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Isabel’s morning briefing

Friday, Nov 17, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: A CTA Yellow Line train crashed into a snow plow doing scheduled training, sending two dozen to hospitals. Tribune

    -The train was moving at a normal speed, but came around a curve and struck a slower diesel-powered snow removal train that was moving in the same direction on the same track.

    -23 people, including four children, were taken to hospitals after the crash.

    -Three of the people were in serious or critical condition, though no injuries were believed to be life-threatening.

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* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * WTTW | Legislation Would Help Non-English Speakers Access Government Services in Illinois: State Rep. Dagmara Avelar, D-Bolingbrook, introduced the Language Equity and Access Act earlier this year and explained that current language services fall short. […] The bill calls for a centralized office that would ensure all government agencies, offices and services have the adequate tools to provide language services. This includes having translators or documents for a variety of languages.

    * Herald-Review | Requiem for ‘Invest in Kids,’ and other takeaways from Illinois legislature’s fall session: It was controversial from the beginning, with progressive lawmakers and powerful allies, most notably the state’s teachers unions, opposing it on ideological grounds, claiming that it siphons money away from public schools. But there is a difference between now and then. In 2017, the state’s governor was a Republican and longtime advocate for school choice. The Democratic legislative leaders were were products of Chicago’s once-dominant parochial system.

    * Jim Dey | Inmates’ mental issues present problem with no solution: It sounds hellish and probably was. But what’s the best way to deal with inmates whose malignant personalities and mental-health issues make them a constant behavior problem and/or threats to themselves, other inmates and prison employees Previous litigation has shown Illinois prisons provide poor mental-health services, one significant factor being the state’s inability to hire enough psychiatrists to meet the demand.

    * Tribune | Chicago police officer pleads not guilty to felony aggravated battery for videotaped school incident: The Police Department, however, stripped him of his police powers last week and prohibited from carrying a gun or his badge while awaiting trial, his attorney said. He has been assigned to desk duty until the case is resolved. Lancaster was indicted earlier this month after the Chicago Tribune published a video of the altercation, which shows him hitting 14-year-old JaQuwaun Williams near his throat as the boy walked into Gresham Elementary School on May 18.

    * Daily Southtown | Will County rejects plans for solar farm near Frankfort: The solar facility would have been about a quarter mile from the village of Frankfort’s border, and officials there objected to the plan. Michael Schwarz, Frankfort’s director of community and economic development, said it was not consistent with the comprehensive plan. The village includes that property in its long-term plans and officials believe it is best suited for residential development, Schwarz said. “We are not opposed to solar,” Schwarz said. “We don’t think this is the right location.”

    * Block Club | Downtown Alderman Says He Asked Mayor’s Office For Help — And Was Told He’d Get It In Return For Votes: Ald. Bill Conway (34th) is accusing Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office of refusing to help him resolve issues around tent encampments in his ward after he did not support two of the mayor’s key proposals in City Council last month. The mayor said the situation is being misunderstood. At the same time, another key Conway proposal to boost safety around a women’s clinic was unexpectedly delayed amid the public squabble.

    * Politico | Resolute abruptly lays off staff: On the call, Resolute CEO Greg Goldner told the group that “business development hasn’t gone the way we expected it,” and after a series of tough meetings with the firm’s founder and COO, Dave Smolensky, everyone on the call would be laid off — effective immediately, according to a person at the meeting.

    * KSDK | Illinois hunting isn’t affected by the state’s assault weapon restrictions. Here’s what the law says: Under PICA, hunters are permitted to use firearms classified by the law as “assault weapons” while hunting, as long as the guns are authorized under the Illinois Wildlife Code and have the appropriate licenses and permits usually required for hunting.

    * NBC | Global decline in male fertility linked to common pesticides: Researchers compiled, rated and reviewed the results of 25 studies of certain pesticides and male fertility and found that men who had been exposed to certain classes of pesticides had significantly lower sperm concentrations. The study, published Wednesday in Environmental Health Perspectives, included data from more than 1,700 men and spanned several decades.

    * Tribune | Tiny Chicago Hope Academy is in the state football semifinals, but its mission is bigger than sports: With 290 students, Hope plays in the smallest division in the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). It is one of only two Chicago teams left in the playoffs, along with Mount Carmel in Class 7A. If Hope wins, it’s believed it will be the first West Side school to win the state title.

    * Sun-Times | Jason Benetti’s departure from White Sox hastened by contentious relationship with exec Brooks Boyer: Multiple sources said a contentious relationship with Sox senior vice president and chief revenue and marketing officer Brooks Boyer was at the center of the situation, particularly an inappropriate remark Boyer made to Benetti.

    * Sun-Times | Ray Tate, musician who ran Old Town School of Folk Music and taught John Prine guitar, dies at 86: “The spirit of the Old Town School was bringing music to people who had never played before, and Ray was at the center of that,” said Michael Miles, a teacher at the school. […] He accompanied other musicians on stage, performed as a studio musician, created jingles for radio and television ads and established Project Upbeat, a program for city kids at the Old Town School that garnered a letter of support from then President Richard Nixon. He also composed, arranged and produced more than 25 film scores and television themes.


  1. - Terry Sald - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 8:51 am:

    “…CTA director Dorval Carter had not returned her call.”

    Why does Carter still have his job?

  2. - Emanuel Collective - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 8:55 am:

    It is long past time that Mayor Johnson addresses his total inaction re: the CTA. The CTA’s structural problems failed the pandemic stress test, and while most transit authorities nationwide have recovered, the CTA is mired in decline. Service continues to be cut; hiring and training continues to fall behind attrition. That fiscal cliff in 2025 is rapidly approaching. You’d think giving the NTSB the could shoulder would be the last straw, and yet…

  3. - Telly - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 8:57 am:

    On Goldner and Resolute: I don’t know enough about his firm to say for sure, but I gotta think that his dalliances with Bruce Rauner and setting up fake democratic political action committees could not have been good for Goldner’s long term “business development” in his home state.

  4. - Amalia - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 9:45 am:

    Telly reads correct. but that one staffer who says they are getting big contracts claims they have what they need to keep going. why don’t we ever read bad things about Greg’s pal Victor?

  5. - Sonny - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 9:47 am:

    Carter’s clout and being around a long time are the only reasons I can identify for him still having a job. The time to launch him was months ago. CTA is a shadow of it’s 2019 version, which was no great shakes either, and steps away from financial disaster. The leadership is obstinate and the board is packed with ‘friends of important people’ and CTA non-users. Send all of them packing.

  6. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 9:55 am:

    Salute to Ray and the Old Town School; one of the singular institutions that make Chicago great.

  7. - Politix - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 10:29 am:

    ==It is long past time that Mayor Johnson addresses his total inaction==

    The guy’s been in office for six months. What kind of immediate wizardry were you expecting?

    Re: inmate mental health needs

    We need to entirely reimagine what corrections needs to be and what it could look like. A vast majority of justice involved individuals were victims themselves. A set of trauma-informed best practices for correctional institutions could go a long way.

  8. - H-W - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 10:30 am:

    Congratulations, First Deputy Director Hooks. Lead well.

  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 10:39 am:

    ===The guy’s been in office for six months. What kind of immediate wizardry===

    I would venture a guess that most of us have different interpretations than you of the word “immediate.”

  10. - Pundent - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 11:02 am:

    =The guy’s been in office for six months. What kind of immediate wizardry were you expecting?=

    Johnson’s first priority upon being elected was to build his administrative infrastructure by hiring enough competent staff. Comms staff, legislative staff, department heads, etc. This was critical given his lack of experience in holding elected office. He failed miserably.

  11. - Scooter - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 2:07 pm:

    CTA issues are deeper than just Dorval, although he should have been gone yesterday. Too many of his Chief [Division] Officers are subscribers of “well that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Bad decisions being made by these division chiefs get the endorsement from the President; two tiers of administration which really need to be refreshed.

  12. - DuPage - Friday, Nov 17, 23 @ 2:27 pm:

    @8:55===It is long past time that Mayor Johnson addresses his total inaction re: the CTA. The CTA’s structural problems failed…the CTA is mired in decline. Service continues to be cut; hiring and training continues to fall…===

    Switchman sleeping,

    Train a hundred and two

    is on the wrong track

    and headed for you.

    Mayor Johnson, time to wake up.

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