Your NPR news source

The Rundown: Migrants, a police station and record heat

Good afternoon! We could soon get a reprieve from the heat, and I’m hoping temperatures drop faster than my interest in going to work meetings. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Migrants say they were told to stay outside a Chicago police station in dangerous, record heat

Migrants say they were told to largely stay out of a Near North Side police station yesterday as the heat index approached 116 degrees in some parts of the city, Block Club Chicago reports.

A city spokesperson told Block Club migrants sheltering at police stations could stay indoors all day. But migrants and their advocates said that wasn’t the case.

Block Club reports a “police officer said the station received no communication from the city on allowing migrants to stay inside all day but called the situation inhumane.” [Block Club Chicago]

Another mix-up involving migrants occurred earlier this week, when Chicago Public Schools was accused of turning away a group of 10 kids on the first day of the new academic year.

CPS disputed the claim, saying one of the families had an outdated form. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. A former top aide to Michael Madigan was found guilty

Tim Mapes, who spent two decades as the chief of staff to Illinois’ once-powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan, has been convicted of perjury and attempted obstruction of justice in federal court.

Prosecutors said Mapes lied on multiple occasions when he appeared before a grand jury last year. They say he did so in a corrupt attempt to block an aggressive criminal investigation of Madigan.

Mapes seemed to display no reaction to the verdict. He appeared to check his phone quickly afterward.

3. Chicago saw a nearly 50% increase in the number of people living in shelters and on streets in 2021, a report found

The report, released today by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, estimates 24,011 people were staying in shelters and living on streets in 2021, my colleague Tessa Weinberg reports.

More than 44,400 people were estimated to be “doubled up” or temporarily staying with others in 2021, according to the report. Overall, an estimated 68,440 were unhoused, a 4% increase from 2020.

The report comes as Mayor Brandon Johnson and his allies propose increasing the real estate transfer tax on high-end homes to help pay for homeless services. The plan would also decrease the tax on properties sold under $1 million.

This plan could ultimately go before voters in March. [WBEZ]

4. A temporary casino could open in downtown Chicago after Labor Day

Chicago’s first casino could launch soon after Labor Day, if all goes well during practice gaming sessions set to take place shortly after the holiday at Bally’s temporary gambling hall in downtown’s Medinah Temple, my colleague Mitchell Armentrout reports.

Bally’s chairman Soo Kim had originally floated an August opening for the temporary casino. But Bally’s now hopes to welcome gamblers to Medinah Temple sometime in September.

Bally’s will be relying on the temporary casino for up to three years while the company builds their permanent casino at the River West site of the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center printing plant.

Construction on the $1.7 billion project is slated to begin next summer. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. A popular farmers market takes a break amid safety concerns

The Logan Square Farmers Market is canceled this Sunday for the first time in its history as organizers struggle to safely incorporate unauthorized vendors who’ve set up around the official market, my colleague David Struett reports.

Organizers have cited traffic safety as a main concern about the expanding market.

The popular farmers market has attracted dozens of unlicensed vendors, who’ve begun setting up around the official market.

Some neighbors say the unofficial market has grown too large, endangering pedestrians who were forced to walk in the street. Others say the market helps foster a better sense of community after the pandemic. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Former President Donald Trump is expected to surrender today in Georgia’s election interference case. [NPR]
  • A plane believed to be carrying Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was likely downed by an onboard explosion, U.S. officials said. [New York Times]
  • FIFA opened a case against a Spanish soccer official who kissed a player on the lips while celebrating the team’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final. [AP]
  • Barbie has become the highest-grossing movie in North America so far this year. [Variety]

Oh, and one more thing …

Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte turns 20.

And the seasonal latte is now available today, though it might be worth waiting until the heat wave in Chicago has passed.

The pumpkin spice latte, introduced in 2003, has become Starbucks’ most popular seasonal beverage and sparked a growing industry of imitators, from pumpkin spice Oreos to beer.

“In the year ending July 29, U.S. sales of pumpkin-flavored products reached $802.5 million, according to Nielsen,” The Associated Press reports. “That’s up 42% from the same period in 2019.” [AP]

Tell me something good ...

With the new school year here, what advice do you have for students as they navigate life?

Susan Camasta writes:

“Be a lifelong learner. Really try to understand, don’t just go through the motions. There are opportunities for so many things all around you. Take advantage and try new things!”

And Kelly Lence writes:

“My advice for students: Don’t take everything you learn at face value or believe in the stagnancy of facts. So much that I learned in school has changed over the last couple of decades!

“Pluto isn’t a planet, pizza isn’t a vegetable and who needs cursive or penmanship in their adult life now? I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to learn the curriculum, give it your very best shot, but know that it doesn’t end there.

“Stay curious, read more even after your prescribed education is ‘done.’ And above all, be patient with yourself as you learn and unlearn and re-learn throughout your lifetime.”

Feel free to email me, and your response might appear in the newsletter this week.

The Latest
Plus, Chief Keef’s long-awaited return to Chicago. Here’s what you need to know today.
Plus, the lifespan of a book at the Chicago Public Library. Here’s what you need to know today.
Plus, Jessie Montgomery is Chicago’s most in-demand classical music collaborator. Here’s what you need to know today.
Plus, Buddy Guy will perform during NASCAR’s racing weekend. Here’s what you need to know today.
Plus, an architectural tour along the Lakefront Trail. Here’s what you need to know today.