The Rundown Podcast - Show Tile
Stay in the loop with the Windy City’s biggest news. Angela Cheng / WBEZ Chicago
The Rundown Podcast - Show Tile
Stay in the loop with the Windy City’s biggest news. Angela Cheng / WBEZ Chicago

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is apologizing for emails her campaign sent to Chicago Public School teachers recruiting student volunteers. Illinois lawmakers approve new spending to help asylum seekers who have come to the state. A West Side group has won a $10 million Pritzker Traubert Foundation prize to create a walkable village in West Garfield Park.

The Rundown Podcast - Show Tile
Stay in the loop with the Windy City’s biggest news. Angela Cheng / WBEZ Chicago
The Rundown Podcast - Show Tile
Stay in the loop with the Windy City’s biggest news. Angela Cheng / WBEZ Chicago

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is apologizing for emails her campaign sent to Chicago Public School teachers recruiting student volunteers. Illinois lawmakers approve new spending to help asylum seekers who have come to the state. A West Side group has won a $10 million Pritzker Traubert Foundation prize to create a walkable village in West Garfield Park.

Erin Allen: Good morning, I'm Erin Allen and this is The Rundown. It's Friday the 13th. What could go wrong today? 

So have you heard about the emails Mayor Lori Lightfoot's campaign was sending to Chicago public schools teachers, the ones asking them to encourage students to volunteer on his campaign for potential class credit. Well, she received all types of backlash for this, including from the Chicago teachers union who called it unethical for Lightfoot who control CPS to lean on employees for political help. After the backlash campaign said it would stop the recruitment strategy, adding that campaign staffers have been reminded that contacting city employees is quote "off limits." My colleague Tessa Weinberg is reporting that Lightfoot herself has now apologized for what happened. She says the emails, which were actually sent to city colleges, staff and universities too, were the works of one campaign staffer who acted alone at a press yesterday. She called the outreach a quote mistake and said it would be a teaching moment for her campaign.

Lori Lightfoot: I'm not just some candidate, I'm the mayor and responsible for other schools and this is the kind of outreach that never should have happened, whether threw publicly available sources or not.

Erin Allen: The inspector generals for the city and CPS are looking into whether the emails violated any ethics rules.

And a bit more news about CPS - winter is far from over, but Chicago public school students came back from winter break this week and my colleague Nereida Moreno is reporting that COVID cases within CPS have significantly decrease compared to this time last year. And some good context here is that right now, COVID testing is happening less at schools than it was last year. So students and staff were encouraged to test for COVID-19 before returning to class on Monday. And the district even offered free at home test kits at every school before the break to help prevent a surge after the holidays. But some teachers say the tests weren't being used as much. William Schmit is a math teacher at Lindblom High School and he said the building was pretty much empty right before the break because most students had already finished their finals.

William Schmit: Could they even have gotten those rapid tests? No, no way. I’m certain there’s a big pile of them somewhere in the building.

Erin Allen: Well either way, about 155 CPS students have tested positive so far this week.

A few days ago, I mentioned Mayor Lori Lightfoot's letter to the governor of Colorado asking him to stop sending the busses of asylum seekers two Chicago. She said the city doesn't have the space or resources to support more people. Well recently in their lame duck session Illinois lawmakers approved new spending that includes nearly $300 million to help the asylum seekers who are already here. My colleague Mawa Iqbal is reporting that much of the money will go to the state's Emergency Management Agency, which coordinates services like sheltered transportation and health care. And about $115 million will go to immigration welcoming centers. The bill was sponsored by Democratic Senator Elgie Sims.

Elgie Sims: You have seen comments from and a commitment from the members on this side of the aisle and this governor to address the individuals who have been sent here indiscriminately and that's what the proposal you have before you will do.

Erin Allen: Texas and Florida have a bussed nearly 4,000 asylum seekers two Chicago. So the windy city alone would get $20 million. The money would come from the state's General Revenue Fund. 

So when people are convicted of certain crimes related to guns, sex and violence, they have to register in person with the police anywhere between once per year to twice a week. And if they don't, they can be locked up. But a WBEZ investigation recently found that in Chicago, registering ain't easy. Peoople were long lines and then sometimes they're turned away because of understaffed police offices, not only do victims say the system is failing them, but the people on the registry say they're at risk of being arrested for a failure to register. To hear more on this story. Check out the feature by my colleague Shannon Heffernan at WBEZ.org.

And a few quick hits before we get to the weather, a group on the west side called the Sankofa Wellness village has won $10 million from the Pritzker Trial but foundation to create a walkable village in West Garfield Park. The plan includes grocery stores, arts, entertainment and healthcare. The goal is to put residents no more than 15 minutes from a anything they need.

And the assault weapons ban was signed into law and it seems like some folks were anticipating it before it even happened. Illinois gun sellers say they saw a spike in sales ahead of the ban. Dan Eldridge owns Maxon Shooter’s Supplies in suburban Des Plaines and he says handgun sales doubled and rifle sales were 10 times what they were over the last year.

As for the weather, still cloudy, still windy and still cold. Staying in the high thirties all day. There is a chance of some snow showers in the mid morning here and tonight it will be partly cloudy going down to the cold, low twenties. And that's it for this morning. Later today, we'll get to steppin'. Step Afrika is an international percussive dance group and they are coming to Chicago for one night only tomorrow. I'll be talking with Robert Warnsley, he's a dancer and artist with the company. He's one of the few and Step Afrika who's from Chicago and they happen to have a special segment of the show dedicated to the city. It's appropriately named "Chicago." 

Robert Warnsley: This will be our very, very first time in Chicago in Chicago. So this is very, very special. 

Erin Allen: He'll tell us all about the show and what it means for him to represent the windy city all over the world. That's today at two o'clock. I'm Erin Allen and I'll talk to you then.


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.