Hey there! Today is an unseasonably warm Monday, but the city’s forecast for the week includes storms that could bring sleet and snow. Here’s what you need to know today.
Fatal shootings of students on their way home from schools in Chicago spiked last year, with nine children 17 years old or younger killed in the hours students head home, a WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times analysis found.
The total number of shootings — fatal and non-fatal — were also up slightly last year compared to recent years.
CPS leaders say they don’t think anything particularly new is happening in schools, instead blaming the high levels of gun violence in Chicago and across the U.S.
“We’re not a bubble,” Jadine Chou, the school system’s safety and security chief, told WBEZ and the Sun-Times. “CPS is connected to the whole city, and we’re connected to older people, younger people.”
But the Chicago Teachers Union is asking for “stronger and clear” protocols for the day of a shooting and the next day. And families of victims criticized the district for not keeping them informed or supporting students left behind. [WBEZ]
U.S. fighter jets have shot down four “unidentified objects” over the past eight days — a number Pentagon officials say they believe has no peacetime precedent, the Associated Press reports.
Gen. Glen VanHerck told reporters part of the reason for the shootdowns is “heightened alert” after an alleged Chinese spy balloon was spotted over the U.S. last month.
Objects over Alaska and Canada have also been shot down in the past two weeks. Pentagon officials have said the objects didn’t pose a security threat, but they haven’t ruled anything out yet. [AP]
At least one possibility seems newly off the table. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said today that there is “no indication” of extraterrestrial activity related to the objects, CBS News reports. [CBS]
But Ald. Silvana Tabares said in a statement that she worries about “the safety of the local community and the people who will be housed at this location,” my colleague Emmanuel Camarillo at the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Tabares, whose 23rd Ward includes the property, added that she has urged state lawmakers to include local residents in discussions.
State representatives, including Rep. Angie Guerrero-Cuellar and Sen. Mike Porfirio, both of whom represent the 13th Ward, also expressed concerns about the safety of the planned facility and keeping the community informed. In total, 3,936 immigrants who have arrived from the U.S. border on chartered buses from Texas have sought shelter provided by the city, Cook County and the state, according to officials. [Chicago Sun-Times]
A similar plan to turn a closed Woodlawn elementary school into a shelter was met with pushback from some area residents. At least three people were arrested late last week while protesting the move. [Block Club Chicago]
4. Parts of a report on an inquiry into former President Trump’s election interference will be made public
A Georgia judge, Robert C.I. McBurney of Fulton County Superior Court, ruled that parts of the grand jury report would be disclosed later this week, The New York Times reports.
McBurney said “the special grand jury raised concerns in its report ‘that some witnesses may have lied under oath during their testimony.’ ”
Few other details were made available, but the report does include “a roster of who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what, in relation to the conduct (and aftermath) of the 2020 general election in Georgia,” according to The New York Times.
The investigation has been going on for about two years. Special grand juries do not have authority to issue indictments. [New York Times]
Many of the singer/business mogul’s fans were hoping her Super Bowl halftime show was a sign of Rihanna’s imminent return to releasing music.
But instead of announcing a new single, album or tour, she made it clear she has a private life — including her businesses and a second pregnancy — to focus on.
As The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica writes: “Rihanna — one of the crucial pop hitmakers of the 21st century — needs the Super Bowl less than the Super Bowl needs her, and her performance was a master class in doing exactly enough. She treated it like many people approach their professional obligations when their personal life is calling: dutiful, lightly enthused, a little exhausted, looking to work the angles ever so slightly.” [New York Times]
Here’s what else is happening
The cousin of Emmett Till is suing to have an arrest warrant served against the white woman involved in the kidnapping. [AP]
The CDC found that girls and LGBTQ teens reported record levels of sadness and suicidal thoughts in 2021. [New York Times]
Here’s how Adidas is thinking of repurposing its unsold Yeezy products. [NPR]
Northwestern men’s basketball beat Purdue, the No. 1 ranked team. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Oh, and one more thing …
Demand for romance books is booming across the country, NPR reports just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Sales of print copies surged about 52% last year even as overall book sales declined for the first time in three years.
As NPR reports: “What once was something that many were made to feel ashamed of is now seen by readers as an unapologetic and empowering celebration of their sexuality.”
The genre can thank the communities that have formed both in person and on social media, especially TikTok, where massive numbers of people post their romance picks. [NPR]
Tell me something good …
The mild temperatures got us thinking: What warm-weather activities are you most looking forward to? Personally, I can’t wait for outdoor concerts and beach days.
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