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Hundreds of people enjoy Lake Michigan and the beach at North Avenue Beach on June 16, 2024. Temperatures in the Chicago area were hovering around 90 degrees.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times

The Rundown: Pools, boat rentals and other heatwave hacks

Plus, why Wieners Circle is fighting with Portillo’s on social media. Here’s what you need to know today.

Good afternoon! Just a heads up that the newsletter will be off tomorrow for Juneteenth. We’ll be back in your inboxes on Thursday. Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. How to beat the heat in the water, from pools to water parks to boat rentals

There really is nothing like summertime in Chicago, but this week’s temperatures make me want to jump in Lake Michigan within minutes of stepping outside (and I can’t even swim).

Luckily, my colleague Courtney Kueppers put together a list of ways to soak up the cool without traveling too far or spending too much.

For the more adventurous, the list includes learning new skills like sailing or paddleboarding.

For those with kids, splash pads and water parks abound.

And for those of us who like to just lounge around, the guide narrows down the city’s best beaches. [WBEZ]

If you’re looking for more suggestions for things to do this season, text FUN to 312312 for a weekly pick from our summer guide.

2. Mayor Brandon Johnson gets moving on reparations with a $500,000 task force

Johnson signed an executive order yesterday to establish the task force — made possible by a $500,000 appropriation in the 2024 budget — that was supposed to have started its work in January, my colleague Fran Spielman reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

“It is now the time to deliver good on reparations for the people of Chicago, particularly Black people,” Johnson said during a Juneteenth event, though he didn’t say what form reparations would take or how the city would pay for it.

Carla Kupe, previously the first-ever director of diversity, equity, inclusion and compliance for the city’s inspector general, was appointed chief equity officer and will likely play a major role in determining what reparations will look like in Chicago.

The city has been without a chief equity officer since the December 2023 departure of Candace Moore, the first person to hold that post, which was created in 2019 by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Meanwhile, a new study found that as Black Chicagoans helped many parts of the city blossom culturally and economically, they were also subject to financial exploitation, intimidation and racial violence — challenges later faced by immigrants from Mexico in the mid-20th century. [WBEZ]

3. Efforts to root out police extremism have ‘fallen short’ of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s promises, watchdog says

The inspector general’s office urged Johnson to create a task force aimed at “preventing, identifying, and eliminating extremist and anti-government activities and associations within CPD,” my colleagues Tom Schuba and Dan Mihalopoulos report.

As a candidate, Johnson had vowed to fire cops linked to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

“Any ongoing mishandling of the matter puts CPD’s public legitimacy at critical risk, and profoundly undermines its effectiveness by damaging the very public trust that the city and the department are endeavoring to foster,” Tobara Richardson, deputy inspector general for public safety, wrote in an April 25 letter to Johnson’s office.

The letter came just a week before the police department announced that eight officers linked to the Oath Keepers wouldn’t be disciplined, even though six of them acknowledged signing up for the anti-government militia.

In a statement, Inspector General Deborah Witzburg indicated her office hadn’t received a response in the nearly two months since the letter was sent. [Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ]

4. The site of the failed Chicago Spire will soon be high-rise towers

The $500 million development includes two residential towers, work on the long-awaited DuSable Park and plans to extend the Chicago Riverwalk, Abby Miller writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

The higher tower, at 72 stories on the northern portion of the site, will lead the first phase of the project.

Located at 400 DuSable Lake Shore Drive, where Lake Michigan and the Chicago River meet, the site has been a 75-foot deep hole since the Chicago Spire project failed nearly two decades ago. That building would have been the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.

Developers designed the new towers as a gateway and an homage to the former settling place of Chicago’s first non-native settler, Jean-Baptiste Point DuSable. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Here’s why Wieners Circle is fighting with Portillo’s on social media

Two of the city’s most prominent hot dog eateries have beef on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, because of stunts by Ingrid Newkirk, the founder and president of PETA, Block Club Chicago reports.

Newkirk drove around in a pig transport truck covered with images of real pigs crammed into crates on their way to the slaughter house and blasted recordings of pigs screaming outside Wieners Circle. She then gave away plant-based hot dogs from Portillo’s from a truck downtown.

But as Block Club reports, “Wieners Circle staffers were baffled when the pig mobile showed up, since they serve all-beef hot dogs.”

“Pigs are too smart, they aren’t on our menu,” The Wiener Circle posted on X. “If you want pig, go to Portillo’s, they’ve got plenty of it on their menu.”

A Portillo’s spokesperson told Block Club the famous Chicago hot dog chain did not partner with PETA for the event and has not responded to Wiener Circle’s social media posts. [Block Club Chicago]

Here’s what else is happening

  • President Joe Biden’s plan would shield undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens from deportation. [NPR]
  • Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. [New York Times]
  • A new world record was set during the U.S. Olympic swim trials in Indiana. [NPR]
  • Singer Justin Timberlake was released from police custody after being charged with driving while intoxicated. [CNN]

Oh, and one more thing …

Bar-hosted watch parties are bringing reality TV fans together.

As Block Club reports: “Strangers come together to watch, bonding over their shared interest and feeding off each other’s energy. It also offers a chance to view the show live, as most bars have cable, and most new TV episodes pop up on streaming services a day after they first air. All of this results in a heightened television viewing experience.”

The bars have become known for the reality shows they air, similar to how sports bars become synonymous with certain college teams. For example, Survivor fans’ go-to spot is Kincade’s Bar & Grill in Lincoln Park.

Some bars, such as Logan Square’s Park & Field, also serve cocktails themed after shows like Vanderpump Rules and its unscripted cheating scandal (“Scandoval”). [Block Club Chicago]

Tell me something good …

What’s your favorite way to beat the heat in Chicago?

Dori writes:

“The best way to beat the heat is to escape it. I work in a public library in the suburbs, and I can’t tell you how many people appreciate being able to spend as much time as they like in our air conditioning, without the expectation they buy or do anything. We have newspapers and magazines, computers for public use, wifi, makery equipment, and good old comfy chairs if you want to grab a book off the shelf and enjoy a few chapters. We also have music, movies, games, programs, and activities for all ages.”

Paul writes:

“My advice is twofold:

* If you don’t have to be outside, don’t be!

* And keep your icemaker functioning so your cold beverage of choice doesn’t become a lukewarm beverage of choice!”

Feel free to email me, and your response may be included in the newsletter this week.

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