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Lake Shore Drive

Lake Shore Drive, one of Chicago’s most iconic roadways. Two city aldermen are pushing to rename the road after a Black explorer considered the city’s founding father, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable. But the mayor is offering alternative honorariums.

R Boed

WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: The Cost Of Renaming Lake Shore Drive

Hey there! It’s Friday, and I have to return to the office soon for a meeting. I honestly don’t know if I can sit in the newsroom without a bean bag chair after this pandemic. Here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. How much would it cost to rename Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive?

The heated debate over renaming Lake Shore Drive is expected to reignite in a few weeks, when the City Council could vote on a plan to change the road’s name in honor of Chicago’s “founding father” — Jean Baptiste Point DuSable.

WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel reports that just changing signs alone could cost at least $853,500. But that figure doesn’t include costs associated with stuff like rerecording audio announcements on buses and potentially changing addresses.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who opposes renaming Lake Shore Drive, has instead proposed a $40 million plan to finish DuSable Park near Navy Pier, create an annual DuSable Fest and rename Chicago’s Riverwalk to DuSable Riverwalk. The mayor’s office says the Chicago Park District and corporate funding would cover most of the costs. [WBEZ]

2. Pritzker aims to get deal on massive green energy plan as he focuses on climate change

Gov. JB Pritzker expressed optimism that an agreement can be reached with state lawmakers on a green energy plan that includes a deadline for closing Illinois’ coal power plants.

In a one-on-one interview with WBEZ, the governor said the state “can’t keep coal plants open if you want to get truly to the point where we’re fighting climate change and cleaning the air.”

A plan to pull the plug on coal power plants by 2035 stalled in the legislature this week, raising questions about its future. Among the sticking points is a downstate coal plant that provides power to Winnetka, Naperville and several other Chicago suburbs.

Pritzker also said he will soon make an announcement regarding his political future. The next governor’s race is next year, and Pritzker has not said whether he will run for reelection. [WBEZ]

3. The U.S. economy is regaining its footing, but the recovery isn’t going to be effortless

Employers added 559,000 workers in May, about twice as many compared to the previous month, the Labor Department reported today. The department also says the unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from April’s 6.1%, and hourly pay rose, though at a slower pace.

Looking at the big picture, the U.S. has recovered only about two-thirds of the jobs lost after the pandemic disrupted the economy. Today’s job report does show hiring is gaining steam, but some economists say the pace needs to pick up. [NPR]

Among the many major challenges facing the economy is how to get women back into the workforce. Millions of women remain unemployed compared to before the pandemic, and many economists say it’s due to a wide range of problems that can’t be solved quickly. [NPR]

4. Facebook suspends Trump for two years

Facebook today announced former President Donald Trump will remain suspended on the social media platform until at least Jan. 7, 2023, and his account will only be reactivated “if the risk to public safety has receded.”

When his account is back up, Trump will face a “strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions,” up to a permanent ban, if he continues to break the rules.

Today’s news comes after Facebook’s Oversight Board concluded last month it was wrong to give Trump an indefinite ban after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. [NPR]

Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence distanced himself from Trump during a speech last night before Republicans in New Hampshire. Pence said he doubts he’ll ever be able to see “eye to eye” with Trump after the insurrection. [NPR]

5. Turns out those UFOs are still unidentified flying objects

For anyone hoping to get answers over whether aliens exist and have visited us, I’m sorry to share the news that an upcoming federal report isn’t going to be very helpful.

The report, expected to be delivered to Congress as soon as this month, “finds no proof of extraterrestrial activity, but cannot provide a definitive explanation for scores of incidents in which strange objects have been spotted in the sky,” according to The Washington Post.

Cue up the sad trombone.

But the recent public fascination surrounding UFOs will likely persist and may get a boost from the fact that the government couldn’t rule out the possibility that aliens are visiting Earth. [WaPo]

Here’s what else is happening

  • As Chicago prepares to fully reopen next week, city workers and community groups are teaming up to boost vaccination rates in 13 neighborhoods. [WBEZ]
  • DNA evidence and genealogy helped authorities arrest a Minnesota man in the 1972 murder of a Naperville teenager. [Chicago Tribune]
  • A U.S. journalist who has been detained without explanation in Myanmar is an alum of Columbia College Chicago. [Columbia Chronicle]
  • A skunk ate three eggs from Monty and Rose, the endangered piping plovers who are nesting at Chicago’s Montrose Beach and heroically took down an EDM festival in 2019. [Block Club Chicago]

Oh, and one more thing …

The weather is expected to be amazing this weekend in the Chicago area and could give us a better sense of how bonkers “hot vax summer” is going to be.

If you’re on the go and looking for stuff to listen to, WBEZ has a bunch of great new podcast episodes.

First up is Nerdette, which gets a little spicy this week. Host Greta Johnsen and a roundtable of experts talk about sex, swears, ransomware and tennis star Naomi Osaka. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, the economic podcast The Pie looks at the rise in federal spending and how the government can cover those bills. [U of C]

And Art of Power talks to Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, a program that aims to close the gender gap in the tech industry. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

What is a good book you recently read?

Irene Bermudez writes:

The Midnight Library, by Martin Haig. It’s a book about the space ‘in-between’ life and death. It’s a library where every book details a regret based on a choice made. The main character gets the chance to visit each of these lives to see if it would have made her happier than the one she led. Makes you think!”

And Joshua writes:

Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi. Though it’s a fictionalized account of her childhood growing up in a harem in the 1940s, I suspect much of it is drawn from real life. She’s able to transport you to a strange yet familiar world of family, tradition and a child’s innate curiosity to the world around them.”

Thanks for all the book recommendations this week! I’m sorry I couldn’t share everyone’s picks, but y’all have great taste in literature.

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