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Donald Trump sitting in plane and talking

Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport, in Waco, Texas, March 25, 2023.

Evan Vucci

The Rundown: What we know about the Trump indictment

Good afternoon! Today is Transgender Day of Visibility and there are several events planned in Chicago. Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Former President Donald Trump will likely be arraigned next week

The charges against Trump are expected to be unsealed Tuesday, The New York Times reports.

A Manhattan grand jury last night indicted Trump on charges associated with the use of campaign money to pay for the silence of adult film star Stormy Daniels, the newspaper reports. The specific charges have not yet been released.

This is the first time a former U.S. president has been charged with a crime.

As the Times reports: “Reaction to Donald J. Trump’s indictment broke down, predictably, along partisan lines. While top Republican leaders defended Mr. Trump on Thursday and some Fox News hosts called the indictment politically motivated, Democrats called on the former president to respect the rule of law.”

Other investigations into Trump continue. [New York Times]

2. Fact checking Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson’s remarks at last night’s WBEZ/Sun-Times forum

Johnson and Vallas repeated many of the claims they’ve already made on the campaign trail in one of the last public forums before next week’s runoff election.

Vallas repeated his plan to rehire hundreds of recently retired Chicago Police officers, but WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel reports it’s unclear if this will be possible because retirees may not want to return to the department.

Meanwhile, Johnson continued to distance himself from past comments about defunding the Police Department, vowing to fund training, promotions and mental health services for officers. “Johnson’s current policing plan does not explicitly call for decreasing nor increasing the Chicago police budget,” Woelfel writes.

Woelfel also fact-checked the candidates on taxes, schools and other issues. [WBEZ]

3. Cook County’s population drop was the second worst in the country

The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimates show the county lost 68,000 people between July 2021 and July 2022, Michael Loria reports for the Chicago Sun-Times. Only Los Angeles County lost more residents.

However, Cook County’s 1.3% decline isn’t as big as last year’s 1.6%. Census Bureau demographers attribute the improved number to the influx of international immigrants, which is at its highest level since 2011.

Almost all of Illinois’ counties lost residents last year.

Where are Illinoisans moving? As the Sun-Times reports: “All those people aren’t heading for the countryside; many are moving to other metropolitan areas.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. Can Chicago Public Schools’ $135 million curriculum be a pandemic recovery game-changer?

Skyline, the district’s new online curriculum, is shaping the learning of some of the city’s most vulnerable students, an analysis by Chalkbeat and WBEZ found.

And it comes as Illinois student test scores in reading and math remain far below pre-pandemic levels.

But while CPS leaders say Skyline helps ensure students receive lessons reflecting their grade levels, some teachers say the curriculum can be overwhelming and find the platform hard to navigate.

And “some educators remain wary of a centralized curriculum in a district that has traditionally given teachers leeway to design their own lessons,” Chalkbeat and WBEZ report.

Skyline remains optional, but schools skipping it must evaluate their curriculums against a rubric created by the district and defend their alternative choices. [WBEZ]

5. The T. rex may not have looked as menacing as once thought

If your first impression of a T. rex was the sharp-toothed creature in Jurassic Park, new research shows that classic image may have been inaccurate all along.

Scientists have learned the dinosaur’s teeth didn’t stick out when its mouth was closed, The Associated Press reports.

Thomas Cullen, the author of the study, told AP that some researchers used to think T. rex teeth were too large to fit in the creatures’ mouths.

“When researchers compared skulls from dinosaurs and living reptiles, though, they found this wasn’t the case,” Cullen told AP. “Some large monitor lizards actually have bigger teeth than T. rex compared to their skull size, and can still fit them under a set of scaly lips.” [AP]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Tornadoes, hail and high winds could hit the Chicago area this afternoon. [Block Club]

  • Hadiya Pendleton’s murder conviction was overturned. [Chicago Sun-Times]

  • The Vatican says Pope Francis will be released from the hospital on Saturday. [AP]

  • A three-day Golden Girls convention returns to Chicago this weekend. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Oh, and one more thing …

A national tour of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning A Soldier’s Play will be in Chicago starting next week, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The play took almost 40 years to make its Broadway debut after its original 1982 production.

Veteran actor Norm Lewis plays a captain deployed to investigate the shooting death of a Black sergeant in 1940s Louisiana. Lewis’s character faces racism from the start.

“This is a play that deals with racism and self-loathing straight-on, as well as brotherhood and camaraderie. And it’s about the things we’ll truly fight for — and need to fight for — as a country, if we want to be a country that is respected,” Lewis said. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Tell me something good ...

The “road construction season” is upon us, as you can tell from the traffic on the Kennedy. What podcasts do you play when you’re stuck in traffic?

Justin Bull from WBEZ’s podcast team says:

“A Very Fatal Murder from ‘Onion Public Radio.’ Anyone interested in true crime podcast satire will find this show hilarious — and it’ll definitely get your mind off the traffic.”

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

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