts to strip members of the City Council of some of their powers, saying this wouldn’t have happened if not for her reforms last year.

‘Outgunned, outmanned and underfunded’: Inside Roseland hospital’s battle against the coronavirus – Chicago Tribune

His 10-bed ICU has been at capacity for weeks. At the moment, there are nine confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. Eight patients are on ventilators. Many of them have organs threatening to fail. “And I’ve got three more in the emergency room who are waiting for a bed up here," Kirugulige says after leaving the patient’s room. “I know the city has all the data, but it doesn’t feel like anything is flattening for us.”

With federal funds depleted, Chicago-area small businesses can get emergency loans locally. But the process is slow. – Chicago Tribune

Established last month, the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund has received more than 8,000 applications, but has approved only 124 loans for about $4.7 million as of Friday.

McCormick Place gets its first COVID-19 patients – Chicago Tribune

Patients started arriving Tuesday afternoon, and five were there Friday, officials said. “They are all people who have low-acuity COVID-19,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who noted that the pop-up hospital was not designed to treat the sickest patients.

Federal judge raps Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough for ‘clear violations’ of anti-patronage hiring rules – Chicago Tribune

In a 44-page decision, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier ticked off concerns that Yarbrough disregarded requirements to post jobs, failed to get court approval for various ranking positions, favored people with political pedigrees and tried to make some workers miserable by assigning them to far-flung suburban offices.

Chicago Issuing Thousands Of Tech Devices. Now It Needs Students To Log On – Block Club Chicago

Loaner devices aren’t a cure-all to the hurried transfer of learning from classrooms to homes brought by the coronavirus pandemic, and schools are now confronting new questions: namely, how to increase student participation in Google Classroom sessions, how to provide enough content and community to engage students long term, and how to seek out families whom they haven’t been able to reach.

Lightfoot extends reprieve for motorists, businesses until June 1 – Chicago Sun-Times

She extended until June 1 the deadline for payment of a host of business taxes for the months of February, March and April.

Lightfoot Suggests Pritzker May Announce End of In-Class Instruction for Rest of School Year – NBC5 (Chicago)

“We have not had that conversation yet with the governor. Although we are hearing that he may make some kind of announcement later this week,” the mayor said. “Certainly, we’d love to be in conversation with the governor and his team about that before any announcement happens.”