Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is an approximately 5 minute read that will educate you on today’s biggest stories.
This afternoon will be sunny with a maximum close to 31 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 25 degrees. And less than a week after the region suffered its heaviest snowfall in two years, a winter storm arriving tomorrow afternoon could dump 6 to 9 inches of snow on Chicago this weekend.
Chicago housing advocates aim to help tenants ahead of possible wave of evictions
When Luz Franco fell ill with COVID-19, she took time off work and knew she wouldn’t have the money to pay the rent for her flat in Brighton Park.
Franco, 51, thought she could give her landlord what she had until she could catch up.
But the landlord told her she was a year behind on the rent, and soon she discovered that the heating had been turned off in her apartment, and one day her son found some of their things on the lawn.
She knew this was not how she should be evicted but, worried for her son’s safety, decided to move to a smaller apartment with the help of a community organization, Little Village Unete.
“There was nothing we could do,” Franco said.
A year into the coronavirus pandemic, housing advocates say that — despite moratoriums meant to stop most evictions — tenants like Franco still face problems.
Governor JB Pritzker extended Illinois’ moratorium on evictions every 30 days, the latest in effect until February 6. The moratorium blocks evictions statewide unless a tenant “poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and serious risk to the property.”
Nationally, on his first day in office, President Joe Biden extended the federal moratorium on evictions until March 31. It applies to areas of the country that have not put in place their own moratorium.
In Chicago, housing advocates say they continue to receive calls from tenants facing illegal evictions or tactics designed to evict them. The Metropolitan Tenants Organization said it had received more than 500 calls since last March about attempted lockdowns.
Little Village Unete, which helped Franco, and other organizations have created eviction defense teams to respond to the lockouts and prepare for what they expect to be a wave of evictions once the moratoriums lifted. Some lawmakers recently attempted to extend Illinois’ moratorium through September, but the measure went nowhere in the Senate.
“We already knew [housing] was a pre-COVID crisis because rents were skyrocketing,” said Sara Heymann of Little Village Unete. “It’s a pot ready to burst. We have to make sure we have the system to make sure people in our community have support.
More news you need
- Negotiations over plans to reopen Chicago public schools are in a “sensitive place” and are expected to continue through the weekend, Chicago Teachers Union leaders said today. About 62,000 students and 10,000 teachers are tentatively expected to return to school on Monday.
- Several faith leaders and parents have called on CPS not to bring children back into classrooms and to continue remote learning to keep everyone as safe as possible. “With the vaccine on the horizon, now is not the time,” said Reverend Paula Cripps-Vallejo of Humboldt Park United Methodist Church.
- Mayor Lori Lightfoot changed her director of communications before she had even served 100 days in office. Now it has happened again, fueling questions about whether the crisis-filled times coupled with Lightfoot’s abrasive management style might make it difficult for her to retain good people. Lightfoot communications director Michael Crowley abruptly resigned on Friday after 18 months on the job.
- A southern Illinois federal judge agreed today to release a man who was seen on TikTok fighting with the National Guard during the US Capitol breach, despite concerns about his history of violence, mental health issues and failure to comply with court orders . When a prosecutor raised concerns about Mathew Capsel’s “fairly large social media presence,” Capsel said he was “banned from Facebook for life.”
- SC Johnson & Son, Inc., a multi-billion dollar maker of household cleaning products, identified itself as the corporate donor of $250,000 behind Ald. Anthony Beale’s Roseland ‘Cop House’. “You can’t get bigger and more believable than that,” Beale told our Fran Spielman.
- Chicago won a head-to-head competition with Hammond for the right to sell Lake Michigan water to Joliet, a deal that could ultimately drain Chicago’s water system of $30 million a year. Joliet City Council voted 7-1 last night, ending a competition that included a personal pitch from Lightfoot.
- Five blocks of alleys in Edgewater were just that – trash cans, parked cars, all the usual sadness that says “Chicago alley.” Today, the section bordered on one side by a CTA Red Line L viaduct is an artistic showcase in its own right, the scene of more than 100 murals by more than 30 artists.
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The long-awaited “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibition will stay in Chicago for a while longer.
Opening February 11 at Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, a new venue inside the historic Germania Club building, and originally scheduled to close May 2, the critically acclaimed immersive exhibit will now run through September 6. .
“Immersive Van Gogh is a new way to encounter art, as it literally surrounds viewers from all sides with the brilliant work of one of the greatest painters of all time,” said Corey Ross, co-producer of Immersive Art Space. “Fusing state-of-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling, animation and some of the finest artwork ever created, ‘Immersive Van Gogh’ is a unique and compelling experience that seemingly transports the viewer into the mind of the artist. to see these timeless works like never before.”
The exhibition will also offer extended hours and offer VIP and premium tickets on Saturday afternoons in February and March.
A new block of tickets for the extended race will go on sale at 9 a.m. tomorrow at vangoghchicago.com or by phone at (844) 307-4644.
From the press gallery
The Cubs’ signing of free agent outfielder Joc Pederson to a one-year, $7 million contract bolsters both their defense and right-handed throwing offense.
22-year-old Blackhawks defenseman Ian Mitchell, one of the team’s young players, is going through growth difficulties as he navigates his first season in the NHL. The team has a pair of games against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center this weekend, tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. (NBC Sports Chicago).
And Bulls center Daniel Gafford hopes to make a good impression by replacing the injured Wendell Carter Jr.. The team will face the Portland Trail Blazers tomorrow at 7 p.m. (NBC Sports Chicago).
Your daily question ☕
Do you think Chicago public schools should stay away until teachers can get vaccinated, or do you think it’s more important that students get back to class as soon as possible? Tell us why.
Email us (please include your first name and place of residence) and we may publish your response in the next afternoon edition.
Yesterday we asked you: with all the news about GameStop lately, have you invested any extra money in the stock market this week? Here’s what some of you said…
“I tried, but Robinhood wouldn’t let me.” —Leroy Kleimola
“I funneled my Tesla profits into GameStop. I would have added a lot more positions, but I was crippled by Robinhood. I’d gladly sacrifice a few hundred dollars to fund a hedge fund. —Julien Christopher Smasal
“As tempting as it was to go hard like the Redditors, I opted to play it safe with my simple roboadvisor stuff. The schadenfreude of these hedge funds getting sprayed is pretty sweet. —Greg Hammel
“I threw all my savings on GameStop, left like this. The woman is not happy. —Ryan Flynn
“Nah. I’m going to take my earnings over the last few years and put them in safe investments. I think we’re going for a ride. —Kevin Roecker
“I didn’t realize how much he exploded until it was too late.” — Eric Franckowiak