The Rundown: ‘The Bear’ returns to Chicago

Plus, Mayor Johnson’s rocky week. Here’s what you need to know today.

The Rundown: ‘The Bear’ returns to Chicago

Plus, Mayor Johnson’s rocky week. Here’s what you need to know today.

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Good afternoon! My crazy Friday night plans include playing a Cold War-themed board game (Twilight Struggle) with my husband and drinking wine (both red and white). Contain yourselves, fellas. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. ‘The Bear’ begins filming its third season in Chicago next week

The critically acclaimed FX show returns to the city after cleaning up at the Emmy Awards last month, my colleague Courtney Kueppers reports.

And a big question is … where can the series go from here?

One thing seems certain: A show about a successful restaurant with no problems does not make for very good television, as Columbia College TV and film professor Eric Scholl pointed out.

“So that’s one thing I know they’re not going to do,” Scholl said.

Here’s a look at what we know so far about the next season, from filming schedules to plot points. [WBEZ]

2. Mayor Johnson is having a rocky week

First there’s this: Mayor Brandon Johnson is spending $8.6 million to extend the city’s controversial deal with ShotSpotter for nine final months — shelling out significantly more than the city paid for the entire past year of service, my colleagues Tom Schuba and Fran Spielman report.

The mayor last week announced he would pull the plug on the gunshot detection system after the summer. But the city’s contract with ShotSpotter was set to end last Friday, setting up frantic negotiations on an extension. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Then today, news broke that Johnson tapped a city official at the center of the 2020 botched coal plant implosion in Little Village to lead the city department responsible for making sure buildings are safe, my colleague Brett Chase reports.

The official, Marlene Hopkins, will serve as acting commissioner of the Department of Buildings until a permanent replacement is announced. [Chicago Sun-Times]

And questions are swirling about how exactly Johnson plans to spend $1.25 billion the city is borrowing to build more affordable housing. Johnson’s proposal is also galvanizing opponents against an effort to increase a tax on the sale of high-end properties to help fund homelessness services. [WBEZ]

3. The dramatic rescue of a woman dangling from elevated CTA tracks

Chiquita Martin and Marcella Lockett were making deliveries Tuesday night while driving on Lake Street when they discovered a woman dangling from the Green Line tracks.

“We saw her slipping from the wire,” Martin told the Sun-Times. “So [Lockett] pulled his truck up and told her to jump in the back and she just let go.”

The woman fell 15 to 20 feet into the bed of the truck, breaking her leg, but she remained responsive until an ambulance arrived, Martin said.

The woman on the tracks told police that she had been on a Green Line train heading into the city and had missed her stop. She pulled the manual door release and fell onto the tracks, according to a police report. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. Why is Jerry Reinsdorf spending millions buying up parking lots around the United Center?

As White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf seeks $1 billion in taxpayer funding for a new ballpark in the South Loop, his associates have spent millions of dollars buying parking lots run by his competitors to potentially build a mixed-use district around the United Center, my colleagues Tim Novak and Robert Herguth report.

“Over the past 19 months, a Reinsdorf-connected company has spent $44.7 million buying vacant lots from two politically connected families that have long offered discounted parking deals to fans of the Bulls and Blackhawks,” my colleagues write.

Reinsdorf, who is also chairman of the Bulls, and the Wirtz family, which owns the Blackhawks, co-own the United Center, which they built 30 years ago without any government financing.

Both teams have since built practice facilities near the arena, which is a major catalyst for economic development on the West Side. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Tom Skilling prepares for his last day delivering the weather forecast

Beloved WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling will deliver his final signoff on Wednesday, retiring nearly 46 years after his first forecast for the station in 1978.

Since the October announcement of his retirement, Skilling says letters and emails have been pouring in, my colleague Mitch Dudek reports.

“It’s lovely,” Skilling said during an interview at his Edgewater condo overlooking Lake Michigan as his little white dog, Penny, and his black-and-white cat, Waldo, stopped by for scratches.

“It seems like what I did meant something to people. And there’s something kind of marvelous about that. And I can’t get over the fact people so generously share that with me. It’s very moving.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed for indefinite military control over Gaza. [BBC]

  • Former President Donald Trump and Nikki Haley face off tomorrow in South Carolina’s Republican primary. [NPR]

  • Chicago’s Ukrainian community marks the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion. [Chicago Sun-Times]

  • Major League Baseball players are not happy about new uniforms that include see-through pants. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s upcoming (and sold out) dance program “Of Hope” features the return of rule-breaking choreographers Alice Klock and Florian Lochner, who are known collectively as FLOCK.

The duo has “become synonymous with a type of dancemaking that constructs forms out of multiple dancing bodies, a style that plays well on Instagram to the pair’s more than 90,000 followers,” WBEZ contributor Graham Meyer reports.

FLOCK’s piece “Into Being” uses five dancers who interact in many permutations. Sometimes solos or duets emerge from the texture, and sometimes all five interweave, as they do in a passage reminiscent of the game Twister.

“We like building what we call ‘machines,’ which are complex, many-people partnering setups which involve so many shifting landscapes and shapes,” Klock said. “[We] zoom out our eyes and think, ‘What is the painting that this amoeba of humans is creating?’ ” [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

What’s something that made you smile recently?

Tiffini Sarver writes:

“Seeing my first crocus last week.

“Every year round this time, seeing those delicate purple flowers when everything else is still gray and brown and cold and dark brings me joy. Not only as an omen that spring is on the way, but also as an annual reminder that dark, cold, lonely seasons are just seasons and the warmth and light always return. Crocuses are my favorite flower!”

And Tim writes:

“Something that made us smile this week: Upon our return from a monthlong vacation, we discovered little plastic ducks placed on surfaces throughout our apartment. Turns out it was the work of our daughter, who had stayed in our place for a few nights. She said there were 100 — still looking for the last two.”

Thanks for all the emails this week. It was nice hearing from y’all!