Hey there! With students now back in classrooms, let’s look at a budding trend taking hold at Illinois colleges: courses on cannabis. Here’s what you need to know today.
1. From ‘cannabis and the law’ to ‘cannabis flower production,’ more Illinois colleges are bringing pot into the classroom
This fall, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as 11 community colleges across the state, will offer courses aimed at preparing students for jobs in the cannabis industry, reports Patrick Filbin for WBEZ.
“As the popularity for both medical and recreational marijuana grows in Illinois, education on the manufacturing, cultivation and management of cannabis is following close behind,” Filbin reports.
Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2019. And since then, the cannabis industry has grown rapidly, with 110 licensed dispensaries and 185 additional conditional licenses for opening.
But the workforce hasn’t caught up.
“We heard from employers. They’re looking for an educated workforce that can come in and know what they’re doing right away,” said Daniel Kalef, vice president of higher education at the California-based cannabis training platform Green Flower. [WBEZ]
The city this week reached the tragic milestone of 500 homicides in 2022.
Perry Anderson, a father of two young children, was shot and killed on Sunday as he stepped from his mother’s house in West Pullman, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
“They shot him maybe nine or 15 times and never took anything from him,” said Anderson’s father, Perry Anderson Sr. “My son never hurt nobody.”
As my colleagues at the Sun-Times report, “It took Chicago longer this year to reach 500 homicides than it did the last two years, when the grim milestone was reached in August as shootings rose at a pace not seen in the city since the 1990s, according to data from the Cook County medical examiner’s office.”
So far this year, shootings are down 19% compared to the same time last year, and murders are down 15%, according to police data. [Sun-Times]
The Downers Grove Public Library canceled a bingo night featuring a drag queen after receiving threats that are now under investigation by local authorities, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The event was scheduled to coincide with National Coming Out Day and aimed to be an “evening of fun and celebration of self-identity and self-expression” for teens, the library said. [Chicago Tribune]
The news comes as far-right and white-supremacist groups across the nation have increasingly targeted LGBTQ events, justifying their attacks with false claims that gay and transgender people are “grooming” children.
Earlier this summer, a cafe in northwest suburban Lake in the Hills canceled a sold-out drag queen brunch after several windows were broken and hateful messages were spray painted on the building. [ABC7]
4. Inflation remained stubbornly high in August, with food and housing costs becoming more expensive
Inflation did not slow down as much as economists expected last month, with prices rising 8.3% from a year earlier, according to a federal report released today.
Falling gas prices did help bring down inflation, but relief at the pump was offset by rapidly rising costs for rent, health care and goods like new cars, reports the Associated Press.
“This was a disappointing report,” said Laura Rosner-Warburton, senior economist at MacroPolicy Perspectives. “It raises the risk of higher interest rates and a hard landing for the economy.”
The Federal Reserve hopes to achieve a “soft landing” for the economy by raising interest rates without triggering a recession. But today’s report suggests tamping down inflation still remains elusive for the Fed and the White House. [AP]
Meanwhile, The New York Times has an interesting graphic showing what is getting better and worse in the economy. [NYT]
More than 1,400 complaints were made at Chicago’s 311 non-emergency system on Sunday, report my colleagues Charmaine Runes and Amy Qin.
Most of the calls came from the city’s Far Northwest and Far North sides. Diving deeper into the data, one in four of the complaints came from Portage Park. The neighborhoods that had the next highest number of complaints were West Ridge, Edgewater, Albany Park and Lincoln Square.
“The rain fell unevenly on Sunday, inundating some areas with intense downpours while sparing others, which explains, in part, why 311 service requests spiked in some neighborhoods and not others,” report Runes and Qin. [WBEZ]
Here’s what else is happening
- Asian American candidates in Illinois are hoping to break state records. [Chicago Sun-Times]
- The federal case against R. Kelly in Chicago is now in the hands of jurors. [Chicago Sun-Times]
- The coffin for Queen Elizabeth II left Scotland today and arrived in London, where she will lie in state. [AP]
- Good news for gamers: The long-anticipated sequel to Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be out in May. [Polygon]
Oh, and one more thing …
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, but how did these places get their names?
Chicago historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas this week answers that question and explains how the history and culture of each enclave often comes through in its name.
And some of these origin stories may surprise you. [WBEZ]
Tell me something good …
What books are you reading these days? I’m almost done with East of Eden by John Steinbeck and need something new.
Greg Zimmerman tweets:
“You must read Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. Must unputdownable book I’ve read this year…and quite a contrast to East of Eden.”
Anastasia also agrees with Greg, writing:
“I have to jump on the Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin bandwagon. (I know it is Nerdette’s BOTM this month.) I picked it up yesterday while I watched the rain fall, and I am already halfway through. Not only is the story compelling, but the weaving of the two main characters’ story arcs, and the play with structure is enjoyable to read. I also think Gabrielle has a knack at sharing harder-to-read subjects with a fine eye towards the tone and impact of what is being shared vs. told. I might have to ignore my fiance for the next two days so I can finish it before we go on vacation.”
And Bee’ing Cozy tweets:
“I’m really excited for Nona the Ninth, which comes out tomorrow! It’s the third in the Locked Tomb series. It’s a gothic horror scifi with a lot of necromancers and lesbians, in space. Highly recommend!”
Feel free to email or tweet me, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.