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Isabel’s morning briefing

Friday, Feb 23, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: ShotSpotter microphones have been hidden from police and the public, now the secret locations of microphones are revealed. WIRED

    - Nine cities have more than 500 sensors installed, including Albuquerque, New Mexico; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Las Vegas, Nevada.

    - SoundThinking equipment has been installed at more than a thousand elementary and high schools; they are perched atop dozens of billboards, scores of hospitals, and within more than a hundred public housing complexes.

    - An analysis of sensor distribution in US cities found nearly 70 percent of people who live in a neighborhood with at least one SoundThinking sensor identified as Black or Latino.

    - In February, a leaked internal report from the State’s Attorney’s Office in Illinois’ Cook County found that nearly a third of arrests stemming from a ShotSpotter alert had nothing to do with a gun.

* Related stories…

* Isabel’s top picks…

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * Daily Herald | 11th District GOP congressional candidates complain of ‘moral decline’ in U.S.: Hathaway-Altman, a chief sales officer with a travel company who unsuccessfully sought the nomination in 2022, raised the issue during her opening remarks. She proclaimed the U.S. is experiencing a “sharp” moral decline. When asked to clarify, Hathaway-Altman said Americans don’t focus enough on families and family values.

    * Effingham Daily News | Write-in candidates vie for GOP nomination in 102nd District: Incumbent Adam Niemerg is being challenged in his bid for reelection by Jim Acklin of Ogden and Edward Blade of Toledo. Niemerg began pursuing a write-in campaign after the Illinois State Board of Elections elected not to place his name on the ballot for failure to have his nominating petition notarized. He was the only candidate who filed a petition to have his name placed on the Republican ballot.

    * Daily-Journal | Governors State awarded $500K grant for addictions studies scholarships: The grant will provide tuition scholarships, internship stipends and wraparound support for students attending. Funded through the Illinois Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery and the Illinois Certification Board, this initiative is part of a new workforce incentive program for certified alcohol and other drug counselors (CADCs) in Illinois known as the CADC Workforce Expansion Program.

    * Daily-Journal | Bourbonnais preparing ordinance dealing with migrant buses: “We took a little longer to review and be sure about enforcement and legality,” Mayor Paul Schore said. During Monday’s meeting the board’s attorney, Patrick Dunn, said he looked at several recently passed ordinances, including the city of Kankakee and Manteno.

    * Telegraph | Resolution opposing sanctuary status passed in Madison County: The resolution declares opposition to “sanctuary state status,” directs the county administration to “take no discretionary action” supporting sanctuary state policies, and encourages citizens to “actively advocate” for changes in state policies and federal immigration laws.

    * Sun-Times | Why is Jerry Reinsdorf spending millions buying up parking lots around the United Center?: Over the past 19 months, a Reinsdorf-connected company has spent $44.7 million buying vacant lots from two politically connected families that have long offered discounted parking deals to fans of the Bulls and Blackhawks, records examined by the Chicago Sun-Times show. A third family has refused to sell its parking lots.

    * Paul Sullivan | Jerry Reinsdorf’s about-face on the White Sox possibly leaving Chicago is history — and hypocrisy — repeating itself: The good news for Chicago White Sox fans is the team eventually will be up for sale, according to Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. The bad news is it won’t happen as long as Reinsdorf is alive. Before he does go, Reinsdorf — who turns 88 Sunday — wants to leave Chicago with a special gift: a shiny, new ballpark for the Sox that would anchor the redevelopment of The 78 site in the South Loop. Sox fans would enjoy the gift long after he’s gone, and Reinsdorf believes the city and state would benefit as well.

    * Daily Herald | ‘We regret it deeply’: Ventra app’s creators accept blame as Metra questions fare collection meltdown: “We fully understand how critical it is that our platform operates as seamlessly as possible for riders who rely on it every day,” Cubic General Manager Matt Newsome said. The implosion was “entirely a Cubic issue and we regret it deeply and apologize wholeheartedly to those it affected.”

    * Axios | Billionaire George Soros steps up to save Chicago radio stations: Billionaire George Soros’ investment firm is poised to take control of Audacy, which owns several radio stations in Chicago. The 93-year-old progressive philanthropist is set to become the latest owner in Chicago media to have political leanings, stepping in after the publicly traded radio and podcast company filed for bankruptcy in January.

    * Sun-Times | Hard liquor sales proposed at rooftop clubs surrounding Wrigley Field: At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Ald. Bennett Lawson (44th) introduced an ordinance that would pave the way for selling hard liquor at the rooftop clubs surrounding Wrigley, clubs primarily owned by the Cubs. For now, rooftop patrons can buy only beer and wine.

    * BND | 52 Swansea homes evacuated due to ‘potentially hazardous substance’ in sewers OK’d to return: That investigation led to the discovery of “a potentially hazardous substance within the sewers,” according to a Facebook post from the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency. Emergency responders didn’t know what the substance was or where it was coming from, but based on initial readings, determined it could be considered flammable and/or explosive, Whitaker said.

    * SJ-R | Doughnut shop that opened in the 1930s is moving from its longtime Lincoln location: Generations of Lincolnites have perched atop the low-seated stools at the Formica countertops that “V” off the Mel-O-Cream doughnut display case stocked with everything from long johns to old fashions, cake to cream filled, apple fritters to tiger tails. But that six-decade tradition is set to come to an end Sunday with the last deep-fried pastry passing the counter at 704 Keokuk St. Lincoln’s original home to Mel-O-Cream is closing as owners relocate the business to a newly constructed structure at 227 N. Kickapoo St., just two blocks north of the Logan County courthouse square.

    * WPSD | Shawnee National Forest Snake Road closes early for spring migration: A news release from Shawnee National Forest said the road is closed biannually during the animals’ migration season. The 2.5-mile-long road is regularly closed March 15 through May 15; however, forest officials closed the road early due to higher seasonal temperatures. The road is closed to vehicles, but is open to people travel on foot. The gradual, two-month migration attracts people from across the country who want to witness the diversity of reptile and amphibian species along the single stretch of road. Visitors may see volunteers assisting the Forest Service with counting snakes, people, and cars that visit the area.

    * Herald-Whig | ‘All schools need a Bunny’: QJHS therapy dog making difference for students and staff: One of the newest faces at Quincy Junior High School sports an alert expression and a love of kids along with a tail. Bunny the Therapy Dog walks the halls, visits classrooms and takes a turn at bus and lunch duty with her owner and handler, seventh-grade counselor Jackie Martin.

    * SJ-R | Local artists help tell authentic stories while showcasing Black history in central Illinois: Tori, as Kolanowski likes to be called, said that her art she creates is meant to do more than just to inspire younger Black audiences, but to teach fundamental history of Illinois. “My art, especially with the pieces I’ve put forth in museums, has gotten a lot of feedback from the people I was reaching out to while creating these pieces,” Kolanowski said. “One of my pieces I used lots of central Illinois history of the Black community … it encouraged a lot of people who I had shown (the art) to, to look further into the history and these peoples names and the stories behind them.”


  1. - Nick - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 8:51 am:

    $8.6 million is more than what sharpshooter cost the city the entire year of 2023.

    It honestly makes no sense to me. If this is important / effective enough that it has to be extended through the Democratic National Convention, then it should just be extended period.

    But if it’s as ineffective as the activists and studies say, which I’m inclined to believe, then Johnson is just giving away money here.

  2. - Nick - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 8:51 am:


  3. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 9:19 am:

    It is painfully obvious Mayor Johnson had no plan to cancel Shotspotter, despite a transition period and 10 months in office. With the deadline approaching, he just threw together a press release that he hoped would avoid the issue. No matter your viewpoint or ideology, everyone should demand basic competency from their Mayor.

  4. - Charles Edward Cheese - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 9:46 am:

    The ShotSpotter contract mismanagement is just another masterclass from Mayor Johnson’s administration - It’s not effective and we won’t extend it, let’s cancel the contract, oops we let it auto renew, let’s cancel it early, just kidding we’ll temporarily extend it at a higher cost, etc. Goodness gracious the inexperience is showing and the gaffes just keep piling up.

  5. - OneMan - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 9:48 am:

    I went to grade school and high school in Dolton, and as a youth, I worked for the Village of Dolton as a lifeguard at the public pool and the pool in the retirement center (an old modified hotel). Working at the pool, the trustees and folks from public works would stop by since the pool wasn’t owned by the park district but the village, so we were public works employees. I got to learn a lot about city government over those summers; the public works guy would tell you all sorts of stories, and the trustees would talk quite a bit. I think they were just happy to chat with interested people. There was some drama, but it was always low-key. A useless piece of trivia is was one of the largest towns in the Chicago area with a volunteer fire department (not even pay-per-call for the volunteers) at the time.
    I also realize now that I am older it would have been an excellent place to ‘get away with stuff’ if you didn’t draw attention to yourself. Heck, the town owned a retirement center (they purchased it to keep it out of bankruptcy), and there were all sorts of opportunities to take care of folks and the like.
    Whoever recommended that she draw this much attention to herself did not do the mayor any favors. Heck, Instagram and Twitter have all sorts of folks talking about her and Dolotn as well as miss-pronouncing the name (Doll-ton), not (Daal-ton). This much attention to these issues never ends well.

    Also, she has a detail, and the city spent money on an ice rink blows my mind.

  6. - Chicagonk - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 9:49 am:

    @Nick - If the metric is whether ShotSpotter reduces crime, that is inconclusive. It’s a tool and police departments view it as an effective one at improving response times and responding to shots fired incidents that do not have a corresponding 911 call. I think it is likely somewhat useful and do not really understand why activists are expending so much political capital on this, but in the end it going away is probably not a big deal.

  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 10:31 am:

    ===It’s a tool and police departments view it as an effective one at improving response times===

    Maybe, but the huge percentage of false alarms/no evidence of gunfire is diverting a whole lot of resources.

    And there’s also this

  8. - low level - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 11:53 am:

    Paul Sullivan’s column about White Sox / Reinsdorf history repeating itself was a great reminder of how we got to this point. Hopefully legislators took a moment to read it. It is well worth it.

  9. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 12:54 pm:

    To me, it seems like Shotspotter opponents have the same non-binding promise they had 10 months ago, and Shotspotter has a contract for millions of dollars. Opponents probably should not be throwing around the gullible word.

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