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cicada with supermoon in background

A supermoon gives backdrop to nymph Brood X cicadas as they make their way up a tree on May 25, 2021, in Lutherville-Timonium, Md. 17-year cicadas last swarmed the Chicago area in 2007.

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The Rundown: What to do with all those dead cicadas

Plus, Laurie Metcalf returns to Chicago for Steppenwolf Theatre’s “Little Bear Ridge Road.” Here’s what you need to know today.

Good afternoon! Singer Sabrina Carpenter will stop in Chicago this fall as part of her newly announced tour. When I last saw her at Lolla, it was way too hot to actually enjoy the show, so I’m excited to make up for that. Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. The 17-year cicadas will die out soon. Here’s what to do with their remains.

Experts predict periodical cicadas will die out by the end of the month — leaving millions of dead insects across suburban Chicago and northern Illinois, Mary Norkol reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cicada carcasses and exoskeletons that have been shed make an excellent fertilizer, Morton Arboretum scientists tell the Sun-Times.

But fair warning: The cicadas will stink a little as they decompose. To help get rid of the odor sooner, run a lawnmower over the carcasses to help them decompose faster. The bugs can also be composted with green material like weeds or grass and brown material like dried leaves; turn the compost often to mitigate the carcasses’ smell.

And anyone who placed netting around younger trees to protect them from damage should remove it as soon as the cicadas have died off because the netting blocks some sunlight.

“The thing with the netting, especially if they use tulle or a material that doesn’t stretch, you’ll essentially stifle their growth,” Stephanie Adams, plant health care leader at the Morton Arboretum, told the Sun-Times. “We don’t want to strangle our trees after protecting them for so long.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. Cook County is expecting a $218 million budget gap but won’t plug it with layoffs or tax hikes

One potential solution could be tapping an estimated $367 million surplus projected for the end of the current budget year because of slow hiring, high interest rates and more sales taxes from increased spending, my colleague Kristen Schorsch reports for WBEZ.

Cook County Health is also doing a better job of getting reimbursed by insurance companies by making sure doctors document every service they provide when they bill, as well as enrolling patients in health insurance plans if they qualify.

But the county plans to give 5% cost-of-living adjustments to employees, and as salaries increase so do the pension contributions the county expects to make. This is driving the estimated $218 million budget gap next year.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle earlier this week said she’s not losing sleep on how to fill the gap, crediting her financial team with delivering a balanced budget year after year.

“Believe me, we’ve seen worse,” said Preckwinkle, who was elected in 2010. “When I came into this job [the gap] was $487 million and the total budget was a lot less. We had to make 15% cuts. I had to lay people off.” [WBEZ]

3. ‘Daily Show’ offers tickets for its Chicago shows during the Democratic National Convention

The Aug. 19-22 episodes will be taped at the Athenaeum, Darel Jevens reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Those interested in attending can go to and request one or two tickets for any or all of the four episodes that will be taped in the city.

The episode on Aug. 22, the convention’s closing night, will be live and anchored by the show’s recently returned host, Jon Stewart. Other Daily Show stars will anchor the three earlier episodes, which will be taped in the late afternoon before the night’s broadcast.

Ticket applicants sign up for a space in a queue and may or may not be awarded tickets. The site warns that the venue will be overbooked and “a ticket may not guarantee admittance.”

Daily Show alum Stephen Colbert’s Late Show on CBS will also be in town the week of the convention at the Auditorium Theatre. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. CPS plans to rename three schools, including one named after Christopher Columbus

That will make nine schools renamed since a Chicago Sun-Times investigation found 30 schools were named for slaveholders. Schools named after white people — mostly men — vastly outnumbered those named for African Americans, Latinos and indigenous people, my colleague Nader Issa reports.

District officials last year created a policy for schools looking to change their names. They can submit a request, hold at least four meetings that take students’ opinions into consideration, draft an equity plan and vote on a name.

In the latest changes, Melville Fuller Elementary in Bronzeville will become James Farmer Jr. Elementary after meetings in February and April led to a 14 to 9 vote by the Local School Council in favor of a new name.

In Ukrainian Village, Christopher Columbus Elementary will lose its name and be known as Ruth Bader Ginsburg Elementary after a 7 to 3 Local School Council vote.

The third school changing its name is James Monroe Elementary in Logan Square, which will become Logan Square Elementary. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Laurie Metcalf and Joe Mantello join Samuel D. Hunter in Steppenwolf Theatre’s ‘Little Bear Ridge Road’

After a 14-year interval, Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Laurie Metcalf is back in Chicago and ready to take the stage at the iconic Lincoln Park campus, Chicago Sun-Times contributor Catey Sullivan writes.

Directed by Metcalf’s longtime collaborator Joe Mantello, “Little Bear” centers on Sarah and her estranged nephew, Ethan. Set in a tiny Idaho town during the COVID-19 pandemic’s early days in 2020, the drama follows them as they try to settle the affairs of a recently deceased relative while coming to grips with their own troubled lives.

“ ‘Little Bear’ is about the choices Sarah and Ethan have made and whether what happens to them — how their lives play out — is inescapable, like fate or destiny, or whether they have agency in what happens,” Mantello told the Sun-Times. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a couple who challenged the constitutionality of a Trump-era tax provision. [NPR]
  • Two climate activists were arrested after spraying orange paint on Stonehenge. [NPR]
  • Tropical storm Alberto brought coastal flooding to parts of eastern Mexico and southern Texas, killing at least three people. [New York Times]
  • Millions of student loan borrowers will have lower payments beginning next month. [CNN]

Oh, and one more thing …

The city’s teen-driven, underground music scene is so prolific there’s now a festival dedicated to it, Mark Guarino writes for WBEZ.

Sibling duo Twin Coast is adding to the growing do-it-yourself, teen-driven scene and creating a mini festival around it. New Static! Revival Now, a five-band bill at Schubas tonight, capitalizes on the excitement of the underground scene that is “full of really young, innovative people,” drummer Kira Isbell, 22, said.

She said the festival fills a much-needed gap in Chicago for young musicians who either feel alienated from the greater music scene or have nothing in common with it at all. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

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

Kristin writes:

“When I’m walking on residential streets, I keep my eyes peeled for people watering their lawns with sprinklers, and I time it so that I walk through the spray!”

L writes:

“Stay indoors in AC and get caught up on things.”

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

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