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Newsletter: Will Chicago Dodge A Teachers Strike?

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Chicago Teachers Rally 2019

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73, which represents school support staff and Chicago Park District workers, rallied on Monday. Both unions say they will go on strike on Thursday if there are no agreements on new contracts.

Manuel Martinez

Good afternoon! It’s Monday, and I can’t stop thinking of the saxophone player from The Lost Boys. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. Countdown to Chicago teachers strike

We’re just three days away from when the city’s public school teachers are slated to walk out if an agreement can’t be reached on a new contract. The Chicago Teachers Union held a rally today with allies from Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents school support staff and Chicago Park District employees. That union is also slated to go on strike on Oct. 17.

The rally comes after what appears to be a breakthrough in contract talks. On Saturday, the CTU offered new proposals regarding class sizes and staffing. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said in a joint statement that they “were pleased to see more progress at the negotiating table than at any time up to this point.” [WBEZ]

Check out WBEZ’s live blog for the latest updates on contract talks. [WBEZ]

2. Chaos in Syria

The conflict between Turkey and Kurdish forces in northern Syria appears to be going from bad to worse.

Kurdish militias, which helped the U.S. combat the Islamic State, have changed alliances by siding with an American foe, the Syrian government, which is backed by Russia. The major shift comes as Turkish military forces launched an attack on the Kurds after President Donald Trump withdrew U.S. troops from the area. [NPR]

Now involved in the conflict, Syria has deployed government forces to the border to push back Turkey, according to Syrian state media. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today hinted at a broader assault.

As the fighting escalates, concerns are growing over a resurgence of the Islamic State. The Washington Post reports that hundreds of Islamic State family members escaped a detention camp in an area attacked by Turkish troops. [Washington Post]

Meanwhile, some U.S. military officers say they feel horrible about leaving the Kurds. “It’s a stain on the American conscience,” said one officer. [New York Times]

3. Former Trump adviser testifies before impeachment inquiry

House leaders today heard from Fiona Hill, the former White House adviser on Russia who resigned days before President Trump’s controversial July 25 call with Ukraine’s leader.

Hill, who is testifying despite the White House’s refusal to cooperate with the investigation, is expected to discuss her objections to the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, a career diplomat whose ouster as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine has become a focus of the impeachment inquiry. [NPR]

Here’s a timeline of key events under scrutiny by leaders of the impeachment inquiry. [NPR]

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is scheduled to testify on Thursday.

The ambassador, Gordon Sondland, is expected to tell House investigators that “the content of a text message he wrote denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine was relayed to him directly by President Trump in a phone call,” reports The Washington Post. Critics of the inquiry have heavily cited that text message. [WaPo]

4. Ex-Chicago cop acquitted in controversial shooting wants a clean record

It’s been a little more than four years since Dante Servin was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd, and the former officer wants his record expunged.

Servin was an off-duty cop in 2012 when he asked a group to be quiet near his West Side home. Servin, who was in a car, later said he thought he saw a man pull out a gun, though no gun was ever found. Servin drew his own gun and opened fire, hitting Boyd.

Servin resigned from the Police Department days before a hearing determined whether he should be fired, a move that allowed Servin to keep his pension. [Chicago Tribune]

5. So long, electric scooters … for now?

Chicago’s pilot program for electric scooters ends tomorrow. The four-month pilot saw people take more than 772,000 rides, which comes out to about 7,000 rides a day, according to the city.

What’s next? City officials will review the pilot to determine whether to greenlight a permanent program or take a spin on another pilot.

A new report from a local transportation advocacy group says if the city decides to try scooters again, it should ban them from the central business district and take up measures to keep scooters from littering sidewalks. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The fourth Democratic presidential primary debate is tomorrow. Here are seven things to watch out for. [NPR]

  • A homemade bomb was detonated during protests in Hong Kong. [AP]

  • Is today Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day? [NPR]

  • Kenyan runner Brigid Kosgei won the Chicago Marathon and set a new world record. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

One of my favorite stories that I’d classify as “very Chicago” is how the city reversed the direction of the Chicago River in 1900.

As you might already know, the river used to flow into Lake Michigan, carrying the waste of more than 1.5 million people into Chicago’s source of water, which didn’t sit well with the city’s civic leaders.

“Rather than clean up our act, we decided we’d do something audacious and reverse the river and send our poo down to St. Louis instead,” said a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

This week’s Curious City takes a fascinating look at the environmental impact of reversing the river’s flow. I won’t spoil what they found out. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

Halloween can’t come soon enough. I’d like to know what’s your favorite candy, sweets or Halloween snacks?

Mine? Peanut butter M&Ms. Send my compliments to the chef.

What’s your favorite candy, sweets or Halloween snacks? Feel free to email at or tweet me at @whuntah.

Have a nice night! I’ll see you tomorrow. And if you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and have it delivered to your inbox.

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