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The Rundown: The dangerous world of Chicago street racing

Hey there! If you’re among the 20 million people who watched the first episode of House of the Dragon, you might be happy to know the show has already been renewed for a second season. Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. The secret, dangerous and illegal world of Chicago street racing

Efforts to crack down on drag races and other street stunts intensified this summer after enthusiasts took over a downtown intersection, blocking traffic as drivers performed donuts on the street.

Videos quickly went viral, and the City Council last month empowered police officers to impound vehicles involved in races and car drifting.

Two of my colleagues at the Chicago Sun-Times — reporter Manny Ramos and photojournalist Ashlee Rezin — spent several weekends following fans and attending meets.

What they found is a devoted fan base that taps into the culture of street racing. And many of them will show up despite the possibility of losing their cars.

“I love everything about what we do,” said Draco, a name the 21-year-old uses on the circuit of street drifters. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. Darren Bailey campaigned with two pastors who were at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection

My friends over at WTTW News report that state Sen. Darren Bailey, the GOP nominee for Illinois governor, has campaigned closely with two Rockford area pastors who were at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“The association could prove to be another hurdle for Bailey’s campaign against incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker,” reports WTTW’s Paris Schutz.

Videos posted on Facebook show the two pastors marching from former President Donald Trump’s rally at the Eclipse toward the U.S. Capitol, where Trump’s supporters stormed the building, some chanting to “hang” former Vice President Mike Pence, WTTW reports.

One of the pastors, Steve Cassell, told the station the duo never entered the Capitol building. [WTTW News]

3. What we learned about the affidavit behind the search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate

The Justice Department asked to search former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence after reviewing 184 classified documents — including 25 marked “top secret” — that were held there, according to a redacted affidavit released today.

The court filings also suggest FBI agents were concerned that if some of the documents fell into the wrong hands, confidential sources used by intelligence agencies would be compromised.

As the Associated Press reports: “Taken together, the affidavit reveals additional details about an ongoing criminal investigation that has brought fresh legal peril for Trump just as he lays the groundwork for another presidential run.” [AP]

4. Fighting inflation may be painful and bring job losses, warns the head of the Federal Reserve

The nation’s central bank is determined to get inflation under control, but those efforts will likely weaken the economy and result in job losses, warned Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Powell argued the alternative — doing nothing and allowing inflation to continue — risks cementing the higher prices on everyday items as the new normal.

“Without price stability, the economy does not work for anyone,” he said.

Some economists say the only real solution to runaway inflation is an economic downturn. The Federal Reserve is hoping to avoid a recession, but its strategy hinges on raising interest rates, a move that has historically triggered a downturn. [NPR]

5. An incredibly rare Chicago license plate is up for auction

It’s being called the “holy grail” of Chicago license plates.

“Only (a) handful of these were made,” said Mike Donley of Donley Auctions. “And it’s number 1. It doesn’t get any lower than that.”

The plate bearing that magical number was made in 1904, the “first year that Chicago made metal license plates, and the only year the city made plates from thin, stamped aluminum,” reports NPR.

The plate on the auction block originally belonged to prominent Chicago lawyer and art collector Arthur Jerome Eddy, who helped found the Chicago Motor Club that eventually evolved into the American Automobile Association.

The plate is estimated to sell for around $4,000 to $6,000 in an auction that ends Sunday. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The official White House Twitter account trolls GOP lawmakers who are critical of a student loan forgiveness plan. [Axios]
  • President Biden wants to create an ambassador for the Arctic region. [Politico]
  • Vaccine maker Moderna is suing rivals Pfizer and BioNtech over their COVID-19 vaccine. [NPR]
  • WBEZ on Sunday will air a two-hour special for people inside Illinois prisons. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

The Underground Railroad provided a path for freedom seekers to reach Chicago. But many WBEZ listeners have asked Curious City why the city isn’t better known for its participation in the clandestine network.

Chicago offered a lot of unique opportunities for people escaping from the South, report my colleagues at Curious City. The Mississippi River provided freedom seekers with a helpful guide north, and the river washed away footprints that could be discovered by trackers.

But in 1850, the city transitioned from a relatively safe destination to what was, for many, a stop on the Underground Railroad toward the much safer Canada. That’s because Congress passed a law that criminalized helping people escape slavery.

Now, researchers are trying to piece together Chicago’s history with the Underground Railroad, but finding records is difficult because this work became inherently dangerous. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

Summer is coming to an end. My colleague Bianca is relatively new to Chicago and would like to know what are some of your favorite smaller-scale events or activities during the summer.

Marie Biersdorf writes:

“For anything movie related, the Music Box Theatre. Space in Evanston has some terrific musical talent in an intimate setting.”

Jeff writes:

“There’s a great free blues event on Saturday. It’s a conversation and concert celebrating Women in Blues outside at the Muddy Waters House in Bronzeville, 4339 S. Lake Park Ave., from 3-5pm. You’ll get to hear short sets from three blues bands — Sonia Astacio, one of the up-and-coming blues acts; Katherine Davis, a Chicago Blues veteran; and Melody Angel, who’s just flat-out amazing. Bring a lawn chair.”

And Kevin McCaffrey writes:

“There are a gazillion things, but a really awesome and contemplative thing to do is visiting the Bahá’í Temple in Wilmette. Amazing.”

Thanks for all the responses this week. I’m sorry we couldn’t include them all, but it was nice hearing from y’all.

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