Erin Allen: Good morning, it's Tuesday. I'm Erin Allen and this is The Rundown.
If you thought it was cold on Sunday, just know it's about to get real in Chicago later this week. A strong system is expected to bring high winds and snow to the area late Thursday into Friday. Scott Lincoln is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. He says Friday is probably not a good day to travel.
Scott Lincoln: If anyone was planning on traveling for the holiday weekend and traveling on Friday they need to come up with their plan B. So people need to be thinking about how are they getting where they want to be and either they're staying put or they're heading out early.
Erin Allen: Temperatures will also drop significantly on Christmas Day in the city. Highs are expected to be in the low teens, but Lincoln also stresses that temperatures and storm forecast for the week are not 100%. Conditions are still changing.
The Federal Transit Administration is giving Chicago area public transit agencies nearly $200 million to make their systems more accessible. My colleague Claudia Morell is following the story and she says that the federal grant will pay for 88 compliant upgrades at three CTA stations; Irving Park, Belmont and Pulaski. Metra Electric will also receive funds to upgrade its 59th street station. The renovations will include new elevators, ramps and upgraded platforms to make it easier for people with disabilities to board the train. These stations were built before the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. And U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says that this is the first program focused on improving access.
Pete Buttigieg: Transit is designed to be the great connector, but only if you can physically get aboard is that actually possible.
Erin Allen: Grants are going to go to 28 transit stations across the country.
The Illinois State Board of Education has released a spending dashboard with updates on how Illinois school districts are spending the 7.8 billion in COVID recovery aid. Chalkbeat Chicago is reporting that less than half of the funding has been spent statewide, but in Chicago, CPS has spent 52% of its federal COVID money. So far it has gone toward existing staff technology, tutoring and transportation. Earlier this year, school board members raised concerns about how little COVID recovery money had been spent, and they were especially concerned about student mental health.
And more news for you data and policy nerds. Cook County has launched an interactive demographics app. It aims to help groups make better policy decisions using census data. Here's more on that from my colleague Esther Yoon-Ji Kang.
Esther Yoon-Ji Kang: The interactive map is called Everyone Counts. It makes it easier to see demographic changes in Cook County overtime at the census tract level. Board President Toni Preckwinkle says the tool tracks things like race income and unemployment.
Toni Preckwinkle: We did this because it's important to understand what's happening in the local level in our communities so that we can see who may need help or if our racial equity efforts are working.
Erin Allen: Officials say the app will continue to be updated with new data from the Census Bureau. The app is for municipalities, school districts, nonprofits and residents and officials hope they'll use it to better understand and serve their communities.
The Illinois Asian American legislative caucus will more than double when new lawmakers are sworn in next month. Democrat Sharon Chung of Bloomington is one of the incoming lawmakers. She says growing up in a diverse community in the Chicago suburbs is what helped her find her political voice.
Sharon Chung: Having that sort of privileged to be able to speak up and do that. I recognize that quite a bit.
Erin Allen: As recently as 2016, there were no Asian Americans in the state legislature. Theresa Mah was Illinois first Asian American to be elected to the state legislature that year.
And a few quick hits before we get to the weather. Yesterday afternoon students at Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen walked out of class to mourn the deaths of 15 year old Brandon Perez and 14 year old Nathan Billegas who was actually a student at Chicago Bulls Prep. Students release balloons in both schools colors and marched down Cermak avenue.
And federal prosecutors have charged a Chicago woman with participating in the January 6th riot at the U. S. Capitol. 29 year old Agnieszka Chwiesiuk was arrested yesterday, more than a year after her brother, Chicago Police officer Karl Cheswick, was charged with taking part in the capitol attack. Agnieszka Cheswick is charged with a few misdemeanors including disorderly conduct in the capitol building and parading, demonstrating or picketing in the capitol building.
And oral arguments against the SAFE-T act, eliminating the cash bail system are set to begin today. More than 66 states attorneys are suing Illinois Democratic elected officials arguing that a provision in the act is unconstitutional.
As for weather today will actually be a little warmer than it has been. High in the mid thirties, partly cloudy low tonight and upper teens. And that's it for The Rundown today. I'm Erin Allen. Talk to you tomorrow.
WBEZ transcripts are generated by an automatic speech recognition service. We do our best to edit for misspellings and typos, but mistakes do come through.