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Jesse Sharkey

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey speaks to reporters on Oct. 31, 2019.

Manuel Martinez

Newsletter: The Teachers Strike Is Over, Classes Resume Friday

Hey there! It’s Thursday, and I assume Hunter is out trick-or-treating. (FYI: He only accepts full-sized candy bars.) Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. TGIF: Back to school for CPS

Chicago Public Schools teachers will return to class on Friday after being on strike for the past 11 school days.

The announcement came after Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey agreed to make up five school days that were lost because of the strike.

The union and the school district had reached a tentative deal Wednesday night, but union leaders said teachers would remain on strike until the mayor agreed to make up school days. The compromise was a drastic change for Lightfoot, who had repeatedly said students would not make up the lost days and angrily accused Sharkey of moving the goalposts during final negotiations. [WBEZ]

With the strike over, all qualified Public League football teams can compete in the state playoffs. [Sun-Times]

Check out WBEZ’s live blog for a blow-by-blow recap and the latest updates. [WBEZ]

2. A divided House advances impeachment inquiry

The House approved a resolution Thursday that will pave the way for Democrats to go on national TV and outline their case for why President Donald Trump should be impeached.

The 232-to-196 vote closely followed party lines, with nearly all Democrats backing the resolution and Republicans opposing it. It was only the third time in modern history the House had taken a vote on an impeachment inquiry into a sitting president.

Trump responded with a tweet: “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!” [New York Times]

At issue is whether Trump abused his power when he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his domestic political rivals.

Also on Capitol Hill Thursday, House investigators heard testimony from Timothy Morrison, the National Security Council’s top Russia and Europe adviser. The Washington Post reports that Morrison corroborated the earlier testimony of a senior U.S. diplomat who gave a detailed account of the alleged quid pro quo. [Washington Post]

3. The EPA to roll back rules on coal toxins

The Trump administration is expected to weaken a 2015 regulation that tried to limit the emissions of dangerous metals from coal-fired power plants, according to The New York Times.

The move helps coal-fired power plants, which have been closing because of competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable energy generators.

But environmental groups say rolling back regulations could lead to more contaminated drinking water, birth defects and cancer. About 1.1 million people live within three miles of a coal plant that releases pollutants into a waterway, according to the EPA. [New York Times]

In Illinois, residents in Vermilion County have been worried that their local river could be the next coal ash disaster site. [WBEZ]

In July, Gov. JB Pritzker signed into a law a bill that cracked down on coal ash pollution. [WTTW]

4. A senior U.S. commander says ISIS will likely recover

Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie Jr. believes the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will only disrupt ISIS activities.

Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed last week during a U.S. special operations raid in Syria. But McKenzie, the leader of U.S. Central Command, says ISIS will likely regroup and may seek revenge on the United States.

“We don’t see a bloodless future, because unfortunately this ideology is going to be out there,” McKenzie Jr. said Thursday at the Pentagon. [Washington Post]

5. Dorothy Brown wants to sell courtroom calendars — the ones with her face on them

Dorothy Brown, the controversial clerk of Cook County’s circuit courts, wants $8 million for more workers. But her “outside of the box” proposal to help raise that money landed with a thud on Wednesday.

Brown suggested selling calendars, specifically the ones with her face on them used by judges use to schedule cases.

Veteran Commissioner John Daley, who is leading budget hearings, said he didn’t think the county could sell calendars that it bought with taxpayers dollars. Brown, who oversees one of the largest circuit court systems in the nation, disagreed. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Former President Barack Obama says Democrats don’t always need to be ‘politically woke.’ [NPR]

  • Chicago libraries have seen a 240% increase in returns under the new no-fines policy. [Sun-Times]

  • At least 65 people have died after a train fire in Pakistan. [NPR]

  • On Halloween, police fired tear gas at costumed protesters in Hong Kong. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

While decorations of vampires and bats can be found in abundance this time of year, the animals themselves are under increasing threats in the Midwest.

About a dozen species of bats call Illinois home. But the Chicago Tribune reports the elusive mammals are succumbing to disease, a shrinking habitat and an increase in wind turbines.

Why should you care about the bats? For one, they like to eat mosquitoes. [Chicago Tribune]

But if you are worried about rabid bats, Cook County has map that tracks where they’ve been found. You can search their Halloween-colored map here.

Tell me something good ...

Last week’s question got a lot of responses, so let’s continue the fun. What’s your favorite Halloween memory?

Ezra writes:

“My mother loved doing my and my sister’s makeup on Halloween night. I loved getting in my costume and sitting in the bathroom while she fussed with my look — the smell of hairspray always takes me back. We would have chicken soup and a grilled cheese and be out on the street right as the sun went down.

“She passed on a few years ago now, and I have grown to cherish those memories all the more. I can see it now for what it was: more than makeup, it was a chance for my mother and I to be close.”

What’s your favorite Halloween memory? Feel free to email at or tweet to @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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