Good afternoon! It’s Thursday, and after watching yesterday’s episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, I’m pleasantly surprised by the Disney+ show. Here’s what you need to know today.
The state requires schools to have safety plans but doesn’t require law enforcement agencies to be involved in the plans’ creation. The state also doesn’t require law enforcement officials to participate in regular school safety audits.
School districts therefore have a lot of autonomy in putting together plans and don’t receive much guidance on how to prevent shootings, WBEZ reports.
However, active shooter drills need to be done within the first 90 days of each school year at every Illinois school. The drills cannot include “simulations that mimic an actual school shooting incident or active shooter event.” Whether to have surveillance cameras is left up to individual campuses. [WBEZ]
President Joe Biden is expected to address the nation about gun violence tonight after a series of mass shootings, including last week’s in Uvalde that killed 19 children and two teachers. Listen live at 6:30 p.m. on WBEZ 91.5FM. [AP]
In an attempt to get riders back as workers return to offices and gas prices continue to climb, Metra will sell $100 monthly passes that can be used for unlimited travel on the rail system starting June 20.
Eligible seniors, grade-school students and children will be able to get the new monthly pass for $70.
The pass will be available for a three-month trial period, the Chicago Tribune reports, after which Metra will decide whether to continue the program.
Ridership across Metra is less than half of what it was before the pandemic. Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said ridership was about 40% of an average weekday in May 2019. [Chicago Tribune]
Ald. Roderick Sawyer, the son of former Mayor Eugene Sawyer, has joined a growing field aiming to deny Mayor Lori Lightfoot a second term.
As Sawyer told the Chicago Sun-Times: “I don’t think [Lightfoot is] the right fit for Chicago in this role. … She doesn’t play well in the sandbox with others. … The authoritativeness. The mean-spirited demeanor. That’s not how you run a government.
“I want to give the people a more collaborative option, where every voice matters. The current administration’s style of governing is a top-down form of government. It’s not taking into consideration her partners, which is us as aldermen. Also, the citizens of Chicago.” [Chicago Sun-Times]
Lightfoot, who told the Tribune she would announce her reelection campaign next week, said: “Another day, another man who thinks he can do this job better than me.” [Chicago Tribune]
Sawyer is the fifth candidate to enter the mayoral race. Yesterday, former public schools chief Paul Vallas jumped into the race, saying his campaign will focus on improving public safety, expanding school choice and fixing city finances.
State Rep. Kambium “Kam” Buckner, Ald. Raymond Lopez and businessman Willie Wilson have also formally announced they’re running. [WBEZ]
As the war nears its 100th day, Ukrainian forces are struggling to hold onto territory in the east, despite their progress in the south, Zelenskyy said in a virtual speech today.
Russian forces control about 20% of Ukraine’s territory, which is comparable to the area of the Netherlands.
Fighting continues in Kharkiv in the northeast to the city of Mykolaiv in the south.
More sophisticated weapons are soon expected from the United States and Germany, though President Joe Biden insisted that Zelenskyy agree not to fire into Russian territory, no matter how great the provocation. [New York Times]
A landfill in Waukegan will soon be home to 20,000 solar panels — part of a trend to reuse Superfund cleanup sites.
Yeoman Creek Landfill, a former dumping ground for hazardous waste from homes and industry during the 1950s and 1960s, has been a federal Superfund site for decades.
The hazardous waste at the landfill was mismanaged badly enough for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to get involved. Cleanup of high levels of methane and other toxic gasses is mostly complete, though the EPA still monitors the site.
Now, New York-based BQ Energy is installing 20,000 solar panels on the site as part of a $10 million project.
“You don’t want parks or houses or any kind of public access on these types of properties,” Paul Curran, owner of BQ Energy, told WBEZ’s Caroline Kubzansky. “But solar needs a lot of real estate. We need places with sun that [don’t] have a lot of trees or other impediments.” [WBEZ]
Here’s what else is happening
A man who recently traveled to Europe is Illinois’ first probable monkeypox case. [WBEZ]
COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5 could be coming by June 21. [AP]
Illinois residents can submit claims for settlement money from a Google lawsuit. [NBC Chicago]
A local student moved forward in the National Spelling Bee. [Scripps National Spelling Bee]
Oh, and one more thing …
Scientists say a seagrass meadow they found off the coast of Australia is the world’s largest plant.
The plant has grown to cover 70 square miles by cloning itself over 4,500 years. Researchers say being clones of a single organism comes with pros and cons, including rapid growth and susceptibility to diseases.
Scientists called the meadow of Poseidon’s ribbon weed “the most widespread clone on Earth.”
However, it used to be even bigger a decade ago, before cyclones and rising ocean temperatures linked to climate change killed about seven square miles of the seagrass bed. [AP]
Tell me something good …
It’s finally warm outside, and my mom will be in town in a few weeks. I wanted to know, what are the best ice cream spots in Chicago we should hit up this summer?
“Come out west to Brown Cow Ice Cream in Forest Park. Connie, the owner, is hugely active in the community, and the community had her back during the pandemic when supply issues threatened the business, housed in an old movie theater. All the ice cream is made in-house, and it’s delicious!”
“Black Dog Gelato on Damen & Iowa in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood features flavors like goat cheese cashew caramel. Black Dog consistently makes some of the best gelato in town.”
“I have two favorite spots for ice cream: 1. Lickity Split. Well, technically they make soft serve but it’s the BEST soft serve I’ve ever had. So, so good. Take your soft serve to go as you go for a walk in lovely Indian Boundary Park. 2. Chocolate Shoppe (on Devon and Central). Such a whacky shop with a changing themed interior every couple months. The ice cream is super gooey and delicious. Lots of flavors and you can sample lots of them. Ample outside seating. Bring cash!”
By far the best ice cream shop in the city is Margie’s Candies on Western Ave. They have an extensive ice cream menu with the best homemade hot fudge! If you and your mom are really hungry, you can order The Royal George, which is 25 scoops of ice cream with your choice of toppings! Margie’s is a true Chicago neighborhood classic!”