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Chicago Teachers Strike 2019

Chicago public school teachers and their supports march near City Hall on Oct. 18, 2019.

Manuel Martinez

Newsletter: Will kids go back to school on Monday?

Hey there, it’s Friday! And the host of The Daily from The New York Times was at WBEZ and no one told me. What gives? Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. Is a deal to end the teachers strike close?

Negotiators from both the city and the Chicago Teachers Union sounded optimistic that they’re close to forging a deal to end the teachers strike, now in its seventh day.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said this morning that today’s contract talks will be pivotal in determining whether the strike will end before Monday. And Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said this morning that negotiations have reached a “sensitive juncture.”

Sharkey added that there has been movement on the union’s demand for more nurses and social workers at schools.

Meanwhile, the teachers strike has affected various school sports teams. A Cook County judge is expected to rule later today on a lawsuit that could have implications for student athletics who want to compete while their coaches are on strike. [WBEZ]

2. The Justice Department opens a criminal investigation into the Russia probe

And Democrats are blasting the move, accusing President Donald Trump of using the Justice Department to settle a score with his perceived enemies.

The Justice Department’s decision to open the investigation into the origins of the Russia probe gives the prosecutor running it, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, the power to issue subpoenas for witness testimony and documents, and even convene a grand jury.

Attorney General William Barr had ordered an administrative review of the Russia investigation, but it’s not clear what caused the Justice Department to shift gears and pursue a criminal investigation. [NPR]

Meanwhile, a judge ruled that the House Judiciary Committee can see certain redacted materials from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. [Washington Post]

3. Protesters are preparing for Trump’s visit to Chicago

President Trump on Monday will make his first visit to the city since moving into the White House, and a host of liberal-leaning groups are organizing a “Get Out of Our House” rally.

Trump is in town for the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police at McCormick Place and a fundraiser co-hosted by Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts. His visit comes as the city faces a number of problems, like the ongoing teachers strike and closing an estimated $838 million budget hole.

“With the city’s budget problems, the crime problems and with the strike going on, it’s going to be a proverbial zoo,” said Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar, a Trump supporter. [Chicago Tribune]

And as you might already know, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will also be in town next week. [Chicago Tribune]

4. Lightfoot’s budget will go under the microscope

The Chicago City Council will begin a series of hearings Monday on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed budget. That means aldermen will have the chance to grill city officials about the mayor’s plan and pretty much anything else that’s grinding their gears.

Here’s a handy look at what’s in the mayor’s budget proposal and what to watch out for. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, Lightfoot plans to rake in just $3.5 million from taxing recreational marijuana after it becomes legal on Jan. 1. If that seems small, that’s because it is: The city can’t collect taxes on pot until September 2020. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Obama, Clintons eulogize Rep. Elijah Cummings

The late civil rights leader and influential House lawmaker received a final farewell in his hometown of Baltimore today.

Among those who attended the funeral were former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“There’s nothing weak about being honorable. You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect,” Obama said at the funeral service. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • It was a busy week for the House’s impeachment inquiry. Here’s a handy rundown to help you get caught up on all the big news. [NPR]
  • The Trumps are considering selling their Washington, D.C. hotel. [New York Times]
  • Several southwest suburbs that were raided by the feds have something in common: They all use an insurance company that employs the son of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Here’s a ghost hunter’s guide to spooky places to visit. [Washington Post]

Oh, and one more thing …

Chicago has a lot of local TV celebrities: Mia Park from Chic-A-Go-Go, WTTW’s Phil Ponce and WGN’s Tom Skilling, just to name a few.

But Halloween is Svengoolie’s time to shine, and this year is a big one. Rich Koz is celebrating 40 years playing the ghoulish, titular host of the long-running television show that riffs on classic, B-rated horror and sci-fi movies.

And the Museum of Broadcast Communications is unveiling a new exhibit tomorrow about the show, displaying the coffin from the show’s original set, among other items. [Chicago Reader]

In addition to the exhibition, Svengoolie will also be teaming up with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other superheroes in the Justice League. [Den of Geek]

Tell me something good ...

Halloween is almost here. What’s your favorite Halloween memory?

Melanie Weeks writes:

“In the early 1970s my mother decided to make a special menu for Halloween: meatloaf in the shape of a cat (or a snake), ghost potatoes (potatoes with eye and mouth holes carved into them), carrot slices made to look like pumpkins, witches teeth (yellow corn), witches brew (apple cider), and Dracula’s Castle made out of butter (with mini flags on toothpicks and a drawbridge)!

“It’s a tradition that my brothers and I carry on with our children to this day. This special Halloween meal adds an extra layer of fun to our favorite holiday.”

Thanks to everyone who shared their favorite Halloween memories! As always, it was nice talking with y’all.

Thanks for reading and have a nice night! I’ll see you on Monday. 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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