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State Street Demolition Will Take Six Weeks
Demolition of the neglected three-story building between the endangered, federally-owned Consumers and Century buildings will start Friday and take at least six weeks, reports CBS 2.
Judge Sounds Off On Audible Crossings
“The City of Chicago has violated the federal Americans with Disability Act, a federal judge ruled,” reports CBS 2. “U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo wrote that the city needs to improve its crosswalks to help visually impaired and blind people safely cross the street–by installing devices that notify pedestrians of crossing information in formats that do not require sight.”
Representative Quigley On Making Train Crossings Safe
“From Ohio to Minnesota, recent train derailments have proven that the federal government and the rail industry need to work together to invest more in safety,” Illinois Representative Mike Quigley posts. “I visited the 75th Street Flyover project to get a firsthand look at the status of the project & learn from experts how Congress can mitigate rail disasters going forward. This project will help eliminate the possibility of a train collision in a busy rail corridor. As the new Ranking Member of the subcommittee that funds the Department of Transportation and rail safety programs, I am committed to protecting and increasing investment in rail safety for Chicago and the whole nation.”
DINING & DRINKING
Lion’s Mane For Earth Day
Four chefs will prepare sandwiches using Lion’s Mane mushrooms on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22 for an event organized by chef Sarah Stegner of Prairie Grass Cafe. Partners include chef Sebastian White of Evolved Network and Joe Weber, founder of Four Star Mushrooms. Participating chefs include Brian Jupiter, Frontier Chicago; Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread; Darnell Reed, Luella’s Southern Kitchen and Sarah Stegner, Prairie Grass Cafe. Stegner says, “Joe started the mushroom company with an intent to offer nutritionally dense food that will benefit everyone. Many people have not eaten or tried lion’s mane and don’t know what to do with them. Using it in a sandwich is an approachable, fun way to share the experience and show that it’s delicious.” Darnell Reed of Luella’s Southern Kitchen: “This is my first experience working with Lion’s Mane mushrooms and it won’t be my last. It’s amazingly meaty, making it a great option for vegetarian or vegan entrees.” Sandwiches will be available only on Earth Day, April 22. More here.
Izard Relocates Little Goat; Teases Speakeasy
“Stephanie Izard feels the new location of her Little Goat Diner, which is moving off Randolph Restaurant Row to a quainter location, sharing the building with Boka Restaurant Group siblings GG’s Chicken Shop and Itoko, will feel more like a traditional diner,” reports Eater Chicago. Says Izard, “I’d like to attach a speakeasy bar; that’s my goal.”
Chicago Mag Resto Critic Sick Of (And Sickened By) Tasting Menus; New York Foodie Rues Prices
“Ever: $325. Temporis: $195. Smyth: $285. Oriole: $215. Esme: $235. The Omakase Room: $250. Valhalla: $185. Kasama: $235. Claudia: $285,” writes John Kessler at Chicago magazine. “These are the prices for a tasting menu for one person before tip, before cocktails and wine pairings, before the Windy City’s sticker-shock 10.75 percent sales tax. This means that a meal for two at these restaurants and dozens more around the city can easily—easily!—top $1,000. Let me put on my most erudite food critic voice and say: THIS IS NUTS.”
Elder food writer Alan Richman at Air Mail: “One chef, anonymously, blamed Donald Trump: As president, he hindered immigration, a source of lower-wage workers vital to the industry. The minimum wage is $15 an hour in New York, but many restaurants are paying as much as $25—that’s $37.50 for overtime—due to a shortage of kitchen help. The chef of a two-Michelin-starred restaurant offered insights into the rising cost of necessities. Butter, the non-fancy kind, is up from $2.44 per pound to $4.30; fingerling potatoes, from $1.75 per pound to $4.75; frying oil, from 65 cents per pound to $1.73; heavy cream, from $3.75 per quart to $6.75.”
Richman sums Manhattan prix-fixe: “Four courses at Daniel are $188; six at Jean-Georges, $268; four at Le Bernardin, $198; nine at Per Se, $390. That’s per person. Should you find yourself paying less than $100 for your meal, you are either very fortunate or drinking ice water with dinner.”
“Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” Removed From School Libraries In Indian River County, Florida
Among four books removed from school libraries in Indian River County “is a graphic adaptation of the life of Anne Frank,” reports WPTV-West Palm Beach. “We think true history absolutely needs to be taught, the Holocaust, the Anne Frank diary,” [the chair of] the Indian River County chapter of Moms For Liberty, said. (Moms for Liberty is a national conservative 501 nonprofit organization.) “The graphic adaptation was removed after it was brought to the attention of the principal. It was later determined that some of its text did not contribute to the themes of Holocaust education.” In one scene, “Frank walks along nude statues that are sexually explicit.” The district’s Director Of Academic Compliance And Equity said, “In these times, the content did not promote behaviors we would want our students to have access to.”
Fox News Slots Descriptors For Mayor-Elect Johnson
Fox News’ headline, “Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson rebukes ‘large corporations’ for poverty, violence in the city,” is followed by these characterizations: “left-wing,” and a “liberal Mayor-elect” who will “double down on ‘sanctuary city’ policies”; buzzwords include “progressive activist and political organizer.” The piece approvingly cites the Tribune editorial board’s tsk-tsking of Johnson thanking God in his victory speech but not Barack Obama.
Blogger Eric Zorn On Why He Chose Not To Vote
Former Tribune columnist Eric Zorn hopes he’s wrong in his “assessment that Johnson doesn’t have the policy chops or the diplomatic/political skills to be an effective mayor of Chicago. He’s a gifted orator, to be sure—that victory speech Tuesday night was mighty (though ‘The most radical thing we can do is to actually love people, and our administration will do just that’ made me roll my eyes)—and filled with uplift and promise.” Zorn was also troubled by Johnson’s water bills. “I couldn’t vote for Vallas. I’d been on the never-Paul bandwagon for months. I personally like the guy, but I’m not in favor of privatizing education and he struck me as… a bridge to the past… I slipped my ballot back into its sleeve, walked it over to the counting machine and slid it in. The machine registered an undervote, which prompted a surprised precinct worker to ask, ‘You cast a blank ballot?’ ‘Yep,’ I said…They gave me an ‘I Voted!’ sticker, so I slapped it on my chest… Johnson voters—many of whom I know had significant reservations—should hold him to the high standard he set for himself now that he’s more than just a bulwark against Vallas.”
How Gannett Breeds “News Deserts”
“The country’s largest newspaper company, Gannett, is once again forecasting it will sell off more of its daily newspapers. Since its merge with newspaper company GateHouse Media in 2019, Gannett has closed or sold hundreds of papers and slashed staff by more than half, and that is projected to continue,” reports “All Things Considered.” Analyst Joshua Benton says, “The Gannett that we have now is the result of the merger of two very large companies. The idea was an individual newspaper might struggle on its own, but if you buy enough of them, you can extract as much of the cost of producing the newspaper from the local community as possible. You cut down on print days. You have the page layout and editing done elsewhere. The thought was you could achieve these economies of scale and make a profitable business. The problem is, as part of the merger, Gannett took on a lot of debt, and they have to pay off that debt. So they need revenue. And the way that they have been doing that is by cutting costs to the bone. That means cutting staff and cutting the quality of their newspapers.”
Riis Park Resists Re:SET
“AEG Presents has been promoting the Chicago leg of its The Re:SET concert series for June 23-25 at Riis Park, 6100 West Fullerton,” reports Block Club, and neighbors have “launched a petition asking Park District officials to deny AEG’s permits for the event… The three-day festival could close off public access to Riis Park for about ten days.”
Disturbing Allegations About Kanye West’s Shuttered Donda Academy
The L.A. Times reports: “At Kanye West’s Donda Academy, the performer’s Christian K-12 school, students were subjected to unsafe, unregulated and unsanitary conditions, two former teachers allege in a lawsuit. The school did not have janitorial services, with West barring the use of cleaning products with chemicals, or proper trash cans… Teachers were only allowed to clean with ‘acid water and microfiber cloths.’ The school also lacked a school nurse and medical supplies.” A student’s EpiPen “was stowed above a microwave… Donda Academy students were fed sushi—and only sushi—every school day and were made to eat lunch on the floor, as the school did not have tables… Students were not allowed to use utensils, and neither students nor staff could wear jewelry… He required students to dress entirely in black, and they were restricted to the first floor of the building because, the complaint alleges, West is afraid of stairs.”
Jazz Journalists Association Names 2023 Jazz Heroes
“The Jazz Journalists Association is pleased to announce its slate of 2023 Jazz Heroes, advocates who have had significant impact in their local communities. The ‘Jazz Hero’ awards, made annually on the basis of nominations from community members, are presented [locally] in conjunction with the annual Jazz Awards honoring significant achievements in jazz music and journalism,” the group posts. Carlos Flores is Chicago’s winner, writes Neil Tesser: “A longtime advocate for Latino music in general, and Afro-Latin Jazz in particular, Carlos Flores has played an indispensable behind-the-scenes role in modern Chicago’s cultural development.”
Major Manifestation At Metro For Drag
“Metro is throwing a massive drag show this month to raise money to fight anti-drag and transphobic legislation,” reports Block Club. The ‘Chicago Loves Drag!’ benefit is Friday, April 14 at Metro, featuring a “lineup of Chicago’s top drag performers, ranging from ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and ‘Dragula’ contestants to fixtures of the city’s nightlife scene.” Funds raised “will benefit the ACLU of Tennessee, Transformation Project, Tennessee Equality Project and Chicago’s Life is Work, a Black- and trans-led organization on the West Side.”
Why Williamstown Theatre Fest Will Have No Full Shows This Summer
“For only the second time since the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 1954 founding, there will be no fully staged theater productions,” reports the Times-Union. “The reason for the absence of theater at the Williamstown Theatre Festival amounts to… a public atonement for how the festival treated interns, apprentices and other staff for decades and a commitment to finding a new model for producing a season of world-class summer theater… During an average pre-pandemic summer… the company at full strength numbered more than 300, with as many as 180 as interns or apprentices. Running a schedule of up to eight productions per summer.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Sentiment Shifts To Chicago For 2024 Dem Convention
“Democratic gains last week in the swing states of Wisconsin and Michigan bolster the case for Chicago hosting the party’s quadrennial gathering,” avers Lynn Sweet at the Sun-Times. “Chicago’s main rival for the 2024 nominating convention is Atlanta with New York’s prospects faded.”
Governor And Mayor-Elect Unite In DNC Push
Governor Pritzker and Mayor-elect Johnson “met for about an hour on Friday afternoon a month before Johnson will take office with an agenda that relies on help from Springfield,” reports Crain’s. “The immediate goal of both is showing a united front to secure the 2024 Democratic National Committee convention in Chicago… Pritzker said Johnson’s election ‘absolutely’ enhances the odds Chicago lands the convention. ‘He brings a real excitement to the job, I think, to the people of Chicago, and I think that’s being felt in Washington, D.C. … Chicago demonstrates that we’re a state that’s pro-choice, that’s stood up for labor rights and for workers, that we’re a state that is opposed to assault weapons and that’s not true of some of the other competitors.’ The effort to lure the DNC to Chicago could also help Johnson secure an early victory with trade and service unions, which have supported the effort and would be vital to preparation for the convention, as well as make inroads with the lodging industry that hopes large scale events eases its continued recovery from a pandemic slowdown in tourism.”
Mayor-Elect On Being A Chicago Public School Parent
Brandon Johnson talks the public school parent experience with Chalkbeat, via the Daily Line.
State Awards $22.5 Million Boost To Tourism, Illinois Festivals And Attractions
Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity have awarded $22.5 million in grant funding for eighty-nine projects across Illinois through the Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant program. Designed to support local festivals and attractions and drive tourism across the state, Illinois increased the funding available from $15 million to $22.5 million. The additional $7.5 million was secured during the Illinois General Assembly legislative session in early January 2023 and the program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Among the projects are a performing arts center in Naperville; funding for the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival; the Chicago Architecture Biennial; the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade; the Aurora Festival of Lights; construction of the Neil Street Plaza in Champaign; the Taste of Chicago; Nightmare on Chicago Street in downtown Elgin; “Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop” exhibition at the College of DuPage; restoration of the Charles Gates Dawes House in Evanston; Grant Park Music Festival; the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer; the Chicago Gourmet event; and the renovation of the Uprising Theater in Avondale. More here. The list of projects is here.
ShotSpotter Sneaks In
“While Brandon Johnson was vowing on the campaign trail to end the city’s contract with ShotSpotter, Mayor Lightfoot’s administration had already quietly extended the city’s multimillion-dollar contract to use the controversial gunshot [sound] detection software,” reports the Sun-Times.
Barstool Sports Moving Big Offices To Chicago
“Barstool Sports has leased most of a warehouse property just west of the Fulton Market District [at 400 North Noble] where [they] will move some operations from New York City,” reports Crain’s. “Barstool, acquired last year by casino operator Penn Entertainment and… known for its sports and entertainment podcasts… is expected to formally move a portion of its operations to the building from Manhattan in September… CEO Erika Ayers will remain based in the company’s New York office, which… will remain the headquarters.”
Guggenheim Fellowships For 2023 Notched
About 175 Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded each year from about 3,000 applicants. They are intended for mid-career individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts and exhibit great promise for their future endeavors. Candidates must apply to the Guggenheim Foundation in order to be considered. Among those with Chicago connections awarded 2023 Guggenheim fellowships are Orit Bashkin, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, University of Chicago; William Howell, Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago; Nejla Yatkin, choreographer; Chicago writer Jac Jemc, teaching at University of California, San Diego; and Monique Meloche-represented artist Lavar Munroe.
Spring COVID-19 Booster Likely Coming
The L.A. Times says yes: “Health authorities are turning their attention to the next chapter of the vaccination campaign… Federal officials are considering the authorization of another booster shot… The timing of that decision—and who would be eligible—remains unclear. But [it’s likely] for older residents or those with underlying health conditions that make them more likely to develop a severe COVID-19 illness.”
Why The Strikes At Illinois Public Universities?
“State spending on higher education was cut nearly in half over twenty years after adjusting for inflation, setting the stage for today’s labor strife,” reports WBEZ via the Sun-Times. Faculty at Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois and Governors State University “are either on strike or on the verge of striking this week following years of declining state investment in higher education… All three universities are regional institutions that serve significant numbers of students of color or students from low-income communities, and all three have had to do more with less as public funding has dropped over the years. [Plus], enrollment has fallen off dramatically at Chicago State and Eastern Illinois.”
Pritzker Appoints New Trustees To Northeastern Illinois
The announcement of trustees at Northeastern Illinois “comes after trustees moved to oust President Gloria Gibson amid concerns over the school’s flagging enrollment and abysmal graduation rates,” reports Chicago Business. The new trustees include chair José Rico, Paula Wolff, policy advisor of the nonprofit Illinois Justice Project; J. Todd Phillips, CEO of Parson Partners; Michelle Morales, president of nonprofit Woods Fund Chicago; and Betty Fleurimond, principal at Deloitte Consulting… Only 331 full-time students enrolled in fall 2021, and among recent full-time graduates, a mere 4.5 percent finished within four years. Fewer than twenty-percent finished within six years.”
Morton Grove Church Claims Bones Of St. Mark
“Bones said to belong to Mark, who died in or around 68 A.D., will be on display at the Shrine of All Saints in Morton Grove… They’re the latest religious relics at the [site], which includes objects associated with more than 3,000 saints,” reports Bob Herguth at the Sun-Times. “Beyond being a namesake and possible author of one of the four established Christian gospels, Mark is a central figure in the early church. His family’s home might have been a meeting place for Jesus and the apostles for gatherings including the Last Supper.”
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