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Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, prompting selfies and wooing: ‘It’s a little bit of normalcy’

Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, prompting selfies and wooing: ‘It’s a little bit of normalcy’

The Chicago River glowed Kelly green downtown this St. Patrick’s Day weekend after all, but the usual cheering throngs crowding the banks during the annual dumping of the dye were much thinner. In a remarkable attempt to give Chicagoans a bit of mid-March normalcy, while also trying to avoid the kind of large public gathering she’s still discouraging during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot sanctioned the famous river dyeing to proceed Saturday without confirming the exact time, marveling passing revelers, dog walkers and joggers alike. Advertisement The first boat sliced across...

March 13, 2021
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spent $281.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money on police payroll

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spent $281.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money on police payroll

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration spent $281.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money on Chicago Police Department personnel costs, prompting an angry response Wednesday from activists and some aldermen. The number came to light as Lightfoot seeks City Council approval to transfer about $65 million in unspent federal COVID-19 money into the 2021 budget, after the Biden administration waived Federal Emergency Management Agency local funding matches and extended the deadline to spend federal dollars until the end of the year. Advertisement Ald. Daniel La Spata, 1st, last summer called...

February 17, 2021
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Chicago health commissioner says librarians shouldn’t get moved up in vaccine line

Chicago health commissioner says librarians shouldn’t get moved up in vaccine line

Chicago’s health commissioner on Monday rejected the idea of adding librarians to the ranks of essential workers to get prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine, saying the infection rates aren’t high enough within that group to justify the move. After called for public library workers to be considered front-line workers and moved up the vaccine line, Dr. Allison Arwady said the stats don’t support such a change. Advertisement “Librarians in particular ... they are the lowest department for cases, honestly,” Arwady said. Only city public safety workers, teachers and transit workers are among the...

February 8, 2021
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Lightfoot vs. CTU, and the long conflict between City Hall and classrooms

Lightfoot vs. CTU, and the long conflict between City Hall and classrooms

During the 2019 run-up to what would become the Chicago Teachers Union’s longest strike in decades, Mayor Lori Lightfoot took stock of the differences between the labor issues she was facing and those that haunted her predecessor, Rahm Emanuel. There were many distinctions, Lightfoot said, between the situation when teachers walked out in 2012 and what she was confronting seven years later. But to her, one key point stood out. Advertisement “I’m not Rahm,” with conviction. Nevertheless, like Emanuel, Lightfoot has endured a teachers strike early in her administration. And, like Emanuel,...

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February 6, 2021
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Spike in Chicago carjackings mostly due to joyriding young people, police say

Spike in Chicago carjackings mostly due to joyriding young people, police say

The recent “ridiculous spike” in carjackings across Chicago is due largely to young people taking cars around the city to joyride in the vehicles then dump them, a police official told aldermen Friday. With members of the City Council Public Safety Committee describing residents in neighborhoods across Chicago as fearful of being carjacked while running daylight errands, . Advertisement Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said some of the cars being stolen, often at gunpoint, are being used in other crimes, or cut up or resold by criminal gangs. But in many cases, teenagers are taking the...

January 22, 2021
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Chicago health commissioner: City will keep using COVID-19 tests that FDA says can give false negatives

Chicago health commissioner: City will keep using COVID-19 tests that FDA says can give false negatives

Chicago’s health commissioner Thursday defended the city’s widespread use of COVID-19 tests if given to people not showing symptoms. With Mayor Lori Lightfoot looking on, Dr. Allison Arwady said the city sees no need to stop administering the Curative tests at city-run testing sites. Advertisement “We have looked closely, and our rates of positivity, the way that these tests are performing in these neighborhoods, is absolutely in line with what we are seeing in the other surrounding areas,” Arwady said during a news conference to promote vaccination at Richard J. Daley College on the...

January 14, 2021
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Speed camera tickets starting at 6 mph above the limit part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2021 revenue packages

Speed camera tickets starting at 6 mph above the limit part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2021 revenue packages

With 2021 upon us, Mayor Lori Lightfoot will soon end Chicago motorists’ carefree days of driving up to 9 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. The city will start issuing tickets in the new year to people . Lightfoot is counting on millions of dollars in new revenue in 2021 from the $35 tickets to help close a $1.2 billion deficit. Advertisement But city officials are so far offering few specifics on when and how the stricter enforcement will be rolled out, beyond saying speeders will receive a written warning in the mail after the first time a camera catches them exceeding the new...

December 30, 2020
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Employee tax aimed at Amazon, other retailers among amendments progressive Chicago aldermen to introduce to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed budget

Employee tax aimed at Amazon, other retailers among amendments progressive Chicago aldermen to introduce to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed budget

An employee tax aimed at online giant Amazon and other big retailers is among the proposals progressive aldermen will bring forward Monday to balance Chicago’s 2021 budget. With Mayor Lori Lightfoot fighting behind the scenes to get the 26 votes she needs to pass her spending plan, different City Council groups will bring forward their own plans in coming weeks to try to put their imprint on the final version. Advertisement Progressive aldermen also will introduce ordinances to the City Council on Monday to fund a program within the city Public Health Department to have mental health teams...

November 16, 2020
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot has delivered a warning to Chicago aldermen who might vote against her budget: sources

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has delivered a warning to Chicago aldermen who might vote against her budget: sources

As Mayor Lori Lightfoot works behind the scenes to muster the 26 votes she needs to pass her 2021 city budget, she has delivered a message to City Council members: those who vote against her spending plan should not expect their wards' needs to be prioritized, according to aldermen. In recent weeks, Lightfoot has held a series of meetings with aldermen to lobby them to support her , which includes a $94 million property tax increase this year and annual bumps in the future, hundreds of city employee layoffs and a gas tax hike. The mayor’s budget also relies on increased money from fines and...

November 12, 2020
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In return to in-person meetings, Chicago City Council approves Lightfoot-backed affordable housing ordinance and advocates push for civilian police oversight plan

In return to in-person meetings, Chicago City Council approves Lightfoot-backed affordable housing ordinance and advocates push for civilian police oversight plan

At their first in-person meeting since the early days of the pandemic, Chicago aldermen on Wednesday approved Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s long-promised changes to the city’s affordable housing requirements for developers. Following a mayoral task force that studied how to improve the city statute that was first put in place over a decade ago, the council passed the mayor’s ordinance by a 42-8 vote. Advertisement “I think this is the best compromise we can get at this time,” Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th, said during council debate. Under the mayor’s affordable units rewrite, developers seeking...

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April 21, 2021
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