Monica Eng
Oct 18, 2021 - News

Latest on Chicago's cop vaccination standoff

An image of a shield and a syringe.
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

"My nurse’s mind has me just shaking my head... If only these reluctant folks could spend some real time in a COVID unit and see how patients struggle to breathe before usually being intubated and placed on a ventilator." — Bobbi F.

Why it matters: If this basic health measure — requiring city workers to report their vax status — is as popular as it seems, defying it could further crumble public support for Chicago police officers just as they're trying to win it back.

Justin Kaufmann
Oct 18, 2021 - News

Best schools in Illinois

A chart that ranks the best schools in Illinois.
Data: U.S. News; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Chicago scored big with both high schools and grade schools in this year's rankings of the top 10 schools in the state, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Why it matters: The Chicago Public School system is often maligned for its failures but also runs the best schools in the state.

Childhood obesity rates better but not great in Illinois

Chicken sandwich on a tray.
Improved access to better school lunches could be one way to address childhood obesity in the U.S. according to experts. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios.

Illinois ranks in the top third when it comes to high childhood obesity rates, according to a report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). But it's a big improvement from the state's ranking a decade ago.

Context: In 2009 Illinois ranked 4th worst in the nation for childhood obesity among kids 10-17. But today the state is No 16. Our rates fell from 20.7% to 17.4%, still above the national average of 16.2% but much improved.

Justin Kaufmann
Oct 13, 2021 - News

Extreme weather spots in Illinois

 A house on the 2700 block of Jonquil Lane suffered severe damage on June 21, 2021 after a tornado came through the area in Woodridge, Illinois.
A house on the 2700 block of Jonquil Lane suffered severe damage on June 21, 2021 after a tornado came through the area in Woodridge, Illinois. Photo: Jon Durr/Getty Images

Monday night, a tornado briefly touched down in western LaSalle County and another reportedly flipped a semi-truck near Springfield.

Why it matters: According to new FEMA data analyzing the last two decades, Illinois is seeing an uptick in extreme weather disasters.

Monica Eng
Oct 12, 2021 - News

Chicago native Patricia Smith wins major poetry honor

Photo of Patricia Smith.
Chicago native Patricia Smith will receive the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation this month. Photo courtesy of Patricia Smith.

Next week, Patricia Smith will receive the Poetry Foundation's Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, one of the highest honors in American poetry.

Why it matters: The $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is a big deal in itself. But it's even more impressive considering the Chicago-born professor launched her poetry career, not as an academic poet, but as a contestant in the Uptown Poetry Slam.

Justin Kaufmann
Oct 11, 2021 - News

Chicago's Columbus statues still down

A crane removes a statue from the park.
Crews remove the Columbus statue in Grant Park in July, 2020. Photo: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

It's been 15 months since Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered crews to take down the Columbus statues in Chicago after protesters tried to tear them down themselves.

Why it matters: The statues became the focal point of protest and vandalism over Columbus' genocidal past as the entire country had a reckoning over historically racist statues and symbols.

  • Now, the Italian American community is demanding they are put back up.
Justin Kaufmann
Oct 8, 2021 - News

Support pours in for Chicago historian Timuel Black

The book with Timuel Black on the cover.
Photo: Courtesy of the Chicago Public Library Foundation

Fans from all over the world are sending support and warm messages to historian and Civil Rights activist Timuel Black, who, friends say, is receiving hospice care in his home.

Why it matters: The beloved 102-year-old dedicated his life to documenting Black Chicago history, of which he was a big part.

  • Black came to Chicago from Alabama during the Great Migration.
  • He fought in World War 2, at both Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, and wrote three books, including "Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black."
Justin Kaufmann
Oct 8, 2021 - News

Chicago Fire: 150 years ago today

Painting of the city of fire.
Photo by: Picturenow/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Today is the 150th anniversary of the Chicago Fire.

Why it matters: The fire burned our city to the ground in 1871. Much of how our city is designed and organized today is a direct result of this tragedy.

By the numbers: Nearly 300 people died, 17,500 buildings were destroyed and 90,000 Chicagaons were left homeless.


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