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Ryan Field rendering

Renderings of the proposed Ryan Field.

Northwestern University

The Rundown: Another large concert venue?

Good afternoon! It’s Krampus Night, meaning children who have been bad this year should brace themselves for lumps of coal. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Northwestern University hopes to bring concerts to Ryan Field in Evanston

Northwestern University’s Ryan Field sits in the middle of a residential area, and many nearby homeowners have started organizing in opposition to an $800 million proposal that will add concerts to a renovated football stadium, David Roeder at the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Residents say Wildcats football games are “mostly fun” but have criticized plans to relax rules about alcohol consumption and to bring in perhaps 12 full-capacity concerts every year.

Northwestern says the proposal wouldn’t require any public subsidies, and the new stadium design would minimize noise and light pollution.

And, as Roeder reports, the Bears should be watching closely: “The fight over Ryan Field, on a smaller scale, will provide object lessons for what it might take to extract a stadium from Arlington Heights. It’s a game of persuasion and power politics.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. COVID-19 cases are down at Chicago Public Schools

COVID-19 in CPS has mostly been on a slow burn this fall. The district has reported nearly 7,000 cases among students, with positive tests trending down to only a few hundred each week, my colleague Nereida Moreno reports.

However, only 49% of all students report being fully vaccinated and just 13% of students between 5 and 11 years old receiving a booster shot.

Meanwhile, health officials are monitoring a rise in cases of other respiratory diseases, including flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), among children around the country.

“Even with these health concerns in the background, Chicago public schools have operated this fall with looser restrictions, allowing for Nutcracker performances and a nearly normal school year after years of disrupted learning,” Moreno writes. [WBEZ]

3. The Supreme Court hears a case about LGBTQ vs. business owners’ rights

A web designer who hasn’t yet started a wedding website business is “preemptively challenging Colorado’s public accommodations law as a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech and expression,” NPR reports.

She says the state’s law would “force” her to create websites for LGBTQ couples, despite her belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, and would therefore violate her rights.

As NPR reports, Colorado Attorney General Phillip Weiser “contends that Colorado allows any individual or business to create whatever they want, but ‘if you open your doors and say you are serving the public, you have to serve everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, race or gender.’ ” [NPR]

4. The U.S. and Europe have begun enforcing an embargo on Russian oil and a price cap

Russia’s income from oil sales has been the country’s main source of funding for its war in Ukraine, the New York Times reports.

European countries won’t be allowed to purchase most crude oil from Russia starting today. Experts don’t expect an immediate effect on the countries’ oil supplies because the European Union has been preparing for the embargo for months by buying more oil from other sources, including the U.S., Brazil, Guyana and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is leading an initiative that sets the top price for Russian oil at $60 per barrel. The European Union, G7 countries and Australia have agreed to participate.

Russian officials threatened to cut off supplies to countries that agree to the price cap. [New York Times]

5. Chicago actor Anthony Norman is front and center in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

Chicago native Anthony Norman got his start in acting in the city’s theater scene, which he says is “worlds away” from the one in New York.

“Things are 100 percent different in New York,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “For me, I still think of Chicago as the pinnacle of acting. Theaters like Steppenwolf are bigger than Broadway. That’s where ACTING happens.”

Fans may remember Norman from his time in Paramount Theater’s 2017 production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street or during the Newsies national tour.

Now he’s back in town for Dear Evan Hansen at the Nederlander Theater through Dec. 31.

As the Sun-Times reports: “The Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of a high school senior who suffers from severe social anxiety and who puts himself at the center of another student’s tragedy.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Here’s where the candidates for Chicago’s new police district councils stand on key issues. [Chicago Sun-Times]

  • Thousands in North Carolina lost power after someone shot at the state’s substations. [NPR]

  • Georgia’s Senate runoff election is tomorrow. [Washington Post]

  • Americans have two more years to get a REAL ID card for domestic air travel. [Washington Post]

Oh, and one more thing …

Do you leave piles of clothes on the floor, sleep in a bed full of food crumbs and neglect other chores out of laziness?

Turns out there’s a term for that, and it’s Oxford’s word of the year: “goblin mode.”

The Oxford University Press says the slang term means “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot like me — especially since the pandemic started.

As CNN reports: “The term was first used in 2009 but went viral on social media earlier this year.” [CNN]

Tell me something good ...

I like doing at least one volunteer activity during the holiday season to give back to the community, such as putting together donations at a food pantry. What are some of your favorite ways of giving?

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

The Latest
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