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Mayor Brandon Johnson, right, and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) meet migrants staying at the 12th District police station.

Mayor Brandon Johnson, right, and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) meet migrants staying at the 12th District police station. Johnson said tackling the issue of immigration is going to take a collaborative effort between city, state and federal leaders in partnership with philanthropic organizations and community-based organizations.

Anthony Vazquez

The Rundown: City Hall’s new plan for helping migrants

Good afternoon! I got a haircut and no longer look like someone who spends way too much time alone, writing in a dark room for eight hours a day and drinking only coffee. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Mayor Johnson’s plan for helping migrants begins to emerge

The plan includes opening centers primarily in Spanish-speaking communities to help migrants arriving from border states, said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, the mayor’s floor leader in the City Council.

“There is a plan in place to expeditiously begin opening up larger, what the city has been calling respite centers or welcoming centers. ... Instead of sleeping on a police district floor, which is totally unacceptable — they would have a safe, comfortable place to sleep, to get a good meal and to begin the process of figuring out what their next steps are,” Ramirez-Rosa told my colleague Fran Spielman.

Ramirez-Rosa declined to provide locations for the new centers.

But he did say the mayor’s transition team held daily meetings with “federal, state and local stakeholders” in the run-up to Monday’s inauguration, Spielman reports.

The migrant housing crisis poses an immediate problem for the Johnson administration. In one of his first acts as mayor, Johnson signed an executive order creating a deputy mayor for immigrant, migrant and refugee rights.

And he spent part of his first day in office visiting migrants at a police station in Pilsen and a Chicago Park District field house in Little Village. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. A search to find the massive snapping turtle known as Chonkosaurus

My colleagues at the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ recently went on an expedition on the Chicago River in search of Chonkosaurus, the city’s latest animal celebrity who is winning the hearts of residents much faster than it’s burning calories.

Joining them on their adventure was Sara Ruane, the Field Museum’s herpetology expert, who five years ago captured a 9-foot-long tiger rat snake in Belize as it tried to bite her face.

Ruane regaled the party of adventurers with stories of pulling snapping turtles out of nets in Nebraska.

“You grab these turtles by their back feet and, essentially, you kind of wrestle them backward so that the biting end is always facing away from you,” she said.

I won’t spoil the ending of their search for the renowned reptile. But Ruane said reports of Chonkosaurus weighing 60 pounds were probably exaggerated.

She said snapping turtles get bloated from spending all their time below the surface, and Chonko likely weighs closer to 35 pounds. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Fed-up Chicagoans fight back against ‘war zone’ narrative

A recent Fox News segment on Mayor Brandon Johnson sparked widespread criticism, with a reporter asking diners in Naperville, which is 30 miles away from the city, what they think of the new mayor.

“Chicago has been the punching bag for people of certain political persuasions, and it seems like every time something bad happens, it’s happening here,” marketer Matt Lindner told Block Club Chicago. “Chicagoans are well aware of the fact our city is not perfect, there’s a lot to be done to level the playing field.

So Lindner and some friends came up with a line of T-shirts saying, “Shut the f**k up about Chicago.”

“It drives me nuts when anyone bad mouths Chicago, or talks about the end of Chicago,” said Anthony Hall, owner of Portage Park-based clothing company Harebrained. “So making the shirts has been super cathartic.” [Block Club Chicago]

4. You can read the controversial ‘First We Get The Money’ plan here

The $12 billion tax plan, which includes a city income tax and cuts to the Chicago Police Department, has generated a lot of opinions since allies to Mayor Brandon Johnson unveiled the proposal this week.

My colleagues at the Chicago Sun-Times have posted the full report online. The plan was co-authored by Saqib Bhatti, a member of Johnson’s transition team, and Gabriela Noa Betancourt, a senior research analyst at the Action Center on Race & the Economy.

Bhatti said Chicago can no longer be “held hostage” by businesses that “want to be showered with tax breaks” and “threaten to leave when asked to pay” more.

The Johnson administration quickly distanced itself from the report, saying the mayor has already laid out his own $800 million tax proposal that is “based on our kind of sober analysis of what might be feasible,” said Jason Lee, a senior adviser to the mayor. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Want to test drive the NASCAR Street Race course?

Preparation work for the July street race is underway, with city crews expected to finish repaving streets on the course in the next couple of days, reports my colleague David Struett.

And regular Joes will get a chance to drive along the soon-to-be official race course, Struett reports.

“For those interested in testing out the 2.2 mile, 12-turn course — and those willing to obey traffic signals — begin driving east along Columbus drive, directly south of Buckingham Fountain, where you’ll find the starting line,” Struett writes

NASCAR expects around 100,000 spectators will attend the July 1-2 races. Several streets will be closed for the event — the most significant being the six days that southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive is blocked from 10 p.m. on June 28 until after race weekend, from Monroe to McFetridge Drive. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The U.S. will support F-16 training for Ukrainians. [AP]
  • Negotiations over raising the federal government’s debt ceiling came to an abrupt standstill today. [AP]
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is concerned about a resurgence of mpox based on a recent cluster of cases in Chicago. [NPR]
  • Octopuses may have nightmares. [New Scientist]

Oh, and one more thing …

It’s kinda hard to read the reports of Harrison Ford at the Cannes Film Festival without getting a little choked up.

The 80-year-old actor received a surprise honorary Palme d’Or, one of the film industry’s most prestigious awards, before last night’s screening of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, his final outing as the iconic archaeologist.

“He choked up when he was presented with a surprise honorary Palme d’Or just before the screening started, just after a reel of his life in movies had played,” reports The Washington Post.

“He straight up cried as the crowd showered him with a standing ovation. He struggled with emotion to get out words when the moderator of the presser said how moving it was to see him onstage at the premiere and asked how it felt.”

To which Ford replied: “Indescribable. It felt … I can’t even tell you. It’s just extraordinary to see a kind of relic of your life as it passes by. The warmth of this place, and the sense of community, the welcome is unimaginable. And it makes me feel good.” [Washington Post]

Tell me something good ...

What is one of your favorite pets?

S.L. Wisenberg writes:

“Our parents promised us that we could get a second dog if the Astros game we were attending went past a certain number of innings. I’m not sure if that’s the reason that I got a beagle-white dog puppy I named April, because that’s the month she was born.

“My mother said I loved the dog because she didn’t contradict me. That may be so but I did love her. She was calm and friendly and didn’t have that beagle howl. She did simply love me, or so I felt.”

And Jane Lohmar writes:

“My favorite pet is always the one who needs me the most. Right now, it’s my 5-year-old, 60-pound, all-skull-and-muscle pitbull ‘Fig.’ He is my copilot in life, never leaving my side, always loyal and true.

“He was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for snuggling. 😉 But right now, despite years of a seemingly indestructible GI tract, he has been suffering some pretty bad symptoms. We are working diligently to figure them out, and he has a great medical team on his side, but it’s been rough on him. Through it all he remains his happy self.

“I’m forever grateful for the lessons he had taught me and for the anonymous Chicago police officer who rescued him from the streets, a scrawny and scared youngster with a heart of gold.”

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

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