Lead Story: On Wednesday the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance designed to protect undocumented immigrants. Dubbed the “Welcoming City” law, the bill means local authorities won’t cooperate with federal officials when the only reason for issuing a warrant is the suspicion the resident is an illegal immigrant. The city hopes undocumented immigrants will now report crimes without fear of retribution, but as the Tribune noted, the law is largely symbolic. Nonetheless, the bill's sponsor, Ald. Joe Moore (49th), told CBS 2, “It sends a strong message. It codifies what’s been part of city policy and executive order for some time, that if you go to the police; if you have an encounter with the Chicago Police Department, you don’t have to fear that you are going to be turned over to the federal immigration authorities.”
Also: Amtrak ridership has increased each of the last 11 months and by the end of the fiscal year in September the agency will set a new record of riders in a year. The ridership increase is also evident in Illinois, where U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin heralded the increase as good news. But as the presidential election draws closer, the agency may still find itself in the line of fire. The GOP platform adopted at the party’s recent convention includes cutting out over a billion dollars in federal funding to the agency, which operates at a loss and relies on the government funding to stay afloat. So the old argument over the role of government is resurrected anew, as the GOP tries to privatize what it can and Dems want to keep pouring money into Amtrak’s bucket.
And then: Speaking of transit, yesterday the CTA listened to more impassioned pleas from residents not to cut bus service on 12 routes as part of its “de-crowding” plan — and once again dismissed everything it heard and voted to enact the cuts anyway. I’ve gone on at length about why the CTA’s plan is a giant plate of polished poop so I won’t go over that same territory again. But how frustrating it must be to voice your complaints time and again, only to know you’re doomed anyway.
RIP: Sharon McGhee, former host and news director of WVON, at the age of 55 after a battle with ovarian cancer. Besides her broadcasting accomplishments both here and in her hometown of St. Louis, McGhee was a veteran of the U.S. Army and a playwright; she was the author of The PocketBook Monologues, which was performed at Steppenwolf.
- The U.S. embassy in Yemen is the latest American outpost attacked over outrage surrounding the bizarre film Innocence of Muslims, which was shot in the U.S.
- While there are still no signs of Jimmy Hoffa, archaeologists in Britain believe they’ve found the body of King Richard III under a parking lot.
- Move over, Seattle Hum, there’s a new weird phenomenon in town: the SoCal Stink, caused by winds that have churned up the smell of dead fish.
- I, for one, welcome our new monkey overlords.
- There is hope the CTU teachers strike could end later today. Follow @WBEZEducation on Twitter for the latest news.
- The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the state of Illinois over conditions in the state’s juvenile prsions.
- Illinois had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in August, reflecting a trend that’s been going on for months.
- Lincoln Park’s Clybourn Avenue corridor is getting more crowded. Of course, given that many of the newly planned stores will be built on top of what was once one of the most violent public housing projects in the nation, maybe the New York developer behind the project should describe it with language other than, “If you have a limited number of bullets, you're going to use them at North and Clybourn.”
- If you love McDonald’s but know it’s bad for you, you’ll soon get visible reminders of how bad the food is: The fast food chain plans to post calorie information about its offerings.
- Notre Dame will move to the Atlantic Coast Conference for all sports except football starting next year. Even then the Fighting Irish football team will play five ACC opponents a year, making them a de facto ACC team in that regard.
- Sox Watch: Another Detroit win cuts the Sox lead in the AL Central down to just one game with one game left in this four-game series.
- Cubs young gun Anthony Rizzo is a bit sore but not seriously injured after a bizarre collision at first base earlier this week in a game against the Astros.
- It’s never too early to plan for next year: MLB has released next year’s schedule for all teams, so check out the Cubs and White Sox. And yes, Ozzie Guillen and his Marlins will visit the South Side in May.
- Don’t forget: The NFL is on Thursday night every week this year and the first TNF game of the season is the latest match-up in the heated Bears-Packers rivalry. Kickoff is at 7:20 p.m. and the game is on the NFL Network (for fancy pants cable folks) or WPWR My50 for everyone else.
Because you always wanted to know where that iconic ESPN SportsCenter theme came from.