Erin Allen: Good morning, TGIF. I'm Erin Allen and this is The Rundown. Today marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. According to the United Nations, about 14-million Ukrainians have been displaced. Many of them are now living here in Chicago, including Olha Tsvyntarna. She fled Ukraine at the beginning of the war with her teenage son. She told WBEZ’s daily talkshow Reset she’s not sure if it’s safer to stay in Chicago or return to her home county.
Olha Tsvyntarna: I’m really lost. But uh, I just know that at this moment right now, I need to do whatever I can to support myself and my son and to be strong and help my family and friends in Ukraine.
Erin Allen: Tsvyntarna says she still supports soldiers in Ukraine. If you wanna support Ukranians, including those fighting overseas, there will be several events in Chicago this weekend. Tomorrow at 2 p.m., there’s a rally at the Water Tower on Michigan Avenue, and March that will follow.
A local organization called Neighbors 4 Environmental Justice is calling on Chicago leaders to tighten enforcement of industrial pollution. They found that the city stops issuing tickets to companies for repeated pollution violations, and charges are often dropped. My colleague Indi Khera is reporting that the findings are underscored by an investigation into the 2020 Hilco demolition in Little Village. It found the city was negligent. Anthony Moser is with Neighbors 4 EJ.
Anthony Moser: The people who live next to these facilities have already known that environmental enforcement was ineffective. The people who experienced that dust cloud as a result of that demolition don’t need to be told that the city isn’t doing its job. But we have now documented this, and it’s time for the city to reckon with what has been documented.
Erin Allen: Advocates made multiple asks, including restoring the city Department of Environment.
Experts have been talking about a mental health crisis among children in Illinois. And The Associated Press obtained a report on child behavioral health in the state, which examines the capacity and condition of Illinois’ response to behavioral health in young people. The report also suggests how to help families understand mental illness. Then make it easier for them to get required care. It even goes so far as to outline technological, practical and legislative changes that will support coordination across the Departments of Human Services, Public Health and others. And Governor JB Pritzker is heeding these suggestions. He’s going to outline an expansive plan to address it all today. The plan coordinates six separate state agencies in streamlining and easing access to treatment.
So you know the iconic hip hop group, Salt and Peppa, right? Well, if you’re a true fan, you know one third of the group, DJ Spinderella, grew up in public housing in New York. And she recently made a little career detour that has something to do with that, here in Chicago. DJ Spinderella will be designing a new music room for the National Public Housing Museum. She was also on WBEZ’s Reset, and she said she wants the museum’s music room to feel similar to her childhood living room.
DJ Spinderella: Who I am today has to do with the soundtrack. And that was in public housing. Um, the standard living room in the projects it was always a TV going or music playing or somebody arguing or somebody playing cards. And I wanna bring that to the table.
Erin Allen: The room is set to open in early 2024.
And now for a few quick hits starting with an update in the R. Kelly situation. That federal judge I mentioned yesterday in Chicago made his ruling. R. Kelly will serve one additional year in prison for his child pornography conviction. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that that would be tacked on top of the 30 years he’s already serving. Right now, Kelly is 56, so he could be locked up until he’s in his late 70s.
And the Chicago Bulls are hoping new talent can help turn some of their Ls into Ws. The team signed Chicago native Patrick Beverley earlier this week. At age 34 with 10 years in the league, Beverly is a vet in basketball. He could help solidify the team, since their guard, since their guard Lonzo Ball is out for the season due to a knee injury. Beverley played most recently for the Lakers.
And a few shameless plugs, we’ve got a new podcast launching today at WBEZ, it’s called “When Magic Happens,” The hosts are a multi generational bunch of Black women talking about their experiences and those of others like them. Also, check out today’s episode of our Nerdette podcast. I joined the show host Greta Johnsen and Jacoby Cochran from City Cast to talk about our favorite TV reboots and when to wash your bath towel.
You can listen to both of those wherever you get your podcasts.
And there’s a lot of treacherous weather happening around the country, but we’ve managed to swerve most of it in Chicago. Here today, it’s mostly cloudy with temperatures in the mid twenties. Over the weekend, still cloudy but going up to the high 30s to low 40s.
And that's it for now on the Rundown. This afternoon on the show, what happens when you don’t have access to medical help in an emergency, basically because of where you stay? We’ll hear a story about an organization called Ujimaa Medics, where folks spread life-saving, first response knowledge for when city first-responders aren’t there in time to help.
Speaker: Our city has the worst relative to our size as a city response time in the nation. Our is 20 to 30. We know there are cases where folks take 40 minutes to get there.
Erin Allen: That’s today at 2 p.m. I’m Erin Allen. I'll talk to you later.
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.