Your NPR news source
Former Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus poses for a photo with fans as the Bears take on the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus poses for a photo with fans as the Bears take on the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.

Ashlee Rezin

The Rundown: Was anyone more ‘Chicago’ than Dick Butkus?

Good afternoon! And good luck to everyone running in the Chicago Marathon this weekend. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Bears legend Dick Butkus is remembered as a champion of Chicago

Dick Butkus was more than just a celebrated football player — he embodied a spirit of Chicago in a way that allowed him to transcend generations, writes Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Potash.

Butkus was “a Chicagoan who played football like all of us wanted to — with grit, ferocity, anger and relentless aggressiveness. Through all those losing seasons, he played the game as if he felt our pain,” Potash writes.

The Hall of Fame linebacker died in his sleep yesterday at age 80 at his Malibu, California, home.

“Butkus was everything Bears fans wanted him to be,” Potash writes.

He was among the Bears alumni honored during last month’s game against the Green Bay Packers, and he spoke for every Bears fan when he said it was “always good to be back in Chicago, especially when the Bears are going to kick the Packers’ [butt].” [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. Chicago’s minimum wage for tipped workers will increase over the next five years

Mayor Brandon Johnson today claimed his biggest legislative win yet after the City Council voted to eliminate the subminimum wage for restaurant servers, bartenders and other tipped workers, my colleague Mitchell Armentrout reports.

“By a 36-10 vote, council members served up the ordinance that supporters say will level the economic playing field for waitstaff in Chicago’s world-class culinary scene, but that industry leaders argue will saddle neighborhood restaurants with untenable labor costs,” Armentrout writes.

The minimum wage for tipped employees is currently around $9 an hour, much lower than Chicago’s $15.80 minimum hourly wage.

With today’s council vote, base wages will increase in phases over the next five years, with the first 8% bump slated for July 1. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Mayor Johnson, facing opposition to housing migrants in tent cities, seeks a backup plan

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration is considering “unspecified backup plans” should it not set up tent cities for migrants before the winter, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The news comes almost a month after Johnson quietly signed a nearly $30 million contract with GardaWorld Federal Services, a security firm with a controversial history, to build what the mayor calls “winterized base camps.”

The Tribune also reports Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is asking suburban municipalities to share some of the burden.

“They were not prepared to make commitments unless they got resources to do it,” Preckwinkle said during an interview with the Tribune’s Editorial Board. [Chicago Tribune]

Meanwhile, the Johnson administration is asking for donations of coats, boots, sweaters, socks and other warm clothes for migrants as winter approaches. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. An upcoming trial is expected to shine a spotlight on the ties between Chicago’s gang and rap cultures

Six reputed “members and associates” of the O Block gang faction will face trial Tuesday in the killing of FBG Duck, a local rapper who was shot multiple times during a daytime attack in 2020 outside a Dolce & Gabbana store in Chicago’s Gold Coast.

“The case is expected to not only further pull back the curtain on O Block’s workings but also to spotlight connections between Chicago’s gang and rap cultures — an intersection that for years has been painstakingly documented in fringe rap blogs, YouTube videos and online forums,” my colleague Tom Schuba reports.

Two informants told investigators that “Duck had a price on his head” after he targeted fallen O Block members in a song called “Dead B------.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. A 70-year-old priest will run his 50th Chicago Marathon this weekend

Father Mike Bradley of St. Gertrude Catholic Church will run his 50th Chicago Marathon to raise money for a program helping the elderly in the city’s Edgewater neighborhood, Block Club Chicago reports.

“I see so many people in the community who are running their own marathons of pain and loss,” Bradley told the website.

“I feel any little aches and pains I get over the 26.2 miles are nothing compared to what others are going through, especially people who have chronic illnesses, people who’ve suffered loss and young people in difficult relationships. I try to include all of those intentions in my prayers.” [Block Club Chicago]

In case you missed it earlier this week, my colleague Courtney Kueppers shared the best spots to watch this Sunday’s marathon. [WBEZ]

And my friends at Curious City take a look at the endurance test of organizing a race. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to jailed Iranian activist and journalist Narges Mohammadi. [NPR]
  • The U.S. job market surged way past expectations last month. [NPR]
  • Chicagoans looking for new COVID-19 shots face supply issues and insurance hiccups. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Taylor Swift’s concert film, out next week, has already sold more than $100 million in tickets across the world. [Hollywood Reporter]

Oh, and one more thing …

“Altar for the Unbanned” almost sounds like something from a heavy metal album.

But it’s also a public art piece you can find on the third floor of the Harold Washington Library. Created by Theaster Gates, the art installation comes as book bans have become increasingly popular in the U.S.

“It features spiral shelves of books that have been banned in different periods of American history — titles like Antelope Woman by Louise Erdrich and The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood are part of the current piece,” my colleague Adora Namigadde reports.

“Atop the stacks of books sits a bright, neon sign that reads ‘Unbanned’ in all capital letters.” [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

With the news that Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are releasing films from their recent tours, I’d like to know what was one of the best shows you’ve ever seen?

Jennifer writes:

“Prince. April 1993. Chicago Theatre. Third row center. Lots of eye contact. Life changing? Hell, yeah!!”

Marissa writes:

“One of my favorite concert experiences happens to be my very first concert. I was 5 and my aunt took me to see Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake’s co-headlining tour at the United Center. Their opener was the then up-and-coming Black-Eyed Peas. JT was fresh into his solo career and sang songs off his Justified album — I fell asleep midway through the show but trust me, I had the BEST time.”

And Tom O’Connell writes:

“I saw the Beatles in 1964 at the Chicago Amphitheater. I was in the 7th row with my family of brothers and sisters. As was the custom of the day, 10-year-old me was in a coat and tie.

“When they finally appeared after numerous opening acts, the place went up for grabs! You could see the group performing, but all that could hear was screaming. It continued for the entire performance.

“When my parents asked my 20-year-old sister if she enjoyed the concert, she replied, ‘It was OK.’ They then proceeded to show her the front page of one of the daily papers, which had a picture of her rocking out to the Fab 4 in the middle of the front page.”

Thanks for all the emails this week! It was nice hearing from y’all.

The Latest
Plus, Laurie Metcalf returns to Chicago for Steppenwolf Theatre’s “Little Bear Ridge Road.” Here’s what you need to know today.
Plus, why Wieners Circle is fighting with Portillo’s on social media. Here’s what you need to know today.
Plus, piping plovers Imani and Searocket have laid eggs at Montrose Beach. Here’s what you need to know today.
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.