Good afternoon! I took yesterday off because I wanted to see what happens when I pour beer into my CPAP machine. This is what goes down when my husband is out of town. Here’s what you need to know today.
1. Mayor Johnson’s weekend safety plan includes bag checks at beaches and canceled days off for police officers
Memorial Day weekend is here, presenting Mayor Brandon Johnson with his first big test on preventing violence that typically flares up during summer holiday weekends.
Johnson is appealing for community help in keeping the peace, but he is also relying on a controversial practice of canceling officers’ days off to get more cops on the streets, reports my colleague David Struett.
“Johnson begins his term with a police department that has 1,700 fewer officers than when Lightfoot started,” Struett reports. “It had about 2,000 vacant positions as of March.”
Interim police Superintendent Fred Waller said the weekend plans also include more officers on public transit and in business areas, as well as conducting bag checks at beaches and Millennium Park.
In addition to police officers, anti-violence workers from several organizations will be out to help de-escalate conflicts. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this week, a team of 30 state-funded “peacekeepers” will be on hand. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Buckle up, because this holiday weekend could foreshadow one of the busiest summer travel seasons, reports The Washington Post.
More than 42 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles over the holiday weekend, up 7% from last year but just under pre-pandemic levels, according to AAA.
But more people are expected to catch a flight compared to 2019, presenting a significant test for airlines that have struggled with meltdowns in recent years. AAA estimates an 11% bump in air travel compared to last year. [Washington Post]
In Illinois, more than 2 million residents are expected to travel at least 50 miles, just shy of 2019’s all-time record for the Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA.
The Chicago Department of Aviation anticipates more than 1.5 million people will travel through O’Hare and Midway airports from Thursday through Tuesday. This is a nearly 9% increase over last year’s number of Memorial Day travelers, according to a news release. [Chicago Sun-Times]
3. Cardinal Blase Cupich faces intense criticism in the aftermath of Illinois’ investigation into priest sex abuse
Attorney General Kwame Raoul today blasted Cardinal Blase Cupich, who claimed he was blindsided by a “misleading” state report into priest sex abuse.
The blockbuster report found the church had hidden the names of hundreds of child-molesting priests and others throughout Illinois.
“I am surprised and dismayed by the cardinal’s claim in the media that he and the Archdiocese of Chicago ‘had never heard of’ the priests and religious brothers listed in the group of 125 substantiated child sex abusers named in the report my office issued this week,” Raoul said in a statement.
“The cardinal’s statements, including that he needs information on how our investigators substantiated the claims, are particularly perplexing because many of those 125 names — 62 in fact — came directly from an archdiocese spreadsheet entitled, ‘Religious Order Clerics With a Substantiated Allegation of Sexual Abuse of Minors Who Served within the Archdiocese of Chicago.’ ” [Chicago Sun-Times]
4. Half of Chicago neighborhoods do not have electric vehicle chargers for public use, city officials say
Chicago is home to 12,267 registered electric vehicles — about 5,000 more than were registered a year ago. And yet 40 of the city’s 77 community areas have no publicly available charging station.
That’s a huge problem as federal and state officials try to make electric vehicles more attractive — and affordable — to more Americans.
But the lack of public chargers in Chicago also highlights the challenges of building a robust network in densely populated areas, reports my colleague Catherine Odom.
Here’s the problem in a nutshell: About 70% of Chicago residents live in multi-unit buildings, and most EV charging happens at single-family homes with private garages and driveways. And EV drivers say public chargers are often slow, broken, crowded or in inconvenient locations.
State lawmakers this month passed legislation that, if signed into law, would require all new single-family homes and all new and renovated multi-unit residential buildings in Illinois to include EV-capable parking spaces. [Chicago Sun-Times]
I’ll stay away from spoilers in case anyone isn’t caught up or hasn’t begun watching the show.
But if you have seen every episode so far, The New York Times looks at five outstanding questions as the finale approaches. [New York Times]
The New York Times also asks an intriguing question: Do you have what it takes to be Kendall Roy’s assistant? [New York Times]
The Washington Post looks at the best insults from the show, and yes, there is some strong language. [Washington Post]
So what’s going to be the next big thing on HBO? With the ongoing writer’s strike, some shows may not return until 2025. [A.V. Club]
In case you’re wondering, HBO has no plans for making a Succession spin-off. [Entertainment Weekly]
Here’s what else is happening
- Negotiators are making progress to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a potentially catastrophic government default, says House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. [AP]
- Indiana reprimands a doctor who spoke publicly about providing an abortion to a 10-year-old who was raped in Ohio. [NPR]
- More than 100 Chicago Police officials kept their jobs after making false statements. [Chicago Sun-Times]
- A tattoo shop and school in the Chicago area gives female artists a seat behind the needle. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Oh, and one more thing …
All 22 of Chicago’s beaches are officially open today, meaning beachgoers can now swim from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day.
Last year, a lifeguard shortage forced the Chicago Park District to close 12th Street Beach near Chicago’s Museum Campus.
But park officials are optimistic they will overcome the shortage this year, reports my colleague Catherine Odom.
The Park District received around 1,500 lifeguard applications this year, said a spokesperson. A full staff is around 750 lifeguards. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Tell me something good …
With HBO’s Succession coming to an end on Sunday, I’d like to know: What TV show did you enjoy right up until the finale? (Please avoid spoilers.)
P. James Norris writes:
“My favorite right-up-to-end show is Aaron Sorkin’s one-season Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Mr. Sorkin knew well before the final episode that the show wouldn’t be getting a second season and wrote a four episode finale that was ABSOLUTELY amazing. Not that the entire season wasn’t amazing as well. My wife and I have watched the entire series well over a dozen times and I have to say that it’s available on DVD and I think your readers would enjoy it as well.”
“One of my most favorite shows is The Durrells in Corfu. It originally aired on PBS Masterpiece, available on Prime now. Keeley Hawes plays Louisa Durrell, a widowed mother of four, all living in England pre-WWII.
“The lot of them are miserable. The oldest son, Larry, had heard that the Greek island of Corfu is a paradise and it’s dirt cheap to live there. Sight unseen, Louisa packs up with her children and their dog Roger to move to Corfu, where there’s no electricity and very few people speak English.”
Thanks for all the responses this week. I’m adding a bunch of these shows to my watch list!