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President Joe Biden speaks in front of a sign that reads

President Joe Biden talks about the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021.

Susan Walsh

The Rundown: Biden sets Jan. 4 worker vax deadline

Hey there! It’s Thursday, and American Girl dolls have taken their rightful place in the National Toy Hall of Fame. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Biden sets a Jan. 4 deadline for worker vaccinations

Companies with more than 100 employees must ensure their workers — approximately 84 million Americans — are fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, the Biden administration said today.

While enforcement of the mandate falls primarily on employers, companies that don’t comply can face hefty fines. [NPR]

The announcement comes as the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago’s largest police union, continues to challenge the city’s vaccine reporting mandate for municipal workers. FOP President John Catanzara yesterday called for officers to disobey orders to upload their vaccination status to a city portal in the hopes of drowning the Police Department in paperwork. [Chicago Tribune]

Meanwhile, U.K. regulators were the first to approve a pill designed to treat COVID-19. [BBC]

2. Chicago Park District leader texted State’s Attorney Kim Foxx about the lifeguard abuse investigation

As the sex abuse scandal involving lifeguards deepened this past summer, the Chicago Park District’s board president, Avis LaVelle, texted Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and asked to talk, WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos reports.

Foxx didn’t respond. Instead, she sent a letter to park district leaders informing them her office had opened an active investigation into the abuse allegations and made clear park district leaders were not welcome to contact her directly.

In an email to WBEZ Wednesday, LaVelle said she reached out to Foxx to discuss the investigation.

“I had heard media reports that her office would be conducting an investigation, but the Park District had not received any official notification,” LaVelle said. “I also wanted to assure her of my full cooperation.” [WBEZ]

3. The world isn’t spending enough on climate change, new report finds

A U.N. report unveiled today at a climate summit in Scotland finds the world doesn’t spend nearly enough money preparing for climate disasters — a decision that could have dire consequences as temperatures continue to rise.

While researchers found an annual $46 billion is spent across the globe to help vulnerable countries adapt to a changing environment, they predict world leaders will need to spend five to 10 times that as conditions worsen over the next few decades.

“Adaptation is necessary,” said the report’s chief editor, “even if we stopped emissions today.” [Washington Post]

And we may be running out of time. Another new study concluded the world has just 11 years to rein in harmful greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst climate outcomes. [NPR]

4. Key source connected to the Trump-Russia dossier charged with lying to the FBI

A Russian national linked to the infamous Steele dossier was arrested and indicted today as part of a special counsel investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Igor Danchenko was a primary source of information for the collection of reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which contained salacious claims about former President Donald Trump as well as allegations that people within his orbit were conspiring with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors allege Danchenko lied to the FBI when questioned about the dossier, and that his false claims were used to order surveillance on former Trump aide Carter Page. But the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller found the document did not factor into the FBI’s decision to open its Trump-Russia probe in July 2016. [NPR]

5. Women in Chicago radio are speaking out about a “toxic and sexist” culture

Three dozen women spoke with the Chicago Tribune about how they were treated while working in the male-dominated business, which has featured a dwindling number of female voices on the air following cost-cutting efforts by local radio companies. On some local stations, listeners can go hours without hearing a female host.

“It’s unfortunate. The voices on the radio should reflect the community that they serve. Not only is it bad for women, but it’s bad for people of color,” said Lisa Dent, who lost her midday host job at WEBG-FM 95.5 last year when the station switched from country to rock. “Outside of the Black radio stations in town, which are hugely successful and have great talent, you don’t hear many [Black] voices, especially women.”

Others interviewed by the paper include my colleague Mary Dixon, who was hired as WBEZ’s Morning Edition anchor after being laid off from her longtime role at WXRT, and WBBM’s Felicia Middlebrooks, the first Black woman to co-anchor morning drive on a network-owned U.S. news station. Middlebrooks left WBBM in May 2020 after 35 years. [Chicago Tribune]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi wants to make Diwali, which begins today, a federal holiday. [NBC Chicago]

  • Suicide rates dropped in 2020, but not among some young people of color. [NPR]

  • Astronomers want NASA to build a massive telescope to look for alien life on other planets. [NPR]

  • Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is one step closer to becoming the U.S. ambassador to Japan. [Sun-Times]

  • Fans of the popular Netflix series Squid Game can compete for 583,855 South Korean won — or $500 — at a Lincoln Park pop-up. [Block Club Chicago]

Oh, and one more thing …

Colder weather means it’s time to shift into soup mode. This week’s Curious City investigates a potential pattern pertaining to split pea, the gross-looking-but-surprisingly-tasty diner staple.

After noticing similar split pea specials on multiple menus, one questioner asked: Is it true that most Chicago restaurants serve the soup on Wednesdays?

The short answer: No, “split pea Wednesday” isn’t really a thing, but local diners do tend to serve it on a consistent day of the week. Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen in the South Loop has been serving the soup on Tuesdays for four generations. In Lake View, Stella’s Diner serves it every Thursday.

And if kitchens switch up their schedules?

“People say, ‘Hey! What happened to the split pea?’ ” bemoaned one McKinley Park chef. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

It’s officially November, a month for gratitude. That has me wondering, what are you thankful for?

Tim writes:

“I’m thankful for my wife — for being my best friend, the mother to our kids, and for being my rock during the past 2 years as COVID-19 has upended everything we knew as ‘normal’. She’s the glue holding us together most days, and she’s also the one who reminds me to stop and have fun and enjoy things when I’m too in the weeds on the rigamarole of daily life.”

What are you thankful for this week? Feel free to email or tweet us, and your response might show up here.

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